PHI 111 - Basic
Problems of Philosophy
FYS 100 - Information Technology
Adrian Bardon - (TR 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. - Tribble A307)
There are rapidly developing
ethical and social issues of considerable importance involving
digital media, communication, the internet, and the World Wide
Web. In this course we shall examine some areas of concern
within the field sometimes called “information technology
ethics.” This course will focus on the development of
critical reasoning, oral presentation, and writing skills in
the context of a discussion of issues related to privacy, security,
intellectual property rights, free speech, and the global information
community. Class discussion and student presentations will
We shall address a number of questions regarding the impact
of the internet and new information technology on areas of
central moral, social, political, and legal concern. We shall
study real-life cases and policy discussions, and read very
recent work that will help illuminate the social, ethical,
and regulatory dilemmas raised in these important areas. The
central questions we shall address are as follows:
- What constitutes ethical and unethical behavior on the
- How should the global information community be governed?
policies should be adopted with regard to free speech and
regulation of digital content?
- What policies should be adopted
with regard to privacy and security?
- What policies should
be adopted with regard to intellectual property rights and
the sharing of information?
- Can the internet and World Wide
Web be used to improve communication between different cultural
and religious traditions?
- How can values be embedded in certain
kinds of technology, and how can technology affect our values?
are the risks of new information technology, and how can
information technology best be used to enhance human well-being?
We shall explore these questions through reading, writing,
research, and discussion. The course will include
an ongoing discussion of ethical theory and applied ethics
as it pertains
to the subject-matter. The course will center around
a series of projects by students. Small groups of students
will do research
on particular areas of concern, and then present
work to the class for discussion. Group work will
analyses of debates regarding issues of current interest;
groups may be asked to come up with policy proposals
Presenters will be encouraged to explore both the
technological aspects of their subject and the use of information
technology in researching and presenting their topic.
FYS 100 - Good and Evil in Tolkien's Lord of the
Hannah Hardgrave - (MW 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. - Collins Seminar)
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.
PHI 221 - Symbolic Logic
Dorothea Lotter - (TR 4:30 - 5:45 p.m. - Tribble Hall A307)
Suppose you have a set of assumptions
(premises) and a conclusion you suspect to be a logical consequence
of those assumptions. How do you go about proving the conclusion
from the premises? This course serves as an introduction to
first order logic (propositional and predicate logic). We will
start out analyzing the meanings of sentential connectives (like
“not”, “and”, “or”, “if…then”)
in ordinary language and their formal counterparts in a symbolic
notation. We then go on studying the notions of validity and
invalidity of an argument. Next, we’ll look at and practice
various proof procedures for arguments whose validity rests
on the sentential connectives alone, as well as for the invalidity
of arguments belonging to propositional logic. The second part
of the course is dedicated to the notions “some”,
“all”, “the” and “is identical
with”, which are all topics of predicate logic. Here we
will study arguments whose validity/invalidity does not rest
on sentential connectives but rather on the distribution of
quantifiers, predicates and/or on the laws of identity. The
course is urgently recommended for anyone interested in learning
thoroughly analytical ways of thinking and rigorous proof procedures.
Requirements: (1) regular
attendance; (2) weekly written homework exercises; (3) midterm
take-home exam; and (4) final take-home exam
Donald Kalish, Richard Montague, Gary R. Mar, Robert J. Fogelin
(eds.), Logic: Techniques of Formal Reasoning, Oxford;
2nd edition, 1980.
PHI 241 - Modern Philosophy
Dorothea Lotter - (TR 12:00-1:15 p.m. - Tribble
A detailed study of some primary
texts of the 17th and 18th centuries representative of the epoch
commonly called “Early Modern Philosophy”. As far
as time permits, we will discuss the metaphysical and epistemological
views of Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley
and Hume, and also consider the impact of some of these views
in the areas of ethics and political philosophy. Our approach
will be that of a critical historian, who tries to find out
what aspects of the “great systems of the past”
may still be valuable for us today and what other aspects might
appear rather hopelessly outdated. The course is (supposed to
(1) regular attendance; (2) active participation (including
two short oral presentations of part of a text); (3) a take-home
midterm exam; (4) two essays (5-7 pages, 1.5-spaced)
of our primary sources are contained in Roger Ariew/Eric Watkins
(ed.), Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources,
Hackett Publishing Company 1998. Also recommended: Steven M.
Emmanuel (ed), The Blackwell Guide to the Modern Philosophers:
From Descartes to Nietzsche, Blackwell Publishers 2000
PHI 261 - Ethics
Avram Hiller - (MWF 11:00 - 11:50 a.m. - Tribble
How should one live? What are our obligations
to others? What should we do in the face of seemingly irreconcilable
moral differences? Is there any foundation to our moral beliefs?
In this class, we will attempt to answer these questions by discussing
answers given by major figures in the history of philosophy,
such as Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Mill, and Nietzsche, as well as
contemporary scholars. Though most of the course will be dedicated
to theoretical questions about the nature of moral judgments,
we will ground these questions by discussing several real-world
moral problems, such as those stemming from cultural differences,
environmental issues, and distribution of wealth.
PHI 274 - Philosophy of Mind
George Graham - (W 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. - Tribble A307)
The mind is so fascinating
and complex, that it’s no wonder that the philosophy of
mind is one of the most active fields in philosophy today. This
course introduces the field. Among topics to be discussed are:
the power of consciousness, death and personal identity, mind
as mind versus mind as brain, the ills of mental illness, and
the minds of non-human animals, machines, and God.
to neuroscience and psychology will be discussed. The teaching
format will combine lectures with open and interactive discussion.
There will be no exams. Take-home essays will be graded. A
term paper will also be required.
PHI 332 - Aristotle
Marcus Hester - (TR 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Tribble B313)
We acquire tools for
reading Aristotle's texts from learning some of the language
of his logic and categories (the ten different kinds of questions
we ask about things). Then we apply these tools to selected
works from his biology, (Physics, Generation and Corruption),
physical science (Generation and Corruption, Meteorology),
psychology, (On the Soul), metaphysics (Metaphysics), ethics
(Nicomachean Ethics), politics (Politics) and poetics (Poetics)
(the study of how to understand tragedy and other arts). The
unity of his thought on these very different topics is emphasized.
We study recurrent ideas such as causation, the status and
origination of knowledge, the relation of nature to the First
Cause, the nature and motivation of actions, the nature of
social institutions, and the nature of art and artifacts.
In terms of grading, there is a midterm and final exam. Also a term paper is
required, and it can be on any topic in Aristotle.
PHI 352 - Hegel, Kierkegaard & Nietzsche
Lewis - (TR 3:00 - 5 :00 p.m. - Tribble B313)
Is there a way to think about
the natural world that also makes sense of human life and history?
Is anything gained, or lost, by thinking holistically about
the world as a whole? Is a life dedicated to thinking about
the world (and living accordingly) a way of avoiding an authentic
human life? What does it mean to live authentically? Does nihilism
provide the answer or is it a form of avoidance? What motivates
avoidance and is there a remedy? *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 361 - Topics: Citizenship & Global Justice
Win-chiat Lee - (W 3:00 - 5:30 p.m. - Tribble A307)
(Also as Pol 269)
In this course, we are
interested in discerning the extent, if any, to which the moral
duties we have towards each other as fellow citizens are different
from the ones we have as fellow human beings. 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.
The remaining three parts of the
course deal with more specific global moral issues – issues
such as international intervention in matters concerning war
and peace (Part II), global distributive justice in both economic
and environment matters (Part III) and human rights and their
conflict with certain cultural practices (Part IV).
Much has been written by moral
and political philosophers on these issues in recent years.
Readings for the course will be drawn from writers such as John
Rawls, Samuel Scheffler, Will Kymlicka, Joseph Raz, Martha Nussbaum,
Amartya Sen, and Peter Singer.
PHI 385 Seminar: Rousseau
Clark Thompson - (TR 1:30-2:45 p.m. - Tribble A307)
A study of Rousseau's social and
political thought, taken widely to include not only his work
in political philosophy, but also his work in educational theory
and in the theory of culture. Topics include Rousseau’s
discussion of civic virtue and the education that promotes such
virtue; his defense of the martial virtues and patriotism; his
account of the harmful role advances in the arts and sciences
have had on morality, happiness, political life, and social
relations; and his account of civic religion.
We shall look at Rousseau's relationship
to a number of thinkers, from classical authors through Rousseau's
Readings from Rousseau will include
his three Discourses (On the Sciences and Arts,
On Political Economy, and On the Origin and Foundations of Inequality
Among Men), Of the Social Contract, Emile, and
the Letter to d'Alembert.
Those interested can receive extra
credit through the Languages Across the Curriculum program.
For more information, contact Byron Wells in the Department
of Romance Languages.