100 A – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
Philosophy Through "The Matrix". An introduction to several fundamental philosophical issues raised by the hit film: What is the nature of reality? Is knowledge possible? What is freedom, and why is it valuable? Could machines think? What is exploitation – do we treat non-human animals the way the machines treat us? Do we have an obligation to seek truth? Readings will be drawn from classical and contemporary philosophical works, including several articles available on the Warner Brothers official Matrix website: http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/phi.html
100 B – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
We will survey answers philosophers have given to questions like the following: Is altruism possible? Does God exist? Is there an external world? Can the mind exist apart from the body? Can computers think? One aim of the course is to help students aquire the ability to evaluate the arguments philosophers give for their answers.
100 C – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
Open to Southwest Residential Freshmen only.
Philosophy and Science-Fiction: A Fantastic Introduction to Philosophy Some say that philosophy should be studied not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves. However, it is often difficult not only to comprehend philosophical questions, but also to figure out why anyone would ask such questions in the first place. In this course we will try to understand and motivate some philosophical questions by reading science fiction short stories that raise interesting philosophical puzzles. Alongside our "literary survey" we will explore various philosophical theories that were offered in response to these puzzles. Readings may include works by Plato, Descartes, Hume, Russell and contemporary philosophers as well as stories by Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Clarke, Borges, Silverberg and others. For more information see course website: http://www.people.umass.edu/uril/phil100/100.htm
100H – Introduction to Philosophy (Honors) (AL)
An introduction to philosophy via a survey of standard topics in epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and the philosophy of mind. Recent naturalist and feminist critiques of orthodox approaches to these subfields will also be covered. For more information, consult the course website: http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~khm/0607/100H.html.
Phil 110 – Introduction To Logic
Introduction to Symbolic Logic. Two logical systems are examined: (1) Sentential Logic, (2) Predicate Logic. Work is equally divided between: (a) translating English sentences into symbolic notation, and (b) constructing formal derivations. Text: Hardegree, Symbolic Logic: A First Course, 3rd ed. Requirements: In-class exams.
For more information, consult course website.
160 – Introduction to Ethics (AT)
Two lectures, one discussion per week. Consideration of some of the most important theories about right and wrong, good and evil, and virtue and vice. One focus will be on clear and accurate formulation of the theories. Another focus will be on understanding and evaluating common objections to the theories. Texts: Readings may include classic works by Plato, Aristotle, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Ross, as well as contemporary thinkers. Requirements: essay exams, papers and participation in discussion.
160 – Introduction to Ethics (AT)
Orchard Hill Freshman only
This course will attempt to provide a grounding in the fundamentals of ethical theory. While the focus of the course will be on two major classical positions in moral philosophy - Utilitarianism and Kantianism - students will also gain familiarity with debates over cultural relativism, egoism and the ethics of virtue. Students taking this as their first course in philosophy can expect lots of help in grappling with intricate and interesting material, but in return must be prepared to read carefully, argue, and write about some tough philosophical questions.
160 – Introduction to Ethics (AT)
This course is meant to be an introduction to ethical theory. Its goal is to introduce you to some of the key issues and arguments discussed in ethics and, teach you how to effective analyze and evaluate these kinds of arguments Although we will focus on utilitarianism, we will also discuss the divine command theory, culture relativism, egoism, and Kantian ethics.
160 H – Introduction to Ethics (Honors) (AT)
Ethics is often divided into three subfields: normative ethics, metaethics, and practical ethics. Normative ethics is concerned with general moral principles and theories; metaethics is concerned with the status of moral claims and moral discourse; and practical ethics is concerned with particular ethical questions and seeks to bring the results of normative ethical theory to bear on them. In this class we will discuss a number of questions in each subfield. Among the questions in normative ethics we will address are: what makes an action morally right or wrong? and to what extent is this just a function of its consequences? Among the metaethical questions we will consider are: is there such a thing as moral truth? and if there is, is there a single true morality, or is moral truth relative to cultures or individuals? And among the practical ethical questions we will discuss are: is abortion morally permissible? and are we morally obliged to donate most of our money to help those in desperate need around the world?
Phil 161 – Problems in Social Thought
This class will survey some of the important issues in social and political philosophy. The focus of the class will be on theory but will not shy away from questions about the application of social and political theory in contemporary society. In this class students will learn to approach complicated material analytically and to express ideas clearly in writing. Readings by Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, J.S. Mill, John Rawls, and Robert Nozick, among others.
164 – Medical Ethics (AT)
This course will deal with issues of ethical import for medical practitioners and administrators. It will be divided, by topic, into four sections:
(1) Killing vs. Letting Die
It is usually assumed that killing is not morally permissible (i.e., it is wrong). Sometimes, however, there might be good reason to distinguish a notion of letting die, in which one merely abstains from performing an action or actions that might prevent someone from dying. We might then ask, if letting die is different from killing, is letting die also morally impermissible? Or conversely, if letting die is sometimes permissible, is killing? In this section of the course, we will examine whether the distinction between killing and letting die can be made coherently, and if so, what the moral status of letting die might be.
(2) Genetic Engineering
Recent research suggests that highly sophisticated methods of genetic manipulation lay in the near future. This possibility invites ethical debate. Principally, the debate centers on the degree of genetic manipulation that is morally permissible. While it might seem relatively easy to defend the view that an individual may make use of genetic manipulation to correct or relieve a particular problem in an isolated case, it is much more difficult to defend an extension of genetic manipulation to include the prevention of future problems in the population at large (usually by altering the gene pool). We will look at why some think this extension is problematic.
(3) Doctor/Patient Relations
Should doctors always tell patients the truth (and the whole truth) ? Should patients always tell doctors the truth (and the whole truth)? Or is it sometimes morally permissible to lie, or leave out certain information? In
this section we will try to shed some light on these questions. Additionally, we will examine the notion of informed consent: is this traditional approach to recommending treatment an ethical one? Does it, for example, serve the patient's best interest? This will lead us to ask, finally, how qualified doctors are to understand what is in the best interests of their patients, and how this might affect their ability to prescribe treatments.
(4) Philosophers and Ethicists
We will close the course with a brief examination of exactly what role philosophers and ethicists should play in medical decision making. Are medical practitioners qualified to make difficult ethical decisions on their own, or should they call on experts in ethics (called 'ethicists') to aid them? And if they are called upon, how great a role should these ethicists have?
164 – Medical Ethics (AT)
164 – Medical Ethics (AT)
OPEN TO BIOLOGY TAP STUDENTS ONLY
164H – Medical Ethics (Honors) (AT)
The practice of medical and biological science raises distinctive ethical issues. These issues include abortion, euthanasia, animal experimentation, human cloning, resource allocation, patient confidentiality, truth-telling, research using control groups, etc. The purpose of this course is to understand the moral questions raised by these topics and to consider and critically evaluate some prominent positions and arguments concerning them. Throughout the semester, we will read and discuss reports of real-life cases as well as several influential essays on these topics. The course assumes no prior knowledge of, or familiarity with, philosophy in general, nor with ethics in particular. Webpage: http://www.people.umass.edu/jaklocks/Phil164/
320– History of Ancient Philosophy (HS)
This course is an introduction to the history of Greek philosophy. We shall consider the views of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle on a wide range of issues in ethics, moral psychology, metaphysics, and epistemology.
330 - Continental Rationalists (HS)
TuTh 2:30 - 3:45
A critical study of selected works in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophical theology by17th-century rationalists on the continent and in England: Descartes, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, Malebranche, Astell, Cavendish and Leibniz. Topics include: the nature and existence of mind, our knowledge of the external world of bodies, causation, sense perception, the existence of God, divine providence, necessity and contingency. Requirements: short weekly writing assignments; midterm and final essay exams. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy.
331 – British Empiricism (HS)
This course will study the development of certain themes in the thought of John Locke (1632-1704), George Berkeley (1685-1753), and David Hume (1711-1776). The central themes in this course will be the attempt to account for all of our knowledge solely by appeal to experience, the attempt to construct a theory of meaning from experience, the justification of sense perception, the problem of skepticism, and the consequences of empiricist methodology for philosophy of religion. Throughout the course we will address some of the most important critiques of the Empiricists’ treatment of these themes.
334 – American Philosophy (HS)
We shall begins with some pre-20 th century philosophers, like Jonathan Edwards and Ralph Waldo Emerson. However, the emphasis of the course will be on pragmatism, the distinctive American contribution to philosophy. We shall have readings from classical pragmatists (such as Peirce, James, Dewey) and from some more contemporary pragmatists (such as Quine, Davidson, Rorty, Putnam). Texts: Course pack. Course requirements: Weekly homework assignments (one page, printed), In-Class Exam, Final Exam, Class attendance and informed class participation. Prerequisites: At least two philosophy courses or permission of the instructor.
336 – Existential Philosophy
This course will be a survey of the early 20th century philosophical movement of Existentialism. We will read selections from the major works of Heidegger and Sartre, important works of their 19th century predecessors Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and supplementary readings by other figures associated with this movement such as Jaspers, Unamuno and Husserl. The first goal of this course is to understand the views and arguments of these writers. But our further goal will be to use the works of these Existentialists to think for ourselves about philosophical questions about God, the human mind, the value of human life, the nature of time and the goals of philosophical inquiry itself. Requirements: 3 short papers, and a cumulative final or a term paper.
363 – Philosophical Approaches to Politics
An investigation into foundational issues in political theory, such as the basis of state authority, the nature of property rights, balancing the values of individual autonomy and equality, and the question of nationalism. Readings from Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, Rawls, Nozick, and others.
381H – Philosophy of Women (Honors)
A comparison of philosophical theories of gender and sexuality, including Natural Purpose theory (ancient Greek and Christian thought), biological determinism, Freudianism and Foucault. We will investigate the ways that women and their bodies have been viewed by feminist theorists on female embodiment such as Beauvoir, Rich, Wittig and Butler. Issues will include: the relation between sex, gender and sexuality; dichotomies between ideals of masculinity and femininity; connection between oppression by race, class, sexuality and gender, representations of women and theories of self, identity and subjectivity. Texts will include Conboy, Medina and Stanbury, eds. Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory, Foucault History of Sexuality , v. 1, Federici Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation, and selected xerox readings. Prerequisites include either a l00 level Philosophy class or WOST 201 or permission of the instructor. Course requirements include class participation, including a class report, 2 short papers, and an 8-10 page term paper. The class is an honors course which receives 4 credits, so it requires additional class preparation, discussion, and written work.
383 – Philosophical Approaches to Religion
In this course we will discuss whether the notion of the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is coherent. We will explore the nature of God, differentiate the idea of God from other historical ideas of the divine, and identify the core qualities of a maximally great, or perfect, being. We will consider the fundamental divine attributes, such as divine power, knowledge, and goodness, and try to establish whether they are individually intelligible and jointly consistent. We will also discuss whether God is to be understood as eternal, within or outside of time, existing necessarily or contingently, and whether God is to be understood as a physical or a spiritual substance. Texts: (i) William Rowe, Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction (Wadsworth Publishing; 4th edition 2006); and (ii) Joshua Hoffman and Gary Rosenkrantz, The Divine Attributes (Blackwell Publishers, 2002). If you have any questions about this course, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
398W – Junior Year Writing Course
One-credit practicum: must be taken in conjunction with PHIL 321.
Satisfies the Junior Year Writing Requirement in Philosophy. Weekly
discussion sections. Text: Strunk & White, The Elements of
Style. Requirments: several short papers, some of which must
be rewritten in the light of the insturctor's comments. Pass/Fail
only. Prerequisite: English 112 or the equivalent, and Junior
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.
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.