Fall 2008

Text:
Increase font size
Decrease font size

Course Descriptions

First Year Seminar: Paradoxes (PHIL 55)

Matthew Kotzen
This course meets Wednesdays from 1:00-3:30pm.

First Year Seminar: Death (PHIL 078)

Ryan Preston
This course will explore the nature and significance of death through classic and contemporary philosophical work, literature, and film. The course will address the following questions: (1) Do people have souls that can survive bodily death? (2) What makes someone’s life go best? (3) Why is death bad for the person who dies? (4) Do our lives have meaning? (5) Does our mortality have any implications for the meaning of our lives?
This course meets Wednesdays from 10:00-12:30pm.

First Year Seminar: Evil (PHIL 089)

Susan Wolf
What is evil?  Who, if anyone, is responsible for it?  How different are evil people from the rest of us?  How should we respond to them?   The course will explore the nature of evil through philosophy, nonfiction, fiction and film.  Readings will include Shakespeare’s Othello, Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, and Mary Midgley’s Wickedness. The course will involve short weekly writing assignments.  In addition, students will select an independent project, presenting their findings to the class and leading a discussion on it.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday 11:00-12:15.

Main Problems (Phil 101)

Gregory Salmieri
This course will introduce students to philosophy by raising perennial philosophical questions, including “Is there a God?”, “What things can we know and how can we know them?”, and “What is in a person’s interest and what role should the pursuit of self-interest play in one’s life?” In each case we will consider competing positions as defended by historical and contemporary philosophers, and students will be asked to reach (and support) their own conclusions.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-10:45.

Main Problems (Phil 101)

Jamin Asay
This course is listed as one that covers the “main problems” of philosophy. But what is a philosophical problem? And what is philosophy, anyway? This course is an introduction to philosophy, so we’ll be trying to understand what the nature of philosophy is, and what it is that makes a problem a distinctly philosophical one. To achieve that aim, we’ll be reading some of the classics of western philosophy—specifically, works by Plato, Descartes, and Hume. We will struggle through some eternal philosophical questions with those great thinkers: What is real, and what is merely apparent? What is knowledge, and is it possible to have any? Does God exist? Is there a soul, and is it immortal? What is the relationship between the mind and the body? In addition to getting acquainted with what the greats have had to say about these perennial issues, we will work on developing a number of philosophical skills that can be deployed every day. For example, we will learn how to construct arguments, detect flaws in others’ reasoning, and draw crucial kinds of distinctions. Once equipped with this battery of skills and familiarity with the philosophical landscape, we’ll finish by reading Simon Blackburn’s Truth: A Guide, and evaluate its discussion of the possibility of there being objective truth.
This course meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00-10:50.

Main Problems (Phil 101)

Jason Bowers

This course meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:00-2:50.

Introduction to Great Works (Phil 110)

John Roberts
This course is aimed at students who have not studied philosophy at the university level before (or even studied it at all), and who want to find out what it’s all about.  We will read a handful of the highlights from the history of philosophical writing in the Western world (by which I mean: the part of the world containing ancient Greece and those cultures that fell under its intellectual influence).  The course will not be focused on a single theme or a single historical period; it will be a smorgasbord of philosophical writings on different topics from different times and places.  We will not focus so much on the literary styles or historical contexts of the philosophers we read; rather, our focus will be on the way their arguments develop logically.  For each text we read, our goal will be to understand the argument it presents, and evaluate that argument critically. The texts we read will include works of six philosophers:  Plato, Augustine, Boethius, John Stuart Mill, William James, and Bertrand Russell.
This course meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00-9:50am

Great Works (PHIL 110)

Alan Nelson
An introduction to Philosophy through deeply established classics: Plato’s Republic, Descartes’ Meditations, Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Camus’s The Plague.  There will be take-home essay examinations and mandatory postings on BLACKBOARD.  Our theme will be absolute values.  What would they be?  How could they be known?  What if there aren’t any?
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Making Sense of Ourselves (Phil 112)

David Reeve
In this introductory course, we will explore the attempts made by a series of influential thinkers to understand who we are, what kind of world we live in, and how we should live our lives. As we will see, these questions are more connected than they might first appear. Authors include: Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, St. Matthew, Nietzsche, Freud, and Rand.
This course meets Monday and Wednesday from 12:00-12:50.

Philosophy of Religion (Phil 134)

Warren Nord
The course is structured around the question: Is it reasonable to believe in God?  Of course, a lot hinges on what we mean by “reasonable” and by “God” and we will explore the possibilities.  We will discuss the two major reasons for disbelief: the existence of massive evil in the world, and the alternative interpretation of reality provided by modern science.  And we will discuss the major reasons for belief: religious experience; the appearance of design in nature; and the witness of Scripture.  We will conclude with a discussion of different ways of understanding the nature and respective merits of faith and reason.  The readings will present a wide variety of views, religious and secular; most will be by contemporary philosophers, theologians, and scientists, with a few classical readings and excerpts from Scripture.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Philosophy of Religion (Phil 134)

Ryan Preston
This course will address some of the central questions in the philosophy of religion: When is faith rational? Does God exist? What is the origin of religious belief? Is there life after bodily death? We will also explore the implications of answers to these questions for the meaning and value of our lives.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

Language and Communication (Phil 145)

Dean Pettit
This course is an introduction to contemporary theorizing about language, focusing on the relationship language has to the mind. Many linguists believe that the study of language reveals the structure of a certain part of the human mind. Some philosophers of language have held that analysis of language can reveal the structure of thought. The aim of the course is to understand what relationship language has to mind and thought, such that it might show something about their structure. To understand this requires us to abandon many of our commonsense ideas about language. Our commonsense view of language is that it is a cultural innovation, something we have collectively invented and then pass on to our children by teaching it to them. Yet evidence from a variety of sources suggests that this commonsense view of language is fundamentally mistaken. The evidence suggests that language is an innate capacity of the human mind, much like the visual system. On this view, language is not a human invention any more than the visual system is, and children are not taught to speak a language any more than they are taught to see. Adopting this general conception of language as a component of the human mind, we will examine some of the contemporary ideas about the structure of language, with an eye to understanding what this might reveal about the structure of the mind. We will also examine some important ideas about language and meaning, with an eye to understanding what this might reveal about the structure of thought.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:45.

Introduction to Mathematical Logic (Phil 155)

Thomas Hofweber
Logic is the study of certain precisely specified formal languages. In this course we will study these languages and their applications. Logic has proven to be extremely useful in a number of different disciplines. First, they are very helpful in the study of good and valid reasoning. We will use these formal languages to study valid and invalid forms of reasoning, and how to distinguish them. Secondly, mathematical logic is useful in the study of natural languages, and we will see some illustrative examples of this. Finally, logic is crucial for computer science and foundational issues in mathematics. Although these latter two areas quickly get into more advanced topics we will be able to discuss some highlights of these uses of logic.
This course meets Monday and Wednesday from 10:00-10:50.

Introduction to Ethics (Phil 160)

Jamaal Pitt
Initially, spaces in the course will be held for freshman. After freshman have had a chance to enroll, registration will be open to all.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00-9:15.

Introduction to Ethics (Phil 160)

Ben Bramble
This course is an introduction to moral theory. We will explore three core questions: (1) What does morality demand of us? (2) Under what conditions are we responsible for our success or failure in living up to these demands? And (3) What connection is there between our living morally and our being well-off? In examining these questions, we will read classic texts: Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and Mill’s Utilitarianism.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:45.

Introduction to Ethics (Phil 160)

Michael Moehler
This course provides an introduction to the most influential moral theories of the Western philosophical tradition. We will read seminal texts by some of the greatest writers in moral philosophy, such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Bentham, Mill, and Kant.
Although we will study these authors’ works carefully, the course is not an exercise in the ‘history of ideas’. Our primary goal is not to know what these authors thought (although this will be an important subsidiary goal), but rather to find our own answers to the questions addressed by these philosophers, questions which a reflective person at any time or place might ask him- or herself. These include: What does morality demand of us? Under what conditions are we responsible for fulfilling the demands of morality? Why be moral? What is the relationship between morality and self-interest?
In addition to the classics, we will read articles by contemporary moral philosophers. In some cases, these articles are primarily of exegetical value. They help us to understand the classical texts, which are sometimes difficult to read. In other cases, the articles advance novel answers to the questions addressed in this course. Examples are John Harsanyi’s rule-consequentialism, Thomas Scanlon’s account of moral motivation, and Frances Kamm’s work on non-consequentialism.
This course meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:00-9:50.

Introduction to Ethics: Honors (Phil 160H)

William Lycan
This course is an Honors-level introduction to the elements of moral reasoning and deliberation.  What sorts of factors should I consider in making a moral decision? We will examine some of the classic theories of moral right and wrong, such as John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism and Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative.  Then we shall investigate a number of controversial moral issues, applying the classic theories and also seeing what they overlook.  The special topics will be chosen by the students collectively, but may well include abortion, capital punishment, or euthanasia. Since the course is Honors level, the emphasis will be on discussion. “Lecture” material will be distributed in advance in handout form.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-10:45.

Practical Ethics (Phil 163)

Douglas MacLean
An introduction to applied ethics surveying a variety of moral issues. Topics may include: war, medical ethics, media ethics, sexual ethics, business ethics, racism, sexism, capital punishment, and the environment.
This course meets Monday and Wednesday from 11:00-11:50 and requires a Friday recitation.

Bioethics (Phil 165)

Erica Roedder
This course is an introduction to philosophical bioethics. Introduction to this field requires consideration of moral theories and philosophical methods as well as particular contemporary topics in bioethics. Topics for this course may include issues at the beginning and end of life, animal and human experimentation, new and emerging clinical and research technologies, allocation of scarce medical resources, and ethical issues in the health care provider-patient relationship. In approaching these topics we will analyze the arguments made on the different sides of these moral issues, consider how various philosophical methods and theories fit with the issues, and consider how other views (on, e.g., culture, science, law, religion, family) impact these issues. Skills developed through assignments, lecture, and discussion will be analytical thinking, writing, and communication skills as well as well as a basic mastery of the topics covered.
This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00-9:50.

Bioethics (Phil 165)

Erica Roedder
This course is an introduction to philosophical bioethics. Introduction to this field requires consideration of moral theories and philosophical methods as well as particular contemporary topics in bioethics. Topics for this course may include issues at the beginning and end of life, animal and human experimentation, new and emerging clinical and research technologies, allocation of scarce medical resources, and ethical issues in the health care provider-patient relationship. In approaching these topics we will analyze the arguments made on the different sides of these moral issues, consider how various philosophical methods and theories fit with the issues, and consider how other views (on, e.g., culture, science, law, religion, family) impact these issues. Skills developed through assignments, lecture, and discussion will be analytical thinking, writing, and communication skills as well as well as a basic mastery of the topics covered.
This course meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:00-1:50.

Social Ethics & Political Thought (Phil 170)

Emily Given
The course will be an introduction to social and political philosophy. The first half of the course will be spent reading some classical texts in liberal political philosophy: Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke’s Treatise on Civil Government, and Mill’s On Liberty. These historical texts will introduce students to the central issues in social and political philosophy. In the second half of the course, we will read Nussbaum’s Sex and Social Justice, a contemporary feminist text that examines several contemporary political issues including female genital mutilation, pornography, prostitution, and lesbian and gay rights. By the end of the course, students will have learned how to read philosophical texts critically, how to identify and construct philosophical arguments, and how to write papers that evidence these skills.
This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from12:30-1:45.

Social Ethics & Political Thought (Phil 170H)
Thomas Hill
A study of selections from classic works in political philosophy from Thomas Hobbes to John Rawls. Questions include: What is the source of political authority and the obligation to obey the law? When, if ever, is revolution justified, and why? What are the requirements of justice, for example, regarding property, individual liberties, and democratic procedures? Is the idea of a social contract relevant today? Discussion will be emphasized. Class presentations, papers, and exams will be required.
This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

Ancient Philosophy (Phil 210)

James Lesher
This course explores the development of Greek philosophical thought from its beginnings in the 6th century BCE down to the end of the classical period. The major figures studied will be the Presocratic philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The goal of the course is to become acquainted with the main features of ancient Greek thought and the ways in which ancient ideas shaped the philosophy, science, art, and literature of later centuries. There is one in-class exam, one take-home exam/paper, and the final exam. Lecture and discussion. Required text: Cohen, Curd, and Reeve, Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy, 3rd edition. (Earlier editions have different contents and should not be purchased.)
This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

Existential Philosophy (Phil 224)

Graham Hubbs
Texts that are commonly described as “existential” are motivated by anxieties about the scope of human freedom and responsibility. This class will explore those anxieties. We will begin by simply trying to characterize these anxieties through reading Camus. We will move on to look at some of the conceptual bases for these anxieties by studying Augustine, Hume, and Kant. We will then read some of the authors whose works have traditionally been taken to be “existential,” including Nietzsche, Sartre, and de Beauvoir. If time permits, we will close by looking at Richard Moran’s contemporary treatment of these anxieties.
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30-1:45pm.

Experience & Reality (Phil 230)

Dean Pettit
An introduction to metaphysics, exploring issues such as the nature of persons, our experience of things, the mind-body relation, appearance vs. reality, space and time, the character of the external world, a deity.
This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Experience & Reality (Phil 230)

Katie Elliot
An introduction to metaphysics, exploring issues such as the nature of persons, our experience of things, the mind-body relation, appearance vs. reality, space and time, the character of the external world, a deity.
This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:00-2:50.

Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense (Phil 272)
Bernie Boxill
The course will introduce students to some of the moral issues of war and peace. For example: Can war ever be morally justified? Can pacifism be morally justified? Can terrorism ever be morally justified? Can intervention ever be morally justified? Is there a moral duty to seek peace? Is the idea of a national interest a moral notion? What is Just War Theory, and what are its moral presuppositions? What are the moral rights of prisoners of war? Can it ever be morally justified to target civilians in war? Who has the moral and legal right to declare war? What are causes of war? What are the moral presuppositions of Realism and Liberalism in international affairs? Do the moral presuppositions of functioning democracies help to explain their alleged tendency not to fight one another? What are the ethical responsibilities of multinational corporations? What is the relation between global distributive justice and peace?
This course meets on Monday and Wednesday from 12:00-12:50 and requires a Friday recitation.

Social and Economic Justice (Phil 273)
Michael Moehler
This course provides an introduction to the major theories of justice of the Western philosophical tradition, such as utilitarianism, liberalism, egalitarianism, and libertarianism. The most prominent figures that we will discuss are Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Amartya Sen, and Robert Nozick. The main questions that we will address in this course are: What is the nature of (social and economic) justice? What does justice require of us? Why be just? What is the relationship between justice and self-interest?
After a close analysis of the major theories of justice, we will discuss some of their practical implications. In particular, we will examine the feasibility of a just society, the conception of a universal basic income, and the justification and scope of the state. We will assess arguments for and against the minimal state, and a possible defense of the welfare state.
The final part of the course deals with the debate on global justice. Traditionally, theories of justice have considered the territorial state as the relevant context for justice. But what is the appropriate framework for justice in an interdependent, pluralistic, and global world? What does justice require of us on the international level? In order to find at least some tentative answers to these questions, we will discuss David Miller’s nationalist position, as well as the cosmopolitan views of Charles Beitz, Peter Singer, and Thomas Pogge.
This course meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00-1:50pm.

African-American Political Thought (Phil 274)

Bernard Boxill
In this course we will present African American political thought as an extended response to Thomas Jefferson’s legacy to African Americans, on the one hand in the Declaration of Independence appearing ready to endorse their inclusion in the new republic; and on the other hand in Query 14 of his Notes on the State of Virginia appearing forever opposed to their inclusion. After studying these texts we will read the African American response in some of the main works of David Walker, Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, and Booker T. Washington. We will end up with Tommie Shelby’s contemporary statement in his book We Who Are Dark.
This course meets Monday and Wednesday from 3:00-4:15.

Morality and Law (Phil 280)
Graham Hubbs
This course will examine the philosophical underpinnings of the Constitution of the United States. We will investigate the theories of equality, justice, human nature, and the good life that the Constitution presupposes, and we will probe the legitimacy of these various theories. Some attention will be paid to the documented intellectual influences on the writers of the Constitution, but our main focus will be on what can be said for or against the theories themselves. Authors to be read will include Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.
This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:45.

Theory of Knowledge(Phil 335)

Ram Neta
What’s the difference between knowing something, and just believing it?  In this course, we will try to figure out the answer to this question.  In the course of doing that, we will also examine a bunch of other related issues, like:  what makes it reasonable for someone to believe something?  What makes some beliefs more reasonable than others? What sorts of things are good reasons for believing what?
This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30-1:45.

Reference and Meaning (Phil 345)

Amy Glaser
In this course, we will examine the relationship between language and the world. Words and sentences have two very special features: they’re meaningful and they’re about things. We will try to get a hold on why these two features are of philosophical interest, and understand their relationship to one another. Toward this end, we will sort through a small portion of the enormous body of literature that surrounds these and related issues. Later in the course, we’ll consider feminist criticisms of philosophy of language and the complications that arise when we treat language as essentially embedded in social contexts.
This course will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00-3:15.

Philosophy of Physics (PHIL351)
Marc Lange
A theory in physics (such as Newton’s theory of motion and gravity, or Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism, or Einstein’s special theory of relativity, or quantum mechanics) may succeed in making a bunch of accurate predictions regarding our observations. But then the theory must be interpreted: we must try to understand what the theory says the world is really like, in view of the theory’s accuracy in predicting our observations. This task leads to a host of classic metaphysical problems, some of which we will examine in this course. Problems we may take up include Zeno’s paradoxes, the meaning of instantaneous velocity, whether a cause must be local in space and time to its effect, whether electric and magnetic fields are real entities on a par with matter,  whether the universe is deterministic, whether the universe’s fundamental properties are dispositions, what it would mean for space to be “relational” (as Leibniz thought) or “absolute” (as Newton thought), what sort of thing is energy, what it means to say that mass and energy are “equivalent” (as Einstein’s special theory of relativity says), whether there are “spooky” actions at a distance (as quantum mechanics seems to suggest), and so forth. No specific background in physics is presupposed (though students who know some physics may find their background convenient). Equations from physics will occasionally appear, of course, but we will work through them carefully together. There will be some homework exercises (some regurgitative, others asking for creativity) as well as exams. A major emphasis in the course will be to demonstrate the lack of any sharp boundary between scientific and philosophical questions in interpreting theories in physics.
This course meets on Tuesday from 11:00-12:15.

Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Phil 353)

Jesse Prinz
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind. It encompasses psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, and anthropology. In this course, we will look at questions that arise in these fields: Can computers think? Is the human mind a computer? Is language innate? Does language affect thought? Does culture affect thought? Do we perceive as much as we think we do? Are we as free as we think we are? Are we rational? How rational in moral judgment? What are emotions? How is conscious experience related to the brain? Why do we dream?
This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00-10:45.

Introduction to Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Phil 384)

Mike Munger and Alex Rosenberg (Duke)
This interdisciplinary gateway course provides an introduction to subjects and quantitative techniques used to analyze problems in philosophy, political science, and economics. This course explores a number of issues at the intersection of philosophy, political theory and economic theory. This course will be taught by two Duke professors and will meet for half of the semester at Duke.
This course meets on Monday and Wednesday from 2:50-4:05pm. The first part of the semester, the class will meet on Duke’s Campus in the Social Sciences Building, RM 139. For the second half of the course Caldwell Hall, RM 105.

Aristotle’s Ethics (Phil 390)

Gregory Salmieri
Aristotle, who is by all accounts one of the most influential thinkers in history, can also be one of the most intimidating. His writings are often dense and occasionally cryptic, there is a great historical distance between him and us, and his views on different topics are so intertwined that it can be difficult to know where to begin in studying him. In this course we will approach Aristotle by focusing on one of his most accessible works, the Nicomachean Ethics, in which he develops a theory of the human good and details the role in it of virtue, intellectual achievement, pleasure, friendship, and other values. Over the course of the semester, we will read this treatise in its entirety, interspersed with related passages from other Aristotelian texts on a wide range of topics including: logic, science, causality, god, the soul, biology, and politics. In this way, students will become orientated to Aristotle’s philosophy as a whole and learn see the place of ethics within it. (We may also look briefly at some works by Plato to which Aristotle is reacting.)
The primary aim of the course is to help students develop an understanding and appreciation of Aristotle generally and of the Nicomachean Ethics in particular and to further their own thinking about the human good through critical engagement with Aristotle. A secondary aim is to help students develop the skills required for the detailed study of a philosophical text, with an emphasis on the special problems posed by a text from a different historical period and in a foreign language.
This course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:45.

Directed Readings (Phil 396)

John T Roberts

This course will meet Tuesdays from 6:00-8:30.

Directed Readings (Phil 396)

Jan Boxill
Please contact Jan Boxill at jmboxill@email.unc.edu for information about this course and registration.

Rationalism (Phil 421)
Alan Nelson
This will primarily be a close reading of Descartes’ Meditations, much of Spinoza’s Ethics, and Leibniz’s Monadology.  We will also need to consult some supporting texts and secondary materials.  Some attention will be devoted to ancient and recent rationalisms and competing empiricisms, but our main goal will be to fruitfully compare and contrast the “big three” canonical Rationalists.  There will be take-home essay examinations and mandatory postings on BLACKBOAR-.
This course meets Wednesdays from 4:00-6:30.

Symbolic Logic (Phil 455)
Keith Simmons
Symbolic logic has proven to be extremely influential in a variety of 20th century disciplines, like philosophy, linguistics, the foundations of mathematics, and computer science. This course is an introduction to the main topics and results in formal logic. We will first cover the syntax and semantics of various formal languages and a selection of proof systems for them. Then, we will discuss and prove some of the central results in the meta-theory of first order logic: completeness, compactness, the Löwenheim-Skolem theorems, complete theories, notions inexpressible in first order logic, and some applications to first order mathematical theories, like non-standard models of arithmetic. Finally we will discuss the syntax and a variety of semantics for second order logic, the meta-theory of second order logic, and a selection of intentional systems, like modal logic.
This course meets Monday and Wednesday from 10:00-11:15.

History of Moral Philosophy (PHIL 460)

Thomas Hill
In this course we will examine some classic works in moral philosophy from the modern period. Readings will be selections from the work of Thomas Hobbes and Joseph Butler, and will include some major works of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. The topics include: aspects of human nature that underlie moral practices, ideas of justice and injustice, reason vs. sentiment as the source of moral requirements, and the extent to which consequences determine what is right. The aim is to understand, compare, and discuss critically the central ideas in these texts at a higher level than is possible in more introductory courses. The course is open to both advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
This course meets Thursdays from 4:00-6:30.

Contemporary Moral Problems: Free Will and Responsibility (Phil 462)

Susan Wolf
What kind of control over our actions do we need in order to be responsible for them?  What kind of freedom do we need?  Are the right kinds of freedom and control compatible with determinism?  Are they even conceptually coherent?  The course will pursue these questions through a study of contemporary classics and other important work on the subject, including selections by Roderick Chisholm, P. F. Strawson, Harry Frankfurt, and Gary Watson. There is a prerequisite of at least one college-level philosophy course.  The course is designed for graduate as well as undergraduate students.
This course meets Tuesdays from 6:30-9:00.

Modern Political Philosophy (Phil 474)
Gerald Postema
This course is meant as the first of a two-course sequence (the second to be offered in Spring, 2009) which explores the foundations of contemporary political philosophy. The courses pivot on the work of Hobbes and Locke in the seventeenth century. This course will survey political philosophy up to and, to an extent, including Hobbes and Locke, while the spring semester course will consider political philosophy from Hobbes and Locke to Kant. The fall semester course will highlight key doctrines of Hobbes’ and Locke’s political philosophy concerning authority, law, rights, property, justice, consent, the idea of commonwealth/political community, and constitutionalism. We will seek to enrich our understanding of these ideas by tracing their development in medieval, renaissance, and seventeenth century political philosophy. Philosophers to be considered will include: Aquinas, Marsilius of Padua, Ockhem, Althusius, Suarez, and Grotius.
This course meets Tuesdays from 4:00-6:30.

Directed Readings: Ethics Bowl (PHIL 560)
Jan Boxill
The Ethics Bowl provides students with a unique opportunity to practice applying the moral theories and argumentation principles that they learn in their ethics classes. They receive about 15 case studies in advance involving ethical issues in a number of practical contexts, including engineering, law, medicine, personal relationships, school and politics, both nationally and internationally. During the course the students will prepare these cases for National Ethics Bowl Competition. Questions may concern ethical problems on wide ranging topics, such as the classroom (e.g. cheating or plagiarism), personal relationships (e.g. dating or friendship), professional ethics (e.g. engineering, law, medicine), or social and political ethics (e.g. free speech, gun control, etc.) or global issues (e.g. the impact of globalization, global warming, the environment). The team sent to the Ethics Bowl competition will be selected from those registered in the course. Before the actual competition, a mock Ethics Bowl will be presented to the public and also to local high schools as part of the Philosophy Department’s outreach program.
This course meets Wednesdays from 4:00-6:30.

Honors Lecture (Phil 691H and PHIL 692H)

John Roberts
This course is to be taken by students in the first semester of work on an Honors Thesis in Philosophy.  In order to take this course, you must first find a faculty member in the Philosophy Department who is willing to serve as your advisor.  Students will work independently in consultation with their thesis advisors, and they will also meet regularly with each other and the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss their work in progress with one another.  Students in this course are also strongly encouraged to attend the Department’s visiting speaker series.  To register, please consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (who is Dr. Jan Boxill in Spring 08 and Dr. John Roberts in Fall 08).
PHIL 692H: This course is a continuation of PHIL 691H for students in the second semester of work on their Honors Thesis.
PHIL 691H meets on Wednesdays from 6:00-8:30. PHIL 692H meets Mondays 6:00-8:30.