Fall 2008 Course Descriptions

Philosophy Course Descriptions

Fall 2008

PHI 1306.01 Logic MH 105 MWF 9:05-9:55

John Wolfe

Why is logic important? Many have pondered this question. Some simply enjoy the challenge that it represents, others are drawn to logic's practical and diverse applications. In a university setting, Logic serves to aid students interested in a variety of subjects including linguistics, math, science, law, and philosophy. Logic is also important on a personal level. Every day we are subject to a plethora of assertions from the outside world; prompts from television commercials, promises from political speeches, and phone calls from your parents are just a few examples of the thousands of external influences that we are subjected to regularly. Most of these statements make some claim about truth. The skills and techniques learned through studying Logic allows you to evaluate these arguments. This can aid you in anything from deciding which shampoo to buy, which candidate to vote for, or even which faith to pursue.

PHI 1306.02 Logic MH 106 MWF 10:10-11:00

Lewis Pearson

That all thinkers think is a tautology. That all thinkers think well is not. My primary goal as an instructor is to enable my students to think well. This Introduction to Logic course is designed to do just that. In addition to providing students with the standard tools of logic, this course will also teach students how to provide arguments for some of their own beliefs. Students should thereby see the applicability of this course to other courses and indeed all aspects of their life.

PHI 1306.03 Logic MH 106 MWF 11:15-12:05

John Wolfe

Why is logic important? Many have pondered this question. Some simply enjoy the challenge that it represents, others are drawn to logic's practical and diverse applications. In a university setting, Logic serves to aid students interested in a variety of subjects including linguistics, math, science, law, and philosophy. Logic is also important on a personal level. Every day we are subject to a plethora of assertions from the outside world; prompts from television commercials, promises from political speeches, and phone calls from your parents are just a few examples of the thousands of external influences that we are subjected to regularly. Most of these statements make some claim about truth. The skills and techniques learned through studying Logic allows you to evaluate these arguments. This can aid you in anything from deciding which shampoo to buy, which candidate to vote for, or even which faith to pursue.

PHI 1306.04 Logic MH 105 MWF 12:20-1:10

Joel Schwartz

Bad reasoning as well as good reasoning is possible; and this fact is the foundation of the practical side of logic. In this class, students will learn and develop our use of the basic tools of logic, both in formal logic and informal logic. Using these tools, students will be able to analyze arguments, distinguishing arguments using good reasoning from those using bad, as well as constructing good arguments themselves. These tools can be put into use in almost every part of one's life. In particular, we will examine how logic can be useful when looking at politics, commercials, movies, and even interactions with friends and family. Logic is also quite helpful if you are continuing on to graduate school and taking an exam like the LSAT and the GRE.

PHI 1306.05 Logic MH 100 MWF 1:25-2:15

Michael Beaty

This course provides a useful introduction to logical reasoning and critical thinking. In it we will focus on the nature and analysis of arguments, deductive and non-deductive reasoning, especially analogical reasoning, and informal fallacies. The student is assisted in developing his or her ability to think critically and coherently and to construct well-formulated arguments. The skills acquired in this course will have special relevance for those who will study philosophy, those looking for a pre-law curriculum, and those studying theology or for the ministry (and perhaps also for those interested in computer programming, and/or in mathematics). However, the general principles we will learn in the course are applicable to all areas of study and interest. Also, the analytical reasoning skills obtained in this course should prove especially helpful for those of you who plan on taking the LSAT, GRE, the MCAT, and the GMAT.

PHI 1306.06 Logic MH 105 TR 9:30-10:45

Andrew Nam

No matter what language you speak-whether English, Spanish, Chinese, etc.-you in fact speak the "language of logic," for logic constitutes the basic structure underlying all human languages. Therefore, when studying logic, we explore the very blue print of our spoken and written language. In this course, we will primarily focus on the two main ways in which philosophers have thought about logic: (1) classical and (2) modern symbolic logic. We will exert most of our effort in constructing formal proofs. We will then end the course by learning the art of spotting informal fallacies in arguments. If all goes well, this class should help you become a better speaker, reader, writer, conversation partner, standard ex taker (e.g., GRE, LSAT), and overall a better human being.

PHI 1306.07 Logic MH 105 TR 12:30-1:45

Mark Boone

Logic is the science, or art, of evaluating arguments. The ability to evaluate arguments is an important skill. Every day we encounter arguments someone is using to try to convince us of the truth of some belief. Knowing how to evaluate the arguments for or against a position can help us respond appropriately to their attempts at persuasion. Logic can also help us investigate the big questions in life, like Do human beings have free will?, Does God exist?, Is there life after death?, and Should I vote Democratic or Republican?

The ability to think logically is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for being a good thinker. So instead of answering the hard questions, we will cultivate the skills and tools logic can bring to them. Although a proficiency in logic can help you master exams like the GRE, the LSAT, the GMAT, and the MCAT, our ultimate goal is to become better thinkers, which in turn will shape us into better people.

PHI 1307.01 Critical Thinking MH 105 TR 11:00-12:15

John Wolfe

The purpose of this course is to learn how to properly analyze and critically evaluate the logic of real arguments in natural language, to become better able to argue soundly and cogently for the benefit of all. The course will cover the nature of arguments, the basic concepts of formal logic, and a variety issues and techniques relevant to informal logic and critical thinking. Arguments are found in all academic disciplines and every area of life. In this course, we will focus attention on arguments found in op-editorials, advertising, and especially legal, moral, and philosophical reasoning. This course is ideal for pre-law students as well as others interested in attending law school. It will assist students who are preparing for the LSAT, MCAT, GRE, or GMAT.

PHI 1308.01 Happiness and the Moral Life MH 107 MWF 10:10-11:00

Darin Davis

Though we often say we want to be happy in life, do we know what happiness is, much less how to become happy? Through an exploration of some significant figures in the history of ethics (including Aristotle, Aquinas, Mill, and Kant) along with more recent works (by Goldie and Lewis), this course will examine these questions along with others, such as: What is the role of virtue in becoming happy? How might one's moral beliefs be connected to one's religious beliefs? How might we justify our own moral commitments and ways of life? What is the relationship between thinking about the good life and actually pursuing it? As we read, discuss, and write about these questions, we will aim to gain a deeper awareness of what the good human life might look like-and also how we might live it.

PHI 1308.02 Reparations, Apologies and American Democracy

Stuart Rosenbaum MH 110 MWF 11:15-12:05

Kevin Rudd, the newly elected Labor Prime Minister of Australia, as his first official act in office issued a formal apology to Australia's indigenous peoples for the long-standing abuse they endured through policies of the Australian government. Many thought his apology opened the way for payment of reparations to those who had been abused through those official government policies. A similar issue has been simmering in America. This course investigates some of the historical background and some of the moral context useful in addressing the issue of the legitimacy of reparations or apologies to African-American citizens for their historical abuse in official policy of the American government. Does payment of reparations to African-American citizens make sense given our common history? Does payment of reparations make moral sense given our best moral thinking?

PHI 1308.03 Seven Deadly Sins MH 106 TR 11:00-12:15

Robert Kruschwitz

What is the role of morality in achieving a good life? What kinds of lives should we choose and what sort of character we should we aspire to have?

We will focus on the rich moral psychology of the capital vices, sometimes called "the seven deadly sins," which are pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. And we'll investigate how friendship is central to achieving a personally good life as well as promoting the common good.

Through classical as well as contemporary readings we will raise additional questions such as: "Are we capable of living morally good lives?" "How much luck is involved in developing good (or bad) character?" "Why follow moral rules?" "Why care about others?" and "What is the place of God in the moral life?" Class sessions feature small group discussions and presentations as well as mini-lectures.

PHI 1308.04 Human Being and the Human Good

Mike Cantrell MH 106 TR 12:30-1:45

In this course we will explore what it means to be a good human being in a practical sense: what sort of person should I be? Plato will help us to focus our question better upon the human virtues, and Aristotle will provide a counterpoint on what those virtues consist of; Augustine, on the other hand, will turn us toward the finding of a human good in God. This question may well seem archaic today, and we will begin to explore why through the writings of Nietzsche and Mill as well as some contemporary essays. While this class will not attempt to cover every moral question, it will provide an introduction to some of the most important questions of our life as human beings seeking to be good.

PHI 1308.05 Philosophers, Saints, and The Idiot

Amy Antoninka MH 106 TR 2:00-3:15

To whom do we turn for guidance as we try to live a moral life? Philosophers and Saints? Certainly, but an Idiot? In this course we will look at some disparate sources to guide us through thinking on the moral life. We will look to philosophers, such as Aristotle, Kant, and Mill, to provide use with theoretical and practical appraisals of morality. We will look at saints such as Maximus the Confessor, and the Desert Fathers and Mothers, to provide models of living a moral life. In addition we will look at Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot. Prince Myshkin, the hero of the novel, provides a unique and often paradoxical notion of the moral life, we will use this work to balance and amplify our understanding of the prominent views of moral life.

PHI 1321.01 Philosophical Quests in Great Texts

Lewis Pearson MH 107 MWF 9:05-9:55

This course will introduce you to the study of philosophy and the practice of philosophical thinking. Through readings and discussions of great texts from the history of philosophical literature, we will ask questions whose answers bear significantly on a person's ability to live well. Among the questions asked in this course are: What does it mean to be human? What is the nature of the universe? What is the nature of God? What do people want, and how do they go about getting it? Can we live well as individuals and as members of a community at the same time? How do we cope with and make sense of hardship and misfortune?

PHI 1321.02 Being Human and Becoming Good MH 110 MWF 10:10-11:00

Emily Glass

A course designed for freshman and sophomores, but open to anyone who would like to be initiated into the practice of philosophy and to hone the many valuable skills that are promoted by philosophical activity, such as: careful reading of texts, thoughtful contemplation of ideas, charitable critique of a variety of perspectives, and lucid, expressive speaking and writing. We will cut a broad swath across the (vast) history of Western philosophy, approaching provocative texts with an eye not only to understanding and evaluating their propositional contents, but also to anything we can glean from them about what it means to take part in the philosophical life. The philosophers we will study are interested in an expansive range of topics, including (but not limited to): the nature of reality, the purpose of man, virtue and obligation, time and eternity, sense and perception, metaphor and argument, love and lack, good and evil, knowledge, certainty, doubt and belief.

PHI 1321.03 Walking Backwards MH 107 MWF 11:15-12:05

Margaret Watkins

In his Essays, Montaigne says, "We can only improve ourselves in times such as these by walking backwards, by discord not by harmony, by being different not by being like." In this course, we will consider the possibilities for and advantages of "walking backwards" in this way. Essentially, this is a course on human nature, centered on the themes of dependence and independence, both of thought and action. This course will also serve as a general introduction to the discipline of philosophy by way of the study of a few great texts in modern western philosophy. We will be asking questions such as, "What does human experience teach us about the nature of friendship?" "How can we be sure that our conclusions are both well-supported and properly our own?" "Is solicitude a virtue or a vice?"

PHI 1321.04 Theism and Naturalism MH 100 MWF 12:20-1:10

Todd Buras

This course introduces students to philosophy by comparing the two most prominent traditions in Western thought: theism and naturalism. We will examine the best arguments for each position and the biggest problems each faces. Along the way we will discover the best ideas each tradition offers concerning the origins of the universe, human freedom, identity, and consciousness, as well as good and evil.

PHI 1321.05 Ice and High Mountains MH 106 TR 9:30-10:45

Robert Miner

"Philosophy, as I have so far understood and lived it, means living voluntarily among ice and high mountains." With Nietzsche, this course understands philosophy not primarily as a bag of argumentative tricks, but as a way of living. What does this way of life entail? What does it aim for? How is it related to the life of faith? These questions, and others that arise from them, will be pursued through reading and discussion of texts by Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, Hobbes, and Nietzsche.

PHI 1321.H1 Walking Backwards MH 110 TR 12:30-1:45

Margaret Watkins

In his Essays, Montaigne says, "We can only improve ourselves in times such as these by walking backwards, by discord not by harmony, by being different not by being like." In this course, we will consider the possibilities for and advantages of "walking backwards" in this way. Essentially, this is a course on human nature, centered on the themes of dependence and independence, both of thought and action. This course will also serve as a general introduction to the discipline of philosophy by way of the study of a few great texts in modern western philosophy. We will be asking questions such as, "What does human experience teach us about the nature of friendship?" "How can we be sure that our conclusions are both well-supported and properly our own?" "Is solicitude a virtue or a vice?"

PHI 2309.01 Existentialism MH 108 TR 9:30-10:45

Angela Pearson

Existentialism is a not a single philosophy, but a way of approaching philosophy that takes seriously particular questions and themes that relate most intimately to human experience. Existentialists investigate the relation between ideas and experience, how we deal with our own finitude and mortality, the uncertainty of life's meaning, the limits of reason, the relation between freedom and responsibility, the role of passion in human choice, the particular forms of despair that afflict persons in a postmodern culture, and how to overcome this despair with a hope that is not na´ve, but authentic.

Some would suggest that today "existentialism" is too obscure and passÚ to be helpful. In this course, I hope to challenge this assumption by engaging some of the most important existential texts and films in order to see what these thinkers found important and why. Readings will include works by S°ren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Walker Percy. We will also watch a few films as a class and discuss their existential significance.

PHI 3310.01 His of Phil - Classic MH 110 TR 11:00-12:15

Robert Roberts

This course deals with the thought of philosophers from the pre-Socrates to the Hellenistic period (Stoicism, Epicureanism, etc.). Most of the readings are primary, and Plato and Aristotle receive more attention than other philosophers.

PHI 3312.01 His of Mod European Phil MH 105 MWF 10:10-11:00

Robert Baird

The history of philosophy is the story of one stream of the human effort to discover the truth about reality and to discover how best to live in light of that truth. This course ranges from Descartes' quest for certainty about such truth to the existential ideas of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Along the way we will encounter the "grand" world views of Spinoza and Leibniz and the social thought of Hobbes and Locke. Among the greatest figures in the modern period is Immanuel Kant who was reacting, in part, to the views of the influential Scottish philosopher David Hume. We will examine these thinkers by trying to understand their historical context and the issues that gave rise to their ideas.

PHI 3322.01 Philosophy of Art MH 105 MWF 11:15-12:05

Lenore Wright

In this course you will read and have a chance to discuss some of the best works ever written on the problems encountered in the philosophy of art. These writings have been selected from various sources. No single anthology-including the ones chosen for this course-is dully adequate. Your grade will be determined by your class participation, grades on three hour exams, and the final ex, and your grade on a 10-15 page (type-written double-space) paper, written on a subject of your own choosing. You may choose your own topics.

PHI 4300.01 History of Medicine MH 107 TR 11:00-12:15

James Marcum (Cross-Listed as BIO/HIS 4300)

This course introduces the student to a broad chronological outline of important ideas, individuals, and events in the history of western medicine, from Hippocrates to the present. It also examines how medical practitioners instituted and preserved authority with respect to medical knowledge and practice knowledge, especially in terms of disease and health. Finally, it explores the relationships between biomedical practices and the social boundaries of medicine.

PHI 4319.01 Philosophical Writing, Research & Oral Presentation

Jonathan Kvanvig MH 108 T 2:00-4:45

This course is intended for first-year graduate students and seniors who plan to go to graduate school in philosophy. The goal of the course is to master the art of writing a philosophical paper. It is primarily a technique course, though the content that we focus on will fall within the general areas of philosophy of religion and epistemology.

PHI 4341.01 Contemporary Continental Philosophy MH 108 M 2:30-5:30

Matt Hejduck

This course is a survey of significant thinkers in the European or continental philosophical tradition. Thinkers to be examined are expected to include Hegel, Marx, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Gadamer, Foucault, and Derrida. Shorter but representative works of each thinker will be studied, with an eye to understanding the movements that each thinker engenders (e.g., German idealism, nihilism, phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, and deconstructionism) and how they have shaped modern intellectual history.

PHI 4342.01 Contemporary American Philosophy

Stuart Rosenbaum MH 108 MWF 1:25-2:15

American philosophy studies currents of thought that originate in Anglo-European traditions of thought but that take unique forms in the American context. The intersection of the Anglo-European traditions with native traditions, and with specific religious concerns of the immigrants, produces a distinctive philosophical culture. Roger Willis, Jonathan Edwards, Thoreau and Emerson are some roots of this distinctive culture that culminates in the work of DuBois, Peirce, James, and Dewey, the classical pragmatists. We'll have a look at these people, along with some contemporary representatives of the American pragmatic tradition, including Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, and John McDermott. Our goal will be to appreciate how the concerns of this American tradition intersect with those of the Anglo-European traditions and how they modify and address those concerns; we want to know how constructive engagement between the American tradition and those other traditions is possible. We'll read and discuss a number of primary sources and try to get a feel for how these authors and thinkers have come to express a continuous American intellectual culture.

PHI 4353.01 Philosophy of Language MH 107 TR 9:30-10:45

Jonathan Kvanvig

This course introduces the non-specialist to the main issues and theories in twentieth-century philosophy of language, focusing specifically on linguistic phenomena. Part I explores several theories of how proper names, descriptions, and other terms bear a referential relation to non-linguistic objects. Part II surveys competing theories of linguistic meaning and compares their various advantages and liabilities. Part III introduces the basic concepts of linguistic pragmatics, includes a detailed discussion of the problems of indirect force, and Part IV examines linguistic theories of metaphor.

PHI 4363.01 Philosophy and Medicine MH 107 TR 12:30-1:45

James Marcum

Modern American medicine is undergoing several important crises, including quality and cost of care. In response to these crises two competing models for medical knowledge and practice vis-...-vis the traditional model have arisen over the past several decades. In this course, the biomedical model and humanistic models are explored in terms of their metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical dimensions.

PHI 4365.01 Jewish Philosophy MMSCI 133 T 12:30-3:15

Marc Ellis

This course will cover Jewish philosophy in the twentieth century, with emphasis on the relation between mortality and morality, justice and totalitarianism, faith after the Holocaust, and individualism and revolution.

PHI 4379.01 Islam and Democracy CL 323 TR 12:30-1:45

Charles McDaniel

This course examines the evolution of political philosophy and institutions in Muslim culture.

PHI 5311.02 Readings: Augustine MH 106 W 2:30-5:30

Michael Foley

This course is devoted to understanding the early "Cassiciacum" dialogues of St. Augustine of Hippo: Against the Academics, On the Happy Life, On Order, and The Soliloquies. Written soon after Augustine's conversion to Christianity in A.D. 386, these literarily and philosophically mature works reflect years of rumination by Augustine on faith and reason, classical political philosophy, cognitional theory and epistemology, theodicy and the nature of evil, and human happiness. Special attention will be paid in this course to Cicero's unique appropriation of Greek philosophy and Augustine's prolonged engagement of that tradition. The course will thus begin by spending several weeks on Cicero's On Academic Skepticism, On the Good Life, and On the Nature of the Gods, and then proceed to a close reading of Augustine's dialogues.

PHI 5311.03 Readings: Thomas Reid MH 108 W 2:30-5:30

Todd Buras

This course is an in depth study of Thomas Reid's major philosophical works. We will focus on understanding and evaluating Reid's account of perception.

PHI 5312.01 Topics in Classical Phil MH 108 R 2:00-4:45

Robert Roberts

This course will consist mostly of a close reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethic. As collateral reading, we will read some essays by contemporary philosophers on various topics of Aristotle's text. Very likely we will look at parts of some of Aristotle's other "ethical" writings, such as the Politics, the Rhetoric, and the Eudemian Ethics.

PHI 5316.01 Contemporary Philosophical Problems: Aristotelian Approaches to Problems in Contemporary Metaphysics

Alexander Pruss MH 108 T 5:45-8:30

A broadly Aristotelian metaphysics based on concepts such as substance, essence, accident, telos, potentiality, actuality and analogy has the potential for advancing our understanding of material composition, identity through time, the mind/body relation, mental causation and causation in general, proper functions, and natural theology. In this seminar, we will examine contributions that broadly Aristotelian metaphysics can make to contemporary debates on a number of these topics, hoping thereby to advance both metaphysics in general as well as clarify the Aristotelian concepts.

Note: The plan is for course meetings to alternate locations between Baylor and the University of Texas at Austin. Teleconferencing will be available to Baylor students unable to make the commute.

PHI 5342.02 Religion, Law and Politics CL 323 T 2:00-4:45

Daniel Payne

This course is a historical examination of liberal and republican traditions of government and their relationship to church-state relations, with particular emphasis on the influence of both traditions on the American constitutional system. Special attention is given to communitarianism and individualism, especially in their treatment of religion as competing systems in rights-based liberal democracies.

PHI 5393.01 Advanced Seminar in Political Philosophy

Dwight Allman BURL 309 R 2:00-4:45

This course is a concentrated study of major thinkers or texts in the history of political philosophy.