Course Descriptions – Fall 2012

Philosophy 101, Introduction to Philosophy: Reflections on the Human Condition (HU)

LEC 402, MW 10:00–10:50, MER 131
LEC 403, MW 12:00–12:50, MER 131
Instructor (402/403): Edward Hinchman, hinchman@uwm.edu
Enrollment in one of the large lectures (LEC 402/403) also requires enrollment in a corresponding discussion section.

This course is an introduction to Western Philosophy.  Students need not have any background in philosophy, or any plans for further study.  The course has three broad aims:

(1) to introduce students to the tradition of philosophical argument in the West via primary texts,
(2) to teach students how in general to make and evaluate philosophical arguments,
(3) to demonstrate to any student who cares to participate actively how exciting and even fun philosophy can be.

Since philosophy is simply informed public reflection on what we're up to as we try to do and believe what we ought to do and believe – as Socrates put it, "What we are talking about is how one should live" – I hope that by the end of the term the third aim of the course will have taken priority over the other two.

Philosophy 101, Introduction to Philosophy: Selected Topics and Issues (HU)

LEC 001, T 6:30 – 9:10, CRT 309
Instructor (001): TBA

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 8:00 – 9:15, END 109
LEC 002, MW 2:00 – 3:15, LUB S165
LEC 203, Online Web
Instructor: Matthew Knachel, knachel@uwm.edu

There’s an ancient view, still widely held, that what makes human beings special—what distinguishes us from the “beasts of the field”—is that we are rational. What does rationality consist in? That’s a vexed question, but one possible response goes roughly like this: we manifest our rationality by engaging in certain activities, chief among them the activity of making claims and backing them up with reasons—that is, constructing arguments.

This reasoning activity can be done well and it can be done badly—it can be done correctly and incorrectly. Logic is the discipline that aims to distinguish good reasoning from bad.

Since reasoning is central to all fields of study—indeed, since it’s arguably central to being human—the tools developed in logic are universally applicable. Anyone can benefit from studying logic by becoming a more self-aware, skillful reasoner.

It is possible to approach the study of logic more or less formally. A more formal approach abstracts from natural language and develops sophisticated artificial symbol-languages within which it’s possible precisely to identify the logically relevant features of arguments. This approach has many virtues, but it is only one among many, and it focuses on only one kind of argument (deductive). In this class, we explore a diverse collection of methods and principles for evaluating many different kinds of arguments. We take a very brief look at the formal techniques mentioned above, but spend most of our time studying arguments presented in natural language, as they occur in everyday reasoning.

Philosophy 204, Introduction to Asian Religions (HU)

LEC 201, ONLINE
Instructor: Michelle Mahlik, mmahlik@uwm.edu

This course will examine the central themes of the philosophical thought of the Asian religious traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Jainism. We will explore the logical, ethical, and metaphysical dimensions of these traditions as well as the history of their development. Recurring themes will be the nature of Ultimate Reality, the difference between appearance and reality, the nature of the human self, the morally “good" life, and the role of reason in human religious life. The intent of this course is to acquaint the student with these topics as well as to assist the student in formulating independent opinions and beliefs about these issues. No philosophical background is necessary.

Philosophy 207, Religion and Science (HU)

LEC 001, TR 3:30—4:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Margaret Atherton, atherton@uwm.edu

Is it "Science AND Religion" or "Science OR Religion?" The juxtaposition of the two terms, ‘science’, ‘religion’ has often assumed an implacable conflict. But why should these two central areas of human endeavor be taken to be incompatible or to be enemies of one another? What does a closer scrutiny reveal about the relations between the two? Are there further issues that cloud and confuse these debates? What do the terms, ‘science’ and ‘religion’ describe, anyway? Do discussions of the relations between them do justice to the diversity of practices and institutions included under the rubrics of science and religion? In order to examine such questions, we will undertake a series of case studies into some notorious episodes in the history of science and religion, such as, the trial of Galileo, the role of religion in the Scientific Revolution, the appearance of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, the Scopes trial, and the recent debates about Intelligent Design. We will also explore the emotive underpinnings of such episodes in works of fiction, as Brecht’s Galileo and the movie, Inherit the Wind.

Philosophy 211, Elementary Logic (HU)

LEC 001, T 6:30 – 9:10, HOL G90
Instructor: TBA

LEC 403, MW 10:00 – 10:50, AUP 170
LEC 404, MW 12:00 – 12:50, LAP N103
Instructor: Joshua Spencer, spence48@uwm.edu
Enrollment in one of the large lectures (LEC 403/404) also requires enrollment in a corresponding discussion section.

Sometimes we say things that support our conclusions and other times we don’t. An argument is any set of sentences that are supposed to support a particular conclusion. Logic is the formal study of arguments. In this course, we will learn how to symbolize English sentences in a formal language. We will also learn procedures for determining whether or not the arguments we symbolize are valid.

Philosophy 211, Elementary Logic (HU)

LEC 202, ONLINE WEB
Instructor: Matthew Knachel, knachel@uwm.edu

There’s an ancient view, still widely held, that what makes human beings special—what distinguishes us from the “beasts of the field”—is that we are rational. What does rationality consist in? That’s a vexed question, but one possible response goes roughly like this: we manifest our rationality by engaging in certain activities, chief among them the activity of making claims and backing them up with reasons—that is, constructing arguments.

This reasoning activity can be done well and it can be done badly—it can be done correctly and incorrectly. Logic is the discipline that aims to distinguish good reasoning from bad.

Since reasoning is central to all fields of study—indeed, since it’s arguably central to being human—the tools developed in logic are universally applicable. Anyone can benefit from studying logic by becoming a more self-aware, skillful reasoner.

In this course, we introduce formal deductive logic. This is the branch of logical inquiry that develops sophisticated techniques for evaluating reasoning based on the idea that one can best isolate arguments’ logically important features by abstracting from the natural language in which they are originally presented, rendering them instead in a formal symbol-language more amenable to rigorous analysis. This move allows us to elaborate a variety of principles and tools whose usefulness extends beyond the logical task of evaluating arguments: they provide the medium for proofs of scientific and mathematical propositions; they allow for the identification and classification of central concepts in linguistics; they constitute the underlying structure of both computer hardware and software; and they can even help you solve those diabolical puzzles you find on standardized tests like the LSAT—you know, where they tell you, for example, that a grocer is arranging his produce section, but must do so according to certain restrictions: apples must be on one of the ends, bananas can’t be to the right of any citrus fruits, oranges must be between apricots and kiwis, and so on; then they ask you questions like “If the grocer puts the grapefruits to the left of the kumquats, where do the peaches go?” Studying logic makes those things a lot easier.

Philosophy 215, Belief, Knowledge, Truth: An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge(HU)

LEC 001, MW 11:00—12:15, CRT 309
Instructor: TBA

Grounds of rational belief and knowledge and methods used for obtaining them, with particular emphasis on problems of evidence and truth.

Philosophy 217, Introcution to Metaphysics(HU)

LEC 001, TR 12:30—1:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Fabrizio Mondadori

The course deals with the nature of metaphysical thinking and the issues arising from such thinking. Representative philosophers from ancient, modern, and contemporary philosophy will be read and discussed: Plato (Parmenides); Aristotle on Plato’s Theory of Forms; Descartes (Meditations); Hume (Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding); Michael Dummett (on realism and anti-realism).

Philosophy 232, Topics in Philosophy: Personal Identity & the Self (HU)

LEC 201, Online Web
Instructor: Luca Ferrero, ferrero@uwm.edu

What makes each of us a person and why does personhood matter? What makes each of us a particular person with a distinctive individual identity? How is this identity preserved in time? Is the biological death of the body also the death of the person? Does each of us have something as a unique and unified 'self'?

Does personal identity depend on the continuity of memories, beliefs and psychological traits? Or the continuity of a body? Or the persistence of an immortal and immaterial soul? What do we learn about the nature of persons from the investigations of cases of amnesia, brain bisection, multiple personality disorders, and sci-fi thought experiments?

What is death? Should we fear our own death? What would immortality of a person amount to? Is immortality desirable?

Philosophy 232, Topics in Philosophy: Theories of Human Nature(HU)

LEC 022, Online Web
Instructor: Miren Boehm, boehmm@uwm.edu

What is this enigma called “human”? It is hard to imagine a subject more important than the study of human nature. What are we? What is our origin? What is our destiny? Different answers have been offered to these questions throughout human history and if we were to put together all of these answers into a single view we would have to say that we are part angel, part demon, part rational, part animal, part nothing, part infinite, and more. In this class we shall examine the main theories in Western philosophy and religion, and to a lesser extent in Eastern thought. We begin with biblical views of human nature and Greek conceptions of our nature. These two are the most important sources for our self-understanding in the Western tradition. We then look at Hindu and Buddhist views of human nature followed by an in depth study of the Western, modern philosophical and scientific tradition: Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Schopenhauer, Marx, Freud, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus and Darwin. Towards the end, we approach the question of human nature by examining the mind/body problem and here we discuss some of the most prominent positions on the relationship between the mind and the brain: dualistic interactionism, materialist monism and functionalism. And finally we raise the question of free will. Are we really free agents, or are we entirely determined by antecedent causes? And can determinism and free will be reconciled?

Philosophy 241, Introductory Ethics (HU)

LEC 401, MW 11:00 – 11:50, END 107
Instructor: Julius Sensat, sensat@uwm.edu
Enrollment in Philosophy 241 also requires enrolling in a corresponding discussion section.

We’ll 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’ll see how the second approach leads naturally to utilitarianism, while contractualism has important sources in Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy. We’ll see how the three basic approaches get reflected in theories of social and economic justice.

Philosophy 243, Moral Problems (HU)

LEC 001: Immigration and Citizenship - MW 12:30 – 1:45, CRT 309 (9/4-10/6)
LEC 002: War and Torture - MW 12:30 – 1:45, CRT 309 (10/8-11/10)
LEC 003: Sex and Marriage - MW 12:30 – 1:45, CRT 309 (11/12-12/12)
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein, silvers2@uwm.edu

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 to be able to better assess and argue for one’s position with regard to such issues.

243-001 – Immigration and Citizenship: This five-week course will be concerned with moral issues related to immigration and citizenship. We will address questions such as: What rights and obligations do citizens have? Can one be a "citizen of the world"? Do people have a right to immigrate or emigrate as they wish? What are a nation’s obligations to those who wish to immigrate to their country? Issues related to race, racism, and discrimination in immigration and citizenship policies will also be addressed.

243-002 – War and Torture: This five-week course will address moral issues related to war, particularly the use of torture. Questions that will be addressed include: Is war always wrong? Is there such a thing as a "just" war? How should we define torture? Is torture ever justified? Do humans have an inalienable right not to be tortured?

243-003 – Sex and Marriage: This five-week course will examine moral problems related to sex, sexuality, and marriage. Questions that will be addressed include: What is the purpose of sex? Why are some sexual encounters morally problematic and not others? What is adultery, and is it always wrong? Is homosexuality immoral? What is marriage? What is its purpose? Is marriage a right? If it is who has the right to marry?

Philosophy 244, Ethical Issues in Health Care: Contemporary Problems (HU)

LEC 001, R 6:00 – 8:40, CRT 209
Instructor: Kristin Tym, tymk@uwm.edu

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.

Philosophy 250, Philosophy of Religion (HU)

LEC 401, TR 10:00 – 10:50, LAP N101
Instructor: William Bristow, bristow@uwm.edu
Enrollment in LEC 401 requires enrolling in a corresponding discussion section.

In this course we bring philosophical reasoning to bear on central questions concerning religious doctrine and faith. Some major questions we will address in this course are: What do (or should) we mean by "God"? Can the proposition that God exists be proved on the basis of unaided reason? Or does reason in fact support atheism? What is religious faith? Must one have religious faith in order to be moral? Or, alternatively, is there an irresolvable tension between the demands of morality and the demands of religious faith? Is the existence of evil compatible with the existence of an all-powerful, benevolent creator God? Is the hypothesis of an after-life reasonable or intelligible? -- We engage these and other related questions by studying and discussing texts from major philosophers and religious thinkers in various traditions.

Philosophy 253, Philosophy of the Arts (HU)

LEC 001, MW 2:00 – 3:15, BOL B84
Instructor: Michelle Mahlik, mmahlik@uwm.edu

Art differs from nature in being a human creation, and as our own creation art has something to say about how we view our selves, our world, and our relationship to the world. An objective of this course is to philosophically examine the nature of art and its relationship to individuals and their environment.

How do we distinguish works of art from natural objects? Is art merely an imitation of the natural world? Do works of art have intrinsic meaning, or do we project meaning onto them? Is the aesthetic value of a work of art merely a matter of subjective judgment or are there specific criteria by which to judge works of art? Is there a relationship between beauty and moral goodness? Will new discoveries in neuroscience and neuroaesthetics improve our understanding of our responses to artworks?

In this course, we will consider these questions and the answers provided by a variety of philosophers, both ancient and modern. Although an interest in art is recommended, this course requires no previous experience in art or philosophy.

Philosophy 324, Philosophy of Science

LEC 001, MW 2:00 – 3:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Robert Schwartz, schwartz@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.

This course will explore the nature of scientific inquiry, as well as consider what, if anything, is special about the scientific enterprise. We will start by trying to get a firm understanding of such core notions of scientific methodology as: explanation, cause, laws, and probability. Next we will explore how concepts and hypotheses of science get their empirical meaning. This study will lead us to consider questions about the relation of theoretical terms to "reality" and to problems concerning how science can or cannot test its theories. The last third of the course will focus on recent challenges to both the "objectivity" of science and the "rationality" of scientific practice.

Philosophy 332 (337), Environmental Ethics

LEC 001, MW 3:30 – 4:45, END 109
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein, silvers2@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st.

Have you ever asked yourself any of the following questions: Why should I care about the environment? What is my relationship to the natural world? What is my responsibility to the environment?

The course will cover major theories of environmental ethics and their practical applications. We will cover various theoretical approaches to environmental ethics including: Animal rights, the Land Ethic; deep ecology; social ecology; ecofeminism; and rethinking the good life. This will include discussions about the moral value of non-human life and nature; human responsibility to the environment; and various contemporary moral issues related to the environment including: wildlife conservation; poverty as an environmental problem; the ecology of property rights; cost-benefit analysis and environmental policy; and environmental activism. By the end of this course you will be acquainted with concepts and methods of philosophical ethics that apply to issues regarding humankind's dealings with the natural world; be able to critically assess alternative approaches to, and defenses of, a code of responsibility to nature; have a repertory of resources and skills with which to formulate your own environmental ethic; and be able to articulate and defend your own ideas with clarity, consistency and coherence.

Philosophy 349, Great Moral Philosophers

LEC 001, TR 11:00 – 12:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Stan Husi
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

In this course we are going to look into four quite different visions of what ethics and social justice are all about, presented by four giants of moral philosophy, Plato, Hobbes, Kant, and Mill. Each philosopher presents a different ideal of agency, a first one looking beyond the appearances and oriented towards an abstract form of the good, a second one a rational calculator of self-interest in the search of social stability and security, a third one taking his departure from his self-conception as a free and autonomous agent, and a fourth one seeking to fully realize human happiness and capacities. All four authors have developed intricate philosophical systems, and none is easy to read, yet, as William James encourages us, “any author is easy if you can catch the center of his vision.” In this course we aim our focus at the center of the four different visions, using the contrast between them to sharpen the contours of each. The main readings are going to be drawn from Plato’s 'Republic', Hobbes 'Leviathan', Kant’s 'Groundwork', and Mill’s two essays 'Utilitarianism' and 'On Liberty'.

Philosophy 351, Philosophy of Mind

LEC 001, MW 3:30 – 4:45, CRT 309
Instructor: TBA
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

Critical study of the nature of mind and its relation to body and matter, with emphasis on recent advances in philosophy and psychology.

Philosophy 430, History of Ancient Philosophy

LEC 001, TR 3:30 – 4:45, LUB S230
Instructor: Fabrizio Mondadori
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 433, Nineteenth-Century Philosophers

LEC 001, TR 2:00 – 3:15, CRT 309
Instructor: William Bristow, bristow@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos

In this course we study the nineteenth century philosophical thought by tracing the development of the central themes of autonomy and self-alienation in a number of important thinkers of the period. The course begins with the study of the eighteenth century French thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau because he sets the stage thematically. Rousseau, in his Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, interprets humanity as alienated from itself under the conditions of modern society, and then, in his On the Social Contract, proposes a re-organization of society, through which modern humanity would achieve its telos of freedom or autonomy. The subsequent thinkers that we will read and discuss in the course (Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud) agree with Rousseau's diagnosis, formally, in the respect that they also interpret humanity as self-alienated or divided against itself. But each interprets that alienation in a different way. Most of these thinkers would also agree with Rousseau in labeling the condition in which we are cured of our alienation as a condition of autonomy or freedom, but each interprets that desired condition in a different way as well. We will study their contending interpretations of humanity’s condition of alienation and of humanity’s aspiration toward freedom or autonomy.

Philosophy 516, Language and Meaning

LEC 001, MW 12:30 – 1:45, CRT 607
Instructor: Michael Liston, mnliston@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st, & Philos 101(P) or 432(P).

“What is truth?” said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.

Philosophy of Language is one of the most central areas of philosophy. It is, in a sense, both the place where traditional metaphysical concerns about reality, thought, and objectivity have come to roost in contemporary philosophy, and the area which has had the deepest influence on disciplines outside of philosophy – having, for example, helped shape the methodology of such sciences as psychology, linguistics, and sociology, and provided much of the impetus behind fashionable current trends in literary studies. The reason for its importance lies in the extreme generality of the question it addresses: What is the nature of representation and reference? What is the nature of truth? What is the nature of meaning? The sort of approach one takes to these questions is often virtually definitive of one’s general intellectual temperament.

This course will examine various current theories of reference, truth and meaning. The readings will include classic works by Locke, Frege, Russell, Strawson, Kripke, Putnam, Searle, Tarski, Davidson, and Quine. If time permits, we may also read works by Austin and Grice.

Philosophy 522, Special Topics in the Philosophy of Science: Philosophy of Physics

LEC 001, TR 2:00 – 3:15, CRT 607
Instructor: Stephen Leeds, sleeds@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st.

The first part of the course will be on the Theory of Relativity, Special and General; the implications of these theories for our conceptions of Space and Time (and spacetime). The second part will be on Quantum Mechanics, particularly the Measurement problem. If there is time at the end, we may discuss some issues in Statistical Mechanics. No specific requirements, but it would be helpful to know elementary calculus and some linear algebra.

Philosophy 532, Philosophical Problems: Time and Action

LEC 001, R 3:30 – 6:10, CRT 607
Instructor: Luca Ferrero, ferrero@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

A distinctive feature of human agents is their ability to plan in advance, pursue very distant goals, and engage in temporally extended activities. In this course, we will consider the nature and rationality of acting over time.

First, what is the structure of diachronic agency? What does it take to act over long time intervals? What is the role of intentions in structuring long-term plans and in supporting them as they unfold? How do prior decisions and intentions manage to affect future conduct? How can we bind our future conduct by a mere decision? Can we tie the hands of our future selves simply by an act of will?

We then consider the rationality of long-term plans. What rational norms govern diachronic agency? Should we discount the future, given the uncertainty about it? Is it really a rational fallacy to take into account sunk costs, given that they are in the past? Is there a rational presumption in favor of our past decisions even if we adopted them by plumping in the face of underdetermination?

Finally, we will discuss the moral psychology of long-term plans. Do plans require a special faculty? A will as a faculty of resolve? What can philosophy say about procrastination and lack of resolve?

Philosophy 532, Philosophical Problems: Pragmatism

LEC 002, MW 5:00 – 6:15, CRT 607
Instructor: Robert Schwartz, schwartz@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st, 3 cr philos.

Recently there has been an enormous resurgence of interest in Pragmatism, not only in philosophy, but in political science, sociology, cultural studies, and many other areas of intellectual pursuit. This course will examine main themes, problems, and trends in Pragmatism. It will focus on the writings of Peirce, James, and Dewey. The implications of their ideas to current controversies concerning truth, knowledge, relativism, and inquiry will be explored. Questions will also be raised about the goals and methods of philosophy.

Philosophy 681, Seminar in Advanced Topics: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy

SEM 001, MW 3:30—4:45, CRT 607
Instructor: Richard Tierney, rtierney@uwm.edu
Prereq: sr st & 12 cr in philos at 300-level or above; or grad st.

In this seminar we shall be studying Aristotle’s concept of nature, primarily with a view to understanding that concept, but also with an eye to certain current issues in Metaphysics and Philosophy of Mind. We shall begin by considering the nature of inanimate substances, and progress to consider the nature of animate substances – i.e. their form, or soul. Perhaps we’ll get to consider the Active Intellect, and its relation to human beings. Along the way we shall address such questions as: “What is change, and how is change possible?”, “What is a natural substance?”, “How does a natural substance come into being?”, “What is the difference between a substance’s nature and its natural activities?”, “How do animate substances differ from inanimate substances?”, and “Do animate substances have a separable soul?”. We shall be reading significant portions of the Physics, Posterior Analytics, On Generation and Corruption, Meteorology, On the Soul, and Generation of Animals, as well as selections from the Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, and other works. No knowledge of Greek is required or expected.

Philosophy 685, Senior Capstone Research Seminar: Hume

SEM 001, MW 11:00—12:15, CRT 607
Instructor: Miren Boehm, Boehmm@uwm.edu
Prereq: sr st; declared Philos major; or cons instr.
Undergraduates only.

In this class we will be studying Book I of David Hume’s masterpiece A Treatise of Human Nature. We focus on Hume’s philosophy of science, which involves questions about the relation between the mind and the other sciences, such as mathematics and physics, and questions about meaning and the relation between conceivability and possibility. We also examine in detail Hume’s attack against induction and study his own account of causal reasoning and necessary connection. Toward the end we turn to Hume’s account the self, and finally to his skepticism.

Philosophy 758, Seminar in Major Philosophers: Early Modern Theories of Mind

LEC 001, T 11:00 –1:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Margaret Atherton, atherton@uwm.edu
Prereq: grad st; cons instr. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 ct max.

Descartes' contributions to the Scientific Revolution in the form of an account of material substance that encouraged a mathematical and mechanical picture of nature have been widely viewed as positive, if in the end flawed. His companion doctrine, about thinking substance, has, on the contrary been widely derided. In this course, we will explore the nature and consequences of Descartes' theory of mind through a close study of Descartes’ own views about mind and its reception by representative thinkers of the Early Modern period, such as Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley and Hume. We will examine such issues as the role of the theoretical term, 'substance', the nature of thought or consciousness, and how to understand such problematic elements as sensations or the passions.

Philosophy 790, Advanced Topics in Philosophy: Graduate Student Writing Workshop

LEC 001, MW 2:00 –3:15, CRT 607
Instructor: Julius Sensat, sensat@uwm.edu
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: Political Liberalism: Variants and Criticisms

SEM 001, T 3:30 – 6:10, CRT 607
Instructor: Blain Neufeld, neufeld@uwm.edu
Prereq: grad st; cons instr.

Political liberalism’ is an approach to thinking about justice and legitimacy that has gained prominence in political philosophy over the past three decades. The version of political liberalism advanced by John Rawls is the most well known. Alternative versions of political liberalism, however, have been advanced both by other ‘egalitarian liberals’ (e.g., Joshua Cohen, Charles Larmore, Stephen Macedo, Martha Nussbaum), as well as ‘classical liberals’ (e.g., Gerald Gaus, John Tomasi). In this course we will examine Rawls’s account of political liberalism, as well as some alternative accounts. We also will address some of the main criticisms of political liberalism. If time permits, we will consider the implications of political liberalism for education policy.