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

Robert J Hankinson

Professor PhD, Cambridge

Contact

Biography

FieldAncient Philosophy and Medicine, Philosophy of Science

A classical philosophy scholar, he has a special interest in ancient medicine and philosophy of science. He is author of The Sceptics (1995) in the Routledge 'Arguments of the Philosophers' Series, and Cause and Explanation in Ancient Greek Thought (Oxford, 1998). He has edited Method, Medicine, and Metaphysics (1988). His editions and translations, with philosophical commentary, include Galen's On the Therapeutic Method (Oxford, 1991), Galen on Antecedent Causes (Cambridge, 1998), Aristotle's de Caelo (Oxford, forthcoming in two volumes), and Simplicius' Commentary on de Caelo. (Volume I, Simplicius: On Aristotle On the Heavens 1.1-4 (Duckworth/Cornell, 2002) has appeared; two more volumes are forthcoming.) He is the editor of Apeiron.

Interests

Ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, metaphysics, history and philosophy of science

PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

41804 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 105
show description

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 316K • Science And Philosophy

41820 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am MEZ 2.124
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 301K • Ancient Philosophy

42575-42580 • Fall 2014
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 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 1200pm-100pm PAR 203
show description

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 312 • Introduction To Logic

43235 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am GAR 0.120
show description

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 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-Phl Majors

43285 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 420
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 S321K • Theory Of Knowledge

87087 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm WAG 302
show description

This course will consider several major ethical theories in the Western and Chinese philosophical traditions as guides to practical living.  The primary question to be addressed is:  What is the good life for human beings, in theory and in practice?

 

This course carries the Ethics and Leadership flag. Ethics and Leadership courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for making ethical decisions in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments involving ethical issues and the process of applying ethical reasoning to real-life situations.

PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

42375-42385 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-130pm WAG 302
(also listed as CTI 310 )
show description

this course examines metaphysical and epistemological issues in early
modern philosophy from Descartes (1596–1650) to Kant (1724–1804)

specific topics include scepticism, the existence of the external world, the relation between mind
and body (between consciousness and matter), ‘realism’ and ‘idealism’, ‘empiricism’ and
‘rationalism’, perception, primary and secondary qualities (e.g. shape and color), personal
identity (the nature of the self or subject of experience), induction, causation, free will, Kant’s
deontological ethics (other possible topics include: substance, miracles, nature and existence of
God, a priori knowledge, the analytic-synthetic distinction, essence, possibility, the nature of
space)

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42660 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am SZB 416
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 322 • Science And The Modern World

42680-42690 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-430pm WAG 201
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 381 • Hellenistic Philosophy

42720 • Fall 2012
Meets W 630pm-930pm WAG 312
(also listed as GK 390 )
show description

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

Course Description

 Hellenistic philosophy, that is of the period between the death of Aristotle and (traditionally at least) 31 BC, was for centuries unjustly neglected. Over the past thirty years or so much has been done to remedy that neglect, and the distinctive schools of the period (Epicurean, Stoic, Academic, Pyrrhonian) are now recognized as continuing much of enduring and intrinsic interest. Study of the period is hampered by the fact that, with rare exceptions, their works are known only through later citations and attestations, which complicates the process of interpretation. But it is still a project well worthwhile. This course will examine key ideas and arguments from all of these schools, and the contributions they made (and debates they engaged in) concerning epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, logic and mind (among other things).

 

Grading

1 term paper (90%)

participation and/or presentation (10%)

 

Texts

A.A. Long, D.N. Sedley The Hellenistic Philosophers Vol. 1 (1987)

Cambridge University Press ISBN: 0521275563

 

This course satisfied the History requirement.

PHL F329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

87250-87260 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm CBA 4.344
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 Pre-Socratics 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 381 • Aristotle's Metaphysics

42690 • Spring 2012
Meets W 200pm-500pm WAG 312
(also listed as GK 390 )
show description

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

Course Description

The metaphysical and epistemological views of Descartes, Hobbes, and Locke. Topics include the proper foundation for a philosophical system, the nature of knowledge, emotions, (free) will, personal identity (and religious toleration). 

 

Grading

Class participation: 20% (A class presentation will constitute part of this grade.)

Major Essay:                           80% (3,500-6,000 words; due on the last day of lectures.)

Texts

Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy, with Objections and Replies,

Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, Part I

Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (selections, mostly from Book II)

Locke, A Letter on Toleration

Hobbes, The Elements of Law Natural and Politic (selections from the part on natural philosophy and epistemology.

 

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42422 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 800am-930am GAR 2.128
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 321K • Theory Of Knowledge

42470 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WAG 208
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 329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

42515-42525 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ B0.306
(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 381 • Philos & Sci In Sci Revolution

43190 • Spring 2011
Meets T 1230pm-330pm WAG 210
show description

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

In 1610, Galileo published his Starry Messenger, the record of his first celestial telescopic observations. This is often held to mark the beginning of the Scientific Revolution, and indeed the beginning of modern science. In this class we will be less concerned with whether or not such an assessment is justified in this case, much less whether science is essentially revolutionary or evolutionary in nature, than with examining the nature of the philosophical underpinnings that underlay this development. To this end we will be looking principally at selections from the writing of Galileo, Descartes and Newton, although we may also make excursions into, e.g., Kepler, Bacon, Huygens and Boyle.

Grading

1 term paper (90%)

Participation and/or presentation: 10%

 

Texts

S.Drake (ed.) Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (Anchor Books: 0-385-09239-3)

S.Drake (trans.) Galileo: Dialogue concerning the Chief World Systems (Modern Science Library: 0-375—75766-X)

J.Cottingham, R.Stoothoff, D.Murdoch (eds.) The Philosophical Writings of Descartes Vol. I (CUP: 9780521288071)

H.S.Thayer (ed.) Newton’s Philosophy of Nature (Hafner Publishing

 

This course satisfies the History requirement

 

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42415 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 302
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 329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

42475-42485 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 800am-930am WAG 302
(also listed as C C 348, C C 348, C C 348 )
show description

C C 348 4-HIST OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

32240

TTH
M

800 to   930a
800 to   900a

WAG  302
WAG  307

HANKINSON, R

open


32245

TTH
M

800 to   930a
900 to  1000a

WAG  302
WAG  307

HANKINSON, R

open


32250

TTH
M

800 to   930a
1000 to  1100a

WAG  302
WAG  307

HANKINSON, R

closed

 

 

After brief introductory forays into selected contexts of early Greek philosophy (esp. Parmenides, Empedocles, and the Sophist Gorgias), we shall concentrate on the three great figures of classical ancient Greek philosophy (fifth and fourth century B.C.E.), Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  In our readings of selected dialogues of Plato, our concerns will be fourfold:  (a) to identify and survey themes of the fifth-century "Sophistic movement," against which Socrates and Plato significantly react; (b) to articulate a conception of the philosophy of Socrates (who wrote nothing himself); (c) to grasp the origins of Plato's philosophy; (d) to study Plato's mature metaphysics (account of reality) and epistemology (theory of knowledge).  Our discussion of Aristotle will emphasize metaphysics, cosmology, natural philosophy, and theory of the soul.
The course is required of philosophy majors.  It has no special prerequisites; and given its concern with ideas that are central in the Western tradition, it can thus also serve as an upper-division introduction to philosophy.

REQUIRED WORK AND COURSE PRECEPTS
(FULLER STATEMENT WILL BE DISTRIBUTED DURING FIRST WEEK OF CLASSES.)

Written examinations:  Two or three mid-term examinations.

Papers: Two papers of about 1,600 words each.  Instructions and suggested questions will be furnished.

Contribution to discussion:  Bonus points will be awarded to those students who will have made the most effective use of opportunities for discussion in the weekly discussion sections (up to +4 points on a 100-point grading scale).

Attendance: Required at the weekly discussion sections.  (Maximum of two absences will be excused.)

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

42490-42500 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm 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 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

86910 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm 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 S329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

86915-86920 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm WAG 302
show description

This course is a survey of modern philosophy. It covers Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. The class will be conducted in three lectures and one discussion session every week.

PHL 381 • Aristotle's Philosophy Of Mind

43315 • Spring 2010
Meets W 300pm-600pm WAG 312
(also listed as GK 390 )
show description

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

Course Description

Hellenistic philosophy, that is of the period between the death of Aristotle and (traditionally at least) 31 BC, was for centuries unjustly neglected. Over the past thirty years or so much has been done to remedy that neglect, and the distinctive schools of the period (Epicurean, Stoic, Academic, Pyrrhonian) are now recognized as continuing much of enduring and intrinsic interest. Study of the period is hampered by the fact that, with rare exceptions, their works are known only through later citations and attestations, which complicates the process of interpretation. But it is still a project well worthwhile. This course will examine key ideas and arguments from all of these schools, and the contributions they made (and debates they engaged in) concerning epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, logic and mind (among other things).

 

Grading

1 term paper (90%)

participation and/or presentation (10%)

 

Texts

A.A. Long, D.N. Sedley The Hellenistic Philosophers Vol. 1 (1987)

   Cambridge University Press ISBN: 0521275563

 

This course satisfied the History requirement.

PHL 329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

43390-43400 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 302
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 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

43405-43415 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 930-1100 UTC 3.102
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 322 • Science And The Modern World

86625-86635 • Summer 2009
Meets MTWTHF 1130-100pm 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.

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