This course studies the implications of moral theory for the determination of when war is morally permissible and of how war is to be conducted if it is to be waged in a morally acceptable way. Our questions include the following: To what extent is military action justified when used to address humanitarian concerns, to promote liberal or democratic values, or to head off potential threats? Can a meaningful distinction be drawn between combatants and noncombatants? Should a defense of superior orders shield military subordinates from accountability for illegal or immoral acts they commit in war?
FYS 100 – Good and Evil in Tolkiens the Lord of the Rings
W & F – 9:30-10:45 – Tribble Hall A307
The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular books ever written, but what is it really about? Is it just fantasy literature? What is its connection to the great epics? What is its connection to fairy stories? What does it have to teach us? Is it great literature? Should we care? What does the Ring of Power symbolize? We will study the book particularly in its relation to Tolkien’s Catholicism and with some consideration given to his near-contemporary GK Chesterton, and his friend CS Lewis. Students must re-read the book prior to the start of the semester.
PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
M, W, & F – 9:00-9:50 – CRN: 93583 and 10:00-10:50 – CRN: 93586
Tribble Hall A306
A study of perennial issues at the heart of philosophy, such as the nature and extent of our knowledge of the world, the role of evidence in justifying belief, the nature of causality, self-knowledge, personal identity, the nature and possibility of free will, and the nature of morality.
PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
T & R – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble Hall A304 – CRN: 93661
T & R – 2:00-2:50 – Tribble Hall A306 – CRN: 93734
Examines the basic concepts of several representative philosophers, including their accounts of the nature of knowledge, persons, God, mind, and matter.
PHI 111 – Basic Problems of Philosophy
M, W, & F –10:00-10:50 – CRN: 93585 – Tribble Hall A304 – FRESHMAN ONLY
M, W, & F – 12:00-12:50 – CRN: 93607 – Tribble Hall A306 – FRESHMAN 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 A – Introduction to Philosphical Ideas – CRN: 92392
MWF – 11:00-11:50 – 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 116 – Meaning and Happiness – CRN: 93629
T & R – 9:30–10:45 – Tribble Hall A306
Beginning with Plato (c. 400 BCE) and ending with Foucault (died 1984) the course will look at the views of Western philosophers who have discussed the question of how to live a happy, meaningful life. Particular attention will be paid to ‘post-death-of-God’ philosophers (e.g. Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx, Sartre, Camus, and Heidegger) who reject the traditional Christian answer to the question of meaning and seek to provide an alternative. Since these philosophers all (a) argue for their positions and (b) disagree with each other, we shall improve our skills in critical thinking in seeing with whom we agree (if anyone) and with whom we disagree. At the end of the course we should have an outline grasp of the history of Western philosophy.
PHI 160 – Intro to Political Philosophy
M, W, and F – 2:00-2:50 – Tribble Hall A304 – CRN: 93632
M, W, and F – 5:00-5:50 – Tribble Hall A306 – CRN – 93639
From what does government derive its authority? Is the proper purpose of organized society to protect individual rights, or to promote the general welfare? Is there a basic right to property? Should community moral values override individual choice? This course examines the role of views about justice in determining attitudes about liberty, equality, and authority, and, in so doing, provides an overview of major issues in social and political thought.
PHI 161 – Intro to Bioethics – CRN: 93668
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A304
A study of ethical issues that arise in health care and the life sciences. Topics to be explored include questions about death and dying, organ donation, regenerative medicine, genetic testing and research, and mandatory vaccination, among others.
PHI 161 – Intro to Bioethics – CRN: 93842
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A305
A study of ethical issues that arise in health care and the life sciences such as informed consent, experimentation on human subjects, truth-telling, confidentiality, abortion, and the allocation of scarce medical resources.
PHI 164 – Contemporary Moral Problems
T & R – 9:30 – 10:45 – Tribble Hall A306 – CRN: 93584
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A306 – CRN: 93602
In this course we will discuss several moral issues of contemporary concern including: truth-telling (in public and private life), performance-enhancing drugs (in sports and in the classroom), abortion, and capital punishment. We will also think about the relationship between our modern market economy and other social values.
PHI 165 – Intro to PHI of Law
M, W, & F – 12:00-12:50 – Tribble Hall A304 – CRN: 93608
M, W, & F – 1:00-1:50 – Tribble Hall A306 – CRN: 93663
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
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A208 – CRN: 93813
T & R – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble Hall A304 – CRN: 93635
The focus of this course will be reasoning, good and bad. In particular, we will investigate varieties of good reasoning and learn methods of evaluating and engaging in it. We will also identify varieties of bad reasoning, and spend some time considering why people might engage in it, or even be persuaded by it. Some of what we study will require mastery of formal methods of proof and calculation, but no prior knowledge of logic or mathematics will be assumed.
PHI 232 – Ancient Greek Philosophy – CRN: 93660
T & R – 9:30-10:45 – Tribble Hall A307
Study of the central figures in early Greek philosophy, beginning with the Presocratics, focusing primarily on Plato and Aristotle, and concluding with a brief survey of some Hellenistic philosophers.
PHI 237 – Medieval Philosophy – CRN: 93601
W & F – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble Hall A307
Survey of some major philosophers from Augustine to Suarez, including Anselm, Averroes, Maimonides, Avicenna, Aquinas, Scotus and Ockham.
PHI 342/642 – CRNS: 93812/93934 – Topics in Modern Philosophy
T & R – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A307
This course will focus on the works of George Berkeley and David Hume. They are among the most influential thinkers in the history of philosophy, and among the most delightful writers in the history of philosophy too. It’s not hard to get excited about their ideas. The arguments are direct, powerful and for radical conclusions: Berkeley tries to show that there are no material things, and Hume tries to show that we have no reason whatsoever for thinking that the sun will rise tomorrow! We’ll focus on their short classics—especially Berkeley’s Principles and Hume’s Enquiry—and see how contemporary philosophers take up their arguments too.
PHI 360/660 – CRNS: 93605/93606 – Ethics
W & F – 11:00-12:15 – Tribble Hall A307
An examination of some of the central figures in the history of ethics (Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Mill) as well as a selection of contemporary work on ideas raised by those authors.
PHI 363 – Philosophy of Law – CRN: 93630
T & R – 12:30-1:45 – Tribble Hall A307
Inquiry into the nature of law and its relation to morality. Classroom discussions of readings from the works of classical and modern authors focus on issues of contemporary concern such as legal interpretation and reasoning, legal principles, personal liberty, rights, responsibility, justice, and punishment.
PHI 372/672 – CRNS: 93636/93637– Philosophy of Religion
T & R – 3:30-4:45 – 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?
PHI 376 – Epistemology – CRN: 93634
T & R – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble Hall A307
Epistemology considers such questions as: What is knowledge? Where does it come from?, How much of it do we have and of what?, What is the distinctive role of evidence in relation to knowledge?, Can non-evidential factors play a legitimate role in securing some forms of knowledge?, Has science shown that human beings are incurably irrational? We’ll discuss these questions against the background of readings drawn from contemporary and traditional sources.
PHI 378 – Philosophy of Space and Time – CRN: 93638
T & R – 3:30-4:45 – Tribble Hall A209
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, spacetime and relativity, time and freedom of the will, and the possibility of time-travel.
PHI 385/685 – Seminar: Marcuse and Arendt – CRN: 21889
T & TR – 2:00-3:15 – Tribble Hall A307
Herbert Marcuse and Hannah Arendt were both students of Heidegger who, as Jews, were forced to emigrate from Germany to the United States when the Nazis came to power. Marcuse became famous as the guru of the student movement of the 1960s (particularly in California), Arendt famous (or infamous) for the use, a propos the Holocaust, of the phrase, ‘banality of evil’.
Marcuse’s critique of industrial capitalism draws on Marx, Weber and Freud. The system, as it is, sublimates ‘libidinal’ energy into industrial production, condemning us to ‘alienated’ labour and deprivation of pleasure. Against Freud, however, he holds that automation can eventually remove the need for such diversion of energy thus releasing us to a non-repressive, pleasure-filled way of being. Arendt divides human life-possibilities into three basic forms: labour, work, and action. The life of labour is paradigmatically that of the ancient peasant condemned to an endless cycle of production and consumption. The paradigm of the ‘worker’ is the ancient craftsman whose activity, unlike that of the labourer, results in a durable object. Work is more satisfying than labour, but a fully satisfying life, Arendt argues, must be shaped by ‘action’: by, that is, the introduction of something personal into, in a very broad sense, the ‘political’ domain. In the ancient world one ‘acted’ in order to give meaning to one’s life, to achieve the ‘worldly immortality’ of preservation in the memory of one’s community. One of Arendt’s charges against industrial capitalism is that it has returned us to the life of ‘labour’. We will look at the details of Arendt’s and Marcuse’s arguments.