Fall 2011 Courses

FYS 100 – Living Longer, Living Better: Ethics, Biotechnology, and Human Enhancement
Prof. Ana Iltis

TR – 9:30-10:45 am – Tribble Hall A307
Attempts to make humans stronger, smarter, faster, better looking, and less prone to disease, to restore health and function, and to ward off death are found throughout history. Biotechnological advances have introduced a new level of enhancement regenerative possibilities, many of which raise important questions about who we are and what we may and may not do in the pursuit of health, excellence or perfection. This course will examine uses of technology from pharmaceuticals to surgery to genetic interventions aimed at making humans live longer, better lives. We will discuss ethical and policy issues related to biotechnology and human enhancement.

FYS 100 - G.K. Chesterton and Ayn Rand
Prof. Patrick Toner
MWF – 9:00-9:50 am - Tribble Hall A307

This seminar covers the work of GK Chesteron and Ayn Rand. We will study fiction and non-fiction in an attempt to understand the philosophical and political views of the authors. Major works to be read include Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
Prof. Earl Crow

MWF – 9:00-9:50 am – WING 209
MWF – 12:00-12:50 pm – WING 209
Students will examine the thought of such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas, Descartes, Spinoza, Nietzsche, etc. in an effort to better understand such problems as the Existence of God, Suffering and Evil, Free Will, the Ideal State, and What it Means to Be Human. Emphasis will be on research, writing, and discussion.

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy – Christian Miller
MWF – 9:00-9:50 am - Tribble Hall A306 – FRESHMEN ONLY
MWF – 11:00-11:50  am – Tribble B13 – 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, most recent edition) and our readings will be drawn from both classic and contemporary sources.

PHI 112 – Introduction to Philosophical 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. 

PHI 112 – Introduction to Philosophical Ideas
Prof. Julian Young
TR - 11:00 – 11:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306
What is the meaning of life? Does this question make sense? If human life can have a meaning does it have to be the same for everyone, or can each individual have their own meaning? Can life be worth living without meaning? Can there be meaning if God does not exist? We shall examine these and related questions in company with Plato, Kant, Schopenhauer, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Foucault and Heidegger, acquiring thereby an outline history of Western philosophy.
Recommended Text
Julian Young The Death of God and the Meaning of Life (Routledge)

PHI 115 – Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Adrian Bardon
MWF – 2:00 – 2:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306
MWF – 5:00 – 5:50 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
Should we believe in the existence of a deity? Are there reasons to believe even without proof? Can there be morality without God? Can free will be reconciled with divine foreknowledge? Can the existence of evil be reconciled with divine goodness? Is life after death metaphysically possible? Does the theory of evolution conflict with the idea that life is the product of design? Is faith inherently irrational? Is religion, on balance, a good or bad thing for humanity? We shall consider classic and contemporary pro and con answers to all these questions.

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Problems
Visiting Assist. Prof. Anabella Zagura
TR – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A306
TR – 12:30-1:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306
TR – 3:30-4:45 p.m. - Tribble Hall A306
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 165 – Intro to Philosophy of Law
Prof. Clark Thompson

MWF – 11:00 – 11:50 – Greene Hall 313
MWF – 12:00 – 12:50 - Tribble Hall A306
An examination of prominent legal principles and cases.  Topics include the rule of law, judicial review, constitutional interpretation, the use of criminal law to enforce morality, the requirements for criminal liability, punishment, and the right to privacy.

PHI 220 – Logic
Prof. Ralph Kennedy
TR – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble A306
Elementary study of the laws of valid inference, recognition of fallacies, and logical analysis.
Textbook: Understanding Arguments, 8th edition, by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Robert Fogelin. Published by Wadsworth-Cengage, 2010

PHI 221 – Symbolic Logic
Prof.Stavroula Gleazkos
TR – 2:00-3:15 – Greene 313
The study of symbolic logic involves the investigation of reasoning by means of formal methods.  In this course, we will develop techniques for evaluating the validity of arguments in a symbolic language.  No prior study of logic or mathematics will be assumed. Requirements: completion of regular homework assignments; three chapter exams; one final exam. The study of symbolic logic involves the investigation of reasoning by means of formal methods.  In this course, we will develop techniques for evaluating the validity of arguments in a symbolic language.  No prior study of logic or mathematics will be assumed. Requirements: completion of regular homework assignments; three chapter exams; one final exam.

PHI 232 – Ancient Greek Philosophy
Prof. Patrick Toner
MWF – 10:00 – 10:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A307
This is a survey of ancient Greek philosophy. We will concentrate on reading central works by Plato and Aristotle.

PHI 241 – Modern Philosophy
Prof. Clark Thompson
WF - 2:00-3:15 – Tribble A307
Modern Philosophy. Our main focus will be on four works: Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), by René Descartes; Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), by G.W. Leibniz; An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748), by David Hume; and Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779), by Hume.  In addition, we shall discuss selected topics from Nicolas Malebranche (causation, evil), John Locke (innate ideas, personal identity), and George Berkeley (causation, and evil).

PHI 363 – Philosophy of Law
Prof. Win-chiat Lee
TR – 2:00-3:15 pm – 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 366 – Global Justice
Prof. Win-chiat Lee
TR – 11:00 – 12:15 - Tribble Hall A307

In this course, we are interested in discerning the extent, if any, to which national boundaries matter morally? This question presumably has implications for many practical issues, including the proper scope of our concern for justice.
Part I of the course deals with the relevant foundational issues in moral philosophy, including those concerning citizenship as a possible source of normative demands. The existence of a plurality of norms among nations and cultures and its implications for value relativism and pluralism will also be discussed. We will discuss these questions especially in relation to human rights. The moral foundation of national sovereignty and self-determination will also be examined. In Part II, we approach the more specific problems of justice in international relation, especially in the context of war and peace. Just War Doctrine, humanitarian intervention and the nature and legitimacy of international law are some of the topics we will discuss. Part III deals with global distributive justice and environmental concerns.
Readings for the course will be drawn from writers such as John Rawls, Samuel Scheffler, Charles Beitz, Will Kymlicka, Thomas Pogge, Joseph Raz, Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, and Peter Singer.

PHI 372/672 – Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Charles Lewis
TR – 3:30-4:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
An examination of such questions as the following: What is religion? Are the gods (of polytheism) dead or dying? What about God? How is religious belief to be explained? Is it a symptom of some underlying human weakness, need, or biological process? Or is it a response to the sacred? How could anyone know? Must believers rely on something less than knowledge? Are philosophical proofs the way to knowledge of God? Is the “problem of evil” a metaphysical problem? A theological problem? A critical problem? How are religious beliefs like and unlike metaphysical, moral, and modern scientific beliefs?
            *Note:  Officially, this class meets from 3:30 to 4:45, but in fact the class generally lets out considerably later than 4:45.  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 378 – Philosophy of Space and Time
Prof. Adrian Bardon
WF – 3:30-4:45 p.m. - Tribble Hall A307
An examination of philosophical approaches to space and time from the Presocratic period to the present. Issues discussed  include the reality of the passage of time, paradoxes of change and motion, puzzles about time-awareness, the status of space and time as entities in their own right, theology and the Scientific Revolution, spacetime and relativity, and the possibility of time-travel.

PHI 385/685 – Seminar: The Analytic Tradition
Prof. Stavroula Glezakos and Ralph Kennedy
TR – 12:30 – 1:45 pm - Tribble Hall A307
An introduction to analytic philosophy via the reading and discussion of a small number (11 according to plan) of papers and book sections widely recognized as among the finest exemplars of the tradition. In connection with each of these selections we'll also read articles exploring, challenging, and extending the ideas it presents. Students will gain knowledge of the history of twentieth-century analytic philosophy and an understanding of the questions, commitments, and methodologies characteristic of the tradition.