Spring 2021

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

1115.001

Instructor: Michael Candelaria
Time/s: MW 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. Depending on the covid situation, this course may be hybrid or entirely remote. In case it is hybrid, the students have the option of taking it entirely remote.

1115.002

Instructor: Michael Rubio
Time/s: MWF 11:00-11:50

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. A second goal of this course is to have students think about how philosophy might be employed in their own lives.

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, to the dismay of many, 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 and why humans have continued to do it.

PHIL 1115 is currently listed as “remote scheduled.” This means that students are expected to be available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00am to 9:50am, for a synchronous class, which will happen through the Zoom online platform. This means you are required to have a computer, internet access, and ideally a webcam to make the online interactions less aloof and more personable.

Office hours/consultations, when necessary, will be handled entirely online through email or Zoom.

There is no textbook for this course. I will provide PDFs of all the readings which will be posted on the Learn student portal. All assignments, quizzes, reading responses, discussion posts, and exams will be submitted online through the Learn student portal.

1115.003

Instructor: Mariah Partida
Time/s: ARR

In this course, we will examine a diverse 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 is the nature of reality? What’s the relationship between mind and body, self and other, free will and determinism, being and time? What is 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-1115 will cultivate their own philosophical voices and their ability to critically reflect on some of the most pressing ethical and political questions of our time.

1115.004

Instructor: Lisa Gerber
Time/s: ARR

***2H 8-week asynchronous fully online course***

This course is an exploration of some of the basic questions in philosophy such as what is reality, what is self, what is the connection between mind and body, whether are we free, and what is the nature of right and wrong.  

Required Course Material: 

  • Robert C. Solomon, Introducing Philosophy 
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World 
  • Various essays and lectures on Learn 
  • Film: The Matrix 

1115.005

Instructor: Justin Pearce
Time/s: TR 12:30-1:45

Most, if not all of us, have spent time in our lives asking philosophical questions: Are you and I seeing the same blue when we look at the sky? What is the meaning of life? What does it mean to be a good person? While many people view these philosophical questions as just pointless musings which don't really have any answer beyond one's opinion, in this course, we will take seriously the idea that philosophy relies on rigorous, well-reasoned arguments. The goal of this course is not to answer all our philosophical questions once and for all. The goal is simply to engage with some of the important philosophers of the past in order to determine what philosophy is, how we do it, and why we ought to do it at all. We're all born as philosophers who repeatedly ask our parents "Why?" over and over until we are met with the frustrated "Because I said so!" Throughout the rest of our lives, we are often told by other authorities "this is simply the way things have to be" or "it's just common sense." Our goal is to revive that child-like wonder and questioning - philosophy is about giving actual reasons where others simply want to appeal to authority or say "it's just obvious." 

We will begin with ancient philosophy and continue all the way to the 21st century, picking out a variety of important texts throughout history. All readings will be available on Learn. Grades will primarily be determined by argumentative papers and reading questions. 

1115.006

Instructor: Joachim Oberst
Time/s: TR 11:00-12:15

This is a general introduction to the basic questions and the main themes of philosophy using both the topical and the historical approach. We begin in antiquity and end in modernity to discuss cosmology, science and theology, epistemology, ontology and metaphysics, logic and truth, ethics and morality, religion and politics, mythology and phenomenology including existentialism. Much of the literature to be discussed in class will be available online via UNM Learn.

1115.007

Instructor: Robert McKinley
Time/s: MWF 10:00-10:50

Philosophy is often said to begin from a sense of wonder or amazement that leads us to ask questions about the world and ourselves. But it doesn't end there, since philosophers then try to articulate and defend reasonable answers to these questions in critical dialogue with others. While most of us feel this wonder or ask these questions spontaneously, few take the time and effort to work out the answers for ourselves in an intellectually satisfying way. This class will give you practice with just that. We will take an historical approach, following the broad trajectory of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics to 20th century thinkers, with some consideration of the Indian philosophical tradition as well. Our questions will be largely metaphysical (what is the nature of reality? what is my own nature?) and ethical (what kinds of things are worth pursuing in life? how should I act?). Assessment will be through short quizzes, reading assignments, and essays. Students should come away from this course with a general understanding of the history of philosophy and enhanced skills for reading and evaluating philosophical texts as well as composing philosophical arguments of their own.

1115.013

Instructor: Cara Greene
Time/s: ARR

Philosophy comes from the Greek word philosophia, which means, “love of wisdom.” Accordingly, philosophy is a diverse field of study that explores and celebrates different ways of thinking about things like knowledge, ethics, logic, aesthetics, religion, and politics, among many others. Yet, you cannot have “love of wisdom” without having a lover of wisdom, or a thing that loves wisdom. Who is this “thing” that is capable of finding, acquiring, and loving wisdom? In this Introduction to Philosophy class, you will encounter a broad range of philosophical perspectives on the topic of human subjectivity. We will confront and attempt to answer questions like: What is the difference between the soul and the body? Is the soul composed of parts, or is the soul a unified thing? What divides the human from the natural world? What is the relationship between an individual and collective society? To tackle these questions, we will begin in the ancient world, reading selections from Plato, Aristotle and Nagasena. Next, we will move to the modern era, reading selections from Descartes, Spinoza and Hume. Finally, we will transition to the 19th and 20th centuries, reading selections from Hegel, Marx, Freud and Fanon.  Course assignments will consist of readings, reading responses, a midterm exam, 2 short papers, and 1 final paper.

1120 - Logic, Reasoning, and Critical Thinking

1120.001

Instructor: Nils Seiler
Time/s: MWF 11:00-11:50

In Logic, Reason, and Critical Thinking you will learn the tools you need to make and defend strong arguments and those you need to analyze the arguments of others. By focusing on the components of strong arguments as well as some of the common fallacious methods of argumentation, this course will help you improve your own argumentative skills, especially in writing, and your skills in critical thinking. The first half of this course will help you develop the techniques required for making and analyzing arguments, while the second half of the course will give you experience in analyzing arguments in action. Although topics for the class are varied, you can expect to discuss current topics such as politics, law, social issues, and more.
Due to the current pandemic, this course will be conducted entirely online. Students can expect two kinds of instruction from this course: 1) weekly lectures recorded and posted on UNM Learn and 2) weekly online meetings via Zoom to suppliment the course lecture videos. The schedule for these zoom meetings will be determined once the course is underway.

1120.005

Instructor: Zaccharia Turnbull
Time/s: TR 12:30-1:45

This course will introduce students to the rigorous analysis of arguments. In the first half of the course, we will learn some linguistic, logical, and conceptual skills useful for recognizing, analyzing, and critically evaluating arguments, including deductive, inductive, moral, and fallacious arguments. In particular, we will learn what may make an argument sound or cogent. In the second half of the course, we will look at a variety of moral and political philosophical texts with which to apply these concepts of reasoning. Texts may include selections from Mill, Kant, Rawls, Korsgaard, Nozick, Davis, and Geronimo.

The first and most important objective of the course is that we should develop the skills and tools to confront the arguments we encounter in academic, public, and daily life. We will examine and reexamine what we think makes for a good argument, and what counts as a good reason for believing something. The second objective is that we should gain familiarity with some important political philosophy, a familiarity which may help us to better understand and critique contemporary political and social discourse. We will explore the arguments made by political thinkers, and we will apply our learnt critical skills to those arguments. In doing this, I hope we will together develop our ideas about the nature of 'justice' and how justice might best be achieved today.

1120.006

Instructor: Klara Hedling
Time/s: TR 11:00-12:15

1120 Logic, Reasoning and Critical Thinking is a course that will teach the skills of writing, argumentation, argument analysis, reasoning, and critical thinking. The first half of the course will cover how to identify and assess arguments, by introducing students to deduction, induction, validity, soundness, strength, and fallacy, among others. The second half of the course will apply the skills learned in the first part of the course through critical engagement with selected texts and speeches. Classes will consist of lecture, discussion, and group work. Assignments will include readings, quizzes/exams, short papers, and a final paper.

1120.007

Instructor: Capucine Mercier
Time/s: TR 9:30-10:45

This class aims at developing your skills in writing, argumentation, argument analysis, reasoning, and critical thinking. We will study the structures of argumentative texts and of different types of arguments (deduction and induction, descriptive vs normative arguments, etc.) as well as the elements of meaning and language that convey those arguments. We will also consider what constitutes a flawed argument, or logical fallacy. Throughout the class, we will practice our skills at spotting and analyzing arguments by reading texts on philosophical and ethical themes. Students will also practice their own argumentative skills by writing short essays in response to some of these texts. The logical and analytical tools acquired in this class will be highly useful to students in their future coursework by enabling them to read and analyze material efficiently and to write strong and well-structured papers. 

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) 

1120.008

Instructor: Jason Barton
Time/s: MWF 10:00-10:50

Ultimately, philosophy is concerned with argumentation. In this course, we will investigate what properties, qualities, and conditions make an argument acceptable, persuasive, and interesting. The first part of the course will be more theoretical in the sense that we will analyze the foundational elements of argumentation (argument construction, types of reasoning, fallacies, and so on). The second part of the course will be more practical in the sense that we will apply the argumentative concepts from the first part of the course to philosophical and political texts. None of the texts from the second part of the course will need to be purchased by students. This list of texts includes Harry Frankfurt’s The Reasons of Love, Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Antichrist: A Criticism of Christianity, and Richard Taylor’s “The Meaning of Life.” We will also apply our argumentative concepts to timely political texts. 

1120.009

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)  

1120.010

Instructor: Mariah Partida
Time/s: ARR

This course will take up the following questions, among others: How do we determine whether an argument is good or bad, strong or weak? How can we apply argument analysis to our everyday lives? In the first half of the course, we will familiarize ourselves with three key aspects of argument analysis: First, what is an argument? What are the claims being made by that argument? What is the conclusion? Next, do the supporting claims actually give us good reason to think the conclusion is true? Finally, are the supporting claims true, or at least plausible? In the second half of the course, we will apply our newfound argument-analysis skills to various texts. In doing so, we will both evaluate the reasoning of the arguments being made by these authors and construct written responses to these arguments.

1120.011

Instructor: Lisa Gerber
Time/s: ARR

***1H 8-week asynchronous fully online course***

Most intellectual endeavors involve argumentation. From short letters to the editor to complex philosophical essays, from every day discussions to legal debates, arguments are constantly created and invoked to support or criticize points of view. The purpose of the course is to help you learn how to argue well so that you can 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 issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. In the face of this pandemic we will see the importance of evaluating sources and authority, rooting out conspiracy theories, and creating strong arguments about the issues arising from this pandemic. These include evaluation of ongoing scientific research, mistakes in reasoning, and moral arguments such as how vaccines should be equitably distributed. 

Required texts: 

  1. Strunk and White, Elements of Style 
  2. Weston, A Handbook for Arguments 
  3. Handouts and Essays posted on Learn

2140 - Professional Ethics

2140.001

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: Mary Domski
Time/s: ARR

The philosophies that emerged during the early modern period can be seen as a response to a two-fold challenge: 1) the skeptical challenge to human knowledge and 2) the challenge to find a scientific method appropriate for study of the natural world.  


We’ll begin the course by considering the growing popularity of skepticism in the wake of the Protestant Reformation and focus in particular on the skeptical arguments forwarded in Montaigne’s
Apology for Raymond Sebond.  This background will set the stage for our examination of the anti-skeptical arguments of ‘rationalists’ such as Descartes and Leibniz. 

The second half of the course will be dedicated to the ‘empiricists’ such as Locke and Hume. Their philosophies will be placed in the scientific context of the seventeenth century, and we’ll examine how they attempted to integrate the empirical method of science into their respective approaches to knowledge and nature.  

2210.002

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

This course on Early Modern Philosophy introduces the students to the major thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the leading lights of rationalism and empiricism. We begin with a study of Descartes' Meditations of First Philosophy, then turn to Spinoza's Ethics, and end the rationalists with Leibniz' Monadology. Next we give our attention to the British Empiricists: John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. The capstone of our course is Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason that synthesizes transcendental idealism with empirical realism.  Depending on the covid situation this course may be hybrid or entirely remote. In the case it is hybrid, students will have the option of taking it entirely remotely.

2220 - Greek Philosophy

2220.001

Instructor: Brent Kalar
Time/s: MWF 12:00-12:50

This course will be an introduction to the main texts of ancient philosophy in the context of Greek literary and religious culture. Its aim will be to provide the student with a solid foundation, not only for future work in philosophy, but also for understanding Western civilization as a whole. We will begin with a study of the fascinating, but fragmentary, writings left to us from the first Western philosophers, traditionally known as the “Pre-Socratics.” Following this background, the bulk of the course will be devoted to a detailed examination of the three major Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We will study Socrates’ struggle with the Sophists, his views on virtue and immortality, and his heroic martyrdom (as reported by Plato). We will then turn to one of the centerpieces of the course, Plato’s philosophy of the Forms, as this is laid out in such works as the Phaedo, Symposium, and Republic. Along the way, we will study Plato’s immensely influential views on love, beauty, justice, and knowledge. Finally, the course will culminate in a systematic exposition of the thought of Aristotle – arguably the pinnacle of ancient thought (and, some would argue, of philosophy as a whole). We will examine Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s theory of the Forms, and his alternative ontology of substance, as well as his views on natural change, the ultimate causes of things, the soul, and the human good.

2225 - Greek Thought

2225.002

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

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 as well as new kinds of knowledge – 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 BCE to the 2nd century CE, including 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, Epictetus, and Plotinus. We will mainly proceed by topics and will adopt a double perspective: a historical perspective that aims at understanding those texts in their own terms, however different their ideas and positions might seem to us; and a critical perspective to reflect about what these texts can tell us about reality, what knowledge and truth are, what a good life is, and what thinking about politics involve. 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.

This course will be offered remotely for the whole semester. It will combine sessions conducted via Zoom and lectures videos posted on Learn.

336 - Chinese Philosophy

336.001

Instructor: Emily McRae
Time/s: MWF 10:00-10:50

This course surveys Chinese philosophy, with emphasis on the early (pre-Qin) period. We will examine early Chinese philosophical schools, including Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism, Legalism. We will also read two contemporary philosophical texts that engage directly with pre-Qin Chinese philosophy: Trying Not to Try, by Edward Slingerland, and The Wrong of Rudeness, by Amy Olberding.  Themes will include early Chinese understandings of human nature, virtue and goodness, sagehood, attitudes toward death and dying, political philosophy, and theories of knowledge.

352 - Theory of Knowledge

352.001

Instructor: Kelly Becker
Time/s: ARR

‘Philosophy’ literally means love of wisdom. Thus the nature and status of knowledge itself is of fundamental importance to philosophers. We will begin with the skeptical claim that we can know almost nothing at all. We will then turn to the problematic traditional analysis of knowledge as justified true belief. After discussing a famous refutation of this account and assessing new ones, we will inquire into the nature of justified belief. When does a true belief constitute knowledge? When it is based upon firm foundations? When it coheres with my other true beliefs? When it is caused in a reliable way? We will question whether philosophy itself can give us any specific insight into the nature of knowledge. And finally, with the time remaining, we’ll take up more current issues in epistemology. Texts TBD. Grade based on online discussion, quizzes, and two or three essays.

354 - Metaphysics

354.001

Instructor: Brent Kalar
Time/s: MWF 10:00-10:50

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of “being” or “reality” in the most general sense. Traditionally, it has been regarded as central to the discipline of philosophy, or even as philosophy itself. Further, it is notoriously challenging intellectually. Accordingly, students in this course should expect to work hard and struggle with some very difficult reading. The payoff, however, is proportionally great: a significant sharpening and deepening of the mind and a more profound understanding of its fundamental questions. This course will introduce students to the subject through a sequential examination of four key “moments” in the history of Western metaphysics. We will begin with the work that gave the subject its name, Aristotle’s Metaphysics. In this work, Aristotle establishes a “science of being qua being,” and sets the terms of the tradition in his focus on what became known as “substance.” Then we will turn to the true heart of the metaphysical tradition, Scholasticism. From the 12th to the 16th centuries, philosophers like Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and Francisco Suarez established a rich discourse of systematic metaphysics based on Aristotle. We will look at the overall structure of this discourse through a contemporary introduction to it. Next, we will turn to the arguable high point of early modern metaphysics, the system of Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics. Spinoza is notable for his turning of scholastic categories into a form of monism with a strong naturalistic tendency. Finally, we will look at the recasting of the question of being qua being in the Existentialism of Martin Heidegger.

356 - Symbolic Logic

356.001

Instructor: Kelly Becker
Time/s: MTWR 1:00-3:01

***Second-Half Term***

One great thing about the human mind is its ability to draw inferences. Better still is to do this well. In this course, you will learn two new languages developed to clarify the notion of logical entailment, which will help you understand the nature of valid inference. The course is good preparation for further work in logic or mathematics, but you can also take the tools you will acquire into any academic or professional discipline that requires clarity of thought. No prerequisites. Text: Bergmann, Moor, and Nelson, The Logic Book 6/e (McGraw-Hill). Consider renting the book. It’s one of the best available, but the most recent addition has a significant number of typos and is quite expensive.

358 - Ethical Theory

358.002

Instructor: Brent Kalar
Time/s: MWF 2:00-2:50

Ethical theory (also called “moral philosophy”) concerns the nature of the human good and right action, what makes a human life worthwhile, the structure of practical reasoning, and the bases of moral evaluations and moral obligations. We will examine select highlights from the Western tradition of theorizing about such issues, from the earliest reflections in ancient Athens to the 21st century Anglo-American academic context. We will open with Plato’s great dialogue, the Gorgias, which depicts a (shockingly, still contemporary) dispute between Socrates and the Sophists over the distinction between rhetoric and morality. Following this introduction to the socio-historical context of ancient Greek ethical theory, we will spend the largest segment of the course in an in-depth study of the proven gold standard of works of ethical theory, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle develops a theory of ethics as a branch of the political life, centered on the practice of moral and intellectual virtue, and aiming at a condition of human flourishing known as “eudaimonia” in Greek (happiness, well-being). Next, we will examine the grand Medieval synthesis of Greek philosophy and Judeo-Christian theology in the “natural law theory” of St. Thomas Aquinas – the ethical theory that has, more than any other, underwritten traditional Western ethics. Since the 18th century, however, traditional Western ethics has been continually challenged by the central modern ethical theory, most widely-known as “consequentialism.” We will take a look at the seminal statement of the most influential mode of consequentialism, J. S. Mill’s utilitarianism. Finally, we will end our survey with a recently-published work of ethical theory by one of the greatest living philosophers. In Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity, Alasdair MacIntyre criticizes the failures of modern ethical theories to address our modern intellectual and moral confusion and disintegration, and attempts to reconstruct a Thomistic Aristotelianism for our own era.

368 - Biomedical Ethics

368.001

Instructor: Ann Murphy
Time/s: MWF 2:00-2:50

This course aims to better students’ ability to formulate and evaluate various arguments regarding several important ethical issues in contemporary bioethics. Topics under consideration include philosophical issues surrounding the ethics of birth and death, and the social construction of illness.  Literature for this course includes philosophical texts, literature, memoir, film, and material from the contemporary media when appropriate.

372 - Modern Social and Political Philosophy

372.001

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

Are you trying to make sense of our contemporary political situation? For example, what makes a “conservative” conservative, a “liberal” liberal, a “Machiavellian” Machiavellian, a “Marxist” Marxist, a “totalitarian” totalizing?  And 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, The Federalist, Marx, Nietzsche, Arendt, Fanon, Rawls, and contemporary socio-political thinkers such as West, Baudrillard, 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 is the ‘state' and its responsibilities to its members? What are rights? 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, textbook purchase, thoughtful reading of assigned texts, short discussion posts/response papers, occasional quizzes, and two exams. 

Because of coronavirus restrictions, PHIL 372 will be entirely online, offered as “remote-scheduled,” combining Zoom and UNM Learn tools. We will meet online via Zoom at our scheduled class time, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:15pm, for live discussion. Attendance for the entire scheduled class time is mandatory. Registered students should plan to be present and visible on Zoom, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:45 pm. If you have access concerns or questions, please feel free to email me.

I will email enrolled students at their unm.edu addresses prior to the course start with details for how to access our first Zoom class.

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? Is law’s purpose to punish ‘injustice,’ to ‘create’ justice, or something else? Are you morally obligated to obey ‘unjust’ law? What is the purpose of punishment? 

PHIL 381 is an introduction to philosophy of law and philosophical discussion about the nature and practice of law and about the 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 specific problems in law, including the following:  1) the sources and authority of law;  2) the legitimacy of judges ‘interpreting’ law to decide cases; 3) the nature of punishment and responsibility; 4) rights, such as your ‘right to personal liberty' and a 'right to privacy’ as these are rights are challenged (and protected) by surveillance, hate crime, and the law itself; 5) and contemporary problems of race and law.

Course requirements include: mandatory class attendance and participation, thoughtful reading of assigned texts, short discussion posts/response papers, occasional quizzes, and two take-home exams. 

Because of coronavirus restrictions, PHIL 381 will be entirely online, offered as “remote-scheduled,” combining Zoom and UNM Learn tools. We will meet online via Zoom at our scheduled class time, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:15pm, for live discussion. Attendance for the entire scheduled class time is mandatory. Registered students should plan to be present and visible on Zoom, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:15pm. If you have access concerns or questions, please feel free to email me.

I will email enrolled students at their unm.edu addresses prior to the course start with details for how to access our first Zoom class.

421 - Early Heidegger

421.001

Instructor: Iain Thomson
Time/s: TR 2:00-3:15

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is widely considered one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th century.  This seminar will focus primarily on his most famous and influential work, Being and Time (1927).  Here in his early magnum opus, Heidegger develops and deploys a phenomenological method in order to help us understand the ontological structure underlying intelligibility.  The result is a revolutionary reconceptualization of existence, selfhood, and being, one which challenges—and seeks to replace—central presuppositions philosophers have inherited from the tradition of Western metaphysics.  To begin to understand how and why Heidegger’s philosophical views shift after Being and Time, we will end the course by reading some of Heidegger’s later work, including his minor masterpiece “The Origin of the Work of Art.”  This course is good—indeed, indispensable—preparation for understanding much subsequent work in continental philosophy (and other theoretical work in the humanities and beyond), almost all of which takes Heidegger as a primary point of departure.   

Prerequisites:  Graduate standing, background in continental philosophy/existentialism, or consent of professor.  Course Requirements:  Grades will be based on two take home essay assignments (for undergraduates) or a single research paper (for graduate students).  Required texts (and abbreviations used below):  1. Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson (New York:  Harper, 2008; hereafter “B&T”); 2.  Thomson, Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2011; hereafter “HAP”); and 3. Heidegger, Off the Beaten Track (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2002; hereafter “OBT”).  Recommended Texts:  1.  M. Wrathall, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Being and Time (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2013; hereafter “CCBT”); 2. Thomson, Heidegger on Ontotheology:  Technology and the Politics of the University (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005; hereafter “HOTPE”); 3.  Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1993 [1927]); 4). Braver, ed., Division III of Heidegger's Being and Time: The Unanswered Question of Being (Cambridge, MA:  MIT, 2015; hereafter “D3BT”); and 5).  Heidegger, Being and Time: A Translation of Sein und Zeit, J. Stambaugh, trans. (Albany:  SUNY, 1996) (we will be using the Macquarrie and Robinson translation in class, but it can often help to have another translation to compare). 

441 - T: Hegel

441.001*

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

Hegel’s massive, sprawling philosophical system is centered on what he calls his “logic” (which itself is something quite different from classical bivalent and/or formal logic). His first magnum opus, the 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit, arguably is a “ladder” that concludes by leading up to the initial point of entry into the realm of the logical. And, the entirety of the ground Hegel covers after composing the two versions of his logic (the Science of Logic [1812-1816] and the Encyclopedia Logic [1817, 1827, 1830]), a vast terrain including his discussions of art, history, nature, politics, and religion (among other topics), is organized and parsed by him according to the concepts and categories of his logical apparatus. A true and proper appreciation of Hegel’s “dialectical”/“speculative” philosophy is impossible without a comprehension of its logic as delineating his core epistemological and ontological commitments. This seminar will focus on the Encyclopedia Logic and 1831 Berlin Lectures on Logic.

441 - T: Plato's Republic

441.001*

Instructor: Pierre-Julien Harter
Time/s: M 2:00-4:30

What is justice? What is a good life? What counts as education? What can philosophy achieve? What is truth? These are some of the questions you would think about if you read Plato’s Republic. It is one of the few major philosophical works that have shaped and impacted the history of philosophy decisively for centuries. It is a landmark of Greek philosophy that has framed the conversation about ontology and metaphysics, education, aesthetics, ethics, and politics. This course will help students to improve their familiarity with Greek philosophy by introducing them to what could be considered Plato’s masterpiece. Besides its influence, Plato’s work is a fascinating achievement in itself: it is a sort of a “total work of philosophy”, which offers a coherent and articulated vision of major philosophical issues as well as reflects on the nature and the status of philosophy itself; it is also a “work of art,” given how Plato deploys his talent as a writer (despite his criticism of poets!), which serves his narrative by making full use of rhetorical and poetical devices. We will pay close attention to the literary aspect of the Republic, which has philosophical implications, especially regarding the way Plato considered what the activity of philosophy should consist in.

This course will propose a complete and patient reading of the text and require students to spend time understanding it on its own terms. Students should expect to dive into the details of the text and strive to develop a charitable interpretation that resorts to the multiple resources the text has to offer. Focusing on this single work will allow us to discuss contemporary scholarship and students should expect to read secondary literature besides the primary text. We will not, however, reduce the Republic to a historical curiosity, and will also consider it critically as a work making claims that still have purchase on some of the issues contemporary philosophy is still struggling with: questions of power, of political leadership, of justice, of the kind of society we want to live in, and the kind of life we want to live. Assignments will combine close commentaries of small passages and a final paper.

This course has an option to be offered in-person, but it will be offered remotely at least for the first half of the semester. We will meet online via Zoom, either for the entire length of time or for a shorter duration if lecture videos are posted in advance on Learn. There is little chance that the course will be offered in-person for the second half of the semester. It will depend on the guidelines from UNM and the State of New Mexico, as well as the type of classroom attributed to us. Even if the in-person teaching were to resume, students will still be offered the possibility of attending the class via Zoom. This means that a student who wants to follow this course for the entire semester remotely will be able to.

457 - Sem: Philosophy of Education

457.001

Instructor: Paul Livingston
Time/s: R 4:00-6:30

This seminar will aim to open an inquiry into the meaning of education, under contemporary conditions, as it intersects and interrelates with philosophy as a range of practices and modes of the conduct of life. Thus, the inquiry will not be confined to “philosophy of education” in the narrow sense but will aim to interrogate some of the multiple dimensions (for instance political, ideological, ethical, technological) in which education in philosophy and philosophical education inform and are today informed by the contemporary problems of an individual or collective life. What are the roles of philosophy and philosophical education in the understanding and communication of prevalent conceptions of meaning, practice, belief, culture, or value? How does philosophical education interact with the functions of power or authority in preserving and enforcing conformity and collective belief or in the reproduction of existing structures of authority, dominance, ideology, or technology, including in schools? In what way, if any, can philosophical education or a philosophy of education be liberating or emancipatory and how does a philosophical practice of education offer to provide or communicate distinctive terms, bases, or forms for the pursuit of modes of social and political critique and the potential for transformation? We will pursue these questions, among others, with a view to interpreting and reflecting on the temporalities of thought and life that are practiced and pursued in various philosophical projects and the specific methods, self-conceptions, and relationships of education they suggest, entail, or demand.

Readings TBA, but may include texts by: Plato, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Emerson, Dewey, Wittgenstein, Montessori, Rancière, Frierre, Arendt, Althusser, Badiou.

This course will take place in a synchronous, online format (via zoom).

458 - Sem: Contemporary Feminist Philosophy

458.001

Instructor: Emily McRae
Time/s: W 12:00-2:30

This seminar offers an in-depth analysis of some recent and significant contributions to feminist philosophy. We will read three recently published books: (1) Living a Feminist Life (2017), by Sara Ahmed, (2) Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory (2019), by Patricia Hill Collins, and (3) Entitled (2020), by Kate Manne. Topics covered will include the dynamics of male entitlement; the relation between gender, knowledge, and power; gender, race, and sexuality; intersectionality; and feminist subjectivity and identity. The main assignments will be mid-term and final papers. As an upper-level seminar, active participation in class discussion is expected. We will meet Wednesdays from 12:00-2:30.

469 - Sem: Violence and Non-Violence

469.001

Instructor: Ann Murphy
Time/s: M 5:00-7:30

This course will be a concerned with several different questions:  What is violence?  Where, when, and how is it justified?  What are the strongest philosophical arguments against violence?  What is nonviolence?  How are we to understand harm?  How should we conceive the relationship between material, racial, colonial, sexual, linguistic, and symbolic violence?  Some of the authors under consideration will be: Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Judith Butler, Simone de Beauvoir, Josué de Castro, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jean-Paul Sartre, and Mahatma Gandhi.

486 - Sem: Derrida

486.001

Instructor: Iain Thomson
Time/s: W 5:50-8:00

Course description:  In this advanced undergraduate and graduate student seminar, we will seek to understand the philosophical significance of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century.  In order to chart a course through Derrida’s incredibly prolific and extremely difficult body of work, the seminar will be guided by my (once but no longer terribly controversial) interpretive thesis that Derrida is best understood as a post-Heideggerian thinker.  Derrida recognized Heidegger as the most important philosopher of the twentieth century and so sought to critically appropriate Heidegger’s views.  This means that Derrida develops his own views on the basis of Heidegger’s thought (as Derrida understands it), while also frequently criticizing that thought where (in Derrida’s evolving view) Heidegger himself failed to fully develop the radical implications of his own thinking.  Indeed, Derrida usually develops Heidegger’s thought precisely by criticizing it (and viceversa), and we will seek to understand this often confusing intertwinement of critique and development in terms of the deconstructive methodology Derrida develops from his reading of Heidegger.  (The Derridean title of this course could thus be “Derrida on Heidegger,” where “on” means not only “on the subject of” but also “on the basis of.”) 

            After some all-too-brief background on Heidegger (with whose philosophical and post-philosophical thinking some prior acquaintance will be presupposed), we will carefully read some of the most important texts written by Derrida directly on Heidegger, texts in which Derrida critically appropriates and develops many of his own core ideas (such as deconstruction, différance, and writing under erasure) as critical appropriations of Heidegger’s views.  We will then turn to read several longer works in which Derrida develops these (post-Heideggerian) views beyond Heidegger, extending them into the domain of ontological questions (for example, how should we understand the being of “the” animal?  Of politics?  Of death?) which Heidegger himself raised but left insufficiently thought-through and so underexplored and underdeveloped, in Derrida’s view.  In these ways, we will develop the hermeneutic hypothesis that Derridean deconstruction (following its hyper-Heideggerian logic) tries to think that which went “unthought” in Heidegger’s own thinking, taking Heidegger’s thought as its own “uncircumventable” (as Derrida put it) point of departure, a “point” which Derrida thereby seeks to push further and so move beyond (without, perhaps, ever entirely leaving it behind).  We will then bring the course to its end by reading the brilliant final seminars Derrida gave while confronting the encroaching imminence of his own demise and yet again rethinking (albeit for an apparently final time) the great existential and philosophical question of the meaning of death. 

Course requirements:  Given the legendary difficulty of reading Derrida, this course should not be your first exposure to continental philosophy (!); even students well-versed in continental thought should not be enrolled in this course unless they are up for the serious challenge of reading Derrida’s work, a challenge which will only reward those who can meet it with a great deal of their own time, energy, and thought.  The necessary requirements for success in this class might begin to be listed as follows:  the self-discipline needed to complete a great deal of challenging reading; an open-minded willingness to struggle with texts that rank among the most difficult in the Western philosophical tradition (and which challenge some of the most cherished achievements of this tradition); and regular course preparation and attendance.  To measure your fulfillment of these requirements, grades will be based (for undergraduates) on a midterm paper and a final paper, as well as weekly, 1 page reading reports (which will also serve as attendance checks), due (on-line) by 5 pm on the Wed. of class.  These weekly reports should clearly and succinctly explain in a paragraph (1) what you take to be the main point/thesis/insight of (one of) the reading(s) for that day’s seminar, (2) a second point you take to be important and interesting (your second paragraph), and then (3) end with a question concerning something you did not understand or would like to hear discussed or explained.  For graduate students, the requirements are the same except that you will be responsible for writing a final research paper (of 12-20 pages) and (instead of a midterm paper) doing an in-class presentation (which you will be responsible for arranging with me, see below).  Let me emphasize that this is an advanced course for serious students onlyAny student who misses more than three weekly seminars (without permission or formal documentation) will be disenrolled (as will students who demonstrate any other immature, irresponsible, and distracting behavior, such as texting or checking phones or computers during class without permission).  If you have any questions or concerns about these policies, please let me know by the first week of class. 

Required Texts:  1).  Thomson, Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity (Cambridge UP, 2011); 2). Derrida, Margins of Philosophy (U. Chicago, 1982); 3). Spurs:  Nietzsche’s Styles (U. Chicago, 1981); 4). Derrida, Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Volume II (Stanford UP 2008); 5). Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am (Fordham UP: 2008); 6), Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, Vol. 2 (Chicago UP, 2011).  (Other major texts by Derrida that are largely concerned with Heidegger include Of Spirit; Aporias; The Truth in Painting; The Gift of Death; Given Time; On the Name; and Heidegger:  The Question of Being and History, the last being Derrida’s earliest sustained engagement with Heidegger’s Being and Time.)  For anyone looking for the most accessible and authoritative introduction to Derrida’s thinking, I recommend the often impressively clear and insightful interviews collected in his Points…Interviews, 1974–1994.  (Please feel free to contact me with any questions.)

557 - Sem: Philosophy of Education

557.001

Instructor: Paul Livingston
Time/s: T 4:00-6:30

This seminar will aim to open an inquiry into the meaning of education, under contemporary conditions, as it intersects and interrelates with philosophy as a range of practices and modes of the conduct of life. Thus, the inquiry will not be confined to “philosophy of education” in the narrow sense but will aim to interrogate some of the multiple dimensions (for instance political, ideological, ethical, technological) in which education in philosophy and philosophical education inform and are today informed by the contemporary problems of an individual or collective life. What are the roles of philosophy and philosophical education in the understanding and communication of prevalent conceptions of meaning, practice, belief, culture, or value? How does philosophical education interact with the functions of power or authority in preserving and enforcing conformity and collective belief or in the reproduction of existing structures of authority, dominance, ideology, or technology, including in schools? In what way, if any, can philosophical education or a philosophy of education be liberating or emancipatory and how does a philosophical practice of education offer to provide or communicate distinctive terms, bases, or forms for the pursuit of modes of social and political critique and the potential for transformation? We will pursue these questions, among others, with a view to interpreting and reflecting on the temporalities of thought and life that are practiced and pursued in various philosophical projects and the specific methods, self-conceptions, and relationships of education they suggest, entail, or demand.

Readings TBA, but may include texts by: Plato, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Emerson, Dewey, Wittgenstein, Montessori, Rancière, Frierre, Arendt, Althusser, Badiou.

This course will take place in a synchronous, online format (via zoom).

558 - Sem: Contemporary Feminist Philosophy

558.001

Instructor: Emily McRae
Time/s: W 12:00-2:30

This seminar offers an in-depth analysis of some recent and significant contributions to feminist philosophy. We will read three recently published books: (1) Living a Feminist Life (2017), by Sara Ahmed, (2) Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory (2019), by Patricia Hill Collins, and (3) Entitled (2020), by Kate Manne. Topics covered will include the dynamics of male entitlement; the relation between gender, knowledge, and power; gender, race, and sexuality; intersectionality; and feminist subjectivity and identity. The main assignments will be mid-term and final papers. As an upper-level seminar, active participation in class discussion is expected. We will meet Wednesdays from 12:00-2:30. 

569 - Sem: Violence and Non-Violence

569.001

Instructor: Ann Murphy
Time/s: M 5:00-7:30

This course will be a concerned with several different questions:  What is violence?  Where, when, and how is it justified?  What are the strongest philosophical arguments against violence?  What is nonviolence?  How are we to understand harm?  How should we conceive the relationship between material, racial, colonial, sexual, linguistic, and symbolic violence?  Some of the authors under consideration will be: Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Judith Butler, Simone de Beauvoir, Josué de Castro, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jean-Paul Sartre, and Mahatma Gandhi.

586 - Sem: Derrida

586.001

Instructor: Iain Thomson
Time/s: W 5:50-8:00

Course description:  In this advanced undergraduate and graduate student seminar, we will seek to understand the philosophical significance of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century.  In order to chart a course through Derrida’s incredibly prolific and extremely difficult body of work, the seminar will be guided by my (once but no longer terribly controversial) interpretive thesis that Derrida is best understood as a post-Heideggerian thinker.  Derrida recognized Heidegger as the most important philosopher of the twentieth century and so sought to critically appropriate Heidegger’s views.  This means that Derrida develops his own views on the basis of Heidegger’s thought (as Derrida understands it), while also frequently criticizing that thought where (in Derrida’s evolving view) Heidegger himself failed to fully develop the radical implications of his own thinking.  Indeed, Derrida usually develops Heidegger’s thought precisely by criticizing it (and viceversa), and we will seek to understand this often confusing intertwinement of critique and development in terms of the deconstructive methodology Derrida develops from his reading of Heidegger.  (The Derridean title of this course could thus be “Derrida on Heidegger,” where “on” means not only “on the subject of” but also “on the basis of.”) 

            After some all-too-brief background on Heidegger (with whose philosophical and post-philosophical thinking some prior acquaintance will be presupposed), we will carefully read some of the most important texts written by Derrida directly on Heidegger, texts in which Derrida critically appropriates and develops many of his own core ideas (such as deconstruction, différance, and writing under erasure) as critical appropriations of Heidegger’s views.  We will then turn to read several longer works in which Derrida develops these (post-Heideggerian) views beyond Heidegger, extending them into the domain of ontological questions (for example, how should we understand the being of “the” animal?  Of politics?  Of death?) which Heidegger himself raised but left insufficiently thought-through and so underexplored and underdeveloped, in Derrida’s view.  In these ways, we will develop the hermeneutic hypothesis that Derridean deconstruction (following its hyper-Heideggerian logic) tries to think that which went “unthought” in Heidegger’s own thinking, taking Heidegger’s thought as its own “uncircumventable” (as Derrida put it) point of departure, a “point” which Derrida thereby seeks to push further and so move beyond (without, perhaps, ever entirely leaving it behind).  We will then bring the course to its end by reading the brilliant final seminars Derrida gave while confronting the encroaching imminence of his own demise and yet again rethinking (albeit for an apparently final time) the great existential and philosophical question of the meaning of death. 

Course requirements:  Given the legendary difficulty of reading Derrida, this course should not be your first exposure to continental philosophy (!); even students well-versed in continental thought should not be enrolled in this course unless they are up for the serious challenge of reading Derrida’s work, a challenge which will only reward those who can meet it with a great deal of their own time, energy, and thought.  The necessary requirements for success in this class might begin to be listed as follows:  the self-discipline needed to complete a great deal of challenging reading; an open-minded willingness to struggle with texts that rank among the most difficult in the Western philosophical tradition (and which challenge some of the most cherished achievements of this tradition); and regular course preparation and attendance.  To measure your fulfillment of these requirements, grades will be based (for undergraduates) on a midterm paper and a final paper, as well as weekly, 1 page reading reports (which will also serve as attendance checks), due (on-line) by 5 pm on the Wed. of class.  These weekly reports should clearly and succinctly explain in a paragraph (1) what you take to be the main point/thesis/insight of (one of) the reading(s) for that day’s seminar, (2) a second point you take to be important and interesting (your second paragraph), and then (3) end with a question concerning something you did not understand or would like to hear discussed or explained.  For graduate students, the requirements are the same except that you will be responsible for writing a final research paper (of 12-20 pages) and (instead of a midterm paper) doing an in-class presentation (which you will be responsible for arranging with me, see below).  Let me emphasize that this is an advanced course for serious students onlyAny student who misses more than three weekly seminars (without permission or formal documentation) will be disenrolled (as will students who demonstrate any other immature, irresponsible, and distracting behavior, such as texting or checking phones or computers during class without permission).  If you have any questions or concerns about these policies, please let me know by the first week of class. 

Required Texts:  1).  Thomson, Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity (Cambridge UP, 2011); 2). Derrida, Margins of Philosophy (U. Chicago, 1982); 3). Spurs:  Nietzsche’s Styles (U. Chicago, 1981); 4). Derrida, Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Volume II (Stanford UP 2008); 5). Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am (Fordham UP: 2008); 6), Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, Vol. 2 (Chicago UP, 2011).  (Other major texts by Derrida that are largely concerned with Heidegger include Of Spirit; Aporias; The Truth in Painting; The Gift of Death; Given Time; On the Name; and Heidegger:  The Question of Being and History, the last being Derrida’s earliest sustained engagement with Heidegger’s Being and Time.)  For anyone looking for the most accessible and authoritative introduction to Derrida’s thinking, I recommend the often impressively clear and insightful interviews collected in his Points…Interviews, 1974–1994.  (Please feel free to contact me with any questions.)