Course Descriptions: Spring 2014

NOTE: You can also download this information as a PDF.

PHL 100.001: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Michael Horton

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or PHL 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy), and open only to freshmen and sophomores.

Course Description: This course is a topic-centered introduction to the discipline of philosophy with an emphasis on some of its central issues, namely (i) the mind/body problem, (ii) the existence of God, (iii) the nature of right and wrong, (iv) social rights and responsibilities, and (v) the problem of free will. Along the way we will have the opportunity to connect these issues to current debates playing out in the public realm. Come ready to discuss!

Prerequisites: None.

Course Requirements: Vigorous and healthy discussion along with several smaller critical assignments will contribute to our goal of leaning the key positions and the arguments in favor and against. Three exams will gauge your mastery of the material.

The successful student will (1) demonstrate an awareness of the methodologies employed by the philosophic community, (2) understand and be able to articulate leading and historically significant views on our designated topics, (3) subject these views to critical scrutiny and (4) develop one’s critical thinking skills.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.002: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Jeremy Kelly

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy), and open only to freshmen and sophomores.

Course Description: This course is an introduction to some traditional problems of philosophy. Among the problems to be examined are the problem of free will and determinism, the mind-body problem, the problem of skepticism, and the question of God’s existence. Although primarily a survey of philosophical problems and theories as they figure in the history of philosophy, the focus of the course is the critical exploration and evaluation of these problems in the light of recent discussion.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: 5 quizzes (30%), 3 examinations (55%) and participation (15%).

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.003: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Michael Horton

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or PHL 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy), and open only to freshmen and sophomores.

Course Description: This course is a topic-centered introduction to the discipline of philosophy with an emphasis on some of its central issues, namely (i) the mind/body problem, (ii) the existence of God, (iii) the nature of right and wrong, (iv) social rights and responsibilities, and (v) the problem of free will. Along the way we will have the opportunity to connect these issues to current debates playing out in the public realm. Come ready to discuss!

Prerequisites: None.

Course Requirements: Vigorous and healthy discussion along with several smaller critical assignments will contribute to our goal of leaning the key positions and the arguments in favor and against. Three exams will gauge your mastery of the material.

The successful student will (1) demonstrate an awareness of the methodologies employed by the philosophic community, (2) understand and be able to articulate leading and historically significant views on our designated topics, (3) subject these views to critical scrutiny and (4) develop one’s critical thinking skills.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.004: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Jeremy Kelly

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy), and open only to freshmen and sophomores.

Course Description: This course is an introduction to some traditional problems of philosophy. Among the problems to be examined are the problem of free will and determinism, the mind-body problem, the problem of skepticism, and the question of God’s existence. Although primarily a survey of philosophical problems and theories as they figure in the history of philosophy, the focus of the course is the critical exploration and evaluation of these problems in the light of recent discussion.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: 5 quizzes (30%), 3 examinations (55%) and participation (15%).

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.005: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Justin Klocksiem

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy), and open only to freshmen and sophomores.

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 100.006: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. Jeremy Kelly

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy), and open only to freshmen and sophomores.

Course Description: This course is an introduction to some traditional problems of philosophy. Among the problems to be examined are the problem of free will and determinism, the mind-body problem, the problem of skepticism, and the question of God’s existence. Although primarily a survey of philosophical problems and theories as they figure in the history of philosophy, the focus of the course is the critical exploration and evaluation of these problems in the light of recent discussion.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: 5 quizzes (30%), 3 examinations (55%) and participation (15%).

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 104.001: CRITICAL THINKING

Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Ehrenberg

Course Description: This section will focus on the kind of reasoning that is tested on the LSAT, specifically conditional and causal reasoning, as well as on fallacies commonly found in advertisements and political arguments. Students will learn to construct and critique a variety of arguments useful for argumentative writing assignments common in many courses in college and beyond.

Prerequisites: None

Anticipated Course Requirements: Two examinations as well as one or more presentations or in-class debates.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Philosophy and Medicine specialization and meets requirements for the Jurisprudence Specialized Minor.

PHL 106.001: HONORS INTRODUCTION TO DEDUCTIVE LOGIC

(Formerly PHL 103)

Instructor: Dr. Torin Alter

Open to Honors students only. Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 105 or 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 and Brain specialization and meets requirements for the Jurisprudence Specialized Major and Minor.

PHL 195.001: INTRODUCTION TO DEDUCTIVE LOGIC

(Formerly PHL 101)

Instructor: Dr. Torin Alter

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 103 or 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 and Brain specialization and meets requirements for the Jurisprudence Specialized Major and Minor.

PHL 212.001: EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHY

(Formerly PHL 251)

Instructor: Dr. S. Seth Bordner

Course Description: This course will look at the main figures and intellectual developments of the early Modern period of philosophy. We will proceed chronologically, starting with Descartes’s seminal Meditations on First Philosophy and tracing two very different branches of influence from there to what are often called the Rationalist and Empiricist schools. Other figures of note will be Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.

Course Requirements: three exams, in-class quizzes

Prerequisites: None, but one philosophy course at the 100-level is recommended.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 215.001: AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY

(Formerly PHL 235)

Instructor: Dr.Jeremy Kelly

Course Description: The scope of ‘American Philosophy’ is both broad and vague: it is said to have enjoyed its ‘Golden Age’ between roughly 1860-1930, extending as far back as ‘The Great Awakening’ of the middle 18th century (Jonathan Edwards). Pragmatism, America’s only home-grown philosophy, has undergone a revival in the late 20th century in such controversial figures as Hilary Putnam and Richard Rorty.

The course is both lecture and discussion based. Topics around which discussion will center are epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of science, among others. The course is historically conceived in (broadly) two senses: there will be a focus on, on the one hand, the continuities between specific intellectual movements (e.g. Evolutionary Psychology) and their historical antecedents (e.g. Darwinism) and, on the other hand, the continuities between these movements and contemporary philosophical discussion. Special attention will be given to the pragmatism of Peirce, James and Dewey.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative Course Requirements: Papers (2); Exams (mid-term and final); Participation & 7 Quizzes

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 223.001: MEDICAL ETHICS

(Formerly PHL 201)

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, 2nd ed. (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 required for the Philosophy and Medicine specialization.

PHL 230.001: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

(Formerly PHL 220)

Instructor: Dr. Rekha Nath

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 220 (Political Philosophy).

Course description: Should we have a government at all? What justifies it in telling you what to do? What powers does a legitimate government exercise over citizens? What does a just society look like? These are some of the central questions of political philosophy. In this course, we seek to answer these questions using the tools of philosophical investigation. We will consider different viewpoints and theories on the value of democracy, freedom, rights, and economic justice. This course serves as an introduction to central debates in political philosophy, and no prior exposure to the subject is presumed.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative course requirements: 3 exams and participation

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

This course is included in the Jurisprudence specialization.

PHL 256.001: PHILOSOPHY OF SPORT

Instructor: Dr. S. Seth Bordner

Course Description: Sports command more of our attention (and money) than almost any other part of our culture, except for maybe religion. Sports are important to our culture, and interesting to watch. They’re also interesting to think about. This course provides an introduction to the burgeoning field of Philosophy of Sport. We will look at the nature of sports (and games more generally), sportsmanship and fairness, the role of officials, gender equity, racism, and issues surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs. This course is reading intensive. Prior exposure to philosophy is welcome but not required.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: three exams, 3-5 short writing assignments

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence specialization.

PHL 260.001: MIND AND NATURE

(Formerly PHL 254)

Instructor: Dr. Chase Wrenn

Course Description: This course concerns the relationship between thought and the natural world. It centers on two questions, which we will first encounter in René Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. One question is, “What is the place of the mind in nature?” The other question is, “What is the place of nature in the mind?” In trying to answer the first question, we will survey various ways philosophers have thought of the nature of the mind and its relationship to the physical body. In trying to answer the second question, we will consider the problem of skepticism and the nature of our knowledge of the world around us. Readings will be from Descartes and from contemporary philosophers.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: Three tests, class participation

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

This course is part of the Mind & Brain and Philosophy and Medicine specializations.

PHL 292.001: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

(Formerly PHL 200)

Instructor: Dr. Justin Klocksiem

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 202 or 221 (Honors Introduction to Ethics).

Course Description: This class provides an introduction to ethics by way of a discussion of doctrines and arguments in three central areas of moral philosophy – (a) the normative ethics of behavior (the theory of right and wrong action); (b) value theory (the theory of good and evil); and the ethical status of human fetuses and non-human animals. Along the way, other important topics in moral 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.

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

PHL  292.002 & .003: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

(Formerly PHL 200)

Instructor: Dr. Michael Horton

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 202 or 221 (Honors Introduction to Ethics).

Course Description: This course serves as an introduction to the area of philosophical ethics by way of a focus on historically prominent ethical theories and by way of an analysis of particular ethical controversies. Specific theories to be surveyed include, but may not be limited to, deontology, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, contractarianism, and feminist approaches. Among the issues to be discussed will be abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, torture, and an issue of the class’s choosing.

The successful student will develop her or his abilities (1) to demonstrate an awareness of the methodologies employed by the philosophic community, (2) to understand and appreciate different, competing theories of morality and different, competing views of the good life, (3) to subject these to critical scrutiny, to understand and criticize the various arguments that can be used to defend and to attack various “world views,” (4) to analyze concrete situations by means of these theories, and (5) to develop one’s critical thinking skills.

Course requirements: There will be three exams and approximately five short writing assignments. Students will be required to attend class.

Prerequisites: None

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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

PHL  292.004 & .005: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

(Formerly PHL 200)

Instructor: Dr. Justin Klocksiem

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 202 or 221 (Honors Introduction to Ethics).

Course Description: This class provides an introduction to ethics by way of a discussion of doctrines and arguments in three central areas of moral philosophy – (a) the normative ethics of behavior (the theory of right and wrong action); (b) value theory (the theory of good and evil); and the ethical status of human fetuses and non-human animals. Along the way, other important topics in moral 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

Course Requirements: None

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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

PHL 343.001: PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

Instructor: Dr. Rekha Nath

Course description: This course explores philosophical issues that arise with respect to the international law. Some of these are conceptual. For instance, what qualifies as ‘international law’ and in virtue of what characteristics? International laws, norms, and rule-mediated practices are different in character from the laws that govern our lives within the state. Who makes international laws, and who enforces them? A host of normative issues arise with respect to international law too. What if anything gives international legal bodies like the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization rightful authority over those who are taken to be bound by their rules? In cases of conflict, do the laws of states trump international laws or vice-versa? We will consider some of the ethical issues surrounding international laws, treaties, and conventions concerning some of the following issues: human rights; war, humanitarian intervention and the use of violence more broadly; trade and economic globalization; the environment and the use of natural resources; immigration and refugees; and intellectual property. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.

Prerequisites: You are required to have taken at least two philosophy classes prior to this one, including one at the 200-level or above; or instructor’s permission.

Tentative Course requirements: 2 papers, final exam, and class participation

Core curriculum: Seeking W designation

This course is included in the Jurisprudence specialization.

PHL 349.001: LEGAL REASONING

Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Ehrenberg

Course description: This course will prepare you for law school by covering the various methods of reasoning and argumentation that are tested on the LSAT, developed in law school, and used by lawyers and judges. It will also cover philosophical issues relating to rule following, interpretation, and using authorities.

Prerequisites: a B in at least one other PHL class.

Tentative course requirements: a research presentation and paper.

This course is included in the Jurisprudence specialization.

PHL 364.001: PHILOSOPHY OF COGNITIVE SCIENCE

Instructor: Dr. Chase Wrenn

Course description: Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mind, which draws on findings from fields as diverse as psychology, anthropology, philosophy, neuroscience, computer science, and robotics. It provides a new perspective on classic philosophical problems, and it also raises new problems of its own. This course will focus on two sets of philosophical issues in cognitive science.

The first set of issues concerns a version of the “nature vs. nurture” debate. Our cognition and behavior are shaped by our genetics and evolution, by our social environment, and by factors internal to ourselves. How do these factors relate to one another, and how significant are the roles played by each? We will read Jesse Prinz’s recent book, Beyond Human Nature, supplement with readings from such other authors as Stephen Pinker.

The second set of issues concerns the nature of cognition and cognitive processes. Even if we suppose the mind-brain is an information processing device, many puzzles and problems remain when it comes to understanding how a piece of meat could interact with itself and the physical environment in ways that manifest real intelligence. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.

Prerequisites: At least two previous philosophy classes. It is very helpful to have taken Mind and Nature (PHL 260) and Introduction to Deductive Logic (PHL 195/106) prior to this course.

Requirements: Midterm paper, final paper, two exams, class attendance and preparation.

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation

This course is part of the Mind & Brain and Philosophy and Medicine specializations.

PHL 489.001: PHILOSOPHY OF 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.

Tentative course requirements: A midterm and final exam, two papers, attendance and participation.

Core curriculum: Seeking W designation

This course is required for the Philosophy and Medicine specialization.

PHL 490.001/PH 482.002: SEMINAR: PHYSICS & METAPHYSICS & OTHER NONSENSE

Instructors: Dr. Patrick Leclair (Department Of Physics & Astronomy) and Dr. H. Scott Hestevold (Department Of Philosophy)

Course Description: Physics, Metaphysics, and Other Nonsense is an advanced course that is cross‑listed as PH 482.001 and PHL 480.001, and it will be team-taught by physicist Patrick LeClair and philosopher Scott Hestevold.

The instructors and students will address problems at the interface of physics and metaphysics: What are the methodological similarities and differences between physics and philosophy? Was Newton right that space exists, or was Leibniz right that it doesn’t? If space does exist, is it finite or must it be infinite? If finite, does space have shape? Could space be curved? Does time exist? Was Newton right that time flows, or does special relativity imply that persons, objects, and events are “frozen” across spacetime? Is time travel logically impossible? Is the nature of time relevant to how objects persist? What, if anything, do the findings of quantum mechanics reveal about the persistence of objects and the nature of matter?

Prerequisites: Philosophy students who enroll should have completed at least two PHL courses.

Course requirements: There will be at least three multiple-choice exams and at least one written homework assignment per exam. Those enrolled for PHL credit will be required to write a philosophical essay at least five