Here are my latest courses. Links, where available, will take you to past or current syllabi. Scroll down for a list of some past courses.

This Fall I teach PHIL 146 Philosophy of Physics and in the Spring I teach the new and exciting PHIL 24 Science and Pseudoscience.

March 30, 2020

PHIL 148: Philosophy & the Environment

Online!

January 10, 2020

PHIL 245: Science, Values & the Environment

Science is often considered a value-free enterprise. Scientists work in labs, churning out facts. Policymakers then decide, based on their values, how to act on these facts. Rarely is life so clean. This course is about the interplay between science and values. First we’ll tackle the issue theoretically, focusing on the so-called inductive risk argument: are values inevitably involved in accepting any scientific hypothesis? Then we’ll tackle case studies, especially those issues in which UC San Diego and the Institute for Practical Ethics have been focused. We’ll draw our examples from those that connect to the environment. A theme will be a tension in conservation. As Ronald Sandler points out, whereas traditional conservation was about restraining us so as to protect nature, e.g., national parks, wilderness areas, pollution, now we are confronted — thanks to climate change and other nonlocal causal factors — with opportunities to change nature so it can live with us, e.g., assisted migration, genetic rescue, rewilding, climate geoengineering.

April 01, 2019

PHIL 148: Philosophy & the Environment

This quarter the course focuses on animals, wilderness, biodiversity, and conservation in the Anthropocene. Then it turns to ethical issues involving the climate and pollution.

September 27, 2018

This quarter the course focuses on puzzles in dynamics: (in)determinism, (non)locality, the direction of time, classical mechanics, quantum mechanics.

April 03, 2018

PHIL 148: Philosophy & the Environment

This course explores contemporary environmental issues from the perspective of philosophy -- primarily ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of science.  We’ll cover some of the following topics: Ethics, Food and Animals; Wilderness, Ecology and Ethics: What is Natural?; The Land Ethic; Biodiversity, Assisted Migration and Rewilding; Climate, Ethics and Economics; Property, Pollution and Precaution. In each section, I'll try to mix theoretical problems in philosophy with practical problems facing conservation today. Many of the assignments will be project-based.

September 25, 2017

PHIL 146: Philosophy of Physics

This quarter the course will focus on the philosophical foundations of spacetime physics, both classical and relativistic. This topic is an exceptionally rich one, attracting some of the all-time greatest thinkers in the history of science and philosophy, e.g., Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Leibniz, Kant, Reichenbach, Einstein, Gödel. We'll focus on many deep questions, including: Are space and time relational or absolute? Does time “flow”? Does relativity prove that it doesn’t? What is the “shape” of space? Does quantum non-locality conflict with relativity? Is time travel possible? Tackling these questions will help one better understand both the physics of spacetime and the philosophy of science.

January 05, 2017

PHIL 26: Science, Values & Society

New knowledge brings new responsibilities. In this class we'll examine some of the ethical challenges facing us as we try to implement new science in a socially responsible manner. We'll also investigate the dangers of pseudo-science (and how to tell the difference between it and science), as well as study some general thoughts about how science should operate in a democracy.

March 30, 2017

PHIL 148: Philosophy & the Environment

This course explores contemporary environmental issues from the perspective of philosophy -- primarily ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of science.  We’ll cover some of the following topics: Ethics, Food and Animals; Wilderness, Ecology and Ethics: What is Natural?; The Land Ethic; Biodiversity, Assisted Migration and Rewilding; Climate, Ethics and Economics; Property, Pollution and Precaution. In each section, I'll try to mix theoretical problems in philosophy with practical problems facing conservation today

March 30, 2017

PHIL 245: Philosophy of Science (Quantum Mechanics, with Chip Sebens)

Mondays, 4-7, HSS 7077​

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Past Courses

 

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