Spring 2020

FYS 100C (25921)– Philosophy of War
M & W – 5:00-6:15 – Tribble 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 crises, to promote liberal or democratic values, or to combat oppression by foreign countries of their own citizens? 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 100JJ (25992) – Philosophy Goes to the Movies
T & R – 3:30-4:45 – Tribble AA307
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– Sports and Society
Section BB – (25919) – W & F – 9:30-10:45 – Tribble A307
Section BBB – (25920) – W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble A307
Adam Kadlac

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  Is the ideal of the student-athlete outdated?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.

PHI 111A (25754) – Basic Problems of Philosophy (Freshman Only)
T & TR – 9:30-10:45 – Tribble A306
Christian Miller

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 111C – (25758) – Basic Problems of Philosophy
W & F – 11:15-12:30 – Wake Downtown (WKDN) 1617
Francisco Gallegos

This course aims to introduce participants to the discipline of philosophy. Philosophy is the activity of wrestling with life’s big questions, such as questions about the fundamental nature of reality, knowledge, morality, and meaning. Participants will grapple with these questions as they relate to pressing issues in their own lives and in their communities, while becoming acquainted with the work of a diverse array of historical and contemporary philosophers. By taking an active role in their own learning and working together to direct the course, participants will have ample opportunity to cultivate an appreciation for the ways that philosophical reflection and conversation can expand their possibilities and enrich their relationships.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
Section D (25769) – T & R – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble A304
Section E (25778) – T & R – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble A304
Justin Jennings

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

PHI 114A (25760) – Philosophy of Human Nature – Tribble A306
M, W & F – 9:00-9:50 – Tribble A306
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.  We’ll be reading some philosophical classics like Plato’s Republic and Descartes’s Meditations, and some modern works like CS Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.  We’ll also read some novels including Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984 and Camus’s The Stranger.

PHI 115 – Intro to Philosophy of Religion
Section A (25766) – M & W – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble A306
Section B (25777) – M & W – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble A304
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 161B (25780) – Intro to Bioethics
T & R – 3:30-4:45 – Tribble A304
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 161A (25759) – Intro to Bioethics
M, W & F – 10:00-10:50 – Tribble A304
Nicholas Colgrove

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 164 – Contemporary Moral Problems
Section A (25761) – T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble A306
Section B (25767) – T & R – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble A306
Adam Kadlac

In this course we will discuss several moral issues of contemporary concern including: truth-telling (in public and private life), privacy, abortion, and capital punishment.  We will also think about the relationship between our modern market economy and other social values.

PHI 164C (25772) – Contemporary Moral Problems (Freshmen Only)
M & W – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble 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 164D 26270 – Contemporary Moral Problems
M, W, & F – 10:00-10:50 – Tribble A306
Patrick Toner

We’ll discuss a variety of philosophical problems principally centered on death and killing.  We might talk about war, the death penalty, self defense, euthanasia or abortion.  We will probably also look at how we humans should treat other animals.  And I think we’ll possibly even have a section on the philosophy of work/labor/economics.

PHI 220 – Logic
Section A (25762) – T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble A304
Section B (25779) – T & R – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble A306
Jonathan Barker

Elementary study of the laws of valid inference, recognition of fallacies, and logical analysis.

PHI 280A (25770) – Topics in Philosophy: Ancient Ethics
T & R – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble A307
Jonathan Barker

Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, and the Stoics, conceived of ethics as the study of human flourishing or eudaimonia. This course is a survey of Ancient ethical theories. Themes to be discussed include the nature of pleasure and its relationship to human happiness, whether friendship and community are necessary for flourishing, and the role of the emotions, intellect, and moral virtue in the good life. Throughout, we will consider the contemporary objection that Ancient eudaemonist ethics is objectionably egoistic.

PHI 280B (25916) – Topics in Philosophy: Truth and Authenticity
W & F – 2:15-5:00 – Wake Downtown (WKDN) 1615
Francisco Gallegos

What is nature of truth and authenticity? How are these ideals being challenged today, with the rise of phenomena such as fake news and social media? To address these questions, participants will undertake a deep exploration of the work of Martin Heidegger, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, along with a diverse variety of thinkers and artists who shed light on the significance of our contemporary digital age. Students will use these texts to deepen their own documentary and contemplative practices, while gaining valuable skills in multimedia storytelling. *Note: This course is part of the Truth and Authenticity Lab, a learning project at the intersection of philosophy and journalism. All participants must also enroll in JOU 335, Multimedia Storytelling; these two courses will be held back-to-back, providing ample time to have fascinating conversations, watch thought-provoking films, explore the city, and create extraordinary multimedia projects. 

PHI 342A (25781)/PHI 642AG (25782) – Topics: Kant’s Ethical Theory
T & R – 5:00-6:15 – Tribble A307
Justin Jennings

In this course, we read the three main texts of Kant’s moral and political philosophy in their near-entirety: the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, the Critique of Practical Reason, and The Metaphysics of Morals. In so doing, we will address the nature of value, the origins of property, the ultimate goal of rational action, the nature of justice, the structure of the self, the possibility of reconciling free will and determinism, and the extent of the right to revolution, among other questions.

PHI 361A (25763)/PHI 661AG (25764) – Topics: Virtue and Character
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble A307
Christian Miller

Virtue and character have been central to President Hatch’s vision for Wake Forest. They have also been central to my research for the past 10 years. In this course, we will examine such questions as:

What is character?
What are the requirements of virtue and of vice?
What is the list of virtues? Is there one objective list or is a relativist approach more plausible?
How should we think about particular virtues like honesty, generosity, and compassion?
Why should we care about developing a good character?
How good is our character these days?
What can we do to make our characters better?

The two main texts will be my recent book, The Character Gap: How Good are We? and Virtues and their Vices (Ed. Timpe and Boyd), as well as a course packet. Readings will be mostly from contemporary philosophy, but a few articles will be from psychology. Time permitting, a couple class meetings will be devoted to reading my book manuscript on the virtue of honesty. Note that this will course will not have a historical focus, and it will not be focused on virtue ethics as an alternative theory to Kantian ethics and consequentialism.
Grading will be based on papers, with no exams. Students should be prepared to not only think deeply about questions of character in the abstract, but also practically about how they might develop their own characters over time.

PHI 376A – Epistemology
M & W – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble A307
Ralph Kennedy

The sources, scope and structure of human knowledge. Topics include: skepticism; perception, memory, and reasons; the definition of knowledge; the nature of justification; and theories of truth.

PHI 377A (25768) – Metaphysics
W & F – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble A307
Patrick Toner

We’ll be studying the perennial questions of metaphysics.  Does God exist?  Is everything, ultimately, One?  Does the physical exist in addition to the mental?  Does the mental exist in addition to the physical?  Might we human beings survive our deaths?  What kinds of things are we, fundamentally?  And what does it matter?  We’ll be reading little bits from the history of philosophy, but our main sources will be a work by our greatest living metaphysician, Peter van Inwagen, and a book by Fr. Norris Clarke.

PHI 378A (25776) – Philosophy of Space and Time
T & R – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble A307
Adrian Bardon

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.