Spring 2005 Courses

Visiting Professor Hilary Putnam teaching a seminar.


Listed below are the courses the Department offered in the Spring 2005 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.

Spring Courses

21000. Introduction to Ethics. Open to college students. In this course, we will read, write, and think about central issues in moral philosophy. This survey course is designed to give a rapid introduction to philosophical ethics (largely in the Anglo-North American tradition (although not entirely as a product of Anglo-North American philosophers). We will begin with work by Immanuel Kant and Henry Sidgwick and conclude with important twentieth century work in metaethics and normative ethics (one thing that we will consider is the distinctions between metaethics, normative ethics, and the various fields united under the rubric 'applied ethics'). This course is intended as an introductory course in moral philosophy. Some prior work in philosophy is helpful, but not required. Candace Vogler. Spring 2005. (I)

21400. Happiness. Open to college students. From Plato to the present, notions of happiness have been at the core of heated debated in ethics and politics. Is happiness the ultimate good for human beings, the essence of the good life, or is morality somehow prior to it? Can it be achieved by all, or only by a fortunate few? These are some of the questions that this course engages, with the help of both classic and contemporary texts from philosophy, literature, and the social sciences. This course includes various video presentations and other materials stressing visual culture. Barton Schultz. Spring 2005. (I)

29900. B.A. Essay Preparation Open to college students. Prerequisites: Consent of B.A. adviser and director of undergraduate studies. Required of fourth-year students who are writing a senior essay. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. In consultation with their B.A. adviser, students work independently in preparation of the B.A. essay. Work is done over the course of the entire senior year; however, students register for this course in either Winter or Spring Quarter. Daniel Brudney. Spring 2005.*Special note: This course may also be taken in Winter 2005. Instructor: TBA. NOTE: Students may not register for both PHIL 29800 and 29900 in the same quarter. These courses are designed for graduate students but open to qualified College students.

21416/31416. Religion and the First Amendment Open to college and grad students. The course will cover the major legal issues in this area, focusing on the relationship between the Establishment clause and the Free Exercise clause. Some background reading in philosophy (e.g. Hobbes, Locke) will begin the class, and some comparative reading about other countries (especially India) will end it. Martha Nussbaum. Spring 2005. (I)

22900/32900. Seminar: Philosophy of Social Science Open to college and grad students. This course will begin with an overview of central concepts in traditional philosophy of social science, such as narrative explanation, and qualitative vs. quantitative approaches to social forecasting and explanation. We will then examine the landscape in contemporary philosophy of social science, focusing on systematic positions like realism, empiricism, and constructivism. We will examine the comparative plausibility of reductionist vs. nonreductionist explanations for a variety of social phenomena, as well as the prospects for relativism. Philosophers of social science often discuss the role that value plays in social explanations, and we will look at the normative vs. descriptive dimensions of social analysis. Finally, in light of human cognitive limitations, we will consider what heuristics are used to simplify the representation of social phenomena when conducting, and philosophically analyzing, social research. In the end, we will try to arrive at an image of an intellectually responsible philosophy of social science. Throughout, we will use empirical work to illustrate the thematic issues of the course. Our case studies will cover empirical research on happiness or Subjective Well-Being, social-psychological work on the Fundamental Attribution Error and other empathic failures in social understanding, and simple linear modeling as a way of assessing the number of variables that actually need to be considered when attempting to accurately understand (and predict) social phenomena. J.D. Trout. Spring 2005. (II)

23801/33801. Theory of Reference Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: Elementary formal logic (Phil 30000 or equivalent); prior exposure to analytic philosophy recommended.. A survey of recent theories of names, descriptions, and truth. We will discuss the relation of reference to meaning as well as the epistemological and metaphysical consequences drawn from theses about reference. After briefly reviewing classical sources (e.g. Frege, Russell, and Tarski), we will concentrate on current work by Searle, Kripke, Donnellan, Kaplan, Putnam, Evans, Davidson, and Burge. Josef Stern. Spring 2005. (III)

27200/37200. Spinoza's Ethics Open to college and grad students. In this seminar, we will pursue a close reading of Spinoza's philosophical masterpiece, the Ethics. Our focus will be on the metaphysics of Part One, especially Spinoza's identification of God and Nature; his conception of the nature of the human being; and finally on the moral philosophy of Parts Four and Five, with its rationalist and Stoic dimensions. Requirements: weekly presentations, and one research paper Steven Nadler. Spring 2005. *Special note: Field: V: Early Modern Philosophy (graduate)

29400/39600. Intermediate Logic - I Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.. This is a course in the science of logic. It presupposes a knowledge of the use of truth-functions and quantifiers as tools: such as the art of logic. Our principal task in this course is to study these tools in a systematic way. We cover the central theorems about first-order logic with identity: completeness, compactness, and L÷wenheim-Skolem theorems. We introduce any necessary set-theoretic and mathematical apparatus as required. We also study the topic of definition in more detail than is customary in such courses, culminating with a proof of Beth's theorem on implicit and explicit definitions. Michael Kremer. Spring 2005. (II)

49700. Workshop: Preliminary Essay Open to grad students. Third-year students finish this two-quarter course in the Autumn quarter; Second-year students take the first quarter of the course in the Spring term. Josef Stern. Spring 2005.

51810. Well-Ordered Societies: Rousseau and Rawls Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.. The course will examine the concept of a well-ordered society, the specific forms it takes in the work of Rousseau and Rawls, and the most important criticisms of the two writers' social ideals. Daniel Brudney. Spring 2005. (I)

54003. Moral Psychology Open to grad students. This seminar addresses topics at the intersection of ethics and the philosophy of mind. It draws on readings from both the early modern and contemporary period. The key early modern figures are Hobbes and Hume: we will look closely at their conceptions of reason and of its relationship to ethics. Contemporary ethicists and philosophers of action often claim a kinship between their views and those of these earlier figures, especially Hume; we will evaluate these claims and also consider the contemporary views on their own terms. Central issues include the idea of a reason for action, the question of whether moral principles play a distinctive role in the motivation of action, and the nature of akrasia (weakness of the will). Jason Bridges, Michael Green. Spring 2005. (III)

54802. Heidegger Open to grad students. The topic of this course will be the conception of temporality (as the sense of being) that Heidegger incompletely develops in the last third of Being and Time and the last (long) chapter of The Basic Problems of Phenomenology. The real hope is to get clear enough about what's going on in these unfinished accounts to get some insight into what it would have taken to bring them to fruition. Students will be expected to be quite familiar with both Being and Time and "The Basic Problems" before the course begins John Haugeland. Spring 2005. (III)

59900. Workshop: Philosophy of Mind Open to grad students. The aim of this workshop is to serve as a focal point at the university for research and discussion in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology. We'll pursue this aim in three ways: (1) by reading and discussing recent texts the exemplify central themes in the contemporary literature; (2) by providing a forum in which graduate students can present and receive feedback on their own work; and (3) by hosting a series of presentations by prominent philosophers of mind, psychologists, and specialists in related fields. Likely topics of conversation include: the relation between concepts and perceptual experience, self-knowledge, mental causation, and naturalism. Jason Bridges, David Finkelstein. Spring 2005. *Special note: Meets over three quarters.

59900. Workshop: Contemporary Philosophy Open to grad students. Meets over three quarters. Josef Stern. Spring 2005. *Special note: This Workshop meets even weeks over three quarters.