Course Descriptions Fall 2011

PHI 1306.01 Introduction to Logic

David Echelbarger MH 110 TR 9:30-10:45

The purpose of this course is to enable you to reason well. Specifically, it will strengthen your ability to (1) understand and clarify language, (2) recognize informal fallacies in reasoning, and (3) determine the validity and invalidity of deductive arguments. These skills will enhance your ability to identify relationships and connections among ideas. This should be of inestimable value to you personally and professionally. This class will also prove helpful for those planning to take the GRE, the LSAT, or other preparatory examinations.

PHI 1306.02 Introduction to Logic

Matt Douglass MH 108 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 analysis of arguments in everyday English. Then we will look at formal logic systems, including categorical logic and statement logic, which are used to construct proofs and evaluate arguments for soundness and validity. Finally, we will practice analyzing lengthier arguments and writing insightful critiques.

PHI 1306.03 Introduction to Logic

Scott Cleveland MH 106 MWF 12:20-1:10

This course will help you become a better thinker through the study of what makes an argument a good one. Whether in conversations, college papers, blogs, political debates, advertising, movies, or the news, we are constantly making or encountering arguments. Logic is the study of arguments. You will learn how 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. Consequently, you will acquire crucial intellectual skills that will equip you to flourish no matter your vocation.

PHI 1306.04 Introduction to Logic

Stuart Rosenbaum MH 100 MWF 1:25-2:15

This course is designed to cover basics of logic that might be useful to students. Many students who want to pursue further professional studies take standard national exams like the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT. Many students believe this logic course helps on those kinds of exams, and I intend the course to cover materials with that explicit goal in mind. Assessing the quality of reasoning about specific issues is one primary aim of the course, and one tool for making these assessments appears on our course outline as "informal fallacies." In addition, much of the course is devoted to techniques of formal reasoning and to standard kinds of terminology for evaluating it; these techniques and terminology are also useful in larger contexts. The text for the course is Hurley's A Concise Introduction to Logic.

PHI 1306.05 Introduction to Logic

Clifton Bryant MH 106 MWF 10:10-11:00

Simply put, logic is the study of arguments. We encounter arguments all the time as people try to give us reasons to believe claims about topics ranging from religion, ethics, and politics to less important matters. Some of these arguments are good they give us good reason to accept their conclusions. Some of them are bad they do not give us good reason to accept their conclusions. It's important to be able to tell the difference because there are plenty of bad arguments to be had in areas in which it's important to not be deceived. So, you need to study logic because it will help you tell good arguments from bad arguments. As an added bonus, the skills learned in the course will be of particular use to students preparing for exams such the LSAT and the GRE.

This course will introduce you to the basics of logic. Among other things, you will be introduced to Aristotelean logic, propositional logic, truth tables, inductive logic, and fallacies. By studying these topics you will come to understand the structure of arguments and learn how to evaluate arguments that you encounter and construct good ones of your own. This will make you a better person, at least in some respects.

PHI 1306.06 Introduction to Logic

John Spano MH 106 TR 12:30-1:45

In this course we will seek to develop those skills necessary for thinking carefully, expressing one's own ideas clearly, and evaluating well the many claims and arguments that confront us daily. Rules and methods that guide these intellectual abilities towards excellences can be found in the study of logic. Topics to be discussed include informal reasoning, formal and informal fallacies, categorical logic, truth-tables, deductive and inductive arguments, and proofs. The study and acquisition of these skills are not only essential to the development of understanding, but will also prove helpful for graduate entrance exams (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT), your other course-work, as well as avoiding bad advice.

PHI 1306.07 Introduction to Logic

Heidi Chamberlin MH 110 MWF 9:05-9:55

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 1306.09 Introduction to Logic

Ryan Byerly MH 106 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. We will work to create logical arguments of our own throughout the semester. 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: Logic and the Law

Joel Schwartz MH 105 TR 11:00-12:15

One of the most important and effective tools of rational persuasion, and one of the cornerstones of the legal profession, is argument the use of evidence to support a conclusion. In this course we will work on developing the skills of formulating and effectively communicating clear and cogent arguments. We will also practice identifying fallacious patterns of reasoning and argumentation (i.e., logical fallacies) in order to avoid being irrationally persuaded by them and in order to avoid employing them ourselves. While the skills of logical formulation and critical evaluation of arguments are central to critical thinking in general, they are particularly useful for future lawyers, judges, and jury members and can be helpful for students preparing for standardized exams (e.g., LSAT, GRE, etc.). This course, while useful for anyone interested in improving their critical thinking skills, is thus specifically designed for those with an interest in the law. We will, throughout the semester, evaluate several important examples of (good and bad) legal argumentation drawn from a variety of sources, ranging from historic U.S. Supreme Court decisions to popular television legal dramas.

PHI 1308.01 Introduction to Ethics: Contemporary Moral Issues Involving Freedom, Rights, and Equality

Ryan Byerly MH 105 MWF 10:10-11:00

The founding documents of our nation express a deep concern that in our society the freedom, rights, and equality of all citizens be preserved. But today we are confronted with very practical moral issues which lead us to question just how far freedom extends, just which so-called rights really are rights, and in exactly what sense of equality all of us should be treated equally. For example, are drug usage, pornography consumption, and offensive speech and behavior legitimate exercises of freedom? Do fetuses or terminally ill persons have a right to life which it is always morally wrong to violate through abortion or euthanasia? Do I have a right to end my own life, if it becomes disvaluable to me? And is there anything our government should do concerning affirmative action and immigration in order to ensure that the goal of equality is upheld? In this class, we will investigate contemporary moral issues like the ones just mentioned through both classical and contemporary readings. We will endeavor to understand and evaluate the best available arguments on each side of these issues. As we do so, we will also consider whether and how a Christian or other religious perspective might inform our deliberations. Students who take this course will be in a position to make informed contributions to ongoing public dialogue about these important topics.

PHI 1308.02 Introduction to Ethics: Biomedical Ethics

Gregory Poore MH 105 MWF 12:20-1:10

This course is an introduction to ethics with a focus on biomedical ethics. The field of biomedical ethics is vast, including such topics as contraception, cloning, abortion, physician assisted suicide, medical experimentation, enhancement procedures, and the relationship between patients and health care professionals. This course will survey several of the key issues in the field. An emphasis throughout the course will be learning to carefully read and interpret the reasons people give for their moral views, and then critically to engage those reasons by asking penetrating questions and presenting arguments in response. A concern throughout the course will be the relevance of Christianity to discussions of biomedical ethics.

PHI 1308.03 Introduction to Ethics: Virtues, Friendship, and Community

Michael Beaty MH 110 TR 11:00- 12:15

This course is designed for first-year members of Brooks Residential College. In it we will explore philosophical issues related to the moral, social, and political dimensions of our lives. Its aim is to offer students a thoughtful understanding of how to live human life well. We will give special attention to virtues and practices that lie at the heart of our highest flourishing--as human beings, as friends, and as communities. A distinctive feature of the course is combining the study of key philosophical texts with reflection upon the aspirations and practices of Brooks College. In so doing, the course will bridge the gap between theory and practice. Among the particular virtues examined in the course are the cardinal virtues (prudence, courage, temperance and justice), and some specifically Christian virtues (e.g., faith, hope, love, generosity, humility, patience). Morally significant practices explored in the course include friendship, hospitality, and intentional community building.

PHI 1308.04 Introduction to Ethics: Biomedical Ethics

Nathan Carson MH 108 TR 2:00-3:15

Substantial ethical issues accompany new biotechnologies and the practice of medicine generally, and these issues require from us a better appreciation of how we ought to live and act in light of them. In this course, we will examine bioethical issues that center around some or all of the following areas:

(1) The patient & health care professional relationship (truth-telling and confidentiality, informed consent in experimentation, and patient autonomy vs. health care professional autonomy); (2) beginning of life ethical issues (reproductive technologies, genetic therapy and enhancement, and abortion); (3) end of life ethical issues (euthanasia, life-sustaining treatments, death); (4) systemic justice in health care (resource allocation, health care reform, specialization vs. primary care).

A fundamental thesis of this course will be that a solution to many of the ethical issues and problems generated by biotechnologies, and by the practice of medicine generally, cannot be found apart from a robust conception of human nature, and what it means to live well as human beings. As such, we will examine what the dimensions of a distinctly Christian bioethics are, and what insights or solutions such an approach can offer us on many of these difficult bioethical issues.

PHI 1321.H1/FYS 1339 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Faith and Reason

Todd Buras MH 205 MWF 11:15-12:05

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? That's the way Tertullian famously put the question of the relationship between faith (Jerusalem) and reason (Athens). Does Jerusalem need Athens? Does Athens need Jerusalem? Or do both get on best in isolation from the other? Is any part of Christian faith reasonable? Or does following Jesus require intellectual suicide? Or does faith transcend reason without contradicting it? Is reason always shaped by faith of some sort? Would this mean reason is not a reliable guide to the truth? This course is a study of the relationship between faith and reason. We will examine the nature of both faith and reason, as well as the touchstones for understanding of their relationship.

PHI 1321.01 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: Faith, Reason, and Christian Belief

Francis Beckwith MH 108 MWF 10:10-11:00

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the study of philosophy by looking at the role philosophy plays in thinking about Christian beliefs. The issues we will cover will include all or some of the following: whether it is rational to believe in God, whether there is more to reality than the physical world, whether one needs evidence to believe in God, whether human beings are more than material things, what it means to say that one is justified in his or her beliefs, and whether one ought to be a skeptic.

PHI 1321.02 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: The Art of Asking Good Questions

Travis Coblentz MH 106 TR 9:30-10:45

From personal relationships to politics to philosophy, the way that we ask questions affects the kinds of answers we find. In this class, we will read a selection of important philosophers and attempt to understand not only the content of their thought, but the way in which philosophers have asked questions. The class will therefore offer an overview of the philosophical content of some major thinkers in the history of philosophy, as well as a critical interaction with their distinctive methods of asking questions through class discussion and argumentative essays.

PHI 1321.03 Introductory Topics in Philosophy: The Thought of C.S. Lewis.

Doug Henry MH 108 TR 11:00-12:15

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

Robert Baird MH 105 MWF 11:15-12:05

What does it mean to exist as particular human beings? As individuals in a given set of circumstances, what are we up against? What are our possibilities? These are the questions of the existentialists. The purpose of this existentialist analysis of the human situation is to make individuals aware of their condition and to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic responses to those conditions. The existentialists challenge each individual to accept responsibility for creating an authentic life in the midst of whatever circumstances one finds oneself. Of course this raises the further issue, what is meant by authentic and inauthentic? In the process of exploring these questions, themes such as freedom, suffering, courage, the limitations of reason, anxiety, dread, despair, the "encounter with nothingness", absurdity, ambiguity, alienation, death, God, and the conflict between individuality and mass society become prominent. We will think about these issues as we read selected writings from early existentialists such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Dostoevsky, as well as later existentialists such as Jaspers, Heidegger, Unamuno, Sartre, and Camus.

PHI 3301.01 Moral Philosophy

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

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

Robert Miner MH 105 TR 9:30-10:45

In this course, we will read and discuss seminal texts in ancient philosophy, considering each in relation to Socrates' 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' Laertius Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers. Along the way, we will reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of school membership for philosophy.

PHI 3312.01 History of Modern European Philosophy

Todd Buras MH 105 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 rise of modern science. Their questions-and in many cases their answers-continue to influence current debates in most major fields of philosophical inquiry. Our aim is to introduce the major thinkers and texts from this period. Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant and Reid figure most prominently.

PHI 4320.01 Philosophy of Religion

Stephen Evans MH 106 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 4321.01 Metaphysics

Alex Pruss MH 107 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: Philosophy in Tolkien

Scott Moore KOKER 135 TR 3:30-4:45

J.R.R. Tolkien is known most widely as the creator of the brilliant Lord of the Rings cycle and as an accomplished Oxford philologist. However, he was strongly influence by--and carefully marshaled--a large body of philosophical material. This class will explore, trace, and follow up on these philosophical influences.

PHI 4342.01 Contemporary American Philosophy

Stuart Rosenbaum TBB 307 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 4345.01 Intermediate Logic

Jonathan Kvanvig MH 108 TR 9:30-10:45

This course focuses on first-order logic, beginning with propositional logic and including predicate logic with identity. The primary elements to be mastered include translating from ordinary English into the formal language, becoming adept at constructing proofs in the formal system, and learning the semantics relevant to the language. In addition, the course will introduce some basic metalogic as well as introduce the student to some of the questions that are central to the philosophy of logic.

PHI/MH 4363.01 Philosophy and Medicine

James Marcum BSB C231 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 5310.01 Value Theory: The Foundations of Moral Obligation

Stephen Evans MH 107 W 2:30-5:30

In this course students will read and critically evaluate various metaethical accounts of moral obligations, including divine command theory, natural law theory, constructivism, and various naturalistic theories, including error theories.

PHI 5311.01 Readings from the Philosophers: Spinoza & Leibniz

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

Leibniz and Spinoza each produced a comprehensive and apparently coherent metaphysical system. Both systems develop in a seemingly inexorable way from the Aristotelian idea that everything that exists is a substance or a mode of a substance together with a commitment to the Principle of Sufficient Reason and Parmenides' Truthmaker Principle. Both systems have fascinating struggles with common-sense. These struggles are motivated by difficult, genuine and enduring philosophical problems. Leibniz, for instance, ends up denying genuine causal relations between distinct finite substances, and in exchange offers an original reduction of causal discourse. Spinoza, on the other hand, ends up committed to the idea that there is no such thing as false belief, and owes us an explanation of what is going on when his opponents apparently disagree with him. These struggles teach us two kinds of things: they highlight which assumptions threaten the problematic conclusions and they expand the philosophical imagination by offering daring solutions that may be adaptable to other pressing philosophical problems. For instance, it may be that Leibniz's account of causation and mechanism may offer a model for a compelling theistic account of the non-causal aspects of scientific explanations, while Spinoza's account of the impossibility of false beliefs may help with puzzles about the nature of modal truth.

The course will develop both the Leibnizian and the Spinozist systems from the inside, via primary texts supplemented by some secondary literature. The object will be to come to see how Leibniz and Spinoza saw the world, while at the same time seeing where they have gone wrong. There will be history, metaphysics and epistemology there. Time permitting; we may discuss Spinoza's account of the emotions, which has interesting connections with the moral psychology of Socrates and Roberts.

PHI 5319.01 Philosophical Writing

Jonathan 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 designed for first-year graduate students in philosophy.

PHI 5342 Seminar in Law, Politics, and Religion

Francis Beckwith CL 323 M 2:30-5:30 pm

The focus of this seminar will be on the contemporary philosophical discussion on the relationship between religion and liberal democracy. We will read monographs by John Rawls (Political Liberalism) and Christopher Eberle (Religious Convictions in Liberal Politics) as well anthologies edited by Robert P. George and Christopher Wolfe (Natural Law and Public Reason) and J. Caleb Canton (The Ethics of Citizenship: Liberal Democracy and Religious Convictions). In these latter two works we will look at essays by not only by Wolfe, Rawls, and Eberle, but by others including Stephen Macedo, John Finnis, Jeffrey Reiman, Paul J. Weithman, Robert Audi, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Richard Rorty. In the last three weeks of class, students will present seminar papers on topics chosen consultation with the course professor.

PHI 5350.01 Workshop in Teaching Philosophy

Robert Kruschwitz MH 107 TR 12:30-1:45

We will begin by reflecting on the philosophy of teaching, emphasizing college and university teaching as a Christian vocation in diverse contexts-Christian and secular research universities and liberal arts colleges, regional universities, and community colleges. In the second section of the course we will evaluate specific instructional skills and practices from the perspective of that philosophy. In the final section we will exhibit these skills and practices in classroom teaching and various written assignments. We will critique and encourage one another's work. Members will participate in one of three "philosophy departments" to develop an undergraduate curriculum, sample course outlines, syllabi, and lesson plans. Each member will produce a teaching journal that includes the personal and group assignments for the semester.