Fall 2021

PHIL 115-01A Philosophical Perpectives on Identity (CI)
Tuesdays/Thursdays 1:05pm-2:25pm with Jean Keller
CRN # 16383
Who am I? What makes me me? Who getsto say who I am? How do personal qualities, relations with others, and social categories like race, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, and class come together to form my personal and social identity? How does what I am inform what I know and don't know? Does who I am give me specific responsibilities? If so, what are they? This course invites you to explore multiple dimensions of who you are using philosophical ideas and tools.

PHIL 115-02A Philosophical Perpectives on Identity (CI)
Tuesdays/Thursdays 2:40-4:00pm with Jean Keller
CRN # 16384
Who am I? What makes me me? Who getsto say who I am? How do personal qualities, relations with others, and social categories like race, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, and class come together to form my personal and social identity? How does what I am inform what I know and don't know? Does who I am give me specific responsibilities? If so, what are they? This course invites you to explore multiple dimensions of who you are using philosophical ideas and tools.

PHIL 125-01A Social Philosophy (HM, HE)
Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:35am-10:55am with Charles Wright
CRN # 16385
What do freedom and equality have to do with justice?  This class introduces students to the work of Western philosophers who have tried explain the meaning of liberty and equality and their role in a just society – thinkers whose work has shaped the political culture and institutions of the United States of America.  We will also explore some challenges that the U.S. American Republic faces in trying to ensure that its citizens receive the benefits of both liberty and equality. 

PHIL 155-01A Philosophy of Race & Ethnicity (HM, CI)
Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:10am-12:30pm with Emily Esch
CRN # 15862
This course explores philosophical questions surrounding race and ethnicity. The course will examine both the historical evolution of racial concepts and contemporary debates around topics like racial disparities in wealth, immigration policies, and barriers to political participation. Questions to be explored might include: Is race biological or is it a social construct? What does it mean to have a racial or ethnic identity? How has race and ethnicity influenced how we understand citizenship and immigration in the United States? What moral obligations might we have to rectify past wrongs?

PHIL 279A-01A Modern Philosophy and the Quest for Truth (HE, HM)
Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays 12:40pm-1:35pm
CRN # 16386
Modern Philosophy is not “modern” in the everyday sense, but studies the 17th and 18th century shift in European thought away from the influence that classical thinkers and religious authorities had come to exercise over philosophical thought. This shift involved a radical re-appraisal of the authority of human reason and experience in making truth-claims. Some thinkers skeptical of our ability to reach absolute truths still thought reason could understand its own limits thus and outline where and how knowledge might be claimed. These philosophers asserted an autonomy for human reason that paved the way for later declarations of political freedoms. Thinkers studied include Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant.

PHIL 279B-01A Logic (AS)
Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays 1:50pm-2:45pm with Erica Stonestreet
CRN # 16237
This course is intended primarily for two things: (1) to introduce you to the basics of formal symbolic logic, and (2) to equip you to assess arguments you might find in everyday life. As the study of an abstract structure, it differs from an introduction to informal logic in that it will deal largely with symbols; so in some ways it’s more like a mathematics course than a course in critical thinking, though there will be some of both.
We’ll mainly study the deductive approach to reasoning. We’ll begin by learning about validity as a formal concept, and move to how to transcribe arguments from English sentences into symbols. Then  we’ll develop two ways of assessing the arguments: syntactically (in terms of the forms of argument) and semantically (in terms of preserving truth). 

PHIL 322-01A Environmental Ethics (ES)
Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays 8:00am-8:55am with Charles Wright 
CRN # 14117
Is it possible for people living in modern Western societies to live ethically in relation to the Earth?  The class starts by examining some philosophical and religious ideas at the root of modern society.  We then turn to an account of consumer capitalism, the system that arose on the foundation of these philosophical and religious ideas and that treats the Earth as nothing more than a material resource.  Once we have considered the roots and flower of a civilization that recognizes no ethical obligations to the Earth, we will turn to scholars and activists who try to reconceive the relation between humans and the more-than-human world.  Aldo Leopold, a forester and wildlife scientist, offers elegant reflections on the possibility of a land ethic.  Indigenous activists will recount for us their efforts to sustain and reinvigorate the ecologically respectful ways of life that they nearly lost as a result of European colonization.  His holiness Pope Francis will introduce us to the Catholic Church’s contemporary teachings about the right relation between humans and the Earth, teachings that depart dramatically from the exploitative attitudes of centuries past.  The class will finish by examining the libertarian inspired, market-based proposals for environmental protection offered by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal.  This will offer us the opportunity to consider whether such a capitalist-friendly approach might be compatible with the earlier perspectives, which tend to see consumer capitalism as the problem.   

PHIL 322-02A Environmental Ethics (ES)
Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays 10:20-11:15am with Charles Wright
CRN #15864
Is it possible for people living in modern Western societies to live ethically in relation to the Earth?  The class starts by examining some philosophical and religious ideas at the root of modern society.  We then turn to an account of consumer capitalism, the system that arose on the foundation of these philosophical and religious ideas and that treats the Earth as nothing more than a material resource.  Once we have considered the roots and flower of a civilization that recognizes no ethical obligations to the Earth, we will turn to scholars and activists who try to reconceive the relation between humans and the more-than-human world.  Aldo Leopold, a forester and wildlife scientist, offers elegant reflections on the possibility of a land ethic.  Indigenous activists will recount for us their efforts to sustain and reinvigorate the ecologically respectful ways of life that they nearly lost as a result of European colonization.  His holiness Pope Francis will introduce us to the Catholic Church’s contemporary teachings about the right relation between humans and the Earth, teachings that depart dramatically from the exploitative attitudes of centuries past.  The class will finish by examining the libertarian inspired, market-based proposals for environmental protection offered by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal.  This will offer us the opportunity to consider whether such a capitalist-friendly approach might be compatible with the earlier perspectives, which tend to see consumer capitalism as the problem.   

PHIL 327-01A Existential Ethics (ES)
Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays 9:10am-10:05am with Dennis Beach
CRN # 16787
Existentialism rejects all foundational givens except the raw fact of existence. This means that it rejects ethical traditions grounded in religion, in reason, in lists of virtues, in particular theories of human nature, and in cultural tradition. Nevertheless, existentialist thinkers often emerged as powerful ethical thinkers because they refused to embrace any external authority for ethics and thus kept ethical questions open for debate. We will examine existentialism’s radical critique of traditional foundations through such thinkers as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Beauvoir. As we proceed, we will explore the ethical implications of these existential currents of thought by reflecting on short pieces of fiction illustrative of ethical dilemmas of modern and contemporary life.

PHIL 363-01A Souls, Selves & Science (HM)
Tuesdays/Thursdays 2:20pm-3:40pm with Emily Esch
CRN # 16388
What am I? This question will be explored through the study of the three periods marked by a change in scientific paradigms; the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the 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, and historians. 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 we form. You will have a deeper understanding of the changing relationships humans have with the natural world and with each other. 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 and vice versa. Prerequisite for those in the Integrations Curriculum: Cultural and Social Differences: Identity.