Graduate Courses & Seminars
Philos 207: History of Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
In 1486, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola published 900 philosophical theses that he planned to defend in Rome in 1487. When Pope Innocent VIII condemned 13 of them, the project failed. Pico defended the condemned theses in a detailed Apology. One of his defensive tactics was to use techniques of logic, some well known and obvious, others less known and not so obvious. We’ll examine and evaluate Pico’s tactics on logical grounds – meaning the logic known to him and his opponents. After introducing Pico, his Apology and the type of logic that he used, we’ll examine relevant parts of the Apology in detail. The Apology, written in Latin by Pico, has never been translated into English until now, and these English translations will be supplied.
For background on Pico, see Copenhaver, “Giovanni Pico della Mirandola,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pico-della-mirandola/
For a medieval introduction to medieval logic, see Peter of Spain: Summaries of Logic: Text, Translation, Introduction, and Notes, ed. and trans. Copenhaver, Normore and Parsons, pp. 9-86
Philos C223: Philosophy of Mathematics
Instructor: Sean Walsh
Location: Slichter Hall 2834
This is an introduction to the philosophy of mathematics. We shall survey the philosophy of mathematics from Kant to Hilbert. One of our chief aims will be understand the content and development of the three main schools of logicism, formalism, and intuitionism in their historical context. In addition to studying the original texts of philosophers such as Kant and Frege and Russell, we will try to describe how their philosophy interacted with developments in mathematics and logic at the time. The course will be lecture-based, and the evaluation will be a midterm, a final exam, and two short papers.
This course is a concurrent course, and graduate students who are enrolled will have a separate 1-hour meeting with some additional more advanced readings.
Philos 232: Philosophy of Science
Instructor: Katrina Elliot
Inference to the best explanation is a familiar form of inference by which we come to believe (or to be more confident in) whichever theory best explains our data. Suppose, for example, I come home to discover that my leather shoes have been torn to bits and are covered with what appears to be drool and teeth marks. One explanation for the state of my shoes is that my dog chewed on them. An alternative explanation for the state of my shoes is that my neighbors broke into my house, destroyed my shoes, and framed my dog. When I discover that my shoes have been destroyed, I infer the first option over the second on the grounds that the first option is a better explanation for the state of my shoes than is the second option.
This class will discuss inference to the best explanation: its content, its justification, and its implications. We will be particularly interested in inference to the best explanation’s role in justifying our beliefs about the unobservable features of our world.
Philos 246: Ethical Theory
Instructor: A.J. Julius
Location: Dodd Hall 325
Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. We are going to read the book through.
Philos 281: Philosophy of Mind
Instructor: Gabriel Greenberg
This seminar will examine the phenomenon of indexicality from the perspective of semiotics, philosophy of language, linguistics, and philosophy of mind. We will consider a wide range of indexical representations, including first-person pronouns, demonstratives, arrows and pointing, street signs, maps, visual perception, and self-reflexive thought. The course is intended to be an introduction to the topic, with no special background assumed. We will spend extra time at the start of the course reviewing basic methods in formal semantics which will be applied in the remainder.