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Summer 2016 Course Descriptions

101 - Introduction to Philosophy


Instructor: Dimitry Shevchenko
Time/s: ARR

***SecondHalf Course***  (2H)

This class aims to introduce students to some of the major issues in the history of philosophy. Does God exist? What is the self? What are right and wrong? What is the ideal kind of society? Do our senses provide reliable knowledge about reality, and if not, how can the nature of reality be known? What is the meaning of life?

Students will read the original texts of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Nietzsche, and other representatives of Western philosophical traditions, but will also become familiar with some of non-Western philosophers from Indian, Chinese, and other traditions such as Laozi, the Buddha, Vātsyāyana, Al-Ghazali etc. The students will also have an opportunity to critically assess and respond to these different philosophers - in online group discussions and in writing assignments. 

Students are expected to read the assigned texts, participate in weakly group discussions, submit weakly quizzes and write two essays.      

Required Text:  Robert C. Solomon, Kathleen M. Higgins & Clancy Martin, Introducing Philosophy: A Text with Integrated Readings, 10th edition, Oxford University Press, 2012  

101.002 - Canceled

Time/s: Canceled

156 - Reasoning & Critical Thinking


Instructor: David Liakos
Time/s: ARR

***Second Half Course***

This course will introduce students to the rigorous analysis of arguments. In the first half of the course, we will learn the linguistic and conceptual skills necessary for recognizing, analyzing, and critically evaluating deductive, inductive, scientific, moral, and fallacious arguments. Our focus at first will be on recognizing and critiquing poor arguments. Then we will undertake a close reading of some philosophical texts to find the limitations in even the best arguments. Through reading and writing we will learn what makes an argument sound and convincing.

 Required texts:

William Hughes, Jonathan Lavery, & Katheryn Doran, Critical Thinking: An Introduction to the Basic Skills (7th edition).    

Peter Singer, The Life You Can Save.

201 - Greek Thought


Instructor: Paul Livingston
Time/s: ONLINE

***First Half***

Philosophy begins with the ancient Greeks and there is no better introduction to philosophy than to study their thought and writing.  We will consider the Greek development of rational, reflective thought from earlier, mythological and religious origins.  We will take up some of the questions that most interested the first philosophers: What is the nature of being and how is it related to change and becomingHow do we know what we know and what are the limits of human knowledge and understanding?  What is it to live a good life and how can we be happy?  As we pursue these interrelated questions, we will be focusing in particular on the question of what most defines us as human beings: the nature of the human self, soul, or mind


202 - Descartes to Kant


Instructor: Allan Hazlett
Time/s: MTWR 12:00-2:30

***Second Half Course***

This course will introduce students to the history of European philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries, with an emphasis on metaphysics and epistemology in the work of three central figures: René Descartes (1596 – 1650), David Hume (1711 – 1776), and Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804).  We will study Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) (along with the work of some of his critics), Hume’s Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748), and Kant’s Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783), with the aim of understanding how these philosophers grappled with a central philosophical question (which was prompted for them by the rapid emergence of empirical science and its apparent monopoly on the generation of knowledge): how and to what extent is knowledge of the world possible?

Texts: Descartes, Meditations, Objections, and Replies (Hackett, 2006); Atherton (ed.), Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period (Hackett, 1994); Hume, An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (Hackett, 1993); Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (Hackett, 1977).