Location: Bowdoin / Philosophy / Courses / Spring 2010


Spring 2010

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112. Modern Philosophy
Scott Sehon M  9:30 - 10:25
W  9:30 - 10:25
F  9:30 - 10:25
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.

120. Moral Problems
Sarah Conly T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
Hubbard-Conference Room West
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.

145. Truth and Morality: One, Many, or None?
Sarah Paul T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
Buck Center-211
When we disagree over whether or not the earth goes around the sun, or whether slavery is wrong, it seems to us that we are disagreeing over something to which there is a single true answer; we can’t all be right. On the other hand, when we fully countenance the complexity of cultural diversity and worldviews in all different times and places, the idea that there is a single truth or single morality that applies to everyone at all times might seem implausible. Indeed, we might think the view that there is an absolute truth or absolute morality leads to intolerance and oppression. Investigates whether there is one truth or many—whether there is a single objective truth, or whether truth is in some way relative to particular cultures, places, and times. Or perhaps there is simply no such thing as truth or morality, at least not that we humans are capable of knowing. Concerns both descriptive truths—the kind of truths science purports to deliver to us—and normative truths about what is moral or valuable. Readings from classic and contemporary sources.

210. Philosophy of Mind
Sarah Paul T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
CT-16 Harrison McCann
We see ourselves as rational agents: we have beliefs, desires, intentions, wishes, hopes, etc. We also have the ability to perform actions, seemingly in light of these beliefs, desires, and intentions. Is our conception of ourselves as rational agents consistent with our scientific conception of human beings as biological organisms? Can there be a science of the mind and, if so, what is its status relative to other sciences? What is the relationship between mind and body? How do our mental states come to be about things in the world? How do we know our own minds, or whether other people even have minds? Readings primarily from contemporary sources.

221. History of Ethics
Lawrence Simon M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Edward Pols House-Conf Room
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, Mill, and Kant.

233. Intermediate Logic
Scott Sehon M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Edward Pols House-Conf Room
Investigates several philosophically important results of modern logic, including Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, the Church-Turing Theorem (that there is no decision procedure for quantificational validity), and Tarski’s theorem (the indefinability of truth for formal languages). Discusses both the mathematical content and philosophical significance of these results.

315. The Good Life
Sarah Conly T  1:00 - 2:25
TH 1:00 - 2:25
Edward Pols House-Conf Room
What is the best life? What should we strive for if we want to flourish? How important is the role of the intellect? Of friends? Of moral character? Uses Aristotle’s Ethics and contemporary readings to examine some possible answers.

392. Advanced Topics in Environmental Philosophy
Lawrence Simon T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
Edward Pols House-Conf Room
Examines philosophical, moral, political, and policy questions regarding various environmental issues. Possible topics include the ethics of climate change policy, our obligations to future generations, benefi t-cost analysis vs. the precautionary principle as a decision-making instrument, and the relationship between justice and sustainability.