Spring 2010 Course Descriptions

PHI 1306.01 Introduction to Logic

Tom Tong

MH 108 MWF 9:05-9:55

This introductory course on logic will cover the most important basics of this subject. We will learn the basic concepts and fundamental rules in several branches of symbolic logic. Also, we will learn how to identify and construct arguments in the ordinary language context. Students will find this course very useful. Knowing logic enables us to critically examine other people's views and to clarify and defend our own views. Besides its instrumental benefits, logic is fun! You will derive 100% pure joy from solving logic puzzles.

PHI 1306.02 Introduction to Logic

Lewis Pearson

MH 106 MWF 10:10-11:00

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 1306.03 Introduction to Logic

Lewis Pearson

MH 106 MWF 11:15-12:05

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 1306.04 Introduction to Logic

Brad 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 1306.05 Introduction to Logic

Robert Baird

MH 100/105 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 1306.06 Introduction to Logic

Angela Pearson

MH 110 TR 11:00-12:15

In this course we will be studying two main types of logic, informal and formal. In the section on informal logic, we will discuss the emotive force of language as well as the importance of clear definitions in argumentation. You will also learn to recognize several fallacies which are frequently employed, either intentionally or unintentionally, to make invalid arguments appear to be valid. This is a skill which you will find useful in both personal and professional arenas, as it will make you a more careful and critical thinker, less likely to be taken-in by or engage in shoddy argumentation.

In the section on formal logic, you will learn to use Venn diagrams, truth tables, and proofs in statement logic to recognize, construct, and create proofs for valid and invalid arguments. This section will be especially helpful for those who will be taking the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT graduate exams. It will also prepare you for the advanced course in Symbolic Logic offered by the university's philosophy department, should you will to further your study of logic.

PHI 1306.07 Introduction to Logic

Dan Johnson

MH 106 TR 12:30-1:45

One of the most important abilities anyone can have is the ability to clearly and forcefully express what one believes and especially one's reasons for believing so. Learning logic is one particularly helpful step toward gaining this ability. Logic is the study of arguments and in particular the relationship between the premises in an argument (the reasons given) and the conclusion of the argument (that which the reasons support). We will spend most of the term on deductive logic, but will also canvass inductive logic and some informal fallacies. Those who are planning to go to graduate school and/or professional school should find the course useful for the GRE, the LSAT, and other preparatory examinations.

PHI 1306.08 Introduction to Logic

Joel Schwartz

MH 105 TR 2:00-3:15

Whether it is in a paper for a class or in a discussion with a roommate, no one wants to be illogical. In this class, we will work to understand not only what logic is and how to use it, but also how we use logic in every part of our lives and how to keep from being illogical. We will consider both formal and informal logic while looking at examples of both kinds of logic in movies, television, politics and other media. Additionally, we will do work in areas of logic that will help in preparation for various graduate school entrance exams.

PHI 1307.01 Critical Thinking

Lewis Pearson

MH 106 MWF 2:30-3:20

In this class, you will improve your ability to engage in critical, coherent, and creative thinking. This will include honing your skills at organizing your ideas, providing evidence and support for claims you make, and understanding, analyzing, and evaluating the claims of others.

This critical thinking course is a Great Texts-based class. This means we will be reading some of the great philosophical, spiritual, and literary works of history in our study of the subject of critical thinking, rather than reading a textbook and/or a smattering of newspaper articles and current event stories that will be long forgotten and discarded by the time you graduate. By using great texts in this course, in addition to achieving the general course objectives of learning the content and practice of critical thinking, you will also have conducted your study of critical thinking through the engagement of books that may remain with you for a lifetime.

The texts we will read in this class present numerous models of critical thinking, both good and bad. Students will learn the content of critical thinking through the example of these models. Students will also improve their practice of critical thinking through the analysis and evaluation of the class texts. These two activities (learning from models, analyzing texts) will go hand-in-hand, each enabling and improving the other.

The cast of characters who will serve as our class' models of critical thinking (both good and bad) includes: a poet gripped by divine inspiration, a bereaved father coming to terms with the loss of his daughter, a devout Christian examining the state of his soul, a high-strung outcast who is trying to prove his sanity, a provincial gentleman who must face the inevitability of his own death, a disenfranchised woman discussing her blinding hatred and envy of her sister, a Catholic and an atheist who are both imprisoned and institutionalized for taking seriously their disagreement with one another. These characters and many others will aid us in determining how critical thinking may be hindered or helped by emotion, personal investment, cultural context, and other features common to everyday life.

PHI 1308.01 Introductory Topics in Ethics: Modernity and Morality

Michael Beaty

MH 107 MWF 10:10-11:00

This course serves as an introduction to philosophy in general and, in particular, to ethics or moral philosophy. 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 ethical 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 about morality, both in popular culture and in professional philosophy, since the Enlightenment. We will read one of the most important critiques of modern or contemporary life, After Virtue, by Alasdair MacIntyre and other texts which it critiques, by Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche, so that we might form reasoned judgments about "modernity" and the moral aspects of our own lives. Near the end of the course, we will ask what, if anything, does being Christian contribute to our understanding of morality and read from at least one explicitly Christian text. The topics studied are intended to engage both the student and the teacher in philosophical reflection about the kinds of lives we live and the sort of character we might aspire to have, and why.

PHI 1308.02 Introductory Topics in Ethics: Philosophy of Love and Sex

Alexander Pruss

MH 105 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 1308.03 Introductory Topics in Ethics: Seven Deadly Sins

Robert Kruschwitz

MH 106 TR 11:00-12:15

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 Introductory Topics in Ethics: Ethics for the Imperfect

Janelle Klapauszak

MH 107 TR 2:00-3:15

Close your eyes and try to picture the perfect life. What good things are you missing, what would you add to your life in order to make it the happiest life possible? In this course, which is designed for freshmen and sophomores of any major (though we welcome juniors and seniors as well), we will study some of the greatest figures in the history of philosophy, all of whom are concerned with discovering what the good life looks like. 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. 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: Theism and Naturalism

Todd Buras

MH 105 MWF 9:05-9:55

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 1321.02 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: "Wisdom and the Good Life"

Mark Boone

MH 110 MWF 10:10-11:00

This course uses the great texts of Western philosophy to introduce students to the practice of philosophy. We will engage primary sources in the ancient, medieval, early modern, and late modern eras. The story of Western philosophy begins with the efforts of Greek philosophers such as Socrates to understand the universe and man's place in it. In medieval Europe thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas achieved a synthesis of Greek thought with the Christian faith. The early modern era placed a new emphasis on reason and on improving the human condition through science. Modernity finally culminated in a critique of modern science by thinkers such as Nietzsche. Out of the many questions that emerge from a close look at the story of Western philosophy, this course will focus on a few really big questions such as: What is the good life for man? What is the place of faith in the good life?, and What is the place of science in the good life?

PHI 1321.03 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Theism and Naturalism

Todd Buras

MH 105 MWF 11:15-12:05

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 1321.04 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Mind and World

Trent Dougherty

MH 107 TR 9:30-10:45

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: Faith, Reason & Christian Belief

Francis Beckwith

MH 108 TR 11:00-12:15

This course will introduce the student to the study of philosophy-including the areas of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics-by way of looking at the role philosophy plays in thinking about Christian beliefs. Topics of discussion may include the existence of God, the relationship between faith and reason, relative and absolute ethics, religion and science, and the existence of the soul.

PHI 1321.06 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Life, the Universe, and Everything

Emily Glass

MH 105 MWF 1:25–2:15

This course, which is designed for freshmen and sophomores but welcomes any students interested in learning more about philosophy, will follow threads of philosophical inquiry through several eras of Western thought. We will examine the ways that diverse philosophers have approached questions like, ‘What is the world really like? Why? How can we learn? And what sort of lives should we strive to live?' with an eye to the literary merits and the artistry of their philosophical writings as well as the important contributions to be found in their arguments. This course is intended to promote critical thinking, hone skills in rhetoric and writing, and cultivate a pleasant, cooperative context for engaging with tough questions – the sort of tough questions that have come back to haunt the human experience again and again throughout time.

PHI 2301.01 Existentialism

C. Stephen Evans

MH 110 TR 9:30-10:45

This class will focus on a number of writers popularly described as "existentialists," who are connected to each other not by agreement in their view of life but by wrestling with a common set of questions and concerns about the meaning of human life, the basis for responsible choice, and, ultimately, the quest for identity. One major divide that will be explored concerns the tension between religious and non-religious forms of existentialism. We will begin by looking at Søren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostovesky, and Friedrich Nietzsche as the major nineteenth century figures who loom large over the movement, and then read some of the most important twentieth century figures: Miguel de Unamuno, Jean Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus. Readings will include both philosophical writings, novels, and plays.

PHI 2305.01 Philosophy and Religion

Jonathan Kvanvig

MH 108 TR 9:30-10:45

This course involves reflecting on key components of the major religions, especially Christianity. We will investigate theoretical issues surrounding the nature of God (can God know what someone with free will would do? is perfect goodness compatible with temptation to sin? Can God make a stone too big for him to move? Is God outside of time? etc.) as well as issues surrounding the rationality of belief in God (can one prove that God exists? Is a proof necessary for belief in God to be rational? etc.)

This course involves reflecting on key components of the major religions, especially Christianity. We will investigate theoretical issues surrounding the nature of God (can God know what someone with free will would do? is perfect goodness compatible with temptation to sin? Can God make a stone too big for him to move? Is God outside of time? etc.) as well as issues surrounding the rationality of belief in God (can one prove that God exists? Is a proof necessary for belief in God to be rational? etc.)

Phil 3301.01 Moral Philosophy

Darin Davis

MH 105 TR 11:00-12:15

Though no one course can provide an exhaustive account of the development of moral philosophy from the philosophers of ancient Greece to the present, this course will explore a few of the major twists and turns in the history of ethics through the study of five pivotal figures: Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche.

PHI 3310.01 History of Philosophy – Classical

Anne-Marie Bowery

MH 105 TR 12:30-1:45

Over two thousand years ago, ancient thinkers like Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Xenophanes began to wonder about the nature of the world around them. They searched for answers about the structure of the cosmos and the meaning of existence. In many ways, they were no different than the average person who has such thoughts today. One thing was different, however. They began to share their thoughts and ideas with others. Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Pythagoras added their insights to this burgeoning philosophical conversation. Then Socrates and the sophists debated the nature of the human soul and the existence of the good. Plato and Aristotle furthered these conversations by writing great philosophical masterpieces like the Symposium, the Republic, and the Nicomachean Ethics. These books became the foundation of western social, political, and philosophical thought.

The ultimate goal of this course is for you to engage in the practice of philosophy. This semester, we will learn about these ancient philosophers with this larger goal in mind. We will read their words, analyze their texts, discuss their ideas, and learn something about ourselves, the world, and the love of wisdom in the process.

PHI 3312.01 History of Modern European Philosophy

Robert Baird

MH 105 MWF 10:10-11:00

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 and political 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 philosophizing.

PHI 3320 Philosophical Issues in Feminism

Lenore Wright

MH 108 MWF 11:15-12:05

Feminist theorists have challenged the negative assessment of the body within philosophical discourse. This course will survey recent developments in feminist philosophy, focusing on the contested nature of embodiment in feminist thought and the intersections between feminist philosophy as it is historically understood and developing debates within body studies, one area of feminist theory. Topics will include theories and definitions of gender, cultural inscriptions and evaluations of the body, theories of power and politics of the body, evaluations of the body in science and biomedicine, and assessments of the position of women in the history and discipline of philosophy. No philosophy background is necessary, but readings will approach feminism from a philosophical point of view.

PHI 4310.01 Philosophy of Science

James Marcum

MH 107 TR 11:00-12:15

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. 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 4321.01 Metaphysics

Alexander Pruss

MH 110 TR 12:30-1:45

Metaphysics asks two different kinds of questions. One set of problems is more concrete, asking about how certain things really are, on a level that goes beyond what science studies. We will examine two such problems: What is free will and do we have it? What makes me be me? (Would I survive if my brain were implanted in your skull? So I have a soul that makes me be me?) The second set of problems is more abstract, and we will look at two such problems. The first of these is the problem of properties. We might say that a leaf and a tractor are both green. What does that mean? Is there such a thing as greenness that the leaf and the tractor are both related to? If so, where is this greenness? (In the leaf? in the tractor? in both? in the mind of God? nowhere?) We will also consider alternate solutions to the problem of what makes different things have the same property. The second problem is that of modality. As far as we know, there are no mountains of gold or square circles in the world. But there is a difference between these two. While there in fact are no mountains of gold, there could be. But square circles are simply impossible. What makes the one possible and the other impossible?

Time permitting, we will also talk about the problem of causation that is somewhat on the boundary between the more abstract and the more concrete. Scientists often say that one thing causes another. Smoking causes cancer, running electricity from water causes the production of hydrogen and oxygen, and so on. Criminal lawyers talk of causation, too--they talk of who caused what. What does the verb "to cause" mean in all these cases? We observe a ball hitting a pane of glass. We see the glass breaking. But do we see the ball causing the pane of glass to break? What is this causing that is happening here?

The purpose of this course is to introduce one to some metaphysical issues that are interesting on their own, as well as to teach one, by example, how we do contemporary metaphysics.

PHI 4325.01 Literary and Philosophical Perspectives on Medicine

James Marcum

MH 107 TR 12:30-1:45

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 and physicians-and represent different genre-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. In addition, we will discuss two longer works, one of which is the focus for a short mid-term paper.

PHI 4331.01 Latin American Philosophy

William Cooper

MH 108 M 2:30-5:30

The course will provide a survey of philosophical thought in Latin America beginning with the colonial period and coming up to the present with the major emphasis being on work done in the last one hundred years. Attention will also turn to the impact of literature and culture on philosophy and of philosophy of the literature and culture. Assignments and class discussion will focus on the works of leading philosophers and intellectual figures. To the degree possible, the work in the course will be tailored to the intellectual interests of those who enroll. If you would like to inquire further about the course, please email Dr. Cooper: w_f_cooper@baylor.edu

PHI 4360.01 Contemporary Ethical Theory

Robert Roberts

MH 110 MWF 1:25-2:15

We will examine recent debates concerning what makes actions right or good, the nature and place of practical reason, ethical motivation, pleasure, distress, and more generally the emotions in the ethical life, the nature and place of virtue and the virtues, and interpersonal relationships such as friendship and enmity. We will look at the relation between morality and happiness. We will also try to answer the question, What is moral theory and what is it good for?

PHI 4V99.01 Special Topics in Philosophy: Nietzsche

Robert Miner

MH 106 TR 9:30-10:45

In this course, we will begin a study of Nietzsche's thought, attempting to understand it from the inside, as it were. A condition of this enterprise is that we not only read Nietzsche, but allow ourselves to be read by Nietzsche-a difficult thing to do. Though we will not have time to read the entire Nietzschean corpus, the course will engage his thought in each of its three phases. We will begin with the early essays, focusing particularly on the second and third Untimely Meditations ("On the Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life"; "Schopenhauer as Educator"). We will move to an exploration of the "middle period" works that are powered by the aphorism, drawing from Human, All Too Human and The Gay Science. The third part of the course will focus intensively on either Thus Spoke Zarathustra or its "no-saying" sequel, Beyond Good and Evil. If there is time-and there may well not be, owing to the demands of "slow reading"-we will conclude with one of the brief "summing up" texts from 1888, e.g. Twilight of the Idols, The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo.

Throughout, a primary aim will be to acquire-or to begin to acquire-the rare virtue described by Nietzsche: "Learning to see-habituating the eye to repose, to patience, to letting things come to it; learning to defer judgment, to investigate and comprehend the individual case in all its aspects. This is the first preliminary schooling in spirituality: not to react immediately to a stimulus, but to have the restraining, stock-taking instincts in one's control." Such a virtue, it scarcely need be said, is a prerequisite for persuasive criticism of Nietzsche.

PHI 4V99.21 Special Topics in Philosophy: James, Dewey, and the Ethics of Integrity

Stuart Rosenbaum

MH 105 M 2:30-5:30

The idea of integrity is central to an understanding of pragmatist accounts of morality. William James, in several essays as well as in his Varieties of Religious Experience, explains his understanding of integrity, as does John Dewey in his Ethics. Our goal is to understand integrity in a way that enables us to see its centrality in thought about morality generally, and especially in these two classical pragmatist thinkers. We may seek to understand what integrity is and how it contrasts with other ideas close to the center of thought about morality-for example, the idea of authenticity central to Charles Taylor's The Ethics of Authenticity and the idea of virtue at the center of Alasdair McIntyre's work. We'll also be interested in some works by Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam and Cornel West that contribute to an understanding of integrity as central to a viable understanding of morality.

PHI 5316.01 Contemporary Philosophical Problems: Philosophy of Mind

C. Stephen Evans

MH 108 W 2:30-5:30

This seminar will focus mainly on the reasonableness of a materialistic account of the human mind. Many contemporary philosophers assume that some materialistic account of the human mind must be true. However, there is no consensus about which form of materialism is correct. At the same time, rivals to materialism, including dualism and epiphenomenalism, continue to be defended. Some attention will be paid to what stake, if any, Christian philosophers have in this debate, by looking at the compatibility of various accounts of mind with Christian views about life after death. Readings will be taken from contemporary materialist and non-materialist philosophers.

PHI 5320.01 Special Topics in Philosophy: Epistemology

Trent Dougherty

MH 108 R 12:30-3:15

That evidence is central to epistemology should be a truism. But this leaves open many options for its individuation and role. Recent years have seen slippage in the borders between internalism and externalism as well as between coherentism and foundationalism. In this seminar we'll survey several forthcoming attempts from all quarters to clarify the concept and contribution of evidence.

PHI 5361.01 Contemporary Philosophy of Religion

Jonathan Kvanvig

MH 108 T 2:00-4:45

A seminar focusing on the most recent literature in philosophy of religion, either through the articles published in the second volume of my Oxford Studies series. Since that volume may not be available yet, the backup plan is to focus on the doctrine of creation, especially on the problem of modeling God's creative decision in terms of some type of deliberation. To model in this way involves either using standard decision theory or some kind of conditional to try to understand how God decides which universe to create and we will explore the difficulties that arise with both approaches.