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Courses for Spring 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 WEISBERG, MICHAEL MW 1000AM-1100AM Problems of Philosophy: The aim of this course is to introduce some of the major topics and methods of analytic philosophy. As the course goes on, the questions we consider will become more explanatorily deep. It begins with questions about what we should do (Normative Ethics). We then move to questions about how we can even do anything at all (Free Will). We then consider how we might know about any of this (Epistemology). Finally we ask what we even are and what it means for us to be at all (Mind and Personal Identity). This course will not assume any background in philosophy. For most students, it will be a challenging, though hopefully worthwhile, course. The course will push you to understand and communicate clearly about material that is often difficult to understand. Along with introducing you to analytic philosophy, this course will help students become better skilled in understanding and intelligently questioning sophisticated arguments, which can come in handy in a large number of pursuits.
    Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
    PHIL 001-601 INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY M 0600PM-0900PM Problems of Philosophy: The aim of this course is to introduce some of the major topics and methods of analytic philosophy. As the course goes on, the questions we consider will become more explanatorily deep. It begins with questions about what we should do (Normative Ethics). We then move to questions about how we can even do anything at all (Free Will). We then consider how we might know about any of this (Epistemology). Finally we ask what we even are and what it means for us to be at all (Mind and Personal Identity). This course will not assume any background in philosophy. For most students, it will be a challenging, though hopefully worthwhile, course. The course will push you to understand and communicate clearly about material that is often difficult to understand. Along with introducing you to analytic philosophy, this course will help students become better skilled in understanding and intelligently questioning sophisticated arguments, which can come in handy in a large number of pursuits.
      Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
      PHIL 002-001 ETHICS PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS MW 0100PM-0200PM 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) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; SOCIETY SECTOR
        PHIL 002-601 ETHICS R 0600PM-0900PM 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 003-601 HIST ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY MW 0430PM-0600PM This course is an introduction to philosopy in the ancient world. While today, philosophy is considered a branch of academic inquiry, many of the ancient Greeks and Romans, however, held a radically different conception of the discipline. For them, philosophy was nothing less than an entire way of life--not just a set of doctrines or arguments, but an orientation and set of lived practices, a conscious and continual reforming of the self in light of some principle or principles. In this course, we will examine the major movements and figures of ancient philosophy. Major figures will include Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans, and the Skeptics.
            History & Tradition Sector (all classes) HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR
            PHIL 004-401 HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOS DETLEFSEN, KAREN MW 1100AM-1200PM 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) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR
              PHIL 005-401 FORMAL LOGIC I WEINSTEIN, SCOTT MWF 1000AM-1100AM This course provides an introduction to some of the fundamental ideas of logic. Topics will include truth functional logic, quantificational logic, and logical decision problems.
                FORMAL REASONING COURSE; FORMAL REASONING
                PHIL 008-601 THE SOCIAL CONTRACT R 0630PM-0930PM 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) SOCIETY SECTOR
                  PHIL 015-001 LOGIC & FORMAL REASONING DOMOTOR, ZOLTAN MWF 1100AM-1200PM 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 FORMAL REASONING & ANALYSIS; FORMAL REASONING COURSE; FORMAL REASONING
                    PHIL 025-001 PHILOS OF SCIENCE SPENCER, QUAYSHAWN TR 1030AM-1130AM 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) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; NATURAL SCIENCE & MATH SECTOR
                      PHIL 029-601 PHILOSOPHY OF SPORT MEYER, MILTON W 0600PM-0900PM This is an introductory philosophy course that uses philosophical tools to understand and answer questions that arise in and about sports. The central question to be answered is what constitutes cheating in sports, especially by methods that enhance athletic performance. Other topics may include the nature of competition in sport, the appropriate competitors in sporting events, and the ethics of team loyalty.
                        PHIL 077-001 PHILOSOPHY OF LAW PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS MW 1100AM-1200PM This course is an introduction to the Philosophy of law. The central question of the course is this: why have law? Answering that question requires engaging with another question: what is law? We will approach those two questions in a variety of ways throughout the semester. In the first section of the course, we will begin by discussing one important feature of law: its close connection to coercion and punishment. Many have argued that the close relationship between law and coercion creates a demand for justification: what can or does justify law, given that law involves coercion? We will explore answers to that question. We will also consider a more general question: what good is law? (if we didn't have law, why might we want it?) The second section of the course engages with these same issues but in more concrete settings: the areas of criminal law and property law. We will consider what, if anything, is distinctive about those two areas of law, and we will consider whether the purported purpose(s) of law in general that we discuss in the first section make more or less sense when we consider these two specific areas of law. We will also consider distinctive aspects of the sources of law in these two areas of law: democratically enacted statutes, in the case of criminal law; and judge-made common law, in the case of property 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 079-301 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS RANDALL, PIERCE MW 0330PM-0500PM In this course we will investigate some of the ethical issues that arise from our relationship with the environment. We will examine important issues in environmental ethics, supplementing our discussions by considering how the latest scientific results affect environmental thinking and policy. Topics covered will include (but not be limited to): 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 (Conservation vs restoration, keystone species vs ecosystems)?
                            PHIL 080-301 AESTHETICS BALL, PATRICK TR 0300PM-0430PM This course examines philosophical issues centering on the nature and value of the arts. Some questions we'll consider are: What is art? What does it mean to have an aesthetic experience? How are aesthetic experiences different from non-aesthetic ones? What is the relation between art and truth? How do the moral qualities in a work of art affect its aesthetic qualities? Why are emotions important in our interpretations of artworks? What is the relation between art and expression? Do forgeries necessarily have less aesthetic value than original artworks? What are aesthetic judgments, and are they merely expressions of taste? Lecture and discussion will center on both classical and contemporary works in aesthetics. Aesthetics is the philosophical study of beauty, art, and appearances. In this course we will be reading, discussing, and making our own responses to questions such as: What is beauty? What happens when we judge a thing to be beautiful, and can we be wrong about that? Who gets to decide what is beautiful? Must art be beautiful? Are works of art with immoral themes or content thereby 'bad art'? When is artistic censorship justified, and who gets to decide? What does art do for us, and what does it do in society? In addition to studying these questions, we will also seek to understand what role the answers to those questions can play politically and socially, and how thinking about art and beauty can be used to enforce or encourage particular views about society or about people.
                              Arts & Letters Sector (all classes) ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
                              PHIL 155-301 CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY STEINBERG, STEPHEN TR 0430PM-0600PM This seminar course is an introduction to 20th-century continental European philosophy, focusing on the origins and development of Phenomenology, Existentialism, and other major trends in European philosophy. The course will include an introduction to the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and examine the subsequent development of modern philosophic Existentialism by critics of Husserl, such as Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Hannah Arendt. The centrality of Phenomenology (and its interpretation) to an understanding of these and other contemporary movements in European thought will be emphasized throughout.
                                PHIL 209-301 PLATO MEYER, SUSAN TR 1200PM-0130PM This course involves a close reading of the most important dialogues written by Plato, one of the greatest philosophers of all time. We will examine a wide range of topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics: What is the nature of the soul? Is there an afterlife? What are the fundamental entities in the world? What are Plato's "forms"? What is knowledge and what can be known? Are we born as a blank slate or is something innate in us? What is the good life? What is the best way for us to live our lives? We will see how Plato attempts to answer these quesitons in his early, middle, and late dialogues, and we will ask whether and how exactly he is self-critical and changes his views over time.
                                  PHIL 211-401 ANCIENT MORAL PHILOSOPHY REESE, BRIAN MW 0200PM-0330PM The Nicomachean Ethics is considered to be Aristotle's major ethical work, and it is still counted among the most influential ethical texts altogether. This course will focus on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics with a special emphasis on questions that are systematically relevant for problems discussed in contemporary approaches to virtue ethics. These questions concern, for example, the Aristotelian conception of virtue, the scope and nature of practical wisdom, and the relationship between virtue and justice.
                                    Society sector (all classes) SOCIETY SECTOR
                                    PHIL 228-401 PHIL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE MW 1200PM-0100PM This course is about the foundations of contemporary social science. It focuses on the nature of social systems, the similarities and differences between social and natural sciences, the construction, analysis, and confirmation of social theories, and the nature of social explanations. Specific topics may include: What are social norms and conventions? What does it mean to have one gender rather than another, or one sexual orientation rather than another? Should social systems be studied quantitatively or qualitatively?
                                      SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED
                                      PHIL 247-401 MARX HAHMANN, ANDREE TR 0300PM-0430PM Precious few, if any, communist states exist today as Karl Marx would have imagined them. Indeed, almost every part of the 19th-century culture Marx put under his philosophical microscope has in one way or another vanished or been radically transformed: the state, the school, even sex have been fundamentally altered during a long 20th century filled with revolutions of culture. This class asks: is there a future for a philosopher whose political projects seem so precarious--if they have not failed outright-in the face of global capitalism? We will try to answer this question by examining the origins and the implications of Marx's writings, but also his complex legacy, from Lenin through Guevara to Foucault and Zizek. The course will conclude with a consideration of the role of the radical in today's global politics and cultural sphere.
                                        Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
                                        PHIL 271-401 GLOBAL JUSTICE TAN, KOK-CHOR TR 1030AM-1200PM This course is an introduction to some of the central problems in global justice. Samples of these topics include: What are our duties to respond to world poverty and what is the basis of this duty? Is global inequality in itself a matter of justice? How universal are human rights? Should human rights defer to cultural claims at all? Is there a right to intervene in another country to protect human rights there? Indeed can intervention to protect human rights ever be a duty? Who is responsible for the environment? We will read some influential contemporary essays by philosophers on these topics with the goal of using the ideas in these papers as a springboard for our own further discussion and analysis.
                                          PHIL 362-301 TOPICS EARLY MODERN PHIL DETLEFSEN, KAREN MW 0200PM-0330PM This seminar is dedicated to Kant's critical philosophy. In particular, the Critique of Pure Reason, which is the first of three Critiques, ranks amongst the most important texts of modern philosophy. Even in contemporary debates, Kantian claims still play a crucial role and basic knowledge of Kant's critical philosophy is often assumed. In this seminar, we will deal with central passages from different works which, taken together, give a good picture of Kant's critical revision of classical metapjhysics. We shall discuss important conceptions and ideas of Kant's mature philosophy, such as the nature of transcendental aesthetics and the resulting distinction between a think-in-itself and appearance, the meaning and applicaiton of the categorires, the justification and determination of human freedom, and the role of the moral law for Kant's so-called practical metaphysics.
                                            MAJORS ONLY
                                            PHIL 376-301 JUSTICE TAN, KOK-CHOR TR 0130PM-0300PM The course will focus on contemporary works on liberalism, democracy, capitalism, and distributive justice. Among the questions to be discussed: Which rights and liberties are fundamental in a constitutional democracy? What is equality and what requirements does it impose? Are economic rights of property and freedom of contract equally important as personal liberties of speech, religion, and association? Does capitalism realize a just distribution of income and wealth? What is socialism and is it potentially just, or necessarily unjust? Readings from works by John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Milton Friedman, and others.
                                              MAJORS ONLY
                                              PHIL 405-301 PHIL OF LANGUAGE MIRACCHI, LISA TR 1200PM-0130PM This course provides an overview of 20th century analytic philosophy of language. Here are some of the questions we will ask: How do words refer? How do they combine to express thoughts? How do words relate to ocncepts or to thoughts more generally? What do words and sentences mean? How do we use them to communicate with each other? How does word and sentence meaning depend on the contexts in which they are spoken or heard, or on stable features of environments of linguistic speakers? Prerequisites: This course will be most suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in philosophy or linguistics; others need instructor's permission. Familarity with symbolic logic is highly recommended, but not required.
                                                PHIL 407-301 ARISTOTLE HAHMANN, ANDREE TR 1200PM-0130PM A study of Aristotle's main writings on language, reality, knowledge, nature and psychology. All texts will be read in English translation. No background in Greek philosophy or knowledge of Greek is required, although previous work in philosophy is strongly recommended.
                                                  PHIL 412-401 TOPICS IN LOGIC WEINSTEIN, SCOTT MW 0200PM-0330PM This course will examine the expressive power of various logical languages over the class of finite structures. The course beings with an exposition of some fundamental results about first-order logic in the context of finite structures and then proceeds to consider various extensions of first-order logic including fixed-point operators, generalized quantifiers, infinitary languages, and higher-order languages. The expressive power of these extensions will be studied in detail and connections with the theory of computational complexity and with combinatorics will be explored.
                                                    PHIL 425-401 PHIL OF SCIENCE DOMOTOR, ZOLTAN MW 0330PM-0500PM This self-contained course (presupposing no substantive prior background in philosophy nor any extensive knowledge of science) provides an advanced introduction to the central philosophical questions concerning the nature of scientific knowledge and its relation to experience, and the metaphysical assumptions underlying the natural sciences. Topics to be covered include: science versus pseudoscience, laws of nature, causation, determinism and randomness, theories and models in science, scientific explanation, underdetermination of theories by observation and measurement, realism and antirealism, reductionism and intertheory relations, objectivity and value judgments in science, hypothesis testing and confirmation of scientific theories, and classical paradoxes in scientific methodology.
                                                      PHIL 430-601 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND PURPURA, GARY M 0600PM-0900PM This course studies particular topics in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Examples include: the nature of consciousness, naturalistic accounts of intentionality, the nature scope of scientific explanation in studying the mind, the intersection of philosophy of mind and epistemology, and theories of agency. Typically, readings include both philosophy and empirical work from relevant sciences. Prerequisites: This course will be most suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in philosophy or related sciences; others need instructor's permission.
                                                        PHIL 480-401 TOPICS IN AESTHETICS: WALTER BENJAMIN WEISSBERG, LILIANE T 0300PM-0500PM Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) is a philosopher whose writings on art, literature, and politics have had tremendous influence on many disciplines in the Humanities and Social Studies. He has been variously described as one of the leading German-Jewish thinkers, and a secular Marxist theorist. With the publication of a four-volume collection of this works in English, many more of his writings have been made accessible to a wider public. Our seminar will undertake a survey of his work that begins with his studies on language and allegory, and continues with his autobiographical work, his writings on art and literature, and on the imaginary urban spaces of the nineteenth-century.
                                                          ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH; UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                          PHIL 488-640 THE IDEA OF NATIONALISM STEINBERG, STEPHEN W 0600PM-0840PM Nationalism has been the most important geo-political phenomenon of the past two hundred years. Its continuing power has been amply demonstrated by recent events in many parts of the world. This seminar course will explore the ideology of nationalism, what it means, its philosophical foundations, underlying assumptions about the nature of human identity, moral implications, and political consequences. In the process, we will explore such questions as: What is a nation? Does every identifiable ethnic or national group have a valid claim to a nation-state of its own? How are claims to national self-determination justified? How do nations differ from states, peoples, groups, communities, and citizenries? How does nationalism relate to notions of "chosenness" or ethnic and cultural superiority? Why do nationalist movements seem to so often engender political extremism and violent ethno-political conflicts? Is national self-determination compatible with our commitments to individualism, rationality, and universal human rights?
                                                            PHIL 505-401 FORMAL LOGIC I WEINSTEIN, SCOTT MWF 1000AM-1100AM This course provides an introduction to some of the fundamental ideas of logic. Topics will include truth functional logic, quantificational logic, and logical decision problems.
                                                              FORMAL REASONING COURSE; UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION; FORMAL REASONING
                                                              PHIL 530-301 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND MIRACCHI, LISA R 0300PM-0600PM Agent Architectures: In philosophy of mind, we spend a lot of time asking about particular kinds of mental states--about the nature of perception, belief, desire, intention, etc. But what about how it all fits together? How do you put the pieces together to get an intelligent agent out of it. And what does that in turn tell us about the nature of mental states? We will spend the first part of the course discussing some of the classical positions in philosophy of mind and artifical intelligence--especially functionalism and the classical "sandwich model" of Al. Then we will explore some new alternatives. We will investigate the possible role of the body, the environment, competences, and emotions in determining agent architectures. Of particular interest to us will be the question of whether we can understand the architecture of intelligent agents in a way that helps to explain how they might be improved upon and made more sophisticated (e.g. by evolution). UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION.
                                                                UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                                PHIL 558-301 SCIENCE AND OBJECTIVITY SPENCER, QUAYSHAWN TR 0130PM-0300PM This course is an exploration of traditional philosophical questions concerning objectivity in science. We will start by addressing central questions in feminist philosophy of science, such as what is objective reality and what is objective knowledge? Next, we will explore whether science discovers objective real entities or relations, which is a central topic in the scientific realism debate. We will also explore whether scientific knowledge is objective. We will read mostly 20th and 21st century philosophers of science, such as Goodman, Kuhn, Psillos, and Longino. We will also apply what we learn to at least one case study. UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                                  UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                                  PHIL 577-401 TOPICS IN PHIL OF LAW: Law and Morality of War FINKELSTEIN, CLAIRE R 0430PM-0630PM This seminar will examine leading academic theories of constitutional interpretation, starting with classic texts by (for illustration) Thayer, Wechsler, Ely, Bobbitt, Dworkin, and Scalia, and emphasizing current debates within originalism and between originalists and their critics. While the focus will be on American constitutional interpretation, we will also see how that literature is currently running up against, and possibly contributing to, more "philosophical" or "jurisprudential" accounts of the contents of law. Consistent with the nature of the material, the reading load is likely to be somewhat heavier and more demanding than in the average seminar. Students will be expected to read the assigned material carefully and to participate actively in class discussions; they will have the option of submitting either a single research paper or several shorter papers.
                                                                    UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                                    PHIL 578-301 TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHIL FREEMAN, SAMUEL W 0300PM-0600PM In this course, we will examine various problems and questions in political philosoophy. Topics include liberalism and its critics, distributive justice and equality, the idea of toleration, and issues of global justice. This is a seminar course and students will be required to present on some of the topics. Undergraduate students will need permission to enroll.
                                                                      UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                                      PHIL 578-640 MLA PROSEMINAR: Topics in Political Philosophy TAN, KOK-CHOR T 0500PM-0740PM In this course, we will examine various problems and questions in political philosoophy. Topics include liberalism and its critics, distributive justice and equality, the idea of toleration, and issues of global justice. This is a seminar course and students will be required to present on some of the topics. Undergraduate students will need permission to enroll.
                                                                        PHIL 601-001 PHILOSOPHY CONSORTIUM FREEMAN, SAMUEL TBA TBA- For graduate students taking courses at other institutions belonging to the Philadelphia area Philosophical Consortium.