Courses and Student Information
This page includes some links that may be of general student interest, and information on courses I teach this year for Fall, Winter and Spring. Course documents are added as they become available. For descriptions and materials from prior offerings, see past courses.
Two short papers (and some further links) of general student interest:
On the nature of truth, and so what we're after in philosophy and other academic pursuits. Particularly in philosophy, one sometimes hears that a claim may be "true for me, but not you." I examine this saying, and find it wanting.
Informal discussion of criteria for argument evaluation. Insofar as philosophers examine arguments for and against different conclusions, it's important to begin with an understanding of the conditions under which an argument is effective or not.
This document from the Georgetown University Honor Council gives a nice discussion of what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, and why it should be avoided. It is essential to understand it. See also discussion in the CSUSB Bulletin (search for 'plagiarism') and the writing guide just below.
Very short discussion of aims for philosophical writing along with some general guidlines for when to cite, how to cite, and the list of sources. This document does not replace an official style manual, but may be helpful especially for papers in introductory philosophy.
Logic Lab (hours, etc.)
The logic lab is located in UH-47. It is a place to find assistance in your philosophy courses, and even just to hang out. The lab includes 16 computer stations with both standard software and specialized programs for logic courses, along with a separate tutoring area. It is staffed with philosophy majors ready to help you with your coursework in philosophy, be it a tough logic problem or a paper on the problem of evil.
A collection of personal, academic and other useful links. From the student health center, to the writing center, and the CSUSB weather station.
Phil 380 - Metaphysics
The central portion of this course addresses the question how to do metaphysics, and so what metaphysics is. After a general introduction, we will critically consider W.V. Quine's method for metaphysics, and especially his classic article, 'On What There Is'. In the process, we will introduce metaphysical questions about reality, truth, possibility, necessity, abstract objects and the like. This discussion should provide a foothold from which to explore philosophical questions in metaphysics and philosophy more generally. There is an opportunity (though not a requirement) to explore some additional topic in depth with a term paper. The texts include a reader with original articles (esp. 'On What There Is ') along with chapters from a manuscript About What There Is by Prof. Roy.
Phil 400 - Advanced Issues in Logic / Metalogic
This edition of Phil 400 is a first course in classical metalogic. You will, presumably, have already learned to use the classical symbolic logic. In this course we think rigorously about the logic you have learned to use. There is doing of logic; in particular, axiomatic systems are introduced and used. But the main weight is on what the logic does and how it works. Central results are soundness and adequacy of the full predicate calculus: we demonstrate that an argument is provable in our derivation systems iff it is semantically valid. This material is fundamental in disciplines as diverse as philosophy, mathematics and computer science. It is essential for those who will investigate theoretical underpinnings in such areas; it will be illuminating for those who would undertake further course work or reading in these and related disciplines.The prerequisite is Phil 300 (or consent of instructor). If it's been some time since you had Phil 300, you may want to review the assumed material from chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Symbolic Logic: An Accessible Introduction to Serious Mathematical Logic. In Phil 400, we begin with chapters 3, (7) and 8, and then complete Part III of the text.
On Leave (semi-retired)
TBD but to include,
Phil 300 - Predicate Logic
They say that "all aspirin is not alike." Is this to be taken literally? (Surely not.) Suppose everybody loves my baby, and my baby don't love nobody but me. Does it follow that I am my baby? (It does.) Investigate these questions and more in Philosophy 300! Philosophy 300 introduces the standard predicate calculus. We will push beyond treatment of the logical operators, 'if . . . then', 'if and only if', 'and', 'not', 'or', and move on to the quantifiers 'all' and 'some'. This material greatly expands the power of our symbolic logic, including to general mathematical reasoning. It is foundational to disciplines as diverse as philosophy, mathematics and computer science, and essential for those who will investigate theoretical underpinnings in such areas; it will be illuminating for those who would undertake further course work or reading in these and related disciplines.
Phil 300 has Phil 200 (or consent of instructor) as prerequisite. If it's been some time since you had Phil 200, you might check out the material from chapter 1, and the first parts of chapters 2, 4, 5 and 6 in the manuscript, Symbolic Logic: An Accessible Introduction to Serious Mathematical Logic. In this course, we complete chapters 2, 4, 5 and 6 along with chapter 7.