Philosophy

Course Offerings - Summer 2008

Phil 3000-01

Seminar: Time Travel and other Puzzles about the Past and Future

Dixon

M-R

8:40-11:30 am
5/19-6/15

 

In this course we will concern ourselves with a myriad of interesting questions concerning the nature of time.  Among these will be: What is the difference between time travel to the past and to the future?  What do the laws of physics say about the possibility of each of these types of time travel?  Is time travel to the past even a coherent concept?  Is reverse causation possible?  What is the difference between instantaneous and gradual time travel?  Do objects and persons persist through time, and if so, how?  What is the difference between our moral responsibility for events that happened in the past and those that will happen in the future?  We will be looking at philosophical and scientific papers as well as literary and cinematic works of the science fiction genre to clarify these questions and to attempt to answer them.

 

Phil 3000-02

Seminar: Sex, Love & Philosophy

Goodin

M-R

1:20-4:10 pm
5/19-6/15

 

This course will look at the nature of love:  the role of physical attraction for love, distinctions among love, sex, infatuation, obsession, and friendship, gender differences in the conception of love and sex, and the various views on promiscuity, perversion, marriage, adultery, monogamy, and homosexuality.  The broad topic of philosophy of sex has been found, in one way or another, throughout the history of philosophy.  From Plato's Symposium, Epictetus' The Discourse and Manual, and Aquinas' On the Truth of the Catholic Faith, through Hume, Kant, Bentham, Mill, Marx, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche up to contemporary feminism and gender studies, sex and love have been discussed, analyzed, dissected, dismissed, and celebrated.  As the authors of Philosophy and Sex point out, if the unexamined life is not worth living, and if sex and love are an undeniable part of that life, then how can the philosopher not include them as topics for philosophical scrutiny?

 

Phil 3000-03

Destiny, Fate & Free-Will

Thompson

M-R
6:00-8:50 pm
5/19-6/15

In this course, we will examine questions like “Are we destined?”; “What is the significance of free will?”; “Does education increase one’s freedom/autonomy?” ; “What can neuroscience tell us, if anything, regarding free will?” ; “What does quantum mechanics have to do with free will?” ; “If there is a God, can we be free?” ; “To what extent might social and environmental factors effect how free we are?” ; “If we do not have free will, can we be held responsible?” ; “Is free will a necessary fiction?” While exploring these questions and others we will look at what various philosophers and intellectuals have written on the subject of destiny, fate, and free will, including Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus, and others.

Phil 3000-04

How to Think About Weird Things

Thompson

M-R
8:40-11:30 am
6/16-7/13

The class will explore some of the more traditional forms of beliefs in the supernatural, such as astrology, ghosts, UFO's, and clairvoyance, and discuss the recent debate between creationism and evolutionary theory.  We will examine the evidence and arguments for the reasonableness of these beliefs.

Phil 3000-05

Got Knowledge? What the #@! Do We Know

Colter

M-R
6:00-8:50 pm

This is a course on the scope and limits of human knowledge. What can we know, if anything? How should we define "knowledge"? Are there different ways of knowing? Are all viewpoints equally valid? Are "reality" and "rationality" just social constructions? We'll consider a variety of answers to these questions. Along the way, we'll reflect on the challenge raised by philosophical skepticism, the nature of knowledge and justification, and the spectre of relativism.

Phil 3320-01

Eastern Thought  (Meets Non-Western Certification for A&S)

Devlin

M-R
1:20-4:10 pm
6/16-7/13

Take a journey to the East and explore the central philosophies and religions of Asia, as we examine four particular religions – Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism, Taoism, and Mahayana Buddhism – and focus on the philosophical significance of these religions. Class discussions will stress analysis of readings and important philosophical concepts that arise from our Eastern exploration and how they apply to our lives at home in the West.