Spring 2021

Course Code Title/Instructor Meets
PHIL 101-01 Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: Emily Kelahan
Course Description:
An introduction to Western philosophy through an examination of problems arising in primary sources. How major philosophers in the tradition have treated such questions as the scope of human reason, the assumptions of scientific method, the nature of moral action, or the connections between faith and reason.
1030:MWF   DIST
PHIL 102-01 Introduction to Ethics
Instructor: Jim Sias
Course Description:
An introduction to the philosophical study of morality, focusing on concepts of right and wrong, virtue and vice, and wellbeing. This course provides students the opportunity to hone their ethical reasoning skills by critically examining how some of historys most influential philosophers thought about issues in morality. Students will also develop more general skills, such as evaluating philosophical arguments, and expressing and defending their own ideas in writing.
1030:F   DIST
PHIL 103-01 Logic
Instructor: Chauncey Maher
Course Description:
The study and practice of forms and methods of argumentation in ordinary and symbolic languages,focusing on elements of symbolic logic and critical reasoning, including analysis and assessment of arguments in English, symbolizing sentences and arguments,constructing formal proofs of validity in sentential and quantificational logic.Offered every semester, or every three out of four semesters.
0930:MWF   DIST
PHIL 103-02 Logic
Instructor: Chauncey Maher
Course Description:
The study and practice of forms and methods of argumentation in ordinary and symbolic languages,focusing on elements of symbolic logic and critical reasoning, including analysis and assessment of arguments in English, symbolizing sentences and arguments,constructing formal proofs of validity in sentential and quantificational logic.Offered every semester, or every three out of four semesters.
1030:MWF   DIST
PHIL 104-01 Practical Ethics
Instructor: Amy McKiernan
Course Description:
This course introduces students to contemporary debates in practical ethics. Course materials investigate how theoretical approaches to ethics apply to practical issues, including discussions of animal ethics, environmental ethics, reproductive ethics, civil disobedience, and the ethics of mass incarceration and the death penalty. This course is best suited for students interested in thinking about the relationship between ethical theory and practice, with an emphasis on how power, privilege, and responsibility intersect in our everyday lives.
0930:MWF   DIST
PHIL 113-01 Puzzles and Paradoxes
Instructor: Jeff Engelhardt
Course Description:
This course introduces philosophical thinking by focusing on puzzles and paradoxes. Likely topics include time travel, the Liar Paradox, and Zenos paradoxes.
1030:TR   DIST
PHIL 113-02 Philosophy and the Environment
Instructor: Susan Feldman
Course Description:
This course introduces students to philosophy by exploring ideas about, and valuation of, the non-human natural environment. We will analyze concepts of nature, natural, wilderness, and attitudes which go along with them, probe the ramifications of treating non-humans as rights holders, examine the distinction between anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric views, and that between holist and individualist outlooks. Our readings will include classic and contemporary works in environmental philosophy.
1330:MR   DIST
PHIL 180-01 Political Philosophy
Instructor: Kathryn Heard
Course Description:
Cross-listed with POSC 180-01.Students can expect to receive both remote and safely distanced, in-person instruction. In order to accommodate a large number of students, most lectures and discussions will be held via Zoom, but those students who are on campus will be able to participate in small discussion-based groups to allow for in-person connection and learning. On-campus students can also expect in-person office hours. I am also happy to work with students who would prefer to take this course entirely remotely. An introduction to the history of political thought, focused on such problems as the nature of justice, the meaning of freedom, the requirements of equality, the prevalence of moral dilemmas in political life, the question of whether we ought to obey the law, and the importance of power in politics. We will also discuss how these issues continue to resonate today.This course is cross-listed as POSC 180.
1030:TR   DIST
PHIL 202-01 17th and 18th Century Philosophy
Instructor: Susan Feldman
Course Description:
This course treats the Rationalists, Empiricists and Kant, with particular emphasis on issues in epistemology and metaphysics, such as the possibility and limits of human knowledge, the role of sense perception and reason in knowledge, the nature of substance, God and reality.Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.
1030:TR   EASTC 301
PHIL 205-01 Daoism
Instructor: Crispin Sartwell
Course Description:
Daoism (or Taoism) is among the most ancient and most profound of world philosophies. This course begins with the ancient classics the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching), Xunzi (Chuang Tzu) and the Liezi (Lieh Tzu) in English translation. We will go on to discuss profound later commentaries on these texts and their central ideas. These include the interdependence of opposites and the ecstatic affirmation of reality, cast in terms of a celebration of idiosyncrasy and spontaneity, and a critique of the rationalism of Confucius and his followers. We will also examine Daoist expressions in later Chinese poetry, painting, and calligraphy, and the influence of these ideas and texts on Chan (Zen) Buddhism and, later, on Western art and thought.
1330:TF   ALTHSE 204
PHIL 220-01 Biomedical Ethics
Instructor: Amy McKiernan
Course Description:
Cross-listed with PMGT 220-01. A study of ethical issues arising in the context of medical practice, biomedical research, and health related policy making, with focus on the ethical concepts, theories and reasoning methods developed to clarify and resolve these issues. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor. This course is cross-listed as PMGT 220.
0900:TR   DIST
PHIL 251-01 Philosophy of Religion
Instructor: Crispin Sartwell
Course Description:
This course focuses on philosophical issues arising from religious belief and practice.Topics treated may include: the existence and nature of god or gods; the contested relation of a god to moral values; faith and reason as sources of belief or ways of believing, as expressed in classic texts by thinkers such as Aquinas, Hume, Kierkegaard, and William James, as well as in contemporary texts. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.
0900:TR   STERN GREAT ROOM
PHIL 257-01 Moral Psychology
Instructor: Jim Sias
Course Description:
An investigation of philosophical issues at the intersection of ethics and psychology. For example, is there any empirical basis to beliefs about free will and moral responsibility? What are emotions, and what role do they have to play in our moral lives? How can so many intelligent and open-minded people reach such radically different moral conclusions? Are there really such things as traits of virtue and vice? These are among the issues well explore in this course.Prerequisite: One PHIL course, or permission of instructor.
1330:R   DIST
PHIL 261-01 Feminist Epistemology
Instructor: Jeff Engelhardt
Course Description:
This course considers the traditions of investigating social knowledge and social knowers. In contrast to the socially generic, isolated individual knowers in classical epistemology, feminist epistemology considers how one's social position influences what one may know or which epistemic virtues one is inclined to develop, how we depend on others to acquire knowledge and avoid error, and how communities can share resources conducive to knowledge-acquisition.
1500:TF   ALTHSE 204
PHIL 261-02 Racism
Instructor: Chauncey Maher
Course Description:
Virtually no one wants to be called a racist. In that respect, we recognize it is wrong. But it persists. What should we do about it? What exactly is it? In this course, we start by studying some history of racism, attending especially to the United States of America. That will serve as a case study for assessing attempts to give a general definition of racism. In the second half of the course, we consider various ways of dealing with it, such as, colorblindness, affirmative action, integration, reparations, and abandoning capitalism, as well as civil disobedience and satire. By addressing these topics, this course introduces you to thinking philosophically about racism, racial inequality, and racial injustice.
1230:MWF   DIST
PHIL 261-03 War and Justice
Instructor: Toby Reiner
Course Description:
Cross-listed with POSC 290-04.In-person office hours will be available and optional in-person discussion sections on the quad once spring arrives and it is warm enough to gather outside."Alls fair in love and war, goes the common saying, suggesting that standards of justice or morality are inapplicable to military conflict, which is a realm of survival in which anything goes. Others hold that no war can possibly be just, at least in the contemporary era in which weapons of mass destruction mean that wars wreak a human and environmental impact that cannot possibly be sustainable or legitimate. In this class, we consider both these approaches realism and pacifism, respectively and juxtapose them to the just-war tradition, which holds that defensive and limited wars may be justified so long as they follow certain moral guidelines such as proportionality and non-combatant immunity. We will consider when it might be just to go to war, how just wars must be waged, and what if anything justice after war consists in. We will consider military conflicts from across the globe, including the World Wars, Vietnam, Rwanda, Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, and more, and from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages to the present day. We will consider topics such as humanitarian intervention and the protection of human rights during war, the moral status and responsibility of ordinary combatants, war crimes tribunals, genocide and ethnic cleansing, civil war, emerging technologies of war, and the possibility of moving towards a world in which war is no longer necessary.
1330:TF   DIST
PHIL 261-04 Capital Punishment
Instructor: Kathryn Heard
Course Description:
Cross-listed with POSC 290-05 and LAWP 290-01.Students can expect to receive a mix of remote instruction via Zoom and safely distanced, in-person instruction while on campus (in the form of small group tutorials, office hours, and moderately-sized classroom discussions). I am happy to work with students who would prefer to take this course entirely remotely. This course examines the historical and contemporary practices of capital punishment in the United States. Indeed, the United States is one of the few constitutional democracies that retains the punishment of death for criminal wrong-doing, despite the efforts made by some Supreme Court Justices to abolish the machinery of death in the American legal system and the pressure placed on federal and state governments by foreign nations to formally abolish its use. This course considers: Why does the state claim the authority to kill its citizens and how does it justify this authority? How has capital punishment in the United States changed over time, such that the modern promise of a painless death endeavors to legitimate its continuation? How do race, gender, class, religion, disability, and location impact who is subjected to the death penalty and for what crimes? What ethical arguments can be made for and against the use of capital punishment as a criminal sentence, from the perspectives of the condemned as well as the victim? Is it even possible to execute an individual in a manner that is just? These questions and more will be taken up as we move through a rich combination of political philosophy, legal cases, and works of socio-legal analysis.
1330:MR   DENNY 311
PHIL 285-01 Justice in World Politics
Instructor: Toby Reiner
Course Description:
Cross-listed with POSC 208-01.In-person office hours will be available and optional in-person discussion sections on the quad once spring arrives and it is warm enough to gather outside.An examination of how states ought to make ethical decisions about policies of global scope. Should asylum seekers and economic migrants be granted access to social services? How must states fight wars? How ought resources to be distributed between countries? We will explore the philosophical underpinnings of the arguments that have been developed in response to at least two of these questions. This course is cross-listed as PHIL 285. Prerequisite: 170, 180 or PHIL 180, or permission of the instructor. An examination of how states ought to make ethical decisions about policies of global scope. Should asylum seekers and economic migrants be granted access to social services? How must states fight wars? How ought resources to be distributed between countries? We will explore the philosophical underpinnings of the arguments that have been developed in response to at least two of these questions. This course is cross-listed as POSC 208. Prerequisite: 180 or POSC 170, 180, or permission of the instructor.
1500:TF   DIST
PHIL 301-01 Metaphysics
Instructor: Jeff Engelhardt
Course Description:
This seminar will treat key issues in metaphysics, such as the self and personal identity, free will, universals and particulars, causation, reductionism, naturalism, realism and anti-realism, and the very possibility of metaphysics. Prerequisites: three prior courses in philosophy, at least two at the 200 level, or permission of the instructor.
1500:MR   ALTHSE 109
PHIL 391-01 Seminar: Wittgenstein
Instructor: Susan Feldman
Course Description:
This seminar takes on philosophical views of Ludwig Wittgenstein, through the close readings of primary texts including the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Philosophical Investigations, as well as pertinent secondary sources. Topics treated include the "picture theory" of meaning, conditions for meaning and reference, the private language argument, philosophical psychology, scepticism, doubt and certainty, as well as meta-philosophical views concerning the nature of philosophical discourse and activity.
1330:W   EASTC 112
PHIL 500-01 The Ethics of Punishment
Instructor: Amy McKiernan
Course Description:
 
PHIL 500-02 Contemporary Aesthetics
Instructor: Crispin Sartwell
Course Description:
 
PHIL 500-03 Philosophy of Dance
Instructor: Crispin Sartwell
Course Description:
 
PHIL 500-04 Critical Analysis of Contemporary Normative Ethics
Instructor: Jim Sias
Course Description:
 
PHIL 550-01 Ethics of Solitary Confinement
Instructor: Amy McKiernan
Course Description:
 
PHIL 550-02 Hume's Sentimentalism and Moral Relativism
Instructor: Susan Feldman
Course Description:
 
PHIL 550-03 Ideal Theory in Philosophy of Race and Gender
Instructor: Jeff Engelhardt
Course Description:
 
PHIL 550-04 Virtue Ethics
Instructor: Jim Sias
Course Description: