Philosophy (PHIL-UA)

PHIL-UA 1  Central Problems in Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms  
An introduction to philosophy through the study of selected central problems. Topics may include: free will; the existence of God; skepticism and knowledge; the mind-body problem.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 2  Great Works in Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
An introduction to philosophy through the study of some of the most important and influential writings in its history. Authors studied may include Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 3  Ethics and Society  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
An introduction to philosophy through the study of selected moral, social, and political issues. Topics may include criminal justice and punishment; political authority and civil disobedience; toleration and free speech; racial justice.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 4  Life and Death  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
An introduction to philosophy through the study of issues bearing on life and death. Topics may include: definition and value of life; grounds for creating, preserving, and taking life; personal identity; ideas of death and immortality; abortion and euthanasia.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 5  Minds and Machines  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms  
Introduction to philosophy through the study of issues in cognitive science. Topics may include: conflicts between computational and biological approaches to the mind; whether a machine could think; the reduction of the mind to the brain; connectionism and neural nets.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 6  Global Ethics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course aims to accomplish two things. The first is to introduce three broad traditions of normative thinking about social issues from around the globe: a Confucian tradition, one based in Islamic legal traditions, and one derived from European liberalism. The second is to address three current areas of normative debate: about global economic inequality, about gender justice and human rights. We shall explore these first-order questions against the background of the three broad traditions. Our aim will be to understand some of differences of approach that shape the global conversation about these issues that concern people around the world.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 7  Consciousness  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines conceptual and empirical issues about consciousness. Issues covered may include the explanatory gap, the hard and harder problems of consciousness, concepts of consciousness, phenomenal concepts, the mind-body problem and neural correlates of consciousness, higher-order thought theories of consciousness, the inverted spectrum, views of phenomenality as representation, and arguments for dualism.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 8  Philosophical Approaches to Race and Racism  (4 Credits)  
This introductory-level course is needed to provide students with a firm understanding of distinctively philosophical approaches to issues concerning race and racism. This course has two themes. The first is an exploration of the concept of race. This is a question in social ontology, which is the philosophical study of the nature of social entities. The second is an examination of some of the normative and conceptual issues surrounding the most morally significant of the ways in which “race” has mattered for social life, namely as the concept that defines the object of the attitudes, practices, institutions and beliefs we call “racist.” We shall ask what racism is, what sorts of things can be racist, and what makes racism wrong.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 20  Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Summer terms  
Examines some of the most important philosophical ideas and developments in Ancient Greece and Rome. Covers major writings by Plato and Aristotle, and a selection of writings by such thinkers as the Presocratics, Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 21  Early Modern European Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms  
Examines some of the most important philosophical ideas and developments in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. Covers some of the major writings of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, and Hume, and concludes with a brief examination of some aspects of Kant’s philosophy. (Kant is examined in more detail in PHIL-UA 30.) May also include writings of Hobbes, Malebranche, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Conway, Berkeley, and Shepherd, among others.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 22  Plato  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines various aspects of Plato’s philosophy: ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, and political philosophy. Aims to understand Plato’s ideas and to engage with them philosophically through careful readings of selected dialogues.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 1 OR PHIL-UA 2 OR PHIL-UA 3 OR PHIL-UA 4 OR PHIL-UA 5 OR PHIL-UA 10 OR PHIL-UA 15 OR PHIL-UA 17 OR PHIL-UA 20 OR PHIL-UA 21 OR PHIL-UA 40 OR PHIL-UA 41 OR PHIL-UA 45 OR PHIL-UA 76 OR PHIL-UA 78 OR PHIL-UA 6 OR PHIL-UA 7).  
PHIL-UA 30  Kant  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Study of some of Immanuel Kant’s major works, including the Critique of Pure Reason, the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, and the Critique of Practical Reason.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 32  Nineteenth-Century European Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines some of the most important philosophical ideas and developments in Europe in the nineteenth century, preceded by a brief examination of some aspects of Kant’s philosophy. (Kant is examined in more detail in PHIL-UA 30.) Covers major writings by Hegel, and a selection of writings, determined by the special focus of the particular version of the course, from such thinkers as Fichte, Schelling, Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, Mill, Comte, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 36  Existentialism and Phenomenology  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines the characteristic method, positions, and themes of the existentialist and phenomenological movements and traces their development through study of such thinkers as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 1 OR PHIL-UA 2 OR PHIL-UA 3 OR PHIL-UA 4 OR PHIL-UA 5 OR PHIL-UA 6 OR PHIL-UA 10 OR PHIL-UA 15 OR PHIL-UA 17 OR PHIL-UA 20 OR PHIL-UA 21 OR PHIL-UA 40 OR PHIL-UA 45 OR PHIL-UA 76 OR PHIL-UH 1101 OR PHIL-SHU 101 OR PHIL-UA 7).  
PHIL-UA 39  Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines some of the most important philosophical ideas and developments in the “Continental” tradition in Europe in the twentieth century. After a review of some nineteenth-century developments, covers major works by Heidegger and Sartre, and some selection, determined by the instructor's particular focus, of writings by such figures as Husserl, Gadamer, Arendt, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, and Deleuze.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 40  Ethics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms  
Examines fundamental questions of moral philosophy: What are our most basic values, and which of them are specifically moral values? What are the ethical principles, if any, by which we should judge our actions, ourselves, and our lives?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 41  The Nature of Values  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Spring  
Examines the nature and grounds of judgments about moral and/or nonmoral values. Are such judgments true or false? Can they be more or less justified? Are the values of which they speak objective or subjective?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 45  Political Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines fundamental issues concerning the justification of political institutions. Topics may include democratic theory, political obligation and liberty, criteria of a just society, human rights, and civil disobedience.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 50  Medical Ethics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines moral issues in medical practice and research. Topics include euthanasia and quality of life; deception, hope, and paternalism; malpractice and unpredictability; patient rights, virtues, and vices; animal, fetal, and clinical research; criteria for rationing medical care; ethical principles, professional codes, and case analysis (for example, Quinlan, Willowbrook, Baby Jane Doe).
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 53  Ethics & The Environment  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall  
Environmental philosophy is a large subject that involves questions in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and history of philosophy, as well as in such normative areas as ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy. This class is primarily devoted to these normative areas. Beginning with some basic concepts in value theory, the goal is not to arrive at definite solutions to specific environmental problems, but rather (i) to improve your ability to think critically, read closely, and to argue well about environmental issues; (ii) to introduce you to some major controversies in environmental philosophy; and (iii) to aid you in arriving at your own rational and clear-minded views about the matters under discussion
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 55  Philosophical Perspctive On Feminism & Gender  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
A survey and analysis of social, political, and epistemological issues concerning sex and gender.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 60  Aesthetics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered every other year  
Introduces problems raised by the nature of art, artworks, and aesthetic judgment. Considers the expressive and representational properties of artworks, aesthetic attention, and appreciation, as well as the creation, interpretation, and criticism of artworks. Readings from classical and contemporary sources.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 70  Logic  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms  
An introduction to the basic techniques of sentential and predicate logic. Students learn how to put arguments from ordinary language into symbols, how to construct derivations within a formal system, and how to ascertain validity using truth tables or models.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 1 OR MEIS-UA 708 OR PHIL-UA 3 OR PHIL-UA 4 OR PHIL-UA 5).  
PHIL-UA 72  Advanced Logic  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
An introduction to the basic concepts, methods, and results of metalogic, i.e., the formal study of systems of reasoning.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 70 OR PHIL-SHU 70 OR PHIL-UH 1810).  
PHIL-UA 73  Set Theory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
An introduction to the basic concepts and results of set theory.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 70 OR PHIL-UH 1810).  
PHIL-UA 74  Systems of Logic  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Modal logic is the logic of necessity, possibility, and related notions. Provides an introduction to basic concepts, methods, and results, with an emphasis on applications to the fields of philosophy, linguistics, and computer science.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: PHIL-UA 70 or PHIL-AD 102.  
PHIL-UA 76  Epistemology  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms  
Considers such questions as: Can I have knowledge of anything outside my own mind—for example, physical objects or other minds? Or is the skeptic’s attack on my commonplace claims to know unanswerable? What is knowledge, and how does it differ from belief?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 78  Metaphysics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Discusses general questions concerning the nature of reality and truth. What kind of things exist? Are there minds or material bodies? Is change illusory? Are human actions free or causally determined? What is a person, and what, if anything, makes someone one and the same person?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 80  Philosophy of Mind  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms  
Examination of the relationship between the mind and the brain, of the nature of the mental, and of personal identity. Can consciousness be reconciled with a scientific view of the world?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 85  Philosophy of Language  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examines various philosophical and psychological approaches to language and meaning and their consequences for traditional philosophical problems in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Discusses primarily 20th-century authors, including Russell, Wittgenstein, and Quine.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 88  How Science Works  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
What is science? Is there a scientific method? How do experiments provide evidence for theories? Which aspects of scientific argument and reasoning are subjective and which are objective? What role do aesthetic considerations play in scientific thinking? How does the social organization of science contribute to its success? How should politicians and public policy makers “follow the science”? Investigates these questions using logical argument, sociological methods, and historical contexts.argument, history, and sociological methods.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 90  Philosophy of Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Examination of philosophical issues about the natural sciences. Central questions include the following: What is the nature of scientific explanation? How does science differ from pseudoscience? What is a scientific law? How do experiments work?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 93  Philosoph Applications of Cognitive Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The relevance of recent discoveries about the mind to philosophical questions about metaphysics, logic, and ethics. Questions include: What is causation? Is there a right way to “carve up” the world into categories? Why do we see the world as consisting of objects in places? Are the rules of logic objective or just the way we happen to think? Is there such a thing as objective right and wrong?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 94  Philosophy of Physics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
We will investigate different approaches to understanding space and time, and how the account of space-time structure has evolved in physics. One of the main objectives is to have a clear and accurate understanding of the Special Theory of Relativity, detailed enough to allow the student to solve some physics problems. This will require a bit of mathematics, but not more than algebra. We will discuss the General Theory of Relativity in a more qualitative way, including an account of the structure of black holes. Philosophy students do not need any further background in physics or mathematics, and physics students will not benefit from greater mathematical sophistication. We will also study the relevant history of physics and philosophy, particularly the debate between Newton and Leibniz about the nature of space and time. There will be two lectures each week and a recitation section.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 98  Philosophy of Math  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Critical discussion of alternative philosophical views as to what mathematics is, such as Platonism, empiricism, constructivism, intuitionism, formalism, logicism, and various combinations thereof.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: PHIL-UA 70 AND (PHIL-UA 1 OR PHIL-UA 2 OR PHIL-UA 3 OR PHIL-UA 4 OR PHIL-UA 5).  
PHIL-UA 101  Topics in The History of Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Careful study of a few topics in the history of philosophy—either one philosopher’s treatment of several philosophical problems, or several philosophers’ treatments of one or two closely related problems. Examples: Confucianism; ancient skepticism; theories of causation in early modern philosophy; Indian and Buddhist philosophy of mind; existentialism.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: Yes  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 20 OR PHIL-UA 21 OR PHIL-UA 22 OR PHIL-UA 24 OR PHIL-UA 25 OR PHIL-UA 30 OR PHIL-UA 32 OR PHIL-UA 39).  
PHIL-UA 102  Topics in Ethics & Pol Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Thorough study of various concepts and issues in current theory and debate. Examples: moral and political rights; virtues and vices; equality; moral objectivity; the development of moral character; the variety of ethical obligations; ethics and public policy.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: Yes  
PHIL-UA 103  Topics in Metaphysics & Epistemology  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Careful study of a few current issues in epistemology and metaphysics. Examples: skepticism, necessity, causality, personal identity, and possible worlds.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: Yes  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 76 OR PHIL-UA 78 OR PHIL-UA 90).  
PHIL-UA 104  Topics in Language & Mind  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Careful study of a few current issues in language and mind. Examples: theory of reference, analyticity, intentionality, theory of mental content and attitudes, emergence and supervenience of mental states.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: Yes  
Prerequisites: PHIL-UA 70 AND (PHIL-UA 80 OR PHIL-UA 7 OR PHIL-UA 85).  
PHIL-UA 123  Readings in Chinese Philosophy and Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Basic introduction to the writings of Confucius, his adversaries, and his successors, followed by a reading of several novels regarded as national classics.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 201  Junior Honors Proseminar  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Prerequisite: admission to the department’s honors program (contact the director of undergraduate studies). To be taken by honors program students in the spring of junior year. Students study a variety of potential topics for honors theses, determined in part by the interests of those enrolled. Students then present and discuss their own original work, leading toward the development of an honors thesis prospectus. At the end of the semester students submit a prospectus; approval by the course instructor and a faculty advisor is required to pass the course.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 202  Senior Honors Thesis Workshop  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Prerequisite: admission to the department’s honors program and completion of Junior Honors Proseminar (PHIL-UA 201). To be taken by honors program students in the fall of their senior year. Students write an honors thesis under the direction of an approved faculty advisor while participating in a weekly thesis-writing discussion workshop. The final thesis should be 7,000-10,000 words. The deadline for submission is one week before the start of spring semester. An oral thesis examination administered by the faculty advisor and another appointed faculty member follows submission of the final thesis; this should be held during the first two weeks of the spring semester.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 301  Independent Study  (2-4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Prerequisites: approval of a faculty supervisor, as well as the approval of either the department chair or the director of undergraduate studies. Available only for study of subjects not covered in regularly offered courses. 2 or 4 points per term. This course may be used in connection with an internship or practical training, but must also include substantial philosophical reading and writing. Only one Independent Study in connection with an internship may count toward the program requirements.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 302  Independent Study  (2-4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Prerequisites: approval of a faculty supervisor, as well as the approval of either the department chair or the director of undergraduate studies. Available only for study of subjects not covered in regularly offered courses. 2 or 4 points per term. This course may be used in connection with an internship or practical training, but must also include substantial philosophical reading and writing. Only one Independent Study in connection with an internship may count toward the program requirements.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 422  Living a Good Life: Greek and Jewish Perspectives  (4 Credits)  
What makes a life well-lived? Central questions to be explored include: Does living well require acquiring knowledge and wisdom? What is the place of moral responsibility in the good life? Is the good life a happy life or does it require sacrificing happiness? Does religion lead to living well or does it hinder it? What is friendship and how does it contribute to the good life? Thinkers to be studied may include: Aristotle, Seneca, Maimonides, Glikl, Spinoza, and Levinas.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 428  Creating a Good Society: Christian and Jewish Perspectives  (4 Credits)  
This course explores Greek, Christian and Jewish responses to the problem: How does one create a good society? Central questions to be explored include: What is the best form of government? What economic system is ideal? Should the government actively promote a vision of the good life or leave it to individual to decide the good for themselves? Should the government prioritize the freedom, equality, or happiness of its inhabitants? What role should religion and nationhood play in society? What models of education should the government promote? How does gender inform these considerations? The course will focus on careful analysis of primary texts. Thinkers to be studied include: Plato, Maimonides, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Mendelssohn, Marx, Hess. Having first taken the course: Living a Good Life: Greek and Jewish Perspectives is highly desirable.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 9003  Ethics and Society  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Spring  
An introduction to philosophy through the study of selected moral, social, and political issues. Topics may include criminal justice and punishment; political authority and civil disobedience; toleration and free speech; racial justice.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 9005  Minds and Machines  (4 Credits)  
An introduction to philosophy through the study of issues in cognitive science. Topics may include the conflict between computational and biological approaches to the mind; whether a machine could think; the reduction of the mind to the brain; connectionism and neural nets. Gives training in philosophical argument and writing.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 9026  History of French Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
An overview of important developments in French philosophy from the 16th century to the 1950s. We will look at the epistemological and metaphysical debates that followed the rediscovery of Ancient philosophy and the Copernican revolution, with Montaigne’s skepticism, Descartes’ rationalist theory of knowledge, and Condillac’s empiricism. We will then focus on developments in French political philosophy in the 18th and 19th centuries, closely intertwined with political events. We will read Rousseau, an important influence on the French revolutionaries, before turning to 19th-century debates about equality, with Proudhon’s anarchist criticism of property rights, and Tocqueville’s cautious liberal perspective on the political consequences of equality. Finally, we will look at two key movements in French philosophy in the first half of the 20th century, Bergson’s attempt at understanding the temporal duration conscious beings inhabit, and Sartre and de Beauvoir’s distinctive development of existentialism, a philosophy that grapples with the consequences of human freedom.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
PHIL-UA 9045  Political Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
A survey of important issues in contemporary political philosophy, with a particular focus on the questions of social justice and political legitimacy. How should a just society be organized? Does justice require citizens and governments to follow some procedures, and/or does it involve reaching particular outcomes – for example particular patterns of wealth distribution? How should important social and political decisions be taken for them to be (and not just appear) legitimate? Is the majority always right? Should we elect representatives or practice a more direct form of democracy? What are the rights of minorities? Is there a right to civil disobedience when you disagree with a legitimately reached political decision? How should states interact with cultural minorities and particular identity groups?
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: (PHIL-UA 1 OR PHIL-UA 2 OR PHIL-UA 3 OR PHIL-UA 4 OR PHIL-UA 5 OR PHIL-UA 10 OR PHIL-UA 15 OR PHIL-UA 17 OR PHIL-UA 20 OR PHIL-UA 21 OR PHIL-UA 40 OR PHIL-UA 45 OR PHIL-UA 78 OR PHIL-UH 1101).  
PHIL-UA 9085  Philosophy of Language  (4 Credits)  
Examines various philosophical and psychological approaches to language and meaning, as well as their consequences for traditional philosophical problems in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Discusses primarily 20th-century authors, including Russell, Wittgenstein, and Quine.
Grading: CAS Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No