Spring 2012 Upper Division Courses


Critical Thinking (Philosophy 101) is to be taken during the student's freshman year.  It should not be delayed until late in the student's course work. 

Phil 101 (Critical Thinking) is the prerequisite for Phil 201 Human Nature;

Phil 201 (Human Nature) is the prerequisite for Phil 301 Ethics;

All 400-level Philosophy Courses have a prerequisite of 301 Ethics.

PHIL 400: Philosophy Major Pro Seminar
Dr. John Wagner
TR 1:15-2:30

This proseminar is designed for newly declared majors. We use the seminar for a variety of purposes: to learn some important points in logic, philosophical method, and research skills, but also to acquire an overview of the profession.  However, the most important goal of the seminar is to help you develop your philosophical voice, identity, and confidence. To that end, we will look at a variety of philosophical styles and methods, as well as quite a few basic issues in philosophy.  Topics for the proseminar are chosen in consultation with the students. Students will produce a portfolio of philosophical work over the course of the semester.

This course is for Philosophy Majors only.  It is best taken in the fall of the student's junior year, although students planning to study abroad during their junior year may take the course as sophomores.

PHIL 405/505: History of Medieval Philosophy
Dr. Michael W. Tkacz
MWF 10:00-10:50

The period commonly designated "medieval" in the history of Western philosophy is both long (over a millennium) and quite rich in the production of philosophical literature.  It represents a period of transmission of the works of ancient Greek thinkers, linking our own modern period with the origins of our intellectual heritage.  At the same time, it was also a period of profound originality of thought when the tools of the intellect were applied to the problems of religion, human society, and the study of nature.
Another significant aspect of the Middle Ages is that it is the period during which the philosophical heritage of the ancient Greeks spread from Greek-speaking lands to many non-Greek peoples.  Thus arose the four great traditions of medieval Western thought:  the Latin, the Greek, the Arabic, and the Jewish.  This course is a historical survey of the major philosophical movements of western philosophy from the seventh through fourteenth centuries.  Beginning with a consideration of philosophical work in the monastic and cathedral schools of the Latin West, the course will also cover developments in the Islamic schools at Baghdad and Cordorva. Also covered will be selected contributions of medieval Jewish philosophers as well as Greek philosophy in the Eastern Roman Empire.  The recovery of Greek science in the Latin West will be studied along with the rise of scholastic philosophy in the medieval universities.  Finally, the inception of medieval nominalism and the critical developments of the fourteenth century in both the Greek East and the Latin West will be studied.

Texts:    Authur Hyman & James Walsh, ed., Philosophy in the Middle Ages (Hackett Publishing, rpt. 1991).
Selected Texts of Medieval Greek and Latin Philosophy, tr. Michael W. Tkacz (available on-line).
This course is appropriate for Majors and Graduate Students only.

PHIL 406: Philosophy of St. Augustine
Dr. Doug Kries
TR 9:25-10:40

Augustine is justly famous for his contributions to the Christian Church, so much so that his
biographer Possidius refers to him as Athe second founder of the faith.@  Nevertheless, Augustine is remarkable as well for his philosophical work.  Indeed, one of the most impressive features of his thought is the manner in which Augustine brings faith and philosophy to engage each other.
In this course, we will examine Augustine=s encounter with the philosophers who preceded him and the many contributions that he himself made to philosophy.

This course will emphasize the study of Augustine=s Confessions, since this is often the best place
for beginners to encounter all of the richness of his thought and his personality.  It is also the work in which Augustine reflects on the philosophical enterprise and the meaning that philosophy has had in his own life. Other works from Augustine=s massive list of writings will be studied along with the Confessions.

The course involves a good deal of reading of Augustine. The students will also write on Augustine and take examinations and quizzes. Students will also be introduced to the library=s collection of works by and pertaining to St. Augustine as well as to how subsequent painters have portrayed Augustine=s life.

This course is appropriate for all students completing the core. It also fulfills requirements for Classical Civilizations and Catholic Studies students.

PHIL 412 Modern-Contemporary Philosophy
Dr. Ted Di Maria
TR 10:50-12:05

The modern and contemporary periods are as rich and diverse in issues and methods as any other period in the history of philosophy. Beginning with the subjectivist turn of Descartes, the modern period of philosophy embarks on an intensive investigation of subjectivity that attempts to provide a new basis for knowledge and metaphysics that culminates in Kant's critical philosophy. After Kant, late modern and contemporary thought splinters into distinct methods and approaches to philosophical problems as thinkers address the successes and failures of the early modern period and either develop or reject its fundamental positions. This course will survey some of these developments, which culminate in the analytic and continental movements of today, and will consider such thinkers as Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Russell.

This course is open to all students completing the core and to all Minors.

PHIL 416/516: Marxism
Dr. Tom Jeannot
TR 2:40-3:55

Whatever final assessment we come to of AMarxism,@ Karl Marx is among the greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century. In this course, we will grapple with Marx=s thought in a sustained way, especially its philosophical dimension.  We will also consider Marx=s influence on the subsequent movements that laid claim to his name, the history and variety of interpretations of his thought, and the implications, if any, of Marx=s thought for our time.  Our texts will include the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, the first volume of Capital, and R. Dunaywvekaya=s Marxism and Freedom.

This course is open to all students completing the core and to all Majors and Graduate Students.

PHIL 420/520: Contemporary Philosophy
Dr. Thomas Jeannot
TR 1:15-2:30

This course is a survey of major figures representing several contemporary approaches to philosophical investigations, including: the phenomenological movement, existentialism, and hermeneutics; analytic philosophy; American philosophy; feminist philosophy; African-American philosophy; and postmodernism. Requirements will include brief reflective essays and midterm and final take-home essay exams.

This course is open to Philosophy Majors, Minors, and Graduate Students.

Texts:    Baird & Kaufmann, eds., Twentieth Century Philosophy 3/e (Prentice Hall, 2003).
PHIL 428 Philosophical Hermeneutics
Dr. Dan Bradley
MWF 2:10-3:00

Allied with phenomenology, philosophical hermeneutics struggles not only with interpreting patterns of meaning in classical philosophical texts, but also with interpreting patterns of meaning in human existence, based on the model of the text.

This course is open to all students completing the core and to all Majors and Minors.

PHIL 430/530: Metaphysics
Dr. Debby Hutchins
MWF 1:10-2:00

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that attempts to understand the ultimate nature of reality - what the nature of the world really is, what things the world really does contain, what the different categories of existing things really are, and what relations exist among those things. It considers such basic concepts as existence, identity, possibility, necessity, substance, matter, form, cause, and time. This semester we will focus on four central issues in metaphysics: the nature of time, the existence of God, personal identity, and freedom/determinism.

This course is appropriate for students taking the core, and for all Majors, Minors and Graduate Students.

PHIL 434/534(INST 396): Chinese Philosophy
Dr. Quanhua Liu
TR 2:40-3:55

This course introduces students to major philosophical issues and disputes in the ancient Chinese Philosophy and Chan (Zen) Buddhism. We will read and discuss not only iconic Confucius (Kongzi) and Lao Tzu (Laozi) but also other resourceful thinkers in ancient China, such as Mencius (Mengzi) and Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi). The former, a dynamic disputer, is famous for his rigorous unrelenting defense of Confucian teaching and his creative development of Confucianism. The latter, a provocative critic of his contemporaries, is admired for his ability to present Taoism through his imaginative and animated parables. We will also explore Chan (Zen) Buddhist thoughts on the experience of satori, ego and egolessness, sense and nonsense, koan practice and arts. In addition, the course will also attempt to compare the Eastern thinkers' views with Western philosophers' on relevant issues. The course will take the format of combining lecture, discussion and presentation. Students will learn major schools' theories in classical Chinese philosophy, different perspectives of looking at the world and various ways of reflecting on human experience. The course will help participants acquire a sense of world philosophy and be aware of what Francis Bacon called "idols" in our own tradition. 

We will use two textbooks:
1. Lai, Karyn L. An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
2. Wing-Tsit Chan (Translator). A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1969.

This course is open to all students completing the core and to all Majors and Minors.       

PHIL 437: Philosophy of Time
Dr. Eric Kincanon
W 5:30-8:00

This course surveys the main questions concerning the metaphysics of time. These include: Is time continuous or discrete?  What is the difference between past, present and future?  Why is there an apparent arrow of time? And Is God temporal?   The goal of the course is for each student to develop his/her own metaphysics of time.

This course is open to all students completing the core and to all Majors and Minors.

PHIL 446/546: Philosophical Reflections on Christianity
Dr. David Calhoun
TR 1:15-2:30

It is a commonplace of contemporary thought that Christianity and science have a relationship that is contentious as best, outright war at worst.  In particular, battles concerning evolution and creation (now additionally involving efforts by members of the Intelligent Design or ID movement) seem to show fundamental and intractable conflict between, on the one hand, established scientific claims about the emergence and governance of living things by mechanical natural processes and, on the other, deeply-held beliefs about God's intervention in the world.  While modern theories in physics seem to some to be more compatible with Christian notions of creation, others suggest that progress in cosmological theories has the effect of chipping away at any possible divine role in the origins of the physical universe.
                In this course we will examine the historical roots of the relationship between Christianity and science, with particular attention to the philosophical principles that animate both.  We will focus on key events that shed light on the relationship between Christianity and science, such as the Galileo case and the emergence and scientific success of Darwinism in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Along the way, we will critically consider a variety of models that have been proposed to describe the Christianity-science relationship, from conflict to compatibility to integration.

This course is open to all students completing the core, Majors, Minors, and Graduate Students

PHIL 455: Health Care Ethics
 Dr. Jay Ciaffa
M 10:00-12:40 (01) (Nursing Students only)
TR 1:15-2:30 (02) (Open to all students)

This course will survey a range of ethical issues pertaining to the health care professions.  After examining some introductory material concerning philosophical ethics, we will proceed into three main sections of material.  Section One will examine professional obligations, the doctor-patient relationship, and the role of nurses.  Section Two will examine end of life care, and will focus on the issues of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.  Section Three will focus on ethical issues concerning human reproduction, including the abortion controversy. 
The purposes of the course are to increase awareness of the ethical issues that arise in the healthcare professions, to increase awareness of the ethical concepts and theories that are relevant to analysis of these problems, and to increase the student's ability to participate in rigorous thought and discussion concerning these issues. 

SECTION ONE of this course is for Nursing Students only.

SECTION TWO of this course is appropriate for all students completing the core, and for all Majors and Minors.

PHIL 456 WOMS 435: Feminist Ethics
Dr. Rosemary Volbrecht
MW 2:10-3:25

This course will explore women's experiences of oppression and some of the ways in which
this has marginalized their concerns and their perceptions of the moral dimension. We will consider both theoretical issues and particular applied issues. Theoretical issues will include feminist rethinking of the concept of moral agency, the traditionally sharp distinction between the public and private domains, and feminism in the content of cultural and ethical pluralism.  Particular topics may include work-family tensions, pornography, how feminist ethics reshapes the abortion debate, and women and third-world development.

The course will require significant reading, student participation, and writing.  No previous work in feminist theories will be assumed, but PHIL 301 is a course prerequisite.

This course is appropriate for all students completing the core, and for all Majors, Minors, and Graduate Students.

PHIL 457 Business Ethics
Dr. Ellen Maccarone
MWF 1:10-2:00

This course in business ethics will include a brief review of ethical theory, reliance on case studies, and a comprehensive discussion of business codes of ethics.  We will discuss the drafting of such codes, the problems they intend to resolve or prevent and their ethical justification.  We will critically examine some real codes of ethics and work on drafting one for a fictional company in light of the lessons learned from case study analysis.

This course is appropriate for all students completing the core, and for all Majors, Minors, and Graduate Students.

PHIL 460: Ethics of Global Climate Change
Dr. Brian G. Henning
MWF 12:00-12:50

Many have described global climate change as the defining challenge of the 21st century, noting that unless dramatic changes are made today, future generations will suffer terrible consequences, such as rising seas, wars over fresh water, tens of millions of environmental refugees, and the extinction of species such as the polar bear. This course will investigate the complex technological, historical, economic, scientific, political, and philosophical issues surrounding this most pressing moral issue. (Course counts toward: 400-level core philosophy requirement, the philosophy major and minor, and the environmental studies major/minor.)

This course is open to undergraduate students only.

PHIL 467/567: Faith and Reason
Dr. Brian Clayton
TR 9:25B10:40
That faith and reason are either completely unrelated to each other or related only in conflict with each other seems to have become one of the commonplaces of the age. In the Christian theistic tradition this view has been held by only a minority of those who have reflected on the matter; the majority view has been that faith and reason can be, should be, and are integrated. The apparently widespread acceptance of the new commonplace, even among those who profess to be Christian theists, creates challenges for those Christians who accept the tradition's majority position. One challenge is to respond to those outside of Christian theism, especially those who are atheists or secularists, and to show that their objections to such an integration can be answered. Another challenge is to address those within the Christian theistic community who make faith and reason entirely distinct or who see faith and reason in opposition. The challenge, here, is to show that, at the least, this is not required by one's commitment to Christian theism. A stronger version of the challenge would be to show that the new commonplace is actually contrary to one's commitment to Christian theism. The Christian heritage of faith seeking understanding (or reason) offers an alternative to both the secularist and the fideistic separation of the life of reason from the life of faith. This course will philosophically exploit this heritage as it pursues investigations of the relationships between the life of faith and the life of reason. Among the topics studied will be the following:  the classical (Christian) theistic conception of God; classical and contemporary objections to (Christian) theism, such as those based on the experience of evil and suffering; classical and contemporary proofs for the existence of God, the latter proofs drawn particularly from the mathematical and physical sciences; and contemporary defenses of and objections to the tradition's majority position on the faith and reason relationship.

Texts: William Carroll, Galileo: Science and Faith (Catholic Truth Society, 2009);
Peter Kreeft, A Summa of the Summa (Ignatius Press, 1990); C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (HarperCollins, 2001);
Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., New Proofs for the Existence of God (Eerdmans, 2010);
other readings available online.

This course is suitable for all students completing the core, majors, minors, and Graduate Students.

PHIL 470 Philosophy of Law
Dr. John Shuford
M 6:00-9:00

This course introduces advanced undergraduates to the study of philosophy of law and the related fields of legal theory and jurisprudence.  This orientation grounds our subject matter and calls forth those who might pursue studies in law or related fields as well as those who have interest in the concept of law and its meaning and role in our society.   We engage classic texts, contemporary legal scholarship (including natural law, positivist, pragmatist, feminist, postmodern, and critical race theory), acclaimed films, dramatic literature, social commentary, thought experiments, and simulated bar exam question scenarios.  Students need not have background in the study of law to take this course.  However, the reading load is significant (and often technical), my expectations are high, and the University attendance policy is in full effect for this course.
This course is appropriate for all students completing the core and for all Majors and Minors.

PHIL 472: Philosophy of Art
Fr. Kevin Waters, S.J.
TR 2:40-3:55

The course intends to (1) develop a systematic and coherent understanding of the philosophy of Art to Maritian=s method as set forth in Art and Scholasticism; (2) enable students to articulate their own philosophy of arts as well as formulate their own principles for art criticism.

This course is open to all students completing the core and to all Majors and Minors.
This course also fulfills requirements for Catholic Studies students.

PHIL 486: Practical Wisdom
Dr. Eric Schmidt
TR 2:40-3:55

Philosophy traditionally divides reasoning into two types: theoretical reasoning, which attempts to determine what is true, and practical reasoning, which attempts to decide what we should do. Aristotle and other classical philosophers oriented their accounts of practical reasoning around the ideal of practical wisdom, which involves doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason. In this class we will explore the idea of practical wisdom in three ways.
First, we will explore a range of historical and contemporary philosophical reflections on practical reasoning, emotion, and experience. What is the proper role of self-interest? How should we approach tradeoffs among multiple values? How do our experiences shape our evaluative first principles? Do rules undermine judgment?
Next, we will assess several contemporary resources for making wise decisions. What role, for example, should game theory and neuroscience play in the way we approach life decisions?
Finally, we will explore several domains in our lives and ask how we cultivate practical wisdom in those domains: love, work, death, and pleasure. We will read reflections on each of those areas found in philosophy, the sciences, fiction, and history.

This course is open to all students completing the core and to all Majors and Minors.

PHIL 499: Senior Seminar
Dr. Wayne Pomerleau
TR 2:40-3:55

 We shall focus on five great epistemological theories and their implications for metaphysics: (1) the continental rationalism of Rene Descartes, (2) the British empiricism of David Hume, (3) the German idealism of Immanuel Kant, (4) the American pragmatism of William James, and (5) the analytic philosophy of Bertrand Russell.  Each student will have to make a short presentation every week of the semester. Grades will be based on class participation (presentations and responses to classmates' presentations) and papers.
This course is for senior-level philosophy majors only.