2nd courses in Philosophy

Second courses in Philosophy are designed for non-majors who would like to pursue philosophical questions beyond their introduction to philosophy. These courses typically focus on a sub-field of philosophy, to enable students to focus in on areas of interest in a way which is not possible in the typically introduction to philosophy.

We offer courses across every major field of philosophy; among the most commonly offered courses have been courses in the philosophy of science, in ethics and political philosophy, and in the philosophy of religion. All of the courses listed below satisfy the University Philosophy Requirement.

Fall 2018

Minds, Brains, and Persons
20208 01 (19806)
Puestohl
12:30-1:45 TR


Minds, Brains, and Persons
20208 02 (19805)

Puestohl
2:00-3:15 TR


Minds, Brains, and Persons
20208 03 (19807)

Himelright
11:00-12:15 MW

In this course, we will look at several philosophical issues regarding human beings. Central topics we will cover include (1) how the mind is related to the body, (2) what it is to be a person, and (3) whether it is possible to survive death.


Paradoxes
20229 01 (19808)

Pattillo
12:30-1:45 TR

This course introduces students to some of the most important philosophical puzzles and critically examines the question what, if anything, do they teach us about the world?  A paradox is a collection of statements, each of which seems individually plausible, but which collectively seem highly implausible. Figuring out how and why a paradox is wrong or how and why it is right can be highly informative on a wide variety of philosophical questions.  The topics in this class include but are not limited to, paradoxes related to time, time travel, time bias, motion, infinity, persistence, composition, knowledge, rational belief, rational action, foreknowledge, free will, death, semantics, and ethics. Students should leave both with a deeper understanding of these puzzles and how they impact the way we view the world, as well as with an ability to critically analyze and formulate novel solutions to difficult and complicated arguments.


Paradoxes
20229 02 (19809)

Pattillo
2:00-3:15 TR

This course introduces students to some of the most important philosophical puzzles and critically examines the question what, if anything, do they teach us about the world?  A paradox is a collection of statements, each of which seems individually plausible, but which collectively seem highly implausible. Figuring out how and why a paradox is wrong or how and why it is right can be highly informative on a wide variety of philosophical questions.  The topics in this class include but are not limited to, paradoxes related to time, time travel, time bias, motion, infinity, persistence, composition, knowledge, rational belief, rational action, foreknowledge, free will, death, semantics, and ethics. Students should leave both with a deeper understanding of these puzzles and how they impact the way we view the world, as well as with an ability to critically analyze and formulate novel solutions to difficult and complicated arguments.


Paradoxes
20229 03 (19810)

Pattillo
3:30-4:45 TR

This course introduces students to some of the most important philosophical puzzles and critically examines the question what, if anything, do they teach us about the world?  A paradox is a collection of statements, each of which seems individually plausible, but which collectively seem highly implausible. Figuring out how and why a paradox is wrong or how and why it is right can be highly informative on a wide variety of philosophical questions.  The topics in this class include but are not limited to, paradoxes related to time, time travel, time bias, motion, infinity, persistence, composition, knowledge, rational belief, rational action, foreknowledge, free will, death, semantics, and ethics. Students should leave both with a deeper understanding of these puzzles and how they impact the way we view the world, as well as with an ability to critically analyze and formulate novel solutions to difficult and complicated arguments.


The Meaning of Life
20235 01 (14500)

Seachris
12:30-1:45 TR

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of it all? Many philosophers, especially for a better part of the twentieth century, were suspicious of the question. In pop culture, it is oft the subject of parody. In spite of this, the question of life’s meaning remains of deep and abiding human concern.

In this course, we will tackle the question head on. To do so, we will explore a number of interconnected themes including sense-making, purpose, significance, futility, God, death, boredom, pessimism, and hope to name several. We will begin by considering thorny interpretive issues about how best to understand the question. In the heart of the course, we will compare theories of meaning grouped under the following broad categories: (1) Naturalistic Pessimism, (2) Theistic Optimism, and (3) Naturalistic Optimism. We will conclude by discussing a cluster of topics surrounding death, futility, and hope, weaving these themes back into earlier material.

Along the way we will discuss questions like: Does the question of life’s meaning make sense? Are we cosmically significant? Does life have a purpose(s)? Is God necessary for a meaningful life? Is leading a meaningful life about fulfilling your strongest desires? Can you be wrong about what constitutes a meaningful life? Can an immoral life still be a meaningful life? How can I avoid a midlife crisis? What should I do when I get bored? How do circumstances, like being locked in solitary confinement for long periods, threaten meaningful life? Is death good news or bad news for life’s meaning? Is an afterlife necessary for a meaningful life?

We will not limit ourselves to philosophy. Given that this is humanity’s question, others from both within and outside of the Academy have as much to say. We will expand our exploration of the topic beyond the written medium to include film as we carefully listen to the diversity of voices speaking on life’s grandest question.


Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
20243 01 (19334)

Dutt
3:30-4:45 TR

This course explores the work and impact of the perhaps three most influential thinkers of post-Hegelian modernity. Karl Marx' historical materialism, Friedrich Nietzsche's atheism, perspectivism and genealogy, and Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis have fundamentally challenged traditional frameworks for understanding society, history, culture, religion, and the self. Students will critically examine selected key writings on the following topics: (1) society and history, (2) the human mind and human agency, (3) religion and morality, (4) culture, literature and the arts.

Crosslisted with: GE 20420


Buddhist Philosophy
20245 01 (19811)

Williams
9:30-10:45 TR

In this course, students will explore several key philosophical issues in the Buddhist tradition. We begin by asking if we can make sense of the term “Buddhist Philosophy” and then turn to Buddhist views of the self, interdependence, ethics, and the philosophical role of meditation. The focus of this course will be on Mahayana Buddhist thought, although we will occassionally examine Therevada and Vajrayana views as well. Although many of the texts we will examine in this course come from the Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, with special emphasis on Nagarjuna, Dharmakirti, and Dignaga, we will also draw on the Chinese Huayan and Tientai traditions as well as the Japanese Zen tradition. The goal of this course is to examine questions, and proposed answers, that are critical to the Buddhist philosophical tradition.

Crosslisted with: ASIA 20245


Classical Chinese Philosophy
20248 01 (19812)

Christy
11:00-12:15 TR

This course surveys the main intellectual traditions from the “classical” period of Chinese philosophy (approx. 550-220 BCE), including Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, and Legalism. The texts we will read from these traditions deal with fundamental questions about ethics, political theory, human nature, and metaphysics. The range of answers they present to these questions laid a foundation for the next two millennia of philosophical discourse in China and influenced intellectual developments in East and Southeast Asia more generally. No prior knowledge of Chinese language or history is required for this course.

Crosslisted with ASIA 20248


Classical Chinese Philosophy
20248 02 (19813)

Christy
12:30-1:45 TR

This course surveys the main intellectual traditions from the “classical” period of Chinese philosophy (approx. 550-220 BCE), including Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, and Legalism. The texts we will read from these traditions deal with fundamental questions about ethics, political theory, human nature, and metaphysics. The range of answers they present to these questions laid a foundation for the next two millennia of philosophical discourse in China and influenced intellectual developments in East and Southeast Asia more generally. No prior knowledge of Chinese language or history is required for this course.

Crosslisted with ASIA 20248


Ethics
20401 01 (12320)

Madison
9:30-10:45 TR

Crosslisted with HESB 20222


Philosophy of Law
20408 01 (16565)

Warfield
12:30-1:20 MW

This course explores theoretical and practical issues arising in law. Topics will include some of the following: laws regulating speech, drug laws, the limits of the criminal sanction, over-criminalization, self-defense, the foundations of criminal procedure. In class mid-term and short paper for each of the 3 class units. Regular attendance and participation in required Friday class discussion section.


Self and Society
20423 01 (19815)
Wells
9:30-10:45 TR

We are social individuals. This is apparently a simple fact, but making sense of its implications is surprisingly difficult. The last few centuries have seen considerable progress in addressing the theoretical problems here. Yet ethical problems concerning the relations between collectives and individuals are, if anything, more pressing than ever. The course will begin by examining some of the relevant theoretical and ethical problems in light of canonical works of Western philosophy and social science. Readings will include works by Aristotle, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Weber, and Durkheim. The second half of the course turns to recent work (by Susan Moller Okin, Onora O'Neill, Philip Pettit, Amartya Sen, and others) on three topics of particular contemporary importance: collective responsibility and agency, the justification of private property, and global justice and migration.

Crosslisted with: HESB 30243


Self and Society
20423 02 (19814)
Wells
11:00-12:15 TR

We are social individuals. This is apparently a simple fact, but making sense of its implications is surprisingly difficult. The last few centuries have seen considerable progress in addressing the theoretical problems here. Yet ethical problems concerning the relations between collectives and individuals are, if anything, more pressing than ever. The course will begin by examining some of the relevant theoretical and ethical problems in light of canonical works of Western philosophy and social science. Readings will include works by Aristotle, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Weber, and Durkheim. The second half of the course turns to recent work (by Susan Moller Okin, Onora O'Neill, Philip Pettit, Amartya Sen, and others) on three topics of particular contemporary importance: collective responsibility and agency, the justification of private property, and global justice and migration.


Ancient Philosophy
20438 01 (19817)
Longenecker
8:00-9:15 MW

This course is primarily an exploration of the ideas and arguments of Ancient Greek philosophers, with a focus on the pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. These philosophers were especially interested in topics such as the soul, God, nature, society and ethics. We may also explore the ideas and arguments of later Medieval thinkers—especially Augustine and Aquinas—on these issues. In this course, you will learn to evaluate the competing perspectives on these issues and develop an informed view of your own.


Ancient Philosophy
20438 02 (19816)
Longenecker
9:30-10:45 MW

This course is primarily an exploration of the ideas and arguments of Ancient Greek philosophers, with a focus on the pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. These philosophers were especially interested in topics such as the soul, God, nature, society and ethics. We may also explore the ideas and arguments of later Medieval thinkers—especially Augustine and Aquinas—on these issues. In this course, you will learn to evaluate the competing perspectives on these issues and develop an informed view of your own.


Foundations of Modern Social Philosophy
20449 01 (19335)
Rush
2:00-3:15 TR

An advanced introductory survey of foundational texts in the history of modern European social philosophy. Readings from among: Smith, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Lukács, Freud, and Weber.


Responsibility
20450 01 (19818)

Blaschko
2:00-3:15 TR

On June 17th, 2015 Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist, killed 9 African American churchgoers in an attempt to start a race war. In the ensuing weeks, Americans engaged in a now familiar practice: arguing in person, online, and in the pages of various op-ed sections about who (i.e. which individuals, organizations, and institutions) deserved blame for these tragic deaths, who could be held responsible. In this course, you will learn how to better engage in this practice. This course will help you answer three big questions:

1.     What is responsibility, and when is it properly attributed to an agent?
2.     Are there different kinds of responsibility (e.g. legal responsibility, professional responsibility, personal or collective responsibility)? And
3.     How does the concept of responsibility show up in various practical domains, e.g. the law, medicine, business, politics, etc.?

You will gain theoretical knowledge about the philosophical concept of responsibility, and the practical skills to construct and deliver persuasive arguments regarding the responsibility of particular agents in particular cases. This knowledge, and these skills, will be useful to those ultimately seeking to make arguments in boardrooms and courtrooms, to medical and research ethics panels, and to political and activist bases. It’ll also help those seeking to reflect more deeply on personal responsibility, and to those who just want to start winning more arguments on Facebook.

Crosslisted with HESB 30336 01


Medical Ethics
20602 01 (19820)
Squires
11:00-12:15 TR

This course will examine ethical issues in medicine and the biomedical sciences. The beginning of the semester will cover several major ethical traditions.  With these in mind, we will then explore a number of topics in medical ethics, including but not limited to abortion, euthanasia, and justice in health care.


Medical Ethics
20602 02 (19819)
Barker
11:00-12:15 TR


Philosophy of Science
20639 01 (19821)
Dethier
2:00-3:15 TR

This course serves as an introduction to the philosophy of the life sciences. We'll begin with a discussion of evolution and its conceptual foundations, paying particular attention to different views on the role of natural selection within evolutionary biology. We'll then turn our attention to a number of more specific philosophical issues, such as the implications of evolutionary biology for human nature, individuals, and society. We'll end by considering a number of contemporary ethical issues raised by the life sciences.

Crosslisted with STV 20639.


Feminist Philosophy and Sci-Fi
20644 01 (19336)
Rea
12:30-1:45 MW

The science fiction genre is rich with stories that explore classic philosophical questions or thematically engage large-scale philosophical movements and worldviews. In this class, we will discuss a variety of science fiction novels, short stories, and films whose central themes or plot elements make significant connections with important ideas or topics in contemporary feminist philosophy.  Science fiction readings will include texts by Margaret Atwood, Joanna Russ, Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree, Jr., and Ursula LeGuin.  Some of these texts will be paired with works of contemporary philosophy; others will not be.  Course requirements will include the following:  two short papers (max 1500 words), one longer paper (max 5000 words) or comparable project, and participation in class discussions.

Crosslisted with GSC 20644, STV 20644


Science, Virtues, and the Good Life
20645 01 (19337)
Ratti and Warne
9:30-10:45 TR

Science occupies a prominent place in our society. Because of the important and controversial role of science in society, scientists are either held in high regard or forcely opposed. But who is a scientist? Is being a good scientist merely a technical matter, or does the good scientist require moral virtues? How is science related to our conceptions of human happiness, and flourishing? What is the relation between academic science and entrepreneurial science? In this course we will reflect on the criteria we use when we talk about the good life, the norms and values guiding the scientific life, and the relation between science and the good life. In particular, we will dissect three main topics: (1) the relation between scientific practice and human flourishing (2) the scientific life as a vocation and the moral status of scientists, and (3) the relation between science, values and society.

Crosslisted with STV 20645


Philosophy of Neuroscience
20646 01 (19822)
Murray
5:05-6:20 MW

This course is organized around a series of questions. What makes for a good model of the brain? Does neuroimaging tell us anything about the mind? Are neurons computers? Should we use neuroscience for human enhancement? Will neuroscience ever tell us something important about freedom, ethics, or subjectivity? Should we use neuroscience in the courtroom? Can we reduce psychology to neuroscience? Other questions about the nature of neural representation, the structure of the mind, the evidential value of computational models, and machine learning may also be considered.

Crosslisted with STV 20646


Philosophy of Religion
20801 01 (15751)
Climenhaga
9:30-10:45 TR

How probable is it that God exists? That will be the main question we will try to answer in this course. We will approach this question by examining the main arguments and evidences for and against the existence of God. In so doing we will discuss how to construct and evaluate arguments and how to think about the cumulative force of multiple evidences relevant to the same hypothesis. We will begin by learning the basics of deductive logic and the mathematics of probability theory. Then we will apply these tools to evaluate the force of evidences for and against the existence of God, including: the existence of the universe, the fine-tuning of the laws of physics, religious experiences, miracle reports, evil and suffering, and divine hiddenness.

This course does not presuppose any prior acquaintance with its subject matter, but it does presuppose a willingness to learn the rules of logic and the mathematics of probability, and to apply these to questioning and examining the rationality of our beliefs about God and his relation to the world. Course requirements will include problem sets testing facility with logic and probability, short written responses to class readings, and a final paper.


Philosophy of Religion
20801 02 (15133)
Climenhaga
11:00-12:15 TR

How probable is it that God exists? That will be the main question we will try to answer in this course. We will approach this question by examining the main arguments and evidences for and against the existence of God. In so doing we will discuss how to construct and evaluate arguments and how to think about the cumulative force of multiple evidences relevant to the same hypothesis. We will begin by learning the basics of deductive logic and the mathematics of probability theory. Then we will apply these tools to evaluate the force of evidences for and against the existence of God, including: the existence of the universe, the fine-tuning of the laws of physics, religious experiences, miracle reports, evil and suffering, and divine hiddenness.

This course does not presuppose any prior acquaintance with its subject matter, but it does presuppose a willingness to learn the rules of logic and the mathematics of probability, and to apply these to questioning and examining the rationality of our beliefs about God and his relation to the world. Course requirements will include problem sets testing facility with logic and probability, short written responses to class readings, and a final paper.