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1 - 10 of 38 results for: PHIL

PHIL 4N: Knowing Nothing

Our beliefs are subject to multiple sources of error: a traveler's perception of an oasis in the desert may turn out to be a mirage; the key witness in a trial criminal may turn out to be lying; or a fluke in the data may mislead a research team into believing a false hypothesis; or a miscalculating math student may end up with the wrong answer. Philosophers often characterize knowledge as belief that is safe from error--but is knowledge possible? This course uses the philosophical arguments and thought experiments to assess the question of how much we can hope to know.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Briggs, R. (PI)

PHIL 7N: Philosophy and Science Fiction

What if things had been otherwise? What if things are someday, somewhere, very different than they are here and now? Science fiction and other genre fiction gives us the opportunity to explore worlds that stretch our conceptions of reality, of what it is to have a mind, to be human, and to communicate with one another. This course examines central questions in philosophy through the lens of speculative fiction. Can there be freedom in a deterministic world? How could language and communication evolve? What is a mind, and what is the nature of experience? How can we know what the world is like? We¿ll read classical and contemporary papers in philosophy alongside short stories, novels, and movies that play the role of thought experiments in illuminating philosophical issues.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Cao, R. (PI)

PHIL 80: Mind, Matter, and Meaning

Intensive study of central topics in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language and mind in preparation for advanced courses in philosophy. Emphasis on development of analytical writing skills. Prerequisite: one prior course in Philosophy or permission of instructor.
Terms: Aut, Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

PHIL 90Y: What's Bad about Bad Language?

This course investigates philosophical issues that arise from various sorts of bad language expressive vulgarities, slurs and pejoratives, slang & dialect, and so on while drawing on empirical/analytical work from numerous other disciplines (e.g., cognitive science, socio-linguistics, law). Two broad questions that guide our inquiry: (a) how should the nature of such-and-such linguistic form or speech act be understood, and (b) is there any distinctive wrong that is directly connected to that form or act? The first question is a concern of philosophy of language and the second is one of linguistic ethics. In light of these overarching questions, each week we will examine and assess work about specific forms of language which are generally considered bad. Note: Subject matter in this course includes racial, ethnic, and gender identity slurs, vulgar and swear language, and more. If you anticipate that this content will cause you acute distress, please confer with the instructor prior to enrolling. Note that it is not the instructor's practice to warn students about the content of individual lesson plans or to limit class discussion as sensitivity of topic may vary from student to student.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Simon, A. (PI)

PHIL 99: Minds and Machines (LINGUIST 35, PSYCH 35, SYMSYS 1)

(Formerly SYMSYS 100). An overview of the interdisciplinary study of cognition, information, communication, and language, with an emphasis on foundational issues: What are minds? What is computation? What are rationality and intelligence? Can we predict human behavior? Can computers be truly intelligent? How do people and technology interact, and how might they do so in the future? Lectures focus on how the methods of philosophy, mathematics, empirical research, and computational modeling are used to study minds and machines. Undergraduates considering a major in symbolic systems should take this course as early as possible in their program of study.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-FR | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 100: Greek Philosophy (CLASSICS 40)

We shall cover the major developments in Greek philosophical thought, focusing on Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic schools (the Epicureans, the Stoics, and the Skeptics). Topics include epistemology, metaphysics, psychology, ethics and political theory. No prereqs, not repeatable.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 105W: Shame, in Antiquity & Today (PHIL 205W)

What is the moral significance of shame? Is our sense of shame an important safeguard against our otherwise selfish impulses, or a childish aversion to social disapproval? Are our feelings of shame concerned with who we really are as people, or merely with how we appear to others? Is the shaming of others ever justified, and if so, when? Is shame a universal human experience, or does its nature and significance vary across cultures and time? This course is an investigation into these and related questions, about the nature of shame and its role in our moral psychology and ethical lives. Readings will include classic ancient Greek works by Plato, Homer, and Sophocles; modern scholarship on those ancient sources; and contemporary ethical discussions of shame. No background in ancient Greek or contemporary moral philosophy is required.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Costello, W. (PI)

PHIL 121P: Space and Motion in Early Modern Philosophy

Focusing on Descartes, Newton, and Leibniz, we investigate foundational debates in early modern science, metaphysics, and epistemology. We first develop Descartes' physical vortex theory, his laws of impact, and their connections to his metaphysics. Next, we study Newton's criticisms of Descartes' conceptions of space and motion. We attempt a definition of Newton's important concept of 'absolute space' and observe its role in his derivation of universal gravity. Finally, we turn to Leibniz to raise significant philosophical and theological issues with Newtonian spacetime and Cartesian physics.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Parker, A. (PI)

PHIL 127P: Kant's Practical Philosophy

For Kant, human agency is best understood in light of the fact that humans issue laws to themselves. His practical philosophy thus centers on the idea of autonomy--free, principled, rational self-governance. In this course, we'll consider his prolonged effort to work through this novel, powerful, and extremely influential idea.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Tulipana, P. (PI)

PHIL 150: Mathematical Logic (PHIL 250)

An introduction to the concepts and techniques used in mathematical logic, focusing on propositional, modal, and predicate logic. Highlights connections with philosophy, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, and neighboring fields.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Math, WAY-FR | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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