Spring 2018

FYS 100 (OOO)– Good and Evil in Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings – (CRN: 19994)
W & F – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A307
Patrick Toner

The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular books ever written, but what is it really about?  Is it just fantasy literature?  What is its connection to the great epics?  What is its connection to fairy stories?  What does it have to teach us?  Is it great literature?  Should we care?  What does the Ring of Power symbolize?  We will study the book particularly in its relation to Tolkien’s Catholicism and with some consideration given to his near-contemporary GK Chesterton, and his friend CS Lewis.  Students must re-read the book prior to the start of the semester.

FYS 100 (P) – 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.

FYS 100 – Philosophy of War (CRN: ????)
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?

PHI 111A – Basic Problems of Philosophy
M, W, & F – 9:00-9:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 23936)
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
Section E – T & R – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 24069)
Section F – T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A306 (24070) (FRESHMEN ONLY)
dam Kadlac

This course will examine some of the key texts and topics in the history of philosophy.  Among the questions to be addressed: Does God exist?  Do we have free will?  Is it possible to obtain knowledge about the world?  Are human beings purely physical entities, or do they also have non-physical souls?

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
Section B – W & F – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 23944)
Section C – W & F – `11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 23948)
Justin Jennings

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 111D – Basic Problems of Philosophy
M, W, & F – 1:00 – 1:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A102 (HST) (CRN: 23964)
Stavroula Glezakos

In this class, we will read works by both classical and contemporary philosophers on questions such as: Is it possible to know anything for certain? Do we possess free will? How is the human mind related to the human body? Is morality relative? How ought we to live? We will consider these questions with the aim of developing the ability to think rigorously and critically, and to gain insight into our own (and others’) views and values.

PHI 114A – Philosophy of Human Nature
W & F – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 24071)
Patrick Toner

In this class, we ask what it is to be human.  We also ask about our relationships to technology, to work, to the natural world, and to one another.  There will likely be a practical component in this class–a work project in the campus garden.  We’ll be reading some philosophical classics like Josef Pieper’s Leisure: the Basis of Culture, and some new semi-popular works, such as Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soul Craft.  We’ll also read a couple of novels: Orwell’s 1984 and Camus’s The Stranger.  We’ll also read some Thoreau, Viktor Frankl, Janet Radcliffe Richards, and GK Chesterton.

PHI 115 – Intro to Philosophy of Religion
Section A – M & W – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 23955)
Section B – M & W – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 23979)
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 116A – Meaning and Happiness
T & R – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 23981)
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 161E – Intro to Bioethics
M & W – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 23980)
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 161D – Intro to Bioethics
T & R – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 23957)
Hannah Hardgrave

An introduction to the history, issues, problems, concepts and arguments of contemporary medical ethics, as presented in John Moskop’s Ethics and Health Care: An Introduction in the first half of the semester will be followed by student selected topics suggested by the introduction. These topics include patient-provider relationships, issues at the beginning and end of life, as well as problems arising in public health and biomedical research.

PHI 164A – Contemporary Moral Problems
T & R – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 23938)
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
Section B – T & R – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 23982) – FRESHMEN ONLY
Section C – T & R – 3:30-4:45 P.M. – Tribble Hall A306 (CRN: 24001)
Ty Goldschmidt

 In this course, we’ll debate about contemporary and controversial ethical questions:

  • Is the death penalty permissible? Is it wrong? Is it every obligatory?
  • Is abortion permissible? Is it wrong? Is it ever obligatory?
  • What about euthanasia? Our treatment of animals? Drugs? Pornography?

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

PHI 220A – Logic
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 23946)
Ty Goldschmidt

This course is an introduction to logic—the science of good reasoning. We’ll be covering:

  • Syllogistic logic
  • Inductive logic
  • Scientific reasoning
  • Informal fallacies
  • Basic propositional logic
  • Basic quantificational logic

And some history of logic too.

PHI 221A – Symbolic Logic
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A304 (CRN: 23949)
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 331A (CRN: 23958)/631AG (CRN: 23962) – Plato
T & R – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
Emily Austin

Detailed analysis of selected dialogues, covering Plato’s most important contributions to moral and political philosophy, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and theology.

PHI 341A (CRN: 23985)/641AG (CRN: 23987) – Kant
T & R – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
Adrian Bardon

Study of Kant’s principal contributions to metaphysics and the theory of knowledge.

PHI 356A – 20th Century European Philosophy
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 23947)
Julian Young

This course will be concerned with the effect of science and technology on modern life. We shall examine the accounts of that effect provided by Max Weber, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Since Horkheimer, Adorno, and Benjamin are leading representatives of the Frankfurt School of ‘critical theory’, while Husserl and Heidegger are the leading representatives of ‘phenomenology’, the course will provide an introduction to the two dominant traditions in modern German philosophy.

PHI 360A (CRN: 23941)/660AG (CRN: 23942)– Ethics
W & F – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A305 (HST)
Adam Kadlac

This course will focus on some of the central texts in the history of ethics–particularly Aristotle’s Ethics, Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, and Mill’s Utilitarianism.  We will also consider such questions as: Is there such a thing as moral expertise?  What does it mean to develop good character?  And how important is it to be moral in the first place?

PHI 366A – Global Justice
M & W – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 23956)
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 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 371A – Aesthetics and the PHI of Art
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 23950)
Patrick Toner

We will study some standard issues in the philosophy of art, to include the ontological status of fictional characters, the nature of the work of art in itself, and especially the philosophy of interpretation. To help us understand these issues in practice, we’ll be reading Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, and her non-classic Go Set a Watchman. We will also inquire into the nature of beauty.

PHI 374A – Philosophy of Mind
T & R – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN: 23943)
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 385A/685AG – Seminar: Existentialism: Kierkegaard
W & F – 2:00-3:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307 (CRN:A – 24142) (CRN: AG – 24143)
Justin Jennings

In this course, we read large selections from the principal texts of Kierkegaard’s “first authorship” and some from his “second.” These will include Either/Or I and II, Fear and Trembling, The Concept of Anxiety, The Concept of Irony, The Sickness Unto Death, the Concluding Unscientific Postscript, The Book on Adler, “The Present Age”, and Philosophical Fragments. In so doing, we will address what it means to really live and live authentically; what art can do, what it cannot do, and what it alone can do; the nature of irony and its effects on persons, societies, and cultures; Kierkegaard’s critique of philosophy and theology as such; the nature and origins of anxiety (Angst), despair, and suffering and our prospects for relief from them; the nature of true religiousness and its relation to reason and to ethics; the relationships between the individual, the crowd, and the community; whether and to what extent anyone can ever tell us the truth; and other questions.