Courses - Spring 2014
Philosophy 1 Problems of Philosophy - Professor Thielke
This course investigates central questions that persist in philosophy: the problem of skepticism; the relation between minds and bodies; the nature of intentional action; freedom of the will; moral luck and the justification for punishment; and various ethical issues.
Philosophy 32 Ethical Theory: Contemporary - Professor Tannenbaum
This course focuses on contemporary ethical theory (20th-21st century). We will consider whether there are universal moral rules or whether moral rules differ from one culture to another. What implications might this have for tolerating differing cultural practices? Does morality require that we be impartial, treating others equally, and if so, will this prevent us from being partial towards our friends and family? How much good must we do for others, and at what costs to our own personal projects? We will discuss these and other ethical questions. This class has no prerequisites.
Philosophy 33 Social and Political Philosophy - Professor Green
Political philosophy is about the nature of the state. It tries to answer questions such as these. “Should we have a state at all?” “What is a just state or society like?” “What powers does the state have?” “Should individuals obey the state?” The course will cover some of the historically prominent answers that combine theories of human nature, ethics, and social life. See http://carneades.pomona.edu
Philosophy 34 Philosophy of Law - Professor Green
Students taking this course will learn how legal philosophers analyze important but poorly understood concepts such as “law,” “obligation,” and “rights.” They will also see how different positions on the nature of the law bear on concrete questions about how to resolve specific cases or how to think of the role of judges. Finally, they will discuss the justification for holding people responsible for the consequences of their behavior, engaging in paternalistic interference with individual liberty, punishing criminal infractions, and legally recognizing torture. See http://carneades.pomona.edu
Philosophy 42 History of Modern Philosophy - Professor Thielke
Major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries (e.g., Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume), emphasizing their views on metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of mind.
Philosophy 54 Existentialism - Professor Erickson
The origins of existentialism and its impact on philosophy, literature, theology and psychoanalysis. Extensive source readings in Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus and others. Letter grade only.
Philosophy 70 Art and Aesthetics - Professor Perini
Why is art so important? We will look at a variety of approaches to understanding the value of art, such as emotional expression, the potential for learning from art, and connections between art and morality. The course will focus on issues concerning the nature of art and its value. Issues include the role of interpretation in determining the meaning of artworks; the question of whether forgery that is visually identical to an original work has less aesthetic value-and if so, why; and problems arising from certain kinds of artworks, like why we have emotional responses to fictional characters and whether it is rational to do so.
Philosophy 80 Philosophy of Mind - Professor Kung
What can philosophers tell us about the mind? This course explores approaches—including scientific approaches—to explaining what the mind is. Can any of these views account for consciousness? Do they explain how thoughts can be about things? Do they allow that our mental states cause our actions? How can we know when something has a mind?
Philosophy 102 Sciences and Values - Professor Davis
The course is especially appropriate for students with interests in STS or EA. Though specific topics may vary, one large component of the course is regulatory science. For example: what policies and practices (and conceptualizations) govern the regulation of prescription drugs, and how do these differ from the way we regulate dietary supplements (and OTC drugs and cosmetics); how do we regulate food, including GMOs; what constitutes appropriate scientific expertise in the courtroom, and how does this affect citizens' ability to hold corporations liable for untoward environmental effects of products and practices.
Philosophy 103 Philosophy of Science - Professor Perini
The development of theories of science will be traced from the Vienna Circle and early 20th-century logical positivism, through the work of Thomas Kuhn ending with more contemporary views, such as feminist philosophy of science. Prerequisite: College-level science or philosophy course.
Philosophy 185L Topic in Epistemology - Professor Kung
Philosophy 185P Topics in Value Theory - Professor Tannenbaum
This course will focus on various ethical and metaphysical problems concerning harm. What exactly is involved in harming another? Is it merely a matter of one’s behavior in some way negatively impacting another’s interests or well-being? Is there a morally significant difference between doing harm and allowing a harm to befall someone? In addition we will discuss harms to future persons as a result of environmental policies, harms to fetuses, and harms resulting result from collaboration with wrongdoers during wartime (e.g. harming a few for the sake of protecting one's family or comrades). This course requires that you have already taken course in moral philosophy.
Philosophy186E Heidegger and the Tradition - Professor Erickson