Course Descriptions: Spring 2015

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

PHL 100.001 & .002: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Instructor: Dr. Fredrik Haraldsen

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or PHL 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: This course is intended to be a first introduction to the discipline of philosophy, and will give the student an opportunity to examine some perennial philosophical questions, such as: What is it possible to know? What makes a belief rational or justified? What is a person? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Can we even know whether God exists? Is the mind different from the brain? Is there any ultimate meaning of life? The purpose of the course is, in part, to get acquainted with different positions on these issues and some of the central arguments used to support these positions, but even more importantly it is to introduce students into what taking a philosophical approach to a question amounts to, and the point and value of doing so.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative Course Requirements: Two short (expository) papers, two exams

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.003: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Instructor: Dr. Scott Hestevold

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or 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.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.004 & .005: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Instructor: Dr. Vincent Picciuto

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or PHL 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: This course examines a range of traditional philosophical questions including but not limited to the question of whether knowledge is possible, the question of God’s existence, the nature of right and wrong, justice, and the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of government.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative Course Requirements: Careful reading, attendance, discussion questions and participation, four T/F, multiple choice, short extended-answer exams.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 100.006: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Instructor: Dr. Justin Klocksiem

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or 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 100.007: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Instructor: Dr. Vincent Picciuto

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 106 or PHL 191(Honors Introduction to Philosophy).

Course Description: This course examines a range of traditional philosophical questions including but not limited to the question of whether knowledge is possible, the question of God’s existence, the nature of right and wrong, justice, and the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of government.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative Course Requirements: Careful reading, attendance, discussion questions and participation, four T/F, multiple choice, short extended-answer exams.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

PHL 104.001: CRITICAL THINKING
Instructor: Dr. Chase Wrenn

Course Description: Deciding what to believe is never as easy as it first seems. The number of relevant factors may make choosing well seem almost impossible. This course helps to develop the skills needed to examine critically and systematically everything from the claims of science to claims in the political arena.

This course aims to hone critical thinking skills generally, but it also pays special attention to identifying and avoiding common argument fallacies, scientific reasoning, and thinking about moral issues. Along the way, we will be considering arguments as they occur in everyday life.

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: (a) three in-class exams; (b) homework and writing assignments (d) a course participation grade.

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
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
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
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 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, 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 & .002: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Instructor: Dr. Rekha Nath

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

Course description: What does justice require in our society today? With a focus on contemporary social and political issues, we seek to answer this question by looking at different dimensions of justice. We start out by examining the problem of political authority: What, if anything, can give the government legitimate authority over citizens? We then consider how the ideals of democracy, freedom, rights, and equality inform our understanding of a just society.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative course requirements: Exams and class participation

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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

PHL 241.001: PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES IN CRIMINAL LAW
Instructor: Dr. Kenneth Ehrenberg

Course Description: Topics likely to be included: Criminal responsibility in light of the problem of free will; justifications for punishment; definitions of crimes and the relation to morality; differences between excuses and justification.

Prerequisites: None

Tentative Course Requirements: Participation, reading quizzes, two examinations

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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
Instructor: Dr. Vincent Picciuto

Course Description: This course examines a range of questions about the nature of mind, perception, and knowledge including but not limited to the following. What is a mind made of? Are minds physical or immaterial? Are all mental states conscious? What do minds do? Presumably, one thing minds do is process information, such that their subjects might “know” things about the world. How is knowledge possible? How might perceptual experience provide knowledge of mind independent objects? What is knowledge in the first place?

Prerequisites: None

Tentative Course Requirements: Careful reading, attendance, discussion questions and participation, four T/F, multiple choice, short extended-answer exams.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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

PHL 291.001: AESTHETICS
Instructor: Dr. Richard Richards

Course Description: The arts are important to us. We listen to music, watch movies, see plays, attend dance concerts and go to art museums. But unless some controversy about art engages us, we rarely think about the nature of art. In this course, we will be introduced to some of the most fundamental concerns about art: What is distinctive, if anything, about the experience of artworks? Why do we identify anything as a work of art? How do we, or should we interpret an artwork? On what grounds can we criticize an artwork?

Prerequisites: None

Course Requirements: Four exams. Attendance and participation in discussion will be expected.

Core Curriculum: This course carries an FA (Fine Arts) designation.

PHL 292.001 & .002: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Instructor: Dr. Robyn Repko Waller

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 202 or 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?

Tentative Course Requirements: 2 3-page papers, 2 exams, reading quizzes, and a few brief presentations

Prerequisites: None

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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

PHL 292.003: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Instructor: Dr. Fredrik Haraldsen

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 202 or 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

Tentative Course Requirements: Two short (expository) paper, a final discussion paper, one midterm exam

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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

PHL 292.004: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
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 292.005: INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Instructor: Dr. Fredrik Haraldsen

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 202 or 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

Tentative Course Requirements: Two short (expository) paper, a final discussion paper, one midterm exam

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. Robyn Repko Waller

Not open to anyone who has taken PHL 202 or 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?

Tentative Course Requirements: 2 3-page papers, 2 exams, reading quizzes, and a few brief presentations

Prerequisites: None

Core Curriculum: This course carries an HU designation.

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

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.

Core Curriculum: None

This course is included in the Jurisprudence specialization.

PHL 390.001: SPECIAL TOPICS: LOCAL JUSTICE
Instructor: Dr. Rekha Nath

Course Description: What does justice require in our society today? With a focus on social and political issues that face us locally, we seek to answer this question by drawing on different theories and viewpoints concerning citizenship, democracy, freedom, rights, and economic justice. In addition to learning about theories of justice in the classroom, students will develop a deeper understanding of social justice through the service-learning component of this course, which involves participation in a community project. The aim of this course is to enable students to bridge their academic experiences in the classroom with their experiences engaging firsthand with practical community issues.

Prerequisites: Two other philosophy courses or instructor’s permission.

Tentative Course Requirements: Attendance and class participation; about 15-20 hours working with a community organization outside of class time over the course of the semester; final paper

Core Curriculum: None

This course is included in the Jurisprudence specialization.

PHL 392.001: SPECIAL TOPICS (WRITING): FREE WILL & RESPONSIBILITY
Instructor: Dr. Robyn Repko Waller

Course Description: This course will cover a number of philosophical issues related to agency, free will, and moral responsibility. Topics include the following: What does it mean to act intentionally? Do we have free will? Are we morally responsible for our actions? Are free will and moral responsibility compatible with determinism? Are they compatible with indeterminism? Which causal powers and mental capacities do free will and moral responsibility require? Is there any scientific evidence for or against free will? Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.

Prerequisites: Two other philosophy courses or instructor’s permission

Tentative Course Requirements: Two papers, reading quizzes, a final, and possibly a few brief presentations

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation.

This course is part of the Mind & Brain specialization.

PHL 392.002: SPECIAL TOPICS (WRITING): TRUTH
Instructor: Dr. Chase Wrenn

Course Description: To many people, there could be no better example of a philosophical question than, “What is truth?” In this course, we set out to answer it. The course will focus on surveying and evaluating four approaches to understanding the nature of truth—the idea that truth is knowability, the idea that truth is correspondence to the mind-independent world, the idea that truth is merely a logical property of sentences, and the idea that the nature of truth can be different when we are talking about different things. We’ll evaluate these views in terms of how well they are able to deal with problems concerning the notion of objectivity and the idea that truth is valuable. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.

Prerequisites: Two previous PHL courses or permission from the instructor. Prior coursework in deductive logic very strongly recommended.

Course Requirements: Two tests, two term papers, other writing, class participation and attendance.

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation.

This course is part of the Mind & Brain specialization.

PHL 393.001: SPECIAL TOPICS HISTORY (WRITING): BERKELEY
Instructor: Dr. Seth Bordner

Course Description: George Berkeley is famous for his idealism: the notion that at the most fundamental level, the world is nothing but perceiving minds and their ideas. Matter does not exist. The notion that the world we see, touch, taste, and feel is nothing but a coordinated series of perceptions in our minds is at once familiar, fantastical, and farcical. It’s been said of Berkeley’s philosophy that it admits of no answer and yet produces no conviction. This seminar will make a detailed examination of Berkeley’s most famous works along with some of his lesser known writings and expose students to a host of intriguing puzzles left behind by the strangest of the British Empiricists. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.

Prerequisites: Must have taken at least two previous philosophy courses or permission of instructor.

Tentative Course Requirements: two research papers and a final exam

Core Curriculum: This course carries a W designation.