Philosophy Courses, Spring 2023

PHIL 1000-01: Introduction to Philosophy: Puzzles of Human Existence, USP: H

Ed Sherline, MWF 9:00 am – 9:50 am

How do we escape the momentum of a meaningless and frustrating quotidien existence? How do we expand our selves and achieve union with the greater universe? How do we free ourselves from being shadow lovers? Through philosophical questions about our own existence.


PHIL 1000-02: Introduction to Philosophy, USP: H

Susanna Goodin, MWF 11:00am – 11:50am

A careful study of the big questions that philosophy studies: does God exist, is life meaningful, what are our duties as social beings, is there truth, is there reality (and if so, can we ever know what it is), and do I even exist? We will read the classic texts as well as contemporary works.


PHIL 2300-40: Ethics in Practice: Bioethics, USP: H

Lindsay Rettler, TR 9:35am – 10:50am

This course surveys contemporary issues in bioethics. We'll focus on a variety of ethical challenges related to life, health, death, and our bodies--from general issues, like informed consent and privacy, to particular problems, like abortion and euthanasia. We'll also address key ethical issues arising from pandemics in general and COVID-19 in particular. You probably already have beliefs about many of these issues; this course will help you think critically about those beliefs and defend them with rational arguments. It will also give you valuable philosophical tools for figuring out what to believe when you're undecided.


PHIL 2310-01: Philosophy of Religion (Cross-listed with RELI 2500)

Susanna Goodin, MWF 1:10 pm - 2:00 pm

A study of God and religion, this class addresses the issues of what an argument for the existence of God might be, what an argument against the existence of God might be, what God’s attributes are, can we ever know anything about God, why does suffering exist, does God care, what are miracles, is there an eternal soul, and what exactly is a religion anyway.


PHIL 2420-01: Critical Thinking

Bradley Rettler, TR 11:00am – 12:15pm

This course will help you to reason better. We’ll use tools from philosophy, psychology, decision theory, and cognitive science to study common mistakes people make when reasoning: confirmation bias, statistical inferences, false generalizations, misleading evidence, and plain old stubbornness. You will leave the course better able to evaluate arguments and to give persuasive arguments yourself.


PHIL 3000-01: Topics: Philosophy of Sex, Love and Friendship

Susanna Goodin, R 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

While there are any number of relationships that form a life, three of the most important are those that involve love, sex, and/or friendship. This course delves into the philosophical understanding of just what those relationships involve, whether their aspects are natural or social constructs, whether they are good for us and if so, what is the good to be gotten from each, what are the harms of each, and how might we change for the better the way we think about all of this stuff. This course will deal with mature themes.


PHIL 3120-01: Ancient Greek Philosophy

Rob Colter, MWF 11:00 am – 11:50 am

This is a course surveying some of ancient Greek philosophy. We will begin with the works of the earliest extant philosophical thinkers, known as the pre-Socratics, who began thinking in a way that is recognizably philosophical. The remainder of the course will focus on two giants of western philosophy, Plato and Aristotle.


PHIL 3300-01: Ethical Theory: The Good Place, USP: H

Ed Sherline, TR 9:35 am – 10:50 am

You can instantly catapult yourself into the good place by taking this course on cosmic shattering themes of moral theory—but do you really want to?


PHIL 3320-40: Eastern Thought, USP: H, Meets Non-Western Certification for A&S (Cross-listed with RELI 3320)

Holly Grether, Online – Asynchronous

This course will survey some of the most prominent themes found in Eastern Thought. We will explore primary sources texts from multiple religious traditions--Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnostic Christianity and Taoism. An underlying premise of this course is that none of these religions developed in isolation and, therefore, prominent themes can be found across the board. Five core course terms will be used as our comparative guide--selfhood, cosmic dualism, soteriology, eschatology, apotheosis.

PHIL 3420-01: Symbolic Logic

Franz-Peter Griesmaier, MWF 10:00 am – 10:50 am

This course will teach you how to construct proofs in a special, symbolic language. You’ll learn how to determine whether an argument is valid, what a proof actually is, how a system of logic is constructed, and how the symbolism can be interpreted by constructing models of the sentences in that special language. The technical expertise you’ll acquire comes in handy in fields as different as computer science, mathematics, and the law (esp. the LSAT).


PHIL 3500-01: History of Science

Franz-Peter Griesmaier, MWF 1:10 pm – 2:00 am

The contemporary form of science, with its disciplinary divisions, its social and economic role, and its institutional structures, is a rather recent phenomenon, not much older than some 150 years. The very idea of science itself, as the systematic and collaborative attempt to use both conceptual and empirical methods in an effort to gain understanding and control of the natural world, is hardly older than 400 years. We are going to discover what science was like in its early youth. Starting in ancient Babylonia and Egypt, we are tracing its development through the Greek classical period, the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, all in an effort to understand how the Scienitific Revolution emerged from those earlier efforts.


PHIL 3933-01: African Philosophy, USP: H, Meets A&S Core Global (Cross-listed with AAST 3933/INST 3933)

Ed Sherline, TR 1:20 pm – 2:35 pm

Social and political philosophy of racial justice on a global scale. Topics include post-colonial African political philosophy and the question of African socialism, the possibility of racial equality in a racist society, the debate over the use of violence to achieve decolonization and desegregation, what does it mean to move beyond colonization, what does the legacy of slavery demand of justice?


PHIL 4000-01: Phil. Issues: Metaphor

Harvey Hix, W 3:10pm – 5:40pm

One common view of metaphor understands it as a decorative, surface-level, supplementary linguistic technique used to “spruce up” language (and therefore especially prominent in literary writing). In this course, we will study an alternative view (supported by contemporary cognitive science and linguistics) that, quite to the contrary, metaphor is deeply embedded in human cognitive and in all language (literary or not); it is not merely added onto language, but inseparable from human thinking. We will explore the implications for philosophy of this alternative view.


PHIL 4120-01: Philosophy and the Twentieth Century

Franz-Peter Griesmaier, T 3:10 pm – 5:40 pm

The 20th century saw exciting developments in philosophy: Analytic Philosophy and its incorporation of logic and science, Phenomenology, which focuses on the contours of conscious experience, Existentialism as an attempt to redefine humanity’s place in a world marred by deadly wars, and The Frankfurt School, which fuses social criticism with an interpretive approach to human affairs. The course provides an overview and examination of these areas of philosophy and the historical context in which they emerge.