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Courses for Fall 2020

Title Instructor Location Time All taxonomy terms Description Section Description Cross Listings Fulfills Registration Notes Syllabus Syllabus URL Course Syllabus URL
PHIL 001-001 INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY STEINBERG, STEPHEN MW 1200PM-0100PM Philosophers ask difficult questions about the most basic issues in human life. Does God exist? What can we know about the world? What does it mean to have a mind? How should I treat non-human animals? Do I have free will? This course is an introduction to some of these questions and to the methods philosophers have developed for thinking clearly about them.
    Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
    PHIL 001-601 INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY MW 0430PM-0600PM Philosophers ask difficult questions about the most basic issues in human life. Does God exist? What can we know about the world? What does it mean to have a mind? How should I treat non-human animals? Do I have free will? This course is an introduction to some of these questions and to the methods philosophers have developed for thinking clearly about them.
      Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
      PHIL 002-601 INTRO TO ETHICS MEYER, MILTON TR 0430PM-0600PM Ethics is the study of right and wrong behavior. This introductory course will introduce students to major ethical theories, the possible sources of normativity, and specific ethical problems and questions. Topics may include euthanasia, abortion, animal rights, the family, sexuality, bioethics, crime and punishment and war.
        Society sector (all classes) SOCIETY SECTOR
        PHIL 003-401 HIST ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY MW 0100PM-0200PM "What is philosophy? How does it differ from science, religion, literature, and other modes of human discourse? This course traces the origins of philosophy as a discipline in the Western tradition, looking to thinkers of Ancient Greece and Rome. We will examine how natural philosophers such as Thales, Anaximander, and Heraclitus distinguished their inquiries from the teachings of poets such as Homer and Hesiod; how ancient atomism had its origins in a response to Parmenides' challenge to the assumption that things change in the world; how Socrates reoriented the focus of philosophy away from the natural world and toward the fundamental ethical question, how shall I live? We will also examine how his pupil, Plato, and subsequently Aristotle, developed elaborate philosophical systems that address the nature of reality, knowledge, and human happiness. Finally, we will examine the ways in which later thinkers such as the Epicureans and Stoics transformed and extended the earlier tradition."
          History & Tradition Sector (all classes) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR; SENIOR ASSOCIATES
          PHIL 004-601 History of Modern Philosophy VAZQUEZ, MICHAEL TR 0630PM-0800PM This course is an introduction to a few central themes in philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries, and to some of the crucial thinkers who addressed those themes. Topics to be covered may include, among others, the nature of the human being (including the human mind), the relationship between God and the created world, the nature of freedom, and the relations among natural sciences, philosophy and theology in this rich period of human history.
            History & Tradition Sector (all classes) HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR
            PHIL 008-001 THE SOCIAL CONTRACT TAN, KOK-CHOR MW 1100AM-1200PM This is a critical survey of the history of western modern political philosophy, beginning from the Early Modern period and concluding with the 19th or 20th Century. Our study typically begins with Hobbes and ends with Mill or Rawls. The organizing theme of our investigation will be the idea of the Social Contract. We will examine different contract theories as well as criticisms and proposed alternatives to the contract idea, such as utilitarianism. Besides the above, examples of authors we will read are Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Mill and Marx.
              Society sector (all classes) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; SOCIETY SECTOR
              PHIL 008-601 THE SOCIAL CONTRACT TR 0430PM-0600PM This is a critical survey of the history of western modern political philosophy, beginning from the Early Modern period and concluding with the 19th or 20th Century. Our study typically begins with Hobbes and ends with Mill or Rawls. The organizing theme of our investigation will be the idea of the Social Contract. We will examine different contract theories as well as criticisms and proposed alternatives to the contract idea, such as utilitarianism. Besides the above, examples of authors we will read are Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Mill and Marx.
                Society sector (all classes) SOCIETY SECTOR
                PHIL 040-001 MACHINE FAIRNESS HUMPHREYS, JUSTIN CANCELED Artificial intelligence is causing unprecedented disruptions in many sectors of society, raising fundamental ethical and philosophical questions. Researchers across a variety of disciplines are currently studying how tasks can be automated efficiently to produce the best outcomes for society. This course offers a non-technical introduction to an emerging area of research at the intersection of philosophy, machine learning, computer science, statistics, and psychology. It focuses on a number of applications, including criminal sentencing, predictive policing, self-driving vehicles, autonomous weapons, and healthcare. Although these areas of application are different, they all involve handing over decisions formerly made by humans to machines. This presents the possibility of improving on human decision making, leading to a fairer society, but also threatens to undermine longstanding traditions and raises new ethical questions. What biases might enter into algorithms, and what are their origins? How should we evaluate whether the outcomes of an algorithmic process are fair? When things go wrong, who should be held accountable? And what standards of transparency, if any, can be demanded of the algorithms that shape our lives? The course addresses these questions by developing and applying methods and theories from philosophical ethics.
                  SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED
                  PHIL 050-401 INTRO TO INDIAN PHIL PATEL, DEVEN TR 0430PM-0600PM This course will take the student thorugh the major topics of Indian philosophyby first introducing the fundamental concepts and terms that are necessary fo r a deeper understanding of themes that pervade the philosophical literature of India--arguments for and against the existence of God, for example the ontological status of external objects, the means of valid knowledge, standards of proof, the discourse on the aims of life. The readings will emphasize classical Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain philosophical articulations (from 700 B.E. E. to 16th century CE) but we will also supplement our study of these materials with contemporary or relatively recent philosophical writings to modern India.
                    History & Tradition Sector (all classes) CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS; HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR; CROSS-CULTURAL ANALYSIS
                    PHIL 067-401 NIETZSCHE'S MODERNITY CANCELED Selected topics in nineteenth century European Philosophy. Works of philosophers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard.
                      PHIL 072-001 BIOETHICS PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS MW 1000AM-1100AM This course is an introduction to bioethics, focusing on ethical questions arising at the beginning and end of life. Topics will include procreative responsibilities, the question of wrongful life, and prenatal moral status as well as questions of justice related to markets for sperm, eggs and gestation. We will also attend to dilemmas at the end of life, including the authority of advance directives, euthanasia and the allocation of life-saving therapies.
                        Society sector (all classes) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; SOCIETY SECTOR
                        PHIL 077-001 PHILOSOPHY OF LAW ROSENSWEIG, MEIR MW 0500PM-0630PM This course is an introduction to some of the central philosophical problems oflaw: What is law? What makes law? What is the relationship between law and morality? Can laws be unjust? Is there a moral obligation to obey the law? We will look at different theories of law, such as positivism and natural law theory, and discuss topics like civil disobedience, liberty and the law, and punishment and the law. The third and final section of the course will consider an unusual and particularly significant kind of law: constitutional law. We will consider the purpose(s) of constitutions, how constitutionalism relates to democracy, and how constitutions ought to be understood and interpreted, in light of our answers to these first two questions. Throughout the course, we will engage with both classic and contemporary work, reading work by Michelle Alexander, Jeremy Bentham, Angela Davis, Ronald Dworkin, John Hart Ely, H.L.A. Hart, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Robert Nozick, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Posner, Jeremy Waldron, and others.
                          Society sector (all classes) SOCIETY SECTOR
                          PHIL 079-301 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS MANSON, DYLAN TR 1200PM-0130PM In this course we will investigate some of the ethical issues that arise from our relationship with the environment. Topics may include : What are our responsibilities toward the environment, as individuals and as members of institutions? How do our responsibilities toward the environment relate to other ethical considerations? Do non-human animals/species/ecosystems have intrinsic value? What should conservationists conserve?
                            PHIL 155-001 CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY STEINBERG, STEPHEN MW 0330PM-0500PM This course is an introduction to 20th-century continental European philosophy, focusing on the origins and development of phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. The centrality of phenomenology to an understanding of these movements and other contemporary trends in European thought will be emphasized throughout. No previous background in philosophy is required.
                              PHIL 205-001 WHAT IS MEANING? MIRACCHI, LISA MW 0200PM-0300PM This course will survey several central topics in philosophy of mind and language, as well as investigate how these areas of philosophy interact with the scientific study of the mind. Questions addressed may include: What is it to have a mind? What is consciousness? What is it to think, to perceive, to act, to communicate, to feel emotions? What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Can there be a science of the mind? Of language? What can it tell us? What can philosophy contribute to cognitive science? We will look for more precise ways of asking these questions, and we will study some canonical answers to them.
                                SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED
                                PHIL 226-301 PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY WEISBERG, MICHAEL TR 1200PM-0130PM This course consists of a detailed examination of evolutionary theory and its philosophical foundations. The course begins with a consideration of Darwin's formulation of evolutionary theory and the main influences on Darwin. We will then consider two contemporary presentations of the theory: Richard Dawkins' and Richard Lewontin's. The remainder of the course will deal with a number of foundational issues including adaptation, the units of selections, the evolution of altruism, and the possibility of grounding ethics in evolutionary theory. Prerequisite: Application required through Penn Global:https://global.upenn.edu/pennabroad/pgs
                                  Nat Sci & Math Sector (new curriculum only) NATURAL SCIENCE & MATH SECTOR; PERMISSION NEEDED FROM INSTRUCTOR
                                  PHIL 231-001 EPISTEMOLOGY MW 1000AM-1100AM Two basic assumptions of academic research are that there are truths and we can know them. Epistemology is the study how knowledge, what it is, how it is produced, and how we can have it. Metaphysics, the study of the basic constituents of reality, the study of being as such. In this introduction to metaphysics and epistemology, we will ask hard questions about the nature of reality and knowledge. No philosophy background is required for this course.
                                    SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED
                                    PHIL 277-001 JUSTICE, LAW & MORALITY FREEMAN, SAMUEL MW 1200PM-0100PM The course will focus on the philosophical background to the individual rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, including 1st Amendment freedoms of religion, expression, and association; the 14th amendment guarantee of Due Process and the rights of privacy, abortion, assisted suicide, and marriage; the Equal Protection clause and equal political rights and the legitimacy of affirmative action; and the Takings and Contract clauses and their bearing on rights of private property and economic freedoms. In addition to Supreme Court decisions on these issues, we will read works by political philosophers and constitutional theorists, including J.S. Mill, Ronald Dworkin, Cass Sunstein, Martha Nussbaum, Katherine MacKinnon and others.
                                      SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED
                                      PHIL 281-001 LOVE AND SEX HIRJI, SUKAINA MW 1100AM-1200PM This is a course on philosophical topics surrounding love and sex. We will touch on issues in all areas of philosophy including ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and epistemology. You will develop the sorts of skills fundamental to philosophy: understanding and reconstructing arguments, evaluating arguments, and developing your own argumentative abilities. You will also acquire theoretical tools that might be useful for thinking about your own love and sex lives, and the lives of those around you.
                                        SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED
                                        PHIL 291-301 PHILOSOPHY OF RACE SPENCER, QUAYSHAWN TR 0130PM-0300PM Historically, philosophical questions about race have been about the nature and reality of race, the nature of racism, and social or political questions related to race or racism. In fitting with that history, the first part of the course will focus on the nature and reality of race, as understood in biology and as understood by ordinary people. We will begin by looking at biological race theories from Francois Bernier in 1684 to Pigliucci and Kaplan in 2003. Next, we will look at the philosophical work that has been done on the nature and reality of race as ordinarily understood in the contemporary United States. We will discuss racial anti-realism, social constructionism about race, and biological racial realism from well-known philosophers of race like Anthony Appiah, Sally Haslanger, and Joshua Glasgow. The second part of the course will focus on the nature of racism and social or political questions related to race or racism. In our discussion of racism, we will cover, at least, intrinsic racism, extrinsic racism, and institutional racism. In our discussion of social or political issues related to race or racism, we will look at whether any US racial groups should be used to diagnose, study, or treat genetic disorders.
                                          PHIL 362-301 MODERN PHIL. FIGURES DETLEFSEN, KAREN TR 1030AM-1200PM A study of selected topics, texts, and figures from 17th and 18th century European philosophy. Figures studied may include Descartes, Leibniz,Locke, Berkley, Hume, or Kant. Topics will vary from term to term.
                                            MAJORS ONLY
                                            PHIL 379-301 TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: POVERTY PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS MW 0200PM-0330PM This majors seminar will focus on various topics in political philosophy. Topics will vary from term to term.
                                              MAJORS ONLY
                                              PHIL 410-401 INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC & COMPUTABILITY TOWSNER, HENRY TR 0300PM-0430PM Propositional logic: semantics, formal deductions, resolution method. First order logic: validity, models, formal deductions; Godel's completeness theorem, Lowenheim-Skolem theorem: cut-elimination, Herbrand's theorem, resolution method. Computability: finite automata, Turing machines, Godel's incompleteness theorems. Algorithmically unsolvable problems in mathematics.
                                                PHIL 423-301 PHIL & VISUAL PERCEPTION HATFIELD, GARY TR 1030AM-1200PM Central issues in the philosophy of perception from the modern period, including: what we perceive, the meaningful content of perception, and its relation to a mind-independent external world. Additional topics may include: (1) color perception and color metaphysics; (2) object perception in its interplay between Gestalt organizational factors and background knowledge; (3) the role of ecological regularities in the formation of our visual system and in the ongoing tuning of the system to the environment; (4) the geometry of visual space and the phenomenology of visual appearances of size and shape; (5) the problem of how visual scenes are experienced by means of images. Readings from authors such as Bertrand Russell, R. W. Sellars, Tim Crane, Evan Thompson, Robert Swartz, Wolfgang Metzger, Nelson Goodman, Richard Wollheim, and William Hopp, among others.
                                                  PHIL 472-301 SURVEY OF ETHICAL THEORY WODAK, DANIEL TR 1200PM-0130PM This course is an investigation of the main questions and problems in metaethics since the turn of the 20th century. We will investigate questions about the metaphysics of morality, the philosophy of language of moral talk, the philosophy of mind of moral thought, the epistemology of morality, and the objectivity of morality.
                                                    PHIL 479-301 MODERN POLITICAL PHIL FREEMAN, SAMUEL MW 0330PM-0500PM A survey of several works in modern political philosophy, including Thomas Hobbes's, Leviathan; John Locke's, Second Treatise on Government and Letter Concerning Toleration; David Hume's 'Of the Original Contract' and 'On Justice'; John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, On Liberty, and The Subjection of Women; excerpts from Karl Marx's Capital and other writings; and John Rawls's A Theory of Justice.
                                                      PHIL 525-301 TOPICS PHIL SCI WEISBERG, MICHAEL T 0300PM-0600PM For the last four centuries, scientific research has provided our most reliable understanding of the world. Although the scientific revolution started modestly with attempts to understand stellar movement, we now know the age and constitution of the universe, the basis of heredity, and we can make and break chemical bonds at will. By all appearances, science seems to have made substantial progress from the scientific revolution to the global scientific enterprise of the 21st centry. This course is about how science has generated this knowledge, and whether it has been as progressive and reliable as it seems. We will consider methodological issues such as the sources of scientific knowledge, objectivity, the growing importance of computation in the natural sciences, and the nature of modeling. We will examine products of scientific research: explanations, models, theories, and laws of nature. And we will discuss questions about science and values, including whether non-scientific values can and should enter scientific research, the relationship between science and religion, and the role of the public in guiding the scientific enterprise.
                                                        UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                        PHIL 530-301 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND MIRACCHI, LISA M 0330PM-0630PM This course explores core issues in philosophy of mind, such as: the nature of mental states and events, the mind-body problem, and the relationship between philosophy of mind and related disciplines, such as cognitive science. We approach these issues through more specific topics, depending on the interests of the instructor. Topics may include: identity theories, grounding physicalism, functionalism, computationalism, disjunctivism and knowledge-first theories, internalism and externalism, consciousness, self-knowledge, perception, emotion, action, representationalism, mental causation, and intersections with psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and neuroscience. For details in a specific year, consult with the instructor and/or department. UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION.
                                                          UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                          PHIL 551-301 TOPICS EARLY MODERN PHIL DETLEFSEN, KAREN T 0300PM-0600PM 125 A seminar in philosophy of the early modern period (roughly 1600-1800), covering specific figures and/or topics. Examples of figures studied include (but are not limited to) Descartes Cavendish, Astell, Locke, Hume, Du Chatelet,or Kant. Examples of topics studied include (but again are not limited to)substance, causation, freedom, natural philosophy,education, the human being,the private and the public, or political authority.
                                                            UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                            PHIL 578-301 TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHIL: TOPICS IN JUSTICE TAN, KOK-CHOR W 0330PM-0630PM This is a topics-based graduate seminar in political philosophy. Examples of topics we can examine in this course include distributive justice, liberty, equality, and global justice. Course readings will be drawn from a combination of seminal and more recent works on the selected topics.
                                                              UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                              PHIL 600-301 PROSEMINAR WODAK, DANIEL R 0300PM-0600PM An intensive seminar for first-year doctoral students, with readings drawn from recent and contemporary eistemology and metaphysics, broadly construed. Students will develop their abilities to present and discuss philosophical texts, and to write and revise their own papers.
                                                                PHIL 700-301 DISSERTATION WORKSHOP HIRJI, SUKAINA MW 0200PM-0330PM Registration required for all third-year doctoral students. Third-year students and beyond attend and present their dissertation work or their preliminary exam prospectus. From time to time, topics pertaining to professional development and dissertation writing will be discussed.
                                                                  FOR PHD STUDENTS ONLY