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.
Courses for the Current Year:
Phil 385 - Theory of Knowledge
What is knowledge? What, if anything, do we know? And, supposing knowledge, how do we know? These are the core questions for our course. We will begin with a discussion of the bases for philosophical skepticism about knowledge. The course will then turn to discussion of contemporary work on the nature of knowledge and justification. The various theories developed in this, the main portion of the course, will be evaluated with respect to the sense (if any) in which they present a response to skepticism.
Readings are from Lehrer, Theory of Knowledge (1990), and Sosa et al. eds. Epistemology: An Anthology 2nd edition (2008). In addition, J. Turri, Epistemology: A Guide contains short introductions to all the articles in Sosa and is available as an electronic resource through Pfau Library.
Phil 308 - Alternative Logic
Alternative logics have multiple motivations. Just as predicate logic extends sentential logic to include all and some, so one may desire further extensions to, say, necessity and possibility. Further, there may seem to be fundamental difficulties for the classical approach. So, perhaps you were initially shocked (!) to discover that in classical logic anything follows from a contradiction. In this course, we consider logics alternative to the classical approach, with attention to issues of both sorts. Systems to be considered combine, in different ways, semantics based on possible worlds,and semantics allowing truth values beyond T and F (e.g., neither and even both); these include modal logics, conditional logics, and relevant logics. In one way or another, each has important philosophical applications, and each is itself a subject of philosophical debate.
The main text is Priest, An Introduction to Non-Classical Logic: From If to Is (2nd ed). We will make use of additional resources, including derivation systems from Roy, Natural Derivations for Priest. The primary treatment of the logics is sentential, so the only prerequisite is Phil 200. This course contributes to the Minor in Philosophical Logic.