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Fall 2019

NOTE: This data is offered for your convenience only. The schedule data is updated regularly and may not reflect recent changes to the Schedule of Classes. For full, up-to-date course information please visit the Office of the Registrar's website. Thank you.

1115 - Introduction to Philosophy

1115.002

Instructor: Marcel Lebow
Time/s: ARR

The discipline of philosophy is given short shrift in our culture today. Considered just haphazard opining, philosophizing is thought at best to be a statement one gives at a dinner party. One tells of "their philosophy," which inevitably amounts to a series of platitudes dressed up in long pauses and distant gazing. Otherwise, philosophy, it is said, has no place in contemporary society and was just a series of lucky guesses and wild speculation only those in the past considered – a mere stand-in for a kind of thinking that the sciences now occupy.

Through a study of some of the classics of the Western philosophical tradition, this class aims to dispel such misconceptions and introduce one to the rigor and lasting relevance of the practice and study of philosophy. We will address questions that many of us wonder about at one time or another: Is there a god? What constitutes a good or evil act? Do we have souls? How do we know the external world exists? Does life have meaning?

What we will find is that philosophy at its finest delimits a field of investigation that, while informed by the sciences and other disciplines, can only be approached systematically through a kind of thinking unique to philosophy itself. Rather than a matter of paltry conjecture, philosophy puts limits on what we can say and think legitimately, and reveals to us certain possibilities of philosophical conclusion, separating from itself idle chatter and the remarks better left for books found in Barnes & Noble's quirky gifts section which predicate philosophy with one's favorite television show or movie.

Grades based on quizzes, exams, and online discussion.

1115.003

Instructor: Mariah Partida
Time/s: TR 12:30-1:45

In this course, we will examine a wide array of key figures and concepts in the history of philosophy. In particular, we will address the following questions: What is the good life? What is the good death? What is knowledge? What is truth? What is love? What is justice? What is beauty? What's the nature of reality? What’s the relationship between mind and body, self and other, free will and determinism, being and time? What's the meaning of life? Is there a God? What is nihilism, and how should we understand it? What does it mean to read well? In what ways can we apply philosophy to our everyday lives?

Proceeding historically, we will read and reflect on texts by major Western and non-Western thinkers including Plato, Aristotle, Lao Tzu, Confucius, René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Linda Alcoff. In the course of the semester, students taking PHIL 101 will cultivate their own philosophical voices and their ability to critically reflect on some of the most urgent ethical/political questions of our time.

1115.004

Instructor: Idris Robinson
Time/s: TR 3:30-4:45

This course will investigate some of the arresting questions that have consistently reappeared throughout the history of philosophy and continue to perplex us all during our more reflective moments.  What is the nature of reality and existence?  Is there anything beyond the physical world?  Whatever might be the case, how do we know it to be true and what implications does it have on our journey through life?  

Considering both original texts and supplementary literature, our collective inquiry will start at the origins of philosophy when humanity throughout the ancient world began to ask these age-old questions about itself and its surroundings.  In particular, the first half of the semester will be mainly focus on classical antiquity and Alain Badiou’s contemporary rendition of Plato’s Republic.  In the second half of the semester, we will move through the Arabic, Renaissance, and modern periods to finally close with contemporary thinkers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and Giorgio Agamben.

In both class discussions and writing assignments, students will have the opportunity to try to untangle these thorny philosophical issues and critically assess some of their most widely renowned theoretical responses. 

1115.005

Instructor: Simon Walker
Time/s: TR 11:00-12:15

In this introduction to philosophy class we will focus on three main periods of western philosophical history.  We will start in Ancient Athens looking at the birth of Western Philosophy and how philosophical questions were first formulated with an intense focus on Plato’s texts about Socrates.  Then we will move to the Enlightenment period and look at texts in classical liberalism, moving from Descartes, through Kant to J.S. Mills looking at the formation of the modern subject and the types of political institutions that arise alongside it.   From here we will turn to existentialism and its critique of this liberal tradition.  With this in mind we will meet writers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir looking at the dilemmas and contradictions in the modern subject.  To complete the class we will read a contemporary analysis of how we form meaning in our lives today, which surveys the history of philosophy that we have been looking at adding new depth and meaning to the story of western history we have looked at.  

1115.006

Instructor: Michael Candelaria
Time/s: MWF 12:00-12:50

This course is an introduction to philosophy. We will survey the fundamental areas of philosophy including the following: philosophy of religion, ethics, freedom of the will, personal identity, and philosophy of mind. Our focus will be on arguments, their analysis and evaluation. Our approach will also be a historical one. We will begin with Greek philosophy, Plato and Aristotle, then we will consider medieval philosophy, Anselm. Turning out attention to modern philosophy we will examine Descartes and Kant. We will discuss nineteenth century philosophy in Marx and Nietzsche. An examination of twentieth and twenty first century philosophy will round out the course—Heidegger, Foucault, Quine, Nelson Goodman, and others.

Required: All our readings will be on docs or PDF’s on Learn. There is no required text book. (Saves you money!)

Strongly Recommended: Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, MacMillan Publishers; and, Lewis Vaughn, Writing Philosophy: A Students guide to Writing Philosophy Essays, Oxford University Press, 200

1115.010

Instructor: Michael Rubio
Time/s: MWF 1:00-1:50

This course is an introduction to conceptual engineering. Philosophical problems are different from the problems of science and theology. Philosophy attempts to engineer answers to philosophical problems by creatively using concepts/ideas to answer deep questions that science and theology cannot.

One of the main goals of this course is to define what a philosophical problem is and appreciate why it is important. By the end of this course students will have a better understanding of what a philosophical problem is and what philosophy is but there is no guarantee that the understanding will be crystal-clear; this is part of the unique nature of philosophy. That is, philosophers themselves continue to debate the question of what philosophy is. Hopefully by the end of the course students will gain some appreciation of the complexity of the questions that lead to the unique nature of philosophy.

Another goal of this class is to do philosophy and not just read about it. To accomplish the goal of doing philosophy we will investigate contemporary problems dealing with gender, race, the environment, non-human animals, the state, and hunger, among others and then employ the thought of past and present philosophers to help us engineer potential answers these problems.

In addition, our philosophical inquiry we force us to ask strange questions such as the following: does the environment have rights? Can a river have rights? What is a person? Can an artificial intelligence be considered a person? What is consciousness? Can machines have consciousness? Do non-human animals deserve moral consideration? What is the role of the state? Is a state necessary to political governance? What is so unappealing about anarchy? Is capitalism the only form of economic exchange? Is capitalism the best form or system of economic exchange? How do we know we are not just brains in vat or stuck in the Matrix? What is love? What is the role of emotions? Does God exist or is belief in God a useful fantasy?

Assessment of students is accomplished through a combination of argumentative papers, quizzes, reading questions, a midterm and a final.

1115.605

Instructor: Iain Thomson
Time/s: TR 12:30-1:45

Proceeding historically through a few of the great works of Western philosophy, this course will introduce you to some deep and enduring philosophical questions, including:  What are the ultimate foundations of reality?  What is being?  What is love?  What does it mean to be human?  How should I live?  Can knowledge make me happy?  What is the good life?  What is the good death?  What is the relationship between being and time?  What is justice?  Which political arrangement is best?  What is enlightenment?  What effects are science and technology having on our world?  How should we understand the problem of nihilism or meaninglessness?  What does it mean to think?  What do autonomy, integrity, and authenticity mean and require?  What is freedom?  What are the necessary preconditions and consequences of freedom?  What is the meaning of life?  How have the answers to that question changed over the course of Western history?  What does it mean to read well, and how is that question connected to the good life?  The interconnected goals of the course include introducing you to the Western philosophical tradition, initiating you into the art of close philosophical reading, developing your skills in critical writing and argumentation, and, in all these ways, encouraging your thoughtful engagement with the world. 

 Course requirements:  This course will require you to read, understand, and come to terms with a variety of challenging philosophical texts and issues.  You should take careful notes and always bring the relevant books with you to class (see below).  To facilitate your digestion of some difficult material, I strongly encourage course attendance (which will be enforced through a variety of in-class pop quizzes worth 10% of your grade, of which we will drop/excuse your lowest score), two thoughtful, high-quality philosophy papers (worth 30% of your grade each), and an open-book (but no other notes), comprehensive final exam (worth 30% of your grade).  Your papers and final exam should demonstrate your active engagement with and strong grasp of the issues presented and discussed in class.  (Paper topics will be handed out several weeks before the papers are due; I strongly encourage you to discuss your ideas with me or the TAs during our office hours, and we will pass around sign up sheets for this purpose in class.)  Be sure to TURN YOUR PAPERS IN ON TIME; late papers will be marked down 1 grade per day late (from A to B, B to C, etc.).  No incompletes (except in unavoidable circumstances beyond your control, with proper documentation).  Make sure to keep an extra copy of your papers.  Cheating, talking in class, coming in late, reading the newspaper, surfing the internet, emailing, texting, sleeping during class, and other ridiculously uncollegial behavior is distracting to your colleagues and disrespectful to me, and such incivilities will not be tolerated.  If you must come late or leave early on a particular day then enter the class quietly by the back door and sit in the nearest open seat.  If you have an urgent matter that requires you to be on call on a particular day you must tell me that ahead of time and sit in the back row near the door.  All phones, tablets, laptops, and other screens must be turned off and stowed away during class (unless you have made official arrangements with me or with UNM, and they have notified me).  Students who repeatedly break any of these rules should expect to be disenrolled.  If you have any questions please feel free ask them in class, in our office hours, or by email. 

 Required texts (listed in the order we’ll read them together in class):  Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy, 4th edition; Thomson, Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity; Kant, Perpetual Peace and Other Essays; Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life; Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking; and Sartre, Essays in Existentialism

1120 - Logic, Reasoning, and Critical Thinking

1120.002

Instructor: Cara Greene
Time/s: TR 11:00-12:15

Reasoning & Critical Thinking is a class that will teach you how to argue better. In this class, you will learn how to identify and analyze arguments, as well as how to construct your own arguments within an essay format. The first half of the course will present ideas and tools that will help you assess arguments, such as induction, deduction, validity, soundness, strength, and fallacy, among others. During the second half of the course, we will examine texts that scrutinize concepts like nature, art, history and philosophy, and then analyze the presentation and strength of the arguments contained in these accounts. This class will be comprised of lecture, discussion, and activities. Assignments will include two short papers, two exams, and a final paper.

Required text: Hughes, Lavery and Doran, Critical Thinking, An Introduction to the Basic Skills (7th ed, Broadview Press).

1120.003

Instructor: Robert McKinley
Time/s: MWF 11:00-11:50

We encounter arguments all the time: in course readings and news articles, on social media and in everyday conversation. But how can you tell if an argument is good? When should you be persuaded? In this course, we will learn how to analyze, critique, and construct arguments. In the first half of the course, we will examine the different logical concepts and tools that are needed for analyzing and evaluating an argument. Then in the second half, we will apply these tools to a few philosophical essays in order to critically evaluate arguments "in the wild." No background in philosophy or logic is presupposed, but you should come prepared to think, talk, and write in a sophisticated, critical way.

1120.004

Instructor: Lisa Gerber
Time/s: MWF 10:00-10:50

Most intellectual endeavors involve argumentation. From short letters to the editor to complex philosophical essays, from every day discussions to legal debates, argues are constantly created and invoked to support or criticize points of view. The purpose of the course is to help you learn how to analyze, critique, and construct arguments.

The course material is organized into two sections. In the first section, we will do an introductory survey of important logical concepts and tools that are needed for analyzing arguments. The second section is an in-depth examination of philosophical essays on cloning and genetic engineering.

1120.005

Instructor: Marcel Lebow
Time/s: ARR

It is not uncommon these days to come across the motto, “Question everything.” Of course, the idea behind the expression is to suggest that we should not take everything at face value, to not take for granted any answer we are given. After all, we are all prone to error, we are sometimes wrong, and we don’t always see things clearly.
The question becomes: What is the correct way of seeing things and how do we know this to be so? If we happen to be seeing something inaccurately, how can we step beyond our point of view, recognizing ourselves as having the wrong perspective? 
The purpose of this course is to provide a basic framework whereby we can begin to address this dilemma. The point of critical thinking is not merely to question everything, but to question everything correctly. To question is to think, and just because we are all capable of thinking does not mean we are naturally capable of thinking well. All of us, spontaneously, adopt worldviews and opinions without necessarily knowing why or how we arrived at such ideas. But it is one thing to have a perspective, and another thing entirely to have a justified perspective. The latter is only arrived at with effort. Like developing any skill, thinking well requires training, practice, and discipline. 
The topics in this course will vary. On the one hand, we will cover very dry and foundational concepts like the basics of argumentation, some theories of knowledge, and the elements of clear writing. On the other hand, we will apply such concepts, discussing and analyzing problems and questions that have a wide appeal and are likely considered by anyone and everyone: Do we have a soul? Does god exist? Is truth relative to an individual? Should we eat animals? Are good and bad actions based solely on an individual or are groups blameworthy as well? Additionally, we will investigate logical fallacies relevant to some of today’s most fashionable misconceptions and topics of debate.
Grades will be comprised of weekly quizzes, online discussion, and three essays.

1120.006

Instructor: Justin Pearce
Time/s: MWF 12:00-12:50

The purpose of this course is to help students develop the skills to make arguments, refute arguments, and differentiate good arguments from bad arguments. The first half of the course will be devoted to learning the linguistic and conceptual skills necessary for recognizing, analyzing, and critically evaluating arguments. In doing so, students should learn how to identify poorly constructed arguments while honing the skills necessary to construct strong arguments of their own. The second half of the course will put these skills to practice by applying them to various contemporary moral and political issues. The goal is that students leave this course able to formulate and defend their own autonomous opinions on these and many other issues in a way that utilizes effective reasoning and critical thinking skills.

1120.007

Instructor: Zaccharia Turnbull
Time/s: MWF 1:00-1:50

TBA

1120.008

Instructor: Brian Gatsch
Time/s: ARR

How can you tell if an argument makes sense? What separates a good argument from a bad one? In this online course, students will learn the skills necessary to construct, analyze, and critically assess arguments.  Beginning with the basic principles of reason and logic, students will acquire the abilities necessary to extract arguments from philosophical texts, evaluate the strength of these arguments, and craft written responses to them.  We will also be analyzing classic philosophical texts that have profoundly influenced the structure and development of Western civilization.

 

Required text:

Critical Thinking, An Introduction to the Basic Skills (7th Edition), by William Hughes, Jonathan Lavery, Katheryn Doran (Broadview Press). ( ISBN-13: 978-1554811977 ISBN-10: 155481197X) 

1120.605

Instructor: Idris Robinson
Time/s: TR 2:00-3:15

In the first half of the course, students will learn to identify, construct, and critically assess arguments.  Through a rigorous examination of the basic principles of reason, students will come to acquire the analytic skills necessary to both develop and evaluate the quality of an argument.  The second half of the semester will be devoted to applying these skills in response to Alain Badiou’s contemporary rendition of Plato’s Republic.  In Badiou’s hyper-translation, timeless themes, such as truth, justice, and knowledge, are refashioned in a colorful, modern garb: present-day allusions to iPods, soft-drinks, and sports-cars replace all of the Republic’s outdated ancient Greek references; and even Plato’s famous “cave allegory” is converted into a movie theatre.  While these aspects of Badiou’s version of the classic dialogue undoubtedly makes it an enjoyable read, critical analysis and reasoning will allow us to determine whether Plato’s arguments can stand the test of time.

2140 - Professional Ethics

2140.005

Instructor: Brian Gatsch
Time/s: ARR

This online course focuses on some of the ethical issues that arise in the context of professional life.  Beginning with an overview of three major ethical theories, we will consider how these theories, which traditionally concern personal morality, apply to life in a professional setting.  We will also examine the roles and obligations associated with professional life. What is the relationship between personal and professional codes of conduct? What distinguishes professions from other occupations?  Through the lens of various professions, we will look at issues such as lying and truth-telling, whistleblowing, confidentiality, and the obligations of professionals toward the public.  Using a combination of readings, case studies, and online discussion groups, we will explore these ideas in a philosophical manner, looking to understand the ethical principles at work.  This course will give students a solid introduction to ethical reasoning and will help to develop the tools necessary to apply ethical principles to real-world settings.

 

Required text:

Ethics Across the Professions: A Reader for Professional Ethics, 2nd ed, Clancy Martin, Wayne Vaught, and Robert C. Solomon, editors. OUP. (ISBN-13: 978-0190298708/ISBN-10: 0190298707)

2210 - Early Modern Philosophy

2210.001

Instructor: Michael Candelaria
Time/s: MWF 1:00-1:50

Required: Roger Ariew, ed. Modern Philosophy, 2nd Edition, Hackett Publications.

Strongly Recommended: Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, MacMillan Publishers; and, Lewis Vaughn, Writing Philosophy: A Students guide to Writing Philosophy Essays, Oxford University Press, 2006

2220 - Greek Philosophy

2220.001

Instructor: Paul Livingston
Time/s: MWF 12:00-12:50

Philosophy in the western tradition begins with the ancient Greeks, and there is no better introduction to philosophy than to study their thought and writing.  In this course, we will attempt to develop an original path of questioning in critical dialogue with the Greeks, with the aim of locating ourselves and the problems of contemporary life more centrally within the problematics that they already pursued.   Issues to be discussed include, among others: the nature of thought, reason and the soul; the structure of time and space; language, meaning, and truth; being, change and becoming; ethics and the good; life and death.   Readings are from various Pre-Socratic philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus.  Course requirements: weekly short reading responses, three short tests (open book, in class) and final examination).

2220.002

Instructor: Carolyn Thomas
Time/s: ARR

This completely online course is an introduction to the ancient Greek beginnings of philosophy in the western tradition. We’ll read the ancient Greek philosophers themselves—several Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus—and engage their fundamental questions and concerns, which today can still touch and interest every person. These questions include: What are nature and reality? What is a good life? What are being, becoming, and change? What are reason, language, truth, and knowing? What are love and friendship? What is education? And, what is philosophy itself?

Required weekly work includes readings, written discussion posts, and reading quizzes. Additional required semester work includes a midterm exam and a final exam. Coursework is due at the end of each week, at midnight on Sunday nights. You must have reliable Internet access, but no other special equipment is required.

2225 - Greek Thought

2225.002

Instructor: Pierre-Julien Harter
Time/s: MWF 9:00-9:50

Perhaps there never was a “Greek miracle,” as some have called it, but ancient Greek civilization certainly produced one of the most impressive periods of cultural and intellectual flourishing in human history. During that period, cultural and political institutions -- including history, philosophy, and democracy -- were invented, and since then, these institutions have been adopted and pursued around the globe – making Greek thought not only an ancestor to Western civilizations, but to many others. In this course, we will read classic works of Greek literature that were produced between the 8th century CE to the 2nd century CE, including The Odyssey, Oedipus Rex, and the Apology of Socrates. We will examine different kinds of literary works produced during this period, such as an epic poem from Homer, a play by Sophocles, philosophical dialogues of Plato, and treatises of Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus. Our goal throughout will be to distill from this survey the themes and questions that characterize Greek thought. We will gain an appreciation of the lasting impact that Greek thought has on our approach to questions concerning metaphysics, ethics, and politics, but also how it can offer a powerful counter perspective to our most dearly held beliefs and assumptions.

2240 - Introduction to Existentialism

2240.001

Instructor: Joachim Oberst
Time/s: TR 12:30-1:45

In this course students will encounter the primary thought and thinking of the existentialist movement. The (existential) encounter will bring us to question ourselves: our own conception of reality (what we deem real), the world (we live in) and life — life as such and the life we live. An examination of some of the seminal texts and their authors (including key aspects of their personal and political history) will introduce us to the main themes of existentialism. A thorough reading of their work (exegesis), scrupulous discussion (interpretation) of those texts and unreserved participation in these discussions (authenticity) will confront us with ourselves — both through the experience of existentialist thought and the thinking of the existentialist experience. Existentialist thought is not understood without the existentialist experience. The course aims at being an event (Ereignis). 
 
Some of the issues to be discussed are life, death, love, despair, abandonment, freedom, (im)mortality, (in)authenticity, (un)truth, existence, essence, subjectivity, individuality, community, boredom, absurdity, suicide, finitude, faith, resoluteness, being and nothingness.    
 
Some of the authors we will consult are Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Buber, Edith Stein, Martin Heidegger, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Wilhelm Reich.

334 - Indian Philosophy

334.001

Instructor: Pierre-Julien Harter
Time/s: MWF 11:00-11:50

The South Asian subcontinent has shown a great diversity of philosophical positions and approaches throughout three millennia. In this course, we will survey different schools of thought, authors, literary forms, to get a general idea of the kind of questions and the procedures that were used to provide answers. We will read texts from the Brahmanical (“Hindu”) traditions as well as the Buddhist, Jain, and “secularist” philosophers, and will proceed by themes and issues rather than schools: ontological questions (“realists” vs. “non-realists”), epistemological questions (the “means of knowing”), ethical questions (non-violence, action, and personal transformation). We will reserve the very end of the course to read some 20th century philosophers, such as Gandhi and Ambedkar, so as to showcase the living vitality of Indian philosophy.

341 - T: Feminist Philosophy

341.001

Instructor: Emily McRae
Time/s: TR 9:30-10:45

This course is an exploration of some of the major trends in historical and contemporary feminist philosophy. We will examine and analyze such concepts as patriarchy, oppression, misogyny, sexism, and feminism. We will explore issues of historical and contemporary significance for women, including the phenomenology of femininity and the psychology of oppression and resistance, gender identity, justice in the workplace and in the family, domestic violence, rape, marriage and motherhood. This course has two main objectives. First, this course aims to familiarize you with some of the influential texts in feminist philosophy. Second, this course aims to develop your critical and creative thinking skills, specifically with regard to questions regarding gender, race, sex, and sexism.

350 - Philosophy of Science

350.001

Instructor: Mary Domski
Time/s: TR 8:00-9:15

Looking at the transitions from Aristotle to Newton and Newton to Einstein, we seem to have ample historical evidence that our best scientific theories will be replaced, or at least continue to undergo major revisions.  One might reasonably claim, then, that we’d be naïve to think that science can give us a true account of nature.  Any truth today could be a falsehood tomorrow! Or maybe this isn’t the correct lesson to draw from the historical evidence.  Maybe there is a way that we can save the truth and objectivity that is typically associated with science from the apparently negative lessons of history?  In this class we will examine different philosophical answers to this question, and also discuss the ways in which the history of science has influenced philosophical accounts of what scientific practice involves.  Our survey of the history of science will begin with the Copernican and Newtonian Revolutions of the 17th Century and end with the theories of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics that were developed in the 20th Century.  These revolutionary moments in the physical sciences will serve as the basis for our examination of the nature of scientific practice, and also guide our study of some philosophical debates surrounding the notions of scientific explanation, truth, and objectivity.

354 - Metaphysics

354.001

Instructor: Barbara Hannan
Time/s: TR 12:30-1:45

In this course we will explore fundamental questions about existence, such as: what is the relationship between a thing or object and its characteristics or properties? What is time? What is space? How do things persist through changes of their parts and/or properties? What is causation? How are mind and body related? Is it possible for us to act freely? Why does anything exist? Text: Peter Van Inwagen and Dean Zimmerman, editors, Metaphysics: The Big Questions (Blackwell, 2013).

356 - Symbolic Logic

356.002

Instructor: Barbara Hannan
Time/s: TR 3:30-5:30

Human beings are capable of making truth-preserving deductive inferences. Such valid deductive reasoning can be better understood by utilizing formal languages that simplify the syntax of natural language and lay bare its deep structure. In this course we will learn the basics of two such formal languages: SL (sentential or propositional logic) and PL (predicate logic). With regard to SL, we will study both semantic (truth-table) and syntactical (derivation) methods for proving that sentences and arguments possess various logical properties (such as logical truth, logical falsehood, validity, etc.). With regard to PL, our attention will be confined to the natural deduction systems PD and PD+, which allow conclusions to be derived from premises by use of syntactical rules of inference and rules of replacement. Text: Bergmann, Moor, and Nelson, The Logic Book, Sixth edition.

358 - Ethical Theory

358.001

Instructor: Brent Kalar
Time/s: TR 2:00-3:15

Ethics concerns the nature of goodness and right action, the prerequisites of a good or worthwhile human life, and the sources of moral obligation. This course will survey several of the deepest and most influential theories of ethics in the history of Western philosophy, including those of Aristotle, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Nietzsche. It will also introduce students to the contemporary analytic debate through a discussion of the work of Christine Korsgaard and some of her critics. Grading will consist of periodic short response papers, two short analytical essays, and a final exam. Required Texts: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, tr. Irwin (Hackett); David Hume, Moral Philosophy, ed. Sayre-McCord (Hackett); Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, tr. Gregor (Cambridge); Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morality, tr. Clark and Swensen (Hackett); and Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge).

361 - Modern Christian Thought

361.001

Instructor: Brent Kalar
Time/s: TR 11:00-12:15

In his 1907 encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis, Pope Pius X condemned “Modernism” as the heresy of all heresies – the heresy that embraces every heresy. In so doing, the pope gave powerful expression to the rejection of modernity that has characterized much of Christianity. Since then, with the coming of Vatican II in the 1960s and various strains of so-called “emerging” churches in evangelical circles, attempts have been made to adapt traditional Christianity to the modern (or postmodern) world. But what would it be for Christianity to intellectually embrace modernity (or postmodernity) as its own fullest flowering? This course will focus on some of the most prominent and influential attempts to do just that. We will begin at the tail end of the 18th Century with the first great modernist – the acknowledged father of liberal theology, Friedrich Schleiermacher. In his epochal work On Religion (1799), Schleiermacher addressed the “cultured despisers” of the Christianity of his own day (the Romantic generation), and attempted to show that Christianity (properly understood in its core essence) was not so foreign to their sensibility after all. In the last century, Carl Jung attempted to reconstruct Christianity as a system of psychological insights, and Paul Tillich tried to reformulate Christianity as an existentialist philosophy. We will devote significant attention to both attempts. Finally, we will take a look at the recent efforts of Gianni Vattimo, John Caputo, and Jean-Luc Marion to draw on the resources of phenomenology and hermeneutics to recover a place for Christianity within postmodern philosophy. Whether religious or non-religious, traditionalist or progressive, this course will be of interest to anyone who wants a better understanding of the alternative understandings of Christianity available today. Grading will consist of periodic short response papers, two short analytical essays, and a final exam. Required Texts: Friedrich Schleiermacher, On Religion, tr. Crouter (Cambridge); Carl Jung, On Christianity, ed. Stein (Princeton); Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Volume 1(Chicago); Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Volume 2: Existence and the Christ (Chicago); John Caputo and Gianni Vattimo (ed. By Jeffrey W. Robbins), After the Death of God (Columbia); Jean-Luc Marion, The Visible and the Revealed (Fordham).

363 - Environmental Ethics

363.001

Instructor: Lisa Gerber
Time/s: MWF 12:00-12:50

This course explores some of the main issues in environmental ethics.  We will be looking at our relation with non-human nature and evaluating the underlying values of this relationship including aesthetic, intrinsic, utilitarian, ecological, and personal value. We explore how these values and an understanding of ecology shape our discussion of environmental issues such as climate change, species extinction, ecological restoration, and wilderness.

372 - Modern Social and Political Philosophy

372.002

Instructor: Carolyn Thomas
Time/s: TR 3:30-4:45

Are you trying to make sense of our confusing—even maddening—contemporary political situation? For example, what makes a “conservative” conservative, a “liberal” liberal, a “Machiavellian” Machiavellian, a “Marxist” Marxist, a “totalitarian” totalizing, or even a “Trumpist” Trumpist? Or, how we human beings can—and should—best live together, given our human nature, needs, interdependence, and individuality? If so, modern social and political philosophy can help.

PHIL 372 aims for students to gain understanding of modern, continental European and American political philosophy and social thought, beginning with Machiavelli and continuing through Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Tocqueville, Marx, Nietzsche, Arendt, Rawls, and contemporary socio-political thinkers such as Dussel and Agamben. The course also aims to give us insight into the political structures, institutions, rights, duties, and forces that underly and influence our contemporary American and global political situation. We will study and discuss such questions as: What is the ’social contract’ under which we live? What are the nature and rights of individuals? What is the nature of the state and its responsibilities to its members? Is inequality unjust--or necessary--in human society? Are force and violence ever justified? What is the political origin of punishment? What is terror? What is socio-political estrangement? What is, and should be, education? How does technology influence human society?  

Course requirements include: class attendance and participation, thoughtful reading of assigned texts, take-home short-essay exercises, occasional quizzes, and two exams.

381 - Philosophy of Law

381.001

Instructor: Carolyn Thomas
Time/s: TR 2:00-3:15

The question “what is law?” concerns everyone, even if they don’t know it. We live under rule of law, government makes and enforces laws, judges apply law, and the law orders and regulates our human conduct. Most of us take this for granted. But how does it all work? Who or what really is source and authority of law?  What determines a law’s fairness? What is the nature of your rights before the law? And, yes, laws regulate our human conduct, but laws must also enhance liberty, security, and equality and strive to balance regulation and individual rights—how does law achieve this?

PHIL 381 is an introduction to philosophy of law and philosophical discussion about the nature, principles, and practice of law. The course aims for students to gain understanding of central theories and problems in philosophy of law. Guiding our study will be the fundamental question “what is law?” but we will also consider how philosophers think about the sources and authority of law; about the legitimacy of judges ‘interpreting’ law to decide cases; about the nature of punishment and responsibility; about discrimination and preferential treatment; and about rights—your ‘right to personal liberty' and a 'right to privacy,’ for example, and how these are rights challenged (and protected) by Internet tracking, DNA technology, public surveillance, and the law itself.

Course requirements include: class attendance and participation, thoughtful reading of assigned texts, textbook purchase, take-home short-essay exercises, occasional quizzes, and two or three exams.

415 - History and Philosophy of Mathematics

415.001

Instructor: Paul Livingston
Time/s: MWF 2:00-2:50

This course is an introduction to formal structures, mathematical logic and philosophical meta-logic in a philosophical and historical context. We’ll learn some of the most important results and methods of philosophical and mathematical logic in the twentieth century, with a view to their application to contemporary philosophical problems and questions.  Because we will pursue these questions of application, this is not simply a course in the “philosophy of mathematics” in the usual sense, but just as much an exploration of thephilosophical significance of formal results.  We will explore these results rigorously but with a minimum of unnecessary detail and complication, and always keeping in mind their relevance to the leading questions of philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, political philosophy, and contemporary thought about the nature of human life.

 

After an introduction to elementary set theory, we will discuss transfinite sets and the nature of the infinite, formal paradoxes, model theory, computability theory and Turing machines, and conclude with a proof sketch of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. We shall then explore some recent provocative applications of formal structures and results to problems in the history of philosophy, philosophy of mind, and political philosophy in the work of philosophers such as Wittgenstein, Putnam, Priest, and Badiou.

 

Students should be familiar with symbolic logic (Phil. 356 or the equivalent), but no specialized knowledge of mathematics is required.  

426 - Sem: Buddhist Philosophy of Social Justice

426.001

Instructor: Emily McRae
Time/s: TR 12:30-1:45

This seminar is an experiment in de-centering the West and western philosophical concepts in philosophical discussions of social justice. What happens when we turn to the Buddhist philosophical traditions of South Asia to understand social injustice and the mechanisms for creating social change? What might we learn and how might our analyses of social justice change? This class will use both ancient and contemporary South Asian Buddhist texts to explore the dynamics of social oppression and the liberation from oppression. Themes will include: self, identity, and identity politics; violence and non-violence;  the psychology and phenomenology of oppression and liberation; and the ethics of attention and responsiveness. We will focus particularly on issues regarding racial oppression (and Black Buddhism), gender and sexuality, and caste and class. If time permits, we will also explore Buddhist approaches to climate change and ecological crisis. 

442 - Sem: Sartre and Camus

442.001

Instructor: Joachim Oberst
Time/s: TR 4:30-5:45

We will study two iconic philosophers, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, who stand out in the 20th century for the intense relevance of their unconventional and critical thinking expressed in direct resonance with the political firestorms of their time. To understand the depth of their thinking and the trajectory of their work into our future we will first have to appreciate (briefly) some of their forerunners, especially those in the 19th century, notably Danish theologian Søren Kierkegaard and German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, but also 20th century philosopher Martin Heidegger, which is itself a difficult and delicate endeavor. However, once we see more clearly their discipleship to earlier thinkers, it will be easier to do justice to their work.

The political relevance of Sartre’s ontology is discretely evident. His existential-ontological description of the human condition entails a moral-ethical prescription. The ontological indicative of his thought is at the same time a moral imperative to action. Camus, too, allows the ailments of his time to induce his critical thinking. If the absurd constitutes the human reality, the problem of suicide must be seen as a philosophical question that will be answered in one way or another, even if seemingly ignored.

We shall examine both the philosophical and literary work of these thinkers in their manifold formats, including plays, novels, on stage or on screen. This means that the screening and studying of some motion pictures will be part of our seminar work.

Open-mindedness, intellectual flexibility, existential endurance, and honest curiosity as well as the willingness to engage in civil discourse guided by the fundamental respect for one another are essential for the successful completion of the course.

457 - Schelling

457.002

Instructor: Adrian Johnston
Time/s: R 2:00-4:30

Along with Immanuel Kant, J.G. Fichte, and G.W.F. Hegel, F.W.J. Schelling is one of the towering giants of German idealism. In Schelling’s late teens and early twenties, he enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame in German-speaking intellectual circles with his first publications in the mid-1790s. Initially a Wunderkind protégé of Fichte, Schelling soon became critical of Kant’s and Fichte’s brands of transcendental idealism toward the end of the 1790s. In 1801, he openly broke with his former mentor Fichte. Schelling’s developments of his robustly realist and naturalist philosophies of identity and nature in the late 1790s and early 1800s put him at odds with Kantian and Fichtean idealisms, with their anti-realism and anti-naturalism. Moreover, the Schelling of this period collaborated closely with, and exerted a significant influence upon, the young Hegel. Arguably, Schelling’s early intellectual itinerary involved establishing a new phase in the unfolding of German idealism, with him and Hegel representing systematic challenges to the subject-centric perspectives of Kant and Fichte. In this seminar, we will focus on the first decade-plus (specifically, 1794 to 1806) of Schelling’s long philosophical career (lasting right up until his death in 1854). Attention will be devoted primarily to his philosophies of identity and nature and the issues they raise apropos the legacy of Kantian critical philosophy. Texts we will cover include: Schelling’s early Fichtean essays (1794-1797), writings on Naturphilosophie (1797-1806), System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), “Presentation of My System of Philosophy” (1801), Bruno dialogue (1802), Philosophy and Religion (1804), and Statement on the True Relationship of the Philosophy of Nature to the Revised Fichtean Doctrine (1806).

486 - Sem: Later Heidegger

486.001

Instructor: Iain Thomson
Time/s: W 5:30-8:00

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is widely recognized as one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, yet many of the views at the heart of his “later” work remain shrouded in confusion and controversy.  Focusing on a few of the works Heidegger composed after Being and Time (1927), this seminar will seek to clarify, explain, and critique Heidegger’s views on the significance of art, poetry, and language; his understanding of metaphysics as ontotheology; his reading of Nietzsche and linked critique of technology as nihilism; his famous response to Sartre and humanism—and, of course, we will address the issue of when exactly Heidegger’s “later” work begins and how best to characterize its most distinctive philosophical features. 

This course is good (indeed, indispensable) preparation for understanding much subsequent work in continental philosophy and the other theoretical humanities, which often take Heidegger’s insights as their own point of philosophical departure.  For example, Heidegger’s later work decisively shaped the concepts and concerns of such major continental thinkers as Agamben, Arendt, Badiou, Baudrillard, Blanchot, Butler, Cavell, Deleuze, Derrida, Dreyfus, Foucault, Gadamer, Irigaray, Lacan, Levinas, Marcuse, Rancière, Rorty, Taylor, Vattimo, and Žižek—and this remains the case even where these thinkers approach Heidegger’s thought quite critically (as they all do, in their own distinctive and interesting ways).  One thus needs to understand Heidegger in order to see where these thinkers are coming from, even if his is a thinking they seek (more and less successfully) to move beyond. 

Prerequisites:  Graduate standing, strong background in continental philosophy, or consent of instructor.  Course Requirements:  This course will require a great deal of difficult and challenging reading.  As this is a class in the art of slow reading, you will be required to do the reading ahead of time and bring the appropriate books to every class.  (There will be weekly homework assignments to test that preparedness, and anyone missing more than two will be dropped from the course, so do not take this course if you cannot do the work and attend virtually every class.)  Grades will be based on weekly homework and two high-quality philosophy papers or, for graduate students, one polished research paper.  Required texts:  1).  Heidegger, Off the Beaten Track; 2).  Heidegger, Country Path Conversations; and 3. Thomson, Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity.

557 - Schelling

557.002

Instructor: Adrian Johnston
Time/s: R 4:00-6:30

Along with Immanuel Kant, J.G. Fichte, and G.W.F. Hegel, F.W.J. Schelling is one of the towering giants of German idealism. In Schelling’s late teens and early twenties, he enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame in German-speaking intellectual circles with his first publications in the mid-1790s. Initially a Wunderkind protégé of Fichte, Schelling soon became critical of Kant’s and Fichte’s brands of transcendental idealism toward the end of the 1790s. In 1801, he openly broke with his former mentor Fichte. Schelling’s developments of his robustly realist and naturalist philosophies of identity and nature in the late 1790s and early 1800s put him at odds with Kantian and Fichtean idealisms, with their anti-realism and anti-naturalism. Moreover, the Schelling of this period collaborated closely with, and exerted a significant influence upon, the young Hegel. Arguably, Schelling’s early intellectual itinerary involved establishing a new phase in the unfolding of German idealism, with him and Hegel representing systematic challenges to the subject-centric perspectives of Kant and Fichte. In this seminar, we will focus on the first decade-plus (specifically, 1794 to 1806) of Schelling’s long philosophical career (lasting right up until his death in 1854). Attention will be devoted primarily to his philosophies of identity and nature and the issues they raise apropos the legacy of Kantian critical philosophy. Texts we will cover include: Schelling’s early Fichtean essays (1794-1797), writings on Naturphilosophie (1797-1806), System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), “Presentation of My System of Philosophy” (1801), Bruno dialogue (1802), Philosophy and Religion (1804), and Statement on the True Relationship of the Philosophy of Nature to the Revised Fichtean Doctrine (1806).

586 - Sem: Later Heidegger

586.001

Instructor: Iain Thomson
Time/s: W 5:30-8:00

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is widely recognized as one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, yet many of the views at the heart of his “later” work remain shrouded in confusion and controversy.  Focusing on a few of the works Heidegger composed after Being and Time (1927), this seminar will seek to clarify, explain, and critique Heidegger’s views on the significance of art, poetry, and language; his understanding of metaphysics as ontotheology; his reading of Nietzsche and linked critique of technology as nihilism; his famous response to Sartre and humanism—and, of course, we will address the issue of when exactly Heidegger’s “later” work begins and how best to characterize its most distinctive philosophical features. 

This course is good (indeed, indispensable) preparation for understanding much subsequent work in continental philosophy and the other theoretical humanities, which often take Heidegger’s insights as their own point of philosophical departure.  For example, Heidegger’s later work decisively shaped the concepts and concerns of such major continental thinkers as Agamben, Arendt, Badiou, Baudrillard, Blanchot, Butler, Cavell, Deleuze, Derrida, Dreyfus, Foucault, Gadamer, Irigaray, Lacan, Levinas, Marcuse, Rancière, Rorty, Taylor, Vattimo, and Žižek—and this remains the case even where these thinkers approach Heidegger’s thought quite critically (as they all do, in their own distinctive and interesting ways).  One thus needs to understand Heidegger in order to see where these thinkers are coming from, even if his is a thinking they seek (more and less successfully) to move beyond. 

Prerequisites:  Graduate standing, strong background in continental philosophy, or consent of instructor.  Course Requirements:  This course will require a great deal of difficult and challenging reading.  As this is a class in the art of slow reading, you will be required to do the reading ahead of time and bring the appropriate books to every class.  (There will be weekly homework assignments to test that preparedness, and anyone missing more than two will be dropped from the course, so do not take this course if you cannot do the work and attend virtually every class.)  Grades will be based on weekly homework and two high-quality philosophy papers or, for graduate students, one polished research paper.  Required texts:  1).  Heidegger, Off the Beaten Track; 2).  Heidegger, Country Path Conversations; and 3. Thomson, Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity.