Course Descriptions: Fall 2016

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PHL 100.001: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Chase Wrenn

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 191 (Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: In this course, you will learn about what philosophy is and how philosophers apply the tools of logic and reason to philosophical problems. We will explore a variety of issues, including (but not limited to) the question of God’s existence, the relationship between mind and body, and the nature of right and wrong.

Prerequisites: None.

Tentative Course Requirements: Careful reading, attendance, participation, pop quizzes, and four exams (quizzes and exams are true/false, multiple choice).

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.002: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Justin Klocksiem

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 191 (Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: This course provides an introduction to philosophy by way of a discussion of three central philosophical problems—the problem of free will and determinism; the problem of the existence and nature of God; and the “mind-body problem”. Along the way, other important topics in philosophy will be discussed.

In each case, the focus is on careful formulation of doctrines and arguments. The goals are (i) to understand the doctrines and arguments; (ii) to develop the ability to evaluate the doctrines and arguments; and (iii) to begin to develop the ability to extract well-formulated, interesting arguments from philosophical texts.

Prerequisites: None

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.003: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Benjamin Kozuch

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 191 (Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: The discipline of philosophy aims to answer the hard questions: Does God exist? Could there be an afterlife? Is there such a thing as objective right and wrong? Does a mechanistic physics allow for free will? These are questions that philosophers have toiled for hundreds of years trying to answer. This course surveys the fruits of their labor, looking at and evaluating the more notable answers offered to these questions. The goal of the course is to help the student form well-founded opinions as to how these questions should be answered.

PHL 100.004: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. H. Scott Hestevold

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 191 (Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: The course offers an introduction to philosophical methodology by way of studying five classic philosophical problems: (1) Is any form of government justified, or should we be anarchists? (2) Are there objective facts about right and wrong, or is the moral standing of homosexuality or abortion merely a matter of opinion? (3) Do you have free will, or are your actions all causally determined by your genetic predisposition, biochemistry, and various environmental stimuli? (4) What sort of thinking thing are you? Are you a soul that inhabits your body? Or, are you identical with brain? (5) Does the existence of God explain why there exists something rather than nothing or why there exist complex life forms? Or, is the existence of evil compelling evidence that a perfectly good God does not exist?

Prerequisites: None.

Tentative Course Requirements: Four multiple-choice/short-answer examinations; short homework or in-class assignments; attendance.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.005: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Benjamin Kozuch

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 191 (Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: The discipline of philosophy aims to answer the hard questions: Does God exist? Could there be an afterlife? Is there such a thing as objective right and wrong? Does a mechanistic physics allow for free will? These are questions that philosophers have toiled for hundreds of years trying to answer. This course surveys the fruits of their labor, looking at and evaluating the more notable answers offered to these questions. The goal of the course is to help the student form well-founded opinions as to how these questions should be answered.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.006 & 007: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Torin Alter

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: In this course, you will learn about what philosophy is and how philosophers apply the tools of logic and reason to philosophical problems. We will explore a variety of issues, including (but not limited to) the question of God’s existence, the relationship between mind and body, and the nature of right and wrong.

Prerequisites: None.

Tentative Course Requirements: Careful reading, attendance, participation, pop quizzes, and four exams (quizzes and exams are true/false, multiple choice).

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.008 & 009: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: TBA

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

The instructors for these sections will be announced later, but the course content and requirements will likely be similar to what appears above.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 104.001: CRITICAL THINKING

Instructor: TBA

Course Description: Arguments pervade our daily life: We decide which products to buy on the basis of advertising claims, vote for political candidates on the basis of their campaign promises and arguments for their proposed policies, debate our friends about silly and serious topics, serve on juries to determine the guilt of those accused of crimes, and argue for philosophical conclusions.
These arguments can often influence us to make decisions on extremely important practical and theoretical matters: e.g., Is this defendant guilty of first-degree murder? Is abortion immoral? Is this candidate well qualified for the presidency of the U.S.? Do we have free will?
In this course, we will use example arguments from all of these domains. The goal of the course is to better understand the structure of arguments and know how to critically assess them. This course will cover both inductive and deductive arguments and will instruct you in identifying major fallacies, including ad hominem arguments, straw man arguments, appeal to irrelevant reasons, false dilemmas, etc. (see schedule for class meetings for more topics to be covered). Acquiring these skills will help you both better assess others’ arguments and better construct your own.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: TBA

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Mind & Brain Specialization, and it fulfills requirements for the Jurisprudence Specialized Minor.

PHL 104.002: CRITICAL THINKING

Instructor: Dr. TBA

Course Description:Whether you are watching television, reading a book or newspaper, or attending a class, some person or institution is attempting to influence your beliefs, attitudes, or actions. Such influence takes various forms. We shall focus on attempts to influence you via claims and arguments.

Our concern will be to understand and hone those critical reasoning skills each of us needs to make good decisions about what to believe and what to do, so that you may better respond to these influences.

As such, in this class we will pursue a general study of the appropriate standards for determining what to believe. This will require an exploration of the nature of justification and the giving of reasons. Questions we will consider include, but will not be limited to: When is an argument persuasive? How do we develop and present reasons for a conclusion? How do we evaluate the reasons that others present to justify their beliefs? When should we evaluate beliefs that we have held for some time?

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: TBA

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Mind & Brain Specialization, and it fulfills requirements for the Jurisprudence Specialized Minor.

PHL 106.001: HONORS INTRODUCTION TO DEDUCTIVE LOGIC

Instructor: Dr. Chase Wrenn

Open to Honors students only. Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 195 (Introduction to Deductive Logic).

Course Description: What is the difference between a good argument and a bad one? This course examines some of the formal techniques developed by philosophers and mathematicians to answer that question. It will also cover more advanced topics (but not meta-logic). It is a self-paced course using both computer-aided learning techniques and one-on-one guidance from the instructor and the teaching assistants.

Prerequisites: Admission to UA Honors or 28 ACT, and a C or better in Math 100 or the equivalent.

Course Requirements: Attendance is mandatory, but students take tests when they feel they have mastered the material the tests cover. Final grades are determined by the number of tests passed and the number of test attempts made.

Core Curriculum: None

This course is included in the Mind & Brain Specialization, and it fulfills requirements for the Jurisprudence Specialized Major and Minor.

PHL 195.001: INTRODUCTION TO DEDUCTIVE LOGIC

Instructor: Dr. Chase Wrenn

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 (Honors Introduction to Logic).

Course Description: What is the difference between a good argument and a bad one? This course examines some of the formal techniques developed by philosophers and mathematicians to answer that question. It is a self-paced course using both computer-aided learning techniques and one-on-one guidance from the instructor and the teaching assistants.

Prerequisites: A grade of C or above in Math 100 or equivalent.

Course Requirements: Attendance is mandatory, but students take tests when they feel they have

mastered the material the tests cover. Final grades are determined by the number of tests passed and the number of test attempts made.

Core Curriculum: None

This course is included in the Mind & Brain Specialization, and it fulfills requirements for the Jurisprudence Specialized Major and Minor.

PHL 211.001: ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Seth Bordner

Course Description: This course will focus on the major themes of ancient Greek philosophy, from the earliest pre-Socratic philosophers, through Plato and Aristotle, to the later Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics. We will proceed chronologically and pay special attention to the systematic connections between metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics in each school of thought, as well as the development of later views in light of criticisms of earlier ones. The aim of this course is to provide students a reasonably comprehensive background in the main areas of Western analytic philosophy through an examination of some of the earliest systematic philosophies.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: There will be three exams throughout the course; two mid-term exams and one final exam. In addition, there will be periodic, unannounced quizzes given in class to test your comprehension of the readings. These quizzes will be graded on a High Pass/Low Pass/Fail scale.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 221.001: HONORS INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

Instructor: Dr. Stuart Rachels

Course Description: This course will focus on a dozen or so matters of personal and social importance. Topics include abortion, pornography, famine relief, affirmative action, gay rights, and the death penalty. We’ll concentrate on the reasons that bear on these issues. Our approach to these issues will serve as a model for critical thinking in general.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: Grades will be based on four exams. Attendance will be taken each class, and an attendance policy will be enforced.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence Specialization.

PHL 223.001: MEDICAL ETHICS

Instructor: Dr. Stuart Rachels

Course Description: This course is an introduction to some of the ethical issues involved in medicine. Topics include: physician-assisted dying; the allocation of organs and other scarce resources; abortion; stem cell research; and patient autonomy. Our main text will be Lewis Vaughn, Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Schedule: This is a large lecture course that meets three days per week.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: There will be three exams. Students will be required to attend every class meeting.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Philosophy and Medicine Specialization.

PHL 234.001 & 002: SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Rekha Nath

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 222 (Social Philosophy).

Course Description: The government intrudes in the lives of citizens in many ways, and some of these intrusions seem legitimate while others do not. We will consider some of the following issues concerning the legitimacy of government interference. Should citizens have an unrestricted right to bear arms, or are some gun control policies imposed by society justified? Should society ban or heavily regulate the use of drugs and other addictive substances? Should consenting adults be permitted to freely enter into prostitution and commercial surrogacy arrangements? What role if any should the government play in defining who may legally marry whom? A different topic we will investigate is whether citizens, in virtue of participating in social practices, incur obligations that go above and beyond that which is legally required of them. In particular, we will consider what responsibilities individuals might have concerning what they eat and how they affect the natural environment. In addressing a range of controversial social and political issues, our focus in this course is normative. Through the careful consideration of different philosophical frameworks, our aim is to make progress in arriving at well-reasoned positions about how our society ought to be organized as well as what it means for individuals to live ethical lives.

Prerequisites: None. This course is not open to students who have taken PHL 222

Tentative Course Requirements: class participation and writing assignments.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence and Philosophy and Medicine Specializations.

PHL 240.001: PHILOSOPHY AND THE LAW

Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Ehrenberg

Course Description: This course is a survey of major issues in the philosophy of law including the main theories of general jurisprudence, the relation of legal obligation to moral obligation, the nature and limits of legal responsibility, adjudication and legal reasoning, constitutions, and issues in legal interpretation.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative course requirements: reading quizzes, two exams, and online discussion

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence specialization.

PHL 260.001: MIND AND NATURE

Instructor: Dr. Benjamin Kozuch

Course Description: Philosophers have long struggled to give an adequate account of the mind. The first part of this course conducts a historical survey of accounts that have been offered, pointing out a steady progression toward “materialist” (rather than “dualist”) accounts. The second part of the course looks at two aspects of the mind that have proven resistant to materialist explanation, the first being consciousness, and the second being the way that mental states can be about things (e.g., a thought of Paris). The third part of the course covers philosophical problems associated with free will and ethics, with a focus on recent experimental results that are thought to shed light on these issues.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: TBA

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Mind & Brain and Philosophy and Medicine Specializations.

PHL 292.001 & 005: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

Instructor: TBA

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 221 (Honors Introduction to Ethics).

Course Description: This course is centered on three main topics.

1) Realism v. relativism. Are there moral truths independently of humans or is morality “subjective” in some sense. If the former, how so? If the latter, in what sense?

2) Systematizing morality. What are the possible ways that moral standards might be systematized to regulate right and wrong actions? Is any such systematization possible?

3) Contemporary moral issues. i) The relation between persons (moral agents) and neural processes. How can we rectify these two seemingly distinct levels of description to make sense out of moral claims? ii) Should there be restrictions on enhancement? If so, what are they, and how is the distinction between treatment and enhancement best drawn?

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: TBA

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence and Philosophy and Medicine Specializations.

PHL 292.002, 003 & 004: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

Instructor: TBA

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 221 (Honors Introduction to Ethics).

Course Description: This course is intended to introduce students to the basic elements of ethics. In the first part of the course we will consider some historic and contemporary ethical theories: (1) Consequentialism, (2) Deontology, and (3) Virtue Ethics. We will also explore topics in ethics from a naturalized and descriptive perspective. In the second part of the course, we will then investigate a number of topics in applied ethics (abortion, moral status of animals, human starvation and poverty), often through the lens of the ethical theories we have previously covered. The third section of the course will focus on a particular set of “hot topics” in applied ethics, those that fall under the umbrella of neuroethics. Here we will look at questions like the following: What restrictions, if any, should we put on the use of advancements in neuroscience? Are we morally obligated to enhance our cognitive abilities if the benefits of doing so far outweigh the costs? What bearing do advancements in neuroscience have on ethical concepts, such as moral responsibility?

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: TBA

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence and Philosophy and Medicine Specializations.

PHL 292.006: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

Instructor: Dr. Seth Bordner

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 221 (Honors Introduction to Ethics).

Course Description: This course is designed to give the students a broad introduction to the field of philosophical ethics. The primary aim is to acquaint students with the basic subject matter of ethics as it is studied within philosophy, a few central authorities and positions, and a feel for how philosophers engage with contemporary ethical issues in light of some of the historical influences on the discipline. We will read a variety of texts ranging from historical works on ethics generally to contemporary works focusing on specific moral issues. The hope is that students will develop an understanding and appreciation of how different ethical theories apply to particular cases, and how they might begin to engage in genuine ethical debates.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: There will be three exams throughout the course; two mid-term exams and one final exam. In addition, there will be periodic, unannounced quizzes given in class to test your comprehension of the readings. These quizzes will be graded on a High Pass/Low Pass/Fail scale.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence and Philosophy and Medicine Specializations.

PHL 292.007 & 008: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

Instructor: TBA

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 221 (Honors Introduction to Ethics).

Course Description: This course is an introduction to contemporary moral issues. Students will be introduced to basic methods and principles for moral reasoning, and various theories of what morality is and what the fundamental principles of ethical conduct may be, as well as some common challenges to these positions. Part of the course will also be devoted to applying this background to some of the most difficult and controversial issues in our society, for example abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and affirmative action. Which topics we cover will be partially up to the students, and the discussions are meant to train the student in the application of moral theory and enable them to extend these analytic and critical skills to other relevant moral issues as well.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: TBA

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence and Philosophy and Medicine Specializations.

PHL 362.001: MIND, LANGUAGE & REALITY

Instructor: Dr. Torin Alter

Course Description: This course is about the nature of meaning and its connection to metaphysics and epistemology. We will study classic works by Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Saul Kripke, and others. Then we will study more recent work in philosophical semantics and its application to arguments in the philosophy of mind.

Prerequisites: Deductive logic (PHL 195 or 106 or equivalent) and one other philosophy course, or instructor’s permission.

Tentative Course Requirements (tentative): two five-to-ten page papers, at least one additional short writing assignment, regular reading quizzes, and a final.

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation.

This course is included in the Mind & Brain and Jurisprudence Specializations.

PHL 366.001: METAPHYSICS

Instructor: Dr. H. Scott Hestevold

Course Description: The course offers for the advanced philosophy student rigorous study of classic problems in metaphysics, which will likely include the following:

1. Objects. Objects apparently persist through time, but they undergo various changes. Sculptors change the form of hunks of clay; chefs turn black skillets red hot, an aging car undergoes a gradual replacement of parts. Do objects survive such changes? Is Leonardo’s portrait of Mona Lisa hanging in The Louvre really more than three-hundred years old?

2. Persons. Just as cars undergo replacements of parts, your body has undergone a gradual replacement of cells. Have you persisted through time if your body has undergone a replacement of cells? Are you identical with the person to whom your mother gave birth on your birthday? If not, then when did the person to whom your mother gave birth cease to exist? If Fred is told that he will die of Alzheimer’s within a decade, will it be Fred who dies with Alzheimer’s?

3. Actions. Does determinism preclude the possibility that humans act freely? Is there good reason to believe that humans can act freely? Or that they can’t?

4. Time and Space. (a) Some philosophers believe that time is dynamic – –  that persons and events undergo temporal passage, moving from the future, to the present, and into the past. Others argue that time is static – – that persons and events are “frozen” across spacetime. Does time flow, or is it static? (b) Is time travel possible? (c) Is there such a thing as time? If so, what is it? (d) Is there such a thing as space, or is it false that there are places that objects do or could occupy?

Prerequisites: at least two philosophy courses.

Tentative Course Requirements: (a) Two philosophical essays of at least five substantial, double-spaced pages [50%], (b) three multiple-choice/short-answer examinations [40%], and (c) occasional homework assignments [10%].

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation.

This course is included in the Mind & Brain Specialization.

PHL 448.001: PHILOSOPHY OF LAW: HART’S CONCEPT OF LAW

Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Ehrenberg

Course Description: This class will begin with a close reading of H.L.A. Hart’s Concept of Law, the book that revitalized modern legal philosophy in the Anglo-American tradition. We will focus on four key theses in the book and students will write an initial reaction paper to one of those theses. Then students will plumb the superabundant literature that it has spawned, crafting a research paper that addresses the current status of some part of Hart’s philosophical legacy.

Prerequisites: B or better in a 200-level course from the jurisprudence list* or instructor’s approval, or an A- or better in any PHL class with a writing designation.

            * PHL 292, PHL 221, PHL 230, PHL 234, PHL 240, PHL 241, PHL 242, PHL 243 or PHL 256

Requirements: Two papers and two presentations.

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence Specialization.

PHL 489.001: PHILOSOPHY AND MEDICINE

Instructor: Dr. Richard  Richards

Course Description: It is difficult to overstate the significance of medicine, in that it affects each of us from birth through death; or the complexity of medicine, in that it involves scientific, conceptual, economic, ethical and philosophical issues. We will here look at some of these issues from a philosophical standpoint, including: the ways that we conceptualize health and disease; the relation between medicine and science; the patterns of reasoning associated with medical thinking; and the challenge posed by evolution to how we think about medicine, health and disease. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.

Prerequisites: None, but a background in philosophy, science or medicine will be helpful.

Requirements: A midterm and final exam, two papers, attendance and participation.

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation.

This course is included in the Philosophy and Medicine Specialization.