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David Sosa, Chair 2210 Speedway, WAG 316, Stop C3500, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4857

Course Descriptions

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42535-42545 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 1000am-1100am GAR 0.102
show description

We will be considering five major questions in this course: Is it possible to know anything for certain? Is immortality possible? What is the nature of consciousness? Do you ever act freely and are you morally responsible for your actions? And, what sort of things are right and wrong and what is the nature of the properties of rightness and wrongness? Throughout the course, we will entertain several skeptical hypotheses in response to these questions. One of your tasks in this course will be to try to refute the skeptic.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

Reason and Responsibility (5th edition), Feinberg and Shafer-Landau (eds.), Wadsworth Cengage Publishing.



Proposed Grading Policy:

20% Reading questions

20% Quizzes

30% First exam

30% Second exam

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42550 • Bonevac, Daniel A
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm ART 1.102
show description

This course is an introduction to philosophy. There are two main aims in this class. One aim is to teach you to think critically and carefully – a skill everyone in every discipline should have. In order to achieve that aim we will consider a range of classical and contemporary philosophical issues (though the skills can be applied to anything). The issues selected tie into the second aim – to introduce you to some philosophy.To meet our aims we will work through 4 topics:1. Ethics (via consideration of major ethical theories and their application to contemporary issues)2. Mind and Consciousness3. The existence of God4. Free willThis course is not designed to tell you what to think about these issues or any others, though I think you will see that some positions are more tenable than others. This course is designed to introduce you to perspectives that may not be identical to your own and to help you think critically for yourself about important issues. You are being asked to have an open mind about views that are other than your own and to asses them rationally (which isn't always easy). One must consider the possibility that he or she may have gotten some things wrong or may have been believing some true things for the wrong reasons.As mentioned, this course will introduce you to a bit of philosophy and to how philosophers think. Too often philosophy is viewed as an impractical discipline that has little to offer the “real world”. I want to show you that this isn't so. Learning how to think, how to formulate tractable questions, and how to express thoughts clearly are tangible accomplishments.It is worth noting that although we won't reach decisive answers, we will expose the strengths and weaknesses of various positions and point to the way ahead for further questioning. Remember that even though we aren't reaching decisive answers, that doesn't mean that there aren't any (there probably are) and it doesn't mean that the process isn't worthwhile. No attempt to cure cancer has been successful, but many of the failed attempts have led to a better understanding of the disease and the failures haven’t lead doctors to think that there simply is no cure.

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42555-42565 • LONG, HARLAN DUANE JR
Meets MW 200pm-300pm BUR 130
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This course aims to introduce the students to a number of classical texts and issues in philosophy. The course is broadly broken into three sections. The first section concerns history of philosophy and textual engagement through close examination of 3 of Plato’s dialogues. The second section looks at arguments for and against the existence of God. The third section focuses of questions about the nature of morality, its objectivity, and its demandingness. 


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

The Euthyphro

The Apology

The Crito

Aquinas, The 5 Ways to Prove God Exists

Anselm, The Ontological Argument

Paley, The Design Argument

Mackie, The Problem of Evil

Rachels, Egoism and Skepticism

Mackie, The Argument From “Queerness”

Benedict, Culture and Morality

Rachels, The Problem of Cultural Relativism

McGinn, Knowledge of Goodness

Harris, The Virtues, Perfectionist Goods, and Pessimism


Proposed Grading Policy:

Exam #1 20%

Exam #2 25%

Paper #1 20%

Paper #2 25%

Discussion Attendance and Participation 10%

PHL 301K • Ancient Philosophy

42575-42580 • Hankinson, Robert J
Meets MW 1000am-1100am PAR 203
(also listed as C C 304C)
show description

An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the ancient world, concentrating on Plato and Aristotle.

PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

42585-42595 • Hankinson, Robert J
Meets MW 1200pm-100pm PAR 203
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As its title suggests, this course provides an introduction to ‘early modern philosophy’, the philosophy of 17th and 18th century Europe, with an emphasis on epistemology, the study of the possibility and nature of knowledge. Beginning with Descartes’ attempt to found all of human understanding on firm foundations by refuting skepticism and proving the existence of God by reason alone, we will proceed by way of Berkeley’s challenging picture of a world entirely composed of minds and their contents, to Hume’s skeptical empiricism, and finally to Kant’s attempt at a reconciliation between the rationalist and empiricist pictures of the nature of human knowledge.

PHL 302 • World Philosophy

42600-42620 • Keating, C. Malcolm
Meets MW 100pm-200pm PHR 2.108
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Philosophy is a discipline which identifies fundamental questions about human existence and poses solutions to them. "World Philosophy" is a shorthand way of recognizing that not only are philosophical questions global, but so are the resources for solving them. This course focuses on two major questions:


Ethics: how should we live, and why? 

Epistemology: what is knowledge, and how can humans attain it? 


Along the way, we will also touch on related questions in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, philosophy of language, and more. Our primary geographical focus is on the continents of Africa and Asia, although we will also engage with philosophers elsewhere. Our aim is to explore different ways of presenting and resolving central philosophical problems, not just for the sake of comparison, but to constructively draw from global philosophical resources.

PHL 303 • Human Nature

42630 • Bjurman-Pautz, Anna S.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 0.104
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This course examines theories of human nature, such as those of Plato, Aristotle, Christianity, and Hobbes. Topics covered include the question whether there is a distinctive human nature, free will, and ethics.

PHL 303 • Human Nature

42635 • LUPO, JEREMY
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GAR 0.128
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A philosophical theory of human nature is one that attempts to answer the question, “What are we?” One might hope that answering that question will lead to solutions to other challenges: “What is best for us?”, “How should we organize our societies?”, or even “Why are we here?” Indeed, many historical theories of human nature deal directly with exactly those questions.


On the historical front, we will study theories by Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Hume, and Darwin. We will examine the burdens that theories of human nature have been expected to bear in areas such as ethics and psychology, and whether a “theory of human nature” can really generate those kinds of explanations. Finally, we will look at some of the puzzles and challenges that a theory of human nature is now expected to answer, in order to better appreciate the level of difficulty present in the initial challenge.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

Trigg, Ideas of Human Nature

Hofstadter and Dennett, The Mind's I


Plato, Republic (Selections)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Selections)

Aquinas, Summa Theologica (Selections)

Hobbes, Leviathan (Selections)

Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Selections)

Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (Selections)

Darwin, The Descent of Man (Selections)

Darwin, The Origin of Species (Selections)


Proposed Grading Policy:

Quizzes 25%

Midterm Exam 25%

Cumulative Final Exam 30%

Substantial Paper 20%

PHL 303M • Mind And Body

42640-42665 • Tye, Michael
Meets TTH 1100am-1200pm CLA 0.126
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This course examines the relationship of the mind to the body. Topics covered
include whether a machine could think, the Turing Test for intelligence, the
reduction of the mind to the brain, whether consciousness can be captured
materialistically, and the nature of persons and personal identity.
We'll be thinking about immaterial spirits, futuristic computers and robots,
Martians who behave like us but who have an internal structure very different
from ours, brains in vats!. We will consider whether these strange characters
have thoughts and feelings. The point is not to consider bizarre cases just for the
sake of it, but to see what light we can shed on our own nature as beings with
mental lives.

PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

42675-42710 • Krecz, Charles A.
Meets MW 200pm-300pm ART 1.102
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An introduction to ethics by way of an examination of a number of contemporary moral problems, including problems of abortion, sexual morality, capital punishment, and pornography and hate speech.

PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

42740-42755 • Krecz, Charles A.
Meets MW 300pm-400pm ART 1.102
show description

An introduction to ethics by way of an examination of a number of contemporary moral problems, including problems of abortion, sexual morality, capital punishment, and pornography and hate speech.

PHL 305 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

42795 • Phillips, Stephen
Meets MW 300pm-400pm WAG 101
(also listed as CTI 310, R S 305)
show description

An examination of principal issues in contemporary philosophy of religion with special attention to religious pluralism.  The views and arguments of Western theologians and philosophers will be taken up along with claims and concepts growing out of Eastern religions (Buddhism and Hinduism, in particular).  Special topics include different views of the nature of a Divine Reality, arguments of rational theology, mysticism, and the theological problem of evil.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

On-line texts drawn from Philosophy of Religion: A Global Approach, ed. S Phillips (Harcourt Brace 1996).


Proposed Grading Policy:

Five two-page homework assignments (50%)

A mid-term exam (15%)

A final exam (30%)

Attendance (5%)

PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

42805 • Buchanan, Lawrence R.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm SZB 330
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This course is an introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of belief, truth, and knowledge with an emphasis on the latter. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: • What is knowledge? For example, what is the difference between knowledge and mere true belief? • What are the basic sources of knowledge (i.e., perception, memory, testimony of others)? • Why, if at all, should we value the acquisition of knowledge? • Is it really possible to know anything at all?

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42810-42820 • Strawson, Galen
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 201
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Description (one to three paragraph description of course content):

 This course examines epistemological issues as they arise intertwined with metaphysical issues in the philosophy of mind: including, centrally, the (so-called) mind-body problem. It moves on to questions about persons and personal identity. These lead in turn to issues of agency and responsibility, and from there to central questions in ethics about (for example) the relative importance of consequences and goals, duties, virtues; even, perhaps, about the meaning of life


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

[from the following] Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics), Descartes (Meditations 2 and 6), Elizabeth of Bohemia (letters), Locke (Essay 2.27, 4.3.6), Hume (Treatise 1.4.6 and Appendix, Enquiry §8), Kant (Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals), Emerson (Essays), Nietzsche (passim), William James (from Principles of Psychology vol 1); A. Camus, P. & P. Churchland, D. Davidson, D. Dennett, J. Doris, H. Frankfurt, F. Jackson, D. Kahneman, C. McGinn, I. Murdoch, T. Nagel, D. Parfit, G. Ryle, M. Schechtman, J. Smart, G. Strawson, J. Searle, R. Taylor, M. Tye, G. Watson, B. Williams, L. Wittgenstein, S. Wolf, V. Woolf


Proposed Grading Policy:

One 6-7 page paper: 40%

Mid-term Exam: 30%

In-class Final Exam: 30%

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42825-42835 • Sainsbury, Richard M
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 201
show description

Moral theories and problems The aim in this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, the death penalty, animal rights, our duties to others). We will try to improve our views on these problems and consider how theory and practice can interact constructively. Course materials and work will be channeled through Canvas.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

The main text will be Steven Cahn and Peter Markie (eds): Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues, Fifth Edition (2011). Everyone should also read A. Martinich's Philosophical Writing (preferably 2nd edition) within the first month of the course, though it will not be discussed in class. Background Reading: Jostein Gaarder: Sophie's World. This is a history of philosophy in the form of a novel. Specially useful for orienting the philosophers and topics of our work within a broader framework. Peter Singer: Practical Ethics provides good supplementary material on the more applied part of the course.


Proposed Grading Policy:

Numerical grades for essays and the term paper are based on philosophical quality: clarity of expression, appreciation of alternative views, persuasiveness of arguments. Failure to attend can result in deductions; extra grade points may be earned by a presentation to the class  (see Canvas for full details).When all the numerical grades are in, the TA and I will draw the letter grade boundaries. Normally the lowest A– is around 87 marks out of 100. 

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42840-42850 • Proops, Ian N
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 301
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This course examines some of the central problems of philosophy, drawing on both contemporary readings and historical texts. Students will be introduced to philosophy’s “tool kit” as well as its “greatest hits.” Topics include: Arguments for and against the existence of God, free will, moral responsibility, ethical theory, contemporary moral issues, feminism, and aesthetics. There are no prerequisites for this class.

PHL 311 • Argument

42855 • TSOI, SIWING
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WEL 3.402
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An argument can be defined as a set of statements given with the aim of demonstrating truth or falsehood. In this course, students will learn how to identify and evaluate an argument, as well as how to construct a good argument. We will look at different kinds of argument (e.g., deductive, inductive…), study their structures and understand what makes an argument good or bad.


Trudy Govier, A Practical Study of Argument, Enhanced Edition, 7th Edition (Cengage Learning 2014, ISBN: 1133934641)


10 homework assignments (40%, 4% each) Midterm (20%) Final exam (30%)

6 pop quizzes (5%, 1% each, the lowest grade will be dropped) Class participation (5%)

PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

42860-42870 • Bjurman-Pautz, Anna S.
Meets TTH 1100am-1200pm WAG 420
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This is a course in the basic principles of logic. The student will come out of this
course with an understanding of deductive inference and of argument generally, as
wells as the notions of logical consequence, validity, soundness, and logical truth.
Specifically, we will be looking at sentential logic (which treats the inferential
relations among simple sentences) and predicate logic. Predicate logic is
distinguished from sentential logic by its use of quantifiers.

PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm BUR 108
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This course introduces students to the basic concepts of logic, including validity, soundness, logical consequence, satisfiability, and logical equivalence. We will study techniques for translating sentences of ordinary English into the formal languages of propositional logic and predicate logic. Students will learn how to use truth tables, truth trees, and natural deduction to assess the validity of arguments, test for logical consistency, and construct proofs.


Bonevac, Daniel. Deduction: Introductory Symbolic Logic, 2nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.


Midterm: 30%; Final: 30%; Homework assignments: 40%.

PHL 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

42880-42890 • Schoenfield, Miriam
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 302
show description

Introduction to symbolic logic (through first-order predicate logic); interpretations; formal proofs, consistency; some practical applications. Only one of the following may be counted: Computer Science 313H, 313K, Philosophy 313, 313K, 313Q.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings: TBD


Proposed Grading Policy:

Homework/Classwork/Quizes – 50%

Exams – 50%

PHL 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

42895-42905 • Litland, Jon E.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 302
show description

This is a first course in deductive symbolic logic. We'll study formal languages for representing sentences
in logically precise ways, we'll study algorithms for evaluating arguments as logically valid or invalid, and
we'll get an introduction to some of the surprising discoveries logicians have made about what tasks no
algorithm can possibly do.

PHL 313Q • Logic And Scientific Reasoning

42910-42930 • Dever, Josh
Meets MWF 330pm-430pm CAL 100
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This course is an introduction to the use of formal logical techniques in the analysis of arguments and texts, with an eye to the applicability of such formal techniques in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. We will study formal propositional logic as a tool for extracting information from definite-information premises; modal logic as a tool for modeling reasoning situations involving multiple agents or information sources; probability and probabilistic decision theory as tools for reasoning under uncertainty; and game theory as a tool for making theoretical and practical decisions in multi-agent situations.

PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

42940-42965 • Higgins, Kathleen M
Meets TTH 200pm-300pm CAL 100
show description

This course will consider some of the answers given in the Western philosophical tradition to questions about the nature of art and beauty, with some comparison with perspectives from Japan (and perhaps other societies). Particular attention will be given to the nature of aesthetic experience from the standpoint of both the artist and the observer and the relationship between art and reality.


Text: Kathleen Marie Higgins, ed., Aesthetics in Perspective


Proposed Grading Policy: 

Short paper 5%

Exam I 15%

Journal entries 1-6 10%

Exam II 15%

Exam III 15%

Journal entries 7-12 due 10%

Final written project 20%

Participation 10%

PHL 318 • Introduction To Ethics

42970-42980 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 1200pm-100pm WAG 214
show description

Chances are you’ve confronted an ethical choice today: Should I help my roommate study for an exam rather than going out? Should I recycle this plastic bottle? Ought I to give money to the homeless person asking for change? Am I obligated to donate blood? Should I report the harassment I witnessed? By contrast, there are many other ethical questions that you may never have explicitly considered, but that nonetheless apply to you, such as: Do I have an obligation as a person of privilege to help those worse off than me? Is it wrong to use animals as a food source? Do the clothes I buy contribute to child labor or slavery in some other part of the world? Do the things I say and do perpetuate harmful gender and racist stereotypes or contribute to a culture of racism or misogyny? Other questions in ethics take a more general form: What kind of person should I be? How should I live? Is my life meaningful? This course will introduce you to the ethical concepts, ideas, and theories that will help us to understand what these questions are asking, as well as going some way toward offering answers. 



List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature, edited by Pojman and Vaughn (5th edition), Oxford University Press.


Ethics: The Fundamentals, Julia Driver (1st edition), Blackwell Publishing.



Proposed Grading Policy:

20% Reading questions

20% Quizzes

30% First exam

30% Second exam

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge

42985 • Dogramaci, Sinan
Meets TTH 800am-930am WEL 4.224
show description

We’ll read about, discuss, and aim to critically evaluate arguments for different positions on some major debates concerning knowledge and rational belief. Some likely topics include:

  • (Skepticism)  A paradox is created by the existence of apparently strong arguments that we have little to no genuine knowledge. Since we surely do have knowledge, the argument must be have a false assumption, but there is much debate over exactly what the false assumption is.
  • (Relativism and Contextualism about Truth and Knowledge)  What does it mean to say that truth, or knowledge, is relative? The position risks quickly turning out to be incoherent or self-defeating. How can it be defended by a compelling argument? Is relativism, or so-called contextualism, best understood as a thesis about how the world is constructed, or rather as a thesis about the functioning of our language?
  • (Permissible Disagreement)  To what extent can reasonable people disagree after they’ve been exposed to all the same evidence and arguments? Is it that no difference of opinion at all is tolerable? Or, could any conclusion at all be rationally permissible? Or, if the answer is somewhere in between, where can we draw principled lines?
  • (Education—or Indoctrination?—in Childhood and Early Life)  Sometimes we can trace the origins of one or another lifelong belief to various contingencies of our upbringing. When, if ever, does such reflection on the origins of a belief undermine the rationality of maintaining that belief? We’ll examine arguments for and against the ability of such reflections to undermine beliefs.
  • (Psychological Studies of How People Form Their Beliefs)  What do recent psychological studies of human cognition reveal about the status of our beliefs as rational or irrational? Some psychological models, so-called “dual process” theories, propose we have two belief-forming mechanisms. Are these models plausible, and if so, what do they teach us about the quality of our beliefs? Some psychologists have also used findings of neuroimaging technology to raise questions about the validity of our moral theories. Some philosophers have criticized these psychologically inspired critiques of morality.
  • (Value of Knowledge and Truth)  Assuming there is some difference between knowing something and just having a true belief, what could make knowledge more valuable than mere true belief? Does knowledge play any special role in justifying actions?
  • (Finding Ourselves in a Finely-Tuned Universe)  Some philosophers have asked, why does the universe exist? Some have answered this question by drawing on discoveries in modern physics suggesting that the laws of nature have been finely-tuned in ways that make a universe like ours a highly likely one. Philosophers have then debated whether this is any good evidence for an intelligent designer, or is not.

This course is scheduled to meet at 8am and attendance is mandatory!

PHL 322 • Science And The Modern World

42990-43000 • Juhl, Cory F
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 302
show description

     Scientific discoveries have profoundly altered the way we see the world and our place within it. Three branches of science that have dramatically changed the way humans see themselves are cosmology, the science that deals with the large-scale structure of the universe, quantum theory, which deals with the small-scale structure, and evolutionary biology.      In this course we will accomplish two main goals. First, we will learn the history and content of a few of the most revolutionary theoretical developments in human history. Second, we will consider aspects of the broader philosophical significance that these developments are supposed to have.      The first part of the course will concentrate on general philosophy of science issues. Then we will study the Copernican Revolution, how it came about and some of its explosive consequences.      

     We will then briefly describe the revolutionary implications of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Next will be an overview of the bizarre discoveries about the basic nature of matter, quantum theory. We will study various relevant historical developments, and think about different interpretations of the theory that have been proposed. A fundamental question will haunt us in this part, the question whether we are doomed to ignorance about the ultimate nature of reality.      

      Next we will consider the work of a physicist who attempts to explain why, and in what sense, science as we came to know it did not develop anywhere except in Europe. His view is that the ancient Greeks invented the sort of logical, systematic thinking that science requires. Relevant facets of Chinese culture, Hebrew culture and others will be examined and contrasted with Greek and later European cultures with respect to their fostering scientific developments.

     The last third to half of the course will focus on evolutionary biology since the nineteenth century. We will first read some of Dawkins’ and then Dennett’s summary of the conceptual core of modern evolutionary theory, from their own compelling, if perhaps disturbing, perspectives. Then we will spend time on more recent developments and controversies that have swirled around evolutionary theory.      The matters that we will deal with in the course are fascinating at a purely intellectual level. But these are not merely intellectual curiosities; they provide pictures of how we humans ‘fit into the cosmic scheme’. Since matters of fundamental importance hinge on a proper understanding the universe and our place in it, no thinking person can afford to neglect to examine these pictures with care.


Texts: Worldviews, by DeWitt; Course packet available at Paradigm.


Evaluation: There will be a mid-term exam, and final exam. The mid-term will count 40%, and the final exam will count 50%. Class participation in lecture and (especially) discussion section will count 10%. The final exam will be comprehensive, although it will focus more heavily on the material in the second half of the course (evolution and its ramifications).

PHL 323K • Metaphysics

43005 • Pautz, Adam
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm GAR 0.120
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We will examine some main issues in metaphysics: personal identity, free will, God, and color.



Selections from *Riddles of Existence* (Sider and Conee), *Metaphysics* (van Inwagen) and *Metaphysics: the Big Questions* (Zimmerman).



(1) Class participation 5%

(2) Questions or comments about readings 5%

(3) Midterm Short Essay 20%

(4) Rough Draft of Final Paper: 10%.

(5) Final Draft of Second Paper: 60%.

PHL 323M • Philosophy Of Mind

43010 • Montague, Michelle
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 208
show description

This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in philosophy of mind. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing?  Or is the mind the brain? Or does the mind stand to the brain as a computer program stands to the hardware? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are "about" things? (For example, we can all think that Aristotle is a philosopher, and in that sense think "about" Aristotle, but what is the explanation of this quite remarkable ability?) Can I know whether your experiences and my experiences when we look at raspberries, fire trucks and stop lights are the same?  Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation? 

PHL 325K • Ethical Theories

43015 • Evans, Matthew L.
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm BEN 1.106
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Nearly all of us accept that there are some things we morally ought to do, and other things we morally ought not to do. But only a few of us take the time to ask ourselves, in a serious and systematic way, what is it about these things that makes them the ones we morally ought, or ought not, to do. The aim of this class is to help us understand and evaluate the full range of different possible answers we might want to give to this question. Readings will be drawn primarily from recent and contemporary work in the analytic tradition of philosophical ethics, but will also include some material from the two historical figures who have had perhaps the greatest influence on that tradition — Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.

PHL 325L • Business, Ethics, And Publ Pol

43020 • Krecz, Charles A.
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm BUR 116
show description

This course is mainly an introduction to a number of ethical problems that arise in the world of business, including problems regarding economic justice, corporate responsibility, advertising, and consumer protection. We will consider general ethical theories as well as specific business ethical issues.

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

43025-43035 • Leon, Jeffrey C.
Meets TTH 930am-1030am WAG 420
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The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern medicine and public policy. We look at several approaches to ethics and several areas of medicine to gain insights into medical ethics. This course carries the ethics and leadership flag. Consequently, a substantial portion of the grade will involve ethical issues and reasoning.

PHL 327 • Philosophy Of Race And Gender

43040 • Schoenfield, Miriam
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm RLM 5.114
show description

An exploration of leading theories in the philosophy of race and gender and their ethical and political implications.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings: TBD


Proposed Grading Policy:

Papers: 35%

Exams: 40%

Attendance, Participation and Short Assignments: 25%

PHL 327 • Squaring The Vienna Circle

43043 • Arens, Katherine
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 337
(also listed as C L 323, EUS 347, GSD 361F)
show description

We will examine recent work in philosophy that is written from a Christian point of view or that examines philosophical questions that arise within the framework of the Christian faith. The issues to be covered include the relationship between faith and reason, the possibility of demonstrating the existence of God, the problem of evil, the problem of reconciling divine foreknowledge and sovereignty with human responsibility, and the relation of God to time.  Special emphasis will be placed on the relevance of Christian philosophy to foundational questions concerning reality, knowledge and ethics. 

Prerequisites: no prior work in philosophy is expected.  Non-majors are encouraged.


G. K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas

C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Francis A. Schaeffer, He is There and He is not Silent

Kelly J. Clark, Return to Reason

Phl 327 Supplemental Readings, available at UT Library electronic reserves. 


• Three in-class exams (combination of essay and multiple choice): 25% each (including an in-class test on Dec. 7).  There will be an optional, comprehensive final that can be counted for 25% of the course grade, permitting a student to drop the lowest in-class test grade.

• Short papers (eight 2-page responses to the readings): 10%. Short papers are to be turned in at the beginning of class on Monday, responding to the coming week's reading.

• Class and section participation: 15%

• Optional term paper: due the last day of class.  2500-3000 words on a topic pre-approved by the instructor.  The term paper may be used to drop a low midterm grade, or in place of the third in-class exam, at the student's discretion.


Instructor: Prof. Rob Koons.  Phone: 471-5530.

PHL 329K • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

43045-43055 • White, Stephen A
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 420
(also listed as C C 348)
show description

This course examines some central issues and ideas in ancient Greek philosophy. To set the stage, we’ll first look at some pioneering figures known as Presocratics. For the rest of the semester, we’ll focus on three thinkers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and we’ll study their positions and arguments on some enduring questions about human conduct, the natural world, and our knowledge of each. The emphasis throughout is on analyzing what these thinkers say and their reasons for saying it. The main goal is to develop a critical understanding of some problems and arguments that remain very much alive today.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy, S.M. Cohen, P. Curd, & C. D. C. Reeve

      (4th edition: 2011; Hackett pb: 978-1-60384-462-8)

Ancient Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction, C. Shields

      (2011; Routledge pb: 978-0-415-89660-3)


Proposed Grading Policy:

Weekly responses 15%, 2 midterms 25% each, final 30%, participation 5%

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

43070 • Leon, Jeffrey C.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 201
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New developments in modern philosophy were part of the modern revolution in western thought in general, from science to politics and beyond. This course is a study of some of the most influential philsophical works from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Descartes, Hobbes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant. We will also read excerpts from Galileo and Newton. 

PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language-Phl Maj

43075 • Sainsbury, Richard M
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 208
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What is linguistic communication? “Communication” can be used very widely (one billiard ball communicates motion to another, ants communicate by chemical messages), and in many or even most cases, communication is not linguistic.

The course approaches the task of finding out what’s special to linguistic communication by considering whether non-human animals are capable of language. We’ll examine the language-like achievements of parrots, dogs, chimps and some other animals, in order to consider whether they are genuine language-users.

We will then consider how linguistic communication has been described by philosophers, notably Paul Grice and Donald Davidson. (They take very different approaches.) Linguistic communication as Grice defined it involves very complex intentions on the part of speakers, intentions of a complexity that probably put this beyond the reach of non-humans, thereby creating an apparent discontinuity in evolutionary development.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

Main texts will include portions of:

Michael Tomasello Origins of Human Communication

Paul Grice Studies in the Way  of Words

Donald Davidson Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation


Proposed Grading Policy:

Numerical grades for essays and the term paper are based on philosophical quality: clarity of expression, appreciation of alternative views, persuasiveness of arguments. Failure to attend can result in deductions; extra grade points may be earned by a presentation to the class  (see Canvas for full details).When all the numerical grades are in, I will draw the letter grade boundaries. Normally the lowest A– is around 87 marks out of 100.

PHL 334K • Marx And Western Marxism

43077 • Matysik, Tracie M.
Meets MW 600pm-730pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as CTI 335, EUS 346, HIS 362G)
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This course introduces students to the writings of Karl Marx as well as to those of his westernintellectual successors in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will treat the nineteenthcenturycontext of industrialization and democratization in Europe in which Marx formulated hissocial, political, and philosophical critique, as well as the theoretical and philosophical legacythat followed through the twentieth century. The course will not focus on Soviet Marxism, butwill examine how western Marxism’s critique of capital evolved in complex relationship to theexistence of Soviet Marxism. We will spend roughly eight weeks reading Marx’s writings, andthen seven weeks reading his western intellectual successors (including writings from RosaLuxemburg, Georg Lukács, Walther Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Antonio Gramsci, Jean-PaulSartre, Louis Althusser, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and Slavoj Žižek). Students shouldexpect to read significant amounts of philosophy and social theory.


Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd edition (New York: Norton, 1978).Vincent Barnett, Marx (New York: Routledge, 2009).


First paper: 25%

Second paper: 25%

Option II or III: 10- to 12-page paper: 50%

Final Journal: 30%!Class Presentation: 10%

Participation (including attendance and also sustained constructive contribution to classdiscussion): 10%

PHL 344K • Intermediate Symbolic Logic

43080 • Dogramaci, Sinan
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WEL 3.260
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This course will focus on a number of the most important 20th century results in so-called metalogic, the results that concern the powers and limitations on formal logical systems. We will prove the completeness of classical predicate logic, the Compactness and Lowenheim-Skolem theorems, and the incompleteness of arithmetic.

The course will be technically demanding. Students who have no previous experience with mathematical proofs will have to be willing to work hard and learn as they go.

To get a sense of the level of the course, read some of the textbook on, and try doing some of the problems at the end of the first chapter.


Text: Computability and Logic, 5th ed., Boolos, Burgess and Jeffrey.


Proposed Grading Policy:

There will be (roughly) nine problem sets, distributed over the course of the semester as described in the

schedule below. These will determine your course grade. The final overview problem set counts double.

PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law

43085-43095 • Leon, Jeffrey C.
Meets TTH 330pm-430pm WAG 201
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What is Law? What is the relationship between law, politics, and ethics? We will address these questions and elucidate some of their implications for issues in legal reasoning. 

PHL 354 • Origins Of Liberalism

43100 • Martinich, Al P.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WAG 308
(also listed as CTI 335, EUS 346)
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Description (one to three paragraph description of course content):

Liberal democracy is the theory that individual persons have certain rights that must be respected by governments and cannot be violated merely to improve the condition of the state. Key concepts to be discussed include liberty, democracy, the social contract, and the nature of authority and obligation.

The theory behind liberalism developed from or competed with several traditions such as democracy, republicanism and absolute sovereignty, which were influenced by various religious, economic and political beliefs over a long period of time. Perhaps the most crucial period in this development was seventeenth-century England.

This course is interdisciplinary. It will cover such political and religious events as The Gunpowder Plot, Charles I’s Personal Rule, the Long Parliament, the English Civil War and the execution of King Charles I, the Commonwealth, the Restoration of the Monarchy, the Exclusion Crisis, and the Glorious Revolution. Some crucial works in political philosophy by some great political philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke will be discussed along with lesser but still significant theorists such as John Milton. The political relevance of some literary works, such as John Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel will also be discussed.

A large part of this course will consist of working on a research paper, either alone or in partnership with one or two other students, as dictated by the topic and student interest.


List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan revised edition (edited by Martinich and Battiste) (Broadview)

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government

Robert Buchholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714

A. P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing 3rd ed. (Wiley-Blackwell)


Proposed Grading Policy:

Class Participation and Assignments: 20%

In term tests: 30%

First Essay: 1,000-2,500 words: 10%

Research Essay: 4,000-7,000 words: 40%

PHL 375M • Action And Agency

43105 • Buchanan, Lawrence R.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 210
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This course will be an advanced seminar on philosophical issues concerning the nature of human action and agency.  Special attention will be given to questions concerning the role of our intentions, beliefs, and desires in the production and explanation of intentional action.  The required readings for the course will include selections by Elizabeth Anscombe, Maria Alvarez, Myles Brand, Michael Bratman, Donald Davidson, Berent Enc, Carl Ginet, Gilbert Harman, Richard Holton, Jennifer Hornsby, Jacob Ross, Kieran Setiya, and David Velleman, among others. Registered students will be required to write two research papers (roughly 10-12 pages each) for the course.  Each of these papers will be worth 45% of the final grade; the remaining 10% determined by class attendance and participation. 

PHL 375M • Realism And Irrealisms

43110 • Juhl, Cory F
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 308
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Course Description: 

A question of  fundamental philosophical significance is what ‘realism’ or ‘really exist’ comes to.  Some philosophers have denied that there are not ‘really’ any moral features.  Others that there are not ‘really’ selves or ‘minds’.  Some scientific ‘instrumentalists’ have denied that there really are electrons or other theoretical entities.  Others, realists, deny these denials, often accompanying these denials with poundings of fists.  What, precisely, are meaning or moral skeptics denying when they deny that semantic or psychological or moral facts ‘really obtain’? 

In this course we will read, discuss, and think about some of these questions, and many related ones. 


Texts(tentative):  The main texts will be Michael Devitt’s book Realism and Truth, and Tim Button’s book The Limits of Realism.  We will probably read some other papers along the way, to be posted on Blackboard or some similar course site.


Evaluation:  The grade will be based on a three papers and seminar participation (10%).  The first will be a 3-page paper (20%), the second 5 pages (30%), and the third 8 pages (40%).   Papers will pertain to topics discussed in the course. The first two papers will be exchanged with another student, one week prior to its final due date, and each student will  make some suggestions for improvement on the paper they read.  These suggestions will be made available within two days, giving students a chance to revise their papers prior to their final due dates.  Students’ comments will be also turned in to the professor, who will grade the comments with respect to their value.  The papers with student comments will be handed in along with the revised final versions.

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