Autumn 2005 Courses

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

Autumn Courses

20100/30000. Elementary Logic Open to college and grad students. Course not for field credit. An introduction to the concepts and principles of symbolic logic: valid and invalid argument, logical relations among sentences and their basis in structural features of those sentences, formal languages and their use in analyzing statements and arguments of ordinary discourse (especially the analysis of reasoning involving truth-functions and quantifiers), and systems for logical deduction. Throughout, we are attentive to both general normative principles of valid reasoning and the application of these principles to particular problems. Time permitting, the course ends with a brief consideration of set theory. Jason Bridges. Autumn 2005.

21500. The Meaning of Life Open to college students. This course explores the nature of the most basic question we may ask ourselves: how should we lead our lives? What sort of question is this? What is involved in reflecting, not simply upon whether this action is right or that trait is admirable, but upon what a life should be like as a whole? Do we discover the meaning of life, or do we create it for ourselves? Is only the reflective life worth living? Topics also include conversion, life-plans, and fear of death. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Nietzsche, Berlin, I. Murdoch, S. Hampshire, Rawls, B. Williams, and T. Nagel. Autumn 2005.

21700/31600. Human Rights - I: Philosophical Foundations of Human Right Open to college and grad students. This course addresses the following questions. First, what is a right? How are legal rights different from moral rights? What does it mean to say that someone has a right? How distinctive are rights; are they simply equivalent to duties? Second, what is the relationship between rights and duties? How should rights be compared with bringing about the best overall results? Is there an important difference between so-called civil and political rights, on the one hand, and social and economic rights on the other? Third, what is the best way of responding to moral disagreement? Is moral relativism a coherent response to diversity? Is there a connection between moral relativism and tolerance? Do we need a foundation for human rights? Autumn 2005. (I)
*Special note: Additional IDENTS: GSHU 28700/38700 ISHU 28700/38700 LAWS 41200 INRE 31600

22000/32000. Introduction to the Philosophy of Science Open to college and grad students. We will focus on classic 20th century debates about central questions of philosophy of science. How do the procedures of modern science test theories---i.e., what is the "scientific method," or (this may or may not be the same thing) what is rational empirical testing in general? At what do such procedures aim? What makes them successful and/or leads to scientific progress? How (if at all) does modern science differ from other kinds of discipline (e.g., pseudo-science, religion, philosophy)? Readings from Popper, Reichenbach, Quine, Putnam, Kuhn, and others. Autumn 2005. (II)

23505/33505. Indivuation and the Identity of Indiscernibles Open to college and grad students. Can two things (such as bodies, events, moments, or thoughts) have precisely the same qualities? If so, what makes them different from each other? The course will study various theories of individuation in the early modern period and in contemporary metaphysics, Readings will include texts by: Aristotle, Thomas, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Clarke, Newton, Kant, Maimon, Russell, Max Black, Ayer, Ian Hacking, Robert Adams, and Michael Della Rocca. Yitzhak Melamed. Autumn 2005.

23900/33900. Austin Open to college and grad students. Our readings are in the works of J. L. Austin, mainly How to Do Things with Words, and essays related to those lectures. If time permits, we consider later developments in the works of Grice and Cavell, among others. Ted Cohen. Autumn 2005. (III)

24800. Foucault and the History of Sexuality Open to college students. Prerequisites: Prior philosophy course or consent of instructor.. This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. Arnold Davidson. Autumn 2005.

25000. History of Philosophy - I: Ancient Philosophy Open to college students. Prerequisites: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good. Gabriel Richardson Lear. Autumn 2005.

26401. The Philosophy of Socrates Open to college students. We shall read selected texts by Plato to gain a sense of Socrates' method of argument and his conception of philosophy. Jonathan Lear. Autumn 2005.

28500/38500. Darwin's Origin of Species Open to college and grad students. This lecture/discussion course traces the development of Darwin's theory of evolution through the early stages (just after the Beagle voyage) to his Origin of Species. The principal focus of the course is on the Origin, its several editions, and the debates concerning the theory of evolution by natural selection. We'll be especially concerned to assess the logical and rhetorical structure of Darwin's argument. We will also consider the status of the contemporary alternative to the Darwin's theory, namely, Intelligent Design. Robert Richards. Autumn 2005. (II)
*Special note: Additional crosslist: FNDL 23500

29600. Junior Seminar: Hedonism Open to college students. Prerequisites: Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration program. Hedonism -- the view that pleasure is the human good -- is an extremely attractive theory. Plato offers some of the most nuanced arguments against hedonism and also, through Socrates' interlocutors, some of its most eloquent defenses. We will examine these arguments with the purpose of discovering the nature of pleasure and its role in a life worth choosing. We will end with an examination of Epicurean hedonism with a view to determining how well it accounts for the value of friendship and moral virtue. Gabriel Richardson Lear. Autumn 2005.

29901. Senior Seminar I Open to college students. Prerequisites: PQ: Consent of director of undergraduate studies. . All students writing a B.A. Essay in the Philosophy Department must register for Philosophy 29901 ("Senior Seminar I") and Philosophy 29902 ("Senior Seminar II"). Philosophy 29901 is offered in both Autumn and Winter, and Philosophy 29902 is offered in both Winter and Spring. However: B.A. writers must EITHER register for Phil 29901 in the Autumn and Philosophy 29902 in the Winter, OR register for Phil 29901 in the Winter and Philosophy 29902 in the Spring. Students may not register for both courses in the Winter. Michael Kremer. Autumn 2005.
*Special note: B.A. writers must attend all meetings of the work-in-progress workshop, which meets periodically over all three quarters. Contact the director of undergraduate studies for details.

30200. Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Set Theory Open to grad students and college students with consent of instructor. I will feel free to (i) use the notation of predicate logic and (ii) to give simple mathematical arguments which presuppose no background knowledge beyond general literacy: e.g. the basic properties of the integers and epsilon-delta arguments in analysis. Lacking the ability to appreciate (ii) is perhaps not essential to the main content of the course, but it will diminish one's profit from it. William Tait. Autumn 2005.
*Special note: Contact me at if you have some doubts about whether you should enroll. (Naturally, I may not have an infallible answer.)

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. Autumn 2005.

50100. First-year Seminar Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to first-year graduate students. David Finkelstein. Autumn 2005.
*Special note: Meets in Autumn and Winter quarters.

43410. What is Onto-theology? Heidegger and the Case of Descartes Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Knowledge of Latin, French, German useful but not required. Both for theology and history of philosophy, the concept of "onto-theology", coined by Kant and above all by Heidegger, seems at the same time controversial and inescapable. In order to give a rational and steady account of it, we shall try to understand and test it using the precise example of Descartes' metaphysics. How far should Cartesian thought be framed by this constitution? Do some Cartesian doctrines resist or overlap this frame? How could we draw the limits? In return, what does this example teach about the overall pertinence of the onto-theological constitution of metaphysics as such? Spring 2006.

51500. Practical Reason Open to grad students. In this seminar we will examine some of most notable recent work on the means and ends of practical reasoning as well as on the nature of reasons and of normativity in general. Books discussed will include Gibbard, Wise Choices, Apt Feelings; Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity; and Scanlon, What We Owe to Each Other. There will also be discussion of essays by Williams, Frankfurt, Raz, McDowell, and Dancy. Autumn 2005. (I)

51801. Evil Open to grad students. The seminar will look at Kant on evil, as well as at the "problem of evil" as it is to be understood both before and after Auschwitz. We will also examine several examples of evil in works of literature. Daniel Brudney. Autumn 2005. (I)

52000. Foucault: Technologies of Power Open to grad students. Prerequisites: PQ: Reading knowledge of French. . A study of Foucault's 1977-78 course Securite, Territoire, Population and the opening lecture of his 1978-79 course Naissance de la biopolitique. Securite, Territoire, Population is an analysis of the history of technologies of power from the Christian pastoral to reason of State. A crucial aspect of these courses is the development of the notion of "governmentality." Arnold Davidson. Autumn 2005. (I)

53801. Kierkegaard's Socrates Open to grad students. This will be an inquiry into the philosophical significance the figure of Socrates had for Kierkegaard. We shall read the relevant sections of The concept of irony, Philosophical Fragments, Concluding Unscientific Postscript and The Sickness Unto Death. We shall also read relevant sections from Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Jonathan Lear. Autumn 2005.

57301. Hobbes's Leviathan Open to grad students. This seminar is devoted to developing an interpretation of the whole of Hobbes's Leviathan. Specifically, I will focus on his moral theory, which I believe has to be understood in the context of his political theory and his conception of philosophy in general. Some of the topics to be discussed include the relationship between reason and ethics, Hobbes's nominalism, his theory of rights, and his conception of sovereignty. Autumn 2005.