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Courses for Fall 2018

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 ANNENBERG SCHOOL 111 MW 0100PM-0200PM 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.
    PHIL 001-301 INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY: PHILOSOPHY & TECHNOLOGY FORBES, ALLAUREN MEYERSON HALL B7 MW 0330PM-0500PM 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 001-601 INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY NOAH, THOMAS WILLIAMS HALL 205 TR 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 002-301 Introduction to Ethics MEYER, MILTON VAN PELT LIBRARY 402 TR 1030AM-1200PM 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.
          PHIL 002-601 INTRO TO ETHICS HUMPHREYS, JUSTIN WILLIAMS HALL 319 MW 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 MEYER, SUSAN STEPHEN A. LEVIN BUILDING 111 TR 0900AM-1030AM "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) HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR; SENIOR ASSOCIATES
              PHIL 004-601 HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOS KRUT-LANDAU, RAPHAEL CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 337 TR 0630PM-0830PM 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 008-401 THE SOCIAL CONTRACT TAN, KOK-CHOR COLLEGE HALL 200 MW 0900AM-1000AM 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 inventigation 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 010-301 Ancient Chinese Ethics TAN, KOK-CHOR VAN PELT LIBRARY 402 MW 0200PM-0330PM This course is an introduction to the ethical and moral philosophies of Chinese Philosophers from the ancient period, including Kongzi (Confucius), Mozi, Zhuangzi, Mengzi, and Xunzi. Our basic approach will be comparative. Among other things, we will try to see how well ancient Chinese ethical views fit (or not) with the standard categories of contemporary moral philosophy like utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and modern ideas of justice and political authority. Does this comparative approach provide a useful way of framing the ethical questions and debates in ancient Chinese philosophy? And in turn, how does it help refine and illuminate the standard moral categories? Thus, in addition to reading (modern English translations) of selections from ancient Chinese texts, we will also read some canonical works from western moral philosophy (e.g. Aristotle, Mill, Kant, as well as contemporary authors). Requirements (provisional): Two (10-12) page essays; and a series (up to 3) of written commentaries (2 pages each) on the assigned readings. Main Text (required): Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, P.J. Ivanhoe and B. Van Norden (eds.), Hackett Publishing, 2nd edition, 2005.
                    PHIL 015-001 LOGIC & FORMAL REASONING SKILLINGS, DEREK PERELMAN CENTER FOR POLITICAL 200 MW 1000AM-1100AM This course offers an introduction to three major types of formal reasoning: deductive, inductive (probabilistic and statistical), and practical (decision-making). The course will begin with the study of classical sentential and predicate logics. It will move on to elementary probability theory, contemporary statistics, decision theory and game theory.
                      General Requirement in Formal Reasoning & Analysis SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; FORMAL REASONING COURSE; FORMAL REASONING
                      PHIL 025-601 PHILOS OF SCIENCE BARNETT, MARIE CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 493 W 0600PM-0900PM What counts as a scientific theory? What counts as evidence for a scientific theory? Are scientific inferences justified? Does science give us truths or approximate truths about a world that exists independently of us? How can we know? Does it matter? These are all perennial questions in the philosophy of science, and the goal of this course is to look at how philosophers have answered these questions since the scientific revolution. In addition to reading classic work by philosophers of science, we will read material from living and dead scientists in order to gain a deeper appreciation of the philosophical questions that have troubled the most brilliant scientists in Western science.
                        Nat Sci & Math Sector (new curriculum only) NATURAL SCIENCE & MATH SECTOR
                        PHIL 030-401 PLATO: DEMOCRACY AND THE POWER OF RHETORIC REESE, BRIAN CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 204 TR 0130PM-0300PM If you aspired to a political career in ancient Athens, public speaking was an essential skill. Athens was a direct democracy, which meant that having the ability to win over your fellow citizens was tantamount to political success. Young, ambitious citizens would therefore pay handsomely to study with rhetoricians, who professed to teach this all-important skill. Plato, however, was famously wary of the power of rhetoric. In this class, we will read selections from Plato's dialogues in which many of the most prominent rhetoricians are engaged in discussion with Socrates about the nature of rhetoric, as well as its potential benefits and pitfalls. Students will then assume the role of citizens charged with speaking before the Athenian Assembly on various subjects. This will likely include a recreation of the trial of Socrates, who was himself accused of using rhetoric to make the weaker argument the stronger. By examining democracy at its threshold, and the power wielded by rhetoricians within a democracy, this CWiC seminar aims to provide both the context and the perspective to consider its later evolution. Grades will be based on at least two oral presentations, as well as general participation in other classroom activities.
                          PHIL 032-301 Enhancing the human mind through technology PURPURA, GARY PERRY WORLD HOUSE 108 MW 0330PM-0500PM Transhumanists seek to extend the capacities of the human mind beyond the bounds of the human brain and body through technology. Indeed, for them, such an extension of human thinking and feeling represents the next big step in human cognitive evolution. In this course, we will examine the philosophical conception of a mind that underpins this movement to extend the human mind beyond human biology. Through an examination of the hypothesis that there can be non-biological thinking and feeling, we consider whether technologies that enable or enhance human mental faculties might one day completely supplant the biological machinery of the human body. We will also consider the moral issues surrounding the creation of transhumans. The questions that we consider in this course will get to the heart of what it means to possess a human mind and indeed to be a human being.
                            FRESHMAN SEMINAR; FRESHMAN SEMINAR
                            PHIL 050-401 INTRODUCTION TO INDIAN PHILOSOPHY PATEL, DEVEN FISHER-BENNETT HALL 231 MW 1100AM-1200PM 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) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR
                              PHIL 072-401 BIOMEDICAL ETHICS SKILLINGS, DEREK STEPHEN A. LEVIN BUILDING AUD MW 0100PM-0200PM 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 074-301 BUSINESS ETHICS PATEL, RAJ COLLEGE HALL 217 MW 0200PM-0330PM We will examine practical ethical issues facing businesses, and the philosophical tools for addressing them. Topics may include corporate responsibility, shareholders vs. stakeholders, whistle blowing, raiding and restructuring, the morality of markets, fair hiring practices, workers rights, sexual harassment, environmental impact.
                                  PHIL 077-001 PHILOSOPHY OF LAW HUTLER, BRIAN ANNENBERG SCHOOL 111 MW 1200PM-0100PM This course is an introduction to some of the central philosophical problems of law: 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) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; SOCIETY SECTOR
                                    PHIL 210-401 INTRO TO ARISTOTLE HUMPHREYS, JUSTIN CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 493 MWF 1200PM-0100PM Aristotle (384-323 BCE) was one of the most important philosophers in Classical Greece, and his legacy had unparalleled influence on the development of the Western philosophical thought through the medieval period. We will study a selection of his works in natural philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, ethics and politics. All texts will be read in English translation. No background in Greek philosophy or knowledge of Greek is required.
                                      PHIL 226-401 PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY: EVOLUTION'S LABORATORY WEISBERG, MICHAEL PERRY WORLD HOUSE 108 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.
                                        Nat Sci & Math Sector (new curriculum only) NATURAL SCIENCE & MATH SECTOR; PENN GLOBAL SEMINAR; PERMISSION NEEDED FROM INSTRUCTOR
                                        PHIL 231-001 EPISTEMOLOGY: KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY SINGER, DANIEL GODDARD LAB 101 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 233-401 PHILOSOPHY OF ECONOMICS PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 402 TR 0130PM-0300PM In this course, general philosophy of science issues are applied to economics, and some problems specific to economics are tackled. While analytical questions like "What is economics?" or "What is an economic explanation" must be pursued, the ultimate goal is practical: What is good economics? How can economists contribute to a better understanding of society, and a better society? How can we make economics better? Topics to be discussed include the following: specific object and method of economics as a social science; its relation with other disciplines (physics, psychology and evolutionary theory); values in economics (welfare, freedom, equality and neutrality); the role of understanding and possible limits of a quantitative approach to human behavior (purposefulness, freedom, creativity, innovation); prediction, unpredictability and the pretension of prediction; causation in econometrics and in economic theory (equilibrium); selfishness and utility maximization (cognitive and behaviorist interpretations); economic models and unrealistic assumptions (realism and instrumentalism); empirical basis of economics (observation and experiment); microeconomics and macroeconomics (reductionism and autonomy); pluralism in economics (mainstream economics and heterodox schools).
                                            SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED
                                            PHIL 249-401 PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION: Teaching philosophy in Middle Schools DETLEFSEN, KAREN FISHER-BENNETT HALL 323 T 0530PM-0830PM We sometimes see philosophy as an inaccessible subject and the philosopher a solitary academic musing about abstract concepts from her office chair. However, philosophical thinking lies at the heart of many aspects of human life. Anyone who has pondered over questions regarding goodness, value, personal identity, justice, how to live well, or how to determine the right course of action has thought philosophically. These issues are of great interest and importance not just to adults, but also to children and teenagers. Introducing younger students to philosophical thought consists, in part, of showing them the ways in which they are already thinking philosophically. In this course, we will study a variety of topics in philosophy with the aim of developing curricula and lesson plans for delivery in middle school (6th through 8th grades). Course participants will work with the instructor and with help from a curricular planner from Penn s Graduate School of Education to develop a series of one-hour lessons in philosophy, which participants will then teach to the middle school students in a local school. Part of the course will be held on Penn s campus, and part of the course will be held on-site with one of our partner schools. This course is an Academically Based Community Service course. Registration in this class requires a permit, following an interview with the instructor.
                                              PHIL 255-401 TPCS IN CONTINENTAL PHIL: HEIDEGGER:BEING & TIME HAHMANN, ANDREE WILLIAMS HALL 3 TR 0300PM-0430PM Martin Heidegger is counted among the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. He is best known, however, for his early book "Being and Time". This unfinished project was supposed to be completed by several works on major figures of western philosophy, one of which is Kant. In fact, only shortly after Being and Time, Heidegger published his first book on Kant: Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. With this book Heidegger's so called metaphysical phase (which lasted at least until the mid 1930's) was initiated. In this course, we will read and discuss not only large parts of Being and Time but also a selection of these later works that are primarily concerned with the nature and object of Metaphysics.
                                                PHIL 379-301 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 237 TR 0430PM-0600PM This majors seminar will focus on various topics in political philosophy. Topics will vary from term to term.
                                                  PHIL 410-401 INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC & COMPUTABILITY WEINSTEIN, SCOTT DAVID RITTENHOUSE LAB 4N30 TR 1200PM-0130PM 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 423-401 PHIL & VISUAL PERCEPTION HATFIELD, GARY CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 392 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 465-401 KANT I: CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON HORSTMANN, ROLF CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 493 R 0300PM-0600PM The course will concentrate on the Critique of Pure Reason and discuss in detail Kant's conception of knowledge and experience, his criticism of traditional metaphysics and the resulting project of a system of transcendental philosophy.
                                                        PHIL 511-301 ARISTOTLE'S ETHICS MEYER, SUSAN CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 493 T 0300PM-0600PM A study of Aristotle's ethical works, with emphasis on the NICOMACHEAN ETHICS. Topics may include moral psychology, practical reasoning, the nature of the good, emotion and reason, responsibility, and friendship.
                                                          PHIL 526-640 Philosophy and Psychoanalysis: Freud and the Interpretation of Culture STEINBERG, STEPHEN VAN PELT LIBRARY 402 M 0600PM-0900PM More than a century after Sigmund Freud transformed -- for better or worse -- our understanding of what it means to be human, Freudian psychoanalysis still exerts a profound influence in our culture. This seminar course is an exploration of the philosophical issues raised by Freudian psychoanalysis as a theory of mind and culture. After a close reading of Freud's theoretical writings on the nature of the mind and human behavior, we will explore why Freud s theories -- despite more than a century of criticism remain highly influential as a framework for the interpretation of art, literature, religion, society, politics, and history. Readings from Freud's "meta-psychological," cultural, and social writings, Paul Ricoeur's Freud and Philosophy, and other contemporary authors in philosophy, psychoanalysis, and other fields.
                                                            PHIL 532-301 TOPICS IN EPISTEMOLOGY LORD, ERROL CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 493 W 0300PM-0600PM This seminar will cover topics of interest to contemporary epistemologists. Possible topics may include skepticism, accounts of knowledge and justification, virtue epistemology, formal epistemology, social epistemology, feminist epistemology, meta-epistemology and epistemic normativity.
                                                              UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                              PHIL 578-640 MLA PROSEMINAR: The Problems of Global Justice TAN, KOK-CHOR WILLIAMS HALL 741 W 0500PM-0740PM 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.
                                                                PHIL 600-301 PROSEMINAR SINGER, DANIEL CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 493 M 0200PM-0500PM 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 WEINSTEIN, SCOTT CLAUDIA COHEN HALL 493 TR 0130PM-0300PM 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