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
- ( MW 3:00 – 4:15 p.m - Tribble A307)
A study of the implications of moral theory for the determination
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
theory or utilitarianism can offer acceptable guidance in making
determinations. We shall ask whether the provisions of international
governing warfare, as well as the rules conducting warfare adopted
military forces of the United States, are morally acceptable,
various possible military actions (e.g., the bombing of cities
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,
PHI 121 - Logic
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
Oxford University Press 2003, by Kwame Anthony Appiah.
PHI 262 - Philosophy of Law
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.
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
Glezakos - (TR 1 :30 – 2 :45 p.m. - Tribble
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.