Spring 2006 Courses

Listed below are the courses the Department offered in the Spring 2006 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. Prerequisites: None. 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? Spring 2006.

21010/31010. Metaethics Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: PQ: one course in ethics. Why be moral? What sort of account can we give of the bases of ethical judgments? In this course we will read, write and think about foundational accounts of ethics. We will consider arguments to the effect that anyone who acts unethically thereby sins against reason, that a proper understanding of the human being as such shows that ethical life belongs to our nature, that rational agents or reasonable people will be bound by ethical or moral principles as those guides for conduct that might inform a social contract, and that anyone with his wits about him will be drawn toward ethical conduct as a matter of basic temperament. Over the course of our work, we will also encounter many arguments that none of these approaches suffices to provide a substantive foundation for ethics. Candace Vogler. Spring 2006. (I)

21900/31300. Aesthetics of Hume and Kant Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: Prior knowledge of Hume's Treatise and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is useful but not required.. The theory of taste and one main line in modern philosophy of art begins with these authors. Principal readings are Hume's "Of the Standard of Taste" and "Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion," and much of Kant's Critique of Judgment. Ted Cohen. Spring 2006. (I)

23550/33550. Husserl on Intentionality Open to college and grad students. This course will sketch a general introduction to Husserlian phenomenology. We shall place the birth of Husserlian phenomenology in the context of the Austrian philosophy of the end of the XIXth century, tracing it back to both the Brentanian purpose of a descriptive psychology and Bolzano's objective semantics. We shall consider how phenomenology in the Husserlian sense, as a new philosophical discipline, is defined between logic and psychology in Husserl's 'Logical Investigations' (1900-1901). Then we shall pay attention to the turn the philosopher took between 1905 and 1913, that he himself describes as 'transcendental'. We shall, finally, wonder how far the developments of Husserl's thinking after World War I might alter that 'transcendental phenomenology', as a phenomenology of the pure ego and of the absolutely constitutive consciousness. Jocelyn Benoist. Spring 2006.

24601/34601. Analytic Philosophy Open to college and grad students. Philosophy in the English language in the 20th century has been dominated by questions of the "analysis of language," meaning, and logic. We will survey the history of the analytic tradition, focusing as much on questions of philosophical method, fundamental presuppositions, and the nature of philosophical activity as on the specific philosophical issues which we will discuss. We will begin with the historical background at the beginning of the 20th century: idealism in Britain (Bradley) and the development of new logical techniques (Frege). We will look at the use of these new logical techniques by Moore and Russell to argue against idealism, and their development of a classical paradigm of "analysis." We will consider the problematic place of Wittgenstein's early work in relation to this tradition, and its appropriation by the logical positivists (Carnap, Schlick). We will then examine the unraveling of this tradition in the diverse criticisms mounted by ordinary language philosophy (Ryle, Austin), later Wittgenstein, and American neo-positivist/neo-pragmatist philosophers (Quine, Sellars, Putnam, Davidson), ending with the question of the future of that tradition as it stands at what appears to be a crucial juncture in its history. Michael Kremer. Spring 2006. (III)

27000. History of Philosophy III: Kant and the Nineteenth Century Open to college students. Prerequisites: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. This course provides a broad introduction to the most important thinkers and themes in later 18th and 19th century Philosophy. Michael Forster. Spring 2006.

28201/33001. Hegel's Phenomenology Open to college and grad students. This course will attempt to give a general introduction to what is arguably Hegel's most exciting work. We will begin by spending some time discussing the overall project of the work, especially as articulated in the Preface and Introduction. After that, we will examine some of the most important sections of the work, such as "Sense-certainty" and "Lordship and Bondage" in more detail. Michael Forster. Spring 2006. (IV)
*Special note: Field V

29000/39700. Intermediate Logic - II: Incompleteness Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: Intermediate Logic - I or equivalent.. The focus of this course will be Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. We will prove these theorems in detail, and also discuss their broader philosophical implications. Spring 2006. (II)

29200/29300. Junior/Senior Tutorial Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: Open only to third-year students/fourth-year students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration program. Title: "Kant's Metaphysics of Morals: Foundations and Edifice" Courses on Kant's ethics often focus on the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and rarely examine the moral system Kant constructed upon this foundation in the Metaphysics of Morals. The purpose of this course is to read the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) and Metaphysics of Morals (1797) alongside each other, on the premise that they need to be understood in relation to each other. We will develop and test the hypothesis that some classical criticisms of Kant's moral theory can be redressed by considering the determinate system of duties in the Metaphysics of Morals. We will also formulate and examine the thesis that other problems in Kant's moral philosophy may remain hidden unless we look at the system itself, and not only the propadeutic to this system. Some topics to be considered will be: the role of feeling in moral motivation; deontology and virtue ethics; right and morality; the formalism of the moral law; practical anthropology and morality; transcendental freedom and 'eternal freedom'; and proto-Marxism and Marxist critique. Ths course is designed for intensive track majors and some familiarity with Kant's ethics will be presupposed, even though we will undertake a careful reading of the texts to be considered, with some supplementary readings from Kant and contemporary commentators. Staff TBD. Spring 2006.
*Special note: Taught by Sheela Kumar

33400. Heidegger's Being and Time Open to grad students and college students with consent of instructor. John Haugeland. Spring 2006.

53300. Philosophy of Language Open to grad students. Josef Stern.

53901. Seminar: Wittgenstein Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Enrollment is limited to graduate students in the Philosophy Ph.D. program. David Finkelstein. Spring 2006.

53950. Introduction to Austrian Philosophy: States of Affairs Open to grad students. This course will deal with the shared Austrian roots of both phenomenology and Analytic philosophy. In the first place, it will give the students a sketch of the richness of the Austrian logical and psychological tradition at the end of the XIXth century and before (from Bolzano to the Brentanian school, in its diversity), shedding thus a new light on both Husserl's and early Wittgenstein's thought. We shall show that both of them could be read, in different ways, as heirs to this tradition. Then, the course will contrast the side of early Analytic philosophy (the early Wittgenstein, but also before him to some extent even Russell, in his discussion with Meinong) that can be reasonably connected to this tradition with the side that cannot (Frege). We shall therefore not only deal with the possible contrast between early phenomenology and early Analytic philosophy, but also with a contrast that belongs to early Analytic philosophy itself. In this survey, we shall take the perspective of the propositional reference problem, paying attention to the introduction by authors belonging to both traditions, over the same span of time (1870-1914), of the notion of 'state of affairs' (Sachverhalt) or any substitute for them. Why use this kind of concept, and, as to some key authors (like Frege), why avoid it? We shall read texts by Bolzano, Brentano, Frege, Meinong, Russell, Husserl, Wittgenstein (Tractatus) and perhaps a few others. Jocelyn Benoist. Spring 2006.
*Special note: Feild V. Undergraduate auditors welcome.

55802. Change and activity in Aristotle Open to grad students. This course will explore Aristotle's distinction between two kinds of "events." (I put scare quotes are "event" because Aristotle doesn't obviously have a single term to cover both.) One sort of event unfolds in time, takes time, can't happen without some measurable bit of time passing. These events are called changes (kineseis). The other sort of event may well last for some time, but it does not require the passage of time to take place: at any instant at which it is in the midst of happening, it already has happened. These events are distinguished from changes, and, at some places, are called activities (energeiai). We will begin with Aristotle's definition of change in Book III of the Physics, together with the associated discussion of one thing's doing something to another (poiesis). We will then explore the contrast drawn in other passages between change, exemplified by house-building, learning, and locomotion, and other cases of doing (energeia), exemplified by perceiving, thinking, and enjoying. This will involve texts from the Metaphysics, the Nicomachean Ethics, and de Anima (including a terribly long and difficult chapter on why perceiving is not changing). If time allows, we will conclude by reading Metaphysics VIII.6, where Aristotle claims that the unity of a substance is the unity of something with an ability for an energeia and something exercising that ability. In each case, I expect to spend some time engaging with secondary literature. Spring 2006. (IV)

56800. Spinoza's Metaphysics Open to grad students. Metaphysics The seminar is an in depth study of the first two parts of Spinoza's major work, the Ethics. Discussion will focus on the following topics: the style and structure of the book, the definition of attribute, the substance-mode relation, infinity, duration and eternity, Spinoza's proof of substance-monism, infinite modes, necessitarianism, parallelism, individuals and their limits, the nature of bodies. Special attention will be given to the principle of sufficient reason and to the priority of the infinite over the finite as the two metaphysical principles which motivate many of Spinoza's claims. Yitzhak Melamed. Spring 2006.

59900. Workshop: Contemporary Philosophy Open to grad students. Meets over three quarters. Josef Stern. Spring 2006.