511 – Modal Logic
Consideration of various systems for treating the logic of necessity and possibility, including both deductive systems and elementary formal semantics for languages with modal operators. Possible secondary treatment of related issues in logic, such as tense logic, deontic logic, propositional attitudes and intensional logic generally. Texts: TBA. Requirements: Homework sets and in-depth examinations. Prerequisite: Intermediate Logic (Phil 310) or equivalent, or consent of instructor.
550 – Epistemology
We will spend the semster working through two recent and important books in epistemology: Ernest Sosa's A Virtue Epistemology and Earl Conee and Richard Feldman's Evidentialism. These books each deal with central issue in epistemology including skepticism, the debate between internalists and externalists, the nature of evidence, the role of intuitions in philosophical theory construction, the importance of reflection, and much more besides. One short paper and one longer paper will be required.
551 – Metaphysics
This class will focus on the metaphysics of properties. Some of the topics we will explore include: the notion of fundamental or "natural", degrees of naturalness, intrinsicality, quantitative properties, varieties of nominalism, essential and necessary properties, and how one's picture of properties fits in with one's unified metaphysical theory.
584 – Philosophy of Language
593R – Renaissance and Enlightenment Feminist Philosophers
This course will examine important European and New World texts, from the Renaissance through the French and American Revolutions, that focus on such questions as: How did the Renaissance and the early modern world theorize gender difference? Was it held that men’s greater physical power justified their subordination of women in society? Were there theological arguments for men’s subordination of women? What were the arguments against the education of women, and how were these arguments criticized? Did women typically not take part in the Enlightenment project of scientific inquiry because it was thought they excelled in sensibility and imagination, but not in pure reason? What were the arguments for the view that women’s capacity for reason was deficient as compared with that of men? Which social roles were deemed appropriate for women? Was it held that the virtues are the same for men and women, or was it argued that there are specifically feminine virutes?
Our authors, who defended women’s intellectual and moral capacities, and who argued for greater educational opportunities, and broader social and political liberties for women both in the domestic sphere and in the polis, include: Christine de Pisan, Baldesarre Castiglione, Marie de Gournay, Anna Maria van Schurman, François Poullain de la Barre, Mme de Lambert, Sor Juana, Mary Wollstonecraft, Olympe de Gouges, Marquis de Condorcet and Judith Sargent Murray. Our aim will be to determine which views or arguments, if any, our various authors have in common. We will explore which ways, if any, our authors can be viewed as “feminists” or “proto-feminists”—even if we take our understanding of “pluralist feminisms” quite broadly. This will lead to our final question: What would a history of feminist philosophy look like?
Prerequisites for undergraduates: two courses in philosophy or permission of the instructor.
Requirements: class presentations, a short (5-page) paper at mid-semester, and a final (10-15 page) paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.
594C – Consequentialism
703B – Knowledge, Virtue, and True Belief in Ancient Philosophy
750 – Metaphysics (Topic - Existence)
What is existence? We will consider a range of views, the chief divide between which is whether existence is a non-trivial (first-level) property that some objects have and other objects lack. According to Frege, Russell, Quine (and orthodoxy generally), the answer is no: existence is a second-level property of properties the property of being instantiated; there is no (non-trivial) first-level property of existence. According to Meinongians, the answer is yes: there are things that do not exist, for example, fictional entities such as Sherlock Holmes and theoretical posits of science, such as the planet Vulcan. According to possibilists, there are also two fundamental kinds of being, but the ontological divide is not between what exists and what doesn¹t exist, but between what is actual and what is merely possible. The second half of the course will focus on attempts to develop Meinongian and/or possibilist views.
784 –Philosophy of Science
Th 1:00 - 3:30
This class will look at issues in the physics, metaphysics and epistemology of chance.
Half the class will deal with broad questions regarding chance, including: What is the metaphysical nature of chance? (Are they frequencies? Propensities? Or what?) How should knowledge of the chances constrain our credences? And what is the status of this constraint? (Does it provide an analysis of chance? Does it contain everything we know about chance? Is it true in virtue of the meaning of chance (analytic))?
The other half of the class will look at the chance theories that appear in physics: statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. We'll assess the different ways of understanding these theories (such as the Albert v.s. Schaffer understandings of statistical mechanics, the different interpretations of quantum mechanics, etc.), and assess the bearing of these different understandings on the metaphysical and epistemological questions regarding chance given above.
785 – Philosophy of Mind
Conscious awareness is often characterized as "immediate" or "direct". We will investigate various models of immediate, or direct cognitive access, focusing in particular on the philosophical and psychological literature on perception, attention, and demonstrative concepts.