Jason D. Benchimol
A study of philosophical topics at the advanced level. Topics vary.
Topic: Free Will and Moral Responsibility.
It's fair to say that most people go through their daily lives under a mostly unexamined assumption that they (unlike, say, tables, golf balls, and many other non-human animals) have something called free will. This course is intended to raise some rather serious philosophical questions about this assumption.
Relatedly, most, if not all of us, go about our daily lives thinking it is quite often appropriate to judge ourselves and others morally responsible for much of what we do and are. Unlike tables, golf balls, and many other non-human animals, people seem to be fit targets of such distinctly moral forms of evaluation as praising and blaming. In this course, you'll have plenty of opportunities to consider whether it really is appropriate to evaluate people like this.
This course is designed for philosophy majors who have some experience reading advanced philosophy papers and writing longer philosophical essays. The course is not designed for students who are relatively new to philosophy. Students should not enroll unless they have completed at least three philosophy courses at the 100- or 200-level, as well as one writing-intensive philosophy course at the 300 level or higher prior to Spring quarter. Previous philosophy coursework in ethical theory (Phil 240 or Phil 440), metaphysics (Phil 356 or Phil 456), philosophy of law (Phil 114 or Phil 314) or moral psychology is very strongly recommended.
TEXT: No Textbook Required. All readings will be delivered electronically.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading