Graduate Courses

2016 Fall Semester

SPCL 7024: Neuroscience and the Law (Hardcastle)
T, TH - 5:00 PM - 6:25 PM - 100A

  • What are adolescents, psychopaths, and white-collar fraud artists thinking? Why does emotional trauma for victims of abuse last so long? Why is eyewitness memory so poor? Do violent video games lead to violent children? Lawyers and courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, are already integrating neuroscience research into their arguments and opinions on questions such as these. This Neuroscience and the Law course will introduce the exciting new field of “neurolaw” by covering issues such as the neuroscience of criminal culpability, brain-based lie detection, emotions, decision making, and much more. How the legal system can and should respond to new insights on topics such as adolescent brain development, addiction, psychopathy, Alzheimer’s, the effects of combat on soldiers’ brains, and concussions from sports injuries will be discussed and analyzed. (Note that all scientific material in the class will be presented in an accessible manner; no previous science background is required or assumed.) Graduate students from other colleges at UC may join the class. 

PHIL 7040: Philosophy of Language (Langland-Hassan)
Monday - 2:00 PM - 4:20 PM - McMicken 210

  • This course is a graduate-level survey of 20th and 21st Century work in the philosophy of language.  We will focus on classics that continue to have a bearing on contemporary debates.  

PHIL 8072: Philosophical Foundations of Sociology of Knowledges (McEvoy)
Tuesday - 2:00 PM - 4:20 PM - McMicken 210

  • Explores a range of philosophical issues generated by the program of the sociology of knowledge for replacing philosophical with scientific analyses of science and its historical development. Sociological naturalism replaces normative theories of the rationality of science with descriptive accounts of the formation of scientific beliefs and the behavior of scientists. 

PHIL 8080: Ethical Theory (Carbonell)
Wednesday - 2:00 PM - 4:20 PM - McMicken 210 

  • Consequentialism is the view that the morally right action or policy is the one with the best consequences or outcome. Utilitarianism is the most famous consequentialist view. In its classical form, it holds that outcomes should be ranked by how much they contribute to the welfare or wellbeing of all those affected, where this is understood as consisting in a net balance of pleasures and pains (“hedonism”). Although most students are exposed to this theory via Enlightenment-era thinkers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, utilitarian thought has been traced as far back as Mo Tzu (420 B.C.) and continues to be influential in the present moment in the form of the “Effective Altruism” movement. Utilitarianism is a locus of passionate philosophical disagreement: many of its proponents find it to be obviously and deeply correct, while many of its opponents find it to be obviously and deeply misguided. Over a century of sophisticated debate has not resolved their dispute. Examining this controversial theory sheds light on perplexing and foundational questions about ethics and its role in our lives. In this seminar we will read both historical and contemporary utilitarians and their critics. In addition to philosophical texts, we will read journalist Larissa MacFarquhar’s account of ordinary people pushing the boundaries of moral accomplishment and consider its implications for moral theory.

2015 Fall Semester

PHIL7002: Aristotle (Jost)

An advanced examination of the main philosophical contributions of Aristotle.

PHIL8031: Topics Metaphysics (Biener)

Advanced topics in metaphysics; consult the instructor for further details.

PHIL 8051: Contemporary Philosophy of Mind (Langland-Hassan)

An examination of recent work in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.