Spring 2024


FYS 100 EE (26230) Philosophical Approaches to Social and Political Issues
T & R – 12:30-1:45 (Tribble Hall A104)
Adrian Bardon

Covers a wide variety of social and political issues. We will use articles, editorials, and media to examine various subject areas on a week-to-week basis. Issues covered may include immigration, genetic engineering, economic inequality, racism, public morality, and conspiracy theories. This seminar-style course emphasizes discussion and active engagement, along with peer review of written work.

PHI 111 – Problems of Philosophy
Section A (26493) – T & R 9:30 – 10:45 (Tribble A306)
Section B (25754) – T & R 11:00 -12:15 (Tribble A306)
Justin Jennings

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

PHI 111 – Problems of Philosophy
Section C (25758) – M & W – 12:30 – 1:45 (Tribble A304)
Section E (25778) – T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 (Tribble C216)
Francisco Gallegos

 This course will introduce you to philosophy, the love of wisdom, a discipline that grapples with some of life’s biggest questions, such as: What matters most? What is the meaning of life? 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? 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 111D (25769) Problems of Philosophy
T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 (Carswell 019)
Win-chiat Lee

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

PHI 111F (28892) – Problems of Philosophy (Freshman Only)
T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 (Tribble A306)
Alex Hortal 

In this course, students will embark on an exploration of philosophy, guided by the wisdom of philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Nietzsche, Heidegger, or Foucault. Throughout this journey, students will learn to identify and articulate fundamental philosophical concepts, establishing a solid foundation for deeper philosophical inquiry. As we delve into various philosophical theories, students will develop the ability to distinguish the unique nuances that make each theory special. This in-depth study will enable participants to apply philosophical theories to real-world issues, drawing from the insights of authors like Amartya Sen and Rachel Carson, and gaining a profound understanding of their practical implications. We will become proficient in recognizing key points and arguments within philosophical essays allowing them to engage more effectively with philosophical texts. Additionally, students will develop critical thinking skills to evaluate and critique philosophical arguments, building on the legacy of thinkers we examine. We will also cultivate the ability to express philosophical insights imaginatively, creatively, and reflectively. Lastly, this course will help participants develop the skill of asking probing questions, much like Socrates, enriching their ability to explore and clarify philosophical problems.

PHI 111 – Problems of Philosophy
Section G (30270) M & W – 2:00 – 3:15 (Wingate A306)
Section H (30271) W & F – 11:00 – 12:15 (Tribble A301)
Brad Griggs

What can we know? How should we act? Does God exist? Philosophy considers the answers offered by science, common sense, and religion and tries to push further. If science discovers truths about cause and effect, philosophy asks: what distinguishes causation from mere correlation? If common sense tells us to be good, philosophy asks: which acts are good, and why are they good? If religion says that God exists, philosophy asks: can that be proven, or is it just a matter of faith? This course explores these questions and more by focusing on some of the most powerful, influential, and surprising arguments philosophers have put forward over the centuries.

PHI 161 – Introduction to Bioethics
Section A (28873) T & R – 9:30 – 10:45 (Tribble A304)
Section B (28880) T & R – 11:00 – 12:15 (Tribble A304)
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, papers, and quizzes.

PHI 161C (29773) Introduction to Bioethics
W – 4:00 – 6:30 (Winston 124)
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 healthcare resources, among others.

PHI 163 Environmental Ethics
Section A (28879) T & R – 9:30 – 10:45 (Tribble A301)
Section C (29766) T & R – 12:30 -1:45 (Tribble A306)
Alex Hortal

This course delves into the ethical intricacies of environmental issues, exploring the interplay between human actions, nature, and moral frameworks. It provides a foundation in philosophy and ethics, enabling critical analysis of environmental concerns. Students will assess pressing topics, from animal rights to climate change, uncovering ethical implications. Key philosophers like Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Rachel Carson, and Peter Singer will be studied for their contributions to environmental ethics. The course embraces diverse global perspectives on environmental ethics, including ecofeminism and racial ecology, challenging traditional paradigms. Ethical theories (utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and deep ecology) will be applied to contemporary environmental challenges. Beyond theory, students will examine the impact of ethics on policy-making, conservation, and activism, culminating in a vision of a just and sustainable future inspired by ethics and history. By course completion, students will possess a profound understanding of environmental ethics, fostering critical thinking skills for responsible decision-making. Throughout the semester, students will: Gain a foundation in philosophy and ethics. Analyze the ethical dimensions of key environmental issues. Study the contributions of influential philosophers. Explore global perspectives on environmental ethics. Apply ethical theories to contemporary ecological challenges. Assess the role of ethics in policy-making, conservation, and activism. Understand the interconnectedness of biodiversity, ecosystems, and ethical responsibilities. Develop a vision for a just and sustainable future.

PHI 163B (29764) Environmental Ethics
T & R – 12:30 – 1:45 (Tribble A304)
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 164 Contemporary Moral Problems
Section A (29756) T & R – 09:30-10:45 (Tribble C216)
Section E (29770) T & R – 2:00-3:15 (Tribble A304)
Tobias Flattery

A 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 (29761) M & W – 12:30 – 1:45 (Tribble A306)
Section D (29768) M & W – 2:00 – 3:15 (Tribble A306)
Jonathan Dixon

This course provides a general introduction to moral philosophy by having students grapple with some of the most profound and quintessential moral questions, problems, and paradoxes.  Specifically, we will examine the following core issues and questions within ethics: What is the nature of morality? Are we obligated to follow the law? What are our duties to help others in need? What are our duties to non-human animals? When, if ever, is abortion morally permissible? When, if ever, is euthanasia morally permissible? We will also grapple with some relatively new moral conundrums, such as: What, if any, obligations do we have to future generations? What is “oppression,” why is it wrong, and who is oppressed? What is “privilege,” who is privileged, and what obligations do they have? Is it permissible to genetically enhance one’s offspring? Is it wrong to prefer attractive partners? What is the role of luck in our moral lives? What are “assholes,” and what makes them morally reprehensible? What makes someone’s actions “awesome” or “suck”? And do we, and is it permissible to, only aim our moral behavior to be as good as, or only slightly better than, our peers? In addressing these questions, students will not only learn about moral philosophy but also gain the ability to think more philosophically and further develop their critical thinking skills. All of this is in the service of aiding students in becoming better people.

PHI 164C (29767) – Contemporary Moral Problems (Freshman Only)
M & W – 2:00 – 3:15 (Tribble A304)
Emily Austin

In this course, we will read and critique philosophical arguments regarding important moral problems, especially those surrounding life and death.  Topics will include euthanasia, abortion, healthcare, capital punishment, war, animal rights, and world hunger.

PHI 235A (29758) Main Streams of Chinese Philosophy
T & R – 11:00 – 12:15 (Tribble A301)
Win-chiat Lee

Survey of the main streams of Chinese philosophical thought from their ancient beginnings to their development and influence on one another in later eras.

PHI 241A (28878) Modern Philosophy
M, W & F – 1:00 – 1:50 (Tribble A307)
Adrian Bardon

Study of the works of influential 17th- and 18th-century European philosophers such as Rene Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, John Locke, Francis Bacon, Emilie du Châtelet, and David Hume, with a concentration on theories of knowledge and metaphysics.

PHI 280A (29755) Topics: Consciousness
T & R – 9:30 – 10:15 (Tribble A307)
Amanda Corris 

Philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote, “Without consciousness, the mind–body problem would be much less interesting. With consciousness it seems hopeless.” Consciousness remains a perennial issue in philosophy of mind. How do we explain the subjective character of experience, especially if we want to be able to do it solely in physical terms?

This will be a seminar-style course, with much of our time dedicated to careful reading of key articles and in-depth discussion. We’ll work through both classic views on consciousness and current debates involving philosophers and scientists. Students will have the opportunity to craft their own research projects, with the option to work in research groups over the course of the semester.

PHI 333A (29771) Hellenistic Philosophy: Stoics, Skeptics, and Epicureans
T & R – 2:00 – 3:15 (Tribble A208)
Emily Austin

 The Hellenistic Age, traditionally dated from the death of Alexander in 323 BCE to the birth of Augustus’ Roman Empire in 31 BCE, gave the world three of its most innovative and influential schools of philosophy: Epicureanism, Skepticism, and Stoicism. This course investigates the central features of their thought. We will focus on Hellenistic theories of mind, free will, moral psychology, wisdom, happiness, friendship, death, and politics.

PHI 359A (29951) / ENV 301A (29961) – Environmental Ethics
T & R – 11:00 – 12:15 (Tribble A307)
Francisco Gallegos 

What moral obligations do we have to the environment, if any? Where do these obligations come from? What ethical ideals should guide us, personally and collectively, as we seek to address climate change, environmental justice, and other challenges related to human beings’ relationship with nature? In this course, you will examine how these questions have been addressed by a diverse array of historical and contemporary philosophers, while actively investigating their relevance to pressing issues in your own life and in your community. 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 360A (29762) Ethics
T & R – 12:30 – 1:45 (Tribble A307)
Tobias Flattery

Systematic examination of central ethical theories in the Western philosophical tradition. Such theories include Kantian deontology, utilitarianism, Aristotelian virtue ethics, and divine command theory.

PHI 361A (25763)/661AG (25764) Topics: Disability, Justice, and the Good Life
M & W – 2:00 – 3:15 (Tribble A307)
Adam Kadlac

Many people likely assume that being disabled automatically makes one’s life worse than it would otherwise be. However, the precise impact of disability on one’s quality of life depends on many factors, ranging from the nature of the disability in question (and perhaps its cause) to the way in which any given person interacts with their broader environment. This course will examine the relationship between disability and our conceptions of human flourishing and will be organized around the following questions: What is disability? How do disability-related identities relate to identities involving our conceptions of gender, race, and class? How does being disabled affect one’s ability to live a happy and fulfilling life? How do artistic portrayals of disabled people shape our conceptions of both disability and the nature of happiness? What does society owe people with disabilities, and what does an answer to this question tell us about the nature of justice more generally?

PHI 365A (28882) – Philosophy of Love and Friendship
W & F – 11:00 – 12:15 (Tribble A304)
Stavroula Glezakos

In this class, we will examine historical and contemporary philosophical investigations of love and friendship. Among the questions that we will consider are: What is love exactly? Is there, or should there be, an ethics of love, sex, and friendship? What happens to sex when it is associated with “scoring” (the conquest model of sex)? Are love and friendship necessary for happiness? Are they sufficient?

PHI 373A (28883) Philosophy of Science
M & W – 5:00 -6:15 (Tribble A307)
Jonathan Dixon

The aim of this class is to provide an introduction to some of the central issues in the philosophy of science. We will address such questions as: What is science and what makes it different from pseudoscience? How are scientific theories supported and/or confirmed by evidence? Is scientific reasoning well-founded or irrational? What are scientific explanations? How does science progress? Is science a purely objective enterprise or in what ways is it value-laden? And, do scientific theories provide true accounts of the world or merely adequate empirical descriptions? In addressing these questions, students will not only learn about the philosophy of science but also gain the ability to think more philosophically about science and further develop their critical thinking skills.

PHI 385A (26987)/PHI 685AG (29890) – Topics: Existentialism
T & R – 3:30 – 4:45 (Tribble A307)
Justin Jennings

The course will focus on the relationship between 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 phenomena that are accessible to the present, involved, first-personal, acting subject? What is the right relationship between theory, whether philosophical, scientific, aesthetic, or theological, and practice or experience? What is gained and what is lost in our capacity for reflection? Is something essential to being there? Can reflection involve us in certain dangers? Are these dangers nonetheless necessary? We will investigate these and other questions through the study of the major works of a few principal thinkers often classed as “existentialists”, namely, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Martin Buber.