Spring 2016 Courses

Philosophy Courses

Spring 2016



          PROF. P CASEY

          Tuesday, Thursday 1:10 PM to 2:25 PM

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)



           PHILOSOPHY (4)

                                        PROF. B HULSIZER

                                        Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

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 100                       INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THOUGHT (4)

GS 100                            PROF. R MATTHEWS

POLS 100                      Tuesday, Thursday 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM

 A critical examination of political ideologies: Liberalism, Marxism, Fascism, and Islamism. (SS)


PHIL 114                       SYMBOLIC LOGIC (4)

MATH 114                     PROF. N SCHMIDT

                                        Monday, Wednesday 12:45 PM to 2:00 PM

A first course in logical theory, introducing the notions of logical consequence and proof, as well as related concepts such as consistency and contingency. Formal systems taught may include: term logic, sentence logic, and predicate logic. (MA)


PHIL 120                      PHILOSOPHY IN FILM (4)

                                      PROF. G REIHMAN

                                      Tuesday, Thursday 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM

This seminar course will explore a variety of themes, genres, and movements within cinema from a philosophical perspective. Regular screenings of films from silent era to present. Content may vary depending upon instructor. (HU)



                                    PROF. R DILLON

                                    Monday, Wednesday 11:10 AM to 12:00 PM

Examination of visions of good social life and values that should shape society so that people are able to live good lives together. Issues covered may include the nature of freedom, how the facts of gender, race, class, ethnic, and cultural differences should be taken into account in social and political relations, the limits of religious tolerance, war, world hunger. (HU)


PHIL 128                  PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (4)

                                   PROF. R BLISS

                                   Monday, Wednesday 11:10 AM to 12:00 PM

Science obviously works, and newer theories surely are better than the theories they replace, but why does science work, how does it work, and in what sense is it progressive? Is science a revelation of reality, or an account of evolving human experience? Are scientists rational? Is scientific reasoning logical? This course surveys the wide range of 20th century responses to these surprisingly elusive, and surprisingly still open, questions. (HU) 


PHIL 135                  MODERN PHILOSOPHY (4)

                                   PROF. G BEARN

                                   Tuesday, Thursday 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM

Historical survey of selected texts and issues in 17th and 18th century European philosophy with particular emphasis on developments in epistemology and metaphysics. Attention will be given to the relation of the “modern period” to developments in late medieval philosophy and the rise of the experimental sciences. Figures may include Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, and Kant. (HU)


PHIL 140                  EASTERN PHILOSOPHY (4)

ASIA 140                   PROF. R BLISS

                                   Monday, Wednesday 2:35 PM to 3:50 PM

Survey of selected texts and issues in the eastern philosophical traditions. Attention will be given to the development and interrelations of these traditions as well as a comparison of western and eastern treatments of selected issues. Areas of focus may include Confucianism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism. (HU)


PHIL 195                    PHILOSOPHY AND MUSIC (4)

                                     PROF. N SCHMIDT

                                    Monday, Wednesday 2:35 PM to 3:50 PM

We live in a musical age -we are surrounded by music, and one would be hard pressed to find someone who did not devote considerable time and attention listening (or thinking that they are "listening") to music. But what is "music"? What about it attracts us so? How does it do what it does? What, in fact, does it do? As we will see, these are far from simple questions, and some of the possible answers to these questions turn out, in fact, to be quite other than what one might expect. As a means of approaching these questions, we shall focus (though not exclusively) on the "history" of what is called "rock and roll," from its origin in the Mississippi Delta Blues to its introduction to mainstream American culture via the "British Invasion" of the 1960's up to the present day. As we will see, when one approaches "music" from a philosophical perspective, there is considerably more than seems to meet the ear, and "philosophy" and "music" have much more in common than one might think. (HU)


PHIL 220                    THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE (4)

                             PROF. G BEARN

                                     Tuesday, Thursday 2:35 PM to 3:50 PM

Recent work in epistemology. Questions addressed include: If you can’t know whether you are dreaming, how can you know you have two hands? Does knowledge require answers to all possible doubts or only all reasonable doubts? How should we determine the horizon of the reasonable—psychologically or philosophically? Must have completed one HU-designated course in Philosophy at 100-level or higher. (HU)



REL 224                       PROF. M RAPOSA

                                      Wednesday 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Selected problems and issues in the philosophy of religion. Content varies. Must have completed one HU-designated course in Philosophy at 100-level or higher. (HU)



CLSS 232                     PROF. M. MENDELSON

                                     Tuesday, Thursday 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM

Plotinus (204/5-270 C.E.) is a philosopher whose influence ironically outstrips his readership: many who have never heard of him have nonetheless been influenced by him, and it is arguably no exaggeration to say that, next to Plato and Aristotle, he is the most influential philosopher of antiquity -certainly of the Hellenistic period. We will spend the semester reading widely in the collection of his surviving works, The Enneads, and we will explore a grand metaphysical system and an intensely -engagingly- personal vision that stands as one of the great philosophical landmarks of the Western philosophical tradition. (HU)


PHIL 292                      PHILOSOPHICAL METHODS (2)

                                       PROF. R DILLON


Methods of and approaches to philosophical research, reasoning, and writing, as preparation for senior thesis. Open only to junior philosophy majors. Department permission required. (HU)


PHIL 367                     AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT (4)

POLS 367                     PROF. R MATTHEWS

                                      Tuesday, Thursday 1:10 PM to 2:25 PM

Critical examination of American political thought from the founding of the Republic to the present. Writings from Madison, Hamilton, and Jefferson to Emma Goldman, Mary Daly, Malcolm X, Henry Kariel, and others will be discussed. (SS)



PSYCH 395                   PROF. M BICKHARD

COGS 395                     Monday 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

The study of mind since the ancient Greeks has been dominated by a visual metaphor of passively ‘looking’ at, or receiving from, the world.  This yields the metaphors of signet rings pressing their forms into wax, blank slates which the world writes on, and more contemporary versions such as transduction, induction, and the reception of associations.  This framework still dominates in philosophy and in psychology, including developmental psychology, but it encounters serious, even fatal, problems, and no one has ever been able to solve or resolve them.

There is, however, a more ‘recent’ alternative that is attracting growing attention, again both in philosophy and in psychology — action and interaction based models.  These were introduced by Peirce in the late 1800s (inspired in many ways by Darwin), and have entered philosophy via Pragmatism in its various forms, and psychology via action-based models of perception, cognition, language, etc. — and in developmental psychology via the influence of Piaget.  (Piaget was considered during the 80s and into the 90s to have been refuted and superseded, but it is now increasingly recognized that it is the critics of Piaget who have been in error.)  Action and interaction based models arguably avoid the problems of passive mind models, and enable conceptually and empirically more successful theories and methods.

This course will survey these issues, and explore some of the versions and consequences of the shift to action-based, pragmatist, models for mind, epistemology, language, cognition, developmental psychology, and other domains of psychology and philosophy.  (HU,SS)