BASics

Code
PHIL-SHU 130 1 (22925)

Instructors

Time and Place
Room 825, Wednesdays 6:00pm–9:00pm

Assessment
  • Attendance and participation (15%)
    • Participation includes both class and blog participation
  • Blog contributions (25%)
    • At least 5 contributions over the course of the semester
    • Due dates: 18 February, 11 March, 22 April, 6 May, 13 May.
    • Each must be at least 500 words
    • At least one must be about an event during the semester.
    • Each must discuss both one of our readings and another source (might be a news article, scholarly article, press release, or online film)
  • Mid-term exam: 28 March (20%)
  • 8–10 page research paper (40%)
    • 2–3 page research proposal: 11 April 
    • Every student must meet at least once with Professor Greenspan and at least once with Professor Weslake. One meeting must be before 21 March, and one must be after 11 April.
    • Paper: 13 May
Integrity

It is a condition of passing this course that students read and adhere to the NYU Shanghai policy on academic integrity as described in the current NYU Shanghai Academic Bulletin.

Schedule

Week 1: Descartes (Wednesday 24 January)

  • Jessica RiskinThe Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2016, Introduction and Chapter 2, pp. 1–10 and pp. 44–76.
  • [Recommended] René DescartesPrinciples of Philosophy, 1644, selections; and Description of the Human Body, 1664, selections. Translations from John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff and Dugald Murdoch (Eds), The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985, pp. 223–247; and pp. 314–324. [PDF] [PDF]

Week 2: Leibniz (Wednesday 31 January)

  • Jessica RiskinThe Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2016, Chapter 3, pp. 77–112.
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, The Principles of Philosophy, or The Monadology, 1714. Translation from Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber (Eds), G. W. Leibniz: Philosophical Essays, Hackett, Indianapolis, 1989, pp. 213–225. [PDF]
  • [Recommended] Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, A New System of the Nature and Communication of Substances, and of the Union of the Soul and Body, 1695. Translation from Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber (Eds), G. W. Leibniz: Philosophical Essays, Hackett, Indianapolis, 1989, pp. 138–145. [PDF]
  • [Recommended] Elizabeth GroszThe Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism, Columbia University Press, New York, 2017, Chapter 2, “Spinoza, Substance, and Attributes”, pp. 54–91. [PDF]

Week 3: Kant (Wednesday 7 February)

  • Jessica RiskinThe Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2016, Chapter 6, pp. 189–213.
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, 1790, §§61–68. Translation from James Creed Meredith and Nicholas Walker (Eds), Critique of Judgement, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, pp. 185–212. [PDF]
  • [Recommended] Mary Wollstonecraft ShelleyFrankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, London, 1818. [PDF]

Week 4: Darwin (Wednesday 14 February)

  • Jessica RiskinThe Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2016, Chapter 7, pp. 214–249.

Week 5: Magic I (Wednesday 28 February)

  • Jason A. Josephson-Storm, The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2017, Introduction, pp 1–21. [Library] [PDF]
  • Jeremy Stolow (Ed), Deus in Machina: Religion, Technology, and the Things in Between, Fordham University Press, New York, 2013, Introduction, pp. 1–22. [PDF]
  • [Recommended] Jeffrey SconceHaunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television, Duke University Press, Durham NC, 2000.

Week 6: Magic II (Wednesday 7 March)

  • Jason A. Josephson-Storm, The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2017, Conclusion, pp 302–316. [Library] [PDF]
  • Wolfgang Ernst, “Ticking Clock, Vibrating String: How Time Sense Oscillates Between Religion and Machine”, in Jeremy Stolow (Ed), Deus in Machina: Religion, Technology, and the Things in Between, Fordham University Press, New York, 2013, pp. 43–60. [PDF]
  • [Recommended] Norbert WienerGod and Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1964. [PDF]

Week 7: Time I (Wednesday 14 March)

  • Peter Galison, Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time, W. W. Norton, New York, 2003, Chapter 1, pp. 13–47.
  • Sean CarrollFrom Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, Dutton, New York, 2010, Chapter 4, pp. 67–81. [PDF]

Week 8:Time II (Wednesday 21 March)

  • Peter Galison, Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time, W. W. Norton, New York, 2003, Chapter 3, pp. 84–155.
  • James W. Carey, “Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph”, in Prospects, Vol. 8, October 1983, pp. 303–325. [PDF]
  • [Recommended] David S. Landes, “Clocks and the Wealth of Nations”, in Daedalus, Vol. 132, No. 2, Spring 2003, pp. 20–26. [PDF]

Week 9: Midterm (Wednesday 28 March)

Week 10:Artificial Intelligence I: Foundations (Wednesday 11 April)

  • Alan Turing, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, in Mind, Vol. 59, No. 236, October 1950, pp. 433-460. [PDF]
  • Yann LeCun and Gary Marcus, “Does AI Need More Innate Machinery?”, Debate at the NYU Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness. [Video]
  • [Recommended] Ned Block, “Psychologism and Behaviorism”, in The Philosophical Review, Vol. 90, No. 1, April 1981, pp. 257–274. [PDF]

Week 11:Bioengineering  (Wednesday 18 April)

Virtual visiting professor: S. Matthew Liao.

  • S. Matthew LiaoAnders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache, “Human Engineering and Climate Change”, in Ethics, Policy & Environment, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2012, pp. 206–221. [PDF]
  • S. Matthew Liao, “Selecting Children: The Ethics of Reproductive Genetic Engineering”, in Philosophy Compass, Vol. 3, No. 5, September 2008, pp. 1–19. [PDF]

Week 12:Artificial Intelligence II: Ethics (Wednesday 25 April)

  • Peter Railton, “Moral Learning: Conceptual Foundations and Normative Relevance”, in Cognition, Vol. 167, October 2017, pp. 172–190. [PDF]
  • Mou Zongsan (牟宗三), “Confucian Moral Metaphysics” in Jason Clower (Ed), Late Works of Mou Zongsan: Selected Essays on Chinese Philosophy, Brill, Leiden, 2014, pp. 123–144. [PDF]

Week 13: Reality and Virtual Reality (Wednesday 2 May)

Virtual visiting professor: David Chalmers.

  • David Chalmers, “The Virtual and the Real”. [PDF]
  • Selections from Vasubandhu. c400. Viṃśatikākārikā and Viṃśatikāvṛtti. [PDF]
  • [Recommended] Selections from Mark Siderits, Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007. [PDF]

Week 14: Recap (Wednesday 9 May)