2nd Courses in Philosophy

Fall 2017

The Meaning of Life
20235 01 (15933)

Seachris
12:30-1:45 MW

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of it all? Though many philosophers, especially for a better part of the twentieth century were suspicious of the question, and despite the fact that it is often the subject of parody in pop culture, 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 intelligibility, purpose, significance, futility, naturalism, God, death, 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? 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.


Ethics
20401 01 (12551)

Squires
9:30-10:45 TR
Crosslist:  


Ethics
20401 02 (15934)
Longenecker
3:30-4:45 TR

In this course we will deal with ethical questions such as: are abortion and euthanasia wrong? How should we treat animals and the environment? What duties do we have to the impoverished? And we will address meta-ethical issues such as: is there such a thing as objective right and wrong? How do we figure out what is right or wrong? Is God or some supernatural being needed to ground morality? Why should we even be moral in the first place? Students will learn to wield the arguments for and against various positions. They will also defend these positions both orally and in writing by the presentation and criticism of arguments.


Ethics
20401 03 (20618)
Longenecker
5:05-6:20 TR

In this course we will deal with ethical questions such as: are abortion and euthanasia wrong? How should we treat animals and the environment? What duties do we have to the impoverished? And we will address meta-ethical issues such as: is there such a thing as objective right and wrong? How do we figure out what is right or wrong? Is God or some supernatural being needed to ground morality? Why should we even be moral in the first place? Students will learn to wield the arguments for and against various positions. They will also defend these positions both orally and in writing by the presentation and criticism of arguments.


Ethics
20401 04 (20617)
Squires
11:00-12:15 TR


Ethics
20401 05 (20616)
Apostolopoulos
12:30-1:45 TR

Despite its inherently practical subject matter, many accounts of what makes for an ethical life in Western thought have been advanced from a disembodied, theoretical, and reflective perspective. In this class, we will first review some of the most influential ethical theories in Western philosophy (including e.g. virtue theory, deontology, utilitarianism, consequentialism, hedonism). With this theoretical grounding in place, we will turn our attention to pressing contemporary problems. Our main task will be to understand the extent to which these theories can help us respond to the increasingly complicated challenges associated with recent technological developments, the environment, gender and racial identity, and our embodied and finite human nature, among other topics. Students will be encouraged to actively engage with these questions in class discussions. 


Philosophy of Law
20408 01 (20135)

Warfield
11:00-12:15 MW
Crosslist: PHIL 20408-01

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, and the debate about 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.


Philosophy of Law (Glynn Honors ONLY)
20408 02 (20619)

Warfield
11:00-12:15 MW
Crosslist: PHIL 20408-01

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, and the debate about 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.


Just War Theory
20422 02 (20621)

Allhoff
12:30-1:45 TR


Just War Theory
20422 03 (20620)

Allhoff
11:00-12:15 TR


Philosophy and Film
20440 03 (16494)

Rush
2:00-3:15  TR
Crosslist: PHIL 43333-01

Film has drawn the attention of philosophers and cultural theorists almost from its inception and has increasingly become a topic of interest in contemporary academic philosophy. Various directors and movements in film history have likewise been concerned with various philosophical questions and themes. A number of features of the medium make it open to philosophical investigation – its appeal to mass audiences and its social impact, questions of viewer identification, aesthetic questions about features of film like editing techniques and genre conventions, and its relationship to other art forms and new media.

This course will explore these issues and others at the intersection of philosophy and film, drawing on readings from film theory, traditional philosophy, and cultural criticism. Screenings will be drawn from a broad range of genres from the silent era to the present day.


Political Philosophy
20441 01 (17897)

Christy
12:30-1:45  TR
Crosslisted with : CNST 20611-01

In this course, we will ask how we should understand the social ideals of freedom and equality, and how these ideals should be realized in a just society. To help us approach these questions, we will read a series of major philosophical works from the last fifty years, each of which falls within a distinct tradition of political thought. The traditions represented by the works we will read are liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, and anarchism. We will consider the alleged strengths and weaknesses of each tradition’s distinctive approach to political justice, and explore each tradition’s implications for current political controversies. Which particular controversies we focus on will be determined, in part, by a class vote.

Students majoring or minoring in political science, economics, sociology, or peace studies may be especially interested in this course.


Political Philosophy
20441 02 (17895)

Christy
2:00-3:15  TR
Crosslisted with: CNST 20611-02

In this course, we will ask how we should understand the social ideals of freedom and equality, and how these ideals should be realized in a just society. To help us approach these questions, we will read a series of major philosophical works from the last fifty years, each of which falls within a distinct tradition of political thought. The traditions represented by the works we will read are liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, and anarchism. We will consider the alleged strengths and weaknesses of each tradition’s distinctive approach to political justice, and explore each tradition’s implications for current political controversies. Which particular controversies we focus on will be determined, in part, by a class vote.

Students majoring or minoring in political science, economics, sociology, or peace studies may be especially interested in this course.


Ethics and Personhood
20445 01 (20623)

Phillips
12:30-1:45 TR


Ethics and Personhood
20445 02 (20622)

Phillips
2:00-3:15 TR


Social Philosophy
20448 01 (20624)

Jackson
9:30-10:45 TR

I get it. Philosophy can be dry, inapplicable, and even boring. In Social Philosophy, we dive into topics that are current, in the news, and relevant to you. Social Philosophy takes philosophical theories and shows how they apply to topics like immigration, sports, feminism, and gender.

The course will be divided into three sections. We will start with social metaphysics and talk about what groups are, whether groups can be responsible for things, gender, and disability.  Then, we will do social epistemology and talk about testimony, epistemic injustice, the relationship between testimony and faith, and how we should respond when people disagree with us.  The biggest part of the course will be on social ethics, where we will cover topics like our duties to help the poor/give to charity, immigration, war, sports, social media, and abortion.

The class will be discussion based. There will be two papers, and each will require a rough draft or outline.  There will also be a final evaluation of some sort (i.e. exam or project). This seminar fulfills the second philosophy requirement.


Environmental Philosophy
20603 01 (20931)

Snapper
3:30-4:45 TR


Environmental Philosophy
20603 02 (20932)

Snapper
2:00-3:15 TR


Science, Technology & Society
20606 01 (12428)

Geltzer
12:30-1:45 TR

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. We will examine science and technology and medicine as social and historical phenomena, shaped by human beings embedded in specific historical, as well as contemporary cultures. We shall examine the diverse roots and aims of contemporary science, technology, and medicine that by considering topics including how scientific knowledge has changed through time, especially how modern conceptions of “objective” knowledge have evolved, whether medical and psychiatric researchers can define ‘normal’ human psyches independent of the pharmacological agents they use to alter them, how genetics and genomics are reshaping our understandings of human health, and how cybernetic and cyborg technologies are leading people to rethink the boundaries of human existence. Reflecting our focus on how science and technology intersect with and reflect aspects of wider society, we will also consider and how society should mediate or moderate scientific and technological development.


Philosophy of Science
20617 01 (20625)

Steeger
2:00-3:15  MW 
Crosslisted with: STV 20117-01

Scientific theories have enjoyed much success; they afford us tremendous power to predict and explain phenomena in the world around us. In light of this power, you might wonder why it is these theories are so successful. This question invariably leads to others. For instance: how much do our chosen theories tell us about the world---must the unseen entities referenced by scientific explanations exist? And just what counts as a "scientific explanation" anyhow? This course will equip you with the tools necessary to begin answering these and other questions. We will survey classic and contemporary debates in the philosophy of science, including: the reality of unobservable entities posited by theories; the nature of scientific explanation; how we choose between competing theories; and how we confirm existing theories. We will also consider applications to examples from the physical sciences. However, this course is self-contained: no previous familiarity with any particular physical or mathematical theory is required.


Philosophy and Science Fiction
20620 01 (20137)

Rea
12:30-1:45  MW 
Crosslisted with: PHIL 20620-02

The science fiction genre is rich with stories that explore classic philosophical questions, exploit timeless philosophical puzzles and paradoxes, or thematically engage large-scale philosophical movements and worldviews. In this class, we will examine the way in which several core problems of philosophy are raised in contemporary works of science fiction, and we will look carefully at more systematic discussions of those problems by well-known historical and contemporary philosophers. We will focus mainly on questions about human persons--for example, questions about the nature of the self and personal identity over time, the possibility of free action, artificial intelligence, the nature and significance of gender differences, etc.   

Course Requirements: Three or four short papers (4 pages max), a final exam, and class participation.  Texts: Readings posted on Sakai, and maybe some films to be watched outside of class.  SF readings will include authors such as Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Ursula K. LeGuin, Cordwainer Smith, Roger Zelazny, Ted Chiang, and Greg Egan. 


Philosophy and Science Fiction 
20620 02 (20626)

Rea
12:30-1:45  MW  
Glynn Honors Students ONLY
Crosslist: PHIL 20620-01

The science fiction genre is rich with stories that explore classic philosophical questions, exploit timeless philosophical puzzles and paradoxes, or thematically engage large-scale philosophical movements and worldviews. In this class, we will examine the way in which several core problems of philosophy are raised in contemporary works of science fiction, and we will look carefully at more systematic discussions of those problems by well-known historical and contemporary philosophers. We will focus mainly on questions about human persons--for example, questions about the nature of the self and personal identity over time, the possibility of free action, artificial intelligence, the nature and significance of gender differences, etc.   

Course Requirements: Three or four short papers (4 pages max), a final exam, and class participation.  Texts: Readings posted on Sakai, and maybe some films to be watched outside of class.  SF readings will include authors such as Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Ursula K. LeGuin, Cordwainer Smith, Roger Zelazny, Ted Chiang, and Greg Egan. 


Technology, Society & Ethics
20637 01 (20877)

Elder
2:00-3:15  MW 


Philosophy of Mental Illness
20640 01 (20628)

Patillo
11:00-12:15  MW 

Mental illness is an increasingly important yet sadly misunderstood topic in our society.  This course is designed to help students analyze the phenomenon of mental illness in a philosophical way.  The two main questions driving the course are how should we think about mental illness, and what obligations do we have regarding mental illness.  Students will be expected to read, discuss, and develop their thoughts regarding these topics.  Grades will include one major research paper, as well as minor presentations leading up to that paper.


Philosophy of Mental Illness
20640 02 (20627)

Patillo
12:30-1:45  MW  

Mental illness is an increasingly important yet sadly misunderstood topic in our society.  This course is designed to help students analyze the phenomenon of mental illness in a philosophical way.  The two main questions driving the course are how should we think about mental illness, and what obligations do we have regarding mental illness.  Students will be expected to read, discuss, and develop their thoughts regarding these topics.  Grades will include one major research paper, as well as minor presentations leading up to that paper.


Ethics of Sustainability
20641 01 (20977)

Lanao Camara
TBA 


Philosophy of Religion
20801 01 (15935)

Finley
5:05-6:20 TR 


Philosophy of Religion
20801 02 (17899)

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 03 (16729)

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.


Philosophy of Religion
20801 04 (16730)

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 05 (18242)

Climenhaga
11:00-12:15  TR
Glynn Honors students ONLY
Crosslisted with PHIL 20801-03

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.