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
Required Reading: Harald Thorsrud, Ancient Greek Skepticism, Section 3
Video: Jennifer Nagel, The Problem of Skepticism
Reading: A. J. Ayer, What is Knowledge?
Video: Steve Patterson, The Logic Behind the Infinite Regress
Required Reading: Lorraine Daston, The Empire of Observation, 1600-1800
Video: 60Second Philosophy, Who is Francis Bacon?
Reading: Francis Bacon, Novum Organum
See in particular Book II.
Reading: Jürgen Klein, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Francis Bacon
Required Reading: René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (Note: Read only Meditation I & II.)
Video: Crash Course, Cartesian Skepticism
Reading: Michael Williams (2004), Scepticism and the Context of Philosophy
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.
Required Reading: John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Video : Crash Course, Locke, Berkeley, and Empiricism
Reading: Matt McCormick, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Immanuel Kant: Metaphysics.
Note: Most relevant are sections 1 and 2.
Reading: Peter Markie, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Rationalism vs. Empiricism
Required Reading: Gordon Leff, The Fourteenth Century and the Decline of Scholasticism
Video: Crash Course, Aquinas and the Cosmological Argument
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
Required Reading: Marilyn McCord Adams, Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God
Video: Crash Course, The Problem of Evil
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.
Reading: Burt Solomon, The Tragic Futility of World War I
Reading: Brian Frydenborg, The Urgent Lessons of World War I
Required Reading: Alan Hájek, Pascal’s Wager (Note: Focus primarily on sections 1, 4, & 5.)
Video: Crash Course, Indiana Jones and Pascal’s Wager
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
Reading: Katie Steele and H. Orri Stefánsson, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Decision Theory
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.
Required Reading: A.J. Ayer, Freedom and Necessity
Video: Crash Course, Determinism vs Free Will
Video: Big Think, Michio Kaku: Why Physics Ends the Free Will Debate
Video: Scene from Waking Life
Video: Closer to Truth, Do Humans Have Free Will?
Reading: Pamela Huby, The First Discovery of the Freewill Problem
Reading: Ian Hacking, Nineteenth Century Cracks in the Concept of Determinism
Reading: Susan Wolf, Asymmetrical Freedom
Reading: Shaun Nichols, The Rise of Compatibilism
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
Note: Read from 357a to 367e.
Video: The School of Life, POLITICAL THEORY: Thomas Hobbes
Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Egoism, Sections 1 & 2
Reading: Thomas Hobbes, On the Social Contract
Reading: Plato, The Republic, Book IX
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
Required Reading: Julia Annas, Virtue Ethics
Note: Read at least pages 1-14.
Video: The School of Life, Aristotle
Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Reading: Aristotle, Virtues and Vices
Reading: Virginia Held, The Ethics of Care
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
Video: Crash Course, Kant & Categorical Imperatives
Video: Marianne Talbot, Deontology: Kant, duty and the moral law
Reading: Christine Korsgaard, Kant's Formula of Universal Law
Reading: Tim Jankowiak, IEP Entry to Immanuel Kant, Section on Moral Theory
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
Required Reading: N/A
1. 2 + 2 = 4(?)
Required Reading: Mark Balaguer, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Platonism in Metaphysics Sections 1, 2, 3, and 4.1
Reading; Mark Balaguer, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Fictionalism in the Philosophy of Mathematics
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
Required Reading: Plato, Book VIII of the Republic
Appendix A: Plato on Math
Reading: Plato, The Allegory of the Cave
Video: School of Life, Plato and the Forms
Reading: Richard Kraut, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Plato
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.
Reading: Howard Robinson, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on Dualism, Section 1.1
Video: Closer to Truth, John Searle—Solutions to the Mind-Body Problem?
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.
Link: Nick Bostrom’s Home Page
Note: The interested student can find several of Bostrom’s publications and working papers here. Of interest may be his Vulnerable World Hypothesis.
Required Reading: Mark Siderits, Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction, Chapter 2
Note: This PDF includes chapters 2 and 3. Only chapter 2 is required reading, but some students may also have interest in chapter 3.
Video: Crash Course, Buddha and Ashoka
Video: The School of Life, EASTERN PHILOSOPHY - The Buddha
Reading: Thomas Metzinger, The No-Self Alternative
Reading: Olaf Blanke and Thomas Metzinger, Full-body illusions and minimal phenomenal selfhood
Book: Mark Siderits, Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction
Note: Students interested in Buddhism would do well to read (at least) the first three chapters of this book.
Book: T. R. V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism
Note: This is a more advanced study of Buddhism.
8. The Labyrinth
Required Reading: William Edward Morris and Charlotte R. Brown, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entry on David Hume Sections 3, 4, and 5
Video: New College of the Humanities, Simon Blackburn on David Hume
Video: BBC, Philosophy Overdose, David Hume
Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Coherentism in Epistemology
Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Rudolf Carnap
Reading: Jordi Cat, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Entry on Otto Neurath
Video: The Ideas of Quine
9. The Circular Ruins
Required Reading: Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins