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

Jeffrey C. Leon

Lecturer PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Jeffrey C. Leon

Contact

Biography

Jeffrey Leon is a specialist in political science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. His book, Science and Philosohy in the West, was published by Prentice Hall in 1999. He also has ten years of experience as a software systems engineer in research and development.

Interests

Philosophy of science, applied ethics, ethical theory, human nature

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

43025-43035 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1030am WAG 420
show description

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 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

43070 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 201
show description

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 347 • Philosophy Of Law

43085-43095 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 330pm-430pm WAG 201
show description

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 F325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

86655 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 100pm-230pm WAG 420
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 316K • Science And Philosophy

43255 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am UTC 1.116
show description

This course will examine the growth and development of science in modern times
through the history of certain crucial debates and breakthroughs that have taken place
since the beginnings of modern science in the 17th century. Topics considered will
include: what is the nature of science? Does it have a distinctive method (or methods)
that distinguish it from other forms of inquiry? What are its criteria of truth? Can science
ever achieve certainty, and if not, does it have any distinctive claims on our belief, and if
so why? What are the mechanisms of scientific progress and change? How does science
relate to, and differ from, other forms of intellectual inquiry?

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

43335-43345 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm WAG 101
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

43065 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WAG 302
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 347 • Philosophy Of Law

43120-43130 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 214
show description

This course, intended to introduce students to certain basic issues in philosophy of law, will be organized around the question: What should a legal system be? What are the fundamental features that are vital to a proper legal system, and what are some of the competing understandings of what these are?

By reading both historical and contemporary authors, we will examine the theoretical bases of proper law as well as the appropriate practical implementation of key ideals in legal systems today. Correspondingly, along the way, we will consider the meaning of several concepts that are arguably crucial to a proper legal system, such as rights, freedom, representation, popular sovereignty, democracy, and republic. 

PHL F325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

87000 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 100pm-230pm WAG 420
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 323K • Metaphysics-Phl Majors

42695 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A203A
show description

This course is an overview of some of the central topics in metaphysics.
Metaphysics, generally speaking, is the branch of philosophy concerned
with the nature of reality; metaphysicians seek an understanding of the
fundamental sorts of things that constitute the world, as well as of the
structure of the world itself.
We will begin by focusing on issues surrounding one particular sort of
thing: persons. In particular, we will be considering different views
regarding what it is to be a person and for a person to persist through
change. This will lead to more general discussions of the nature and
structure of time and the persistence of things through temporal change.
From there we’ll take up the issue of composition. In particular, we’ll be
concerned with the following question: Under what circumstances do
some things (parts) compose another thing (whole)? We’ll then turn to the
problems of universals and individuation – how do we account for (i)
similarities among distinct things and (ii) the distinctness of exactly
similar things? We’ll conclude the course with a discussion of possible
worlds.

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

42715 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm WAG 201
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 347 • Philosophy Of Law

42756 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 0.102
show description

This course, intended to introduce students to certain basic issues in philosophy of law, will be organized around the question: What should a legal system be? What are the fundamental features that are vital to a proper legal system, and what are some of the competing understandings of what these are?

By reading both historical and contemporary authors, we will examine the theoretical bases of proper law as well as the appropriate practical implementation of key ideals in legal systems today. Correspondingly, along the way, we will consider the meaning of several concepts that are arguably crucial to a proper legal system, such as rights, freedom, representation, popular sovereignty, democracy, and republic. 

PHL 329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

42612-42614 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am WAG 201
(also listed as C C 348 )
show description

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. We’ll focus on three major thinkers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and we’ll examine their views and arguments on some central questions about human conduct, the natural world, and our knowledge of both. We’ll begin with a brief look at some influential earlier figures known as Presocratics and Sophists, and we’ll end with a brief look at some enduring ideas of Epicurus. The emphasis throughout will be on analyzing both what these thinkers say and their reasons for saying it. The main goal is not to memorize information but to develop a critical understanding of some problems and arguments that remain very much alive today.

PHL F325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

87245 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am WEL 3.260
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42410-42420 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm JGB 2.218
show description

The aim of this semester is to introduce topics in epistemology and metaphysics, initially through the works of two major philosophers, René Descartes (f. 1640) and David Hume (f. 1745). They will serve to introduce two main themes: the nature of knowledge and skepticism; and the nature of the human mind and action.

Descartes is known for two highly influential ideas. His skepticism arises from his reflection that we might be deceived by an “evil demon” who makes it seem as if our ordinary world exists whereas in reality there is nothing. Although Descartes hoped to defuse skepticism, it has lived on, inspiring not only generations of philosophers, but also leaving its mark in such movies as Matrix and Solaris.

Descartes’ dualism is his view that mind and body are entirely distinct. This view has been supported by religious thinkers, by many philosophers impressed by the distinctive character of consciousness, and by some defenders of free will.
Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is famous for supposedly arguing for a form of skepticism that Descartes did not explicitly consider: skepticism about whether the future will resemble the past. His discussion of this issue is closely intertwined with a remarkable theory of causation, a theory which led him to hold that an action can be free, and so can merit praise or blame, even though it is causally determined. We will also discuss some aspects of Hume’s philosophy of religion, notably his section on miracles, and his presentation of the problem of evil. 

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-Phl Majors

42470 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 900am-1000am WAG 308
show description

What is knowledge? What are the principal types of knowledge, and what
does a person's knowing a claim or proposition p amount to? Philosophers
have commonly supposed that a person's having justification, or warrant, for
believing that p is a necessary condition of his/her knowing that p.
Accordingly, this course will be concerned with theories of justification as
well as of knowledge, along with the question of whether there can be
knowledge without what is called epistemic justification. Views in ancient,
early modern, and contemporary philosophy—also one Eastern view—will
be surveyed.

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

42535-42545 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm WAG 302
show description

This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge. The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme.

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

42510 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm GEA 105
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 347 • Philosophy Of Law

42550 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm WAG 308
show description

This course, intended to introduce students to certain basic issues in philosophy of law, will be organized around the question: What should a legal system be? What are the fundamental features that are vital to a proper legal system, and what are some of the competing understandings of what these are?

By reading both historical and contemporary authors, we will examine the theoretical bases of proper law as well as the appropriate practical implementation of key ideals in legal systems today. Correspondingly, along the way, we will consider the meaning of several concepts that are arguably crucial to a proper legal system, such as rights, freedom, representation, popular sovereignty, democracy, and republic. 

PHL F325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

87280 • Summer 2011
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am WAG 308
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

43025 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WAG 201
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

43035-43045 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm WAG 302
(also listed as C C 348, C C 348, C C 348 )
show description

CC 348 / PH 329K: History of Ancient Philosophy

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. We’ll focus on three major philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and we’ll examine their views and arguments on some central questions about the world around us, how to conduct our lives, and our knowledge or ignorance about both. We’ll also look briefly at some earlier figures known as Presocratics and Sophists, and at the influential later thinker, Epicurus. The emphasis throughout will be on analyzing both what these thinkers claim and their reasons for their claims. The main goal is not to memorize information but to develop a critical understanding of some issues and arguments that remain live options today.

.

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42055 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 900am-1000am WEL 1.308
show description

This course is an historical introduction to the major areas and figures in philosophy. We will study ethics, philosophy of mind and knowledge, and theories of reality by reading seminal works of major figures in Western philosophical history.

 Evaluation:

Five Quizzes: 10% for all five.

Two Midterm Exams: 25% each.

Final Exam: 40%

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

42470 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm WAG 302
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

86715 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTH 1000am-1130am WAG 308
show description

This course is an historical introduction to the major areas and figures in philosophy. We will study ethics, philosophy of mind and knowledge, and theories of reality by reading seminal works of major figures in Western philosophical history.

 

Evaluation:

Five Quizzes: 10% for all five.

Two Midterm Exams: 25% each.

Final Exam: 40%

 

PHL 322 • Science And The Modern World

43120-43130 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 1100-1230pm 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.

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

43165 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 1100-1200 WAG 201
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

43185-43195 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 1000-1100 WAG 420
show description

This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge. The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme.

PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law

43210 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm WAG 201
show description

This course, intended to introduce students to certain basic issues in philosophy of law, will be organized around the question: What should a legal system be? What are the fundamental features that are vital to a proper legal system, and what are some of the competing understandings of what these are?

By reading both historical and contemporary authors, we will examine the theoretical bases of proper law as well as the appropriate practical implementation of key ideals in legal systems today. Correspondingly, along the way, we will consider the meaning of several concepts that are arguably crucial to a proper legal system, such as rights, freedom, representation, popular sovereignty, democracy, and republic. 

PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

43030 • Fall 2009
Meets MWF 900-1000 MEZ 1.306
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 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

43210 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 930-1100 WAG 302
show description

The main thing you need to know is the text book we'll be using Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie (eds): Ethics. History, Theory and Contemporary Issues.FOURTH EDITION. OUP 2009. ISBN 9780195335965 (paperback) I imagine earlier editions will be cheap and plentiful but we will be using some of the texts that appear only in the fourth edition (they will be available in other ways as well, so ownership of the fourth edition is not essential, just convenient.) We'll be doing some theory in the first part of the semester, and then applying it to practical issues in the second. There are a range of such issues, and I am debating which to include, so if you have strong views let me know. Some possibilities: Is torture wrong, even if it "works"? - Is capital punishment morally acceptable? - Suppose all living things have a right to life. Would that show that abortion is morally wrong? - Is vegetarianism the only morally defensible life style? - Do nonhuman animals have rights? How does the answer affect how they should be treated? - Should we be doing more to help others? (For the cost of a latte, one could save a life.) - What would make for a just system of health care? (Although this question is important and topical, I've decided it involves too many complexities of detail for us to take it as a class topic. However, I'd recommend checking out  href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19healthcare-t.html?emc=eta1">this link. The author, Peter Singer, is a philosopher whose work on other topics we will certainly be discussing.)

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, torture, 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 channelled through Blackboard. Readings The main text will be Steven Cahn and Peter Markie (eds): Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues, Fourth Edition (2009). 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. Requirements A short report (250-300 words) each week to be delivered in hard copy at the section discussion (2 marks each); three short essays, around 1000 words each (12 marks each) and a term paper, around 3-4000 words (38 marks). Deadlines for the essays and term paper are posted below. Attendance will be taken at each class: each unexcused absence leads to a deduction of 2 marks from the final grade. About the Professor Mark Sainsbury taught at the University of Essex, Bedford College London, and King's College London before coming to the University of Texas at Austin in 2002. He has written six books (Russell, Paradoxes, Logical Forms, Departing from Frege, Reference without Referents and Fiction and Fictionalism).

Assignments and deadlines Three essays of about 1000 words: 12 marks each Essay 1: 9/25 Essay 2: 10/16 Essay 3: 11/6 Term paper of 3-4000 words: 38 marks. 12/5. 13 reports: 2 marks each 9/2, 9/9, 9/16, 9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28, 11/4, 11/11, 11/18, 12/2. There is no final examination. Grades Numerical grades for essays and the term paper are based on philosophical quality: clarity of expression, appreciation of alternative views, persuasiveness of arguments. When all the numerical grades are in, Steve and I will draw the letter grade boundaries. Normally the lowest A is around 80 to 84 marks out of 100. The highest B is normally 2 or 3 marks below. We will not be using decorated letters (letters with pluses and minuses). Presentations for extra grade Students (solo or in a pair) are strongly encouraged to make a presentation to the class. In so doing, they can score up to 6 extra marks. Collaboration Two students may collaborate to produce joint essays, term papers or presentations. You don't have to have the same collaborator for every assignment. Collaboration is not an option for the weekly reports. Attendance You are required to attend classes and discussion sections. If you are unable to do so, please email me or Steve in advance. Unexcused absence from class will attract a 2 mark penalty. Unexcused absence from sections will result in your receiving 0 for your report for that week.

This is a provisional list of what we'll be doing in each class. Please use the Next Class button to check for details before each class. 8/27: Introduction: assignments, grades, overview of course. Why study philosophy? Weeks 1–2: Utilitarianism 9/1: Ch 12: Mill Utilitarianism (chs 1 and 2) 9/3: Ch 12: Mill continued (chs 3,4) 9/8: Ch 32: Williams on a critique of utilitarianism 9/10: Ch 31: Brandt on act versus rule utilitarianism Week 3: Plato 9/15: Ch 1 (to p. 16): Plato's Euthyphro. Steve’s class 9/17: Geach on Plato's Euthyphro. Steve’s class Weeks 4–5: Kantianism 9/22: Ch 10: Kant Groundwork (to end sc. 1) 9/24: Ch 10: Kant continued (to end sc. 2) Essay 1 due 9/25 9/29: Ch 28: Foot on hypothetical imperatives 10/1: Gensler: 'A Kantian argument against abortion' Weeks 6–7: Moral motivation: reason and emotion (sentiment) 10/6: Ch 9: Hume on moral motivation. Treatise 2.3.3 (pp. 243–6); Mackie ch 3 10/8: Ch 9: Hume on morality and reason: Tr 3.1.1-2 (pp. 246–54);Mackie ch 4 10/13: Guest lecturer: Jeremy Evans. Haidt: The emotional dog 10/15: Ch 21: Hare on freedom and reason  Essay 2 due 10/16 Weeks 8–9: Objectivity and innateness 10/20: Ch 24: Mackie on inventing right and wrong 10/22: Ch. 37: McDowell on values and secondary qualities 10/27: de Waal “Morality and the social instincts” 10/29: Guest lecturer: Jeremy Evans. Prinz “Is morality innate?” Week 10: Dealing with murder: capital punishment and solitary confinement 11/3: tba 11/5: Guest lecturer: Amon Burton Week 11: Our duties to animals 11/10: Ch 52: Regan on animal rights 11/12: Ch 53: Cohen on animals in research Essay 3 due 11/6 Week 12: Our duties to others and famine relief 11/17: Ch 50: Singer on famine 11/19: Ch 51: Arthur on famine Week 13: Virtue - or war, poppies and civilian deaths 11/24: Guest lecturer: David Barber on war OR Ch 40: Nussbaum on virtue 11/26: Thanksgiving. Week 14: Moral dilemmas 12/1: Williams on inconsistency 12/3: Ch 30: Marcus on dilemmas Term paper due 12/5

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

43385 • Fall 2009
Meets MWF 1100-1200 FAC 21
show description

The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

42290-42300 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 100pm-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.

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