Fall 2020

FYS 100 (98105)– Philosophy of War – Clark Thompson
M & W – 5:00-6:15 – Online

This course studies the implications of moral theory for the determination of when war is morally permissible and of how war is to be conducted if it is to be waged in a morally acceptable way.  We shall examine whether just war theory can offer acceptable guidance in making these determinations.  We shall ask whether the provisions of international law governing warfare are morally acceptable, and whether various military actions would violate these provisions.  More specific questions to be studied will include the following: To what extent is military action justified when used to address humanitarian concerns or to promote regime change? Can a meaningful distinction be drawn between combatants and noncombatants? Should a defense of superior orders shield military subordinates from being held accountable for illegal acts they commit? What is the responsibility of military commanders for the illegal acts of their subordinates? How should we respond to terrorism?

FYS 100 (98106)– Idea of America – Adam Kadlac
T & TR – 11:00-12:15 – TRIB B216 – Blended – Online

FYS (The Idea of America): This course will take a philosophical look at American history by examining four key periods: the war for independence, the drafting and ratification of the US Constitution, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement.  Our aim will be to reflect on the founding ideals of the United States and what such ideals might require of us as citizens.

PHI 111A (95749)– Basic Problems of Philosophy – Christian Miller
(Freshman Only)
M, W, & F – 10:00 – 10:50 – Online

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.

conscious? Is the physical world all there is? Could there be a transcendent being or beings such as To develop and defend one’s own considered views on philosophical issues.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Justin Jennings
Section B (95751) – T & TR – 11:00-12:15 – Online
Section E (95759) – T & TR – 12:30-1:45 – Online

How should we live? Who has authority? What is good? What is just? What is real? Who are we? How can we know? In this course, we address these questions by reading the principal works of the historically most significant thinkers of Western philosophy.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Clark Thompson
Section C (95752) – M & W – 12:30 – 1:45 – Online
Section G (97394) – M & W – 2:00-3:15 – Online

Among the questions in moral philosophy, political philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and in epistemology (the theory of knowledge) that we shall study are the following: Is an act morally right because it is in accord with a cultural practice? Because it is commanded by God? Because it promotes the self-interest of the agent? Because it maximizes overall happiness? Is capital punishment morally acceptable? Do we have an obligation to obey the law? What is the extent of the legitimate authority of government in matters of religion? What is “the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual” (Mill, On Liberty)? Is it reasonable to believe in God even if we lack sufficient evidence for His existence? Is it reasonable to believe that miracles occur? Can the existence of God be reconciled with the existence of suffering and moral evil? How useful is the belief in God, and is there a secular substitute for religion? Can we know that any of our beliefs are true? Are we justified when, on the basis of cases we have observed, we form beliefs about cases that we have not observed? We shall read works by Plato, Locke, Mill, James, Descartes, and Hume.

PHI 111D (95753) – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Emily Austin (Freshman Only)
T & TR – 12:30-1:45 – TRIB C115 – Blended – Online

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

PHI 111F (97393) – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Stavroula Glezakos
M, W, & F – 2:00-2:50 – TRIB A301 – Blended – Online

Thorough readings, other media, lectures, and class discussions, we will conduct a study of some central philosophical questions about knowledge, free will, morality, and religion.

Students who complete this class should be able to:
(1) understand and describe some major areas of philosophical inquiry
(2) identify specific philosophical issues and explain them using philosophical vocabulary
(3) identify, formulate, and evaluate philosophical arguments, and
(4) articulate and argue for their own philosophical views.

PHI 111 H & I (98668 & 98669) – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Jonathan Barker
M, W, & F – 10:00-10:50 and 11:00-11:50 – Online

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

PHI 114A (96398)– Philosophy of Human Nature – Patrick Toner
T & TR – 9:30-10:45 – TRIB A110 – Blended – Online

Is there such a thing as human nature?  If so, what is it like?  In this class, we examine some of the many answers that have been given to those questions.  Those answers come from east and west, from the past and from the present, from religious figures and from scientists.  We’ll evaluate all of them as philosophers.  Our course texts will be Twelve Theories of Human Nature by Stevenson et al and The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis.

PHI 160 – Intro to Political Philosophy – Adrian Bardon
Section A (97770) – M, W, & F – 12:00 – 12:50 – Online
Section B (97772) – M, W, & F – 1:00 – 1:50 – Online

This course concerns theories of justice. Is the proper purpose of organized society to protect individual rights or to promote the general welfare?  Is there a natural right to property? Is there a natural right to equal opportunity? And what would equal opportunity look like? 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. There will be a significant community engagement project as part of our study of justice.

PHI 161 – Introduction to Bioethics – Adam Kadlac
Section A (95750) – W & F – 9:30-10:45 – Online
Section C (95766) – W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Online

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 161B (95754) – Introduction to Bioethics – Ana Iltis
M & W – 2:00-3:15 – Greene 313 – Blended – Online

A study of ethical issues that arise in health care and the life sciences. Topics to be explored include questions about death and organ donation, regenerative medicine, genetic testing and research, and the allocation of health care resources, among others.

 PHI 161D (98357) – Introduction to Bioethics – Nicholas Colgrove
M, W, &F – 10:00-10:50 – Online

A study of ethical issues that arise in health care and the life sciences such as informed consent, experimentation on human subjects, truth-telling, confidentiality, abortion, and the allocation of scarce medical resources.

PHI 232A (95762) – Ancient Greek Philosophy – Emily Austin
T & TR – 9:30-10:45 – TRIB C115 – Blended – Online

Study of the central figures in early Greek philosophy, beginning with the Presocratics, focusing primarily on Plato and Aristotle, and concluding with a brief survey of some Hellenistic philosophers.

PHI 241A (97025) – Modern Philosophy– Justin Jennings
T&TR – 3:30-4:45 – TRIB B216 – Blended – Online

Study of the works of influential 17th and 18th-century European philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, with a concentration on theories of knowledge, metaphysics, science, and religion.

PHI 280A (98695) – Topics in PHI: Ancient Ethics – Jonathan Barker
M, W, & F – TRIB A305 – Blended – Online

For the ancient Greeks and Romans, ethical inquiry begins with a familiar question: How can I live a flourishing human life? or, How can I achieve eudaimonia? This course is a survey of the ancient ethical theories of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Epicureans. Questions to be discussed include: Is there more to human happiness than pleasure? Can a morally vicious person truly flourish? Is moral virtue alone sufficient for happiness, or can externalities like poverty, the death of a loved one, and lack of good friends prevent even a morally excellent person from achieving eudaimonia? What is the proper place of the emotions, reason, and study in the good life? Is humility a virtue or a vice? Is ancient ethical theory objectionably egoistic?

PHI 360A (95757) and PHI 660AG (96508) – Ethics – Christian Miller
M &W – 12:30-1:45 – Online

Ethics is concerned with the way we should live our lives and the type of person we should become.  This course will focus, not on applied topics in ethics like famine relief, abortion, or the death penalty, but rather on ethical theory itself.  We will look at such questions as: Which actions are right and which are wrong?  Which outcomes should we promote?  What kind of character should we attempt to cultivate? Our approach will be both historical and contemporary, and will focus on the four major ethical traditions:

Divine Command Theory, where the commands of a loving and just God are central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Robert Adams and Philip Quinn.

Kantian Deontology, where categorical imperatives and respect for others are central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Kant, Christine Korsgaard, and Fred Feldman.

Utilitarianism, where maximizing good outcomes is central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Mill, Michael Stocker, and Robert Nozick.

Virtue Ethics, where virtuous character traits are central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Aristotle, Rosalind Hursthouse, and Robert Louden.

I envision requiring 4 moderately sized papers and no exams.

PHI 363A (97771) – Philosophy of Law – Win-chiat Lee
T &TR – 12:30-1:45 – TRIB C216?? – Blended – Traditional

Inquiry into the nature of law and its relation to morality. Classroom discussions of readings from the works of classical and modern authors focus on issues of contemporary concern involving questions of legal principle, personal liberty, human rights, responsibility, justice, and punishment.

PHI 369A (97006) Philosophy and Psychology – Adrian Bardon
M, W, & F – 2:00-2:50 – WINS 125 – Blended – Online

A broad examination of the philosophy and psychology of bias, motivated reasoning, self-deception, and denial. We will discuss the roles of ideology, personality, and identity in science denial, in political economy, in racism, and in religious belief.

PHI 374A (97007) and PHI 674AG (97009) – Philosophy of Mind – Patrick Toner
T &TR – 11:00-12:15 – TRIB A110 – Blended – Face-to-Face

Selection from the following topics: the mind-body problem personal identity; the unity of consciousness; minds and machines; the nature of experience; action, intention, and the will.

 PHI 375A (97768) and PHI 675AG (97769) – Philosophy of Language
Stavroula Glezakos
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – TRIB A301 – Blended – Online

We use language to talk about the world, to express our thoughts, to communicate with others, and to achieve various other ends (some of which we may not realize or acknowledge). In this class, we will examine and discuss philosophical investigations into these phenomena.

The philosophical study of language is largely conceptual. Philosophers focus on concepts that are essential to our thinking about language – concepts like meaningreferencetruthcommunication – with the aim of analyzing and illuminating those concepts, making sure that they are internally coherent and that they figure into a consistent conceptual network. This project of analysis usually proceeds by the identification of various features of language and language use, and the giving of reasons and arguments and thought experiments to support explanations and theoretical accounts of those phenomena.

In this course, we will examine the work of some influential philosophers of language. We will then consider how that work might help us understand and address matters of social and political importance involving language and uses of language.