Graduate Courses

Fall 2019

Medieval Research Seminar
63233 01 (20987)

Cory and Dumont
6:00-8:45 W

This course is an intensive, hands-on seminar designed to provide essential research skills and deeper historical knowledge for graduate students working on projects in medieval philosophy and theology.  With a principal (but not necessarily exclusive) focus on key debates in thirteenth-century Paris, it will examine medieval educational practices, institutional structures, literary genres, and “schools of thought.” We will study how to track debates about a theme across time, and how to “crack the code” of puzzling texts by identifying their underlying sources and contemporary interlocutors.  We will also develop essential skills, such as working with manuscripts, early printed texts, critical editions, electronic corpora, and online tools.  Students will complete individual projects related to their own research interests.  Latin required.  French and/or German desirable but not required.

Colloquium Seminar
83102 01 (10774)

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 (12915)
12:30-3:15 W

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 (11516)
12:30-3:15 M

Science occupies a prominent place in our society. Science, it is said, secures knowledge that other endeavors cannot possibly obtain, and it can transform the world in radical ways. But what is the nature of scientific knowledge? What makes science so special? This survey course is an introduction to the philosophical debates about the nature of modern science. We will cover the central issues in the philosophy of science from logical empiricism to contemporary debates. Topics included in the survey are: the nature of scientific knowledge; progress in science; realism and antirealism; reductionism; laws of nature; explanation and confirmation; the nature of scientific practice; the role of values in shaping scientific research.

Intermediate Logic
83901 01 (15854)
9:30-12:15 R
Cross-listed with PHIL 43907-01 (20345)

A presentation of the central meta-theoretical results in 20th Century logic, including Gentzen's formalization logical consequence, Bernays's completeness theorem for classical propositional logic, Goedel's completeness theorem for classical quantification theory, the basic cardinality theorems of Cantor, Lowenheim, and Skolem, Gentian's cut-elimination theorem, and properties of intuitionistic logic and its relationship to classical logic. We focus primarily on understanding the proofs of these main results and the historical/philosophical contexts that make them meaningful, and graded work is organized to this purpose. This is the required logic course for students in the Philosophy PhD. program. Others are welcome to take it also.

Philosophy Pedagogy Workshop
85105 01 (14156)
T. Cory
August 23rd from 9-1 pm (Required for 3rd years)

Philosophy of Religion Workshop
93413 01 (13957)

9:25-11:25 F

Advanced Topics in Metaphysics
93526 02 (20778)

9:30-12:15 T


93504 01 (20010)

van Inwagen
3:30-6:15 W

Seminar meeting times:

Class will meet on Mondays in Malloy Hall Room 107, from 12:15 to 3:00.
Class will meet on Wednesdays in O'Shaughnessy Hall Room 207, from 3:30-6:15.

The last day of class will be on Wednesday, October 9, 2019.

This seminar examines and contrasts two philosophies of being, that of Kris McDaniel (presented in his recent book The Fragmentation of Being) and my own. The texts for the course are The Fragmentation of Being and my Existence: Studies in Ontology. (Both are available as e-books.) Before each meeting (other than the first), those registered for the course will be required to distribute written questions on the readings assigned for that day to the other participants. A term paper will be required.

Free Will

93517 01 (20605)

3:30-6:15 M

We will examine a selection of recent significant work on free action. Authors receiving attention will likely include Mele, Sartorio, Pereboom, List, Fischer, van Inwagen, and more. Because some philosophers believe that free action and moral responsibility are tightly linked issues, in focusing on work on free action we will also encounter many discussions of moral responsibility and will also take up the issue of the relation between freedom and moral responsibility.

Requirements: Significant term paper (or equivalent via multiple papers); regular attendance and participation; assigned seminar leadership. No exams.

Auditors by permission only – check with me for requirements for auditing the course.

This course is intended for graduate students in philosophy. Others are welcome to request permission to enroll.

Contemporary Ethics

93602 01 (20011)

12:30-1:45 TR

Cross-listed with PHIL 43336 01 (20005)


James P. Sterba, Ethics (2009)
Ibran X. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning (2016)
Kate Mann, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (2019)

Reading Assignments:

              1) A. J. Ayer, The Emotive Theory of Ethics
                   Brand Blanshard, The New Subjectivism in Ethics
              2) John R. Searle, How to Derive 'Ought' from 'Is'
                   Antony Flew, On Not Deriving 'Ought' from 'Is'
              3) Alan Gewirth, The Justificatory Argument for Human Rights
                  Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity 
              4) James P. Sterba, Justification of Morality & the Behavior of Women 
                   Alan Gewirth, The Rational Justification of Morality Revisited
                   Philippa Foot, Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives

              5)  Bernard Williams, Against Utilitarianism
                    Kai Nielson, Traditional Morality and Utilitarianism 
              6)  Michael  Stocker, The Schozophenia of Modern Ethical Theories
                    Peter Railton, Alienation, Consequentialism and the Demands of Morality 
              7) Fred Feldman, Kantian Ethics
                   Christine Korsgaard, Kant on Dealing with Evil
              8) John  Rawls, Welfare Liberalism
                   Charles W. Mills, Race and the Social Contract Tradition
              9) Jan Narveson, Liberty and Equality – A Question of Balance? 
                   James P. Sterba, Our Basic Human Right is a Right to Liberty and it leads to Equality
            10) Martha Nussbaum, Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach
                   Alasdair Macintyre, The Nature of Virtues
            11) Rosalind Hursthouse, Normative Virtue Ethics 
                   Robert N. Johnson, Virtue and Right 
            12) Sean Drysdale Walsh, Teleology, Aristotelian Virtue and Right 
                   Julia Annas, Ancient Ethics and Modern Morality

            Feminism: How is Gender Relevant to Morality?
            13) Carol Gilligan, Moral Orientation and Moral Development 
                   Virginia Held, Caring Relations and Principles of Justice 
            14) Claudia Card, Particular Justice and General Care
.                  James P. Sterba, The Masculine Bias in Traditional Ethics and How to Correct it
            Environmentalism: Who is to Count in Morality?
            15) Peter Singer, All Animals are Equal 
                   Paul Taylor, The Ethics of Respect for Nature 
            16) James P. Sterba, Kantians and Utilitarians and the Moral Status of Nonhuman Life 
                   Karen Warren, The Power and Promise of Ecological Feminism
            17) Ayaan Hirsi Ali, A Modern Clash of Cultures 
                  Madeleine Bunting, Can Islam Liberate Women?


18) Ibran X. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning Part IV
19) Ibran X. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning, Part IV &Part V
20) Ibran X. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning Part V
21) Kate Mann, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny Chapter 6
22) Kate Mann, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny Chapter 7
23) Kate Mann, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny Chapter 8

Paper Topics Assigned After Readings 12, 17 and 22

Topics: Philosophy of Physics

93890 01 (20012)

12:30-3:15 T

This course will be an introduction to contemporary research (and research methods) in the philosophy of physics, with a special emphasis on the "symmetry" and "modeling" literature. Students will be required to develop and execute a small-scale research project, with the goal of submitting a paper to e.g. BJPS or Philosophy of Science. 

Dissertation Research Seminar
98690 01 (14157)
2:00-3:15 R