Class Schedules

Fall 2015 »      Spring 2016 »     

Fall 2015 Class Schedule - updated February 8, 2016 at 05:00 pm

Number/Section  Title
Days Time Room Instructor
 
PHIL 100-01  Introduction to Philosophy: The Future
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am NEILL 110 Geoffrey Gorham
*First Year Course only* This class introduces central problems and methods of philosophy by considering our relationship to the future. Metaphysics concerns the nature of reality. Is the future more or less real than the present and past? Is more than one future possible? What is time itself? Could we travel in time? Could we change the future (or past)? Epistemology concerns the nature and extent of knowledge. What do we know of the future? How do we estimate and evaluate the risks to humanity and the earth? What are the chances of long-term human survival (or extinction)? Is humanity likely to 'colonize' other planets and galaxies? Ethics concerns values and obligations. Should we care more about the future than the past? Do we have obligations to future generations given they do not yet exist? What exactly is the value of 'sustainability'? With the rise of technologies like artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and medical enhancement, will it be good or bad if we become 'trans-human'? Is the badness of human extinction comparable to the badness of individual death or the extinction of other species? Finally, how can we act to ensure a worthwhile future? Our class will explore and discuss a number of classic and contemporary philosophical texts and themes. We will also use fiction and film (especially science fiction) to help us reflect upon these difficult but important problems.

PHIL 100-02  Introduction to Philosophy: The Future
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm NEILL 110 Geoffrey Gorham
This class introduces central problems and methods of philosophy by considering our relationship to the future. Metaphysics concerns the nature of reality. Is the future more or less real than the present and past? Is more than one future possible? What is time itself? Could we travel in time? Could we change the future (or past)? Epistemology concerns the nature and extent of knowledge. What do we know of the future? How do we estimate and evaluate the risks to humanity and the earth? What are the chances of long-term human survival (or extinction)? Is humanity likely to 'colonize' other planets and galaxies? Ethics concerns values and obligations. Should we care more about the future than the past? Do we have obligations to future generations given they do not yet exist? What exactly is the value of 'sustainability'? With the rise of technologies like artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and medical enhancement, will it be good or bad if we become 'trans-human'? Is the badness of human extinction comparable to the badness of individual death or the extinction of other species? Finally, how can we act to ensure a worthwhile future? Our class will explore and discuss a number of classic and contemporary philosophical texts and themes. We will also use fiction and film (especially science fiction) to help us reflect upon these difficult but important problems.

PHIL 111-01  Introduction to Symbolic Logic
MWF 12:00 pm-01:00 pm CARN 206 Janet Folina
*First Year Course only* Every day we hear, read, make and assess arguments. These occur in political rhetoric, advertising campaigns, and among friends and family. Many arguments are persuasive. But some persuasive arguments are incorrect (some of these abuse statistics, some are actually fallacies); and some correct arguments are not very persuasive (at least not immediately).

Logic is the science of correct reasoning and argumentation, and symbolic logic is the use of symbols and formal rules to codify this correctness. Our approach is formal – symbolic logic depends only on the form of arguments rather than their content. (This course is thus somewhat abstract and theoretical; it is not a course on applied critical thinking.) We will focus on formal properties of deductive arguments; our tools and methods constitute the fundamental methods of contemporary symbolic logic. In symbolic logic symbols represent types of sentences, and rules are cited for each inference. Thus, proofs in this course are somewhat like proofs in geometry: they both depend on clear criteria for correctness and incorrectness.

The course divides into the following standard topics:

1. Formalization of arguments in propositional logic.

2. Natural Deduction: learning and applying formal rules of proof.

3. Truth tables and semantic trees.

4. Formalization of arguments in predicate logic.

5. Natural Deduction: proofs in Predicate Logic.

The immediate aim of this course is to provide you with some formal methods for (i) determining whether or not an argument has a correct form, and (ii) proving a conclusion from a given set of premises. In addition to learning a formal system, the tools acquired in this course can be applied to real arguments, and logic helps students distinguish good arguments from bad ones, and to justify such distinctions. Logic also helps students improve their writing, as it assists in articulating the logical structure of an argument. Finally, logic is central to mathematics as well as philosophy. This course provides a good foundation for both majors, and indeed any discipline that emphasizes correct, clear thinking, reading and writing.



PHIL 111-02  Introduction to Symbolic Logic
MWF 01:10 pm-02:10 pm CARN 206 Janet Folina
 
PHIL 121-01  Ethics
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am MAIN 111 William Wilcox
 
PHIL 121-02  Ethics
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm MAIN 111 William Wilcox
 
PHIL 214-01  Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm NEILL 401 David Martyn
*Cross-listed with GERM 314-01; taught in English; core course for Critical Theory* What happens when God dies? And what if he’s always already been dead? Few authors have pursued the consequences of secular modernity as persistently as the three thinkers -- as similarly radical as they are different from one another -- whose works we will study in this course. Focusing on the related domains of ethics, subjectivity, aesthetics, and cultural value, we will explore how modern thought tries, and just as frequently fails, to overcome its religious past. Discussion topics include: the loss of "truth" as a meaningful term; ethics beyond good and evil; alienation, ideology, and false consciousness; art as ersatz God; mourning, trauma, and transience. Readings include all or parts of: Marx, "The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844" and "The German Ideology"; Nietzsche, "The Gay Science" and "The Genealogy of Morals"; Freud, "Civilization and its Discontents" and "Beyond the Pleasure Principle." Requirements: reading, reading, and reading again. Plus two papers, several reading responses, and an exam.

PHIL 220-01  Bioethics
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am MAIN 002 Samuel Asarnow
Bioethics deals with a variety of ethical issues arising in the context of medical care and biomedical research. These issues include informed consent, euthanasia, reproductive rights, confidentiality, and the distribution of health care resources. The course uses ethical theory to shed light on issues in medicine, and issues in medicine to illuminate ethical theory.

PHIL 221-01  Environmental Ethics
MWF 10:50 am-11:50 am MAIN 111 Diane Michelfelder
*Cross-listed with ENVI 221-01*

PHIL 294-02  Conservative and Liberal Political Thought
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am NEILL 214 Andrew Latham
*Cross-listed with POLI 294-02*

PHIL 294-03  Hispanic Studies and Critical Theory
MWF 12:00 pm-01:00 pm NEILL 215 Justin Butler
*Cross-listed with HISP 394-01; first day attendance required* Hispanic Studies and Critical Theory will engage a corpus of philosophical texts in order to equip students for advanced literary, cultural, and historical critique. To this end, students will learn key concepts in critical thought as presented by a variety of thinkers such as Marx, Benjamin, Hegel, Althusser, Gramsci, Baudrillard, Adorno, Agamben, Haraway, and Morton. Students will direct their critical understanding to an analysis of select cultural, literary, or filmic texts and events in the field of Hispanism. Such items may range from Gracián’s texts on the accrual of power in the Golden Age court to present day immigration and practices of coyotaje. The course has been designated a core course in the Critical Theory Concentration and is suitable for diverse interests in the humanities. The course will be taugh in English. Hispanic Studies majors and minors will submit written work in Spanish; non-majors and minors, in English.

PHIL 313-01  Advanced Symbolic Logic
MWF 09:40 am-10:40 am CARN 107 Janet Folina
*Cross-listed with MATH 313-01*

PHIL 394-01  Ethical Theory
M 07:00 pm-10:00 pm MAIN 111 Samuel Asarnow
Where does morality come from? This can be asked as an empirical question about how humans came to develop morality. The empirical question of where morality came from is dealt with in such disciplines as anthropology,moral psychology and evolutionary theory. The question can also be raised as a philosophical issue about what justifies us in making moral claims and what it means to speak of morality in the first place. The empirical and philosophical xplorations of morality are related, and recent hilosophical work has been concerned with the relevance of empirical research on morality for the philosophical justification of morality. Some have argued that empirical research regarding the origins of morality support a form of moral skepticism called error theory. Others have argued that it indicates, if not skepticism, at least that there are no moral facts. The seminar will discuss these claims and ask whether justification and objectivity in morality are possible. We will also discuss whether there are any moral facts. Finally, we will consider what it means to be a moral agent and whether moral agency is uniquely human.

PHIL 489-01  Senior Seminar
W 07:00 pm-10:00 pm MAIN 111 Diane Michelfelder
 

top of page »

Spring 2016 Class Schedule - updated February 8, 2016 at 05:00 pm

Number/Section  Title
Days Time Room Instructor
 
PHIL 100-01  Introduction to Philosophy
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am NEILL 216 Janet Folina
 
PHIL 121-01  Ethics
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am MAIN 010 Samuel Asarnow
 
PHIL 121-02  Ethics
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm MAIN 010 Samuel Asarnow
 
PHIL 201-01  Modern Philosophy
MWF 10:50 am-11:50 am NEILL 226 Folina, Gorham
 
PHIL 213-01  Philosophy of Mind
M 07:00 pm-10:00 pm MAIN 111 Joy Laine
*Cross-listed with NEUR 313-01*

PHIL 222-01  Philosophy of Human Rights
MWF 02:20 pm-03:20 pm CARN 204 Martin Gunderson
 
PHIL 224-01  Philosophy of Law
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am MAIN 003 William Wilcox
 
PHIL 311-01  Philosophy of Language
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am NEILL 217 Joy Laine
*Cross-listed with LING 311-01*

PHIL 314-01  Contemporary Metaphysics and Epistemology
W 07:00 pm-10:00 pm MAIN 003 Geoffrey Gorham
Time, Freedom and Death. This class examines recent metaphysical and epistemological research on a trio of perennial, interrelated problems. First, what is time? Is the present more real than the past? What accounts for the direction or ‘arrow’ of time? Should we think of time as a dimension analogous to space? What does modern science tell us about time and its relation to causality, bodies, motion and space? Second, what is freedom? Is freedom compatible with what we know from physics, neuroscience and psychology? If freedom is an illusion, what are the implications for ethics and social policy? Third, what is death? Is death merely the cessation of biological life or the end of a person or self? Is our death a bad thing and is it worse than our non-existence prior to birth? Is immortality possible or desirable? Throughout we will also be concerned with the nature and methods of metaphysics and epistemology themselves and their relation to other fields within and beyond philosophy. Class will be seminar-style and will focus primarily on articles and chapters written in the late 20th and 21st centuries. Evaluation will be based on papers, presentations and a take-home exam.

PHIL 394-01  Aristotle and Virtue Ethics
MWF 01:10 pm-02:10 pm CARN 204 Martin Gunderson
At some point all of us are confronted with the question of what sort of person we should be. What will we cultivate in our lives as a virtue and reject as a vice? Is there a particular sort of character that constitutes a good life for humans? Aristotle had a great deal to say about this, and we will consider his Nicomachean Ethics in detail. We will also read several dialogues by Plato including Euthyphro, Laches and Charmides as well as several works by Stoic philosophers. After a consideration of classical sources we will turn to recent works on virtue ethics. Much of recent virtue ethics is a reaction against ethics centered on duty such as Kant’s ethics. For the virtue ethicist, the central question is not what my duty is but what sort of person I should be. This will lead us to the theoretical question of whether moral duties and obligations can be explained in terms of virtues. We will also encounter the theoretical issue of relativism. Perhaps there are no human virtues, but only virtues relative to different cultures. Through it all runs the deeply personal and unavoidable question—how am I to flourish as an individual and as a human being? The seminar will require significant writing, and students should feel comfortable writing philosophy papers. This is an advanced philosophy seminar, and it is important to have taken ethics or an equivalent course.

Prerequisite: Ethics or Permission of Instructor

top of page »