T C PHL610 • Problems of Knowledge and Valuation
In this second semester of a year-long investigation of basic philosophical issues, we will focus on broadly-construed problems in ethics and value theory. 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 Humes 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 with creativity and precision, and to write thoughtfullyultimately, 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 Austin. 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.
Two in-class exams: 15% each Term paper: 30% Final exam: 25% Discussion participation (in section and class), and completion of précis: 15%
Plato, Republic Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Mill, Utilitarianism