Fall 2020 Philosophy Courses

Introduction to Philosophy | PHL 101L R01 & R80

Course Description: An introduction to philosophy through examination of the thought of selected great philosophers or traditional positions on classical philosophical problems.

Instructor: Matthew Strohl | Gen Ed Attributes: Literary & Artistic Studies (L), Democracy & Citizenship (Y) | Course Time: TR 9:30-10:50 (Remote)| CRN:  75189 & 75300 (Honors)

Introduction to Ethics | PHL 110E R01, R02, R80 & 50

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the major approaches to the study of ethics in the Western tradition.  Our objectives are to get a sense of the major approaches to ethics, but most importantly learn how to critically evaluate the quality of moral arguments, even those whose conclusions we might agree with.  Applied topics include physician assisted suicide, euthanasia, animal ethics, death penalty, and abortion.

Instructor: Armond Duwell | Gen Ed Attributes: Ethics and Human Values (E) | Course Time: MWF 12 - 12:50 (Remote) | CRN: 70191 & 74719 (Online - section 50)

Additional Details:  Section 02 & 80 | Paul Muench | TR 12:30 - 1:50 (Remote) | CRN: 72369 & 75294 (Honors)

Intro to Political Ethics | PHL 114E section R01 & R80

Course Description: An examination of the issues of political ethics through the careful study of selected writings from the three great Western political traditions: classical natural law theory, modern individualism, and contemporary distributive justice.

Instructor: David Sherman | Gen Ed Attributes: Ethics and Human Values (E) | Course Time: TR 12:30-1:50 | CRN: 74016  & 75295 (Honors)

Intro to Logic: Deduction |PHL 233 section R01

Course Description: This is an introductory course in logic. The objective is to provide you with a basic understanding of deductive logic in preparation for more advanced courses in philosophy and other subjects. We will be studying artificial languages that operate according to very strict rules. These languages are much simpler than ‘natural’ languages such as English (so-called because their acquisition is a universal part of human development) but they throw light on the reasoning we do in our day-to-day lives and help to refine that reasoning. Specifically, we will learn how to translate from English into the languages of sentential and predicate logic and how to determine the validity of arguments in each of these languages.

Instructor: Bridget Clarke | Gen Ed Attributes: Ethics and Human Values (E) | Course Time: TR 9:30-10:50 | CRN: 73023 

History of Ancient Philosophy | PHL 261Y section R01

Course Description: This course will introduce you to some of the central writings of Plato and Aristotle, and will also include a brief overview of Presocratic and Hellenistic Philosophy. Topics covered in Plato will include Socratic definition, the examined life, Meno’s paradox, the theory of recollection, the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, challenges to morality, the analogy of city and soul, the tripartition of the soul, and the famous metaphors of the sun, line and cave. Turning to Aristotle, topics covered will include change, nature, hylomorphism, the four causes, soul as first actuality, the Prime Mover, happiness (eudaimonia), virtue, responsibility, and the place of theoretical study in a happy life.

Instructor: Matthew Strohl | Gen Ed Attributes: Ethics and Human Values (E) | Course Time: TR 11:00-12:20 | CRN: 71491 

Law & Morality | PHL 317E section B01 & B80

Course Description: This course explores the complex relationships between law and morality. We will look into the philosophical arguments underlying moral dilemma arising in the legal context: what justifies state power to punish wrong doing, what justifies the rights to private property or free speech, what are human rights and others issues of the like. Throughout we will be reading legal cases and engage with the deep issues that the cases pose.

Instructor: Soazig Le Bihan | Gen Ed Attributes: Democracy & Citizenship (Y) & Ethics and Human Values (E) | Course Time: MWF 1 - 1:50 | CRN: 74643 & 74642

Epistemology | PHL 407 section R01 & R80

Course Description: Epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief.  Towards that end, we will examine: proposed definitions of knowledge or criteria for the possession of knowledge and their shortcomings; how beliefs must be structured in order to justify other beliefs; whether justification is mind independent or not; how we might identify epistemic virtues and how they might be used to determine the epistemic status of various beliefs; how knowledge and justification are anchored in the world, or in testimony, memory, and perception; and finally how we might attempt to rebut skepticism.

Instructor: Armond Duwell | Course Time: MW 2 - 3:20 | CRN: 74897 & 74898 (Honors)

History of Moral and Political Philosophy: Iris Murdoch | PHL 449 section B01

Course Description: Reading and interpretation of selected writings by Iris Murdoch.

Instructor: Bridget Clarke | Course Time: TR 2:00-3:20 | CRN: 74637

NCCP: Nietzsche | PHL 467 section R01

Course Description: In this course, we shall consider Nietzsche's views on art, truth, religion, science, morality, and modernity, and we shall try to make sense of such ideas as the will to power, eternal recurrence, perspectivism genealogy, and the death of God.

Instructor: David Sherman | Course Time: TR 9:30-10:50 | CRN: 74638

Philosophy of Technology | PHL 501 section R01

Course Description: The course is intended to clarify the connections between science, technology, and culture. We will begin with a rudimentary introduction to the physical ground state of reality, quantum physics and by way of chemistry to its application in computer technology. For a philosophical introduction to technology we will turn to Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology.” We will then read Christopher Preston’s The Synthetic Age for an account of current technology. To have a reminder of a world that was vigorously shaped and yet intelligible and centered we will return to Heidegger and his essay “Building, Dwelling, Thinking.” Finally we will ask whether it’s possible to recover such a world within the framework of technology.

Instructor: Albert Borgmann | Course Time: TR 11 - 12:20 | CRN: 74636

Topics in Value Theory: Animal Studies | PHL 502 section B01

Course Description: An overview of very contemporary philosophical authors, texts, and themes in critical animal theory, beginning with Matthew Calarco's Thinking Through Animals and J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals.  We'll give special attention to authors who emphasize the importance of narrative in re-visioning our moral relationships with other animals.  Essays by the Wittgensteinian philosopher Cora Diamond, philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch, and legal theorist Catherine MacKinnon stress the relevance of literature to animal life.  We’ll also read two narratives, one by scientist and MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina, Beyond Words, and another by novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals, along with primatologist Franz De Wall’s Princeton Tanner Lectures, Primates and Philosophers.  We may throw in a little Continental philosophy as well, via Derrida's "The Animal that Therefore I Am" and Levinas on "alterity" and the "look."

Instructor: Deborah Slicer | Course Time: MW 4 - 5:20 | CRN: 74635 

Philosophy Forum Colloquium | PHL 510

Course Description: The purpose of the Colloquium is to give graduate students a wider understanding of the professional side of philosophy, of the current issues, the different schools of thought, the leading figures, the conceptions the profession has of itself, and of the profession’s relations to contemporary society and culture.

Instructor: Deborah Slicer | Course Time: TBD | CRN: 72775