The following courses are being offered this year. For a full listing of philosophy courses, please consult the academic calendar

Courses in Fall Term 2017

PHIL 1611: Self, Society, and Freedom (3 credits)
Instructor: J. Dryden
This course investigates ideas about the self in the western philosophical tradition, including work in contemporary philosophy. Issues may include freedom and responsibility, otherness, the relationship between mind and body, the relationship between humans and animals, the impact of trauma, suffering or oppression on self- identity, and the existence or non-existence of the soul.
(Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 1611 previously offered with a different title.

PHIL 1621: Reason, Will, and World (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Moser
This course introduces the study of philosophy by looking at some major thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition as well as the fundamental and enduring questions they raise about human beings and the world. Specific topics may include the nature of knowledge, desire, goodness, human flourishing, and free will. Students explore these themes to discover the relations between reason, the will, and the world. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 1991 previously offered with the title ‘The Story of Reason’.

PHIL 2511: Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (3 credits)
Instructor: M. Fedyk
This course explores competing philosophical explanations of scientific theory and practice. Based on historical and contemporary cases, it compares philosophical theories including logical positivism, scientific realism, scientific pluralism, sociology of scientific knowledge, and the most recent critiques from social constructivism and feminism. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: Three credits from Humanities 1600 Series; or permission of the Department.

PHIL 2611: Introductory Logic (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Moser
This course introduces the study of logic, examining the basic structure of arguments, common reasoning fallacies, truth tables, and propositional logic. Further topics may include an introduction to quantification theory, syllogistic reasoning, Venn diagrams, Mill's methods, and issues central to inductive and deductive reasoning. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: Three credits from Humanities 1600 Series; or permission of the Department.

PHIL 2701: Introduction to Ethics (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Majithia
An introduction to the history and philosophical problems of ethics in the western tradition. This will acquaint the student with a number of received traditions based on metaphysical, religious, rational, and pragmatic grounds, as well as introduce certain fundamental perennial problems of moral decision-making. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: Three credits from Humanities 1600 Series; or permission of the Department.

PHIL 3301: Analytic Philosophy in Origin (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Moser
This course is an historical introduction to the major philosophers and movements in the analytic and Anglo-American philosophical traditions from the turn of the twentieth century to 1950. Topical focus is on language, logic, ethics, and attempts to change the conception of metaphysics and to diminish the scope of philosophy. Authors studied may include Bradley, James, Frege, Russell, Moore, Dewey, Wittgenstein, Schlick, Carnap, and Ayer. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.
Exclusion: PHIL 3991 Analytic Philosophy: Origins to 1950.

PHIL 3721: Environmental Ethics (3 credits)
Instructor: M. Fedyk
After reviewing traditional attitudes toward the environment, this course will explore recent attempts to "apply" ethical analysis to such problems as pollution and conservation. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which problems of preservation challenge us to extend our traditional norms and values. To what extent, for example, does growing sensitivity to our natural environment require of us a new "environmental ethic" and oblige us to recognize "animal rights"? (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: PHIL 2701; or permission of the Department.

PHIL 3891: Indian Philosophy (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Majithia
A study of selected primary sources in the Indian philosophical tradition, from the Vedas and Upanishads to the recent work of thinkers like S. Radhakrishnan. Topics usually include the nature of reality, moral obligation, Divinity, selfhood and freedom, the philosophy of love, and various social and political issues. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level; or permission of the Department.
Note 1: This course is cross-listed as RELG 3891 and may therefore count as three credits in either discipline.

PHIL 3991: Kant’s Practical Philosophy (3 credits)
Instructor: J. Dryden
This course explores the practical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, one of the most famous philosophers in the history of philosophy, and a figure with a profound influence on contemporary ethics and political theory. The course will examine Kant’s practical philosophy, ranging from his moral philosophy to his writings in areas such as politics, law, history, and anthropology. The course will provide students with an understanding of Kant’s attempts to create a universalist ethics based on rational apprehension of the moral law, while also situating his work within its larger historical context. (Format: Lecture 3 hours)
Prereq: 6 credits from PHIL, of which 3 credits from 2000-level, or permission of the Department.

PHIL 4111: Gandhi’s Worldview (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Majithia
This course will consider Gandhi’s philosophical, political and economic views in an attempt to grasp the unity of his thought. The first part of the course is lecture-driven in which the broad sweep of his ideas is laid out in the context of the relevant aspects of his biography. The second part of the course will be presentation-driven investigations that delve deeper into the broad areas we initially consider. Topics may include: the nature of truth, the relation between philosophy and religion, the viability of caste and the problem of untouchability, the relation to Western thinkers such as Mill and Socrates (under Philosophy); his understanding of self-rule (svaraj) and secularism, the practice of non-violence (under Politics); industrialization and the distribution of wealth, work and self-worth, economics and environmentalism (under Economics). Students are encouraged to take PHIL 3891 (Indian Philosophy) concurrently with the seminar (if they have not already done so in the past) as it will greatly enhance their understanding of Gandhi’s views. (Format: Seminar 3 hours)
Prereq: Permission of the Department.
Note: The Department encourages students to take this concurrently with PHIL 3891 Indian Philosophy, if they have not already taken it.

 

 Courses in Winter Term 2018

PHIL 1601: Plato’s Republic (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Majithia
This course consists of a discussion of fundamental philosophical issues presented in Plato's Republic, such as the nature of morality, selfhood, God, reality, and knowledge. It may also use non-western sources to illuminate and evaluate central presuppositions and preoccupations of the western philosophical tradition that persist today. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 1601 previously offered with a different title.

PHIL 1651: The Changing Image of Nature (3 credits)
Instructor: M. Fedyk
This course examines shifting and conflicting attitudes towards "Nature" which impact everything from how we can come to know about nature, scientifically, to ethical implications for how human beings relate to other natural beings. It uses readings from the history of western philosophy, especially from the early modern era, to assess the extent to which we have inherited these convictions or developed alternatives to them. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)

PHIL 2401: Introductory Aesthetics (3 credits)
Instructor: J. Dryden
This course focuses on aesthetics and the philosophy of art, drawing on both the history of philosophy (including figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Nietzsche) and on contemporary theories about art. Topics may include the problem of defining art, the role of art and the artist in society, the experience of the sublime, and the nature of aesthetic judgment and taste. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: 3 credits from Humanities 1600 Series; or permission of the Department.
Note: This course may count as 3 credits in Art History.

PHIL 3011 Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Majithia
This course examines the philosophical developments in the late Ancient and Roman eras within the various schools of the Epicureans, Stoics, Skeptics, Cynics, Romans, and Neoplatonists. Themes may include the nature and possibility of knowledge, the ethics of happiness, the problem of free will, and the nature of the Divine. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.

PHIL 3311: Analytic Philosophy in Progress (3 credits)
Instructor: R. Moser
This course is an historical and topical introduction to the major figures and trends in the analytic philosophical tradition from 1950 to the present day, with special attention to the various ways philosophy comes to be presented and practiced. Topical focus may include ordinary language philosophy, the attack on logical positivism, the blending of empiricism and pragmatism, naturalism, and the re-emergence of work in metaphysics and ethics. Authors studied may include Wittgenstein, Ryle, Austin, Searle, Kripke, Putnam, Davidson, Lewis, Anscombe, Foot, Sellars, Rorty, and Brandom. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.
Exclusion: PHIL 4611 Analytic Philosophy: 1950 to Present; PHIL 3991 Analytic Philosophy: 1950 to Present.

PHIL 3511: Philosophy of the Life Sciences (3 credits)
Instructor: M. Fedyk
In recent decades the philosophical assumptions underlying the life sciences have been seen increasingly as distinct from the physical sciences. This course will examine this difference as well as the linkage between them, then turn to the philosophical issues within evolutionary theory, the notion of species and problems of classification, persistent controversies surrounding sociobiology, genetic control, use of animals in research, and the application of bioethics. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: PHIL 2511; B.Sc. students already doing 3/4000 level work in their own field, and students with declared programs in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, or Cognitive Science will be admitted; or permission of the Department.

PHIL 3631: Symbolic Logic (3 credits)
Instructor: M. Fedyk
This is a course in quantificational logic, concentrating on the nature of logic, methods of deduction, quantification theory, and the logic of relational statements. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.

PHIL 3741: Philosophy of Disability (3 credits)
Instructor: Jane Dryden
This course is a philosophical introduction to the study of disability. Disability raises important philosophical questions which challenge our thinking and assumptions in a range of ways. Issues explored may include the following: social versus medical models of disability; definitions of impairment and disability, including how they have changed through history; disability as identity and how it interacts with other identities; the relationship between concepts of disability and concepts of well-being; disability and culture; and philosophy’s treatment of intellectual disability in the context of philosophy’s traditional valorization of reason. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.
Exclusions: PHIL 4991 Philosophy of Disability.

PHIL 4611: The Images of Wilfrid Sellars (3 credits)
Instructor: Robbie Moser
Wilfrid Sellars (1912-1989)—pragmatist, holist, epistemologist, meta-ethicist, naturalist, a philosopher both analytic and systematic—has an increasingly plausible case to be counted among the greatest English-speaking philosophers of the 20th century. An inspiring teacher and philosophical visionary, Sellars made lasting and discourse-defining contributions in philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, theory of normativity, metaphilosophy, and history of philosophy. In this seminar students will be introduced to Sellars's systematic vision, to some of its important details, and to the current projects of some of his students. The "images" of Sellars refer to two radically different conceptions, "equally public, equally non-arbitrary," of humanity-in-the-world: the image of ourselves given through the physical sciences and the image of ourselves given in our attempts to make sense of our manifest presence in the world. In the 'scientific' image, physical objects are prior and basic, and in the ‘manifest’ image, persons are prior and basic. Sellars saw the principal task in philosophy to be working out the proper relationships between these two images of humanity, these spaces for our stories of ourselves, the scientific ‘space of causes’ and the manifest ‘space of reasons’ or norms. We will read some of Sellars’s own work in all the above-mentioned areas of philosophy, as well as the work of some of his most successful and influential students working today---as one might be called be a Platonist, a Kantian, a Marxist, so it is possible to immerse oneself in certain commitments and techniques to be best called a Sellarsian. We will pay special attention to understand this broad philosophical vision, all while aiming to realize for ourselves one of Sellars’s controlling convictions: “The ideal aim of philosophizing is to become reflexively at home in the full complexity of the multi-dimensional conceptual system in terms of which we suffer, think, and act." (Format: Seminar)
Prereq: Permission of the Department.