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PHI 122 W — The Nature of You: Exploring Individuality and Reality

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 10—Mar 18
Refund Deadline: Jan 13
Units: 2
Tuition: $490
Instructor(s): Richie Kim
Limit: 45
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jan 10—Mar 18
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 13
2 Units
Richie Kim
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
In this course, we will scrutinize some of the greatest Western classical and contemporary thinkers on fundamental metaphysical issues concerning identity and self. Starting with famous skeptical arguments given within Descartes’s view of substance dualism, that all things that exist are either material substance or immaterial substance, we will then move on to examine views about the nature of reality that assume physicalism, which holds that everything in the universe is essentially physical. We will then discuss reality and personhood, including questions raised by technology such as artificial intelligence and computer simulations: Is your aunt with severe dementia still your aunt? Can you live forever via cloning? Finally, we will look at our place in time given the existence of the spacetime manifold and a multiverse, and we will reflect on the premise that there are multiple universes. Readings will include excerpts from Descartes, J.J.C. Smart, and Peter van Inwagen, as well as articles such as Peter Unger’s “I Do Not Exist,” Nick Bostrom’s “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?,” and David Lewis’s “The Paradoxes of Time Travel.” Students will leave the course with an understanding of the leading historical and contemporary views on the nature of the mind and the self.

Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Stanford

Richie Kim is a philosophy instructor at three Bay Area universities: Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco. He has received Stanford's Centennial Teaching Award and UC Berkeley's Inspired Teaching Award. Kim received a PhD in philosophy at Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

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