Philosophy 20                                                                                                                                     W. Lycan
Spring, 2001                                                                                                                                        M. Bauer
                                                                                                                                                          M. Bell
                                                                                                                                                          G. Dowell
                                                                                                                                                          N. Lawrence


J. Feinberg and R. Shafer-Landau (eds.), Reason and Responsibility, Tenth Edition (Wadsworth).

Office hours and e-mail

Lycan: T 1:30 - 4:00, or by appointment; Caldwell Hall 215B.  Web site:
Bauer:  MW 11:00-12:00, or by appointment; Caldwell Hall 205.
Bell:  F 10:15-12:15, or by appointment; Caldwell Hall 107B.
Dowell:  M 10:00-11:00, W 1:00-2:00, or by appointment; Caldwell 205.
Lawrence:  MF 10:00-11:00, or by appointment; Caldwell 206C.

Course organization and assignments

On Mondays and Wednesdays there will be lecture.  On Fridays, beginning January 19, we will break up into our discussion sections.

There will be two 4-page papers, with a rewrite of the first, counting 35% each, and a final (20%).  The remaining 10% is for degree of participation.  Occasionally we will have little ungraded exercises.


January 10, 12:  What philosophy is.  The question of freedom and responsibility.  Reading:  B.F. Skinner, “Beyond Freedom and Dignity.”

January 17:  Freedom and responsibility, continued.  Friday: Sections beginReading:  Paul Holbach, “The Illusion of Free Will”; C.A. Campbell, “Has the Self ‘Free Will’?”

Week of January 22:  Compatibilism.  Reading:  A.J. Ayer, “Freedom and Necessity”; Walter T. Stace, “The Problem of Free Will.”

Week of January 29:  Knowledge and skepticism.  Reading:  René Descartes, Meditation I (pp. 151-154); John Pollock, “A Brain in a Vat.”

Week of February 5:  Responses to the skeptic; certainty and the mental.  Friday: Paper #1 due in sectionReading:  Descartes, Meditation II (pp. 154-158).

Week of February 12:  The Pragmatist position.  Reading:  Charles Sanders Peirce, “The Fixation of Belief,” “Some Consequences of Four Incapacities.”

Week of February 19:  The mind-body problem.  Reading:  Jerome A Shaffer, “The Subject of Consciousness.”

Week of February 26:  The mind-body problem, continued.  Reading: Paul M. Churchland, “Behaviorism, Materialism and Functionalism.”

Week of March 5:  The special problem of qualia.  Wednesday: Rewrite of Paper #1 dueNo sections Friday. Reading: Frank Jackson, “The Qualia Problem.”

Spring Break (wine, significant others, and song).

Week of March 19:  Personal identity and survival.  Reading: Terence Penelhum, “Survival: The Problem of Identity”; Daniel C. Dennett, “Where Am I?”

Week of March 26:  The existence of God.  Cosmological arguments. Reading:  Saint Thomas Aquinas, “The Five Ways”; Samuel Clarke, “A Modern Formulation of the Cosmological Argument.”

Week of April 2:  The Argument from Design.  Reading:  William Paley, “The Argument from Design.”

Week of April 9:  The problem of evil and suffering.  Wednesday: Paper #2 dueNo sections Friday (Good Friday holiday).  Reading:  David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Parts X and XI (pp. 64-74).

Week of April 16:  Moral right and wrong.  The Utilitarian theory.  Reading: John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, Chapters 1 and 2.

Week of April 23:  Moral motivation:  Egoism, selfishness, and altruism.  Reading: Joel Feinberg, “Psychological Egoism”; Ayn Rand, “The Ethics of Emergencies”; James Rachels, “Ethical Egoism,” Peter Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality.”

April 30:  Moral questions, continued.  May 2: Review session.

Final exam, Friday, May 4, 8:00 a.m.

Honor code

    The Chancellor has asked faculty to include the following statement in all course syllabi.

    The Honor Code prohibits lying, cheating or stealing when these actions involve academic processes or University, student or academic personnel acting in an official capacity.  The Campus Code requires students to conduct themselves in such ways as not to impair the welfare or the educational opportunities of others in the University community.  As a UNC student, you have accepted a commitment to the Honor Code and the Campus Code, and the principles of academic integrity, personal honesty, and responsible citizenship on which they were founded more than 100 years ago.
    Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable, because it circumvents the purpose of the University's life and work.  As a faculty member, I have a responsibility to report any possible Honor Code violations to the Student Attorney General.  I trust that you will join me in supporting the Honor Code by signing the Honor Pledge on all written work, and by consulting me if you are uncertain about your responsibilities within this course.
We endorse this statement emphatically.  Thank you.