Spring 2013 (Undergraduate)

MWF 8:30-9:20, 9:30-10:20

In this course we read selected ancient to modern texts in order to engage with some fundamental human questions: how can we know, how is knowledge possible, what is the nature of the real, and what does it mean to be a human being? During the first part of the course, we focus on classical, Christian, and early modern approaches to these questions through a study of Plato, Augustine, and Descartes. In asking these questions, we will be forced to think about further questions:  what is philosophy’s proper subject, why study philosophy, and what lies beyond the limits of philosophical reasoning? In the second part of the course, we take a thematic approach to these questions. In our reading of Kant, Hegel, and others we examine the relationship between faith and reason. Does God exist and why is there evil in the world? What does it means for us today to live what Socrates calls the ‘examined life’?

Instructor:  Maria Cuervo

MWF 8:30-9:20, 9:30-10:20

 

Instructor:  Katherine Eltringham

MWF 8:30-9:20, 9:30-10:20

 

Instructor:  Christopher Noble

MWF 8:30-9:20, 9:30-10:20

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

Instructor: 

MWF 10:30-11:20, 11:30-12:20

We will read and discuss a number of philosophers from the Western philosophical tradition. While these people will be read in an historical order, the course attempts to forge them into a philosophical conversation around several issues: natural, cultural and personal identity; humanism; rationality; embodiment. In addition to becoming acquainted with the way that philosophers talk and do their business, we will attempt to sharpen our own critical skills through a research, writing and presentation project on topics related to the course material, such as animal and artificial intelligence, technology and the evolution of consciousness, environmental crisis. There will also be short papers on various films relating to the course material.

Instructor:  Thomas Busch

MWF 11:30-12:20

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

Instructor:  Richard Strong

MWF 12:30-1:20

A saying was chiseled above the entrance to Apollo’s temple in ancient Greece.  It ran: “Know Yourself.” 

But trying to understand ourselves, our world, and our place in it can be a disruptive and even terrifying act.  In the Greek play Oedipus Rex, king Oedipus—when he discovers what he truly is and what he has done to his family and city—disfigures himself and spends the rest of his life a blind beggar.   Renee Descartes’ question, “What can I know for sure?”, led him to proclaim that everything he’s ever been taught could be an illusion; he compared trying to answer his question to drowning. Socrates wondered whether those in charge of society actually knew what they were doing and he was put to death as a result.  And when Marx came to a certain understanding of the capitalist world being born in the factories of the 19th century, he found that world so deeply unjust, so full of violence and exploitation, that like a Hebrew prophet he demanded it be transformed from the bottom up. 

 One of the things that can make “knowing ourselves” and our world so terrifying is that it can call into question deep habits and ideas that we’ve never questioned before.  And to call ourselves into question opens us up to the possibility that we may have to change the way we think, or the way we act, or our world—or all of the above.

 In this class we’ll take the saying that was carved into Apollo’s temple quite seriously.  We’ll ask: What can I know and how can I know it?  This’ll require that we rationally examine some of our most deeply held beliefs and some of the ideas we take most for granted—ideas and beliefs about God, about gender, about what counts as “true” and “false,” and about our place in society.  At bottom, the goal of this course is to call ourselves and our world into question so that we can rationally examine them together.

 Instructor:  John-Patrick Schultz

MWF 12:30-1:20

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

Instructor:  

MWF 12:30-1:20

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

Instructor:

MWF 12:30-1:20

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

 

Instructor:

TR 8:30-9:45, 10:00-11:15

Instructor:  Ryan William Feigenbaum

TR 8:30-9:45, 10:00-11:15

 

Instructor:  Michelle Joelle Falcetano

TR 10:00-11:15

 

Instructor:  Katherine Leigh Filbert

TR 8:30-9:45, 10:00-11:15

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

Instructor:  Michael Vendsel

TR 11:30-12:45

Our course will focus on the themes of knowledge, reality, and self through the lens of a classic problem in philosophy, the famous “mind-body problem.”  Classically formulated, the mind-body problem concerns how the human mind or soul and the human body are separate, connected, or the same.  In contemporary terms, the “mind-body problem” refers to the relationship between the mind and the brain and, more generally, the relationship between cognition and embodiment.  To see how philosophers approach the problem, we will read a series of historical and contemporary texts that reflect on how “we” are connected to/the same as/irreducible to “our” body.  Topics include the nature of the mind or soul, the nature of body, desire, knowledge, consciousness, the complications of internal and external perspectives, and ways of thinking about human beings as or and animals.  Philosophers work in many different literary genres.  We will read dialogues, treatises, essays, and geometrical-style proofs together with some recent fiction.

Readings

Plato, Symposium and excerpts from Phaedo

Aristotle, excerpts from Posterior Analytics and Nicomachean Ethics

Augustine, On True Religion

Descartes, Discourse on the Method

Spinoza, Ethics (excerpt), Letter 32

Nadine Gordimer, “Tape Measure” from Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black and Other Stories (Bloomsbury 2007)

Thomas Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” The Philosophical Review LXXXIII, 4 (Oct 1974): 435-50

David Lodge, Thinks (Penguin 2002) (excerpts)

Hilary Putnam, Reason, Truth, and History (Cambridge UP, 1981), Ch. 1, “Brains in a Vat”

Oliver Sacks, “To See and Not See,” from An Anthropologist on Mars (Vintage 1996)

Iris Marion Young, “Throwing Like a Girl” from On Female Body Experience (Oxford UP 2005)

Instructor:  Julie Klein

TR 1:00-2:15, 2:30-3:45

Who Are You and What Do You Know?

Philosophy asks these kinds of questions—and lots of others just as odd.  All of us kind of know who we are, and kind of know stuff about things.  We’ll talk about whether who we think we are is really us, and whether it makes any sense to say that we really know stuff about anything.

We’ll need to be careful though, because our conversations could lead us to believe that we’re thinking philosophically.  And if we start believing that, we might suspect that we’re engaged in philosophical discourse, and realize that philosophy isn’t that much more odd than the kind of stuff we think about all the time.

 Our conversations will derive from two distinct sources:

  1. What we’ve always “thought/believed/known” (whatever that means), and
  2. A set of common texts/images/presentations (for whatever they’re worth).

Our foundational question is “What are the ‘producers of culture’ producing, and what are the “receivers of culture” receiving?”  We shall examine ways in which Western culture has ‘produced’ individual persons; ways in which individual persons have transformed ‘received’ culture; and ways in which our own global consciousness has enlarged meanings of culture itself.  

Assignments include individual and group summaries, reviews, critiques, reports and research projects.  All writing assignments will be collected in portfolios, and will be evaluated in accordance with a “Culture of Evidence” appropriate to the culture of expectations that develops within the course

Instructor:  Edwin Goff

TR 4:00-5:15

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

 

Instructor:

R 6:00-9:30-FF 1/17/13-2/28/13

An exploration of philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.  Readings explore the dialogue on these questions between Catholic/Christian responses and secular and skepitcal perspectives.

 

Instructor:

MWF 10:30-11:20, 11:30-12:20

The goal of this course is to introduce the basic concepts of logic and to develop technical proficiency with formal logic, in both its traditional and modern forms, in and through a study of categorical and propositional logic, and natural deduction within propositional logic.

Instructor:  John Brien Karas

TR 10:00-11:15, 11:30-12:45

The course begins by asking some fundamental ethical questions; what makes a wrong (or right) action wrong (or right)? Knowing what makes wrong or right actions wrong or right, will better enable us to avoid doing the wrong thing in the clinical setting. Having addressed some fundamental issues in ethics, we turn to more concrete and specific applications in the health care setting. We will address issues in sexual ethics. Is abortion immoral? Are all reproductive technologies permissible? Is assisted suicide immoral? What if a patient or doctor asks you to do something against your conscience? What counts as informed consent? Should all advance directives be followed? What are the criteria for permissibly withdrawing life support? How do we allocate scarce healthcare resources? And finally we address issues in research ethics. Research on human beings represents a paradigm example of using people. How can this be morally justified? By the end of the semester you should be able to answer each question and give comprehensive reasons for your answers.

Instructor:  Stephen Napier

TR 11:30-12:45, 1:00-2:15

This course focuses on the study of clinical ethics, considering the importance of medical and nursing indications, patient preferences, quality of life and contextual features in ethical health care decision making.  We will also discuss the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services and use many case studies and the phenomenological approach of Richard Zaner to amplify the materials presented.

James McCartney, O.S.A.

TR 2:30-3:45

 

Instructor:

TR 4:00-5:15

 

Instructor:

TR 2:30-3:45, T 6:10-8:50

In this course, we consider the ways in which computers and allied technologies are changing or rendering uncertain our ideas about privacy, property, power, autonomy, responsibility, human culture and perhaps even human intelligence. We investigate the effects of technologically-driven change on the personal, professional, and civic behavior of individuals.  We also explore the effects of such change on social, legal, and political norms.  Specific cases studied include the Therac-25 accidents, the Challenger disaster, and problems with electronic voting.  We also discuss lessons learned from American and Soviet missile attack warning system failures, questions concerning the development and use of robotic weapons, and the role of information technologies in both planning and defending against terrorist acts.  We consider recent conflicts and emerging legal standards pertaining to privacy of personal information.  Classroom (and, possibly, panel) discussions treat ethical, social and legal aspects of software copyright, patent, and secrecy protection, as well as the controversy surrounding sharing of digital music and video files.  We make extensive use of resources available on the World Wide Web (and reflect on some of the implications of their availability). In particular, the readings on the course syllabus are either available on the World Wide Web or distributed by the instructor with the permission of their authors.

 This course is intensively reading, writing, discussing, and (at the discretion of the participant) thinking enriched. 

 Philosophy 2180 is officially designated as Writing Enriched.

Enrollment in Philosophy 2180 is open to all students.

The course is required of Computing Sciences and Information Sciences majors.

 Instructor:  William Fleischman

TR1:00-2:15

 Freedom is a term with a multitude of meanings, a chimera whose definition changes over time and space and is shaped by factors as varied as religion, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and class. An elusive concept that cannot be easily defined, freedom nonetheless remains critical for examining political projects. We will begin this course by examining how freedom figured as the political goal of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thinkers and writers. We will ask how freedom is defined by these thinkers as a social and political project. After exploring this philosophical background, we will turn to various case studies of the politics of freedom in American history: (1) Immigration, nineteenth-century nativism, twentieth-century internments, and concepts ofcitizenship as freedom; and (2) the civil rights movement and related discussions of race, gender, poverty and citizenship.

We will study a range of speeches, images, songs, and poetry, in addition to philosophical texts by Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, G. A. Cohen, Nancy Hirschmann, Thomas Hobbes, Malcolm X, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Charles Taylor.

Instructor:  Annika Thiem

MW 1:30-2:45, 3:00-4:15

“On the Possibility of Politics/Political Possibilities” PHI 2400

This class embarks on the ambitious project of unearthing and scrutinizing some of the most important conceptual pillars of our current social and political imaginary. Consequently, the goal of this class is not only to develop literacy in the history of Western social and political thought but also, to ask questions about the boundaries of that heritage as such. We shall foster a critical examination of some of the key arguments, assumptions and principles that subtend primary categories in social and political discourse, including ideas such as the state, the citizen, human rights, property, sex, race and power.

Our inquiry will build along historical lines, sampling key texts from ancient medieval, modern, and contemporary social and political philosophy. This includes work from figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Rancière, Edward Said, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Slavoj Žižek and Ann Laura Stoler.

Instructor:  Summer Renault-Steele

MWF 10:30-11:20, 11:30-12:20

In this course students will critically examine the way women have been portrayed in some of the canonical texts of western philosophy as well as compare and contrast various contemporary feminist theories.  We will look at how race, class, and sexuality affect experiences of gender and how feminist praxis has changed over the years. In part our goal is to sustain a cooperative learning environment in which we look deeply at some of the subareas of philosophy from a different perspective.  Students also will be challenged to explore how various theories and practices affect other oppressed social groups.

 Instructor:  Sally Scholz

MWF 11:30-12:20

 

Instructor:  Daniel Regan

MW 1:30-2:45

Technology surrounds and orders our lives, we live through and within technology and technological systems. Most people recognize that technology has tremendous impact on human social organization, political and economic systems, and the environment; and that society, in the age of the internet, smartphones, nanotechnology, biologically engineered foods, transgenic animals, technoscience, geoengineering, advanced medical technology, etc. etc. is becoming increasingly “technologized.” This class takes an interdisciplinary philosophical approach to questions concerning the relationship between technology, values, and society, including the following:

What counts as a technology?  What is the role oftechnology in contemporary social organization? Are our artifacts and technologies essentially neutral and inert, or can a “thing” have agency (the ability to act in a purposeful way)? How does the use of technology figure in our understanding of what it means to be human?  Do other animals use technology? Is there an essence to technology? Do we shape it or does it shape us? Can particular technologies be good or bad in and of themselves, or only put to good or bad uses? What is the relationship between technology and justice? How is our relationship with the natural world constructed and mediated through technology, and how is nature impacted by anthropogenic (human created) technological systems?  How do technologies sharpen—or blur—the line between the “natural” and the “artificial”? How should we evaluate particular technologies, and who is most qualified to do so? 

Instructor:  Chaone Mallory

MW 1:30-2:45

This course will examine sport and society from contemporary perspectives; Phenomenological, Theological and Marxist. Professional, collegiate, amateur and adolescent spots will be discussed. We will also examine the relevant hot topic issues such as drug use, health and safety of the athlete,  the role of Media (ESPN) and money in sports and the question of whether college sports dominates the University. We will watch and discuss Hoop Dreams.

There will be weekly “reaction” papers (1-2 pages), a midterm and all students will work in pairs to make a class presentation followed up by a final paper based on the class presentation.

Instructor:  John Doody

Days:  TR 4:00-5:15

To explore the tenuous differences and fecund affinities between literature and philosophy, we will take as our main theme the self, its capacity for story-telling, and the impossibility of capturing history, life, and the conditions of experience in discourse. Through literary and philosophical texts, we will examine the limits and possibilities of how we invent ourselves through our stories and are shaped by the meanings and expectations we receive from others and the world around us. Specifically we will ask: How do society and history enable and limit the stories and images we have of and share with ourselves and others? What is the role of the body in writing and reading? How are language, text, and narration bound up with bodies and desires, gender, race, and ethnicity? As we explore these questions, we will consider how the styles of philosophical and literary texts offer us different inroads into reflecting on the relation between narration, ourselves, and society.
 
To tackle these questions, we will study literary and philosophical works by John Barth, Roland Barthes, John Berger, Jorge Borges, Judith Butler, Italo Calvino, Adriana Cavarero, Isak Dinesen, Michel Foucault, Jamaica Kincaid, Joyce Carol Oates, Patricia Williams, and Jeanette Winterson.

Instructor:  Annika Theim

TR 11:30-12:45

This is a course that will focus on the origins of Western thinking.  We will study Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides and Democritus as examples of early Greek thinking.  We will then turn to Plato and a study of two of his major works, The Republic, still considered one of the great classics of literature and political philosophy in the West and The Symposium, his famous dialogue on love.  Finally we will study parts of Aristotle’s Physics, Metaphysics and Ethics, works that still today are formative for our culture. 

We will study the concepts and vocabulary that were developed among the early Greeks as a way of understanding reality, and consider the extent to which these intellectual frameworks are viable approaches to understand nature and the place of human beings in the world.  Plato’s Republic is an especially important source book.  Many of his ideas about human community have been formative throughout the ages, and we will approach a study of this text not only for the sake of knowing his ideas, but also from our contemporary perspective on the issues he raises. Aristotle is considered the “father” of metaphysics, a field of study often directly associated with philosophy.  Through Aristotle, we will receive a formative introduction to the basic concepts and vocabulary of Western philosophy.  Our overall objectives will be to 1) Acquire an in depth knowledge of ancient Greek philosophy. 2) Learn the concepts and vocabulary and fundamental frameworks that guided ancient Greek thinking and formed the basis for the tradition of the West.  3) Consider the extent to which these fundamental principles and grounding concepts are still formative in the way we think about human beings and about reality today.

Instructor:  Walter Brogan

 TR 1:00-2:15

Philosophy 3040 is an intensive study of six key figures in seventeenth and eighteenth century European philosophy: Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant.  The philosophical scene in this period is diverse and contentious.  Looking at topics in metaphysics and epistemology, we will see that Descartes’ substance dualism is contested by Hobbes and Spinoza. Spinoza and Leibniz, while sometimes similar, disagree profoundly about the origins and order of the world. Hume rejects the entire project of Cartesian-Leibnizian rationalism in favor of empiricism.  Kant proposes to resolve the debate between rationalism and empiricism with what he calls a transcendental or critical philosophy.  We will pay equal attention to topics in social and political philosophy, focusing particularly on Hobbes, Spinoza, and Kant in this regard. Philosophy 3040 has no formal prerequisites beyond Knowledge, Self, and Reality.  Some background in ancient and/or medieval philosophy is extremely useful. 

 Instructor:  Julie Klein

MW 3:00-4:15

In this course, we will define music as contemporary if it is popular with performers and audiences who are in touch and up to speed with what is culturally current. Since nothing becomes popular without support from broad institutional forces, we will study the way contemporary music forms a soundtrack for the social and economic powers, practices and beliefs that, in turn, make that music popular. The properly philosophical aspect of our study will involve defining what is musical about popular music.  The cultural theoretical aspect of our study will involve defining how pop, rock, hip hop, dance, punk, funk, soul and jazz music contribute to the institutional forces which support it.  In both studies we will privilege space over time, ethnography over history, imagination over the Law and simulation over autonomy.  We will identify the significance of contemporary music in terms of its dependence on commodity fetishism, its politics of resistance (somehow deeply rooted in nostalgia), its covert racism and sexism, and with a view to the reservoir of alcohol and drugs that fuels its cultural industrial production.

Instructor:  John Carvalho

MW 1:30-2:45, 3:00-4:15

The goal of this course is to survey central themes in the philosophy of mind, with an emphasis on topics that allow us to explore the intricate relationship between minds, brains, and bodies.  In particular, we shall consider what underlies our capacity for having meaningful thoughts and engaging in intentional actions, the special nature of self-knowledge and first-person experience, the question of whether machines can think, the nature of the self and its connection to personal identity, the place of consciousness in a physical universe, and recent accounts of the situated and embodied nature of cognition.  A thorough examination of these issues will not only expose us to a particularly vibrant area of current philosophical research, but at the same time shed new light on our self-understanding as human beings.

Instructor:  Georg Theiner

MW 1:30-2:45

 

 Instructor:  Walter Brogan

MW 3:00-5:30, FF 1/14/13/-2/27/13

Art, Origins and Otherness: Imitation and CreativityKant and After      

In modern understandings of art the stress is primarily on originality and creativity, whereas in pre-modern thought the stress is primarily on imitation and representation. We will look at the philosophical significance of this contrast, and the shift to creativity, in light of the metaphysical status accorded to art in the wake of Kant's transcendental philosophy. The place of art in the wake of Kant’s transcendental philosophy is ambiguous and complex. Ambiguous: Hegel proclaims art, on its highest side, to be something behind us; yet a significant number of post-Kantian philosophers invest art with a metaphysical significance in some ways unprecedented in the Western tradition. Complex: while art is proclaimed as autonomous and for itself, the nature of its relation to philosophy, and the challenge it poses for the identity and practice of philosophy is notable. Our concern will be the relation of art and philosophy in light of this ambiguous and complex status. What significance has art in challenging philosophy with forms of otherness and singularity that seem to resist incorporation without remainder into a rational system of concepts? Against the background contrast of Kant's transcendental originality and Platonic transcendent originals, we will look at the legacy of transcendental originality in selected texts of Hegel, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche. What happens when we try to absolutize human “creativity”?  Is the notion of imitation unavoidable, imitation as a relation to something other to ourselves. What is the significance of the darker sense of origin that comes to emerge? What of the ambiguous status of otherness in light of transcendental emphasis on self-activity? How do we view creativity? Has too much been expected of art? Has art taken the place of a formerly religious transcendence? Does it challenge philosophy to reformulate its own practice of thought?

Instructor:  William Desmond

MW 4:30-5:45

It has becoming increasingly recognized that addressing environmental problems in our age of growing environmental crises requires more than scientific knowledges; other modes of inquiry, such as those developed through philosophical training, are needed as well. Classes in Environmental Ethics are widely taught now days at colleges and universities across the country, and are often required for a variety of fields of study such as environmental studies, engineering, political science, and law. Such courses tend to be large survey courses, introducing both the subject and modes of philosophical inquiry (such as ethical reasoning) to those in majors other than philosophy.

An advanced course in Environmental Philosophy differs from that sort of course in significant ways, while still engaging the major questions and areas listed above. In this advanced research seminar we will approach the subject in terms of what has been called “the philosophical turn” in environmental philosophy.  While certainly not leaving aside ethical questions, this course will focus on asking what the ethical, epistemological, phenomenological, metaphysical, and/or ontological status of that which we call “nature” might be, and how important thoughtful reflection, such as the kind generated through philosophical practice, is to environmental policy, science, and activism.

Instructor:  Chaone Mallory

MW 4:30-5:45

In this course, we shall undertake a careful study of three influential texts that have left indelible marks on contemporary philosophy of language: Alfred Ayer’s Language, Truth, and Logic (1936), Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity (1980), and Ruth Millikan’s Varieties of Meaning (2002).  Our three authors advocate very different views of the relationship between philosophy and language.  By examining their main ideas, and putting them into a historical context, we will be able to learn a lot about how analytic philosophy of language has developed over the past 100 years.

Ayer’s book, which he wrote as a 24-year old, is viewed by many as the epitome of “Logical Positivism” in the Anglo-Saxon world.  In his book, Ayer clarifies and defends the “verification principle,” according to which a statement, in order to be meaningful, must be either true as a matter of logic or definition (“analytic”), or capable of being verified on the basis of experience (“synthetic”).  Ayer argues that philosophical statements purporting to express metaphysical, religious, ethical, or aesthetic truths satisfy neither of the two conditions; hence they ought to be considered as meaningless.  Rather than engaging in nonsensical metaphysical disputes, philosophers should thus concern themselves with the logical analysis of language (“linguistic turn”).  In our seminar, we will take a close look at the history of the verification principle, and examine a number of influential criticisms that eventually led to the demise of good-old-fashioned Logical Positivism.

Kripke’s book, which is widely considered as a cornerstone of 20th century analytic philosophy, is concerned with the deceptively simple question of how linguistic terms like ‘Aristotle,’ ‘water,’ or ‘red’ refer to things in the world.  Kripke’s answer to this question has surprising ramifications for a wide range of philosophical issues, such as: are all statements that are knowable on a priori grounds necessarily true, and are all statements that are knowable on a posteriori grounds only contingently true?  What does it mean for an object to have essential properties?  What is the nature of identity and other ontological categories such as natural kinds?  Are mental states identical with brain states?  Kripke’s discussion has been hailed by many for bringing about a “metaphysical turn” in analytic philosophy, including a rejection of the view that philosophy is nothing more than the analysis of language.  By exploring the nature and impact of Kripke’s arguments, we will get a better sense of whether such a view is justified.

Millikan begins her book with the observation that many different things are ordinarily said to have meaning: people mean to do various things; tools and other artifacts are meant for various things; natural signs mean things; conventional signs such as words and sentences mean various things, and people using them mean various things (although they don’t always mean the same things that the words and sentences mean).  In her book, Millikan argues that these different kinds of meaning can be understood only in relation to each other.  By combining philosophical analysis with insights from biology, cognitive psychology, and linguistics, Millikan offers an ambitious “naturalized” approach to intentionality and purpose that is meant to explain how signs work – animal and human, natural and intentional, public and mental.

Instructor:  Georg Theiner