For a complete list of courses and course descriptions please see the University Catalog.  For further questions please contact the department.


Fall 2022 Course Offerings

PHI 100(0990-LEC) Class #69266, Contemporary Moral Problems, Web Online Only, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Joe Arel
Course Description: Examines a variety of moral problems causing controversy in contemporary society.  Focuses on evaluating arguments for and against competing solutions to these problems.  Also discusses different philosophical strategies for thinking about moral obligations and relationships.  Topics surveyed may include abortion, affirmative action, euthanasia, feminism, the environment, capital punishment, welfare and aid to the needy, technology, war and racism, among others.  Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad and Social Context & Inst.  

PHI 102(0001-LEC) Class #66376, Introduction to Philosophy, TTH, 12:30-1:45pm, Stevens Hall 375, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Hao Hong
Course Description: This course is intended to introduce undergraduate students to the study of Western Philosophy.  Students should come away from the course with some familiarity with problems and individuals who have influenced the developments of Western philosophical thought.  The course will offer opportunities for students to engage with these problems and with the texts of important philosophers as a means to developing their own skills as thinkers.  While it is not possible even to summarize over 2500 years of Western philosophy, students will develop an understanding of the kinds of questions and ideas that concern philosophers and begin to cultivate their own relationship to those questions and ideas. Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad. 

PHI 102(0003-LEC) Class #66378, Introduction to Philosophy, TTH, 11:00am-12:15pm, Jenness Hall 108, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Susan Bredlau
Course Description: This course is intended to introduce undergraduate students to the study of Western Philosophy.  Students should come away from the course with some familiarity with problems and individuals who have influenced the developments of Western philosophical thought.  The course will offer opportunities for students to engage with these problems and with the texts of important philosophers as a means to developing their own skills as thinkers.  While it is not possible even to summarize over 2500 years of Western philosophy, students will develop an understanding of the kinds of questions and ideas that concern philosophers and begin to cultivate their own relationship to those questions and ideas. Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad. 

PHI 102(0500-LEC) Class #66379, Introduction to Philosophy, MWF, 9:00-10:15am, Jenness Hall 108, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Susan Bredlau
Course Description: This course is intended to introduce undergraduate students to the study of Western Philosophy.  Students should come away from the course with some familiarity with problems and individuals who have influenced the developments of Western philosophical thought.  The course will offer opportunities for students to engage with these problems and with the texts of important philosophers as a means to developing their own skills as thinkers.  While it is not possible even to summarize over 2500 years of Western philosophy, students will develop an understanding of the kinds of questions and ideas that concern philosophers, and begin to cultivate their own relationship to those questions and ideas. Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad. 

PHI 102(0990-LEC) Class #69265, Introduction to Philosophy, Web Online Only, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Joe Arel
Course Description: This course is intended to introduce undergraduate students to the study of Western Philosophy.  Students should come away from the course with some familiarity with problems and individuals who have influenced the developments of Western philosophical thought.  The course will offer opportunities for students to engage with these problems and with the texts of important philosophers as a means to developing their own skills as thinkers.  While it is not possible even to summarize over 2500 years of Western philosophy, students will develop an understanding of the kinds of questions and ideas that concern philosophers and begin to cultivate their own relationship to those questions and ideas.Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad.  

PHI 103(0001-LEC) Class #64546, Methods of Reasoning, MWF, 10:00-10:50am, Aubert Hall 421, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Derek A Michaud
Course Description: A study of principles used to distinguish correct from incorrect reasoning including the nature of thought, uses of language, recognition of arguments, informal fallacies, purposes and types of definition, deduction and induction.  Emphasis on understanding and mastering through practice some fundamental techniques for testing the soundness of many different kinds of reasoning.  Gen Ed: West Cult Trad. 

PHI 104(0500-LEC) Class #65864, Existentialism and Literature, MW, 3:30-4:45pm, Stevens Hall 375, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 30, Instructor: Michael Swacha
Course Description: What is the purpose of our lives? Are we free to live them as we choose? Would such freedom make life easier or better? How do we process, understand, and find meaning in our everyday experiences? How do we endure being? Such weighty questions are at stake in existentialism, a philosophical moment that played out not only in traditional-looking philosophical
texts, but also in texts we would often consider “literary.” In this course, we will explore existentialism through both philosophy and
literature, and in texts that could easily be categorized as both. Readings include works such as Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea,
Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and Simone de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity. Assignments include regular short writing and/or a final long-form essay. Please contact Dr. Michael Swacha at michael.swacha@maine.edu for more information. Gen Ed: Artistic & Creative Expression, Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition. 

PHI 105(0001LEC) Class #64547, Introduction to Religious Studies, MW 2:30-3:15pm, Stevens Hall 155, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 30, Instructor: Derek A Michaud
Course Description: An analysis of religion as an expression of human culture past and present. Considers institutional and non-institutional manifestations of religion as conveyed through myth and symbol, religious experience, struggle for societal change, mysticism, and quests for the articulation of human values.  Inquiry by various disciplines will be considered, e.g., anthropology, psychology, sociology, history, philosophy, and theology.  Gen Ed: West Cult Trad, and Social Context & Inst. 

PHI 201(0001-LEC) Class #69298, Becoming a Philosopher, Topic: Consciousness, MW, 2:00-3:15pm, Williams Hall 204, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 25, Instructor: Robby Finley
Course Description:Philosophy is a pluralistic discipline – so much so, that the question ‘what is philosophy?’ is itself an interesting (and controversial!) philosophical question. In this course, we will formulate our own answers to this question by learning the methods, conventions, and skills associated with contemporary work in philosophy. The goal of the course is to equip you, a budding philosopher, with: (i) the knowledge to identify, articulate, and implement different approaches to philosophical inquiry via different examples of how to do philosophy selected by members of the UMaine Philosophy Department (and as represented by guest speakers in the class), (ii) philosophical skills, such as interpreting texts, identifying arguments, critically evaluating philosophical positions, speaking about abstract ideas clearly and precisely, and engaging in productive discussion, (iii) awareness of applications of philosophy to practical problems and its connections with other disciplines, and (iv) proficiency in writing to express all of the above in a clear and precise philosophical style to various audiences. As such, this course can serve as a way to further develop philosophical and writing skills to those with previous exposure to philosophy or as an alternative to PHI 102: Intro to Philosophy to students who want to jumpstart a degree in philosophy. In this semester (F22), we will focus on philosophical approaches to the nature of consciousness and mind. This includes philosophical disagreements about the relation between mind and body, the nature of consciousness, its function, and whether it can be explained in purely physical terms. Gen Ed: West Cult Trad, and Writing Intensive. 

PHI 210(0001-LEC) Class #65063, History of Ancient Philosophy, MWF, 9:00-9:50am, The Maples 217, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 25, Instructor: Robby Finley
Course Description:  This course offers a survey of ancient Greek (and Roman) philosophy with the goals of (i) introducing students to central questions in ancient philosophy, (ii) connecting those questions to debates in philosophy that continue to be of interest today, and (iii) developing general philosophical skills, such as how to analyze philosophical texts, how to reconstruct arguments, and how to discuss and criticize arguments. We focus on a few major figures and schools of thought: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Stoics and Skeptics (with Presocratics interspersed where appropriate and a brief look at Neoplatonism at the end). Topics range from questions in metaphysics and epistemology (What is the nature of reality? What are the most fundamental entities that make up the world? How do I even approach such questions?) to questions in ethics and political philosophy (What is the good? What is the best sort of life for a human to live? How should groups of humans be structured?) to questions about action and agency (How could I fail to act in accordance with what I think is best? In what sense can my will be said to be free?).   Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad.  

PHI 230(0001-LEC) Class #65064, Ethics, TTH 12:30-1:45pm, The Maples 217, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 25, Instructor: Derek A Michaud
Course Description: Readings and discussions of works by Aristotle, Mill, Kant, Nietzsche and other moral philosophers.  In each case, the nature of the system, its summum bonum and defense is examined, criticized, and tested for its applicability to personal and public ethical predicaments.  Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad, and Social Context & Inst. 

PHI 232(0900-LEC), Class #65439, Environmental Ethics, Web Online Only, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 54, Instructor: Joe Arel
Course Description: A critical survey of major contemporary discussions of human relationships to nature and the causes of the environmental crisis.  Special attention will be given to building an ethical vocabulary for interpreting the place of humans in relation to the non-human.  Gen Ed: Ethics, Population & the Environment, and Social Context & Inst. 

PHI 235(0001-LEC), Class #65065, Biomedical Ethics, TTH, 8:00am-9:15am, Williams Hall 203, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 48, Instructor: Susan Bredlau
Course Description: An overview of central fields in medical ethics from medical humanities and clinical ethics to medical research ethics, medical equity and justice, end of life decision making and thinking more deeply about the meaning of health, illness, and medicine. Topics may include the physician/patient relationship, concepts of health/disease, procreation/abortion decisions, genetics/reproductive technologies, health resources/social justice allocations, and other ethical dimensions of medical practice. Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad, and Social Context & Inst. 

PHI 235(0002-LEC), Class #65066, Biomedical Ethics, TTH, 2:00-3:15pm, Williams Hall 203, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Susan Bredlau
Course Description: An overview of central fields in medical ethics from medical humanities and clinical ethics to medical research ethics, medical equity and justice, end of life decision making and thinking more deeply about the meaning of health, illness, and medicine. Topics may include the physician/patient relationship, concepts of health/disease, procreation/abortion decisions, genetics/reproductive technologies, health resources/social justice allocations, and other ethical dimensions of medical practice. Gen Ed: Ethics, West Cult Trad, and Social Context & Inst. 

PHI 236(0001-LEC), Class #66199, Fem Ethical, Soc & Pol Theory, Cross-listed-WGS 410(0001-LEC), Class #64884, Feminist Gender & Queer Theory, TTH, 11:00am-12:15pm, Stevens Hall 155, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 27 (combined), Instructor: Elizabeth Neiman
Course Description: This course explores continuities and points of distinction amongst feminist, queer, and gender theories, with our central focus being both how and when these theoretical models took (or are presently taking) shape and with what implications and for whom. We return time and again to the related questions of “what constitutes theory” and “how do we recognize theory when we see it?” As we’ll see, writers write theory in different ways, ranging from traditional academic prose and research to more personal and, in some cases, experimental, even genre-bending work. A key premise of the course is that while theory can be very abstract and seem far-removed from everyday concerns, it also can feel personal and close to home. What may read as abstruse and distant to one reader may seem easy-to-grasp or personal to another—and the same can be true for any individual reader who returns to a text at different points in their life. Part of our course of study will thus involve taking stock of and reflecting on our different responses to the same course text and striving to account for what might be behind seemingly “personal” readings—and when possible or desirable, to make strange what may seem familiar. Gen Ed: Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition, Social Contexts and Institutions and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirements. 

PHI 250(0001-LEC), Class #65084, Formal Logic, MWF, 11:00-11:50am, Deering Hall 17, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 30, Instructor: Robby Finley
Course Description: This course is designed as an introduction to the study of deductive reasoning from a formal perspective. It is composed of two intermixed parts: In the first, we develop theories that allow us to represent everyday arguments in a symbolic language and then evaluate whether the corresponding arguments are valid. This is the technical part of the course where you will learn new symbolic languages and associated syntactic and semantic analyses, along with a variety of interesting mathematical results about those languages, their uses, and their abilities. The second part of the course is more philosophical, and we will address questions like: what makes a formal language and rule system a good representation of valid arguments in natural language? Are there natural language arguments these formal systems fail to capture? Can we fix that? What are the uses and limitations of these formal systems? What alternatives are open? These sorts of questions will be in the background as we progress, and we will take some time each week to think about a particular philosophical aspect of the symbolic logic we are learning.  Gen Ed: Quantitative Literacy, West Cult Trad.  

PHI 360(0001-SEM), Class #67453, Metaphysics, TTH, 9:30-10:45am, Maples 217, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 20, Instructor: Hao Hong 
Course Description: Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with the fundamental nature of the world.  Questions that metaphysics attempts to answer include: What do we mean when we say something exists? Do any things other than physical objects (numbers, qualities, God, etc.) exist? Why is there anything rather than nothing? What are human beings: material organisms, immaterial souls, or something else?  What makes you the same person as you were ten years ago? Are we really free to choose our actions, or are our actions (even thoughts) predetermined by something else in the world? What is the nature of time and space? Is time travel possible?  In this course, we will focus on some of those questions and evaluate arguments for different answers that are proposed by philosophers from different philosophical traditions.  This will not only give us a deep understanding of those metaphysical disputes but also help us approach other branches of philosophy.  Gen Ed: West Cult Trad.  

PHI 420(0001-SEM), Class #65866, Topics in Recent Continental Philosophy: Home and Exile, W, 4:00-6:50pm, Maples 217, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 20, Instructor: Kirsten Jacobson
Course Description: In this course, we will consider existential and political dimensions of being-at-home in the world as well as related experiences of being alienated or exiled from home at both intimate and public levels. This study will invite us to explore the significance of being oriented and grounded via intimate and familiar experiences of place and other persons, and the implications of such rootedness being threatened or otherwise made vulnerable. The course will draw on a wide range of articles and excerpts from works of contemporary Continental philosophy and related fields. Texts under consideration for the course include Sara Ahmed’s Strange Encounters, Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera, Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, Donatella Di Cesare’s Resident Foreigners, Simone Weil’s The Need for Roots, Ed Casey’s Getting Back Into Place, María Lugones’s Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes, bell hooks’s Belonging, and Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return. Gen Ed: West Cult Trad

For questions or permission, please contact The Philosophy Department at 207-581-3866 or email Jen Bowen at jennifer.bowen@maine.edu