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Spring 2022 Philosophy Courses

Law, Morality, Society  
with Jeffrey Turner

PHIL 100-01: M/W/F 10:00–10:50 a.m. (CRN 50549)

This section of PHIL 100 is designed to introduce you to some of the important texts and ideas of philosophy, and to help you to develop an understanding of how philosophers present and defend their ideas, by focusing on the relationships between the concepts of law, morality, and society. Is one of these concepts more basic than the others, so that (for example) morality and society might be best understood through law? What happens in cases of conflict between them, as (for example) between the demands of morality and those of society? Open to first year students and sophomores; junior and seniors by permission only.

Mind & World   
with Jason Leddington

PHIL 100-02: M/W/F 2:00–2:50 p.m. (CRN 52020)
PHIL 100-03: M/W/F 3:00–3:50 p.m. (CRN 52021)

This course focuses on the nature of the mind and its relationship to the world we inhabit. Topics include consciousness, artificial intelligence, personal identity, free will, and knowledge and skepticism. Course materials include a variety of classic and contemporary philosophical texts as well as other media (mainly film and TV).

Knowledge, Responsibility, Illusion
with Katherine Ward   

PHIL 100-04: M/W/F 9:00–9:50 a.m. (CRN 54138)    

This course is an introduction to some central questions of philosophy. We will use the limited series DEVS as a jumping–off point to address questions in three major branches of philosophy: metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology.

Philosophy of Space and Time   
with Maria Balcells

PHIL 100-05: T/R 3:00–4:20 p.m. (CRN 54141)

In this course we will critically examine various historical and contemporary theories of space and time. We will look at questions such as: Is space a distinct substance? Are space and time real things or constructs of the mind? What is the shape of space? Are space and time infinite or finite? Is there an edge of the universe? Is there a beginning of time? Does time flow like a river? Or is it laid out like a road? Do things in the past exist? Do things in the future exist? Is time travel possible? We will look at the role that space and time play in our scientific theories and how philosophical theories have informed and utilized scientific results.

with Matthew Slater

PHIL 103: M/W/F 10:00–10:50 a.m. (CRN 50089)

Logic is the study of good reasoning as it is revealed through language. Good reasoning can be studied in a variety of ways; this course serves as a general introduction to both formal (symbolic) and informal approaches to logic with an emphasis on the latter. Our focus will be on real world applications of logic and understanding social / psychological barriers to good reasoning.

History of Modern Philosophy  
with Gary Steiner 

PHIL 207: T/R 3:00–4:20 p.m. (CRN 50090)

This course examines the development of the ideas of the human individual and the natural world in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a special focus on the realism-idealism debate in metaphysics and the rationalism-empiricism debate in epistemology. The course focuses on the thought of Descartes, Hume, and Kant. In addition to writing three critical essays, each student will give a formal classroom presentation. Prerequisite: PHIL 100 or permission of the instructor.

with Jeffrey Turner

PHIL 213: M/W/F 2:00–2:50 p.m. (CRN 50790)

A consideration of some important philosophical views about the distinctions between right and wrong actions, and good and bad lives. Selections from Kant, Aristotle, the classical utilitarians, Nietzsche, Plato, and Schopenhauer. Prerequisite: PHIL 100, or PHIL 103 or PHIL 201 or permission of the instructor. (W-2 course.)

Philosophy of Science   
with Jason Leddington

PHIL 220: M/W 10:00–11:20 a.m. (CRN 54670)

Philosophy and the natural sciences have long enjoyed a close association. The twentieth century in particular saw unprecedented philosophical focus on a series of related conceptual and methodological questions concerning science. How does science progress? What distinguishes science from pseudo-science? What is it to explain something scientifically? Is there a distinctive “scientific method”? How exactly do the sciences provide us with understanding of the natural world? Do scientists have special ethical obligations? How should democratic societies go about ordering their scientific research priorities? Does the scientific community deserve the public’s trust? We’ll address these and other questions through a mixture of philosophical analysis and detailed examination of case studies across the sciences. Prerequisite:  PHIL 100 or permission of the instructor.

Philosophy of Religion   
with Carol White

PHIL 223: T/R 8:30–9:50 a.m. (CRN 54152)

This course invites students to explore some of the central themes and important concepts in philosophy of religion, and to engage some of its key thinkers. Among the topics we will discuss are the following: classical, modern, and contemporary theories of religion; the intelligibility of the “God” concept; arguments for and against the existence of God; divine attributes; traditional and contemporary forms of theism; the nature of religious/mystical experiences; the concept of death; theories regarding life after death or personal immortality; the nature and claims of religious language; the problem of evil; conceptions of religious faith; the possibility of miracles; religious ethics; the relation between religion and science; and the problem of religious pluralism. Crosslisted with RELI 216.

Feminist Philosophy    
with Sheila Lintott

PHIL 230: M/W 7:00–8:22 p.m. (CRN 53382)

Feminism: it’s the f–word du jour, but what is feminism? Are you a feminist? This course addresses these and many other questions through the study of classical texts in feminist theory and feminist rethinking of traditional philosophy. Readings will represent major feminist philosophical perspectives, including liberal, radical, Marxist, psychoanalytic, care–focused, multicultural, ecological, and postmodern feminist theory. Many topics are debated within feminism and the course seeks to articulate and critically evaluate various positions feminists hold on topics such as pornography, sexuality, spirituality, reproduction, political power, and gender and gender expression. A major focus of the course is on intersectionality; that is, attention will be paid throughout to the complex web of relationships. Crosslisted with WMST 230.

Philosophy of Law   
with Jeffrey Turner

PHIL 246: M/W/F 12:00–12:50 p.m. (CRN 53384)

This course is designed to examine some central philosophical issues relating to law, including law’s relation to economics, literature, democracy, rules, integrity, and interpretation. There will be three core questions investigated in this course: (i) Which discipline offers the better model for understanding law: economics or literature? (ii) Which of the two competing theories of judicial interpretation put forth recently by Supreme Court justices is stronger, the “originalism” of Scalia or the theory of “active liberty” articulated by Breyer? And (iii) which is the strongest of the two most important recent Anglo-American theories of law, the one H. L. A. Hart spelled out in his classic The Concept of Law, which sees law in terms of both “primary” and “secondary” rules, or Ronald Dworkin’s “law as integrity” approach, as articulated in Law’s Empire? Prerequisite: PHIL 100 or PHIL 103 or PHIL 201 or permission of the instructor.

Transformations Over Time   
with Maria Balcells

PHIL 268: M/W 3:00–4:20 p.m. (CRN 54135)

How is it that my body, my thoughts, my values, and so many of my other characteristics can change throughout my lifetime while I continue to be me?  In this course, we will consider historic and contemporary puzzles of change in an attempt to understand how things and persons transform over time and yet maintain their identity.  We will consider what makes something one and the same object over time, the nature of personal identity, and how we should understand transformations that fundamentally alter those features of ourselves that we take to be most essential. In considering these topics, we will also look at various metaphysical models of time and how they inform our understanding of change and identity. Prerequisite: PHIL 100 or permission of the instructor.

with Katherine Ward

PHIL 278: T/R 1:00–2:20 p.m. (CRN 53388)

This course introduces students to several key debates in bioethics. Students will develop a familiarity with important case studies and contemporary approaches to bioethics while increasing proficiency in interpreting and assessing philosophical arguments and analytical writing. 

with Gary Steiner

PHIL 309: T/R 10:00–11:20 a.m. (CRN 54137)

This course examines Heidegger’s radical critique of the Western philosophical tradition and his rethinking of the This course examines Heidegger’s critique of traditional assumptions about human selfhood and agency, focusing on his assessment of the commitment of thinkers such as Descartes and Kant that the mind is a timeless, transcultural entity. We will examine the influential conception of the social construction of human selfhood that Heidegger presents in Being and Time, with additional attention to his lecture courses and selected later essays. One of the central questions with which our examination of Heidegger will leave us is whether and to what extent a conception of the social construction of meaning and selfhood leaves room for authentic freedom. Prerequisite: Two courses in philosophy and permission of the instructor.

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