1. Introduction to Course
Required Reading: N/A
Video: School of Life, What is Philosophy for?
Audio: Philosophy Bites, What is Philosophy?
Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Fallacies
Note: Most relevant to the class are Sections 1 & 2, but sections 3 & 4 are very interesting.
Text Supplement: Useful List of Fallacies
2. Agrippa’s Trilemma
Required Reading: Harald Thorsrud, Ancient Greek Skepticism, Section 3
Reading: A. J. Ayer, What is Knowledge?
Video: Jennifer Nagel, The Problem of Skepticism
Video: Steve Patterson, The Logic Behind the Infinite Regress
3. The Advancement of Knowledge
Required Reading: Lorraine Daston, The Empire of Observation, 1600-1800
Reading: Francis Bacon, Novum Organum
See in particular Book II.
Video: 60Second Philosophy, Who is Francis Bacon?
Required Reading: René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (Note: Read only Meditation I & II.)
Reading: Michael Williams (2004), Scepticism and the Context of Philosophy
Video: Crash Course, Cartesian Skepticism
Video: Nick Bostrom, The Simulation Argument
Netflix: The interested student should also watch "Hang the DJ" (Episode 4, Season 4) of the Netflix series Black Mirror.
5. Empiricism v Rationalism
Required Reading: John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Reading: Matt McCormick, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Immanuel Kant: Metaphysics.
Note: Most relevant are sections 1 and 2.
Video : Crash Course, Locke, Berkeley, and Empiricism
6. Aquinas and the Razor
Required Reading: Gordon Leff, The Fourteenth Century and the Decline of Scholasticism
Reading: Theodore Gracyk, Aquinas and the Five Ways
Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Ockham
Note: Read Sections 1, 2, and 6
Reading: William Cecil Dampier, Chapter 2 of A HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND ITS RELATIONS WITH PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Reading: Frank Thilly, Chapter 30-33 of A History of Philosophy
Video: Crash Course, Aquinas and the Cosmological Argument
7. The Problem of Evil (Part I)
Required Reading: Marilyn McCord Adams, Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God
Reading: Jeff Speaks, Speaks on Mackie
Reading: Peter Van Inwagen, The Problem of Evil
Note: This is a series of lectures for the interested student. Most relevant to the course is Lecture I.
Video: Crash Course, The Problem of Evil
Reading: Burt Solomon, The Tragic Futility of World War I
Reading: Brian Frydenborg, The Urgent Lessons of World War I
8. Pascal’s Wager
Required Reading: Alan Hájek, Pascal’s Wager (Note: Focus primarily on sections 1, 4, & 5.)
Note: In this lecture, we utilize decision theory to assess Pascal's argument. Here is an introduction to decision theory.
Video: TED, Dan Gilbert: Why We Make Bad Decisions
9. The Problem of Evil (Part II)
Required Reading: N/A
Reading: John Mackie, Evil and Omnipotence
Video: Bart Ehrman, God and the Problem of Suffering
Note. Bart Ehrman is a biblical scholar. His personal website is here.
1. Laplace’s Demon
Required Reading: A.J. Ayer, Freedom and Necessity
Reading: Pamela Huby, The First Discovery of the Freewill Problem
Reading: Ian Hacking, Nineteenth Century Cracks in the Concept of Determinism
Video: Big Think, Michio Kaku: Why Physics Ends the Free Will Debate
Video: Scene from Waking Life
Video: Crash Course, Determinism vs Free Will
Video: Closer to Truth, Do Humans Have Free Will?
Reading: Susan Wolf, Asymmetrical Freedom
Reading: Shaun Nichols, The Rise of Compatibilism
2. The Person and The Situation
Required Reading: Richard Nisbett and Timothy Wilson, Telling More Than We Can Know
Video: Think 101, Know Thyself?
The full episode of Think 101 can be found here.
Reading: David Bourget and David Chalmers, What Philosophers Believe
Reading: Mark Balaguer, A Coherent, Naturalistic, and Plausible Formulation of Libertarian Free Will
Reading: Michael Shermer, Exorcising Laplace's Demon: Chaos and Antichaos, History and Metahistory
Note: This essay defends a chaotic model of historical sequences via giving a specific example of nonlinear history. The author concludes that we need not worry about Laplace's demon since “it was always a chimera.”
3. The Mind’s I
Required Reading: Plato, The Republic, Book II
Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Egoism, Sections 1 & 2
Video: The School of Life, POLITICAL THEORY: Thomas Hobbes
Reading: Thomas Hobbes, On the Social Contract
Reading: Plato, The Republic, Book IX
4. Eyes in the Sky
Required Reading: Steven Cahn, God and Morality
Video: CrashCourse, Divine Command Theory
Reading: Michael Austin, IEP Entry for Divine Command Theory
Reading: Plato, Euthyphro
Video: Transliminal, Interview of Ara Norenzayan
5. Virtues and Vices
Required Reading: Julia Annas, Virtue Ethics
Note: Read at least pages 1-14.
Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Reading: Aristotle, Virtues and Vices
Reading: Virginia Held, The Ethics of Care
Video: The School of Life, Aristotle
6. Patterns of Culture
Required Reading: Gilbert Harman, Moral Relativism Explained
Reading: Theodore Gracyk, Relativism Overview
Note: A common analogy used by relativists is the language analogy: Moral systems vary as widely as language systems. This video introduces the viewer to some core concepts in linguistics.
Related Video: The School of Life, Michel Foucault
Reading: James Rachels, The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
Reading: Kenneth Taylor, How to be a Relativist
Note: This is a novel, psycho-functional approach to relativism. It is also a very challenging read.
Video: Common Sense Society, Roger Scruton on Moral Relativism
7. The Kingdom of Ends
Reading: Christine Korsgaard, Kant's Formula of Universal Law
Reading: Tim Jankowiak, IEP Entry to Immanuel Kant, Section on Moral Theory
Video: Crash Course, Kant & Categorical Imperatives
Reading: Robert Johnson and Adam Cureton, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Kant’s Moral Philosophy, Section 10
Note: This section stresses Kant’s argument that freedom must be a necessary idea of reason. This notion is the strongest link to Kant’s first major work of his critical philosophy, Critique of Pure Reason.
Reading: Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals
8. The Trolley
Required Reading: John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
(Note: Read chapters I & II.)
Reading: IEP, Entry on Utilitarianism, Section 3
Video: Julia Markovits, Ethics: Utilitarianism, Part 2
Video: Crash Course, Utilitarianism
9. The Mind Spreads Itself
Required Reading: John Mackie, The Subjectivity of Values
Reading: Richard Joyce, Moral Anti-realism vs. Realism: Explanatory Power
Reading: Richard Joyce, Moral Objectivity and Moral Relativism
Reading: Tom Regan, Some Ways to Not Answer Moral Questions
Video: Crash Course, Metaethics
1. 2 + 2 = 4(?)
Video: Closer to Truth, Is Mathematics Eternal?
Video: Closer to Truth, Is Mathematics Invented or Discovered?
Reading: Paul Lockhart, A Mathematician’s Lament
2. The Master
3. The Mind/Body Problem
Required Reading: Andy Clark, Some Backdrop: Dualism, Behaviorism, Functionalism, and Beyond
Note: This file includes the Introduction, Appendix, and Chapter 1 of Andy Clark’s book Mindware. The required reading is the Introduction and the Appendix. However, Chapter 1 may be of interest to some students.
Video: Closer to Truth, Dan Dennett
4. Universal Machines
Required Reading: Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence
Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Functionalism
Note: Most relevant to class are the Introduction as well as Sections 1 & 2.
Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on The Turing Test
Video: TED-Ed, The Turing Test
Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO COMPUTERISATION?
Richard Berriman and John Hawksworth, Will robots steal our jobs? The potential impact of automation on the UK and other major economies
The interested student can also visit Will Robots Take My Job?
5. The Chinese Room
Required Reading: John Searle, Minds, Brains and Programs
Reading: Allen Newell and Herbert Simon, Computer Science as Empirical Enquiry: Symbols and Search
Video: Closer to Truth, John Searle
Supplementary Video: 60-Second Adventures in Thought, The Chinese Room
Reading: David L. Anderson, Searle and the Chinese Room
Video: ELIZA, Computer Therapist
ELIZA is a computer program that emulates a Rogerian psychotherapist written by Joseph Weizenbaum.
SHRDLU is a program for understanding natural language, written by Terry Winograd at the M.I.T. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1968-70.
6. The Turing Test
Required Reading: Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence
Related Reading: Vincent Müller and Nick Bostrom, Future Progress in Artificial Intelligence: A Survey of Expert Opinion
Video: Talks at Google, Ray Kurzweil: "How to Create a Mind"
Reading: Vally Koubi and David Lalman, Distribution of Power and Military R&D
Note: The central finding of this article is that the intensity of military R&D is higher when a dominant nation faces a potential challenger. The implication is that both the governments of the US and of China might have interest in exploring machine superintelligence given the recent resurgence of China.
The interested student can also read Graham Allison’s Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
Also, here is an interview of Graham Allison.
Video: Crash Course, Buddha and Ashoka
8. The Labyrinth
Video: New College of the Humanities, Simon Blackburn on David Hume
Video: BBC, Philosophy Overdose, David Hume
9. The Circular Ruins
Required Reading: N/A
Reading: G.A. Cohen, Deeper into Bullshit
Reading: Bertrand Russell, The Value of Philosophy
Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Coherentism in Epistemology
Video: The Ideas of Quine
Video: Oxbridge Philosophy— John Cleese and Jonathan Miller
Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Rudolf Carnap
Reading: Jordi Cat, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Otto Neurath