Courses

PHIL 1000 | INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Payton
Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 12:00-12:50+ disc sec                       Wilson 301     

This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of analytic philosophical thinking, and some core philosophical arguments and ideas. How have philosophers argued for/against the existence of God? Can our past experiences justify our beliefs about what will happen in the future? Do we have free will? Are you morally obligated to give to charity? After addressing the basics of argument construction, we will turn to questions like these. Core course topics include: the existence of God, the nature of knowledge, freedom and determinism, and topics in ethics and social philosophy.

PHIL 1410 | FORMS OF REASONING

Professor(s): TBD
Credits: 3

TBD -001                                           Tuesday & Thursday 9:30-10:45           Gibson 141     

TBD -002                                            Tuesday & Thursday 12:30-1:45          Cabell 058

TBD -003                                           Tuesday & Thursday 5:00-6:15             Wilson 214

A philosophy course with a practical aim: to develop the student's ability to recognize and evaluate arguments. The course will not cover symbolic logic in any detail (for this take PHIL 2420) but will concentrate on actual arguments given in ordinary language. Some time will be spent studying those fallacies, or errors in reasoning, which occur most frequently in discussion and argument. The goal of this course is to give the student a working knowledge of logic which has an application to daily life.

 

PHIL 1730 | INTRODUCTION TO MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Lomasky
Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 5:00-5:50+ disc sec                           Wilson 301     

What is it to live a really excellent life, & how is this task complicated (or assisted) by the need to live among others who may have very different views from your own? Is the answer to this question simply a matter of taste, or can we learn about better & worse ways to live? We will look to various philosophers to help us think through these matters, including Plato, Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, David Hume, & John Stuart Mill. Additionally, we will read the play Antigone by Sophocles, novel Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, & excerpts from the Bible. Students will be required to write two or three short essays, take unannounced short quizzes, & sit a final exam.

PHIL 2110 | HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY: ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL

Professor(s): Prof. Lomasky
Credits: 3

This course satisfies History area requirements.

Monday & Wednesday 8:00-8:50+ disc sec                           Gibson 211     

This course is an introduction to the history of philosophy from its beginnings in the Greek colonies of Asia Minor to the end of the Middle Ages. You will find a comprehensive summary of the history of philosophy during this period in one of the required readings. You will also be asked to read a number of primary texts, which will provide material for the discussion sections. During the lecture sessions, we survey some of this history and will closely read two texts, by Plato (Phaedrus) and by Anselm of Canterbury (Proslogion). We may also read closely a few early sections from Aquinas’s Summa of Theology. We will focus on the philosophical content of the texts but will also pay some attention to relevant historical and cultural context

PHIL 2420 | INTRODUCTION TO SYMBOLIC LOGIC

Professor(s): Prof. Cameron
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 8:00-8:50+ disc sec                              Wilson 301     

A basic introduction to the concepts and techniques of modern formal logic. The aim of this course is to give the student a working knowledge of both sentential and quantifier logic. Students will learn how to translate claims and arguments from English into a formal system, and to test arguments for validity.

PHIL 2500-100 | THEORY AND METHOD FOR BIOETHICS

Professor(s): Prof. Stangl
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 10:00-10:50+ disc sec                          Maury 104

This course aims to provide a theoretical background and a set of methodological tools with which to contextualize and address ethical issues as they arise in practical bioethical contexts.  Normative theories and practical principles will be taught, but in the context of current controversies and case studies.  No prior background in philosophy will be assumed.  

PHIL 2500-200 | MINDS AND MACHINES

Professor(s): Prof. Irving
Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 1:00-1:50+ disc sec                          Clark 107

This course surveys foundational issues in the philosophy of cognitive science and mind. Part 1 asks the fundamental question, what is a mind? Are minds brains? Computers? Organisms? Do minds extend into the body and environment? We'll approach these questions by considering what it would take to make a machine with a mind (that is, to make genuine artificial intelligence). Part 2 turns to the problem of personal identity over time. Once you were a kid, now you are an adult, and one day you'll grow old. What (if anything) makes you the same person throughout these stages of your life? 

PHIL 2500-300 | INTRODUCTION TO AFRICANA PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Harris
Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 11:00 -11:50+ disc sec                      Maury 104

This course examines Africana philosophy as a field of study practiced by professional philosophers. It encompasses African, African American philosophy, Afro Caribbean and their forms worldwide. First, we will circumscribe the topic by exploring the themes that surround the existence of Black people. Students will learn how Africana philosophers have addressed philosophical problems within the context of racism, oppression, and forms of exploitation. Then, we will consider a variety of diagnoses shaped by the black experience such as Black Existentialism, Black Feminism, Black Hegelianism, Black (Radical) Kantianism, Black Marxism, and Black Nationalism.

PHIL 2660 | PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

Professor(s): Prof. Merricks
Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Instructor Permission - First and Second Years only.

Monday & Wednesday 10:00-10:50+ disc sec                       Gibson 211           

This course will examine a number of different topics that have been of perennial interest to philosophers of religion and philosophical theologians. These topics include arguments for and against God's existence, the problem of evil, the relationship between human freedom and divine foreknowledge, and how to think about personal immortality and the nature of the human person.

 

PHIL 2820 | PHILOSOPHY OF HEALTH AND HEALTCARE

Professor(s): Prof. Barnes
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 8:00-8:50+ disc sec                              Clark 108       

In this class, we’ll first discuss the question ‘what is health?’ How do we define what it means to be healthy? Is there a difference between physical and mental health? Is there a difference between health and overall well-being? Is health a biological concept or is it something normative? Then we’ll look at specific puzzles that arise in health care related to how we understand health and disease. For example, how do we measure health outcomes? How do we deal with the inherent subjectivity of some aspects of health, such as pain? What is the relationship between what we consider ‘healthy’ and what our culture values or stigmatizes?

PHIL 3010 | DARWIN AND PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Eaker
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 3:30-4:45                                              Nau 141         

This course explores the history and the philosophical implications of Darwin’s revolutionary idea—that the unguided process of natural selection could explain the magnificent variety and adaptedness of living things and their descent from a common ancestor. We will look at Darwin’s historical, scientific and cultural context, and the evidence and arguments by which Darwin supported his theory. Philosophical topics will include:  How are scientific theories supported by evidence? What makes evolutionary theory an accepted scientific theory? What are its moral implications? What does it tell us about human nature, how we should treat one another, and how we should relate to the environment upon which we depend?

PHIL 3110 | PLATO

Professor(s): Prof. McCready-Flora
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 9:30-10:45                                            Cabell 364

This course introduces students to the dialogues of Plato, with an emphasis on those of particular argumentative and philosophical interest. Expect treatments of the divine and our relation to it; love; the nature and possibility of human knowledge; what makes anything one; why the world exists at all, and in particular why it takes the form it does; humanity’s place in the cosmic order; and the nature of the soul. Our aim will be to engage Plato as a fellow philosopher through close reading and subtle reasoning. This means understanding his assumptions, scrutinizing his argumentation and proposing alternatives to his conclusions. No knowledge of Greek required, but some prior coursework in Philosophy very much encouraged.

PHIL 3150 | 17th CENTURY PHILOSOPHERS

Professor(s): Prof. Secada
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 5:00-6:15                                              Monroe 118   

This course examines the various philosophical systems of the 17th century.  This year, we’ll read Hobbes, Descartes, Cavendish, and Spinoza.  

PHIL 3180 | NIETZSCHE

Professor(s): Prof. Langsam
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 12:30-1:45                                            Cocke 115

Nietzsche, Nietzsche, and even more Nietzsche on life, truth, philosophy, art, morality, nihilism, values and their creation, will to power, eternal recurrence, and a lot of other good stuff.  Readings will include The Birth of Tragedy, The Gay Science, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, and others.

PHIL 3330 | PHILOSOPHY OF MIND

Professor(s): Prof. Ott
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 5:00-6:15                                              Cocke 115      

What is the nature of the mind and why do we find its nature so puzzling? We shall critically examine various theories about the nature of the mind; we shall also discuss the nature of particular kinds of mental states and events, such as beliefs, desires, feelings, sensory experiences, and others. We shall be especially concerned with the relations between the mind and the body, and, more generally, between the mental and the physical. Most of the readings will be by contemporary philosophers.

PHIL 3500-001 | COUNSCIOUSNESS

Professor(s): Prof. Irving
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 2:00-3:15                                              Cabell 485      

We focus on the place of consciousness in nature. Part 1 surveys models of consciousness in cognitive science. Part 2 turns to ``hard problems'' of consciousness: is consciousness experience compatible with a scientific worldview? Part 3 turns to experiences that most theories of consciousness neglect–– dreaming, mind-wandering, and dreamless sleep––drawing lessons about methods in consciousness research and the conscious self.

PHIL 3620 | SCIENCE FICTION AND PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Cameron
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 9:30-10:45                                           Gibson 242     

Science fiction is a distinctively philosophical genre. Science fiction stories can cause us to question the bounds of what is possible, explore ethical questions that arise in alien circumstances, explore the nature of the self and the very nature of reality, and so on. This course has two main goals: (1)We will use science fiction literature to explore philosophical issues, thereby pursuing philosophical inquiry from an unusual perspective; (2)We will use philosophy to explore the nature of science fiction as a genre, and thereby to gain insight into the nature of art.

PHIL 3640 | POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): TBD
Credits: 3

 Tuesday & Thursday 3:30-4:45                                             Cabell 332      

How should we live together? This question is at the core of political philosophy and is the main focus of the course. This question has various components, including: Who counts as one of us? How should we make decisions? Who should be in charge? How should we use our power? How should we treat others? How can we flourish? And who gets a say in how to answer these questions? The course focuses on contemporary democratic answers and considers to what extent our ideals have been realized in our shared life.       

PHIL 3720 | CONTEMPORARY ETHICS

Professor(s): Prof. Stangl
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 5:00-6:15                                              Cabell 032      

In this course, we will consider some of the liveliest topics of debate in contemporary ethical theory.  Among the questions that may be considered are: Are there moral facts, and if so what sorts of facts are they, how do we come to know them, and how do we explain their authority?  What would it mean to say that a life “has meaning” and what might entitle us to say such a thing?  Can we make sense of prohibitions to perform certain kinds of actions even when doing so would reduce the overall incidence of that very kind of action?  Do contemporary conceptions of our moral obligations leave us sufficient space to be true to our own ideals and loves?  Are we responsible for bad outcomes that we knowingly choose not to prevent others from bringing about?  Can we be held responsible for unchosen elements of our own character?  Are there “morally tragic” cases in which we will do wrong no matter what we choose to do?

 

PHIL 3730 | ANCIENT ETHICS

Professor(s): Prof. McCready-Flora
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 12:30-1:45                                            Cabell 485

This course introduces students, through close reading of primary source translations, to major figures and themes of ethical theory in Ancient Greece and Rome. Authors to include: Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, Porphyry and Sextus Empiricus. Topics to Include: moral and intellectual virtue; happiness; the social preconditions of human goodness; the nature and possibility of the good life; whether the good life requires moral virtue or its opposite; the nature and possibility of ethical knowledge; how humans should live together; how humans should treat other animals. At no point will our readings overlap with any concurrent Plato and Aristotle course: students may profitably enroll in both.                         

PHIL 3810 | SEX, SEXUALITY, AND GENDER

Professor(s): Prof. Barnes
Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 11:00-12:15                                         Cocke 115

In this class, we'll be talking about philosophical issues at the intersection of sexuality, sexual experience, and gender experience. What is sexual consent? What is the relationship between sexual consent and sexual morality? What is sexual orientation, and what is its relationship to sex and gender? Is there such a thing as biological sex? Is there a difference between sex and gender?

 

PHIL 4010 | SEMINAR FOR MAJORS – PHILOSOPHY, MEDITATION, AND SELF-KNOWLEDGE

Professor(s): Prof. Secada
Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 12:30-1:45                                         Pavilion 8-108

This seminar is a close reading of three philosophical masterpieces: Plato’s Phaedrus, Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogion, and Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy. Unifying threads of the seminar include issues of self-knowledge, the relation between discursive argument and contemplative meditation, and the nature of philosophy. Students will be asked to write a term paper and to make short class presentations of the assigned texts.