Autumn 2010 Courses

Candace Vogler teaching a seminar.

Listed below are the courses the Department plans to offer in the Autumn 2010 quarter. This course list may change.

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

Note: 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.

Note: Letters A and B refer to undergraduate field designations; Roman numerals I-V refer to graduate field designations.

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If you click on the image or link below, you will find an enlargeable image of a chart which perspicuously represents the weekly meeting times of our Autumn 2010 Courses. Once the chart has opened in a new window, you can enlarge the image to whatever size you like in order to make it easier to read.

Autumn Courses at-a-glance - PDF

Open to Undergraduates:

21700. Human Rights I: Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. (=HMRT 20100, HIST 29301, LLSO 25100.) Human rights are those rights a person has simply in virtue of being human.  Talk about human rights is ubiquitous in contemporary debates about politics and international relations.  But where do human rights come from, and what are they like?  And why should we believe in them?  In this class we will explore the philosophical foundations of such rights, investigating different accounts of how our shared humanity gives rise to universal norms of justice, and of how the requirements of such justice differ from those of charity or benevolence.  We will begin with important historical sources from ancient, medieval and early modern writers.  We will also consider contemporary approaches to human rights.  In addition, we will focus on philosophical problems concerning some specific human rights, such as the right not to be tortured and the right of people in poor countries to a just international economic order. (A) M. Lott.

25000 History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy. (=CLCV 22700) PQ: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities.  This is a course in Ancient Greek Philosophy.  We will study major works by Plato and Aristotle, ones that introduced the philosophical questions we struggle with to this day: What are the goals of a life well-lived?  Why should we have friends? How do we explain weakness of will? What makes living things different from nonliving things? What is the difference between knowledge and belief? What is definition and what is capable of being defined? A. Callard.

29600. Intensive Track Seminar. PQ: Open only to students in the Intensive Track. Topics for this small, discussion-oriented seminar vary. D. Brudney.

29700. Reading Course: Philosophy. Staff.

29901.  Senior Seminar I. PQ: Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Required of fourth-year students who are writing a senior essay. Students writing senior essays register once for Phil 29901, in either the Autumn or Winter quarter, and once for Phil 29902,  in either the Winter or Spring quarter.  (Students may not register for both PHIL 29901 and 29902 in the same quarter.) The senior seminar will in fact meet in all three quarters, and students writing essays are required to attend throughout.  J. Bridges, B. Callard, staff. Autumn, Winter.


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Open to Graduates and Undergraduates:

20100/30000. Elementary Logic. (=CHSS 33500, HIPS 20700) Course not for field credit. An introduction to the concepts and principles of symbolic logic. We learn the syntax and semantics of truth-functional and first-order quantificational logic, and apply the resultant conceptual framework to the analysis of valid and invalid arguments, the structure of formal languages, and logical relations among sentences of ordinary discourse. Occasionally we will venture into topics in philosophy of language and philosophical logic, but our primary focus is on acquiring a facility with symbolic logic as such. K. Davey.

20210/30210. Kant’s Ethics. In this course we will read, write, and think about Kant's ethics.  After giving careful attention to the arguments in the Second Critique, portions of the Third Critique, the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, the Metaphysics of Morals, and several other primary texts, we will conclude by working through some contemporary neo-Kantian moral philosophy, paying close attention to work by Christine Korsgaard, David Velleman, Stephen Engstrom, and others. C. Vogler. (A) (I)

20410/30410. Philosophy of Perception This course concerns the nature and character of perceptual experience. We will cover the most prominent contemporary accounts of perception---representationalism, relationalism, sense-datum accounts, etc.---and discuss how these views account for the distinctive phenomenal features of experience. Special focus will be given to experience's presentational character. C. Frey. (III) (B)

21210/31210. Philosophy and Literature. This course is a reading of works by a variety of contemporary authors that deal with the question of whether, and how, fiction and philosophy are related to one another. T. Cohen. (A)

21510/31510. Forms of Skepticism in Antiquity. This course will attempt to provide a broad introduction to the main forms of skepticism that were developed in antiquity. Specific cases covered will include Xenophanes, Parmenides, the Sophists (Protagoras and Gorgias), Socrates, Academic Skepticism, and Pyrrhonism. The course will include both lectures and discussion. M. Forster. (B) (IV)

22010/32010. From Sellars to McDowell. Note: Instructor consent no longer required for registration. Wilfrid Sellars comments that, in thinking about knowledge and intentionality, philosophers tend to make "a mistake of a piece with the so-called 'naturalistic fallacy' in ethics." We’ll have this “mistake” in mind as we focus (most of) our attention on two important and difficult twentieth-century texts: Sellars’ "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind” and John McDowell’s Mind and World. Topics of concern to us will include naturalism, the character of perceptual experience, holism in the philosophy of mind, and what Sellars calls “the logical space of reasons.” D. Finkelstein. (B) (III)

28010/38010. Introduction to Philosophy of Language. Open to college and grad students. PQ: Elementary Logic or equivalent. Students will benefit most if they have already taken classes in philosophy. This course will serve as an introduction to the key concepts and topics in the philosophy of language. The goal is to provide students with the necessary background for work on contemporary topics in philosophy of language and, more generally, analytic philosophy. The course examines a variety of classical views on the nature of meaning, reference, and truth, with a special focus on the problem of understanding how linguistic communication works. Readings will include Frege, Davidson, Grice, Kripke, Quine, Russell, Strawson, among others. M. Willer. (II) (B)

31414. MAPH Core Course: Contemporary Analytic Philosophy. A survey of some of the central concerns in various areas of philosophy, pursued from the perspective of the analytic tradition. In epistemology, our topics will include the definition of knowledge, the challenge of skepticism, and the nature of justification. In the philosophy of mind, we will explore the mind-body problem and the nature and structure of intentional states. In the philosophy of language, we will address theories of truth and of speech acts, the sense/reference distinction, and the semantics of names and descriptions. In ethics, we will focus on the debate between utilitarians and Kantians. This course is open only to MAPH students. MAPH students who wish to apply to Ph.D. programs in philosophy are strongly urged to take this course.  B. Callard.


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Open to Graduate Students:

49700. Preliminary Essay Workshop. PQ: All and only philosophy graduate students in the relevant years. A two-quarter (Spring, Autumn) workshop on the preliminary essay required for all doctoral students in the Spring of their second year and the Autumn of their third year. The workshop involves discussion of general issues in writing the essay and student presentations of their work. Although students do not register for the Summer quarter, they are expected to make significant progress on their preliminary essay over the summer. C. Vogler.

49900. Reading and Research. Staff.

50010. The Modern Regime in Art I. The Ends of Romanticism (=SCTH 38111, GRMN 38111, CMLT 37300) This two quarter seminar (Fall, Winter) will discuss and evaluate efforts to conceptualize modernism in the arts from the eighteenth century to the present.  Modernism is widely thought to challenge traditional notions of aesthetic success (theories of perfection, the beautiful, harmony, etc.) and by doing so to raise large philosophical questions about perception, experience, language and the modern condition itself. Who first understood this massive change in aesthetic practices? Who best understood why it occurred? Is there such a thing as modernist philosophy? Did modernism “end”? Of what significance is that fact?
Readings in the first quarter will include a range of philosophical and critical texts by Hölderlin, Schiller, Schlegel, Schelling, Hegel, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Vincent Descombes, Michael Fried, and a consideration of some of the paintings of Édouard Manet. R. Pippin, D. Wellbery.

50100. First-Year Seminar. PQ: Limited to first-year students in the Philosophy PhD program. This course introduces students to some classic works of analytic philosophy which are part of the lingua franca both of the discipline and of this department. The course also serves as an introduction to graduate-level work in philosophy, as well as to bring together the first-year class in a philosophical conversation. The course is graded pass/fail, and is run as a seminar. I expect extensive participation in discussion from all students in the class.  Readings will include works by Carnap, Quine, Sellars, Davidson, Rorty, Kripke and McDowell. Autumn, Winter. M. Kremer.

50910. Improvisation as a Way of Life. (=CDIN 50910, CMLT 51800, MUS 45511, DVPR 50901). Enrollment to be capped at 20; Graduate students interested in enrolling should email Arnold Davidson prior to registering.  This seminar will be organized around the idea that the practice of improvisation is not at all limited to the artistic domain, but is a ubiquitous practice of everyday life, a primary method of exchange in any interaction.  Improvisation is, in effect, a certain kind of orientation or attitude towards oneself, others, and the world. Combining philosophical, ethnographic, musicological, and technological modes of analysis and creation, this seminar aims at the presentation of new models of intelligibility, agency, expression, and social responsibility that can inform the theory and practice of real-time musical analysis, leading to new and more effective interactive technologies as well. A. Davidson, G. Lewis.

50110. Meaning. (=LING 50110, DVPR 50110). This seminar will be an intensive introduction for graduate students in Philosophy, Linguistics, and related disciplines to the truth-conditional analysis of linguistic meaning.  The course will not presume any prior familiarity with the subject matter but it will be geared toward the level of sophistication of graduate students and proceed at their pace.   Readings will include, among others, Frege, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, Chomsky, D. Lewis, Burge, Lepore and Ludwig, and Higginbotham.  Note: The first meeting of the seminar will be on Monday October 4 (Monday of the second week of the quarter) and the last meeting will be on Monday December 6 (Monday of the eleventh week). J. Stern. (II)

52010. Practical Determinants of Thought and Meaning. Our practical interests and aims help determine the contents of our thoughts and utterances.  That is true at least in the obvious respect that our interests and aims help determine what we attend to, what we expend energy thinking about, and what we find worth mentioning.  Is it true in any deeper or more philosophically significant respect?  From early American pragmatism to contemporary  “contextualism”, philosophers have defended versions of a positive answer to this question.  We will focus our engagement with this question by concentrating on a related series of views about the nature of concepts and knowledge.  Readings will be drawn from work by Wittgenstein, Grice, Wiggins, Cavell, Keith DeRose, Mark Wilson, Jason Stanley, Robert Brandom, Charles Travis, and Sober and Wilson. J. Bridges. (III)

51200. Law-Philosophy Workshop. (=LAWS 61512, RETH 51301, GNDR 50101, HMRT 51301) This is a seminar/workshop most of whose participants are faculty from various area institutions.  It admits approximately ten students by permission of the instructors.  Its aim is to study, each year, a topic that arises in both philosophy and the law and to ask how bringing the two fields together may yield mutual illumination.  There are twelve meetings throughout the year, always on Mondays from 4 to 6 PM.  Half of the sessions are led by local faculty, half by visiting speakers.   The leader assigns readings for the session (which may be by that person, by other contemporaries, or by major historical figures), and the session consists of a brief introduction by the leader, followed by structured questioning by the two faculty coordinators, followed by general discussion.   Students write a 20-25 page seminar paper at the end of the year.  The course satisfies the Law School Writing Requirement.  The schedule of meetings will be announced by mid-September, and prospective students should submit their credentials to both instructors by September 20.  Past themes have included: practical reason; equality; privacy; autonomy; global justice; pluralism and toleration; war; sexuality and family.

Students are admitted by permission of the instructors.  They should submit a c.v. and a statement (reasons for interest in the course, relevant background in law and/or philosophy) by September 20 to the instructors by e mail.  Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, and divinity, and law students. B. Leiter, B. Laurence (Law).

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53900. Wittgenstein Workshop. James Conant, Michael Kremer

59920. Formal Philosophy Workshop. Kevin Davey, William Tait.

59909. Practical Philosophy Workshop. Agnes Callard, Dan Brudney

Semantics and Philosophy of Language Workshop. Josef Stern, Malte Willer, Chris Kennedy (Linguistics) and Anastasia Giannakidou (Linguistics)

59900. Contemporary Philosophy Workshop. Ben Laurenece

59910. Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy Workshop. Agnes Callard, Elizabeth Asmis

59100.. German Philosophy Workshop. James Conant, Robert Pippin

51200. Law Philosophy Workshop. Ben Laurence, Brian Leiter (Law)

59200. (=SCTH 59200). Literature and Philosophy Workshop. Robert Pippin.

58609. Contemporary European Philosophy Workshop. Arnold Davidson.