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

Thomas K Seung

Professor PhD, Yale

Contact

Biography

His interests range widely over ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law, hermeneutics, Kant, Plato, and ancient Chinese philosophy. Among his many books are Plato Rediscovered (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996), Kant's Platonic Revolution in Moral and Political Philosophy (Johns Hopkins, 1994), Intuition and Construction: The Foundation of Normative Theory (Yale, 1993), Structuralism and Hermeneutics (Columbia, 1982), and Kant's Transcendental Logic (Yale, 1969). He was Research Fellow in Philosophy at Harvard University and has held both NEH and ACLS Fellowships.

Interests

Philosophy of law, continental philosophy, political philosophy, Kant

PHL 329K • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

43355-43365 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WAG 420
(also listed as C C 348 )
show description

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.

Grades: weekly response questions 10%, 2 midterm exams 25% each, final exam 30%, participation 10%.

Texts:

  • Baird & Kaufmann, Ancient Philosophy
  • Plato, Protagoras
  • Shields, Classical Philosophy

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

43370-43380 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WAG 302
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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 329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

42725-42735 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WAG 420
(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 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

42740-42750 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm 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 329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

42520-42530 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WAG 302
(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 347 • Philosophy Of Law

42565-42575 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 420
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 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42290-42300 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WAG 302
show description

This course is a survey of the philosophical texts in ancient Europe, India, and China. The weekly schedule will contain three lectures and one discussion session. The reading assignments for the lectures will be announced at the beginning of the semester.  The discussion session will pick up the problems that arise from the reading assignments and lectures.

Textbooks:

            Plato, the Republic

            Bourke, The Essential Augustine

            Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes           

            Bhagavad Gita, translated by Mascaro

            Confucius, the Analects, translated by Huang

 

Evaluation:

The semester grade will consist of four items: (1) the student’s contribution to discussion sessions (10%), (2) one-hour test (20%), (3) a short paper of about 1000 words (20%), and (4) the final exam (50%).   

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

42530-42540 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am 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.

Texts:

Descartes, Meditations

Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge

Hume, Enquiry concerning Human Understanding

Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (abridged edition)

Seung, Kant: A Guide for the Perplexed

 

Evaluation:

 The semester grade will consist of four items: (1) class preparation and participation (10%), (2) one-hour test (20%), (3) a short paper of about 1000 words (20%), and (4) the final exam (50%). 

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

43050-43060 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am 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.

 

Texts:

 

Descartes, Meditations

Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge

Hume, Enquiry concerning Human Understanding

Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (abridged edition)

Seung, Kant: A Guide for the Perplexed

 

Evaluation:

 

The final grade will consist of three items: (1) class preparation and participation (10%), (2) two one-hour test (20% each), (3) the final examination (50%). 

 

PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law

43080 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 302
show description

This is a general survey course on the basic issues in philosophy of law. Those issues are legal positivism, legal formalism, legal pragmatism, natural law, the legal authority, the question of justice. The class will be conducted in lectures and discussion sessions.

 

Textbook: D’Amato, ed., Analytic Jurisprudence Anthology

 

Evaluation:

 

The final grade will consist of three items: (1) class preparation and participation (10%), (2) two one-hour test (20% each), (3) the final examination (50%). 

PHL 375M • Kant's Critique Of Pure Reason

42537 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CBA 4.346
show description

This course is an intensive study of Kant’s greatest work, Critique of Pure Reason.  Because this is a very difficult text, we will go over it, paragraph by paragraph, sometimes line by line.  The students will be given a reading assignment every week, and they will present their interpretations of the assigned texts in class and challenge the interpretations by other students.

 Texts:

Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Seung, Kant

Evaluation:

 The final grade will consist of three items: (1) class preparation and participation (20%), (2) the mid-term paper (30%), (3) the term paper (50%). 

The paper topics will be suggested when the time comes.

PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law

42445 • Spring 2009
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 302
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. 

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