Courses

Courses for Fall 2017

Undergraduate

  • PHIL 1. Short Introduction to Philosophy

    • An introductory course in western philosophy.

  • PHIL 3. Critical Thinking

    • Practical reasoning, argumentation, and the analysis of language as instruments of sound thinking in everyday life.

  • PHIL 4. Introduction to Ethics

    • An examination, at an introductory level, of such ethical issues as: why be moral, moral relativism, the nature of virtues and vices; and possibly consideration of practical ethical problems such as abortion or war.

  • PHIL 20A. History of Philosophy

    • From Thales to Aristotle.

  • PHIL 100B. Theory of Knowledge

    • Investigates fundamental questions surrounding the nature of human knowledge and human justification, such as: What do I know? What am I justified in believing? What is it to know something? What is it to hold a justified belief?

  • PHIL 100C. Philosophy of Language

    • Introduction to philosophical problems and theories concerning the nature of language. Topics typically include the notion of linguistic structure, theories of meaning and reference, names and descriptions, the relations between languages and thought, necessity and analytic truth, and conversational norms.

  • PHIL 112. Philosophy of Religion

    • A study of some of the following topics: religious language, the existence and nature of god, the problem of evil, religious experience, religion and morality, the rationality of religious belief.

  • PHIL 121. Political Philosophy

    • Analysis of fundamental political conceptions; the state, sovereignty, political obligation, natural rights, natural law, etc.

  • PHIL 130. Freedom and Determinism

    • Determinism is the doctrine that the laws of nature plus the past necessitate the future. Is determinism compatible with the view that we often act freely and are often morally responsible for what we do?

  • PHIL 150E. Advanced Topics in Metaphysics

    • Advanced topics in metaphysics. Specific subject matter is selected by the instructor and descriptions are available in the department before each quarter.

  • PHIL 151. Pre-Socratics

    • A study of the pre-Socratic philosophers.

  • PHIL 152. Plato

    • The philosophy of Plato.

  • PHIL 156. Hellenistic Philosophy

    • An examination of the thought of major Greek philosophers of the Hellenistic period.

  • PHIL 165. Hume

    • The philosophy of David Hume.

Graduate

  • PHIL 251G. Pre-Socratics

    • A study at the graduate level of selected writings of the pre-Socratic era.

  • PHIL 252G. Plato

    • A study at the graduate level of selected writings of Plato.

  • PHIL 256G. Hellenistic Philosophy

    • A study at the graduate level of selected writings of the Hellenistic philosophers.

  • PHIL 265G. Hume

    • A study at the graduate level of selected writings of Hume.

  • PHIL 296A. Seminar in Ethics

    • Graduate seminar in ethics. Specific subject matter is selected by the instructor and descriptions are available in the department office before each quarter.

  • PHIL 296B. Seminar in Epistemology

    • Graduate seminar in epistemology. Specific subject matter is selected by the instructor and descriptions are available in the department office before each quarter

    • Debunking Arguments and Reliability Challenges. Debunking arguments purport to show that there is no appropriate explanatory connection between beliefs in some domain and the subject matter of those beliefs. The absence of such a connection casts doubt on our reliability about those domains. In some cases, the challenges arise because known explanations of the beliefs make no mention of the facts in those domains (e.g., evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs). In others, the challenges arise because there looks to be no way for the abstract facts in question (e.g., mathematical facts) to cause or otherwise explain our beliefs. We will examine how these challenges arise for beliefs about morality, religion, mathematics, color, time, and ordinary objects. We will naturally touch on metaphysical questions about realism and anti-realism that arise in these domains, as well as epistemological questions about the status and reliability of beliefs about these domains.