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Fall 2018 Courses

Find information about upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses within the Philosophy Department on this page.

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3305: Hist of 18th Century Phil (Class #21174)

Prof Morrison
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Room: L 212L

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In this class, we will read works from Hume, Rousseau, and Voltaire in an attempt to come to a
deeper understanding of the 18 th century intellectual landscape. The focus of my approach will
be on the social, ethical, and political thought of these three leading figures in the century of
Enlightenment. This is not a broad survey course but rather a deep dive into the thinking of
three very different figures as they contemplate questions of social inequality, moral virtue, and
religious tolerance (amongst other things).

PHIL 3332: Philosophy of Language (Class #22942)

Dr. Babb
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH303

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This course will examine core issues in the philosophy of language. When discussing language, we often talk about and distinguish between the meanings of our words (semantics) and how words are used in conversations (pragmatics). What are "meanings"? What determines the meaning of a particular word? Do all words have predetermined meaning? Must a word have the meaning that we say it has? How do we distinguish what a word means from the various ways that we use it? And what is the relation between all of this and the thoughts in our heads when we use language? The course will explore answers to these and other questions. In particular, the course will examine the works of Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Donald Davidson, Noam Chomsky, Delia Graff Fara, and others. 

The course will be broken up into three parts. In Part 1, we will look at historical theories of meaning, how these theories differentiate meaning and use, and the reasons for and against each theories. In Part 2, we will shift our focus from what meaning is to particular kinds of words, phrases, and sentences that pose challenges for any theory, such as indexicals, vague words, pejoratives, and non-declarative sentences. Finally, in Part 3, we will turn to the issue of what determines or fixes the meanings of our words, focusing on the role the thoughts in our heads might play and whether meaning is determined by social rules and norms.

PHIL 3350: Ethics (Class #22876)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: AH 12

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #20974)

TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM Room: TBA

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3377: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #18240)

Prof. Phillips
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 203

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3377: Philosophy of Religion (Class #22877)

Prof. Oliveira
MoWe 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: M106

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This class will examine eight arguments for and against belief in God. We will discuss the case for God by considering (a) the ontological argument, (b) the cosmological argument, (c) the fine-tuning argument, and (d) the argument from religious experiences. We will then discuss the case against God by considering (e) the argument against miracle reports, (f) the logical problem of evil, (g) the evidential problem of evil, and (h) the argument from divine hiddenness. After reading authors defending and attacking each of these arguments, we will conclude this class by examining the overall connection between faith, evidence, and rationality: what is faith? Does religious disagreement make it irrational? Can faith be rational in the absence of good evidence? Coursework consists in short assignments, two non-cumulative exams, and a final paper.

PHIL 3388: History of 20th Century Philosophy (Class #22878)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 9

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The course will introduce the student to the most prominent philosophers of the Twentieth Century. It will include study of the following figures: Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Quine and Rorty. The course will be centered around two themes that appear and reappear in this work. One is the search for the foundations of knowledge, and another the search for values. Philosophy in the twentieth century is thought be divided into two very different camps: the Analytic and the Continental schools. However one purpose of the class will be to show parallels rather than differences in thinking between the two traditions. There will be weekly reading assignments drawn from the text, Twentieth-Century Philosophy by F. Baird and W. Kaufmann (Eds.) and other sources. There will be a midterm and a final and 3 short papers (about 300 words each).

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #22867)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
Th 11:30AM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 512

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Existentialism (Class #22945)

Prof. Zaretsky
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: TBA

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Existentialism as a school of philosophical thought is closely identified with a particular time and place—post-World War Two France—as well as with particular genres: the novel, play and essay as much as the treatise. In this course, we will read representative works by Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Simone Weil, as well as by Samuel Beckett in an effort to learn what we can learn from this epochal, but elusive movement.

Graduate Courses

PHIL 6322: Logic & Philosophy (Class #22882)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: M 111

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This course is an introduction to the application of logic to philosophy. It provides a background in predicate logic sufficient for navigating the philosophical literature, and serves as a graduate level introduction to the philosophy of logic. The first half of the course will be concerned primarily with predicate logic: translation of English argumentation into predicate logic notation, proofs and trees for checking validity, and discussion of some metalogical features such as soundness, completeness, and the lack of a decision procedure. The second half will explore applications of predicate logic to a number of philosophical issues, including the theory of descriptions, the paradoxes of material implication, and the semantical analysis of natural language. We will also look at topics in non-standard logics including modal logic, tense logic, free logic, multi-valued logic and others. Students will have the opportunity to select the topics to be covered to match their philosophical interests.

Text: Predicate Logic (PL) H. Pospesel The text will be used primarily as a resource on predicate logic, and to provide necessary exercises. Other course materials will be handed out in class. Exercises will be due weekly and represent a substantial portion of the students’ grades. There will be an in-class Midterm Exam and a Final.

PHIL 6395: Agent-Relative Reasons (Class #22874)

Prof. Phillips
We 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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In this course, we are likely to read, inter alia: Sidgwick, Moore, Ross, Broad, Nagel, Parfit, Williams, Korsgaard, McNaughton and Rawling, Crisp and Mark Schroeder.

PHIL 6395: Philosophy of the Special Sciences (Class #22875)

Prof. Buckner
Th 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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Philosophy of science often focuses on metaphysical and epistemological issues—such as unity, reduction, and explanation—in the abstract. In this course, we will rather study these questions as they arise from within the “special sciences”, such as biology, neuroscience, and psychology. In this course, we will review five debates surrounding central posits in the special sciences: species, concepts, emotions, cognition, and deep learning neural networks. Central questions will involve the following:

  • Which disagreements are genuine and which are merely rhetorical or terminological?
  • How can we distinguish ontological disagreements from methodological or epistemological ones?
  • How can or should such disagreements be resolved?
  • Should findings from other sciences be deemed relevant to answering these questions—and if so, in what way?

Note that in this course we will get our hands dirty with details from the sciences. Background readings on basic texts in these areas are available on request.

PHIL 6396: Seminar in the History of Philosophy (Class #22873)

Prof. Hattab
Mo 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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No further information is available at this time.