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PHI 121 W — The Ethics of Belief: Constructing Your Personhood

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 20—Aug 26
Refund Deadline: Jun 23
Units: 2
Tuition: $490
Instructor(s): Richie Kim
Limit: 45
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
 
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Summer
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Jun 20—Aug 26
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 23
2 Units
Fees
$490
Instructor(s):
Richie Kim
Limit
45
Recording
Yes
Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
What kind of person are you? It seems likely that your beliefs play a significant or leading role in shaping who you are. If so, it is important to ask how you acquired your beliefs, how you maintain them, and whether they are warranted, no matter how fervently held. This course will delve into contemporary and classic works of Western philosophy to help us explore the influence our beliefs have on our conduct, character, and life.

The course will begin with an overview of the nature and ethics of belief, including norms, skepticism, and the intentional stance (a strategy for interpreting behavior). We will then look at the significance of context and how it can create insincere behavior. Next, our examination of the debate of evidentialism (the duty of inquiry) and non-evidentialism (the justification of beliefs without evidence) will compare the arguments put forward by William Clifford’s The Ethics of Belief and William James’s The Will to Believe. The latter part of the course will consider the acquisition and consequences of belief, as well as rationalization and construction of a unified personhood. The course will include weekly readings, live class meetings, and rich, thought-provoking discussions. Students will leave the class with an enlightened perspective on how their personhood is shaped by their beliefs.


RICHIE KIM
Adjunct Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of San Francisco

Richie Kim has taught philosophy at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco. In 2020, he received Stanford’s Centennial Teaching Assistant Award in philosophy and UC Berkeley’s Inspirational Instructors Award. Kim received a PhD in philosophy from Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.