Philosophy 1: Problems of Philosophy – Professor Peter Thielke
T&Th 9:35 - 10:50 AM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 202
This course gives insight into questions about how to live and our place in the universe, from written materials that are both exceptionally good and that are representative of the discipline of philosophy. The courses covers three areas of philosophy: epistemology (knowledge), metaphysics (the nature of things) and ethics. Specifically, we will talk about 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.
Philosophy 32: Ethical Theory: Contemporary – Professor Heinrik Hellwig
T&Th 2:45 – 4:00PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 202
What makes it the case that you or I have a moral obligation to act in certain ways but not others? From where does this sense of “I ought (or ought not) to do X” come? What explains it? What justifies it? And what is morality anyway? These questions, among others, will be the main themes of Philosophy 32. This course will begin by examining theories of moral obligation—such as utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Later in the course we’ll examine meta-ethical theories—i.e., theories about the nature of morality itself; specifically, we’ll examine the theories of relativism and nihilism. Our detailed examinations of moral obligation and meta-ethics will compel us to consider the following topics: Is there one true morality?; How much good we must do for others, and at what costs to our own personal projects?; Does morality require that we be impartial—i.e., treat others equally—and if so, will this prevent us from being partial towards our friends and family?; Can we really use ethical theory to guide our everyday decisions? There are no pre-requisites for this class.
Philosophy 34: Philosophy of Law – Professor Heinrik Hellwig
T&Th 9:35 - 10:50AM; PO Campus, Hahn, 107
Traditionally, much of the philosophy of law examines philosophical issues regarding law and legal systems ‘from the outside’—i.e., from a third-person, observational standpoint, and not clearly connected to actual legal practices. This offering of Philosophy 34 will examine legal-philosophical issues ‘from the inside’—i.e., in relation to philosophical issues that our legal practices actually raise. Accordingly, among the main topics we will discuss are: Is legal reasoning distinct from simply good reasoning?; What is the relationship between legal concepts and ordinary concepts—e.g., promising in contract law v. everyday promising, causing an injury in tort law v. causing in the ordinary sense?; Do criminal law and tort law inform us about what responsibility is?; What are the limits upon government in the intervention and regulation of our private lives? In addition to philosophical writings, we will rely on many straightforwardly “legal” materials, such as actual cases, to discuss these topics; however, students need not have any legal background for this class.
Philosophy 37: Values and the Environment – Professor Ann Davis
T&Th 9:35 - 10:50AM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 101
Values & the Environment has a wider scope than an environmental ethics course. Specific topics to be discussed will vary, but will usually include examining the implications of choices in housing policies; food and dietary decisions and practices, and the question of who (and what) has moral standing (only humans? Humans and nonhuman animals? Trees? Mountains? Ecosystems?).
Philosophy 42: History of Modern Philosophy - Professor Peter Thielke
T&Th 1:15 - 2:30PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 202
This course is an introduction to the greatest thinkers in the modern period, from roughly 1650-1800, with a focus on the grand systems in metaphysics and epistemology that emerge during that time. We start with Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, before turning to Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant.
Philosophy 43: Continental Thought - Professor Stephen Erickson
M&W 11AM-12:15PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 202
Beginning with a review of Kant, German idealism (Fichte through Hegel), Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault and Derrida will be considered.
Philosophy 46: Feminism and Science – Professor Susan Castagnetto
M&W 2:45-4:00PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 101
This course examines feminist perspectives on and critiques of science and technology, traditional scientific world views, and how gendered and other values inform scientific theory and practice. Topics include the current and historical participation of women in science, with attention to race, class, and nationality; scientific theories of sex differences; the scientific construction of sex; issues in women’s health; and environmental issues. This is a Napier course and will include participation of about 6 elders from the Pilgrim Place retirement community, offering an opportunity for intergenerational discussion and mentoring.
Philosophy 70: Art and Aesthetics – Professor Laura Perini
M&W 2:45-4:00PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 102
Why is art so important? The course will focus on issues concerning the nature and value of both aesthetic experience and art, and will address some more specific issues arising from the intersection of technology and aesthetics. Topics include the significance of interpretation; the relationship between artistic and ethical value; why forgery matters for artistic value; and technology and design, art production and aesthetic experience.
Philosophy 80: Philosophy of Mind – Professor Peter Kung
T&Th 1:15 - 2:30PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 102
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 106: Philosophy of Biology – Professor Laura Perini
M&W 11AM-12:15PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 102
This course will address philosophical problems that revolve around clarifying what is required to do good science on living systems, and the explanatory tactics and methods that are distinctive to the life sciences. A focus of the course will be ways in which biology has been used as a means to understand humans, in terms of their evolutionary history and more recently, in terms of genetics. We will examine some of the distinctive concepts and theoretical resources of the life sciences, like the theory of natural selection, the concept of species, reductionistic explanatory strategies and methodological worries about adaptationism. The course will examine how these conceptual and methodological issues are involved in many of the aspects of the life science that concern categories of difference in human societies, like race and gender. Prerequisite: one college-level philosophy or biology course. This course satisfies the Analyzing Difference requirement.
Philosophy 115: Heidegger and the Tradition – Professor Stephen Erickson
M 7:00 - 9:50 PM; PO Campus, Pearsons Hall, 202
A study of Heidegger’s reflections on art, technology and meaning, with reference to his views on Hegel, Nietzsche and others. Letter grade only. Previously offered as PHIL186E PO.
Philosophy 185L: Topics in Epistemology, Metaphysics and the Philosophy of the Mind – Professor Peter Kung and Professor Masahiro Yamada
W 1:15-4:00PM, Pearsons, 202
An examination of various issues in contemporary epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of mind. Topics may include the nature of consciousness, mental causation, the relationship between the mental and the physical, the nature of epistemic justification and the status of testimony as a source of knowledge. May be repeated for credit.