Post Grad 2015
1. Race and Racism (Prof W. Jones) Semester Course
What are races? Are they biological? Are they social entities? What role do they play in our lives? What is the relationship between the nature of races and racism? In this course, we will look at some interesting and challenging new work, mostly from America, on the metaphysics of race. The aim of this course is for you to come to grips with yourself as a racial being, to form your own informed ideas about what it means to live in a world in which people are raced and treat each other as raced.
2. Moral Psychology (Prof Marius Vermaak)
Moral psychology is the study of psychological mechanisms and processes underlying ethics and morality.
This paper is a continuation of the work done in the Philosophy 3 essay for Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics on the issueof Character & Situation.
We will read classical, modern and contemporary philosophical and psychological discussions of some of the following: Reason & Passion; Altruism & Egoism; Agency & Responsibility; Moral Intuitions.
Handouts will be available. The recommended text is: Nadelhoffer, Nahmias & Nichols (eds.), Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) [Short Loan]
3. The Aim of Belief (Dr. Richard Flockemann)
Suppose I offer you R500 to believe right now that the paper on which this is written is bright pink. Can you do it?
I’m betting you can’t. While you are capable of saying that the paper is bright pink, or acting as if it is bright pink, you can’t truthfully believe that it is bright pink. Beliefs simply aren’t the sort of things we can simply decide to have at will. While we are more than capable of deciding to act or say certain things, we can’t just decide to believe something that is not true.
This puzzling feature lead Bernard Williams to famously declare that beliefs, unlike intentions, aim at truth. This course is aimed primarily at coming to grips with what this means, and assessing whether it is true. Some of the questions we’ll look at include the following: Is this aim distinctive of belief? What is the relation between the aim of belief and the epistemic norms that determine how we ought to believe? Does the fact that we have no direct control over what we believe mean that we can’t be held responsible for our beliefs? Does this aim tell us anything interesting about the kind of mental state a belief is? Does belief really aim at truth, or does it aim at knowledge? Does the act of expressing our beliefs (assertion) have an analogous aim?
Semester 2 Courses
4. Scholastic Metaphysics (Mr. Francis Williamson) Semester Course
This course involves a close reading of Edward Feser's new book Scholastic Metaphysics (editiones scholasticae 2014), which seeks to bring the classical Aristotelean metaphysics of especially Aquinas to bear on some contemporary metaphysical issues. The aim is work our way into the scholastic and medieval frame of mind in order to better assess its relevance for contemporary philosophy.
5: to be announced (pending appointment)
6: to be announced (pending appointment)