Winter Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
Please contact Professor Fiocco for questions regarding this course.
Visit the Logic and Philosophy of Science website for more information.
Visit the Logic and Philosophy of Science website for more information.
Social kinds structure societies, political discussions, our daily interactions, and the way we understand ourselves and others. They are connected to oppression and power. Memberships or exclusion from social kinds affects how we move through and evaluate the world. In this course we will  focus on both the metaphysics of social kinds and the ways we represent kinds in thought and language. First, we will examine theories of the metaphysics of social kinds like genders, races, and sexual orientations. Our inquiry will include both general frameworks (e.g., structuralist, conferralist) and particular features on which social kinds might diverge (e.g., having a historical nature, having volitional membership). Second, we will consider ways that linguists, philosophers, and psychologists have argued we represent kinds. We will consider linguistic constructions like generics (e.g., Woman love babies) and how lexical categories (e.g., nouns) might have kinds as their referents. We will also examine how people tend to draw inferences about kind members and the mental format of kind representations. Last, we will conclude by considering how representations might create or change the nature of social kinds (i.e., the metaphysical effects of representations) and how representations might be put to work to construct a more just world.

Repeatability: Unlimited as topics vary.

Same as LPS 220.
What is this thing called "philosophy"? - History, Description, Critique

By focusing on some key texts in the history of Western philosophy, with special attention to some pertaining to epistemology, we will tackle the meta-philosophical issue of what philosophy is. What is philosophy's proper object? What are its aims? What is its methodology? Is philosophy a sui generis kind of discipline, vis-à-vis the hard and social sciences, or is it continuous with them? Does it have a descriptive or critical role with respect to reality and our categories? We will consider these issues by looking, in particular, at Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty, Adorno's "Why still philosophy?" and "The actuality of philosophy", Quine's "Naturalized epistemology", Foucault's Archeology of Knowledge, and Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. We will also consider recent appraisals and developments of Carnap's work both in the context of the Vienna Circle's political aims and of contemporary so-called "analytic feminism". Along the way, we will also re-examine the methodological divide between the analytic and continental tradition and will consider some of its contemporary critics.

Course recommended pre-reads: Plato's Theaetetus, Descartes' Meditations (I & II), Hume's Treatise of Human Nature (Book I, Part I, sect. i-vii); Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics; Marx & Engels Manifesto of the Communist Party.

NB These pre-reads are not necessary for taking this class but will significantly enhance your learning experience (in this class and beyond).

Repeatability: Unlimited as topics vary.
Same as LPS 221 and Hum 270.   
Advanced Introduction to Metaethics (and Social Philosophy)

This course will often an advanced introduction to some of the main topics in contemporary metaethics, with a special focus on the connections between metaethics and social philosophy. Topics to be discussed may include: conventionalism about norms, Kantian, Aristotelian, and Hegelian forms of constitutivism or constructivism, conceptual ethics/engineering and metaethics, expressivism and relativism, the metaethics of socially constructed categories and concepts, and the relationship between metaethics, moral epistemology, and ideology critique.
This seminar, which is open to both law students and to graduate students in philosophy and other departments, will address consent in law and morality. Topics will include consent to sexual conduct, to medical treatment, and to risky conduct such as engaging in a dangerous sport or recreational activity. The nature and phenomenology of consent will be explored, including whether consent is best understood as a mental state (such as acquiescence in or desire for specified conduct) or instead as a performative (such as a communication of permission). Other topics will include the types of deception, coercion, and incapacity that undermine consent; and the circumstances in which paternalism is justifiable despite the absence of consent. The relevance of these concepts and principles will be examined in the context of tort and criminal law doctrines and perhaps other legal areas.
I hope to include presentations by outside scholars who specialize in these topics. The seminar readings will include legal decisions and the writings of legal scholars and philosophers, including some chapters from the following book (which should be available online without charge to UCI students):

Visit the Logic and Philosophy of Science website for more information.
Visit the Logic and Philosophy of Science website for more information.
Visit the Logic and Philosophy of Science website for more information.
Visit the Logic and Philosophy of Science website for more information.