Courses Fall 2013

FYS 100 – Death – Emily Austin
MW – 12:30-1:45 pm – Tribble Hall A307

FYS 100 – History and Philosophy of Civil Disobedience – Earl Crow
MW – 2:00-3:15 pm – WING 209

A philosophical and historical examination of civil disobedience as a moral option. The students will read the writings of Thomas Aquinas, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr., Daniel Berrigan, and other appropriate articles and authors and explore civil disobedience from Biblical time, through the Middle Ages, to the Modern era. Emphasis will be placed on research and reading, critical thought, oral presentations, and class discussions. Students will develop and defend philosophical positions.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Christian Miller
MWF – 9:00-9:50 am – Tribble A306 – INCOMING FRESHMEN ONLY
MWF – 10:00-10:50 am – Tribble A306 – INCOMING FRESHMEN ONLY

This course will be concerned with some of the most challenging and interesting questions in all of human experience. For example, we will consider some of the arguments for the existence of God, whether God would allow evil to exist, whether faith is compatible with reason, whether there is an objective morality, whether we should be moral at the expense of self-interest, whether the death penalty is morally permissible, and what we should do about famine. In each case, we will examine particular questions not only with an aim at arriving at the truth, but also with an aim at determining what relevance these questions have to our ordinary lives.  The text will be Joel Feinberg and Russ Shafer-Landau, Reason and Responsibility (Wadsworth Press, most recent edition) and our readings will be drawn from both classic and contemporary sources.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Staff
MWF – 9:00-9:50 – Tribble A304

Examines the basic concepts of several representative philosophers, including their accounts of the nature of knowledge, persons, God, mind, and matter.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Staff
TR – 12:30-1:45 pm – Tribble A208
TR – 3:30-4:45 pm – Tribble A305

Examines the basic concepts of several representative philosophers, including their accounts of the nature of knowledge, persons, God, mind, and matter.

PHI 112 – Introduction to Philosphical Ideas – Charles Lewis
MWF – 11:00 – 11:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306

This course, after examining the common sense and religious background of the first scientific thinkers or philosophers, turns to the study of Plato and Aristotle, the major shapers of pre-modern scientific, theological, and philosophical thought. Then the course turns to Descartes, the first great architect of the modern scientific and philosophical ways of thinking. An examination of the new Cartesian science of nature and its momentous departure from pre-modern belief in the teleology of all natural processes is followed by the study of Hume, one of Descartes’ major critics, who takes modern skepticism to a new level. Twentieth-century existential nihilism is introduced along the way in order to consider its place in modern thought and its radical rejection of conventional assumptions about the meaning or purpose of human existence. Attention is given throughout to how an examination of modern and pre-modern ways of thinking can help us to understand contemporary conceptions of self and world.

PHI 114 – Philosophy of Human Nature – Patrick Toner
MWF 9:00-9:50 am – Tribble A309

Is there such a thing as human nature? If so, are there legitimate philosophical questions to ask about it, or does natural science tell us (at least in principle) all that we need to know? Is there a soul? What is the mind? Could we survive our deaths? What does evolution tell us about ourselves? We will read Human Nature After Darwin, by Janice Radcliffe Richards; The Abolition of Man, by CS Lewis; and Naturalism, by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro.

PHI 160 – Introduction to Political Philosophy – Adrian Bardon
MWF – 2:00-2:50 p.m. – Tribble A306
MWF – 5:00-5:50 pm – Tribble A306

From what does government derive its authority? Is the proper purpose of organized society to protect individual rights, or to promote the general welfare? Is there a basic right to property? Should community moral values override individual choice? This course examines the role of views about justice in determining attitudes about liberty, equality, and authority, and, in so doing, provides an overview of major issues in social and political thought.

PHI 161 – Medical Ethics – Ana Iltis
TR – 9:30-10:45 am – Tribble A306
First-year students only. For more information, please contact the registrar’s office.

PHI 161 – Medical Ethics – Adam Kadlac
TR – 3:30-4:45 pm – Tribble A306
TR – 2:00-3:15 pm – Tribble A306

The theme of this course will be “Happiness, Health, and Society.” Among the questions we will consider: Is happiness a purely psychological phenomenon? How is health related to happiness? How have advances in medical technology changed our understanding of the good life? What role should physicians play in promoting the happiness of their patients? And what obligations do we have to promote the health and/or happiness of others?

PHI 165 – Intro to Philosophy of Law – Clark Thompson
TR – 11:00-12:15pm – Tribble A306
TR – 12:30-1:45 pm – Tribble A306

An examination of prominent legal principles and cases.  Topics include the rule of law, judicial review, constitutional interpretation, the use of criminal law to enforce morality, the requirements for criminal liability, punishment, the right to privacy, and obscenity.

PHI 221 – Symbolic Logic – Ralph Kennedy
MW – 12:30-1:45 pm– Tribble A306

Philosophy 221 is an introduction to the language, principles, and use of first-order logic. The goals are: (1) to learn how to translate English sentences to and from a simple artificial language; (2) to master the concepts of logical consequence, logical consistency, validity, and invalidity; (3) to learn how to analyze the logic of sentences and arguments; (4) to become better at constructing and criticizing arguments.

Note: The textbook/software package is Language, Proof, and Logic, second edition, by Plummer, Barwise, and Etchemendy. You must have a new copy of the second edition in order to take the course. Otherwise you won’t be able to use the software, which is mandatory. It lists on Amazon (as of March 2013) for $60 new (paperback). Publication date: October 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1575866321. Publisher: Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University. Distributor: University of Chicago Press. You may also buy the book directly from One option is to download the book and software. You may save a few dollars that way, but I believe you’d find it more convenient to study using a hard copy of the book.

PHI 232 – Ancient Greek Philosophy – Emily Austin
TR – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble A307

This course examines some of the high-water marks of philosophy in ancient Greece.  We will discuss a wide-range of philosophical problems: the justification of knowledge, the content of the good life, the nature of matter and change, the parts of animals, and the source of political obligation.  Attention will be paid to the way these questions unfolded in their historical context, as well as how ancient treatments compare to contemporary efforts.

PHI 241 – Modern Philosophy – Staff.  Note: new section, added 3/27.
TR — 11:00am –12:15 pm – Tribble A307

PHI 241 – Modern Philosophy – Clark Thompson
TR – 3:30-4:45 pm – Tribble C115

Our main focus will be on five works: Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), by René Descartes; Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), by G.W. Leibniz; An Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690), by John Locke; An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748), by David Hume; and Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779), by Hume.  In addition, we shall discuss selected topics from Nicolas Malebranche (causation, evil) and George Berkeley (causation, evil).

PHI 353/653 – Heidegger – Julian Young
TR – 2:00-3:15 pm – Tribble A307

We shall attempt an overview of nearly all of Heidegger’s philosophy. Starting with Being and Time (1927) we shall examine his phenomenological account of world, mind and self, as well as the ‘existential’ themes of anxiety, death, abandonment, homelessness, and nothingness. We shall then consider Heidegger’s ‘turn’, which happened sometime in the 1930s, his realisation (as he describes it) that the way in which Being and Time had approached its fundamental task – that of answering ‘the question of the meaning of being’ – had been radically misguided.  We shall then turn to Heidegger’s ‘post-turn’ philosophy of the 1940s-70s, his rejection of ‘metaphysics’, his engagement with the threat of instrumental rationality and of modern technology, his concern with ‘dwelling’ and with ‘caring for’ our natural and cultural environment, and his attempt to rediscover a form of religious thinking.

PHI 362/662 – Social & Political Philosophy – Adam Kadlac
TR – 9:30-10:45 am – Tribble A307
An examination of the work of selected contemporary philosophers on topics such as the state, the family, distributive justice, property, liberty, and the common good.

PHI 372/672 – Philosophy of Religion – Charles Lewis
TR – 3:30-4:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307

An examination of such questions as the following: What is religion? Are the gods (of polytheism) dead or dying? What about God? How is religious belief to be explained? Is it a symptom of some underlying human weakness, need, or biological process? Or is it a response to the sacred? How could anyone know? Must believers rely on something less than knowledge? Are philosophical proofs the way to knowledge of God? Is the “problem of evil” a metaphysical problem? A theological problem? A critical problem? How are religious beliefs like and unlike metaphysical, moral, and modern scientific beliefs?

*Note: Officially, this class meets from 3:30 to 4:45, but in fact the class generally lets out considerably later than 4:45. If you cannot stay for the entire class, Professor Lewis will work with you outside of class time so that you do not miss any of the material.

Note: Phi 376, Epistemology, has been cancelled.

PHI 378 – Philosophy of Space and Time –Adrian Bardon

WF – 3:30-4:45 pm – Tribble Hall A307

An examination of philosophical approaches to space and time from the Presocratic period to the present. Issues discussed include the reality of the passage of time, paradoxes of change and motion, puzzles about time-awareness, the status of space and time as entities in their own right, spacetime and relativity, time and freedom of the will, and the possibility of time-travel.

PHI 385/685 – Seminar: The Soul – Patrick Toner
MWF – 10:00-10:50 am – Tribble A307

Just as its title suggests, in this seminar, we shall study the soul. What reasons might one have for believing in souls? What would a soul be like, should such a thing exist? What is the connection—if any—between the existence of the soul and the existence of God? Books to be read in whole or in part are Harold Langsam, The Wonder of Consciousness (MIT 2011); Richard Swinburne, Mind, Brain and Free Will (Oxford 2013); Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro, A Brief History of the Soul (Blackwell 2011); and JP Moreland, Consciousness and the Existence of God (Routledge 2008). We will also read some work by Eleonore Stump, William Hasker, Brie Gertler, Peter Unger and possibly Eric Olson.