550 - Theory of Knowledge
Hilary Kornblith, 360 Bartlett
Some beliefs are justified; others are not. What is it that marks the difference? What conditions must be satisfied if a belief is to be justified? The available views about justification may be divided into two types: internalist and externalist. Roughly, internalists believe that the conditions which must be satisfied for a belief to be justified are, in some sense, internal to the agent: for example, on one such view, they must be available to introspection. Externalists disagree: the factors which make a belief justified need not be entirely internal. We will examine this debate in detail. Required texts: BonJour and Sosa, Epistemic Justification: Internalism vs. Externalism, Foundations vs. Virtues; Kornblith, ed., Epistemology: Internalism and Externalism. Additional readings will be made available. Prerequisites: Three courses in philosophy or permission of instructor. Requirements: One short (5-7 page) paper and one longer (12-15 page) paper.
594C - Consciousness
Joe Moore (Amherst College)
We will start by discussing various consciousness-based obstacles to physicalism, including Jackson's "knowledge argument" and Levine's "explanatory gap" considerations. This will lead us to an investigation of recent attempts to understand consciousness in terms of higher-order thought, and, more generally, to regard the phenomenal, qualitative features of conscious experience as thoroughly representational. Along the way we will consider whether we should distinguish different notions of consciousness, whether there is a "unity" of conscious experience, and whether we should regard introspection as a perceptual faculty like vision? Requirements: one short paper, a final term paper, and presentations. Prerequisites: 3 courses in philosophy or consent of instructor.
594O - Ontological Commitment
Phillip Bricker, Bartlett 356
Ontology is that part of metaphysics that asks what fundamental sorts of thing exist: do mathematical objects such as numbers exist? Intensional objects such as meanings? Fictional objects? Merely possible objects? In this course, we will examine various criteria of ontological commitment, criteria meant to establish what sorts of thing we do, or should, believe exists. Authors will probably include Quine, Putnam, Field, Dummett, and Wright. Requirements: about five short papers, a term paper, and a class presentation. Prerequisites: two previous philosophy courses or consent of instructor.
594S - Formal Semantics
594S - Semantics
We frequently encounter novel sentences – e.g., this one.
We usually understand them with little or no hesitation. How is
the latter possible? According to the received opinion, our linguistic
knowledge divides into two modules – roughly, words and rules
– which in turn give rise to Lexical Semantics and Compositional
Semantics. The present course concerns Compositional Semantics –
the study of how to derive the meanings of compound expressions
from the meanings of their parts. We pursue this enterprise within
the framework of Categorial Grammar, and more specifically within
the framework of Type-Logical Grammar. Topics will include: set
theory, type theory, lambda-calculus, categorial syntax and semantics,
type-logical syntax and semantics. Prerequisite: graduate status,
or consent of the instructor. Requirements: homework assignments.
Web Site: http://people.umass.edu/gmhwww/595/index.htm
702 - Locke's Essay
Vere Chappell, Bartlett 380
Critical study of Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding. Emphasis on topics of current interest, e.g. perception, qualities, free will, motivation, substance, personal identity, meaning, essence, knowledge, and belief. Texts: Locke, Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. Nidditch; Locke: Oxford Readings in Philosophy, ed. Chappell. Requirements: several short papers, class presentation, term paper; no final exam. Open only to PhD students in Philosophy.
782 - Philosophy of Religion
Lynne Baker, Bartlett 366.
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.
794M - Metaphysics
Jonathan Schaffer, Bartlett 359.
This course will focus on mereology (the logic of part and whole). Among the questions we will discuss are: What is the status of the axioms? Under what conditions do two objects comprise a whole? Are parts ontologically prior to wholes? Requirements: Seminar paper. Prerequisites: Graduate students only.