Course Descriptions Fall 2010

PHI 1306.01 Introduction to Logic

Ryan Byerly MH 106 MWF 9:05-9:55

People don’t always agree about things especially important things. Often, those who disagree attempt to persuade those with whom they disagree by offering arguments. But, few of us ever stop to ask just what makes an argument a good one. Answering this question is the goal of this course. Students who take this course will learn the methods used to evaluate arguments. Topics will include Aristotelian logic, Venn diagrams, symbolic logic, truth-tables, proofs, inductive logic, and formal and informal fallacies. By the end of this course, students will become better equipped to identify and evaluate the arguments of others as well as more skilled in making arguments of their own. They will thereby acquire intellectual tools which will be helpful in every area of life.

PHI 1306.02 Introduction to Logic

Greg Poore MH 106 MWF 10:10-11:00

This course is designed to help you become a better thinker and reasoner. Whether in personal conversations, term papers, political debates, advertising, or movies, we are constantly making or encountering arguments. Logic is the study of arguments and the ways that the premises of arguments support (or fail to support) their conclusions. Studying logic will help you formulate better arguments, clarify your own beliefs and reasons for holding them, and identify and evaluate the arguments you encounter daily. The concepts and reasoning skills learned in this class will also prove helpful for those planning to take graduate entrance exams (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT). We will spend most of the semester studying deductive logic, but we will also study inductive logic, informal fallacies, and how to articulate and present good arguments for our own beliefs.

PHI 1306.03 Introduction to Logic

Matt Douglass MH 106 MWF 11:15-12:05

This course introduces logic as a method of thinking carefully in all disciplines. A firm understanding of logic is essential for future philosophers and lawyers, useful for anyone worried about impending admissions tests (the LSAT, GMAT, and so on), edifying for anyone who cares about truth, and fun for puzzle doers and problem solvers. Part of the course will explore informal reasoning, focusing especially on informal fallacies and the proper use of analogies and induction. The rest of the course covers formal logic systems, including categorical logic and statement logic, which are used to construct proofs and evaluate arguments for soundness and validity.

PHI 1306.04/H4 Introduction to Logic

Michael Beaty MH 100 MWF 1:25-2:15

This course focuses on the nature and analysis of arguments, deductive and non-deductive reasoning, especially analogical reasoning, and informal fallacies. Students will learn to construct and evaluate well-formed arguments. The general principles we will learn in the course are applicable to all areas of study and interest, and are useful both to ordinary life. to citizenship and to a variety of professions, especially business, law, medicine and the ministry. The skills acquired in this course will have special relevance for those who will study philosophy, those looking for a pre-law curriculum, and studying theology (and perhaps also for those interested in computer programming, and/or in mathematics). Also, the analytical reasoning skills obtained in this course should prove especially helpful for those of you who plan on taking the LSAT, GRE, the MCAT, and the GMAT.

PHI 1306.05 Introduction to Logic

Emily Glass MH 108 TR 9:30-10:45

The purpose of this course is to strengthen your ability to (1) understand and to clarify language, (2) recognize informal fallacies in reasoning, and (3) determine the validity and invalidity of deductive arguments. Every dimension of the course aims at enhancing your ability to reason, that is, to see and understand connections and relationships among ideas. This should be of inestimable value to you personally and professionally.

PHI 1306.06 Introduction to Logic

Dan Johnson MH 110 TR 11:00-12:15

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

Travis Coblentz MH 108 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 various media. Additionally, we will do work in areas of logic that will help in preparation for various graduate school entrance exams.

PHI 1306.09 Introduction to Logic

Brad Brummeler MH 110 TR 12:30-1:45

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 1306.10 Introduction to Logic

Tom Tong MH 107 MWF 12:20-1:10

Most people think, yet not many can think well. Those who think well tend to follow certain rules, whereas those who don’t think well fail to always follow those rules and tend to make mistakes of reasoning. This introductory course in logic will acquaint you with a number of such rules that are invariably followed by good thinkers and, meanwhile, help you develop skills to avoid mistakes of reasoning. As experience will demonstrate, this course will be invaluable for students planning to become philosophy majors or to enter law school.

PHI 1307.02 Critical Thinking: Logic and the Law

Frank Beckwith MH 106 TR 12:30-1:45

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. This class will include a moot court exercise in which the student(s) presents an oral argument to a judge or judges. Because much of our time will be taken up with legal arguments as well as understanding the different areas of law, this course is ideal for pre-law students as well as others interested in attending law school.

PHI 1308.01 Intro Topics in Ethics: Values in Education

Stuart Rosenbaum MH 107 MWF 9:05-9:55

Plato raises the question whether virtue can be taught. This course blends classical and contemporary sources in an effort to answer his question. Our sources include some of Plato’s dialogues, some modern works on education for virtues and important works of William James and John Dewey. We’ll also see some films, read some fairy tales and other literature, and do philosophical analysis of these things.

PHI 1308.02 Intro Topics in Ethics: Christian Justice

Heidi Chamberlin MH 107 MWF 10:10-11:00

The Bible makes it clear that God cares deeply about justice. The purpose of this course is to discuss different accounts of justice offered by philosophers in light of biblical calls for justice. We will look at theories of justice associated with utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics. In addition to acquiring an understanding of these different theories, students will be expected to assess how well each of them comports with Christian views of justice and to identify ideas about justice that are distinctively Christian. The goal is to encourage students to think hard about what God requires of us in our treatment of others.

PHI 1308.03 Intro Topics in Ethics: Philosophy of Love and Sex

Adam Pelser MH 108 MWF 11:15-12:05

Loving and being loved are essential to a flourishing human life. But what is love? And what, if anything, does it have to do with sex? In this class we will attempt to answer these important questions with the help of some of the greatest thinkers in the history of Western philosophy, including Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, and Søren Kierkegaard. We will explore the many varieties of love erotic love, friendship, parental love, brotherly and sisterly love, etc.and ask what it is that they have in common such that they all should be considered loves. In the first half of the course we will reflect on the nature of love in general and on friendship in particular. In the second half of the course, we will explore the relationships between erotic love, sex, and marriage primarily in the context of questions of sexual morality, including extra-marital sex and cohabitation, homosexuality, contraception, and pornography. We will consider the views of contemporary thinkers ranging from radical feminists to Pope John Paul II. We will also explore the ways that popular media portray the relationship between love and sex. Throughout our discussions, we will consider whether and in what ways these specific questions about sexual morality are connected to the questions about the nature of love raised in the first part of the course.

PHI 1308.04 Introductory Topics in Ethics: The Seven Deadly Sins

Robert B. 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. Through classical as well as contemporary readings of philosophy and literature, 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 1321.01/H1 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Naturalism and Theism

Todd Buras MH 105 MWF 9:05-9:55

This course is a semester-long inference to the best explanation of everything. We will explore the origin and design of the universe, human nature, and good and evil. We will ask whether theism or naturalism the two most prominent traditions in Western philosophy offers the best explanation of these phenomena. In doing so, students will be both introduced to the discipline of philosophy, and challenged to practice philosophy by developing workable answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

PHI 1321.02 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: How Should We Live?

Robert Baird MH 110 MWF 11:15-12:05

This course introduces you to philosophy by encouraging you to think critically about perennial questions of human existence as well as contemporary issues and controversies. Always before us will be the personal question: "Who Am I and How Should I live My Life." The course aims at 1) motivating you to take the life of the mind seriously, 2) motivating you to examine your ideas in dialogue with others and in internal dialogue with yourself, 3) enabling you to apply reasoning skills to everyday problems of evaluation and decision making, 4) encouraging you to appreciate the complexity of issues and to tolerate ambiguity, 5) helping you to understand yourself: your commitments, values, and assumptions, 6) preparing you to justify your own beliefs rationally, 7) providing you tools with which to read and listen with critical comprehension, 8) enabling you to see the relevance of philosophical thinking to current political, social, and moral issues, and 9) acquainting you with some of the major philosophers and ideas in the history of philosophy.

PHI 1321.H3 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: The Thought of C.S. Lewis

Trent Dougherty MH 108 MWF 10:10-11:00

C.S. Lewis was first trained as a philosopher, but after the war there were no positions, so he gained qualifications to teach English and the rest is history. However, he continued to write philosophical works and to write literature philosophically on such a variety of issues that his work can serve as a fitting introduction to philosophy. In this course we will examine issues in Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics through Lewis's works of both fiction and non-fiction.

FYS 1321.H8 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: The Thought of C.S. Lewis

Trent Dougherty MH 110 MWF 9:05-9:55

C.S. Lewis was first trained as a philosopher, but after the war there were no positions, so he gained qualifications to teach English and the rest is history. However, he continued to write philosophical works and to write literature philosophically on such a variety of issues that his work can serve as a fitting introduction to philosophy. In this course we will examine issues in Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics through Lewis's works of both fiction and non-fiction.

PHI 2301.01 Existentialism: Selfhood, Authenticity and Creative Freedom

Nathan Carson MH 105 TR 9:30-10:45

This course will be an introduction to a group of 19th and 20th century philosophers collectively described as existentialists: Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus. We will engage in both critical and personal reflection on some of the philosophical themes common to these thinkers: the meaning of human existence, anxiety, despair, "the encounter with nothingness", alienation, death, God, the "impotence" of reason, the conflict between individuality and mass society, and authentic versus inauthentic living.

PHI 2308.02/H1 Philosophical Texts: Philosophy in Plato’s Dialogues

Robert Roberts MH 110 TR 9:30-10:45

We will read several of Plato’s main dialogues with a special eye on what they say about knowledge.

PHI 3301.01 Moral Philosophy

Darin Davis MH 105 TR 2:00-3:15

No one course can provide a comprehensive account of the development of moral philosophy in the Western tradition, so the aim of this course is more modest: we will read and carefully consider a few of the major twists and turns in the history of ethics through the works of five pivotal figures (Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche).

In an effort to bring out what is distinctive in these five accounts of the moral life, we will begin with Nietzsche’s bracing critique of 'morality' followed by an examination of two of modernity’s most important figures in ethics, Kant and Mill. In the second half of the course, we will explore Aristotle’s ethics of virtue from the ancient Greek tradition, followed by Aquinas’s appropriation of it in the service of the Christian faith in the Middle Ages.

PHI 3310.01 History of Philosophy: Classical

Robert Miner MH 105 TR 11:00-12:15

In this course, we will read and discuss seminal texts in ancient philosophy, considering each in relation to Socrates’s question "How, then, should one live?" Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, and Lucretius, representing each of the four major schools of antiquity. We will also permit ourselves a glance at Diogenes’s Laertius Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers. Along the way, we will reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of school

PHI 3312.01 History of Modern European Philosophy

Evans MH 107 TR 12:30-1:45

This course is designed to provide the student with a basic acquaintance with the most important western philosophers of the modern period (roughly 1600-1900)--both their ideas and arguments--and with a few of the most important texts of that period. Of course the vast amount of terrain means the coverage will be selective; nevertheless, the aim of the course is to provide a comprehensive overview of an important three hundred years or so of philosophy in the west. Major overarching themes and continuing problems will be highlighted, and attention will be given to understanding the implications of this history for the situation of philosophy today. We will also look at the role Christian faith has played in the history of philosophy and the implications of that history for faith today.

PHI 3318.01 Philosophy and Constitutional Issues

Francis Beckwith MH 106 TR 9:30-10:45

The U. S. Constitution protects fundamental rights and liberties, including the freedoms of religion, press, and speech. But lawyers, judges, philosophers, and other citizens have different conceptions of the scope and limits of these rights and liberties, and of the Constitutional provisions designed to protect them. These differences stem from different conceptions of liberal democracy and of the purposes of individual rights and liberties within it. The aim of this course is to examine these philosophical issues that are raised by the U.S. Constitution, and especially by the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment.

PHI 3322.01 Philosophy of Art

Lenore 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 4319.01 Philosophical Writing/Res & Oral Presentation

Jon Kvanvig MH 107 T 2:00-4:45

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 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 107 TR 9:30-10:45

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 4321.01 Metaphysics

Alex Pruss MH 105 MWF 10:10-11:00 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. After a bit of a warm-up exercise in talking about the nature of time, we will examine two such problems: What makes me be me? (Would I survive if my brain were implanted in your skull? Do I have a soul that makes me be me?) What is free will and do we have it?

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?

Finally, we will hopefully discuss causation, which connects up the abstract and the concrete problems.

PHI 4324.01 Philosophy in Literature

Moore BC 170 TR 11:00-12:15

A critical study of philosophical material in literature, that is, a study of the philosophy to be found in essays, novels, poems, and plays. Among the authors usually studied are Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Lucretius, Voltaire, Goethe, Ibsen, Nietzsche, Kafka, Camus, Sartre, Malraux, Hesse and selected contemporary novelists.

PHI 4341.01 Contemporary Continental Philosophy

Matt Hejduk MH 110 M 12:20-3:20

A consideration of the major thinkers and movements of the Continental philosophical tradition. Particular periods, thinkers, and movements addressed will include German Idealism (Kant, Hegel), Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty), Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre), applications of Phenomenology and Existentialism (Gadamer, Bultmann, Tillich), Structuralism (Foucault), and Deconstructionism (Derrida). Shorter but representative works from these thinkers will be read to develop a sense of each thinker’s particular contributions to the associated movement(s) and to trace the overall development of the Continental strain of the philosophical tradition.

PHI 4342.01 Contemporary American Philosophy

Rosenbaum MH 107 MWF 11:15-12:05

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.

PHI 4353.01 Philosophy of Language

Jon Kvanvig MH 107 TR 11:00-12:15

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

PHI 4363.01 Philosophy and Medicine

James Marcum MH 108 TR 12:30-1:45

Modern American medicine is undergoing several important crises, especially quality-of-care and professionalism crises. In response to these crises, I propose a notion of the virtuous physician and explore the notion in terms of its metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical dimensions.

PHI 4379.01 Islam and Democracy

McDaniel CL 323 TR 5:00-6:15

Examines the evolution of political philosophy and institutions in Muslim culture.

PHI 5311.01 Readings from the Philosophers: Hume, Kant, and Reid

Todd Buras MH 107 W 2:30-5:30

Reid and Kant chart the two main courses forward from Hume’s skepticism in the modern period. This seminar is a study of that skepticism and those responses. The central texts will be Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40) and An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748), Reid’s An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764), and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781 [A] and 87 [B]). (A selection of secondary sources will be assigned as well.) One main goal will be to identify the philosophically significant similarities and differences between the responses, especially regarding our ability to think of mind-independent reality.

PHI 5311.02 Readings from Philosophers: Aristotle’s Ethical writings

Robert Roberts MH 107 R 2:00-4:45

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

PHI 5316.01 Contemporary Philosophical Problems: Free Will

Alex Pruss MH 107 M 2:30-5:30

The main agenda for this course is the question of conditions required for us to make free choices. Which, for instance, of the following conditions are required? Determinism (at least approximate) within the agent, indeterminism within the agent, ultimate origination from the agent, a non-natural agential causing, the correctness of the A-theory of time, an open future. We will, of course, look at the state of the art in: Frankfurt cases and responses to them, the Consequence Argument, the Manipulation Argument and Galen Strawson's responsibility regress argument.

Of special interest to me are two specific questions for libertarians. The first is the standard question whether libertarianism is compatible with all free actions being explicable in terms of reasons--this question will be before us, in the foreground or background, for a good deal of time. The second question, which I hope to spend at least one class on, is about the nitty-gritty temporal details of how a libertarian-free choice is supposed to work, a question that has not gotten quite enough attention.

PHI 5342.01 Seminar on Religion, Law, and Politics

Brenda Joyce Norton CL 323 W 2:00-4:50

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