100 – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
This course provides a historical introduction to Western philosophy through the interpretation of early modern (16th-18th centuries) texts by canonical male, and recently rediscovered female, philosophers. The instructor will provide information about the historical and cultural circumstances that gave rise to these texts, and will point out rhetorical strategies used by the authors. Historical and literary interpretation will be pressed in the service of providing the best reconstruction of the arguments in these works. Students are expected to utilize the reasoning skills that they acquire at the beginning of the course in their critical evaluations of these arguments. Students will have ample opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of textual interpretation and argument analysis in the weekly at-home writing assignment, and in the in-class essay, quizzes and essay exams. The wide-ranging themes of the course have an underlying sub-theme: sceptical arguments. For example, we’ll examine sceptical challenges to: the theses that “might makes right” and that “women are by nature intellectually inferior to men” (Gournay), our belief that the senses and reason are reliable guides to the truth (Descartes), and our belief that our inductive practices are rationally justifiable. (Hume). Given the importance and breadth of the texts and topics covered, the stress on critical evaluation of arguments, and the focus on written verbal expression, this course meets the objectives of the General Education (Arts and Literature) curriculum.
100 – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
An introductory survey of topics in philosophy: the existence of god and the problem of evil, moral relativism, personal identity, and the nature and limits of knowledge.
100 – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
Open to Orchard Hill freshmen only.
100H – Introduction to Philosophy (Honors) (AL)
This course provides an introduction to philosophy by way of a discussion of
four central philosophical problems - the problem of free will and determinism;
the problem of the nature of knowledge, the "mind-body" problem (including puzzles
about personal identity); and the problem of the existence and nature of God. In
each case, the focus is on careful formulation of doctrines and arguments. The
goals are (i) to understand the doctrines and arguments; (ii) to develop the
ability to evaluate the doctrines and arguments; and (iii) to begin to develop
the ability to extract well-formulated, interesting arguments from philosophical
texts including: Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy; Plato, Theaetetus and Phaedo;
Perry, A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality; Course Packet.
Requirements: 3 Exams, quizzes, a short term paper, and a presentation
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 http://people.umass.edu/gmhwww/110.
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)
Consideration of some of the most important theories about right and wrong, good and evil, and virtue and vice. In each case, one focus will be on clear and accurate formulation of the theory. Another focus will be on understanding and evaluating classic objections to the theory. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Ross, Moore, and others.
160 – Introduction to Ethics (AT)
In this course I will introduce you to some traditional philosophical questions concerning morality. We will attentively read texts with the aim of isolating and evaluating the positions and arguments presented therein. Texts: (1) James Rachels. 2003. The Elements of Moral Philosophy, Fourth Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill; and (2) James Rachels (ed.) 2003. The Right Thing to Do: Basic Readings in Moral Philosophy, Third Addition, New York: McGraw-Hill. Requirements: You will have two exams and several quizzes.
160 H – Introduction to Ethics (Honors) (AT)
What makes an act right? What makes someone's life good? What is
virtue? These are some of the questions that we'll consider this semester. This
course provides an introduction to ethics by way of a discussion of doctrines
and arguments in three central areas of moral philosophy--(a) the normative
ethics of behavior (the theory of right and wrong action), (b) value theory
(the theory of good and evil), and (c) virtue/vice theory (the theory of excellence
of character). Our focus will be on (i) careful study of the relevant
texts and (ii) clear and precise formulation and evaluation of the most important
theories and arguments. Text: Introduction to Ethics (anthology edited
by Fred Feldman); Course Packet. Requirements: 3 Exams, quizzes, a short term
paper, and a presentation.
161 – Problems in Social Thought (SB)
161H – Problems in Social Thought (Honors) (SB)
An introduction to classical and contemporary social/political philosophy. Topics will include 1) investigation into the nature and value of liberty, justice, equality, and desert; 2) examination of the need for and proper role of government. Text: Course packet (readings: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Mill, Marx, Rawls, Nozick, et al.) Requirements: 2 short papers, midterm, and final.
This course serves as an introduction to the history and philosophical foundations
for some of the problems and their attempted solutions in classical Western political
philosophy. The course is divided into three sections. In the first
section we will examine contemporary game theory as a means to understanding
the classical conception of the need for, and proper role of, government. In
the second section we will examine the origin of classical Western liberalism
in Hobbes and Locke. Finally, in the third section, we will focus on various
conceptions of justice, contemplating upon which conception of justice should
be used in assessing the values of political systems. If time permits,
we will, somewhere along the way, survey some of the historical justifications
for revolutions and rebellions against the state. Text: Course Packet. Requirements:
3 Exams, quizzes, a short term paper, and a presentation .
164 – Medical Ethics (AT)
In the first section of this course we will discuss various topics in medical ethics: patient-doctor relationship, reproductive rights, allocation of scarce medical resources, medical decisions at the end of life, medical research on humans and other topics. In the second section we will address a metaethical issue: namely, how should we justify our moral judgments in particular cases? Must we appeal to principles? is it sufficient to consider our judgment in similar cases? or perhaps other kinds of justification are possible.
164 – Medical Ethics (AT)
Is cloning morally acceptable? What about abortion, or euthanasia? How are we supposed to decide? In this course, we will talk about what different ethical theories say about these questions. We'll also see what special ethical problems are raised by these and other questions about medicine and health care. Our only required text is an anthology of contemporary philosophical papers, Bioethics, edited by Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer. Requirements include three exams, and in-class presentations.
310 – Intermediate Logic
Continuation of Philosophy 110. Three logical systems are examined: (1)
Function Logic, (2) Identity Logic, (3) Description Logic. Work is equally
divided between translating English sentences into symbolic notation, and constructing
formal derivations. Requirements: seven exams. Prerequisite: Philosophy
110, or consent of the instructor.
Web Site: http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~gmhwww/310/index.htm
321 – History of Modern Philosophy (HS)
Lectures and discussion. Close study of several classic works by 17th and 18th century philosophers. Emphasis on the clear formulation and evaluation of doctrines and arguments. Texts: Descartes, Meditations; Locke, Essay concerning Human Understanding; Leibniz, Philosophical Essays; Hume, Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. Requirements: several short papers; midterm exam; final exam. Prerequisites: none. Note: This course, when taken in conjunction with Philosophy 398W, satisfies the Junior Year Writing Requirement for Philosophy Majors.
Web Site. http://courses.umass.edu/chappell/modphil06.html
331 – British Empiricism (HS)
361 – Philosophy of Art (AT)
What is Art? This class will begin by pursuing this question and will proceed through several more specific questions that are debated in the philosophy of aesthetics. Readings will be contemporary and from the analytic tradition. There will be multiple short writing assignments and a term paper. At least one prior class in philosophy is strongly recommended.
383 – Philosophical Approaches to Religion
Questions we will consider include: is there any reason to think that there is a God? Is there any reason to think that there couldn't be a God? Are these kinds of arguments even necessary? Is belief in God rational? If there is a God, what is it like? What is the relationship between religion and science? Text: Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions. Requirements: midterm exam and term paper. Prerequisites: one course in philosophy or permission from the instructor.
394D – Darwinian Theories
Darwin presented a theory of evolution, designed to explain the origin of species. It is impossible to understand almost anything in biology without understanding the nature of evolution. We will begin the course with a careful reading of Darwin’s The Origin of Species. We will then move on to look at Darwinian approaches to a wide range of topics, including sociobiology and evolutionary psychology; for this part of the course, we will read Daniel Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Finally, we will discuss the implications of Darwinian ideas for religion. Here we will read Stephen Jay Gould’s Rocks of Ages.
394L – Philosophy of Law
In general, philosophy forces us to go beyond our ordinary, sometimes unreflective, intuitions and perceptions by subjecting them to scrutiny using the principles of logic and critical thinking, thereby leading us to knowledge and understanding. In particular, philosophy of law, or, at least, this philosophy of law course will subject our everyday intuitions concerning legal theory and the practice of law to scrutiny using the principles of logic and critical thinking. We will consider ancient and contemporary literature, modern and contemporary legal theories, and contemporary legal cases in order to answer important jurisprudential questions such as: What is the proper relation between legal obligation and individual liberty? The point of this scrutiny is twofold: (1) to expose any misconceptions or false beliefs that we might have concerning legal theory and the practice of law so that we can adjust our beliefs, and (2) to gain a better understanding of the role that philosophy plays in legal theory and the practice of law.
394S – Philosophy of Science
Laws of nature, causation, and explanation play a crucial role in the scientific understanding of the world. We will seek to understand these concepts, what role they play in science, and how they are interconnected. These concepts describe interconnections between parts of the world, and so ultimately we will try to understand what science is telling us about how the world is glued together.
394T – Philosophy of Time
Part 1: metaphysical questions about the nature of time. Does time "flow" inexorably from the past into the future? Do only present things exist? Can there be time without change? Part 2: time and value. Is it rational to prefer that painful experiences be in the past? Can two lives that contain the same amount of pleasure and pain differ in value by differing merely in the temporal order of the pleasures and pains? Do the answers to questions in part 2 depend on the answers to questions in part 1? Prerequisite: two philosophy courses.
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
Web Site: http://courses.umass.edu/chappell/JYWS06/index.html
512 – Mathematical Logic II
Introduction to and compartive study of various logical foundations of mathematics, including classical set-theoretical foundations (ZF, NBG), Quine's "New Foundations" and related systems, higher-order logic and type theory, and others, as well as related logical metatheory and philosophical issues concerning mathematical and logical entities. Texts: Readings may include works by Frege, Russell, Church, Quine, Cocchiarella, Boolos, Potter and treatment of set theoretical foundations from various textbooks and others. Requirements: homework, take-home exams and an optional term-paper. Prerequisite: Phil 310 (Intermediate Logic) or equivalent. Phil 513 (Mathematical Logic I) is not required.
550 – Epistemology
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.
561 – Aesthetics
Why is a snow shovel exhibited by Marcel Duchamps a work of art when the one you use to shovel your walk is not? Is a work of art just a material object? If not, what more is there to it? These and similar questions animate Arthur Danto’s philosophy of art. In this class, we will critically evaluate Danto’s theory by both placing it in its historical context and evaluating its adequacy. In so doing, we will discuss traditional theories of art from Plato to Nietzsche as well as some much more contemporary accounts of such novel areas of artistic endeavor at installation art and web art. Required texts will include: Wartenberg, The Nature of Art, and Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace. Requirements: class attendance, participation (possible seminar report), a short paper (4-6 pages), and a term paper (12-15 pages). Open to philosophy graduate students and to undergraduate philosophy majors who have had at least three philosophy courses. Permission of the instructor is required for all others.
592A – Aristotle
An examination of selected topics in Aristotle's philosophy of nature and metaphysics. Readings include selections from the "Categories," "Physics," "On Generation and Corruption," "De Anima," and Metaphysics".
592W – Wittgenstein
This course will focus on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, with emphasis on questions about language and mind. We’ll begin with a brief look at Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, an important text in early analytic philosophy. We’ll finish by reading Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. The format of the class will be lecture-discussion. The requirements are (1) Take-Home Exam (due 4/4), (2) Term Paper (due 5/9), (3) Class Participation (attendance expected at every class). Open to philosophy graduate students and to undergraduate philosophy majors who have had at least three philosophy courses. Permission of the instructor is required for all others.
594E – Meta-Ethics
Do we have reasons to be rational? Does this question even make sense? Does the examination of the essential features of doxastic and practical deliberation yield answers to metaethical questions about the semantics, metaphysics, and epistemology of normative judgments? This class will be devoted to these and other fundamental questions about the nature of practical and theoretical reason. We will discuss work by Elizabeth Anscombe, John Broome, Bernard Williams, David Velleman, Michael Smith, Christine Korsgaard, and Rae Langton among others.
594V – Vagueness
The first half of the course will deal with semantic theories of vagueness: how do truth, falsity, and validity apply to vague languages? We will examine the three most prominent theories: epistemicism, supervaluationism, and degree of truth accounts, as well as some less prominent approaches. In the second half of the course, we will turn to metaphysics: what could it mean to hold that the world itself is vague, that there are vague objects, or vague identity? Books: Vagueness, by Timothy Williamson; Vagueness, edited by Keefe and Smith.