Spring 2008

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Course Descriptions

Contents

Freshman Seminar: Human Nature (Phil 53H)

Josh Knobe
Students in this seminar will explore a variety of issues that arise when human beings begin to reflect on our own natures, and will be introduced to some of the main theories that have been developed in response to these issues. Among the questions considered will be: 1.) Are human beings inherently good? Evil? Neither? 2) Are human beings completely material? 3) Are human beings free? 4) What is the relation between mind and body? 5) Are human beings naturally social? 6) Do genes determine human behavior? For the first ten meetings, the instructor will set the reading list. Topics for the remaining sections will be drawn from contemporary debates and will be determined by the students in consultation with the student group responsible for that session.

This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Freshman Seminar: Reason/Religion/Reality (Phil 85)

Marc Lange
Although we know that Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo (1564-1642) were correct in theorizing that the Earth orbits the Sun (rather than vice versa), the ways that Copernicus and Galileo argued for their model of the solar system can reveal a great deal about how scientific theories are tested against observations. We will examine their arguments in order to better understand the logic by which scientific theories are tested, confirmed, and ultimately justified. We will consider whether astronomy (and other sciences) can really discover that a theory not only accurately predicts our observations, but also accurately describes what we cannot see. We will consider whether the Catholic Church was justified at the time in regarding Copernicanism as just one among many fairly successful techniques for predicting the night sky’s appearance. We will also investigate whether Galileo could argue for his telescope’s reliability and use mere thought-experiments to defend Copernicanism. To grapple with these issues, we will read not only some history of science (and some of what sixteenth- and seventeenth-century astronomers actually wrote), but also some philosophical accounts of theory testing. We will also look closely at the events surrounding the notorious “trial of Galileo”. Ultimately, we will gain a more nuanced conception of scientific reasoning and of how scientific revolutions occur. No prior background in philosophy or science is presupposed.

This course meets Thursday from 2:00-4:30.

Main Problems (Phil 101)

David Frost
Through our study of a few key influential works, we will grapple with some of the main philosophical topics, for example: ethics (why should we be moral/what is the good life?), epistemology (what do we know and how do we know it?), the philosophy of religion (how or can we prove that God exists?), and the nature of the self (what is the nature of consciousness and the status of the self?). The goals of this course will be to gain an understanding of some of the problems that have been troubling thinkers for ages, and to learn about how trying to solve those problems oneself enriches one’s life.
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 on Monday, Wednesday, and Frida from 9:00-9:50.

Main Problems (Phil 101)

Drew Johnson
What makes some things right and others wrong, and how can we tell the difference? What can we know about the world? Do we have free will?

This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Main Problems (Phil 101)

Felipe De Brigard
What makes some things right and others wrong, and how can we tell the difference? What can we know about the world? Do we have free will?

This course meets Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00-9:15am.

Introduction to Great Works (Phil 110)

Jason Bowers
Philosophy is the love of wisdom. But what is wisdom? And what good does it do us to pursue wisdom? Can it improve our character?
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 on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00-9:15am.

Making Sense of Ourselves (Phil 112)

Emily Kelahan
What makes human life significant? What is the nature of our relationships with others? How do we relate to our world? How should we live? In this course we will ask questions about the nature of human existence and attempt to answer them from the perspective of some of the most influential thinkers in the history of philosophy. Authors we will be reading may include: Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, St. Matthew, Descartes, Hume, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Rand. Topics we will cover may include: reason vs. faith, love, friendship, suicide, values, meaning, the immortality of the soul, and other topics that strike at the heart of what it means to live a particularly human existence.

This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00-1:50.

Making Sense of Ourselves (Phil 112)

Dylan Sabo
An examination of some of the most influential attempts to understand human beings, their lives, and their moral and political values. Authors include: Plato, Aristotle, St. Matthew, Nietzsche, Rand.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:45.

Philosophy of Religion (Phil 134)

David Ripley
A philosophical inquiry into the problems of religious experience and belief, as expressed in philosophic, religious, and literary documents from traditional contemporary sources.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Philosophy of Religion (Phil 134)

David Landy
Get ready for the best Philosophy of Religion course you will ever take! We’re talking arguments for the existence of God (ontological, cosmological, totally illogical!), the problem of evil, free will, the immortality of your soul, and more! Speaking of immortality, ever wonder what you’re going to do with all that free time? Well, we’ll talk about that too, with units on Heaven, Hell, and eternal boredom. Don’t worry, though, the boredom starts after finals! Sign up now, while your soul and mind can still be saved.

This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4:00-4:50.

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 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:00-12:50.

Philosophy of Science (Phil 150)

Marc Lange
The discoveries that scientists make and the methods by which they make them raise a host of interesting philosophical questions, such as: Are scientific theories distinguished from pseudoscience by being testable against our observations? By what logic do our observations support our scientific theories? Can we prove our best scientific theories to be true? Or are they “merely theories”? Are we justified in making predictions about the future on the basis of observations drawn exclusively from the past? What does it mean for one event (for instance, the collision of the Earth with some large rocky body millions of years ago) to be responsible for causing another event (such as the extinction of the dinosaurs) to occur and for explaining why it occurred? What makes a given regular pattern that we might notice (such as the fact that every piece of copper is electrically conductive) not just a giant coincidence, but a law of nature? Do the wholesale revolutions in scientific thought that have occasionally occurred amount to rational and inevitable responses to overwhelming evidence? We will look at these and other questions, settling some of them and trying to make some progress on the others. This course presupposes no background in philosophy or in science.

This course meets on Monday and Wednesday from 12:00-12:50 and requires a recitation on Friday.

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 on Monday and Wednesday from 10:00-10:50 and requires a recitation on Friday.

Introduction to Ethics (Phil 160)

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord
This course is an introduction to moral theory. We will be going straight to the classics — a few of the best books ever written on moral theory: Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and Mill’s Utilitarianism. We will be concerned primarily with two questions: (1) What really matters? and (2) What is involved in answering (1)? In general, worries about the second question arise from worries about the first; and answers to the second usually commit us to answers to the first. In fact, the questions are really far more entangled than they are distinct. So we won’t be taking the questions in order; instead we will jump back and forth between the two. In coming to grips with these two very general questions we will focus on three fundamental, but slightly more specific, questions: (i) What does morality demand? (ii) Under what conditions are we responsible for our success or failure in living up to these demands? and (iii) What connection is there between our being moral and our living a good (satisfying, fulfilling) life? The first calls for a theory of morality, the second requires a theory of moral responsibility, and the third asks for an answer to an age old question: why should I be moral? We will, pretty much, be taking them in reverse order.
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 on Monday and Wednesday at 12:00, and requires a recitation on Friday.

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 require 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-consequentialist position, Thomas Scanlon’s account of moral motivation, and Frances Kamm’s work on non-consequentialism.

This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:00-12:50.

Introduction to Ethics (Phil 160)

Elizabeth Foreman
Exploration of different philosophical perspectives about right and wrong, personal character, justice, moral reasoning, and moral conflicts. Readings drawn from classic or contemporary sources. Critical discussion emphasized.

This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00-10:50.

Introduction to Ethics (Phil 160)

Mark LeBar
Moral theories attempt to put into systematic form thoughts about how to live and how to act. In this course we will look closely at moral theories from several of the foremost philoso­phers in the Western tradition. Each attempts to answer questions that are as pertinent to us, in making decisions how to live, as they were to the authors. We will try to understand just what they take those questions to be, and what answers they offer for them. We will also consider the ideas and theories in Jack London’s Sea Wolf for the application of these ideas.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-10:45.

Introduction to Ethics: Honors (Phil 160H)

Douglas MacLean
We will consider some moral judgments we commonly make about people, actions, and outcomes, and the reasons for thinking that these judgments are true or false, or whether they can or cannot be justified. We will look at some of the leading moral theories, both historical and contemporary, and we will try to apply what we learn about moral reasoning to some practical issues.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

Practical Ethics (Phil 163)

Anabella Zagura
Topics may include: war, medical ethics, media ethics, sexual ethics, business ethics, racism, sexism, capital punishment, and the environment.

This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00-9:50.

Practical Ethics (Phil 163)

Derek Boyd
This course will be an introduction to the practice of moral inquiry through an exploration of four questions that arise from globalization: (1) What would count as an equal and fair distribution of the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions? (2) Is the World Trade Organization legitimate? (3) When is the international community justified in intervening within the borders of a sovereign State to stop an atrocity about to occur or already in progress? (4) Do we as individuals have a moral obligation to aid people in other countries? Emphasis will be placed on developing critical reading, reasoning and writing skills.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Morality and Business (Phil 164)

Marc Baer
An examination of business ethics and the types of ethical dilemmas people may face in business practices.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

Bioethics (Phil 165)

Andrew Courtwright
A set of core issues reoccurs throughout the bioethics literature, one of the most important of which is rights. Rights claims are at the center of debates over abortion, the doctor-patient relationship, and genetic engineering. Because of their centrality, this course will examine issues in bioethics through the framework of rights.
This course has two parts. Because rights have become so important in bioethics and contemporary discourse more generally, we will begin by looking at some of the basic texts in the theory of rights. We will study philosophers like Locke, Bentham, Hart, Feinberg, Kamm, and O’Neill in order to understand the nature and function of rights. Along the way we will try to answer the following questions: What sort of rights are there? What justifies rights? What is the connection between rights and duties? How do we weigh conflicting rights? In the second part of the course we will use our understanding of rights to examine a range of issues in bioethics including the right to life and abortion, patient and physician rights, and the right to an open future and genetic engineering.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00-9:15.

Bioethics (Phil 165)

Rebecca Walker
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.

Bioethics (Phil 165)

Benjamin Bramble
In this course, we will examine key ethical questions arising in the medical and health care professions, such as those concerning patients’ right to information and to refuse treatment, confidentiality, informed consent, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, cloning, and experimentation with human and animal subjects. Along the way, we will see what the major competing ethical theories have to say about such questions. Our investigations will help us not only to think more clearly about the questions themselves, but to test the adequacy of the theories in question.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:45.

Bioethics: Evening (Phil 165E)

Eric Mandelbaum
In this class we will be examining some of the ethical issues that arise in scientific research. Towards that end we will be reading both the psychology of our ethical intuitions and the scientific advancements whose progress creates moral conundrums. The moral psychology that will start the course will give us a grip on whether our ethical intuitions are based in emotional reactions or contemplative judgments. Our case studies will include infiltrating cults to acquire data on failed prophecies, covert research in mental hospitals, the treatment of the mentally ill, possible treatments of psychopaths, research on orphans, research in simulated corrective facilities, and lying to subjects in social psychology experiments. We will also spend time thinking about whether we should support scientific research whose conclusions might be offensive. We will particularly be focusing on early Behaviorist conditioning experiments and the IQ debates of the early 90’s.

This course meets on Monday and Wednesday from 6:00-7:15.

Social Ethics & Political Thought (Phil 170)

Gerald Postema
Two major issues define the subject of political philosophy: (1) the nature and grounds of political authority and obligation, and (2) the nature and fundamental principles of justice. We will explore these two issues focusing on classical and contemporary readings including works of Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill, and Rawls.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:45.

Social Ethics & Political Thought (Phil 170)

Carla Saenz
What makes a government legitimate? What should the goal of government be? What is justice? What is liberty? Does justice demand equality? If so, why? What does equality mean? These and other questions will be the focus of the course. We will proceed historically: While critically reading some of the major works in Political Philosophy the students will be introduced to the most important issues in the subject. More generally, the course aims to strengthen the students’ ability to read and interpret complex texts, explain their own and other people’s views clearly, evaluate philosophical views and arguments, and develop their own views.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:15.

Ancient Philosophy (Phil 210)

James Lesher
PHIL 210 explores the emergence of philosophical thinking in ancient Greece during the 6th century BCE and its development down to the end of the classical period. The major figures studied are 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 helped to shape the philosophy, science, art, and literature of later centuries. Format: Lecture and discussion. Exams: two exams (one of which is a take-home) and the final. Required text: Cohen, Curd, and Reeve, Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy, 3rd edition.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-10:45.

20th Century Philosophy (Phil 229)

Mark Phelan
One important theme in twentieth century philosophy has sometimes been dubbed ‘the linguistic turn’. Philosopher’s who have taken this turn attempt the resolution (or dissolution) of philosophical problems by means of the analysis of language. We will closely examine four major works by twentieth century philosophers that the label fits: Bertrand Russell’s The Philosophy of Logical Atomism; A. J. Ayer’s Language, Truth and Logic; John Austin’s, How to do Things with Words; and W. V. O. Quine’s Word and Object. We will study the distinctive approach to language each text offers and investigate what solutions to the problems of philosophy each approach might afford.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

Experience & Reality (Phil 230)

Dorit Bar-On
A rigorous introduction to some central philosophical topics, possibly including possibility, causation, free will, perception, meaning, truth, time travel, and what makes you today the same person as last week.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

Experience & Reality (Phil 230)

Chris Smith
We will examine three of the most hotly debated topics in contemporary philosophy: the nature and possibility of knowledge, the nature of the mind and its relationship to the body, and the nature of time. If time permits, we may also consider a fourth topic, such as the existence of God or the possibility of free action. Readings will be a mix of contemporary and historical texts, and classroom discussion will be encouraged.

This course meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00-1:50.

Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense (Phil 272)

Marc Baer
The legitimacy of states; just ware theory; pacifism; the ethics of revolution; terrorism; problems of war in an age of weapons of mass destruction; the moral conditions of peace.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:45.

Social and Economic Justice (Phil 273)

Mark LeBar
This course will be a survey of conceptions of justice — social and economic — both historical and contemporary. One organizing question for us will be this: on some conceptions of justice, justice is a matter of relations between individuals as moral agents. On others, it is a matter of the organization of social (especially political) institutions, customs, and practices. How do these notions of justice fit together? Can we have justice in both ways, or do we have to choose? If so, how do we do so? Our survey of views on these questions will take us from the earliest of Western political philosophy to some of the most recent.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:15.

African-American Political Thought: Honors (Phil 274H)

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 on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30-1:45.

Philosophy Issues: Feminism (Phil 275)

Carla Saenz
Is there a “feminine ethics”? What does sexual equality require? What is justice in the context of the family? Is the distinction between a public and a private realm consistent with the emancipation of women? These and other questions will be the focus of the course. We will critically read contemporary feminist theorists’ work on ethics and political philosophy. In order to understand the feminist critiques of the so-called “male-stream” theory, we will also read fragments of John Rawls’s liberal theory of justice. While we will focus on theoretical questions of justice and equality, we will also discuss practical issues like abortion and pornography.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-10:45.

Philosophy Issues: Feminism- Honors (Phil 275H)

Susan Wolf
Through the work of a variety of feminist theorists, the course will explore philosophical issues that arise both in the formulation of general feminist principles and in the evaluation of concrete issues in which women’s welfare is at stake. In the former category are such questions as What is feminism? What is oppression? What is sexism? What is involved in treating people equally who are in dissimilar situations? In the latter are Is gender equality compatible with a conventional division of labor? Does the legality of pornography harm women? Are standards of female beauty in conflict with feminist principles?

This course meets on Tuesdays from 2:00-4:30.

Morality and Law (Phil 280)

Piers Turner
This course will explore the nature of law, its relationship to justice and morality, civil disobedience, the justification of punishment, and paternalism. We will read classical and contemporary texts, including a section devoted to Mill’s classic work in political/legal philosophy, On Liberty.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00-9:15.

Metaphysics (Phil 330)

Meg Wallace
Suppose you have finally decided to marry the love of your life. The two of you exchange vows and promise to be together forever. However, seven years later you come home and find the closets empty of your spouse’s belongings, some suitcases missing, and the following note propped up on the bedroom bureau:
“As we both know, human beings are made up of a collection of skin and bones and tissue and veins and millions and millions of atoms and particles. When we made our marriage vows, there were two distinct collections of particles exchanging vows. However, over the last seven years, those particles have changed: bits of tissue and skin have been replaced by new bits of tissue and skin. In fact, there is not a single particle that makes up me now that is identical with any of the particles that made up the collection of particles that made a promise to you at the alter. Therefore, since the particles that make up me now are entirely distinct from the ones that married you, I am a different human being from the one who married you. Since we are not married, I am out of here. Goodbye.”
Understandably, you are heartbroken. But, more importantly, you are feeling duped. Surely something must be wrong with the above line of reasoning (otherwise divorce proceedings would be a much swifter process and there would be no need for expensive divorce lawyers). But where did your spouse’s reasoning go awry?
In this class, we will be looking at puzzles of constitution like the one above. We will be primarily focused on the nature of objects and persons, leading us to discuss such topics in metaphysics as identity, persistence, time, composition, and the mind/body problem.

This course meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00-6:15.

Philosophy of Mind (Phil 340)

William Lycan
What are minds and how are they related to bodies? We shall examine four answers to that question, the standard competing theories of mind: Dualism, Behaviorism, the Identity Theory, and Functionalism. Then we shall take up some special topics: problems of the “aboutness” of mental states, their having distinctive objects or contents; and problems of consciousness, subjectivity, and the qualitative character of sensory experience.

This course will meet on Tuesdays from 2:00-4:30.

Ethics and Economics (Phil 364)

Geoffrey Brennan

Issues at the intersection of ethics and economics, including: value; the relation between values and preferences; rationality; the relevance to the economics of rights, justice, and the value of human life.

This course meets on Tuesday from 4:25 to 6:55.

 

Environmental Ethics (Phil 368)

Douglas MacLean
This course will examine the nature of environmental values and their role in decisions and public policies involving environmental protection. Some of the questions we will address include: What is the relation between the environment and human health and well-being? Are there reasons other than human health and well-being for protecting the environment? How do we compare environmental values against other values in making reasonable decisions? What are the ethical issues involved in cost-benefit analysis? How do we make reasonable and ethical decisions in the face of uncertainty? What are our duties to future generations and non-human animals? What kind of ethical issues are raised by the prospects of global warming?

This course will meet on Monday from 4:00-6:30.

Introduction to Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Phil 384)

Michael Moehler
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.
Classes meet at UNC for the first half of the semester and at Duke after spring break.

This course meets on Monday and Wednesday from 4:25-5:45pm.

Special Topics: Looking at Love (Phil 390)

C.D.C. Reeve
A philosophical engagement with a series of films, fictions, and philosophical writings dealing with love, including Blade Runner, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Talk to Her.

This course will meet on Wednesday from 4:00-6:30.

Special Topics: Ethics Bowl (Phil 390)

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 Departments outreach program.

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

Directed Readings (Phil 396)

Jan Boxill

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

Colloquium for Majors (Phil 397)

Thomas Hill
We will concentrate on John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice. Rawls’ later work and critical commentary will also be considered; but the main project will be to understand and assess Rawls’s initial book, which has been a major source of inspiration and controversy since its publication in 1971. A Theory of Justice made important contributions to philosophical methodology (”reflective equilibrium”), moral and political philosophy, theories of rationality, and analytical moral psychology. It is the crucial background for Rawls later work on a more limited “political conception of justice” (in Political Liberalism) and international justice (in The Law of Peoples). The class is a colloquium, not a lecture class. Meetings will begin with the instructor’s brief review and then preview of reading material for following week. The central element, however, will be discussion, initiated by short student papers and commentaries circulated in advance to all class members. Frequent paper assignments.

This course will meet on Thursday from 4:00-6:30.

Kant (Phil 423)

Alan Nelson
An intensive introduction to Kant’s accounts of space, time, concepts, perception, substance, causation, and the thinking self through a careful study of his masterwork, The Critique of Pure Reason.

This course will meet on Wednesday from 4:00-6:30.

Philosophy of Language (Phil 445)

Dorit Bar-On
Prerequisites, two courses in philosophy other than PHIL 155 or permission of the instructor. How does language represent? Does it mirror the structure of the world? Does it reflect on the structure of the mind?

This course will meet on Thursday from 4:00-6:30.

Contemporary Moral Problems: The Objectivity of Values (Phil 462)

Susan Wolf
Are values objective? The question means different things to different people. The course will explore different senses of the question, and consider why someone (other than a professional philosopher) might care about whether values are objective, in any of the senses. Further, we will consider how the answer may vary with the kind of value in question – for example, by comparing positions about the objectivity of aesthetic values to positions about the objectivity of moral values.
At the end of the semester, there will be a workshop on the Objectivity of Values (which students are welcome to attend) involving a number of philosophers whose work we will have read during the term.

This course will meet on Thursday from 1:00-3:30.

Philosophy of Law (Phil 480)

Michael Corrado, Geoff Brennan, and Scott Baker
This seminar will tackle the issue of rationality, what it means in economics, what it means in philosophy, and the implications of those meanings for the study of law and legal institutions. The seminar is aimed at law students and philosophy and economics graduate students and upper class undergraduates. Grade will be based upon a seminar paper.

This course will meet on Wednesday from 3:30-6:00.

Philosophy of Art (Phil 485)

Jesse Prinz
This course surveys key topics in (mostly) 20th century analytic aesthetics. Questions include: What is art? How do we evaluate art? Is there an objective standard of taste or is taste relative? How do we interpret pictures? What is realism? What is the role of intention in determining aesthetic meaning? What is the role of emotion in aesthetic response? Is art and aesthetic appraisal an evolved capacity? Many readings focus on fine art, but students can write term papers on music, literature, or other art forms.

This course will meet on Tuesday from 1:00-3:00.

Honors Lecture (Phil 691H and PHIL 692H)

Jan Boxill

This course meets on Monday from 4:00-6:30.