Fall 2019 Class Schedule
IMPORTANT NOTE: All 100-level and most 200-level courses are introductory, and are intended to be accessible to all students, including those with no previous exposure to philosophy. For this reason there are no prerequisites, and freshman are free to enroll. Courses and times are subject to change.
|PHIL 109||First-Year Seminar - "Propaganda"||Hyska||T/Th 9:30 - 10:50|
PHIL 109 First-Year Seminar - "Propaganda"
Democracy works when people are able to make conscientious, informed decisions about the kind of society they want to live in. Thinkers from antiquity to the present have been concerned with the various ways that this ability can be undermined by propaganda, both in purported democracies and in explicitly authoritarian regimes. On the other hand, many radical thinkers have suggested that propaganda isn't always bad, and is perhaps a necessary component of liberatory social and political movements. In this course we will be asking three central questions: What is propaganda? How does propaganda function in the world today? And finally, how can a just society deal with propaganda's negative effects?
|PHIL 109||First-Year Seminar - "Is Goodness out of this World?"||S. Ebels-Duggan||M/W 12:30 - 1:50|
PHIL 109 First-Year Seminar - "Is Goodness out of this World?"
"Goodness" is a concept we cannot seem to escape. This seminar will address several questions about the nature of goodness. For example, is goodness reducible to something seemingly unrelated to goodness? Do we encounter goodness in experience like we encounter solidity in experience? Can we be judged as good or not, even if we cannot fully understand goodness? And what of its source: is it something natural, or supernatural, or something else entirely? The seminar will examine how these questions are addressed in several traditions, with a focus on the work of the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch.
|PHIL 109||First-Year Seminar - "What is Democracy"||Mueller||M/W 3:30 - 4:50|
PHIL 109 First-Year Seminar - "What is Democracy"
In this seminar we will examine some of the fundamental ideas and questions behind democracy and provide a reading of their "inventors", and confront the democratic ideals they articulate with contemporary challenges to democratic reality from money in politics through populism to systemic racism. Some of the questions are: What is democracy? Is it a form of government, a value, an ideal, a political system, a form of life, a bit of all this? Is democracy always the best political solution (is it possible in wartime? in conditions of general starvation?)? Why should the whole of the people decide and not the specialists in the respective questions? Are all democratically taken decisions automatically legitimate (what about minorities' rights?)? How should all citizens in a democracy participate in politics? By direct self-government of the people or by voting representatives? Is everything democratically decidable or does the individual have unalterable rights? Is tolerance and/or free speech necessary for democracy and how far can it go?
|PHIL 109||First-Year Seminar - "Love and Money"||White||T/Th 3:30 - 4:50|
PHIL 109 First-Year Seminar - "Love and Money"
There are many different and incommensurable kinds of goods: consumer goods (like cars and computers and clothes), personal relationships (love and friendship), goods of status, bodily goods (health, freedom from pain), opportunities for meaningful work, leisure, and so on. We will explore the moral and political implications of the idea that the way in which a specific good should be allocated, promoted and engaged with depends on the type of good it is. In particular, we'll be interested in the contrast between marketable goods - commodities - and other sorts of goods. If there are things that should not be for sale, why is that, and what does it say about the nature of value?
|PHIL 110||Intro to Philosophy||Lackey||T/Th 12:30 – 1:50||Required|
PHIL 110 Intro to Philosophy
In this course, we will explore a broad range of philosophical questions, both traditional and contemporary. We will pay particular attention to how these issues relate to our moral, social, and political values. Questions to be discussed include: What is the connection between belief in God and reason? Are there moral absolutes, or is morality relative? What should our view be on abortion, the death penalty, torture, and the status of nonhuman animals?
|PHIL 150||Intro to Logic||S. Ebels-Duggan||M/W/F 9:00 - 9:50||Required|
PHIL 150 Intro to Logic
Subtle mistakes in reasoning can get us into trouble, especially in philosophy where reasoning can be very intricate. Logic symbolizes arguments to make subtle mistakes easier to spot, and intricate arguments easier to follow. In this class we will first learn how to use symbols to represent certain natural language sentences. The symbolization allows us to give step-by-step reconstructions of arguments. When these step-by-step symbolized arguments have a certain profile, they represent good arguments. When they don't have that profile, the corresponding arguments can go wrong---and we can devise examples of when they go wrong! Throughout we'll address some concepts (such as truth and existence) that are deployed in philosophy, and how logical techniques can help us sort the good uses from the bad.
|PHIL 210-1||History of Ancient Philosophy||Marechal||T/Th 11:00 - 12:20||Required|
phil-210-1 History of Ancient Philosophy
This course will introduce you to some of the greatest thinkers and movements in the philosophy of the ancient Greek world. We will focus on these thinkers’ conceptions of the human soul, the capacity for knowledge, the good life, and law and morality. We will first discuss the views of the key figures in Classical philosophy: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We will examine their answers to enduring questions such as: What are the fundamental constituents of reality? What is knowledge, and how do we come to have it? How can we be happy, and what is a good life? What makes for a just society? We will then move on to the Hellenistic period, and will examine Epicurean and Stoic conceptions of how we should live our lives, and why philosophy can help us flourish. Our emphasis will be on analyzing both these philosophers' views, and their reasons and arguments for holding these positions.
|PHIL 216||Intro to Pragmatism||Mueller||M/W 10:00 – 11:20||Required|
PHIL 216 Intro to Pragmatism
Classics of Pragmatist Thought - Pragmatism is probably the first, but certainly the most important genuinely North American philosophical tradition. The classical writings of Peirce, James, Dewey set the stage for a completely new orientation in epistemology, moral and political theory, psychology and many other fields. Basic to all Pragmatist writers is the belief that the active and interactive human being in its natural and social environment has to stand at the center of reflection. They thus emphasize volitional, procedural, social, and evolutionary aspects of knowledge of any kind. Given this focus on practically involved intelligent agents, political pragmatists like Dewey, Addams, Locke explore the natural origins, revisability and legitimacy of moral and political norms. They develop the idea of a critical use of knowledge and its connection to non-violent democratic conduct. Neopragmatists (Rorty and Putnam) explore the philosophical and political implications of critical thinking.
|PHIL 257||Philosophy of the Universe||Cariani||M/W 2:00 - 3:20||Required|
phil-257 Philosophy of the Universe
This course will explore how philosophy can help us understand our place in the cosmos. The course covers a variety of topics at the intersection of science and philosophy. How does the world we observe emerge from the microscopic world science tells us about? What are the laws of nature? What is time? What is life? The course’s emphasis is not on leading students to particular conclusions about these topics. Instead, it is to learn how to ask these questions critically and to understand what would count as evidence that is relevant to their answer.
|PHIL 260||Intro to Moral Philosophy||White||T/Th 12:30 – 1:50||Required|
phil-260 Intro to Moral Philosophy
This course will introduce students to some perennial questions in the philosophy of morality. We will be concerned with questions about (1) the nature of morality: For instance, are there universal, objective truths about right and wrong? Or is morality ultimately a subjective or relative matter? (2) The substance of morality: Are there certain actions that are absolutely forbidden, no matter what the consequences? When evaluating a person's action, in what way do his or her motives matter? And (3) the importance of morality: Should we really care whether or not we do the right thing?
|PHIL 269||Bioethics||Horne||T/Th 3:30 – 4:50||Required|
PHIL 269 Bioethics
This course is an analysis of ethical and political issues that arise in medicine, with particular attention to questions posed by developments in biotechnology. Topics to be considered include human research, abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and the allocation of medical resources.
|PHIL 273-1||The Brady Scholars Program - “The Good Life”||Kraut||T/Th 2:00 – 3:20|
PHIL 273-1 The Brady Scholars Program - “The Good Life”
This is the first in a sequence of three courses required of sophomores in the Brady Scholars Program in Ethics and Civic Life. Our topic, the good life, will be explored by reading and discussing several recent books, as well as authors of antiquity (Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius). We will ask: Are there objective truths about what is valuable – or about anything? Does life have a point or meaning? What should one try to get out of life? How should we think about death? Is each person the final judge of what is good for that individual, or is it possible to be mistaken about where one’s good lies? What is the relationship between living well and being moral? How important is pleasure? Since more good is better than less, should we aim at all times to promote “the greatest happiness of the greatest number?”
|PHIL 280||Intro to Philosophy of Art||Zuckert||M/W/F 11:00 - 11:50||Required|
phil-280 Intro to Philosophy of Art
This course is an introduction to some of the main questions, concepts, and theorists in the philosophy of art. We will discuss the nature and value of aesthetic appreciation, of art objects, and of artistic activity, considering questions such as: Does the nature and value of art lie in its expression of emotion, its originality, or its meaning? Is artistic activity a special type of action, requiring particular natural gifts (genius), or is it similar to other forms of activity? What counts as a truthful or false artistic representation? Does anything a museum curator chooses to exhibit count, automatically, as art?
|PHIL 312||Studies in Modern Philosophy - "Spinoza"||Seeskin||T/Th 11:00 – 12:20|
PHIL 312 Studies in Modern Philosophy - "Spinoza"
This class will consider the high points of Spinoza's metaphysics and epistemology as described in Books I & II of the Ethics. The class will contain lecture and discussion as we work through Spinoza's proofs and explanations one at a time. Among the issues to be discussed are: God, causality, free will, determinism, our place in nature, perception, knowledge, and the relation between mind and body. Connections will be drawn between Spinoza and Aristotle, Descartes, and Leibniz.
|PHIL 314||Studies in German Philosophy - "Introduction to German Idealism"||Alznauer||T/Th 9:30 - 10:50|
PHIL 314 Studies in German Philosophy - "Introduction to German Idealism"
This course will be an introduction to German Idealism with particular attention paid to the problem of whether metaphysics is possible as a science. To this end, we will read Kant's _Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics_, the introductions to Fichte's _Wissenschaftslehre_, and the "Preliminary Conception" of Hegel's _Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline_.
|PHIL 327||Philosophy of Psychology||Glanzberg||T/Th 9:30 - 10:50|
PHIL 327 Philosophy of Psychology
This course will explore the nature of the mind and its relation to the brain, focusing on issues of foundational significance for psychology and cognitive science. It will be organized around group of fundamental questions. First, is the mind like a computer program? If so, what kind? Is it organized like a symbolic computation system, or like a complex network of associations? What does this tell us about how the mind relates to the brain? Second, to what extent is the mind organized around separate `modules\', as opposed to being one single general intelligence engine? Third, to what extent are our cognitive abilities innate, and to what extent are they acquired through learning? Readings will be drawn from classic and contemporary papers in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience.
|PHIL 328||Classics of Analytic Philosophy||Hyska||T/Th 2:00 - 3:20|
phil-328 Classics of Analytic Philosophy
This course will trace the major preoccupations of of analytic philosophy from its beginnings in the late 19th century up until the present moment, with readings by central figures such as Frege, Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Quine, Grice, Evans, Lewis and Kripke, as well as by prominent historians of the tradition. We will also consider some challenges to contemporary analytic philosophy's inherited sets of priorities and methodologies.
|PHIL 361||Topics in Social & Political Philosophy - "Critical Race and Gender Theory"||Medina||M/W 2:00 - 3:20|
phil-361 Topics in Social & Political Philosophy - "Critical Race and Gender Theory"
This course explores the intersection of critical race theory and critical gender theory. We will examine the performative and embodied aspects of race, gender and sexuality, giving special attention to intersectionality, performativity theory, queer theory, and critical phenomenology of race, gender, and sexuality. Authors will include: Franz Fanon, Iris Marion Young, Judith Butler, Maria Lugones, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Sarah Ahmed, Mariana Ortega, and Gayle Salamon, among others.
|PHIL 363||Kant's Moral Theory||K. Ebels-Duggan||T/Th 2:00 - 3:20|
phil-363 Kant's Moral Theory
Exploration of the moral and ethical thought of Immanuel Kant through careful study of Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals along with readings from the Critique of Practical Reason , Metaphysics of Morals , and Religion within the Bounds of Mere Reason.
|PHIL 364||Business Ethics||Horne||W 3:00 - 5:50|
phil-364 Business Ethics
Do corporations have social responsibilities that extend beyond mere compliance with law? Or is business ethics a contradiction in terms? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions. We will survey the major contemporary theories of business ethics, and we will apply these frameworks to issues such as climate change and worker's rights. Readings will be drawn from economics and organizational theory as well as philosophy.
|PHIL 373-1||The Brady Scholars Program - "The Civically Engaged Life"||Kraut||M 3:30 - 4:50|
phil-373-1 The Brady Scholars Program - "The Civically Engaged Life"
Brady Scholars in their senior year meet frequently throughout the quarter to move ahead with the collaborative project they have chosen as their service to the Evanston community.
|PHIL 401||First-Year Proseminar – “Understanding and Reason in Kant's Theoretical Philosophy”||Zuckert||F 1:00 - 3:50|
PHIL 401-1 First-Year Proseminar – “Understanding and Reason in Kant's Theoretical Philosophy”
In this seminar on Kant’s theoretical philosophy, we will focus on Kant’s conceptions of the human capacities of thought -- understanding, reason, and reflection – as well as his related conceptions of philosophical practice or method: critique and dialectic. We will investigate Kant’s reasons for sharpening his distinctions among these three modes of thinking over the course of his philosophical development, and the implications of those distinctions for his criticism of the rationalist philosophy of his predecessors, and for his own developing views in epistemology and metaphysics. As this course is a proseminar, we will also work on developing aspects of graduate-level work, including oral presentation/q and a, engagement with secondary literature, and revision practices.
|PHIL 402||Second-Year Proseminar - “Plato's Republic”||Kraut||W 1:00 - 3:50|
PHIL 402-1 Second-Year Proseminar - “Plato's Republic”
We will read all of Plato’s "Republic," always with attention to the contemporary relevance of this dialogue.
|PHIL 410||Seminar Special Topics - "The Modal Future"||Cariani||Th 3:30 - 6:20|
PHIL 410 Seminar Special Topics - "The Modal Future"
This seminar will work chapter by chapter through Professor Fabrizio Cariani's book manuscript “The Modal Future.” We will cover: the semantics and pragmatic of future discourse; the relationship between philosophy of language and metaphysics; the epistemology of future belief; the nature of prediction; cutting edge work on future cognition.
|PHIL 410||Seminar Special Topics - "Seminar in Language and Mind"||Glanzberg||W 4:00 - 6:50|
PHIL 410 Seminar Special Topics - "Seminar in Language and Mind"
What is the relation between language and our wider cognitive faculties? This course will explore this question, focusing on a number of related issues. First, to what extent is our linguistic competence the result of a distinct cognitive faculty or module? If there is one, what is the nature of this faculty, and how does it relate to our wider cognitive abilities? How much of what we normally think of as 'language' might be part of such a faculty? Second, how much does our linguistic competence influence other aspects of cognition? Does the language we speak influence how we categorize objects or navigate the world? If it does, how extensive can such influence be and how can it happen? Readings will be drawn from a range of works by philosophers, linguists, and psychologists.
|PHIL 414||Seminar in German Philosophy - "Hegel and Marx on History"||Alznauer||M 3:30 - 6:20|
PHIL 414 Seminar in German Philosophy - "Hegel and Marx on History"
In this course, we will examine Hegel's philosophy of history and Marx's theory of history (and if time permits, we will consider some other philosophical or sociological approaches to history).
|PHIL 461||Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy||Medina||M/W 2:00 - 3:20||W 11:30am-12:50pm|
phil-461 Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy