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Courses for Fall 2019

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 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 002-301 Introduction to Ethics BOEY, YONG-AI 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.
        Society sector (all classes) SOCIETY SECTOR
        PHIL 002-601 INTRO TO ETHICS MW 0630PM-0800PM 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 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 Philosophy HUMPHREYS, JUSTIN 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 008-001 THE SOCIAL CONTRACT TAN, KOK-CHOR MW 1000AM-1100AM 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 011-301 KNOWLEDGE,RELIGION & VALUES TAN, KOK-CHOR MW 0200PM-0330PM This First Year Undergraduate Seminar is an introduction to Philosophy organized around the topics of knowledge (epistemology), religion (metaphysics) and values (ethics). We will examine questions such as what is the difference between true knowledge and mere beliefs, the challenge of skepticism, the nature of the human mind, the nature of God and arguments for and against the existence of God, and ethical questions such as how should I live and what do I owe to others. We will draw on a range of philosophical writings, historical and contemporary, from different philosophical traditions. Examples of authors we will read include Plato, Descartes, Hume, Zhuangzi and Mengzi.
                  PHIL 012-301 INTRO TO MORAL PHILOSOPHY MEYER, MILTON TR 1030AM-1200PM Four sorts of questions belong to the study of moral philosophy in the analytic tradition: (1) Practical ethics discusses specific moral problems, often those we find most contested (e.g. abortion, euthanasia, killing noncombatants in war). (2) Ethical theory tries to develop systematic answers to moral problems, often by looking for general principles that explain moral judgments and rules (e.g. consequentialism, contractarianism). (3) Meta-ethics investigates questions about the nature of moral theories and their subject matter (e.g. are they subjective or objective, relative or non-relative, related to a deity or not?). (4) Finally, there are questions about why any of this does, or should, matter to us (e.g. what kind of reason for acting is a moral reason and how is it related to a prudential reason?). We will investigate all four of these types of questions. A large part of the course will be focused on two highly contentious moral problems, abortion and killing noncombatants in war. The central aims of the required readings and discussion are: a) to develop each question deeply and sharply enough for us to understand why it has been contentious; b) to see what new evidence could change the nature of the problem; and c) to suggest how to seek that further evidence. We will focus on how to read complex contemporary philosophical prose in order to outline and evaluate the arguments embedded within it. This will provide the basis for writing papers in which you defend a position with evidence and arguments. These skills are central to the practice of Philosophy. This course does not presuppose that students already have these skills. It is intended to teach them and presupposes a willingness on the part of students to do what is necessary to learn them. What this involves is detailed in "Success in this Course". You should read this note to understand the commitment this course involves.
                    PHIL 015-001 LOGIC & FORMAL REASONING 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 & ANALYSIS; FORMAL REASONING COURSE; FORMAL REASONING
                      PHIL 025-001 PHILOS OF SCIENCE SPENCER, QUAYSHAWN MW 1100AM-1200PM 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 026-001 PHIL OF SPACE & TIME MW 0100PM-0200PM This course provides an introduction to the philosophy and intellectual history of space-time and cosmological models from ancient to modern times with special emphasis on paradigm shifts, leading to Einstein's theories of special and general relativity and cosmology. Other topics include Big Bang, black holes stellar structure, the metaphysics of substance, particles, fields, and superstrings, unification and grand unification of modern physical theories. No philosophy of physics background is presupposed.
                          Nat Sci & Math Sector (new curriculum only) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; NATURAL SCIENCE & MATH SECTOR
                          PHIL 050-401 INTRODUCTION TO INDIAN PHILOSOPHY 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 072-601 BIOMEDICAL ETHICS HUMPHREYS, JUSTIN TR 0430PM-0600PM 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) SOCIETY SECTOR
                              PHIL 079-301 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS ZHANG, MINGJUN MW 0330PM-0500PM 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 202-301 TOPICS IN ETHICS I TR 1030AM-1200PM Selected topics in ethical theory, for example consequentialism, deontology, or virtue ethics. We will begin by looking at some of the historical antecedents to the contemporary debate, starting with work by Bentham, Mill, and Sidgwick. We will then move forward to the contemporary debate, reading important critiques by John Rawls, Bernard Williams, Thomas Nagel, Philippa Foot and others, as well as responses by Peter Railton, Samuel Scheffler, and others. Finally, we will look at recent work by Susan Wolf that provides an alternative perspective on morality, value, and meaningfulness. The readings in this class are challenging, but we will approach them carefully and collaboratively.
                                  PHIL 231-001 EPISTEMOLOGY: EPISTEMOLOGY SINGER, DANIEL MW 1100AM-1200PM 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 233-001 PHILOSOPHY OF ECONOMICS PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS TR 1200PM-0100PM 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: High School Ethics Bowl DETLEFSEN, KAREN T 0300PM-0530PM 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.
                                        Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR; AN ACADEMICALLY BASED COMMUNITY SERV COURSE; PERMISSION NEEDED FROM INSTRUCTOR
                                        PHIL 249-402 PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION: High School Ethics Bowl 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.
                                          Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
                                          PHIL 260-301 WORLD PHILOSOPHIES DETLEFSEN, KAREN TR 1030AM-1200PM In this course, we will study philosophies or thought systems from around the world. Placing these philosophies within historical, cultural and political contexts, we will study the theoretical bases (including questions regarding the nature of reality, human nature, claims about knowledge and memory) of practical engagement with the world (including concerns with individual human interactions, social-political structures, educational theory, the nature of history, the nature of the arts and the like). Philosophies or thought systems we will study will come from across Africa, across Asia, and from native peoples of the Americas, the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia.
                                            CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS; BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINARS; CROSS-CULTURAL ANALYSIS; BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINAR
                                            PHIL 271-301 GLOBAL JUSTICE BEATON, EILIDH TR 0300PM-0430PM 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 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 343-301 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND MIRACCHI, LISA MW 0200PM-0330PM This majors seminar will focus on selected topics in Philosophy of Mind.
                                                  MAJORS ONLY
                                                  PHIL 372-301 TOPICS IN ETHICS SINGER, DANIEL MW 0330PM-0500PM This majors seminar will cover selected topics in ethics. The content will vary from semester to semester.
                                                    MAJORS ONLY
                                                    PHIL 376-301 JUSTICE FREEMAN, SAMUEL MW 0330PM-0500PM This majors seminar will focus on contemporary works on liberalism, democracy, capitalism, and distributive justice. Questions to be discussed may include: 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 407-301 ARISTOTLE HAHMANN, ANDREE TR 0130PM-0300PM 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 410-401 INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC & COMPUTABILITY TOWSNER, HENRY MF 0130PM-0300PM 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 426-301 PHILOSOPHY OF PSYCHOLOGY HATFIELD, GARY TR 1030AM-1200PM An examination of major trends of thought in experimental psychology in relation to philosopohy and the philosophy of science. What is the subject matter and object of explanation of experimental psychology? What is the relation between psychology and neuroscience? How is scientific psychology related to traditional philosophical investigations of the mental? The course covers the classical systems and schools of psychology (Wundt, James, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, cognitive and perceptual psychology, and cognitive science) and such contemporary problems as consciousness, philosophical foundations of cognitive science; theories of the extended and embodied mind; and the relation between neuroscience and psychology.
                                                            PHIL 468-401 HEGEL HORSTMANN, ROLF-PETER TR 1200PM-0130PM A study of Hegel's philosophy, focusing primarily on his Phenomenology of Spirit, with attention to relevant passages in other works such as Hegel's Logic and Philosophy of Right. Topics may include: (1) Hegel's conception of philosophy, (2) the development of his system, (3) the problem of an introduction to his system (Phenomenology of Spirit), (4) Hegel's criticism of traditional metaphysics, (5) his notion of a 'concept' (Begriff), his theory of the Idea. The seminar will focus primarily on some of Hegel's early Jena writings, his Phenomenology of Spirit, on passages from different versions of Hegel's Logic and (maybe) on aspects of his Philosophy of Right. Topics that are dealt with include: (1) Hegel's conception of philosophy, (2) the development of his system, (3) the problem of an introduction to his system (Phenomenology of Spirit), (4) Hegel's criticism of traditional metaphysics, (5) his notion of a 'concept' (Begriff), his theory of the Idea. Other topics might become of interest as well.
                                                              PHIL 510-301 LATE PLATO MEYER, SUSAN W 0330PM-0630PM A study of Plato's later dialogues. Works to be studied may include: Theaetetus, Timaeus, Sophist, Statesman, Parmenides, Philebus, and Laws.
                                                                UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                                PHIL 530-301 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND MIRACCHI, LISA TR 0300PM-0600PM 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 572-301 TOPICS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY T 0300PM-0600PM A venerable idea throughout the history of ethics is that rationality is a fundamental or foundational part of the metaphysics of the normative. The course will be an investigation of several different strains of this rationalist idea. We'll disucss four rationalist views of the nature of normative reasons (Kantian, Humean, Aristotelian, and new-fangled constructivism). Our aim will be to investigate the plausibility of these rationalist views against the backdrop of a more recent hypothesis about the metaphysics of the normative--viz., the claim that normative reasons themselves are the fundamental constituents of the normative.
                                                                    UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION
                                                                    PHIL 577-401 TOPICS IN PHIL OF LAW BERMAN, MITCHELL W 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.
                                                                      PHIL 578-301 TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHIL PEREIRA DI SALVO, CARLOS R 0300PM-0600PM 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 578-640 MLA Proseminar: The Problems of Global Justice TAN, KOK-CHOR 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 LORD, ERROL 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 SPENCER, QUAYSHAWN 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