Spring 2017 Courses

Philosophy Courses

Spring 2017

 

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

                     PROF. N SCHMIDT

                     TR 2:35 – 3:50 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)

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

       PROF. B HULSIZER

       MWF 10:10 – 11:00 PM

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/POLS/GS 100          INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THOUGHT (4)

                                                PROF. R MATTHEWS

                                                MW 11:10 – 12:25

Some of the most significant ancient and modern political theorists: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx, and others. (ND)

PHIL/MATH 114               SYMBOLIC LOGIC (4)

                                                PROF. N SCHMIDT

                                                TR 10:45 – 12:00 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/REL 124                   PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (4)

                                                PROF. R WEISS

                                                TR 10:45 – 12:00 PM

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 135                             MODERN PHILOSOPHY (4)

PROF. G BEARN

TR 2:35 – 3:50 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/ASIA 140                  EASTERN PHILOSOPHY (4)

                                                PROF. G REIHMAN

                                                TR 9:20 – 10:35 AM

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/WGSS 146                PHILOSOPHY OF SEX AND GENDER (4)

                                                PROF. R DILLON

                                                MW 12:45 – 2:00 PM

An examination of concepts, values, and assumptions relevant to sex and gender in our diverse society, investigating how they affect our lives in both concrete and symbolic ways. Questions to be considered include: What is it to be a women or a man, or to be feminine or masculine?  How are sex (a matter of biology) and gender (a matter of social roles and status) related?  How are sex and gender related to power and oppression or discrimination? How do sex and gender intersect with sexuality, race, class, and religion?  Special attention will be paid to how gendered assumptions color our understanding of knowledge production, experiences of embodiment and emotion, public and private activities. and the nature of moral decision-making.  (HU)

PHIL 180                             SPECIAL TOPICS (1-4)

                                                PROF. R DILLON

                                                TBA

Selected topics of philosophy not included in other course. Course may be repeated. (HU)

PHIL 197                           THE PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW & POLICY (4)

                                                PROF. J GILLROY

                                                MW 11:10 – 12:25 PM

What fundamental philosophical principles lay at the essence of such contemporary international legal dilemmas as terrorism, humanitarian intervention, refugee displacement and global warming? How can changing the principles used to understand these dilemmas affect the prospects of peace, human rights and the cooperation of states? Building on the basic pillars of international law, including its sources, the recognition and responsibility of states and the basic law of jurisdiction and immunity, we shall examine the evolution of the idea of a ‘law of nations’ from Thomas Aquinas to Immanuel Kant. (HU)

PHIL 233                             F/T MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY:  MAIMONIDES’ GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED (WI) (4)

                                                PROF. R WEISS

                                                TR 9:20 – 10:35 AM

An in-depth study of the most important work of medieval Jewish philosophy. The work deals with such questions as: the nature of God, creation vs. eternity of the universe, free will, whether the biblical commandments are reasonable and have reasons, prophecy, and divine providence. (HU)

 

 

PHIL 260                             MAKING SENSE OF WORDS (4)

                                                PROF. M BICKHARD

                                                M 1:10 – 4:00 PM

Issues in the philosophy of language, including analysis of the nature of the relation between the words we use and the world in which we live. We will aim to understand how words make sense and how we make sense of ourselves and the world through words. We will examine such central notions as truth, meaning, and reference, as understood in historically influential philosophical theories of language. (HU)

PHIL 292                             PHILOSOPHICAL METHODS (2)

                                                PROF. R DILLON

                                                TBA

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 295                             FOUCAULT’S POWER: SEXUALITY, SURVEILLANCE, AND SELF (4)

                                                PROF. G BEARN

                                                W 1:10 – 4:00 PM

In the last century, at the intersection of multiple strands of contemporary life that are often simply indicated by nouns -- race, sex, gender, illness, identity -- Michel Foucault's writings helped to force a swerve in activist work and academic research on oppression, objectification, and subjectification. In a moment when policing and the prison industrial complex are turning citizens and non-citizens out into burning streets, we will be pursuing the possibility that there is still much to learn from Foucault's troubling the familiar notion of a sovereign subject with rights struggling against the repressive forces of the powerful. This interdisciplinary, team-taught course will look at Foucault's writings on power, the body, and the ethics of the self, taking up topics in medical humanities, crime, immigration, surveillance, queer sexualities, race and raciology, population control, and identity formation. The course will be tracing a wayward line of thinking through the study of Literature, Art, Music, Anthropology, Sociology, Queer and Gender Studies, and Critical Race Studies.  Course readings will be taken not only from Foucault's published books, Discipline and Punish, The History of Sexuality, Madness and Civilization, The Birth of the Clinic, but also from his numerous lectures and interviews, and most especially from his posthumously published lectures which, in the last 15 years, have stimulated something of a rediscovery of the pressure of Foucault's thinking. We will consider both the development of Foucault's work and his enduring influence on culture today, and culture tomorrow. (HU)

PHIL/REL/HMS 297        RESEARCH ETHICS (4)

                                                PROF. D DAVIS

                                                TR 2:35 – 3:50

Research with human and animal subjects carries with it a host of ethical and legal obligations.  Topics include the history of human subjects research: ethical use of placebo studies; the ethics of research in developing countries; whether there is an ethical obligation to volunteer to be a research subject. (HU)