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Course Descriptions



Kant (Phil 423)

Alan Nelson
An intensive introduction to Kant’s accounts of space, time, concepts, perception, substance, causation, and the thinking self through a careful study of his masterwork, The Critique of Pure Reason.

This course meets on Wednesday from 4:00-6:30.

Philosophy of Language (Phil 445)

Dorit Bar-On
Prerequisites, two courses in philosophy other than PHIL 155 or permission of the instructor. How does language represent? Does it mirror the structure of the world? Does it reflect on the structure of the mind?

This course meets on Thursday from 4:00-6:30.

Contemporary Moral Issues: The Objectivity of Values (Phil 462)

Susan Wolf
Are values objective? The question means different things to different people. The course will explore different senses of the question, and consider why someone (other than a professional philosopher) might care about whether values are objective, in any of the senses. Further, we will consider how the answer may vary with the kind of value in question – for example, by comparing positions about the objectivity of aesthetic values to positions about the objectivity of moral values.
At the end of the semester, there will be a workshop on the Objectivity of Values (which students are welcome to attend) involving a number of philosophers whose work we will have read during the term.

This course meets on Thursday from 1:00-3:30.

Philosophy of Law (Phil 480)

Michael Corrado
This seminar will tackle the issue of rationality, what it means in economics, what it means in philosophy, and the implications of those meanings for the study of law and legal institutions. The seminar is aimed at law students and philosophy and economics graduate students and upper class undergraduates. Grade will be based upon a seminar paper.

This course meets on Wednesday from 3:30-6:00.

Philosophy of Art (Phil 485)

Jesse Prinz
This course surveys key topics in (mostly) 20th century analytic aesthetics. Questions include: What is art? How do we evaluate art? Is there an objective standard of taste or is taste relative? How do we interpret pictures? What is realism? What is the role in intention in determining aesthetic meaning? What is the role of emotion in aesthetic response? Is art and aesthetic appraisal an evolved capacity? Many readings focus on fine art, but students can write term papers on music, literature, or other art forms.

This course meets on Tuesday from 1:00-3:30.

Proto Seminar (Phil 700)

Jesse Prinz & Keith Simmons
This course is an intensive seminar intended for all and only first-year graduate students in philosophy.

This course meets on Thursday from 10:00-12:30.

Logic Seminar (Phil 705)

Thomas Hofweber
The course focuses on various large scale philosophical issues that logic gives rise to. It will consider such questions as: is logic about the world, our language, our thought, our reasoning, or something else? Is there a crucial difference between a logical truth and a regular truth? Is logic somehow up to us and our conventions, or is it fully objective? What do the laws of logic have to do with how we should reason? Is logic an empirical discovery, or is it a priori? Can it be revised, or is it eternally valid? Do the laws of logic have exceptions, or are they strict? What do the paradoxes show about logic? Is there a clear limit to what counts as logic?

This course meets on Wednesday from 1:00-3:30.

Epistemology (Phil 735)

Ram Neta
What is knowledge? Why does it matter whether or not we know something? And what’s the point of having a practice of ascribing knowledge to people? In this course, we will figure out the answers to these questions.

This course meets on Tuesday from 1:00-3:30.

Philosophy of Mind (Phil 740)

William Lycan
Special Topics in Philosophy of Mind: Desire and Conation. (That is, desire considered as a propositional attitude and its relations to intending and other conative mental states.)

This course meets on Thursday from 1:00-3:30.

Kant & Rawls on International Justice (Phil 770)

Bernard Boxill & Thomas Hill
This is a seminar in political philosophy for graduate students. It is concerned primarily with the theories of international justice of Immanuel Kant and John Rawls, with related background reading on their theories of justice within a state. Readings include selections from Pauline Kleingeld, ed., Immanuel Kant: Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace, and History (Routledge), John Rawls’ The Law of Peoples (Harvard University Press), Rawls’ earlier works, and critical commentaries on the theories of Kant and Rawls.

This course meets on Tuesday from 4:00-6:30.

Naming and Necessity from Plato to Kripke (Phil 805)

Alan Nelson & C.D.C. Reeve

A study of classical, modern, and contemporary works dealing with meaning and modality, including Plato’s Cratylus, Aristotle’s Categories, Descartes’ Principles, Leibniz’s Monadology, and Kripke’s Naming and Necessity.


This course will meet on Monday from 4:00-6:30.

Research Reading Group (Phil 990)

Joshua Knobe

The course meeting time is TBA.