Philosophy Course Offerings for Spring 2017

The following courses will be offered by the Philosophy Faculty for Spring 2017.  Sign up now!

Introduction to Philosophy (1000): A general introduction to the basic patterns and methods of philosophy as presented through representative thinkers.

Logic I (1100): This course is an introduction to logical reasoning. It will include the study of truth-functions, translations of English sentences into logical notation, truth-tables, deductions, and some fallacy identification. The concepts of validity, consistency, tautology, contradiction, and logical equivalence are introduced. Additional topics, such as category syllogisms, inductive reasoning, and quantification may be included at the discretion of the instructor.

Mind, Knowledge, and Reality (1501): An introduction to the special problems, topics or issues in philosophy from historical and social perspectives. 

Philosophy and Popular Culture (1502): An introductory examination of the special problems, topics or issues in philosophy through comic books, works of literature and films. 

Selves, Bodies, and Cultural Diversity (1503): An introduction to the special problems, topics or issues in philosophy from local to global perspectives. 

Philosophy, Society, and Ethics (2000): An introduction to ethical reasoning and an examination of moral problems in contemporary social issues.

Environmental Ethics (2015): This course is an introduction to the ethical dimensions of environmental issues. Students will have the opportunity to study theoretical perspectives such as deep ecology, ecofeminism, Native American views of the land, and social ecology. The course will also consider environmental ethical issues such as the moral status of nature, pesticide use, environmental racism, the treatment of animals, deforestation, world population growth, and what it means to live an ecologically responsible life.

Logic II (2100): A study of some major systems of logic, including a formal study of truth functions and quantification. The notions of proof, theorem and axiom are defined and some theory of logic is included. At the discretion of the instructor, additional topics may be included (for example, the Logic of Relations, Boolean Algebra Systems, Modal Logic, the Logic of Probability or Inductive Logic). Dr Patrick Rardin

Medical Ethics (3015):This course is an introduction to ethical issues in medicine. We begin with an overview of theoretical medical ethics and then move on to discuss some of the major ethical issues in medicine and consider how various theories inform or fail to inform ethical issues that arise in clinics and hospitals. Along the way we will make ample use of actual cases in order to practice addressing deeply contested medical issues just as health care providers and medical ethicists are required to do every, and day as a team. We will also delve briefly into psychiatric ethics and the emerging field of neuroethics. Dr Matthew Ruble

Metaphysics (3020): Metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality exploring questions of existence, reality, time, life, and what it means to be rather than not to be. There is a long tradition of thinkers from the ancient Greece to the 21st century who argue that metaphysical questions cannot be fundamentally separated from ethical and political questions both in the sense that normative and social discourses, systems, and institutions have metaphysical status, insofar as they exist, are real, appear in time and space, etc, and in the sense that metaphysical systems necessarily entail a certain thinking of ethics and politics, insofar as our understanding of the nature of reality, time, and life lead to certain understandings of morality, society, identity, and the value of life. Or, as T.W. Adorno puts it, “the question of whether it is still possible to live is the form in which metaphysics impinges on us urgently today.” Hence, this course explores central metaphysical themes (the nature of reality, being, time, life, causality, etc) with an eye toward the ways in which metaphysical commitments entail social, ethical, and political realities. Dr Rick Elmore

Feminist Philosophy (3030): Feminist philosophers have made substantial contributions in all major subfields of philosophy. In this course we will study work in feminist epistemology, feminist metaphysics, feminist science studies, feminist ethics, feminist philosophy of race, feminist social and political philosophy, decolonial feminism, feminist disability studies, and queer theory. We will begin by considering feminist critiques of "neurosexism," an understanding of sex and gender difference that continues to inform popular attitudes and policy in our society. We will then move into classic and contemporary feminist philosophical analyses of sex and gender. Issues to be discussed include oppression, privilege, and resistance; sexuality and heteronormativity; race and racism; class and classism; the interrelationship between gender, race, disability, and sexuality; and the connections between feminist theory and activism. Prof Kim Hall

Modern Philosophy (3200): This course examines modern philosophy's "epistemological turn." According to thinkers such as Descartes, Hume, and Kant, the way to find out what there is in the world (metaphysics) is to investigate how we know about the world (epistemology). The course charts the theoretical philosophy of these three major philosophers with an eye to the central epistemological questions in their work and, in particular, their interaction with skepticism. One of the central questions we will ask is: how can we articulate the problem of skepticism, and ca n the skeptic's problem be solved? Dr Anna Cremaldi

A Critique of Worldmaking (3300): This course studies the major developments in recent analytic philosophy which have led to a radical challenge to common sense, Nelson’s Goodman’s Critique of Worldmaking. The basic principle is that worlds are made by making world-versions. The critique is a comparative study of world-versions and their making. We assess how well such a critique has advanced analytic philosophy. Our readings may be drawn from philosophers such as: Ayer, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Dewey, James, Goodman, Quine, Kuhn, and Rorty. Dr Patrick Rardin

Contemporary Continental Philosophy (3400):In a century and a half marked by massive industrialization, world wars, imperialism, and a general anxiety about economic, political, and environmental disaster, it should come as no surprise that contemporary philosophy has often centered on the task of understanding the “crises” that determine the course of civilization. In Continental Philosophy, thinking the nature of these crises has taken many forms. In this course, we will broach some of the most influential methods, for example: phenomenology and the problem of instrumental or technical rationality; existentialism and the crisis of meaning; critical theory and the crisis of social and political domination; psychoanalysis and the problem of repression. Once we have been grounded in these influential approaches, we will be in a better position to address the manner in which some of the more recent approaches such as poststructuralism, deconstruction, feminism, critical race theory, and queer theory have deepened our understanding of crisis. Dr Joe Weiss

Senior Research: Philosophy (4700): This course is designed primarily for philosophy majors that are at or near graduation. As a culminating foray into the discipline, students will develop research papers that displays both their learning experiences and identities as burgeoning philosophers. Drafts of those papers will be presented during the Spring term with the final presentation performed on reading day to a general audience. As a continuance of your learning experiences (at a high level of abstraction) the course will cover The Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant. He was, of course, the last of the major figures of the modern period. In this vein, Kant was himself a capstone figure who was tasked to pay homage to the likes of Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz and Hume, while at the same time inserting their thought into the network of his philosophical contributions. We will examine the Critique for both its historical and content merits. Dr Jesse Taylor