Fall 2009 Course Descriptions

PHI 1306.01    Introduction to Logic
Tom Tong            MH 105        MWF            9:05-9:55
This introductory course on logic will cover the basics of symbolic logic. Students will learn the idea of truth tables, the primary rules of deduction, and the methods of constructing formal proofs. We will also briefly deal with informal fallacies and inductive logic. Students will find this course very helpful for many aspects of their lives. Knowing logic enables us to critically evaluate other people’s arguments, clarify our own thoughts, and provide adequate support for what we believe. Apart from its instrumental benefits, logic is fun! You will derive pure, unalloyed pleasure from solving logic puzzles.   

PHI 1306.02    Introduction to Logic
Brummeler            MH 105        MWF            12:20-1:10
In this course, we endeavor to become better thinkers.  The course will assist you in thinking more clearly and expressing yourself in a more reasoned way.  In addition, strength in the rudiments of logic will help you to decide between the competing claims with which we are bombarded in modern life, whether from marketers, film-makers, journalists, politicians, parents or friends.  Finally, the study of logic will increase your analytic reasoning abilities, a help to those of you who are planning to take one of the graduate school exams (LSAT, GRE, GMAT, or MCAT).  We will cover the basics of both ancient and contemporary formal logic, as well as those of informal logic.  

PHI 1306.03    Introduction to Logic
Baird                MH 100        MWF            1:25-2:15
“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 leading 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 who are planning to go to graduate school and/or professional school should find the course valuable as they prepare to take the GRE, the LSAT, or other preparatory examinations.

PHI 1306.04    Introduction to Logic
Chamberlin            MH 105        TR            9:30-10:45
This course is intended to introduce students to the basic principles of logical reasoning.  Students will be taught to analyze arguments and think critically about the rhetoric that engages them on a daily basis.  This will involve recognizing informal fallacies, as well as learning to effectively employ the techniques of formal logic.  Students wanting to pursue graduate studies will benefit from taking this course, as good reasoning skills will improve their chances of doing well on graduate entrance exams (LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE).

PHI 1306.05    Introduction to Logic
Angela Pearson            MH 110        TR            11:00-12:15
Whether or not we are conscious of it, we use logic all the time—when we select a major field of study, speak just the right words in conversation, or choose what to eat for breakfast.  When we are mindful of the logic of decision-making, we are well-positioned to make better choices.

Studying logic makes us aware of considerations relevant to every decision; it helps us recognize general patterns of argument and persuasion.  We become more attentive listeners and more effective communicators.  The study of logic can lead ultimately to a deeper knowledge of self, others, and the world.

As the name of this course suggests, this course is a general introduction to the study of logic, but it might be your springboard to further study in the advanced course in Symbolic Logic offered by Baylor’s philosophy department.  The skills and concepts learned in this course will prove especially helpful when you take the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT graduate exams.

PHI 1306.06    Introduction to Logic
Glass            MH 110        TR            12:30-1:45
If you think it at all likely that you might, one day, need to make an argument or evaluate an argument, then introductory logic is relevant to your interests!  Logic is the study of arguments - of the relationships between conclusions and their premises. Wherever we find a conclusion that is given on the basis of some support, there we find an argument.  And wherever we find an argument, logic can help us to study it, to pose questions about it, to affirm or reject it, and to think about how to make it better.  This makes introductory logic both practical and fascinating, a helpful tool in academics and everyday life, as well as a potential gateway to further study in disciplines that include (but are not limited to!) philosophy, critical thinking, rhetoric, and law.  Our class will cover strategies for constructing arguments and evaluating them on standards of validity, soundness, strength, etc.  We will discuss inductive and deductive reasoning, and will also examine the persuasive force of rhetorical flourishes and informal fallacies.  Please consider joining us in our effort to become discerning judges, skilled speakers and writers, and keen observers of our world!

PHI 1307.01    Critical Thinking:  Logic and the Law    
Beckwith            MH 105        TR            11-12:15     
The purpose of this course is to instruct the student in how to properly analyze and criticize the logic of  real  arguments  in natural language as they are found in all disciplines and areas of  life;  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, their relation to truth about the world, and their place in  personal  and social life.
    
PHI 1308.01    Intro Topics in Ethics:  Morality and Modernity    
Beaty                MH 107        MWF            10:10-11:00
This course serves as an introduction to philosophy in general and, in particular, an introduction to ethics.  Students will be introduced to both ancient and modern ways of thinking about the moral aspects of our human lives, with specific attention to deontological, utilitarian, and virtue theories.  While this course is designed for freshmen and sophomores of any major, we welcome juniors and seniors as well.   We will study the role of morality in achieving a good life, especially in the context of “modernity,” that is, certain characteristic ways of thinking since the Enlightenment.   We will read one of the most important critiques of modern or contemporary life, After Virtue, and other texts which it critiques, so that we might form reasoned judgments about “modernity” and the moral aspects of our own lives. The topics studied are intended to engage us in philosophical reflection.

PHI 1308.02 Intro Topics in Ethics: Reparations, Apologies and American Democracy
Rosenbaum            MH 108        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    Intro Topics in Ethics: Philosophy of Love and Sex
Pruss                MH 106        TR            9:30-10:45
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    Intro Topics in Ethics: Happiness and the Moral Life
Davis                 MH 106        TR            11-12:15       
Though we often say we want to be happy in life, do we know what happiness is, much less how to achieve it?  And how are we to conceive of the lives we lead—the lives we want to be happy? Does the moral life involve following a set of rules or maximizing the best consequences?  Does it involve following the commands of God?  Is it about solving individual moral dilemmas as they confront us, or might it be about striving to live and do well over the entire course of our lives?  

Through an exploration of some significant figures in the history of ethics (including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Mill, and Kant) along with more recent works (by Goldie and Lewis), this course will examine these questions along with others.  As we read, discuss, and write about these questions, we will aim to gain a deeper awareness of what the good human life might be like and how we might live it.

PHI 1308.05    Intro Topics in Ethics: The Seven Deadly Sins
Klaupasak            MH 106        TR            2:00-3:15
In this course, which is designed for freshmen and sophomores of any major (though we welcome juniors and seniors as well), we will study the role of morality in achieving a good life. The topics studied are intended to engage us in philosophical reflection about the world and ourselves, but especially about the kinds of lives we might choose and the sort of character we might 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 and contemporary readings we’ll raise questions like “Are moral rules, like scientific laws, true for everyone?” “Are we capable of living morally good lives?” “Why follow moral rules?” and “What is the place of God in the moral life?”

PHI 1321.01    Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Wisdom and the Good Life
Boone                MH 107        MWF            9:05-9:55
This course uses the great texts from the history of Western philosophy to introduce students to the practice of philosophy.  The story of Western philosophy begins with the Greeks; in medieval Europe thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas achieved a synthesis of Greek thought with the Christian faith; in the early modern era, a new emphasis was placed on reason and science; this finally culminated in a critique of modernism with thinkers such as Nietzsche.  We will engage primary sources in the ancient, medieval, early modern, and late modern eras.  Out of all the important questions that emerge from a close look at the story of Western philosophy, this course will focus on a few big questions such as: What is the good life for man? and What is the relationship of philosophy and the Christian religion?

PHI 1321.02    Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Humanity’s Place in Nature
Dougherty                MH 110        MWF            10:10-11:00
This course introduces students to philosophy by comparing the two most prominent traditions in Western thought regarding man's place in nature: materialism and the belief in a soul. 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 mankind, the relevance of evolution, and the consequences for how humans, animals, and the environment ought to be treated.  
    
PHI 1321.03    Introductory Topics in Philosophy:  Humanity’s Place in Nature
Dougherty            MH 107        MWF            11:15-12:05
This course introduces students to philosophy by comparing the two most prominent traditions in Western thought regarding man's place in nature: materialism and the belief in a soul. 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 mankind, the relevance of evolution, and the consequences for how humans, animals, and the environment ought to be treated.  

PHI 1321.05    Introductory Topics in Philosophy:  Life and Death
Miner                MH 106        TR            12:30-1:45
Philosophy, as both Vico and Nietzsche suggest, is useless unless it able to address the needs of human beings and promote the desire for life.  But how we think about life is bound up, consciously or unconsciously, with how we understand death and dying.  This course will serve as an introduction to philosophy by reading great texts that contain serious thinking about life, death, and the connection between them.  Possibilities include (in whole or in part) Plato, Apology of Socrates; Plato, Phaedo; Lucretius, On the Nature of Things; Montaigne, “That to philosophize is to learn to die,” Pascal, Pensées, Spinoza, Ethics; Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death; Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, Heidegger, Being and Time.
    
PHI 2301.01     Existentialism

Schwartz            MH 105        MWF            10:10-11:00
In this class, we will look at significant works of existential thinkers (Camus, Sartre) as well as some philosophical works that influenced existential thought (Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche).  We will explore how existentialism came about, the fundamental tenants of existentialism and what they mean to us as acting subjects.    

Phil 2309.01    Traditions:  Asian Philosophy
Johnson            MH 106        MWF            10:10-11:00
Philosophy, in the academy, generally means Western philosophy. Even the word philosophy is of Greek origin. There are, however, at least two great independent traditions of recognizably philosophical inquiry – the investigation of knowledge, reality, and the good life employing rigorous thought and argument – outside the Western tradition. One is centered in the Indian subcontinent, the other in ancient China. We will spend about half the term on each tradition, focusing on Hindu and Buddhist philosophy in India and Confucian and Daoist philosophy in China. If we have time, we may get into Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.

We will approach these traditions not as mere historical curiosities but philosophically – that is, as having something relevant to say to us, here and now, that is worth careful thought. Throughout the course, we will consider the relationship between the various pictures of the world (worldviews) propounded by Asian philosophers and some Western worldviews, particularly the theistic worldview.
        
PHI 3310.01    History of Philosophy – Classical
Roberts            MH 110        TR            9:30-10:45
This course is a history of Greek or Greek-inspired thought about the deepest questions of human life from the writings of Homer to the early years of the Christian era. The vast majority of the readings, however, are from the writings of Plato (some of which contain the thought of Socrates) and Aristotle.

PHI 3312.01    History of Modern European Philosophy
Buras                MH 107        MWF            1:25-2:15
This course is a survey of Western philosophy from the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century through the first half of the nineteenth century.  The philosophers of this period were the first to address the wave of philosophical questions raised by the advance of modern science.  Their questions—and in many cases their answers—continue to influence current debates in most major fields of philosophical inquiry.  This course introduces the major thinkers and texts from this period; Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant and Reid figure most prominently.  

PHI 3322.01     Philosophy of Art

Wright              MH 105        MWF             11:15-12:05
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
Marcum            MH 107        TR            11:00-12:15
Why is medicine, especially within the western, industrialized countries, practiced today as it is?  The answer to this question is explored from not only an historical perspective but also from a philosophical perspective.  To that end, we explore the rise of modern medicine beginning with the Greek Hippocrates and continuing to today.  Along the way, we discuss the major personages, institutions, ideas, and events that have shaped modern medical knowledge and practice.

Phil 4311.01    Epistemology        
Kvanvig             MH 108        TR            9:30-10:45
This course begins with two central questions from Plato about knowledge: what is its nature and why is it valuable? The tension between these two questions leads directly to some of the central topics in the history of epistemology: skepticism, the nature of truth, the nature of justification, including the debates between foundationalists and coherentists and between externalists and internalists, and the Gettier problem. Each topic will be discussed from the point of view of whether it is possible to construct a theory of knowledge that can answer both of Plato's questions.

PHI 4318.01     Philosophy of Law        
Beckwith            MH 105        TR            2:00-3:15
Sometimes called “jurisprudence,” the philosophy of law concerns a cluster of questions about the philosophical foundations of a political regime’s 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 thought 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 4319.01    Philosophical Writing/Res & Oral Presentation
Kvanvig            MH 108        T            2-4:45
The topic of the course is in the philosophy of religion, with significant amounts of epistemology and metaphysics and ethics as they arise in the articles in the collection of essays for the course. This course has as its goal mastering the art of writing a critical essay in philosophy, an essential skill for success in graduate school in philosophy and for publication success after securing a position in philosophy. The course material is simply a convenient vehicle for achieving this goal.

As such, this course is appropriate for first-year graduate students in philosophy and, with instructor permission, senior philosophy majors who plan on going to graduate school in philosophy next year. Others will find the demands of the course disproportionate to the benefits that could be gleaned by taking it (it should be noted in this regard that this course is no longer required of philosophy majors in light of the significant re-design of the course). For those planning a career in philosophy, the skills in question are indispensable for their graduate careers and professional careers to follow.

Phil 4320.01    Philosophy of Religion
Evans                MH 108        TR            11:00-12:15    
This course will consider many of the major problem areas in the philosophy of religion.  These include the following:  the relation of religious faith to reason, the nature of God, the existence of God, problems posed for faith by science and the occurrence of evil, understanding religious experience, whether miracles occur and their importance for religion, the nature of a religious revelation, and how a claim to a revelation should be evaluated, and problems posed by the multiplicity of religions.  Students will be exposed to alternative viewpoints on every issue and encouraged to think problems through in relation to their own convictions.

PHI 4342.01    Contemporary American Philosophy
Rosenbaum            MH108        MWF            1:25-2:15
American philosophy studies currents of thought that originate in Anglo-European traditions  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 Williams, 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 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.

Phil 4345.01    Intermediate Logic
Buras                MH108        MWF            9:05-9:55
This class is a study of the language of first-order logic (FOL) as a formal deductive system. Our aim will be to understand the consequence relations that hold between expressions of FOL.  It often happens that the truth of one or more propositions guarantees the truth of another. When this happens, we say that the propsition whose truth is guaranteed is a consequence of its gurantor(s). The fact that it is impossible for some propositions to be false while others are true is one of the curiouser facts in the universe. Why do truths come in clusters, like this? What grounds such relations among propositions? What is it about propositions that could explain why some are consequences of others?  These are the main questions our study of FOL aims to answer.  A second goal of the course is to apply what we learn about consequence relations to evaluate ordinary reasoning. When does ordinary reasoning track consequence relations? How can we prove that it does? We will be addressing these questions as well.   

PHI 4363.01    Philosophy and Medicine

Marcum            MH 107        TR            12:30-1:45
This course is designed to introduce students entering the healthcare professions to the richness of literary and philosophical perspectives on those professions.  The literary pieces come from various perspectives—patients and physicians—and represent different genre—fiction, poetry, film, and drama.  Students are encouraged to reflect upon them in short papers and class discussions.

PHI 5316.01     Contemporary Philosophical Problems:  Recent Work on Virtues
Roberts            MH 108        R            2:00-4:45
Since Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” appeared in 1958, philosophical ethics has become increasingly dominated by “moral psychology,” the philosophical sub-discipline that studies the nature of traits of character (virtues and vices) and their dispositional components (dispositions to emotions, actions, judgments, perceptions, motives, intentions, and the like). In this course we will read, discuss, and write about some of the recent literature in this field.

PHI 5320.01    Divine Command Theories of Moral Obligation
Evans                MH 108        W            2:30-5:30
This seminar will examine contemporary forms of divine command metaethical theories of obligation, reading such philosophers as Philip Quinn, Robert Adams, John Hare, and C. Stephen Evans.  Consideration will also be given to criticisms of such a metaethical theory, including looking at the work of Mark Murphy, Erik Wielenberg, William Wainwright, and Zachary Manis.  We will also look at the relations between such a meta-ethical theory and other forms of ethical theory, including natural law ethics and virtue ethics.


PHI 5342.01      Religion, Law & Politics
Payne                CL 323        R            2:00-4:50
This course will examine the interrelationship among religion, law, and politics in the formation and development of political societies.  Special attention is given to the republican and liberal traditions of government in Western history and their relation to church-state relations, with particular emphasis on the influence of both traditions on the American constitutional system.  Important themes examined, among others, are the historical development of individual rights, communitarianism and individualism, utilitarianism and Kantian liberalism, and neo-fundamentalism – especially in their treatment of religion – as competing systems in modern rights-based liberal democracies.

PHI 5350.01    Workshop in Teaching Philosophy

Bob Kruschwitz         MH 105        TR            12:30-1:45
This course will address a broad range of pedagogical issues involved in becoming a successful philosophy teacher.  Topics include: educational theory, organizational strategies, practical techniques for effective lecturing, practical techniques for stimulation discussion, the logistics of evaluation, the scholarship of teaching and the importance of ongoing self-assessment of classroom performance.

PHI 5365.01    Phil of Language:  Language, Truth, and Paradox
Pruss                MH 108        M            2:30-5:30
This course is an opportunity to examine various issues in contemporary philosophy of language.  But rather than its being a survey course, unity will be provided by a focus on meaning and truth, and on the paradoxes of self-reference as a test which particular theories of meaning and truth may well fail.  The simplest of these paradoxes of self-reference is the Liar Paradox, which we can put in its newer ("liar's revenge") form as: "This sentence is not true."  It seems that if this sentence is true, it's false, and if it's false, it's true.  If one thinks there is some third option, such as its being nonsense or its being in-between-truth-and-falsity, that, too, seems to be ruled out.  For if the sentence is nonsense or in-between-truth-and-falsity, then in particular it's not true.  And if it's not true, then it seems it's true.  Or suppose I assign to students the assignment: "Do not fulfill this assignment."  Should I then pass everybody, or fail everybody, or flip a coin for each?  (In actual fact, the assignment for the course will be one long paper or two medium-length ones.)
 
It is worth noting that paradoxes of self-reference are of particular interest to theists, as these paradoxes have been used in arguments against omniscience.  
 
Students will both learn a significant amount of general material in the philosophy of language, and these paradoxes of self-reference will be a lot of fun to think about.  And while it is common to take the attitude that these paradoxes are just something for experts to study, and do not really affect anything of great importance, that attitude might be unphilosophical.  Unless we actually have a satisfactory solution to the problems and see that it has no such effect, we should be open to the possibility that the correct solution might in fact upset many preconceived notions in philosophy of language, metaphysics and epistemology.