Spring 2008 Course DescriptionsCourse Descriptions Department of Philosophy Spring 2008
PHI 1306.01 Logic
Michael Cantrell MH 107 MWF 10:00-10:50
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! In apprehension how like a god!" My goal in this course is to help students obtain the basic tools of logic and thereby to set them on the path toward becoming noble in reason. After successfully completing this course, students will be able to identify basic formal and informal fallacies in reasoning, evaluate the strength of others' arguments, and construct good arguments for one's own beliefs. These skills are absolutely essential to responsible human beings, and for those who wish to do further study beyond a bachelor's degree there is always the added benefit of improving one's performance on tests such as the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT. So if you want to become a piece of work (in the good sense!) then take this course.
PHI 1306.02 Logic
John Wolfe MH 106 MWF 12:00-12:50
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 1306.03 Logic
Robert Baird MH 100 MWF 1:00-1:50
What is the use of studying philosophy if all that it does for you is to enable you to talk . . . about some abstruse question . . . and if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life . . . ?" asked Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. This introductory logic course will aid you in applying reasoning skills to everyday problems of evaluation and decision making. Specifically the course will strengthen your ability (1) to clarify language, (2) to recognize fallacies in reasoning, and (3) to see relationships and connections among ideas. The classroom will be a workshop where these skills are developed, skills that should be of value to you personally and professionally. Those of you who are planning to go to graduate or professional school should find the course valuable as you prepare to take the GRE, the LSAT, or other preparatory examinations.
PHI 1306.04 Logic
Stuart Rosenbaum MH 105 TR 9:30-10:50
This course is designed to cover basics of logic that might be useful to students. Many students who want to pursue further professional studies take standard national exams like the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT. Many students believe this logic course helps on those kinds of exams, and I intend the course to cover materials with that explicit goal in mind. Assessing the quality of reasoning about specific issues is one primary aim of the course, and one tool for making these assessments appears on our course outline as "informal fallacies." In addition, much of the course is devoted to techniques of formal reasoning and to standard kinds of terminology for evaluating it; these techniques and terminology are also useful in larger contexts. The text for the course is Hurley's A Concise Introduction to Logic.
PHI 1306.05 Logic
Jonathan Sands-Wise MH 107 TR 11:00-12:20
Those who think clearly, think well. This statement is true whether applied to life, careers, classes, or tests. This class will help you to think clearly, and so will help you to think well about all of the decisions and arguments that you face in life, whether from media, politicians, or friends. It will also help you to think well in your classes, and on tests such as the GRE and LSAT. We will study informal fallacies, such as appear in media and the speeches of politicians, as well as more formal systems. Students will leave the course better able to articulate and defend their own beliefs.
PHI 1307.01 Critical Thinking: Logic and the Law
Michael Beaty MH 105 TR 12:30-1:50
The purpose of this course is to learn how to properly analyze and criticize the logic of real arguments in natural language, to become better able to argue soundly and fairly for the benefit of all, and to understand something of logical theory, the nature of arguments, and their relation to truth about the world. Although arguments can be found in all disciplines and areas of life, this course will focus on the sorts of arguments that one finds in legal opinions, judicial reasoning, and courtroom disputes. The textbook used for this course-Logic and Legal Reasoning by Douglas Lind-is the same one used for a seminar taught at the National Judicial College in its curriculum for the continuing legal education of sitting state and federal judges in the United States. This course is ideal for pre-law students as well as others interested in attending law school.
PHI 1308.01 Introduction to Ethics: Why Should I be Good?
Jay Bruce MH 106 MWF 9:00-9:50
In order to answer the question of this course (Why should I be good?) we must investigate (1) why we should do anything at all, (2) whether or not there are moral obligations, and (3), if there are moral obligations, what the good is. This course thus considers (1) moral psychology, (2) meta-ethics, and (3) normative ethics. We may also consider applied ethics.
PHI 1308.02 Introduction to Ethics: Philosophy of Love and Sex
Alenander Pruss MH 108 MWF 10:00-10:50
Love is essential to a flourishing human life. But love comes in many forms: love between parents and children, comfortable affection between close friends, passionate romantic love, charity in reaching out to a stranger in kindness, the mysterious relationship between God and human beings, caring respect among co-workers, and so on. One of the things we will be examining is what, if anything, do all of these things have in common that one might call them all "love"?
We will specifically look at two kinds of love: friendship and romantic love. What reasons do we have for having and being friends? How should we choose our friends? How is romantic love different from friendship?
The first half of the course will be devoted to questions about love, friendship and romantic love. We will read Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Soren Kierkegaard, C. S. Lewis as well as some recent philosophical pieces.
In the second half, we will try to apply what we have learned about love to questions about marriage and sexuality. What is marriage and should one bother with it? What is sex and should one bother with it? We will end by looking at specific controversial questions like pornography, pre-marital sex, contraception and homosexuality, hoping to gain an understanding of the arguments on both sides of these heated debates, and to engage in these debates in a cool and rational way. Authors read in this second part of the course will include, among others, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Andrea Dworkin, John Paul II and Peter Singer.
We will not shy away from theological questions along the way, and indeed some of the texts we will read will have a significant theological component, though we will approach them primarily in a philosophical way, through rational argument.
PHI 1308.04 Introduction to Ethics: The Seven Deadly Sins
Robert B Kruschwitz MH 106 TR 11:00-11:50
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 1308.05 Introduction to Ethics: Facts and Values
David Alexander MH 107 TR 12:30-1:50
Murder is wrong. Do you agree? What do you think about the person who disagrees? Is she wrong? Or do you each simply feel different about murder? After all in science and math answers can be found to difficult questions, but debates about morality seem to go on forever. This suggests that there are no right answers to moral questions and there is no way to settle moral disputes. In this ethics course we'll try to keep questions like these before our minds as we read through some classical and contemporary texts.
PHI 1321.01 Introduction to Philosophy: The Love of Wisdom
Christi Hemati MH 106 MWF 11:00-11:50
This course will introduce you to the discipline of philosophy, understood essentially as the loving pursuit of wisdom.
We will undertake this pursuit of wisdom together: reading texts by the greatest thinkers in the Western tradition (Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche), discovering what big questions they found important, and contemplating their answers. Philosophers are concerned with universal and timeless questions such as: What is really true? How do we know what we know? What does it mean to be a good and virtuous human being? How do we become good? Why should we be good at all? What is happiness, and how do we find it? Where did we come from, and where are we going? Is there a God, and if so, how do we come to know this God?
We will focus on asking what it means to love wisdom and to live a life in pursuit of it. I also hope that you will learn what it means to "do philosophy," why it is important, and how to approach these big questions with a humble, honest, and careful mind and heart.
PHI 1321.02 Introduction to Philosophy: Theism and Naturalism
Todd Buras MH 105 MWF 12:00-12:50
This class introduces students to philosophy by examining the biggest challenges for the two most prominent Western philosophical traditions: theism and naturalism. The challenge for theism has to do with evil. The challenge for naturalism has to do with a range of curious facts about human beings. The topic of freedom ties our discussion of these to traditions together. The two central questions for this course are: Can freedom reconcile the existence of God with evil? And are we free? In the process of examining these questions we will discuss several other questions as well: What reasons are there to think God exists, in the first place? Is an afterlife possible? How is our mental life related to our bodies? And how are we to understand good and evil, if there is no God?
PHI 1321.03 Introduction to Philosophy: Freedom, Power, and the Good Life
Margaret Tate MH 107 TR 9:30-10:50
Philosophia" means the love of wisdom. Philosophy, then, is ideally not only an academic discipline but a way of life devoted to the consideration of the most important questions we are capable of asking. This course will introduce students to this way of life through the work of some of the greatest philosophers in the history of western thought. We will read texts by Plato, Augustine, Kant, Nietzsche, and Charles Taylor. The guiding question of the course will be: What is the relationship between freedom, power, and the good life? Along the way, we will consider a host of other philosophical questions about faith, metaphysics, the nature of knowledge, and ethics. The course's format will encourage student participation and improvement of critical writing skills.
PHI 1321.04 Introduction to Philosophy: The Self and the World
Russell Hemati MH 106 TR 12:30-1:50
Philosophy is the most practical of all disciplines. It can help you tackle new problems, better understand old ones, and even give insight into the right way to live life. Almost no area of knowledge or practice escapes philosophy, and all areas are enriched by it. In this course we will be reading some of the most influential philosophers and attempting to think their thoughts about God, the mind, and the world.
PHI 2305.01: Philosophy and Religion: Reflections on Worship, Disciplines, Emotions
Robert Roberts MH 108 TR 9:30-10:50
We reflect philosophically on the notion of a practice: for example, how are practices related to actions, ends, worldviews, virtues, skills, and communities? We will consider a number of particular Christian practices, such as worship, Bible reading, service to fellow human beings, prayer, marriage, burial of the dead, forgiveness, self-examination, and fasting.
PHI 2309.01 Philosophical Traditions: Existentialism
Robert Baird MH 106 MWF 10:00-10:50
What does it mean to exist as particular human beings? As individuals in a given set of circumstances, what are we up against? What are our possibilities? These are the questions of the existentialists. The purpose of this existentialist analysis of the human situation is to make individuals aware of their condition and to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic responses to those conditions. The existentialists challenge each individual to accept responsibility for creating an authentic life in the midst of whatever circumstances one finds oneself. Of course this raises the further issue, what is meant by authentic and inauthentic? In the process of exploring these questions, themes such as freedom, suffering, courage, the limitations of reason, anxiety, dread, despair, the "encounter with nothingness", absurdity, ambiguity, alienation, death, God, and the conflict between individuality and mass society become prominent. We will think about these issues as we read selected writings from early existentialists such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Dostoevsky, as well as later existentialists such as Jaspers, Heidegger, Unamuno, Sartre, and Camus.
PHI 2309.2 Philosophical Traditions: Continental Philosophy
Amy Antoninka MH 105 MWF 9:00-9:50
Have you ever wondered what it means to live in a post-modern world? Or what theories about the world have to do with living in the world? Beyond tracing the roots of knowledge back to theories, Continental philosophers seek to engage their world through interpretation, analysis of language, experience, and politics. Some of the question we will face in this course relate to what it means to be human in the face of death, what is the significance of our interpersonal relationships, and what are the sources of our values. We will look at some of the major schools of Continental thought including phenomenology, deconstructionism, existentialism, feminism, hermeneutics, and post-structuralism, and philosophers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida, Habermas, De Beauvoir, Levinas, and Marion to see how they address these questions.
PHI 3301.01 Moral Philosophy
Elmer Duncan MH 105 MWF 10:00-10:50
Courses in philosophical ethics can be taught in a number of ways. This course is a historical survey of some of the great moral philosophers and their teachings. It is unusual, if not unique, in that attention is given to nineteenth-century American philosophers. It is hoped that this approach will provide the student with a working knowledge of what the major figures have written and thought, and cause him/her to think more clearly about the moral problems that confront us all. It should be obvious that to concentrate on reading the works of major philosophers is not to ignore concrete problems; they certainly did not ignore them. Finally, it is perhaps not out of place to note that we can avoid being chemists or physicists, but we are all moral agents. To cease to worry about moral issues is to cease to be human.
PHI 3310.01 Classical Philosophy: Greek Thought, Western Tradition, and the Philosophia Perennis
Doug Henry BC 170 MWF 11-11:50
"We think and feel differently because of what a little Greek town did during a century or two, twenty-four hundred years ago. What was then produced of art and of thought has never been surpassed and very rarely equaled, and the stamp of it is upon all the art and all the thought of the Western world." –Edith Hamilton
Philosophy begins with the ancient Greeks, and there is thus no better place to begin the study of philosophy than with the Greek thinkers of classical antiquity. Indeed, some argue that all subsequent philosophy is little more than a vast series of footnotes to the greatest thought produced by the likes of Plato. (This is the famous pronouncement of Alfred North Whitehead.) No student of philosophy, then, can do without the benefit of a bracing encounter with classical philosophy.
In this course we shall proceed by reading both primary and secondary literature, with special attention to the natural and moral philosophers collectively known as the "presocratics," to the unique life and death of Socrates as memorialized by Plato, and to the high water mark represented by the philosophical outlooks of Plato and Aristotle, respectively.
PHI 3312.01 History of Philosophy: Modern European Philosophy
Robert Miner MH 105 TR 11:00-12:20
This course in the history of modern philosophy is divided into four parts. In Part 1, we will trace the origins of modern philosophy to Bacon's attack on Aristotle and his call for the production of a "new instrument" whose use promises to restore man's dominion over nature. To see why the instrument seems to require both the diligent application of mathematics and a distinction between two kinds of substance, we will read Galileo and Descartes. In Part 2, we will ask whether the two-substance ontology lies at the core of the modern program, or whether it ought to be rejected in favor of an ontology that admits but one substance. The question is posed most acutely by Spinoza; answers are proffered by Spinoza, Leibniz and Berkeley. In Part 3, we will dive into the 18th century, examining how Hume and Kant continue and extend the investigation of the nature of knowledge. In Part 4, we will move into the 19th century, introducing ourselves to Hegel by exploring his critiques of empiricism and Kant. We will end with Nietzsche, considering his thought in relation both to Hegel and to modernity as a whole.
PHI 4310.01 Philosophy of Science
James Marcum MH 110 TR 11:00-12:20
Philosophy of science underwent dramatic changes during the twentieth century, especially a historiographic revolution precipitated by Thomas Kuhn. In the first part of the course, we begin with a short introduction to the history of the philosophy of science. To that end, we explore the development of the philosophy of science beginning with the logical positivists, especially the works of Russell and Ayer. We then turn to the critics of positivism, including Popper and Quine. Next, we examine the changes instigated with the introduction of Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In the next part of the course, we examine current issues and debates in the philosophy of science, including explanation, structure of scientific theories, reductionism, model building, experimentation, as well as topical issues in the biological sciences. Finally, we take a brief look at the interaction between science and theology.
PHI 4311.01 Epistemology
Jonathan Kvanvig MH 106 TR 9:30-10:50
This course will be a survey of the most important articles of the past 30 years or so on the most important topics in the history of epistemology, including the following issues: skepticism, the nature of knowledge, foundationalism/coherentism, the regress problem, internalism/externalism, virtue epistemology, and contextualism.
PHI 4318.01 Philosophy of Law
Francis Beckwith MH 108 TR 11:00-12:20
Sometimes called ³jurisprudence,² the philosophy of law concerns a cluster of questions about the philosophical foundations of a political regime¹s legal framework. These questions include: What is the nature of law?, Why are we obligated to obey the law? What is the relationship between morality and law? Can there be law without a moral foundation? Is there a natural law and can we know it? Can the community justifiably attribute blame to agents and then punish them? Is there a right to do wrong? What is the best way for a court to interpret the U. S. Constitution? We will also cover the works of several philosophers of law including John Austin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas Aquinas, H. L. A. Hart, Joseph Raz, Ronald Dworkin, Richard Posner, Robert P. George, John Finnis, and Patrick Devlin. These thinkers represent several schools of though in legal philosophy including legal realism, positivism, natural law theory, and interpretivism. We will also examine some famous court opinions that will illuminate our study of legal philosophy. This course is ideal for pre-law students as well as other students who have an interest in legal studies, a law degree, or graduate work in jurisprudence.
PHI 4320.AB1 Philosophy of Religion
Stephen Evans Baylor in St. Andrews Semester Study Abroad Program
This course will serve as an introduction to some fundamental issues in the philosophy of religion: debates about the nature of God and the coherence of theism, the rationality of belief in God (including discussion of the value of and soundness of arguments for God's existence and about religious experience), the nature and limits of religious language, and challenges to religious belief (arguments from evil and suffering and problems stemming from religion and science). The course will also look at philosophical issues raised by particular religious doctrines, such as the Christian beliefs in atonement and resurrection. Because the course is being taught at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, the course will draw from writings from well-known Scottish philosophers such as David Hume and Thomas Reid, as well as other historical (Anselm, Aquinas) and contemporary thinkers (Swinburne and Plantinga, for example).
BIO/PHI 4325.01 Literary and Philosophical Perspectives on Medicine
James Marcum BSB A.207 M 6-8:30pm
This course is designed to introduce students entering the health care vocations to the richness of literary and philosophical perspectives on those vocations. The literary pieces come from various perspectives-patients, physicians, fiction, poetry, film, and drama. A large number of readings come from a separate anthology and students are encouraged to reflect upon them in short papers and class discussions. Class discussions are led by students who will provide the class with stimulating and thought provoking questions a week prior to the class. In addition, we will discuss one longer work that is the focus for a short mid-term paper. Weekly presentations of diseases are also led by students, who again will provide the class with stimulating and thought provoking questions and readings a week prior to the class.
PHI 4331.01 Latin American Philosophy
William Cooper MH 106 TR 2:00-3:20
Philosophical and intellectual movement in Latin America from the colonial times to the present. These movements include scholasticism, eclecticism, utilitarianism, romanticism, positivism, vitalism, phenomenology, existentialism, and philosophies of liberation. Works of major representatives of these movements (including such men as Bello, Mora, Sierra, Varona, Deustua, Caso, Korn, Vasconcelos, Farias Brito, Vaz Ferreira, and Romero) are studied.
PHI 4345.01 Intermediate Logic
Todd Buras MH 107 MWF 2:00-2:50
The language of first-order logic as a formal deductive system.
PHI 4V99.01 Special Topics: Nietzsche and the Greeks
Anne-Marie Bowery MH105 T 2:00-4:50
Friedrich Nietzsche began and ended his brief academic career as a professor of Classical Philology. His first published work, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music, captures the dynamism of Greek culture by exploring the agonistic relationship between Apollonian rationality and Dionysian spirituality. In 1879, Nietzsche resigns from his academic appointment at the University of Basel and turns his creative energies toward understanding the deep malaise he senses in European culture. As Nietzsche develops his own philosophy in works like Beyond Good and Evil, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and On the Genealogy of Morals, he seems to abandon his interest in the Greeks. However, in Twilight of the Idols, one of the last works Nietzsche completed before his collapse into insanity, he returns to consider the "Problem of Socrates." He admits "I am so close to Socrates that I find myself always doing battle with him." Again and again, Nietzsche asks himself the penetrating question: "What I Owe The Ancients?" And he answers this question, at least in part, by using Socrates as an implicit interrogative partner in Ecce Homo. In this seminar, we will explore Nietzsche's complex relationship with Greek philosophy and its interplay with his sustained critique of Christianity. We will read Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, Birth of Tragedy, Gay Science, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, Twilight of the Idols, and Ecce Homo.
PHI 4V99.02 Special Topics: Hume's Moral Philosophy
Margaret Tate MH 110 TR 12:30-1:50
David Hume says at the beginning of the third book, "Of Morals," of his Treatise of Human Nature that he is not "without hopes, that the present system of philosophy will acquire new force as it advances." This course will focus on Hume's ethics, which he consistently ranked throughout his life among his best and most significant contributions to philosophy. Although the course will address recent commentary on Hume's texts, the primary focus will be those texts themselves: the second and third books of the Treatise, the second Enquiry, and several of Hume's essays. These texts will allow us to engage questions about the objectivity and subjectivity of moral judgments, the nature of moral motivation, the character of particular virtues and vices, and the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, among others.
PHI 5311.02 Readings in the Philosophers: James
Stuart Rosenbaum MH 108 TR 12:30-1:50
William James was one of the most congenial of American philosophers; he was known for his cosmopolitan perspectives, for his ability to befriend almost anyone no matter how deep his disagreement with them, and for his commitment to pragmatism. James's radical empiricism is one of the deepest roots of American pragmatism. In this seminar, we will read as much of James's work as we can, and we will focus primarily on his moral and religious perspectives. I plan to order The Varieties of Religious Experience, The Will to Believe, and A Pluralistic Universe. We may also dabble in some of James's Psychology, since it serves as a foundation for his views about morality and religion. I'll also try to order Ralph Barton Perry's The Thought and Character of William James, one of the most congenial and compelling biographies I've ever read. As we seek a deeper understanding of James, we'll also seek a deeper understanding of the American pragmatic tradition in which James was a central character.
PHI 5316.01 Contemporary Philosophical Problems: Time
Alex Pruss MH 108 MR 3:30-4:50
Truth is eternal--yet today it is true that it is sunny, while tomorrow this will no longer be true. Time presses inexorably forward, flowing whether we will or nill--but just how fast does it press forward, at one second per second, perhaps? Bygones are bygones--but I can imagine myself going into a machine and waking up yesterday. The future is up to us--but it's either already true that tomorrow I'll mow the lawn, or it's not. Tomorrow is another day, things will be different--but are not all days equally before God's face?
This course is a survey of contemporary discussions in the philosophy of time. There will be a particular emphasis on the A- and B-theory debate--the question whether the presentness of the present is an objective feature of the world--but we will also look at a number of the following topics (depending on class interest): Zeno's paradoxes, Relativity Theory (we'll read most of Einstein's little book that he wrote for a popular audience), time travel, the direction of time, God's relationship to time, and death. This is a class in metaphysics, but the instructor thinks that metaphysics has close ties to life, and these ties will be emphasized. (To live the examined life, the true metaphysics must be livable.)
PHI/CHS/HIS/REL 5338.01 Seminar on the History of Church State in the West
Charles McDaniel CL 323 W 2-4:50
A survey of the interaction between church and state from the first century to the present, with particular attention given to such thinkers as Augustine, Aquinas, Marsilius, Luther, Hobbes, Locke, and other major thinkers on church-state relations. In addition, major Catholic and Orthodox document on church –state relations will be examined.
PHI 5361.01 Philosophy of Religion: Divine Providence
Jonathan Kvanvig MH 108 T 2:00-4:50
This seminar in the philosophy of religion will focus on issues surrounding the doctrine of providence. The three major positions to be discussion will be the theological determinist position typically associate with Aquinas and Calvin, the Open Theist position requiring limited foreknowledge and limited providence, and the Molinist position defended in recent decades by Plantinga, Flint, Craig, and Kvanvig.
PSC 5343.01 Classical Political Thought
David Corey Draper 329 T 3-5:50pm
Study of selected major texts in classical (Greek and Roman) political thought, with an emphasis on the origin of political philosophy in the thought of Socrates and its development in the works of Plato and Aristotle.
PHI 5360.01 Topics in Contemporary Ethical Theory
Robert Roberts MH 108 W 2:00-4:50
We will examine topics in moral psychology, especially the nature of virtues and their relation to emotions. We will address the nature of emotions and their relevance to moral judgment, actions, personal relationships, and human flourishing. We will examine how emotions affect these matters "in themselves" and also in the context of such personal excellences as generosity, gratitude, justice, compassion, and humility.
Philosophy @ Baylor