Autumn 2001 Courses

Listed below are the courses the Department offered in the Autumn 2001 quarter.

The Registrar's office has up to date scheduling information for all University of Chicago graduate and undergraduate courses.

College students may only enroll in courses whose first number is 2. Graduate students may only enroll in courses whose first number is 3 or higher.

Autumn Courses

21000. Introduction to Ethics (=GSHU 29200, HIPS 210). This course covers two broad questions about ethics, drawing on contemporary and classical readings. First, what does morality require? What kinds of acts are right and wrong? To what extent can we think systematically about that kind of question? Second, what is the status of morality? Moral beliefs seem to be subjective in a way that more straightforwardly factual beliefs are not. What, exactly, is the difference between these two kinds of belief? How should we think and argue about morality if there does seem to be a subjective element to it? What should we think and do when confronted with a society whose members have very different moral beliefs than our own? M. Green. Autumn. (I)

23000. Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology. In this course, you're asked to read and talk about a number of questions concerning what you are and what you're in a position to know. These include the following: (1) Are you more than a brain plus a body? Might you have (or be) an immaterial soul? (2) Are you genuinely responsible for your actions, or is your behavior merely the upshot of events over which you have had no control? (3) Is it possible to know what's going on in someone else's mind--to know, e.g., that another person experiences the color red as you do? (4) Can you know that anything exists outside of your own experience? We begin by discussing Descartes's Meditations (just the first three of them) along with a little book by Simon Blackburn called Think. (You can get a fair idea of the ground we'll be covering by looking over the first few chapters of Think.) D. Finkelstein. Autumn.

24000. Meaning, Understanding, and Language. Issues about meaning, understanding, language have a long history, but philosophers in the 20th century were particularly obsessed by them. In this course, we take up some of these issues as they have been explored in two prominent (and ongoing) traditions, namely, the Fregean tradition and Phenomenology -- focusing in particular on some writings of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Three basic and interlocking claims are characteristic of Fregean accounts. Meaning is primarily a linguistic phenomenon; propositional contents are the fundamental units of meaning; judgment and assertion are the primary forms of understanding. Starting with some of Frege's classic essays, and then looking at some contemporary neo-Fregean accounts, we investigate and elaborate this cluster of claims. We then shift our attention to the some of the writings of Husserl and Heidegger on these themes. Our task is to take a close look at these texts, work out the claims contained in them, and draw out the arguments and considerations offered in support of those claims. We are particularly interested in if, how, and to what extent Husserl and Heidegger (respectively) present challenges to a broadly Fregean picture of meaning, understanding, and language. J. Schear. Autumn.

29600. Junior Seminar. PQ: Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration program. This is a small, discussion-oriented seminar for all (and only) juniors who plan to complete the intensive concentration in philosophy. Topics to be discussed will be determined later. J. Haugeland. Autumn.

29700. Reading Course. PQ: Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

29800. The Senior Essay I. PQ: Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Students who are writing a senior essay must register for this course in either the autumn or the winter quarter of the senior year (and for Philos 299 in either the winter or the spring quarter of the senior year). Staff. Autumn, Winter.

30000. Elementary Logic (=CHSS 33500, HIPS 207, MAPH 38000). Course not for field credit.This course is an introduction to formal logic. Formal languagesfor sentential and predicate logic are introduced, together withthe semantics for these languages (i.e., the notions of"interpretation," "truth," and "validity"). The relation of theselanguages to ordinary English is discussed (i.e., the logical structureof English), and techniques for determining the validity of argumentsare explained. Time permitting, the course ends with an informaldiscussion of more advanced topics in logic (in particular, the Churchundecidability theorem, and the G÷del incompleteness theorem) and theirrelevance to issues in the philosophy of mathematics. T. Cohen. Autumn.

30700/30800. German Romanticism: Philosophy, Literature, and Science I, II (=CHSS 30000-30100, HIST 25400-25500/77100, GRMN 47800-47900). PQ:Advanced standing. May be taken in sequence or individually. ThisLecture-discussion seminar investigates the formation of the idea of theRomantic literature, philosophy, and science during the age of Goethe.The works of the following are discussed: Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegelbrothers, Novalis, Schleiermacher, Schiller, Goethe, and von Humboldt brothers.(The first quarter can be taken independently of the second.) R.Richards. Autumn, Winter.(II)

31200. Moral Perfectionism (=DV PR 302, RLST 24000). This course examines the relativelyneglected tradition of Moral Perfectionism. This tradition is contrasted with the threecompeting strains of modern moral theory (Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Social Contract Theory),and its sources are traced in both a number of classical philosophical writings and in thefabric of everyday moral discourse as exhibited in certain works of literature and film.Strands of moral argument and examples of moral conversation are therefore drawn from philosophicaland literary texts as well as from a series of films---largely Hollywood comedies and melodramas ofthe 1930s and 1940s. S. Cavell. Autumn, Winter, Spring. (I)

31300. Aesthetics and Theory of Criticism (=COVA 251, GSHU 305). This course is anintroduction to problems in the philosophy of art with both traditional and contemporarytexts. Topics include the definition of art, representation, expression, metaphor,and taste. T. Cohen. Autumn. (I)

31600. Human Rights I (=GSHU 28700/38700, HIST 29300/39300, HMRT 201/301, INRE 316, LAWS 412, LL/SOC 270, MAPH 400). This course discusses two broad kinds of question about human rights. One kind of question concerns what human rights there are, if there are any at all. For example, why think there are any rights at all? If there are human rights, presumably they include so-called negative rights: the right not to be tortured, for example. Do they include so-called positive rights: the right to have material wealth, for example? Do they include rights that groups may hold, such as the right to preserve a culture? A second kind of question concerns the status of human rights, especially in the light of cultural differences. Can we legitimately hold the members of other societies to the standards of our culture? Can we show that there really are rights that all people ought to respect? Just how extensive are cultural differences concerning human rights anyway? M. Green. Autumn. (I)

32900. Philosophy of the Social Sciences (=CHSS 37700, GSHU 32900, HIPS 223). This course covers philosophical issues in the social science, such as the interaction of factual, methodological, valuational issues, problems special to the historical sciences, issues of scale and hierarchy, the use of quantitative and qualitative methods, models of rationality and the relation between normative and descriptive theories of behavior, social adaptations and levels of selection, cultural and conceptual relativity, and heuristics and problems with and strategies for analyzing complex systems. W. Wimsatt. Autumn. (II)

33300. Philosophy of Mind. A survey of contemporary answers to centralquestions in the philosophy of mind. What is the relation between the mind and the brain?What is the relation between the mind and behavior? Can talk about mental phenomena bereduced to talk about purely physical happenings? To what extent does the computerprovide a useful analogy for thinking about mental processes? Are the contents of ourthoughts and experiences determined just by what is going on inside us or by thephysical and social environment as well? Are there reasons for doubting the commonsensebelief that our thoughts and intentions can causally influence events in the physical world?What is the role of the concept of rationality in shaping our understanding of mental life?Readings will draw on an array of contemporary sources, including: Burge, Davidson, Dennett,Dretske, Fodor, Kim, McDowell, Nagel and Putnam. J. Bridges. Autumn. (III)

34400. S°ren Kierkegaard(=SCTH 39400, FNDL 265). Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments. After selected introductory readings to acquaint students with the idea of a pseudonymous author, we engage in a careful reading of this text. J. Lear, J. Conant. Autumn. (III)

49700. Preliminary Essay Seminar. J. Haugeland. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

49900. Reading and Research. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

50100. First-Year Seminar. D. Finkelstein. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

50300. Seminar on Important Things (=CHSS 41800, HIST 57700) This seminar meets bi-weekly throughout the year. Each quarter we discuss a book or coherent group of articles from the recent literature in the history and philosphy of science, reflecting both current interest in the field and particular concerns of participating students. D. Garber, R. Richards. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

51100. Twentieth Century French Philosophy: Vladimir JankÚlÚvitch. (=CHSS 41800, HIST 57700) PQ. Reading knowledge of French required. A study of some central texts by Vladimir JankÚlÚvitch, one of the most significant twentieth-century French philosophers, whose major works have unfortunately not been translated into English. Texts will be drawn from JankÚlÚvitch's writings on moral philosophy, the aesthetics of music, and metaphysics. Some attention will also be given to JankÚlÚvitch's relation to Henri Bergson and to Emmanuel Levinas. A. Davidson. Autumn. (I)

53700. Varieties of Skepticism. This seminar is devoted to an investigation of different varieties of skepticism--different both with respect to philosophical topic (external world, other minds. meaning, etc.) and with respect to the logic of the skeptical problematic (Cartesian, Humean, Kantian, etc.)--and the different varieties of response they have engendered in contemporary philosophy. Readings will be from Descartes, Kant, G.E. Moore, C.I. Lewis, Wilfrid Sellars, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Peter Strawson, Barry Stroud, Michael Williams, John McDowell, Stanley Cavell, Charles Travis, among others. J. Conant, H. Putnam. Autumn. (III)

53900. Workshop on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. PQ: Consent of Instructor(s). The workshop will be devoted to a careful reading of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. (May be taken for credit.) J. Conant, L. Linsky. Autumn, Winter, Spring. (III)

58600. Workshop: Continental Philosophy.A bi-weekly forum for graduate students to present current work in Continental Philosophy. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

59900. Contemporary Philosophy Workshop. A bi-weeklyforum for graduate students to present current work inContemporary Philosophy. C. Vogler. Autumn, Winter, Spring.