100 A – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
In this course we will discuss philosophical issues that are historically important in the development of the Western philosophical tradition, and that continue to be important in the ongoing conversation of contemporary philosophy. These topics include: the nature and extent of human knowledge, the existence of god and the status of religious belief, the relationship between mind and body, and the nature and extent of human freedom.
100 B – 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 C – Introduction to Philosophy (AL)
This course is an introduction to some of the central problems in philosophy. We will begin by introducing concepts and techniques required for successful philosophical argumentation. We will then focus on four topics in philosophy: skepticism & perception, the mind/body problem, personal identity and free will. The emphasis will be on extracting, constructing and critically evaluating philosophical arguments.
100H – Introduction to Philosophy (Honors) (AL)
An introduction to philosophy through a survey of some major philosophical questions, such as: Does God exist, and is this something we can know independently of revelation? What makes us the same person from moment to moment? What is justice, and how should society be organized to treat everyone fairly?
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.
160 A – Introduction to Ethics (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?
160 B – Introduction to Ethics (AT)
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with some prominent approaches to ethics in the history of Western thought. Readings for the course will include selections from Aristotle, Mill, Kant, Nietzsche, and a number of contemporary thinkers. Text: S. Cahn and P. Markie, Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues, 3rd edition. Requirements: 3 exams, and one term paper.
160 C – 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.
160H – Introduction to Ethics (Honors) (AT)
In this course we will investigate doctrines and arguments in three central areas of Western 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). Texts: Introduction to Ethics (anthology edited by Fred Feldman); Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong, 5th Edition (by Louis Pojman). Requirements: 3 exams, several homework assignments, and a class presentation.
161 – Problems in Social Thought (SB)
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 A – Medical Ethics (AT)
164 B – 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.
164 C – Medical Ethics (AT)
This course provides a survey of some of the ethical issues that arise in the area of medical research and experimentation. Central topics will include informed consent, stem cell research, animal rights, human reproductive cloning, abortion, and euthanasia.
164H – Medical Ethics (Honors) (AT)
An introduction to ethics through issues in medicine and health care. Topics will include abortion, treatment of impaired infants, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, truth-telling, medical experimentation on human beings and on animals, and the allocation of scarce medical resources. Text: a book of readings yet to be selected. Quizzes, project, term paper, and take-hone final. No prerequisites.
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.
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321 – History of Modern Philosophy (HS)
A survey of important contributions to European philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Texts will include Gournay’s The Equality of Men and Women, Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, selections from Malebranche's Search After Truth, Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, selections from Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, and (time permitting) selections from Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics. There will also be a course packet containing additional primary source material, including selections from the Descartes-Princess Elisabeth correspondence and Norris’ and Astell’s Letters Concerning the Love of God. Discussions will focus on metaphysical, theological and epistemological topics, including scepticism, causation, mind-body problems, the mechanistic account of bodies, the existence of God, a priori knowledge, and the problem of induction. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy; not open to students who took Phil 330 in 2006. Requirements: several exams, as well as a weekly writing assignment.
329 – Medieval Philosophy
This course will be a rigorous introduction to medieval philosophy. Since medieval philosophy is a very large field, this course will not attempt to be a survey. We will take a topic or issue centered approach rather than a historical approach. In other words, we'll start with one topic and see what some of the major figures of medieval philosophy (Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, Buridan) had to say about that topic, then move on to another topic. Some of the issues we'll be discussing will be proofs of the existence of God, the compatibility of divine foreknowledge with human free will, the eternity of the world, the problem of universals, and the relation of soul and body. I plan to go into each of the topics we cover at great depth, always taking into account the classical (Aristotelian and Platonic) background against which the medieval discussions of these issues are framed. My hope is this class will put us in something like the frame of mind of students at the University of Paris in the 14th century discussing lively and contentious philosophical and theological issues. Formal prerequisites for taking this class are at least one philosophy class at the 100 level, but it is very strongly recommended that the student have taken Introduction to Logic.
336 – Existential Philosophy
In this course we will focus on three central existential texts: Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality, and Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. To help us better understand what Kierkegaard and Nietzsche are up to, we will also read J. Lippitt's Kierkegaard and Fear and Trembling and B. Leiter's Nietzsche on Morality. In this course you will take three exams and write a short paper. If you have any questions about the course, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
361 – Philosophy of Art
382 – Philosophical Approaches to Science
Selected topics from the philosophy of physics and (perhaps) the philosophy of biology. Philosophy of physics topics may include: is the geometry of space a matter of convention? Do space and time exist? Is there action at a distance? Philosophy of biology topics may include: Is "survival of the fittest" a tautology? Does the theory of evolution show that altruism is impossible? Is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? Along the way we will also discuss more general questions in the philosophy of science about the nature of scientific theories and scientific explanation. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy.
382 – 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.
391P – Philosophy of Psychology
Different approaches to psychology presuppose radically different views about the nature of mind. We will look at work by Descartes, B. F. Skinner, Noam Chomsky and research in artificial intelligence. What views about the mind are at work in each of these approaches? What reason is there to suppose that the mind actually functions as these authors suppose? Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or one course in psychology. Requirements: three take-home exams.
392N – Human Nature
Students in this course will explore a variety of philosophical issues that arise when human beings begin to reflect on our own natures, and will be introduced to some of the main theories that have been developed in response to these issues. Among the questions to be considered: 1) Are human beings inherently good? Evil? Neither? 2) Are human beings completely material, or do we have souls? 3) Do we have any innate knowledge, or is all knowledge obtained through experience? 4) Do men and women have different natures? Do members of different races? 5) Are characteristics like intelligence and criminality genetically determined? Readings will be taken from both classic and contemporary sources in philosophy, and will include work in biology and psychology.
393E – Epistemology
Proponents of virtue epistemology claim that a virtue approach can solve some of the traditional problems of epistemology. In this seminar we will try to determine whether this claim is true. First, we will explore some traditional epistemological problems -- e.g., foundationalism/coherentism, internalism/externalism, skepticism, and the Gettier problem. Then, we will survey recent work in virtue epistemology and evaluate whether a virtue approach provides any new solutions to the problems discussed in the first unit. For more information, consult the course website: http://www.people.umass.edu/uril/phil393/epistemology.htm
398W – Junior Year Writing Course
513 – Math Logic I
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 Godels 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 15th to the 21st 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, A Vindication 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.