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Courses

Fall 2015


PHIL 2900 LOGIC (Ted Ammon)
"Logic, logic, logic ­­– keeps your brain clean/Logic, logic, logic – do you L-O-G-I-C what I mean?" Logic is an intensive study of deductive inference. Given certain claims, what can you really conclude? The concept "validity" is thus at the heart of the course. Attention is also paid to the differences between deduction and induction.
 
PHIL 2120 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (Kristen Golden)
Increasingly people talk about what they eat as if it matters personally and ecologically. "I'm an omnivore" or "I'm vegetarian" or "I hunt the meat I eat." But does it matter? To who? Why? Of course the environment is more than what you eat. In this class students will study approaches to the idea of environment and will be introduced to debates surrounding ecological issues.  These include:  climate change, food ethics, animal issues, ethics of sports hunting and environmental-scarcity triggered violence. Students will partner with local sustainable farms and their advocates for the Community Engaged Learning component of the course.
 
PHIL 3010 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY I (Patrick Hopkins)
An intensive course on the history of western philosophy from the ancient period to the medieval period.  We’ll cover famous philosophers from Plato to Thomas Aquinas, movements in philosophy from sophistry to nominalism, find out the real sources of some basic western beliefs, and talk about famous problems such as the difference between soul and body, immortality, the difference between good and evil, the nature of God, the nature of time and space, the best form of government, the relationship between faith and reason, and lots more.
 
PHIL 3300 MORAL PSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE (Patrick Hopkins)
An examination of the evolutionary, cognitive, and neurological mechanisms of human moral psychology. Topics covered include ethical theories and the intuitive conflicts that arise in classic moral dilemmas, the problem of persistent inconsistent moral judgments, moral decision making, moral development theory, the nature and classification of moral emotions (shame, pride, disgust, etc), attributions of blame and responsibility, moral judgment and causation, trust and loyalty, moral luck, and cognitive moral pathologies such as psychopathy. The course will cover the history of moral psychology but will focus predominantly on recent empirical studies of moral cognition using neuroimaging and neuropharmacological manipulations.
 
PHIL 2010 SOCIAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (Kenneth Townsend)
This class is all about understanding human nature, politics, and the law.  We will be asking and answering questions like: Why do we have politics? What is the nature, origin, purpose, and best kind of state? What are the real differences between democracy, contractarianism, socialism, libertarianism, capitalism, theocracy, monarchy, and anarchy? What is the basis of justice, rights, and equality? What is law? Where does law come from? Is there really an obligation to obey the law? How do we figure out problems of property rights or marriage rights or death penalties or torture? How should we read supreme court rulings? What can science teach us about politics?
 
PHIL 3140 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (Steve Smith)
Is there a divine reality? How would a divine reality relate to the world of our everyday experience? Can one acknowledge the presence of imperfection or evil in the world and affirm a divine reality at the same time? How do faith and reason differ? Are they reconcilable? How are religion and morality related? Are they harmonious? We will draw on modern philosophers including Spinoza, Hume, and Kant in wrestling with these questions.
 
PHIL 2130 BUSINESS ETHICS (Patrick Hopkins)
An introduction to conceptual, ethical, and psychological issues concerning business, including topics such as the responsibilities of businesses, obligations to employees, customers, community, environment, and shareholders, issues of fair wages, outsourcing, international employment, product safety, corporate culture, mission statements and ethics codes, whistle-blowing, marketing and truth in advertising, intellectual property rights, information technology and privacy, unions and workers’ rights, litigation and legal liability, discrimination and affirmative action, accounting and fraud, ethical investing, corporate takeovers, and neuroscience and employment law.
 
PHIL 2400 THE MEANING OF WORK (Shelli Poe)
Most Americans spend 3/4 of their waking hours at work, but we rarely reflect on what work means or should mean. Is work a primal curse, a saving grace, a human necessity? Are certain kinds of work or ways of working better, or more meaningful, than others? Who should benefit from work? This course explores issues of value, purpose, function, organization, and justice in relation to the meaning of work from a variety of perspectives including philosophy, religion, sociology, psychology, history, and management.
 
PHIL 3750 PHILOSOPHY OF TIME (Steve Smith)
What are we actually referring to when we speak of time? How is time related related to change, process, event, action? How is it structured? Is one of its phases (past, present, future) more important than the others? Is time travel possible? What is eternity and what sort of being could be eternal? Could the duration of the universe be finite? What do we risk and gain in giving shapes to time – in promise-making, storytelling, historical judgment? In this course we will consider classic philosophical analyses of time and literary and cinematic fictions as well.

See Major Access for rooms.