Spring 2016

FYS 100 – PHI of War
M & W – 5:00-6:15 – Tribble Hall A201
Clark Thompson

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.  Our questions include the following: To what extent is military action justified when used to address humanitarian concerns, to promote liberal or democratic values, or to head off potential threats? Can a meaningful distinction be drawn between combatants and noncombatants? Should a defense of superior orders shield military subordinates from accountability for illegal or immoral acts they commit in war?

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – CRN: 21868
M, W, & F – 10:00-10:50 – Tribble Hall A306
Ralph Kennedy

A study of perennial issues at the heart of philosophy, such as the nature and extent of our knowledge of the world, the role of evidence in justifying belief, the nature of causality, self-knowledge, personal identity, the nature and possibility of free will, and the nature of morality.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – CRN: 21885
M & W – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble Hall A304
PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – CRN: 21886
M & W – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble Hall A306

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

PHI 112 A – Introduction to Philosphical Ideas – CRN: 21869
MWF – 11:00-11:50 – Tribble Hall A306
Charles Lewis

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 – PHI of Human Nature – CRN 21866
W & F – 9:30 – 10:45 – Tribble Hall A304
Patrick Toner

What is it to be human?  What is a good life?  Do we survive death?  How can we come to know what we are, or what we should do?  Are ancient answers of any help, or has the rise of modern science allowed us to put all that behind us?

 PHI 115 – Intro to PHI of Religion – CRN 21888
T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 – Tribble Hall A306
PHI 115 – Intro to PHI of Religion – CRN 21891
T & R – 3:30 – 4:45 – Tribble Hall A306
Tyron Goldschmidt

In this course, we’ll explore big and cool questions about God and religion:

  • Are religion and science in conflict?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • What is the relationship between faith and reason?
  • Is there any evidence for or against the existence of God?
  • Could an all-powerful being know what it feels like to be a mouse?

And a few other questions besides. We’ll have a lot of fun and friendly debate.

PHI 116 – Meaning and Happiness – CRN21783
T & R – 9:30 – 10:45 – Tribble Hall A304
Julian Young

Beginning with Plato (c. 400 BCE) and ending with Foucault (died 1984) the course will look at the views of Western philosophers who have discussed the question of how to live a happy, meaningful life. Particular attention will be paid to ‘post-death-of-God’ philosophers (e.g. Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx, Sartre, Camus, and Heidegger) who reject the traditional Christian answer to the question of meaning and seek to provide an alternative. Since these philosophers all (a) argue for their positions and (b) disagree with each other, we shall improve our skills in critical thinking in seeing with whom we agree (if anyone) and with whom we disagree. At the end of the course we should have an outline grasp of the history of Western philosophy.

PHI 161 – Intro to Bioethics – CRN: 21786
T & TR – 9:30 – 10:45 – Tribble Hall A301
PHI 161 – Intro to Bioethics – CRN: 21871
T & TR – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A306
Adam Kadlac

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? 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 164 – Contemporary Moral Problems – CRN: 21865
T & R – 9:30 – 10:45 – Tribble Hall A306
Emily Austin

Study of pressing ethical issues in contemporary life, such as abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, affirmative action, marriage, cloning, pornography, and capital punishment.

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Problems – CRN: 21870
T & TR – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A304
Tyron Goldschmidt

We’ll debate about the morality of capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, eating animals and pornography: Is the death penalty permissible? Is it wrong? Is it every obligatory? Is abortion permissible? Is it wrong? Is it ever obligatory? Same questions for euthanasia, eating animals and pornography, and maybe a few other topics besides.

PHI 165 – Intro to PHI of Law – CRN: 21884
M, W, & F – 1:00 – 1:50 – Tribble Hall A306
PHI 165 – Intro to PHI of Law – CRN: 21877
M, W, & F – 12:00 – 12:50 – Tribble Hall A306
Clark Thompson

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, and the right to privacy.

PHI 221 – Symbolic Logic – CRN: 22051
W & F – 11:00 – 12:15 – Tribble Hall A304
PHI 221 – Symbolic Logic – CRN: 22052
W & F – 2:00 – 3:15 – Tribble Hall A304
Stavroula Glezakos

Symbolic logic is the application of formal methods to the study of reasoning. In this course, we will learn techniques for constructing arguments in a symbolic language and for evaluating such arguments as valid or invalid. No prior study of logic or mathematics will be assumed. Requirements: completion of regular homework assignments; three midterm exams; one final exam.

PHI 280 – Topics in PHI: Stoics, Skeptics, and Epicureans (Hellenistic PHI) – CRN 21879
T & R – 12:30 – 1:45 – Tribble Hall A307
Emily Austin

Three schools of philosophy dominated the Hellenistic period—the Stoics, Skeptics, and Epicureans.  We will study the surviving texts of the founding members of these schools, as well as later Roman expressions.  Topics will include free will, pleasure, moral psychology, philosophy of mind, happiness, and skepticism.

PHI 352 – 19 Century European PHI – Hegel, Kierkegaard, & Nietzsche – CRN 21892
T & TR – 3:30-4:45 – Tribble Hall A307
Charles Lewis

Is there a way to think about the natural world that also makes sense of human life and history? Is anything gained, or lost, by thinking holistically about the world as a whole? Is a life dedicated to thinking about the world (and living accordingly) a way of avoiding an authentic human life? What does it mean to live authentically? Does nihilism provide the answer or is it a form of avoidance? What motivates avoidance and is there a remedy?

PHI 360 – Ethics – CRN: 21875
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A205
Adam Kadlac

An examination of some of the central figures in the history of ethics (Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Mill) as well as a selection of contemporary work on ideas raised by those authors.

PHI 366 – Global Justice – CRN: 21887
M & W – 2:00 – 3:15 – Tribble Hall A201
Win-chiat Lee

In this course, we are interested in discerning the extent to which national boundaries matter morally? This question has implications for many practical issues that involve the proper scope of our humanitarianism and our concern for justice. We will pay special attention to the debate between cosmopolitanism and nationalism regarding whether we owe special duties to our fellow citizens and whether they should take precedence over our general duties toward fellow human beings. The justification and application of universal human rights (in the face of a plurality of cultural norms) will also be discussed. Other topics include national sovereignty and self-determination, Just War Doctrine, humanitarian intervention, international criminal law, global distributive justice, global environmental ethics, immigration and refugees policy.

PHI 371/671 – Aesthetics & PHI of Art – CRN: 21880
W & F – 12:30 – 1:45 – Tribble Hall A307
Patrick Toner

There are two central but apparently disparate questions at the heart of this class.  First, what is beauty?  Second, what is art?   We’ll read works by Camille Paglia, Francis Kovach, Susan Sontag, GK Chesterton, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and others.

PHI 374 – Philosophy of Mind – CRN: 21872
T & TR – 11:00 – 12:15 – Tribble Hall A307
Ralph Kennedy

What is it to have conscious experiences? Is there any reason to doubt that a wholly physical thing could be conscious? Does it make sense to suppose, as Descartes did, that we are not wholly physical? What should it take to convince us that a robot was indeed conscious? How should we think about animal consciousness? Surely the other apes are conscious, but what about ‘possums, sharks, dragonflies, earthworms, planaria? At some point, presumably, consciousness just isn’t there, but what criteria should we use for drawing the line? We’ll consider these and related questions as treated in the writings of authors from Descartes (1596-1650) to Quine (1908-2000) and beyond. Most of our readings will be from 20th and 21st century sources. Satisfies a neuroscience minor requirement.

PHI 385/685 – Seminar: Marcuse and Arendt – CRN: 21889
T & TR – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble Hall A307
Julian Young

Herbert Marcuse and Hannah Arendt were both students of Heidegger who, as Jews, were forced to emigrate from Germany to the United States when the Nazis came to power. Marcuse became famous as the guru of the student movement of the 1960s (particularly in California), Arendt famous (or infamous) for the use, a propos the Holocaust, of the phrase, ‘banality of evil’.

Marcuse’s critique of industrial capitalism draws on Marx, Weber and Freud. The system, as it is, sublimates ‘libidinal’ energy into industrial production, condemning us to ‘alienated’ labour and deprivation of pleasure. Against Freud, however, he holds that automation can eventually remove the need for such diversion of energy thus releasing us to a non-repressive, pleasure-filled way of being. Arendt divides human life-possibilities into three basic forms: labour, work, and action. The life of labour is paradigmatically that of the ancient peasant condemned to an endless cycle of production and consumption. The paradigm of the ‘worker’ is the ancient craftsman whose activity, unlike that of the labourer, results in a durable object. Work is more satisfying than labour, but a fully satisfying life, Arendt argues, must be shaped by ‘action’: by, that is, the introduction of something personal into, in a very broad sense, the ‘political’ domain. In the ancient world one ‘acted’ in order to give meaning to one’s life, to achieve the ‘worldly immortality’ of preservation in the memory of one’s community. One of Arendt’s charges against industrial capitalism is that it has returned us to the life of ‘labour’. We will look at the details of Arendt’s and Marcuse’s arguments.