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Courses for Spring 2023

Title Instructor Location Time All taxonomy terms Description Section Description Cross Listings Fulfills Registration Notes Syllabus Syllabus URL Course Syllabus URL
PHIL 0340-301 The Self: Aspiration and Transformation Jennifer Morton BENN 16 TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM Novels, memoirs, and aisles of self-help books attest to our desire to transform ourselves. Yet, the idea of self-transformation is puzzling. If a person decides to embark on a new adventure in the hopes of transforming herself, can she really become a new self or is she merely exhibiting her preexisting adventurousness? What about the aspiring college student who is hoping that college will change him? How can we make sense of his aspiration? In this class, we will critically examine the idea of aspiration and transformation. Readings for this course will be drawn from philosophy, fiction, and literary criticism. Society sector (all classes) https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL0340301
PHIL 1000-001 Introduction to Philosophy Aydin Mohseni ANNS 111 TR 12:00 PM-12:59 PM 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)
PHIL 1110-401 Ancient Greek Philosophy Matthew R Solomon WILL 3 MW 1:45 PM-3:14 PM 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. CLST1501401 History & Tradition Sector (all classes) https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL1110401
PHIL 1170-001 History of Modern Philosophy Sabina Bremner COHN 402 MW 5:15 PM-6:14 PM 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) https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL1170001
PHIL 1330-001 Ethics Carlos J Pereira Di Salvo PCPE AUD TR 10:15 AM-11:14 AM Ethics is the study of right and wrong. 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) https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL1330001
PHIL 1342-601 Bioethics Paul A Musso WILL 1 MW 5:15 PM-6:44 PM 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)
PHIL 1360-301 Philosophy of Sport Milton W Meyer BENN 138 TR 1:45 PM-3:14 PM This is an introductory philosophy course that uses philosophical tools to understand and answer questions that arise in and about sports. Is there a principled basis for determining which methods of performance enhancement are acceptable? Developing a framework to answer this question will take us through: 1) questions about rules: what is their point in sports and what are appropriate reasons to change them; 2) questions about the point of participation in a sport; 3) questions about the kinds of virtues sports participants can demonstrate; and 4) questions about integrity of participants and a sport itself. A related set of questions concerns the appropriate competitors in sporting events: Should competition be restricted to single sex categories; Should competition be divided into disabled and non-disabled categories? https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL1360301
PHIL 1380-301 Aesthetics Youngbin Yoon BENN 20 TR 12:00 PM-1:29 PM This course examines philosophical issues centering on the nature and value of the arts. 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. Arts & Letters Sector (all classes)
PHIL 1433-001 The Social Contract Carlos J Pereira Di Salvo LEVN AUD TR 1:45 PM-2:44 PM 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) https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL1433001
PHIL 1439-401 Free Radicals: Marx, Marxism, and the Culture of Revolution Siarhei Biareishyk GLAB 101 MW 3:30 PM-4:59 PM "A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of Communism": This, the famous opening line of The Communist Manifesto, will guide this course's exploration of the history, legacy, and potential future of Karl Marx's most important texts and ideas, even long after Communism has been pronounced dead. Contextualizing Marx within a tradition of radical thought regarding politics, religion, and sexuality, we will focus on the philosophical, political, and cultural origins and implications of his ideas. Our work will center on the question of how his writings seek to counter or exploit various tendencies of the time; how they align with the work of Nietzsche, Freud, and other radical thinkers to follow; and how they might continue to haunt us today. We will begin by discussing key works by Marx himself, examining ways in which he is both influenced by and appeals to many of the same fantasies, desires, and anxieties encoded in the literature, arts and intellectual currents of the time. In examining his legacy, we will focus on elaborations or challenges to his ideas, particularly within cultural criticism, postwar protest movements, and the cultural politics of the Cold War. In conclusion, we will turn to the question of Marxism or Post-Marxism today, asking what promise Marx's ideas might still hold in a world vastly different from his own. COML1020401, GRMN1020401 Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only)
PHIL 1450-301 Philosophy of Law Gregory J Hall BENN 138 MW 1:45 PM-3:14 PM 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, and the special status of constitutional law. Readings from both classic and contemporary philosophers such as 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, and Jeremy Waldron. Society sector (all classes)
PHIL 1571-401 Repairing the Planet: Tools for the Climate Emergency Michael Weisberg MCNB 150 TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM This course is a comprehensive introduction to the climate emergency and the tools with which we can fight it. It will integrate natural science, social science, philosophy of science, history, ethics, and policy. The course opens with an overview of the historical discovery of global warming and our contemporary understanding of climate change. We then turn to the framework that the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has developed to study climate risks, focusing on both general issues and case studies throughout the world. The existence and severity of these risks raises questions of climate justice at many levels: individuals to individuals, countries to countries, and the present generation to future generations. We will study these issues in detail, and then examine the policy tools developed to address them. Although we will discuss national and sub-national policy and policy proposals such as the Green New Deal, special attention will be given to global policy tools, especially the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. In addition to standard writing assignments, students will have a chance to develop policy proposals that address the core issues of the class. ENVS1043401 Nat Sci & Math Sector (new curriculum only)
PHIL 1710-401 Introduction to Logic Scott Weinstein PCPE AUD MW 10:15 AM-11:14 AM 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. LGIC1710401, PHIL5710401 General Requirement in Formal Reasoning & Analysis https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL1710401
PHIL 1800-301 Philosophy of Science Clarissa Busch DRLB 4N30 TR 12:00 PM-1:29 PM 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)
PHIL 2430-301 Global Justice Kok-Chor Tan COHN 392 MW 12:00 PM-1:29 PM 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. https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL2430301
PHIL 2560-601 Philosophy of Education Dustin C Webster WILL 203 TR 5:15 PM-6:44 PM The philosophy of education asks questions about the foundational assumptions of our formal institutions for the reproduction of culture. It ranges therefore, from epistemology and philosophy of mind to ethics and political philosophy. For instance: What is the nature of learning and teaching? How is it possible to come to know something we did not know already--and how can we aid others in doing that? How, if at all, should formal institutions of education be concerned with shaping students' moral and civic character? What is the proper relation between educational institutions and the state? We also ask questions more specific to our own time and context. For example: how, in a multicultural state, should we educate students of varied social identities, like race, gender, and religion? What is the relationship between education and justice. GSWS2490601 https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL2560601
PHIL 2620-001 Introduction to Epistemology and Metaphysics Aydin Mohseni COHN 337 TR 1:45 PM-3:14 PM Two basic assumptions of academic research are that there are truths and we can know them. Epistemology is the study of 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.
PHIL 3510-301 Topics in Philosophy of Race Quayshawn Nigel Julian Spencer COHN 392 MW 10:15 AM-11:44 AM In this seminar for Philosophy Majors, we will examine different topics and issues in the philosophy of race. Topics we will address can range from the metaphysics of race (e.g., are racial categories real?) to the moral and political philosophy of race (e.g., is affirmative action justifiable?)
PHIL 3800-301 Topics in Philosophy of Science Scott Weinstein COHN 493 MW 12:00 PM-1:29 PM A seminar for philosophy majors on selected topics in the Philosophy of Science. https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL3800301
PHIL 4181-401 Kant I Sabina Bremner COHN 203 MW 3:30 PM-4:59 PM 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. GRMN5510401, PHIL6181401 https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL4181401
PHIL 4330-401 Metaethics Errol D Lord COHN 337 TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM 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. PHIL6330401 https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL4330401
PHIL 4470-675 Norms and Nudges Cristina Bicchieri FAGN 218 M 1:45 PM-4:44 PM Social norms are the rules we live by, and we encounter them in any area of ourlife. Social norms often guarantee the smooth functioning of a group or organization. Sometimes, however, these norms are inefficient or do not benefit society at large. What can we do to change these harmful collective behaviors? Social psychology, philosophy, sociology, rational-choice, legal theory, and even economics, are investigating and theorizing pro-social behavior, justice motivation, and moral and social norms. In this course, we will examine the latest and best in this emerging multidisciplinary field. Students will be encouraged to apply its findings and methods to their area of interest. BDS5020675 <span class="penncourse-course-notes">Perm Needed From Department</span>
PHIL 4800-401 Philosophy of Science. Quayshawn Nigel Julian Spencer DRLB 3C2 MW 12:00 PM-1:29 PM 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. PHIL6800401
PHIL 5200-301 Topics in Continental Philosophy Daniele Lorenzini COHN 337 T 3:30 PM-6:29 PM This graduate seminar will examine different traditions and topics in contemporary Continental philosophy, such as phenomenology, structuralism and post‐structuralism, hermeneutics, genealogy, and deconstruction. Examples of authors we will read can include Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau‐Ponty, Levinas, Gadamer, and Foucault. https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL5200301
PHIL 5330-301 Contemporary Ethics Jennifer Morton BENN 407 R 12:00 PM-2:59 PM Selected topics in contemporary ethical theory. Recent topics have included rationality and sources of normativity. Semester-specific description available in course syllabus. https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL5330301
PHIL 5430-301 Topics in Political Philosophy Samuel Freeman MEYH B5 W 12:00 PM-2:59 PM 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 classic and more recent works on the selected topics. https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL5430301
PHIL 5710-401 Introduction to Logic Scott Weinstein PCPE AUD MW 10:15 AM-11:14 AM This graduate-level course provides an introduction to some of the fundamental ideas of logic. Topics will include truth functional logic, quantificational logic, and logical decision problems. LGIC1710401, PHIL1710401
PHIL 5955-640 Contemporary Continental Philosophy Stephen P Steinberg OTHR IP T 5:15 PM-8:14 PM This MLA seminar is an introduction to 20th-century continental European philosophy, focusing on the origins and development of phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. No previous background in philosophy is required. We will begin with an introduction to the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and the contemporary debate over its proper interpretation. Then we will examine three existentialist critics of Husserl, whose philosophies have influenced much of recent continental thought: Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Finally, we will examine the important influence of phenomenology and existentialism on contemporary trends in continental philosophy as exhibited in works by Paul Ricoeur, Hans Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas. Finally, we will examine the important influence of phenomenology and existentialism on contemporary trends in continental philosophy as exhibited in works by Paul Ricoeur, Hans Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas. https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL5955640
PHIL 5960-640 MLA Proseminar: Global Justice and the Environment Kok-Chor Tan This is a topics-based MLA proseminar 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. https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL5960640
PHIL 6181-401 Kant I Sabina Bremner COHN 203 MW 3:30 PM-4:59 PM The graduate 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. GRMN5510401, PHIL4181401 https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL6181401
PHIL 6330-401 Metaethics Errol D Lord COHN 337 TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM This graduate 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. PHIL4330401 https://coursesintouch.apps.upenn.edu/cpr/jsp/fast.do?webService=syll&t=202310&c=PHIL6330401
PHIL 6722-401 Logic and Computability 2 Irfan Alam COHN 204 TR 12:00 PM-1:29 PM A continuation of PHIL 6721. MATH5710401
PHIL 6800-401 Philosophy of Science. Quayshawn Nigel Julian Spencer DRLB 3C2 MW 12:00 PM-1:29 PM This graduate seminar is 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. PHIL4800401