Spring 2015 Courses

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PHIL 1320. Moral Problems.
Our society is riven by deep and troubling moral controversies. Examines some of these controversies in the context of current arguments and leading theoretical positions. Possible topics include abortion, physician-assisted suicide, capital punishment, sexuality, the justifiability of terrorism, and the justice of war.
PHIL 1437. Puzzle and Paradox.
Philosophical puzzles and paradoxes are meant to challenge the most widely and deeply held beliefs. Thus, they offer the perfect avenue for questioning and revisiting our views about the world (metaphysics), what we know (epistemology), and how we ought to live (ethics). In this course, we will focus on a number of paradoxes. They will, to provide some examples, challenge our understanding of what we ought to believe, how we ought to act, what it means to act freely, and what it means to be a person. The course is intended both as an introduction to philosophy and as a survey of some core philosophical questions.
PHIL 2100. History, Freedom, and Reason.
What are the causes of historical development? Is history progressive? Do freedom and reason manifest themselves in history? A study of the development of political philosophy and philosophy of history in nineteenth-century German philosophy from Kant through Hegel to Marx.
PHIL 2112. Modern Philosophy.
A survey of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European philosophy, focusing on discussions of the ultimate nature of reality and our knowledge of it. Topics include the nature of the mind and its relation to the body, the existence of God, and the free will problem. Readings from Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and others.
PHIL 2358. Environmental Ethics.
What things in nature have moral standing? What are our obligations to them? How should we resolve conflicts among our obligations? After an introduction to ethical theory, topics include anthropocentrism, the moral status of nonhuman sentient beings and of non-sentient living beings, preservation of endangered species and the wilderness, holism versus individualism, the land ethic, and deep ecology.
PHIL 2425. Philosophy of Science.
Science is often thought of as the paradigm of rational inquiry, as a method that gives us an unparalleled ability to understand the nature of the world. Others have doubted this rosy picture, and have emphasized historical and sociological aspects of the practice of science. Investigates the nature of science and scientific thought by looking at a variety of topics, including the demarcation of science and non-science, relativism and objectivity, logical empiricism, scientific revolutions, and scientific realism.
PHIL 2427. Metaphysics.
Metaphysics is the study of very abstract questions about reality. What does reality include? What is the relation between things and their properties? What is time? Do objects and persons have temporal parts as well as spatial parts? What accounts for the identity of persons over time? What is action, and do we ever act freely?
PHIL 3347. Morality of War.
Under what circumstances, if any, is war morally permissible, and what are the moral constraints on what it is permissible to do? Is there a moral difference between intending to kill civilians and merely foreseeing that they will be killed? When, if ever, is terrorism morally permissible? Topics addressed in this course may include: the doctrine of double effect, the morality of self-defense, the permissibility of torture, noncombatant immunity, and collaborating with wrongdoers.