513 – Math Logic 1
The first half will be on computability theory, including Turing machines, the halting problem, Church's Thesis, and recursive functions. The second half will be on the meta-theory of first-order logic, including the soundness and completeness theorems, and Gödels theorems on the incompleteness of arithmetic and the unprovability of consistency. The philosophical implications of these results will be considered throughout. Text: Boolos and Jeffrey, Computability and Logic Prerequisite: At least one course in formal or symbolic logic (more is better).
584 – Philosophy of Language
A rigorous introduction to central philosophical issues about language. We will examine both the relation of language to the world, and the relation of language to the mind. Readings will include works by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Quine, Grice, Putnam, Davidson, Fodor, and Chomsky. Prerequisites: Philosophy 110 (Symbolic Logic) or equivalent, and one additional course in philosophy; advanced undergraduate or graduate standing. Non-majors are encouraged to consult with me before enrolling.
592F – History of Feminism
Ferguson and O'Neill
A survey of European and American feminist philosophers from the fifteenth to the twenty-first centuries. 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.
Required texts: Hackett and Haslanger (eds), Theorizing Feminism; Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies; Schurman, Whether a Christian Woman Should be Educated; Gournay, “The Equality of Men and Women”; Wollstonecraft, AVindication of the Rights of Woman; Beauvoir, The Second Sex. There will also be a course packet containing additional readings.
Prerequisites for undergraduates: two courses in philosophy and some familiarity with the history of philosophy, social philosophy or concepts in women’s studies, or permission of one of the instructors.
Requirements: Class participation and presentations, two short essays (roughly 5 pages each) due in March and April respectively, and a final paper (roughly 15 pages) on your own topic, chosen in consultation with an instructor, due at the end of term.
594I – Intuition
Philosophers often appeal to their intuitions in support of the theories they espouse. Is this a legitimate thing to do? What conditions must intuitions meet if this particular philosophical practice is to be justified? Do our intuitions meet these conditions? Are there any alternatives to appealing to intuition in constructing philosophical theories, and, if so, what do they look like? We will examine the role of intuition in philosophical theory construction in a variety of areas, but we will spend most time on epistemology. Readings from Bealer, BonJour, Cummins, Goldman, Jackson, Stich, Williamson and others. Requirements: one short paper and one longer term paper.
595S - Formal Semantics
We usually understand novel sentences – e.g., this one – with little
or no hesitation. How do we accomplish this? According to the received opinion,
our linguistic knowledge divides into two modules – roughly, words and
rules – which in turn correspond respectively to Lexical Grammar and
Compositional Grammar. The present course concerns Compositional Semantics – the
study of how the meanings of compound expressions are derived from the meanings
of their parts. We pursue this enterprise within the framework of Categorial
Grammar – 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://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~gmhwww/595/index.htm
703 – Ancient Scepticism
710 – Formal Logic (Consequence)
An examination of the philosophical controversies surrounding the nature of logic itself. What is logic, or "a logic"? What is the logical consequence relation? What are the bearers of this relation? What, if anything, makes logical truths true? Are the standard (Tarskian) mathematical definitions of logical truth and logical implication philosophically correct? Can there be multiple correct "logics"? Is logic dependent on the mind or on language? What makes a logical constant different from other meaningful symbols? Readings will include short works by Tarski, Etchemendy, Haack, Priest, McGee, Shapiro, Sher, Restall and Beall and/or others. Requirements: weekly short-papers, in-class presentation, and a term paper. Prerequisites: Graduate student with strong background in formal logic, or consent of instructor.
750 – Metaphysics
760 – Ethics
Some philosophers have claimed that we can't come to know moral propositions by the use of our ordinary intellectual faculties. It's hard to see how we could come to know that (for example) pleasure is better than pain by the use of sense perception, memory, or pure reason. Some philosophers have claimed that there is another faculty -- moral intuition -- that makes this sort of knowledge possible. But other philosophers have claimed that this is mysterious hogwash.
Michael Huemer has just published a book in which he defends the appeal to moral intuition. My seminar will be based on Huemer's book. We will read chapters of his book, together with important works by others that he discusses. Since the book has a reasonable and clear structure, and since he discusses all the most important things on moral intuition, it seems like a good idea to allow the structure of the seminar to be guided by the structure of the book.
I assume that anyone taking the course will have some familiarity with recent work in ethics (especially metaethics) and epistemology. Course requirements: attendance, participation, mid-term paper, final paper, possibly a presentation but probably not.
A detailed description of Huemer's book can be found here: http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/ Look in the section on "intuitionism".
785 – Philosophy of Mind
794P – Philosophy of Physics
Everything a young metaphysician needs to know about the interpretation of quantum mechanics.