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1 - 10 of 66 results for: PHIL ; Currently searching winter courses. You can expand your search to include all quarters

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: Win | Units: 3
Instructors: Briggs, R. (PI)

PHIL 20N: Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence

Is it really possible for an artificial system to achieve genuine intelligence: thoughts, consciousness, emotions? What would that mean? How could we know if it had been achieved? Is there a chance that we ourselves are artificial intelligences? Would artificial intelligences, under certain conditions, actually be persons? If so, how would that affect how they ought to be treated and what ought to be expected of them? Emerging technologies with impressive capacities already seem to function in ways we do not fully understand. What are the opportunities and dangers that this presents? How should the promises and hazards of these technologies be managed?nnPhilosophers have studied questions much like these for millennia, in scholarly debates that have increased in fervor with advances in psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. The philosophy of mind provides tools to carefully address whether genuine artificial intelligence and artificial personhood are possible. Epistemology (th more »
Is it really possible for an artificial system to achieve genuine intelligence: thoughts, consciousness, emotions? What would that mean? How could we know if it had been achieved? Is there a chance that we ourselves are artificial intelligences? Would artificial intelligences, under certain conditions, actually be persons? If so, how would that affect how they ought to be treated and what ought to be expected of them? Emerging technologies with impressive capacities already seem to function in ways we do not fully understand. What are the opportunities and dangers that this presents? How should the promises and hazards of these technologies be managed?nnPhilosophers have studied questions much like these for millennia, in scholarly debates that have increased in fervor with advances in psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. The philosophy of mind provides tools to carefully address whether genuine artificial intelligence and artificial personhood are possible. Epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge) helps us ponder how we might be able to know. Ethics provides concepts and theories to explore how all of this might bear on what ought to be done. We will read philosophical writings in these areas as well as writings explicitly addressing the questions about artificial intelligence, hoping for a deep and clear understanding of the difficult philosophical challenges the topic presents.nnNo background in any of this is presupposed, and you will emerge from the class having made a good start learning about computational technologies as well as a number of fields of philosophical thinking. It will also be a good opportunity to develop your skills in discussing and writing critically about complex issues.
Terms: Win | Units: 3

PHIL 24H: Tutorial: Philosophical Perspectives on Climate Change

Climate change threatens to destroy almost everything we find valuable. As such, it requires thorough philosophical investigation. In this course we'll look at the topic from several philosophical angles. The goal is to go for breadth rather depth: there are many issues to discuss about climate change and we'll try to see the big picture by getting snapshots of a diverse array of issues.nWe'll start by looking at two issues from the philosophy of science: the role of values in climate science and whether a scientist's values should play into her research. We'll also look at the role of bewilderingly complex computer simulations in climate research. We'll ask about the epistemic status of these methods: do they constitute some kind of high-powered way of making observations? Or are they more like hypothetical experiments? Or do they constitute a totally new way of doing science, akin to the introduction of Baconian experimental methods? nNext we'll examine questions closer to metaethics more »
Climate change threatens to destroy almost everything we find valuable. As such, it requires thorough philosophical investigation. In this course we'll look at the topic from several philosophical angles. The goal is to go for breadth rather depth: there are many issues to discuss about climate change and we'll try to see the big picture by getting snapshots of a diverse array of issues.nWe'll start by looking at two issues from the philosophy of science: the role of values in climate science and whether a scientist's values should play into her research. We'll also look at the role of bewilderingly complex computer simulations in climate research. We'll ask about the epistemic status of these methods: do they constitute some kind of high-powered way of making observations? Or are they more like hypothetical experiments? Or do they constitute a totally new way of doing science, akin to the introduction of Baconian experimental methods? nNext we'll examine questions closer to metaethics about the intrinsic value of nature. We'll address whether various aspects of nature are valuable in themselves or valuable only insofar as they affect humans. In the interest of time, we'll only look at two of the most extreme views: Deep Ecology, according to which ecosystems are intrinsically valuable, and Anthropocentrism. nMost of the course will be spent addressing questions about how to respond to climate change. We'll discuss: 1) the nature of the problem 2) our obligations, if any, to future generations 3) the pros and cons of policies that aim to mitigate climate change versus those that aim to adapt to it and 4) what we as individuals should do: whether we should be vegans, destroy our cars, or just stop thinking about the issue all together.
Terms: Win | Units: 2
Instructors: Zweber, A. (PI)

PHIL 72: Contemporary Moral Problems (ETHICSOC 185M, POLISCI 134P)

This course is an introduction to contemporary ethical thought with a focus on the morality of harming others and saving others from harm. It aims to develop students' ability to think carefully and rationally about moral issues, to acquaint them with modern moral theory, and to encourage them to develop their own considered positions about important real-world issues. In the first part of the course, we will explore fundamental topics in the ethics of harm. Among other questions, we will ask: How extensive are one's moral duties to improve the lives of the less fortunate? When is it permissible to inflict harm on others for the sake of the greater good? Does the moral permissibility of a person's action depend on her intentions? Can a person be harmed by being brought into existence? In the second part of the course, we will turn to practical questions. Some of these will be familiar; for example: Is abortion morally permissible? What obligations do we have to protect the planet for t more »
This course is an introduction to contemporary ethical thought with a focus on the morality of harming others and saving others from harm. It aims to develop students' ability to think carefully and rationally about moral issues, to acquaint them with modern moral theory, and to encourage them to develop their own considered positions about important real-world issues. In the first part of the course, we will explore fundamental topics in the ethics of harm. Among other questions, we will ask: How extensive are one's moral duties to improve the lives of the less fortunate? When is it permissible to inflict harm on others for the sake of the greater good? Does the moral permissibility of a person's action depend on her intentions? Can a person be harmed by being brought into existence? In the second part of the course, we will turn to practical questions. Some of these will be familiar; for example: Is abortion morally permissible? What obligations do we have to protect the planet for the sake of future generations? Other questions we will ask are newer and less well-trodden. These will include: How does the availability of new technology, in particular artificial intelligence, change the moral landscape of the ethics of war? What moral principles should govern the programming and operation of autonomous vehicles?
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER
Instructors: Karhu, T. (PI)

PHIL 76: Introduction to Global Justice (ETHICSOC 136R, INTNLREL 136R, POLISCI 136R, POLISCI 336)

This course explores the normative demands and definitions of justice that transcend the nation-state and its borders, through the lenses of political justice, economic justice, and human rights. What are our duties (if any) towards those who live in other countries? Should we be held morally responsible for their suffering? What if we have contributed to it? Should we be asked to remedy it? At what cost? These are some of the questions driving the course. Although rooted in political theory and philosophy, the course will examine contemporary problems that have been addressed by other scholarly disciplines, public debates, and popular media, such as immigration and open borders, climate change refugees, and the morality of global capitalism (from exploitative labor to blood diamonds). As such, readings will combine canonical pieces of political theory and philosophy with readings from other scholarly disciplines, newspaper articles, and popular media.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER

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: Win, Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

PHIL 81: Philosophy and Literature (CLASSICS 42, COMPLIT 181, ENGLISH 81, FRENCH 181, GERMAN 181, ILAC 181, ITALIAN 181, SLAVIC 181)

What, if anything, does reading literature do for our lives? What can literature offer that other forms of writing cannot? Can fictions teach us anything? Can they make people more moral? Why do we take pleasure in tragic stories? This course introduces students to major problems at the intersection of philosophy and literature. It addresses key questions about the value of literature, philosophical puzzles about the nature of fiction and literary language, and ways that philosophy and literature interact. Readings span literature, film, and philosophical theories of art. Authors may include Sophocles, Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Proust, Woolf, Walton, Nietzsche, and Sartre. Students master close reading techniques and philosophical analysis, and write papers combining the two. This is the required gateway course for the Philosophy and Literature major tracks. Majors should register in their home department.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

PHIL 82: Ethics, Public Policy, and Technological Change (COMM 180, CS 182, ETHICSOC 182, POLISCI 182, PUBLPOL 182)

Examination of recent developments in computing technology and platforms through the lenses of philosophy, public policy, social science, and engineering. Course is organized around four main units: algorithmic decision-making and bias; data privacy and civil liberties; artificial intelligence and autonomous systems; and the power of private computing platforms. Each unit considers the promise, perils, rights, and responsibilities at play in technological developments. Prerequisite: CS106A.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER

PHIL 87: Personal Identity

Terms: Win | Units: 4
Instructors: Perry, J. (PI)

PHIL 101A: History of Philosophy from Al-Kindi to Averroes (GLOBAL 139)

The rise of Islam saw a flourishing of philosophical and scientific activity across Islamic civilizations from Central Asia to Spain. Between the 7th to 13th centuries, many of the major philosophers in the history of philosophy lived in the Muslim world and wrote in Arabic. They saw themselves, just as later philosophers in medieval Europe, as working in part in the same tradition as Plato and Aristotle. This course surveys this important chapter in the history of philosophy, examining the key philosophical problems, analyses, arguments and ideas developed by philosophers such as Al-Kindi, Al-Razi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Al-Ghazali and Averroes, as well as their views on the role and aims of philosophy itself. We will look closely at their writings (in English translation) on philosophical topics in mind, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Al-Witri, Z. (PI)
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