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PHIL 1000 | INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Cameron

Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 8:00-8:50+ disc sec                  Clark 107

An introduction to some of the major problems of philosophy. Questions we will look at include: Is consciousness supernatural? Are there races and genders? Do you know you're not in the Matrix? Must the future resemble the past? When is it permissible to end a life? Is morality objective, subjective, or relative? What are the limits of state authority? Readings are drawn from classics in the history of philosophy and from contemporary sources.

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PHIL 1410 | FORMS OF REASONING

Professor(s): Prof. Anderson

Credits: 3

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

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

Tuesday & Thursday 2:00-3:15                      Gibson 141

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.

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PHIL 1710 | HUMAN NATURE

Professor(s): Prof. Langsam

Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 2:00-2:50+disc sec                   Minor 125

This course is concerned with the question of whether there are characteristics that all human beings have in common other than obvious biological similarities. In particular, we shall address issues such as the following: 1) is rationality a part of human nature, and, if so, what is the nature of human rationality, and how does the rational part of human beings relate to their other characteristics? 2) what is the relation of human nature to morality: is it in the nature of human beings to act morally and/or to recognize moral obligations, or, on the contrary, are moral requirements in some sense contrary to our nature? 3) are human beings social animals: is it natural for human beings to live with others in societies and be governed by political institutions, or are such living arrangements contrary to our nature? Readings will include contemporary and historical writers.

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PHIL 1740 | ISSUES OF LIFE AND DEATH

Professor(s): Prof. Stangl

Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 9:00-9:50+ disc sec               Minor 125

This course is an exploration, from the point of view of philosophical theory, of a number of ethical problems at the beginning and end of life. Questions to be addressed will include: What is the significance of death and the value of life? Under what conditions, if any, are abortion and euthanasia morally permissible? At what point ought we to discontinue medical treatment of the terminally ill, and who should be empowered to make this decision? Are we under any moral obligation to prevent the death of those threatened by hunger and easily treatable disease?

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PHIL 2060 | PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS IN LAW

Professor(s): Prof. Adams

Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 5:00-5:50+ disc sec               Minor 125  

Do we have a duty to obey the law? The law thinks so, and breaking the law is often severely punished. But as citizens we often also think law is bad, mistaken, unjust, and that we should disobey the law or even overthrow the government. More specific questions also arise when we accept the rule of law. What sorts of actions should be criminalized and what sorts of punishments are justified? Why do our mental states matter to the law? What is an attempt, and how can we regulate failures? What processes should we use when making legal judgments? What is the relation between law and morality? Law and politics? In this course, we will look at these and similar philosophical problems for life under law.

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PHIL 2120 | HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY: MODERN

Professor(s): Prof. Secada

Credits: 3

This course satisfies the requirement for History of Philosophy: Modern

Monday & Wednesday 2:00-2:50+ disc sec              Dell 1 105

This course is a survey of the history of philosophy in the Renaissance and the early modern period. We will pay close attention to some of the metaphysical and epistemological issues arising in the central writings of Suárez, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant, though some other figures including some XIXth-Century philosophers, such as Hegel, will also be discussed in the lectures. Throughout the term, we will read closely the first five of Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy and Leibniz's "First Truths". Students will be required to write a term paper, to submit an earlier draft of it, and to take several quizzes during the term. 

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PHIL 2500-002 | PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE

Professor(s): Prof. Fox

Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 2:00-3:15                                  New Cabell 232         

It is easy to take for granted what humans can accomplish with language. With language use we can describe and better come to know about the world. We can express ourselves, share core values, and be better able to understand each other. Through language use we also do things and change things, including languages themselves. We define, argue, and translate from completely different languages. Accomplishments abound! In this course, we will revel in some of these accomplishments, and through close study of theories in the philosophy of language that seek to understand, analyze, and explain some of these accomplishments. Large-scale questions will include: how are we able to refer? What are the relationships between words/phrases and what they are able to mean when they are used? What roles do language users play in those relationships? More broadly, what is linguistic meaning? We will approach these and other questions with both theoretical interest and an eye to the practices we share of using language in the world.

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PHIL 2500-003 | FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Professor(s): Prof. Lomasky

Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 2:00-3:15                                  New Cabell 489         

Free speech is about the First Amendment: that’s not exactly false but neither is it entirely true. Constitutional speech guarantees concern restriction by law, but there are many other ways in which people can be pressured not to speak. Sometimes they are fired/not hired, sometimes they are shunned, shamed or canceled.  This course will look at some of the legal issues surrounding speech but mostly examine whether and how speech, broadly understood, should be constrained or protected outside courtroom contexts.  Readings commence with John Stuart Mill’s classic ON LIBERTY.  Then we turn to contemporary disputes, asking how well Mill’s arguments apply to speech in the internet era.

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PHIL 2500-100 | PHILOSOPHY OF MORAL RESPONSIBILITY

Professor(s): Prof. Payton

Credits: 3

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

In this course we will take up philosophical questions about moral responsibility and blame: what is blame and how is it related to moral responsibility? What does it take to be blameworthy for something? We will also look at questions about blamerworthiness, or what it takes to be in a position to hold another person or institution accountable.

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PHIL 2640 | RATIONAL CHOICE AND HAPPINESS

Professor(s): Prof. Barnes

Credits: 3

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

In this class, we will examine philosophical puzzles about our ability to make rational choices that affect or determine our own happiness. How can we rationally decide to undergo a significant experience - such as having a child or moving to a new country - when have no way of knowing what that experience will be like? How can we rationally choose to make decisions about our future (such as what career path to follow or where to live), since who we will become in the future is in part determined by those choices? These kinds of questions will be the focus of the class

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PHIL 2660 | PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

Professor(s): Prof. Merricks

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: Instructor Permission - First and Second Years only.

Monday & Wednesday 10:00-10:50+ disc sec           Dell 1 105      

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.

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PHIL 3120 | ARISTOTLE

Professor(s): Prof. McCready-Flora

Credits: 3

This course satisfies the History requirement for those who have or will take PHIL 2120 – Modern.

Tuesday & Thursday 11:00-12:15                         New Cabell 168

An introduction to the philosophy of Aristotle through close reading of keys texts in translations with the aim of achieving a philosophical understanding of his views and their lasting influence. Readings will focus on his metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind and theory of natural science, though expect material from his ethics and social philosophy as well.

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PHIL 3310 | METAPHYSICS

Professor(s): Prof. Merricks

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Instructor Permission Required

This Course satisfies the Second Writing Requirement

Monday & Wednesday 2:00-3:15                               New Cabell 389           

This survey course will examine a variety of issues central to contemporary analytic metaphysics. We shall consider, among other things, possibility and necessity, identity over time, and personal identity. This course is meant for third and fourth year philosophy majors only.

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PHIL 3320 | EPISTEMOLOGY

Professor(s): Prof. Langsam

Credits: 3

This course satisfies the requirement for M&E.

Tuesday & Thursday 11:00-12:15                              New Cabell 032     

The course focuses on questions in the theory of knowledge. Topics include: skepticism about knowledge of the external world, the nature of justification, foundationalism, and coherentism, the Gettier problem, internalism and externalism, a priori knowledge, the analytic/synthetic distinction, induction, and the ethics of belief.

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PHIL 3400 | INTRODUCTION TO NON-CLASSICAL LOGIC

Professor(s): Prof. Cameron

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: PHIL 2420

Tuesday & Thursday 11:00-12:15                              New Cabell 389

An introduction to systems of non-classical logic, including both extensions and revisions to classical logic. We will look at logical systems that extend classical logic to deal with the phenomena of possibility & time. We will look at logics that revise classical logic to allow for sentences which are neither true nor false, or sentences which can be both. We will show how these departures from classical logic can shed light on various philosophical questions.

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PHIL 3500 | METAPHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Harris

Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 11:00-12:15                              New Cabell 058         

Philosophy characteristically probes existence, the reality of objects, the possibility of knowledge, and the nature of truth, among many other things. Metaphilosophy is the self-reflective inquiry into the nature, aims, and methods of the activity that make these philosophical inquiries possible. It is concerned with the nature of philosophy—the philosophy of philosophy.  

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PHIL 3640 | POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Adams

Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 2:00-3:15                               New Cabell 309         

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.     

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PHIL 3710 | ETHICS

Professor(s): Prof. Motchoulski

Credits: 3

Tuesday & Thursday 9:30-10:45                                Cocke 115      

While no one would deny that the concept of the good is basic to ethical thought, the specific role of that concept has varied throughout history. This course will study the role of the good in ethical thought throughout the history of the Western philosophical tradition.  We will start with Aristotle and work our way to the cusp of contemporary philosophy, ending with Bernard Williams. Along the way, we will cover major figures such as Hume, Kant, and Sidgwick. Questions that we will cover concern the relationship between the good and happiness, the good and right, and the good and virtue. 

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PHIL 3800 | FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Barnes

Credits: 3

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

In this class, we’ll look at ways in which issues of gender can interact with traditional philosophical topics. We’ll discuss gendered dimensions to our understanding of some central issues in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and social and political philosophy. 

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PHIL 3999 | PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES ON LIBERTY

Professor(s): Prof. Lomasky

Credits: 3

Monday & Wednesday 5:00-6:15                                Cocke 115

The Founder of this university declared that we possess an inalienable right to liberty. He does not, however, explain exactly what he means by that. We’re here to help him out. This course examines different theories about the nature and function of liberty. Among the theorists we will study are Adam Smith, J. J. Rousseau, Ayn Rand, and G. A. Cohen. Students will be required to submit 2 or 3 medium length essays and take a final exam. In addition, to keep things interesting there will be several unannounced quizzes.

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PHIL 7510 | ARISTOTLE

Professor(s): Prof. McCready-Flora

Credits: 3

This course satisfies History-Ancient area requirements.

Tuesday 1:00-3:30                                                  Cocke 108

Graduate-level treatment, in translation, of Aristotle’s On the Soul and other relevant texts, e.g. Movement of Animals and parts of the Nicomachean Ethics. We will survey all parts of the work but give particular attention to book 3, which covers human reason (nous), imagination (phantasia) and the cognitive basis of animal movement. We will also consider the nature of the soul; function (ergon) and its place in Aristotle's natural philosophy; the varieties of human and animal perception; memory and recollection; practical reason and its various failure modes; and what makes humans cognitively distinct. Knowledge of Greek helpful but not required. Readings to include substantial amounts of secondary literature, with the aim of introducing students to the practices of scholarship and professional history of philosophy

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PHIL 7530 | DU BOIS AND PHILOSOPHY

Professor(s): Prof. Harris

Credits: 3

Tuesday 3:30-6:00                                                      Cocke 108

W. E. B. Du Bois's work has been counted as philosophical—either because he makes race an object of philosophical investigation or he helps to innovate the subfields of philosophy of race, social and political philosophy, philosophy of science, and aesthetics with his important vision. It is also philosophical in the sense that he provides a view of the nature of philosophy.  

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PHIL 7570 | SOCIAL METAPHYSICS

Professor(s): Prof. Payton

Credits: 3

Monday 3:30-6:00                                                      Cocke 108
In this seminar we will focus on the social construction of properties (e.g., being money) and kinds (e.g., gender and race kinds), with special attention paid to the mechanics and utility of different social construction relations. We will also spend some time with the question of how to best evaluate views about how social construction works: is there a general list of desiderata available here, and if so, what is on that list and why?

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PHIL 7900 | DISSERTATION SEMINAR

Professor(s): Prof. Ott

Credits: 3

Thursday 1:00-3:30                                                     Cocke 108

This non-credit course is taught every spring. It combines discussions of the central aspects of professional life with multiple opportunities for students to present and receive peer feedback on their work-in-progress.  It is mandatory for all third-year students in residence, and optional for others.