Winter Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
This online course offers an overview of the main approaches and open issues in philosophy, with an eye on how philosophy can be relevant in one’s life, both in the sense that it helps think better, and in the sense that it helps make sense of one’s place in the world. The course is organized around some fundamental questions, that will guide us in the exploration of the main topics and perspectives: What is philosophy (introduction)? What can I know, and what can I doubt (epistemology)? What is consciousness (philosophy of mind)? Who am I (the self and personal identity)? What do I like (aesthetics)? How should I act (ethics)? What is right, and what is wrong (social and political philosophy)? What is the meaning of life (conclusion)?
In this class we will study a variety of puzzles, paradoxes, and intellectual wonders — from the liar’s paradox to puzzles about color, decision-making, and personal identity— and discuss their philosophical implications. The class introduces some highlights of the more technical side of philosophy, and we will think together about how to rigorously approach philosophical problems that arise in day to day life.

(IV and VB ).
Technologies are ubiquitous and play a pervasive role in our lives. The aim of the course is to help you develop a better and more articulate understanding of the metaphysical, epistemological, moral, and social-political implications of technologies. The course has two distinct parts. The first part discusses with general issues in the philosophy of technology and covers major positions in the philosophy of technology (especially Aristotle and Heidegger). In the second part of the course, we explore philosophical questions raised by specific emerging technologies.
Central questions discussed in the course are: What is technology and what are artifacts? Does technology control us or do we control technology? Could we upload our minds into a simulation and live forever? Are we in a computer simulation right now? Will robots ever be truly conscious? Is your IPhone a part of your mind? Would it be wrong to genetically enhance (or clone) ourselves? Should we grow meat in labs instead of factory-farms? Should we geoengineer the planet to combat climate change? Is it possible to sin in a video game or to sin with a robot? Should machines make life and death decisions? What ethical commands should driverless cars be given? Does technology make our lives better, or worse?

Selected topics from the history of ethics, e.g., the nature of the good life and the moral justification of conduct.

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.
***This online course will introduce students to skepticism and to its connections with epistemic relativism.

In particular, we will look at Descartes' and Hume's formulations of relativism and to some prominent anti-skeptical strategies, put forward by contemporary philosophers like Moore, Wittgenstein, Putnam, Strawson, McDowell, and DeRose. We will also look at varieties of epistemic relativism with special reference to Wittgenstein and Rorty.

Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of the Lower-Division Writing requirement.

Overlaps with PHILOS 102, LPS 102.

Visit the Logic and Philosophy of Science website for more information.
This course provides an overview of the exciting field of medical epistemology. Based on case-studies drawn from contemporary medical practice, the course will be themed around the following key topics: Disease classification. Hierarchies of evidence in evidence based medicine. The role of trust in the medical context. Expert disagreement in the medical context. Vaccine skepticism. Informed consent. Testimonial and hermeneutical injustice in the medical context. Alternative medicines. Diagnostics and epistemic value. Placebo effect.
Feminist epistemologies study knowledge from a feminist perspective, emphasizing the relevance of gender and of the knower’s social situatedness in shaping knowledge practices. Among the themes investigated in this perspective are the relationship between knowledge and power, the role of  embodied experience in knowledge, the place of values in epistemology, and feminist views on epistemic oppression and injustice. This course examines some historical influences and key figures of this approach such as, among others, Wollstonecraft and de Beauvoir. Topics include the relationship between feminist epistemologies and Marxism, phenomenology, pragmatism, philosophy of science, postmodernism, and postcolonial studies.
Words and sentences in English and other languages have meanings. That is why speakers can use sentences to communicate their thoughts, some of which are true. But what are meanings? What are the meanings of ‘Joe Biden’, ‘cat’, red’, ‘waves’, ‘marry’, and ‘the’? How are meaning, reference, thought, communication, and truth related? How do words and sentences get their meanings and referents? We will begin this course by considering several theories about the nature of meaning and reference. We will then discuss communication and speech acts, the determination of word and sentence meaning, and skepticism about meaning. If time permits, we will end with an inquiry into the nature of truth.

Same as LPS 145, LSCI 141.