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PHIL 1100 : Introduction to Philosophy
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
A general introduction to some of the main topics, texts, and methods of philosophy. Topics may include the existence of God, the nature of mind and its relation to the body, causation, free will, knowledge and skepticism, and justice and moral obligation. Readings may be drawn from the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophical literature.
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PHIL 1110 : FWS: Philosophy in Practice
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This First-Year Writing Seminar is about using philosophy and everyday life and provides the opportunity to write extensively about these issues.  Topics vary by section.
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PHIL 1111 : FWS: Philosophical Problems
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This First-Year Writing Seminar discusses problems in philosophy and gives the opportunity to write about them.  Topics vary by section.
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PHIL 1112 : FWS: Philosophical Conversations
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This First-Year Writing Seminar offers the opportunity to discuss and write about philosophy.  Topics vary by section.
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PHIL 1450 : Contemporary Moral Issues
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
An introduction to some of the main contemporary moral issues. Topics may, for example, include animal rights, abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, sexual morality, genetic engineering, and questions of welfare and social justice.
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PHIL 1901 : Discussions of Justice
Crosslisted as: GOVT 1901, SOC 1900, GOVT 1901, SOC 1900, GOVT 1901, SOC 1900 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Weekly informal discussion of urgent public issues posed by a central theme, such as inequality, foreign policy and immigration, or challenges to liberty and democracy. Recent public lectures organized by Ethics and Public Life, brief initial presentations by Cornell researchers, or brief debates between participants are typical starting-points for conversations reflecting diverse perspectives.
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PHIL 1910 : Introduction to Cognitive Science
Crosslisted as: COGST 1101, CS 1710, LING 1170, PSYCH 1102 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course provides an introduction to the science of the mind.  Most people have privileged access to one mind, yet this internal experience is often misleading and provides little insight into how minds emerge from physical entities like brains (or other substrates). Instead, an objective, deliberated, and multidisciplinary approach is necessary.  To that end, cognitive science draws on, and integrates, at least five disciplines: Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Linguistics, and Philosophy.  This course provides an introduction to the insights that these disciplines offer cognitive science while introducing students to current understanding of attention, memory, visual perception, learning, problem solving, language comprehension, and consciousness. 
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PHIL 1911 : WIM: Introduction to Cognitive Science
Crosslisted as: COGST 1104, LING 1104, PSYCH 1104 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This section is highly recommended for students who are interested in learning about the topics covered in the main course through writing and discussion. 
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PHIL 1920 : Introduction to Modern Political Theory
Crosslisted as: GOVT 1615 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course offers a survey of modern political theory in the West.  We will examine some of the persistent dilemmas of political modernity and the attempts of several canonical political theorists to respond to them: Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche.  In each case, we will attend to the particular crises these theorists addressed in their work—such as the European wars of religion, the English Civil War, colonialism, the French Revolution, and industrial capitalism—as well as the broader philosophical and political issues they continue to pose to us now.  Our approach will be both historical and conceptual, in other words, with the hopes of providing students with a nuanced but clear understanding of political theory as a distinctive form of political inquiry.
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PHIL 2220 : Modern Philosophy
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
A survey of Western philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries: Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. We focus largely on epistemology (ideas, skepticism, belief, knowledge, science) and metaphysics (bodies, minds, God, causation, natural laws, afterlife, personal identity). Some of the ethical implications of these systems will also be mentioned in passing.
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PHIL 2240 : Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European Thought
Crosslisted as: GOVT 3745 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Survey of European social theory from Hegel to Foucault (via Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, and the Frankfurt School).
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PHIL 2310 : Introduction to Deductive Logic
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Covers sentential languages, the truth-functional connectives, and their logic; first-order languages, the quantifiers "every" and "some," and their logic.
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PHIL 2410 : Ethics
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course is intended to introduce and explore some of the big questions about the content, scope, and nature of morality. The first half of the course will focus on various first-order ethical theories, which offer criteria of morally right action. These will include consequentialist and deontological approaches, and also broadly virtue-theoretic approaches, which place more emphasis on the notion of moral character and/or are critical of focusing exclusively on what one ought to do as opposed to who one ought to be. The second half of the course will examine some of the more abstract questions about the nature of morality which are the province of twentieth-century metaethics. What is the nature of moral properties? Where in the world might they be located? Are they objective, subjective, and/or relative to particular times and places? What is the connection between morality, moral judgments, and being motivated to act morally? Interspersed with these theoretical ethical issues will be more concrete ethical questions about what to do as individuals in an often unjust social world.
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PHIL 2455 : Introduction to Bioethics
Crosslisted as: STS 2451 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Bioethics is the study of ethical problems brought about by advances in the medical field.  Questions we'll discuss may include:  Is it morally permissible to advance a patient's death, at his or her request, to reduce suffering?  Is there a moral dilemma between killing someone and letting someone die?  What ethical issues are raised by advance care planning?  How should the rights of pregnant women be balanced against those of the fetus?  What constitutes informed consent?  Should medical treatment ever be compulsory?  Should parents be given control over the genetic make-up of their children?  Are some forms of human enhancement morally troubling?  Should we aim to be better than well?  How should scarce health care resources or costly therapies be allocated to those in need?  Should organ sales be permitted?  Should doctors or hospitals be permitted to refuse to provide certain medical services that violate their consciences?
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PHIL 2460 : Ethics and the Environment
Crosslisted as: BSOC 2061, STS 2061 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Politicians, scientists, and citizens worldwide face many environmental issues today, but they are neither simple nor straightforward. Moreover, there are many ways to understand how we have, do, and could value the environment from animal rights and wise use to deep ecology and ecofeminism. This class acquaints students with some of the challenging moral issues that arise in the context of environmental management and policy-making, both in the past and the present. Environmental concerns also highlight important economic, epistemological, legal, political, and social issues in assessing our moral obligations to nature as well as other humans. This course examines various perspectives expressed in both contemporary and historical debates over environmental ethics by exploring four central questions: What is nature? Who counts in environmental ethics? How do we know nature? Whose nature?
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PHIL 2621 : Minds and Machines
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Throughout history, metaphors drawn from technology of the time have been proposed to understand how the mind works. While Locke likened the newborn's mind to a blank slate, Freud compared the mind to hydraulic and electro-magnetic systems. More recently, many have endorsed Turing's proposal that the mind is a computer. Why is this idea attractive and what exactly is a computer? Is it at all plausible that the cells of your brain are computing? Could a computer ever really have a mind, beliefs, emotions and conscious experiences? What are these mysterious things anyway? Could a machine ever count as a person and make choices based on its own free will? Is it really so clear that we have this kind of free will?
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PHIL 2941 : Ethics and Society: Aid And Its Consequences
Crosslisted as: ASRC 3333 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
The course looks at the connection between ethics and society.  It does so by focusing on the issues raised by the phenomenon of aid, giving or receiving it, and how we understand and react to it.  We seek to make sense of aid and its place In society.  We explore the ethics of aid from the point of view of philosophy.  We move to working through the implications of aid for (1) the giver; (2) the receiver; (3) the society, local and global; (4) the relations between individuals in a given society with respect to aid and; (5) relations between one society and its members and another society when they engage in aid-related activities.
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PHIL 3252 : Marx as Philosopher
Crosslisted as: GERST 3552 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Marx is often read primarily as an economic and political theorist or even as a social activist. This course will instead cast him as, first and foremost, a philosopher. Beginning with Marx's early encounters with Hegel, we will survey his major published and unpublished works, culminating in volume 1 of Capital. While acknowledging the social, economic, and political aspects of his thought, we will focus on its philosophical underpinnings, methodology, and implications. Our principal themes will be Marx's so-called "dialectical" method of argumentation, materialist theory of history, philosophical anthropology, and theory of value. Supplementary readings may include texts by Hegel, Feuerbach, Bauer, Lukács, Althusser, Bloch, Hyppolite, Miller, Meikle, and Wood.
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PHIL 3300 : The Foundations of Mathematics
Crosslisted as: MATH 3840 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This will be a course on the set theory of Zermelo and Fraenkel: the basic concepts, set-theoretic construction of the Natural, Integral, Rational and Real Numbers, cardinality, and, time permitting, the ordinals.
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PHIL 3900 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
To be taken only in exceptional circumstances. Must be arranged by the student with his or her advisor and the faculty member who has agreed to direct the study.
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PHIL 3930 : Introduction to Indian Philosophy
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3344, CLASS 3674, RELST 3344 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course will survey the rich and sophisticated tradition of Indian philosophical thought from its beginnings in the speculations of Upanishads, surveying debates between Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and materialistic philosophers about the existence and nature of God and of the human soul, the nature of knowledge, and the theory of language.
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PHIL 4002 : Latin Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: LATIN 7262, MEDVL 4002, MEDVL 6020, PHIL 6020, RELST 4100, RELST 6020 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
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PHIL 4003 : German Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: GERST 6131, PHIL 6030 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Reading, translation, and English-language discussion of important texts in the German philosophical tradition. Readings for a given term are chosen in consultation with students.
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PHIL 4110 : Greek Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: GREEK 7161, PHIL 6010 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Greek philosophical texts.
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PHIL 4200 : Topics in Ancient Philosophy
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4662, PHIL 6200 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Advanced discussion of topics in ancient philosophy.
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PHIL 4261 : Topics in 20th C. Philosophy
Crosslisted as: PHIL 6260 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Topic in 20th Century Philosophy.
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PHIL 4620 : Topics in Philosophy of Mind
Crosslisted as: PHIL 6620 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Advanced discussion of a topic in Philosophy of Mind.
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PHIL 4720 : Pragmatics
Crosslisted as: LING 4425, LING 6425, PHIL 6720 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
What is the relationship between what words mean and how they are used? What is part of the grammar and what is a result of general reasoning? Pragmatics is often thought of as the study of how meaning depends on the context of utterance. However, it can be difficult to draw a line between pragmatics and semantics. In this course, we will investigate various topics that walk this line, including varieties of linguistic inference (including entailment, presupposition, and implicature), anaphora, indexicals, and speech acts.
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PHIL 4941 : Locke and the Philosophies of Dispossession: Indigenous America's Interruptions and Resistances
Crosslisted as: AIIS 4200, AIIS 6200, AMST 4220, AMST 6220, PHIL 6941 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course looks at the philosopher John Locke as a philosopher of dispossession. There is a uniquely Lockean mode of missionization, conception of mind and re-formulations of the 'soul' applied to dispossess Indigenous peoples of the social institutions, intellectual traditions and the material bases and practices which sustain(ed) them. While colonization is typically used as a kind of shorthand for this process, we will be attempting to stay focused on the specific dimensions of Lockean dispossession and its mutually informing relationship with English colonialism.
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PHIL 6010 : Greek Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: GREEK 7161, PHIL 4110 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Greek Philosophical texts.
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PHIL 6020 : Latin Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: LATIN 7262, MEDVL 4002, MEDVL 6020, PHIL 4002, RELST 4100, RELST 6020 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
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PHIL 6030 : German Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: GERST 6131, PHIL 4003 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Reading, translation, and English-language discussion of important texts in the German philosophical tradition. Readings for a given term are chosen in consultation with students.
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PHIL 6200 : Topics in Ancient Philosophy
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4662, PHIL 4200 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Advanced discussion of topics in ancient philosophy.
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PHIL 6260 : Topics in 20th C. Philosophy
Crosslisted as: PHIL 4261 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Topic in 20th Century Philosophy.
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PHIL 6410 : Seminar in Ethics and Value Theory
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Graduate seminar covering a topic in ethics and value theory.
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PHIL 6461 : Modern African Political Philosophy
Crosslisted as: ASRC 6220 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
What would happen if, instead of taking an instrumentalist view of the ideas of modern African political thinkers, we consider those ideas as indeed they are, attempts by them to proffer answers to the central questions of political philosophy as those are apprehended in the African context? If we did, we would end up with a robust, sophisticated discourse properly denominated 'Modern African Political Philosophy' in which we recognize, possibly celebrate and, ultimately, assess the quality of answers that African thinkers have provided.   In this Seminar, we shall be reading original works by African thinkers and do so in the context of modern political philosophy.  Participants in the course will work to create critical literature in response to these works as part of a more general effort to begin to create secondary resources in this relatively unexplored area of scholarship about Africa.  Each participant will be expected to produce a final piece that can be a candidate for, minimally, presentation at a learned conference and, maximally, publication in a journal. This is a seminar that is absolutely focused on intellectual production by its participants under the direction of the instructor.
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PHIL 6620 : Topics in Philosophy of Mind
Crosslisted as: PHIL 4620 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Advanced discussion of a topic in Philosophy of Mind.
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PHIL 6640 : Metaphysics
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Graduate seminar covering a topic in Metaphysics.
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PHIL 6720 : Pragmatics
Crosslisted as: LING 4425, LING 6425, PHIL 4720 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
What is the relationship between what words mean and how they are used?  What is part of the grammar and what is a result of general reasoning?  Pragmatics is often thought of as the study of how meaning depends on the context of utterance.  However, it can be difficult to draw a line between pragmatics and semantics.  In this course, we will investigate various topics that walk this line, including varieties of linguistic inference including entailment, presupposition, and implicature), anaphora, indexicals, and speech acts.
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PHIL 6941 : Locke and the Philosophies of Dispossession: Indigenous America's Interruptions and Resistances
Crosslisted as: AIIS 4200, AIIS 6200, AMST 4220, AMST 6220, PHIL 4941 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course looks at the philosopher John Locke as a philosopher of dispossession. There is a uniquely Lockean mode of missionization, conception of mind and re-formulations of the 'soul' applied to dispossess Indigenous peoples of the social institutions, intellectual traditions and the material bases and practices which sustain(ed) them. While colonization is typically used as a kind of shorthand for this process, we will be attempting to stay focused on the specific dimensions of Lockean dispossession and its mutually informing relationship with English colonialism.
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Description