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Philosophy

Philosophy

Philosophy Course Offerings - Spring 2016

The faculty of the Department of Philosophy invites you to join us during Spring 2016 to experience the wonders of contemplation and the challenges of rational examination of matters important to human beings.   

Besides multiple sections of PHI 101 Introduction to Philosophy, we offer Field 2 (PHI 200) level courses listed below, as well as a selection of PHI 300 courses.

Please note that successfully completing PHI 101 (or its equivalent in the Honors (HON) program) is a prerequisite for any 200-or-higher level PHI course.

Relevant Abbreviations:

SL = this section includes a required service learning component
TL = this section is a team learning section.  
ONL = this section is conducted online.  See course description for further details.

Credit for the Core Curriculum and Other Programs

Here's a list of the PHI courses offered in Spring 2016 that can count for core curriculum credit and/or credit for other programs.

Core Curriculum Credit Type Spring 2016 PHI Courses that Count for this Credit
Core Curriculum Foundation Courses

PHI 101: Introduction to Philosophy

Field 2 (Philosophy)

All PHI 200-level courses, including:
PHI 225 - Logic
PHI 291 - Philosophy of Art

Ethics Attribute

PHI 241 - Ethics
PHI 242 - Ethical Issues in Business
PHI 244 - Environmental Ethics
PHI 245 - Animal Ethics
PHI 246 - Ethics of Technology
PHI 379A - Contemporary Women Philosophers

Justice Attribute
PHI 240 - Justice
PHI 261 - Philosophy of Law
PHI 273 - Race and Philosophy
PHI 274 - Social & Political Philosophy

Capstone Course

PHI 399 - Ethics, Justice, and the Problem of Poverty

 

Other Major / Minor Programs Spring 2016 PHI Courses that Count for this Credit

Catholic Studies (Minor)

PHI 302A - Medieval Philosophy
Ethics (Minor) 
PHI 241 - Ethics

PHI 242 - Ethical Issues in Business
PHI 244 - Environmental Ethics
PHI 245 - Animal Ethics
PHI 246 - Ethics of Technology
PHI 379A - Contemporary Women Philosophers

European Studies

PHI 302A - Medieval Philosophy

Justice (Minor)
PHI 240 - Justice

PHI 261 - Philosophy of Law

PHI 274 - Social & Political Philosophy

Women & Gender Studies
PHI 273 - Race & Philosophy

PHI 274 - Social & Political Philosophy
PHI 379A - Contemporary Women Philosophers

 

 PHILOSOPHY 101 - Introduction to Philosophy

A Core Curriculum Foundations Course

** PLEASE NOTE ** ALL PHI 101 sections this semester will include service learning as a required component. 

ASL
DUGAN TR 11:30 am - 12:45 pm
BSL LOUGHEAD MWF 9:00 am - 9:50 am
CSL LOUGHEAD MWF 10:00 am - 10:50 am
DSL
WILLIAMS MWF 11:00 am - 11:50 am
ESL
WILLIAMS MWF 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm
FSL RAGUSA TR 10:00 am - 11:15 am
GSL CHANDERBHAN TR 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
HTL (+SL) ZEIS TR 10:00 am - 11:15 am
ISL
DUGAN TR 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
JSL CHANDERBHAN TR 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
* TL = Team Learning Course
* SL = Community Based Learning: service learning is required for this section

 

 PHI 200-LEVEL COURSES

Prerequisite: Successful completion of PHI 101
All PHI 200-level courses can count for Field 2 (Philosophy) Credit

 

PHI 225 A - LOGIC - REED - TR 10:00 am - 11:15 am

This course is an introduction to logic. Logic is the systematic study of the standards of good reasoning. We study logic because we want to reason well across all kinds of contexts: law, politics, ethics, medicine, business, and so on. Moreover, logic can help us bring consistency to our beliefs and opinions and help us reason clearly regarding significant life choices. This class aims both to make you better at employing arguments and to make you recognize good and bad patterns of reasoning in others. We will cover syllogistic logic, propositional (sentential) logic and quantificational (predicate) logic with identity, and do a little bit of informal logic.

PHI 225 ONL - LOGIC - ZEIS

Sound reasoning is important in every career and, indeed, is crucial for good living. This course provides tools necessary to distinguish correct from incorrect reasoning. This course is delivered entirely online, using the powerful and user-friendly Aplia logic course available from Cengage publishing in conjunction with the course’s D2L site. The D2L site includes an tool which enables teacher-student online office visits.

PHI 240 ASL - JUSTICE - LOUGHEAD - TR 11:30 am - 12:45 pm

* Core Curriculum Justice Attribute
* Justice Minor Credit
Service Learning Required

One of the earliest and most enduring questions in Philosophy has been: What does it take to be a just person and to create a just society? In this course, we investigate theories of justice and various contemporary problems of justice. The first half of the semester we will study theory; the second half of the semester, we will study problems. In terms of theories of justice, students will study the theories of (e.g.): Aristotle, John Rawls, Iris Marion Young, Karl Marx, Charles Mills, Simone de Beauvoir, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer and Michael Sandel. In terms of the problems of justice, this course will tackle the issues of injustices of: (1) Sex, (2) Race, (3) Class (4) Species.

PHI 241 A - ETHICS: TRADITIONS IN MORAL REASONING - DJUTH - MWF 9:00 am - 9:50 am
PHI 241 B - ETHICS: TRADITIONS IN MORAL REASONING - DJUTH - MWF 10:00 am - 10:50 am

* Core Curriculum Ethics Attribute
* Ethics Minor Credit

This course is a survey of principal traditions in moral reasoning with attention to moral principles and their applications to contemporary social realities.

PHI 242 A - ETHICAL ISSUES IN BUSINESS - WALSH - M 6:00 pm - 8:45 pm

* Core Curriculum Ethics Attribute
* Ethics Minor Credit                                                                       

If the primary issue of ethics is to determine what the “good life” is, business ethics likely concerns a related set of issues. Chief among these is the relationship between the goals of managing a successful business and those of the community at large. These will be looked at in the context of the major ethical theories. Several questions also arise: If the goals of a business conflict with the general welfare, how might this conflict between resolved? If one is acting in his own best interests, does this necessarily (or even usually) come at the expense of the community? How and what sorts of principles of moral responsibility apply to corporations? What responsibilities do marketers have in promoting a product that may have well known, though not inevitable, negative effects?

PHI 244 A - ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS - NEWHOUSE - TR 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

* Core Curriculum Ethics Attribute
* Ethics Minor Credit

In this course, students will be introduced to the field of environmental ethics. Some of the topics we will examine include the following: the historical development of the environmental movement, central debates between preservationist and conservationist ethics, intrinsic and instrumental evaluations of the natural environment and its inhabitants, and anthropocentric versus biocentric and ecocentric evaluations of nature. A variety of approaches to environmental ethics will be considered in light of these topics.

PHI 245 A - ANIMAL ETHICS - FIX - F 2:00 pm - 4:45 pm
PHI 245 B - ANIMAL ETHICS - NEWHOUSE - TR 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

* Core Curriculum Ethics Attribute
* Ethics Minor Credit

In this course, students will learn the philosophical principles (Utilitarianism, Kantian Theory, Virtue Ethics, etc.) which underlie concern for animal welfare and animal rights. Application to real-world examples will be highly stressed. Students will explore through lecture, discussion, and student presentations the most highly contested issues within animal ethics. Examples include but are not limited to: scientific research on animals, vegetarianism, factory farming, and zoos. 

PHI 246 A - ETHICS OF TECHNOLOGY - REED - MWF 10:00 am - 10:50 am
PHI 246 B - ETHICS OF TECHNOLOGY - REED - MWF 11:00 am - 11:50 am

Core Curriculum Ethics Attribute
Ethics Minor Credit

Over the last century, technology has become especially ubiquitous. Television, cellular phones, medical drugs, and the internet—just to name a few—have assumed a prominent and enduring place in modern life. Yet we rarely take the opportunity to reflect on these technologies and their relation to ourselves and our society. In this class, we will examine in what ways technological innovations make us better or worse. What unwanted or unnoticed effects does the use of technology have in our lives? What presuppositions do technologies make? How do we balance moral responsibility with the rapidly increasing demand for new and better technology? How does technology change the way we relate to our world? These are a few of the questions that we will consider by critically examining selected essays, articles, and movies that explore the controversies surrounding technology.

PHI 261 A - PHILOSOPHY OF LAW - DJUTH - MWF 11:00 am - 11:50 am

* Core Curriculum Justice Attribute
* Justice Minor Credit

This course examines the concepts and principles for describing and understanding legal systems, and the relationships between law and legal systems, society and morality.  It serves in particular those pursuing careers in law, criminal justice, public affairs, politics, the social sciences, and philosophy.

PHI 273 A - RACE & PHILOSOPHY - HAVIS - TR 11:30 am - 12:45 pm
PHI 273 B - RACE & PHILOSOPHY - HAVIS - TR 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

* Core Curriculum Justice Attribute
Women & Gender Studies Credit

Race still remains a factor in how we discuss political, social, and economic conditions in spite of recent claims that we are now in a post-racial era. Despite our desire to erase the negative specter associated with race, the concept remains entrenched in our daily interactions. As inhabitants of the United States, we are forced to navigate confusing, shifting, and sometimes dangerous racial terrain. We have been taught that one should be judged not by the color of one’s skin but by the content of one’s character. Yet, this ideal seems far from our political and social achievements in the United States. In spite of efforts to foster color blindness, race still seems to matter. Yet, we have few satisfying definitions of race. If it matters so much, what is race and how did it come to be such an entrenched aspect of American life? Why can’t people just get beyond race?

PHI 274 A - SOCIAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY - JOHNSTON - MWF 9:00 am - 9:50 pm

* Core Curriculum Justice Attribute
* Justice Minor Credit
Women & Gender Studies Credit 

In this course, students will explore the fundamental concepts, principles, and theories of political philosophy.   We will take a quasi-historical approach, beginning with the history of liberalism as it is embodied in the social contract tradition of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Rawls, and Nozick.  Since this tradition has had such a major influence upon political thought in the United States, we will spend a significant amount of time discussing and exploring it, indeed more than half the semester.  In the process, we will familiarize ourselves with a number of ideas, themes, and conflicts that arise within the social contract tradition, including consent, self-ownership, natural rights, negative vs. positive rights, ancient vs. modern liberty, participatory vs. representative democracy, equality, and moral desert.

We will then consider some alternatives to social contract theory, namely utilitarianism, Marxism, and Aristotelianism. Each of these approaches offers its own vision of the just society, and we will explore these ideals always with an eye to comparing them to our own, presumably less-than-perfect, society. Is the United States a just society? What can we do to make it better than it is? These questions should always be in the back of our minds, since political philosophy is not strictly an academic field of study, but a discursive activity aimed at reform, radical change, and sometimes even revolution.

PHI 274 B - SOCIAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY - MOSKO - TR 10:00 am - 11:15 am

* Core Curriculum Justice Attribute
* Justice Minor Credit
Women & Gender Studies Credit 

This course examines basic questions concerning human values, social organization, and the principles of political association.  It has a special concern to examine modern political issues and their historical antecedents and examines some key political and social concepts: equality, liberty, race, gender, and justice. We will pay special attention to the history of social and political philosophy beginning with the Ancient Greeks through the European Enlightenment and into 20th century political thought in the United States and Europe. Major figures studied include Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Rawls, Iris Young, Simone de Beauvoir and Charles Mills.

PHI 274 D - SOCIAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY - SIMMONDS-PRICE - T 6:00 pm - 8:45 pm

* Core Curriculum Justice Attribute
* Justice Minor Credit
Women & Gender Studies Credit 

No longer description available.

PHI 291 A - PHILOSOPHY OF ART - FOREST - MWF 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm

In the first part of this course we will cover three traditional concepts in the philosophy of art: imitation, form and expression. To do this we will read selections from the history of western aesthetics by Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Alberti, Kant, and Tolstoy. In the second part of the course we will cover movements in 20th Century philosophy of art including different kinds of media such as film, music, participatory or ‘open works’ and various debates about modernism and postmodernism in the arts. Applications of theories to particular artworks or media will be encouraged.

 

 PHI 300-LEVEL and 400-LEVEL COURSES 

Prerequisite: Successful completion of at least one PHI 200-level course

 

PHI 302A A - MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY - CHANDERBHAN -  MW 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

Catholic Studies Credit
European Studies Credit

Can God be proven to exist? If such a God is all-good, how come there is evil? Are religious faith and human reason compatible – and, if so, how? What does it mean for a human to know anything? Do humans have free will? All these questions, among others, were addressed in great detail during the medieval period of philosophy (ca., 350-1400 AD). In this course, we will consider what central medieval thinkers have to say about these central issues, how these views both grew out of the ancient traditions of Plato and Aristotle, and how they laid the groundwork for the Renaissance and the “modern” turn in philosophy. We will cover the following medieval philosophers: Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Al-Ghazali, Averroes (Ibn Rushd), Moses Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham.

Developments in philosophy during this time are closely tied to the history of the period. As we are able, we will consider how significant events of that time (e.g., the Sack of Rome (476), the birth and expansion of Islam (7th-11th centuries), the Carolingian Renaissance (8th-9th centuries), etc.) influenced the philosophy of the period.

PHI 304A A - 19th CENTURY PHILOSOPHY - MOSKO - TR 11:30 am - 12:45 pm

This course examines major figures in 19th century philosophy, with an eye towards the scientific, social, and political issues that influence the work of these thinkers. We will examine two traditions emerging in the 19th century: "Continental Philosophy" as a response to the work of G.W.F. Hegel, and "Anglo-American Philosophy" as it articulates the sciences of morality and reason. We will begin with influential 18th century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and examine 19th century thinkers’ responses in the areas of German Idealism, Marxism, Existentialism, Utilitarianism and Pragmatism.

PHI 379A A - CONTEMPORARY WOMEN PHILOSOPHERS - ZEIS - TR 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

* Core Curriculum Ethics Attribute
* Ethics Minor Credit
Women & Gender Studies Credit 

A study of the thinking of important women philosophers of the 20th century with special concern to address their responses to the enduring questions of ethics, especially for modern times. 

PHI 399 A - ETHICS, JUSTICE, & PROBLEM of POVERTY - JOHNSTON - MWF 10:00 am - 10:50 am

* Core Curriculum Capstone Course

In this intensive upper-year seminar, we will explore the problem of poverty and try to determine what our responsibilities are, both as citizens and as moral agents, to the poor both at home and abroad.  The trajectory of the course will begin with Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, in which we will consider several theories of justice, including utilitarian, liberal, libertarian, and communitarian theories.  These theories will provide us with the intellectual tools needed for thinking about how to promote the just society, about what our duties are as responsible citizens, and about the rights that everyone has (or ought to have) just by virtue of being a human being.  While we consider these theoretical issues, we will make sure not to lose sight of the real, concrete problem of poverty that exists in the United States today.  What do we owe the poor in our own society?  How should we frame the institutions of our society in order to address this problem?

 Alongside Sandel’s book, we will be reading The Jungle, Upton Sinclair’s classic novel about poverty and systematic exploitation in early-twentieth-century Chicago.  This novel will provide us with an opportunity to apply the theoretical insights that we gain from Sandel’s book to a concrete (though fictionalized) account of what it is like to be poor in a society that is dominated by greed and unfettered market forces.  

We will then consider the problem of global poverty.  What, if anything, do we owe the poor in other countries?  How can we be expected to help poor people halfway across the world, whom we have never met and to whom we have no ties other than our common humanity?  In World Poverty and Human Rights, Thomas Pogge makes the case that we have stronger ties with the global poor than we may think.  He argues that the western world has imposed a global economic order upon the rest of the world and that, as beneficiaries, we have a duty to help those who have been disadvantaged by this economic order.  Pogge’s book raises many philosophical questions, which we will consider in class.  These questions include: What is our duty to the global poor and on what philosophical foundation is this duty based?  Is our duty a “negative” or a “positive” one?  How strong is it?  Should we not help the poor in our own society before committing our resources to helping those abroad?  Given the plurality of values that exist in the world, how can we even begin to approach a universal consensus on what we ought to do?  Is such a consensus necessary?  

Finally, since “ought” implies “can,” we will shift our focus from philosophical and normative considerations (what we ought to do) to economic and practical issues concerning global justice (what we can do).  Jeffrey Sachs and William Easterly offer competing prognoses for achieving global justice.  It will be our task to read their works with a critical eye and to determine, to the best of our abilities, where the truth lies.  How should we help the global poor?  Should we continue to pursue the current development agenda or does this agenda do more harm than good?  Should we favor a top-down approach, using global economic institutions to promote development in impoverished countries, or should we allow economic development to work from the bottom up, enabling entrepreneurs and “searchers” to respond to local problems with local solutions?   

How we answer these questions and others will determine how we conceive of ourselves as citizens of a larger social world.  My hope is that students will leave this class with a better understanding of their role as responsible citizens and as moral agents, and that they will gain a greater appreciation of the need for social and economic justice, the promotion of which is a central feature of the contemporary Jesuit mission.

PHI 399 B - ETHICS, JUSTICE, & PROBLEM of POVERTY - SIMMONDS-PRICE - R 6:00 pm - 8:45 pm

* Core Curriculum Capstone Course

No longer description available.

PHI 406 A - KNOWLEDGE, POWER, PROTEST - HAVIS - T 1:00 pm - 3:45 pm

What does it mean to protest? The newspapers are filled every day with images we associate with protest: Ukrainians pulling down walls and setting fire to piles of tires, 100,000 Egyptians marching into Cairo’s Tahir Square, a Tibetan monk self-immolating (setting himself on fire) in front of a monastery, Americans taking to the streets to protest what they see as a pattern of state-sponsored violence that has resulted in the deaths of black and colored bodies. But how do such actions become possible?

This course will examine the different factors that prompt groups and individuals to protest. We will explore how people come to have a critical understanding of their circumstances and take action. We will discuss what constitutes resistance and the kinds of knowledge that make transgression possible. We will use the lens of Contemporary philosophy which is increasingly taking up these issues in examinations of: who is given credibility, who can speak for others, how non-traditional forms of knowing generate alternative perspectives as well as epistemologies of ignorance.