Graduate Seminar 2009-2010
Philosophy 200C SEMINAR FOR FIRST-YEAR GRADUATE STUDENTS
Philosophy 207 SEMINAR: HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE PHILOSOPHY
The topic of Phil 207 this Spring will be Peter of Spain’s Summaries of Logic; I will be teaching; Calvin and Terry plan to participate. This famous text survives in about 300 manuscripts and 200 printed editions. From the time it was written, a decade or two before 1250, through the 17th century, it was by far the most widely used textbook of logic. Since it was written for beginners, the presentation (for most of the book) is relatively short and simple. Commentaries were written on it by later logicians who were interested in the many problems raised by Peter’s exposition.Calvin, Terry and I have been working on an annotated edition and English translation of Peter’s Summaries for about two years. The translation is complete, the Latin text is complete and the notes are about 85% complete. What we hope to finish by the end of the seminar is an introduction to the whole volume, including (by Calvin) an account of where Peter’s book stands in the development of medieval logic, (by Terry) an account of Peter’s logic in the framework of contemporary logic and (by me) an account of the authorship, dating, content, organization and sources of the book.
Philosophy 232 PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
Philosophy 241 TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy 246 (formerly on schedule as Philosophy C245) SEMINAR: ETHICAL THEORY
The seminar is centered around some of my papers which I am making into a collection—hoping that the whole may appear greater than the sum of its parts.
There are three main intersecting themes:
(A) The Argument of NE 1. Practical Philosophy—the Teleological Conception of The Good. The Question posed by the NE. Human good and human function.
(B) The Role and Content of Eudaimonia NE 1 and 10.6-8 (C) Excellences of Character and of Intellect, esp. NE 2.1-6; 3.2-3; 6. (A) The Argument of NE Bk 1
1. Human Good and Human Function
2. The Teleological Conception of the Good
3. Nonaggregatability, Inclusiveness, and the Theory of Focal Value: Nicomachean Ethics 1.7. 1097b16-204. The Function of the Function Argument
5. Is Aristotle’s Function Argument Fallacious? Part 1
6. Is Aristotle’s Function Argument Fallacious? Part 2
(B) The Role and Content of Eudaimonia
7. Aristotle and the Ideal Life
8. Snakes in Paradise
10. Aristotle: Free Time, the Olympian Restaurant and the Path of Perfection
(C) Excellences of Character and of Intellect
11. Acquiring a Character: Becoming Grown-up.
12. Excellences of Character and Intellect: the Doctrine of the Mean
13. Practical Wisdom
14. Anscombe, Choice, and Wickedness
Philosophy 259 SEMINAR FOR FIRST-YEAR GRADUATE STUDENTS
Philosophy 281 SEMINAR: PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
My seminar will be about the constitutive and phylogenetic conditions for having propositional capacities. It will explore the relation between perceptual and other sub-propositional capacities and the simplest sorts of propositional attitudes. A conception of reason will be developed that takes propositional attitudes to be necessary and sufficient for a capacity for reason. Consequences for understanding reason, reasoning, and reasons will be developed.
Philosophy 288 WITTGENSTEIN
Philosophy 200B SEMINAR FOR FIRST-YEAR GRADUATE STUDENTS
Philosophy 207 HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy 220 TOPICS IN HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
(Almog and Carriero)
We intend to focus on the idea of Nature in Spinoza with two major themes (i) how to develop a cognitive grip on Nature as a whole and (ii) how to accommodate–without reduction– in the Nature is one and all frame three out-standing troublemakers–God, Mind and Mathematics.One of us just completed a monograph called “Everything in its right place: Spinoza and life by the light of Nature”. We will try to read through it chapter by chapter, in connection with a reading of original texts in Spinoza, mainly his political writings (it is argued that it is there that we get a grip on our nature and in turn on Nature in general).
Philosophy 246 ETHICAL THEORY
Philosophy 246 will explore the ethical theory and legal theory of what I call “Controversial Communications,” by which I mean communications that are ethically controversial or ethically borderline. The course is run concurrently with Philosophy 246 (a graduate level philosophy seminar on ethical theory). It meets Wednesdays from 3-6 in Dodd 325 starting January 6th(there will be reading for this meeting to be done in advance). It ends on March 10th. Papers are due on March 18th. The substantive trajectory of the course is as follows: We will start by discussing the role of truthtelling in moral relations and to freedom of speech. We will then proceed to hard cases: lying under exigent circumstances and lying by police in interrogations. Next, we’ll look at the doctrine of duress and the moral status of promises made under threats. From there, we will turn to the exposure of private information and its proper treatment in law and then to blackmail. After that, we’ll turn to some controversial issues about academic freedom and oversight of academic activities, looking both at the university’s interest in smooth institutional function and how it relates to academic independence; we will also examine the role of deception in academic research. Then, we will turn to deception in fiction (both fictional libel and falsehoods in fiction). We’ll end with a discussion of undercover investigations by police, journalists and researchers. The focus will be on both the ethics of these communications and also, what status they should have in law. Students will be asked to do reading in and outside of the philosophical and legal literature, to attend and participate regularly, to write some short reaction papers, and to write a seminar paper. The course counts toward the Law and Philosophy specialization.
Philosophy 259 PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH IN ETHICS AND VALUE THEORY
Philosophy 287 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE
My Philosophy of Language seminar (Phil 287) this winter will concern Donnellan’s notion of ‘having in mind’. His main examples involve direct perception, acquaintance in Russell’s early usage. What especially interests me is the notion that having in mind is a state that can be passed from one person to another through conversation. Also, there has been much discussion lately of what might be called indirect acquaintance, a sort of acquaintance through causal chains, perhaps through a portrait or a fingerprint. This is not usually passage through conversation of the kind mentioned above, but rather acquaintance through physical evidence. In addition to a short draft of my own on Having in Mind, I’d like us to work through a paper by Robin Jeshion that surveys some views about what she calls “Singular Thought”. I’ve posted the paper on the course website at http://ccle.ucla.edu/course/view/10W-PHILOS287-1.
Philosophy C210 SPINOZA
Philosophy C215 KANT
Philosophy C219 TOPICS IN MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy M254A LEGAL THEORY WORKSHOP
M 254A is the seminar associated with the Legal Theory Workshop and it runs through the Spring Semester (and hence through part of the spring quarter). It meets Th. 4:50-6:30. Sometimes we have a speaker; other days we meet without one to discuss background readings, methodology, etc. Students will be asked to do the reading, write short reaction papers, attend and participate regularly, and to write a seminar paper. It definitely counts toward the Law and Philosophy Specialization. The speakers this term are Carol Steiker, John Oberdiek, Gregory Keating, Daniel Markovits, Louis Michael Seidman, Rainer Forst, Margaret Gilbert and Ruth Gavison. Ronald Dworkin will also attend and participate in a couple sessions in March.
Philosophy 281 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
My seminar this quarter will range across metaethics and related issues in metaphysics and philosophy of language. The seminar will use as a framework Ronald Dworkin’s new book manuscript *Justice for Hedgehogs*, which is expected to come out in 2010. The book unifies much of Dworkin’s thinking about metaethics and its relation to ethics. Some of the material in the book has been published, for example the article “Objectivity and Truth: You’d Better Believe It,” *Philosophy and Public Affairs* (1996).http://www.jstor.org/pss/2961920
Our focus will be on issues about objectivity and methodology in metaethics. Some likely topics: debunking explanations of moral beliefs; Hume’s Law and its implications for metaethics; the status of the reflective equilibrium method; the relation between metaethical and ethical claims; analogies between the moral and mathematical domains; accounts of moral concepts as parallel to natural kind concepts. In addition to reading portions of the manuscript, we will read related and background material by other philosophers, likely including Kit Fine, Alan Gibbard, Gilbert Harman, Gideon Rosen, and Tim Scanlon.
We are lucky that Dworkin himself will be in residence at UCLA for two weeks during the quarter, and I expect that he will participate in the seminar.
The seminar will meet Tuesdays 4-7. We will meet in the law school building, room 3393, which is a pleasant seminar room. (The law school building is immediately next door to Dodd Hall, and room 3393 is on the third floor. If you enter the law school building through the door next to Luvalle’s, go up the stairs to the third floor, walk down the corridor, turn right at the first corner, and the room will be immediately on your left.)
We will have a brief organizational meeting on Tuesday January 5 at 4:00 PM. *Important note*: We will not meet on Tuesday, January 12. Our first substantive session will be on Tuesday, January 19.
All are welcome.
HERMAN, B. PHILOS 206 MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
The project of this course is to use the resources of contemporary symbolic logic to provide a construction and analysis of the system of logic started by Aristotle and expanded and refined with great sophistication during the medieval period. The direct reading consists of a manuscript by the instructor in which such a construction is developed. (A draft of the current version is available on my faculty website.) The indirect readings are those historical sources from which information is gleaned, including especially logical works by Aristotle, and writings of William Sherwood, Peter of Spain, Lambert of Auxerre/Lagny, Walter Burley, William Ockham, John Buridan, Marsilius of Inghen, Paul of Venice and several anonymous writings. All material is available in English translation.
PHILOS C209 DESCARTES
PHILOS 220 SEM-HIST-PHILOSOPHY
An exploration of Leibniz’s philosophy, focusing on his metaphysics, with special attention to the relation of his thought to that of Spinoza. The texts we’ll be looking at will be fairly wide-ranging. (I don’t expect to be devoting a great deal of attention to his theory of modality or his account of truth as notional/conceptual containment or his conception of freedom, although no doubt these doctrines will come up at least in passing.) No prior knowledge of Leibniz (or Spinoza) is presupposed.
PHILOS C245 HIST OF ETHICS-MDRN
The seminar this quarter is on Kant’s ethics. The primary text is Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason. (Materials from other works of Kant will be introduced as needed.) The main topics for discussion will be: the nature of imperatives and rules; motives and determining grounds; the place of happiness in the moral theory; and Kant’s notion of practical knowledge.
PHILOS 248 PROBS-MORAL PHILOS
It is often said that we are responsible for our attitudes because our capacities for reflection allow us to gain some distance from ourselves—to “step back,” to use the common metaphor, and to think about ourselves—and, from that reflective vantage, to endorse or to change ourselves. We can think about our beliefs, our intentions, and our other attitudes, and our reasons for them, and, if we find something amiss, either we can revise the attitude, the attitude will change, or else we will somehow disown it and so become less responsible for it. Less sophisticated creatures cannot gain this kind of reflective distance and therefore are not responsible for themselves in the way we are. I believe this account is badly mistaken, and I argue against it in a manuscript. In this seminar we will try to understand accounts of this kind, and the motivations for them before considering my objections.