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Courses - Spring 2022
PHIL
Philosophy Department Site
PHIL100
Introduction to Philosophy
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: HO
GenEd: DSHU
An introduction to the literature, problems, and methods of philosophy either through a study of some of the main figures in philosophic thought or through an examination of some of the central and recurring problems of philosophy.
PHIL140
Contemporary Moral Issues
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: HO
GenEd: DSHU
The uses of philosophical analysis in thinking clearly about such widely debated moral issues as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, pornography, reverse discrimination, the death penalty, business ethics, sexual equality, and economic justice.
PHIL170
Introduction to Symbolic Logic
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: MS
GenEd: FSAR
This course will introduce the basic concepts and techniques of modern symbolic logic, with an emphasis on developing skills in two areas: first, translating between ordinary language and logical notation; second, establishing the validity or invalidity of arguments using the methods of truth tables, deductions, and countermodels. Although the subject of symbolic logic was developed by mathematicians and philosophers for their own special purposes (which we will discuss), logical concepts and techniques have found applications in a variety of disciplines, including computer science, economics, law, linguistics, and psychology. We may also consider some of these applications.
PHIL203
The Rights and Wrongs of Killing People
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSHU, SCIS
Credit only granted for: PHIL209J or PHIL203.
Formerly: PHIL209J.
Virtually everyone thinks it's permissible to kill people only in special circumstances. But why is killing usually wrong? Is it ever acceptable to kill an innocent human being intentionally? This course raises these and related questions and examines cases such as terrorism, suicide, abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, war. Except for a brief discussion of animals, all the controversies considered deal with killing and causing death to human beings.
PHIL205
Are Sports Ethical?
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSHU, SCIS
Credit only granted for: PHIL205, PHIL209G, or HONR229E.
Formerly: HONR229E.
Things happen routinely in sports that would seem morally unacceptable in other context: violence between the participants, attempts to trick the referee, fans hoping that some players would do embarrassingly badly, spectators feeling anger towards whole nations. Nonetheless, all of this may seem reasonable and even justifiable within a sporting context. This course will investigate the ethical structure of sports, and what it tells us about the ethics of everyday life. Philosophy will provide the primary disciplinary context, but we will also think about sociological, legal and anthropological perspectives on sports. Issues will include the nature of sportsmanship, what types of violence in sports are acceptable, drug use in sports, what it means to be a fan (for example, asking why loyalty to your team is valuable) and how our view of sports interacts with our view of nations. By the end of the course you should have gained familiarity with a variety of ethical concepts and a sensitivity to the ethical issues in sports. You should also find that by thinking about morality in the context of sports, you will look at larger ethical issues in new ways.
PHIL209D
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSSP
Credit only granted for: PHIL209D or PHIL211.
An introduction to a major subfield of contemporary Philosophy, namely applied ethics, and the experience of using some major tools in the practice of philosophy more generally, namely, the construction and formal evaluation of arguments, conceptual analysis, the use of thought experiments, and clear, direct and persuasive writing. Learning how to execute the latter will involve an intense iterative process. The substantive focus of the course will be the ethical evaluation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in some of its current and potentially future incarnations. We'll examine algorithmic opacity, algorithmic bias and decision-making, autonomous weapons systems, human-robot interaction, and artificial moral agents, in order to uncover what, if any, ethical issues they give rise to.
PHIL220
Bioethics: Regulating Right and Wrong
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSHU or DSSP
Credit only granted for: PHIL209A or PHIL220.
Formerly: PHIL209A.
Bioethicists formulate ethical guidelines. They answer questions such as: When life-saving health resources are scarce, who should get them? Should we increase supply of one such resource, kidneys, by buying them from living "donors"? If drug trials in developing countries benefit patients who consent to participate, are the trials ethical, even if the same research would be forbidden in the US? If a sick person aims to hasten her death, how, if at all, might her doctor permissibly help her? In this course, students construct and defend ethical rules in four domains: research ethics, allocation of scarce resources, markets in organs, and physician-assisted dying.
PHIL245
Political and Social Philosophy I
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: HO
GenEd: DSHU
A critical examination of such classical political theories as those of Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, and such contemporary theories as those of Hayek, Rawls, and recent Marxist thinkers.
PHIL261
Philosophy of the Environment
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: IE
GenEd: DSHU
Credit only granted for: HONR218F or PHIL261.
Formerly: HONR218F.
An evaluation of different kinds of arguments for the claim that the natural environment should be preserved. Perspectives cut across the disciplines of philosophy (environmental ethics and philosophies of nature); economics (cost-benefit analysis); and biology (evolution, ecology, environmental studies).
PHIL271
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: FSAR
Recommended: PHIL170.
This course provides students with a thorough treatment of the basic concepts and techniques of modern symbolic logic, through classical first-order logic with identity. We will concentrate on the construction of natural deduction proofs and on the evaluation of logical statements in semantic models. Along the way, we will study some of the concepts from set theory (sets, functions, relations) used in the definition of semantic models for logical systems. We may also introduce some alternative, or non-classical logics. Although the subject of symbolic logic was developed by mathematicians and philosophers for their own special purposes (which we will discuss), logical concepts and techniques have found applications in a variety of disciplines, including computer science, economics, law, linguistics, and psychology. We may also consider some of these applications.
PHIL282
Free Will & Determinism
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: HO
GenEd: DSHU
A study of the main positions and arguments in the free will debate in contemporary analytic philosophy.
PHIL308U
Studies in Contemporary Philosophy; The Philosophy and Practice of Yoga
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
PHIL318B
Studies in Epistemology/Metaphysics; The Wisdom of Crowds
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
An investigation of how the ability to obtain knowledge can be enhanced or distorted by different kinds of social structures. We will look at classic work about how different kinds of interactions within groups create new ways of knowing or being deceived. We'll also look at recent work on the nature of disagreement, polarization, and the use of networks in scientific research.
PHIL320
Knowing Oneself and Knowing the World: Early Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSHU
Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses; or permission of instructor.
A study of major philosophical issues of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries through an examination of such philosophers as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Cavendish, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant
PHIL360
Philosophy of Language
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite: 2 courses in PHIL; and (PHIL170 or PHIL370). Or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.
Cross-listed with LING350.
Credit only granted for: LING350 or PHIL360.
An inquiry into the nature and function of language and other forms of symbolism.
PHIL364
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.
Formerly: PHIL464.
The study of some central metaphysical concepts and issues including the nature and validity of metaphysical thinking, universals, identity, substance, time, God, and reality.
PHIL366
Philosophy of Mind
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.
An introduction to core issues in the philosophy of mind, focusing especially on the basic metaphysical question of dualism versus physicalism.
PHIL386
(Perm Req)
Experiential Learning
Credits: 6
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F
Restriction: Permission of ARHU-Philosophy department; and junior standing or higher.
Consult Director of Undergraduate Studies: C. Manekin. Prerequisites: 12 credit hours of philosophy and 3.0 GPA. Carries no credit toward philosophy major.
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL409X
Advanced Studies in Contemporary Philosophy; Quantum Mechanics and Metaphysics
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Quantum mechanics raises a variety of metaphysical issues -- about causation, metaphysical grounding, determinateness, realism, logic, and various other matters. Fortunately, exploring these connections does not require extensive knowledge of quantum physics. This course will be a self-contained introduction to issues at the intersection of quantum mechanics and metaphysics. While the course presupposes a comfort with moderately mathematical/formal presentations and a taste for abstraction, there are no specific course prerequisites. Students should have at least two courses in philosophy or permission of the instructor.
PHIL414
The Philosophy of Aristotle
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.
A critical study of selected portions of Aristotle's writings.
Cross-listed with PHPE408C. Credit only granted for PHIL428C or PHPE408C.

Confucius (551-479 BC) and Socrates (c. 470-399 BC) are similar in many ways: They both devoted their lives to thinking about ethics and politics, had numerous disciples and followers, but left us with no writings unquestionably of their own. Despite these similarities, the East Asian Confucian tradition and the Western Socratic tradition turn out to be vastly different from each other regarding their views of human, society, and politics. Understanding the similarities and differences between Confucius and Socrates 2500 years ago helps us understand those between East and West today. To this purpose, we read and discuss the ethical, social, and political thoughts that their respective disciples have attributed to them as well as the thoughts of their opponents.
PHIL428C
Topics in the History of Philosophy; Confucius and Socrates
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
PHIL446
Law, Morality, and War
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
An exploration of fundamental moral and legal issues concerning war.
PHIL470
Logical Theory II: Incompleteness and Undecidability
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F
Prerequisite: PHIL370; or permission of instructor.
Introduces the formal theory of computation, and then presents the the central limitative results of modern first-order logic: Church's undecidability theorem and Godel's first and second incompleteness theorems. The primary focus of the course is a thorough technical study of these fundamental results, but we will also discuss some of the philosophical issues they raise. Further topics may include second-order logic.
PHIL498F
(Perm Req)
Topical Investigations; Topical Investigation
Credits: 1 - 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite:Two courses in philosophy or permission of the department.
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL498G
(Perm Req)
Topical Investigations; Topical Investigation
Credits: 1 - 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite:Two courses in philosophy or permission of the department.
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL688X
Selected Problems in Philosophy; Incompleteness and Undecidability
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, Aud, S-F
PHIL788G
(Perm Req)
Research in Philosophy; Research in Philosophy
Credits: 1 - 6
Grad Meth: Reg, Aud
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL788I
(Perm Req)
Research in Philosophy; Research in Philosophy
Credits: 1 - 6
Grad Meth: Reg, Aud
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL799
Master's Thesis Research; Masters Thesis Research
Credits: 1 - 6
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL808L
Seminar in the Problems of Philosophy; Recent Work in Philosophy of Language
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, Aud
PHIL848
PHIL868
PHIL888
Professional Mentoring for Doctoral Students
Credits: 1 - 3
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL889
(Perm Req)
Pedagogical Mentoring for Doctoral Students
Credits: 1 - 3
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL898
Pre-Candidacy Research
Credits: 1 - 8
Grad Meth: Reg
Contact department for information to register for this course.
PHIL899
(Perm Req)
Doctoral Dissertation Research; Doctoral Dissertation Research
Credits: 6
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.