Fall 2014 Courses

  • The College Catalogue has a class finder tool to search for courses by title, instructor, department, and more.
  • Login to Blackboard. Instructional materials are available on a course-by-course basis.
PHIL 1035. Altruism.
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.
PHIL 1039. Existentialism.
Does life have meaning? If so, what is it? If not, how should we proceed? What is the nature of human existence, and how can we understand this? Existentialism is the name given to a diverse group of thinkers who have tried to answer these questions both through philosophy and fiction. We will read Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir as we grapple with these questions.
PHIL 1350. Happiness.
What is happiness? Should we strive to be happy? Does everyone strive to be happy? What is the relationship between a happy life and a meaningful life? The course will begin by focusing on these philosophical questions, and we will consider discussions from Plato to the present. In addition, the course aims to connect our philosophical discussions of happiness and well-being to recent empirical work. We will be particularly interested in questions about how we measure and evaluate the happiness and well-being of ourselves and others.
PHIL 1436. Strange Worlds.
Philosophy challenges us to justify the beliefs that we ordinarily take for granted. Some philosophers argue that commonsense beliefs cannot meet this challenge – that reality is very different from how things seem. Parmenides argues that there is only one thing. Sextus Empiricus tries to convince us that nobody knows anything (not even that nobody knows anything!) Gottfried Leibniz argues that only minds exist. J. M. E. McTaggart contends that time is unreal. C. L. Hardin denies that anything is colored. We’ll examine these and other strange conclusions, and the arguments offered in support of them.
PHIL 2111. Ancient Philosophy.
We will read some of the most important works by Plato and Aristotle, two of the greatest western thinkers, and major influences on western thought. This course explores questions in ethics, politics, art, psychology, the concept of knowledge, and the nature of reality.
PHIL 2223. Logic.
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, and demonstrate certain theorems about the formal system we construct.
PHIL 2321. History of Ethics.
How should one live? What is the good? What is my duty? What is the proper method for doing ethics? The fundamental questions of ethics are examined in the classic texts of Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill.
PHIL 2429. Philosophy in the Twentieth Century.
An examination of some key figures and works in the development of analytic philosophy. Particular attention is given to theory about the nature of physical reality and our perceptual knowledge of it, and to questions about the nature and function of language. Readings from Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, W. V. O. Quine, Gilbert Ryle, and others.