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Department of Philosophy

Department Website:


  • Interim TBA


  • Matthew Boyle
  • Daniel Brudney
  • James Conant
  • Michael Kremer
  • Gabriel Richardson Lear, Social Thought
  • Jonathan Lear, Social Thought
  • Martha C. Nussbaum, Law
  • Robert Pippin, Social Thought
  • Robert J. Richards, History
  • Candace A. Vogler

Associate Professors

  • Jason Bridges
  • Agnes Callard
  • Kevin Davey
  • David Finkelstein
  • Anton Ford 
  • Anubav Vasudevan
  • Malte Willer

Assistant Professors

  • Matthias Haase
  • Daniel Moerner
  • Thomas Pashby
  • Ginger Schultheis


  • Benjamin Callard
  • Bart Schultz
  • Lisa Van Alstyne
  • Tyler Zimmer

Emeritus Faculty

  • Arnold Ira Davidson
  • Howard Stein
  • Josef J. Stern
  • William W. Tait
  • William C. Wimsatt

The programs in philosophy are designed to develop skill in philosophical analysis, to enable the student to think clearly, systematically, and independently on philosophical issues, and to achieve a thorough acquaintance with major classics and contemporary works in philosophy. Philosophy classes are conducted so that students may develop philosophical skills by class discussions and by the writing of carefully directed papers.

The following is an outline of the main features of the graduate program. For full details, please write the Department of Philosophy directly.

Graduate Degrees

The graduate program in philosophy is primarily a doctoral program. Admission as a graduate student normally implies that, in the opinion of the department, the student is a promising candidate for the Ph.D. degree. The Master of Arts degree, however, may be awarded to students in the program who meet the requirements specified below.

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in the Division of the Humanities is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at:

Questions about admissions and aid should be directed to or (773) 702-1552.

International students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Current minimum scores, etc., are provided with the application. For more information, please see the Office of International Affairs website at, or call them at (773) 702-7752.

Students admitted to doctoral study are typically awarded a five-year fellowship package that includes full tuition, academic year stipends, summer stipends, and medical insurance. Teaching training is a vital part of the educational experience at the University, so all fellowships include a required teaching component. 

The Degree of Master of Arts

The objective of the program is the Ph.D. degree. Students seeking a master’s degree should apply to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), a three-quarter program of interdisciplinary study in a number of areas of interest to students.  Further details about the MAPH program are available at

Doctoral students who are enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago may receive an M.A. in Philosophy. These can be either:

  • Doctoral students in another discipline who seek a “secondary” M.A. in Philosophy, in conjunction with their doctoral studies in that other discipline; or
  • Doctoral students in Philosophy who want to receive the M.A.

The requirements for the degree are the same in either case. The requirements can be satisfied entirely by course-work; no thesis is required. They are specified in five clauses:

  • Quality: No course for which the student received a grade lower than a B+ will satisfy any requirement for the M.A.
  • Level: Only courses taken at the graduate level (that is, with a course-number of 30000 or higher) can satisfy any requirement for the M.A.
  • Quantity: The student must complete at least eight courses in Philosophy at the University of Chicago. (Reading and research courses do not count toward satisfying this requirement, nor do courses taken pass/fail—except the first-year seminar, which counts as one course if passed.)
  • Distribution: The student must have taken at least one designated course in each of the Philosophy Department’s five “areas” — namely:
    • Area I: Value theory
    • Area II: Philosophy of science, philosophy of language, and logic
    • Area III: Epistemology and metaphysics
    • Area IV: Ancient or Medieval philosophy
    • Area V: Modern philosophy (17th-19th centuries)
  • Elementary Logic: The student must demonstrate competence in elementary logic. This can be achieved by an interview in which the candidate satisfies one of the Department’s logicians that he or she has the required competence, or by taking the Elementary Logic course (PHIL 30000 Introduction to Logic), or any more advanced logic course offered by the Department. Philosophy 30000 can count as one of the minimum eight courses, but it does not satisfy the Area II requirement. A more advanced logic class does both.

Application Procedure

Doctoral Students in the Department of Philosophy may apply for the M.A. at any time after they have completed the requirements. 1. Contact the Department Coordinator so that the proper paperwork is submitted verifying your courses (above) and 2. contact the office of the Humanities Dean of Students in order to gain access to the degree application in  Keep your expected graduation date set to the date you anticipate receiving the Ph.D.

Students in a Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago in a department other than Philosophy who wish to receive a “secondary” M.A. in Philosophy must first apply for admission to the M.A. program in the department of Philosophy. No student can apply unless she has taken at least three Philosophy courses, and it is expected that the student will apply soon after completing that number of courses. To initiate the application process, the student should set up an appointment with the Assistant Dean of Students for Admissions in the Division of Humanities who will direct the student through the required paperwork and obtain:

  • The applicant’s transcript of courses taken for the B.A.
  • His/Her GRE scores
  • A transcript of the applicant’s courses at the University of Chicago taken up to the time of the application.
  • A sample of her best philosophical writing. This may but need not be a paper written for one of the applicant’s already completed Philosophy courses at the University.
  • A brief letter from the chair or director of graduate studies of the applicant’s home department supporting the application. The letter should explain why the student is seeking an M.A. in philosophy to complement her doctoral studies.
  • Names of two faculty in the Dept. of Philosophy who can comment on work done by the applicant and on her philosophical potential.
  • A statement by the applicant that explains why she is seeking an M.A. in Philosophy.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The divisional and University requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be fulfilled. Departmental requirements are as follows:

Course Requirements

The Course Requirement has seven parts concerning:

  • The number of required courses
  • The distribution of required courses
  • The logic requirement
  • Required progress
  • Policies concerning incompletes
  • Grades
  • Transfer credits

Number of required courses

Students must complete at least twelve courses in their first two years of study: the first year seminar and eleven graduate courses.

First-year students must enroll in the first-year seminar. The exact organization and scheduling varies from year to year according to the instructor’s discretion. It is graded on a pass-fail basis.

In addition, eleven graduate courses must be completed with a grade of B or better:

  • At least ten of these courses must be in the Philosophy Department listings;
  • Reading and research courses do not count among these eleven classes
  • At least one must be a graduate seminar in Philosophy

Distribution of required courses

Students are required to take one course in each of the following three areas of contemporary philosophy:

  • Value theory (listed in the course descriptions as I)
  • Philosophy of science, philosophy of language, and logic (listed in the course descriptions as II)
  • Epistemology and metaphysics (listed in the course descriptions as III)

and three courses on the history of philosophy as follows:

  • A figure or movement in either Ancient or Medieval Philosophy (listed in the course descriptions as IV)
  • A figure or movement in Modern Philosophy from the 17th through 19th centuries (listed in the course descriptions as V)
  • One additional course on a figure or movement in either IV or V.

It should be noted that not all graduate courses satisfy a field distribution requirement; those not classified in the published course descriptions as belonging to I-V cannot be used to satisfy the distribution requirement. Nor can Philosophy 30000 (Elementary Logic) be used to satisfy a field distribution requirement.

Logic requirement

There is a requirement in logic that can be satisfied in several ways.

  • By passing PHIL 30000 Introduction to Logic with a grade of B or higher.
    Philosophy 30000 is offered every Autumn quarter. It counts toward the twelve course requirement but does not satisfy the field II distribution requirement.
  • By passing a course equivalent to or better than Philosophy 30000 (Elementary Logic), at another institution or in another department at Chicago, with a grade of B+ or higher. The equivalence of the course in question to Philosophy 30000 will be determined by the instructor in Philosophy 30000 in the year in question, on the basis of an interview with the student, and such evidence as the syllabus for the course, the textbook for the course, and any other course materials which the student can provide. Note that satisfying the logic requirement in this way will count neither towards one of the twelve required courses nor towards satisfying the field II distribution requirement.
  • By passing an advanced graduate course in logic with a grade of B or higher.
    Passing an advanced graduate course in logic would both satisfy the logic requirement and count towards the field II distribution requirement.

Required progress

Courses must be completed, with a grade of B or better, according to the following timetable.

  • Two courses should be completed by the beginning of the Winter quarter of the first year
  • Four courses (at least three in the Philosophy Department) should be completed by the beginning of the third quarter
  • Six courses should be completed by 30 September of the second year
  • Ten courses should be completed by the end of the fifth quarter
  • All twelve courses (eleven plus the first year seminar) must be completed by 30 September following the sixth quarter.

In addition to this timetable, students should keep in mind that because they are expected to be working on their Revision Workshop during Spring Quarter of their second year in the PhD program, they would be ill-advised not to have completed all but one their course requirements by that quarter.


At the discretion of the instructor, coursework not completed on time may be regarded as an “incomplete.” This means that the instructor will permit a student to complete the work for a course after the normal deadline.

The instructor sets the time period for completion of the incomplete, subject to the following limitation: all coursework must be submitted by September 30th following the quarter in which the course was taken in order to count toward fulfillment of the requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. This date is an absolute deadline and is not subject to further extensions by individual faculty members.

Note: Students in their first year in the program are not permitted to take any incompletes in their first quarter.


Satisfactory grades for work toward the Ph.D. in Philosophy are A, A-, B+, and B.

For Philosophy faculty, those grades mean the following. A: pass with distinction; A-: high pass; B+: pass; B: low pass.

Transfer Credits

The following policy applies to the Philosophy Ph.D. program. Special requirements of joint programs take precedence over this policy.

  1. Of the required 11 graduate courses, no more than 1 can be taken at the University, but outside the Philosophy Department.
  2. Of the required 11 graduate courses, no more than 2 can be transferred from other institutions.
  3. Of the required 11 graduate courses, at least 9 must be taken within the Philosophy Department's course offerings.
  4. Only courses taken while enrolled in a doctoral program in Philosophy can be counted towards the required 11 graduate courses.

For example, a student might transfer 2 course from another institution and take one course from another department within the University, with the remaining 9 courses taken within the Philosophy Department. Or a student might transfer 2 courses from another institution, with the remaining 9 courses taken within the Philosophy Department. 

Students wishing to obtain credit for graduate courses taken from the listings of other departments within the University toward the required 11 courses do not need to petition the department, within the two-course limit specified above.

Students wishing to obtain transfer credit for courses taken at other institutions must petition the Graduate Program Committee. Students should be prepared to provide evidence in support of their transfer application at the request of the Committee. Such evidence may include course descriptions, syllabi, assignments, written work completed for the course, and so on.  Students who are transferring from other graduate programs must make such a request upon their entry into the Philosophy Department. Students who take a course at another institution while enrolled in the PhD program should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies beforehand, but must still petition the Graduate Program Committee to have the course accepted for transfer credit upon completion of the course.

Note that elementary logic courses taken outside the department may fulfill the elementary logic requirement but may not be used to meet the 11 course requirement. See “Logic Requirement” above for further details.

Foreign Language Exam

All students must pass an examination in French, German, Latin, or Greek by the end of Spring quarter of the fourth year or before the topical examination, whichever comes first. (There is a special rule for students who wish to write theses on ancient Greek or Roman philosophy; this is detailed below).

There are two kinds of language examinations: those administered by the Department and those administered by the University. Departmental language exams will be given twice a year and may not be taken more than twice.

Students who take the University language examination must receive a “High Pass.” These are offered every quarter and there is a fee for taking them.

There is a special requirement for those working in ancient philosophy or German philosophy, since work in these fields depends heavily on one’s ability to use the relevant languages.

Any student intending to write a thesis on ancient philosophy must pass the Departmental or University exam in Greek (the latter with a “High Pass”). Any student intending to write a thesis on Hellenistic or Roman philosophy must also pass the Departmental or University exam in Latin (the latter with a “High Pass”). Any student intending to write a thesis on German philosophy must pass the Departmental or University exam in German with a "High Pass".

Such students may take the Departmental exam in Greek or Latin or German a maximum of three times (as opposed to two times, which is the rule for other languages).

Revision Workshop

In the spring of their second year, all PhD students register for the Revision Workshop, taught by the current Director of Graduate Studies. In this course, students will present, discuss, and revise one of the papers they have written in their first two years in the graduate program.  This paper will then be submitted to the department late in the spring as a sample of their best work. The final essay should be no longer than 8,000 words. The department will then review the paper as part of its evaluation whether the student has sufficient promise to proceed from coursework to the next stage of the program.

Topical Workshop

In their third year, students will take a Topical Workshop, which meets intermittently in both Autumn and Winter Quarters. In this workshop, students present and discuss materials they will use in their Topical Examination, such as dissertation proposals and chapter drafts. The purpose of this workshop is to help students pass their subsequent Topical Examination and advance quickly to PhD candidacy.

Topical Examination

Following the Revision Workshop, students begin work toward their dissertations. During the Winter and Spring quarters of their third year, they should be meeting with various faculty members to discuss and refine possible dissertation topics, and possible dissertation committees.

By the end of their third year, and at the latest at the beginning of their fourth year, students will establish, with their prospective dissertation committee, concrete plans for the Topical Examination. Those plans will include: (1) a determination of the dissertation committee, (2) the expected character of the materials to be submitted by the student on which the Topical Examination will be based, and (3) the expected date of the Topical Examination. Though the details will vary (depending on the subject matter, the state of the research, etc.), the materials must include a substantial new piece (around 25 double-spaced pages) of written work by the student. This could be a draft of a chapter, an exposition of a central argument, a detailed abstract (or outline) of the whole dissertation, or whatever the committee as a whole agrees upon.

The Topical Examination is an oral examination administered by the members of a student's dissertation committee with the aim of evaluating the viability of the proposed dissertation project and the student's ability to complete it within a reasonable amount of time. Students will be admitted to PhD candidacy only after they have officially passed their Topical Examination. The Department's normal expectation is that students will have advanced to candidacy (including passing their Topical Examination and their language examination(s)) by the end of third week of their 11th quarter (normally the Winter quarter of their fourth year). Note: students must have scheduled their Topical Examination by the end of their fifteenth quarter (normally the end of the fifth year) to remain in the Program.

Students cannot take their Topical until they have met all other program requirements including passing their foreign language exam or exams. Students must finish their language exams by the end of their fourth year in the program (independently of their status with regard to any other requirements).

The Department requires that each student submit a written progress report on his or her progress by the end of the winter quarter of each year, beginning with his or her fourth year in the program. The report should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies and (after the Topical) to the student's dissertation committee. In addition to this report, students who have advanced to candidacy must submit a substantial piece of new writing (25-30 pages in length) to the chair of their dissertation committee. The student will be notified whether or not he or she is making good progress following the annual review meetings in Spring.

It is very much in each student's own interest to be well along with his or her dissertation early in the fifth year, for several related reasons. First, of course, all students are obligated to teach a stand-alone course that year as part of their GAI teaching requirements. This is inevitably time and energy consuming. Second, GAI funding runs out at the end of that year; and some students will not get any more support from the University. And, finally, such sixth-year support as there is from the University is systematically directed to those applicants whose work is not only of the best quality, but also the furthest along (as documented not only by faculty testimonials but also by submitted chapters). Keep in mind also that so-called "dissertation-year fellowships" are awarded competitively on a Division-wide basis, and there are not enough to go around. Though Philosophy students have often done well in this competition, there is no guarantee for the future; and, in any case, not all applications will be successful.
To be sure, supporting oneself without aid, while finishing up a dissertation, is a time-honored academic tradition. But, for most students, the available opportunities are far from deluxe (either inside or outside the University), and it is clearly wise to minimize one's dependence on them, if possible.

NOTE: The Department Coordinator must be informed of the date and time of your Topical Exam, and documentation of the Topical. This is so that department and university can record the exam and admit the student to candidacy.  Students need to email the Department Coordinator the names of the members of the committee, the sample chapter on which the Topical examination is based, and the working title of the dissertation.

Teaching Requirements

The Philosophy Department views the development of teaching competence as an integral part of its overall Ph.D. program and takes various steps to train its doctoral students to become excellent teachers of philosophy. It offers different types of teaching opportunities, which gradually prepare its students to teach their own classes.  These opportunities are enhanced by the department's pedagogical support through individual faculty mentorship and year round discipline-specific pedagogical events offered through its pedagogy program. The first teaching opportunities come in the form of course assistantships. The professor responsible for the course in which a doctoral student serves as an assistant is also responsible for monitoring the doctoral student's teaching progress in that course and preparing a written report of her teaching performance therein. Once a doctoral student has proven herself as a teaching assistant, she is permitted to do stand-alone teaching. In these cases, too, however, the design of the syllabus of the course is developed in consultation with a member of the faculty. Here, too, that faculty member is responsible for further monitoring the doctoral student's teaching progress over the duration of the stand-alone course and preparing a written report of her teaching performance as a solo instructor.

The initial guaranteed funding for five years awarded to students admitted to the program includes a teaching obligation. That obligation standardly takes the form of the student serving four times as an instructor -- usually three times as a course assistant and once as an instructor of a stand-alone course. Normally, students complete one teaching assistantship in their third year, after completion of the Preliminary Essay, and two in their fourth year.  Normally, students give their stand-alone course in the fifth year.  These first four teaching stints are not further compensated: they are a component of the five-year fellowship package. This four-time teaching obligation is a requirement of the Department of Philosophy's Ph.D. program.

These first four teaching opportunities are built into the basic requirements of the Ph.D. program in order to ensure that students in the program acquire a certain minimum degree of teaching competence. However, the Department views the teaching obligation as a bare minimum with regard to teaching preparation. Doctoral students in the program are encouraged to do more teaching in the later years.

The Department's primary responsibility with respect to doctoral students is to support their work toward the doctoral degree. Teaching preparation is a crucial aspect of that responsibility and any additional teaching must be consistent with timely progress toward the doctoral degree.  Accordingly, the policy on teaching beyond the departmental teaching obligation is as follows:

  1. In Years 1 & 2, when doctoral students are expected to satisfy their course and logic requirements as well as to formulate topics, find readers, and begin research toward their Preliminary Essays, doctoral students are not given departmental teaching and will not be permitted to accept extra-departmental teaching.  The students may, however, complete the Training Course for Writing Interns and Lectors offered by the University of Chicago Writing Program before Autumn of Year 3.
  2. In Years 3-5, students may petition the DGS for permission to apply for extra teaching.  If, and only if, the following conditions are met, the Department (normally through the DGS) may petition the Dean of Students in the Humanities  and the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division to allow the student to apply for extra-departmental teaching:
    1. The student is making exemplary progress toward the degree in Philosophy (that is, the student has met every deadline set in the time to degree expectations and the students' work toward the degree is strong).
    2. There is a sound pedagogic reason to allow the student to seek extra teaching.
    3. In Year 6, students will be expected to teach as CAs in two departmental classes.
  3. Students must make their petitions to the DGS by the second week of the term prior to the term in which they hope for extra-GAI teaching—students must make their petitions by the second week of Spring quarter for extra teaching in Autumn, by the second week of Autumn quarter for extra teaching in Winter, and by the second week in Winter quarter for extra teaching in Spring.  The Department must make its petition to the DOS and Master of the HCD by the end of the third week of the term prior to the term in which students seek extra-GAI teaching.
  4. If the DOS and the HCD approve the Department's petition, and if the students are offered extra teaching appointments, funding for these positions cannot be drawn from the students' fellowship teaching obligation monies.
  5. Extra teaching permissions may be withdrawn if students cease to make exemplary progress toward their degrees.

Petitions to the DOS and Master of the HCD will attest to the students' progress and provide the rationale for allowing these students to seek teaching beyond the departmental teaching obligation.

Students do not need departmental permission to seek extra teaching assignments after their fifth year of residence.

Over the course of a doctoral student's career, that student together with the Department builds a teaching dossier, containing the syllabuses of the courses that she has taught, written reports by faculty teaching mentors on those courses, and last but not least, undergraduate evaluations of those courses. When doctoral students prepare to go on the job market, the Department sees to it that one member of the faculty undertakes the responsibility of writing a teaching letter for the student that documents and surveys the highlights of her teaching career at the University of Chicago.

The Department of Philosophy offers a non-credit and not required Pedagogy Program for PhD students. For more information, click here.

Dissertation and Final Oral Exam

Students must inform their committee members of their intention to schedule a defense during the term PRIOR to the term in which they plan to defend. Committee members will consult concerning whether the dissertation is in sufficiently final form to warrant the fixing of a date for the oral examination. Committee members will normally have seen the bulk of the work of the dissertation before making this judgment. Students should consult with their Dissertation Director and other Committee members about the amount of material they will need to see, the state of completion needed, and the time required for this judgment to be made. When the Dissertation Committee judges that the student is ready to defend, the student must coordinate with the Dissertation Committee and the Department Co-ordinator to settle the date and time for the dissertation.

Students should consult with their Committee concerning a precise deadline for submission of the final draft of the dissertation for the defense. This is normally several weeks to a month before the defense date. Students should be aware that, in practice, in order to graduate in a given quarter, the final draft of the dissertation must be submitted to the Dissertation Committee in the first week or two of that quarter, so that the defense can take place prior to the Library's deadline for submitting the final form of the dissertation, leaving time for any necessary revisions noted during the defense. For information regarding the precise deadline by which your approved dissertation must be submitted in a given quarter for the degree to be granted in that same quarter, please click here. Note also that an exam cannot be scheduled for at least two weeks after the formal request has been submitted.

The defense must take place at the University of Chicago, preferably in the Autumn, Winter, or Spring quarters. Summer defenses are scheduled at the discretion of the student's Dissertation Committee.

The student and at least one member of the Dissertation Committee must be physically present at the defense.

The student should submit, within the timeline notes, to the Department Coordinator:

  • the scheduled date, time, and the members of the committee, and any special room requirements, at least 3 weeks prior, or as soon as the date and time are settled
  • an electronic copy (.doc or .docx) of a 1-2 paragraph abstract, at least 3 weeks prior
  • an electronic copy of a 10-page abstract of the dissertation, at least 2 weeks prior

The final oral exam is a public event. The examining committee consists of the members of the dissertation committee, along with an appointed member of the Humanities Division faculty who serves as a representative of the Dean's Office. Other faculty and graduate students from the Philosophy Department may and generally do attend. Family members of the doctoral candidate and other members of the general public are also welcome.

If a student passes, then it is customary in the final phase of the exam for the members of the student's dissertation committee to request a final round of revisions to the dissertation. The final granting of the degree is conditional upon the completion of these final revisions.  These are to be made promptly after the exam and prior to the formal submission of the PhD document. After the dissertation is submitted, the student is required to provide each member of the dissertation committee with an electronic version of the document in its final form.

Director of Graduate Studies

  • Kevin Davey

Director of Undergraduate Studies

  • Anton Ford

Philosophy Courses

PHIL 30000. Introduction to Logic. 100 Units.

An introduction to the concepts and principles of symbolic logic. We learn the syntax and semantics of truth-functional and first-order quantificational logic, and apply the resultant conceptual framework to the analysis of valid and invalid arguments, the structure of formal languages, and logical relations among sentences of ordinary discourse. Occasionally we will venture into topics in philosophy of language and philosophical logic, but our primary focus is on acquiring a facility with symbolic logic as such.

Instructor(s): G. Schultheis     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LING 20102, PHIL 20100, HIPS 20700, CHSS 33500

PHIL 30011. Obligation as an Ethical Notion. 100 Units.

Whereas philosophers of Antiquity and the Middle Ages generally hold that good conduct is required for happiness, modern moral philosophy conceives of it as required by law-like obligation. Anscombe has famously argued that such a conception makes no sense independently of belief in a divine law-giver. Is she right? Or should philosophy rather take seriously the experience of "feeling duty-bound" to keep promises, help people in need, work conscientiously etc. and conclude that there is such a thing as moral obligation independently of a legislating authority? What does the Natural Law tradition say about this? What is actually involved in the idea of a moral Ought? Can there be absolute practical necessities? or unconditional obligations without sanction? Would we have reason to comply? How can the content of a "moral law" be known? Are happiness-oriented ethics definitely incompatible with ideas of such a law? (A) (I)

Instructor(s): A. Mueller     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 20011

PHIL 30012. Accelerated Introduction to Logic. 100 Units.

This course provides a first introduction to formal logic. In this course, we will introduce proof systems for both propositional and first-order predicate logic and prove their soundness and completeness. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): A. Vasudevan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): This course satisfies the Department of Philosophy’s logic requirement for the philosophy major. It is intended as an introduction to logic for students of philosophy with some background in mathematics. While no specific mathematical knowledge will be presupposed, some familiarity with the methods of mathematical reasoning and some prior practice writing prose that is precise enough to support mathematical proof will be required.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 20012

PHIL 30098. Medieval Metaphysics: Universals from Boethius to Ockham. 100 Units.

Any language contains terms that apply truly, and in the same sense, to indefinitely many things; for instance, species- or genus-terms, such as hippopotamus or animal. How things admit of such "universal" terms has engaged philosophers ever since Plato, who proposed participation in the forms. In the third century, the Neoplatonist Porphyry wrote an introduction to Aristotle's Categories, in which he raised, but did not even try to answer, three metaphysical questions: whether genera and species are real or only posited in thoughts; whether, if real, they are bodies or incorporeal; and whether, if real, they are separate entities or belong to sensible things. At the beginning of the medieval period, another Neoplatonic thinker, Boethius, took up Porphyry's questions. He offered a strict definition of universals, explained the difficulty of the questions, and proposed (without fully subscribing to) what he took to be Aristotle's way of answering them. Boethius's treatment oriented the approach to universals by philosophers up through the 12th century. The tools at their disposal, however, were mostly those provided by ancient logical works; and perhaps for this reason, the discussion reached a kind of impasse. But then there appeared translations of numerous hitherto unknown writings of Aristotle and Arab thinkers. (B) (III)

Instructor(s): S. Brock     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates who are not philosophy majors must obtain the instructor’s consent.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 20098

PHIL 30121. The Philosophy of Language of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 100 Units.

This course examines the conception of language of the early Wittgenstein though the lens of six common distinctions in the philosophy of language: (1) meaningful sentences vs. meaningful words; (2) semantic content vs. syntactical form; (3) meaningful signs vs. signs; (4) act vs. content; (5) forceful vs. forceless content; and (6) language vs. thought. We will see that the Tractatus challenges familiar ways of construing these distinctions. Specifically, it rejects the view that the second term of each distinction is the conceptually more basic case, while the first term is a composite phenomenon obtained by adding some extra ingredient to the second term. Rather, the second term of each pair, insofar as it is a genuine phenomenon, presupposes in various different ways the other term (sometimes because it is only an abstraction, sometimes because it is a derivative phenomenon, and sometimes because its specification involves derivative notions), or has instead exactly the same status (as in the case, arguably, of language and inner thought). This means that the Tractatus opposes the idea that the full-blown phenomenon of language (that is, language used by some speaker to say something that makes sense) can be reconstructed from a number of more fundamental ingredients. Rather, the full-blown phenomenon of language is the starting point in terms of which each of the aforementioned distinctions, if at all defensible, can be properly vindicated. (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): S. Bronzo     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): There are no prerequisites for this course, but some previous exposure to the philosophy of language or the history of analytic philosophy is recommended.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 20121

PHIL 30506. Philosophy of History: Narrative & Explanation. 100 Units.

This lecture-discussion course will focus on the nature of historical explanation and the role of narrative in providing an understanding of historical events. Among the figures considered are Gibbon, Kant, Humboldt, Ranke, Collingwood, Acton, Fraudel, Furet, Hempel, Danto. (B) (III)

Instructor(s): R. Richards     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 31401, CHSS 35110, HIST 35110, HIST 25110, HIPS 25110, PHIL 20506

PHIL 30610. Goethe: Literature, Science, Philosophy. 100 Units.

This lecture-discussion course will examine Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's intellectual development, from the time he wrote Sorrows of Young Werther through the final states of Faust. Along the way, we will read a selection of Goethe's plays, poetry, and travel literature. We will also examine his scientific work, especially his theory of color and his morphological theories. On the philosophical side, we will discuss Goethe's coming to terms with Kant (especially the latter's third Critique) and his adoption of Schelling's transcendental idealism. The theme uniting the exploration of the various works of Goethe will be unity of the artistic and scientific understanding of nature, especially as he exemplified that unity in "the eternal feminine." (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): R. Richards     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): German would be helpful, but it is not required. Assignments: four papers (5–8 pages each).
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 35304, KNOW 31302, HIPS 26701, GRMN 25304, HIST 35304, HIST 25304, FNDL 25315, CHSS 31202, PHIL 20610

PHIL 31002. Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations. 100 Units.

In this class we explore the philosophical foundations of human rights, investigating theories of how our shared humanity in the context of an interdependent world gives rise to obligations of justice. Webegin by asking what rights are, how they are distinguished from other part of morality, and what role they play in our social and political life. But rights come in many varieties, and we are interested in human rights in particular. In later weeks, we will ask what makes something a human right, and how are human rights different from other kinds of rights. We will consider a number of contemporary philosophers (and one historian) who attempt to answer this question, including James Griffin, Joseph Raz, John Rawls, John Tasioulas, Samuel Moyn, Jiewuh Song, and Martha Nussbaum. Throughout we will be asking questions such as, "What makes something a human right?" "What role does human dignity play in grounding our human rights?" "Are human rights historical?" "What role does the nation and the individual play in our account of human rights?" "When can one nation legitimately intervene in the affairs of another nation?" "How can we respect the demands of justice while also respecting cultural difference?" "How do human rights relate to global inequality and markets?" (A) (I)

Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 21002, MAPH 42002, HMRT 21002, PHIL 21002, HIST 29319, HIST 39319, HMRT 31002, INRE 31602

PHIL 31008. The Philosophy of Civic Engagement. 100 Units.

What is "civic engagement" and why should colleges, universities, and other educational institutions practice and encourage it? How, for example, does the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement define the theory and practice of civic engagement, fitting it within the University's core mission and valorizing certain approaches to it for students, faculty, staff, and the University as a whole? What alternative models might be available? And what are the limitations of such institutionalized efforts, as highlighted in efforts to "decolonize" institutions of higher education? When, in short, does such institutionalized civic engagement conflict with efforts to move beyond the discourses of diversity and civic education to embrace more critical perspectives on the settler colonial ideologies informing educational institutions in current neoliberal societies? This course will be developed in active collaboration with the UChicago Civic Knowledge Project, which for two decades has explored alternatives visions of civic friendship on Chicago's South Side. (A) (I) (IV)

Instructor(s): B. Schultz     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21008, CRES 31008, CRES 21008

PHIL 31108. Time After Physics. 100 Units.

This course provides a historical survey of the philosophy of time. We begin with the problems of change, being and becoming as formulated in Ancient Greece by Parmenides and Zeno, and Aristotle's attempted resolution in the Physics by providing the first formal theory of time. The course then follows theories of time through developments in physics and philosophy up to the present day. Along the way we will take in Descartes' theory of continuous creation, Newton's Absolute Time, Leibniz's and Mach's relational theories, Russell's relational theory, Broad's growing block, Whitehead's epochal theory, McTaggart's A, B and C theories, Prior's tense logic, Belnap's branching time, Einstein's relativity theory and theories of quantum gravity. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): T. Pashby     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 21108, HIPS 21108, KNOW 31108, CHSS 31108, PHIL 21108

PHIL 31225. Critique of Humanism. 100 Units.

This course will provide a rapid-fire survey of the philosophical sources of contemporary literary and critical theory. We will begin with a brief discussion of the sort of humanism at issue in the critique-accounts of human life and thought that treat the individual human being as the primary unit for work in the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. This kind of humanism is at the core of contemporary common sense. It is, to that extent, indispensable in our understanding of how to move around in the world and get along with one another. That is why we will conduct critique, rather than plain criticism, in this course: in critique, one remains indebted to the system under critical scrutiny, even while working to understand its failings and limitations. Our tour of thought produced in the service of critique will involve work by Hegel, Marx, Gramsci, Freud, Fanon, Lacan, and Althusser. We will conclude with a couple of pieces of recent work that draws from these sources. The aim of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to engage with some extraordinarily influential work that continues to inform humanistic inquiry. (A)

Instructor(s): C. Vogler     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 34407, PHIL 21225, ENGL 12002

PHIL 31414. MAPH Core Course: Contemporary Analytic Philosophy. 100 Units.

This course is designed to provide MAPH students - especially those interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy - with an introduction to some recent debates between philosophers working in the analytic tradition. The course is, however, neither a history of analytic philosophy nor an overview of the discipline as it currently stands. The point of the course is primarily to introduce the distinctive style and method - or styles and methods - of philosophizing in the analytic tradition, through brief explorations of some currently hotly debated topics in the field.

Instructor(s): A. Vasudevan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): This course is open only to MAPH students. MAPH students who wish to apply to Ph.D. programs in Philosophy are strongly urged to take this course.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 31414

PHIL 31491. Anscombe's Intention. 100 Units.

G. E. M. Anscombe's 1957 monograph, Intention, inaugurated the discipline known as the philosophy of action. We will study that work with occasional reference to the secondary literature. (A)

Instructor(s): A. Ford     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21491

PHIL 31505. Wonder, Magic, and Skepticism. 100 Units.

In the course of discussing how it is that a philosophical problem arises in the first place, Wittgenstein says, "The decisive movement in the conjuring trick has been made, and it was the very one that we thought quite innocent." This isn't the only place where Wittgenstein speaks as if being gripped by philosophical problems is a matter of succumbing to illusions--as if a philosophers are magicians who are taken in by their own tricks. In this course, we'll discuss philosophy and magical performance, with the aim of coming to a deeper understanding of what both are about. We'll be particularly concerned with Wittgenstein's picture of what philosophy is and does. Another focus of the course will be the passion of wonder. In the Theaetetus, Plato has Socrates say, "The sense of wonder is the mark of the philosopher. Philosophy indeed has no other origin." And when magicians write about their aesthetic aims, they almost always describe themselves as trying to instill wonder in others. Does magic end where philosophy begins? And what becomes of wonder after philosophy is done with it? (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): D. Finkelstein     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Two prior philosophy courses.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21505

PHIL 31724. Virtues of Citizenship. 100 Units.

What are the qualities of character that enable us to be valuable members of our political communities, the institutions that employ us, and any other groups of which we are a part? Do the right answers to these questions depend on where you are situated in the community or on the form of political constitution in question? Do they harmonize with each other? And are these the same as the qualities that make us morally good human beings? These are questions that the Ancient Greek philosophers thought hard about and we will take the works of those thinkers as our starting point and constant companions. But we will consider some moderns as well, and our goal will be to enrich our reflection about the kinds of people we ourselves would like to be. Virtues we may discuss include: civic friendship, justice, forthrightness in public speech (parrhesia), courage, and (for lack of a better term) effectiveness. (A)

Instructor(s): G. Richardson Lear     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21724, SCTH 31724

PHIL 32211. Economic Justice and the Environment. 100 Units.

This course critically examines contemporary theories of justice from an ecological perspective. We will begin by examining work in ecological economics that situates the economy in nature and challenges contemporary approaches to capitalist development. We will then consider the extent to which theories of justice can address problems related to resource depletion, sustainability, and economic growth. Readings include texts by Rawls, Armstrong, Kolers, and Stilz. In the final section of the course, we will consider approaches that seek to chart a new way forward for thinking about economic justice, including theories of degrowth and movements to revive the commons. (A) (I)

Instructor(s): N. Whalen      Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 22211

PHIL 32951. Egalitarianism and its Critics. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to contemporary debates among political philosophers about the value of equality. We begin with arguments for and against distributive equality, the view that justice demands that everyone possess equal amounts of some good or bundle of goods. We then examine arguments for and against relational egalitarianism, the view that our relationships to one another ought ideally to be free of hierarchy. (A) (I)

Instructor(s): T. Zimmer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 22951

PHIL 32960. Bayesian Epistemology. 100 Units.

This course will be an introduction to Bayesian epistemology. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): G. Schultheis     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Logic (PHIL 20100/30000) or its equivalent.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 22960

PHIL 32961. Social Epistemology. 100 Units.

Traditionally, epistemologists have concerned themselves with the individual: What should I believe? What am I in a position to know? How should my beliefs guide my decision-making? But we can also ask each of these questions about groups. What should we -- the jury, the committee, the scientific community--believe? What can we know? How should our beliefs guide our decision-making? These are some of the questions of social epistemology Social epistemology also deals with the social dimensions of individual opinion: How should I respond to disagreement with my peers? When should I defer to majority opinion? Are there distinctively epistemic forms of oppression and injustice? If so, what are they like and how might we try to combat them? This class is a broad introduction to social epistemology. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): G. Schultheis     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 22961

PHIL 33015. Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" and "The Descent of Man" 100 Units.

This lecture-discussion course will focus on a close reading of Darwin's two classic texts. An initial class or two will explore the state of biology prior to Darwin's Beagle voyage, and then consider the development of his theories before 1859. Then we will turn to his two books. Among the topics of central concern will be the logical, epistemological, and rhetorical status of Darwin's several theories, especially his evolutionary ethics; the religious foundations of his ideas and the religious reaction to them; and the social-political consequences of his accomplishment. The year 2019 was the 210th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 160th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): R. Richards     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Assignments: several short papers and one long paper.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 23015, FNDL 24905, CHSS 38400, HIPS 24901, HIST 24905, HIST 34905

PHIL 33113. Causation and Contact in Ancient Greek Physics. 100 Units.

We will survey ancient theories of causation, and the associated relationships of contact, mixture, and interpenetration. Our aim is also to understand how these theories guided the development of physics, metaphysics, and ethics more broadly. We will focus in particular on the works of Plato, Aristotle, Chrysippus, and Epicurus. Towards the end of the course, we will examine how the ancient conversation about causation and contact set the stage for the development of early modern physics and philosophy, with particular attention to the development of Hume's famous critique of causation as an empty concept. (B) (III)

Instructor(s): A. Brooks     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 23113

PHIL 33451. Perception and Self-Consciousness. 100 Units.

In the first part of the course, we'll be discussing an argument to the effect that: in order for radical skepticism about empirical knowledge not to be intellectually obligatory, we must understand ourselves as enjoying a very particular kind of self-consciousness. In the remainder of the course, we'll be trying to get into view what an adequate account of that sort of self-consciousness might look like. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): D. Finkelstein     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Two prior philosophy courses.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 23451

PHIL 33507. Scientific Inference. 100 Units.

In this course we investigate the nature of inference in the scientific setting. Topics include induction, abduction, Bayesianism, and theories of hypothesis testing. Close attention will be paid to the question of what contribution formal techniques from probability and statistics make to our understanding of justified inference. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): K. Davey     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 23507, CHSS 33507, PHIL 23507

PHIL 34603. History of Analytic Philosophy. 100 Units.

This course will be an introduction to the history of analytic philosophy from its beginnings in the development of modern logic, and the realist reactions to British idealism, through philosophies of logical and metaphysical analysis, to logical positivism and ordinary language philosophy. We will read "canonical figures but also more neglected authors who helped to shape the tradition. Figures to be discussed will include Gottlob Frege, F H Bradley, G E Moore, Bertand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein (early and late), Susan Stebbing, Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Margaret MacDonald, and Gilbert Ryle. Readings will be from primary sources. (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): M. Kremer     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Recommend at least one of History II or History III for undergraduates.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 24603

PHIL 35701. Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman. 100 Units.

Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman constitute a trilogy which describe Socrates' last days before his fatal trial. These dialogues represent some of Plato's most mature and sophisticated reflection on knowledge, sense-experience, his theory of forms, and the nature of philosophy. We will read all three dialogues in their entirety, focusing on questions of overall structure and argument, rather than on close readings of individual passages. (B) (III)

Instructor(s): A. Brooks     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PHIL 25000: History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 25701

PHIL 35707. The Different Senses of Being. 100 Units.

Aristotle states that "being is said in many ways," we shall seek to understand this statement and to study the history of its interpretations. Among the modern authors we shall discuss are Franz Brentano, Martin Heidegger, Ernst Tugendhat, Charles Kahn, Aryeh Kosman, G.E.L. Owen, Stephen Menn, David Charles.

Instructor(s): Irad Kimhi     Terms Offered: Autumn. Course scheduled for Autumn 2021
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergrads with instructor consent.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 35706

PHIL 37522. Aristotle's Ethics. 100 Units.

The seminar will combine a careful reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics with philosophical considerations of fundamental problems involved in being human discussed in the text: happiness, virtue, courage, friendship, decision, political and contemplative life. (III)

Instructor(s): Jonathan Lear     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent required for graduates and undergraduates.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 27522, SCTH 37522, FNDL 27522

PHIL 38115. The Films of Robert Bresson: Contemplative Cinema and Poetic Thinking. 100 Units.

Bresson's films are known for their minimal and highly original style, the avoidance of any reliance on theatrical conventions, the use of nonprofessional actors ("models," he called them), unusual and "unnatural" editing techniques, distinctive pacing, and for its themes of grace, redemption, fate, moral severity, and several other philosophical and religious issues in the lives of the characters. This course will explore Bresson's innovations as aiming at a new form of contemplative cinema, one in which style is a matter of a kind of poetic thinking (as understood by Martin Heidegger), a reflective interrogation of philosophical issues that for which traditional philosophy is inadequate. We shall watch and discuss his films: Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945); The Diary of a Country Priest (1951); A Man Escaped (1956); Pickpocket (1959); Au hazard Balthasar (1966); Mouchette (;1967); Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971) and L'argent (1983). Readings will include, among others, Bresson's Notes on the Cinematograph and Bresson on Bresson; Paul Schrader, The Transcendental Style in Film, selected essays about particular films, and selections from Heidegger.

Instructor(s): R. Pippin     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent required.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38115, CMST 28115, PHIL 28115, SCTH 38115

PHIL 39425. Logic for Philosophy. 100 Units.

Key contemporary debates in the philosophical literature often rely on formal tools and techniques that go beyond the material taught in an introductory logic class. A robust understanding of these debates---and, accordingly, the ability to meaningfully engage with a good deal of contemporary philosophy---requires a basic grasp of extensions of standard logic such as modal logic, multi-valued logic, and supervaluations, as well as an appreciation of the key philosophical virtues and vices of these extensions. The goal of this course is to provide students with the required logic literacy. While some basic metalogical results will come into view as the quarter proceeds, the course will primarily focus on the scope (and, perhaps, the limits) of logic as an important tool for philosophical theorizing. (B)

Instructor(s): M. Willer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Logic (PHIL 20100/30000) or its equivalent.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 29425

PHIL 39904. Ethics in the Digital Age. 100 Units.

An investigation of the applied ethics of technology in the 21st century. Fundamental debates in applied ethics are paired with recent technological case studies. Topics covered include moral dilemmas, privacy, consent, human enhancement, distributed responsibility, and technological risks. Case studies include self-driving cars, geo-engineering, Internet privacy, genetic enhancement, Twitter, autonomous warfare, nuclear war, and the Matrix. (A) (I)

Instructor(s): D. Moerner     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 12904, SIGN 26071, PHIL 29904

PHIL 49701. Topical Workshop. 100 Units.

This is a workshop for 3rd year philosophy graduate students, in which students prepare and workshop materials for their Topical Exam.

Instructor(s): A. Vasudevan     Terms Offered: Autumn Winter
Prerequisite(s): A two-quarter (Autumn, Winter) workshop for all and only philosophy graduate students in the relevant years.

PHIL 49900. Reading & Research. 100 Units.

Reading and Research.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor.

PHIL 50113. The Concept of World and Its Vulnerability. 100 Units.

We will be interested in the special and problematic notion of an attitude toward the world as a whole, and in some questions that arise in contexts where people face what they experience as the end of their world or its vulnerability to destruction. Readings will include texts from Freud, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein, as well as more contemporary readings from Cora Diamond, Jonathan Lear, Brian O'Shaughnessy, and others.

Instructor(s): M. Boyle; J. Lear     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor required for grad students not in Philosophy or Social Thought.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 50113

PHIL 50208. Kant's Ethics. 100 Units.

In this course we will read, write, and think about Kant's ethics. After giving careful attention to the arguments in the Second Critique, portions of the Third Critique, the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, the Metaphysics of Morals, and several other primary texts, we will conclude by working through some contemporary neo-Kantian moral philosophy, paying close attention to work by Christine Korsgaard, David Velleman, Stephen Engstrom, and others. (IV)

Instructor(s): C. Vogler     Terms Offered: Spring

PHIL 50212. Late Wittgenstein: The Absolute Basics for The Confused, Skeptical, and Ignorant. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): D. Finkelstein     Terms Offered: Spring

PHIL 51404. Global Inequality. 100 Units.

Global income and wealth are highly concentrated. The richest 2% of the population own about half of the global assets. Per capita income in the United States is around $47,000 and in Europe it is around $30,500, while in India it is $3,400 and in Congo, it is $329. There are equally unsettling inequalities in longevity, health, and education. In this interdisciplinary seminar, we ask what duties nations and individuals have to address these inequalities and what are the best strategies for doing so. What role must each country play in helping itself? What is the role of international agreements and agencies, of NGOs, of political institutions, and of corporations in addressing global poverty? How do we weigh policies that emphasize growth against policies that emphasize within-country equality, health, or education? In seeking answers to these questions, the class will combine readings on the law and economics of global development with readings on the philosophy of global justice. A particular focus will be on the role that legal institutions, both domestic and international, play in discharging these duties. For, example, we might focus on how a nation with natural resources can design legal institutions to ensure they are exploited for the benefit of the citizens of the country. (I)

Instructor(s): M. Nussbaum; D. Weisbach     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Students will be expected to write a paper, which may qualify for substantial writing credit. This is a seminar scheduled through the Law School, but we are happy to admit by permission about ten non-law students.
Equivalent Course(s): RETH 51404, PLSC 51404

PHIL 51651. Death and Grief. 100 Units.

Sooner or later we die. Sooner or later someone close to us dies, and we grieve. We begin the seminar by examining questions about death. Is death bad for us? Would immortality be desirable? Does it matter that others live after us? We also look at an issue in the ethics of organ transplants: when does life end, i.e., is there a workable criterion for when life is gone? We then shift perspective and examine grief. What is it to grieve? And in what sense is it good for us to grieve? Finally, we will ask whether thinking philosophically about death and grieving can help us to deal with these things.

Instructor(s): D. Brudney     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the seminar is by consent of the instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): DVPR 51651

PHIL 51814. Hume's Theoretical Philosophy. 100 Units.

An advanced study of the theoretical philosophy of the 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume. The focus of this course will be a careful reading of Book 1 of the Treatise on Human Nature and the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Some topics of the course include: Hume's empiricism(s), Hume on abstract objects, existence and negation, Hume's theory of causation, Hume's theory of belief, and Hume's relation to skepticism. (IV)

Instructor(s): D. Moerner     Terms Offered: Autumn

PHIL 52011. Chance and Determinism. 100 Units.

In this seminar, we will focus on contemporary discussions of the philosophical problem of the compatibility of objective chance with physical determinism. Readings for the course will include works by David Lewis, Isaac Levi, Barry Loewer, Jonathan Schaffer, and Michael Strevens, among others. (II)

Instructor(s): A. Vasudevan     Terms Offered: Winter

PHIL 52503. Ideology, Knowledge, and Nature in Plato and Aristotle. 100 Units.

Plato and Aristotle are paradigms of the intellectual attempt to know reality in some objective sense. They are also entangled in their social and material circumstances as historical individuals. The primary aim of this class is to survey a series of topics in which these two strands come together: how Plato and Aristotle's pursuit of authoritative knowledge both challenges and reproduces their social and material circumstances. Topics include leisure and freedom in Plato's epistemology; Plato's philosophical engagement with sex and gender, and racial and ethnic difference; Aristotle's application of natural teleology to social hierarchy, and his philosophical engagement with reproduction and sexual difference. We will also read from related Greek intellectual texts (such as the Hippocratic Airs, Waters, Places), social histories of ancient Greece, and contemporary epistemology. (III)

Instructor(s): J. Proios     Terms Offered: Winter

PHIL 53025. Philosophy of Animal Rights. 100 Units.

A close study of some recent philosophical classics about animal ethics and animal rights, including Christine Korsgaard's Fellow Creatures, Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka's Zoopolis, and a manuscript of my own, Justice for Animals, that is due at the end of 2021. We will also read some of the recent work by scientists such as Frans De Waal, Mark Bekoff, and Victoria Braithwaite on animal cognition.

Instructor(s): M. Nussbaum     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation. Ph.D. students in Philosophy and Political Theory may enroll without permission.
Note(s): This course meets the CS Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students. Admission by permission of the instructor. Permission must be sought in writing at least ten days before the beginning of Law School classes, Monday, September 20. The class will be offered on the Law School calendar.
Equivalent Course(s): RETH 53025, PLSC 53025

PHIL 55818. Hellenistic Ethics. 100 Units.

The three leading schools of the Hellenistic era (starting in Greece in the late fourth century B. C. E. and extending through the second century C. E. in Rome) - Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics - produced philosophical work of lasting value, frequently neglected because of the fragmentary nature of the Greek evidence and people's (unjustified) contempt for Roman philosophy. We will study in a detailed and philosophically careful way the major ethical arguments of all three schools. Topics to be addressed include: the nature and role of pleasure; the role of the fear of death in human life; other sources of disturbance (such as having definite ethical beliefs?); the nature of the emotions and their role in a moral life; the nature of appropriate action; the meaning of the injunction to "live in accordance with nature." If time permits we will say something about Stoic political philosophy and its idea of global duty. Major sources (read in English) will include the three surviving letters of Epicurus and other fragments; the skeptical writings of Sextus Empiricus; the presentation of Stoic ideas in the Greek biographer Diogenes Laertius and the Roman philosophers Cicero and Seneca. (I) (III)

Instructor(s): M. Nussbaum     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): *This class will begin on Tuesday, September 27 (one day before the rest of the Law classes begin). Attendance for the class is required. This class requires a 20-25 page paper and an in-class presentation. Admission by permission of the instructor. Permission must be sought in writing by September 15. The class meets on the law school calendar and therefore begins the week of September 19. PhD students in Philosophy, Classics, and Political theory do not need permission to enroll. Prerequisite for others: An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation, comparable to that of first-year PhD students, plus my permission. This is a 500 level course.
Equivalent Course(s): RETH 55818, CLAS 45818, PLSC 55818

PHIL 55792. Naturalized Metaphysics. 100 Units.

This course examines the feasibility of doing metaphysics in a way that is responsive to, or determined by, the results of the natural sciences. In an influential book, Everything Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, published just over 15 years ago, philosophers of science James Ladyman and Don Ross advocated for a newly naturalized metaphysics and argued forcefully against alternative analytic approaches to metaphysics (in a chapter later described by Kyle Stanford as "embod[ying] the most admirable characteristics of a good slap across the face"). Unsurprisingly, many analytic metaphysicians responded defensively to this assault. Aside from providing the occasion for a good philosophical dispute, however, this debate resulted both in a literature full of fascinating methodological reflections on metaphysics, and a camp of metaphysicians who decided that being responsive to the results of science might not be a bad idea, leading to the creation of a (now thriving) Society for the Metaphysics of Science. As it happens, though, the outgoing President of the Society, Kerry McKenzie, has apparently become disillusioned with the project, arguing against the possibility of metaphysics tout court in a recent paper entitled "A Curse on Both Houses." Against this argument we will place the detailed work of self-avowed naturalized metaphysicians, including David Wallace's award-winning book The Emergent Multiverse. (III)

Instructor(s): T. Pashby     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHSS 55792

PHIL 56701. Plato's Phaedrus. 100 Units.

A close reading of this literary and philosophical masterpiece. This dialogue addresses the nature of the soul, love, lust, political persuasion, philosophical dialectic, poetic myth, the forms, and the difference between written and spoken discourse. What emerges in its dramatic action and explicit argumentation is a picture of human beings as speaking animals and of what a good life for animals like us might be. (III)

Instructor(s): G. Richardson Lear     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 56701

PHIL 59950. Workshop: Job Placement. 000 Units.

Course begins in late Spring quarter and continues in the Autumn quarter.

Instructor(s): K. Davey     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring
Prerequisite(s): This workshop is open only to PhD Philosophy graduate students planning to go on the job market in the Autumn of 2022/2023. Approval of dissertation committee is required.

PHIL 70000. Advanced Study: Philosophy. 300.00 Units.

Advanced Study: Philosophy