Location: Bowdoin / Philosophy / Courses / Fall 2009


Fall 2009

015. Altruism
Lawrence Simon M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Adams-103
What is altruism? Does it really exist or are all our actions really self-interested? Are self-interest and altruism in conflict? How do we understand altruism from an evolutionary perspective? Can other animals act altruistically? Does morality require that we be altruistic? Are there limits on the amount of altruism morality can require of us? Examines these and related questions concerning the nature of altruism and its role in human life from biological, psychological, and philosophical perspectives.

018. Love
Sarah Conly M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Edward Pols House-Conf Room
Love. What is the nature and value of love? Why is love so important to us? Is love necessary for a successful life? If so, why? Is life-long love possible? Is love selfish or unselfish? Is the search for love destructive? Uses philosophical texts and some fictional representations to examine these and other questions.

111. Ancient Philosophy
Sarah Conly M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25 Gibson-101 Tillotson Room
The sources and prototypes of Western thought. We try to understand and evaluate Greek ideas about value, knowledge, and truth.

150. Happiness
Sarah Paul T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Adams-208
In the past few years, a number of psychologists have focused on the empirical study of human happiness. What is happiness? What conditions make human beings happy? What role does heredity play in determining our ability to be happy? Philosophers, on the other hand, have asked themselves a related but slightly different set of questions. Should we pursue happiness? Are things that make us happy ‘good’? Can we be happy without fulfilling our moral obligations? What should we do when the demands of ethics and those of our happiness are in conflict? What other values compete with that of happiness? Examines these philosophical questions concerning happiness and the good life in light of the empirical results of positive psychology.

223. Logic
Scott Sehon M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25 Searles-113
The central problem of logic is to determine which arguments are good and which are bad. To this end, we introduce a symbolic language and rigorous, formal methods for seeing whether one statement logically implies another. We apply these tools to a variety of arguments, philosophical and otherwise. We also demonstrate certain theorems about the formal system we construct.

226. Knowledge and Its Sources
Sarah Paul T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Edward Pols House-Conf Room
What is knowledge, and how do we get it? What justifies us in believing certain claims to be true? Does knowing something ever involve a piece of luck? Is it possible that we lack knowledge of the external world altogether? An introduction to the theory of knowledge, focusing on contemporary issues. Considers various conceptions of what it takes to have knowledge against the background of the skeptical challenge, as well as topics such as self-knowledge and the problem of induction.

334. Free Will
Scott Sehon M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Edward Pols House-Conf Room
Do we have free will and moral responsibility? Can we have free will and moral responsibility if determinism is true? More broadly, can we have free will if all human behaviors can be explained scientifically? Readings from contemporary sources.