Spring 2023

 

FYS 100X (25976) – Virtue, Leadership and Education: Ancient Greek vs. Ancient Chinese Views
T & R – 12:30-1:45 – Location: TBA
Win-chiat Lee

How does good governance in one’s soul/mind translate into excellence in external governance, as, for example, in political leadership? Is the former a precondition for the latter? If virtue is excellence in self-governance resulting in a well-ordered soul, is it an inborn quality? Or can it be learned or cultivated by everyone? What role does knowledge play in virtue? These questions are central to both Ancient Greek and Ancient Chinese Philosophy. We compare the answers and the critique of them in the two traditions and explore whether cross-fertilization would yield superior answers. Readings will be drawn from original texts in English translation, including Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Kungzi (Confucius), Mengzi (Mencius), The Great learning, Daodejing, and Han Fei.

PHI 111D (25769) – Problems of Philosophy – (FY Students Only)
T & R – 11:00- 12:15 – Location: TBA
Francisco Gallegos

This course will introduce you to philosophy, the discipline that grapples with some of life’s biggest questions, such as: How can I know what’s really going on? What does it mean to be happy? To be a good person? To be free? How can I be true to myself despite all of the pressure others put on me? What is the meaning of life? We’ll explore how these philosophical questions relate to pressing issues in our own lives and in our communities, while becoming acquainted with a diverse array of historical and contemporary philosophers. Participants should be prepared for a learning experience that is intellectually, emotionally, and physically engaging. You should plan to spend around 6 hours outside of class each week reading, writing, and talking to people (including your friends and family) about ideas from the course. You will also be invited to engage in experiential learning activities in order to test out some philosophical ideas for yourself, and to reflect on, and even react emotionally to, the personal relevance of our course material.

PHI 111 – Problems of Philosophy
Section A (26493) – T & R – 9:30 – 10:45 – Location: TBA
Section C (25758) – T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Location: TBA
Jonathan Dixon

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

PHI 111E (25778) – Problems of Philosophy
W & F – 12:30-1:45 – Location: TBA

Matthew Shields

Are we motivated exclusively by self-interest, or are we able to act selflessly? Is there a ‘self’ that persists through time? Do moral norms exist exclusively within particular cultures and historical moments, or are they binding on everyone at all times? Can we act freely, and what would it mean to do so? What forms of political resistance are justified? In this course, students will be introduced to the subject of philosophy through these and other questions. We will examine key themes from the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy in the following areas: ethics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and political philosophy. Students will learn how to think more carefully and critically about questions of deep theoretical and moral importance. Students will also practice how to construct and analyze sophisticated arguments.

PHI 111 – Problems of Philosophy
Section B (25754) – T & R – 11:00 – 12:15 – Location: TBA
Section F (28892) – T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 – Location: TBA
Alex Hortal

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
W & F – 9:30-10:45 – Location: TBA
Patrick Toner

This course will introduce students to abiding philosophical questions about who or what we human beings really are and how we should live.  We read a variety of classic novels and great philosophical writings, including Plato’s Republic, Descartes’s Meditations, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, CS Lewis’s The Abolition of Man and more.

PHI 161 – Introduction to Bioethics
Section A (28873) – W & F – 9:30 – 10:45 – Location: TBA
Section B (28880) – W & F – 11:00 – 12:15 – Location: TBA
Adam Kadlac

In this class, we will examine a number of ethical issues that arise in the context of medicine. The questions we will consider include: How do we go about deciding who is a reliable source of medical information? Is vaccine skepticism irrational, and should vaccines be mandated? Is unhappiness a medical problem? What is disability, and does having a disability necessarily make one’s life worse? What obligation do doctors have to simply carry out the wishes of their patients? Assignments will be an assortment of short written reflections, two 1600-word dialogue papers, and quizzes.

PHI 163A (28879) – Environmental Ethics
M, W, & F – 10:00 – 10:50 – Location: TBA
Amanda Corris

There is no Planet B”, climate activists say. For now, at least, Earth is our only home. But what do we owe the natural world? And what do we owe the other forms of life that also call it home? As the effects of human-induced climate change continue to result in devastating wildfires, historic drought, biodiversity loss, and social displacement and disparity, we might wonder about these questions, among others. What is our relationship with the environment? What is humanity’s place in nature?

This course will explore conceptualizations of the environment and the many environmental issues that we face today. We will begin by considering whether humankind is in some way distinct from nature, before going on to examine issues such as animal rights, the value of nature, ethical consumption, and climate justice.  Course activities will be based around evaluating your own stances on these issues and the impact they have on our everyday lives.

PHI 220A (28872) – Logic
T & R – 9:30 – 10:45 – Location: TBA
Alex Hortal

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

PHI 220B (28887) – Logic
T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 – Location: TBA
Jonathan Dixon

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

PHI 241A (28878) – Modern Philosophy
W & F – 9:30 – 10:45 – Location: TBA
Tobias Flattery

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

PHI 280A (29363) – Philosophy and Race (Cross-listed with AAS 320A (28933))
W – 2:00-4:30 – Location: WING 202
Corey Walker

Examines how and in what ways race is interrogated by African American philosophers and philosophers of African descent with critical attention to issues of identity, ethics, and politics.

PHI 332A (28881) – Aristotle
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Location: TBA
Patrick Toner

This is a study of Aristotle’s own writings and of some bits of his later influence in philosophy.  I would expect us to study the medieval Averroist crisis, and possibly some of the great 19th century philosopher Franz Brentano’s work, as well as some of the contemporary developments in Aristotelian thought, drawing from the vast current literature.  I’m not planning to focus on Aristotle scholarship, but rather on great philosophers doing philosophy in recognizably “Aristotelian” ways.

PHI 342A (25781) – Topics: Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan
T & R – 11:00 – 12:15 – Location: TBA

Adam Kadlac

The first part of the class will be organized around an in-depth reading of Thomas Hobbes’s classic work Leviathan. In the second part of the semester, we will examine the contemporary significance of his work. Note: The amount of reading for this course will be somewhat higher than I usually assign, and students will be expected to regularly submit reading reflections. Additional assignments will be an assortment of short papers.

PHI 355A (28903) – Contemporary Philosophy
W & F – 3:30 – 4:45 – Location: TBA
Matthew Shields

This course introduces students to some (certainly not all!) of the central themes in twentieth-century analytic philosophy. The guiding topic will be the relationship between thought and language to the world. In what ways do our thought and language represent the world? Can we make sense of the notion of a reality independent of ourselves? If we cannot, then how should we understand our notions of objectivity and truth? And what can philosophy itself contribute to knowledge and inquiry? Is it a meaningful enterprise or is it predicated on a series of mistakes? We will examine these questions through the lens of various major philosophers in the twentieth-century analytic tradition, and we will also consider how their contributions shape contemporary philosophical discussion. Philosophers discussed will include C.I. Lewis, Rudolf Carnap, W.V.O. Quine, Alice Ambrose, Thomas Kuhn, Saul Kripke, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty, among others.

PHI 356A (28894) – 20th-Century European Philosophy
T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 – Location: TBA
Francisco Gallegos

This course examines the work of significant figures in 20th-century European philosophy, including Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse, and Michel Foucault, addressing issues such as the cultural decadence of technological modernity, the nature of power, and the challenges of multiculturalism. Participants should be prepared for a learning experience that is intellectually, emotionally, and physically engaging. You should plan to spend around 6 hours outside of class each week reading, writing, and talking to people (including your friends and family) about things like technology, capitalism, popular culture, power, injustices, the meaning of life, etc. You will be invited to engage in experiential learning activities in order to test out some philosophical ideas for yourself, and to reflect on, and even react emotionally to, the personal relevance of our course material. During class we will occasionally take walking field trips to various locations on campus that are relevant to our discussion topics.

PHI 361A (25763)/PHI 661AG (25764) – Topics in Ethics: Virtue and Character
M & W – 12:30-1:45 – Location: TBA
Christian Miller

Virtue and character are central to the vision of Wake Forest University. 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 three main texts will be my book, The Character Gap: How Good are We?, Glittering Vices (by Rebecca DeYoung), and Virtue (by Heather Battaly), 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 my new book 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 365A (28882) – Philosophy of Love & Friendship
T & R – 12:30 – 1:45 – Location: TBA
Stavroula Glezakos

Study of the historical and contemporary philosophical investigations of love and friendship.

PHI 373A (28883)/PHI 673AG (28884) – Philosophy of Science
M & W – 2:00 – 3:15 – Location: TBA
Amanda Corris

What does science tell us about the world? What does it aim to tell us about the world? How can we judge whether or not it is successful in its aims? Can science be done in a purely value-neutral manner, or is science “value-laden” by nature? This course will investigate these questions by exploring how the enterprise of science has developed, how philosophical inquiry has shaped scientific inquiry, and how science both influences and is influenced by issues in contemporary society.

We will begin by surveying some of the main themes in the philosophy of science, situated within a historical context. In the second half of the course, we will shift gears to read Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal by philosopher Heather Douglas. We will examine the role of science in policymaking today, and will evaluate arguments for and against the “value-free ideal” in science. Examples will be drawn from the environmental and biomedical sciences. We will conclude by discussing the role of public participants in scientific research.

PHI 382A (28904)/PHI 682AG (28905) – Seminar: Public Philosophy
T – 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. – Location: A304
Ana Iltis

This course examines the role of philosophers and the contributions of philosophy to examine and address substantive matters of public importance or concern particularly as related to the life and health sciences.

PHI 385A (26987)/PHI 685AG (26988) – Seminar: A Theory of Justice and the Fifty Years After
M & W – 5:00-6:15 – Location: A307
Win-chiat Lee

This course will count for Group III – Value Theory

John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (TJ) was published in 1971. This book is considered by many to be the one of the most important and influential work in moral and political philosophy. Many conferences and symposia have been held in the last two or three years to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of TJ.

This seminar does not only study the theory of justice in TJ, but also traces its development in the fifty years that ensue, including both the responses to and criticisms of it, as well as Rawls’ reformulation of the theory in his later work. The seminar has three parts. In the first part, we will cover the essential elements of the theory of justice as put forward in TJ. In the second part, we will examine the responses and criticisms. Besides libertarian and communitarian critiques of the theory, we will also examine whether the theory has sufficiently dealt with questions concerning race, gender, class, as well as global inequalities. In the final third of the seminar, we will study some of Rawls’s later work, including parts of Political Liberalism and The Law of Peoples in part to assess whether the later work has either accommodated or countered the critics successfully.