Graduate Courses 2014-2015

Please note that all courses with the letter “a” are offered in the fall semester and all courses with the letter “b” are offered in the spring semester. 


PHIL 567b, u, Mathematical Logic.  Sun-Joo Shin

                M, W, 11:35 – 12:25; 1 HTBA

An introduction to the metatheory of first-order logic, up to and including the completeness theorem for the first-order calculus.  Introduction to the basic concepts of set theory. 

PHIL 600a,u, Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics VI.  David Charles, Verity Harte

                W, 3:30 – 5:20

The course will focus on the Greek text of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics book VI in which Aristotle characterizes the intellectual virtues and offers his most complete account of various forms of skill and knowledge.

PHIL 608b, u, Body and Soul in Aristotle.  David Charles

                W, 3:30 – 5:20

This seminar has two goals. The first is to examine Aristotle’s discussion of psychological phenomena (such as the emotions, desire, perception and thought) in De Anima and elsewhere. We shall assess the hypothesis that Aristotle’s discussion is not a version of one of the standard, post-Cartesian, options: dualism (or spiritualism), reductionism, various versions of non-reductionist materialism, neutral monism, etc. with which we are familiar today. The second goal is to address the question: did Aristotle develop a way of thinking about certain psychological phenomena which seriously challenges the way in which our (post-Cartesian) mind/ body question is set up? 

PHIL 611a, u, Early Modern Philosophy of Language.  Zoltan Szabo, Kenneth Winkler

                T, 1:30 – 3:20

Study and discussion of early modern contributions to the philosophy of language.  Reading in the Port-Royal Logic, Locke’s Essay, and other works.  Topics include the nature of signs; ideas as sources of meaning; the formation of propositions; truth; necessary truth; inference and logical form. 

PHIL 613b, u,  History of Analytic Philosophy.  Paul Franks

                W, 1:30 – 3:20

A study of the problems and methods of early analytic philosophers, including Frege, Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein and the Logical Positivists.  Problems such as realism, a priori propositions and convention, logic and meaning, empirical knowledge, verification and truth.  Methods of analysis deploying formal notations, and studies of ordinary and scientific uses of language.  

PHIL 625a, u, Topics in Epistemology.  Daniel Greco

                T, 3:30 – 5:20

A survey of some recent work in epistemology, with an emphasis on connections between formal approaches to epistemology and traditional epistemological questions. We’ll explore the power and limitations of Bayesian approaches to epistemology, the relationship between credence on the one hand, and belief and knowledge on the other, higher-order knowledge and probability, and other topics.

PHIL 626a, Cognitive Science of Morality.  Joshua Knobe

                Th, 1:30 – 3:20

Introduction to the emerging field of moral cognition.  Focus on questions about the philosophical significance of psychological findings.  Topics will include: the role of emotion in moral judgment; the significance of character traits in virtue ethics and personality psychology; the reliability of intuitions and the psychological processes that underlie them. 

PHIL 627b, u,  Computability and Logic.  Sun-Joo Shin

                M, 1:30 – 3:20

A technical exposition of Gödel’s first and second incompleteness theorems and of some of their main consequences in proof theory and model theory, such as Lob’s theorem, Tarski’s undefinability of truth, provability logic, and nonstandard models of arithmetic.

PHIL 637b, u, Philosophy of Mathematics.  Bruno Whittle

                T, 7 – 8:50 pm

Metaphysical and epistemological issues raised by mathematics.  Questions concerning the notion of a set; whether one can quantify over absolutely everything; whether there are really infinite sets of different sizes; the significance of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems; arguments designed to show that certain mathematical terms are referentially indeterminate.   

PHIL 639a, u, Foundations of Metaphysics:  Definition, Essence, and Ground.  George Bealer

                M, 1:30 – 3:20

Examination of three foundational notions in metaphysics – real definition, essence, and ground.  The primary questions explored in the seminar are whether these notions are required for metaphysical explanations, whether these notions are themselves definable or undefinable.

Over the last two decades the traditional notions of real definition, essence, and ground have once again returned to center stage in debates about the nature of metaphysics and the possibility of metaphysical explanations. The purpose of the seminar is to clarify these three foundational notions, to determine their role in metaphysical theorizing, and to determine  whether these notions are ultimate primitives or whether they themselves have real definitions.

Readings will be both historical (Aristotle, Locke) and contemporary (Fine, Rosen, Shaffer, Bealer, Wilson, Charles, Code).

The seminar will consist of informal lectures by the instructor, student presentations, and group discussion.

Prerequisite: First-order Logic or Intermediate Logic. Recommended: Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics.

PHIL 650b,u,  The Problem of Evil.  Keith DeRose, John Pittard

                Th, 1:30 – 3:20

The evils of our world can seem to present strong reasons for disbelieving in the existence of God. This course will examine the main forms that this problem for theism takes, and some of the proposed ways of solving, or at least mitigating, the problem.

PHIL 651a, u, Beyond the ‘God Hypothesis’.  Gabriel Citron

                M, 3:30 – 5:20

Many theologians have considered it misguided to understand religious faith as a hypothesis about the existence of a super-empirical entity – we will begin by trying to understand why this is. We will then consider a series of modern Christian and Jewish attempts to re-envisage what faith might be if not a hypothesis, and what God might be if not an entity. Finally, we will ask what religious life looks like given this re-envisaged theism. We will read thinkers such as Friedrich Schleiermacher, Martin Heidegger, Simone Weil, and Abraham Joshua Heschel, among others.

PHIL 655a, u, Normative Ethics.  Shelly Kagan

                W, 1:30 - 3:20

A systematic examination of normative ethics, the part of moral philosophy that attempts to articulate and defend the basic principles of morality.  The bulk of the course surveys and explores some of the main normative factors relevant in determining the moral status of a given act or policy (features that help make a given act right or wrong).  Brief consideration of some of the main views about the foundations of normative ethics (the ultimate basis or ground for the various moral principles).   .

PHIL 663a, u, Rethinking Sovereignty, Human Rights and Globalization.  Seyla Benhabib

                W, 1:30 – 3:20

This course explores conceptions of sovereignty, cosmopolitanism, and human rights as basic elements of the international political order from the dawn of the modern age to the present in historical philosophical and jurisprudential aspects.

PHIL 665a, u, Recent Work in Ethical Theory.  Stephen Darwall

                T, 7 – 8:50 pm

A study of recently published works on ethics and its foundations. Issues include the grounds of normativity and rightness and the role of the virtues.  This semester we will read Julia Markovits, Moral Reason, T. M. Scanlon, Being Realistic About Reasons, and R. Jay Wallace, The View From Here: On Affirmation, Attachment, and the Limits of Regret

PHIL 667b /LAW 21556 Just War Theory  Scott Shapiro

                M 1:30-3:20pm

PHIL 668a / AFAM 269a / EP&E 458a / PLSC 315a, Egalitarianism Christopher Lebron

                F 9:25am-11:15am

The concept of equality in normative political theory explored through contemporary philosophical texts. Reasons why oppressed, marginalized, and systematically disadvantaged groups express their claims in terms of equality; racial inequality as a case study.  

PHIL 700b, Kant’s Philosophy of Religion.  John Hare

                Th, 3:30 – 5:20

The purpose of the course is to look at Kant’s writings in the philosophy of religion.  The principle readings from  Critique of Pure Reason (especially the Ideal and the Canon), Lectures on Ethics, Critique of Practical Reason (especially the Dialectic), Critique of Judgment (especially the Methodology), Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, and Conflict of the Faculties.

PHIL 701a, Schopenhauer:  The World as Will and Representation.  Karsten Harries

                T, 1:30 – 3:20

A careful reading, with special emphasis on the reception of Schopenhauer’s ideas.

PHIL 702b, Nietzsche: Truth, Value and Tragedy.  Karsten Harries

                T, 1:30 – 3:20

An examination of Nietzsche’s understanding of tragedy as the only acceptable answer to nihilism, given the death of God.

PHIL 703a, Philosophy of Law I.  Scott Shapiro

                M, W, 10:35 – 12:00 (Law School Calendar)

This course will examine a variety of historically influential responses to basic questions concerning the nature of law and the difference (if any) between law and morality. Readings will include works by legal positivists, natural lawyers, legal realists, and critical legal scholars. This course is the first half of a two course sequence that continues with Philosophy of Law II.  Self-scheduled examination or paper option. 

PHIL 704b, Philosophy of Law II.  Giddeon Yaffe

                M, W, 10:35 – 12 (Law School Calendar)

This course concerns philosophical topics that arise in connection with particular areas of law.  Such topics include the justification of criminal punishment; discrepancy in punishment of attempts and completed crimes; the relevance of ignorance of the law to criminal responsibility; self-defense and other forms of preventive violence; the rationale for double-jeopardy restrictions; the conception of justice of import to tort law; the concepts of causation and intention in tort law; the relationship between promises and contracts; the fundamental rationale for property rights; the grounds for and nature of the individualization of the reasonable person standard; the rationale for variations in standards of proof across areas of law.  A selection of such topics will be examined through consideration of both philosophical essays written about them and legal materials that bear on them.  

PHIL 705a, First Year Seminar.  Michael Della Rocca, Keith DeRose

                M, 3:30 – 5:20

Required and limited to first year students in the philosophy Ph.D. program.  Topic varies from year to year.  Preparation for graduate work.   Reading, writing and presentation skills. 

PHIL 706a, Work in Progress.  Kenneth Winkler

                W, 7 – 8:50 pm

In consultation with the instructor, each student will present a significant work in progress, e.g., a revised version of an advanced seminar paper or a dissertation chapter.  Upon completion of the writing, the student will present the work in a mock colloquium format, including a formal question and answer period. 

PHIL 750a or b, Tutorial.  By arrangements with faculty.