PHI 2010-001 Logic & Critical Thinking
M W 4:30-5:45
In this course, we will study the nature of arguments and will develop skills to analyze and assess arguments. Specifically, we will study the difference between arguments, as reasoned discourse, and other discursive endeavors, analyze the components of arguments, and develop ways to distinguish between good and bad arguments. We will explore these issues through an engagement with informal and formal logic, deductive and inductive argument types, and philosophical issues related to argumentation.
Instructor: Amrit Heer
PHI 2020-001, 002 Symbolic Logic
T R 1:00-2:15, T R 4:00-5:15
Logic, parts of which form a branch of philosophy and parts of which form a branch of mathematics, is the study of reasoning. Since arguments are the basic units of reasoning, logic is concerned with the analysis and evaluation of arguments. To distinguish correct from incorrect forms of reasoning, logicians have developed symbolic languages that capture the logical form of arguments. The goal of this skills-based course is to teach students the basic concepts and techniques of symbolic logic. We first work with the restricted language of sentential logic, and then extend our inventory to predicate logic. Students learn how to translate English into our symbolic language, and how to draw correct inferences by constructing step-by-step proofs. Throughout the course, we keep in mind the intended application of symbolic logic to everyday reasoning as well as to classical and contemporary philosophical debates.
Instructor: Georg Theiner
PHI 2115-001, 002, 004 Ethics for Health Care Professionals
T R 10:00-11:15, T R 11:30-12:45, T R 1:00-2:15
This course explores contemporary ethical issues in medicine and health care through case analysis, academic research, and class discussion. Students will develop the philosophical tools and sensitivities needed to assess and resolve complex ethical situations, with a particular focus on those situations that are commonly encountered by clinicians and researchers throughout their careers. Topics include: beginning and end of life issues, organ transplantation, emerging reproductive technologies, genomic testing, assisted suicide, and informed consent. While this course is primarily designed for future clinicians, other interested students are welcome to participate as well.
Instructor: Peter Koch
PHI 2115-003, 005 Ethics for Health Care Prof.
T R 11:30-12:45, T R 1:00-2:15
This course will expose us to contemporary philosophical problems in medicine and health care. Through reading, critical reflection and classroom dialogue, you will learn to see yourself as part of a society that must take responsibility for its goals and uses of power concerning issues of life and death. This course is geared toward future clinicians. As such, we will pay close attention to the way that certain ethical dilemmas challenge health care professionals in particular. This course will teach a method for ethics clinical case consultation. Non-clinicians are welcome to take the course, but need to be aware of the professional focus of the readings and assignments. We will learn the philosophical basis from which to address and to discuss moral problems. When relevant, we will explore the differences in approach to medical ethics between the philosophical and the theological. Topics include: cultural competency, genetics, human experimentation, organ transplantation, physician-patient relationship, physician-nurse relationship, informed consent, end of life challenges, assisted-suicide, new reproductive technologies, and managed care.
Instructor: Sarah-Vaughan Brakman
PHI 2115-006 Ethics for Health Care Prof.
T R 2:30-3:45
Bioethics, as an emerging intellectual phenomenon, addresses a wide variety of interdisciplinary concerns, which are medical, anthropological, legal, philosophical, religious, sociological, etc. Nevertheless, on a narrow construal, bioethics is a study subject of “practical ethics” (or applied ethics) which in turn is one branch of philosophy. And the primary focus of bioethics as practical ethics is on moral decision-making. As we all know, the enormous development of medical science and technology has put us in a very difficult spot, as we are being forced to decide what to do with the matters we have not even thought about before. This lecture course will provide threshold-level, yet essential knowledge about how to make decisions in health care, medical research, and health policy. To achieve the aim, the course is organized into three sections: theories and methods, taking sides in cases, and cultural variations.
Theories and Methods. We will briefly survey the historical development of philosophical as well as theological moral theories, as the theories are the precursors of bioethics methods as problem-solvers. A particular attention will be given to “common morality thesis,” our epistemic confidence that we commonly share the notions of right/good and wrong/bad/evil. Taking Sides in Cases. The second part will be dedicated to the examination of some concrete cases of bioethics, e.g., physician-assisted suicide, abortion, patient’s competency, informed consensus, medical futility, brain-dead criteria, etc. Cultural Variations. The last section will involve comparative cultural studies. The students will be exposed to the views of some different cultural and religious traditions, and study the theories used to provide rational explanations about cultural variations vis-à-vis morality. It is no doubt that this course is most effective for the students interested in the future healthcare professions or public health arena. However, those preparing for different professional fields are more than welcome to take the course.
Instructor: Marvin Lee
PHI 2115-201 Ethics for Health Care Prof.
Distance Learning, SPR II
Instructor: Terry Maksymowych
PHI 2121-001, 002 Environmental Ethics
MWF 9:30-10:20, MWF 10:30-11:20
This course will explore ethical questions which concern the physical and biological environment, including analysis of competing priorities among environmental, economic and political values. We will examine the theoretical underpinnings of our ethical choices as well as specific issues and dilemmas related to the environment, its preservation, provision, and threats to its continued sustainability.
Instructor: James M. Murdoch, Jr.
PHI 2155-001 Engineering Ethics
T R 11:30-12:45
This course examines the field of engineering ethics through a series of case studies that raise questions about professional responsibility, the role of technology in society and the need for a more holistic evaluation of the purposes of science and engineering. Some of the issues to be discussed are the future of nuclear energy, climate change, the Challenger Shuttle Explosion and urban infrastructure development. The course requirements include a mid term exam, a group project, three shorter response papers and a longer paper based on the group project.
Instructor: Mark Doorley
PHI 2180-001, 100 Computer Ethics
T R 2:30-3:45, T 6:10-8:50
In this course, we consider the ways in which computers and allied technologies are changing or rendering uncertain our ideas about privacy, property, power, autonomy, responsibility, human culture and perhaps even human intelligence. We investigate the effects of technologically-driven change on the personal, professional, and civic behavior of individuals. We also explore the effects of such change on social, legal, and political norms. Specific cases studied include the Therac-25 accidents, the Challenger disaster, and problems with electronic voting. We also discuss lessons learned from American and Soviet missile attack warning system failures, questions concerning the development and use of robotic weapons, and the role of information technologies in both planning and defending against terrorist acts.
We discuss recent conflicts and emerging legal standards pertaining to privacy of personal information and will consider the subtle and not entirely intuitive link between surveillance and security of computer and communications systems. Classroom discussions treat ethical, social and legal aspects of intellectual property regimes, the Creative Commons movement, and the threat posed to the "knowledge commons" by IP rights implemented in code. This year, our discussions will deal intensively with the controversies surrounding targeted political ads and propagation of false information over social media by the unvetted application of algorithms, and questions concerning the role of technology in voting systems (including voter registration lists and electronic voting devices.)
Instructor: Dr. William Fleischman
PHI 2190 Freedom
T R 4:00-5:15
There is hardly a political discussion today, where freedom is not invoked. Freedom, as what is under threat, what must be defended, what must first be struggled for, as what has been lost, as what has never been had. But what “freedom” exactly means and what it should mean is often less clear. The definitions of freedom change over time and from context to context and are shaped by factors as varied as religion, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability. An elusive concept that cannot be easily defined, freedom nonetheless remains critical for orienting ourselves in today’s political landscapes.
We will begin this course by examining a series of texts in political philosophy to ask how freedom is defined by different thinkers as a social and political project. After laying some philosophical groundwork, we will deepen our conceptual work through various case studies in the politics of freedom in American history grouped around (1) Immigration, nineteenth-century nativism, twentieth-century internments, and concepts of citizenship as freedom; and (2) the civil rights movements around race, gender, sexuality, poverty and citizenship.
We will study a range of speeches, images, songs, and poetry, in addition to philosophical texts by Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, G. A. Cohen, Nancy Hirschmann, Thomas Hobbes, Malcolm X, Rosa Luxemburg, Charles Mills, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Charles Taylor.
Instructor: Yannik Thiem
PHI 2400-001 Social and Political Philosophy
In this course, we will explore various answers to the question, “How should human beings live with one another?” We will examine the norms or principles that establish and justify societies and determine the rights and responsibilities of a society in relation to its own members, of the members in relation to each other and to society as a whole, and of a society in relation to other societies. The course considers the application of these principles to such issues as justice, freedom, equality, order, legitimacy, human rights, political and social institutions, and global community. Our investigations will be informed by varied theories about the state and the social and political nature of persons. Our readings will be drawn from diverse sources and traditions.
Instructor: John Paul Spiro
PHI 2410-100 Philosophy of Sex and Love
M W 6:00-7:15
In this course, we’ll follow an arc from sex and relationships on college campus—where you all are immersed for four intense years—to sex and caring relationships after college. On the one hand, we have the casual (even cold) nature of campus hookup culture; on the other, we have romantic concepts of love, marriage and parenthood, which most people do not anticipate as casual or cold. But if college is supposed to be preparation for adulthood and a more serious stage of life, and relationships comprise a major component of college and post-college life, what exactly is the college experience contributing to young adults’ preparation for being a caring adult in relationships? In this course, we’ll analyze campus hookup culture and what it means to opt-in or out of it; we’ll examine the realities of running a household with (and without) children; and we’ll ask why caring labor is so emotionally challenging, why it is not valued by society, and why women still do the overwhelming bulk of this work. Contemporary feminist philosophy and interdisciplinary Women’s Studies materials will comprise the bulk of the reading.
Instructor: Heather Coletti
PHI 2420-001, 002 Philosophy of Women
MWF 11:30-12:20, MWF 12:30-1:20
In this course, we will explore the various schools, perspectives, and ideas of contemporary feminist thinkers. The materials are divided into three sections: in “theoretical toolkit,” we discuss some concepts in contemporary feminist socio-political writings that will serve as a toolkit for our understanding of gender and intersectional issues today; in “gender and society,” we investigate how society shapes gender as we know it and the ways in which different people experience gender and sexuality; in the last section, “politics, changes, and paradoxes,” we examine the risks and opportunities of feminist politics in its various forms.
In this course, you will learn to:
- Read major texts from different fields of contemporary feminist philosophy and locate them in their theoretical context and background;
- Develop your understanding of intersectional feminism and understand how race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc. are systematically at work in oppression;
- Apply feminist philosophical theories to your own life experiences and a series of contemporary issues;
- Develop your research and writing skills and engage with feminist philosophical concepts and contemporary issues.
Instructor: Jingchao Ma
PHI 2450-001 Catholic Social Thought
T R 2:30-3:45
Catholic Social Thought (CST) rooted in the Christian narrative and developed over the last 135 years will present the Catholic teachings on the nature of social justice and its requirements. CST will discuss the Catholic account of what it means to be human and of what we ought to be doing with our lives. This class will examine central principles of CST (e.g. human dignity, rights and responsibilities, the common good, the nature of the family, the preferential option for the poor, subsidiarity, solidarity, and the dignity of work). It will include a sustained critique and where applicable appreciation of views that shape, our culture such as Individualism, relativism, socialism, capitalism and the effects of technological advancement.
We will read primary texts, found largely in the Papal encyclicals, secondary reflections, and evaluate contemporary social and economic challenges in order to demonstrate the richness of the CST tradition and its potential for finding a more promising way toward a society that embodies “justice for all.”
Instructor: Ronald Duska
PHI 2500-001 Philosophy of Exchange
M W 1:30-2:45
Money mediates an astounding variety of human exchanges: some relatively mundane, like buying a cup of coffee from a local vendor; others more sublime, like funding the education of your children. The aim of this course is to lend philosophical perspective to the nature and practice of monetary exchange. We begin with the very idea of an exchange: one good for another. What is the logic here? Is it one of equivalence, generosity, or exploitation? Are there any basic norms that govern exchange? Not long into the reflection, we introduce a crucial complexity. What happens to the nature of an exchange when one of the goods exchanged is not a good in itself (supposedly) but a symbol or representation of a good that has yet to materialize? This moves us into the topic of indebtedness and the nature of debt’s power to bind the future to the past. Throughout the course we will be as mindful as possible of the context in which monetary exchanges—the exchanges that incorporate symbolic value—take place. In other words, we need to pay close attention to the notion of economy. The etymology of the word ties it to the running a household (the order, nomos, of the household, oikos), and indeed economies of all shapes and sizes have something essentially to do with a shared and sometimes exclusive sense of economic belonging. We will want to consider what constitutes and what corrupts that sense of belonging.
Philosophy of Exchange began its career in VSB. Now that it is fully a philosophy offering in CLAS, we will be even more intent on looking into the rich inner life—sometimes wondrous, sometimes wicked—of economies of monetary exchange. Although the reading list for the course is still being negotiated, here are some likely titles: Bataille, The Accused Share; Arendt, The Human Condition; Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals (second essay); Graeber, Debt: The First 5000 Years; Vance, Hillbilly Elegy; Coates, Between the World and Me; Allen, Talking to Strangers; and Eisenstein, Sacred Economics.
Instructor: James Wetzel
PHI 2650-001 Philosophy of Sport
T R 2:30-3:45
This course will examine the role and nature of sports in human life and society. Current topics and issues will be explored.
Instructor: John Doody
PHI 2990-001 TOP: Philosophy of Fitness
What does it mean to be physically “fit”? How, or to what extent, does bodily or physical excellence contribute to human excellence generally, or to a human life well lived? Is the training of the body an essential part of a good education, or is physical training something separate from what we ordinarily think of as education? How can, or how does, physical training or education help to form communities? How important is physical fitness in a world of science and technology that seems to render bodily power and skill relatively unimportant, and to free us up for intellectual, moral, aesthetic, and spiritual pursuits? The course will examine these and related questions through the study of a variety of classic and contemporary texts as well as through practice of and reflection on physical activity. Some class sessions will be devoted to various kinds of physical exercise and will be held at locations outside the regular classroom. (No certain level of physical ability is expected or required; accommodations will be made for all students.)
Instructor: Andrew Bove
PHI 2990-002 TOP: Yoga & Philosophy
T R 8:30-9:45
This course will introduce yoga’s ten fundamental tenets for living a good life. We will read a broad selection of literature on the topics of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, non-possessiveness, purity, contentment, zeal, self-study and surrender to a higher power. In each class we will practice about 30 minutes of yoga, as a yoga mat is a powerful laboratory on which we can begin to explore these concepts. Students will be challenged to apply our theoretical discussions and reading to incidental and significant moments in their own lives.
Instructor: Amy Dolan
PHI 2990-004 TOP: Metaphysics
M W 3:00-4:15
Metaphysics is the study of the most general and fundamental features of reality. In distinction to other disciplines – such as physics, biology, psychology, or sociology – that study existing entities according to some specific features, metaphysics studies ‘being qua being’ – that is, the most basic nature of what a being is and how a being is. In this course, we will study a number of topics involved in determining this basic nature: the nature of being or existence as such, the nature of universals or properties, the nature of particulars or concrete objects, modality (i.e. the nature of possibility and necessity), causation, and time. Our plan will be to study each topic through a general introduction to the problems contained therein, paired with an exemplary historical text, followed by a consideration of contemporary debates.
Instructor: Amrit Heer
PHI 2993-001 Internship
Instructor: Sally Scholz
PHI 3040-001 Hist. of Early Mod Philosophy
T R 1:00-2:15
Philosophy 3040 is an intensive study of six key figures in seventeenth and eighteenth century European philosophy: Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant. We will emphasize the variety of views and liveliness of debate in the period. Looking at topics in metaphysics and epistemology, we will see that Descartes’ substance dualism is contested by Hobbes and Spinoza; Spinoza and Leibniz, while sometimes similar, disagree profoundly about the origins and order of the world; Hume rejects the entire project of Cartesian-Leibnizian rationalism in favor of empiricism; and Kant proposes to resolve the debate between rationalism and empiricism with what he calls a transcendental, critical philosophy. Looking at topics in social and political philosophy, we will examine Hobbes’ and Spinoza’s respective accounts of human nature and political organization, and we will conclude the semester with Kant’s famous essay on history. Philosophy 3040 has no formal prerequisites beyond Philosophy 1050. Background in ancient and/or medieval philosophy is extremely useful.
Instructor: Julie Klein
PHI 3100-001 Augustine & Antiquity
T R 4:00-5:15
In Late Antiquity, philosophy was a way of life. Each of the various philosophical schools of the time shared the basic conviction that philosophy has something to do with living a good and happy life. Late Antique philosophy was, in other words, a practice, more akin to religious observance and moral exercise than to an academic discipline. In this course we will explore the philosophical thought of Augustine of Hippo, a figure who exemplifies the Late Antique ideal of philosophy as a way of life. Using the Confessions as a central text, we will examine how Augustine’s intellectual, moral, and religious conversions were influenced by—and in turn transformed—the philosophical culture of his day. We will also consider Augustine’s enduring philosophical legacy by reading texts from his corpus which explore: the possibility of knowing God; the relationship between faith and reason; the possibility and limits of language; the meaning of freedom; the role of subjectivity in time; and the centrality of love for the moral life.
Instructor: Paul Camacho
PHI 3160-001 History of Islamic Philosophy
T R 2:30-3:45
This course is an overview of Islamic philosophy, in which an intensive effort is made to survey the development, essential elements, major figures and impact of the field. It will present with clarity and in simple language a continuous narrative that strings together the historical and thematic evolution of Islamic Philosophy up to modern times, drawing a line between Islamic philosophy and non-Islamic influences, in particular, Greek sources, portraying the tension between Islamic philosophy and theology and illustrating the impact of the former on other trends of thought.
Instructor: Shams Inati
PHI 3992-100 Philosophy for Theology II
Days & Time: TBA
Restricted to students in the Augustinian Novitiate Program
Instructor: James Wetzel
PHI 4140-001 Phil of Contemporary Music
T R 4:00-5:15
This course studies philosophy and music. The philosophy is based on the writings of Nietzsche as they have been developed by Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault, Luce Irigaray and Gilles Deleuze. The music is drawn from popular or “pop” going back to its early manifestations in Medieval Europe (there has always been pop music) and carrying it forward to contemporary manifestations in rock and blues, hip hop and rap, riot grrl, gurl and dance music (from disco to EDM to the Boiler Room). On the one hand, we will use music to clarify complex philosophical ideas. On the other hand, we will use philosophy to make music more meaningful. In particular, we will explore whether pop music is condemned to an endless repetition of the same or whether pop music, in the way it has been generated over time, retains a rebellious streak that promises something unexpected and new. Recent examples of such promises might include Sia, Kendrick Lamar, Sleater Kinney, DJ Shadow, the Japanese trio Nisennenmondai and others.
Instructor: John Carvalho
HON 4301-001 PHI: The Self and the Other
T R 11:30-12:45
In this seminar, we examine how the exposure to and experience of difference or otherness is essential to the identity of the human self. We do so by investigating three main topics: the otherness of external reality, the otherness of other human beings, and the otherness of non-human animals. The seminar begins with a philosophical account of the developmental psychologies of Sigmund Freud, Donald Winnicott, and Eva-Maria Simms. These thinkers work out how the otherness of external reality motivates the formation and functioning of the psychic life of the human self. We then turn to the writings of Sara Ahmed, Michelle Alexander, Alain Badiou, Maurice Blanchot, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Cornel West, and Naomi Zack in order to discuss how the ethical and social-political standing of the human self rests on its relation to the otherness of other human beings. In particular, we focus on the question of difference or otherness with regard to the homeless, transgender people, people of color, prisoners, strangers, refugees, friends, and lovers. Finally, we study works of Donna Haraway and Val Plumwood to explore how the otherness of non-human animals informs what it means to be human. To do so, we analyze the relation between human reason and material nature as well as the relation between human beings and other animals.
Instructor: Farshid Baghai
PHI 4825-001 Existentialism
M W 1:30-2:45
Existentialism was a dominant philosophical movement in the late 19th and 20th century. It led a revolt against excessive abstraction in philosophy and in human life in general. Existentialists try to counter the leveling down of individual human life by systems that promote homogenization and appeal to codes of universal morality and rationality, mass society, and modern science. Existentialists see in the mainstream of contemporary society a threat to human freedom, a threat to the individual’s distinctive identity and to her ability to express herself in a way that truly reflects her own inwardness.
We will study some of the key figures of this movement: Jaspers, Nietzsche, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Heidegger, Camus. Our emphasis will be on the philosophical texts of these authors, though we acknowledge that Existentialism is as much a literary movement as a philosophical one and the literary works of authors like Jean-Paul Sartre are powerful and compelling.
I came across online this list of themes that Existentialism covers: Time. Aloneness. Dread. Being. Pointlessness. Authenticity. Consciousness. Avoiding self-deception. Concrete moment-by-moment awareness. Imagination. Alienation from the world and from ourselves. Integrity. Death (your death, my death, death of the sun). Freedom. The death of God. Nothingness. The impotence or limits of reason. The collapse of illusions on which we have built our lives. The death of objective truth. The absurd power of chance. Guilt. Choice. The preposterous silly messiness of bodies.
Instructor: Walter Brogan
PHI 4990-001 Independent Study & Research
TBA - Permission of Chair Required
Instructor: Sally Scholz
PHI 5000-001 SEM: Husserl
M W 3:00-4:15
This research seminar will focus on a major figure in contemporary philosophy: Edmund Husserl. Through intense readings of Husserl’s main works, we will follow the movement of thought that gave birth to phenomenology as a specific philosophical inquiry. The basis of our seminar will be the Cartesian Meditations, in which Husserl summarizes his philosophical discoveries and confronts them to Modern theories of Descartes and Kant. While following Husserl in his meditations, we will also search for explanations coming from his other works. On a fragile path between Descartes and Kant, Husserl is designing a new method of thought for philosophy that will be developed and discussed during the 20th century. The last part of our seminar will explore Husserl’s philosophical legacy in contemporary thought. Background in Modern philosophy is useful for this seminar.
Instructor: Delia Popa
PHI 6000-001 Research Seminar
TBA - Permission of Chair Required
Instructor: Sally Scholz