Agnes Callard

Agnes Callard
Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies (2018-19)
Stuart Hall, Room 231-A
Office Hours: Autumn Quarter, Fridays: 3:00 - 5:00 pm
University of California, Berkeley PhD (2008); University of Chicago BA (1997)
Teaching at UChicago since 2008
Research Interests: Ancient Philosophy and Ethics

Agnes Callard is an Associate Professor in Philosophy. She received her BA from the University of Chicago in 1997 and her PhD from Berkeley in 2008. Her primary areas of specialization are Ancient Philosophy and Ethics. She is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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Selected Publications

Aspiration (2017); (i) reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement by Adam Bales; (ii) Reviewed in On Riding the Dragon by Katherine October Matthews; (iii) Reviewed in Philosophical Quarterly by Robert J. Hartman

Transformative Activity in Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend,” forthcoming in Transformative Experience, ed. John Schwenkler and Enoch Lambert (Oxford University Press)

Ignorance and Akrasia-Denial in the Protagoras (Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy vol. 47)

"Enkratēs Phronimos" (Archiv für Geschichte Der Philosophie 99, no. 1, 2017)

"Everyone Desires the Good: Socrates' Protreptic Theory of Desire," Review of Metaphysics 70, no. 4 (2017)

"Aristotle on Deliberation," forthcoming in the Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason, ed. Ruth Chang and Kurt Sylvan

"The Reason to Be Angry Forever," forthcoming in The Moral Psychology of Anger, ed. Owen Flanagan and Myisha Cherry (part of Rowman and Littlefield's Moral Psychology of the Emotions series, series editor Mark Alfano)

"Proleptic Reasons" (Oxford Studies in Meta-Ethics, vol. 11)

"The Weaker Reason" (Harvard Review of Philosophy, vol. 22)

Liberal Education and the Possibility of Valuational Progress, Social Philosophy and Policy 34, no. 2 (2017)

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Public Philosophy

-- Is There Progress in Philosophy? Guest post on Daily Nous (5/27/18)

-- Interviewed by 3am Magazine on flattery, anger and other topics (4/27/18)

-- Interviewed by Economist Tyler Cowen on wanting to live forever, Elena Ferrante, and other topics (4/11/18)

-- Essay on Aspirational Faith in New York Times' Stone column (1/8/2018)

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Media

Agnes Callard's lectures and podcasts

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Recent Courses

PHIL 21834 Self-Creation as a Literary and Philosophical Problem

(SIGN 26001)

Can we choose who to be? We tend to feel that we have some ability to influence the kind of people we will become; but the phenomenon of 'self-creation' is fraught with paradox: creation ex nihilo, vicious circularity, infinite regress. In this class, we will read philosophical texts addressing these paradoxes against novels offering illustrations of self-creation.

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.

2018-2019 Spring
Category
Philosophy of Action

PHIL 55504 The Socratic Elenchus

Socrates found himself surrounded by people who took themselves to know things: about the Gods; about statesmanship; about how to educate the youth; about friendship and justice and human excellence, etc. Socrates was inclined to trust those around him - but also afraid that, by doing so, he would end up taking himself to know what he in fact did not. So went around testing all those claims, attempting to refute them. Over and over again, he proved that his interlocutor did not know what he took himself to know, thereby successfully protecting himself from the illusion of knowledge. Along the way, however, he made an interesting discovery: as his interlocutor pressed some point, and as he resisted it, the two of them were doing something together. The interlocutor's need to believe that he had an account of the way things are, coupled with Socrates' commitment to rejecting falsity, taken together, amounted to a shared pursuit of knowledge. This class investigates that discovery - arguably, of philosophy itself - by way of a close reading of some Socratic dialogues: Euthydemus, Protagoras, Meno, Euthyphro, Charmides. (IV)

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.

2018-2019 Spring
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 20102/30102 Changing, Resting, Living: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy

(CLCV 20118, CLAS 30118)

How can many things be one thing? Aristotle's answer to this question treats living things - plants and animals - as the paradigm cases of unified multiplicities. In this class, we will investigate how such things are held together, and what makes it possible for them to change over time. Readings will be from Aristotle's Physics, Metaphysics, De Anima, Parts of Animals, On Generation and Corruption and De Motu Animalium. (B)

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.

2018-2019 Winter
Category
Ancient Philosophy

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. (A)

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.

2018-2019 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy

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? (I)

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.

2017-2018 Winter
Category
Ethics
Philosophy of Mind

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. 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.

2017-2018 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 21834 Self-Creation as a Philosophical and Literary Problem

(SIGN 26001)

This is a class addressing the possibility of self-directed ethical change. Can you make yourself into a different person from the person that you are? Some readings from hist. of phil (Kant/ Nietzsche) but mostly contemporary readings from autonomy/moral psychology literature.

2016-2017 Spring
Category
Ethics/Metaethics
Philosophy of Action

PHIL 26200 Intensive History of Philosophy, Part II: Aristotle

In this class, we will read selections from Aristotle's major works in metaphysics, logic, psychology and ethics. We will attempt to understand the import of his distinct contributions in all of these central areas of philosophy, and we will also work towards a synoptic view of his system as a whole. There are three questions we will keep in mind and seek to answer as readers of his treatises: (1) What questions is this passage/chapter trying to answer? (2) What is Aristotle's answer? (3) What is his argument that his answer is the correct one?

This course, together with introduction to Plato (25200) in the Winter quarter, substitutes for and fulfills the Ancient Philosophy History requirement for the Autumn quarter. Students can take these courses instead of taking PHIL 25000. Students must take them as a 2 quarter sequence in order to fulfill the requirement, but students who already have fulfilled or do not need to fulfill the Ancient Philosophy History requirement may take the one quarter of the course without the other.

2016-2017 Spring
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 25200 Intensive History of Philosophy, Part I: Plato

In this class, we will read a number of Platonic dialogues and use them to investigate the questions with which Socrates and Plato opened the door to the practice of philosophy. Here are some examples: What does a definition consist in? What is knowledge and how can it be acquired? Why do people sometimes do and want what is bad? Is the world we sense with our five senses the real world? What is courage and how is it connected to fear? Is the soul immortal? We will devote much of our time to clearly laying out the premises of Socrates' various arguments in order to evaluate the arguments for validity.

This course, together with introduction to Aristotle (26200) in the Spring quarter, substitutes for and fulfills the Ancient Philosophy History requirement for the Autumn quarter. Students can take these courses instead of taking PHIL 25000. Students must take them as a 2 quarter sequence in order to fulfill the requirement, but students who already have fulfilled or do not need to fulfill the Ancient Philosophy History requirement may take the one quarter of the course without the other.

2016-2017 Winter
Category
Ancient Philosophy
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For full list of Agnes Callard's courses back to the 2012-13 academic year, see our searchable course database.