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Past Undergraduate Courses

(For current undergrad courses, click here.)  

Fall 2018 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)

TBA
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.

 

Spring 2018 Undergraduate Courses

 

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #24363)

Prof Garson
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 302

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This course covers some of the deepest and most puzzling problems philosophy.  What is consciousness and how is it possible that the brain (mere meat), is capable of bringing it into the world?  Does conscious experience challenge a materialistic account of what there is?  How do we know (if it is true) that anybody else has consciousness?  Is Free Will possible, or even desirable?  What is a Mind anyway?

The course presumes that we can learn a great deal in philosophy by looking elsewhere.  So material from neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and even science fiction and fantasy will provide important background for our discussion.

The course will include weekly readings from a variety of sources, short reaction papers on the readings, two quizzes and a final.  Students interested in working on a larger project with a paper may petition to have that work replace one or more of the exams.


PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #24365)

Prof. Oliveira
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 201

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Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge. Philosophers working in this area (epistemologists) ask questions such as: Do we really know anything? Do we know anything, in particular, about the world outside our minds? If so, how do we know it? What is it, exactly, that turns a mere belief into real knowledge? The traditional approach to these questions—called Internalism—attempts to answer them by appealing only to features that are internal to the perspective of the believer. The first part of this course is an introduction to a variety of these attempts. An alternative approach—called Externalism—attempts to answer these questions by appealing to features that are external to the perspective of the believer. The second part of this course is an introduction to a variety of these alternative attempts. Throughout the course, however, the possibility of having to accept negative answers to these questions will hover constantly over our heads. That is the threat ofSkepticism.


PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #19978)

Prof. Weisberg
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM, Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3351: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #24366)

Prof. Phillips
MoWe 2:30PM - 4:00PM Room: SEC 205

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Morality and Non-Human Animals; Abortion; Euthanasia; Famine and Moral Obligations; Affirmative Action; War and Terrorism. Reading normally one philosophical article (or equivalent) per class. Written work will consist of a take-home midterm and a take-home final, each consisting of 2 papers, each paper being about 5 pages in length (typed, double-spaced).


PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #24271)

Dr. Phillips-Garrett
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: L 212L

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Medical ethics are fundamental to good patient care and to the promotion of public health and healthy policy. Knowledge of the philosophical underpinnings of ethics is important for anyone considering a career in healthcare since it provides a basis for understanding the ethical choices that healthcare and medical professionals face. In this course, we will investigate the philosophical and ethical implications of medicine and its practice. We will begin with a brief survey of the major normative ethical theories and move on to issues such as informed consent, euthanasia, surrogacy, and health care distribution.


PHIL 3361: Aesthetics (Class #19979)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: AH 201

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This course will be an advanced and in-depth study of two topics of special interest in aesthetics: environmental aesthetics and philosophy of film. We will devote half of the semester to each topic, using a recent anthology for each (Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty, ed. Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott (2008), and The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film, ed. Paisley Livingston (2009). Readings will include some historical materials as well as recent articles from philosophy journals. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions, write 10 informal reaction papers, and complete mid-term and final take-home essays.


PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #24406)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: AH 201

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This course is an advanced survey of ancient Greek philosophy from the presocratic period through to the Hellenistic period, focusing on the development of Greek views of the cosmos and metaphysical reality, the definition of knowledge, accounts of the soul, and views of the virtuous life. There will be four units in the course, covering the presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenistic thought. Units II and III are long units, while I and IV are short. Requirements are four unit papers (length varies according to unit length), and ten short assignments. There are no in-class exams. Graduate students and Honors Credit students will be asked to write one continuous paper on a topic connecting Plato and Aristotle, i.e., a longer paper submitted at the end of Unit III, rather than two separate papers on Units II and III. This paper will offer the chance to discuss Aristotle’s critical response to some key issue in Plato, concerning for example his theory of knowledge, metaphysics, the soul, or ethics.


PHIL 3386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #24405)

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

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Class #24408)

Prof. Buckner
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 304

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  • Can robots have minds? Could my mind be downloaded to a computer?
  • Is my behavior caused by my beliefs and desires, or is it all just neural activity in my brain?
  • Do animals have thoughts? What kinds of experiments could we perform to find out?
  • Must cognitive science appeal to representations? How can we accurately map or represent the world around us?
  • How did intelligence evolve? What distinguishes rational life forms from non-rational ones?
  • What counts as a good explanation in cognitive science? Is the mind governed by general laws (like physical particles), chemical mechanisms (like biological life forms), or is intelligence something that inexplicably emerges out of the chaotic firing of billions of neurons?

Cognitive science attempts to answer these questions through the cooperation of psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, biology, and anthropology. In this course, we will review the philosophical and methodological foundations of cognitive science, especially regarding how findings from so many different sciences with different methods could fit together in a coherent way. We will discuss how cognitive science began as a response to behaviorism in psychology, and cover its attempts to answer these daunting questions with scientific rigor. In particular, we will see what the major paradigms in the history of cognitive science would say about these issues, including classical computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism, and the predictive coding approach. No philosophical background is required, but an introductory course in Logic, Psychology, or Computer Science is highly recommended.

Required Reading: Andy Clark, Mindware - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, 2nd edition


PHIL 3395: War and Peace (Class #26293)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 10:00AM - 11:00AM, Room: C 113

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The class is a philosophical introduction to just war theory, the changing nature of war, and movements for peace.  Topics covered include: nationalism, pacifism, gender and war, humanitarianism, and human rights.

Fall 2017 Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #22941)

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

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In this class I will ask the broad philosophical question: Who is Enlightenment man? More specifically, how do we understand the 18th century vision of humans in their social, political, ethical, and epistemological relations with the world? We will read essays from Hume, Rousseau, and Kant in an effort to answer this question. Three different visions emerge which have relevance to how we understand ourselves now 250 years later.


PHIL 3321: Logic III (Class #22937)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: AH 302

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Modal logics are systems designed to handle concepts of necessity and possibility. They are close cousins to logics of obligation, belief, knowledge and time, which are often included in the modal logic family. The course will develop a variety of these logics, illustrating their applications and some of the related philosophical issues. A main concern will be the development of possible worlds semantics and the demonstration of soundness and completeness for the logics studied. There will be weekly exercises, completion of which is crucial for success in the course. There will be a midterm, two short unannounced “pop” quizzes, one before and one after the midterm, and a final.


PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #26727)

Staff
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3349: Philosophy of Social Sciences (Class #22940)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM Room: AH 9

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #22620)

Staff
MoWe 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: TBA

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3355: Political Philosophy (Class #22945)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: H 32

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This course examines a wide range of political thought since Plato, with a special focus on questions concerning the “open society.”  Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual.  But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic?   Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace?  Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country?   Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization?  Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or are some political systems suitable for some cultures but not others?   This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives.  

 Readings include Huxley’s Brave New World, Plato’s Republic, Marx’s “Communist Manifesto,” Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies, Berlin’s “Two Concepts of Liberty,” and Fukuyama’s “The End of History.”.


PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #18934)

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

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No further information is available at this time.

Spring 2017 Courses

 

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #15359)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 302

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Enlightenment philosophers developed complex philosophical systems to address the tensions that the scientific revolution had produced between: 1) the world as we experience it through the senses 2) the world as described by science, and 3) traditional metaphysical notions of substance, cause, the self and freedom of the will.  Much of this course will therefore be devoted to getting clear on the different ways in which these tensions get resolved in George Berkeley’s idealism, David Hume’s radical empiricism, Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism, and Thomas Reid’s common sense philosophy.  Our primary goal is to understand the theoretical foundations of enlightenment thought through careful study of Berkeley’s Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, and Thomas Reid’s Inquiry and Essays.  A second and related goal of this course is to improve your reading, reasoning and writing skills.  To that end, we will pay careful attention to the forms of reasoning employed in the assigned texts, and you will complete a series of writing assignments teaching you how to interpret historical texts, break down an argument, evaluate it and formulate objections to it.  

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #22456)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: C 108

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #22446)

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

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3361: Aesthetics (Class #22457)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3376: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (Class #22445)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 7

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In this course we will examine the interaction between philosophy, science, and religion during the 17th and early 18th centuries, the century of the Scientific Revolution. In particular, we will discuss the debates that arose concerning the nature of explanation, scientific methodology, the status of natural laws and their relation to miracles, and the status of so-called "occult qualities." All of these issues were joined in the protracted conflict that arose between Continental philosophers and scientists, most prominently Leibniz (1646-1716), and the English Newtonians (Newton: 1643-1727) over the status of gravitational force. This conflict involved a central methodological, debate, pitting the Newtonian "experimental philosophy" against the "mechanical philosophy" favored on the Continent. This conflict, in its many and varied forms, will be discussed in detail, as will the equally vexed debate about the "force of a body's motion" — the so-called vis viva controversy.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #22444)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 5:30PM - 8:30PM, Room: AH 302

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Open and Closed Societies (Class #22443)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: L 212L

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Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual.  But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic?  Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace?  Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country?   Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization?  Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or are some political systems suitable for some cultures but not others?   This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives.

PHIL 3395: War& Peace (Class #24659)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 10:00AM - 11:00AM, Room: AH 201

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The class is a philosophical introduction to just war theory, the changing nature of war, and movements for peace.  Topics covered include: nationalism, pacifism, gender and war, humanitarianism, and human rights.

Fall 2016 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #15359)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: SW 219

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An examination of the central metaphysical and epistemological issues in 17th-century philosophy. The works of some of the major philosophical figures of the century will be systematically discussed. These figures include Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, and Leibniz.

 There will be two essay examinations: a midterm and a final. Students will also be required to submit a 12-15 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic determined in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3332: Philosophy of Language (Class #23961)

Prof. Buckner
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 302

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This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. This is a large area that encompasses many topics, including meaning, truth, the relationship between logic and language, and the distinctions between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In the first half of the course, we will review some classics in this area by Frege, Russell, Tarski, Quine, Wittgenstein, Austin, Grice, Kripke, Putnam, Davidson, and Evans. We will consider how these issues intersect in some of the central "problems" of philosophy of language, such as vagueness and language learning. In the final section of the course, we will explore more recent interdisciplinary work on the way that language evolved from the protolinguistic communication systems of non-human animals, including views such as that of Dorit Bar-On, Joëlle Proust, and Tecumseh Fitch.

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #23966)

Jacob Mills
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM Room: CV N106

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #20817)

Prof. Phillips
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 7

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In this course we will read and discuss the most important ethical works of four central figures in the modern history of ethics: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900), G.E. Moore (1873-1958) and W.D. Ross (1877-1971). There will be three pieces of written work for the course: a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing, and a 7-8 page paper.

PHIL 3383: Ancient Philosophy (Class #19943)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: MH 129

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In this course we will study the origins of Western Philosophy, beginning with the earliest surviving fragments of Ancient Greek philosophical texts by the Presocratic philosophers, dating back to the early sixth century BC.  The Presocratics were mostly concerned with explaining the origins and nature of the universe, and its parts.  Through our study of their theories you will become familiar with the branches of philosophy known as Metaphysics and Epistemology.  Metaphysical questions concern the nature of reality, which can include the nature of divine beings and the soul as well as physical beings. Epistemological questions concern the possibility, nature and extent of our knowledge of these beings.  In the second part of the course we will not only encounter a different kind of philosophical answer to these questions, but we will also encounter a different kind of philosophical question.  Socrates (469-399BC), and his student Plato (c.427-347BC), were not just interested in figuring out where things came from and what their ultimate natures were.  It is fair to say that they were more interested in figuring out what human beings should do in order to successfully live.  This involved posing and attempting to answer questions such as:  “What kind of life is a good life?”  “What is the good?”  “What is justice?” and “What kind of a state best promotes the good and just life?”  The first three questions fall under the branch of philosophy called Ethics, and the last two come under Political Philosophy.  In the third part of the course we will study the philosophy of Plato’s student, Aristotle (384-322BC).  Aristotle, who was arguably the most influential philosopher in the history of Western thought, addressed all these questions in a systematic manner and developed new areas of philosophical study such as Logic, History of Philosophy and Philosophy of Science.  Finally, we will conclude the course with one post-Aristotelian school of Philosophy.  Through Epictetus’ Handbook we will learn about the Stoic approach to the good life.

PHIL 3388: History of 20th Century Philosophy (Class #22354)

Prof. Morrison
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Room: AH 302

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In this class we will explore the 20th century response to the diagnosis of nihilism that Nietzsche levels at Western Civilization at the end of the 19th century. We will read three thinkers – Camus, Adorno and Murdoch – who are very different in their concerns but who can be read in terms of their response to the challenge of nihilism. What are the possible solutions each offers and how do these solutions relate to each other? 

PHIL 3395: The Good Life (Class #24463)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: TBA

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No further information is available at this time.

 

Spring 2016 Courses

 

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #16244)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: AH 202

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A detailed introduction to the epistemological and metaphysical theories of three major figures in 18th-century philosophy: Hume, Berkeley, and Kant. There will be two exams (midterm and final). Students will also be required to submit a 10-12 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #23304)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: SW 219

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3351: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #23307)

Prof. Phillips
MoWe 2:30PM - 4:00PM Room: AH 202

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Topics: Morality and Non-Human Animals; Abortion; Euthanasia; Famine and Moral Obligations; Affirmative Action; War and Terrorism. Reading normally one philosophical article (or equivalent) per class. Written work will consist of a take-home midterm and a take-home final, each consisting of 2 papers, each paper being about 5 pages in length (typed, double-spaced).

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #26039)

Jacob Mills
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM , Room: C 102

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No further information is available at this time

PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #23436)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 11:00AM - 12:00PM, Room: AH 202

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This course is advanced survey of feminist philosophy, in terms of its intellectual and political history, as well as its current debates. The goal of this course is two-fold: first, an acquaintance with the evolution and debates of historical feminist theory, and second, a critical engagement with some of the central and current concerns of the field. We approach our topics from the perspective of intersectionality, and topics covered include: the role of women in the history of philosophy; liberal and radical feminisms; accounts of the body and problems of essentialism; women, war and peace; transnational feminisms; masculinities. Students will be encouraged to connect their own research and activism interests to issues in feminist philosophy. Given that this is an advanced-level class in philosophy, the pace will be quick and the reading will be plenty. You are expected to read the material assigned for the day and to actively participate in all of the discussions, and, in the end, produce a well-formed research paper.

PHIL 3357: Punishment (Class #23306)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3382: Medieval philosophy (Class #23434)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 512

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This course delves into the writings of influential Christian, Jewish and Islamic medieval philosophers on philosophical issues like the problem of evil, God’s existence, free will and moral responsibility, the nature and source of virtue, the basis of knowledge and the foundations of political authority. We will begin with St Augustine’s Confessions, and then read select works by St Anselm, St Thomas Aquinas, Ibn Tufayl, Al Ghazali, Averroes (Ibn Rushd), Moses Maimonides, John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Assignments include three philosophical essays, at least one group presentation and a debate.

PHIL 3386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #20689)

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

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In this class we will look at the religious, political, and moral thought of the 19th century through three very different windows: Kierkegaard's The Present Age, Mill's On Liberty, and Nietzsche's The Gay Science. How are the diverse perspectives presented in these books related? Is each thinker responding in his own way to a shared set of intellectual problems or do they even hold a sense of what the problems are in common?

PHIL 3387: History of American Philosophy (Class #23305)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00, Room: H 34

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Class #23301)

Prof. Buckner
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: Room TBA

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  • Can robots have minds? Could my mind be downloaded to a computer?
  • Is my behavior caused by my beliefs and desires, or is it all just neural activity in my brain?
  • Do animals have thoughts? What kinds of experiments could we perform to find out?
  • Must cognitive science appeal to representations? How can we accurately map or represent the world around us?
  • How did intelligence evolve? What distinguishes rational life forms from non-rational ones?
  • What counts as a good explanation in cognitive science? Is the mind governed by general laws (like physical particles), chemical mechanisms (like biological life forms), or is intelligence something that inexplicably emerges out of the chaotic firing of billions of neurons?

Cognitive science attempts to answer these questions through the cooperation of psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, biology, and anthropology. In this course, we will review the philosophical and methodological foundations of cognitive science, especially regarding how findings from so many different sciences with different methods could fit together in a coherent way. We will discuss how cognitive science began as a response to behaviorism in psychology, and cover its attempts to answer these daunting questions with scientific rigor. In particular, we will see what the major paradigms in the history of cognitive science would say about these issues, including classical computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism, and the predictive coding approach. No philosophical background is required, but an introductory course in Logic, Psychology, or Computer Science is highly recommended.

Required Reading: Andy Clark, Mindware - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, 2nd edition

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #23302)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 1:00PM - 4:00PM, Room: Room TBA

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Fall 2015 Courses

 

PHIL 3304: History of 17th Century Phil (Class #10080)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 202

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PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #25033)

Prof. Johnsen
MoWe 5:30-7:00PM, Room: AH 201

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(i) “The earth orbits the sun” is a meaningful statement, and so is “The sun orbits the earth,” even though it’s false.  But “The Absolute is lazy” is pretty clearly meaningless.  Can we draw a clear line between meaningful and meaningless statements?  (ii) If you know something, doesn’t that just mean that it’s true, and that you have first-rate reasons for believing it?  It turns out (as of 1963) that it doesn’t, because it could just be by accident that your belief is true.  So what is knowledge? Should we care?  (iii) Could the world be as different from the way you think it is, as it is from the ways some of the people in “The Matrix” think it is?  Why not?  (iv) The history of science shows that huge numbers of strongly supported, and widely believed, theories have been false.  Should we conclude that any new theories are pretty likely to be false?  Then what’s the point of trying to come up with new theories?  (v) Are
 there better and worse ways of coming up with new theories?  If so, how do we tell which ones are the better ones?
These are some of the deeply puzzling questions to be considered in this course.

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #25017)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 11

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PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #20571)

Prof. Phillips
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00PM Room: AH 302

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In this course we will read much of the most important ethical work of three central figures in the modern history of ethics: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), and Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900). We will focus on our three philosophers’ approaches to two central issues in moral theory: (i) the nature of morality: just what are moral rules, where do they come from, and why should we follow them?; (ii) the content of morality: just what does morality tell us to do? We will also attend to their views on the status of egoism.

There will be a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing, and a 7-8 page paper. The midterm and final will each be worth 35%, the paper 30%.

PHIL 3377: Philosophy of Religion (Class #25030)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 8:30AM-10:00AM, Room: AH 201

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PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #19498)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 208

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PHIL 3388: History of Twentieth Century Philosophy (Class #25034)

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

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In this class we will explore the fate of Humanism in the 20th century thought. I will open with an account of modern Humanism and explain the relevance of asking after its fate in the thought of some of the great 20th century thinkers. We will read Freud’s Future of an Illusion, Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish by way deepening our understanding of 20th century thought on Humanism.