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

Richard M Sainsbury

Professor DPhil, Oxford

Richard M Sainsbury

Contact

Biography

Mark Sainsbury works principally in philosophy of language. He is the author of the volume on Russell (1979, pb 1985) in the Routledge "Arguments of the Philosophers" series, and also Paradoxes (Cambridge, 1988; 2nd ed. 1995, 3rd ed. 2009), Logical Forms (Blackwell, 1991, 2nd ed. 2000), Departing From Frege (2002), Reference Without Referents (2005, pb 2007), Fiction and Fictionalism (2009) and, with Michael Tye Seven Puzzles of Thought and How to Solve Them: An Originalist Theory of Concepts (2012, pn 2013). His main current project is a book provisionally entitled How to Think About Unicorns. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of King's College London, and an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was formerly Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy at King's College London and, from 1990-2000, editor of Mind.

Interests

Philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, Frege, Russell, Hume

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42825-42835 • Fall 2014
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 332 • Philosophy Of Language-Phl Maj

43075 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 208
show description

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 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

43205-43215 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 302
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 382 • Consciousness In Animal World

43510 • Spring 2014
Meets T 330pm-630pm WAG 316
show description

This seminar is taught by Mark Sainsbury and Michael Tye.

Graduate standing and consent of graduate adviser or instructor required.

Must have instsructor's permission to audit this seminar.

 

Course Description

Do birds have feelings?  What about fish?  Can fish feel pain?  Do insects have experiences?  Could a honey bee feel anxious? Are caterpillars conscious?  If caterpillars aren't conscious but fish are, what's the objective difference that makes a difference?  How do we decide which living creatures have experiences and which are zombies? Could there be a conscious robot?  These are among the questions that we will address in this seminar.

Grading

Requirements: a final essay plus some presentation earlier in the semester.

Texts

Various articles will be assigned during the semester.  

The views presented will be new.

 

This course satisfies the M&E requirement.

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42925-42935 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 302
show description

Moraltheoriesandproblems

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 Blackboard.

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume

43160 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.104
show description

The aim of the course is to attain a holistic grasp of Humeʼ s philosophy.

 

Philosophy courses are often divided by subject area (metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, and so

on). Hume wrote on all the main topics in philosophy, and our goal is not only to evaluate his individual

contributions, but also to see how the views on various topics fit together. The class presupposes some

knowledge of philosophy, but not of Humeʼ s work.

 

David Hume's main topic was human nature. He has a brief comparison with non-human animals, and

nowadays such comparisons are greatly enriched by our better understanding of these animals. We won't

be discussing this in class but for enjoyable relaxation I commend the TED talk by Robert Sapolsky .

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume

42810 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 308
(also listed as CTI 335 )
show description

The aim of the course is to attain a holistic grasp of Humeʼs philosophy. Philosophy courses are often divided by subject area (metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, and so on). Hume wrote on all the main topics in philosophy, and our goal is not only to evaluate his individual contributions, but also to see how the views on various topics fit together. The class presupposes some knowledge of philosophy, but not of Humeʼs work. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42425-42435 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 302
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 382 • Corps/Consciousness/Intentnlty

42700 • Spring 2012
Meets T 330pm-630pm WAG 316
show description

 

CORPORATIONS, CONSCIOUSNESS AND INTENTIONALITY

 Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor AND Instructor required.

DESCRIPTION:

The course will begin by addressing the following questions:

  • Do corporations have mental states? 

  • Do corporations have experiences and feelings?

  • Does Ned Block's famous China-Body system undergo any experiences?  If not, why not?

  • If your neurons are slowly replaced with silicon chips that function in exactly the same way as the neurons, will you (or your successor) continue to undergo experiences with the same phenomenal character?

It will be argued that proper reflection on these questions can be used to support a representationalist or intentionalist view of consciousness.  It will then be shown how this view can be developed so as to provide a satisfying account of what is sometimes supposed to present a problem for it, that of the nature of pain.

Since representationalism (or intentionalism) about consciousness takes it that conscious states are inherently representational, the last third of the course will discuss the nature of intentionality not only in connection with consciousness but also more broadly.

REQUIREMENTS:  Class presentation and final paper

TEXTS:  Assorted papers will be made available.

 

This course satisfies the M&E requirement.

 

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42320-42330 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 302
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, 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 person 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 (40 marks). Deadlines for the essays and term paper will be posted at the start of the semester. 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 Universities of Oxford, Essex, and 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). A book jointly authored with Michael Tye (UT) is with the publishers: Seven Puzzles of Thought and How to Solve Them.

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume

42570 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 308
(also listed as CTI 335 )
show description

375M: The Philosophy of David Hume: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Morals

This course will discuss the main themes of Hume's philosophy. We'll read most of books 1 and 3 of the Treatise, the two Inquiries: Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals, and the Dialogs Concerning Natural Religion. Topics to be covered include: causation, induction, free will, identity, the self, morals and motivation, morals and sentiment, justice, and miracles and other arguments for religious belief. We'll also look at recent work on Hume and Hume's problems.  Students will be asked to write two papers, to make a presentation to the class, and to help each other with their papers and presentations by making comments. The class will presuppose some background knowledge of philosophy, but will not presuppose prior knowledge of Hume’s work. The class is intended for students who enjoy active participation in philosophical discussions, and who are keen to develop their independent opinions.

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42925-42930 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 302
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 382 • Seven Puzzles Of Thought

43200 • Spring 2011
Meets TH 330pm-630pm WAG 312
show description

This course is restricted to Philosophy graduate students.

Prerequisites:

 Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

"Seven Puzzles of Thought, and How to Solve Them"

Theseven puzzles include Frege's puzzle about Hesperus and Phosphorus, the puzzle of water and twater, puzzles about empty thoughts, about coreferring demonstratives, Paderewski cases, and about thinking of oneself. The classic background for these puzzles will be introduced (Frege, Kripke etc), along with a general theory of concepts - originalism - which we think resolves them in a natural and simple way. We go on the develop the originalist position, its consequences for privileged access and the nature of content, and we explore further applications, to the paradox of analysis, the content of hallucinatory experiences and the language of thought.

Grading Policy:

Grades will be based on 3 short (approx 5 pages) analysis style papers written during the semester.

Texts:

Reading will include relevant classic papers (by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Evans, Salmon, Crimmins, Shoemaker among other.

PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language

42505 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 308
show description

The course focuses on various philosophical issues concerning language. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: speaker-meaning, conversational implicature, sentence/expression-meaning, reference, modality, and propositional attitude ascriptions. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

43015 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 1100-1230pm WAG 214
show description

This class also meets on Friday at 800 to 900a in BUR 128

 

PHL 610: Problems of Knowledge and Valuation

The instructor's name, office location, and office hours: Mark Sainsbury, WAG 403A, Th 12.30, F 12.
Teaching assistant’s name, office location, and office hours: Steve James, WAG 229, T 10, F 11.

An overview of the class, including prerequisites, and the subject matter of each
lecture or discussion
The aim of this semester is to introduce topics in epistemology and metaphysics, initially through the works of two major philosophers, René Descartes (f. 1670) and David Hume (f. 1750). 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 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.

1/19:
Plan for the semester: assignments, grades, attendance. Descartes’ project: an overview.
1/21:
Meditation 1: possible sources of error: the senses, dreams, a deceptive God, an evil genius
1/26:
Meditation 2: The cogito. Reading: Kenny, Ch 3 (Bb doc).
1/28:
Meditation 2: Sum res cogitans. Reading: Kenny, Ch 4 (Bb doc).
2/2
Descartes’s own response to skepticism, and further developments in the Meditations. (By this date you should have read the whole Meditations.)
2/4:
The BIV Argument (from Steup, Bb doc):
If I don't know that I am not a BIV, then I don't know that I have hands.
I don't know that I am not a BIV. Therefore:
I don't know that I have hands.
2/9:
What is knowledge? The traditional analysis (Feldman p. 14–24 Bb doc). Cartesian foundationalism (Feldman p. 52–60).
2/11:
Putnam on brains in vats: semantic externalism (Bb doc)
2/16:
Non-evidential theories of knowledge, and how they can offer responses to skepticism. Feldman p. 81-99, Bb doc.
2/18:
Descartes on the self in Meditations 2 and 6. Reading: Wilson (Bb doc)
2/23:
Lewis on the identity theory of mind (Bb doc)
2/25:
Nagel “What is it like to be a bat?” Philosophical Review 1974. (Bb doc or EJ)
3/2:
Jackson on Mary’s room (Bb doc).
3/4:
Visiting speaker: Professor Mike Mauk (Institute of Neurobiology)
3/9:
Evolutionary psychology. Reading: David Buss (Bb doc)
3/11:
Visiting speaker: Jeremy Evans
3/16 & 18: Spring Break
3/23:
Hume: Overview of the first Enquiry. Impressions and ideas. Missing shade of blue.
3/25:
Relations of ideas and matters of fact §4
3/30:
Causes and effects discoverable only by experience §4. Custom the guide to life.
4/1:
Defining causation, §7. Focus on Hume’s “two definitions”.
4/6:
Hume on expectations and inductive skepticism. Russell’s chapter on induction (Bb doc)
4/8:
Is Hume a skeptic? Penelhum (Bb docs)
4/13:
Popper on scientific knowledge without induction (Bb doc)
4/15:
Steve’s class. Goodman on the “new riddle of induction” (Bb doc)
4/20:
Miracles: Hume §10 and Fogelin (Bb doc)
4/22:
Hume §8 “Of liberty and necessity”
4/27:
Botterill (Bb doc) on Hume on free will
4/29:
Van Inwagen's argument for incompatibilism (Bb doc)
5/4:
Lewis: Are we free to break the laws? (Bb doc)
5/6:
Frankfurt: “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person” (Bb doc)

Term paper due 5/9.

Grading policy, including whether attendance is used in determining the class grade,
and whether plus/minus grades will be assigned for the final grade


A brief descriptive overview of all major course requirements and assignments, along
with the dates of exams and assignments that count for 20 percent or more of the class
grade
Assignments and deadlines
Two essays of about 1000 words (1750 for jointly authored essays): 15 marks each
Essay 1: 2/19 (end week 5)
Essay 2: 3/26 (end week 10)
Term paper of 3-4000 words (4-5000 for jointly authored papers): 42 marks. 5/9 (end week 15)
Unexcused failure to meet deadlines for essays and the term paper will result in the deduction of marks: –2 marks if overdue but by no more than 12 hours; –0.1 mark for every subsequent hour overdue (deduction rounded up or down to nearest whole number)
14 reports: 2 marks each, delivered in hard copy at sections on these dates:
1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5, 3/12, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23, 4/30.
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. Please book your date early – I'm hoping to avoid classes in which there is more than one student presentation.

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. Word target for jointly authored essays: 1750 words. Word target for jointly authored term papers: 4-5000 words. Collaboration is not an option for the weekly reports.
Even if you do not engage in formal collaboration, I strongly recommend talking to other students about your ideas. It's hard to do philosophy on your own.

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.

Final exam date and time: there is no final examination.

A list of required and recommended materials, such as textbooks, supplies, and
packets:
I recommend buying Descartes’ Meditations and Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. There are also 18 articles of supplementary reading. You can access these through the Bb site, and Jenns has made a hard copy Course Packet.

The class Web site, if any: this is a Blackboard course.

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.

PHL 610 • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

43225 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 302
show description


PHL 610 Problems of Knowledge and Valuation

Instructor: Mark Sainsbury. WAG 403A. Office hours: T 2, Th 11

Teaching assistant: Steve James. WAG 229. Office hours: T 2-4.

Overview: 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: Three essays of about 1000 words. One term paper of about 3000 words.
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.
Unexcused failure to meet deadlines for essays and the term paper will result in the deduction of marks: -2 marks if overdue but by no more than 12 hours; -0.1 mark for every subsequent hour overdue (deduction rounded up or down to nearest whole number)

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.

Examination: there is no final examination.

Reading: Most of the readings will come from the text for the course (Cahn and Markie (eds) Ethics (4th edition}). Some further readings will be required, and will be available for download from the Blackboard site.

Course website: This is a Blackboard course

Students with disabilities: Arrangements will be made in accordance with university policy. Please tell the instructor of any special needs.

Class-by-class schedule:
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 (Bb doc). 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' (Bb doc)

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 (Bb doc)
10/8: Ch 9: Hume on morality and reason: Tr 3.1.1-2 (pp. 246-54);Mackie ch 4 (Bb doc)

10/13: Guest lecturer: Jeremy Evans. Haidt: The emotional dog (Bb doc)
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" (Bb doc)
10/29: Guest lecturer: Jeremy Evans. Prinz "Is morality innate?" (Bb doc)

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 (Bb doc)
12/3: Ch 30: Marcus on dilemmas Term paper due 12/5

 

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume-W

43465 • Fall 2009
Meets T 330pm-630pm WAG 112
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The Syllabus link has full details of grading, assignments, and topics for each class. Making a presentation to the class is a requirement, so you might want to think about the topic and date that would suit you. I'll be filling in slots at the first class.

You'll need to have ready access to the following works by Hume:

A Treatise of Human Nature

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals

I like the OUP editions, but feel free to snap up a bargain or suit your preferences. You can also get all these texts online. One way to do so is to visit the Past Masters text base (go to Library-Research tools-Databases). Also a simple Google search will turn up free versions of all the texts.

A contemporary philosopher, Jonathan Bennett, has transcribed most of Hume from 18th century to current English, and it's freely available. It's amazingly good.

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