Spring 2024 Philosophy Courses

Course Description:

Offered yearly. An introduction to the philosophical writings of the major existentialists. Topics include the nature of the self, freedom, personal responsibility, authenticity, and moral value.

Gen Ed Attributes: Literary & Artistic Studies

Credits: 3

Course Time: Tuesday / Thursday 11:00am - 12:20pm

Instructor: David Sherman

CRN: 32486

Course Description:

Offered every term. An examination of the Western vision of morality through the careful study of selected writings from Aristotle, Kant and Mill. Additional works in ethics may supplement primary readings.

Gen Ed Attributes: Ethical & Human Values

Credits: 3

Section 01 Course Time: Monday / Wednesday / Friday  12:00pm - 12:50pm

Instructor: Charles Hayes

CRN: 31043

Section 02 Course Time: Tuesday / Thursday  11:00am - 12:20pm

Instructor: Charles Hayes

CRN: 31595

Section 50 Course Time: Online

Instructor:  Armond Duwell

CRN: 32269

Course Description: 

Offered intermittently. An introductory-level ethics course with a special interest in the natural environment. The course will (a) introduce students to the three classical traditions in ethics - virtue, Kantianism, and utilitarianism, (b) ground these theories in questions about the moral status of non-humans and our moral duties to non-humans, (c) include an applied section that covers animal welfare, biotechnology, and other current topics.

This class is an introduction to ethics in the western tradition and, in particular, the consideration this tradition gives to animals and the natural environment. We will be approaching our study by mixing one author’s quest to understand “wilderness” with a collection of classic articles in environmental ethics. While learning the main ideas in animal and environmental ethics, we will familiarize ourselves with three leading traditions in western ethical thought (e.g. Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Care Ethics). We will also take note of places where the perspective of our authors is limited, drawing attention to where it ignores important issues of race, class, and gender, all of which are essential to good environmentalism.

Gen Ed Attributes: Ethical & Human Values

Credits: 3

Course Time: Tuesday / Thursday  12:30pm - 1:50pm

Instructor: Christopher Preston

CRN: 31426

Course Description: 

Offered yearly. Prereq., philosophy major or minor, WRIT 101 (or higher) or equivalent or consent of instr. An examination of leading approaches to moral philosophy through a careful reading of classical texts in the Western tradition. A more thorough treatment of the material offered in PHL 110E. Intended primarily for philosophy majors and minors.

Gen Ed Attributes: Ethical & Human Values, Intermediate Writing

Credits: 3

Section 01 Course Time: Tuesday / Thursday  2:00pm - 3:20pm

Instructor: David Sherman

CRN: 31789

Course Description: 

Offered spring. A survey of the history of philosophy from Descartes to Kant, which includes other continental rationalists and the British Empiricists.

Gen Ed Attributes: Democracy and Citizenship

Credits: 3

Course Time: Monday / Wednesday / Friday  1:00pm - 1:50pm

Instructor: Charles Hayes

Section 01 CRN: 30896

Section 80 (Honors) CRN: 32955

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Course Description: Offered intermittently. Prereq., upper-division standing.

  • How should I live? Should I fear death?
  • What role should reason play in my life? What role should the emotions play?
  • What is love? What is friendship? What is marriage?

 In ancient Greece and Rome philosophy wasn’t simply an academic discipline; it was conceived of as the art of living. People chose to become philosophers and devoted themselves to rigorous self-examination and to a rational molding of the self. This course will examine this conception of philosophy as a way of life, focusing in particular on Stoicism. Course materials will be drawn from a mixture of traditional philosophical works (by Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Milton, Thoreau), together with some philosophically challenging works of literature, film, and music. Some of the questions we will consider include: What is happiness? What is a good life? How should I live? Should I fear death? What role should reason play in my life? What role should the emotions play? What is love? What is friendship? What is marriage? You will be given the opportunity to think hard about these questions, both about how different philosophers have tried to answer them, and about what your own answers to them might be. Part of how you will do this will be by trying to live your life on occasion as a Stoic philosopher. You will perform weekly experiments in living, make posts on the class Moodle page, and keep a philosophy journal, all with the aim of increasing both your understanding of the course materials and your understanding of yourself. Our ultimate goal will be to improve the ethical quality of our lives.

Gen Ed Attributes: Ethical & Human Values

Credits: 3

Course Time: Monday / Wednesday / Friday. 10:00am - 10:50am

Instructor: Paul Muench

Section 01 CRN: 34092

Section 80 (Honors) CRN: 34093

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Course Description: In this course, you'll learn about the structure of good and bad arguments, how to detect argumentative weaknesses and flaws, and other joys of analytical thinking -- focusing on LSAT questions. Join the course and unleash your logical super-power! 

Credits: 3

Section 01 Course Time: Tuesday / Thursday  11:00pm - 12:20pm

Instructor: Jeff Stephenson

CRN: 34491

Course Description: Offered intermittently. Prereq., upper-division standing, PHL 210E and PHL 233, or consent of instr. Examination of philosophical issues involving knowledge and justified belief.

Level: Undergraduate-Graduate

Credits: 3

Course Time: Monday / Wednesday / Friday  3:30pm - 4:50pm

Instructor: Armond Duwell

Section 01 CRN: 34302

Section 80 (Honors) CRN: 34338

Course Description: Prereq., consent of instructor. Reading and interpretation of selected works on the epoch of the Anthropocene. PHL 415 and PHL 515 are co-convening courses.

In May of 2019, a working group from the International Commission on Stratigraphy voted to formally recommend a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. They justified it on the grounds the planet is now both “functionally” and “stratigraphically” shaped by human impacts. It’s a whole new world out there. 

This class looks at how an Anthropocene designation has consequences stretching far beyond geology. We will look in particular at how the Anthropocene challenges some of the key concepts that shape environmental thinking, focusing on what it means to say earth has entered a ‘post-natural’ or ‘post-wild’ epoch. With the help of Steve Vogel’s book Thinking Like a Mall, we will investigate a range of challenges to the concept of nature. To help us think about the post-natural and the post-wild in practical terms, we will also investigate a number of Anthropocene technologies and practices. These technologies and practices include geoengineering, synthetic biology/de-extinction, and re-wilding. At key points, we will pay close attention to the cultural limits of the Anthropocene designation.

Credits: 3

Course Time: Tuesday / Thursday  9:30am - 10:50am

Instructor: Christopher Preston

PHL 415 CRN: 34095

PHL 515 CRN: 34096

Course Description: Prereq., upper-division standing and PHL 210E, or consent of instr. An examination of Iris Murdoch's groundbreaking writings on ethics, focusing on her papers from the 1950s and 1960s.

Level: Undergraduate-Graduate

Credits: 3

Course Time: Tuesday / Thursday  12:30pm - 1:50pm

Instructor: Bridget Clarke

CRN: 34099

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Course Description: Offered intermittently. Prereq., upper-division standing, PHL 210E, and PHL 261Y, or consent of instr.  Reading and interpretation of selected works.

Plato’s Socrates

  • Who was Socrates?
  • What is courage? What is temperance?
  • What is friendship? What is justice? What is piety?
  • What does it mean to lead a philosophical life?

This course will introduce you to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates through the writings of Plato. Socrates was and remains an enigma. Noted for his skill at argument and cross-examination, and for his strong ethical convictions, he was found guilty and put to death for impiety and for corrupting the youth. He maintained that the chief difference between himself and his fellow Athenians was his self-awareness that he was ignorant about important philosophical and life matters (while others, similarly ignorant, took themselves to be knowledgeable about such things). While he is thought of by many as having led an exemplary philosophical life, he left behind no writings of his own. To learn about who Socrates was and what he thought, we will need to turn to Plato’s dialogues, some of the greatest philosophical and literary works of the Western philosophical tradition.

Level: Undergraduate-Graduate

Credits: 3

Course Time: Monday / Wednesday  2:00pm - 3:20pm

Instructor: Paul Muench

CRN: 34100

Course Description: (R-2) Offered autumn and spring. Prereq., graduate standing. Discussion of issues related to environmental philosophy and the profession. Graded credit/no credit.

Level: Graduate

Credits: 1

Course Time: Wednesday 5:00pm - 5:50pm

Instructor: Charles Hayes

CRN: 32884