Graduate Courses

Spring 2024


Pedagogy Workshop
85105 01 (20030)

Time Varies
Fulfills TA and Teaching Practicum Requirement

2 semesters required of all third-year students. 

Avicenna, Averroes, and Aquinas on the Intellect
93238 01 (31950)

T. Cory and Ogden
T 3:30-6:15 pm
Fulfills Medieval Requirement

An in-depth investigation into three competing medieval theories of intellect, from Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Averroes (Ibn Rushd), and Thomas Aquinas. These are three of the most important medieval noetic systems, which adapt Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic views within the Islamic and Christian traditions and which shape influential debates into later medieval and Renaissance philosophy. Readings include Avicenna's Psychology of The Cure; Averroes' Long Commentary on De Anima; Aquinas's De Unitate Intellectus; and important secondary scholarship.

Social Metaphysics
93505 01 (31951)

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

The metaphysics of the social world (including gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, and religious identities) has seen a recent surge in philosophical interest. This seminar will explore cutting-edge social metaphysics, with a strong emphasis on recently published and forthcoming work. Topics will include the metaphysics of social categories, non-ideal social metaphysics, the metaphysics of masculinity, trans philosophy, intersectionality, and social metaphysics as fundamental metaphysics. Several virtual visits from social metaphysicians are planned.

Philosophy of Edith Stein
93606 01 (31952)

Th 12:30-3:15 pm
Fulfills Ethics Requirement (Area 2)

This course will focus on some of the central texts of the philosophy of Edith Stein. Edith Stein was an important member of the phenomenological movement: she was Husserl's first assistant (Heidegger followed after) and wrote important works in this tradition. She was also a scholar of scholastic philosophy. One of her last works is a treatise on systematic metaphysics that integrates insights from phenomenology, neo-Kantianism, and scholastic metaphysics. We’ll begin by discussing the general philosophical and contextual background to Edith Stein's early works. We’ll then discuss several of her works, ranging from her first book The Problem of Empathy up to Finite and Eternal Being. We will largely focus on her views about philosophical methodology, phenomenology, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics, though we will also touch on her ethics and philosophy of religion.

Metaphilosophy: From Thought Experiments to Experimental Philosophy
93705 01 (31953)

T 9:30 am-12:15 pm
Fulfills Epistemology Requirement (Area 1)

How does philosophy work? While there is no single philosophical method, philosophers are frequently concerned with metaphysical possibilities—possibilities in the broad sense, unconstrained by the laws of physics. As such, rather than employing real-world experiments, philosophy employs thought experiments: experiments carried out in the imagination, scrutinizing questions that may lie beyond the scope of science, questions not about our world but about hypothetical worlds, worlds that may contain nothing other than two perfectly symmetrical, solid iron spheres, each the mirror image of the other, or a murky swamp that, when struck by lightning, gives rise to a fully functioning person replete with apparent memories of their past. Such thought experiments are designed to provoke startling insights into what is possible. And, in the best of cases, these insights are said to reveal something important about what is actual. In this class, we’ll examine whether philosophical thought experiments can bridge the gap between metaphysical possibility and this-worldly reality and consider alternative philosophical methodologies, such as empirical philosophy.

Advanced General Philosophy of Science: The Structure of Scientific Theories
93805 01 (32806)

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

This research course will explore the structure of scientific theories, with a special emphasis on the non-formal, non-literal and practical content of theories, as well as the phenomena of modeling and idealization. The primary text for the course is Duhem's The Aim and Structure of Physical Theories. We will spend the first 5 weeks of the course on a careful reading of Duhem, before turning to Mark Wilson's Duhemian thoughts in his Physics Avoidance: Essays in Conceptual Strategy. After that, we will survey the syntactic and semantic views of theories, and consider pragmatic responses by Nancy Cartwright, Hasok Chang, and other practice-based philosophers of science. Finally, we will consider the implications of our discussion for the realism/antirealism debate in the philosophy of science, as well as neo-Aristotelian attempts to articulate the practical thought inherent in science. The course will feature guest lectures by various research visitors.

HOPOS from Sci Rev. to 1900
93812 01 (31954)

TTh 11:00 am-12:15 pm
Fulfills Science Requirement (Area 1)

This course examines the work of key figures from the history of natural philosophy and science. Placing the philosophical work of Leibniz, Newton, Hume, Kant, Alexander Humboldt, Whewell, J. S. Mill, Helmholtz, Ernst Mach, Wilhelm Wundt, William James, Einstein, Henri Poincare, Bergson, and others, within a wider philosophical, historical, and cultural context, we will explore how and why they identified their central problems and the methods they used to approach those. We will focus on understanding how the central problems and theories that these figures worked on, ranging from questions of space, time, motion and substance/matter to theories of human sensibility and perception, to wider epistemological and metaphysical investigations, engaged the scholarly communities surrounding them, and helped them promote broader programmatic goals for reshaping and reforming philosophy/science. As they engaged contemporary philosophers/scientists over fundamental philosophical questions, they pressed new ideals of knowledge and programs to reform natural philosophy and reorganize the broader scholarly community - and society itself (e.g., Kant). We will explore how these natural philosophers framed new epistemologies and simultaneously promoted new ideals of the philosopher, scholar, and/or educated citizen, who would be capable of creating valid knowledge. In sum, we will explore how preeminent natural philosophers, at once, made original contributions to epistemology, understanding of space and time, and metaphysics, as they framed new visions of the knowing subject within a changing society.

Science and Social Values
93821 01 (31955)

TTh 2:00-3:15 pm
Fulfills Science Requirement (Area 1) OR Ethics Requirement (Area 2)

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 the results of science are (or at least should be) accepted as authoritative by people of widely different ethical and political persuasions? According to this view, in short, science is, or at least ought to be, "value-free" or "value-neutral." In this course we shall explore how recent research in history and sociology as well as philosophy of science has raised serious questions regarding this established wisdom and how such notions as scientific objectivity and autonomy and the role of science in a democratic society has had to be revised accordingly. Since this is a seminar course, students will lead class discussions, present the results of their individual research projects to the group, and have the opportunity to further develop these projects using the 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.

Modal Logic
93921 01 (31958)

MW 11:00 am-12:15 pm
Fulfills Logic Requirement (Area 1)

This course covers topics in the metatheory of modal logic. We will start with some basic correspondence theory, and then move on to discuss completeness and the finite model property. If we have time, we'll also cover some recent work on the relationship between modal logic and classical logic.