Autumn 2018 Courses

Listed below are the courses the Department plans to offer in the Autumn 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.

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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 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.

Autumn 2018 Courses at a Glance - Spreadsheet

Open to Undergraduates:

PHIL 22209. Philosophies of Environmentalism & Sustainability. (=ENST 22209, GNSE 22204, HMRT 22201, PLSC 22202) Many of the toughest ethical and political challenges confronting the world today are related to environmental issues: for example, climate change, loss of biodiversity, the unsustainable use of natural resources, pollution, and other threats to the well-being of both present and future generations. Using both classic and contemporary works, this course will highlight some of the fundamental and unavoidable philosophical questions presented by such environmental issues. Can a plausible philosophical account of justice for future generations be developed? What counts as the ethical treatment of non-human animals? What do the terms "nature" and "wilderness" mean, and can natural environments as such have moral and/or legal standing? What fundamental ethical and political perspectives inform such positions as ecofeminism, the "Land Ethic," political ecology, ecojustice, and deep ecology? And does the environmental crisis confronting the world today demand new forms of ethical and political philosophizing and practice? Are we in the Anthropocene? Is "adaptation" the best strategy at this historical juncture? Field trips, guest speakers, and special projects will help us philosophize about the fate of the earth by connecting the local and the global. (A) B. Schultz

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 24100. Consciousness. D. Finkelstein

PHIL 24400. Heidegger's Being and Time Division I. (=FNDL 24406) We propose a cursive reading of the section I of the masterpiece of Heidegger Being and Time looking for the very connection, as our very leading question, between the idea of being in general and the discovery of the being of human being named by Heidegger - Dasein. R. Moati

PHIL 24800. Foucault and the History of Sexuality. (=GNSE 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. This seminar will explore an advanced topic in philosophy. It is required as part of the intensive track of the Philosophy Major. 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. 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

Open to Undergraduates and Graduates:

PHIL 20100/30000. Elementary Logic. (=CHSS 33500, HIPS 20700) 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. M. Willer

PHIL 21717/31717. Socrates, Plato & Aristotle on Courage. (=CLCV 21718, CLAS 31718) What is courage? Is it: doing what you should do, even when you are afraid? Can you be courageous without being afraid? Can you be couragoues and know that you are doing the right thing? Can you be courageous if you are not in fact doing the right thing? Can you have precisely the correct amount of fear and still fail to be courageous? Could you be courageous if you weren't afraid to die?

Courage is, arguably, the queen of the virtues. In this class, we will use some Socratic dialogues (Laches, Protagoras, Republic, Phaedo) and some Aristotelian treatises (Nicomachean Ethics, Eudemian Ethics) as partners in inquiry into the answers to the questions listed above. 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. (A) A. Callard

PHIL 21720/31720. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. (=FNDL 21908, SCTH 34421) This course will offer a close reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, one of the great works of ethics. Among the topics to be considered are: What is a good life? What is ethics? What is the relation between ethics and having a good life? What is it for reason to be practical? What is human excellence? What is the non-rational part of the human psyche like? How does it ever come to listen to reason? What is human happiness? What is the place of thought and of action in the happy life? This course is intended for Philosophy majors and for Fundamentals majors. Otherwise please seek permission to enroll. (A) J. Lear; G. Richardson Lear

PHIL 24098/34098. Character and Commerce: Practical Wisdom in Economic Life. The operations of the global economy set the terms that most people live with every day of their lives. In the face of the vastness, movement, and variety of economic life, it can be hard to see how moral philosophy can intersect meaningfully with economic concerns. It is one thing to be worried about economic growth and development, sustainability, regulation, taxation, and the like-concerns with large-scale policy matters. It is quite another to reflect on individual conduct. In this course, we will look at one small aspect of the place of individual conduct in an economic landscape frequently dominated by large firms. As anyone who has spent time reading work by Immanuel Kant, say, or Thomas Aquinas, or a newspaper will know, human beings can act against their own better judgment. My better judgment can be better in any of the following senses: it can track what will be more advantageous for me, it can target more effective and efficient solutions to problems that I am charged with solving or helping to solve, or it can direct my actions and responses ethically. The 'or' is inclusive. Practical judgment brings a host of general considerations to bear on my circumstances. Practical wisdom is excellence in practical judgement. In this course, we will read empirical work on the systematic ways in which people fail to live up to their own ideals alongside philosophical work on practical wisdom, with an eye toward exploring ways of cultivating practical wisdom. Our cases and examples will be drawn from studies of corporate life and economic decision-making. But the lessons we will hope to learn are more generally applicable. (A) C. Vogler

Open to MAPH Students:

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 Frege, we will look at the development of analytic philosophy through the work of figures such as Russell, Wittgenstein, looking also at the rise and fall of positivism and the philosophical traditions that emerged afterwards with figures such as Quine, Kripke, Putnam and beyond. 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. 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

Open to Graduates:

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. K. Davey

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. D. Finkelstein

PHIL 50106. Sartre and Philosophy of Mind. It's been ten years that a growing interest for Phenomenology is manifest in the field of the contemporary philosophy of mind, especially amongst others phenomenologists, for Sartre. We will try to discuss most of the contemporary approaches of Sartre and try to understand what could be an actual and sustainable sartrean position today in the debates turning around the notion of self-consciousness. R. Moati

PHIL 51200. Law-Philosophy Workshop. (= LAWS 61512, RETH 51301, GNSE 50101, HMRT 51301, PLSC 51512) The topic for 2018-19 will be "Enlightenment liberalism and its critics," the critics coming from both the left and the right. Enlightenment liberalism was marked by its belief in human freedom and the need for justifications on any infringements of that freedom; by its commitment to individual rights (for example, rights to expression or to property); and by its faith in the rational and self-governing capacities of persons and their basic moral equality. The Workshop will begin in the fall with several classes just for students to discuss foundational readings from liberal thinkers like Locke, Kant and Mill (we may also have some outside speakers taking up Kantian and Millian themes). In the Winter quarter, we will consider critics from the left, notably Marx and Frankfurt School theorists like Herbert Marcuse. In Spring, we will turn to critics from the "right" such as Nietzsche (who rejects the moral equality of persons) and Carl Schmitt. There will be sessions with the students discussing primary texts and then sessions with outside speakers sometimes interpreting the primary texts, sometimes criticizing the critics of liberalism, and sometimes developing their ideas. Open to PhD students in philosophy, and to J.D. students and other graduate students who submit an application to Prof. Leiter detailing their background in philosophy. B. Leiter, N. Lipshitz, M. Nussbaum

PHIL 51225. Sources of Critical Theory. (=ENGL 51225) This course is designed to give students a broad and rapid introduction to the philosophical and other sources that inform contemporary literary and critical theory. We will cover a lot of ground very quickly. The variety of humanism at issue in our work will be the sort that informs common sense or, as one of our authors might put it, ordinary understanding of the things that strike many of us as obvious about ourselves and other people. The critique will not make anything stop seeming obvious. But it will provide some tools for thinking differently about contemporary commonsense understandings of human life. We will conclude by seeing the way this material shapes work by two prominent recent critics, Slavoj Žižek and Lauren Berlant. C. Vogler

PHIL 51821. Political Liberalism and Social Pathologies. The exercise of state power is supposed to pass a test of "legitimacy." However, it has been difficult to find a legitimacy criterion that is both compelling and satisfiable. In Political Liberalism John Rawls proposes a criterion of legitimacy that he thinks will be compelling, satisfiable, and, crucially, acceptable to a wide range of citizens' (reasonable) fundamental beliefs (or, as he calls them, "comprehensive doctrines"). Rawls's proposal has been criticized in many ways. In the seminar we will go through and try to understand the structure and content of Rawls's political liberal view. We will then examine several challenges to his criterion of legitimacy. Finally, we will look at a challenge that stems from work by recent writers of the Frankfurt School. This challenge says (i) Rawls's legitimacy criterion does not preclude significant "social pathologies" associated with a capitalist economy, and (ii) no criterion of legitimacy that could preclude these pathologies would be consistent with the basic agenda of political liberalism. The seminar will read work by Rawls, Colin Bird, Corey Brettschneider, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth and Rahel Jaeggi. (I) D. Brudney

PHIL 53020. Agency and Action. (III) M. Haase

PHIL 55100. The Development of Whitehead's Philosophy of Nature. (=CHSS 55100, KNOW 55100) In this course we will read Whitehead with the aim of understanding how he arrived at his mature views, i.e., the "philosophy of organism" expressed in Process and Reality (1929). The development of Whitehead's philosophy can be traced back to a planned fourth volume of Principia Mathematica (never completed) on space and time. This course will examine how these concerns with natural philosophy led Whitehead to develop his philosophy of organism. Beginning in the late 1910s, we will read over 10 years of published work by Whitehead, supplemented by recently discovered notes from his Harvard seminars 1924/25 and selected commentaries. (II) T. Pashby

PHIL 55818. Hellenistic Ethics. (=CLAS 45818, LAWS 43206, PLSC 55818, RETH 55818) The three leading schools of the Hellenistic era (starting in Greece in the late fourth century B. C. E. and extending through the second century C. E. in Rome) - Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics - produced philosophical work of lasting value, frequently neglected because of the fragmentary nature of the Greek evidence and people's (unjustified) contempt for Roman philosophy. We will study in a detailed and philosophically careful way the major ethical arguments of all three schools. Topics to be addressed include: the nature and role of pleasure; the role of the fear of death in human life; other sources of disturbance (such as having definite ethical beliefs?); the nature of the emotions and their role in a moral life; the nature of appropriate action; the meaning of the injunction to "live in accordance with nature". If time permits we will say something about Stoic political philosophy and its idea of global duty. Major sources (read in English) will include the three surviving letters of Epicurus and other fragments; the skeptical writings of Sextus Empiricus; the presentation of Stoic ideas in the Greek biographer Diogenes Laertius and the Roman philosophers Cicero and Seneca.

This course complements the Latin course on Stoic Ethics in the Winter quarter, and many will enjoy doing both.

Admission by permission of the instructor. Permission must be sought in writing by September 20.

Prerequisite: An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation, plus my permission. This is a 500 level course. Ph.D. students in Philosophy, Classics, and Political Theory may enroll without permission. (IV) M. Nussbaum

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 2018. Approval of dissertation committee is required.