Problems of Philosophy

Philosophy 1, Fall 2006

(Most of) the scholars

Class photo

What is here?

The notes here summarize the main points of a class session. They typically continue the discussion with additional material or thoughts.

You will also find remarks about grades and writing philosophy papers here. Announcements, the syllabus, reserve readings, and paper topics are available through Sakai.



  1. Singer’s argument
    1. Singer outline
  2. Singer’s principle
  3. Cohen on responsibility
    1. Cohen outline
  4. Thomson’s analogy
    1. Thomson outline
    2. Thomson handout [pdf]
  5. The right to abortion
  6. Moral luck
  7. Moral realism and relativism (all sessions)
    1. Moral relativism handout [pdf]
    2. Iranian examples [pdf]
    3. Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor chapter [pdf]


  1. Descartes
  2. Hume on causation
    1. Hume’s psychology lecturette [pdf]
    2. The problem of induction
    3. What is a cause?
    4. Cause vs. correlation handout [pdf]
  3. Hume on miracles
    1. Handout: background [pdf]
    2. Handout: Hume’s letters on miracles [pdf]
    3. Handout: Hobbes’s letter on miracles [pdf]
  4. Hume on design: providence and a future state


  1. Locke on personal identity
    1. Handout: Locke’s pinky [pdf]
    2. Tutorial: necessary and sufficient conditions
    3. Handout: Alternatives to Locke’s position [pdf]
    4. Problem cases for Locke
  2. Williams on personal identity
    1. Williams on the body-switching cases
    2. Can questions about personal identity have indeterminate answers?
  3. Parfit on personal identity
    1. Parfit’s teletransporter
    2. Parfit’s spectra
  4. Death
    1. Nagel
    2. Williams
    3. Handout: Unamuno [pdf]