Fall 2015 Courses

Philosophy Courses

Fall 2015

 

PHIL 002                      PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS: AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (4)

            PROF. N. SCHMIDT

One way of understanding philosophy is not as a set of teachings to be mastered, but as the rational attempt to formulate, understand and answer fundamental questions. This course explores some of the most basic questions, including: What is the meaning of life? What is it to be a human person, to be a self? Is human nature fundamentally good or evil? How should we live our lives?  What is happiness? What makes society just?  Is knowledge possible?  What is really real?  Is there a God? Is there such a thing as free will or has the course of our lives been determined by fate, God, or biology? (HU)

 

PHIL 004                      BELIEF, KNOWLEDGE, AND ACTION: AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (4)

PROF. B HULSIZER

Through reading selected texts in philosophy, from the ancient period to the modern Enlightenment and Romantic reaction, we shall introduce ourselves to some of the central epistemological, ontological, ethical, and socio-political positions developed in relation to their historical and material contexts.  A unifying theme will thus be the emergence and evolution of rational thought and its relation to belief, knowledge, and action. (HU)

 

PHIL 007                      EMERSON, THOREAU, BEYOND: AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (FRESHMAN ONLY) (4)

PROF. G BEARN

Emerson and Thoreau write to revive our dumb words and numb lives. Emerson tells us that what matters is not having lived, but living, not having read somebody's book, but thinking. And somehow all this wonderful excitement comes from creation, from becoming, and all becoming is becoming new. There is no unhappy creation. The literary power of Emerson and Thoreau, of Frederick Douglass, Margaret Fuller, and Walt Whitman, is widely recognized, but their philosophical vocation is still repressed. This introduction to philosophy will be through the doors offered by these American authors and their impact on other thinkers. (HU)

 

PHIL 014                      REASONING & CRITICAL THINKING (4)

PROF. P CASEY

Most intellectual endeavors involve reasoning.  Whether in everyday discussions about right and wrong, friendly political disagreements, ordinary explanations of natural phenomena, and short letters to editors, or in sophisticated legal debates, national political campaigns, and intricate scientific theories, reasons are constantly invoked to support or criticize claims and points of view.  This course develops skills needed to reason well, to analyze and critique others' reasoning (or lack thereof), to distinguish reasoning from mere rhetoric, and to become a savvy consumer of information. (HU)

 

PHIL 90                       THE EXAMINED LIFE IN FILM AND LITERATURE (FRESHMAN SEMINAR) (4)

                                    PROF. S GOLDMAN

Socrates claimed that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” and Western philosophers for 2400 years have taken that challenge to heart. But there are other ways of examining the human condition philosophically than in the writings of philosophers. This course uses works of literature (novels, plays, and poems) and films that address the same issues that Western philosophers have addressed and continued to address: the natures of truth, justice, the good, reality, the self, happiness, the meaningfulness of life. (HU)

 

 

PHIL/REL 97               INTRO TO BUDDHISM: LOVE, DEATH, & FREEDOM (4)

PROF. A PITKIN

This course will introduce students to Buddhist practices, philosophical systems, and cultural forms, from Buddhism’s Indian origins to its spread in East Asia and Tibet. Students will explore how Buddhists have approached the problem of death, the possibility of freedom, and forms of social and individual love and concern. Course materials include poetry, biographies, philosophical writings, art, and film. (HU)

 

PHIL 105                      ETHICS (4)

PROF. P CASEY

Examination of right and wrong, good and bad, from classic sources such as Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Mill and Nietzsche. (HU)

 

PHIL/AAS 117  PHILOSOPHY OF RACE: AFRICANA PHILOSOPHY (4)

PROF. C ROGAN

An introduction to the philosophy born of struggles against racism and white supremacy. We will read the work of philosophers, mostly European, who quietly made modern racism possible by inventing the category of race, but we will concentrate on the work of philosophers, mostly of African descent, who for 200 years have struggled to force a philosophical critique of the category of race and the practice of white supremacy. (HU)

 

PHIL/REL 124 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (4)

PROF. M RAPOSA

Critical examination, from a philosophical perspective, of some fundamental problems of religion, the nature of religious experience and belief, reason and revelation, the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, and religious truth. (HU)

 

PHIL 127                      EXISTENTIALISM (4)

PROF. G BEARN

Investigation of the historical development of existentialism from its origins in the 19th century (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche) through its marriage to phenomenology in the early 20th (Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty), and out the other side as a vigorous dimension of much literary, psychological, and artistic work produced in the last 50 years. (HU)

 

 

PHIL/CLSS 131            ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY (4)

                                    PROF. M MENDELSON

Historical survey of selected texts and issues in the classical world, from the pre-Socratics through Aristotle, with emphasis on the origins of the western philosophical traditions in ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. (HU)

 

PHIL 198                      ZEN AND THE ART OF THE EVERYDAY (4)

PROF. R BLISS

The Japanese conception of beauty is strikingly different to our own: it is associated with impermanence, imperfection, and austerity.  Moreover, an attention to beauty seems to pervade even the most everyday of activities in Japan, such as wrapping purchases at the dollar store or putting out garbage.  In this course we will explore the principles that guide the Japanese aesthetic sensibility with a particular eye to its expression in Japanese literature, film, and various of the traditional arts, such as the tea ceremony and gardening, amongst still others.  (HU)

 

PHIL 221                      METAPHYSICS: RETHINKING REALITY (4)

PROF. R BLISS

A survey of contemporary literature in metaphysics. Topics may include: the nature of existence, universals and properties, identity and individuation, causation, necessity and possibility, reduction and emergence, and realism and antirealism. Prerequisite: One HU-designated course in Philosophy at 100-level or higher. (HU

 

PHIL 228                      PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS (4)

PROF. M BICKHARD

Themes in the natural, life and social sciences. May be repeated for credit as topic varies. Prerequisite: One 100-level HU-designated course or consent of instructor. (HU)

 

PHIL 233                      FIGUERS/THEMES: MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY (4)

PROF. M MENDELSON

This seminar course will involve in-depth focus upon a major medieval thinker (e.g. Augustine, Boethius, Maimonides, Bonaventure, Dante, etc.) or the medieval treatment of a particular theme (e.g. the relation of “will” and “intellect,” the “problem of universals,” ethical or political theory, etc.). Content varies. Prerequisite: One HU-designated course in Philosophy at 100-level or higher. May be taken more than once for credit. (HU)

 

PHIL/MATH 304          AXIOMATIC SET THEORY (3-4)

PROF. L STANLEY

 A development of set theory from axioms; relations and functions; ordinal and cardinal arithmetic; recursion theorem; axiom of choice; independence questions. Prerequisite: MATH 301 or consent of the department chair. (MA)