Winter 2018 Courses

Listed below are the courses the Department plans to offer in the Winter 2018 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.

Click to go directly to:

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 Winter 2018 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.

Winter 2018 Courses at a Glance - Spreadsheet

Open to Undergraduates:

PHIL 21000. Introduction to Ethics. (=HIPS 21000, FNDL 23107) In this course, we will read, write, and think about philosophical work meant to provide a systematic and foundational account of ethics. We will focus on close reading of two books, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, along with a handful of more recent essays. Throughout, our aim will be to engage in serious thought about good and bad in our lives. (A) C. Vogler

PHIL 26000. History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. (=HIPS 26000) A survey of the thought of some of the most important figures of this period, including Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Completion of the general education requirement in humanities required; PHIL 25000 recommended. B. Callard

PHIL 29200-01/29300-01. Junior/Senior Tutorial. Topic: The School of Suspicion. Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements. Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud have been called the masters of "the school of suspicion." Each of these thinkers sought, in their own way, to bring us see that our conscious understanding of ourselves and society often conceals the social, moral, and/or psychological functions that are the real explanations of why we hold the beliefs and values that we do. Their works, therefore, aim to critique our conscious conceptions and unmask the underlying causes, as well as to explain how these beliefs and values are sustained, and who benefits from their being held.

In this course, we will critically examine the most important of these critiques, beginning with the school's "masters": Marx's claim that religion, ethics, and legal thought are "ideological humbug" that arise from and sustain exploitative economic relations; Nietzsche's claim that contemporary morality is life-denying, and that it originates in a trick played on the strong by the weak some 2000 years ago; and Freud's claim that beneath our conscious awareness are repressed ideas and drives that nevertheless reappear in our lives in sometimes creative, but often tragic ways. We will then turn to the most prominent critiques by the greatest "students" of the school: Adorno & Horkheimer's claim that fascism, state capitalism, and mass culture are all forms of social domination enabled by an instrumental rationality that emerged out of the Enlightenment; and Foucault's revisionary account of the workings of power, as articulated in his studies of both discipline and sexuality. J. Edwards

PHIL 29200-02/29300-02. Junior/Senior Tutorial. Topic: Equality and Its Value. Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements. The wealthiest 85 people on the planet have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion people combined; four hundred Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined; the average white American's median wealth is 20 times higher than the average African American's. Assuming these assertions to be correct, should we be bothered by them? What, if anything, is wrong with inequality? In this seminar, we will explore these questions with the help of contemporary analytic philosophers (and one Aristotle). N. Lipshitz

PHIL 29200-03/29300-03. Junior/Senior Tutorial. Topic: Causation and Rationality. Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements. What is it for something to be the cause or effect of something else? And in what sense are we causes? In this course we shall tackle these questions simultaneously, with the aim of understanding how our conceptions of ourselves as minded, rational beings, on the one hand, and of causation on the other, influence and illuminate one another. Some of the questions we shall ask along the way are: What are causes and effects? What kinds of explanation are causal explanations? What, if anything, is the causal connection between people's reasons and their behavior? Does the kind of causality that pertains to human action differ in any fundamental way from other kinds of causation? If so, then how? R. O'Connell

PHIL 29700. Reading and Research. Consent of Instructor & Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students are required to submit the college reading and research course form. Staff

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. B. Laurence

PHIL 29902. Senior Seminar II. 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. B. Laurence

Open to Undergraduates and MAPH Students:

PHIL 27503. Kant's Critique of Practical Reason. (=MAPH 37503) In this course we will read through the Critique of Practical Reason, a short but dense work which contains the most complete expression of Kant's mature practical philosophy. We will go beyond the famous formulations of the categorical imperative found in the more widely read Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, and try to understand the problems Kant aims to address in his moral investigations. We will be guided by questions like the following: what distinguishes good from bad willing? What role does sensible desire play in the life of the virtuous person? How does our capacity to reason shape the way we desire and experience the world? What is the nature of moral motivation? How do the ideas of freedom, God, and immortality of the soul figure in Kant's philosophical system? And finally, how does Kant's view relate to those of his early modern predecessors? In addition to the Critique of Practical Reason, we will look at excerpts from Kant's other practical works, as well as contemporary secondary source material. Completion of the general education requirement in the humanities. One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. J. Tizzard

Open to Undergraduates and Graduates:

PHIL 20109/30109. Sartre's Being and Nothingness. (=FNDL 20109) We propose here a cursive reading of Sartre's masterpiece of 1943, explaining the whole project of Sartre's phenomenological ontology. For that we will focus on his polemical relation to German Idealism (mostly Hegel) and to German Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) in order to clarify the meaning of notions that Sartre inherits from these two traditions like in-itself, for-itself, intentionality, existence, selfhood, pre-reflexive consciousness, negativity, nothingness etc. Prior knowledge on Descartes, Spinoza, German Idealism, Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger) and knowledge in French are highly recommended to attend this class. (B) R. Moati

PHIL 20120/30120. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. (=FNDL 20120) A close reading of Philosophical Investigations. Topics include: meaning, explanation, understanding, inference, sensation, imagination, intentionality, and the nature of philosophy. Supplementary readings will be drawn from other later writings. At least one Philosophy course. (B) (III) J. Bridges

PHIL 22500/32500. Biological And Cultural Evolution. (=LING 11100, ANTH 28615, CHDV 23930, NCDV 27400, HIPS 23900, BPRO 23900, BIOS 29286, LING 39286, CHSS 37900, CHDV 33930, ANTH 38615) This course draws on readings in and case studies of language evolution, biological evolution, cognitive development and scaffolding, processes of socialization and formation of groups and institutions, and the history and philosophy of science and technology. We seek primarily to elaborate theory to understand and model processes of cultural evolution, while exploring analogies, differences, and relations to biological evolution. This has been a highly contentious area, and we examine why. We seek to evaluate what such a theory could reasonably cover and what it cannot. Third or fourth-year standing or consent of instructor required; core background in evolution and genetics strongly recommended. This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major. CHDV Distribution: (A) S. Mufwene; W. Wimsatt

PHIL 24709/34709. Nietzsche's Critique of Morality. (=SCTH 38005) A close reading of Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals, supplemented by passages from The Gay Science, and Bernard Williams's book, Shame and Necessity. Of special importance: the appeal to "psychology" in the critique of morality. R. Pippin

PHIL 28204/38204. Philosophy of Right: Fichte, Kant, Hegel. We will do a comparative reading of the beginnings of the philosophies of right of Fichte, Kant and Hegel. We will start with Fichte's attempt for a swift deductions of the concept of right from the 'I think' and then look how the introduction of rights is more complicated in the case of Kant and Hegel. (A) M. Haase

PHIL 28210/38209. Psychoanalysis and Philosophy. (=SCTH 37501, HIPS 28101, FNDL 28210) This course shall read the works of Sigmund Freud. We shall examine his views on the unconscious, on human sexuality, on repetition, transference and neurotic suffering. We shall also consider what therapy and "cure" consist in, and how his technique might work. We shall consider certain ties to ancient Greek conceptions of human happiness - and ask the question: what is it about human being that makes living a fulfilling life problematic? Readings from Freud's case studies as well as his essays on theory and technique. Course for Graduate Students and Upper Level Undergraduates. Student must have completed at least one 30000 level Philosophy course. J. Lear

PHIL 29400/39600. Intermediate Logic. (=CHSS 33600, HIPS 20500) In this course, we will prove the soundness and completeness of deductive systems for both sentential and first-order predicate logic. We will also establish related results in elementary model theory, such as the compactness theorem for first-order logic, the Lӧwenheim-Skolem theorem and Lindstrӧm's theorem. Elementary Logic or the equivalent. (B) (II) A. Vasudevan

PHIL 29911/39911. Ancient Greek Aesthetics. (=CLCV 26517, CLAS 36517, SCTH 39911) The ancient Greek philosophical tradition contains an enormously rich and influential body of reflection on the practice of poetry. We will focus our attention on Plato and Aristotle, but will also spend some time with Longinus and Plotinus. Topics will include: the analysis of poetry in terms of mimesis and image; poetry-making as an exercise of craft, divine inspiration, or some other sort of knowledge; the emotional effect on the audience; the role of poetry in forming moral character and, more broadly, its place in society; the relation between poetry, rhetoric, and philosophy; aesthetic values of beauty, wonder, truth, and grace. (A) (IV) G. Richardson-Lear

Open to Graduates:

PHIL 43011. Reason and Religion. (=KNOW 40201, CLAS 46616, HIST 66606, CHSS 40201, DVPR 46616) The quarrel between reason and faith has a long history. The birth of Christianity was in the crucible of rationality. The ancient Greeks privileged this human capacity above all others, finding in reason the quality wherein man was closest to the gods, while the early Christians found this viewpoint antithetical to religious humility. As religion and its place in society have evolved throughout history, so have the standing of, and philosophical justification for, non-belief on rational grounds. This course will examine the intellectual and cultural history of arguments against religion in Western thought from antiquity to the present. Along the way, of course, we will also examine the assumptions bound up in the binary terms "religion" and "reason." Consent required: Email a few sentences describing your background and what you hope to get out of this seminar. S. Bartsch; R. Richards

PHIL 49900. Reading and Research. Consent of Instructor. Staff

PHIL 50100. First Year Seminar. This course meets in Autumn and Winter quarters. Enrollment limited to first-year graduate students. J. Bridges

PHIL 51200. Law-Philosophy Workshop. (= LAWS 61512, RETH 51301, GNSE 50101, HMRT 51301, PLSC 51512) Topic: Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics. About half of the sessions will discuss philosophical and legal issues related to animal rights, and the other half will discuss issues of environmental ethics, focusing on the ethics of climate change.

This is a seminar/workshop many of whose participants are faculty from various related disciplines. It admits approximately ten students. 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. Most sessions are led by visiting speakers, from either outside institutions or our own faculty, who circulate their papers in advance. The session consists of a brief introduction by the speaker, followed by initial questioning by the two faculty coordinators, followed by general discussion, in which students are given priority. Several sessions involve students only, and are led by the instructors. Students write a 20-25 page seminar paper at the end of the year. The course satisfies the Law School Substantial Writing Requirement.

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 by September 20. Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, and divinity, and law students.

Students must enroll for all three quarters to receive credit. M. Nussbaum; N. Delon

PHIL 51830. Topics in Moral, Political and Legal Philosophy. (=LAWS 53256) The topic for Winter 2018 is the "Epistemology of Etiological/Genealogical Critiques: Contemporary and Historical." Anglophone epistemology has recently become interested in the question whether the origin of our beliefs matters to their acceptability or justification. The intuitive thought is simple: If you had been brought up in a different family, or a different culture, or at a different time, your moral, religious, and philosophical beliefs (among any others) would likely have been very different than they are. Shouldn't that make us wonder whether we are really justified in believing what we believe? Should the origin or historical contingency of our beliefs and values make us skeptical about them, or lead us to revise them? Many historical figures in the German traditions have thought so: in different ways, Herder, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Many recent Anglophone philosophers think not: they ask what epistemological principle would license a localized skepticism about certain beliefs without having far-reaching implications? When does the etiology of belief matter epistemically and when does it not? We begin by looking at contemporary approaches to this question in the recent Anglophone literature (with readings from G.A. Cohen, Sharon Street, Roger White, and Amia Sreenivasan, among others), then turn to historical figures in the Continental European traditions concerned with these questions. The seminar is open to philosophy PhD students without permission; to J.D. students with instructor permission; and to others with instructor permission. (I) and (III) M. Forster; B. Leiter

PHIL 53360. Philosophy of Judaism: Soloveitchik Reads the Classics. (=HIJD 53360, DVPR 53360, KNOW 47002) Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was one of the most important philosophers of Judaism in the twentieth century. Among his many books, essays and lectures, we find a detailed engagement with the Bible, the Talmud and the fundamental works of Maimonides. This course will examine Soloveitchik's philosophical readings and appropriation of Torah, Talmud, and both the Guide and the Mishneh Torah. A framing question of the course will be: how can one combine traditional Jewish learning and modern philosophical ideas? What can Judaism gain from philosophy? What can philosophy learn from Judaism? All students interested in enrolling in this course should send an application to by 12/15/2017. Applications should be no longer than one page and should include name, email address, phone number, and department or committee. Applicants should briefly describe their background and explain their interest in, and their reasons for applying to, this course. A. Davidson

PHIL 53709. Conceptual change and the a-priori. (=CHSS 53709) In light of continual upheavals in the sciences, Kant's view that the sciences should be built on a foundation of synthetic a-priori knowledge has fallen out of favor. Should we then completely abandon the idea that the a-priori plays a significant role in science, or does some variant of the synthetic a-priori still in fact turn out to be necessary for science? To address this question, we will look at the writing of thinkers like Schlick, Reichenbach, Carnap, Quine, Kuhn, Friedman and others. (II) (III) K. Davey

PHIL 54002. Moral Psychology of the Emotions. In addition to having reasons for belief (theoretical reasons) and reasons for action (practical reasons), we also, sometimes, have reasons for feeling the way we do. For example: I feel angry because of the injustice someone did, or sad because of the loss I suffered, or grateful because of the benefit someone provided me. In this class we will ask what kinds of reasons those are: what is a reason to feel? We will also want to know how rational such emotions are: are there features that are central to our emotional life that we miss out on or misdescribe when we attend soley to its rational structure? We will also consider a puzzle that arises about the temporality of reasons for feeling: if my reason for being angry (or sad or grateful) is what you did, and it will always be true that you did it, do I have a reason to be angry (or sad or grateful) forever? If not, why not? In addition to discussing what might be true of the rationality of emotions considered as a class, we will also spend some time addressing questions specific to a given emotion. For example: What is an apology? Does gratitude require actual benefit or only positive intention? When we are sad about a loved one's death, do we mourn for ourselves, or for her? Are there reasons for feeling jealous, disgusted or stressed? Students who are not enrolled by the start of term but wish to enroll must (a) email the instructor before the course begins and (b) attend the first class. (I) A. Callard

PHIL 55605. The Life and Acts of a Being that Says "I." (=SCTH 55605) The being we will study in this course is a subject of thinking/judging and therefore in a sense, all things (Aristotle, De Anima), at the same time she is a determinable substance whose determinations include moods, sensations, feelings, intentions, actions. We shall explore the apparent tension between these two descriptions of our being - as a subject-being and as a substance-being - and search for an understanding that resolves it. Readings include sections from: Aristotle, Kant, Hegel. Sartre, Heidegger, Wittgenstein. I. Kimhi

PHIL 58108. The Philosophy of Howard Stein. (=CHSS 58108) Howard Stein's impressive body of work is notable for its tight integration of history of science with philosophy of science. Topics include: theories of spacetime structure (Newtonian and relativistic), the conceptual structure of quantum mechanics, the methodology of science in general and the character of scientific knowledge, and the history of physics and mathematics. Readings by Stein will be supplemented by primary historical texts and secondary philosophical literature, including selections from a forthcoming edited collection on Stein. (II) T. Pashby