Course Descriptions

Please refer to the UWM Schedule of Classes for each term before registering to confirm which classes are offered.

Spring 2018 Course Descriptions

Philosophy 101 – Introduction to Philosophy: Reflections on the Human Condition (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 402 MW 11:00 – 11:50 BOL 150
LEC 403 MW 1:00 – 1:50 BOL 150
Instructor: Nataliya Palatnik, palatnik@uwm.edu
Enrollment in one of the large lectures (402 or 403) requires enrollment in a discussion section

This course is an introduction to Western Philosophy. Students need not have any background in philosophy, or any plans for further study. The course has three broad aims:

  1. to introduce students to the tradition of philosophical argument in the West via primary texts,
  2. to teach students how in general to make and evaluate philosophical arguments,
  3. to demonstrate to any student who cares to participate actively how exciting and even fun philosophy can be.

Since philosophy is simply informed public reflection on what we’re up to as we try to do and believe what we ought to do and believe – as Socrates put it, “What we are talking about is how one should live” – I hope that by the end of the term the third aim of the course will have taken priority over the other two.

Philosophy 101 – Introduction to Philosophy: Selected Topics & Issues (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 001 T 6:30 — 7:20 pm CRT 124
Instructor: Michael Thousand, thousan2@uwm.edu

We will look at a representative selection of topics from the history of philosophy and current philosophical debates: ethics, social and political philosophy, the scope and nature of our knowledge of the world, the nature of the self and mind.

Philosophy 111, Introduction to Logic – Critical Reasoning (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 001 MW 11:00 – 12:15 CRT 309
LEC 002 MW 2:00—3:15 CRT 309
LEC 203 ONLINE WEB
Instructor: Matthew Knachel, knachel@uwm.edu

There’s an ancient view, still widely held, that what makes human beings special—what distinguishes us from the “beasts of the field”—is that we are rational. What does rationality consist in? That’s a vexed question, but one possible response goes roughly like this: we manifest our rationality by engaging in certain activities, chief among them the activity of making claims and backing them up with reasons—that is, constructing arguments.

This reasoning activity can be done well and it can be done badly—it can be done correctly or incorrectly. Logic is the discipline that aims to distinguish good reasoning from bad.

Since reasoning is central to all fields of study—indeed, since it’s arguably central to being human—the tools developed in logic are universally applicable. Anyone can benefit from studying logic by becoming a more self-aware, skillful reasoner.

This course provides a broad-based introduction to a variety of logical methods–the basic tools for analyzing, criticizing, and evaluating the myriad arguments one is exposed to every day.

Philosophy 192, First Year Seminar—Philosophy of Star Wars (3 units; U; HU)

SEM 001 MW 10:00 – 11:15 HLT G80
Instructor: Agust Magnusson, magnusso@uwm.edu

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (Hollywood, California in 1977, to be exact) a young filmmaker named George Lucas created one of the most popular and culturally influential film series ever made. In this course, we will examine a variety of important philosophical questions and themes through the lens of Star Wars. The primary aim of the course is to introduce philosophy as both an academic field and as a way of life and to examine how films such as Star Wars can help us to ask important questions about ourselves and about the meaning of life. We will examine the philosophical notion of “The Force,” ask questions about the nature of good and evil, and try to answer the most pressing question of all: What is up with Jar Jar Binks?

Philosophy 204, Introduction to Asian Religions (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 201 ONLINE WEB
Instructor: Ágúst Magnússon, magnusso@uwm.edu

This course offers a philosophical exploration of the primary religious traditions of South Asia and China. We will examine teachings on the nature of reality, the nature of the divine, and the nature of the human self through the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Some of the primary questions we will explore in light of these traditions include: What is happiness and how do we achieve it? What is enlightenment? and What is the purpose of human existence? We will also look at the philosophical implications of specific spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi.

This is an introductory course and no previous experience in philosophy is required.

Philosophy 207 – Religion and Science (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 001 TR 2:00 – 3:15 CRT 319
Instructor: Ágúst Magnússon, magnusso@uwm.edu

Is it “Science AND Religion” or “Science OR Religion?” In this course we will examine the often contentious relationship between scientific and religious inquiries into the nature of reality. Some of the primary questions we will examine are: What is the relationship between faith and reason? How are we influenced by the practices, institutions, and establishments of science and religion? Is it possible to adhere to a religious worldview yet still take seriously the claims and findings of modern science? What do the terms “science” and “religion” describe, anyway? We will philosophically examine the development of the modern scientific method and critically examine some notorious episodes in the history of science and religion, such as the trial of Galileo and the appearance of Darwin’s Origin of the Species. We will also examine the relationship between faith and reason through literature and film.

Philosophy 211, Elementary Logic (HU, QLB, L&S Formal Reasoning Requirement)

LEC 001 T 6:30—9:10 CRT 209
Instructor: Benjamin Faltesek

LEC 202 ONLINE WEB
Instructor: Matthew Knachel, knachel@uwm.edu

LEC 403 MW 11:00 – 11:50 CRT 175
LEC 404 MW 1:00 – 1:50 BOL B52
Instructor: Richard Tierney, rtierney@uwm.edu

Enrollment in one of the large lectures (403 or 404) requires enrollment in a discussion section.

Humans are reasoning animals, and logic is the study of the rules and principles of correct reasoning, the science of what follows from what. Logic know-how is a skill, one of the most important skills you will ever develop, both for your college and later career and for your everyday life. It teaches you how to analyze concepts, ideas, arguments, and break them down into their simplest components. You are then in a position to recognize the relationships between those components, to see how they are connected together (or not), and thereby to understand how and why one thing follows from another. At the same time, it teaches you how to construct ‘paths of reasoning’, how to get from one idea to another, how, for example, to determine what is the best course of action in a particular situation.

Apart from its application in virtually every field of study, the study of logic will help you develop your analytical and quantitative skills, your writing skills, your communication skills, and your day to day reasoning. You’ll become a better thinker and a better reasoner. You may not be aware that you are doing so, but you’re using logic now, and you’ll use it every day, for the rest of your life.

This is an introductory course in formal (symbolic) logic intended for students who have had no previous work in logic. There will be 3 exams and weekly homework assignments. The course satisfies General Education Humanities and QLB requirements. The course also satisfies the L&S Formal Reasoning Requirement for the B.A. degree.

Philosophy 212 – Modern Deductive Logic (HU)

LEC 001 MW 2:00 – 3:15 CRT 209
Instructor: Michael Liston, mnliston@uwm.edu
Prereq: gr C or better in Philos 211.

The task of the first logic course – Philosophy 211 – was to develop a means for evaluating deductive arguments. This task involved the use of a formal language to express the logical structure of English sentences and the use of various formal techniques (truth tables, deductions, etc.) to evaluate arguments. Once an English argument was translated into the formal language, formal techniques were used to solve an apparently informal problem, i.e., the problem of finding out whether it is possible for the conclusion of an argument to be false while all its premises are true. In Philosophy 212 we will continue this inquiry into the evaluation of deductive arguments. We will concentrate on two central areas. First, we will deal with English statements and arguments that require a more expressively powerful formal language than that studied in most of Philosophy 211. Second, we will address the issue of the adequacy of the formal system. We will develop explicit definitions of validity of arguments and formal systems and use them to investigate, via informal reasoning and proof, what can be achieved by a deductive system – i.e., the scope and limits of deductive logic. Philosophy 211 with a grade of ‘C’ or better is a prerequisite for this class.

Philosophy 232 – Sex, Love, and Friendship (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 001 TR 12:30 – 1:45 LUB S231
Instructor: Andrea Westlund, westlund@uwm.edu

Love comes in many varieties, from the erotic to the “platonic”. But what is love? Why is it important? What is true friendship like? What is sex, and why do people want it? In this course, we will consider these and other related questions, with a special focus on the ways in which relationships of love, sex, and friendship might be thought to define or transform the identities of those involved. We will explore the ethics of sex, love, and friendship, and will consider ways in which our close personal connections may be shaped by broader social, political, and economic relationships. We will examine questions about power and consent, personal autonomy, gender relations, and much more. Readings will be drawn from both classical and contemporary sources.

Philosophy 232 – Food Ethics (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 002 MW 12:30 – 1:45 LUB S195
Instructor: Agust Magnusson, magnusso@uwm.edu

We have all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” Food is one of the central activities of the human person and it reveals complex layers of our identity and personhood. This course provides a philosophical dialogue centered on the consumption and production of food. The course will be divided into three main areas of inquiry: 1) The social and cultural dimensions of food, including how food relates to our identity; 2) the ethics and politics of food, including activism, economic considerations of food consumption and production, and issues related to vegetarianism and veganism; and 3) the spiritual dimension of food, including a discussion of how specific religious traditions view food in relation to the spiritual life.

Philosophy 235 – Philosophical Aspects of Feminism (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 001 TR 11:00 – 12:15 CRT 109
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein, silvers2@uwm.edu

In this course we will explore a variety of topics concerning feminism, the oppression of women, and the politics of gender in contemporary society. We will approach these topics from a philosophical perspective and will pay close attention to both conceptual and normative issues. The course will begin with a survey of important traditional

philosophical works advocating for feminist positions. We will read about and discuss issues such as the social construction of gender and of the self; the nature of autonomy; feminist epistemology; and the impact of race, class, and sexual orientation on women’s lives. We will also explore philosophical questions that arise in contemporary debates around specific feminist issues.

Philosophy 237 – Technology, Values, and Society (HU)

LEC 001 TR 9:30 – 10:45 CRT 109
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein, silvers2@uwm.edu

Technology has an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. We live with laptops, cell phones, and tablets that connect us instantly and constantly to people all around the world and to masses of information. At the same time this unprecedented access to people and information can alienate us from our immediate surroundings as we walk through the world with our eyes and fingers glued to our favorite devices. In this course we will start by thinking about how technology changes the way we experience our world. We will focus on the ways technology enhances the human experience, in what ways it alienates us from ourselves and our environment, and how it is changing what it means to be a person. The ethical implications of our evolving dependence on technology will be debated and discussed. We will then look at specific moral problems related to technology and its impact on our lives including its effects on privacy and human freedom, the environment, and human health including the potential impact of genetic enhancement and cloning.

Philosophy 241, Introductory Ethics (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 401 MW 3:00-3:50 MIT 191
Instructor: Nataliya Palatnik, palatnik@uwm.edu

Enrollment in the large lecture (401) also requires enrollment in a discussion section.

Most people agree that morality involves standards that should be taken seriously in guiding conduct and assessing our claims against others. Yet various moral philosophers have offered very different accounts of what morality is and why we should care about it. We will study four basic philosophical approaches to morality and consider how they have shaped the history of ethical thought as well as their influence on moral philosophy today. We will first consider ethical rationalism, which takes moral principles to describe an independent order of values fixed in the nature of things, and the ideal-spectator approach, which takes morally wrong actions to be those an impartial sympathetic observer would disapprove of. We will then turn to Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy, which grounds morality in rational principles which all reasonable agents possess in common in virtue of their status as rational beings, and contractualism, according to which the correct moral principles are those which would be agreed to by all reasonable beings as a basis for their community. We shall see how these basic approaches get reflected in theories of social and economic justice.

Philosophy 243, Moral Problems (1 units; U; HU)

LEC 201: Abortion ONLINE (01/22—02/24/18)
LEC 202: Drugs and Addiction ONLINE (02/26—11/12/16)
LEC 203: Euthanasia ONLINE (11/14—12/14/16)
Instructor: Miren Boehm, boehmm@uwm.edu

Note: LEC 201, 202, & 203 are worth one credit each. You do not have to enroll for all three sections.
Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max.

243-201 Abortion: What would it mean for abortion to be morally wrong? What is the moral status of the fetus? Does it have a right to life? What is the concept of a person? What does it mean to have a right to one’s body? What does feminist theory say about abortion? What does religion have to say about the ethics of abortion? In this course we will address these and other difficult philosophical questions.

243-202 Drugs and Addiction: What are the arguments in favor of consuming drugs? Some defend the use of drugs by appealing to the pleasure they produce. Some claim that drugs enhance creativity, others that it enables religious experiences. But do the alleged benefits outweigh the harms? What exactly is addiction? Is it morally wrong to take drugs? Is the commercial selling of drugs wrong? Do we have a moral obligation to prevent people from distributing or from taking drugs? Should drugs be illegal? How do we balance freedom and harm? In this class we will address all of these questions.

243-203 Euthanasia: Why would there by anything morally wrong with assisting someone in ending her life when she is suffering and wants to end her life? What is death? What is a person? What is personal dignity? What is ordinary as opposed to extraordinary medical treatment? What is the moral difference between killing and letting die? In this course we will address these and other difficult philosophical problems.

Philosophy 244, Ethical Issues in Health Care: Contemporary Problems (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 001 R 6:00-8:40 END 110
Instructor: Kristen Tym, tymk@uwm.edu
Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max.

In this course, students will explore the critical ethical issues facing health care professionals, policy makers, advocates and patients as part of their encounters with the health care delivery system in the U.S. Students will engage in large and small group discussion and learning activities in order to understand the philosophical foundation of ethics and moral decision making and then apply ethical theory and principles to some of the most controversial and important issues in health care today. Issues students will consider include informed consent and confidentiality in health care; treatment decision making and futility; euthanasia and assisted suicide; assisted reproduction and stem cell research; genetic testing and screening; and, allocation of scarce health care resources. After completing this course, students will be well-equipped to look critically at a controversy in health care, analyze the complex ethical issues involved and identify practical solutions.

Philosophy 244, Ethical Issues in Health Care: Bioethics (3 units; U; HU)

LEC 202 ONLINE
Instructor: Elizabeth Silverstein, silvers2@uwm.edu
Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max.

This course will provide a general overview of many of the challenging ethical issues faced in health care delivery today. We will begin the course with an introduction of ethical theories and other approaches to moral decision-making. These theories and approaches will then be applied to ethical problems currently confronting health care providers, patients and their families, and society at large. Issues we will consider include informed consent and confidentiality, futility and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, euthanasia and assisted suicide, assisted reproduction, genetics, and allocation of scarce resources.

Philosophy 303 – Mind and Knowledge (3 units; U/G)

LEC 001 MW 2:00-3:15 CRT 109
Instructor: Edward Hinchman, hinchman@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st; Philos 101 or 215

This course will focus on belief, judgment, and truth, as well as knowledge. It will address issues that fall into three groups: (a) What are the natures of believing and judging as psychological acts or states? (b) What norms govern believing and judging, and how do they work? Can you, or a ‘part’ of you, believe merely at will? If not, why not? If so, how does motivated believing work? (c) What, more generally, are the natures of these norms? How do epistemic norms differ from practical norms? Do believing and judging aim at knowledge or at truth? How is that like and unlike aiming at autonomy or the good? What, anyway, are knowledge and truth?

Philosophy 324 – Philosophy of Science (3 units; U/G)

LEC 001 TR 11:00-12:15 CRT 219
Instructor: Robert Schwartz, schwartz@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

This course will explore the nature of scientific inquiry, as well as consider what, if anything, is special about the scientific enterprise. We will start by trying to get a firm understanding of such core notions of scientific methodology as: explanation, cause, laws, and probability. Next we will explore the nature of scientific concepts, the methods used in testing hypotheses, and how science deals with testing hypotheses that posit the existence of unobservable entities, such as electrons, genes dark matter. The last third of the course will focus on recent challenges to both the “objectivity” of science and the

“rationality” of scientific practice. This, in turn, will lead us to rethink our understanding of the supposed special status of scientific inquiry.

Philosophy 341 – Modern Ethical Theories (3 units; U; OWCB)

LEC 001 MW 12:30-1:45 BOL B40
Instructor: Stanislaus Husi, husi@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st; 3 cr in philos; satisfaction of OWC-A

In this survey course of contemporary ethical theory, we are going to investigate the nature of ethics, what exactly it demands and values and why, what objective status it enjoys (or does not enjoy), whether and how we could come to acquire ethical knowledge, whether and why we should care about being ethical, what relation ethics bears to religion, and its connection to moral responsibility. We are discussing the major ethical traditions such as consequentialism, the view that the one and only criterion for the moral assessment of actions is the quality of their consequences; deontology, the view that some actions, such as the keeping or breaking of promises, may be right or wrong irrespective of their consequences; contractarianism, the view that moral rules are based on actual or hypothetical agreements regulating basic social arrangements; and virtue ethics, the view that character is key for understanding ethics. In the second half of the course, we are going to look at some especially nasty characters, such as cheaters, persons lacking empathy (psychopaths), persons with an entrenched sense of entitlement (Aaron James recent Theory of “Assholes”), and unrepentant war criminals (reading Hannah Arendt’s ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’). The guiding methodology is to gain insight into morality by coming to terms with its most persistent offenders. We are going to read Russ Shafer-Landau’s wonderfully clear introduction “The Fundamentals of Ethics” together with a sample from the recent literature in ethical theory.

Philosophy 355, Political Philosophy

LEC 001 TR 2:00 – 3:15 CRT 221
Instructor: Blain Neufeld, neufeld@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st, Philos 242(P) or a course in ethics.

This course will look at the great Enlightenment social contract theories that helped to shape the rise of liberal democratic ideals and institutions in the West (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant), and some of the most significant criticisms of those theories from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Hume, Marx). We also will consider the main alternative approach to liberal political thinking in the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, namely, utilitarianism, and in particular the views of J.S. Mill. The course will conclude by considering the recent revival of the social contract approach in political philosophy over the past few decades in the work of John Rawls, as well as some important criticisms of Rawls’s views from libertarian, socialist, and feminist perspectives.

Philosophy 432 – Great Thinkers of the Modern Period (3 units; U/G)

LEC 001 TR 11:00 – 12:15 LUB B87
Instructor: Margaret Atherton, atherton@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos

Philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries in Western Europe abounded in great thinkers. Many of the philosophers of that time are still important to philosophers today. A significant feature of these philosophers, that tends to distinguish them from contemporary philosophers, is that they did not limit themselves to one branch or other of philosophy, but allowed their interests and their arguments to range over epistemology, metaphysics, moral and political philosophy, and to include natural science (called natural philosophy) and theology (called natural religion.) It is impossible to provide a meaningful survey of such rich philosophical thought, nor is it useful to try to pull our samples of their complex thought. What we are going to do, therefor, is to select works that can be read through from beginning to end, reading them closely, and spending enough time with each to learn how they think and the goals they seek to accomplish. The aim of the course will be to come to appreciate a sampling of the great work of the period, and to develop skills that will allow students to read and appreciate other work of this time. We will read: Rene Descartes, Meditations, Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, Anne Conway, Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy, George Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, and David Hume, Dialogues on Natural Religion.

Philosophy 435 – Existentialism (3 units; U/G)

LEC 001 TR 3:30 – 4:45 CRT 321
Instructor: William Bristow, bristow@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos

The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre argues that we human beings are “condemned to freedom”, by which he means that the tasks of choosing and determining ourselves are inescapable for us, even though we are tempted to relieve ourselves of the burdens that accompany these tasks. Existentialism is a philosophical, literary and cultural movement in the West that begins to take shape in the nineteenth century and flourishes most fully in the twentieth century. Existentialist thinkers and artists attempt to characterize and to highlight the distinctively human predicament that has its root in the burden of human freedom. Existentialist thinkers are struggling against a common set of threats that the modern western world makes pressing for human beings: the threats of meaninglessness, of despair, of nihilism, of pessimism, of the loss of self in “inauthenticity” or “conformity”. In this course, we study the rise and development of existentialist thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through examining both philosophical and artistic works. We will read texts from among the following authors: the Danish religious thinker Søren Kierkegaard, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and the twentieth century philosophers Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre. Because film has been an especially rich medium for investigating existentialist themes, we will also study at least two existentialist films.

Philosophy 519 – Contemporary Platonism and Nominalism (3 units; U/G)

LEC 001 W 5:00 – 7:40 CRT 607
Instructor: Michael Liston, mnliston@uwm.edu
May be taken w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos

Traditional Platonist and nominalist disputes concerned the existence and nature of universals. Contemporary Platonist and nominalist disputes, in contrast, concern the existence and nature of abstract objects. We know that 3 is odd and Trump is rich. Much of our everyday, scientific, and philosophical discourse (about three and other numbers, about classes, sentences, propositions, and concepts) seems to presuppose the existence of abstract objects that, unlike their concrete cousins (like Trump, stars, mountains, tables, and atoms) do not exist in space or time, do not have causal powers, and seem to be ontologically “thin”. (Think of the differences between the number 3 and Trump.) These differences raise epistemological and semantic questions, questions that seem especially pressing to philosophers of a broadly naturalist bent: how could we ever know anything about such objects? and how can we refer to such objects? Platonists argue that abstract objects exist and attempt to respond to those questions by providing accounts that bridge the gap between their natures and our minds. Nominalists argue that abstract objects do not exist; so there’s no gap to be bridged. However, nominalists face their own challenges: if abstract objects do not exist, how do we account for the fact that so much of what we say “about them” is true and apparently required for any reasonably adequate story about the world? We will follow some of the twists and turns this dialectic has taken, including the twist that the debate is deeply misguided. We will read selected writings of Azzouni, Balaguer, Benacerraf, Bueno, Burgess, Carnap, Field, Frege, Gödel, Hofweber, Maddy, Putnam, Quine, Russell, and Yablo

Philosophy 522 – Philosophy of Physics (3 units; U/G)

LEC 001 TR 2:00 – 3:15 CRT 607
Instructor: Stephen Leeds, sleeds@uwm.edu
May be taken w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st

The first part of the course will be on the Theory of Relativity, Special and General; the implications of these theories for our conceptions of Space and Time (and spacetime). The second part will be on Quantum Mechanics, particularly the Measurement problem. If there is time at the end, we may discuss some issues in Statistical Mechanics. No specific requirements, but it would be helpful to know elementary calculus and some linear algebra.

Philosophy 562 – Philosophy and Autobiography (3 units; U/G)

LEC 001 T 3:30 – 6:10 CRT 607
Instructor: Andrea Westlund, westlund@uwm.edu
May be taken w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

We humans, it is often said, are story-telling animals. What’s more, we are self-narrating animals – we regularly tell the stories of our own lives, and eagerly consume the life stories of others. We are immersed in a culture with a seemingly endless appetite for self-disclosure, through memoirs, blog posts, status updates, tweets, and the like. Many well-known philosophers, moreover, have engaged in autobiographical writing of some form, much of which has had clear philosophical content. Some would argue that there is a sense in which all philosophy is an autobiographical enterprise – an exercise through which we struggle to know ourselves and to articulate our deepest concerns. In this course, we will read some philosophically engaged autobiographical writing, and also quite a bit of philosophical writing about autobiography and narrative thinking. We will explore connections between self-narration, self-understanding, agency, meaning, identity, and temporality, and will examine the role(s) played by story-telling in our moral practices.

Philosophy 681 – Political Autonomy (3 units; U/G)

SEM 001 R 5:00 – 7:40 CRT 607
Instructor: Blain Neufeld, neufeld@uwm.edu
May be taken w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: sr st & 12 cr in philos at 300-level or above; or grad st.

In The Social Contract Jean-Jacques Rousseau writes: “[T]he words ‘subject’ and ‘sovereign’ are identical correlatives, the meaning of which is brought together in the single word ‘citizen’.” This seminar will explore this idea, that of ‘positive political liberty’ or ‘political autonomy’—roughly understood as the capacity or power of citizens to help shape the laws and political institutions to which they are subject. We will begin by reading Rousseau’s classic text and some historical critical responses to it (by Benjamin Constant in the 19th Century and Isaiah Berlin in the 20th). We also will read some contemporary analyses of Rousseau’s views (by Frederick Neuhouser and others). The seminar then will consider John Rawls’s recent defence of the ‘political liberties’ and the unique status that he confers upon them vis-à-vis the other ‘basic liberties’. Justice

requires that the ‘fair value’ of the political liberties be secured equally for all citizens, according to Rawls, whereas this is not the case with respect to the other liberties. We also will consider the relation between Rawls’s conception of political autonomy and his idea of ‘public reason’. We then will examine the account of ‘democratic equality’ or ‘relational equality’ developed in recent years by Elizabeth Anderson. The seminar will conclude by engaging with Anderson’s recent argument, presented in the book Private Government (Princeton University Press, 2017) that contemporary employers often enjoy dominating power over their employees—that they are ‘private despots’—and that the idea of democratic equality or political liberty should apply not simply to citizens’ relations with the state but within their workplaces as well.

Philosophy 712 – Fundamentals of Formal Logic (3 units; G)

LEC 001 MW 2:00 – 3:15 CRT 209
Instructor: Michael Liston, mnliston@uwm.edu Prereq: grad st.

We will work through standard soundness, completeness, and other metatheoretic results for first order logic in tandem with the Philosophy 212 class. (See Philosophy 212 course description.) We will also look at some extensions of, and/or alternatives to, the basic framework of predicate logic, focusing especially on modal logic. The goal here is to gain a familiarity with enough logic to be able to follow, and participate in, philosophical discussions that take such familiarity for granted.

Philosophy 758 – Hume (3 units; G)

SEM 001 MW 3:30 – 4:45 CRT 607
Instructor: Miren Boehm, boehmm@uwm.edu
Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st; consent of instructor

Hume on Skepticism: In this class we will discuss Hume’s most famous arguments concerning demonstrative and inductive reasoning, and the reliability of the senses where we identify the important role the imagination plays in Hume’s philosophy and its significance. We consider Hume’s skepticisms in the Treatise and the first Enquiry, and

we examine his “solutions” to these skepticisms. Finally, we shall attempt to construct a unified account of Hume’s philosophy that takes into account his skepticisms and their solutions against the background of Hume’s positive philosophical intentions to establish a foundation for the sciences.

Philosophy 903 – Judgment and Epistemic Norms (2-3 units; G)

SEM 001 M 5:00 – 7:40 CRT 607
Instructor: Edward Hinchman, hinchman@uwm.edu
Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st; & cons instr.

Judging is regarded by some as ‘inner’ assertion. (Here’s Plato: “The soul when it thinks is simply conversing with itself, asking itself questions and answering, affirming and denying… So I define one’s thinking as one’s speaking and one’s thoughts as speech that one has had not with someone else or aloud but in silence with oneself” (Theaetetus, 189e-190a). And here’s Dummett on Frege: “Judgment is to grasping a thought as assertion is to the expression of a thought” (Frege: Philosophy of Language (1981), 298). See also Wilfrid Sellars, “Language as Thought and as Communication” (1969).) And asserting that p is regarded by some as representing yourself as knowing that p. (For one influential rendition, see Timothy Williamson, Knowledge and Its Limits (2000), Chapter 11.) If we combine these theses, we make judging that p representing yourself ‘inwardly’ – that is, to yourself – as knowing that p. Though I do not accept either component thesis on its own, I suspect that the combined thesis is close to correct. Though each thesis is controversial, this seminar will investigate the attractions of putting them together.

These attractions emerge when we emphasize the intrapersonal relations at the core of judgment and belief. In the model we’ll develop, judging manifests two distinct dimensions of self-reliance and invites the relation of self-trust. Believing, then, is accepting the invitation. We thereby explain an interesting linguistic datum, that it makes sense to speak of ‘trusting your own judgment’ but not of ‘trusting your own belief.’ (Here’s Wittgenstein: “One can mistrust one’s own senses, but not one’s own belief” (Philosophical Investigations (1953), p. 190).) And we gain the resources for a novel treatment of epistemic normativity – for the questions about epistemic value, responsibility and agency that drive much current work in epistemology and philosophy of mind.