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Wake Forest University

Philosophy Department

Fall '09 Courses
 

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
Prof. Christian Miller
MWF – 1:00-1:50 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
FRESHMEN ONLY
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, 2007) and our readings will be drawn from both classic and contemporary sources.
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
Prof. Patrick Toner
MWF – 9:00-9:50 a.m. - Tribble Hall A306
This is a historical introduction to philosophy. What makes it historical is that the readings shall, for the most part, be drawn from the works of the great dead philosophers. But what makes it philosophical is that our objectives are to take seriously the questions these great dead philosophers asked, to think carefully about the answers they offered, and to critically analyze the arguments the used in supporting their answers. We will ask whether it can be shown that God exists, or that he doesn’t exist; whether we have a soul; whether we can be certain that there really is an external world; what kind of life we ought to live; and other central philosophical questions. Our main readings will be drawn from Plato, St. Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, George Berkeley and David Hume.
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 112 – Introduction to Philosphical Ideas
Prof. Charles Lewis
MWF – 11:00 – 11:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306
This course, after examining the common sense and religious background of the first scientific thinkers or philosophers, turns to the study of Plato and Aristotle, the major shapers of pre-modern scientific, theological, and philosophical thought. Then the course turns to Descartes, the first great architect of the modern scientific and philosophical ways of thinking. An examination of the new Cartesian science of nature and its momentous departure from pre-modern belief in the teleology of all natural processes is followed by the study of Hume, one of Descartes’ major critics, who takes modern skepticism to a new level. Twentieth-century existential nihilism is introduced along the way in order to consider its place in modern thought and its radical rejection of conventional assumptions about the meaning or purpose of human existence. Attention is given throughout to how an examination of modern and pre-modern ways of thinking can help us to understand contemporary conceptions of self and world.
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 115 – Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Clark Thompson
MWF – 12:00 – 12:50 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
MWF – 3:00 – 3:50 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
We shall examine philosophical arguments concerning the existence and nature of God to see how far reason can establish and defend various beliefs about God. Among the topics we shall explore are: Is it rational to believe in the existence of God, understood as an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving being? Is it reasonable to believe in miracles? Can we reconcile human freedom with divine foreknowledge, and the existence of evil with God’s perfect goodness?
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 161 – Medical Ethics
Prof. Hannah Hardgrave
TR – 4:30-5:45 p.m. - Tribble Hall A103
Contemporary medical ethics is a development of the last half of the 20th century, the result of the progress of medical research and its application in clinical practice.
Bioethics is a field of applied ethics, applying fundamental ideas of philosophical ethics to problems arising out of developments in medical research and practice.
The written course requirements will consist of a quiz on each of the philosophical works and three papers on assigned topics.
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Issues
Prof. Earl Crow
MWF – 10:00-10:50 a.m. – Wingate 209
A study of pressing ethical issues in contemporary life, such as abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, affirmative action, marriage, cloning, pornography, and capital punishment.
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Issues
Prof. Hannah Hardgrave
MW – 3:00-4:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall B117
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Issues
Visiting Assist. Prof. Anabella Zagura
TR – 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Tribble Hall A306
TR – 1:30-2:45 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
TR – 4:30-5:45 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Issues
Prof. Emily Austin
TR – 12:00-1:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 220 - Logic
Prof. Win-chiat Lee
TR – 3:00-4:15 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
We will learn some very basic logic in this course. That should improve your reasoning skills or at least your ability to detect errors in the inferences that people make. About two-third of the course will be focused on deductive arguments. We will learn about what makes a valid deductive argument. We will also learn some basic formal techniques for proving the validity of an argument. A number of subjects will be covered, including syllogistic arguments, truth-functional logic, and basic quantification. The remaining one-third of the course will be devoted to inductive logic and decision theory. Probabilistic reasoning and inferences will be the focus.
This course contributes towards satisfying the Division I requirement

PHI 232 – Ancient Greek Philosophy
Prof. Emily Austin
TR – 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Tribble Hall A103

PHI 360 –Ethics
Prof. Christian Miller
MW – 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall 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 363 – Philosophy of Law
Prof. Win-chiat Lee
TR – 12:00-1:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
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 364 – Freedom, Action, Responsibility
Prof. Stavroula Glezakos
MWF – 2:00-2:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A304
What is left over if I subtract the fact that my arm goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?" In this class, we will consider how this question, posed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, might be answered.  In particular, we will examine how a person could be the cause of an event; whether a person who causes an event could have caused a different event; and whether, and why, a person is responsible (or perhaps can be held responsible) for the events that she causes.

PHI 372 – Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Charles Lewis
TR – 3:00-4:15 p,m. – Tribble Hall A307
Are the gods dead? Is God? What is the nature and significance of religious experience and what causes it? Is it a symptom of some underlying human malady or need? Or is it, in fact, engendered by something nonhuman, such as God or gods? Is there any knowledge of God, whether via proofs or revelation, or must believers rely on something less than knowledge? How are religious claims like or unlike moral or metaphysical claims? How are they like or unlike modern scientific claims (e.g., about unseen things such as particles)?
*Note: Officially, this class meets from 3:00 to 4:15, but in fact the class generally lets out considerably later than 4:15. If you cannot stay for the entire class, Professor Lewis will work with you outside of class time so that you do not miss any of the material.

PHI 374 –Philosophy of Mind
Prof. Ralph Kennedy
TR – 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
This course will be an exploration of such questions as the following: Can computers think and experience? That is, do they – or could they – have minds? Do (non-human) animals think and experience? If so, is this something all of them do or just some of them – and how can we know? Is the mind a physical object – the brain, perhaps? Or is the mind more like “software” (with the brain being the “hardware” on which it runs)? Or what? What is a thought? How can thoughts be about things? (For instance, if you have a thought right now about ancient Sparta, what is it about your thought that makes it a thought about Sparta?) Do we all experience things more or less the same way? For instance, do I perceive colors the same way you do? How could we ever tell? What is consciousness? What are the prospects of explaining consciousness scientifically? What is “the self”?

PHI 377 – Metaphysics
Prof. Patrick Toner
MWF – 10:00 – 10:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
This course will focus on some important debates in contemporary analytic metaphysics. We will have units on properties, persons and personal identity, and puzzles about the relation of objects to their parts. The underlying theme will be the nature of substance.

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Wake Forest
WFU Philosophy Department, P.O.Box 7332, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
Phone: 336-758-5359, Fax:336-758-7183, Email:simmonde@wfu.edu