Sping 2009

PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
Professor David Landy
MWF – 9:00-9:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A306 FRESHMEN ONLY
MWF - 10:00-10:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A306  FRESHMEN ONLY
MWF – 11:00-11:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A204
This course will be an introduction to philosophy via an engagement with some of the most important topics taken up in that discipline. We will investigate the answers that some of history's most important philosophers have given to such questions as: what ought we to do? How ought we to live? What reason can we have to trust those in authority? What if don’t trust them? How can we know anything? Does God exist? How is God’s existence compatible with the evils in the world? What is "the world"? How do we know about it? Do we have immortal souls? Our texts will be Plato's Republic, Descartes' Meditations, Hume's Treatise, and Perry's Dialogues on Personal Identity and Immortality.

PHI 112 – Introduction to Philosphical Ideas
Professor Charles Lewis
MWF – 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A306
MWF - 1:00-1:50 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 114 – Philosophy of Human Nature

Professor 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
Humans seem (at least to themselves) to be beings of a quite special kind, markedly different from any others. In this course we will consider some of the ways in which the human condition has been thought to be unique. Do we, for instance, have free will? Can we sometimes be genuinely morally responsible for our actions? What role do emotions play in our lives? Could we be immortal?

PHI 115 – Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
Professor Clark Thompson
MWF – 12:00 – 12:150 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?

PHI 161 – Medical Ethics
Lecturer Hannah Hardgrave
MW – 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306
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.
Readings will include short works by classic philosophers John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, and David Hume, representing three important theoretical approaches to ethics; Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue theory, respectively. Additional readings will illustrate the application of these theories to issues in medical ethics. Films and episodes from the series House, M.D. provide concrete examples of some of the most important issues.
The written course requirements will consist of a quiz on each of the philosophical works and three papers on assigned topics.

PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Problems
Professor Earl Crow
TR – 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. Wingate 210
A study of pressing ethical issues in contemporary life, such as abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, affirmative action, marriage, cloning, pornography, and capital punishment

PHI 221 - Symbolic Logic
Professor Stavroula Glezakos
TR – 12:00-1:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A306
In this course, we will study logical relations that obtain between sentences and parts of sentences.  We will learn a symbolic language that can be used to represent the structure of sentences in our natural (English) language, and will develop techniques for determining whether arguments in that symbolic language are deductively valid or not. No prior study of logic or mathematics will be assumed. Requirements: completion of regular homework assignments; three chapter exams; one final exam.

PHI 241 – Modern Philosophy
Professor Clark Thompson
MWF – 2:00 – 2:50 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
A study of the works of the following seventeenth- and eighteenth-century pre-Kantian philosophers: Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, and Hume. We shall focus on skepticism, causation, freedom, and God.
We shall also discuss Locke on innate ideas and identity, and Hume on induction.

PHI 352 – Hegel, Kierkegaard, & Nietzsch
Professor Charles Lewis
TR – 3:00-4:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
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 362 – Social & Political Philosophy
Professor Win-chiat Lee
MWF – 11:00-11:50 a.m. – Tribble Hall A307
The main theme of the course is: liberalism and its critics. We will begin with John Rawls's influential account of the liberal conception of justice. While some attention will be paid to his methodology, the main focus will be on Rawls's substantive view on political, social and economic justice and his attempt to reconcile our concerns for liberty and equality. The rest of the course will be devoted to the study of criticisms of the liberal conception of justice, especially those directed specifically at Rawls’s account. Our study of the critics will begin with Robert Nozick's libertarian account of the origin of the state, the moral limits of the exercise of state power and the role of free market in distributive justice. In addition to discussing whether Rawls’s theory of justice can meet the challenges posed by Nozick’s libertarian view, we will also examine the adequacy of Rawls’s theory in dealing with a number of other issues – issues such as virtues, the good life, class and gender inequalities, culture, citizenship, and community – which are the focus of some of Rawls’s feminist, Marxian, and communitarian critics. Besides Rawls and Nozick, readings for this course will include works by Plato, John Locke, Karl Marx, Charles Taylor, G. A. Cohen, Susan Okin, and Will Kymlicka.

PHI 370 –Philosophy and Christianity
Professor Christian Miller
TR – 12:00-1:15 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
This course will examine central claims of the Christian creeds from a philosophical perspective. In particular, we will consider in detail most if not all of the following topics: the trinity, original sin, incarnation, atonement, grace, resurrection and life everlasting, and heaven and hell. Our readings will draw from medieval as well as contemporary analytic authors, with a focus on work by the latter. Examples of medieval authors include Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas. Examples of contemporary authors include Peter van Inwagen, Trenton Merricks, Philip Quinn, Richard Swinburne, Eleonore Stump, Robert Adams, and Lynne Rudder Baker. Right now I envision 2-3 short papers and a final exam.

PHI 375/675 – Philosophy of Language
Professor Stavroula Glezakos
TR – 9:30-10:45 a.m. – Tribble Hall A307
In virtue of what are the sounds that someone produces words (as opposed to mere sounds), and what gives those words the meanings that they have? Does meaning depend on context (and, if so, how)? Can someone be a perfectly competent speaker of a language and yet assertively utter two sentences that (seem to) have contradictory meanings? In this class, we will examine the treatment of such questions (and others) by contemporary analytic philosophers of language. Course requirements: two 2-4 page papers, two 4-6 page papers, final paper, attendance and participation.

PHI 376 –Epistemology
Professor Ralph Kennedy
TR – 1:30-2:45 p.m. – Tribble Hall A307
The sources, scope and structure of human knowledge. Topics include: skepticism; perception, memory, and reason; the definition of knowledge; the structure of justification; the a priori. P -- One PHI course or permission of instructor.

PHI 385 – Seminar:  Ethics East and West
Professor Owen Flanagan
W – 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. Tribble Hall A307
We will examine conceptions of moral truth, the nature of the self, egoism & altruism, the virtues, and various conceptions of justice and community both as they appear in Western philosophy, e.g., in Plato and Aristotle and as they appear in Eastern philosophy--in particular in Chinese and Indian philosophy, e.g., Confucius, Buddha, Mencius, and Mozi. We will try to focus attention on the ways in which the philosophical ideas examined inform contemporary ethical thinking in different traditions. The comparative approach will also allow examination of such issues as moral relativism, moral pluralism, and moral disagreement.


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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