Director of Undergraduate Studies: Daniel Brudney, G-B 504, 702-7546,
Secretary for Undergraduate Philosophy: Evada L. Waller, Cl 17,
Program of Study
Philosophy covers a wide range of historical periods and fields. The Bachelor of Arts program with concentration in philosophy is intended to acquaint students with some of the classic texts of the discipline and with the different areas of inquiry, and to train them in rigorous methods of argument. In addition to the standard concentration program, the department offers two sub-concentration options. The intensive concentration option is for qualified students interested in small group discussions of major philosophical problems and texts. The option in philosophy and allied fields is designed for students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary program involving philosophy and some other field. All three options are described in the next section.
The course offerings described include both 20000-level courses (which are normally restricted to College students) and 30000-level courses (which are open to graduate students and advanced College students). There is room for a good deal of flexibility in individual planning of programs; most of the requirements allow some choice among options, course prerequisites may be relaxed with the consent of the instructor, and College students may take 40000- and 50000-level courses (which are normally restricted to graduate students) under special circumstances. (Consult the quarterly Time Schedules for additional course listings.) Students should work out their program under the guidance of the director of undergraduate studies.
The Standard Concentration. There are four basic requirements for the standard concentration in philosophy. They are intended to constitute a core philosophy curriculum and to provide some structure within an extremely varied collection of course offerings that changes from year to year.
1. Introduction: The History of Philosophy. The Department of Philosophy offers a three-quarter sequence in the history of philosophy (Philosophy 25000, 26000, and 27000), which begins in the first quarter with ancient Greek philosophy and ends in the third quarter with nineteenth-century philosophy. Students concentrating in philosophy are required to take two courses from this sequence (any two are acceptable) and are encouraged to take all three. Students are also encouraged to take these courses early in their program because they make an appropriate introduction to more advanced courses.
2. Elementary Logic (Philosophy 30000). Students may elect to bypass this for a more advanced course if they can satisfy the instructor that they are qualified to begin at a higher level.
3. Distribution. At least one course in each of the three following fields: (I) value theory (including ethics, social and political philosophy, and aesthetics); (II) philosophy of science and mathematics; and (III) metaphysics and epistemology. Courses that may be counted toward these requirements are marked by the appropriate numerals in the course descriptions. Other courses may not be used to meet field distribution requirements. NOTE: Only Field I, II, and III designations apply to undergraduates; Field IV is an additional option for graduate students.
Summary of Requirements:
2 from PHIL 25000, 26000, and 27000
1 PHIL 30000 or approved alternative
course in logic
3 one each from fields I, II, and III
4 additional courses in philosophy
The Intensive Concentration. The intensive concentration is designed to acquaint students with the problems and methods of philosophy in more depth than is possible for students in the standard concentration. It differs from the standard program mainly by offering students the opportunity to meet in very small discussion groups open only to students in the intensive concentration program. These discussion groups are as follows:
a junior seminar in the autumn quarter of the junior year
a junior tutorial (Philosophy 29200), and
a senior tutorial (Philosophy 29300).
In addition, students in the intensive track must write a senior essay. The junior seminar and two tutorials replace two of the four additional courses in philosophy mentioned in the summary of requirements for the standard concentration.
Admission to the intensive track requires an application to the undergraduate program committee, which should be made by the middle of the spring quarter of a student's sophomore year. Students interested in the program should consult with the director of undergraduate studies before applying.
Summary of Requirements:
2 from PHIL 25000, 26000, and 27000
1 PHIL 30000 or approved alternative
course in logic
3 one each from fields I, II, and III
1 PHIL 29600 (junior seminar)
1 PHIL 29200 (junior tutorial)
1 PHIL 29300 (senior tutorial)
2 PHIL 29800 and 29900 (preparation for
senior essay, autumn/winter or
2 additional courses in philosophy
Philosophy and Allied Fields. This variant of the concentration is intended for students who wish to create a coherent interdisciplinary program involving philosophy and some other field of study. Students in this program must meet the first three of the basic requirements for the standard concentration (a total of six courses) and take six additional courses that together constitute a coherent program; at least one of these six additional courses must be in the Department of Philosophy. Students must receive approval for the specific courses they choose to be used as the allied fields courses. Admission to philosophy and allied fields requires an application to the undergraduate program committee, which should be made by the middle of the spring quarter of a student's sophomore year. To apply, students must submit both a statement of purpose that explains why they want to enter and a sample program of courses, and they must have the agreement of a member of the Department of Philosophy to serve as their sponsor in the program. Students interested in this program should consult with the director of undergraduate studies before applying.
Summary of Requirements:
Philosophy and Allied Fields
2 from PHIL 25000, 26000, and 27000
1 PHIL 30000 or approved alternative
course in logic
3 one each from fields I, II, and III
6 additional courses, at least one of which
must be in the Department of Philosophy
The Senior Essay. The senior essay is one of the requirements for students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration. Students who are not in the intensive concentration but who wish to write a senior essay, should apply to do so by early in the third quarter of their junior year. Application forms are available in the departmental office; completed forms should be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies. Students are advised to formulate plans for their senior essays in consultation with a faculty adviser and the director of undergraduate studies.
After a proposal is approved, a student should preregister for Philosophy 29800 in the autumn (or winter) quarter and for Philosophy 29900 in the winter (or spring) quarter of his or her senior year. (These two courses are among the requirements for the Intensive Concentration. For the Standard Concentration and for Allied Fields, both courses must be taken; however, only one will be counted toward concentration requirements.)
Grading. All courses for all tracks must be taken for a letter grade.
Honors. The main requirement for honors is a senior essay of distinction. A grade point average in concentration courses of 3.25 or better is also usually required.
Transfer Students. Requirements for students transferring to the University of Chicago are the same as for other students. Up to (but usually no more than) three courses from another institution may be counted toward concentration requirements. All such courses must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Advising. Questions concerning program plans, honors, or any other matters should be directed to the director of undergraduate studies. All students planning to graduate in the spring quarter must have their programs approved by the director of undergraduate studies at the beginning of the previous autumn quarter.
RACHEL BARNEY, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy and the College
Daniel Brudney, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and the College; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Philosophy
Ted Cohen, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Committees on the Visual Arts and General Studies in the Humanities, and the College
JAMES CONANT, Professor, Department of Philosophy
Arnold I. Davidson, Professor, Department of Philosophy, the Divinity School, Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (CHSS), and the College
Michael Forster, Professor, Department of Philosophy and the College
Daniel Garber, Lawrence Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Philosophy; Acting Chairman, Department of Philosophy; Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (CHSS), and the College
ALAN GEWIRTH, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy
MICHAEL GREEN, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy and the College
JOHN HAUGELAND, Professor, Department of Philosophy
CHARLES LARMORE, Professor, Departments of Philosophy and Political Science, the Law School, and the College
Jonathan Lear, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Committee on Social Thought, and the College
Ian B. Mueller, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy
Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Professor of Law & Ethics, the Law School, Department of Philosophy, and the Divinity School; Associate, Department of Classical Languages & Literatures
Robert B. Pippin, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Committee on Social Thought, and the College
Robert J. Richards, Professor, Departments of History, Philosophy, and Psychology, Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (CHSS), and the College; Director, Program in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine (HIPS)
Howard Stein, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy
Josef Stern, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Committee on Jewish Studies, and the College
William Tait, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy
Candace Vogler, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy; Co-Director, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), Committee on General Studies in the Humanities, and the College
William Wimsatt, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Committees on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (CHSS) and Evolutionary Biology, Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine, and the College
For a description of the numbering guidelines for the following courses, consult the section on reading the catalog on page 15.
Boldface letters in parentheses refer to the areas noted in the preceding Summary of Requirements section.
The following courses are designed for College students.
20000. Introduction to Philosophy of Science (=HIPS 20100,
PHIL 20000). L. Snyder. Winter
20700. Aristotle and the Stoics. This course focuses
primarily upon the ethical philosophy of Aristotle and the Stoics, with attention
to both the historical context and the contemporary relevance of their ideas.
Topics discussed include virtue, emotion, friendship, success, tragedy, detachment,
the nature of value, and the purpose of philosophy. R. Furtak. Spring.
20900. Debates on Science in the Nineteenth Century.
L. Snyder. Spring. (II)
21000. Introduction to Ethics (=GSHU 29200, HIPS 21000,
PHIL 21000). This course covers two broad questions about ethics, drawing
on contemporary and classical readings. First, what does morality require? What
kinds of acts are right and wrong? To what extent can we think systematically
about that kind of question? Second, what is the status of morality? Moral beliefs
seem to be subjective in a way that more straightforwardly factual beliefs are
not. What, exactly, is the difference between these two kinds of belief? How
should we think and argue about morality if there does seem to be a subjective
element to it? What should we think and do when confronted with a society whose
members have very different moral beliefs than our own? M. Green. Autumn.
23000. Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology.
In this course, each student reads and talks about a number of questions concerning
what he or she is and what he or she is in a position to know. These include
the following: (1) Are you more than a brain plus a body? Might you have (or
be) an immaterial soul? (2) Are you genuinely responsible for your actions,
or is your behavior merely the upshot of events over which you have had no control?
(3) Is it possible to know what's going on in someone else's mind (to know,
e.g., that another person experiences the color red as you do)? (4) Can you
know that anything exists outside of your own experience? We begin by discussing
Descartes's Meditations (just the first three of them) along with a little book
by Simon Blackburn called Think. (You can get a fair idea of the ground we'll
be covering by looking over the first few chapters of Think.) D. Finkelstein.
23400. Philosophy of Mind and Science Fiction (=GSHU 29700,
HIPS 25400, PHIL 23400). Could computers be conscious? Might they be affected
by changes in size or time scale, hardware, development, social, cultural, or
ecological factors? Does our form of life constrain our ability to visualize
or detect alternative forms of order, life, or mentality, or to interpret them
correctly? How do assumptions of consciousness affect how we study and relate
to other beings? This course examines issues in philosophy of mind raised by
recent progress in biology, psychology, and simulations of life and intelligence,
with readings from philosophy, the relevant sciences, and science fiction. W.
Wimsatt. Spring. (III)
23700. Phenomenology. J. Reid. Spring.
24000. Meaning, Understanding, and Language. Issues
about meaning, understanding, and language have a long history, but philosophers
in the twentieth century were particularly obsessed by them. In this course,
we take up some of these issues as they have been explored in two prominent
(and ongoing) traditions, namely, the Fregean tradition and Phenomenology. We
focus in particular on some writings of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger.
Three basic and interlocking claims are characteristic of Fregean accounts.
Meaning is primarily a linguistic phenomenon; propositional contents are the
fundamental units of meaning; and judgment and assertion are the primary forms
of understanding. Starting with some of Frege's classic essays and then looking
at some contemporary neo-Fregean accounts, we investigate and elaborate this
cluster of claims. We then shift our attention to the some of the writings of
Husserl and Heidegger on these themes. Our task is to take a close look at these
texts, work out the claims contained in them, and draw out the arguments and
considerations offered in support of those claims. We are particularly interested
in if, how, and to what extent Husserl and Heidegger (respectively) present
challenges to a broadly Fregean picture of meaning, understanding, and language.
J. Schear. Autumn.
25000. History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy (=ANST
25000, PHIL 25000). PQ: Completion of the general education requirement
in humanities. This course is an introductory survey of ancient philosophy,
focussing on some key works of Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus. Topics include
the good life and its relation to philosophy, methods of scientific explanation,
and the nature of the soul. R. Barney. Winter.
26000. History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. PQ: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. PHIL 25000 helpful. This course surveys the history of philosophy from the late medievals to Hume. D. Garber. Winter.
27000. History of Philosophy III: Kant and the Nineteenth Century (=PHIL 27000, PLSC 26600). PQ: Completion of the general education requirement in humanities. This course studies a number of important philosophers of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Kant, Bentham, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, and others may be read. C. Larmore. Spring.
29200-1,-2. Junior Tutorial I, II. PQ: Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration program. Staff. Winter, Spring.
29300-1,-2. Senior Tutorial I, II. PQ: Open only to fourth-year students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration program. Staff. Winter, Spring.
29600. Junior Seminar. PQ: Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive concentration program. Topics for this small, discussion-oriented seminar vary. J. Haugeland. Autumn.
29700. Reading Course. PQ: Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.
29800. Senior Seminar. PQ: Consent of director of
undergraduate studies. Students who are writing a senior essay must register
for this course (and for PHIL 29900) in their senior year. The seminar meets
over the course of winter and spring quarters; however, students register for
it in either autumn or winter quarter. NOTE: Students may not register for
both PHIL 29800 and 29900 in the same quarter. Staff. Autumn, Winter.
29900. B.A. Essay Preparation. PQ: Consent of B.A.
adviser and director of undergraduate studies. Students are required to submit
the College Reading and Research Course Form. In consultation with their
B.A. adviser, students work independently in preparation of the B.A. essay.
Work will be done over the course of the entire senior year; however, students
register for this course in either winter or spring quarter. NOTE: Students
may not register for both PHIL 29800 and 29900 in the same quarter. Staff. Winter,
The following courses are designed for College students and graduate students.
30000. Elementary Logic (=CHSS 33500, HIPS 20700, MAPH 38000, PHIL 30000). Course not for field credit. This course is an introduction to formal logic. Formal languages for sentential and predicate logic are introduced, together with the semantics for these languages (i.e., the notions of "interpretation," "truth," and "validity"). The relation of these languages to ordinary English is discussed (i.e., the logical structure of English), and techniques for determining the validity of arguments are explained. Time permitting, the course ends with an informal discussion of more advanced topics in logic (in particular, the Church undecidability theorem, and the Gödel incompleteness theorem) and their relevance to issues in the philosophy of mathematics. T. Cohen. Autumn.
30300. Scientific and Technological Change (=CHSS 42300, HIPS 20300, PHIL 30300). We study scientific and technological change at both macroscopic levels (e.g., community-wide paradigm shifts) and microscopic levels (e.g., problem solving of individual scientists) using views of such writers as Kuhn, Campbell, Hull, Lakatos, Lauden, and Simon and selected other psychological and sociological writings. We take a particularly close look at current theories of cultural evolution. Students work together in groups and report on particular current or historical case studies to analyze the similarities and differences in the causes, character, and processes of change in science and technology, and the methods necessary to study them. W. Wimsatt. Spring. (II)
30700/30800. German Romanticism: Philosophy, Literature, and Science I, II (=CHSS 30000-30100, GRMN 47800/47900, HIST 25400-25500/77100, PHIL 30700/30800). PQ: Advanced standing. May be taken in sequence or individually. This lecture/discussion seminar investigates the formation of the idea of the Romantic literature, philosophy, and science during the age of Goethe. We discuss the works of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel brothers, Novalis, Schleiermacher, Schiller, Goethe, and von Humboldt brothers. R. Richards. Autumn, Winter. (II)
31200. Moral Perfectionism. S. Cavell. Autumn, Winter,
31300. Aesthetics and Theory of Criticism (=COVA 25100,
GSHU 30500, PHIL 31300). This course is an introduction to problems in the
philosophy of art with both traditional and contemporary texts. Topics include
the definition of art, representation, expression, metaphor, and taste. T.
Cohen. Autumn. (I)
31500. Human Rights/Philosophical Foundations (=GSHU 28600/38600,
HIST 19300, HMRT 20400/30400, INRE 31200, MAPH 42000, PLSC 32600). This
course deals with the philosophical foundations of human rights. The foundations
bear on basic conceptual and normative issues: the various meanings and components
of human rights and the subjects, objects, and respondents of human rights;
who has the rights, what they are rights to, who has the correlative duties,
what methods of argument and implementation are available in this area, and
so forth. The practical implications of these theoretical issues are also explored.
A. Gewirth. Spring. (I)
31600. Human Rights I: Philosophical Foundations of Human
Rights (=GSHU 28700/38700, HIST 29300/39300, HMRT 20100/30100, INRE 31600, LAWS
41200, MAPH 40000, PHIL 31600). This course discusses two broad kinds of
question about human rights. One kind of question concerns what human rights
there are, if there are any at all. For example, why think there are any rights
at all? If there are human rights, presumably they include so-called negative
rights: the right not to be tortured, for example. Do they include so-called
positive rights: the right to have material wealth, for example? Do they include
rights that groups may hold, such as the right to preserve a culture? A second
kind of question concerns the status of human rights, especially in the light
of cultural differences. Can we legitimately hold the members of other societies
to the standards of our culture? Can we show that there really are rights that
all people ought to respect? Just how extensive are cultural differences concerning
human rights anyway? M. Green. Autumn. (I)
31700. Value Pluralism (=PHIL 31700, PLSC 36600). A study of pluralistic theories of moral value, focusing on their motivations, structure, and implications. Readings are from Aristotle, Herder, Berlin, and contemporary writers. C. Larmore. Winter. (I)
32900. Philosophy of the Social Sciences (=CHSS 37700, GSHU 32900, HIPS 22300, PHIL 32900). This course covers philosophical issues in the social sciences, such as the interaction of factual, methodological, and valuational issues; problems special to the historical sciences; issues of scale and hierarchy; the use of quantitative and qualitative methods; models of rationality and the relation between normative and descriptive theories of behavior; social adaptations and levels of selection; cultural and conceptual relativity; and heuristics and problems with and strategies for analyzing complex systems. W. Wimsatt. Autumn. (II)
33000-33100. Hegel's Phenomenology I, II (=PHIL
33000, SCTH 38000-38100). PQ: Must be taken in sequence. We read
and discuss Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. R. Pippin. Winter, Spring. (III)
33300. Philosophy of Mind. A survey of contemporary
answers to central questions in the philosophy of mind. What is the relation
between the mind and the brain? What is the relation between the mind and behavior?
Can talk about mental phenomena be reduced to talk about purely physical happenings?
To what extent does the computer provide a useful analogy for thinking about
mental processes? Are the contents of our thoughts and experiences determined
just by what is going on inside us or by the physical and social environment
as well? Are there reasons for doubting the common sense belief that our thoughts
and intentions can causally influence events in the physical world? What is
the role of the concept of rationality in shaping our understanding of mental
life? Readings draw on an array of contemporary sources, including: Burge, Davidson,
Dennett, Dretske, Fodor, Kim, McDowell, Nagel, and Putnam. J. Bridges. Autumn.
33800. Introduction to Freud and Psychoanalysis (=MAPH 22600/31400,
MAPS 33800, PHIL 33800, SCTH 41600). PQ: Knowledge of Freud and psychoanalysis
not required. This course is a serious introduction to central concepts
in psychoanalysis through a careful reading of Freud's texts. Reading includes
Studies on Hysteria; Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality; the case histories
of Dora and the Rat Man; and essays on the unconscious, repetition, and transference
love. J. Lear. Winter. (III)
34000. Theory of Meaning. In this course we address
a group of related philosophical questions about linguistic meaning. In what
sense, if any, is linguistic meaning a mental phenomenon? Is speaking a language
necessary for the capacity for thought? Are the meanings of a person's words
determined entirely by what is going on inside her brain, or do external factors
play a role? What is the connection between the meanings of a person's words
and her intentions in uttering them? What is the connection between the meanings
of a person's words and the shared language to which those words belong? Is
meaning essentially social? Is meaning indeterminate? Is there reason for thinking
that there is no such thing as meaning at all? Throughout, our aim is to gain
a better understanding of the place of the concept of linguistic meaning within
larger conceptions of human psychology and action. J. Bridges. Winter. (III)
34100. Early Analytic Philosophy I: Frege. This is
the first part of a two-part sequence. Students may take the first part without
taking the second; but only students enrolled in the first part may take the
second part for credit. Part I furnishes an overview of Frege's philosophy
and related aspects of Russell's philosophy. We give special attention to Frege's
conception of logic, his distinctions between concept and object and sense and
reference, his critique of psychologism, his context principle, and his attempt
to demonstrate that mathematical truths are analytic a priori. We also take
a brief look at Russell's logical atomism, his account of the unity of the proposition,
and his theory of judgment B; in short, everything you need to know to read
Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Secondary reading includes articles on Frege
and/or Russell by Thomas Ricketts, Joan Weiner, Warren Goldfarb, Gareth Evans,
John McDowell, Peter Geach, Peter Hylton, Leonard Linsky, and Anthony Palmer,
among others. J. Conant. Winter. (III)
34200. Early Analytic Philosophy II: Early Wittgenstein. This is the second part of a two-part sequence. Only students who have enrolled in Part I may take this course for credit. Part II furnishes an overview of the philosophy of the early Wittgenstein, with special attention to the critique of Frege and Russell, the structure and the method of the Tractatus as a whole, its relation to the writings of the members of The Vienna Circle, the central exegetical controversies presently surrounding the work, and the transition from the Tractatus to Wittgenstein's later work. Secondary reading includes articles by Moritz Schlick, Frank Ramsey, Rudolf Carnap, Hide Ishiguro, Cora Diamond, Peter Winch, Thomas Ricketts, Peter Hacker, Peter Geach, and Elizabeth Anscombe, among others. J. Conant. Spring. (III)
34400. Soren Kierkegaard: Concluding Unscientific Postscript
to Philosophical Fragments (=FNDL 26500, PHIL 34400, SCTH 39400). PQ:
Class limited to twenty students. After selected introductory readings to
acquaint students with the idea of a pseudonymous author, we engage in a careful
reading of this text. J. Lear, J. Conant. Autumn. (III)
34800. Foucault and the History of Sexuality (=HIPS 24300, PHIL 34800). PQ: Prior philosophy course or consent of instructor. This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. A. Davidson. Autumn. (III)
34900. The "I Am" in Descartes and Contemporary Thought (=DVPR 34900, PHIL 34900, RLST 23800, SCTH 40400). This course considers the most important models of interpretation of the "ego sum, ego existo," the transcendental interpretation of subjectivity, and its criticism of Descartes (i.e., Kant, Nietzsche, Husserl, and Heidegger), as well as the possibility of a nontranscendental subjectivity. J.-L. Marion. Spring. (III)
37000. British Empiricism (=CHSS 38700, PHIL 37000).
L. Downing. Winter.
37500. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (=FNDL 27800,
GRMN 47500, PHIL 37500). PQ: Prior philosophy course. This course
begins with a general investigation of the nature of Kant's critical enterprise
as revealed in the Critique of Pure Reason and other texts. We then examine
selected parts of the Critique of Pure Reason with a view to achieving
a fuller understanding of the work. M. Forster. Winter. (III, IV)
39500. Topics in Contemporary Continental Thought (=PHIL 39500, RETH 41500, RLST 23500). PQ: One prior philosophy course or consent of instructor. This course is a study of selected twentieth-century continental European authors. A. Davidson. Winter. (III, IV)