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1 - 10 of 59 results for: PHIL

PHIL 2: Introduction to Moral Philosophy (ETHICSOC 20)

What should I do with my life? What kind of person should I be? How should we treat others? What makes actions right or wrong? What is good and what is bad? What should we value? How should we organize society? Is there any reason to be moral? Is morality relative or subjective? How, if at all, can such questions be answered? Intensive introduction to theories and techniques in contemporary moral philosophy.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 12N: Concepts and concept possession

Our thoughts are made up of concepts. If I didn¿t have the concept of a caterpillar or of love or of a prime number, I couldn¿t think about caterpillars, love, or prime numbers, respectively. And if I couldn¿t think about those things then I couldn¿t talk or sing or make jokes about them, believe or remember anything about them, reason about them, hope or desire or fear anything to do with them¿and so on. But what are concepts? What does it take to haveone? And how do we get to do that: what¿s involved in the acquisition of a concept? Are some concepts innate? To what extent can empirical psychology help improve our understanding of concepts? How are concepts related to natural language? What counts as concept change? And how is it possible for concepts to `reach out¿ and be about aspects of the world (e.g., about caterpillars, love or prime numbers)?nnIn this seminar we will explore these and related questions through extensive discussions, reading and writing. There will be a lot of emphasis on active class participation. The reading will include texts in contemporary cognitive science as well as in philosophy of mind.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Malmgren, A. (PI)

PHIL 24C: Existence

Ontology is concerned with what exists and the nature of being. The central ontological question is: what exists? Metaontology is concerned with pinning down what ontological claims and questions mean, and how we should go about answering the latter. Ontology is an ancient subject; metaontology has been around for only 30 years or so. Both subjects are currently enjoying a surge of interest from philosophers.
Terms: Spr | Units: 2 | Grading: Satisfactory/No Credit
Instructors: Bassett, R. (PI)

PHIL 24D: Current Ethical Issues in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

This tutorial examines philosophical issues in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The focus will be on ethical questions raised by current and forthcoming engineering applications, rather than on classic foundational issues like whether machines can be conscious. Hands¿on knowledge of current AI / ML technologies is not required, but students with such experience will be enthusiastically welcomed. Students will be encouraged to shape the direction of the class based on their own interests or experience in industry.
Terms: Spr | Units: 2 | Grading: Satisfactory/No Credit
Instructors: Gottlieb, D. (PI)

PHIL 24E: Philosophy of Algorithms

Algorithms are commonplace. They are the focus of many mathematical problems, like finding prime factorisations or shortest paths. They often form the core of how we discover new information, through search engines and targeted advertising. We rely on algorithms to perform complex tasks, like cooking with recipes and assembling furniture from instructions. Further, certain approaches model biological organisms and cognitive processes using algorithms. This course is designed to introduce, and provoke philosophical reflection on, the nature and application of algorithms. We will cover basic concepts in theoretical computer science, in the form of Turing machines and complexity analysis, before comparing these foundations to practical matters and reflecting on the identity and implementation of algorithms. With a better of understanding of algorithms in hand, we turn to their use in (the understanding of) the natural world, in natural language, genetics and cognitive science. Finally, we consider ethical issues surrounding the design of algorithms and their implementation, such as algorithmic agents and biases in search results.
Terms: Spr | Units: 2 | Grading: Satisfactory/No Credit


Ideas matter. Concepts such as race, progress, and equality have inspired social movements, shaped political systems, and dramatically influenced the lives of individuals. Others, like gender identity, universal basic income, and historical memory play an important role in contemporary debates in the United States. All of these ideas are contested, and they have a real power to change lives, for better and for worse. In this one-unit class we will examine these dangerous ideas. Each week, a faculty member from a different department in the humanities and arts will explore a concept that has shaped human experience across time and space. Some weeks will have short reading assignments, but you are not required to purchase any materials.
Terms: Spr | Units: 1 | Grading: Satisfactory/No Credit
Instructors: Anderson, R. (PI)

PHIL 49: Survey of Formal Methods

Survey of important formal methods used in philosophy. The course covers the basics of propositional and elementary predicate logic, probability and decision theory, game theory, and statistics, highlighting philosophical issues and applications. Specific topics include the languages of propositional and predicate logic and their interpretations, rationality arguments for the probability axioms, Nash equilibrium and dominance reasoning, and the meaning of statistical significance tests. Assessment is through a combination of problems designed to solidify competence with the mathematical tools and short-answer questions designed to test conceptual understanding.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Math, WAY-FR | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

PHIL 70: Introduction to social and political philosophy

Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 75W: Freedom and Responsibility

On the one hand we think of ourselves as free, and our practices of holding one another responsible seem to depend on it. On the other we think of nature as law-governed and of ourselves as subject to these laws. Is there a tension here? If so, what must give? In this course we will examine a number of proposed answers to these questions, canvassing compatibilist, libertarian, and hard determinist theories of free will. We will also devote a number of sessions to the theory of responsibility. Readings will be drawn primarily from the latter half of the twentieth-century analytic tradition. No prior background in philosophy presupposed.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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)
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