Majors & minors courses

The courses below are, for the most part, restricted to Philosophy majors and minors. You can learn more about the various majors and minors we offer on our Majors and Minors page. If you are a non-major interested in taking one of the courses below, you should sign up for an appointment with Professor Jech, the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Fall 2018

Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
30301 01 (11551)

Dumont
2:00-3:15 TR

A survey of Western philosophy from its beginnings in the early Greek physicists to the late middle ages. The emphasis in class will be on the reading and analysis of fundamental texts by main figures of the period: Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Anselm, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas. Concurrent reading of a standard history will supply additional background and continuity.

Requirements: Two papers (one each for the ancient and medieval portions of the course), a mid-term, and final examination.


Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
30301 02 (14407)

Dumont
3:30-4:45 TR

A survey of Western philosophy from its beginnings in the early Greek physicists to the late middle ages. The emphasis in class will be on the reading and analysis of fundamental texts by main figures of the period: Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Anselm, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas. Concurrent reading of a standard history will supply additional background and continuity.

Requirements: Two papers (one each for the ancient and medieval portions of the course), a mid-term, and final examination.

Cross-listed with MI 30301.


History of Modern Philosophy
30302 01 (20745)

Kraus
9:30-10:45 MW

The 17th and 18th centuries brought about not only revolutionary changes in science, society, religion, and politics, but also crucial intellectual developments in philosophy. The so-called “modern philosophers” were deeply engaged in developing new approaches to understanding the relationships between God, nature and the human beings. They decisively shaped the debates of intellectuals, scientists, and political and religious leaders in their own time and ever since. In this course, we will explore the central themes of modern philosophy, including issues such as: the nature, role and knowledge of God; the nature of the human mind and its relationship to the body; conceptions of the self and of human rationality; scepticism and knowledge of the external world; the nature of causation; the possibility of human freedom and its role for morality, religion, and politics; explanations of evil and human suffering. We will pay particular attention to the way in which the problems, methods, and proposed solutions that were central for the modern philosophers still inform our debates in philosophy (and beyond) today.

Readings will be drawn mainly from Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, and Kant.


Gateway Seminar: Existentialism
30304 01 (19339)

Newlands
11:00-12:15 TR

We will be studying the works of leading existentialist philosophers, especially Dostoyevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and de Beauvoir. They are among the liveliest writers in the history of Western philosophy, and they all rejected mainstream philosophy as overly narrow, tamed, and above all, safe. They thought studying philosophy should be a risky, far-reaching, and potentially dangerous undertaking. We will try to figure out why they believed this.

Though our primary authors are all dead, our focus will not be historical. We will critically examine their arguments and ideas as they relate to us here and now. Hence our historical readings will be paired with short contemporary readings from sociology, economics, philosophy, and popular culture. We will not try cover all possible figures or topics in existentialism. We will focus on a few central existentialist themes, including choice, commitment, morality, transformation, social relations, and the nature of the self. 

Assignments include short reflection writing, three papers spaced throughout the term, a short presentation, and participation in seminar discussion.


Gateway Seminar: Philosophy of Aquinas
30304 02 (19338)

O'Callaghan
11:00-12:15 MW

This lecture course provides a survey of the philosophical teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) by consideration of a series of topics arranged in such a way that we start with what is most easily grasped by the human mind and progress gradually to what is grasped only imperfectly and with great difficulty, namely, God.  To follow this procedure is to honor one of St. Thomas’s most insistent views.

After briefly considering Aquinas life, time permitting we will consider the nature of Philosophy and Theology, the Principles of Nature, Soul and Body, Human Knowledge, Metaphysics, God, The Moral Order, Virtue and Law, the End of Human Life (Natural and Supernatural).


Gateway Seminar: Consciousness
30304 03 (19340)

Speaks
12:30-1:45 TR

This seminar will explore contemporary work on consciousness. Topics to be discussed will include theories of consciousness, the relationship between consciousness and representation, and the relationship between consciousness and the brain.


Feminist Philosophy and Science Fiction
30307 01 (30124)

Rea
12:30-1:45 MW

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

Cross-listed with PHIL 20644 01, GSC 20644 01, STV 20644 01.


Formal Logic
30313 01 (16568)

Detlefsen
9:30-10:45 TR

The chief aims of this course are (i) to familiarize the student with the basic ideas and techniques of modern symbolic logic and (ii) to show how these ideas and methods may be applied to the analysis of reasoning in English. In addition to these aims, we will, time permitting, consider various possible limitations on our ability to mechanize logical tasks.

There will be three examinations and periodic homework.


Seminars in Philosophy, Science, and Mathematics
30329 01 (15752)
Bays and Rubin
11:00-12:15 TR

This is the core seminar for the major and minor concentrations in Philosophy, Science and Mathematics.

Enrollment restricted to students registered in the major/minor.


Aristotle
43102 01 (19341)
Kelsey
3:30-4:45 TR

In this course we will begin with a little “Aristotle boot-camp” and then try our hands at reading and making sense of a difficult but fascinating text, the De anima.


Hegel
43170 01 (19342)
Rush
9:30-10:45 TR

A seminar in which we discuss Hegel’s epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and social and political philosophy through an intensive reading of some of his early essays and the Phenomenology of Spirit.


Ethical Theory
43301 01 (19343)

Warfield
11:00-12:15 MW

This course will focus primarily on moral theory with a particular focus on theories of right action and controversies about the nature of right action. We may also spend some time on moral realism, anti-realism and some issues in moral epistemology. Several short and medium sized papers. No exams. Regular attendance and participation in class discussion.


Environmental Justice
43308 01 (16571)
Shrader-Frechette
3:30-6:15 M

Environmental injustice? (EIJ) refers to the fact that children, minorities, and poor people receive higher exposures to environmental toxins that damage their health and kill them. This course is designed to understand and to address EIJ, and it is for people interested in environmental problems and the social injustices that they cause. It will cover flaws in scientific method and in ethics that cause EIJ. Course is hands-on, practical, and dedicated to showing students how to do environment-related social-justice analysis and how to analyze environmental-impact assessments. Students choose individual projects on which to work, and these projects determine most of the course grade. These projects also are designed to help influence environmental policy or to serve the needs of specific pollution-threatened poor or minority communities. For more information, see the syllabus at www.nd.edu/~kshrader/courses/ Course Prerequisites: Instructor's permission required if student is not a philosophy, pre-med, science, math, or engineering major (via email to kshrader@nd.edu) to register for course. Course Requirements: There are weekly quizzes; but no tests and no exams, 2 short, analytic papers; participation in classroom analysis, and one student-chosen project. Students each choose an EJ project on which to work, so that they can use techniques (learned in the course) to promote real-world social justice and improved use of scientific methods in specific poor or minority communities who are victimized by pollution. There are no exams. Course Texts include Peter Singer, One World; Shrader-Frechette, Environmental Justice; and a variety of articles from scientific and medical journals.

Cross-listed with BIOS 50544 and STV 43396


Metaethics: Truth in Ethics
43335 01 (19830)
Nolan
11:00-12:15 TR

This module will deal with a range of core issues in contemporary meta-ethics.  Topics covered will include the question of whether our moral judgements truly describe some feature of our decisions, actions and character; the objectivity of moral judgements; whether our ordinary moral judgements might be radically mistaken; and what methods are appropriate for moral inquiry.


Tradition, Virtue, and Rationality
43337 01 (19344)
Teh
12:30-1:45 TR

This seminar will be an exploration of how tradition, narrative, and culture play a role in our practical reasoning, especially about ethical issues (broadly conceived). The main texts will be Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity: An Essay on Desire, Practical Reasoning and Narrative by Alasdair MacIntyre, and Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, by Bernard Williams. These will be supplemented by the writings of Elizabeth Anscombe, Thomas Aquinas, John Henry Newman, Philippa Foot, Josef Pieper, Oscar Wilde, Thomas More, and Candace Vogler. The assessment for this course contains an intensive writing component: in particular, participants will be expected to complete a biweekly 5-page essay assignment.


Justice Seminar
43404 01 (11593)
Abbey and Weithman
3:30-4:45 TR

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.).

Cross-listed with POLS 43640 01 (Primary), ECON 33250 01


Politics and Conscience
43431 01 (17412)

Keys
2:00-3:15 MW

Cross-listed with POLS 30653 01, CNST 30602 01, IIPS 30700 30, MI 30815 01, and THEO 40626 01


Topics in Epistemology
43606 01 (19345)
Audi
3:30-4:45 MW

We often make moral judgments with confidence, but do we have genuine moral knowledge?  If we do, how can we account for the amount and kinds of ethical disagreement that are evident in and outside our own society? One some views, there is little if any knowledge of any kind. On other views, there is some perceptual knowledge (of the physical world) but not much more apart from logic and pure mathematics.  For many who think there is perceptual and scientific knowledge, there is still no genuine knowledge of moral claims. Must we accept this skepticism? And might we have justification without knowledge? What would that mean, and how much objectivity would it provide for in the moral realm?

The great moral philosophers have had interesting powerful views on these questions.  So do many contemporary theorists. This course will study and articulate both the main historically important positions in moral epistemology and a number of views proposed in recent philosophical literature. The seminar will invite students to formulate their own positions.  The result should be both a better understanding of ethics, an enhanced ability to deal with moral disagreements, and a reasoned position on some of the major ethical questions that face us.

A related 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. The instructor will help in this process through both seminar discussions and individual meetings. Discussion will also be stressed, and participants will have opportunities to make presentations.


Science and Social Values
43704 01 (19346)
Kourany
5:05-6:20 MW

Science and social values?  The established wisdom has it that science offers us the truth about the empirical world—what is rather than what ought to be—and that social values have little to do with it.  How else explain the fact that science can be used for both good and ill and that science is granted authority by people of widely different ethical and political persuasions?  According to this idea, in short, science is, or at least ought to be, “value-free” or “value-neutral.” In this course we shall explore the major strands of this idea, their origins in Western thought, and the hold they still have on us.  Our main focus, however, will be on their current tangles with the history, philosophy, and sociology of science and the knotty questions that have developed as a result, questions concerning the prospects of scientific objectivity and the role of science in a democratic society.

This course will be run as a seminar with students sometimes leading class discussions, presenting the results of individual research projects to the group, and further developing those projects using feedback from the group.  The aim, of course, will be for students to develop fully informed and defensible responses to the controversial terrain we shall be exploring.

Cross-listed with HPS 93821 01, PHIL 93821 01, and STV 40220 01


Biomedical Ethics, Scientific Evidence, and Public Health Risk
43708 01 (16576)

Shrader-Frechette
3:30-6:20 T

This course is designed for those interested in social-justice, medical, and health problems, especially premedical students and those studying the environment, science, and engineering. It will survey ethical and scientific issues associated with current public-health problems such as pollution-induced cancers, occupational injury and death, threats to children's health, and inadequate emphasis on disease prevention, nutrition, and environmental health. For more information, see the syllabus at www.nd.edu/~kshrader/courses/ Course Requirements: Weekly quizzes but no tests and no exams, 3 short papers, readings for every class, participation in classroom analysis. Course Prerequisites: Instructor's permission required if not premed, biology, or philosophy major (obtained via email to kshrader@nd.edu).


Faith and Reason
43804 01 (19347)
Newlands and Betz
2:00-3:15 TR

This seminar is being co-taught by a philosopher (Samuel Newlands) and a theologian (John Betz). We will be considering several pairings of figures - one in each of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries - that represent the on-going dialogue between faith and reason in the modern period. In each of these conversations, some of which were quite heated, different accounts emerged about the proper relationship between faith and reason, accounts that have important implications for both theological and philosophical topics as well as the methodology of our different disciplines. This seminar will allow students not only to better understand the content and stakes of these debates, but also to participate in ongoing conversations about the intersection of faith and reason today with faculty members from both worlds. The seminar will be discussion-oriented and is intended for majors in philosophy or theology. Enrollment is strictly capped to allow fruitful discussion and engagement.  

Cross-listed with THEO 43802 01


Aquinas on God
43806 01 (19348)
O'Callaghan
11:00-12:15 TR

A close examination of the philosophical arguments within the first thirteen questions of the first part of Aquinas' Summa Theologiae, as well as texts from the second part of the second part of the Summa on the nature of faith and our knowledge of God.  The course will focus upon certain topics to the exclusion of others. Will begin with an initial discussion of the nature of philosophy as wisdom, the nature of faith, both natural and religious, the relationship between Sacra Doctrina and the exercise of reason apart from Sacra Doctrina, the demonstration of the existence of a god, its role within sacred theology and philosophy, the simplicity of a god, the perfections that pertain to a god, our knowledge of a god, and how we speak about a god.  Finally, why in this description I keep referring to 'a god' rather than God.

Cross-listed with MI 43340.


Intermediate Logic
43907 01 (16578)
Blanchette
11:00-12:15 TR

This course is an introduction to the metatheory of first-order logic, the central system of logic for both philosophical and mathematical purposes. We begin with the basics of set theory, and then move on to first-order logic proper, covering the completeness theorem and associated results. This material is essential for those who want to understand elementary philosophical debates about the use and the significance of logic, the history of logic, and the connection between languages and models.  Prerequisite: Formal logic or equivalent; contact the professor if you are unsure about your preparation.

Cross-listed with PHIL 83901


Bio-Medical Ethics, Scientific Evidence and Public Health Risk
50545 01 (17374)
Shrader-Frechette
3:30-6:20 T

This course is designed for those interested in social-justice, medical, and health problems, especially premedical students and those studying the environment, science, and engineering. It will survey ethical and scientific issues associated with current public-health problems such as pollution-induced cancers, occupational injury and death, threats to children?s health, and inadequate emphasis on disease prevention, nutrition, and environmental health. For more information, see the syllabus at www.nd.edu/~kshrader/courses/ Course Requirements: Weekly quizzes but no tests and no exams, 3 short papers, readings for every class, participation in classroom analysis. Course Prerequisites: Instructor’s permission required if not premed, biology, or philosophy major (obtained via email to kshrader@nd.edu).