Current Courses

Spring 2022

Philosophy of Love and Sex

PHIL 1002 | Dr. Shannon Sullivan | MWF 11:15-12:05

Introduces students to the field of philosophy via the topic of love and sex.  Includes both historical (e.g., Plato, Augustine, and Freud) and contemporary perspectives on love and sex.  Topics may include: monogamy, homosexuality, bisexuality, intersexuality, sexual perversion and normality, masturbation, rape, prostitution, gay marriage, and pornography.

Introduction to Philosophy

PHIL 1101 | Dr. Mark Sanders | T/Th 10:00-11:15

Exploration of some of the basic problems that have shaped the history of philosophy (truth, knowledge, justice, beauty, etc.) and remain relevant to students today on personal and professional levels.  Readings will range from classical to contemporary texts by a variety of philosophers representing diverse perspectives on these problems.

Introduction to Philosophy (W)

PHIL 1102 | multiple sections

Exploration of some of the basic problems that have shaped the history of philosophy (truth, knowledge, justice, beauty, etc.) and remain relevant to students today on personal and professional levels.  Readings will range from classical to contemporary texts by a variety of philosophers representing diverse perspectives on these problems.

Critical Thinking (W)

PHIL 1105 | multiple sections

Fundamental skills of clear thinking that help students reason better during communication, problem-solving, and design, particularly as these integrate scientific/engineering efforts with social needs and values. Focuses on clarifying goals, identifying constraints, and generating and evaluating ideas or solutions.

Deductive Logic

PHIL 2105 | multiple sections

Principles of deductive logic, both classical and symbolic, with emphasis on the use of formal logic in analysis of ordinary language discourse.

Modern Philosophy

PHIL 3020 | Dr. Trevor Pearce | T/Th 10:00-11:15

This class is an overview of European philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, focusing by necessity on three narrow topics: the relationship between mind and matter, debates over philosophic method, and the role of sympathy in ethics. We will start with René Descartes’ argument that we are more certain of our own thinking than we are of the physical world. Next, we will read several authors who oppose Descartes’ account of soul and body, including Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, and Anton Wilhelm Amo. We will then examine discussions of method in early modern philosophy, covering new experimental approaches, the role of logical reasoning, and the justification of our most basic concepts. We will finish the course with an investigation of the nature of sympathy, a key idea in eighteenth-century ethics.

Ethical Theory

PHIL 3210 | Dr. Daniel Boisvert | M 2:30-5:15

Selective examination of major normative and metaethical theories that undergird our practical judgments about morally right actions and virtuous persons. Normative theories studied may include virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism, and representative feminist theories. Metaethical theories studied may include cognitivism, expressivism, realism, and error theory.

Healthcare Ethics

PHIL 3230 | Prof. Reginald Raymer | MWF 10:10-11:00

Major ethical dilemmas within medical science and biology are examined to assist students to identify, analyze, and decide ethical issues in such a way that they can defend their positions to themselves and others. Issues include reproductive and genetic technology, death and dying, patient rights, and justice in distribution of healthcare benefits and burdens.

Environmental Ethics

PHIL 3390 | TBA | T/Th 2:30-3:45

This course is designed to encourage critical reflection on the relationship between humans and the natural world through a survey of philosophical perspectives on the environment.

Knowledge and Reality

PHIL 3410 | Dr. Andrea Pitts | T/Th 1:00-2:15

This course is a survey of topics within contemporary social epistemology. Throughout the course, we examine topics such as: testimony, epistemic injustice, virtue epistemology, ignorance and agnotology, rationality and eurocentrism, and how race, gender, and sexuality impact knowledge production. The course readings draw from a number of philosophical traditions, including African American, Indigenous, African, U.S. Latinx, and Anglo-American traditions. Accordingly, there are three primary objectives for the course. The first is to introduce students to a variety of topics within social epistemology and to familiarize them with theories of knowledge across varying philosophical traditions. The second objective is to investigate how such topics and traditions pertain to concrete issues within our current social worlds. The third objective is to help students acquire skills for philosophical argumentation and analysis.

Mind, Cognition, and Behavior

PHIL 3430 | Dr. Tina Talsma | MWF 11:15-12:05

An exploration of metaphysical questions concerning the mind, as viewed through classical and contemporary philosophical perspectives. Topics may include: the mind-body problem, personal identity, consciousness, and free will.

Senior Seminar (W, O)

PHIL 3620 | Dr. Robin James | M 5:30-8:15

This is a capstone course where you will work to produce a piece writing and a short presentation wherein you make your own argument about an issue in ethics & applied philosophy that is of interest to you and that is related to any dimension of the course’s topic. The course topic this semester is voice. From Aristotle forward, “voice” has functioned, in Western philosophy, as both a metaphor for personhood and a tool used to judge whether or not individual people counted as full moral, political, and civil persons. In this course we will study how philosophers have used both the literal and metaphorical voice as a medium to think through a range of ideas and problems, such as defining the difference between humans and animals or humans and machines, the relationship between nature and culture, marking and policing racial, gender, and sexual boundaries, redressing inequality, and trans identity and politics. Though we will stick mainly within the Western tradition, we will focus primarily on black, Latinx, postcolonial, feminist, and other underrepresented “voices” (see what I did there?) within that tradition. The course has both content elementsreadings, discussions, presentationsand skills elements related to writing your capstone paper and preparing your presentation. We will spend a significant amount of time practicing writing and workshopping your final papers and practicing skills used in both your paper and your presentation.

Philosophy, Hip Hop, and Re-description

PHIL 3990 | Dr. Mark Sanders | Th 4:00-6:45

Hip Hop is a cultural movement, mainly defined by a style of music that comes out of a confluence of largely African American and Latin America cultural influences. It tells stories by mining cultural artifacts and influences and remixes them in order to produce new contributions to culture and knowledge. This story telling through remixing closely resembles with Richard Rorty calls re-description, which will serve as a framework for us to philosophically explore the many facets of hip hop.

Twentieth-Century Philosophy

PHIL 4190 | Dr. Michael Kelly | online asynchronous

The twentieth century was as rich in philosophy as it was in art, science, and history: phenomenology, existentialism, analytic philosophy, logical positivism, pragmatism, ordinary-language philosophy, feminism, critical theory, hermeneutics, critical race theory, deconstruction, queer theory, etc. One way to introduce you to as many of these types of philosophy as possible is to focus on texts that highlight the similarities as well as differences among them and to discuss issues that do the same. This course will complement many other courses in the department, including Knowledge & Reality, Ethical Theory, Modern Philosophy, and Social Political Philosophy, as well as Aesthetics, Feminism, Philosophy of Language, and others.

Truth and Power in Artificial Intelligence

PHIL 4990 | Dr. Gordon Hull | W 12:20-3:05

Truth and Power in Artificial Intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is often touted as revolutionary in fields ranging from healthcare to transportation. However, AI algorithms are always deployed both as part of sociotechnical systems and into existing social and political contexts. For this reason, the actual effects of AI systems depend on a complex series of interactions, and often have little to do with simplistic promises of revolutionary change. Work in AI “ethics” thus needs to be supplemented by work on the political economy of AI as well as how it is implicated in relations of social knowledge and power. In this course we will study critical theoretical literature on AI systems to better understand these relations, with attention to specific AI deployments such as natural language processing and specific issues such as fairness.

Queer Theory

PHIL 4990 | Dr. Kent Brintnall | T 5:30-8:15

Introduction to key issues in queer theory, a field of studies that questions and redefines the identity politics of early lesbian and gay studies by investigating the socially constructed nature of identity and sexuality and critiquing normalizing ways of knowing and being.