Fall 2018

FYS 100 – Philosophy of War – Clark Thompson
MW – 5-6:15 – Tribble A201

This course studies the implications of moral theory for the determination of when war is morally permissible and of how war is to be conducted if it is to be waged in a morally acceptable way.  Our questions include the following: To what extent is military action justified when used to address humanitarian crises, to promote liberal or democratic values, or to combat oppression by foreign countries of their own citizens? Can a meaningful distinction be drawn between combatants and noncombatants? Should a defense of superior orders shield military subordinates from accountability for illegal acts they commit in war? To what extent are citizens in a democracy responsible for their state’s decision to go to war?

FYS 100 – Sports and Society – Adam Kadlac
WF – 11-12:15 – Tribble B-117

This course takes a critical approach to sports and examines the roles sports play in our lives, both as participants and as spectators.  Among the questions to be considered are the following: What is the value of participating in sports?  Does being a sports fan really make our lives better?  Are the resources we devote to sports as a society better devoted to other things?  Is the ideal of the student-athlete outdated?  Throughout the class, we will also consider how issues of race and gender affect our responses to these and related questions.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Christian Miller (Freshman Only)
MWF – 10-10:50 – Tribble A306

This course will be concerned with some of the most challenging and interesting questions in all of human experience. For example, we will consider some of the arguments for the existence of God, whether God would allow evil to exist, whether faith is compatible with reason, whether there is an objective morality, whether we should be moral at the expense of self-interest, whether the death penalty is morally permissible, and what we should do about famine. In each case, we will examine particular questions not only with an aim at arriving at the truth, but also with an aim at determining what relevance these questions have to our ordinary lives.  The text will be Joel Feinberg and Russ Shafer-Landau, Reason and Responsibility (Wadsworth Press, most recent edition) and our readings will be drawn from both classic and contemporary sources.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Ralph Kennedy
MWF – 11-11:50 and 12-12:50 – Tribble A306

We’ll be discussing questions that arise when one begins to think carefully about fundamental matters, such as: What, if anything, do we really know for sure? Does all knowledge come from sense experience, or can one sometimes (as perhaps in mathematics?) acquire new knowledge simply by thinking? Is there a real distinction between good and evil, right and wrong, or is that distinction somehow bogus? Does science rule out the possibility of free will? If so, can we be morally responsible for what we do, anyway? What is consciousness? Could a machine think, experience, and be conscious? Is the physical world all there is? Could there be a transcendent being or beings such as God? What should we make of the various arguments for and against the existence of such transcendent beings?

Goals for the Course

  • To acquire familiarity with some of the main ideas and arguments found in the Western philosophical tradition and in contemporary philosophy and to gain an appreciation of the significance of philosophical reflection, argument, and views for our lives.
  • To learn concepts and techniques useful for evaluating and constructing arguments.
  • To develop and defend one’s own considered views on philosophical issues.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Emily Austin
T
TH – 9:30-10:45 – Tribble A306

Examines the basic concepts of several representative philosophers, including their accounts of the nature of knowledge, persons, God, mind, and matter.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Win-chiat Lee
TTH – 11-12:15 – Tribble A306

Examines the basic concepts of several representative philosophers, including their accounts of the nature of knowledge, persons, God, mind, and matter.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Stavroula Glezakos
MWF – 2-2:50 – Tribble A304

If you have ever wondered whether God exists, whether you have free will, whether morality is relative, or whether your life has meaning, then you have already begun doing philosophical work.

The aim of this course is to help you develop and refine your ability to do philosophy. More specifically: the goal is that you will learn how to read carefully, identify philosophical positions and arguments, understand and evaluate those arguments, and articulate and argue for your own philosophical positions.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Justin Jennings
WF – 9:30-10:45 – Tribble A304
WF – 11-12:15 – Tribble A309

How should we live? Who has authority? What is good? What is just? What is real? Who are we? How can we know? In this course, we address these questions by reading the principal works of the historically most significant thinkers of Western philosophy.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Francisco Gallegos
TR – 12:30 – 1:45 – Tribble A306
TR – 3:30-4:45 – Tribble A304

This course aims to provide students with a serious introduction to wisdom. Philosophy is the activity of wrestling with the big questions of life—questions regarding the fundamental nature of reality, knowledge, and morality. The ultimate purpose of this activity is to live better: to be less disoriented in life and free to spend our time in more meaningful and enlivening ways.

Our readings, discussions, and activities will engage with a wide variety of topics, including death, God, money, power, privilege, racism, sexism, social media, education, happiness, and love, while acquainting students with insights from some of the most fascinating thinkers in history. Students will engage with this material in a wide variety of ways—including informal and formal writing assignments, field research, small group projects, and in-class presentations.

PHI 114 – Philosophy of Human Nature – Patrick Toner
WF – 9:30-10:45 – Tribble Hall A305

In this class, we ask what it is to be human.  We also ask about our relationships to technology, to work, to the natural world, and to one another.  There will likely be a practical component in this class–a work project in the campus garden.  We’ll be reading some philosophical classics like Josef Pieper’s Leisure: the Basis of Culture, and some new semi-popular works, such as Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soul Craft.  We’ll also read a couple of novels: Orwell’s 1984 and Camus’s The Stranger.  We’ll also read some Thoreau, Viktor Frankl, Janet Radcliffe Richards, and GK Chesterton.

PHI 115 – Intro to Philosophy of Religion – Steven DeLay
TTH – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble Hall A304

This course introduces some of the main questions and debates in the philosophy of religion. In approaching the things themselves, the aim is to appreciate the importance of philosophical reflection on these issues to our ordinary lives. Themes we’ll encounter include faith and reason, arguments for and against the existence of God, miracles, free will and foreknowledge, and the nature of God. A related aim in wrestling with these topics is to learn how to evaluate philosophical ideas critically, while articulating and defending your own.

PHI 116 – Meaning and Happiness – Julian Young
T
TH – 2-3:15 – Tribble A306

Beginning with Plato (c. 400 BCE) and ending with Heidegger (died 1976) and Foucault (died 1984), the course will look at the views of Western philosophers who have discussed the question of whether a meaningful and happy life is possible and if so how to lead it. Particular attention will be paid to ‘post-death- of-the- Christian-God’ philosophers (e.g. Schopenhauer, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Sartre, Camus, Foucault, Heidegger) who reject the traditional Christian answer to the question of meaning and seek to provide an alternative. Since these philosophers all (a) argue for their positions and (b) disagree with each other, in seeing with whom you agree (if anyone), and with whom you disagree, you will improve your skills in critical thinking. You will find that, from time to time, you yourself have thought about many of the issues discussed during the course. With luck, you will be able to give greater clarity and precision to your own thoughts.

PHI 160 – Intro to Political Philosophy – Adrian Bardon
MWF – 12-12:50 – Tribble A102
MWF – 1-1:50 – Tribble A306

From what does government derive its authority? Is the proper purpose of organized society to protect individual rights, or to promote the general welfare? Is there a basic right to property? Should community moral values override individual choice? This course examines the role of views about justice in determining attitudes about liberty, equality, and authority, and, in so doing, provides an overview of major issues in social and political thought.

PHI 161 – Introduction to Bioethics – Adam Kadlac
TTH – 9:30-10:45 and 11-12:15 – Tribble A304

The theme of this course will be “Happiness, Health, and Society.” Among the questions we will consider: Is happiness a purely psychological phenomenon? How is health related to happiness? How have advances in medical technology changed our understanding of the good life? What role should physicians play in promoting the happiness of their patients? And what obligations do we have to promote the health and/or happiness of others? The theme of this course will be “Happiness, Health, and Society.” Among the questions we will consider: Is happiness a purely psychological phenomenon? How is health related to happiness? How have advances in medical technology changed our understanding of the good life? What role should physicians play in promoting the happiness of their patients? And what obligations do we have to promote the health and/or happiness of others?

PHI 161 – Introduction to Bioethics – Ana Iltis
MW – 2:00-3:15 pm – Tribble A306

A study of ethical issues that arise in health care and the life sciences. Topics to be explored include questions about death and organ donation, regenerative medicine, genetic testing and research, and the allocation of health care resources, among others.

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Problems – Patrick Toner
WF – 11-12:15 – Tribble A304

This class is about food.  What should we eat?  How should we produce what we eat?  How much of it do we need?  Should we use GMO’s or other industrial farming techniques?  Should we be using animals for food?  We’ll also look at issues like obesity, food production and the environment, food aid to foreign countries, and justice in our food systems.  We’ll be working through some of the now-classic literature on animal rights, including pieces by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Mary Midgeley and Roger Scruton, using Rosalind Hursthouse’s textbook/anthology Ethics, Humans and Other Animals as our guide.  We’ll also read Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America, Vandana Shiva’s Who Really Feeds the World?, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s The Ethics of What We Eat, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and Paul Thompson’s From Field to Fork.  You will take at least one exam and write two or three short papers.  I am hoping to arrange for a class project in conjunction with the campus garden as well.

PHI 165 – Intro to Philosophy of Law – Clark Thompson
MW – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble A304
MW – 2-3:15 – Tribble A301

An examination of prominent legal principles and cases.  Topics include the rule of law, judicial review, constitutional interpretation, the right to privacy, criminal liability, punishment, abortion, pornography, the duty of rescue, and the use of criminal law to enforce morality.

PHI 232 – Ancient Greek Philosophy – Emily Austin
TTH – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble A307

Study of the central figures in early Greek philosophy, beginning with the Presocratics, focusing primarily on Plato and Aristotle, and concluding with a brief survey of some Hellenistic philosophers.

PHI 241 – Modern – Adrian Bardon
MWF – 2-2:50 – Tribble A307

Study of the works of influential 17th and 18th-century European philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, with a concentration on theories of knowledge, metaphysics, science, and religion.

PHI 360 – Ethics – Christian Miller
WF – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble A307

Ethics is concerned with the way we should live our lives and the type of person we should become.  This course will focus, not on applied topics in ethics like famine relief, abortion, or the death penalty, but rather on ethical theory itself.  We will look at such questions as: Which actions are right and which are wrong?  Which outcomes should we promote?  What kind of character should we attempt to cultivate? Our approach will be both historical and contemporary, and will focus on the four major ethical traditions:

Divine Command Theory, where the commands of a loving and just God are central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Robert Adams and Philip Quinn.

Kantian Deontology, where categorical imperatives and respect for others are central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Kant, Christine Korsgaard, and Fred Feldman.

Utilitarianism, where maximizing good outcomes is central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Mill, Michael Stocker, and Robert Nozick.

Virtue Ethics, where virtuous character traits are central to ethical theorizing.  Authors will include Aristotle, Rosalind Hursthouse, and Robert Louden.

I envision requiring 4 moderately sized papers and no exams.

PHI 365 – PHI of Love and Friendship – Stavroula Glezakos
MWF – 1-1:50 – Tribble A103

In this class, we will examine historical and contemporary philosophical investigations of love, sex, and friendship. Among the questions that we will consider are: What is love exactly? Why do we pursue love and sex and associate them with happiness when they often make us unhappy? Is there, or should there be, an ethics of love, sex, and friendship? What happens to sex when it is associated with “scoring” (the conquest model of sex)? Are love and friendship necessary for happiness? Are they sufficient?

PHI 363 – Philosophy of Law – Win-chiat Lee
TTH – 2:00-3:15 pm – Tribble A307

Inquiry into the nature of law and its relation to morality. Classroom discussions of readings from the works of classical and modern authors focus on issues of contemporary concern involving questions of legal principle, personal liberty, human rights, responsibility, justice, and punishment.

PHI 376 – Epistemology – Ralph Kennedy
TTH – 11-12:15 – Tribble A307

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge. So, as you might expect, a central question of epistemology is, “What is knowledge?” We modern humans seem to know a lot – much more than our distant ancestors did – so it may come as a surprise to hear that there are puzzles about how (or possibly whether) we can know much of anything about the world, given many plausible answers to the question, “What is knowledge?” Thus, two principal topics of the course will be the definition of knowledge and the problem of radical skepticism. Since the sciences have produced so much of the knowledge that we appear to possess, one focus of the course will be on what the sciences have to tell us about knowledge. We will consider results from psychology and “experimental” philosophy that pose challenges to beliefs and methods at the core of contemporary epistemology.

Our reading will consist mostly but not exclusively of contemporary classics of epistemology dealing with such topics as skepticism, epistemic justification, epistemic intuitions, foundationalism versus coherence, internalism versus externalism, reliabilism, truth-tracking, puzzles about closure, and the nature and possibility of a priori knowledge and justification.

PHI 385 – Seminar: Contemporary Ethics and Metaethics – Justin Jennings
WF – 2-3:15 – Tribble A205

What is it for something to be right or good? Is there such a thing as correctness or goodness, at all? What is the place of the normative in nature? Is there such a place, at all? What are the ultimate terms in which we should determine what we should do? Are there any such terms, at all? How should we think about these questions to get the right answers? Is thinking even the best way to come by them? Are we essentially rational beings? What would it mean for the answer to be yes or no? What does all this mean for how we ought to live and how we ought to live together? This course pursues these issues through an in-depth study of major works from some principal active schools of ethical theory.