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Philosophy Course Offerings for Fall 2013


*1000 Introduction to Philosophy

(3) Major works on such themes as appearance and reality, human nature, nature of knowledge, relation of mind and body, right and good, existence of God, and freedom and determinism.


Section 1: MWF 10:30-11:20, Blakley                   Section 5: MWF 2:30-3:20, Hebert

Section 2: MWF 11:30-12:20, Hebert                    Section 6: TTh 9:00-10:20, Altamirano

Section 3: MWF12:30-1:20, Blakley                       Section 7: T 3:00-6:00, Rocha

Section 4: MWF 12:30-1:20, Parsons


*1001 HONORS: Introduction to Philosophy


MW 3:00-4:20, Sirridge

The unexamined life is not worth living—Socrates, d. 399 BC


Philosophy starts from the position that we can live better and more worthwhile lives by thinking critically--both about the choices and long terms goals that are immediately present to us personally and about the deeper realities of human existence and reality itself.   To think critically is to analyze clearly the support which can be offered for a position, to assess the tenability of the support, and to follow out systematically the consequences which follow from adopting the position.  In this course you will be asked to think critically and write cogently about various positions--your own and those of others--on such problems as knowledge and belief, the relationship between mind and body, the basis of morality, the relationship between religious faith and human reason.  We have two objectives in this course.  (1) To become familiar with the work of some important philosophers who have got interesting things to say about these issues.  (2) To acquire philosophical skill: reading critically and precisely, defining philosophical questions and issues, assessing arguments for solutions, determining one’s own beliefs and offering rational support for them


Course Requirements: Short, in-class written responses; Four short papers (750 words maximum); two rewrites; midterm examination; final examination.


*1021 Introduction to Logic

(3) No special background presupposed. Formal and informal reasoning; introduction to propositional logic; formal and informal fallacies; scientific reasoning.


Section 1: MWF 9:30-10:20, Blakley                      Section 2: TTh 10:30-11:50, Blakley


2000 LEVEL

*2010 Symbolic Logic I

(3) Classical propositional and first-order predicate logic; syntax and semantics of formal languages; translation between formal languages and English; formal methods of proof.


MWF 12:30-1:20, Cogburn


*2020 Ethics

(3) Classical and recent theories of obligation and value, including works of philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hume, and Nietzsche; topics including freedom, rights, justification of moral judgments.


Section 1: TTh 12:00-1:20, Altamirano                  Section 3: TTh 4:30-5:50, Altamirano

Section 2: TTh 3:00-4:20, Altamirano


2023 Philosophy of Art

(3) Philosophical theories of beauty, art, and art criticism.

MWF 1:30-2:20, Hebert


2025 Bioethics

(3) Defining health and disease; deciding on rights, duties, and obligations in the patient-physician relationship; abortion and the concept of a person; defining and determining death; euthanasia and the dignity of death; allocation of medical resources, both large-scale and small-scale; experimentation with fetuses, children, prisoners, and animals;  genetic testing, screening, and interference.


M 6:00-8:50PM, Rolfsen


*2033 History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy        

(3)An honors course, PHIL 2053, is also available. Credit will not be given for this course and PHIL 2053. Introduction to philosophy through a study of some of the main writings of classical and medieval philosophy.  Our main focus will be the positions and arguments of philosophers of antiquity and their philosophical “descendants” in the Middle Ages.  We will, however, attempt to situate their work in historical context, including a “scribes and manuscripts” project utilizing the facsimile collection in Hill Memorial Library. 


MWF 10:30-11:20, Sirridge


2034 HONORS: Tutorial in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy   

(1) To be taken concurrently with PHIL 2035. 1 hr. of tutorial instruction per week for honors students. PHIL 2033+2034  taken concurrently count as an honors course for the purposes of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies.  PHIL 2034 will meet for one hour weekly and will function as a discussion section for material in PHIL 2033.  There will be weekly short written assignments of various sorts, and students will be asked to do one oral class presentation in the course of the semester.  Enrollment in PHIL 2034 is not restricted to Honors College students or philosophy majors.  


M 11:30-12:20, Sirridge


4000 LEVEL 

4914 Philosophy of Language        

(3) Prereq.: one logic course or consent of instructor. Also offered as LING 4914. Various theories of meaning, their implications and presuppositions, and their relevance to issues in such areas as theory of perception, theory of truth, metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind and action.


MWF 9:30-10:20, Cogburn


We will start with the understanding of language that allowed Frege to create modern symbolic logic. Then we will look at a series of different proposals for what Fregean “sense” might be for natural languages. This will allow us to assay a tremendous amount of core analytic philosophy put forward by classic figures such as Carnap, Wittgenstein, Grice, Quine, and Davidson.

Students who do well in this class will be very well served for future study of all areas of contemporary analytic philosophy.


Textbook: Alexander Miller Philosophy of Language (second edition).


4922 Plato     

(3) Prereq.: PHIL 2033 or equivalent. Topics from Plato’s epistemology and metaphysics.


MWF 3:30-4:20, Parsons


4943 Problems in Ethical Theory

(3) Prereq.: two courses in philosophy or consent of instructor. May be taken for a max. of 6 sem. hrs. of credit when topics vary. Egoism, utilitarianism, deontological systems, intuitionism, moral particularism, virtue ethics, relativism, weakness of will, and value theory.


TTh 3:00-4:20, Sarkar


This course will center on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters. We will particularly focus on: Parfit’s views on reasons, rationality, and objectivism; his criticisms of all forms of subjectivism and naturalism in ethics; his sketch of what he labels “Sidgwick’s Dualism” and “The Profoundest Problem;” Parfit’s probing treatment of Kant’s famous version of the categorical imperative – the Formula of Universal Law (of Nature) – showing up some of its many inadequacies (including, as Parfit sees it, Kant’s unwarranted damning of the Golden Rule); his proposal of a rather intriguing principle of consent; and, finally, bringing various complex parts of the book together, Parfit’s attempt to show how to reconcile Kantianism, contractualism, and consequentialism. If that argument – that crowns the first volume – is sound, Parfit has delivered us an astonishing achievement in moral philosophy.


Required Text:

Derek Parfit, On What Matters. Volume One. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.


4945 Problems in Political Philosophy

(3) Prereq.: PHIL 1000 or 2020 or 3052 or equivalent. Freedom, obligation, authority, justice, law, the state, and revolution.


TTh 1:30-2:50, Rocha


Should prisons be privatized? Could prison profits be maximized in a way that allowed any dignity for prisoners and did not require gouging taxpayers? Should you be allowed to sell your organs? If you were desperate enough to sell an organ, wouldn’t it be helpful to let you? Should we be allowed to buy and sell sex? Is our society simply too Puritanical to allow legalized prostitution, or does prostitution undermine the dignity of the prostitute and the John? Should we sell our nation’s airports? National parks? Parking meters? Should we have a private FBI? CIA? Special Forces? Should you be able to get your child a job? Should you be able to pay more to pollute the environment more? Do you have a right to sell someone the right to eat you? Where should capitalism give way to morality? Should it ever?

While markets have proven to be the most efficient method for producing and distributing products and services throughout the paying public, we may wonder whether there are certain areas of life where efficiency should not be our primary concern. That is, were we to evaluate market transactions via both morality and efficiency based metrics, would we find areas where our desire to make use of the market’s efficiency is overruled by moral considerations? In an age where there has been increasing pressure throughout our society to privatize almost every form of human interaction, this question has become exceedingly important for political philosophers to work out.

Fortunately, in the last year, two prominent political philosophers have written books on these issues, each with the same subtitle. In this class, we will examine Debra Satz’s Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets, and Michael Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. While each of these philosophers argues for limiting the reach of capitalism due to moral considerations, we will also read positions from other philosophers and political scientists, especially libertarians, who provide the alternative point of view. The class will end with a seminar paper (8-15 pages) that will ask you to take a single good or service and argue whether that good or service ought to be privatized in light of moral concerns.


7000 LEVEL

7903 Seminar in Continental Philosophy

(3) Major figures and/or movements in continental philosophy.


TTh 12:00-1:20, Schufreider