Courses

Problems of Philosophy – In this introduction to the problems and methods of philosophy, we explore a variety of questions regarding human nature, morality, and rationality. Are humans by nature selfish? What makes an action morally right? What, if anything, makes life meaningful? Is it rational to believe in God?

Ancient Philosophy – An overview of ethical theories from Socrates to the Stoics. Special emphasis on Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

The Rationalists and Empiricists – An introduction to 17th and 18th century European philosophy. The focus is on questions about the nature of reality and human knowledge (metaphysics and epistemology).  We read Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. One previous course in philosophy is required.

Philosophy of Mind – This course introduces students to central questions in the philosophy of cognitive science. We explore the fundamental idea that the mind is an information processing system involving internal representations of the world, and examine theoretical questions about our cognitive capacities, including perception, learning, reasoning, and consciousness. No previous course in Philosophy, Psychology, or Neuroscience is required.

Representation & Reality – In this course we explore foundational issues in the scientific study of animal behavior. More specifically, we are concerned with theoretical questions about how animals perceive the world around them. Do animals (including humans) need to represent the world accurately in order to respond to the environment effectively? That is, how important is truth or veridicality for attaining biological success?  To what extent (if any) do our senses provide an objective perspective on reality? Do animals with different needs and abilities live in different perceived worlds? This course explores these thorny issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, introducing central topics in perceptual psychology, sensory ecology, and philosophy of cognitive science.

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