Spring 2020 Graduate Courses

February 1 to May 7, 2021

UB is committed to protecting the health and safety of the UB community while remaining focused on our academic, research and community service mission. Ensuring the safety of the entire campus community is paramount as we evolve our response to the COVID-​19 pandemic and implement our return to campus plans.​Accordingly, this Spring in the Department of Philosophy all graduate courses will be delivered remotely​.

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PHI 528 Philosophy of Language

Dr. David Braun
Monday, 1:00 PM – 3:40 PM
Delivery mode – online: real time and recorded
Class #: 24374

We will discuss attitudes and attitude ascriptions: for example, belief and belief ascriptions, and desire and desire ascriptions. This will be an advanced course in philosophy of language. It will be open to matriculated graduate students in philosophy. All others must have the instructors permission to enroll.

PHI 556 Special Topics: Adam Smith on Moral Sentiment

Dr. Lewis Powell
Wednesday, 1:00 PM – 3:40 PM
Delivery mode – online: real time and recorded
Class #: 22475

Though it is frequently overshadowed by his better known “Wealth of Nations,” Adam Smith’s “Theory of Moral Sentiments” was a significant contribution to early modern philosophy of emotion, moral theory, and social/political philosophy.  In this course, we will be focusing primarily on this text (though we will also read some additional primary and secondary sources), in order to better understand Smith’s views, and their place in the history of the early modern period.

PHI 634 Relativism and Antirealism in Philosophy

Dr. James Beebe
Friday, 1:00 PM – 3:40 PM
Delivery mode – online: real time and recorded
Class #: 24820

This course will examine various forms of relativism and antirealism in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. In particular, we will discuss indexical relativism and truth relativism in ethics and epistemology and will briefly look at expressivism in both domains. In the philosophy of science, we will examine instrumentalism and (to a lesser extent) constructivism.  Each of these views takes some important domain of statements to have truth values that vary across contexts or to fail to have truth values in any straightforward sense.  Thus, in one way or another, they either deny that these statements are objectively true or false or take them to have truth values in ways that conflict with more traditional forms of realism.

Courses like Introduction to Philosophy or Introduction to Ethics often present simplistic and implausible forms of relativism or antirealism early in the semester as perspectives that need to be decisively refuted before serious philosophical discussion and learning can begin.  However, the forms of relativism and antirealism mentioned above are all viewed as serious philosophical contenders by researchers in these areas.  There is thus a mismatch between the way these views are often treated in survey courses and how they are treated in scholarly debate.  If they are reasons to give serious consideration to well-developed versions of these views in philosophical research, there should be reasons to give them serious consideration in the classroom as well, which is what we will do.  We can obtain a proper understanding of what realism in ethics, epistemology, or philosophy of science is and what reasons there are for endorsing realism only if we have a good understanding of the kinds of genuine alternatives realism should be contrasted with.

We will probably read Relativism by Maria Baghramian and Annalisa Coliva (Routledge, 2020) and either Resisting Scientific Realism by K. Brad Wray (Cambridge, 2018) or The Instrument of Science: Scientific Anti-Realism Revitalised by Darrell P. Rowbottom (Routledge, 2019), together with some other articles.  A final decision about course readings will be made at a later date.

PHI 634 Topics in Metaphysics & Epistemology: Social Ontology

Dr. Neil Williams
Tuesday, 1:00 PM – 3:40 PM
Delivery mode – online: real time and recorded
Class #: 24378

This course will consider some of the metaphysical issues arising from the social realm, including social kinds, social powers, and various social categories we apply.

Individual Graduate Tutorial Course Sections

See HUB Registration for Individual Tutorial Course Sections with Philosophy Department faculty to be arranged with permission of instructor:

PHI 599 Graduate Tutorials (Arranged with Professor)

PHI 702 Master’s Thesis Guidance (Arranged with Professor)

PHI 704 Dissertation Guidance (Arranged with Professor)