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Wake Forest University

Philosophy Department

Fall 04 Courses
 

PHI 111 - Basic Problems of Philosophy

FYS 100 - Good and Evil in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
Hannah Hardgrave - (MW 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. -Collins Seminar 7)
     The evil represented by Sauron and his Ring of Power can be understood only if the moral universe depicted in both the epic narrative and the film adaptation are recognized. The discovery and critical evaluation of Tolkien’s moral universe will be the goal of this seminar. Student familiarity with both Tolkien’s epic and Jackson’s film adaptation will be necessary.

FYS 100 - Philosophy of War
Clark Thompson
- ( MW 3:00 – 4:15 p.m - Tribble A307)
A study of 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. We shall examine whether either just war theory or utilitarianism can offer acceptable guidance in making these determinations. We shall ask whether the provisions of international law governing warfare, as well as the rules conducting warfare adopted by the military forces of the United States, are morally acceptable, and whether various possible military actions (e.g., the bombing of cities to weaken civilian morale) violate such provisions and rules

FYS 100 - Plato’s Republic and Contemporary Moral Issues
Christian Miller - ( TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. - Tribble A307)
     Plato’s Republic continues to be one of the most important and influential works in the history of Western civilization. This seminar will be structured around a close reading of the Republic, but our purpose will be to not only gain familiarity with the text, but also to allow Plato to help us think about some of the most important questions that we face today. Such questions will include:
     What is the meaning of life?
     Why should I do what morality says?
     What is truth?
     Is there an objective standard of right and wrong?
     How should we educate people so that they can live the best forms of life?
     Thus we shall not be concerned primarily with solving practical problems, but rather with thinking about some of the deepest questions that have always puzzled human beings. Frequent appeal will be made to contemporary literature, religion, and philosophy.

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PHI 121 - Logic
Marcus Hester - (TR 9:30 – 10:45 p.m. - Tribble A306)
This course on elementary logic is oriented to students with other interests in addition to interest in pure philosophy, for example, to students intending to go to law, business or medical school. Thus it emphasizes translating and formulating arguments in ordinary English instead of a hybrid language of English and logic. However, philosophical and theoretical issues are discussed--for example the nature of causation and contrary to-fact-conditionals (conditionals such as "Stonewall Jackson would not have been a great general if Lee had not been commanding general of the Confederate Army"). Further, arguments intended to establish their conclusion with probability are studied as well as arguments intended to establish an airtight link between premises and conclusion.

PHI 252 - Contemporary Philosophy
Ralph Kennedy - ( W 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. - Tribble A307)
     An introduction to 20th (and early 21st) century philosophy in what is sometimes called the "analytic" tradition. We'll read important papers by philosophers who flourished in this period in such areas as the philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, freedom and determinism, and personal identity.
You'll need two books: Analytic Philosophy: An Anthology, Blackwell 2001, edited by David Sosa and Aloysius Martinich and David Sosa; and Thinking It Through. An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy, Oxford University Press 2003, by Kwame Anthony Appiah.

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PHI 262 - Philosophy of Law
Win-chiat Lee - (MW 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. - Tribble A306)
     What is law? Does law have to be just or reasonable in order to be binding? Can we interpret the law without exercising moral judgment? These are some of the more general questions regarding the nature of law and legal reasoning that will be discussed in the first part of the course. In the second part of the course, we will explore the moral limits of criminal law and discuss some of the philosophical issues regarding individual liberty in American Constitutional Law--issues such as the legislation of morals, freedom of expression, and legal paternalism. In the third and final part of the course, we will deal with the extent of responsibility and liability in tort and criminal law, including the problem of the insanity defense. The overall topic is the relation of law to morality.

PHI 263 - Freedom, Action & Responsibility
George Graham - (T 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. - Tribble A307)
     Freedom, Action, and Responsibility. In ordinary life we see ourselves as free and responsible agents. Are we? How free and responsible are we? We will look at issues of free action from three perspectives. The first is the perspective of my identity and self-definition as a person; the fact that my free acts bear my signature or help to define me as a person. The second is the perspective of freedom from impersonal or unwelcome control (from such things as addiction, mental deficit, traumatic social conditioning). The third is the perspective of moral responsibility; the fact that I am morally accountable for my actions. We will read from mostly contemporary philosophers, although some great thinkers of the past will also be considered. Grades will be based on two exams (mid-term and end of term) as well as a short term paper.

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PHI 331 - Plato
Charles Lewis - (TR 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. - Tribble B313)
    Is there a best or superior way of life? Is an examined life compromised by questioning, provoking doubt and insecurity? Is there a best political form of life? Is there any good reason to fear death? What is love? What account of causation is required by a good explanation of human and of non-human things or states of affairs? Is there any way to know the answers to such questions or are we confined to our opinions? What is the status of religious or poetic answers? What is knowledge and is it something different from well-justified true belief? What is truth?

PHI 375 – Philosophy of Language
Stravoula Glezakos - (TR 1 :30 – 2 :45 p.m. - Tribble A307)
     Philosophers of language have traditionally sought to explain two things: how we use language to express truths and falsehoods about the world, and how we use language to express our thoughts.
     It seems clear that we use language to talk about the world – when I utter: “The cat is on the mat”, I am telling you how things are with the cat and the mat. But how does this work? What makes the sounds that I have produced words, with particular meanings? We will consider various answers that philosophers have offered to this question, paying particular attention to the role that speakers and their intentions play in the meaningfulness of linguistic expressions. We will also think about whether we can reconcile our treatment of sentences like “The cat is on the mat” with sentences like “She let the cat out of the bag”. Can the latter sentence be true, even if there is no bag and no cat?
It also seems clear that language is the means by which we externalize, represent, or express our thoughts. We will explore the extent to which this is so by considering ‘puzzles about belief’. How should we explain the apparent fact that, though Mark Twain is identical to Samuel Clemens, it is false to say of some person: “She believes that Samuel Clemens wrote Tom Sawyer”, though it is true to say of her: “She believes that Mark Twain wrote Tom Sawyer”? We will also consider the mythical “Twin Earth”, where the liquid flowing in the rivers and filling the oceans - though called “water” by its inhabitants, whose thoughts about that liquid are seemingly just like our thoughts about water - may not, in fact be water.

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Wake Forest
WFU Philosophy Department, P.O.Box 7806, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
Phone: 336-758-5359, Fax:336-758-7183, Email:simmonde@wfu.edu