Phil 511 – Modal Logic
TuTh 9:30- 10:45
This course is intended to follow Philosophy 310 (Intermediate Logic), and examines various modal logical systems including alethic modal logic, epistemic logic, deontic logic, tense logic, and the logic of propositional attitudes. Emphasis will be on quantification, identity, descriptions, scoped singular terms, and actuality. Text: Hardegree, Introduction to Modal Logic (available on-line). Prerequisite: Philosophy 310, or consent of the instructor. For more information, consult http://people.umass.edu/gmhwww/511.
Phil 563 – Ethical Theory
In the first half of this course we will study some of the most important theories in the normative ethics of behavior. Among these will be various forms of utilitarianism and various forms of Kantianism. In each case, one focus will be on clear and accurate formulation of the theory. Another focus will be on understanding and evaluating classic objections to the theories. In the second half of the course we will study some of the most important theories of axiology. Among these will be hedonism, eudaimonism, and various forms of axiological pluralism. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Ross, Moore, and others. Text: an anthology of papers in ethics, title TBA. Requirements: two take-home exams, no term paper. Prerequisite: two courses in philosophy.
Phil 582 – Philosophy of Science
What is scientific explanation? Science is said to enable us to predict, explain, and control the world. We will discuss what it is to explain something, and how science might help with the task. Requirements: graduate student status, or permission of instructor.
Phil 591F – History of Feminist Philosophy
This course will survey European and American feminist philosophers from the 15 th to the 2lst centuries. Authors and topics include: (1) Equality arguments, including (a) Feminist interpretations of Christian theology and (b) Debates about Gender, Reason, Emotion, and Morality; (2) Difference arguments, both differences between women and men and differences between women; (3) Epistemological debates about gendered “standpoints”; (4) Poststructuralist critiques of debates about Gender; and (5) Feminist theories of Freedom and Justice. Prerequisites for undergraduates: Some familiarity with the history of philosophy, social theory, concepts in women’s studies or permission of the instructor.
Philosophy 591P – Platonic Epistemology
Matthews, Gareth B.
This seminar will pursue the question, ‘Whatever happened to the Socratic elenchus?’ We will begin with the Apology, go on to read two or three elenctic dialogues, perhaps the Euthyphro and the Laches, and then take up the transitional dialogue, Meno. We will next try to understand why Plato turns away from the elenctic method in his middle works, especially the Phaedo. And finally we shall try to understand the method of “Collection and Division” as it appears in the Sophist and Statesman. Readings will focus on primary texts, but will also include articles and commentaries. Prerequisite: at least one course in ancient philosophy. Requirements: class presentations, a short paper, and a longer paper at the end.
Phil 593S – Philosophy of Space and Time
Newton argued that we need to believe in absolute space and time in order to do physics. In the first part of this course we will look at his arguments and relationalist responses by Leibniz, Mach, and others. Then we will look at this (and related) debates in a more contemporary setting, framed as debates about the existence and structure of spacetime, instead of space and time seperately. Other topics will include conventionalism about the structure of spacetime and the nature of time in special and general relativity. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy and high-school algebra, or consent of the instructor.
Phil 703 – Ancient Scepticism
Topics to be covered in this course include: Stoic epistemology, Academic scepticism, Pyrrhonian scepticism, and the philosophically significant differences between ancient and modern forms of scepticism.
Phil 791F – Seminar: Frege
A close examination of the philosophy of Gottlob Frege, with emphasis on his philosophy of language and the theory of sense (Sinn) and reference (Bedeutung). Related philosophy issues in philosophical logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind will also be discussed. We'll also be considering various systems for intensional logic inspired by Frege in some detail, and contrast them with other logical treatments of "intensional" entities such as senses, thoughts, propositions and universals. Texts may include short works by Frege, Russell, Church, Carnap, Quine, and/or others. Requirements: term paper, in-class presentation and weekly assignments. Prerequisites: Graduate student status and strong background in logic, or consent of instructor.
Phil 793M – Seminar: Philosophy of Mathematics
TuTh 2:30- 3:45
The focus will be on structuralist approaches to mathematics as a realist alternative to more traditional Platonist approaches. We will read most of Stewart Shapiro's book Philosophy of Mathematics: Structure and Ontology, as well as articles or chapters by Benacerraf, Resnik, Field, Hellman, Parsons, Lewis, and Maddy.
Phil 793T – Seminar: Testimony
A great deal of our knowledge is based on testimony. Even when we do not directly rely on the word of others, testimonial evidence often plays a crucial justificatory role. Indeed, some have argued that virtually all of our knowledge depends in important ways on testimony. How then does the testimony of others do its justificatory work? Some argue that testimony, if it is to justify at all, must do so as a result of a justified belief in the reliability of the testifier. On this view, testimony does important justificatory work for us, but there is no special epistemology of testimony, any more than there is a special epistemology of evidence from newspapers or books. But others have argued that any such view leads to a very broad skepticism, and that the only alternative is to view testimony as a basic source of evidence, comparable, for example, to perception and memory. We will examine these views and others besides. Readings will be from a wide range of authors, including Burge, Christensen, Coady, Feldman, Fricker, Foley, Hardwig, Kelly, Lackey, Lipton, Moran, Schmitt, Wellbourne and others. Graduate students only