Spring 2017

FYS 100 – Sports and Society – (CRN: 19994)
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A205
Adam Kadlac

 Sports and Society: This course takes a critical approach to sports and examines the roles sports play in our lives, both as participants and as spectators.  Among the questions to be considered are the following: What is the value of participating in sports?  Does being a sports fan really make our lives better?  Are the resources we devote to sports as a society better devoted to other things?  Is the ideal of the student-athlete outdated?  Throughout the class, we will also consider how issues of race and gender affect our responses to these and related questions.

 FYS 100 – Philosophy of War (CRN: 16930)
M & W – 5:00-6:15 p.m. – 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 acts they commit in war? To what extent are citizens in a democracy responsible for their state’s decision to go to war?

 FYS 100 – Philosophy Goes to the Movies (CRN: 19871)
T & R – 3:30-4:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
Adrian Bardon

 Many excellent films have been built around interesting philosophical issues. This course uses film, in conjunction with targeted readings, to inspire discussion and debate of a variety of philosophical questions on the subjects of moral responsibility, memory and personal identity, artificial intelligence, genetic manipulation, the environment, drugs, abortion, religious belief, racial justice, economic justice, and immigration. Students will do individual short essays and work in groups to lead discussion.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
M, W, & F – 10:00-10:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 22820)
M, W, & F – 11:00-11:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 22821)
M, W, & F – 2:00-2:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 22854)
Ty Goldschmidt

This course covers big philosophical questions about:

  • God: Is there any evidence for or against the existence of God?
  • Knowledge: How do you know that you’re not in the matrix?
  • Body and soul: Are we purely material beings or do we have souls?
  • Abortion: Is abortion morally permissible? Is it ever obligatory?

And other topics besides. We’ll look at weird medieval puzzles and pressing contemporary problems, and have a lot of fun and friendly debate.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
T & R – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 22850)
T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN22860)
Justin Jennings


PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy (Freshmen Only)
M & W – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 22848)
Win-chiat Lee

Students will be introduced to the subject of philosophy through the careful study of representative writings from three different periods: ancient Greek (Plato), early modern European (Descartes and Hume), and contemporary American (Frankfurt, Nagel, Searle and others). The goal is not only to study what some great philosophers of the past or influential philosophers of the present think about certain subjects, but also to help students, through the examination of these philosophers’ work, develop skills to philosophize and think critically for themselves. The topics discussed will include the existence of God, the relation between the mind and the world, skepticism and the nature of knowledge, free will and determinism, responsibility, the nature of moral and value judgments, the meaning of life, death, the mind-body problem, and the nature of the self.

PHI 114 – Philosophy of Human Nature
W & F – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 22818)
Patrick Toner

 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 115 – Intro to Philosophy of Religion
M, W, & F – 12:00-12:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 22847)
M, W, & F – 1:00-1:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 22855)
Clark Thompson

 We shall examine philosophical arguments concerning the existence and nature of God to see how far reason can establish and defend various beliefs about God.  Among the topics we shall explore are: Is it rational to believe in the existence of God, understood as an all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly good being? Do features of the natural world entitle us to believe in the existence of such a being? Would it be wrong to believe in God in the absence of sufficient evidence for His existence? How are we to understand the claims that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good? Can we reconcile human freedom with divine foreknowledge, and the existence of evil with God’s perfect goodness? Is hell consistent with God’s justice? Are divine commands the source of the moral rightness of acts?

PHI 116 – Meaning and Happiness
T & R – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 22859)
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, 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
M & W – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 22856)
Ana Iltis

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 221 – Symbolic Logic
T & R – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 22849)
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 arguments as valid or invalid. No prior study of logic or mathematics will be assumed.

PHI 241 – Modern
T & R – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 22946)
Adrian Bardon

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 280 – Topics: Philosophy of Food
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 22846)
Patrick Toner

 St. Paul admonished the Church in Corinth to “eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.”  But his concern wasn’t with animal welfare questions, or even health questions.  His concern was with meat from animals that had been sacrificed to idols.  Not, as such (I would imagine), a common problem in our modern supermarkets.  But when we choose whether to buy such meat, can we set aside all moral concerns?

This class is not principally focused on standard arguments for vegetarianism or veganism.  We will take a look at a few such arguments, but for the most part, we will grant for discussion’s sake (in other words, students are certainly not required to grant this for real) that meat eating can be morally permissible.  Given that supposition, does anything go?  Or do we have some kind of obligations to animals?  If so, what?  We might also think about genetically modified organisms, the ethics of hunting, and perhaps other food-related matters.

The reading list is not complete at this point, but we might read from any of: Jose Ortega y Gasset, Roger Scruton, Paul Thompson, Mary Midgley, Peter Singer, Lori Gruen, Jayson Lusk, Wendell Berry and others.  Before the semester begins, students should all have read (over the break, not three years ago) Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma.

 PHI 356 – 20th Century Euro Philosophy
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 22822)
Julian Young

We shall examine the two main movements in twentieth-century German philosophy: the Marx-inspired ‘critical theory’ of Horkheimer, Adorno, Habermas and Marcuse, and the ‘phenomenology’ of Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer and Arendt. (There may not be time to discuss all these thinkers.) We shall begin with Max Weber’s analysis of modernity as defined by ‘rationalization’; by the ‘control’ exercised over social life by science-based ‘calculation’. For both traditions, the central issue for philosophy is the question of how to preserve a genuinely human way of life in the face of the world that is being created by science and technology.

PHI 362 (CRN: 22851) – PHI 662 (CRN: 22852) – Social & Political Philosophy
T & R – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
Win-chiat Lee

The main theme of the course is: liberalism and its critics. We will begin with Social Contract Theory and John Rawls’s influential account of the liberal conception of justice. While some attention will be paid to his methodology, the main focus will be on Rawls’s substantive view on political, social and economic justice and his attempt to reconcile our concerns for liberty and equality. The rest of the course will be devoted to the study of various traditional and contemporary philosophical theories on political, social and economic issues, with the focus on them as critics of liberalism. These theories will include libertarianism, communitarianism, feminism and Marxism. Issues such as virtues, the good life, class and gender inequalities, culture, citizenship, and community will be studied in relation to these theories. Besides Rawls, readings for this course will include works by Plato, John Locke, Karl Marx, Robert Nozick, Charles Taylor, G. A. Cohen, Susan Okin, and Will Kymlicka.

PHI 370 (CRN: 22857) – PHI 670 (CRN: 22858) – Philosophy and Christianity
M & W – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
Christian Miller

This course will examine central claims of the Christian creeds from a philosophical perspective. In particular, we will consider in detail most if not all of the following topics: the trinity, original sin, incarnation, atonement, grace, resurrection and life everlasting, and heaven and hell. Our readings will draw from medieval as well as contemporary analytic authors, with a focus on work by the latter. Examples of medieval authors include Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas. Examples of contemporary authors include Peter van Inwagen, Trenton Merricks, Philip Quinn, Richard Swinburne, Eleonore Stump, Robert Adams, and Lynne Rudder Baker. Right now I envision 2-3 short papers and a final exam.

PHI 374 (CRN: 22853) – PHI 674 (CRN: 21873) – Philosophy of Mind
W & F – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
Ralph Kennedy

A central issue in the philosophy of mind is the nature of consciousness. What is it to have conscious experiences? Is there a special problem about how a wholly material being could be conscious? If so, does it make sense to suppose that we are not wholly material, as Descartes suggested? What should it take to convince us that a robot was indeed conscious? How should we think about animal consciousness? It’s hard to deny that chimpanzees and others of our close cousins 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 sorts of 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.

PHI 375 (CRN: 22731) – PHI 675 (CRN: 22742) – Philosophy of Language
W – 3:30-6:00 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 22731)
Stavroula Glezakos

 Philosophy of language seeks to understand the relation of language to the world, thought, and communication. In this seminar, we will engage in a rigorous examination of foundational philosophical works on topics on the nature of meaning, reference, communication, truth, fiction, metaphor, and offensive language.

 PHI 385 – Seminar: Existentialism
T & R – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 22966)
Justin Jennings

A survey of some thinkers often classed as “existentialists.” The course will focus on the relationship between reflective thought and lived experience. How should the two be combined in a life? Are there aspects of the world inaccessible to us when we merely think about or observe things but that are accessible to the present, involved, first-personal, acting subject? What is the relationship between theory, whether philosophical, scientific, literary, or theological, and practice or experience? What is gained and what is lost in our capacity for reflection? Is there something essential to being there? Can reflection involve us in certain dangers? Are these dangers nonetheless necessary? Previous exposure to the history of philosophy will be helpful but by no means required.