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

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Aug 4
Refund Deadline: Jun 29
Unit: 1
Tuition: $420
Instructor(s): Richie Kim
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jun 26—Aug 4
6 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 29
1 Unit
Richie Kim
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 issues concerning the ethics of belief, including the motivations for scrutinizing an ethics of belief. 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.

Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Stanford

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. He 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.