Kareem Khalifa

Associate Professor of Philosophy

 
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Kareem Khalifa earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Emory University, and a BA with a double major in Philosophy and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences from Northwestern University. His teaching interests include philosophy of science, theory of knowledge, and logic.

Professor Khalifa’s research focuses on scientific explanation and understanding. He is currently writing a series of papers arguing that understanding is reducible to explanatory knowledge, while also challenging the ambitions and foundations of philosophical analyses of explanations. For relevant publications, click here for his CV.

When he is not philosophizing, Professor Khalifa is an active musician, composing and performing with a number of local and internationally touring musicians.

If you desire to know more of what can be predicated of Kareem Khalifa, go to: http://www.khalifa.org

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE1496 - Reason Morality Cultural Diff      

Reason, Morality, and Cultural Difference
Different cultures have different standards of what counts as true, rational, and moral. Are all of these standards equally good? Which considerations could possibly support this position? Furthermore, should we accept the consequences that follow from the claim that all of these standards are equally good—for example, that the structure of the universe changes in accordance with a culture’s commitments to modern science, or that it is morally acceptable for some cultures to engage in genocide? By reading, discussing, and writing about contemporary philosophical readings on these topics, we will address these questions. CW PHL

Fall 2017

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MATH1015 / PHIL1015 - Philosophy of Mathematics      

Philosophy of Mathematics
Mathematics is one of humankind’s greatest cognitive endeavors, yet it raises many puzzling questions. Unlike much of our other knowledge, most mathematical knowledge is not established by gathering empirical evidence. So how is mathematical knowledge possible? Unlike most other things we consider to be real, mathematical objects are not physical objects. So in what sense do mathematical objects, such as numbers, exist? What are the foundations of mathematics? Do some mathematical proofs provide greater understanding than others? No prior knowledge of mathematics or philosophy is required. DED PHL WTR

Winter 2015

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PHIL0180 / LNGT0280 - Introduction to Modern Logic      

Introduction to Modern Logic
Logic is concerned with good reasoning; as such, it stands at the core of the liberal arts. In this course we will develop our reasoning skills by identifying and analyzing arguments found in philosophical, legal, and other texts, and also by formulating our own arguments. We will use the formal techniques of modern propositional and predicate logic to codify and test various reasoning strategies and specific arguments. No prior knowledge of logic, formal mathematics, or computer science is presupposed in this course, which does not count towards the PHL distribution requirement but instead towards the deductive reasoning requirement. PHIL 0180 is not open to students who have already taken PHIL 0280/LNGT0280. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. DED

Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2017

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PHIL0216 - Science and Quest for Truth      

Science and the Quest for Truth
On a fairly conventional view, science exemplifies humankind's rational inquiry into the true structure of the world. But what exactly is science? In what sense is it rational? Are scientific claims true or merely useful in predicting and controlling our environment? To answer these questions, we will examine scientific activities such as theory construction, explanation, confirmation, and experimentation, and their role in debates concerning the role of rationality and truth in scientific knowledge. (This course presupposes no prior knowledge of philosophy or science.) PHL

Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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PHIL0220 - Knowledge and Reality      

Knowledge and Reality
This course will introduce students to central issues in epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) and metaphysics (the philosophical study of reality). We will examine philosophical answers to some of the following questions: What is knowledge? How do we know what we know? How does knowledge differ from mere opinion? Does reality exist independently of our minds? When is it rational to believe something? What is the nature of time, causality, and possibility? Are our actions freely chosen or determined by natural forces? Do abstract entities-such as numbers and universals-exist? 3 hrs. lect. PHL

Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016

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PHIL0280 / LNGT0280 - Formal Semantics      

Logic and Formal Semantics
Using logical and mathematical tools, formal semantics answers the following questions: Why do sentences mean what they mean? How is reasoning possible? How does language structure our understanding of time, change, knowledge, morality, identity, and possibility? This course is well suited for students interested in computer science, linguistics, logic, mathematics, or philosophy. (Some prior familiarity with formal logic is recommended, but not required.) 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc DED PHL

Fall 2014

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PHIL0316 - Philosophy of Science      

Philosophy of Science
On a fairly conventional view, science exemplifies humankind's rational inquiry into the true structure of the world. But what exactly is science? In what sense is it rational? Are scientific claims true or merely useful in predicting and controlling our environment? To answer these questions, we will examine scientific activities such as theory construction, explanation, confirmation, and experimentation, and their role in debates concerning the role of rationality and truth in scientific knowledge. (Although this course does not have any specific prerequisites, a background in philosophy or science would be helpful.) 3 hrs. lect. PHL

Fall 2013

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PHIL0358 - Rationality and Cognition      

Rationality and Cognition
Philosophers (and others) study how we ought to reason. By contrast, psychologists (and others) study how we actually do reason. Often, their findings conflict. How should these conflicts be reconciled? Potential topics include different kinds of reasoning (deductive, probabilistic, explanatory, analogical, practical), naturalized epistemology, theories of justification, and heuristics and biases. (PHIL 0180 or PSYC 0105) 3 hrs. lect. DED PHL

Spring 2016

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PHIL0430 - Metaphysics & Epistemology      

Seminar in Metaphysics and Epistemology
In this course, we will explore a specific topic in either epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge), metaphysics (the philosophical study of reality), or the intersection thereof. Possible epistemological topics include specific theories of knowledge (foundationalism, coherentism, externalism, internalism, contextualism, etc.), skepticism, different sources of knowledge (perception, inference, testimony, a priori, etc.), the nature of representation, and the value of knowledge. Possible metaphysical topics include whether various entities (possibilities, universals, time) exist independently of our minds, theories of truth, and theories of causation. Points of intersection include the epistemologies characteristic of different metaphysical domains. Readings will be mostly contemporary. (Junior and senior majors, or by waiver) 3 hrs. sem. PHL

Fall 2015

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PHIL0500 - Resrch In Philosophy      

Research in Philosophy
Supervised independent research in philosophy. (Approval required).

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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PHIL0700 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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Current Work

Professor Khalifa is currently working on papers exploring the nature of understanding as well as its relation to truth, scientific reasoning, and the aims of inquiry.

Program in Neuroscience

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753