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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2004

T C PHL • PHL 610QB: Problems of Knowledge and Valuation

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38960 to 38975 Multiple Sections PAR 1

Course Description

In this second semester of a yearlong investigation of basic philosophical issues, we will focus on problems in ethics and value theory (broadly construed). Among our questions: What makes right acts right? How should we govern ourselves? What is a good life? Justice amounts to what? How can one be virtuous? Is ethical behavior optional? What is the nature of value? We will also take up Hume’s classic discussion of philosophical argument concerning the existence and nature of God. As ever, our aims will include learning to read actively, to engage philosophical problems with sophistication, to reason creatively and with precision, and to write thoughtfully—ultimately, to appreciate philosophy.

About the Professor: David Sosa taught previously at Dartmouth College and was Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley before coming to Texas. With interests ranging widely over issues in epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics, he is author of "Rigidity in the Scope of Russell's Theory" (Noûs, 2001), "The Import of the Puzzle About Belief" (Philosophical Review, 1996), and "Consequences of Consequentialism" (Mind, 1993), among many other publications. He is editor (with A. P. Martinich) of A Companion to Analytic Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy: An Anthology. But he's all about squash racquets and wine.

Grading Policy

Two in-class exams (each counts 15% of final grade) Term paper (30%) Final exam (25%) Participation in discussions (in section and in class), and completion of précis, will represent 15% of final grade.


(subject to revision) Plato, Republic Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Mill, Utilitarianism


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