Winter 2006 Courses

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

Winter Courses

20701/30701. German Romanticism: Science, Philosophy, Literature Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: Open to third- and fourth-year College students with consent. This is a lecture-discussion seminar that investigates the formation of the idea of the Romantic in literature, philosophy, and science during the age of Goethe. The works of the following will be discussed: Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel brothers, Novalis, Schleiermacher, Schiller, the Humboldt brothers, and Goethe. Robert Richards. Winter 2006. (IV)
*Special note: Field credit: V

21404/31404. Well-Ordered Societies Open to college and grad students. This course examines several modern attempts to sketch an ideal society. Texts to be read include More, Utopia, Rousseau, On the Social Contract, and Rawls, A Theory of Justice. Daniel Brudney. Winter 2006. (I)

21600. Introduction to Political Philosophy Open to college students. What would a just liberal democratic political order involve, and is that the best or only form of "legitimate" government? What are the best, reasoned justifications for such a political order, and how utopian or distant from present realities is the political philosophizing behind such justifications? Does a just liberal democratic society require that citizens be friends, or equals, or autonomous choosers, or free of particular identities or political passions? How would it reconstruct gender and sexuality? And what are the duties of citizens when the political order falls short of this ideal? How should this ideal guide current political practice and determine the role of countries such as the U.S. in world politics? In an age of terror and globalization, when many view the U.S. as a new empire, how optimistic can one be or should one be about the fate of the distinctively modern ideal of a just liberal democratic society? This course will address these questions and others, taking as a point of departure the political theories of John Stuart Mill, John Rawls, and Martha Nussbaum. Barton Schultz. Winter 2006.

22210. Boundaries, Modules, & Levels Open to college students. The course will investigate conceptual problems arising in the attempt to analyze the structure of complex systems in a variety of biological, psychological, social, and technological contexts, and how the answers may vary with how the boundaries are drawn We will confront descriptive, critical, and normative puzzles arising from questions like: Is a society just a collection of people, an organized collection of people, or something more? Can corporation have rights and responsibilities and groups have identities? Why are minds in the head, or are they? And are genes the bearers of heredity? John Haugeland, William Wimsatt. Winter 2006.
*Special note: Undergraduate field (B)

22300/32300. Topics in Philosophy of Physics: The Arrow of Time Open to college and grad students. The asymmetry between past and future raises a number of questions that have proved difficult to answer. In what precise sense is there an asymmetry between past and future? Can this asymmetry be explained solely by the second law of thermodynamics? How could an asymmetric law like the second law of thermodynamics be true in a world consisting of micro-particles governed only by laws symmetrical between past and future? We will look at the way in which these questions have been treated historically (by Boltzmann, Gibbs, and others), and in more modern times (by Reichenbach, Davies, Albert, and others.) Although there will be opportunities for students to pursue some of the more technical literature if they wish, the class will also be accessible to philosophy students without extensive physics training. Winter 2006. (II)

22500/32500. Biological and Cultural Evolution Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: Third- or fourth-year standing or consent of instructor. Core background in evolution and genetics strongly recommended. . This course draws on readings and examples form linguistics, evolutionary genetics, and the history and philosophy of science. We elaborate theory to understand and model cultural evolution, as well as explore analogies, differences, and relations to biological evolution. We also consider basic biological, cultural, and linguistic topics and case studies from an evolutionary perspective. Time is spent both on what we do know, and on determining what we don't. William Wimsatt. Winter 2006. (II)
*Special note: Co-taught by S. Mufwene Additional idents: BPRO 23900, NCDV 27400

22501. Medicine and Society: Things, Bodies, Persons Open to college students. The course explores ethically controversial topics in contemporary medicine such as abortion, the right to die, genetic enhancement, and the role of religion in medicine. The course will be team-taught by faculty from medicine and philosophy. For each topic, we will discuss current dilemmas that arise in clinical medicine, and elucidate the moral bases for different responses to the dilemmas. Daniel Brudney. Winter 2006.

23001/33110. Reasons and Reasoning Open to college and grad students. Arguably, the fundamental distinguishing feature of creatures with minds is their possession of rationality: the capacity to recognize, assess, and be moved by reasons. But what is a reason, and what is it to recognize, assess, or be moved by one? In addressing these questions we will grapple with several core issues in epistemology and philosophy of mind. Topics include: theoretical vs. practical reason, the relationship between the explanatory and justificatory dimensions of reasons, first- and third-personal perspectives on psychological explanation, the role of perceptual experience in providing reasons for belief, the nature of inference, and contextualism about justification. Authors read include, among many others: Brandom, Davidson, Fogelin, McDowell, Peacocke, Jay Wallace and Michael Williams. Jason Bridges. Winter 2006. (III)

25110. Maimonides and Hume on Religion Open to college students. This course will study in alternation chapters from Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed and David Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, two major philosophical works whose literary forms are at least as important as their contents. Topics will include human knowledge of the existence and nature of God, anthropomorphism and idolatry, religious language, and the problem of evil. Time permitting, we shall also read other short works by these two authors on related themes. Josef Stern. Winter 2006.

25704. Plato's Republic Open to college students. We will read the entirety of Plato's Republic, as well as a little secondary literature. The goal is to follow the argument of the Republic in a sustained way, from the opening disputes about the definition of justice, through the foundation of a city in speech and the nature of philosophy, to the criticism of poetry and the concluding myth. Throughout, we will attempt to see how Socrates appeals to his interlocutors (and, by extension, to us) on the basis of reasons; that is, we will consider whether he gives us good reasons for the views he espouses. Please note: the course presupposes only that one is interested in reading the Republic; it is suitable for students who have already read the Republic (in whole or in part), as well as for students who have never read any of it. Jonathan Beere. Winter 2006.

25901/39501. Topics in Contemporary European Thought Open to college and grad students. A study of selected authors and texts that have played a significant role in contemporary European thought. Special attention to questions of aesthetics, ethics, and politics. Arnold Davidson. Winter 2006. (I)

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. Winter 2006. (II)

29902. Senior Seminar II 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. Winter 2006.
*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.

50400. German Romanticim Open to grad students. Michael Forster. Winter 2006. (I)

51700. Readings in Contemporary Philosophy of Art Open to grad students. Ted Cohen. Winter 2006.

51810. The Legal and Political Philosophy of Ronald Dworkin Open to grad students. This seminar will be centered primarily on Dworkin's legal philosophy, as expounded in Taking Rights Seriously and Law's Empire, focusing on his critique of positivism and on his interpretive theory of law as "integrity." But considerable attention will also be given to its connection to his political philosophy and to his ideas about liberalism and justice. A student's grade will be based on a take-home final or a major paper, which may be used to fulfill a substantial writing requirement. Winter 2006.

55405. Parts of the Soul Open to grad students. This seminar will investigate the idea that the soul has parts. What does it mean to claim that there are different parts to the soul? Why is such a notion invoked? What does that imply about the prospects for human happiness or freedom? Reading: relevant sections from Plato's Republic, Freud The Ego and the id, and other relevant works on the structural theory; other later psychoanalytic writers. Jonathan Lear. Winter 2006.

55700. Aristotle's Poetics Open to grad students. An examination of Aristotle's theory of tragedy. We will consider the Platonic background as well as passages from Aristotle's ethical and political works in order to understand the notions of mimesis, action, character, and catharsis. Knowledge of Greek appreciated but not required. Gabriel Richardson Lear. Winter 2006.

58600. Workshop: Continental Philosophy Open to grad students. Meets over three quarters. Arnold Davidson. Winter 2006.