Graduate Courses

Colloquium Seminar
83102 01 (10799)

3:00-5:00 F

A one-hour seminar each semester tied to the talks given in the department's ongoing colloquium series. Required of all first-year graduate students.

First Year Proseminar
83104 01 (13059)

3:30-6:15 T

This proseminar will introduce first-year graduate students to a range of important works in the analytic tradition, with the aim of providing a foundation for advanced study in philosophy.

Philosophy of Science
83801 01 (11566)

11:00-12:15 MW

This course is an introduction to the major historical figures and movements and the major debates in the philosophy of science from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. We start with the rise of Vienna Circle logical empiricism and post-WWII neo-positivism. The course concludes with a survey such topics as the realism-antirealism debate, confirmation, explanation, laws, theory change, feminist science theory, and science and values Students will be required to do in-class, mid-term and final essay examinations and a minimum fifteen-page term paper.

Crosslisted with HPS 83801

Intermediate Logic
83901 01 (16581)

11:00-12:15 TR

This course is an introduction to the metatheory of first-order logic, the central system of logic for both philosophical and mathematical purposes. We begin with the basics of set theory, and then move on to first-order logic proper, covering the completeness theorem and associated results. This material is essential for those who want to understand elementary philosophical debates about the use and the significance of logic, the history of logic, and the connection between languages and models.  Prerequisite: Formal logic or equivalent; contact the professor if you are unsure about your preparation.

Crosslisted with PHIL 43907

Scotus's Metaphysics
93234 01 (19834)
Shields and Cross
9:30-12:15 T

This class will examine central topics in Duns Scotus’s metaphysics by means of close reading of texts (in English translation) from his questions on Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

Crosslisted with MI 63362 01

A History of Self-Consciousness: From Augustine to Kant
93267 01 (19835)

Cory and Kraus
12:30-3:15 M

Questions about self-consciousness and subjectivity are not a modern invention, but have been a staple of philosophical reflection across the history of philosophy.  In this course, we will trace the developments in philosophical debates about self-consciousness, focusing on three competing pre-modern approaches (Augustine/Avicenna, Aquinas, and Ockham), and three competing early modern and modern approaches (Leibniz, Locke, and Kant).

Crosslisted with MI 63331 01

Philosophy of Religion Workshop
93413 01 (14192)
9:25-11:25 F

Topics in Philosophy of Mind
93507 01 (19836)
12:30-3:15 R

This course aims to provide an advanced introduction to the philosophy of mind through a survey of current work in the field. Topics to be discussed include the metaphysics of consciousness, the problem of intentionality, content externalism, the nature of perception, and normative significance of experience.

Advanced Topics in Metaphysics
93526 01 (20199)

van Inwagen
3:30-6:15 M

This core of this seminar will be a close study of the exchanges on various metaphysical topics in the book Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics (Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne, and Dean Zimmerman, eds.). The debates are:

Chris Swoyer vs. Cian Dorr on abstract entities
John Carroll vs. Jonathan Schaffer on causation and the laws of nature
Phillip Bricker vs. Joseph Melia on modality and possible worlds
Judith Jarvis Thomson vs. Derek Parfit on personal identity
Dean Zimmerman vs. J. J. C. Smart on temporal passage
Theodore Sider vs. John Hawthorne on persistence through time
Robert Kane vs. Kadri Vihvelin on free will
James Van Cleve vs. Ned Markosian on mereology and composition
Eli Hirsch vs. Matti Ecklund on meta-ontology

One of these debates will be discussed at each of the first nine meetings. The remaining meetings will be devoted to further investigation of several of the topics of the debates. The topics to be discussed at these meetings will be chosen by the participants.

A term paper on any one of the above nine topics will be required. Participants will also be required to distribute three discussion questions on the assigned readings to the other members of the seminar a few days before each meeting.

93541 01 (19837)
3:30-6:15 R

This course will be a blend of looking at some debates about infinity in the history of philosophy and contemporary relatives of those debates. These include debates about space and time; debates about the divisibility of objects; debates about the foundations of mathematics; and contemporary work on the connections between infinity and modality; infinity and decision theory; and methodological questions about infinite regresses. No previous familiarity with infinity will be assumed.


Crosslisted with 93541 01

Time Travel
93542 01 (19838)
12:30-3:15 T

This course will cover topics on time travel ranging from the classic to the cutting edge, including the possibility and coherence of time travel, metaphysical models of time travel, closed time-like curves, closed causal loops, practical problems with time travel, and requirements for the survival of time travelers. The course will also include general topics in the metaphysics of time related to time travel, including the nature of temporal passage, the direction of time, the existence and nature of the objective present, and analogies between the merely possible and the past and future.

Contemporary Political Philosophy
93619 01 (20042)
9:30-10:45 TR

This course will focus on the work of four really great contemporary political philosophers: John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Susan Okin, and on how their views are related. We will begin with Rawls's A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism. We will then consider Robert Nozick's challenge to Rawls from within the liberal tradition in his State Anarchy and Utopia. Then we will take up Alasdair MacIntyre's critique of the liberal tradition and in particular Rawls's and Nozick's views in After Virtue and the Aristotelian/Thomistic alternative MacIntyre offers in that work and most recently in Ethics in the Conflict of Modernity. Lastly, we will take up Susan Okin's critique of Rawls, Nozick, and MacIntryre from a feminist perspective in Justice, Gender and the Family.

The goal of the course is for each student to figure out what they should take away from the clashing political perspectives of these four contemporary political philosophers. To that end, students will write two papers and participate in class discussions. In the first paper (10 pages), each student will assess the conflict between Rawls and Nozick. In the second paper (25 pages), students will integrate the conclusions that they reached in their first papers with their assessments of the further challenges of MacIntyre and Okin.

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice
John Rawls, Political Liberalism
Robert Nozick, State Anarchy and Utopia (Revised Edition)
Alasdair MacIntyre After Virtue (Third Edition)
Alasdair MacIntyre, Ethics in the Conflict of Modernity
Susan Okin, Justice, Gender and the Family.

Crosslisted with PHIL 43443 01

Science and Social Values
93821 01 (19839)
5:05-6:20 MW

Science and social values?  The established wisdom has it that science offers us the truth about the empirical world—what is rather than what ought to be—and that social values have little to do with it.  How else explain the fact that science can be used for both good and ill and that science is granted authority by people of widely different ethical and political persuasions?  According to this idea, in short, science is, or at least ought to be, “value-free” or “value-neutral.” In this course we shall explore the major strands of this idea, their origins in Western thought, and the hold they still have on us.  Our main focus, however, will be on their current tangles with the history, philosophy, and sociology of science and the knotty questions that have developed as a result, questions concerning the prospects of scientific objectivity and the role of science in a democratic society.


This course will be run as a seminar with students sometimes leading class discussions, presenting the results of individual research projects to the group, and further developing those projects using feedback from the group.  The aim, of course, will be for students to develop fully informed and defensible responses to the controversial terrain we shall be exploring.


Crosslisted with PHIL 43704 01, HPS 93821 01, STV 40220 01

Topics in Philosophy of Logic
93925 01 (19840)
12:30-3:15 W

This course surveys some of the classical results in proof theory such as cut-elimination, inferentialist semantics, and consistency proofs, with a focus on their meaning, the context of their original discovery, and their use in relating classical and non-classical logical systems. It also touches on some more recent connections with algebraic and categorical logic. Participants are expected to participate in presenting material, to solve occasional assigned problems, and write a short paper.

Dissertation Research Seminar
98690 01 (14409)
2:00-3:15 M

Graduate Research Seminar
98698 01 (16973)


Research and Dissertation
98699 01 (11207)