Spring 2018 Course Offerings
PHI 100 (0001-LEC), Class#88595, Contemporary Moral Problems, MW 4:30-5:45pm, Rogers Hall 206, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Roger J. H. King
Course Description: This course is an introduction to contemporary ethical issues. The course will survey several important ethical theories and the concepts central to them, and explore topics in applied ethics. Among possible issues are abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, sexual ethics, and animal rights. This course has three general goals: to introduce students to some major ethical traditions in western philosophy; to help students appreciate the complexity of today’s moral problems, and to improve students’ critical thinking abilities by giving them the opportunity to develop the relevant skills via writing, discussion, participation in group activities. This course satisfies the General Education Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition, and Social Contexts and Institutions requirements.
PHI 102 (0001-LEC) Class #88596, Introduction to Philosophy, TTH 11:00-12:15pm, Stevens Hall 365, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Derek A. Michaud
Course Description: An introduction to philosophical thought and critical thinking from Ancient Greece, India, China, and Africa to the present. Readings include works from Plato, Laozi, Confucius, the Buddha, Descartes, Madame de Staël, Zera Yacob, and others. Topics include ethics, the nature of the self, theories of knowledge, metaphysics, and philosophical theology. This course satisfies the General Education Ethics, Western Cultural Tradition, and Social Contexts and Institutions requirements.
PHI 103 (0001-LEC) Class #86805, Methods of Reasoning, MWF 10:00-10:50am, Stevens Hall 375, 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.
PHI 104 (0001-LEC) Class #88099, Existentialism and Literature, TTh 12:30-1:45pm, Stevens Hall 365, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Kirsten E. Jacobson
Course Description: Existentialism is a revolutionary movement in 20th century philosophy that studies the ways in which it is up to us to make our lives and our world meaningful. The texts we’ll read in this course will offer insightful and perspective-shifting studies of human nature in addition to challenging us to reflect personally on the values by which we live and, indeed, to ask ourselves whether we are honest with respect to how we live our lives. We will also consider works of contemporary literature that help to bring out these existentialist themes in particularly vivid and intimate ways through their content as well as their form of expression.
PHI 104 (0002-LEC) Class #88100, Existentialism and Literature, MWF 9:00-9:50am, Stevens Hall 375, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Don Beith
Course Description: In this course we will read great works of literature that reflect on the basic paradoxes of human existence, and study how different literary forms ranging from modern tragedy to the modernist novel to contemporary poetry work differently to reveal our existence. We will consider how modern life involves a crisis within our subjectivity, where we face the challenges of finding meaning in life and coexisting with others. Our study will involve philosophers ranging from Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, to Foster Wallace, Russon and Fanon alongside authors like Shakespeare, Sheila Watson, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and Al Purdy.
PHI 214 (0001-LEC) Class #89331, 20th Century Continental Philosophy, TTh 11:00-12:15pm, The Maples 17, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 30, Instructor: Kirsten E. Jacobson
Course Description: What (and where) is the self? This question will focus our study of some of the most influential philosophers in 20th century continental thought. We will look especially closely at ways in which our typical self-understanding often fails to recognize and even serves to conceal the real forces that guide our lives. We will examine the social and political character of our ability and inability to understand ourselves, and the implications of our complex self-relationship for ethics, art, interpersonal relationships, politics, and the “simple” pursuit of our daily lives.
PHI 230 (0001-LEC) Class #87306, Ethics, MWF 11:00-11:50am, Stevens Hall 155, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Donald Beith
Course Description: This course will introduce you to the basics of several powerful ethical theories. These reflections on the meaning of how to live a good, just and true life will involve studying the notions of character (Aristotle), ultimate duty (Kant), freedom and expression (Russon) and oppression (de Beauvoir and Lugones).
PHI 232 (0001-LEC), Class#87715, Environmental Ethics, TTh 9:30-10:45am, Stevens North 119, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 30, Instructor: Roger J.H. King
Course Description: A critical survey of major contemporary discussions of human relationships to nature and the causes of the environmental crisis. Topics will include animal rights, biocentrism, deep ecology, ecofeminism, bio-regionalism, social ecology and sustainability. Special attention will be given to building an ethical vocabulary for interpreting the place of humans in relation to the non-human.
PHI 235 (0001 LEC), Class#87307, Biomedical Ethics, MWF 10:00-10:50am, Stevens Hall 365, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 40, Instructor: Donald Beith
Course Description: This course is an introduction to ethical issues in health care, aimed not just at students of the health professions, but at anyone who is curious about how biomedical advances call into question our notions of value, of right and wrong, and of the good life. We will explore specific ethical issues arising from the stigmas of illness, the objectifying character of modern medicine, existential perspectives on health and embodiment, the meaning of healing, the nature of autonomy and justice, reflections on distributive justice and preventing harm, the moral and emotional tensions involved in being a care-professional, research ethics, clinical ethics, the influence of architecture and social relationships on health, and the existential nature of mental health. This course satisfies the General Education Ethics and Western Cultural Tradition and Social Context and Institutions requirements.
PHI 312 (0001-LEC), Class#87308, History of Modern Philosophy, MWF 2:00-2:50pm, The Maples 17, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 30, Instructor: Michael W. Howard
Course Description: An interpretation of modern philosophy from Bacon and Descartes in the 17th century, developing through 18th century rationalism and empiricism and culminating in the system of Kant.
PHI 345(0001-LEC) Class #89347, Global Justice, cross listed with SPI 504(0001-SEM) Class #89467, MWF, 10:00-10:50am, The Maples 10, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 20, Instructor: Michael W. Howard
Course Description: A study of moral and political philosophies developed in response to the issues and challenges raised by political, economic, and technological globalization. These include such topics as sovereignty and self-determination, global institutions and democracy, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, poverty and international or global distributive justice, fair trade, intellectual property rights, global environmental justice, domestic institutions and responsibility for global injustice, human rights and cultural diversity, women and global justice, immigration, war, humanitarian intervention and terrorism.
PHI 432 (0001-LEC), Class#87716, Environmental Philosophy and Policy, TTH 12:30-1:45pm, Hitchner Hall 157, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 20, Instructor: Roger J. H. King
Course Description: A critical study of issues in environmental ethics and philosophy, with special emphasis on exploring different ethical and philosophical strategies for thinking about the relationship between human beings and the non-human world. In addition to theoretical questions, we will also address some of the following topics: technology’s role in mediating between humans and nature, the implications of the built environment for sustainability and environmental responsibility, sustainability and environmental justice, ecological restoration, and/or the agrarian model of human participation in nature, among other possibilities.
PHI 475, (0001-SEM), Class#87361, Junior/Senior Seminar–Character, T 4:30-7:20pm, The Maples 17, 3 cr.
Max Enrollment: 20, Instructor: Donald Beith
Description: In this capstone course, we will hone our conceptual, literary and Socratic skills through a collaborative study of the nature of human character. We will ask the questions of what makes us distinctively human, the relationship between biology and personhood, what it takes to live a good life, the ultimate sources of meaning in existence, the nature of habit formation, the social constraints and possibilities of character development, and the ethical and political opportunities a deeper understanding of character can open. We will consider a wide range of perspectives with supplementary short readings, while focusing our study on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, John Dewey’s Human Nature and Conduct, and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Students will write and revise three short papers over the term, with one being presented to the class in a seminar workshop. This will be a rigorous, constructive philosophy seminar where we can reflect on what we have discovered in our philosophical educations.