Kursbeskrivning meddelas senare

Lärare: Andrew Reisner
Inriktning: Praktisk
Nivå: C

The Metaphysics of Margaret Cavendish

The poet, playwright, science-fiction author, and philosopher Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673) was the first woman to develop her philosophical system in a series of treatises, which she had published between 1655 and 1668. A Royalist driven abroad by the English Civil War, Cavendish attended to Queen Henrietta Maria in Paris; later lived in Antwerp's Rubenshuis with her husband William, a patron of Hobbes, a correspondent of Descartes, and an interlocutor of many other leading lights; and became the first woman to visit the Royal Society in 1667, only a year after she had published a withering critique of microscopy and other experimental methods popular amongst the members of the Royal Society. Cavendish was thus well-exposed to the intellectual currents of her day, but her philosophy fell immediately into disrepute. It has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves.

The focus here will be on some questions in Cavendish's metaphysics. Cavendish held that nature is an infinite, unified substance composed of three types of matter: inanimate matter, sensitive animate matter, and rational animate matter. Making sense of her accounts of causation and substance given her commitments about the features of these three types of matter constitutes the main work of the course. The material covered here is to be the basis of a new monograph on Cavendish, which is to be completed by yours truly over the next few years under the auspices of a grant from the Research Foundation - Flanders.

Lärare: Jonathan Shaheen
Inriktning: Teoretisk och praktisk
Nivå: C och M

Fiction, Literature and Narrative

Kursbeskrivning meddelas senare

Lärare: Peter Lamarque
Inriktning: Estetik
Nivå: M

Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Science and philosophy relate in a number of ways: Besides using results from the sciences in their arguments, philosophers also analyze and critique the arguments that led to these results. This course provides and overview of these relations. We will discuss the problem of induction—“the glory of science and the scandal of philosophy”—, the confirmation of scientific theories, the question of the reality of theoretical objects, the reduction between theories, the role of values in science, and more.

Lärare: Sebastian Lutz
Inriktning: Teoretisk
Nivå: B

Konstens ursprung: natur eller kultur?

Målet för kursen är att få större förståelse för huruvida konsten enbart är en kulturell produkt eller om den (också) är ett uttryck för något som är en del av människans säregna natur. Vi angriper den centrala frågeställningen tvärvetenskapligt, d.v.s. vi studerar problematiken runt konstens ursprung inte enbart från en filosofisk och historisk vinkel utan även från antropologiska, evolutionärteoretiska, psykologiska och neurologiska perspektiv. Hur kan dessa empiriska tillvägagångssätt bidra till vår förståelse av varför konsten finns och vilken roll den spelar i våra liv? Har konsten en egen kognitiv funktion eller är den endast en s.k. biprodukt i människans utveckling?

Vi undersöker bland annat följande frågor: vad lär grottkonsten oss om hur vår kapacitet för symboliskt tänkande utvecklades?; hur förklarar vi varför olika kulturer värderar bl.a. symmetri, proportion, regelbundna mönster, m.m.?; på vilket sätt kan neurologiska studier av hur hjärnan reagerar när vi lyssnar på musik eller ser på bildkonst förse oss med insikter om vad som skiljer konstupplevelser från vanliga perceptuella upplevelser?; varför känner vi empati för fiktiva karaktärer?

Lärare: Elisabeth Schellekens Dammann
Inriktning: Estetik
Nivå: C och M

Personal Identity

This course examines three main areas of personal identity. First, what kind of thing is a human person? In particular, how are you related, metaphysically speaking, to the human animal that you see in the mirror? Second, what are the criteria of personal identity over time? Does a person persist by virtue of psychological continuity, biological continuity, or something else? Third, what is the normative relevance of the metaphysics of personal identity? For example, what relevance does it have for moral responsibility, abortion ethics, and “impersonal” moral theories such as utilitarianism? The course focuses on the contemporary debate on these issues.

Lärare: Jens Johansson
Inriktning: Praktisk och teoretisk
Nivå: C och M

The Philosophy of Art Criticism

The figure of the critic and the idea of criticism are constant points of reference in the philosophy of art. From Hume’s use of the ideal critic (or true judge) to Monroe Beardsley’s identification of aesthetics with the philosophy of criticism, the notion of some form of well-grounded appreciation and aesthetic expertise has loomed large in the literature on aesthetics. That said, there are widely differing views about what criticism of the arts consists of, or should consist of. Should art criticism aim actively to evaluate its object or only to describe it? Does the critic strive to justify her observations, or is she occupied mainly with getting her reader to see or hear what she herself sees or hears? Is art criticism fundamentally an interpretative exercise?

This course will take stock of the main contrasting conceptions of arts criticism as well as explore possibilities for revisionary approaches to the subject. It will also aim at taking a closer look at the practice of criticism, both in journalistic and academic contexts. Examination will be on the basis of a practical assignment (a written review), an oral presentation, and a formal essay.

Lärare: Guy Dammann
Inriktning: Estetik
Nivå: C och M

Recent Work on Disagreement

Disagreement is a central concept in many philosophical discussions. It provides the point of departure of a familiar argument against the idea that moral judgments can be objectively true, but similar arguments have been advanced also in other philosophical areas. Disagreement is taken to generate philosophical implications partly because it is supposed to motivate doubts about, or reduced confidence in, those of our convictions that are contested, at least in so far as our opponents are not less well equipped than us in terms of availability of evidence, reasoning skills, and so on. The purpose of the course is to examine various arguments to that effect, as well as the more fundamental views about knowledge, truth and epistemic justification that those arguments rely upon. We shall specifically focus on ideas, positions and arguments that have emerged in recent discussions. To illustrate the various arguments and positions that are to be examined we shall use example both from philosophical and from non-philosophical contexts.

Lärare: Folke Tersman och Don Loeb, The University of Vermont
Inriktning: Praktisk och teoretisk
Nivå: C, M och doktorand

Taste, Fun, Beauty

This course will be concerned with predicates of personal taste, such “tasty,” “funny,” and “beautiful.” We will study debates mainly within philosophy of language, but will also consider issues that connect to aesthetics and other areas of philosophy. A major part of this course will be the opposition between so-called contextualism and relativism about evaluative discourse. We will look at the central debates over how to understand disagreement over things like taste, fun, and beauty. 

Lärare: Andreas Stokke
Inriktning: Teoretisk och praktisk
Nivå: C och M