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PHIL 165: Philosophy of Physics: Philosophical Issues in Quantum Mechanics (PHIL 265)

Graduate students register for 265. NOTE: Phil 165/265 alternates topics yearly between "Philosophical Issues in Quantum Mechanics" and "Philosophical Problems of Space, Time and Motion". The course may be repeated with a different subject matter. nnIn Winter 2017-18, the subject is ""Philosophical Issues in QM"nnI. TOPICS: After introducing a simplified version of Dirac's 'bra-ket' vector space formalism for the quantum state (a.k.a. function), the first third of the term is a historical overview of Heisenberg's uncertainty relations, wave-particle duality, the problem of quantum measurement, and the non-classical nature of spin. We survey the treatment of these issues within Bohr's doctrine of complementarity and the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of QM. We review Einstein's several arguments for the incompleteness of QM, leading up to the famous EPR (Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen) paper of 1935, the resulting issue of quantum entanglement as discussed by Einstein and Schrödinger, an more »
Graduate students register for 265. NOTE: Phil 165/265 alternates topics yearly between "Philosophical Issues in Quantum Mechanics" and "Philosophical Problems of Space, Time and Motion". The course may be repeated with a different subject matter. nnIn Winter 2017-18, the subject is ""Philosophical Issues in QM"nnI. TOPICS: After introducing a simplified version of Dirac's 'bra-ket' vector space formalism for the quantum state (a.k.a. function), the first third of the term is a historical overview of Heisenberg's uncertainty relations, wave-particle duality, the problem of quantum measurement, and the non-classical nature of spin. We survey the treatment of these issues within Bohr's doctrine of complementarity and the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of QM. We review Einstein's several arguments for the incompleteness of QM, leading up to the famous EPR (Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen) paper of 1935, the resulting issue of quantum entanglement as discussed by Einstein and Schrödinger, and the complexities of Bohr's response to EPR. In the second third of the term, we examine a well-known 'no go' theorem on EPR-type experimental set-ups stemming from Bell in the 1960s, according to which no hidden variables theory satisfying a certain locality condition (apparently assumed by EPR) can reproduce all the predictions of QM. In the last third, we survey current variations of, or interpretive options for, standard QM: Bohmian mechanics (a.k.a. pilot wave theory), spontaneous collapse theories, and Everett's relative-state interpretation with its many worlds/ many minds variants. We end by scrutinizing the recent decoherence program (a.k.a.localization induced by the scattering of environmental particles) that purports to explain the quantum-to-classical transition, i.e., the emergence of the world of classical physics and macroscopic objects and properties from quantum physics. We consider whether decoherence is justifiably viewed as solving the quantum measurement problem. nnII. PREREQUISITES: No detailed knowledge of quantum physics or advanced mathematics is presumed. Some background in philosophy, natural science or mathematics will be helpful. Students will benefit from possession of a modicum of mathematical maturity (roughly equivalent to a familiarity with elementary single-variable calculus or the metatheory of first-order logic).
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SMA | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 167A: Philosophy of Biology (PHIL 267A)

(Graduate students register for 267A.) Evolutionary theory and in particular, on characterizing natural selection and how it operates. We examine debates about fitness, whether selection is a cause or force, the levels at which selection operates, and whether cultural evolution is a Darwinian process. Prerequisites:  one PHIL course and either one BIO course or Human Biology core; or equivalent with consent of instructor.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 167B: Philosophy, Biology, and Behavior (PHIL 267B)

(Graduate Students register for 267B) Philosophical study of key theoretical ideas in biology as deployed in the study of behavior. Topics to include genetic, neurobiological, ecological approaches to behavior; the classification and measurement of behaviors: reductionism, determinism, interactionism. Prerequisites: one PHIL course and either one BIO course or Human Biology core; or equivalent with consent of instructor.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2015 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 167D: Philosophy of Neuroscience (PHIL 267D, SYMSYS 206A)

How can we explain the mind? With approaches ranging from computational models to cellular-level characterizations of neural responses to the characterization of behavior, neuroscience aims to explain how we see, think, decide, and even feel. While these approaches have been highly successful in answering some kinds of questions, they have resulted in surprisingly little progress in others. We'll look at the relationships between the neuroscientific enterprise, philosophical investigations of the nature of the mind, and our everyday experiences as creatures with minds. Prerequisite: PHIL 80.n(Not open to freshmen.)
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Cao, R. (PI)

PHIL 170: Ethical Theory (ETHICSOC 170, PHIL 270)

How should we live our lives? Should you love your neighbour as yourself? Should you be digging wells rather than taking philosophy classes? Is taxation just? What obligations do we have to the not-yet-born, and to the dead? And says who? Are there really any answers to these questions? If so, what explains why they are one way rather than another? The will of God? Perhaps we need rules to ensure mutual benefits. But then, can I break them if no-one will find out? Can it be appropriate to blame you for doing something that you thought was the right thing to do (perhaps rejecting a blood transfusion)? Or to praise you for doing something you thought was the wrong thing to do (like Huck Finn)? By the end of this semester, you will be developing answers to these questions and many more.nnA more challenging version of Phil 2 designed primarily for juniors and seniors (may also be appropriate for some freshmen and sophomores - contact professor). Fulfills the Ethical Reasoning requirement. Graduate section (270) will include supplemental readings and discussion, geared for graduate students new to moral philosophy, as well as those with some background who would like more.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 170B: Metaphor (PHIL 270B)

In metaphor we think and talk about two things at once: two different subject matters are mingled to rich and unpredictable effect. A close critical study of the main modern accounts of metaphor's nature and interest, drawing on the work of writers, linguists, philosophers, and literary critics. Attention to how understanding, appreciation, and pleasure connect with one another in the experience of metaphor. Consideration of the possibility that metaphor or something very like it occurs in nonverbal medial: gesture, dance, painting, music.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 172: History of Modern Moral Philosophy (PHIL 272)

A critical exploration of some of the main forms of systematic moral theorizing in Western philosophy from Hobbes onward and their roots in ancient ethical thought. Prerequistes are some prior familiarity with utilitarianism and Kantian ethics and a demonstrated interest in philosophy.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 172B: Recent Ethical Theory: Moral Obligation (PHIL 272B)

Some moral obligations are "relational," "directional," or "bipolar" in structure: in promising you to act in a certain way, for example, I incur an obligation to you to so act and you acquire a corresponding claim or right against me that I so act. This entails that if I violate my obligation to you, I will not merely be doing something that is morally wrong, but will be wronging you in particular. What does explain this? Do all moral obligations have this structure? We will discuss how different moral theories (consequentialist, deontological, contractualist) try to account for such obligations. Readings include Adams, Anscombe, Darwall, Feinberg, Hart, Parfit, Raz, Scanlon, Skorupski, Thompson, Thomson, Wallace, and Wolf.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2015 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 173W: Aesthetics (PHIL 273W)

This course will investigate a cluster of varied but related philosophical issues concerning the arts - music, painting, literature, poetry, photography, theater, film, etc.- issues most of which are, at the same time, problems in philosophy of mind or language, value theory, or epistemology. We will address questions like the following (though probably not all of them): What, if anything, is distinctive about art and aesthetic experience?, What is aesthetic value, and how do aesthetic values relate to and interact with moral values and values of other kinds?, What is fiction and why are people interested in it?, In what ways are works of art expressive of feelings or emotions? What similarities and differences are there in the expressive qualities of music, literature, painting, poetry? How might we learn from works of art of one or another kind, and how might they work to change people's perspectives or attitudes?, In what ways do artworks serve as vehicles of communication? Are the more »
This course will investigate a cluster of varied but related philosophical issues concerning the arts - music, painting, literature, poetry, photography, theater, film, etc.- issues most of which are, at the same time, problems in philosophy of mind or language, value theory, or epistemology. We will address questions like the following (though probably not all of them): What, if anything, is distinctive about art and aesthetic experience?, What is aesthetic value, and how do aesthetic values relate to and interact with moral values and values of other kinds?, What is fiction and why are people interested in it?, In what ways are works of art expressive of feelings or emotions? What similarities and differences are there in the expressive qualities of music, literature, painting, poetry? How might we learn from works of art of one or another kind, and how might they work to change people's perspectives or attitudes?, In what ways do artworks serve as vehicles of communication? Are the values of works of art fundamentally different from those of beautiful natural objects? Along the way, we will bump into more specific questions such as: Why and in what ways is photography more (or less) 'realistic' than painting and drawing, or more or less revealing of reality? Does (instrumental) music have cognitive or semantic content? Is music representational in anything like the ways literature and figurative painting are?, Do all literary works have narrators? Is there ever (or always?) anything like narrators in paintings, films, music? Prerequisite: One course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 174A: Moral Limits of the Market (ETHICSOC 174A, PHIL 274A, POLISCI 135P)

Morally controversial uses of markets and market reasoning in areas such as organ sales, procreation, education, and child labor. Would a market for organ donation make saving lives more efficient; if it did, would it thereby be justified? Should a nation be permitted to buy the right to pollute? Readings include Walzer, Arrow, Rawls, Sen, Frey, Titmuss, and empirical cases.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2013 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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