Middlebury

 

Kareem Khalifa

Associate Professor of Philosophy

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Phone: work802.443.5194
Office Hours: By appointment on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons
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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

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

FYSE 1358 - Values and Objectivity      

Values and Objectivity
Objectivity is desirable in many forms of inquiry, including science, law, and scholarship. Many think that objectivity requires that inquirers’ social, political, and moral values play no part in their judgments. But is this the correct link between objectivity and values? If so, how much of our current inquiry is genuinely objective? If not, how would it be possible to speak objectively about values? Does objectivity presuppose its own set of values? Are some social and political arrangements (e.g., democracy) more effective in securing objectivity? 3 hrs. sem.

CW PHL

Spring 2012

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NSCI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
Students enrolled in NSCI 0500 complete individual research projects involving laboratory or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and approved in advance by a NSCI faculty advisor. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in NSCI 0700. (Approval required)

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012, Winter 2013

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NSCI 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Research
This course is for senior NSCI majors who plan to conduct one or more semesters of independent research, or who plan to complete preparatory work toward a senior thesis, such as researching and writing a thesis proposal as well as, if appropriate, collecting data that will form the basis for a senior thesis. Senior NSCI majors who plan to complete a senior thesis should register initially for NSCI 0700. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (Approval required, open to seniors only)

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012, Winter 2013

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PHIL 0180 - 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 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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PHIL 0213 - Theories of Scientific Method      

Theories of Scientific Method
The scientific method is one of humankind's best attempts at rationally uncovering the objective structure of the world. But what exactly is this method and in what sense is it rational? Studying both contemporary science and prominent episodes from the history of science, we will explore questions about (a) the defining characteristics of the scientific method; (b) the soundness of various forms of scientific reasoning (Mill's Methods, Bayesianism, hypothetico-deductive reasoning, and inference to the best explanation); and (c) the objectivity of science. We will also formulate, test, and revise hypotheses in light of the methods that we study. (Students who took PHIL 0212 may not take this course.) 4 hrs. lect.

DED PHL

Spring 2013

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PHIL 0214 - Science and Society      

Science and Society
Scientific theories are not developed in a vacuum. Social circumstances influence the practice of science, and science, in turn, influences how we organize ourselves as a society. This course will investigate both directions of the relationship between science and society. We will ask such questions as: how do the values of society drive scientific research? What do we mean when we claim that science is 'objective' and what do we expect of an objective science? Can there be 'good' politically-motivated science, or does this conflict with the norms of 'good' science? How important is science as a way of bettering society? Do scientists bear an extra burden of responsibility when they generate scientific results of particular social significance (such as the development of the atomic bomb, or the development of techniques of cloning)? We will examine particular cases of socially significant scientific research, and we will consider larger philosophical questions concerning the status of science, given its interconnections with society. 3 hrs. lect.

PHL SOC

Fall 2012

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PHIL 0216 - 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

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PHIL 0220 - 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.

CW PHL

Spring 2014

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PHIL 0280 / LNGT 0280 - 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. (PHIL 0180; pending instructor’s approval, PHIL 0180 may be taken contemporaneously with PHIL/LNGT 0280. Students who take these two courses simultaneously will meet for 6 total contact hours.) 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc

DED PHL

Fall 2014

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PHIL 0316 - 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 2011, Fall 2013

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PHIL 0425 - Concepts of Explanation      

Concepts of Explanation
In a variety of contexts, we use explanations to further our understanding and knowledge of the world; philosophers have used "inference to the best explanation" to offer solutions to various philosophical problems. But what exactly is an explanation? What makes one explanation better than another? Which uses of explanation yield knowledge rather than mere opinion? In this course, we will examine some of the following: different philosophical analyses of explanation, explanatory coherence as a theory of justification, and defenses and critiques of inference to the best explanation. Familiarity with contemporary theories of knowledge (PHIL 0351) and the philosophy of science (PHIL 0316) is helpful, but not necessary. (Designed for senior majors; open to others by waiver.) 3 hrs. sem.

PHL

Spring 2012

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PHIL 0500 - Resrch In Philosophy      

Research in Philosophy
Supervised independent research in philosophy. (Approval requiredl.

Winter 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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PHIL 0700 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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PHIL 1018 / ECON 1018 - Philosophy & Economics      

Philosophy & Economics
Philosophy and economics address several of the same issues from different perspectives. In this course we will introduce the defining characteristics of philosophical and economic analysis, and then examine several social issues through both disciplinary lenses. How do these perspectives complement and conflict with one another? Possible topics include redistribution of income and wealth, discrimination (in housing, hiring, education, etc.), various kinds of rights (human, property, etc.), and global justice. This course may count towards the economics major requirements as a 0200-level elective or as elective credit towards the Philosophy major.

PHL SOC WTR

Winter 2012

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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.