Benjamin Callard is a Lecturer in Philosophy, Co-Director of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), and the Philosophy/MAPH Coordinator. He received his B.A. from Brandeis, his M.A. from Tufts, and his Ph.D. (2007) from Berkeley. Ben’s areas of specialization are ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. He also has strong interests in the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. In the Fall Quarter of each year, he teaches the Core Course and the Analytic Philosophy Core Seminar for MAPH students. He also has special administrative responsibilities for coordinating the interface between MAPH and the Philosophy Department. For information specifically on the Philosophy Track within the MAPH program, please click here. For general information about the MAPH program as a whole, please click here.
office: Classics 415
office hours Spring Quarter: Thursdays from 12-2 and by appointment
office phone: 773/834-9934
51109. Skepticism. Do we know, or at least have reason to believe, anything about the world we live in? A powerful form of argument, familiar to the ancient Greeks and most famously presented by Descartes, concludes that we do not. In this seminar we will explore and assess some important putative refutations of the skeptic by Fred Dretske, Hilary Putnam, David Chalmers, and others. Winter 2010.
History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. PQ: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities required; PHIL 25000 recommended. This course is 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. Winter 2010.
Theory of Punishment. In this seminar we will examine the central accounts of punishment, with a special emphasis on retributive accounts. Drawing on historical and current philosophical writings on the subject, we will try to answer the following questions (among others): what is punishment? What is the purpose of punishment? What justifies punishment? Does punishment violate the principle that "two wrongs don't make a right"? What if anything is wrong with vigilantism? What special concerns attach to capital punishment? We will also read and assess some recent work on the theories of desert and moral responsibility.
Philosophy/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 PhD programs in Philosophy are strongly urged to take this course.
30099: Topics in Metaphysics. In this course we will grapple with a number of the main questions in metaphysics. These questions include: the nature of time; the nature of identity across time, especially the identity of persons; the problem of nonexistent objects; causation; the proper account of modality; our conception of God; the arguments for and against Platonism; and the distinction between primary and secondary qualities. This course is open to advanced undergraduates, MAPH students, and PhD students.
29901. Senior Seminar I. PQ: Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Required of fourth-year students who are writing a senior essay. The senior essay peer review workshop meets in all three quarters but students register for senior seminar in only two quarters. Students register for Senior Seminar I in either Autumn or Winter Quarter. NOTE: Students may not register for both PHIL 29901 and 29902 in the same quarter. Autumn, Winter.
29902. Senior Seminar II. PQ: Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Required of fourth-year students who are writing a senior essay. The senior essay peer review workshop meets in all three quarters but students register for senior seminar in only two quarters. Students register for Senior Seminar II in either Winter or Spring Quarter. NOTE: Students may not register for both PHIL 29901 and 29902 in the same quarter. Winter, Spring.