Illustration of a solar system as a metaphor for small ideas circling around a larger one. Spring 2017 Courses


Note: Some course names on BlazerNET will show Topics in Philosophy or Philosophy Seminar. CRN = Course Reference Number.


200-Level Courses

PHL 203: Philosophy of Religion (CRN 39920)
This course looks at religion through philosophy by examining its meaning, nature, concepts, and terms. Issues that will be studied include the notion and nature of God, whether belief in God is rational, arguments for the existence of God, the effect of the existence of evil on the rationality of religious belief and faith, religious practices, the notion of miracles, and the connection between religion and morality. No previous philosophy course is required.
Time Offered/Teacher: MWF 10:10 - 11:00 a.m., Professor Ball.

PHL 204: Philosophy and Christianity (CRN 38818)
This course discusses the philosophical contributions of thinkers such as Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther to Christianity, as well as traditional philosophical problems in Christianity such as the Incarnation, Problem of Evil, Problem of Foreknowledge, and relation of teachings of Jesus to ethics. No previous philosophy course is required.
Time Offered/Teacher: W 5:00 - 7:30 p.m., Professor Stephens.

PHL 205: Existentialism (CRN 39921)
This course will focus on the philosophies of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre. We will explore questions surrounding the existence of God, free will, the nature of the self, and the meaning of life. No previous philosophy course is required.
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 2:00 - 3:15 p.m., Professor Whall.

PHL 290: Environmental Ethics (CRN 39922)
In this course, we will consider the moral relationship of human beings to the natural environment and to non-human animals. We will explore the attempt to apply traditional ethical theories to this new area of concern. In addition, we will consider the challenge of environmental ethics to the anthropocentrism (i.e. human-centeredness) embedded in traditional western ethical thinking. Other topics include the preservation of biodiversity as an ethical goal, the broader concerns of some thinkers with wilderness, the built environment and the politics of poverty, the ethics of sustainability, and climate change. No previous philosophy course is required.
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 3:30 - 4:45 p.m., Professor Whall.

PHL 291: Meaning of Life: Perspectives (CRN 39927)
This course will help introduce students to the study of philosophy through the examination of some of life's most important questions. In particular, we will be examining a variety of answers to the following questions: What is the meaning of life? What makes death bad a thing? Is death bad for the person who dies? What would immortality be like? Would immortality be a good thing? No previous philosophy course is required.
Time Offered/Teacher: MWF 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m., Professor McCain.

300-Level Courses

PHL 335: Philosophy of Law (CRN 31295)
This course examines the principles grounding criminal and constitutional law and questions such as: What conduct may a government justifiably prohibit, command, or restrict? When individuals break the law, when is punishment justified and to what extent can the state punish criminals? What is necessary to justifiably hold criminals responsible for what they do? We will spend much of the course examining these questions, both on their own merits and as illustrated in a variety of legal cases and appellate decisions.
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., Professor King.

PHL 372: Minds and Machines (CRN 39928)
This course investigates the philosophical foundations of mind, psychology, and artificial intelligence. We’ll look at possible answers to questions such as these: What is thinking? What is consciousness? Is consciousness in the brain? Can it exist without a brain? Some philosophers argue that everything in the universe is conscious! Is that just a poetic idea, or are there any reasons to take it seriously? What about computers? Can they think? Could they acquire consciousness? Could they be creative? How could a computer understand anything?
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 12:30 - 1:45 p.m., Professor Abrams.

PHL 375: Philosophy of Mind (CRN 38821)
This course investigates the philosophical foundations of mind, psychology, and artificial intelligence. We’ll look at possible answers to questions such as these: What is thinking? What is consciousness? Is consciousness in the brain? Can it exist without a brain? Some philosophers argue that everything in the universe is conscious! Is that just a poetic idea, or are there any reasons to take it seriously? What about computers? Can they think? Could they acquire consciousness? Could they be creative? How could a computer understand anything?
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 3:30 - 4:45 p.m., Professor Abrams.

PHL 398: Writing and Thinking (EMSAP) (CRN 39929)
A special seminar only for students in the Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP) that emphasizes Narrative Medicine and Writing Memoir as a health professional.
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 9:30 - 10:45 a.m., Professor Pence.

400-Level Courses

PHL 402: Neuroethics (CRN 39966)
What moral problems arise in neuroscience and other sciences of the mind? What can these sciences tell us about ethics? Topics in this course will include: privacy and side effects of brain technologies; neuroscientific threats to free will; moral responsibility and mental illness; emotion vs. reason in moral judgment; cognitive enhancement and personality change; ethically sound research practices. This field is interdisciplinary, so non-Philosophy majors are welcome. There are no prerequisites, but a previous course in Philosophy is recommended (particularly Bioethics).
Time Offered/Teacher: MWF 12:20 - 1:10 p.m., Professor May.

PHL 405: Epistemology (CRN 39930)
In this course, we will critically examine numerous accounts of the nature and sources of knowledge and justified belief. In addition, we will look at epistemological puzzles such as those concerning skepticism, the problem of induction, and relativism. This course requires some prior exposure to philosophy and some familiarity with basic philosophical concepts.
Time Offered/Teacher: MWF 2:30 - 3:20 p.m., Professor McCain.

PHL 408: Metaphysics (CRN 37846)
This course considers different theories of reality. It deals with such questions as "Are physical objects three dimensional or four dimensional?," "Are there real things that are not in space or time?," "Are possible entities, e.g., your possible twin, real things?," and "What are space and time?"
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 12:30 - 1:45 p.m., Professor Price.

PHL 490: Environmental Ethics (CRN 36938)
In this course, we will consider the moral relationship of human beings to the natural environment and to non-human animals. We will explore the attempt to apply traditional ethical theories to this new area of concern. In addition, we will consider the challenge of environmental ethics to the anthropocentrism (i.e. human-centeredness) embedded in traditional western ethical thinking. Other topics include the preservation of biodiversity as an ethical goal, the broader concerns of some thinkers with wilderness, the built environment and the politics of poverty, the ethics of sustainability and climate change.
Time Offered/Teacher: TR 3:30 - 4:45 p.m., Professor Whall.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave