PHIL 1101 - Introduction to Philosophy (multiple sections)
Introduction to critical exploration of such issues as knowledge, reality, consciousness and the good life; readings from Plato, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, or more recent sources.
PHIL 1102 - Introduction to Ethics (multiple sections; online courses available)
Introduction to such social and ethical questions as, “What makes a happy life? What justifies ideas of good and evil? How should we live with others? What is the role of gender and race in society?” The subjects of justice, racism, and oppression, especially as they figure into the American context, are highlighted.
In this course we will cover topics in both formal and informal logic. Studying logic trains the mind to reason well. Logic has played a foundational role in education for over two thousand years because reasoning well is essential to any intellectual endeavor, whether it be in the sciences, the arts, or the humanities. We will explore everyday uses of logic, historical systems of formal reasoning, and some modern formal logic.
Required Textbook (M50 online versions; always consult your syllabus or instructor
before purchasing textbooks)
MindTapV2.0 for Hurley/Watson's A Concise Introduction Logic, 1 term Printed Access Card. 2019. ISBN: 9780357419410
PHIL 3002 - History of Modern Philosophy
11:20 - 12:45am
This course will provide students with an overview of the major figures and topics of early modern philosophy. Philosophers in this period were responding to dramatic changes that were taking place in European society and culture stemming from the “scientific revolution”, and the main themes and concerns of their work emerge from this context. In the first half of the class, we will discuss topics in metaphysics and epistemology such as the nature of causality, the existence of God, the relation between mind and body, and the problem of evil.
Many of the philosophers we will have read in the first half were also influential political theorists. Modern philosophy coincides with the “age of revolutions” in which the modern political world as we know it was formed. The ideas we will study in the second half of the class had a profound impact on social upheavals taking place in England, the United States, France, and Haiti. Alongside canonical writings in political philosophy, we will read key texts from these four revolutions that were directly inspired by them, including manifestoes, constitutions, declarations of independence, and some famous political speeches.
PHIL 3452 - Feminist Theory
In this class, we will focus on the intellectual history of black feminists. We will start with nineteenth-century black feminists such as Maria W. Stewart, Sojourner Truth, and Anna Julia Cooper. We will also explore several ideas which characterize black feminism such as Womanism, Womanist Theology, the philosophies of rest and dreaming, misogynoir, Hip Hop feminism, and intersectionality. We will read works by Barbara Smith, Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, Tricia Hersey, Gwendolyn Pough, Joan Morgan, and Audre Lorde. Note: This course can satisfy the Humanities or the Minor Elective requirement for the African-American Studies Minor, and is required for the Women’s and Gender Studies Minor.
Discussion of ethical problems raised by contemporary medical practices and biological innovations from standpoint of contemporary ethical theories including abortion, euthanasia, human experimentation and genetic engineering.
Course Description (M50 online versions)
In this course we will begin by learning about moral theory, logic/argumentation, and concepts related to biomedical ethics such as autonomy, paternalism, informed consent, and more. We will then explore case studies in the modules that follow. Such topics include human research, pandemic ethics, abortion, euthanasia, and health care. You will be expected to apply moral theory to cases studies as well as identify relevant concepts.
Required Textbooks (M50 online versions; always consult your syllabus or instructor
before purchasing textbooks)
Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases by Lewis Vaughn (multiple editions available)
Most agree that we should treat people with respect and concern. In other words, we should treat people ethically. But why should this ethical treatment extend to non-human features of our world like oceans, forests, and non-human animals? This course will investigate the sources of our ethical commitments to the environment with a special focus on the effects of climate change and our obligations to reduce global warming. Attention will also be paid to distinct ethical problems like those concerning animals, biodiversity, sustainable energy, and environmental racism.
PHIL 3621 - Formal Logic
This course develops an understanding of formal logical systems, starting with an introduction of sentential (a.k.a. propositional) logic, and then turning to first-order predicate logic. One focus is on how to translate sentences of English into predicate logic and vice-versa. Additionally, this course investigates how to reason by using formal rules and a derivation system. Other possible topics include logical reasoning in LSAT and GRE tests, the psychology of deductive inference, and the completeness and soundness of the formal systems we use. While there are no prerequisites for this course, some training in, or familiarity with the use of formal reasoning as taught in elementary logic, computer science, or mathematics has proven helpful to students.
PHIL 3701 - Human and the Divine
In this course, we explore the philosophical foundations of both Western and West African religious traditions in the U.S. Special topics covered in this course include Yoruba religious traditions, the Black Church, liberation theology, feminist theology, hoodoo/Voodoo, and how African American spiritual traditions have influenced major aspects of American culture.
PHIL 3806-M50 - The Ethics of AI and Big Data
As unregulated data collection threatens to compromise our privacy online and offline, "data pollution" further threatens make the information available to us online less reliable. Misinformation, social media, and recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) pose seemingly endless moral questions about the future of "Big Data". This course will address central issues in AI Ethics and Big Data. Issues such as bias and fairness in the development of algorithms, privacy and surveillance concerning intelligent technology, as well as self-driving cars and AI-driven robots will be among the topics considered.
PHIL 3880 - PHIL 3880 – Problems in Philosophy: Intro. to German Idealism
Are time and space real or are they just in our minds? Can we know the absolute? What about the abyss? Can we know reality as it is in itself, or are we stuck with subjective appearance? Is self-knowledge actually possible? Or is my self like the blind spot enabling an eye to see? How should we properly ground and delimit the sciences of metaphysics and epistemology? And how does all this relate to human free will? In this course, we will explore one of the most exciting and ambitious movements of philosophy: German Idealism, spanning from the late 18th- through the mid-19th-century. We will begin with Kant’s revolutionary critical philosophy and then look to ways colossal figures like Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel transformed it to develop their own grand philosophical systems confronting questions like those above.
PHIL 4421/6421 – Philosophy of Mind (prerequisite PHIL 1101, 1102, or 1611)
We think of the mind in different ways than we do the brain. Minds have representational states (beliefs, desires, and memories), computational states (inferring, predicting, coordinating), and sensory states (seeing, feeling, smelling). Many of these states also have the strange property of being conscious: we are aware of our believing, inferring, sensing, etc. In contrast to this, brains have neurons and glial cells, action potentials and electrical impulses, and ventricles and lobes. The stark difference between the kinds of properties we assign to the mind and the brain raises the question, “How is the mind related to the brain?” Additionally, there is the question of how to understand the mind ‘on its own terms’. What is required to have a mind? What does it mean to have representational and computational states? What other states does the mind have? Through an exploration of mental phenomena such as belief, perception, inference, association, and consciousness, we will see how philosophers and psychologists have attempted to explain mental phenomena – both on their own terms and in ways that can help us understand how they can be explained in terms of physical systems.
PHIL 7030 - Seminar Continental Philosophy
PHIL 7301 - Seminar Modern Philosophy
PHIL 7414 - Seminar In Metaphysics
Mary Beth Mader
PHIL 7514 - Cognitive Science Seminar