Spring 2017   Fall 2017   Spring 2018  

Spring 2017

PHIL 100-01

Introduction to Philosophy

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: CARN 105
  • Instructor: Samuel Asarnow

Notes: An introduction to philosophy through topics found in classical philosophical writings, such as the nature of truth and knowledge, mind and body, freedom and determinism, right and wrong, and the existence of God. Course content varies from instructor to instructor. Specific course descriptions will be available in the department prior to registration. Every semester. (4 Credits)

PHIL 110-01

Critical Thinking

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-10:40 am
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes: This course introduces and explores the main principles and methods of Critical Thinking: distinguishing between good and bad arguments; identifying common fallacies; developing strong and persuasive arguments; the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning; constructing logical proofs; the nature of scientific, moral, and legal reasoning; evaluating polls and statistical hypotheses; understanding probability; deciding how to act under uncertainty. Students will apply these principles and methods to numerous academic and ‘everyday’ contexts, including journals, the print press, blogs, political rhetoric, advertising and documentaries. We will regularly reflect upon more broadly philosophical matters related to Critical Thinking - such as the nature of truth and objectivity and the distinction between science and pseudo-science - and examine a number of intriguing philosophical paradoxes. Students will improve their skills in writing clear and compelling argumentative papers and critically analyzing the writings of others. Course work includes reading, class discussion, regular homework assignments, quizzes, and short argumentative essays.

PHIL 110-02

Critical Thinking

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes: This course introduces and explores the main principles and methods of Critical Thinking: distinguishing between good and bad arguments; identifying common fallacies; developing strong and persuasive arguments; the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning; constructing logical proofs; the nature of scientific, moral, and legal reasoning; evaluating polls and statistical hypotheses; understanding probability; deciding how to act under uncertainty. Students will apply these principles and methods to numerous academic and ‘everyday’ contexts, including journals, the print press, blogs, political rhetoric, advertising and documentaries. We will regularly reflect upon more broadly philosophical matters related to Critical Thinking - such as the nature of truth and objectivity and the distinction between science and pseudo-science - and examine a number of intriguing philosophical paradoxes. Students will improve their skills in writing clear and compelling argumentative papers and critically analyzing the writings of others. Course work includes reading, class discussion, regular homework assignments, quizzes, and short argumentative essays.

PHIL 121-01

Ethics

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 111
  • Instructor: William Wilcox

Notes: An introductory philosophy course that concentrates on concepts and issues, such as the nature of value, duty, right and wrong, the good life, human rights, social justice, and applications to selected problems of personal and social behavior. Topics may include liberty and its limitations, civil disobedience, abortion, affirmative action, capital punishment, terrorism and the morality of war, animal rights and environmental ethics. 4 credits

PHIL 201-01

Modern Philosophy

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 01:10 pm-02:10 pm
  • Room: CARN 107
  • Instructor: Geoffrey Gorham

Notes: A study of the 17th and 18th century philosophers, including the Empiricists, Rationalists, and Kant. The course considers issues regarding skepticism, justification, freedom of the will, personal identity, perception and the existence of God. Every year. (4 Credits)

PHIL 202-01

American Philosophy

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room: CARN 305
  • Instructor: Geoffrey Gorham

Notes: Is there a distinct American worldview, or merely a confluence of intellectual traditions originating beyond and before the USA? This course explores the diverse intellectual strains that have contributed to the development of American philosophy in the last three centuries, including influences that have been somewhat neglected: the American Indian thought of Arthur Parker and Zit Kala Za (Gertie Bonnin); the puritan theology of Jonathan Edwards; the political theory of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson; the African American philosophy of

W.E.B. DuBois and Alain Locke; the transcendentalism of R. W. Emerson and H.D. Thoreau; the 'classical' pragmatism of C.S. Peirce and William James; the 'radical' pragmatism of John Dewey and Jane Adams. Special attention will be given to American conceptions of justice, freedom, democracy, religiosity, nature, pragmatism, progress and self-reliance. Every other year. (4 credits)

PHIL 213-01

Philosophy of Mind

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: MAIN 009
  • Instructor: Joy Laine

Notes: *Cross-listed with NEUR 313-01*


PHIL 223-01

Health and Human Rights

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: CARN 305
  • Instructor: Martin Gunderson

Notes: Human rights and healthcare are intimately connected. Human rights are used both to protect human subjects in biomedical research and to support claims for adequate healthcare. The use of human rights to protect human research subjects raises issues of informed consent, privacy, and individual autonomy. The use of human rights to secure healthcare resources raises issues about what level of healthcare ought to be supported and what constitutes a just distribution of healthcare resources. The course also explores recent work on the way in which human rights and public health combine in the quest to secure overall wellbeing. In general the course views public health through the framework of human rights. Alternate years. (4 Credits)


PHIL 294-01

Philosophy of Race and Gender

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 227
  • Instructor: Samuel Asarnow

Notes: *Cross-listed with WGSS 294-03* Is there a genuine biological definition of race? If not, is it a social construction? What does it mean to call something a "social construction"? Is gender a social construction, too? Does it make sense to value and identify with your race and gender? Or would a just society do away with racial and gendered distinctions altogether? What is sexual orientation, and is it a social construction too? Is racial injustice a special kind of injustice? Does it make sense to respond to racial injustice with affirmative action? Is it morally wrong to choose to live in a racially segregated neighborhood, if you have other options? Is sex-selective abortion immoral? If you think it is, can you still be pro-choice? Is prostitution immoral? What (if anything) does the morality of prostitution have to do with issues of race and gender? In this course we will consider these questions and others, drawing on recent work by analytic philosophers such as Elizabeth Anderson, Sally Haslanger, Debra Satz, Julian Savulescu, Quayshawn Spencer, and Laurence Thomas.

PHIL 300-01

20th Century Contintental Philosophy

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 02:20 pm-03:20 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes: This course, taught every two years, is focused on close reading, reflection, and analysis of philosophical work within the tradition of 20th Century European philosophy. The theme for this year’s course is inspired by Prince, who left behind him a vast number of unreleased recordings in a vault in his Paisley Park studio. In this course, we will be exploring writings that were left behind on the desks and in the metaphorical vaults of some 20th century philosophers at the time of their death and which have subsequently been published. These writings will be Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s The Visible and Invisible (which includes “Working Notes”) and Martin Heidegger’s lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude and selections from The Black Notebooks (along with some critical commentary). We will also take up selections from Jacques Derrida’s The Beast and the Sovereign, Part II and his Heidegger: The Question of Being and History, published this past summer and which we will read side-by-side with some passages from Heidegger’s Being and Time. While will close out the course with an essay of Derrida’s published during his lifetime: “The Eyes of Language: The Abyss and the Volcano,” the question will linger: What can we learn from reading work that has come to a sudden end about open questions in philosophy, and what it means to ask a philosophical question itself?

PHIL 321-01

Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: MAIN 003
  • Instructor: William Wilcox

Notes: *Cross-listed with POLI 294-06*

This course will focus on some central topics in contemporary Anglo-American (or "analytic") social and political philosophy. Likely topics would include an examination of John Rawls's theory of justice and the work of critics of that theory, the value of equality, and issues about global justice. Every other year. (4 credits)

Fall 2017

PHIL 100-01

Introduction to Philosophy

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 111
  • Instructor: Samuel Asarnow

Notes: *First Year Course only* According to Richard Linklater’s 2001 film Waking Life, there is a surefire way to tell if you are dreaming. Light switches don’t work in dreams, so if you flip a light switch and it works, you know you’re awake. But Waking Life is fiction, and this test doesn’t really work. Is there any test that always distinguishes dreams from reality? If not, can we ever know for sure that we’re not dreaming? For that matter, can we know that we’re not brains in vats, hooked up to sophisticated computers in some kind of awful post-apocalyptic future, a la The Matrix? And if it turns out that we can’t know about anything outside our own minds, what follows? Would it even matter? In Introduction to Philosophy, we will consider those questions, and others. Topics of discussion will include the nature of the human mind, the foundations of ethics, the existence of God, and the possibility of free will. Our readings will include a range of historical and contemporary works of philosophy, science, and literature. Special attention will be paid to connections between philosophy and related areas of study (such as neuroscience, computer science, and economics).

Class meets TR, 1:20 pm - 2:50 pm in Neill Hall 111

Writing designation: WA


PHIL 100-02

Introduction to Philosophy

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: MAIN 001
  • Instructor: Samuel Asarnow

Notes: An introduction to philosophy through topics found in classical philosophical writings, such as the nature of truth and knowledge, mind and body, freedom and determinism, right and wrong, and the existence of God. Course content varies from instructor to instructor. Specific course descriptions will be available in the department prior to registration. Every semester. (4 Credits)

PHIL 111-01

Introduction to Symbolic Logic

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-10:40 am
  • Room: CARN 206
  • Instructor: Janet Folina

Notes: *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.

Class meets MWF 9:40 am - 10:40 am in Carnegie 206

Writing designation: None


PHIL 111-02

Introduction to Symbolic Logic

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room: CARN 206
  • Instructor: Janet Folina

Notes:

PHIL 121-01

Ethics

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: William Wilcox

Notes: An introductory philosophy course that concentrates on concepts and issues, such as the nature of value, duty, right and wrong, the good life, human rights, social justice, and applications to selected problems of personal and social behavior. Topics may include liberty and its limitations, civil disobedience, abortion, affirmative action, capital punishment, terrorism and the morality of war, animal rights and environmental ethics. 4 credits

PHIL 121-02

Ethics

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: William Wilcox

Notes: An introductory philosophy course that concentrates on concepts and issues, such as the nature of value, duty, right and wrong, the good life, human rights, social justice, and applications to selected problems of personal and social behavior. Topics may include liberty and its limitations, civil disobedience, abortion, affirmative action, capital punishment, terrorism and the morality of war, animal rights and environmental ethics. 4 credits

PHIL 214-01

Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 215
  • Instructor: David Martyn

Notes: *Cross-listed with GERM 314-01; taught in English*

We all have values; but what are they based on? Perhaps no two thinkers have asked this question as persistently and approached it with such intrepid originality as Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Writing in an age when religious belief had lost credence as a foundation for ethics, Nietzsche and Freud confronted the groundlessness of value systems while recognizing the impossibility of living without them. Both were reacting to Darwin’s discovery of natural selection, which dispelled nature’s divine aura and inaugurated what Nietzsche would call the “death of God.” The course explores the challenges to value judgments in the wake of Darwin and attempted solutions to them, centering on the four domains of ethics, subjectivity, aesthetics, and cultural value. Readings will include excerpts from Darwin’s The Origin of Species; Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals, The Gay Science, and the texts posthumously published as The Will to Power; Freud’s Totem and Taboo, Civilization and Its Discontents, and Beyond the Pleasure Principle; as well as other works. Cross-listed with German Studies 314. Alternate years. (4 Credits)

PHIL 294-01

Philosophy of Technology

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: NEILL 112
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes: Many if not most of us interact with the technologies around us without giving our interaction a second thought—particularly second, philosophical thoughts. The focus of this course will be on these second thoughts, filtered through a broad, multi-faceted question: How do technological things and systems contribute not only to the contents of our world but contribute to shaping our experiences, our values, our social practices, and our political institutions? This question is a key one for the philosophy of technology, a field of critical inquiry aimed giving the material environment of our lives its philosophical due.

In this course, which also counts as an elective in the critical theory concentration, we will draw upon a variety of approaches associated with the philosophy of technology, including phenomenology, pragmatism, actor-network theory, critical theory of technology, and feminist technoscience. We will look at long-standing debates over how to define technology and over what drives technological change. We will ask: What is the relationship between science and technology? Does it make sense to speak of technology, or only about technologies? We will also be asking questions about ethics. What does it mean to be a moral and political agent in a world increasingly populated by robots, drones, tabletop assistants, and self-driving vehicles? Do robots have what it takes to be moral agents? What ethical risks are posed by technologies that track and persuade us? How much of my freedom and decision-making should I “outsource” to artificially-intelligent, interactive things? Above all, how might I live well and wisely in time of unprecedented technological transformation?


PHIL 310-01

Philosophy of Science

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 01:10 pm-02:10 pm
  • Room: CARN 305
  • Instructor: Janet Folina

Notes: Are quarks “real”? Does science lead to objective knowledge? Is there really a scientific method? How do we distinguish between creation “science” and evolution; or astrology and astronomy? These questions are asked in philosophy of science, which studies the fundamental processes, principles, and presuppositions of the natural sciences. The social and historical contexts of the sciences are also considered. Topics include: science vs. pseudoscience, scientific explanation, scientific revolutions, the philosophy of space and time, the theory of evolution, theories of confirmation, objectivity in science, and realism vs. relativism. Alternate years. (4 Credits)

PHIL 311-01

Philosophy of Language

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: OLRI 270
  • Instructor: Joy Laine

Notes: *Cross-listed with LING 311-01*

What is language and what is it for? What makes a series of sounds into a meaningful sentence? What makes a sentence true? Why is language always changing? This course will introduce students to ways in which twentieth century philosophers have attempted to provide answers to such questions. Since the philosophy of language has been so crucial to contemporary philosophy, this course also serves as an introduction to philosophical thought from the beginning of twentieth century to the present. Topics will range from more technical problems (theories of meaning, reference and truth; synonymy and analyticity; universals and natural kinds; private languages) to broader issues examining the relationship between language and culture (language games; radical interpretation; social change). Readings typically include writings by Ludwig Wittgenstein, W.V. Quine, John Searle, Donald Davidson, Richard Rorty, Michel Foucault, and bell hooks. Cross-listed with Linguistics 311. (4 credits)

PHIL 489-01

Senior Seminar

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: MAIN 011
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes: A capstone experience in philosophy for senior majors and others with sufficient background. Recent topics have included: realism vs. anti-realism, pragmatism, normativity, and Wittengenstein. The topics are usually addressed from various points of view and may involve several members of the department in some of the instruction. One aim of the course is for participants to get an overview of their major field by examining the fruitfulness of various ways of doing philosophy. It is also an opportunity for seniors to present for discussion their senior papers, written for this or for some other course. (4 credits)


Spring 2018

PHIL 100-01

Introduction to Philosophy

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Janet Folina

Notes: An introduction to philosophy through topics found in classical philosophical writings, such as the nature of truth and knowledge, mind and body, freedom and determinism, right and wrong, and the existence of God. Course content varies from instructor to instructor. Specific course descriptions will be available in the department prior to registration. Every semester. (4 Credits)

PHIL 110-01

Critical Thinking

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes: This course introduces and explores the main principles and methods of Critical Thinking: distinguishing between good and bad arguments; identifying common fallacies; developing strong and persuasive arguments; the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning; constructing logical proofs; the nature of scientific, moral, and legal reasoning; evaluating polls and statistical hypotheses; understanding probability; deciding how to act under uncertainty. Students will apply these principles and methods to numerous academic and ‘everyday’ contexts, including journals, the print press, blogs, political rhetoric, advertising and documentaries. We will regularly reflect upon more broadly philosophical matters related to Critical Thinking - such as the nature of truth and objectivity and the distinction between science and pseudo-science - and examine a number of intriguing philosophical paradoxes. Students will improve their skills in writing clear and compelling argumentative papers and critically analyzing the writings of others. Course work includes reading, class discussion, regular homework assignments, quizzes, and short argumentative essays.

PHIL 121-01

Ethics

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Samuel Asarnow

Notes: An introductory philosophy course that concentrates on concepts and issues, such as the nature of value, duty, right and wrong, the good life, human rights, social justice, and applications to selected problems of personal and social behavior. Topics may include liberty and its limitations, civil disobedience, abortion, affirmative action, capital punishment, terrorism and the morality of war, animal rights and environmental ethics. 4 credits

PHIL 121-02

Ethics

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Samuel Asarnow

Notes: An introductory philosophy course that concentrates on concepts and issues, such as the nature of value, duty, right and wrong, the good life, human rights, social justice, and applications to selected problems of personal and social behavior. Topics may include liberty and its limitations, civil disobedience, abortion, affirmative action, capital punishment, terrorism and the morality of war, animal rights and environmental ethics. 4 credits

PHIL 201-01

Modern Philosophy

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 01:10 pm-02:10 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Geoffrey Gorham

Notes: A study of the 17th and 18th century philosophers, including the Empiricists, Rationalists, and Kant. The course considers issues regarding skepticism, justification, freedom of the will, personal identity, perception and the existence of God. Every year. (4 Credits)

PHIL 213-01

Philosophy of Mind

  • Days: M
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Joy Laine

Notes: Materialism, rather than solving the problem of mind, consciousness and intentionality, has spawned numerous philosophical perplexities. This course will examine a variety of philosophical problems associated with contemporary models of the mind (mind/body dualism; mind/brain identity theories; behaviorism; functionalism and artificial intelligence; eliminative naturalism and folk psychology; biological naturalism). The course will also look at contemporary philosophical accounts of personhood and personal identity, particularly narrative accounts of the self. Readings will typically include David Chalmers, Daniel Dennett, Owen Flanagan, Derek Parfit, Marya Schechtman, John Searle, Galen Strawson, and Kathleen Wilkes. (4 Credits)

PHIL 222-01

Philosophy of Human Rights

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Martin Gunderson

Notes: Although human rights play an obviously important international role, philosophers have found human rights puzzling and difficult to justify. What does it mean to say a person has a moral right or a human right? What is the relationship between human rights stated in international covenants and human rights that are said to be morally binding? Aside from questions about the nature of human rights, the course will consider possible justifications for human rights, both legal and moral, as well as arguments that ther are no human rights. The course will take up the issue of whether it is possible to adopt human rights while respecting the diversity of human cultures, religions, and moral views. Alternate years. (4 Credits)

PHIL 224-01

Philosophy of Law

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room:
  • Instructor: William Wilcox

Notes: An analysis of fundamental legal concepts and the problems of justifying various legal practices. Topics may include the relationship between law and morality, the distinction between the criminal and civil law, theories of constitutional and statutory interpretation, and the appropriate role of the judiciary. Alternate years. (4 Credits)

PHIL 294-01

Philosophy of Yoga

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Joy Laine

Notes:

PHIL 294-02

Animal Ethics

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 02:20 pm-03:20 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes:

PHIL 313-01

Advanced Symbolic Logic

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Janet Folina

Notes: *Cross-listed with MATH 313-01*

A second course in symbolic logic which extends the methods of logic. A main purpose of this course is to study logic itself¿to prove things about the system of logic learned in the introductory course. This course is thus largely logic about logic. Topics include second order logic and basic set theory; soundness, consistency and completeness of first order logic; incompleteness of arithmetic; Turing computability; modal logic; and intuitionistic logic. Cross-listed with Mathematics 313. (4 credits)

PHIL 394-01

Ethical Theory

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Samuel Asarnow

Notes: