Graduate Courses Spring 2019

  • Phil 402 - Self-knowleldge - Small

    T 3:30-6

    Some philosophers have argued that we know our own minds better than we know anything else. Is this true? How do we know our own minds? How does the way(s) in which we know our own minds differ from the way(s) in which we know the minds of others? Do we know about each aspect of our mental lives (e.g. beliefs, desires, emotions, pains) in the same way, or are there different routes to these different aspects of self-knowledge? Do we have knowledge of ourselves of a distinctive kind that goes beyond our present mental states—for instance, to our physical actions, or to our character traits? Is self-knowledge knowledge of a persisting self? Readings from the history of philosophy and contemporary authors.
    Pre-requisites: This is an upper-level philosophy seminar. A prior course in theory of knowledge (epistemology) or philosophy of psychology/mind is recommended, but not required.
  • Phil 410 - Introduction to Formal Logic - Jarrett

    TR 12:30 - 1:45

    In contemporary philosophy much use is made of technical machinery of various sorts. Many topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science, for example, rely on a familiarity with tools from logic, mathematics, probability theory, etc. In this course we will focus on developing a good understanding of these tools.
  • Phil 424 - Kant - Sutherland

    R 3:30 - 6

    Intensive study of Kant's metaphysics and theory of knowledge with main reading drawn from the Critique of Pure Reason
  • Phil 425 - Kierkegaard - Fleischacker

    TR 11-12:15

    We will focus this semester on the work of Søren Kierkegaard, and especially the two books in which he lays out most fully his defense of a paradoxical, faith-based Christianity - Philosophical Fragments and the Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Kierkegaard was a remarkable writer and a remarkable thinker, with a wide-ranging influence on both religious and non-religious philosophers in the twentieth century. Among other things, he challenges the very practice of philosophy itself: at least when it is separated from the way we actually conduct our lives.
  • Phil 503 - Medieval Philosophy - Sinkler

    M 1-3:30

    Survey course in medieval philosophy. Special topics depending on student interest and time constraints.
  • Phil 509 - Hylton

    T 3:30 - 6
  • Phil 530 - Aesthetics and Ethics - Eaton

    F 1-3:30

    The first three weeks of this course will be spent on Dominic Lopes’ brand new book, Being for Beauty (OUP 2018). You should have read the first two parts (through p. 90) by the time of our first meeting. (I have ordered this book from the UIC library and they tell me that an unlimited-use electronic copy will be available very soon, so keep checking if you do not find it.)

    The rest of the course will explore the contemporary literature in Anglo aesthetics on the relationship between moral and aesthetic value, especially with respect to artworks (where “artwork” is to be construed broadly to include things like popular movies, popular music and music videos, video games, and other artifacts from popular culture and everyday experience). Does a work’s moral character affect its aesthetic features? Can a moral defect also be, or yield, an aesthetic defect? Can a work be better off aesthetically because morally flawed? Or do a work’s moral features never interact with its aesthetics features at all? What is it for a work to have a moral feature – to be morally defective/flawed or meritorious/virtuous/exemplary – anyway?

    I will assume a basic familiarity with Kant’s Critique of (the Power of) Judgment and Hume’s essay, “On the Standard of Taste.” If you are not familiar with these, I recommend that you:

    1. Read the Hume over break. There are many versions floating about. Just make sure that yours in unabridged. Here is a version with numbered paragraphs, which I find handy.
    2. Read the SEP entry on “Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology” (focusing on the introduction and the aesthetics section [section 2]), the SEP entry on “Hume’s Aesthetics,” and you might also check out the SEP entry on “18th century British Aesthetics” focusing on the parts through Hume.


    I will be posting reading, background reading, and essays and blog posts of interest on our Blackboard site, so be sure to check it regularly. Please let me know if there are things that you would especially like to discuss in the course and I’ll see what I can do.

  • Phil 542 - Philosophy of Cognitive Science - Hilbert

    R 3:30 - 6
  • Phil 590 - Huggett

    W 1-3:30