Summer courses do not have prerequisites.
FIRST SUMMER SESSION (5/20-7/2)
PHIL-UA 1; Central Problems in Philosophy; M/T/W/TH 1:30PM-3:05PM; Ali Rezaei
This introductory course explores foundational philosophical questions. Some of the topics discussed are our knowledge of the external world and our own minds, the mind-body problem, free will, morality, and the existence of God. Through critical analysis and discussion, students will gain insights into these central problems, fostering foundational skills in philosophical inquiry.
PHIL-UA 8; Philosophical Approaches to Race and Racism; M/T/W/TH 6:00PM-7:35PM; Patrick Wu
Explores the concept of race and normative issues surrounding it. Possible topics include: varieties of racism, legitimate responses to racism, whether racism can alter people’s civic obligations, police reform, prison abolition, and reparations. The focus will be on equipping students with a range of ways in which to think about these issues.
PHIL-UA 20; Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy; M/T/W/TH 3:30PM-5:05PM; Ethan Russo
This course will survey some of the most important texts and ideas from Ancient Greece and Rome. We'll examine how thinkers like Aristotle and Plato thought about ethics, metaphysics, and science, by closely reading a few of their major works. We will also look at how some of these ancient ideas have been developed and adopted in contemporary philosophy.
PHIL-UA 41; Nature of Values; M/T/W/TH 11:30AM-1:05PM; Tez Clark
This course concerns the central questions of metaethics. Questions include: What are the status of normative judgements? Are normative facts mind-independent? How can we come to normative knowledge? We will explore these questions with a special focus on comparing moral normativity with other flavors of normativity, such as prudential or practical normativity, epistemic normativity, and aesthetic normativity.
PHIL-UA 76; Epistemology; M/T/W/TH 9:30AM-11:05AM; Aidan Penn
Epistemology is the study of knowledge. In the first part of this course, we'll examine some classic epistemological questions: What is knowledge? Do we know anything? What's the best way to get knowledge? What makes a belief rational? How should we revise our beliefs when we receive new evidence? In the second part of this course, we'll examine some more topical questions about the role of knowledge in society: When and why are stereotypes wrong? Are racist or sexist beliefs ever rational? How can various epistemic practices promote injustice?
PHIL-UA 80; Philosophy of Mind; M/T/W/TH 6:00PM-7:35PM; Sophie Cote
Expression and Self-Expression
This course provides an examination of the nature and value of expression and self-expression, with a focus on their relevance to aesthetics and self-authorship. The issues we will consider fall into three main groups. First, what is expression, and self-expression? How does expression differ from betraying one's states of mind (as when, against ourselves, we blush)? How does self-expression differ from other forms of expression? Is there anything that we cannot express, or cannot express in words? Second, what is the value of expression and self-expression? Can we imagine art without expression, and how do matter, medium and technique make expression possible? What is the relation between expression and self-authorship? Third, what are the distinctive virtues of expression and self-expression? What is it to be truthful, sincere or authentic, and how much should we prize those virtues? Readings will be selected from the fields of philosophy of mind, moral psychology, aesthetics and art criticism, and will be responsive to the class's interests.
PHIL-UA 90; Philosophy of Science; M/T/W/TH 9:30AM-11:05AM; Lauren Somers
This course will examine philosophical questions about the nature of science. The first part of the course will cover some central theoretical questions: Does scientific inquiry get us closer to the truth? How do experiments provide evidence for scientific theories? Is scientific knowledge “objective”? In the second part of the course we’ll think about the social context of science. How much, if at all, are scientists responsible for the good and bad consequences of their research? Should this affect what they choose to study? How can we justify spending limited resources funding scientific projects which have no obvious practical benefit?
SECOND SUMMER SESSION (7/3-8/15)
PHIL-UA 3; Ethics and Society; M/T/W/TH 11:30AM-1:05PM; Ilya Shemmer
An introduction to philosophy through the study of selected moral, social, and political issues. We will look at both historical thinkers and contemporary issues. Topics may include: pleasure and the good life; liberalism and democracy; economic and social justice.
PHIL-UA 7; Consciousness; M/T/W/TH 1:30PM-3:05PM; Cristina Ballarini
How does subjective experience arise from physical processes? This is the problem of consciousness, and it continues to baffle both scientists and philosophers of mind. In this course, we’ll lay out the problem and explore various approaches to solving it.
PHIL-UA 40; Ethics; M/T/W/TH 1:30PM-3:05PM; Evan Behrle
An introduction to moral philosophy. We will focus on the debate between "consequentialist" and non-consequentialist theories, among other topics, using both classic and contemporary texts. We will then look at some applications of these theories, possibly including the effective altruism movement.
PHIL-UA 60; Aesthetics; M/T/W/TH 9:30AM-11:05AM; Carl Christian Abrahamsen
Plato spoke of an “ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry,” and he himself took the side of philosophy; the works of poets, he said, “maim the thought of those who hear them” (Republic, 607b5–6; 595b). The topic of this course is this quarrel: the often-fraught relationship between philosophy and art. Is art, as Plato seems to have thought, a pale and distorting version of philosophy? Might art offer us a distinctive form of insight that philosophy cannot? Or might it offer us something different: a guide to the good life, an encounter with the reality of other people, or a way to articulate our inner life? What, in any case, is the point of either art or philosophy?
Along the way, we will touch on many of the classic topics in aesthetics, including the distinction between art and non-art, the nature of beauty, the relationship of art to emotion, meaning and interpretation, how art represents the world, and the interplay between aesthetics and ethics. We will also discuss the philosophical issues raised by specific kinds of art, such as the nature of photographic representation or the expression of emotion in music. Finally, we will consider several artworks in detail, both to help us discuss and apply these philosophical ideas, but also as (potential) works of philosophy in their own right. Authors may include Plato, Kant, Schiller, Nietzsche, Murdoch, Barthes, Danto, Walton, and Nussbaum.
PHIL-UA 76; Epistemology; M/T/W/TH 3:30PM-5:05PM; Noga Gratvol
Epistemology is the study of knowledge and justification. This course will focus on central epistemological questions such as: What makes a belief rational? Is justification a matter of responding correctly to evidence, or of having consistent beliefs? Should knowledge be understood in terms of justification, or is it the other way around? What is evidence, and how should we go about gathering it? Our discussion of these and related issues will draw mostly on contemporary readings, as well as some historical texts.
PHIL-UA 78; Metaphysics; M/T/W/TH 3:30PM-5:05PM; William Nava
We will discuss highly general questions concerning the nature of reality. What is existence? Do properties and numbers exist independently of us? What does it mean for a state of affairs to obtain because of another? How do parts make up wholes? How different could something be and still be that thing? What is a person and what makes someone one and the same person?