Spring 2016 Courses

Find information about upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses within the Philosophy Department on this page.

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #16244)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: AH 202

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A detailed introduction to the epistemological and metaphysical theories of three major figures in 18th-century philosophy: Hume, Berkeley, and Kant. There will be two exams (midterm and final). Students will also be required to submit a 10-12 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #23304)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: SW 219

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3351: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #23307)

Prof. Phillips
MoWe 2:30PM - 4:00PM Room: AH 202

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Topics: Morality and Non-Human Animals; Abortion; Euthanasia; Famine and Moral Obligations; Affirmative Action; War and Terrorism. Reading normally one philosophical article (or equivalent) per class. Written work will consist of a take-home midterm and a take-home final, each consisting of 2 papers, each paper being about 5 pages in length (typed, double-spaced).

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #26039)

Jacob Mills
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM , Room: C 102

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No further information is available at this time

PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #23436)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 11:00AM - 12:00PM, Room: AH 202

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This course is advanced survey of feminist philosophy, in terms of its intellectual and political history, as well as its current debates. The goal of this course is two-fold: first, an acquaintance with the evolution and debates of historical feminist theory, and second, a critical engagement with some of the central and current concerns of the field. We approach our topics from the perspective of intersectionality, and topics covered include: the role of women in the history of philosophy; liberal and radical feminisms; accounts of the body and problems of essentialism; women, war and peace; transnational feminisms; masculinities. Students will be encouraged to connect their own research and activism interests to issues in feminist philosophy. Given that this is an advanced-level class in philosophy, the pace will be quick and the reading will be plenty. You are expected to read the material assigned for the day and to actively participate in all of the discussions, and, in the end, produce a well-formed research paper.

PHIL 3357: Punishment (Class #23306)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3382: Medieval philosophy (Class #23434)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 512

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This course delves into the writings of influential Christian, Jewish and Islamic medieval philosophers on philosophical issues like the problem of evil, God’s existence, free will and moral responsibility, the nature and source of virtue, the basis of knowledge and the foundations of political authority. We will begin with St Augustine’s Confessions, and then read select works by St Anselm, St Thomas Aquinas, Ibn Tufayl, Al Ghazali, Averroes (Ibn Rushd), Moses Maimonides, John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Assignments include three philosophical essays, at least one group presentation and a debate.

PHIL 3386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #20689)

Prof. Morrison
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Location: L 212L

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In this class we will look at the religious, political, and moral thought of the 19th century through three very different windows: Kierkegaard's The Present Age, Mill's On Liberty, and Nietzsche's The Gay Science. How are the diverse perspectives presented in these books related? Is each thinker responding in his own way to a shared set of intellectual problems or do they even hold a sense of what the problems are in common?

PHIL 3387: History of American Philosophy (Class #23305)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00, Room: H 34

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Class #23301)

Prof. Buckner
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: Room TBA

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  • Can robots have minds? Could my mind be downloaded to a computer?
  • Is my behavior caused by my beliefs and desires, or is it all just neural activity in my brain?
  • Do animals have thoughts? What kinds of experiments could we perform to find out?
  • Must cognitive science appeal to representations? How can we accurately map or represent the world around us?
  • How did intelligence evolve? What distinguishes rational life forms from non-rational ones?
  • What counts as a good explanation in cognitive science? Is the mind governed by general laws (like physical particles), chemical mechanisms (like biological life forms), or is intelligence something that inexplicably emerges out of the chaotic firing of billions of neurons?

Cognitive science attempts to answer these questions through the cooperation of psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, biology, and anthropology. In this course, we will review the philosophical and methodological foundations of cognitive science, especially regarding how findings from so many different sciences with different methods could fit together in a coherent way. We will discuss how cognitive science began as a response to behaviorism in psychology, and cover its attempts to answer these daunting questions with scientific rigor. In particular, we will see what the major paradigms in the history of cognitive science would say about these issues, including classical computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism, and the predictive coding approach. No philosophical background is required, but an introductory course in Logic, Psychology, or Computer Science is highly recommended.

Required Reading: Andy Clark, Mindware - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, 2nd edition

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #23302)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 1:00PM - 4:00PM, Room: Room TBA

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No further information is available at this time.

Graduate Courses

PHIL 6334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #23314)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: SW 219

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #23437)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 11:00AM - 12:00PM, Room: AH 202

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This course is advanced survey of feminist philosophy, in terms of its intellectual and political history, as well as its current debates. The goal of this course is two-fold: first, an acquaintance with the evolution and debates of historical feminist theory, and second, a critical engagement with some of the central and current concerns of the field. We approach our topics from the perspective of intersectionality, and topics covered include: the role of women in the history of philosophy; liberal and radical feminisms; accounts of the body and problems of essentialism; women, war and peace; transnational feminisms; masculinities. Students will be encouraged to connect their own research and activism interests to issues in feminist philosophy. Given that this is an advanced-level class in philosophy, the pace will be quick and the reading will be plenty. You are expected to read the material assigned for the day and to actively participate in all of the discussions, and, in the end, produce a well-formed research paper.

PHIL 6382: Medieval philosophy (Class #23435)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 512

See/hide more information about this course »

This course delves into the writings of influential Christian, Jewish and Islamic medieval philosophers on philosophical issues like the problem of evil, God’s existence, free will and moral responsibility, the nature and source of virtue, the basis of knowledge and the foundations of political authority. We will begin with St Augustine’s Confessions, and then read select works by St Anselm, St Thomas Aquinas, Ibn Tufayl, Al Ghazali, Averroes (Ibn Rushd), Moses Maimonides, John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Assignments include three philosophical essays, at least one group presentation and a debate.

PHIL 6386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #20700)

Prof. Morrison
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Location: L 212L

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In this class we will look at the religious, political, and moral thought of the 19th century through three very different windows: Kierkegaard's The Present Age, Mill's On Liberty, and Nietzsche's The Gay Science. How are the diverse perspectives presented in these books related? Is each thinker responding in his own way to a shared set of intellectual problems or do they even hold a sense of what the problems are in common?

PHIL 6387: History of American Philosophy (Class #23315)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00, Room: H 34

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6395: Seminar in Philosophical Problems (Class #23309)

Prof. Coates
We 1:00PM - 4:00PM, Room:AH 512

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6395: Logic and Ontology (Class #23310)

Prof. Garson
Tu 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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In analytic philosophy, doctrines on ontological matters have been strongly influenced by developments in formal logic. This seminar will begin with a historical introduction concerning the influence of predicate logic. It will include a survey of ontological themes in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and Quine’s views about what there is. Then we will study Tarski’s theory of truth and some of its many-valued alternatives. Here ontological concerns will focus on time, and will include fatalism, the open future, and time’s passage. A third concern will be modal logic and especially possible world’s semantics. Possible topics of discussion include: the ontological status of possible worlds and possible objects, contingent and trans-world identity, and essentialism. Finally, we will study two-dimensional semantics and its application to arguments for dualism in the philosophy of mind. If we have time, we might even take a look at so called ontology as practiced in artificial intelligence research, and its dependence on the framework of predicate logic. After the first few weeks, students will play a role in determining the direction of the course.

PHIL 6396: The Problem of Universals (Class #23308)

Prof. Hattab
Mo 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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In this seminar we will trace the ways in which the problem of universals is addressed and transformed over the course of the history of philosophy. We will begin with the origins of the problem in key passages of Aristotle’s works and examine solutions to the problem developed by his most influential medieval commentators: Avicenna, St Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. We will then look at the ways in which these solutions were both criticized and developed by various early modern philosophers, such as Francisco Suarez, René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes and Benedict de Spinoza. We will conclude with some contemporary literature on the significance that their criticisms of Aristotelian universals have for current theories of universals.

PHIL 6397: Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Class #23311)

Prof. Buckner
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: Room TBA

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  • Can robots have minds? Could my mind be downloaded to a computer?
  • Is my behavior caused by my beliefs and desires, or is it all just neural activity in my brain?
  • Do animals have thoughts? What kinds of experiments could we perform to find out?
  • Must cognitive science appeal to representations? How can we accurately map or represent the world around us?
  • How did intelligence evolve? What distinguishes rational life forms from non-rational ones?
  • What counts as a good explanation in cognitive science? Is the mind governed by general laws (like physical particles), chemical mechanisms (like biological life forms), or is intelligence something that inexplicably emerges out of the chaotic firing of billions of neurons?

Cognitive science attempts to answer these questions through the cooperation of psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, biology, and anthropology. In this course, we will review the philosophical and methodological foundations of cognitive science, especially regarding how findings from so many different sciences with different methods could fit together in a coherent way. We will discuss how cognitive science began as a response to behaviorism in psychology, and cover its attempts to answer these daunting questions with scientific rigor. In particular, we will see what the major paradigms in the history of cognitive science would say about these issues, including classical computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism, and the predictive coding approach. No philosophical background is required, but an introductory course in Logic, Psychology, or Computer Science is highly recommended.

Required Reading: Andy Clark, Mindware - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, 2nd edition