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Current Philosophy Courses
SPRING 2013 Courses
PHIL 195-01A– Topics in Philosophy -- Sexual Ethics
What is sex and why does it matter? What does it mean to objectify,
or use, someone? What is consent and how does it function? What moral
position should we take on issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage?
In this class, we'll ask these questions and more in an effort to develop
a philosophical vision of sexuality. Our goal will be to develop our
views on these matters into coherent and consistent theories (and there
are several ways one might do that). All perspectives are invited to
join the conversation and will be taken seriously and charitably.
(meets first half of the semester)
PHIL 200–01B - Informal Logic
(meets last half of the semester)
There is a difference between a good argument for a conclusion
and a good conclusion. In this class, we will be looking at what makes
an argument good: i.e., what makes for good reasoning.
PHIL 230 – Ancient Philosophy
This course is an introduction to Western philosophy
from its beginning in ancient Greece to Europe during the Middle Ages.
Philosophy is the “love
of wisdom” or the quest for meaning. Philosophy addresses what
might be called the “big questions” of human existence: Who
am I and what is real? What is the source of my existence and the existence
of the world? What is my purpose and how ought I live in order to achieve
it? How can we achieve happiness as individuals and as a society? What
is happiness and what is a just society? What is the best way to answer
these questions in order to acquire knowledge? Can we acquire knowledge?
What is knowledge? In this course we will look at the ways in which the
greatest thinkers in our early cultural history -- Pythagoras, Socrates,
Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Epicurus, Plotinus, Augustine and Aquinas
-- have attempted to answer these questions and to frame a meaningful
view of human existence and the world we inhabit.
This course is an introduction to philosophical thought in the west during the modern period of our cultural history, a period characterized by its attempt to break away from traditional forms of authority, whether religious, social, or intellectual. Authors to be studied include Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Pascal, Voltaire, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Mary Wollstonecraft, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. The philosophers we will encounter in this course responded to the challenges of cultural change by formulating new conceptions of reality, knowledge, religion, the self, morality, the meaning of life, and the very nature of philosophy itself. These philosophers not only altered the way we view the world, but they put forward ideas that continue to challenge our common ways of thinking.
PHIL 295 - WORLD PHILOSOPHIES
PHIL 325 -- PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
PHIL 331 – Philosophy of Religion
(cross-listed with REL 364)
In this course we’ll have a look at some classical views of God and arguments for God’s existence, and some challenges to religious faith. Under the latter heading, we’ll consider some issues like the problem of divine foreknowledge, the problem of evil, faith and reason, miracles, and the so-called problem of religious diversity. We’ll finish by exploring some themes in philosophical theology on particular Christian doctrines like Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, petitionary prayer, whether there is a hell, and whether there is a purgatory. Here the focus will be on what these doctrines are supposed to mean and whether and how challenges to them can be met. We may even turn our philosophical eye to liturgy and issues in sexual ethics if there is time and interest. (This course is cross-listed with Religion 364. All students should register for Philosophy 331.)
PHIL 343 – 20th Century Political Philosophy:
(cross-listed with POL 343.
The 20th century saw remarkable developments in many places around the globe in civil rights and women’s rights. At the same time, the 20th century was also perhaps the bloodiest century in human history in terms of state-sponsored killing. During the 20th century, there emerged on a wider scale the practices of terrorism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing. Such realities have led some observers to argue that “political evil” is the single most important concern facing the world in the 21st century.
But what might we mean by “political evil”? Are we talking about evil within the individual human soul, or are we talking about political, social, and economic structures that leave people in impossible situations? And how might we respond to and work with instances of “political evil” such as terrorism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing?
Then in a world in which “political evil” exists, what are the rights of human beings who suffer such evil? What is a right? How did rights come about? What might an emphasis on rights accomplish, and what difficulties might an insistence on rights create? What might be the role of force, if any, in the promotion of rights? Can a focus on rights actually serve to diminish the suffering that comes with political evil?
All are welcome to join in this exploration of political evil and the rights of humans.
PHIL 373 – Aesthetics: Beauty, the Arts and Controversy
This course will investigate of some of the philosophical issues raised by the arts, beauty and the sublime: What is art? What is beauty? Can an object or performance have high aesthetic value without being beautiful? Is there a connection between the beautiful and the sublime? How are the arts to be understood, appreciated and evaluated? In what way can works of art and artistic performances be said to possess meaning or truth? What is the role for the arts in our lives? Both historical and contemporary views will be studied. The course will explore how philosophical ideas apply to works drawn from many different artistic fields: visual arts, dance, theatre, music and literature.
PHIL 490 -- INDEPENDENT STUDIES
Requirements for the major:
(1) PHIL 200 - Informal Logic or PHIL 201 - Logic
Total of at least 24 credits in Philosophy (which can include 2 credit courses).
Requirements for the minor:
(1) PHIL 200 - Informal Logic or COMM 160 or PHIL 201 - Logic
COURSE CATEGORY LIST
List II - Knowledge & Belief
PHIL 241 - Phil of India & Tibet
PHIL 230 - Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 195 - Intro to Philosophy
Note: Only one (1) cross-listed course (4 credits)
offered by another department may count towards the major and minor.