Listed below are the courses the Department plans to offer in the Autumn 2016 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 without prior permission from the instructor. A College student who has secured prior permission to sign up for a course from the instructor may, in that case and only in that case, enroll in a course whose first number is larger than 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 2016 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.
PHIL 20724. Counterfactuals An introduction to philosophy language via a discussion of the meaning of counterfactuals. M. Willer
PHIL 21606. Justice at Work. (=HMRT 22210) Theories of justice in the workplace including the right to strike, the right to form a union, the right to leisure, workplace democracy, etc. (A) B. Laurence
PHIL 22515. Philosophy: Practice, Form and Genre. (=MAPH 32250) This course provides an introduction to philosophy though a consideration of the extraordinary diversity of its historical pedagogical practices and literary (and non-literary) forms and genres. "Philosophy" has been everything from a way of life to an academic profession, and "philosophizing" has been conducted in such forms and genres as Socratic conversation, scholastic debate, lectures, group discussions, dialogues, aphorisms, fables, poetry, meditations, novels, reviews, essays, treatises, music, and more. Cultivating some sense of this diversity is crucial to understanding many of the deep differences between philosophical perspectives, past and present. (A) and (B) B. Schultz
PHIL 22709. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. In this class we examine some of the conceptual problems associated with quantum mechanics. We will critically discuss some common interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the Copenhagen interpretation, the many-worlds interpretation and Bohmian mechanics. We will also examine some implications of results in the foundations of quantum theory concerning non-locality, contextuality and realism. Prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is not required since we begin with an introduction to the formalism, but familiarity with matrices, freshman calculus and high school geometry will be presupposed. T. Pashby
PHIL 23000. Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology. In this course we will explore some of the central questions in epistemology and metaphysics. In epistemology, these questions will include: What is knowledge? What facts or states justify a belief? How can the threat of skepticism be adequately answered? How do we know what we (seem to) know about mathematics and morality? In metaphysics, these questions will include: What is time? What is the best account of personal identity across time? Do we have free will? We will also discuss how the construction of a theory of knowledge ought to relate to the construction of a metaphysical theory-roughly speaking, what comes first, epistemology or metaphysics? (B) B. Callard
PHIL 23205. Introduction to Phenomenology. The aim of this course is to introduce students to one of the most important and influential traditions in the European Philosophy of the 20th Century: Phenomenology. The main task of this course will be to present Phenomenology's main concepts and the meaning of Phenomenology's transformations from Husserl to Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas and Henry.
The fundamental credo of Phenomenology consists in the emphasis laid upon phenomena given to consciousness. This emphasis coincides with the "return to things in themselves" as formulated by Husserl. What can this kind of return actually mean? And what does this claim suggest about philosophical practices prior to phenomenology, idealism or empiricism? In what way, for Husserl, was classical philosophy not able to give access to things such as they are truly given? And what is the meaning of such idea of « givenness ». Does Phenomenology fall into the so-called «myth of the Given». No future phenomenologists after Husserl will question the fundamental idea of returning to things in themselves thanks to the phenomenological importance given to phenomena, but they will question the privilege of intentional consciousness postulated by Husserl - Heidegger will expand phenomenology to the ancient question of "Being" (thanks to the existential clarification of the Husserlian concept of Intentionality) and Levinas will question Husserl's and Heidegger's approaches of phenomenology - intentional and existential - as falling into the Western problem of Ontology and Totality against Otherness and Ethics. As we will see, even if Phenomenology coincides with the philosophical description of our "Openness to Exteriority", this openness - Intentional, Existential or Ethical - entails necessarily not the abandonment, but a radical redefinition of the concept of Subjective Immanence." R. Moati.
PHIL 24800. Foucault & The History of Sexuality. (=GNDR 23100, HIPS 24300, CMLT 25001, FNDL 22001, KNOW 27002) 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. One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. A. Davidson
PHIL 25000. History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy. (=CLCV 22700) 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. Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. G. Richardson-Lear
PHIL 29601. Intensive Track Seminar. Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive track program. J. Bridges
PHIL 29700. Reading and Research. Consent of Instructor & Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students are required to submit the college reading and research course form.
PHIL 29901. Senior Seminar I. 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 meets all three quarters, and students writing essays are required to attend throughout. Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Required and only open to fourth-year students who have been accepted into the BA essay program. A. Ford
PHIL 20100/30000. Elementary Logic. (= CHSS 33500, HIPS 20700) An introduction to the techniques of modern logic. These include the representation of arguments in symbolic notation, and the systematic manipulation of these representations in order to show the validity of arguments. Regular homework assignments, in class test, and final examination. Course not for field credit. M. Kremer
PHIL 22220/32220. Marx's Capital, Volume I. (=FNDL 22220) (I) (V) and (A) A. Ford
PHIL 22960/32960. Bayesian Epistemology. This course will provide an introduction to Bayesian Epistemology. We will begin by discussing the principal arguments offered in support of the two main precepts of the Bayesian view: (1) Probabilism: A rational agent's degrees of belief ought to conform to the axioms of probability; and (2) Conditionalization: Bayes's Rule describes how a rational agent's degrees of belief ought to be updated in response to new information. We will then examine the capacity of Bayesianism to satisfactorily address the most well-known paradoxes of induction and confirmation theory. The course will conclude with a discussion of the most common objections to the Bayesian view. (II) and (B) A. Vasudevan
PHIL 28210/38209. Psychoanalysis and Philosophy. (=SCTH 37501, HIPS 28101) An introduction to psychoanalytic thinking and its philosophical significance. A question that will concern us throughout the course is: what do we need to know about the workings of the human psyche - in particular, the Freudian unconscious - to understand what it would be for a human to live well? Readings from Plato, Aristotle Freud, Bion, Betty Joseph, Paul Gray, Lacan, Lear, Loewald, Edna O'Shaughnessy and others. Class for Graduate Students and Upper Level Undergraduates. Student must have completed at least one 30000 level Philosophy course. J. Lear
PHIL 29405/39405. Advanced Logic. (=CHSS 39405, HIPS 20905) Since Russell's discovery of the inconsistency of Frege's foundation for mathematics, much of logic has resolved around the question of to what extent we can or cannot prove the consistency of the basic principles with which we reason. This course will explore two main efforts in this direction. We will first look at proof-theoretic efforts towards demonstrating the consistency of various foundational systems, discussing the virtues and limitations of this approach. We will then closely examine Godel's theorems, which are famous for demonstrating limits on the extent to which we can formulate consistency proofs. Much has been written on the implications of Godel's theorems, and we will spend some time trying to carefully separate what they really entail from what they do not entail. Assessment will be by regular homework sets. Intermediate logic or prior equivalent required, or with consent of instructor. (II) and (B) K. Davey
PHIL 31414. MAPH Core Course: Contemporary Analytic Philosophy. (=MAPH 31414) The goal of this course is to have MAPH students explore the historical origins of analytic philosophy. Beginning with Bolzano and Frege, we will look at the development of analytic philosophy through the work of figures such as Russell, Wittgenstein and Carnap, looking also at the rise and fall of positivism. At the end of the course, MAPH students should have a more solid understanding of the central issues that have shaped modern American-European analytic philosophy, and some of the important ways in which this tradition diverges from contemporary continental philosophy. We will use Coffa's 'The Semantic Tradition from Kant to Carnap: To the Vienna Station' as our main textbook, supplementing it with other materials when necessary. 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. K. Davey
PHIL 40101. Naturalism. Contemporary philosophy is preoccupied with the problem of "naturalism". Across the spectrum of fields and subfields, philosophers represent themselves as striving to show how their chosen subject matter can be fit into a "naturalistic" conception of the world. What is it to conceive the world in this way? Can we make satisfactory sense of what we are after, or think we are after, here? Why should it be thought the burden of philosophy to show that such a conception is attainable? How does this vision of philosopher's purpose differ, if at all, from others at work in past traditions of philosophical practice? We will explore these questions through a wide range of readings, mostly drawn from the philosophy of mind, with a bit of meta-ethics at the end of the course. (III) J. Bridges
PHIL 49700. Preliminary Essay Workshop. 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 . 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. D. Brudney
PHIL 49900. Reading and Research. Consent of Instructor.
PHIL 50100. First Year Seminar. This course meets in Autumn and Winter quarters. Enrollment limited to first-year graduate students. D. Finkelstein
PHIL 50108. The Passion of Being - On Sartre. This course will be devoted to the reading of texts of Sartre. Our exploration will elucidate what Sartre names "Existential Psychoanalysis". In order to have an understanding of what is at stake under this concept, we will first explore its role in the economy of Sartre's ontology (Being and Nothingness and Question of Method). In a second step, we will try to explore the several ways in which Sartre is going to put into practice the main principles of his psychoanalytical method, through the readings of his essays on Literature, on Baudelaire, Genet, Flaubert and others. R. Moati
PHIL 50213. Late Wittgenstein. This course is meant as an introduction to Wittgenstein's later work, with a focus on his *Philosophical Investigations.* Our central concerns will be: (1) Wittgenstein's metaphilosophy; (2) meaning, rule-following, and intentionality; and (3) sensations and privacy. Enrollment will be limited to philosophy Ph.D. students. (III) D. Finkelstein
PHIL 51103. Problems of the Self. It is a characteristic trait of rational animals that they are self-conscious: able to reflect on their own thoughts and deeds as such. This seminar will be a study of how self-consciousness informs our lives in various dimensions, and of some problems that arise in trying to make sense of it. We'll begin by considering what it is to think of oneself as such and how this capacity relates to abilities to recognize oneself in a mirror, to employ the first person, etc. We'll then turn to some problems connected with the distinctive kinds of relation to oneself that self-consciousness enables. Topics in this part of the seminar may include: awareness of one's own body, concern for one's own well-being, the role of self-consciousness in imagination and empathy, the possibility of self-alienation or bad faith, the role of self-consciousness in grounding a philosophical understanding of mind. Readings will mostly derive from recent philosophy of mind, but we may also read some psychology and/or some relevant discussions from the history of philosophy. (III) M. Boyle
PHIL 51200. Law-Philosophy Workshop. (= LAWS 61512, RETH 51301, GNSE 50101, HMRT 51301, PLSC 51512) Topic: Current Issues in General Jurisprudence. The Workshop will expose students to cutting-edge work in "general jurisprudence," that part of philosophy of law concerned with the central questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the nature of legal reasoning. We will be particularly interested in the way in which work in philosophy of language, metaethics, metaphysics, and other cognate fields of philosophy has influenced recent scholarly debates that have arisen in the wake of H.L.A. Hart's seminal The Concept of Law (1961). Students who have taken Leiter's "Jurisprudence I" course at the law school are welcome to enroll. Students who have not taken Jurisprudence I need to understand that the several two-hour sessions of the Workshop in the early fall will be required; they will involve reading through and discussing Chapters 1-6 of Hart's The Concept of Law and some criticisms by Ronald Dworkin. This will give all students an adequate background for the remainder of the year. Students who have taken jurisprudence courses elsewhere may contact Prof. Leiter to see if they can be exempted from these sessions based on their prior study. After the prepatory sessions, we will generally meet for one hour the week prior to our outside speakers to go over their essay and to refine questions for the speaker. Confirmed speakers so far include Leslie Green, Stephen Perry, Frederick Schauer, Natalie Stojlar, Mark Murphy, and Kevin Toh.
Students are admitted by permission of the two instructors. They should submit a C.V. and a statement (reasons for interest in the course, relevant background in law and/or philosophy) to the instructors by e-mail. Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, divinity and law.
Students must enroll for all three quarters. M. Nussbaum; B. Leiter; M. Etchemendy
PHIL 51204. John Stuart Mill. (=LAWS 51207, PLSC 51204, RETH 51604) A careful study of Mill's Utilitarianism in relation to his ideas of self-realization and of liberty. We will study closely at least Utilitarianism, On Liberty, the essays on Bentham and Coleridge, The Subjection of Women, and the Autobiography, trying to figure out whether Mill is a Utilitarian or an Aristotelian eudaemonist, and what view of "permanent human interests" and of the malleability of desire and preference underlies his political thought. If time permits we will also study his writings about India.
Admission by permission of the instructor. Permission must be sought in writing by September 15.
An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation. This is a 500 level course. Ph.D. students in Philosophy and Political Theory may enroll without permission. I am eager to have some Economics graduate students in the class, and will discuss the philosophy prerequisite in a flexible way with such students. M. Nussbaum
PHIL 53307. Language and Games. (=LING 53307) Game theory is a rich area of formal tools developed over the last 70 years or so for the modeling of certain kinds of rational interaction. The concept of a game plays a prominent role in the writings of several distinguished philosophers of language such Ludwig Wittgenstein and David K. Lewis. It is thus natural to ask to what extent game theory can play an important role in explaining distinct linguistic phenomena. The goal of this class is to explore this question from a philosophical and linguistic perspective, focusing on issues in natural language semantics and pragmatics. (II) M. Willer
PHIL 54410. Russell's Philosophy of Science in Context. We will read work from Russell's entire career with a particular focus on both his philosophy of science and the role of science (including geometry and mathematics) in his philosophical development. We will also look at his influences and contemporaries (including Whitehead, Keynes and Carnap) and at how Russell's views on causation and structuralism have been treated by more recent philosophers of science. (II) T. Pashby
PHIL 57350. Hobbes, Locke, and Kant: Legal and Political Philosophy. (I) and (V) H. Varden
PHIL 59950. Job Placement Workshop. Course begins in late Spring quarter and continues in the Autumn quarter. This workshop is open only to PhD Philosophy graduate students planning to go on the job market in the Autumn of 2016. Approval of dissertation committee is required. M. Kremer