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 the course website.
551 – Metaphysics
This will be a seminar on the metaphysics of modality. It will be designed to minimize overlap with Philosophy 701L. Topics may include: combinatorial theories of possibility; the relationship between metaphysical and other varieties of necessity; counterfactuals; the varieties of supervenience and the logical relations among them; the status of de re modal claims; essentialism (in particular, essentialism about origins); haecceitism and anti-haecceitism; two-dimensional modal semantics; and arguments that everything exists necessarily. (Advanced undergraduates who wish to take this course must obtain the instructor's permission.)
562 – History of Ethics
We will focus on a small number of classic works in the history of moral philosophy. There will be a lot of reading; texts will be determined by class interest, but will probably include works by Plato, Aristotle, Mill, Kant, and Moore. Requirements: take-home midterm exam; take-home final; occasional written homework assignments. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy, including an introductory course in ethics.
592A – Aristotle's Ethics
Tu 7:00-9:30 P.M.
A close reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, plus a discussion of some of the most interesting recent secondary literature on Aristotle’s ethics, including two or three published pieces by former UMass students. Course requirements: two seminar presentations, a short paper and a longer paper. Prerequisites: at least three philosophy courses, including one course in ancient philosophy.
593M – Philosophy of Mind
The mind-body problem breaks down into two questions: how can mere matter think and how can it be conscious? We will investigate both of these issues through a critical evaluation of the computational-representational theory of mind. Readings will include Chalmers, Dretske, Fodor, Levine, Lycan, Rey, and others. Prerequisites: three courses in philosophy, or consent of instructor.
701L – Selected Philosopher: Lewis
A survey of the philosophical views of David Lewis, focusing on metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind.
703 – Problems in History of Philosophy
782 – Philosophy of Religion
This seminar will focus on some of the large metaphysical issues that arise in the context of classical theism: e.g., Freedom and Foreknowledge, Time and Eternity, the Ontological Argument, the Problem of Evil, Middle Knowledge. We shall read works by philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga, Peter van Inwagen, David Lewis, Marilyn McCord Adams, Robert M. Adams, John Martin Fischer, David Widerker, Linda Zabzebski, Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann. Texts: Articles. Course requirements: Short paper, term paper, class presentation(s). Prerequisites: Graduate status in philosophy or permission of the instructor.
791P – Perception and Knowledge
We will investigate a cluster of questions concerning the nature of perceptual experience, with an eye toward understanding its role in the generation of empirical knowledge. Issues will include the following: Is perception direct or inferential? What is the content of perceptual experience? Is this content conceptual or non-conceptual? Disjunctivism: can a non-veridical experience properly be regarded as belonging to the same type as a veridical experience? Does demonstration play an essential role in perception? Readings will be drawn mostly from contemporary sources.
792F – Free Will, Blame, and Determinism
Free Will Incompatibilists hold that determinism precludes anyone's having free will; i.e., they hold that, necessarily, if determinism is true, then no one can do otherwise than she, in fact, does. Many Free Will Incompatibilists also endorse Blame Incompatibilism, the thesis that, necessarily, if determinism is true, then no one is blameworthy for anything. In this class, we will critically evaluate the standard arguments for Free Will and Blame Incompatibilism. Among others, we will discuss work by Peter van Inwagen, David Lewis, Harry Frankfurt, and John Martin Fischer.