Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41290 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am GSB 2.126
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What are we essentially? Are we merely sophisticated machines: brains and bodies composed of matter? Maybe our bodies are dispensable so that with the right technology we might one day be able to survive with our brains alone. (Think here of Futurama and all those talking heads in vats). Some think we don’t need either our bodies or our brains to survive because each of us has a soul. Souls aren’t physical things, so plausibly they can survive without a body or a brain. Returning now to the first suggestion, if we are just sophisticated machines, then maybe someday we can “invent” creatures like us—androids with machine intelligence. Would such creatures (ourselves included) have free will? What if one of them went on a murderous rampage? Would it be morally responsible for its actions? But wait a minute. I began with the question, “What are we?” Perhaps that was premature. How do you know you are anything at all? What if your entire existence has been nothing more than a grand illusion? Answers to these and other mind-blowing questions will comprise the subject matter of this course.


PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41295 • Montague, Michelle
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 0.126
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The purpose of this course is to introduce a selection of the major problems in philosophy, to some of the solutions that have been offered to them, and to some of the arguments for these solutions.  These problems concern God, freedom, mind, knowledge, and ethics.  Does God exist?  Are we free? What is the mind? Do we know anything? Is value objective?


PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41300 • EATON, DANIEL M
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm WAG 302
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“The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious… Philosophy is to be studied…because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good. —Bertrand Russell, “The Value of Philosophy”

In this course we will discuss the existence of God, knowledge and skepticism, the relationship between mind and body, whether we have free will, and some contemporary ethical debates. We will carefully examine arguments for and against each view we discuss. My primary tasks will be to help you see each view “from the inside”—to feel its attraction—and to see each view “from the outside”—to understand the reasons why others might reject it. By the conclusion of the course, each student will be in a better position to understand, state, and defend her own view of the world and our place in it. At the same time, each student will develop a deeper sympathy and appreciation for those views she does not accept.


PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41305 • Evans, Matthew L.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 302
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There are a few questions that all of us should ask ourselves at least once before we die, and many of them are philosophical. In this course we will pick out some of the most pressing of these questions, and try to answer them as best we can. Among them will be: Do we really know anything about the world outside our own minds? What is the nature of consciousness? Is there a God? What exactly are we? Are we free? Are we responsible for the things we do? Is it morally OK for us to have children? Should we be afraid of dying? Do our lives have a purpose?


PHL 301K • Ancient Philosophy

41310 • Hankinson, Robert J
Meets TTH 930am-1100am UTC 3.102
(also listed as C C 304C)
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An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the ancient world, concentrating on Plato and Aristotle. 


PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

41315 • GALGON, JAKE DAVID
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm GDC 4.302
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This course will be an introductory survey of the European philosophy of the 17th and 18th centuries, including work by Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, and others.

Traditionally, many courses in early modern philosophy focus centrally or even exclusively on the epistemological debate between the rationalists and empiricists over the ultimate source of human knowledge. We will study this debate, but we will ultimately take a broader focus in two ways. First, we will cover work on a wide range of non-epistemological topics, from the nature of mind and its relation to the external world to the question of God's existence to the problem of personal identity to debates about civil society and politics. Second, we will read the work of several less often taught philosophers, including women philosophers, who took part in the contemporary debates on these topics.


PHL 303 • Human Nature

41325 • Green, Jerry
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm WAG 302
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Human nature lies at the foundation of several important questions. Before we know how it is we can know or learn things, or how we should behave, or what happens to us when we die, we have to first figure out what kind of thing we are. This will be the central question of this class: What does it mean to be human?

 

We will examine five attempts to answer this question, all of which come from the Classical Greek world. Why focus on the Greeks? For one, this is an intro-level philosophy course, and ancient Greece is where one version of philosophy began. More importantly, the Greeks took human nature very seriously, and most of the possible theories of human nature we might care about have a Greek version. Focusing on different theories in a single culture allows us to (i) see how theories can vary even when the cultural context stays the same, and (ii) use a culture that is not our own to help illuminate our own assumptions, preferences, and biases.


PHL 303M • Mind And Body

41330-41355 • Tye, Michael
Meets TTH 1100am-1200pm UTC 3.122
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This course examines the relationship of the mind to the body. Topics coveredinclude whether a machine could think, the Turing Test for intelligence, thereduction of the mind to the brain, whether consciousness can be capturedmaterialistically, and the nature of persons and personal identity.We'll be thinking about immaterial spirits, futuristic computers and robots,Martians who behave like us but who have an internal structure very differentfrom ours, brains in vats. We will consider whether these strange charactershave thoughts and feelings. The point is not to consider bizarre cases just for thesake of it, but to see what light we can shed on our own nature as beings withmental lives.


PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

41360-41379 • Krecz, Charles A.
Meets MW 1000am-1100am WAG 201
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An introduction to ethics by way of an examination of a number of contemporary moral problems, including problems of abortion, sexual morality, capital punishment, pornography and hate speech.


PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

41370 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 0.126
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Chances are you’ve confronted an ethical choice recently: Should I help my roommate study for an exam rather than going out? Should I recycle this plastic bottle? Ought I to give money to the homeless person asking for change? Am I obligated to donate blood? Should I report the harassment I witnessed? By contrast, there are many other ethical questions that you may never have explicitly considered, but that nonetheless apply to you, such as: Do I have an obligation as a person of privilege to help those worse off than me? Is it wrong to use animals as a food source? Do the clothes I buy contribute to child labor or slavery in some other part of the world? Do the things I say and do perpetuate harmful gender and racist stereotypes or contribute to a culture of racism or misogyny? Other questions in ethics take a more general form: What kind of person should I be? How should I live? Is my life meaningful? This course will introduce you to the ethical concepts, ideas, and theories that will help us to understand what these questions are asking, as well as going some way toward offering answers.


PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

41372-41377 • Krecz, Charles A.
Meets MW 200pm-300pm GAR 0.102
show description

An introduction to ethics by way of an examination of a number of contemporary moral problems, including problems of abortion, sexual morality, capital punishment, pornography and hate speech.


PHL 305 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

41390 • Phillips, Stephen
Meets MW 300pm-400pm WAG 420
(also listed as CTI 310, R S 305)
show description

An examination of principal issues in contemporary philosophy of religion with special attention to religious pluralism. The views and arguments of Western theologians and philosophers will be taken up along with claims and concepts growing out of Eastern religions (Buddhism and Hinduism, in particular). Special topics include different views of the nature of a Divine Reality, arguments of rational theology, mysticism, and the theological problem of evil.

 

Grading

Four two-page homework assignments, best three count (10% each = 30%)A mid-term exam (15%: true/false and short essay)Rewritten homework, three pages (15%)A final exam (30%)Attendance (10%)

 

Texts

Readings provided by instructor online.


PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

41395 • Buchanan, L. Ray
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 206
show description

This course is an advanced introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of
belief, truth, and knowledge with an emphasis on the latter. Topics to be discussed include,
but are not limited to, the following:
• What is knowledge? For example, what is the difference between knowledge and
mere true belief?
• What are the basic sources of knowledge (i.e., perception, memory, testimony of
others)?
• Why, if at all, should we value the acquisition of knowledge?
• Is it really possible to know anything at all?


PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41400-41410 • Woodruff, Paul B
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 420
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The course is a journey backward in time.  We will begin with Utilitarian ethics, which seeks the greatest happiness of the greatest number.  After assessing the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism, will move on to Kant’s approach to ethics, which is based on the dignity of an autonomous being.  Then we will explore virtue ethics—the study of character in relation to action—in Aristotle and the Chinese tradition (with a brief look at modern expositions of virtue ethics).  The quest for knowledge of virtue will lead us to Socrates and the seeds of Plato’s metaphysics (which will be our subject at the start of the spring semester).  We will end with existentialism, seen mainly through Camus.


PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41415-41425 • Proops, Ian N
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CLA 0.102
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This course examines some of the central problems of philosophy, drawing on both contemporary readings and historical texts. Students will be introduced to philosophy’s “tool kit” as well as its “greatest hits.” Topics include: Arguments for and against the existence of God, free will, moral responsibility, ethical theory, contemporary moral issues, and the theory of knowledge. There are no prerequisites for this class.


PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41440 • Sainsbury, Richard M
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 420
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Moral theories and problems The aim in this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, the death penalty, animal rights, our duties to others). We will try to improve our views on these problems and consider how theory and practice can interact constructively. Course materials and work will be channeled through Canvas. 


PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

41445-41455 • GROSSMAN, ALEXANDER P
Meets MW 1000am-1100am PAR 203
show description

This is a course in the basic principles of logic. The student will come out of this
course with an understanding of deductive inference and of argument generally, as
wells as the notions of logical consequence, validity, soundness, and logical truth.
Specifically, we will be looking at sentential logic (which treats the inferential
relations among simple sentences) and predicate logic. Predicate logic is
distinguished from sentential logic by its use of quantifiers.


PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

41460 • BALTHAZAR, LANCE J
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm WAG 302
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Logic is the study of correct reasoning.  The course will begin by looking at some basic concepts and features of reasoning and arguments.  Then students will see how logic works to make these ordinary notions into something more rigorous and precise. This will involve, for one, learning sentential logic and first-order predicate logic- two artificial languages developed for the representation of the logically-salient features of the natural languages we use in reasoning.   Students will also learn truth tables, truth trees, and the natural deduction system - precise algorithms for evaluating arguments and constructing proofs.   


PHL 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

41465-41475 • Dogramaci, Sinan
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 203
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This is a first course in deductive symbolic logic. We'll study formal languages for representing sentences

in logically precise ways, we'll study algorithms for evaluating arguments as logically valid or invalid, and

we'll get an introduction to some of the surprising discoveries logicians have made about what tasks no

algorithm can possibly do.


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

41495 • GRIGORE, NORA
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 0.130
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We will start from famous philosophical texts about what is art and how art is supposed to be different from other human endeavors. Previous contact with philosophy in general is welcomed but not required. The course is intended to make room for discussion and debate about the main questions surrounding art and its theory: What is the purpose of a work of art? Does it have to have a purpose? What is the place of artist's intention in art? Does the work of art have to have a meaning (i.e. to "tell" us something)? Do we have criteria to distinguish something that is art from something that is not? Does reason have place in art or is art a domain of emotion? The main topicof the course is art, however, the main instruments employed during the course will be argument and reasoning, as one of the goals of the course is to develop abilities to reason and argue about matters that are said to be of mere taste.


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

41500-41540 • Higgins, Kathleen M
Meets TTH 200pm-300pm MEZ 1.306
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This course will consider some of the answers given in the Western philosophical tradition to questions about the nature of art and beauty, with some comparison with perspectives from Japan (and perhaps other societies).  Particular attention will be given to the nature of aesthetic experience from the standpoint of both the artist and the observer and the relationship between art and reality.


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

41544 • LUPO, JEREMY
Meets MWF 900am-1000am WAG 302
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This course is an introduction to the philosophy of the arts from the perspective of the analytic tradition. The philosophy of the arts is a wide-ranging field; it encompasses attempts at answering such questions as: What is art-- how do we define "art"? What are artworks--  what exactly does a particular work of art consist in? Is there a special kind of value to be found in art, and if so, what is it? What is beauty? Why do we sometimes react to events within fictions as if they had actually happened? In this course, we will examine philosophical attempts to provide answers to these questions-- or, at times, to show how the questions themselves are in fact misguided. Our goal will not be to expound a single true answer to each question, but to consider a number of different suggestions, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. We will be focusing on fairly recent writings, typically pieces from the last half century or so. 


PHL 318 • Introduction To Ethics

41545 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WAG 201
show description

What sort of life should I live? What kind of person should I be? What sort of actions am I obligated to perform? Such questions are in the province of ethics. They ask not how you have lived, or who you are, or what you have done, but how you ought to live, what sort of person you should be, and what actions you obligated to perform. Normative (or ethical) theory—the topic of this course— attempts to provide systematic answers to these questions. You may be wondering why we need such theories when the answers may initially seem obvious. It may strike you, for instance, that you should live your life in such a way so as to bring about as much happiness for yourself as possible even if it means ignoring the happiness of others. But this would be to neglect the very things that make one happy; namely, friendship and other valuable relationships that require for their existence and maintenance caring about others and their interests, as well as acting on their behalf even when it is difficult or inconvenient to do so. Thus, in ethics we often find that what looked like an easy question to answer, instead raises puzzles. Normative theorists set out to resolve these puzzles, and to offer comprehensive ethical theories that when applied to specific cases specify a verdict about what a person ought to do in that situation. In this course, we will critically evaluate the competing attempts to offer such a theory in addition to addressing questions about the nature of ethics itself.

 

* This course satisfies the Ethics and Leadership Flag.

 


PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge

41560 • Hankinson, Robert J
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 0.104
show description

This class will be a general survey of epistemology, the philosophical theory of knowledge, both

throughout the history of western philosophy, and contemporary developments and debates.

Given the time constraints imposed by the nature of the class, it will necessarily be selective; but

among the topics to be considered will be the following: What is the nature of knowledge? How

(if at all) does it differ from true belief? Are there different types of knowledge? If so, what are

their relations and how are they to be characterized? What if anything can human beings know?

If we can know things, do we also need to know that we know them? In what does the

justification of knowledge claims consist? Can there be a purely intellectual route to knowledge,

or must all knowledge be based on immediate experience? To mention only a few.


PHL 322 • Science And The Modern World

41565-41575 • Juhl, Cory F
Meets TTH 200pm-300pm WAG 420
show description

Scientific discoveries have profoundly altered the way we see the world and our place within it. Three branches of science that have dramatically changed the way humans see themselves are cosmology, the science that deals with the large-scale structure of the universe, quantum theory, which deals with the small-scale structure, and evolutionary biology.      In this course we will accomplish two main goals. First, we will learn the history and content of a few of the most revolutionary theoretical developments in human history. Second, we will consider aspects of the broader philosophical significance that these developments are supposed to have.      The first part of the course will concentrate on general philosophy of science issues. Then we will study the Copernican Revolution, how it came about and some of its explosive consequences.      

     We will then briefly describe the revolutionary implications of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Next will be an overview of the bizarre discoveries about the basic nature of matter, quantum theory. We will study various relevant historical developments, and think about different interpretations of the theory that have been proposed. A fundamental question will haunt us in this part, the question whether we are doomed to ignorance about the ultimate nature of reality.      

      Next we will consider the work of a physicist who attempts to explain why, and in what sense, science as we came to know it did not develop anywhere except in Europe. His view is that the ancient Greeks invented the sort of logical, systematic thinking that science requires. Relevant facets of Chinese culture, Hebrew culture and others will be examined and contrasted with Greek and later European cultures with respect to their fostering scientific developments.

     The last third to half of the course will focus on evolutionary biology since the nineteenth century. We will first read some of Dawkins’ and then Dennett’s summary of the conceptual core of modern evolutionary theory, from their own compelling, if perhaps disturbing, perspectives. Then we will spend time on more recent developments and controversies that have swirled around evolutionary theory.      The matters that we will deal with in the course are fascinating at a purely intellectual level. But these are not merely intellectual curiosities; they provide pictures of how we humans ‘fit into the cosmic scheme’. Since matters of fundamental importance hinge on a proper understanding the universe and our place in it, no thinking person can afford to neglect to examine these pictures with care.


PHL 323K • Metaphysics

41580 • Koons, Robert C
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 306
show description

An examination of the classic problems and questions of metaphysics (change, composition, time, space, existence, possibility, causation, universals), using the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy.


PHL 323M • Philosophy Of Mind

41585 • Montague, Michelle
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WAG 302
show description

This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in philosophy of mind. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing? Or is the mind the brain? Or does the mind stand to the brain as a computer program stands to the hardware? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are "about" things? (For example, we can all think that Aristotle is a philosopher, and in that sense think "about" Aristotle, but what is the explanation of this quite remarkable ability?) Can I know whether your experiences and my experiences when we look at raspberries, fire trucks and stop lights are the same? Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation?

 


PHL 325K • Ethical Theories

41590 • Evans, Matthew L.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 302
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Nearly all of us accept that there are things we morally ought to do, and other things we morally ought not to do. But only a few of us take the time to ask ourselves, in a serious and systematic way, what is it about these things that makes them the ones we morally ought, or ought not, to do. The aim of this class is to explore and evaluate the full range of different possible answers we might want to give to this question. Readings will be drawn primarily from recent and contemporary work in the analytic tradition of philosophical ethics, but will also include material from the two historical figures who have had perhaps the greatest influence on that tradition — Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.


PHL 325K • Ethical Theories

41595 • Bonevac, Daniel A
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 308
show description

This course examines four central approaches to ethical theory on the contemporary scene -- virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism, and intuitionism -- by a close reading of key texts from which they spring.       

Our discussion will not be limited to those texts; we will consider subsequent developments, especially recent contributions, and we will seek to identify and address the primary problems each tradition faces. Prerequisite: Six semester hours of coursework in Philosophy. This course counts toward the writing flag requirement.


PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

41605-41615 • Leon, Jeffrey C.
Meets MW 1100am-1200pm WAG 420
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The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern publicpolicy. We look at several approaches to ethics and several areas of medicine to gain insightsinto medical ethics. This course carries the ethics and leadership flag. Consequently, asubstantial portion of the grade will involve ethical issues and reasoning.


PHL 329K • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

41620-41630 • Hankinson, Robert J
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CLA 1.104
(also listed as C C 348)
show description

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. We’ll focus on three major thinkers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and we’ll examine their views and arguments on some central questions about human conduct, the natural world, and our knowledge of both. We’ll begin with a brief look at some influential earlier figures known as Presocratics and Sophists, and we’ll end with a brief look at some enduring ideas of Epicurus. The emphasis throughout will be on analyzing both what these thinkers say and their reasons for saying it. The main goal is not to memorize information but to develop a critical understanding of some problems and arguments that remain very much alive today.


PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

41640-41645 • Leon, Jeffrey C.
Meets MWF 900am-1000am PAR 203
show description

This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy.  The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems.  Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge.  The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme. 


PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language-Phl Maj

41650 • Sainsbury, Richard M
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 304
show description

What is linguistic communication? “Communication” can be used very widely (one billiard ball communicates motion to another, ants communicate by chemical messages), and in many or even most cases, communication is not linguistic.

The course approaches the task of finding out what’s special to linguistic communication by considering whether non-human animals are capable of language. We’ll examine the language-like achievements of parrots, dogs, chimps and some other animals, in order to consider whether they are genuine language-users.

We will then consider how linguistic communication has been described by philosophers, notably Paul Grice and Donald Davidson. (They take very different approaches.) Linguistic communication as Grice defined it involves very complex intentions on the part of speakers, intentions of a complexity that probably put this beyond the reach of non-humans, thereby creating an apparent discontinuity in evolutionary development.


PHL 346K • Aesthetics

41654 • Leon, Jeffrey C.
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm WAG 302
show description

What is art? What is the relationship between the creative, interpretive, and appreciative aspects of art? How do answers to these questions affect the aesthetic experience? This class will explore these issues through primary readings by philosophers and artists, with special attention to visual and performing arts. We will also experience examples of artistic expression to help understand and appreciate these views.


PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law

41655-41665 • Smith, Tara A
Meets TTH 930am-1030am WAG 420
show description

This course will examine fundamental questions about the nature, authority, and proper application of law. We will begin by considering the purpose and the authority of a legal system. What function is the law to fill? What does the ideal of the Rule of Law demand, and what is the role of a constitution in securing that ideal? Must laws meet certain moral criteria in order to carry genuine authority?

 

The second and third units will concentrate on questions concerning the application of law in the judicial system. Unit 2 will focus on judicial review – specifically, the methods by which courts should interpret the law and reason about the law in order to resolve particular cases. What constitutes inappropriate judicial “activism?” What constitutes inappropriate passivism? We will investigate several competing theories, such as those that urge adherence to lawmakers’ original intent, to text, to moral principles, popular will, and precedent.

 

Finally, Unit 3 will focus on juries. What is their proper role in the administration of justice? What are the reasons for having juries (as opposed to judges or other legal professionals) reach verdicts and determine sentences? How should juries be constituted? Is jury nullification ever a justifiable practice?


PHL 348 • Classical Chinese Philosophy

41669 • Sena, David M
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm MEZ 1.120
(also listed as ANS 372, CTI 375)
show description

FLAGS:   GC

Course descriptionThis course examines the classical philosophical traditions of Chinese civilization.  Arising during the tumultuous Warring States period (5th-3rd centuries B.C.E), the seminal thinkers and texts of Confucianism, Daoism, and many other of the "hundred schools" set the foundation for discourses in ethics, political philosophy, and metaphysics in Chinese civilization over the next two millennia. Focusing on primary sources in translation, supplemented by a selection of secondary literature, this course introduces a broad range of classical thought, exploring its philosophical, religious, and social dimensions in historical context.

This course carries a University Global Cultures Flag. The goal of this flag is to challenge students to explore the beliefs and practices of non-U.S. cultural communities in relation to their own cultural experiences so that they engage in an active process of self-reflection.

Course textsThe Analects of ConfuciusMoziThe Daodejing of LaoziMenciusZhuangziXunziHan Feizi

A. C. Graham, Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China (1989).

Additional required readings to be distributed electronically.

Gradingparticipation: 15%informal writing: 15%2 short papers: 30%midterm exam: 20%final exam: 20%


PHL 348 • Indian Philosophies

41680 • Phillips, Stephen
Meets MW 200pm-300pm WAG 420
(also listed as ANS 372, R S 341)
show description

The course is divided roughly into three parts. Approximately the first six weeks are devoted to history and overview. Of special concern (and targeted on the midterm exam) will be the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, along with the claim that Vedanta philosophy (alternatively the teaching of the Buddha) is justified by mystical or yogic experience. We shall also take up questions of ethics, in particular the ahimsa ("non-injury") precept of Jainism and the karma-yoga teaching of the Gita. An overview of the nature of philosophy will occupy us in connection with an introduction to early Buddhism, as well as the transition to classical philosophy. The second part of the course, five weeks, will be devoted to classical Indian philosophy. We'll examine the controversy between the professional debaters of the Nyaya school ("Logic") and the Buddhist anti-intellectual Nagarjuna who rejects Nyaya's theory of knowledge and the school's identification of perception, inference, and testimony as "knowledge sources." Buddhist idealism and its debate with Nyaya will be our next focus, then the interschool controversy between Sankara's Advaita ("Non-dualistic'') Vedanta and the theistic Vedanta of Ramanuja, and finally the Nyaya view of Gangesa on inference and mukti, the "supreme personal good." The last four weeks, we shall return to Indian spirituality and some of the topics of the first part, looking at the Yoga-sutra, Tantra, neo-Vedanta, and modern works concerning meditation and spiritual discipline.


PHL 349 • Hist Of Medieval & Renais Phl

41682 • Koons, Robert C
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am WAG 302
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An examination of the most significant and representative philosophers of medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, with a view both to their historical significance and their contemporary relevance. Topics include: faith and reason, proofs of God’s existence, free will, soul and body, and the problem of universals.


PHL 354 • Mistranslating Latinos

41683 • Colomina-Almiñana, Juan J.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GWB 1.130
(also listed as LIN 373, MAS 374, SPC 320C)
show description

This course is oriented around the problem of translation (literary, cultural, political, sociolinguistic) as it relates to the cultural production and/or language use arising in Latina/o communities. Depending upon the expertise of the individual instructor, the course might address translation from different angles: issues of linguistic or cultural relativism, complications of literary translations, the mistranslations that ensue when translating cultural texts from one medium to another (the stage to the screen or the page to the stage, for instance).


PHL 354 • Origins Of Liberalism

41685 • Martinich, Al P.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 210
(also listed as CTI 335, EUS 346)
show description

Liberal democracy is the theory that individual persons are free and equal and thus have certain rights that must be respected by governments. The theory behind liberalism developed from or competed with several traditions such as democracy, republicanism, and absolute sovereignty. The theory was influenced by various religious, economic and political beliefs over a long period of time. Perhaps the most crucial period in this development was seventeenth-century England.

This course is interdisciplinary. It will cover such political and religious events as The Gunpowder Plot, Charles I’s Personal Rule, the Long Parliament, the English Civil War and the execution of King Charles I, the Commonwealth, the Restoration of the Monarchy, the Exclusion Crisis, and the Glorious Revolution. Some crucial works in political philosophy by some great political philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke will be discussed along with lesser but still significant theorists such as John Milton. The political relevance of some literary works, such as John Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel, will also be discussed.

Key concepts to be discussed include liberty, democracy, the social contract, and the nature of authority and obligation.


PHL 358 • Philosophical Logic

41690 • Litland, Jon E.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WAG 308
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This is an intermediate logic course. The main goal of the course is to familiarize ourselves with the techniques and methods of non-classical logic. Such logics play an increasingly important role in philosophy and they have numerous applications in linguists, computer science and mathematics. We will study both extensions of classical logic—such as modal and tense logics—and alternatives to classical logics—such as intuitionistic and multi-valued logic. The main focus of the course is the development of the tools and methods of non-classical logics, but we will take care understand both the philosophical motivations for the logics as well as some of their non-philosophical applications, in particular, applications in linguistics and mathematics. The logics we study have different strengths and weaknesses. We will pay particular attention to the following methodological question: how to decide which logic is the best logic for a given application?