Graduate Courses

Fall 2024


83104 01 (18971)

W 12:30-3:15 pm

A seminar required of all first-year students, the proseminar emphasizes close reading and clear philosophical writing about central topics in philosophy.

Research and Placement Seminar
83110 01 (17631)

M 2-4:45 pm

This course will teach students how to become professional academic philosophers. Research-related topics will include how to stay consistently productive throughout one’s dissertation career, what to do when one is stuck, how to stay passionate about one’s topic, how to deal with procrastination and writing avoidance, how to receive feedback and incorporate it into one’s work productively, and how to achieve work/ life balance. Professionalization-related topics will include how to give a good talk, how and when to submit to journals, how to interact productively and professionally with colleagues, and how to plan one’s philosophical career. Placement-related topics will include explanations of each step in the academic philosophy job market, including how to prepare one’s job market materials, how to perform well in a first-round interview, how to give a good job talk and teaching presentation, and how to negotiate a job offer. Students will also present their work.
Required for 4th and 5th year students

Artistotle on Ontology, Language, and Logic
83207 01 (20827)

W 3:30-6:15 pm
Fulfills Ancient History Requirement
This seminar will discuss some of the main themes of Aristotle’s ontology, philosophy of language, and logic. We will first address Aristotle’s theory of the categories as it is presented in the treatise whose title is Categories: this is a classification of the simplest among the entities that populate the world and are signified by atomic linguistic expressions (nouns and verbs on their own). The course will then move on to how nouns and verbs are articulated in complete sentences, a topic discussed in Aristotle’s de Interpretatione. After a brief excursion in Aristotle’s theory of the assertoric syllogism (in the Prior Analytics), the course will concentrate on book 4 of the Metaphysics. We will discuss Aristotle’s project of a science that studies all beings in so far as they are beings, the relationship of this science to the study of the highest among beings (and, in particular, of God), and
will finish by concentrating on the complex argument that Aristotle offers to defend the Principle of Non-Contradiction (i.e. the principle that it is impossible for the same attribute both to belong and not to belong to the same thing).

Early Modern Metaphysics of Evil
83270 01 (20603)

Th 12:30-3:15 pm
Fulfills Modern History Requirement

This seminar focuses on the perennial topic of the problem of evil as it was developed and addressed in the rich context of 17th and 18th-century philosophy. Topics to be discussed include the metaphysics, nature, and sources of evil, theories of Divine causality, accounts of human and Divine freedom, and related topics in metaphysics, ethics, and philosophical theology.

83701 01 (17633)

W 9:30am -12:15pm 
Fulfills Area 1 Requirement

The aim of this course is to survey and evaluate the major approaches to understanding epistemic value, viz., internalist theories such as coherentism and foundationalism, and externalist theories such as reliabilism. This is the core course for epistemology.

Philosophy of Science
83801 01 (17634)

TTh 3:30-4:45 pm 
Fulfills Area 1 Requirement

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 (17635)

M 3:30-6:15 pm 
Fulfills Logic Requirement

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: for graduate students: Formal logic or equivalent; contact the professor if you are unsure about your preparation. Prerequisite for undergrads: Philosophy or philosophy-associated major or minor + formal logic or instructor approval.

Pedagogy Workshop
85105 01 (20030)

Time Varies
Fulfills TA and Teaching Practicum Requirement

2 semesters required of all third-year students. A course required of all graduate students before teaching their own courses for the first time. The goal will be for each prospective teacher to produce viable syllabi and raionales for the courses they will be teaching.

93506 01 (20605)

M 12:30-3:15 pm
Fulfills Area 1 Requirement

Sometimes a theory is useful without being true. Treating a theory you are using as useful but not true, or close to true, is an option available in many areas of philosophy and beyond. This course will survey fictionalist proposals in a wide variety of areas, from unobservable physical objects, to possible worlds, to minds, to color to morality. It will also address some general questions about fictional strategies: are there general advantages or disadvantages? How does fictionalism stack up against rival anti-realist strategies? How does fictionalism relate to the use of models in science and elsewhere?

Metaphysics of Mind
93508 01 (20606)

W 12:30-3:15 pm
Fulfills Metaphysics Requirement (Area 1)

This course investigates foundational metaphysical questions about the mind, including questions about the relationship between mind and matter, the nature of belief and desire, the structure of consciousness, and the (in)compatibility of free agency and materialism.

Gödel Incompleteness
93607 01 (20604)

Th 12:30-3:15 pm
Fulfills Area 2 requirement 

We shall explore at length all aspects of the Gödel incompleteness phenomenon, covering Turing’s solution of the Entsheidungsproblem, Gödel’s argument via fixed points, arithmetization, the Hilbert program, Tarski’s theorem, Tarski via Gödel, Tarski via Russell, Tarski via Cantor, the non-collapse of the arithmetic hierarchy, Löb’s theorem, the second incompletenesss theorem via Gödel, via Grelling-Nelson, via Berry’s paradox, Smullyan incompleteness, self-reference, Kleene recursion theorem, Quines, the universal algorithm, and much more. The course will follow the gentle treatment of my book-in-progress, Ten proofs of Gödel incompleteness, with supplemental readings.

The Science-Gender Connection
93828 01 (20204)

TTh 2-3:15 pm
Fulfills Area 1 Requirement

Through much of its history, academia has been gendered in a particular way -male dominated, focused on men's interests, and privileging those interests -and much of it still is. In response, the area of enquiry known as women's studies or gender studies emerged in the 1970s as part of the feminist movement. In this course we will explore gender, the concept that lies at the heart of this area of enquiry. We will find that this concept is as complex and multi-faceted as the diverse disciplines from which it now draws and as political as its feminist origins suggest. We will also find that it is fraught with controversy. Though the disciplines that contribute to the idea of gender comprise nearly all of academia, we will concentrate on the sciences, from which the concept of gender first emerged. We will start with the gendered origins of the concept - the gender of science - and then proceed to the science that developed as a result - the science of gender; and we will conclude with some questions concerning the connection between the two - the gender of science and the science of gender. No particular scientific background will be presupposed, and visits from science faculty will be organized to help us understand the terrain we will be covering. The rest of the time the course will be run as a seminar. Students will lead class discussions, present the results of individual research projects to the group, and have the opportunity to further develop those projects using feedback from the group. Throughout, our aim will be for each student to develop a fully informed and defensible response to the controversial terrain we will be exploring.