Course Descriptions - Fall 2009

Philosophy 101, Introduction to Philosophy: Selected Topics & Issues (HU)
LEC 404, MW 10:00 – 10:50, MER 131
LEC 405, MW 12:00 – 12:50, MER 131
LEC 001, T 6:30 – 9:10, CRT 309
LEC 002, W 6:30 – 9:10, CRT 309
Instructor (404/405): John Koethe,
Instructor (001/002): TBA
Enrollment in one of the large lectures (LEC 404/405) also requires enrollment in a corresponding discussion section.

We will look at a representative selection of topics from the history of philosophy and current philosophical debates: ethics, social and political philosophy, the scope and nature of our knowledge of the world, the nature of the self and mind.

Philosophy 111, Informal Logic: Critical Reasoning (HU)
LEC 001, MW 12:30 – 1:45, TBA
LEC 002, MW 2:00 – 3:15, TBA
Instructor: Matthew Knachel,

Logic is reason turned inward: it is the systematic study of correct and incorrect reasoning. As discursive creatures, we humans make assertions and back them up with reasons—we construct arguments. Since this activity is central to all fields of study, the tools that logic develops for identifying and analyzing good and bad arguments are universally applicable; anyone can benefit from a study of logic by becoming a more self-aware reasoner.

It is possible to approach the study of logic more or less formally. A more formal approach to the subject abstracts from natural language and deploys sophisticated mathematical tools in the analysis arguments. This course takes a less formal approach, focusing more on ordinary-language arguments found in everyday reasoning, and giving only a small taste of more formal techniques.

Philosophy 192, Freshman Seminar: Atheism (HU)
SEM 001, MW 9:30 – 10:45, CRT 607
Instructor: William Bristow,
Freshman Only.

Can a compelling philosophical case be made for atheism? Can a compelling philosophical case be made against religious faith? On philosophical grounds? On natural scientific grounds? (What is the difference?) What is the conception of religious faith that is the target of such arguments? -- We examine these and other related questions through examining the arguments contained in four recently-published best-selling works in which prominent intellectuals (scientists, philosophers, et cetera) undertake to make the case against religious faith and for atheism: Sam Harris, The End of Faith, Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell, and Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great. We will examine these authors’ arguments and positions critically, while situating their arguments in a broader philosophical and historical context.

Philosophy 204, Introduction to Asian Religions (HU)
LEC 401, MW 11:00—11:50, BOL B56
Instructor: Matthew Knachel,
Enrollment in the large lecture (LEC 401) Philosophy 204 requires enrollment in a small discussion section.

We will examine various East-Asian religious traditions through the philosophical lens of Western metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. That is, we will try to situate their views on the nature of reality, our ability to know it, and what it means to live a good life, not only in relation to one another, but against the background of (presumably) more familiar Western religious and philosophical traditions.

Philosophy 207, Religion and Science (HU)
LEC 001, TR 5:00—6:15, CRT 309
Instructor: David Luce,

Straight thinking and sloppy thinking about religion and science. A conservative evangelical theologian who urges Christians to return to their Biblical roots (Karl Barth) turns out to be one of the straight thinkers, and an eminent philosopher and historian of science (Norwood Russell Hanson) proves himself one of the sloppiest.
And a well-known advocate of the so-called “identity” theory of the mind-body relation (J. J. C. Smart), writing on the question of survival after death and presuming a conflict between science and religion on that issue, reveals that he hasn’t read the relevant literature.
Picking and choosing from the Bible exactly what one wants to believe: Creationists reject evolution but allow that the earth moves like a planet; Conservatives quote Leviticus against gay rights but ignore Isaiah’s insistent call for justice. We are obliged to look at the general question of the role of authority in moral decision-making.
An entry-level course (no prerequisites). Topics and reading chosen for minimal overlap with other existing courses and maximal relevance for the pressing issues of our time.

Philosophy 211, Elementary Logic (HU)
LEC 403, TR 9:00 – 9:50, LAP N103
LEC 404, TR 12:00 – 12:50, LAP N103
Instructor: Michael Liston,
Enrollment in one of the large lectures (LEC 403/404) also requires enrollment in a corresponding discussion section.

The Island of Knights and Knaves is a place where only Knights and Knaves live. A Knight is a person who always tells the truth. Knaves, on the other hand, never tell the truth. Harry, who lives on the island, says: “If I am a Knight, then I’ll eat my hat.” Did you know that you can prove from the above information that Harry will eat his hat? Did you know: 1) Given that Sarah loves either Jim or Tom and that if she loves Jim then she loves Tom, you can prove that she loves Tom? 2) that if everyone loves a lover and there is even one lover in the world, then everyone loves everyone? Learn how to solve these and other puzzles in Philosophy 211, where we will study formal deductive logic -- the science of what follows from what.

The concepts and techniques encountered in the study of deductive logic are of central importance to any analysis of argument and inference. They reflect fundamental patterns of proof found in science and mathematics, they underlie the programs that enable computers to “reason” logically, and they provide tools for characterizing the formal structures of language. This is an introductory course intended for students who have had no previous work in logic. There will be 3 exams and weekly homework assignments.

Philosophy 215, Belief, Knowledge, and Truth: An Introduction to the Theory
of Knowledge (HU)
LEC 001, MW 3:30 – 4:45, Room TBA
Instructor: Aaron Schiller,

If philosophy is the search for knowledge, then the first question of philosophy is: What is knowledge? In this class, we'll look at many of the central questions in the study of knowledge. How do we know when we have knowledge? What is the difference between knowledge and opinion? Is there a difference? What are the different sources of knowledge? Is it possible that we in fact don't know anything? No philosophical background will be assumed for this course.

Philosophy 232, Topics in Philosophy: Ethics & the Meaning of Life (HU)
LEC 001, TR 3:30 – 4:45, Room TBA
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein,

Ethics is the study of “the good life.” Therefore ethics is the heart of philosophy, because philosophy is the “love of wisdom” and having wisdom means having skill in living. One of the basic goals of ethical investigation is to understand what kind of life is worth living and how to acquire that kind of life for oneself. This class will examine these questions about “the good life” and how one ought to live in both classic and contemporary philosophical texts. Texts studied will include works by Aristotle, Leo Tolstoy, Albert Camus, Harry Frankfurt and others.

Philosophy 241, Introductory Ethics (HU)
LEC 401, MW 11:00 – 11:50, END 103
Instructor: Julius Sensat,
Enrollment in Philosophy 241 also requires enrolling in a corresponding discussion section.

We shall study three basic approaches in moral philosophy: ethical rationalism, which takes moral principles to describe an independent order of values fixed in the nature of things, the ideal-spectator approach, which takes morally wrong actions to be those an impartial sympathetic observer would disapprove of, and contractualism, according to which the correct moral principles are those which would be agreed to by all reasonable beings as a basis for their community. We shall see how the second approach leads naturally to utilitarianism, while contractualism has important sources in Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy. We shall see how the three basic approaches get reflected in theories of social and economic justice.

Philosophy 243, Moral Problems (HU)
LEC 001: Markets & the Global Economy, TR 12:30 – 1:45 TBA (9/2-10/3)
LEC 002: Cloning & Abortion, TR 12:30 – 1:45 TBA (10/5-11/7)
LEC 003: The Environment, TR 12:30 – 1:45 TBA (11/9-12/14)
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein,
Note: LEC 001, 002, & 003 are worth one credit each. You do not have to enroll for all three sections.

Each section of the course will begin with the presentation of ethical tools that will be useful in our examination and discussion of particular moral problems related to the chosen topics. The goal of the course(s) is to come to a deeper understanding of the issues involved in complex moral problems and too be able to better assess and argue for one’s position with regard to such issues.

243-001 Markets & the Global Economy: This five-week course will examine moral problems related to Markets and the Global Economy.
243-002 Cloning & Abortion: This five-week course will examine moral problems related to cloning and abortion.
243-003 The Environment: This five-week course will examine moral problems related to the environment.

Philosophy 243, Moral Problems (HU)
LEC 204: Abortion, ONLINE/WEB (9/2-10/3)
LEC 205: Euthanasia, ONLINE/WEB (10/5-11/7)
LEC 206: Global Issues & Globalization, ONLINE/WEB (11/9-12/14)
Instructor: Miren Boehm,
Note: LEC 204, 205, & 206 are worth one credit each. You do not have to enroll for all three sections.

243-204 Abortion: What would it mean for abortion to be morally wrong? What is the moral status of the fetus? Does it have a right to life? What is the concept of a person? What does it mean to have a right to one’s body? What does feminist theory say about abortion? What does religion have to say about the ethics of abortion? In this course we will address these and other difficult philosophical questions.

243-205 Euthanasia: Why would there be anything morally wrong with assisting someone in ending her life of when she is suffering and wants to end her life? What is death? What is a person? What is personal dignity? What is ordinary as opposed to extraordinary medical treatment? What is the moral difference between killing and letting die? In this course we will address these and other difficult philosophical questions.

243-206 Global Issues & Globalization: Under what conditions should property be subject to community control? Under what conditions should property be under the exclusive control of individuals? How do individuals come to have legitimate property rights? Do corporations have social responsibilities beyond maximizing profits within the law? If so, what are they? To what extent do expanding markets and globalization alleviate or exacerbate poverty? What are our responsibilities to the poor on a global level? In this course we will address all of these questions.

Philosophy 244, Ethical Issues in Health Care: Contemporary Problems (HU)
LEC 101, R 6:00 – 8:40*
Instructor: Kristin Tym,

This course will provide a general overview of many of the challenging ethical issues faced in health care delivery today. We will begin the course with an introduction of ethical theories and other approaches to moral decision-making. These theories and approaches will then be applied to ethical problems currently confronting health care providers, patients and their families, and society at large. Issues we will consider include informed consent and confidentiality, futility and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, euthanasia and assisted suicide, assisted reproduction, genetics, allocation of scarce resources and research ethics.
*This course is taught off-campus at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex,
9455 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee.

Philosophy 245, Critical Thinking and the Law: Law of Torts (HU)
LEC 101, M 6:30 – 9:10pm*
Instructor: Paul Santilli,
Class runs 9/14/09—12/14/09.

The goals of critical legal thinking are to instill in the student an understanding of the fundamental principles of legal analysis, problem solving and construction of an argument.  In order to convey these principles in this class, students are taught the law of torts (why I get to sue you when you hit me with your car).  Materials we will use to learn the law and critical thinking include legal cases (text) and jury instructions. It is through the study of law that teachers hope to impart to their students a system for analytical thinking which they may use in their every-day lives.
*This course is taught off-campus at the School of Continuing Education,
161 W. Wisconsin Ave, Room 7230.

Philosophy 250, Philosophy of Religion (HU)
LEC 401, MW 12:00 – 12:50, END 103
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein,
Enrollment in LEC 403 requires enrolling in a corresponding discussion section.

The vast majority of people when questioned will say they believe in God. In this course we will examine this common belief in depth. Topics covered will include: arguments for God's existence, the rationality of belief in God, the problem of evil, the compatibility of human free will the existence of an all powerful God, and the rationality of religious faith.

Philosophy 272 Philosophical Classics
LEC 001: The Life & Death of Socrates, TR 9:30 – 10:45, CRT 309 (9/2-10/3)
LEC 002: Descartes’ Meditations, TR 9:30 – 10:45, CRT 309 (10/5-11/7)
LEC 003: Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion, TR 9:30 – 10:45, CRT 309 (11/9-12/14)
Instructor: Margaret Atherton,
Note: LEC 001, 002, & 003 are worth one credit each. You do not have to enroll for all three sections.

This course or courses offers an opportunity to earn from 1-3 credits. Each 1 credit 5 week mini-course will examine carefully a different philosophical classic.

272-001 The Life and Death of Socrates: Socrates’ life and teachings were immortalized by his great pupil, Plato and in his own right, Socrates has been accorded an honored place in the history of philosophy. Yet he remains an enigmatic figure. What sort of a teacher was this man who insisted he was the wisest of all because he knew nothing? Why did the Athenians find his teachings so threatening that they put him to death? In this course we will seek to uncover the puzzle that was Socrates through a reading of Plato’s account of his last days.

272-002 Descartes’ Meditations: If we sometimes dream, then perhaps the world we perceive when awake has no more reality than the world we dream about. How can you be sure that you do not believe that 2+2=4 because an evil demon has tricked you into so believing? With speculations like these, Descartes took his figure of a meditator into an understanding of the underlying nature of reality, where minds are firmly distinct from bodies and our knowledge of the nature of reality is saved from skepticism through a proof for the existence of God. We will follow the thoughts of the meditator through the steps Descartes laid out for him or her, and see why Descartes ushered in a new era of philosophical endeavor.

272-003 Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion: Through the mouths of his various characters, Hume recorded the struggles of his age, as thinkers tried to reconcile the discoveries of the great scientists, such a Isaac Newton, with the truths of religion that were supposed to be equally available to rational inspection. One mystery remains for Hume’s readers: Who speaks for Hume? Was Hume himself an agnostic or a believer?

Philosophy 303 Theory of Knowledge
LEC 001, MW 2:00 – 3:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Edward Hinchman,
Prereq: jr st.; Philos 101(P), 201(P), or 215(P).

This course covers some of the background to contemporary epistemology. We’ll read some of the works, all written in the past 50 years and most written in the past 20, that set the framework for current work in the field. At the end of the term, you should be able to pick up the latest philosophy journals and read many of the articles in epistemology with understanding. Topics covered include self-deception, skepticism, testimony, and the natures of judgment, belief and knowledge.

Philosophy 317 Metaphysics
LEC 001, TR 3:30—4:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Fabrizio Mondadori
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.

In this course we shall raise, discuss, and attempt to answer, the following (inter-related) questions: (1) whether or not it is possible to change the past (and what is meant by the claim that it can, or cannot, be changed); and (2) whether or not the effect can precede its cause, i.e., whether or not there can be such a thing as backward causation. We shall read texts by Aristotle, St. Thomas, Michael Dummett and David Lewis.

Philosophy 349 Great Moral Philosophers: Aristotle and Kant on Practical Rationality
LEC 001, MW 12:30 – 1:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Carla Bagnoli,
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.

Arguably, Kant and Aristotle are the greatest moral philosophers of western tradition. They canvass two distinctive conceptions of practical reasoning. Kant’s ethical theory is concerned with equality and freedom, and promises a systematic and universalistic conception of morality. By contrast, Aristotle’s ethics is sensitive to the various tonalities of concrete situations, and makes sense of the agents’ relations with their community. However, both Aristotle and Kant attribute a crucial role to reason in choice, and thus defend two distinctive forms of rationalism. The course focuses on this aspect of Aristotle and Kant’s ethics, and explores their legacy in contemporary ethical debates.
Readings include: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Critique of Practical Reason, and Metaphysics of Morals, and a selection of contemporary essays.

Philosophy 351 Philosophy of Mind
LEC 001, MW 9:30—10:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Aaron Schiller,
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos.

Philosophy of Mind is concerned with the nature of mind and thought. Some of its questions are: What is the mind? How does it fit into the rest of the universe? How can one tell that another has a mind? What is it to think? Could a machine think? When one thinks, what is it that one is thinking? How does thought relate to perception and action? Though we will begin by reading some foundational texts in the history of Western philosophy, the majority of our time will be spent reading contemporary philosophers. By the end of the term, students will have solid foundation in one of the most fundamental areas of philosophy.

Philosophy 355 Political Philosophy: The Social Contract Tradition & Its Critics
LEC 001, TR 11:00—12:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Blain Neufeld,
Prereq: jr st; Philos 242(P) or a course in ethics.

This course will look at the great Enlightenment social contract theories that helped to shape the rise of liberal democratic ideals and institutions in the West (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant), and some of the most significant criticisms of those theories from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Hume, Marx). We will also consider the main alternative approach to liberal political thinking in the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, namely, utilitarianism, and in particular the views of J. S. Mill. The course will conclude by considering the recent revival of the social contract approach in political philosophy over the past few decades in the work of John Rawls, as well as some important criticisms of Rawls’s views.

Philosophy 430 History of Ancient Philosophy
LEC 001, MW 11:00 – 12:15, Room TBA
Instructor: Richard Tierney,
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos.

In the thought of Ancient Greece we uncover a remarkable phenomenon. The Ancient Greeks, starting from an essentially myth-making way of understanding the world and the human place in it, as found in the work of Homer and Hesiod, developed their ideas to a culmination in a theory of the natural world and of human nature and human contact put forward by Aristotle, which dominated human thinking for many hundreds of years and is still said to capture human “common sense” beliefs about the world. How did this transition come about? We will look at the changing questions asked by the Presocratics, Plato and Aristotle, in order to understand how their ideas and theories about the natural world and human nature resulted in the development of natural science, ethics and metaphysics.

Philosophy 431 History of Medieval Philosophy
LEC 001, TR 12:30 – 1:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Fabrizio Mondadori
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos.

In this course we shall study, both critically and historically, the writings of such philosophers as St. Augustine, St. Anselm, Siger of Brabant, St. Thomas, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham. Avicenna and Algazali. We shall discuss, among others, such topics as the existence of God, the extent of God’s power, the eternity of the world, free will and determinism, the distinction between essence and accident, the nature of individuality, the nature of possibility, and causation.

Philosophy 435 Existentialism
LEC 001, TR 2:00 – 3:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Miren Boehm,
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos.

Is there a foundation for the norms and values we use to govern and direct our lives? If there is a foundation, what is it? Is it society? Religion? Freedom? If there isn’t a foundation, are our lives then meaningless? How do we live in the face of the despair that arises from this realization? What counts as the best or most authentic sort of life for an individual human being? These are some of the important questions raised in that area of philosophy known as “existentialism”. In this course we will examine the answers to these questions as proposed by a number of philosophers, authors and filmmakers.

Philosophy 511 Symbolic Logic
LEC 001, MW 3:30-4:45, CRT 607
Instructor: Stephen Leeds,
Prereq: jr st & either Philos 212(P) or 6 cr math at the 300-level or above; or grad st.

The main goal of this course is to prove the famous theorem, discovered by Kurt Gödel in the 1930’s, that any consistent set of axioms for mathematics will be unable to prove or disprove certain mathematical claims, among these one such claim is that the set of axioms is consistent. On the way to deriving this, we will review some elementary logic and learn something about computability and about the branch of logic known as model theory. Afterwards, we will branch off into related subjects, including as much set theory as we have time for.

Philosophy 532 Philosophical Problems: 20th Century Classics: Quine, Goodman, & Beyond
LEC 001, TR 5:00 – 6:15, CRT 607
Instructor: Robert Schwartz,
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.

The ideas of W.V. Quine and Nelson Goodman have had a profound influence in shaping the course and nature of contemporary philosphy.  We will examine a range of issues developed in their writings and responses by critics and commentators (e.g. Rorty, Kripke).  Among the topics to be considered will be: ontological commitment, meaning, reference and modality, propositional attitudes, pictorial representation, truth, counterfactuals, the New Riddle of Induction, and realism vs. worldmaking.

Philosophy 554 Special Topics in the History of Modern Philosophy: Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit
LEC 001, MW 2:00 – 3:15, CRT 607
Instructor: Julius Sensat,
Prereq: jr st, 3 cr philos; & Philos 432 (R); or cons instr.

The celebration of Hegel's 56th birthday received more play in the Berlin press than a party for the King of Prussia. Hegel was that notable because of the widespread belief that philosophy – indeed, his philosophy – was the quintessential intellectual discipline of modernity. On this view, modern philosophy does not merely articulate the rational elements of a historical movement realizing human freedom. It is the rational self-consciousness of that movement as well, and it is thereby essential to that movement, completing it as well as comprehending it. Hegel first articulates this vision in his masterful Phenomenology of Spirit. It is hard to overestimate the significance of this work for nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy. It will be our major focus. But as time permits we shall pay some attention to other works, particularly those that bring out his critique of Kant and his mature social and political philosophy. There will be a heavy writing and discussion component.

Philosophy 562 Special Topics in Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy: The Theory and Practice of Social Justice
LEC 001, TR 3:30 – 4:45, CRT 607
Instructor: Blain Neufeld,
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.

This course will examine the two preeminent ‘liberal egalitarian’ approaches to thinking about social justice in contemporary political philosophy: (1) John Rawls’s ‘political liberal’ conception of ‘justice as fairness’; and (2) ‘luck egalitarian’ accounts of social justice (as represented by such authors as Richard Arneson, G. A. Cohen, and Ronald Dworkin). We will compare these two forms of liberal egalitarianism on the following topics: the nature of liberty, the nature of equality, the subject or ‘site’ of justice, and the nature of political justification. We also will consider the practical implications of these two forms of liberal egalitarianism with respect to educational policy, family policy, and/or health policy (time constraints may limit the number of policy areas that we can consider). Throughout the course there also will be some consideration of alternative accounts of social justice (such as libertarianism, ‘perfectionist’ liberalism, republicanism, and/or utilitarianism), although the primary focus will be on liberal egalitarianism.

Philosophy 681 Seminar in Advanced Topics: Rationalism in Frege and Burge
SEM 001, W 5:00—7:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Edward Hinchman,
Prereq: sr st & 12 cr in philos at 300-level or above; or grad st. Consent required to audit.

Over the past twenty years, Tyler Burge has developed what he calls a ‘limited rationalism’ that is not tied to the semantic and epistemological individualism of traditional rationalisms. This course will reassess from the vantage point of Burge’s recent work two philosophical developments that began in the 1970s: the Fregean turn inspired by Michael Dummett’s 1973 book Frege: Philosophy of Language and the ‘externalist’ turn inspired by Hilary Putnam’s 1975 paper “The Meaning of ‘Meaning’” (along with related work by Saul Kripke and Keith Donnellan). Burge says that his rationalism has been “substantially influenced” by Frege’s, and he has explicitly fashioned it specifically to accommodate externalist (or, as he calls them, anti-individualist) intuitions. How do these strands in his rationalism hang together? We’ll read some pre-Fregean rationalists, some Frege, some Dummett, some still-influential classics from 1970s philosophy of language, and a lot of Burge. (Look for a fuller course description on my website this summer.)

Philosophy 685 Senior Capstone Research Seminar: Friedrich Nietzsche
SEM 001, MW 12:30—1:45, CRT 607
Instructor: William Bristow,
Prereq: sr st; declared Philos major; or cons instr. Consent required to audit.
Undergraduates only.

We study the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche as it develops from his early essays up through the posthumously published Will to Power. A few of the themes that we will concentrate on: what is Nietzsche’s critique of (Christian) morality and, more generally, of the larger culture in which this moral system is embedded? What are the values presupposed in Nietzsche’s critique of modern European values, and what is the philosophical ground for the adoption of those values, if any? Is Nietzsche’s critique of values founded upon a metaphysical conception? If so, is that metaphysical conception itself supported? We will also critically examine Nietzsche’s philosophical method (or methods). – We will read, besides Nietzsche’s works (On Truth and Lie in an Extra-moral Sense”, Human All-Too-Human, Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil, Thus Spake Zarathustra, The Genealogy of Morals, and Will to Power), we will also read some philosophical reflections and commentaries on Nietzsche’s work.

Philosophy 758 Seminar in Major Philosophers: Berkeley
SEM 001, T 11:00 – 1:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Margaret Atherton,
Prereq: grad st; cons instr.

George Berkeley has had a long standing but ambiguous reputation. The poet, William Butler Yeats, said that Berkeley expressed the Irish temperament when he “proved all things a dream” but Berkeley’s editor, A. A. Luce said that Berkeley aligned “we Irish” with sturdy common sense. Many have supposed that the claims that Berkeley is most closely associated with—that there is no matter and that the only things that exist are ideas and minds that have them-- must be totally ludicrous. But others have agreed with Berkeley himself that on Berkeley’s principles it is possible to preserve common sense. A final puzzle arises: what exactly are Berkeley’s principles? Berkeley’s most famous claims appear in only two of his works, Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. If the denial of the existence of matter constitutes the main tenet of Berkeleianism, why did Berkeley suppress all mention of it in all but two of his works? We will try to gain answers to these central questions in the interpretation of Berkeley’s thought, by setting his major works in the context, both of Berkeley’s other writings, and in the historical context against which he was working.

Philosophy 790 Advanced Topics in Philosophy: Graduate Student Writing Workshop
LEC 001, R 6:30 –9:10, CRT 607
Instructor: Aaron Schiller,
Prereq: grad st; cons instr.

In this workshop, graduate students will present their work in progress and receive peer comments on their work and writing. Students will have the opportunity to hone their presentation skills, sharpen their writing, and develop their philosophical ideas.

Philosophy 941 Seminar in Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy: Moral Norms
SEM 001, M 5:00 – 7:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Carla Bagnoli,
Prereq: grad st; cons instr.

As other domains of rationality, morality is an activity guided by norms. Do moral norms differ from other kinds of norms, as to their justification, scope, subjective authority, and objective validity? Is there anything specific and peculiar to moral forms of normative guidance? Is moral normativity continuous with other forms of normativity? We will consider and discuss competing answers to these questions, as offered in contemporary ethics, with special attention to recent essays by Joseph Raz, Peter Railton, Allan Gibbard, Christine Korsgaard, Stephen Darwall, and Michael Thompson.