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PHIL 100 Philosophies of Life. Professor Jordan
Plato, Christianity, Marxism, Freud, Philosophical Naturalism, and Classical Liberalism are among the theories we will look at this semester. The course is a survey of six theories concerning the nature of humanity. There will be three tests.
PHIL 101 Great Western Philosophers. Professor Rogers
Western Philosophy began over two thousand years ago in
Greece when people began to ask, “What is really real?” “How can I know
anything?” and “What am I doing here, anyway?” In Great Western
Philosophers we take an introductory look, in chronological order, at
some of the most important thinkers and ideas from ancient Greece to
the present, including, for example, Aristotle on the Happy Life,
Thomas Aquinas on God, and Descartes on doubt and certainty. The
course is divided into four sections with a multiple-choice test after
PHIL 102 Introduction to Philosophy. Professor Pust
This course is an analytic introduction to Philosophy through
the study of the Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology, Metaphysics and
Ethics. Among the questions we will consider are the following: Does
God exist? Can we know that an external world exists? Is any belief
about the future rational? What is the relationship between the mind
and brain? What, if anything, makes our actions right or wrong? Doe
we ever act freely? Readings will be from both historical and
PHIL 102 Introduction to Philosophy. Professor Shabo
This course provides an introduction to the problems and methods of philosophy as an academic discipline. We will focus on three traditional areas of philosophical debate: the existence of God, the nature of persons, and free will and determinism. In each of the four areas, we will look closely at influential arguments and positions with a view to understanding and critically evaluating them. Grading will be based on three in-class essay exams as well as class participation.
PHIL 102 Introduction to Philosophy. Professor Rogers
It has been said that all of Western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. In this section of Intro we read several of the major works of Plato including all of his Republic. This provides an introduction to the methodology of philosophy and to many of the major questions philosophers ask such as “Is there a God?”, “Can we know anything, and if so, how?”, “Is it to my advantage to be good?” Concentrating on one great philosopher allows us to see how philosophical theories are constructed and fit together, while reading a long dead philosopher gives us a vantage point from which to critique the popular dogmas of the present day.
PHIL 105 Critical Thinking. Professor Shabo
Whether you are watching television, reading a book or
newspaper, or attending a class, some person or institution is trying to
influence your beliefs, attitudes or actions. Such influence takes
various forms. Our focus will be on attempts to influence you through
claims and arguments. More generally, our concern will be to understand
the critical skills that are needed to make effective assessments of
evidence, so that you have more control over how you respond to these
influences. Of course, we will not be deciding in detail what we should
believe about every issue. Rather, we will be doing a more general
study of the appropriate standards for determining what to believe.
Studying the general standards for acquiring or changing belief
involves exploring the nature of justification and the giving of
reasons. We will do this by examining valid and invalid argument forms,
informal fallacies, the use of analogy in argument, and ambiguity.
Later in the semester, we will apply these critical thinking tools to
arguments on a range of contemporary topics.
PHIL 105 Critical Thinking. Professor Swanson
This course serves as an introduction to a range of philosophical tools, both formal and informal, designed to help us analyze the structure of arguments, assess the balance of evidence, and come to reasoned conclusions. The first third of the course will focus on deductive logic (truth-functional logic and basic predicate logic). The middle third will explore patterns of reasoning common in the sciences (induction, causal reasoning, probability, and statistics). In the final third we will deploy tools from informal logic, especially argument mapping, to organize our philosophical ideas and present arguments in clear, rigorous fashion. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on applications rather than general theory. To hone our skills, at the end of the course we will spend several weeks examining a debate in applied ethics.
PHIL 125 Topics in Popular Culture.
Philosophical ideas expressed in popular media such as
science fiction or fantasy literature, films, and music. Topics are
PHIL 201 Social and Political Philosophy. Professor Koltonski
This course provides an introduction to Western political philosophy via an examination of three core values that have governed political debate since the Reformation: freedom, equality and community. We will consider them individually: ‘What is it to be a free individual?’ ‘Why is equality important?’ We will consider political debates that rely on them: ‘Is capitalism justified because it allows people to exercise their freedom in the marketplace?’ ‘Or is it unjustified because it deprives some of their freedom?’ ‘Does the demand for social equality require economic equality?’ ‘Does respect for freedom require that individuals have a robust right to free expression?’ And, finally, we will consider whether realizing one of them either requires or precludes realizing another: ‘Does allowing persons economic freedom prevent us from realizing a society of equals?’ ‘Or can we only be truly free when we live among equals?’
In addition, this course is designed to help students develop the dialectical skills required for doing philosophy well. These skills include: summarizing an argument accurately and succinctly; formulating objections to the argument and responses to those objections; and developing examples to illustrate some claim and counterexamples against it. We will develop these skills through short writing assignments and two exams.
PHIL 201 Social and Political Philosophy. Professor Lee
This course considers important topics in social and political philosophy-- political responsibility (the problem of dirty hands and the problem of many hands), distributive justice, democracy vs. epistocracy, the duty to obey the law and the duty to resist injustice, criminal justice reform, and freedom of speech.
PHIL 202 Contemporary Moral Problems. Professor Greene
“While my own opinions as to ethics do not satisfy me, other people’s satisfy me still less,” observed Bertrand Russell. Although ethical questions are of the first importance in both personal and public life – often literally matters of life and death – they are often among the most confounding and divisive issues that we face. We will consider contrasting views on such topics as abortion, affirmative action, and the environment. We will find that a distinctively philosophical approach to ethical challenges can promote productive discussion of controversial issues and can deepen our understanding of ethical views – our own and other people’s.
PHIL 202 Contemporary Moral Problems. Professor Lee
This course, we consider important moral issues in the contemporary world--abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, environmental ethics, distributive justice, sexual ethics, immigration, gun control, drug use, and the death penalty. We will consider important philosophical discussions regarding these issues, including arguments and counterarguments. Once students understand these arguments and counterarguments, they will be able to describe and defend their own views. Students will learn to think critically about moral issues in general.
PHIL 202 Contemporary Moral Problems. Professor Pust
This course will survey and investigate various answers to
philosophical questions regarding applied ethics. We will begin with a
consideration of some questions in moral theory: What does morality
require of us? Is morality objective? Does morality depend upon
religion? We will then turn to discussion of the following topics:
suicide, euthanasia, abortion, the treatment of animals, capital
punishment, sex, pornography, drug use and, finally, our moral
obligations with respect to people in great need, future generations,
and the natural environment.
PHIL 202, 080 Contemporary Moral Problems. Professor Hanley
In conducting our ordinary lives, we often need answers to
ethical questions. Some of the most serious are literally matters of
life and death. These force us to ask questions like: is it ever okay
to kill another member of the human species? Is it always okay to kill
things which are not members of the human species? We shall consider
issues like abortion, infanticide, contraception, euthanasia, capital
punishment, warfare, and the welfare of future generations, animals,
the environment, and of those less fortunate than ourselves. Along the
way, we’ll construct a picture of a plausible ethical theory, engaging
questions like, “Are there any objectively correct answers in ethics?”
and “Does ethics depend upon religion?” Students will emerge from
the course in a position to make a worthwhile contribution to the
discussion of ethical issues in our society.
PHIL 203 Ethics. Professor Koltonski
We will be concerned to see whether there is anything to be said in a principled way about right and wrong. The bulk of the course will be an in-depth examination of two central traditions in post-Reformation Western moral philosophy, consequentialism/utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. But first we will consider moral relativism, a position that many find initially attractive.
In addition, this course is designed to help students develop the dialectical skills required for doing philosophy well. These skills include: summarizing an argument accurately and succinctly; formulating objections to the argument and responses to those objections; and developing examples to illustrate some claim and counterexamples against it. We will develop these skills through a variety of assignments, of which students will have a choice: written exams, oral exams, or essays.
PHIL 203 Ethics. Professor Lee
In this introductory-level course on Ethics, students will learn important moral theories, including cultural relativism, subjectivism, the relation between morality and religion, ethical egoism, the social contract theory, the utilitarian approach, the Kantian approach, the feminist approach, and virtue ethics.
PHIL 204 World Religions. Professor Fox
In this course we will take a critical yet sympathetic view
of a wide range of religious traditions, including Native American
Religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity, and
Islam. This will require that we allow ourselves both to identify with
and maintain our distance from each of the traditions covered. We
propose to explore textual and historical roots and fundamental
concerns, and to look for similarities and differences. We will not be
experts on World Religions after taking this course, but we will be
more sensitive to the kinds of issues at stake in the study of
religion, and more familiar with the origins and evolutions of today’s
living religions, both Eastern and Western.
PHIL 205 Logic. Professor Draper
Elementary symbolic logic of truth-functions and
quantification. This course covers deductive reasoning: patterns of
argument that are logically conclusive by virtue of their form alone. A
formal language is developed for expressing the structure of arguments
involving connectives like “and” and “or”, and quantifiers like “all”,
“some”, “no”. When translated into this formal language, arguments in
ordinary English can be proved valid or invalid, and sentences can be
evaluated as logically true, logically false, or contingent.
PHIL 205 Logic. Professor Swanson
This course explores the foundations of classical logic. During the first half of the course we will develop a rigorous semantics and natural deduction proof system for classical propositional logic. During the second half we will do the same for classical predicate logic. Together, these systems form the deductive backbone of contemporary mathematics and science, are an essential tool for philosophical analysis, and are the starting point for more philosophically powerful systems of logic (e.g., modal, epistemic, and deontic logic). Throughout the course we will emphasize connections between the formal material introduced and debates in the philosophy of logic and mathematics.
PHIL 205 Logic. Professor Hanley
We will develop a simple but powerful formal language to
assist us in understanding and evaluating deductive arguments given in a
natural language like English. We’ll begin with a propositional
calculus and expand the language as we go to include predication,
quantification, and identity, as well as the traditional Square of
Opposition. Along the way I’ll introduce a range of indispensable
concepts, such as consistency and validity, and tools, including
natural deduction and truth tables.
PHIL 207 Scientific Reasoning. Professor Swanson
This course serves as an introduction to inductive logic and confirmation theory. During the first part of the course we’ll distinguish between deductive and inductive forms of reasoning and formulate the skeptical problem of induction in both its classical and modern form (Hume’s Problem and Goodman’s New Riddle). The central portion is devoted to the foundations of probability theory and the role it plays in formalizing inductive logic. We’ll examine three different approaches to inductive logic: Bayesianism, significance testing, and inference to best explanation.
PHIL 208 Introduction to Jewish Philosophy.
Fundamental issues in philosophy of religion reflecting both general theological approaches to resolving the tension between philosophy and religion and the uniquely Jewish attempt to do so. Topics include: God, miracles, good and evil, divine commandments and free will.
PHIL 209 Philosophy of Religion. Professor Jordan
In this course we will examine the classical arguments pro
and con for the existence of God. The credibility of miracle-reports,
concepts of afterlife, the problem of religious pluralism, and the
nature of God are other topics discussed. There will be two in-class
exams and one take-home exam.
PHIL 210 Women and Religion.
Examines the impact of Near Eastern and Judeo-Christian
scriptures on women in the family and society especially focusing on
women’s roles as mystics and leaders within and outside of
institutional religion. Also covers recent feminist approaches to
PHIL 212 Markets, Ethics, and Law. Professor Koltonski
In this course, we will examine the extent to which markets and market forces, in a broadly capitalist economy, shape not only our economic relations but also our social relations and even our self-conceptions. The course is divided into three sections:
(1) As a decentralized system of voluntary exchange, usually among strangers, a market is constituted by certain rules. One set of rules governs the making of contracts between economic actors, and these rules are defined by law and interpreted and enforced by the legal system. In this section, we will examine contract law—both the legal theory and relevant case law—in order to get a sense of the role laws (and the courts) play in shaping and enabling markets.
(2) Classical political economy was very concerned not only with the economic benefits of markets and the market economy but also with their social and political effects, both good and bad. In this section, we will read two of the more important classical political economists—Adam Smith and Karl Marx—as well as two social theorists—Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thorsten Veblen—who also address these issues.
(3) Are there moral limits to markets? Are there things that should not be for sale? Elizabeth Anderson and Debra Satz have recently taken up these questions. They argue against allowing for markets in women’s sexual and reproductive labor, in children’s labor, and in human organs, and they argue against market-oriented solutions to other public and political problems. Two others, Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski, argue against the views defended by Satz and Anderson.
PHIL 216 Introduction to Feminist Theory.
This course explores the various theoretical explanations for and solutions to gender inequality. The development of feminist theory will be presented as an intellectual history placing each theoretical framework in conversation with the others covered during the course of the semester. Students will become familiar with a variety of feminist theories including: liberal, Marxist, socialist, transnational, radical, homosexual, multicultural, psychoanalytic, cultural, standpoint, social construction, multiethnic/racial, postmodern, and queer. Our understanding of these theoretical perspectives will be aided by the inclusion of current case studies and class debates.
PHIL 241 Ethical Issues in Healthcare. Professor Greene
Informed discussion of the ethics of healthcare must
acknowledge the constraints of political and economic reality. In this
course we will make an interdisciplinary examination of competing
considerations of ethics, justice, and practical policy in the
provision of healthcare. Among the questions addressed will be: What
are the aims of healthcare and how can success be measured? Is there a
right to healthcare? Who should pay? How should scarce resources be
distributed? (See also PHIL 444 for a class with a more clinical
focus.) More info on class website: classes.vole.org/241.
PHIL 244 Philosophy of Art. Professor Cushing
An introduction to main philosophic problems concerning art: the nature, evaluation and value of art.
PHIL 267 Seminar: Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality. Professor Koltonski
The course concerns ethical and conceptual issues surrounding sex and sexuality. Topics include conceptual analyses of sex, sexuality and gender identity; consent and sexual violence; patriarchy and gender inequality; anonymous or casual sex; prostitution/sex work; marriage, adultery, and polyamory; and pornography.
In addition, this course is designed to help students develop the dialectical skills required for doing philosophy well. These skills include: summarizing an argument accurately and succinctly; formulating objections to the argument and responses to those objections; and developing examples to illustrate some claim and counterexamples against it. We will develop these skills through a variety of writing assignments.
PHIL 300 Medieval Philosophy. Professor Rogers
Medieval Philosophy deals with the synthesis of Greek philosophy and biblical religion. We start with some background in Ancient Greek philosophy and Plotinus, the Neoplatonist who had a profound impact on later thought. Major figures include Christian philosophers, Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham; Islamic philosophers, Avicenna, Alghazali, and Averroes; and Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, Though the material is presented chronologically, the key question throughout will be whether or not the ideas we study are philosophically viable today. Topics will include: Proving God, Evil, Freedom, Causation, Knowledge, The Good Life, Universals, Time, and more. There will be three essay tests, two short papers, and quizzes on assigned reading.
PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy. Professor Rogers
We take a chronological survey of major figures in Ancient
Greek and Roman Philosophy from the beginning of philosophy with Thales
in the Seventh Century BCE up through Plotinus in the Second Century
CE, devoting the most time to the two most important figures in Ancient
(and perhaps in all) Philosophy, Plato and Aristotle. Questions
include (but are not limited to): What is everything made of? Can we
know anything, and, if so, what and how? Is there a God, and, if so,
what manner of Being is It? How can I be happy? What, if anything,
justifies the authority of the government?
PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy. Professor Draper
The course is divided into six topics: the significance of
being mortal, the possibility and nature of change, the ideal society,
the fundamental nature of reality, the nature of the mind, and the
rationality of being moral. We will consider the attempts of various
ancient Greek philosophers to address these issues, with an emphasis on
Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus. Special attention will be given to
Plato’s Republic, widely recognized as one of the greatest works in
PHIL 303, 080 Modern Philosophy. Professor Shabo
This course is a study of works of the major philosophers of
the 17th and 18th centuries, including Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz,
Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. In reading these works, we will come
to understand some of their main positions and arguments in metaphysics
and epistemology. In addition, we will come to appreciate how their
discussions have shaped our contemporary understanding of such core
philosophical problems as the nature of minds, what the physical world
is like and what we can know about it, causation, and personal
PHIL 305 Twentieth Century Philosophy. Professor Swanson
This course covers highlights from the history of analytic philosophy between 1900 and 1975. We begin by exploring the birth of analytic philosophy, with its focus on clarity, rigorous argumentation, and logical analysis, in the work of Moore, Russell, and the early Wittgenstein. We then examine the rise and fall of logical positivism, culminating in the Carnap-Quine debates. We close with the revisionary picture of truth and meaning developed by the later Wittgenstein and the modal revolution launched by Kripke and Lewis. The course covers a range of philosophical problems from metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics as well as the philosophy of language, mathematics, science, and mind.
PHIL 306 Philosophy of Science. Professor Swanson
This course surveys central topics in general philosophy of science including the debate between scientific realism and antirealism, the demarcation problem, confirmation theory, scientific revolutions, the role of values in science, reduction and emergence, laws of nature, causation, and scientific explanation. We’ll read a mixture of contemporary and historical work on these topics as well as selected foundational debates in the natural and social sciences.
PHIL 307 Black Thought and Philosophy. Professor Jeffreys
Readings and discussions of Black philosophies, ideologies
and concepts as reflected in the thought of significant Black figures.
PHIL 308 Topics in Jewish Theology.
Critical evaluation of the theological views of major
branches of Judaism on such topics as: the significance of Israel, the
status of Jewish law, the meaning of Jewish ritual and the mission of
the Jewish people.
PHIL 309, 080 Indian Religion and Philosophy. Professor Fox
This course will cover the philosophical and religious
traditions in the Indian culture, including the Vedic tradition,
Jainism, and the various philosophical schools of Hinduism. Special
emphasis will be placed on Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. We will also
cover various more recent developments in Indian thought, including
Sikhism and the works of modern thinkers such as Gandhi, Ramakrishna,
The Honors section of Indian Religion and Philosophy will
operate as a subsection of PHIL 309 sec. 010. This means that besides
the regular work load for the course, students will be expected to meet
for an additional discussion every other week throughout the
semester. This means that students with extremely complex or
restricted schedules may not be able to take part. We will read
additional, more in-depth and sophisticated materials, and will spend
more time working with traditional texts. Increased emphasis will be
placed on class participation, in both the regular and the additional
honors section meetings. Class is limited to ten students.
Prerequisite: PHIL 204 World Religions.
PHIL 310, 080 Chinese Religion and Philosophy. Professor Fox
In this course we will read and discuss the works of several
important thinkers in the Chinese philosophical tradition, including
Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi from the Confucian tradition; Laozi and
Zhuangzi from the Daoist tradition; the Huayan and Chan Buddhist
traditions; and Zhuxi and Wang Yangming from the Neo-Confucian
tradition. We will also discuss representative figures from
Neo-Daoism, Chinese Yoga, and trends in Modern Chinese Philosophy. No
knowledge of the Chinese language is necessary. There will also be an
Honors subsection for 310 which will be limited to 10 students.
Students for this subsection will read additional materials and will
meet every other Tuesday at 4pm for an hour in a seminar format to go
into greater depth on issues raised in class.
PHIL 311, 80 Early Medieval Philosophy. Professor Rogers
Early Medieval Philosophy deals with the beginning of the
synthesis of Greek philosophy and biblical religion. We start with some
background in Ancient Greek philosophy and Plotinus, the neoplatonist
who had a profound impact on later religious thought. A major part of
the course is devoted to Augustine of Hippo, who, after the authors of
the New Testament, is the chief architect of Christian philosophy. We
move then to Boethius, Eriugena, Anselm and conclude with Peter Abelard.
Though the material is presented chronologically, the key question
throughout will be whether or not the ideas we study are philosophically
viable today. Topics will include: Proving God, answering skepticism,
leading the good life, universals, evil, time, Genesis and the theory of
evolution, and many more. There will be three essay tests, two
research papers, and quizzes on assigned reading.
PHIL 312, 080 Late Medieval Philosophy. Professor Rogers
In the middle of the Middle Ages Islamic philosophers
rediscovered the thought of Aristotle. What followed was centuries of
debates on a range of ever-timely questions, including: Can science
and religion be reconciled? Is morality universal and objective? If
you touch a match to cotton is the cotton more likely to burn than it
is to turn into a parrot and fly away? It was these debates which
laid the foundations for the so-called Renaissance, the Protestant
Reformation, and the world as we see it today. In Later Medieval
Philosophy we will study the chronological course of these debates,
ever mindful that our main question is always, Is the argument in
question valid and sound? Reading will be moderate. Discussion is
encouraged. There will be four essay tests, two short papers, and
daily quizzes on the reading.
PHIL 313 Killing and Letting Die. Professor Greene
We take a dim view of someone who would kill a child for a few thousand dollars, but barely notice that we let a child die with every few thousand dollars we spend on ourselves rather than donating to help combat malaria (GiveWell.org). Like the contract killer, we knowingly (and repeatedly) take the course of action that leaves us a few thousand better off at the cost of a child’s life. This class will join the debate between those defending the comforting, commonsense view that failing to save people is generally much easier to justify than actively killing them, and those arguing that this is a terrible moral mistake. We will explore a range of arguments in ethical theory concerning the distinction between killing & letting die and the application of that distinction to cases both real (euthanasia, duties to aid) and imagined (the famous trolley problem and any number of hypothetical drowning children). You will develop your own ability to contribute to the conversation with clear and careful philosophical analysis and argumentation.
PHIL 315 Metaphysics. Professor Hanley
Metaphysics is the study of how and what things really are.
Modern analytic metaphysics has been especially concerned with modality
(the nature of necessity and possibility), personal identity, the
mind‑body problem, the nature of time, causation, and freedom of the
will; and has been characterized by a fine attention to language and
logic. We shall touch on all these concerns, with the focus on
modality, an area which in the 1980s saw the publication of two
revolutionary works, by Saul Kripke and David Lewis.
PHIL 316, 080 Time Travel. Professor Hanley
The notions of time travel, and of a multiverse, are staples
of science fiction that have gained respectability in recent physics and
philosophy. We shall examine them in connection with traditional
philosophical issues concerning the nature of time, space, change,
causation, God, human beings, free will and personal identity.
PHIL 320 Theory of Knowledge. Professor Pust
This course is a thorough survey of contemporary analytic
epistemology (the theory of knowledge and justified belief). We will
begin with a consideration of various attempts to define knowledge.
Following that, we will examine contemporary theories of justified
belief such as foundationalism, coherentism and reliabilism. This
course will conclude with an investigation of responses to skepticism
about the external world. Readings will be mostly from recent journal
articles. This course will be a mixture of lecture and discussion.
Students will be expected to be prepared for active and informed
discussion of the readings.
PHIL 322 Existentialism.
Study of the origins and development of existential philosophy. Emphasis on the fundamental insight into the nature of human experience that separates the existentialists from the rest of the Western philosophical tradition and the existentialists' views about God, death, and human freedom. Sources include Tolstoy, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre.
PHIL 327 Race, Gender, Science. Professor Andreasen
This class focuses on the social and scientific foundations of racial, ethnic and gender-based inequities in the U.S. Topics include implicit bias, stereotype threat, use of race, gender, or similar categories in science. The course highlights often-overlooked contributions of prominent scientists from under-represented or minoritized groups. Upon completion, students will be able to identify practices, policies and institutional structures that inhibit diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and know how to engage in practices that support DEI in such settings. The honors section meets with the regular section with opportunities to meet as a group outside of class. Honors students will be asked to write a multi-stage research paper that builds off a series of smaller papers or assignments. This course is cross-listed with CGSC, AFRA, and WOMS 327. Race, Gender, Science.
PHIL 330 Philosophy of Mind. Professor Pust
This course is a thorough survey of analytic philosophy of mind, a branch of analytic metaphysics. It is focused on the mind-body problem, the problem of determining how the mind and mental properties (e.g., belief, desire, emotion, and sensations) are related to the brain and its physical properties. The first part of the course will focus on various theories of the essential nature of the mind and its relationship to the body and brain, e.g., dualism, behaviorism, the identity theory, and functionalism. After our initial survey of these theories, we will address in more detail the nature of conscious experience and some contemporary defenses of property and substance dualism.
PHIL 335 Buddhist Philosophy. Professor Fox
In this course we will take a close look at the variety of philosophical positions and methodologies to be found among the Buddhist traditions in India, China, Japan, and Tibet. We will read mostly primary materials, and our goal will be to articulate the significance, complexity, and diversity of these rich traditions of philosophical and psychological analysis.
PHIL 337 Daoist Thought. Professor Fox
Examine seminal primary and secondary works representative of the various Daoist traditions in Chinese culture. This includes philosophical Daoism, but also religious and yogic Daoisms as well. Emphasis placed on recent discoveries which have called into question many of the prevailing understandings of classical Daoist thought, such as the discovery of early manuscripts buried in tombs, and the connections between early Chinese yogic traditions and mature Daoist philosophies.
PHIL 344 Science and Religion. Professor Jordan
In this team-taught course four topics will be the primary
focus of discussion: biological evolution, cosmology, the credibility
of miracle reports, and the scientific image of humankind. In
particular, the implications for religious thought, whether pro or con,
of current scientific thought will be examined. We will read and
discuss the writings of several prominent scientists and philosophers on
the four topics. Grades will be based on two tests, and several
short weekly papers which critique the readings.
PHIL 346 Philosophy of Law. Professor Draper or Professor Hanley
This course examines fundamental issues in the philosophy of law, including the nature and content of law, its relation to morality, theories of legal interpretation, and the obligation to obey the law, as well as philosophical issues and problems associated with punishment and responsibility, liberty, and legal ethics.
PHIL 389 Topics: Women and Health Issues.
Varying special topics related to women’s health. Topics may
include, but are not limited to: the relationship between women, health
and development; theoretical contributions of feminism to thinking
about relationship between gender and health; women’s health conditions
in various parts of the world.
PHIL 390 Honors Colloquium. Professor Hanley
See ARSC 390 for course description.
PHIL/PSYC 410 Religion and Psychology. Professor Fox
In this course we will explore religion from various psychological and philosophical points of view, on the one hand, and psychology and philosophy from various religious points of view. We will read works by authors which blur the distinctions between these three approaches. We will not be attempting to reduce religious experience to one or another normal or abnormal psychological state. One overall theme of the course will be to see how religious experiences can be viewed as real experiences for which one should be able to provide a psychological account. However, this is also a philosophy class, so you are definitely expected to think and write philosophically about the material. This means to carefully draw your own conclusions, and to be able to demonstrate that these conclusions are reasonable by offering the reasons which led to the conclusion.
PHIL 444-010 Medical Ethics. Professor Greene
An examination of some of the most controversial issues in medical ethics. Through discussion of highly influential primary sources, this small, writing-intensive seminar class will join ongoing debates on such topics as abortion, euthanasia, human experimentation, reproductive rights, and performance enhancing drugs. (See also PHIL/CSCC 241 for a class with a more policy focus.) More info on class website: classes.vole.org/444.
PHIL 444-011 Medical Ethics. Professor Greene
An examination of some of the most controversial issues in medical ethics. Through discussion of highly influential primary sources, this lecture / discussion class will join ongoing debates on such topics as abortion, euthanasia, human experimentation, reproductive rights, and performance enhancing drugs. The 011 section is primarily for Biomechanical Engineering students, though others may enroll if space permits. More info on class website: classes.vole.org/444011.
PHIL 448 Environmental Ethics. Professor Powers
This course will survey well-known theories of environmental
ethics (utilitarian, stakeholder, deontological, holistic,
game-theoretical, and rights-based views). In addition, we will
explore contemporary scientific issues related to environmental ethics
such as pollution, climate change, land use, endangered species,
habitat preservation, appropriate technology, human population
dynamics, future generations, and large-scale agriculture. The course
will require an original research paper that integrates environmental
science and ethical theory.
PHIL 455/655 Ethics in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. Professor Powers
The course provides participation-based ethics education to evaluate the societal impacts of data gathering, analysis, and applications in areas such as the health sciences, jurisprudence, public policy, and e-commerce. Ethical issues in data science and AI will be discussed in seminar format. The course topics include: privacy, algorithmic biases, fairness, recommender systems, safety-critical applications, informed consent, and research ethics. We will also consider larger philosophical issues concerning AI, including its implications for our conceptions of democracy, autonomy, and knowledge.
PHIL 465 Senior Seminar.
Professors Draper, Fox, Greene, Hanley, Jordan, Koltonski, Lee, Pust, Rogers, Shabo, and Swanson (The senior seminar is only offered in the fall semester).
Various authors and themes; e.g., Plato, Kant, epistemology, philosophy of mind.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.