Fall 2016

PHIL 110-01A Logic
1:50pm-2:45pm with Professor Erica Stonestreet in Quad 343
CRN # 14114
Logic was developed to make the principles of good reasoning explicit and to systematize inquiry in mathematics and the physical sciences.   This course is intended to introduce you to the basics of formal symbolic logic, and to help you see logical structure in arguments from the real world.  It differs from an introduction to informal logic in that it will deal mostly with symbols; it is thus more like a mathematics course than a course in critical thinking, though there will be some of both. 

We will study two main approaches to reasoning: deductive and inductive.  We'll begin by learning how to transcribe arguments from English sentences into symbols.  Then, thinking deductively, we'll develop two ways of assessing the arguments: syntactically (in terms of the forms of argument) and semantically (in terms of preserving truth).  Thinking inductively, we'll discuss probability and arguments by analogy.

 PHIL 121-01A Great Issues in Philosophy (HM)
11:10am-12:30pm with Professor Stephen Wagner in Quad 361
CRN # 12534
Throughout the ages, several issues have been central to the quest for philosophical insight about human existence.  This course examines a number of those issues - free will vs. determinism, the making of moral judgments, the grounds for religious belief and other topics as time allows.  Through careful reading of texts and class discussion, we will critically analyze the ideas that philosophers have offered and strive to formulate our own philosophical views on these issues. 

 PHIL 123 Philosophy of Human Nature (HM)
123-02A at 9:35am-10:55am with Professor John Houston in Quad 339
CRN # 14115
123-01A at 12:45pm-2:05pm with Professor John Houston in Quad 252
CRN # 12785
No subject has occupied western philosophy more than that of human nature. And none is more controversial.  This is not surprising, since who and what we think we are will determine a great deal about how we understand the world and our place in it.  If we wish to pursue happiness, we would do well to first have an idea of what we are, from whence we came, and to what end our existence is directed. Some say God, others oblivion.  What do you say?  In this course we will read selections on the philosophy of human nature from classical, Christian, and contemporary sources.  Special attention will be given to human rationality, sexuality, and mortality. Finally, we will seek to develop a view concerning the prospect of discovering (or creating) ultimate meaning and purpose for our lives.   

 PHIL 125-01A Social Philosophy (HM)
12:40pm-1:35pm with Professor Rene McGraw in Quad 353
CRN # 13165
This course will introduce students to a philosophical way of thinking through the study of power and its relationship to social groupings, through the study of the use of violence and nonviolence, through the study of authority, strength, power and civil disobedience within communities.  The course raises issues of concern both for peace studies majors as well as students interested in neither philosophy studies nor peace studies.  Texts:  Aristolte, Arendt, Gandhi, Remarque and Camus.  Daily writing; discussion; three exams and one final paper.

 PHIL 156-01A Asian Philosophy (HM)
8:00am-9:20am with Professor Charles Wright in Quad 344
CRN # 14445
We will study the Confucian, Buddhist, Hindu and Daoist traditions of religious philosophy.   From these traditions we will learn about:
Moral ideals that emphasize restraint of desire and disentanglement from worldly attachments;
Conceptions of a well-lived human life that emphasize a quiet mind, cooperation and service to others;
The ideas that competitive status-seeking is self-defeating and individualism is an illusion;
Meditative disciplines believed to lead to genuine self-understanding, a balanced and harmonious mind, insight into the nature of reality, and a direct experience of the divine; 
The idea that insight into the true nature of reality and divinity can neither be achieved nor conveyed through logic or language.
This course requires one hour of contemplative practice (prayer or meditation) per week outside of class meetings.

 PHIL 321 Moral Philosophy (ES)
321-01A at 10:20am-11:15am with Professor Erica Stonestreet in Quad 361
CRN # 12784
321-02A at 11:30am-12:25pm with Professor Erica Stonestreet in Quad 361
CRN # 14442
The questions of ethics--of how to live and what to do--are continually confronting us in public and private life. Philosophical ethics tries to organize ethical experience, presenting theories of good and bad, right and wrong to help guide us. In this course we will use significant Western philosophical texts from ancient times to the last few decades to study different approaches to the classic questions of ethics. The theories we'll discuss include virtue, Kantian, utilitarian, and care ethics. We'll examine the different ways each framework can contribute to arriving at answers to ethical questions, noting strengths and weaknesses, with an eye to understanding how these theories might guide us in our own ethical decision making.​

PHIL 322 Environmental Ethics (ES)
322-01A at 8:00am-8:55am with Professor Charles Wright in Quad 347
CRN # 13784
322-02A at 9:10am-10:05am with Professor Charles Wright in Quad 347
CRN # 14117
Industrial civilization rests on a disordered relation between humankind and the earth, burdening the earth's living systems with harms such as global warming, collapsing ecosystems, species extinctions, contamination of ground and surface water, oceanic dead zones, toxic waste sites, and a variety of other ecological ills.  In this class we'll first investigate philosophical and religious roots to this disordered relation - the ideas that made it all seem right and natural.  Next we'll examine philosophical and religious thinking that illuminates the moral wrongs of our current relation and the possibilities for righting it.  We'll then consider what a person ought to do.  We'll try to address this question at a human scale, inquiring into the ethical implications of choices and decisions that students already make every day and will also be making in the relatively near future.  We will see that everyday habits, choices, and decisions enact an environmental ethic.  Students will have an opportunity to reflect deeply on the environmental ethical commitments shaping their lives and whether they ought to do something differently.

 PHIL 325 Feminist Ethics (ES)
325-01A at 12:45pm-2:05pm with Professor Jean Keller in Quad 339
CRN # 13169
325-02A at 2:20pm-3:40pm with Professor Jean Keller in Quad 339
CRN # 13170
The U.S. women's movement is deeply indebted to the values of western liberalism. The Declaration of Independence's assertion that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" provided feminists with the intellectual grounds to argue that women, too, should be equal, thereby allowing them to argue for and, after 70 years of struggle, to win the right to vote. In the 1960s and 70s, the concept of equal rights fueled feminist activism with regard to a range of diverse issues-from ending gender segregated job ads, to eliminating quotas limiting the number of women who could go to college, ensuring that boys' and girls' sports received equal funding, and activism to ensure that men and women would receive equal pay for equal work.

Despite these and other ways in which the women's movement has been predicated on the concepts of equality, individual rights, autonomy, freedom, and fairness embedded in the justice tradition of western liberalism, in the past 30 years the field of feminist ethics has increasingly challenged the basic premises of this tradition. Feminist ethicists have argued that the conceptual tools of this tradition fundamentally misunderstand key aspects of women's lives and experiences and are inadequate to bring about the conceptual and social changes necessary to eradicate the oppression of women.

While feminist ethics has been developed in many different directions, in this course our primary focus will be multiple variants of care ethics, tracing its development from a "women's" ethic of interpersonal relationships to a critical tool for examining global inequalities.

 PHIL 334-01A Modern Philosophy (HM)
9:35am-10:55am with Professor Stephen Wagner in Quad 361
CRN # 10795
We will look at the writings of some of the most important philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries.  We will start with Descartes' investigation of the Rationalist foundations of human knowledge, and then look at the response of the Empiricists to the Cartesian project. We will then look at Kant's attempt to reconcile the two traditions.  The course will involve careful, critical examination of the central texts of these philosophers.  The writing for the course will involve two major papers and a number of short analytical papers of the assigned readings.

PHIL 336-01A 19th Century Philosophy: Nietzsche (HM)
6:15pm-9:15pm with Professor Dennis Beach in Quad 361
CRN # 14749
This course will focus on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Expressing his keen insights in a style at once ebullient and enigmatic, Nietzsche celebrated the necessity of artistic creation as a seduction to life, exposed the prejudices of the intellectual tradition, and challenged the most basic premises of morality and religion. However, despite his being lionized as an anarchist and a rebel by generations of admirers, the depth of Nietzsche's thought-the source of its "joyful wisdom"-often lies unplumbed. We will read and discuss three of Nietzsche's works: The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, as well as selections and aphorisms from other works.

 PHIL 356-01A Aesthetics of Violence/Non-Violence(HM)
10:20am-11:15am with Professor Rene McGraw in Quad 353
CRN # 14747
Philosophers have long been impressed by the way that the fine arts can reach people directly, often in a way that much intellectual speculation never achieves.  A painting like Goya's 3 mai 1808 touches a person in ways that no amount of speculation about it can match.  A description of the death of Prince Andrew makes a person question war in Tolstoy's great novel.  The World War I English and Welsh poets touch a nerve of [which awakens a feeling of] horror at the sadness and waste of war.  Why?  What is it that can make a great work of art move us?  What makes a great work of art in the first place?  What of "message" artistic pieces?  We will use Mikel Dufrenne's book, The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience as a basic text, along with Martin Heidegger's essay, The Origin of the Work of Art.  Two exams.  One longer paper. 

 PHIL 358-01A Philosophy of Law (ES)
1:50pm-3:10pm with Professor Joseph DesJardins in Quad 361
CRN # 14748
This course will examine a wide range of philosophical and ethical topics about law.    The first section of this course will start with a seemingly simple question: what is law?  We will consider how several influential philosophers and legal theorists have answered this question, paying particular attention to the question of the relationship between law and ethics and the question of the role of judges (do they merely apply the law as it was originally intended, or do/should they interpret the law?)  In a second section, we will examine a range of philosophical and ethical questions in civil law, such as responsibility; negligence; intentionality; actions and causality.   In a third section, we will examine some ethical and philosophical issues in criminal law, including punishment; capital punishment; due process; the rights of defendants; guilt and innocence. Finally, we'll turn our attention to some constitutional law issues, including civil liberties; free speech; freedom of religion; equal treatment; privacy.

 HONR 350P-01A Souls, Selves & Persons (HM)
11:10am-12:30pm with Professor Emily Esch in Quad 344
CRN # 14863
What am I? This question will be explored through the study of three periods marked by a change in scientific paradigms: the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in the nineteenth century and the rise of cognitive science in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We'll read philosophers, scientists, historians, and novelists, as well as explore pieces by performance and visual artists. By the end of the course, you should have a basic understanding of different metaphysical views about human nature - from the claim that humans are fundamentally autonomous and independent to the view that human nature derives from the unique social bonds that we form. We will study various accounts of the relationship between the mind and the body, especially dualism and materialism, and how these theories are shaped by various philosophical and scientific commitments. In studying these topics, you will learn to recognize in past debates a reflection of contemporary struggles over human nature and our place in the natural world. No prerequisites.

 ETHS 390 Ethics Common Seminar: Others (ES)
390-03A at 12:45pm-2:05pm with Professor Tony Cunningham in Quad 343
CRN # 12609
390-02A at 2:20pm-3:40pm with Professor Tony Cunningham in Quad 343
CRN # 14218
We share our lives by both necessity and design with others.  Born utterly dependent, we rely entirely upon the care and kindness of others for our very survival.  Even when we no longer depend upon others to feed, clothe, and protect us, we must figure out what sorts of responsibilities we bear to others and what responsibilities they have to us.  Some people may seem relatively distant, bound to us only in the basic sense that we share in some common humanity.  Others can seem so important to us that we might not wish to go on without them.  In this course we'll examine the responsibilities we bear to each other in various respects-as human beings, as friends, as family, as brothers and sisters in common causes.  We'll also look at the ways in which people turn their backs on others and misuse them in cruel and oppressive ways.  Using sources drawn from philosophy, literature, history, memoir, and the social sciences, we'll put our minds to what we owe others and what others owe us.

ETHS 390-05A Ethics Common Seminar: Good, Evil & the Limitations of Human Nature (ES)
6:15pm-9:15pm with Professor John Houston in Quad 353
CRN # 12606
All of us are familiar with the terms "good" and "evil". Furthermore, we have all at some time used these terms in reference to persons or their actions. This phenomenon is the focal point of this class. In this course we will seek to address a variety of questions related to good and evil. Some of these questions include: What are the conceptual origins of our judgments about good and evil? Can we objectively say of some actions or persons that they are good or evil?-Or do terms like good and evil merely serve as expressions of our individual preferences? In virtue of what do we describe people as good or evil? Are some people born evil and others good, or do they become so? If they become so, how does this happen? Philosophers and famous literary personalities have grappled with these questions. We will draw upon their resources to reflect on these questions and attempt to articulate our own answers to them. In this course students will be required to read, think, write, attend class, and contribute to thoughtful dialogue.

ETHS 390-06A Ethics Common Seminar: Reading for Life (ES)

6:15pm-9:15pm with Professor Tony Cunningham in Quad 343
CRN # 12566
Everyone loves a good story.  Great stories can provide us with far more than mere recreation.  Stories can provide us with rich character portraits that can reveal the subtleties and nuances of what it means to live well and responsibly.  In this course we'll use novels and films to address Socrates' most basic ethical questions, "How should one live?" and "What sort of person should I be?"  We'll do so by attending to all the concrete, particular details of real life and fictional characters thoroughly embroiled in the "business of living."  Reading well offers the possibility of vicarious experience and ultimately, ethical insight. 

Our readings will include some of the following:  

The Crucible (Arthur Miller)
Ransom (David Malouf)
The Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro)
Beloved (Toni Morrison)
Hecuba (Euripides)
How To Be Good (Nick Hornby)
Glengarry Glen Ross (David Mamet)
Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier)  
The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan)