Undergraduate

University Requirement: The University requires that every student complete a two course requirement in Philosophy—first an introductory course (10100, 10101, 20101) and second, a more focused, advanced 2xxxx level course. 

Philosophy majors and minors must take 30301, 30302 or 30313 before registering for 3xxxx or 4xxxx level courses.

 

Fall 2016 Course Descriptions

 

Introduction to Philosophy 
10100 01 (12270) 

Speaks
12:30-1:20 TR (F) 
First Year Students Only 
co-requirement 12100, Sections 1- 16
 

Philosophy is the attempt to answer, by argument, the deepest and most basic questions about the universe. Our focus in this class will be on five such questions:

  • Does God exist?
  • What am I?
  • Am I free?
  • What is real?
  • What must I do?

Your central aim in this class will not be to learn what other people have thought about these questions -- though you will do that too. Your central aim in this class will be to develop your own views about the correct answers to these questions. You will be evaluated based upon your ability to defend those views. To do that, you will have to learn how to argue. Hence, one aim of the course will be to teach you the basic logic required to do that.

 

Introduction to Philosophy: God and the Good Life
10100 02 (16331)

Sullivan
12:50-1:40 MW (F)
First Year Students Only
co-requisite 12100,  Sections 17-27

Should you practice a religion? 
What do you owe other people? 
What would it take for your life to be meaningful?
And how should you decide what to believe when it comes to big questions like these?

In God and the Good Life, we’re searching for answers. We’ll read the best philosophical arguments addressing these questions.  We’ll share our reactions to the proposals in blogs and social media editorials.  We’ll come together as a large group to debate real world case studies that bear on these questions, hearing periodically from guest speakers making headlines in current debates about religion, morality and meaning.  And we’ll meet in small Sustained Dialogue groups to discuss our religious and moral identities and develop virtuous friendships (to borrow Aristotle’s terminology).  If you are excited about developing philosophical skills in an intense, creative community format---this is the course for you.  This course fulfills the first philosophy requirement.  Learn more about GGL at our course website: godandgoodlife.org.  Or watch our course trailer: https://youtu.be/EMKbtSC3-2I


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 01 (10367)

Karbowski
2:00-3:15 MW
First Year Students Only

This course is an historically oriented introduction to Philosophy. It aims to introduce students to philosophy by a close reading of the works of some of the great philosophers, including but not limited to Parmenides, Plato/Socrates, Aristotle, Avicenna, Abelard, St. Augustine, and St. Aquinas. We will examine their stances on a variety of philosophical questions about the nature of reality, knowledge, universals/particulars, morality, personhood, and the afterlife. Students should come away from the course with a deeper appreciation of the doctrines/arguments of these philosophers, of the value of critical engagement with others' beliefs, and of the value of the study of philosophy itself. The final grade in the course will be determined by the student's performance on two papers, a midterm, and a final.
 

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 02 (10382)

Kelsey
2:00-3:15 TR
First Year Students Only

There are many ways to make a first approach to philosophy; in this course we will begin reading some classic texts on the topic of “knowledge,” and then move to consider other themes as they arise in Plato’s Republic. (Principal authors studied: Plato, Descartes, Wittgenstein.)
 

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 03 (10872)

Rodriguez
9:25-10:15 MWF
First Year Students Only

This class will provide an overview of issues that are both important problems of philosophy and issues relevant to the lives of each of us: the existence of God and the problem of evil, the nature of human beings (whether we are more than just bodies, and whether we are free), and what moral standards we should follow (if any).  We will also deal with the particular moral issue of war and peace, examining in some detail the positions of pacifism and just war theory.

The goal is for students (a) to become familiar with the issues involved for each topic and with responses that have been posed to these questions (to this end students will be required to read pieces both classical and modern), and (b) to develop the abilities to analyze the alternatives and to adopt more well-thought-out positions of their own (to this end students will be required to participate in class discussions and regularly write papers responding to readings).  Class requirements include participation, three papers, and two exams.
 

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 04 (12204)

Rodriguez
8:30-9:10 MWF
First Year Students Only

This class will provide an overview of issues that are both important problems of philosophy and issues relevant to the lives of each of us: the existence of God and the problem of evil, the nature of human beings (whether we are more than just bodies, and whether we are free), and what moral standards we should follow (if any).  We will also deal with the particular moral issue of war and peace, examining in some detail the positions of pacifism and just war theory.

The goal is for students (a) to become familiar with the issues involved for each topic and with responses that have been posed to these questions (to this end students will be required to read pieces both classical and modern), and (b) to develop the abilities to analyze the alternatives and to adopt more well-thought-out positions of their own (to this end students will be required to participate in class discussions and regularly write papers responding to readings).  Class requirements include participation, three papers, and two exams.

 

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 05 (12203)

Snapper
9:25-10:15 MWF
First Year Students Only

 

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 06 (10383)

Snapper
10:30-11:20 MWF
First Year Students Only

 

 

Introduction to Philosophy
10101 07 (20956)

Stubenberg
11:00-12:15 Tr
First Year Students Only

We will begin this course by reading through Thomas Nagel’s very short, very readable, and rather disquieting discussion of a number of traditional philosophical questions. Nagel will leave us with many more questions than answers. Next, Rene Descartes (1596-1650) will offer us some concrete answers, specifically about the nature of ourselves: he argues that we are a composite of body and soul. But our next author will reject this view of ourselves. According to Barry Dainton we are neither Soul nor body. We then turn to the question whether our will is free. Mark Balaguer will argue that it may very well be free, and that this is so, no matter what sort of thing we are. Finally we will address the question how to live. Harry Frankfurt will try to persuade you that, while morality is important, the thing that truly matters in life is love. 


Introduction to Philosophy
10101 08 (20957)

Gamez
3:30-4:45 TR
First Year Students Only

 

 

Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy and Science
10103 01 (TBA)

Brading
TBA TR
First Year Students Only

What is the world made of, and how does it work? This is the question through which we will find our way into philosophy. We will ask about what there is (metaphysics, ontology, science), how we can know (epistemology, methodology, scientific method), and how we can talk about all this (philosophy of language, scientific theories). Addressing these questions takes us into issues of our own place in the world, of what makes a human being, and, in light of all this, into questions of how we should live and act. Throughout this course we will use scientific developments to help us think about philosophical questions, and philosophical questions to help us think about science. Science topics will include questions of scientific knowledge and scientific method, and may include philosophical issues in physics and biology, and contemporary ethical questions associated with medicine, food, and technology.

Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy and Science
10103 02 (20447)

Brading
2:00-3:15 TR
First Year Students Only

What is the world made of, and how does it work? This is the question through which we will find our way into philosophy. We will ask about what there is (metaphysics, ontology, science), how we can know (epistemology, methodology, scientific method), and how we can talk about all this (philosophy of language, scientific theories). Addressing these questions takes us into issues of our own place in the world, of what makes a human being, and, in light of all this, into questions of how we should live and act. Throughout this course we will use scientific developments to help us think about philosophical questions, and philosophical questions to help us think about science. Science topics will include questions of scientific knowledge and scientific method, and may include philosophical issues in physics and biology, and contemporary ethical questions associated with medicine, food, and technology.
 

Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy and Mathematics
10104 01 (17095)

Bays
2:00-3:15 TR
First Year Students Only

An introduction to philosophy focusing on issues at the intersection of philosophy and mathematics. Special focus on the role that mathematics has played in the history of philosophy, the nature of the infinite, and the relationship between mathematics and natural science.
 

Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Politics
10105 01 (17097)

Jech
9:30-10:45  TR
First Year Students Only

This course will introduce students to ethics and philosophy more generally through a critical investigation of some important approaches to philosophical ethics. We will begin with eudaemonism, one of the most powerful and influential approaches to ethics. Eudaemonism is focused on questions concerning the best kind of life to lead, such as: What is the good life? That is, what sort of life should we want, and what do we need for that kind of life? Is pleasure the thing? Or is virtue its own reward? Should we want an active life or would a life devoted to contemplation and learning be better? How is the happiness of friends related to our own happiness? We’ll read three authors’ answers to these questions, Plato, Epictetus, and Lucretius. We may read a bit of Aristotle as well.

Next, we will consider some opponents of eudaemonism. According to Immanuel Kant, ethics is primarily about the universal moral law, and bringing happiness into questions about what is right is a seduction; according to Soren Kierkegaard, faith and an individual’s relationship to God can be a source of absolute demands that transcend morality or reason; Simone de Beauvoir argues for an existentialist ethics, claiming that it is freedom (not happiness, morality, or God) that provides the ultimate criteria by which to live; and Friedrich Nietzsche, finally, argues that ever since Plato, ethics has been on the wrong track, and that behind all this talk of happiness, justice, and morality, there is nothing but power.

Seminars will be focused on discussing the texts (1/3 of your grade) and short student papers written on the day’s reading (another 1/3). These discussions will help us learn how to make good observations, how to communicate these clearly, how to engage constructively with each other’s ideas, and how to constructively make use of others’ criticisms and suggestions. Students will also turn in a final essay on a philosophical theme rooted in the course (the final 1/3 of your grade). 
 

Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Politics
10105 02 (17098)

Reimers
9:30-10:45 TR
First Year Students Only

The question “What is good?” is fundamental to all human life and activity. As it concerns individuals, it is the subject of ethics, and with respect to our communities, it is studied by political philosophy.

In this course, we will trace the kinds of answers given to this question from ancient Greece to the present day, looking at Plato and Aristotle, then at St. Thomas Aquinas’s treatises on virtue and law. Then after closely studying some modern thinkers—Locke, Kant, and Mill, we will examine some shorter 20th Century writings.

Course requirements: short quizzes every two to three weeks, a term paper of seven (7) pages, and a final exam.

 

Philosophy University Seminar
13185 01 (11819)

Audi
2:00-3:15 TR
First Year Students Only

This seminar will explore major texts in philosophy and, through discussing them in depth, will introduce some of the major problems of philosophy and some of its methods for understanding them.Participants will be asked to write short essays on some of the readings or philosophical problems related to them.The instructor will comment on these essays in detail, and in some cases they will be rewritten and commented on again.A special aim of the seminar is to help participants both to write well and to acquire skill in discussing issues effectively in a setting conducive to wide-ranging inquiry and to development of distinctive views of one’s own.

Texts will likely include works by Plato and Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Mill. The texts in question have had an enormous influence and are still considered valuable resources for dealing with their main topics.Readings will be discussed in detail in seminars, often with close attention to important passages.Critical interpretive reading is expected, and the appraisal of major positions on knowledge and reality, good and evil, theism and atheism, freedom and compulsion, and the nature of human persons will be central concerns.
 

Philosophy University Seminar
13185 02 (11817)

Watson
5:05-6:20 TR
First Year Students Only

This seminar will focus on an historical introduction to problems concerning the self and human subjectivity. We will conclude with readings in the background of the existentialist tradition. Likely texts include selections from Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hume, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sartre. Like all university seminars, this one will be writing intensive with approximately twenty-pages of required writing (and in some cases revising) over the course of the semester. In addition, each student will be expected to make a seminar presentation. 
 

Philosophy University Seminar: What Is a Philosophical Problem?
13185 03 (19625
)
Joy
11:00-12:15 TR
First Year Students Only

What is a philosophical problem?  How are philosophical problems related to what we study in the social sciences, the natural sciences, and religion?  This introduction to Philosophy focuses on classic strategies for conducting philosophical inquiry, including those of Aristotle, Descartes, Mill, and several 21st-century thinkers.  Readings will cover the history of philosophy as well as recent writings in ethics and the neurosciences.

Requirements:  This University Seminar satisfies the 100-level Philosophy requirement.  Class participation and regular attendance are important to success in the course.  Classes will consist of both lecture and discussion.  Written work includes four medium-length papers.
 

Philosophy University Seminar: Philosophy and Science
13185 04 (11818)

Howard
11:00-12:15TR
First Year Students Only

"This course will be an introduction to philosophy with a special focus on issues at the intersection of philosophy and science and in the philosophy of science. Topics to be discussed may include: the nature and limits of scientific knowledge; metaphysical foundations of science; science and values. The course readings will be drawn from original sources, starting with the ancient Greek philosophers and continuing into the twentieth century. As with all University Seminars, this will be a writing intensive course."
 

Philosophy University Seminar
13185 05 (11820)

O’Callaghan
12:30-1:45 TR
First Year Students Only

A general introduction to philosophy, taught in a seminar format, with emphasis on perennial problems such as the existence of God, human freedom, and moral obligation. The course is also intended to sharpen the student's skills of critical thinking.
 

Philosophy University Seminar
13185 06 (13678)

Watson
3:30-4:45 TR
First Year Students Only

This seminar will focus on an historical introduction to problems concerning the self and human subjectivity. We will conclude with readings in the background of the existentialist tradition. Likely texts include selections from Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hume, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sartre. Like all university seminars, this one will be writing intensive with approximately twenty-pages of required writing (and in some cases revising) over the course of the semester. In addition, each student will be expected to make a seminar presentation. 
 

Honors Philosophy Seminar
13195 01 (11823)

Blanchette
9:30-10:45 TR
First Year Students Only

This seminar is an introduction to several central issues in philosophy, using both historical and contemporary texts. Topics to be treated will include some subset of these: The nature of human knowledge, the existence of God and the rationality of faith, the nature of the human mind (and its relation to the brain), ethical theory.

Requirements include active seminar participation, a number of short and medium-length writing assignments, quizzes, and exams.
 

Honors Philosophy Seminar
13195 02 (11821)

Cory
9:30-10:45 TR
First Year Students Only

This course introduces problems concerning ethical action and life in society, through the close study of seminal texts from the history of philosophy. We will consider themes such as justice, virtue and vice, friendship, the relationship between faith and reason, and the roles of work, leisure, and religion in society. The course will also address basic philosophical problems about opinion and knowledge, and study the basic elements of formal and informal logic.
 

Honors Philosophy Seminar
13195 03 (11960)

Cross
2:00-3:15 TR
First Year Students Only

The course introduces some central philosophical concepts and methods by tracing the origins of Ancient Greek thought, beginning with the pre-Socratic philosophers and advancing through the

most important philosophers up to the time of Augustine. In addition to this, the course allows  some time to be devoted to close readings of extracts from Thomas Aquinas on topics related to those discussed in the earlier thinkers. The emphasis will be two-fold: while endeavoring to  understand and appreciate the historical milieu within which the questions considered first arose,  we will, at the same time, seek to determine for ourselves where we should agree, and where we should disagree, with the theses promulgated. Among the questions given sharp formulation in our period are: Is morality relative? Or are there moral facts? What does morality have to do, if anything, with religion? Are there defensible reasons for being a theist? Or is theism somehow essentially irrational and indefensible?
 

Honors Philosophy Seminar
13195 04 (20448)

Delaney
11:00 – 12:15 TR
First Year Students Only

This seminar will consist of a general introduction to philosophy involving both historical figures and contemporary problems.  Historically there will be readings from Plato, Aquinas, Descartes and Hume, and problematically we will explore issues bearing on the nature of the mind and the notion of moral philosophy.  Class responsibilities will be four 5 page papers and a final exam.

 

Honors Philosophy Seminar
13195 05 (14102)

Franks
12:30-1:45 TR
First Year Students Only

In this seminar, we learn how to think philosophically about science, art, history, ourselves, and inquiry itself. Unlike many philosophy classes, we spend less time looking at the canon of philosophical writing and more time looking at items from our broader intellectual culture. We discuss things as diverse as U.S Supreme Court cases (in order to see how the law is actually practiced) and modern poetry (in order to see how language can actually be used).

We read Plato, but we also look at quantum mechanics and evolutionary game theory. In the end, we hope to have some facility with looking at the full gamut of things we do from a philosophical perspective.

Every seminar meeting begins with a workshop, in which we read, discuss, and critique one another's writing. The purpose of these workshops is threefold: to learn how to make pointed, concrete observations and to communicate these clearly and effectively, to learn how to engage constructively with other's ideas, and to learn how to make good use of other's reactions to your work.

At the end of the term, you will submit two essays. Your grade will reflect the quality of these essays, your demonstrated understanding of and ability to grapple with the texts and concepts we encounter, and your performance in the writing workshop.
 

Honors Philosophy Seminar
13195 06 (12745)

Cross
11:00-12:15  TR
First Year Students Only

The course introduces some central philosophical concepts and methods by tracing the origins of Ancient Greek thought, beginning with the pre-Socratic philosophers and advancing through the most important philosophers up to the time of Augustine.  In addition to this, the course allows some time to be devoted to close readings of extracts from Thomas Aquinas on topics related to those discussed in the earlier thinkers.  The emphasis will be two-fold: while endeavoring to understand and appreciate the historical milieu within which the questions considered first arose, we will, at the same time, seek to determine for ourselves where we should agree, and where we should disagree, with the theses promulgated.  Among the questions given sharp formulation in our period are: Is morality relative? Or are there moral facts? What does morality have to do, if anything, with religion? Are there defensible reasons for being a theist? Or is theism somehow essentially irrational and indefensible?
 

Honors Philosophy Seminar
13195 07 (11822)

Shields
9:30-10:45  TR
First Year Students Only

This course provides an introduction to philosophy and philosophical method.  We will examine inter alia the following main areas and questions:

Rational Theology

  • Do we have any compelling, or even plausible, argument for God’s existence?
  • Should we be concerned if we do not?  What is the relation between faith and reason?
  • If God does exist, how should we conceive God’s nature?
  • Do we have, by contrast, a compelling, or even plausible, argument for God’s non-existence? Do we have, that is, any good reason to be (or become) atheists?
  • Is atheism the only rationally acceptable stance in a scientifically informed world? 
  • Should we, perhaps, prefer a humble sort of agnosticism? 

The Mind and its Place in Nature

  • What is the mind-body problem? (Or, rather: what are the mind-body problems?)
  • Are there good theism-independent reasons for accepting mind-body dualism?
  • What are the prospects, if any, for personal post-mortem survival?
  • What does personal identity consist in?  Do we have good reasons for thinking that you are the same person as the two-year old organism with whom you are biologically continuous? (What, precisely, does biological continuity consist in?)
  • Is personal identity necessary for survival?

Free Will and Human Responsibility

  • Are human freedom and responsibility compatible with universal causal determinism?
  • Does universal causal determinism in fact obtain? 
  • Are human freedom and responsibility compatible with the denial of universal causal determinism?
  • What form of human freedom does moral responsibility require?  

Morality and its Critics

  • Is there any good reason to accept psychological egoism? Is there any good reason to accept ethical egoism?  (What, precisely, is the distinction between psychological and ethical egoism?)
  • What is ‘enlightened’ egoism?  What, by contrast, is the unenlightened sort?  
  • To what extent, if any, is egoism compatible with cosmopolitanism, understood as the view that all human beings belong to the same moral community?  
  • Should we be moral relativists?  
    • If so, of what sort?
  • If not, should we be moral nihilists or moral realists?  Or?
  • Are there mind- and language-independent moral facts?  
    • If so, how might we know them?  
    • If not, what are the consequences for moral decision making?
       

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 01 (11345)

Squires
9:30-10:45 MW

"This introductory philosophy course will be a survey of great philosophical literature from different time periods -- ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary.  We will discuss some of the perennial questions of philosophy and a few of its major fields of inquiry -- metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.   An effort will be made to incorporate some of our inquiries into further questions about their relationship to Catholic intellectual tradition.  In addition to covering some of the philosophical topics students might expect to encounter in an intro course, e.g. the existence of God, free will, etc. we will cover some perhaps unexpected topics, e.g. the nature of being and change, the existence of the soul, and the idea of happiness.  The course will have plenty of history as well of plenty of argumentation, so there should hopefully be something that appeals to everyone, regardless of their academic inclinations."
 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 02 (11344)

Squires
12:30-1:45 MW

"This introductory philosophy course will be a survey of great philosophical literature from different time periods -- ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary.  We will discuss some of the perennial questions of philosophy and a few of its major fields of inquiry -- metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.   An effort will be made to incorporate some of our inquiries into further questions about their relationship to Catholic intellectual tradition.  In addition to covering some of the philosophical topics students might expect to encounter in an intro course, e.g. the existence of God, free will, etc. we will cover some perhaps unexpected topics, e.g. the nature of being and change, the existence of the soul, and the idea of happiness.  The course will have plenty of history as well of plenty of argumentation, so there should hopefully be something that appeals to everyone, regardless of their academic inclinations."
 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 03 (11343)

Squires
2:00-3:15 MW

"This introductory philosophy course will be a survey of great philosophical literature from different time periods -- ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary.  We will discuss some of the perennial questions of philosophy and a few of its major fields of inquiry -- metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.   An effort will be made to incorporate some of our inquiries into further questions about their relationship to Catholic intellectual tradition.  In addition to covering some of the philosophical topics students might expect to encounter in an intro course, e.g. the existence of God, free will, etc. we will cover some perhaps unexpected topics, e.g. the nature of being and change, the existence of the soul, and the idea of happiness.  The course will have plenty of history as well of plenty of argumentation, so there should hopefully be something that appeals to everyone, regardless of their academic inclinations."
 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 04 (17982)

Cory
8:20-9:10 MWF

This course introduces problems concerning ethical action and life in society, through the close study of seminal texts from the history of philosophy. We will consider themes such as justice, virtue and vice, friendship, the relationship between faith and reason, and the roles of work, leisure, and religion in society. The course will also address basic philosophical problems about opinion and knowledge, and study the basic elements of formal and informal logic.
 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 05 (11347)

Cory
9:25-10:15 MWF

This course introduces problems concerning ethical action and life in society, through the close study of seminal texts from the history of philosophy. We will consider themes such as justice, virtue and vice, friendship, the relationship between faith and reason, and the roles of work, leisure, and religion in society. The course will also address basic philosophical problems about opinion and knowledge, and study the basic elements of formal and informal logic.
 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 07 (12727)

Salzillo
9:30-10:45 TR

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to philosophical thought as a tool for thinking about what it means to be human.  After an initial introduction, the course will be divided into three major sections:  (1) human nature, (2) the human moral life, and (3) the ultimate purpose of human life, if there is any.  

In the course of the semester we will read and wrestle with the ideas of diverse thinkers throughout history, from Plato through the present day, including thinkers in the Christian philosophical tradition, especially St. Thomas Aquinas.  Along the way, we will encounter perennial philosophical debates on topics such as the nature of the mind, empirical science, human knowledge, ethics, happiness, and the existence of God.
 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 08 (20449)

TBA
11:00-12:15 TR

 A general introduction to philosophy, with emphasis on perennial problems such as the existence of God, human freedom, and moral obligation. The course is also intended to sharpen the student's skills of critical thinking.

 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 09 (10925)

TBA
12:30-1:45 TR

 A general introduction to philosophy, with emphasis on perennial problems such as the existence of God, human freedom, and moral obligation. The course is also intended to sharpen the student's skills of critical thinking.

 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 10 (11346)

TBA
2:00-3:15 TR

A general introduction to philosophy, with emphasis on perennial problems such as the existence of God, human freedom, and moral obligation. The course is also intended to sharpen the student's skills of critical thinking.

 

Introduction to Philosophy
20101 11 (17983)

TBA
3:30-4:45 TR

A general introduction to philosophy, with emphasis on perennial problems such as the existence of God, human freedom, and moral obligation. The course is also intended to sharpen the student's skills of critical thinking.

 

Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy and Religion
20102 01 (20774)

Baldwin
11:00-12:15 MW

This course will be an introduction to philosophy with a special focus on issues at the intersection of philosophy and religion and in the philosophy of religion. Topics to be discussed may include the nature and existence of God, faith and reason, religious experience, divine hiddenness, and the implications of belief in God for our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy and Religion
20102 02 (20775)

Baldwin
12:30-1:45  MW

This course will be an introduction to philosophy with a special focus on issues at the intersection of philosophy and religion and in the philosophy of religion. Topics to be discussed may include the nature and existence of God, faith and reason, religious experience, divine hiddenness, and the implications of belief in God for our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
 

Philosophy of Human Nature
20201 01 (11804)

Reimers
8:20-9:10 MWF

In our age, the nature of the human person has become increasingly important theme in philosophical anthropology. Is there a difference between being a member of the species homo sapiens and being a person? If a person is an animal with an inner life, can members of other species be considered as persons? Or must we say that contemporary sciences have shown that personhood is a kind of subjectivist illusion, that we are basically organic machines? Is there a spiritual ‘self’, and if so what must this be like? We will consider the nature of the human person in the light of contemporary challenges such as scientific materialism, Cartesian dualism, and political totalitarianism.

Texts will be drawn from the Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, Karol Wojtyła Love and Responsibility, Adrian J. Reimers The Soul of the Person, Jacques Maritain The Person and the Common Good, and a course packet of readings.

Course requirements: four or five quizzes, one term paper, and a final exam.


 

Philosophy of Human Nature
20201 01 (11805)

Reimers
9:25-10:15 MWF

In our age, the nature of the human person has become increasingly important theme in philosophical anthropology. Is there a difference between being a member of the species homo sapiens and being a person? If a person is an animal with an inner life, can members of other species be considered as persons? Or must we say that contemporary sciences have shown that personhood is a kind of subjectivist illusion, that we are basically organic machines? Is there a spiritual ‘self’, and if so what must this be like? We will consider the nature of the human person in the light of contemporary challenges such as scientific materialism, Cartesian dualism, and political totalitarianism.

Texts will be drawn from the Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, Karol Wojtyła Love and Responsibility, Adrian J. Reimers The Soul of the Person, Jacques Maritain The Person and the Common Good, and a course packet of readings.

Course requirements: four or five quizzes, one term paper, and a final exam.

 

Death and Dying
20203 01 (20450)

Warfield
11:30-12:20 MWF

We will examine a range of topics abut death and decision making near the end of life. Topics will likely include: medical and philosophical ideas about the nature of death; the value of death; euthanasia; organ donation.

Requirements: short papers; in class exams; discussion section participation.

 

Minds, Brains, and Persons
20208 01 (17985)

Cutter
9:30-10:45 TR

This course will treat some central issues in the philosophy of mind, such as freedom of the will, personal identity, and the relationship between mind and body.

 

Paradoxes
20229 01 (20452)

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, knowledge, rational belief, rational action, omnipotence, foreknowledge, free will, death, semantics, ethics, and the foundations of math.  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 (20453)

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, knowledge, rational belief, rational action, omnipotence, foreknowledge, free will, death, semantics, ethics, and the foundations of math.  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 (20451)

Pattillo
9:30-10:45 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, knowledge, rational belief, rational action, omnipotence, foreknowledge, free will, death, semantics, ethics, and the foundations of math.  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 (16504)

Seachris
9:30-10:45 TR

In this course on life’s meaning, we will explore a number of interconnected themes including purpose, significance, value, futility, narrative, naturalism, worldview, God, religion, death, absurdity, pessimism, and hope to name several. We will begin by considering the question, “What might the question of life’s meaning even mean?” Once we address this thorny interpretive issue, we will spend a significant portion of the semester comparing three prominent positions on whether and how life can be meaningful: (1) Naturalistic Pessimism, (2) Naturalistic Optimism, and (3) Theistic Optimism. We will conclude by discussing a cluster of topics surrounding death, futility, and hope, weaving these themes back into our discussions of (1) – (3). Prominent questions we will discuss along the way include: Does the question of life’s meaning make sense? Does it have an answer? What’s the difference between the meaning of life and meaning in life? Is life cosmically futile? Are we cosmically significant? Does life have a purpose(s)? Is God necessary for a meaningful life? Is leading a meaningful life a function of fulfilling one’s strongest desires? Can one be wrong about what constitutes a meaningful life? How does death relate to the meaning of life? Is an afterlife necessary for a meaningful life? Can an immoral life still be a meaningful life?

In considering the question of life’s meaning we will not limit ourselves to the work of philosophers. Given that this question 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.

 

Groups: What They Are and What They Can Do?
20242 01 (20454)

Finocchiaro, Chan
11:00-12:15 TR

We are all members of groups. Some of us are members of a sports team, the staff of the Observer, or the band. We are all members of the community of Notre Dame. Groups are commonplace. Yet, they raise a host of interesting philosophical questions: What kind of thing is a group? How are groups formed or dissolved? What sort of actions can groups perform? Are they responsible for their good (or bad) actions the way that individuals are? These questions are essential for our everyday lives. Answering them guides us in how we think about ourselves and our roles in groups. And apart from our personal investment, groups constitute some of the most crucial features of the world--governments, churches, and corporations, to name a few. We'll have two main goals for this course. First, we'll familiarize ourselves with answers philosophers have given to the above questions. Second, we'll develop the resources necessary to intelligently discuss how these issues relate to our everyday lives. Potential topics here may include: How many members of a band or team can be replaced before the resulting band or team is not longer the same? Are mob bosses responsible for all the crimes members of their mob commit? Can corporations speak and hold moral or political views the same way individuals do?

 

Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud
20243 01 (20685)

Dutt
12:30-1:45 TR
Crosslist:  GE 20420

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.
 

Reality: The Big Questions
20244  01 (20742)

Bernstein
2:00-3:15 MW

Metaphysics is the study of reality, and includes such questions as: What is time? Is time like space? Is time travel possible? What is causation? Do objects and persons have essences? Is a human just a sum of parts? If you were to swap brains with someone, where would "you" go? Do you have free will? This course will explore these and other mind bend-y fundamental problems of metaphysics.

 

Ethics
20401 01 (12741)

Madison
9:30-10:45 TR
Crosslist:  HESB 30263 01

This course will introduce students to the foundations of ethics: the good life for humans, the elements of moral reasoning, and the virtues.  The first part of the course will examine the nature of ethical life, its relation to happiness, the nature of human freedom, responsibility, and the ultimate criteria of moral actions.  Particular attention will be given to questions regarding the objectivity of moral evaluation and the role of reason in human life.  In the second part, the course will investigate the nature and role of virtue and deliberation in relation to particular human actions.  It concludes with an evaluation of the prevalent ethical theories: virtue ethics, natural law, deontology and consequentialism.  Particular topics discussed include: justice, killing and war, honesty and lying, sexual ethics, and issues related to commerce, property, and the common good.   There are four main objectives of this course: (1) to understand the nature of ethics and the role of reason moral philosophy; (2) to grasp the foundations of different ethical theories so as to evaluate their merits; (2) to be able to apply these theories to concrete ethical dilemmas as well as contemporary moral issues; (3) to address the relationships between religion, reason, society, and ethics.

 

Ethics
20401 02 (16505)

Brenner
3:30-4:45 TR

This course is an introduction to ethical theory. The goal of the course is to have students learn to critically evaluate competing theories regarding the nature of moral obligation, and apply those insights toward evaluating competing answers to particular moral questions. Here are some of the questions we'll examine:

  • what makes an action right or wrong?
  • are moral obligations relative to one's culture?
  • do ethical facts depend on God?
  • what obligations, if any, do we have to alleviate global poverty?
  • under what circumstances, if any, is war just?
  • under what circumstances, if any, is abortion morally permissible?
  • under what circumstances, if any, is the consumption of animal products morally permissible?

 

Moral Problems
20402 01 (20455)

Helms
9:30-10:45 TR
Crosslist: HESB 30231 01

In this course, we will read news stories and articles from within the past few years, in which a person uses an event to argue for a particular view about what should be done to achieve the public good. The stories we read together, will involve such controversial issues as animal rights, euthanasia, abortion, drug legalization, gun ownership and regulation, gay marriage, and various methods of waging warfare.  We will then take these stories as material for discussion, insofar as they generate moral disagreements. Since true moral disagreements do not usually “go away” even after both sides have access to all the empirical facts, we will identify the deep philosophical and moral views that give rise to these disagreements. We will formally assess the cogency of particular arguments from the various parties involved in the disagreement, and develop by practice the virtues that are necessary for an enlightening and useful philosophical exchange.   

It is probably a mistake to think that moral disagreements can be resolved, apart from moral theory.  Our views on the nature of persons, the nature of moral facts, and the semantics of moral language, will all have some effect on how we decide particular issues. Therefore, we will also address these matters.  

Texts: Russ Shafer-Landau's Fundamentals of Ethics.
 

Moral Problems
20402 01 (20456)

Helms
12:30-1:45 TR
Crosslist: HESB 30231 02

In this course, we will read news stories and articles from within the past few years, in which a person uses an event to argue for a particular view about what should be done to achieve the public good. The stories we read together, will involve such controversial issues as animal rights, euthanasia, abortion, drug legalization, gun ownership and regulation, gay marriage, and various methods of waging warfare.  We will then take these stories as material for discussion, insofar as they generate moral disagreements. Since true moral disagreements do not usually “go away” even after both sides have access to all the empirical facts, we will identify the deep philosophical and moral views that give rise to these disagreements. We will formally assess the cogency of particular arguments from the various parties involved in the disagreement, and develop by practice the virtues that are necessary for an enlightening and useful philosophical exchange.   

It is probably a mistake to think that moral disagreements can be resolved, apart from moral theory.  Our views on the nature of persons, the nature of moral facts, and the semantics of moral language, will all have some effect on how we decide particular issues. Therefore, we will also address these matters.  

Texts: Russ Shafer-Landau's Fundamentals of Ethics.
 

Philosophy and Film
20440 01 (17581)

Stern
12:30-1:45  TR

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.

 

Philosophy and Film
20440 02 (17580)

Stern
2:00-3:15  TR

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.
 

Philosophy and Film
20440 03 (17579)

Stern
3:30-4:45 TR

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 (20459)

Wells
12:30-1:45  TR

This course will be devoted to ancient Greek and Roman political thought and experience, and Greek and Roman thinkers' analysis and articulation of the nature and norms of human political life. This tradition of thought, which has been foundational for political thought even up to the present, possesses a universality and freshness that allows it to continue to shape and challenge the way that we think about the fundamental problems of politics and the kind of political institutions and practices we construct and engage in. Our central texts are Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics, but we will also examine the political ideas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Thucydides, Cicero, and Augustine.
 

Political Philosophy
20441 01 (20457)

Wells
2:00-3:15  TR

This course will be devoted to ancient Greek and Roman political thought and experience, and Greek and Roman thinkers' analysis and articulation of the nature and norms of human political life. This tradition of thought, which has been foundational for political thought even up to the present, possesses a universality and freshness that allows it to continue to shape and challenge the way that we think about the fundamental problems of politics and the kind of political institutions and practices we construct and engage in. Our central texts are Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics, but we will also examine the political ideas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Thucydides, Cicero, and Augustine.
 

Political Philosophy
20441 01 (20458)

Wells
3:30-4:45  TR

This course will be devoted to ancient Greek and Roman political thought and experience, and Greek and Roman thinkers' analysis and articulation of the nature and norms of human political life. This tradition of thought, which has been foundational for political thought even up to the present, possesses a universality and freshness that allows it to continue to shape and challenge the way that we think about the fundamental problems of politics and the kind of political institutions and practices we construct and engage in. Our central texts are Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics, but we will also examine the political ideas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Thucydides, Cicero, and Augustine.
 

The Aesthetic Understanding
20446  01 (20726)

Teh
9:30-10:45 TR

This seminar will be a rigorous introduction to the philosophy of beauty, art, and culture.We will engage in a disciplined exploration of questions such as:

- What is beauty? What are we doing when we make judgments about beauty?
- What is culture? How does our perception of beauty inform culture and vice versa
- What role does tradition play in art? Is it in tension with creativity?
- Can beauty be found in science and technical pursuits?
- What is the vocation of the artist?
- What is the relationship between beauty and our sense of the sacred?

Along the way, we will read classic texts on beauty by Plato, Aquinas, Hume, Kant and Tolstoy. We will also explore aesthetic themes through a philosophical reading of novels by Oscar Wilde and J.L. Carr, selected prose of Flannery O'Connor, as well as the theological writings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The class will involve a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Requirements include a mid-term and final examination, short writing assignments, as well as a paper based on the field trip. 

Required texts:
Beauty: A Very Short Introduction, Roger Scruton
Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology, Steve Cahn and Aaron Meskin
Mystery and Manners, Flannery O'Connor
Notes Towards a Definition of Culture, T.S. Eliot
Leisure: The Basis of Culture, Josef Pieper
 

Science, Technology & Society
20606 01 (12614)

Mohammadian
12:50-1:40 MW
Crosslist:  STV 20556 01

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 Technology
20608 01 (17988)

Bourgeois
2:00-3:15 MW

This course will consider the nature of technology and its relationship to social values, economics, the natural environment, human values and science. It will consider how the existing social context affects the development and adoption of technology as well as how technology affects the evolution of the social context. The ultimate concern is to what extent we control our technology and to what extent our technology controls us.
 

Philosophy of the Life Sciences
20639 01 (20460)
TBA
2:00-3:15  TR

This course is an overview of the concepts used in the life sciences, including evolutionary biology, developmental biology, molecular biology, and genomics. The course will focus on not only how these concepts are utilized in the sciences but also how they are used in the public arena. The course will therefore aim to help students to develop a sensibility for these issues that affect in multiple ways how we perceive ourselves as humans and as members of society.

 

Philosophy of Religion
20801 01 (16508)

Dumont
5:05-6:20 TR

A philosophical examination of religious beliefs. Topics include the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, immortality, miracles, the meaning of religious language, the basis for religious belief, and the varieties and conflicts of religions. Readings will be taken from both classical and contemporary sources.

Requirements: Term paper, midterm exam, and final exam.

 

Philosophy of Religion
20801 02 (20461)

Longenecker
12:30-1:45 MW

In this course we will explore the following questions concerning God and religion: are there good arguments for God’s existence? Do we need arguments to rationally believe? Is evil a good reason to not believe in God? Is it possible for us to have free will if God is omniscient? Could God really be omnipotent? Can we believe in miracles? What about life after death? Does science discredit religion? We will explore these questions by reading both classical and contemporary texts. Students will learn to think clearly and critically about the views and arguments presented through the readings, class discussion and writing papers.


Philosophy of Religion
20801 03 (17990)

Longenecker
2:00-3:15  MW

In this course we will explore the following questions concerning God and religion: are there good arguments for God’s existence? Do we need arguments to rationally believe? Is evil a good reason to not believe in God? Is it possible for us to have free will if God is omniscient? Could God really be omnipotent? Can we believe in miracles? What about life after death? Does science discredit religion? We will explore these questions by reading both classical and contemporary texts. Students will learn to think clearly and critically about the views and arguments presented through the readings, class discussion and writing papers.
 

The Soul’s Quest: Know Thyself
20812 01 (20462)

Major
12:30-1:45 TR
Crosslist: MI 23382 01

This course will explore the origin, nature, and destiny of the soul beginning with the Platonic tradition and proceeding up to contemporary investigations in both Western and Eastern philosophy, with a particular emphasis on the Christian philosophical tradition. Various readings will treat the early Greeks, the Christian Fathers, medieval and modern philosophers and theologians, and also a few contemporary writers. Some of the better known authors will include St. Paul, Plotinus, Origen, Augustine, Kierkegaard, Sri Aurobindo, and C.S. Lewis.
 

Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
30301 01 (11749)

Cory
11:00-12:15 TR
Crosslist: MI 30301 01

This course is a survey of themes concerning metaphysics, mind, and knowledge, in key ancient and medieval philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and Ockham, as well as some less-well-known figures. We will read primary texts, and coursework will include papers, exams, and the practice of the medieval art of disputatio.

Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
30301 02 (16335)

Dumont
3:30-4:45 TR
Crosslist: MI 30301 02

A philosophical examination of religious beliefs. Topics include the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, immortality, miracles, the meaning of religious language, the basis for religious belief, and the varieties and conflicts of religions. Readings will be taken from both classical and contemporary sources.

Requirements: Term paper, midterm exam, and final exam.
 

Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
30301 03 (20079)

Cory
11:00-12:15 TR
ALHN Students only

This course is a survey of themes concerning metaphysics, mind, and knowledge, in key ancient and medieval philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and Ockham, as well as some less-well-known figures. We will read primary texts, and coursework will include papers, exams, and the practice of the medieval art of disputatio.


Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
30301 04 (20080)

Dumont
3:30-4:45 TR
ALHN Students only

A philosophical examination of religious beliefs. Topics include the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, immortality, miracles, the meaning of religious language, the basis for religious belief, and the varieties and conflicts of religions. Readings will be taken from both classical and contemporary sources.

Requirements: Term paper, midterm exam, and final exam.
 

History of Modern Philosophy
30302 01 (11145)

Joy
11:00-12:15 MW

Modern philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries developed several traditions that they inherited from the Ancient and Medieval philosophers.  But they also created important new systems of thought.  These included the modern theory of ideas.  This course asks: What exactly was modern about the modern theory of ideas?  How did debates about its merits shape the philosophies of Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant?  Why did the resulting problems defined by these influential thinkers radically change the subject matter of philosophy, in epistemology, metaphysics, physics, and ethics?

Written requirements: Two papers, a mid-term exam, and a final exam.

 

Core Seminar in Philosophy, Science, and Mathematics
30329 01 (20471)

Blanchette, Teh
12:30-1:45 TR

This is the gateway course for the major in Philosophy, Science and Mathematics. In it, we explore some of the central philosophical issues that arise in the pursuit of mathematics and of science broadly speaking. Some of those topics include: the nature of mathematical truth and its relationship to the empirical world; the relationship between empirical data and scientific knowledge, and several more specialized themes from the history and philosophy of mathematics and the empirical sciences.
 

Plato
43101 01 (20082)

Kelsey
11:00-12:15 TR

A detailed and systematic reading, in translation, of the fragments of the pre-Socratics and of the following Platonic dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Protagoras, Phaedo, Republic, Phaedrus, Symposium, and Theaetetus.
 

Tragedy and Dignity
43116 01 (20083)

O’Connor
11:00 – 12:15 TR
Crosslist: PRL 33113 01

We will focus on a tragic tradition that challenges philosophy's ideals of dignity, reason, and self-control. Key authors will include Sophocles and Euripides, Plato and Aristotle, Shakespeare, Richard Wagner and Friedrich Nietzsche, and Thomas Mann. We will also plan to attend a performance of Wagner's opera The Rheingold .This course is a gateway seminar to the Minor in Philosophy, Religion, and Literature, but it is open to other students.
 

Augustine: Philosophy/Exegesis
43132 01 (20084)

Gersh
12:30-1:45 TR
Crosslist: MI 60334 01, MI 40334 01, PHIL 83228 01

The Confessions describe the way in which Augustine came to the synthesis of philosophy and Christianity characterizing the work of his middle period both by solving certain problems in metaphysics and by learning certain methods of biblical exegesis. This course will study in detail the interaction between philosophy and exegesis in Augustine's work through the reading of 1. (in the first half of the semester) a series of primarily philosophical texts (dialogues of Cassiciacum, works on psychology, epistemology, semantics, and ethics, and selections from On the City of God) and 2. (in the second half of the semester) the treatises On Christian Teaching, On the True Religion and twelve books of On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis. Knowledge of Latin is desirable if not absolutely essential. Written requirement: one final essay of ca. 20 pp.
 

Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
43312 01 (20472)

Rush
2:00-3:15 MW

This is a hybrid lecture/seminar course in which we consider several of the main topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art: what beauty might be, what makes something a work of art, the nature of aesthetic representation, the nature of artistic expression, the function of criticism in the reception of art, the relation of art to morality and to politics.  Readings are approximately divided equally from the history of philosophy and art criticism and more contemporary materials.  Both materials from Anglo-American and more European perspectives are considered.  Close attention to and analysis of art works (i.e. painting, poetry, film, music) will be undertaken in order to “test” the theories we consider.  Readings from: Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, R.G. Collingwood, Nelson Goodman, Richard Wollheim, Arthur Danto, Michel Foucault, Walter Benjamin and others.

 

Mercy, Justice, & Forgiveness
43334 01 (20088)

O’Callaghan
11:00-12:15 MW
Crosslist: MI 40335

A philosophical examination of the relationship between the virtues of mercy, justice, and forgiveness.  Granting that justice is a virtue, what forms does it take?  Are mercy and forgiveness virtues or weaknesses in human action?  Does justice bind and constrain mercy and forgiveness, or are there significant respects in which the latter go beyond justice?  Is there a difference between pity and mercy.  Are there different forms of both mercy and forgiveness? The course will pursue these questions through a combination of historical texts and contemporary discussions, including Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Martha Nussbaum, and Charles Griswold.
 

Justice Seminar
43404 01 (11799)

Abbey/Keys
3:30-4:45 TR
Crosslist:  POLS 43640, ECON 33250

The Justice Seminar undertakes a critical examination of major theories of justice, using both contemporary works (e.g., John Rawls' A Theory of Justice and Kenneth Arrow's seminal papers on voting theory) and historical classics (e.g., Aristotle's Politics and the Lincoln Douglas debates). The seminar requires substantial written work and discussion. This is the core course for the minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (P.P.E.).
 

Time and Time Travel
43505 01 (20727)

Bernstein
12:30-1:45 MW

Could the type of time travel that you see in movies and read about in books actually happen? In this seminar, students will learn how to think carefully and thoroughly about this and related questions about the metaphysics of time. For example: does time really exist, or is it a mere human construct? Is the present metaphysically privileged in some way, or is the present just like the past and the future? Are pastness, presentness, and futurity objective properties of reality or human projections? Is time like space? Does time actually ¿pass¿? Does time have an intrinsic direction? What must time be like in order for time travel to be possible? Is it possible to go back in time and kill a version of your past self? This seminar will explore central questions about the metaphysics of time and time travel through advanced metaphysics and science fiction.

 

Philosophy of Psychology
43716 01 (20473)

Warfield
2:00-3:15 MW

We will focus primarily on psychopathology including sustained focus on issues such as the phenomena of "hearing voices." We will also examine the intersection of psychiatry and the law on the topic of psychopathic offenders. We may also explore interdisciplinary approaches to addiction and addiction driven behavior.

Requirements -- several papers; an in-class presentation; no exams.

 

The Science-Gender Connection
43721 01 (20089)

Kourany
2:00-3:15 TR
Crosslist:  PHIL 93828, HPS 93838, GSC 63515, GSC 53515

 Through much of its history, academia has been gendered in a particular way—male dominated, focused on men’s interests, and privileging those interests—and much of it still is.  In response, the area of enquiry known as women’s studies or gender studies emerged in the 1970s as part of the feminist movement.  In this course we will explore gender, the concept that lies at the heart of this area of enquiry.  We shall find that this concept is as complex and multi-faceted as the diverse disciplines from which it now draws and as political as its feminist origins suggest.  We shall also find that it is fraught with controversy. 

Though the disciplines that contribute to the idea of gender comprise nearly all of academia, we will concentrate on the sciences, from which the concept of gender first emerged.  No particular scientific background will be presupposed, however, and visits from science faculty will be organized to help us understand the terrain.  We will start with the gendered origins of the concept—the gender of science—and then proceed to the science that developed as a result—the science of gender; and we will conclude with some questions concerning the connection between the two—the gender of science and the science of gender.

This course will be run as a seminar.  Students will lead class discussions, present the results of individual research projects to the group, and have the opportunity to further develop those projects using feedback from the group.  Throughout, our aim will be for each student to develop a fully informed and defensible response to the controversial terrain we shall be exploring.
 

The Science-Gender Connection
43721 02 (20090)

Kourany
2:00-3:15 TR
Only for ALHN students

Through much of its history, academia has been gendered in a particular way—male dominated, focused on men’s interests, and privileging those interests—and much of it still is.  In response, the area of enquiry known as women’s studies or gender studies emerged in the 1970s as part of the feminist movement.  In this course we will explore gender, the concept that lies at the heart of this area of enquiry.  We shall find that this concept is as complex and multi-faceted as the diverse disciplines from which it now draws and as political as its feminist origins suggest.  We shall also find that it is fraught with controversy. 

Though the disciplines that contribute to the idea of gender comprise nearly all of academia, we will concentrate on the sciences, from which the concept of gender first emerged.  No particular scientific background will be presupposed, however, and visits from science faculty will be organized to help us understand the terrain.  We will start with the gendered origins of the concept—the gender of science—and then proceed to the science that developed as a result—the science of gender; and we will conclude with some questions concerning the connection between the two—the gender of science and the science of gender.

This course will be run as a seminar.  Students will lead class discussions, present the results of individual research projects to the group, and have the opportunity to further develop those projects using feedback from the group.  Throughout, our aim will be for each student to develop a fully informed and defensible response to the controversial terrain we shall be exploring.
 

Intermediate Logic
43907 01 (13815)

Bays
11:00-12:15 TR
Crosslist: PHIL 83901

An introduction to the metatheory of first-order logic up through the completeness, compactness and Lowenheim-Skolem theorems.  A survey of basic set theory is also be included.

Grades for the course are based on problem sets, a midterm and a final.

The midterm and final are take-home, open-book, open note; the problem sets are to be done in groups.
 

Perception
43909 01 (20092)

Stubenberg
3:30-4:45 TR

In the first part of this course we will survey the various theories of perception that have dominated the discussion (in the broadly analytic camp) from the beginning of the 20th century up till now. Our main text will be William Fish’s book Philosophy of Perception. We will also read numerous of the original papers that drove this development. In the second half of the course we will study Bill Brewer’s book Perception and Its Objects. Brewer defends the view that in perception we achieve a form of direct, unmediated acquaintance with objects in the external world. This challenges the traditional view that perception of external objects is mediated by our being directly acquainted with special “inner” objects—ideas or sense-data. And it challenges the widely accepted contemporary view that perceiving external objects is not a matter of  our being directly acquainted with inner or outer objects, but a matter of our being in a content bearing mental state—a state that “says” that things are thus and so. Our main interest will concern the epistemic fruits that Brewer’s type of approach to the problem of perception promises. 


Requirements:
Three papers of increasing length—roughly 5, 10, and 15 pages. The first two should focus on various theories that will be canvased during the first part of the course. The third paper should engage Brewer’s work. 

Books:
William Fish: Philosophy of Perception. A Contemporary Approach, Routledge 2010. 
Bill Brewer: Perception and Its Objects, Oxford 2011. (This book is available through the Oxford Scholarship Online service of the library.)
Additional papers will be made available online. 

Directed Readings   
46497 01 (11349)

Jech

 

Directed Readings
46497 02 (10076)

Jech

 

Senior Thesis
48499 01 (10798)

Stubenberg

 

The 3xxxx and 4xxxx level courses are typically for majors only and carry the major core courses as prerequisites. They are more difficult than 20000 level courses which should be used for completing university requirements. If you are a non-major interested in taking one of these courses, you must sign up for an appointment with Professor Stubenberg, the Director of Undergraduate Studies.