Course Descriptions Fall 2013
Philosophy 100 Philosophy, Law & Ethics Prof. Mayra Valadez (Section M01)
In this course, we will consider some of the most pressing and often controversial moral and legal issues of today: abortion, euthanasia, war, environmental ethics, and issues of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Some of the questions we will consider are: is abortion moral? Should there be limitations on it? Should we ever help someone end their life? How should we treat our environment? Should gay marriage be legal?
Course requirements will include 2 exams and various short in-class writing assignments.
Philosophy 101G The Art of Wondering Prof. Mayra Valadez (Section M70)
In this course, we will consider some of the fundamental questions of philosophy: Why study philosophy? What is philosophy? Is there such a thing as free will? Can we prove the existence of God? What does it mean for an action to be moral? Are there moral truths? What is the most important social value? How should I live my life?
In considering these questions, we will examine and engage in the construction and analysis of arguments with the goals of: 1) correctly understanding and engaging with the questions and arguments philosophers have struggled with, and 2) developing and enhancing your critical thinking skills, especially in the examination of arguments. We will also examine how the study of philosophy—far from being a merely abstract and theoretical field—can have practical implications that affect our day-to-day lives.
The text will be Phil Washburn's, Philosophical Dilemmas: A Pro and Con Introduction to the Major Questions, 3rd edition. Course requirements will include exams, discussion assignments, and journal assignments.
Philosophy 101G The Art of Wondering Prof. Jennifer Noonan (Sections M01, M02)
An introduction to the aims, methods, and problems of philosophy. The course will cover a broad range of questions of enduring philosophical interest including the following: What do we really know? Are minds just brains? Does God exist? Are moral judgments purely subjective? Grades will be based on performance on three exams and five quizzes.
Philosophy 101G The Art of Wondering Prof. Mark Walker (Section M03)
This course is a “sampler platter” of philosophy: a rapid survey of some of the great philosophical questions. The following are some of the questions we may consider:
· Does life have meaning?
· What happens to us when we die?
· How do we know that we are not living in “The Matrix”?
· How should I live my life?
· Do we have a duty to help those starving in the two-thirds world?
· Does God exist?
· Is it wrong to eat animals?
· What can science tell us about our world and our place in it?
Philosophy 101G The Art of Wondering Prof. Lori Keleher (Section M04)
This course offers an introduction to philosophy through the critical engagement of some of the most central questions in philosophy including: What – if anything – can we know? Are we simply material beings, or do we have immaterial souls? What does it mean to be the same person you were in grade school? Do we have free will, or are all of our actions beyond our control? Does God exist? What does it mean to behave morally? Grades will be based on three exams and several quizzes designed to reflect an understanding of course methods and materials.
Philosophy 201G Introduction to Philosophy Prof. Jean-Paul Vessel (Section M01)
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 "mind-body" problem (including puzzles about personal identity), and the problem of the existence and nature of God. 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. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Hume, and contemporary philosophers. Requirements: exams, quizzes, and mini-quizzes.
Philosophy 201G Introduction to Philosophy Prof. Tim Cleveland (Section M02)
This introduction to philosophy focuses on the importance of logic and the critical examination of our beliefs. To introduce the student to philosophy we will raise a number of traditional questions and examine how some famous philosophers addressed them. What is the nature of the self? Exactly what are you anyway? Do we have free will? Must we have free will if we are to be responsible for our actions? Is free will compatible with our scientific understanding of the world? Are there reasons for believing in God? Can God’s existence be proved? Can God’s existence be disproved? What is the relation between scientific belief and religious belief? What is the nature of right and wrong? What is a good life? What is the relationship between morality and religion? What is the relationship between reason and morality? We will approach these questions with the help of James & Stuart Rachel’s introductory text, Problems from Philosophy 3nd Edition (McGraw Hill, 2009).
Philosophy 211G Informal Logic Prof. Jennifer Noonan (Section M01)
The purpose of this course is to hone students’ critical thinking skills. These skills have wide application. They should help students in their other course work as well as in practically any profession they may choose. The course will expose students to claims and arguments from a wide range of sources including advertising, politics, popular media, science and pseudoscience in order to identify errors in reasoning, misleading phraseology and effective argument strategies. The textbook for the course will be Crimes Against Logic by Jamie Whyte.
Philosophy 211G Informal Logic Prof. Mark Walker (Section M70)
Arguments are important because they offer us reasons to believe a conclusion. Arguments are everywhere: in advertising, newspaper editorials, political rallies, course textbooks, at the pub, etc. Clearly there are good arguments and bad arguments. But which arguments should we accept and which should we reject? This course will help answer this question by developing your skill for detecting good and bad arguments. This is a very useful skill to have, not only for your academic career, but also for life outside the “ivory tower”. Most of us have had the experience of hearing an argument that “feels wrong”, but we cannot put our finger on why it is wrong. This course will provide you with some conceptual tools to logically defend against bad arguments, and help you construct good arguments.
Philosophy 223G Ethics Prof. Jean-Paul Vessel (Section M01)
What makes an act right? What makes someone’s life good? What is virtue? What are the natures of the meanings of moral words? These are some of the questions that we’ll consider this semester. This course provides an introduction to ethics by way of a discussion of doctrines and arguments in three (and possibly four) 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 (c) virtue/vice theory (the theory of excellence of character). Our focus will be on (i) careful study of the relevant texts and (ii) clear and precise formulation and evaluation of the most important theories and arguments. Requirements: exams and quizzes.
Philosophy 3l2 Formal Logic Prof. Timothy Cleveland (Section M01)