PHIL 103R Introduction to Ethics (4 credits) Reed
What are your rights and duties, and so what should you do? What is the best life for you, and so what type of person should you become? These two questions are both important, but they mark different approaches to ethics, with many emphasizing one but not the other. A principal aim in this course is to teach you an approach to ethics as a practical problem-solving self-discipline. This approach has traditionally been known as casuistry. During the course we will examine the relations between evolution, theology, psychology, and morality. What is the basis of your moral values? Biology, God, your culture and upbringing, your gender, and/or other things? We will discuss, among other things, whether non-human primate social groups exhibit morality, whether morality is the same universally across cultures, and whether divine commands are right because God commands them or are commanded by God because they are right on independent grounds. Students will write papers on their ideal life, the type of person they need to become to accomplish this ideal, and the personal standards they need to set for themselves to accomplish this ideal. The specific issues we discuss will include medical intervention in birth and death, human sexuality, the distribution of wealth and privilege, and differences of race and ethnicity. Five short tests will be taken, and the final exam will be comprehensive. The course is writing intensive. It is for people who relish an intellectual challenge.
PHIL 110M Logic and Critical Reasoning (4 credits) Martinez-Saenz
This course will be divided into two parts. During the first part of the semester we will work on developing our critical thinking skills. Evaluating various forms of discourse including film, literature, and philosophy, students will learn to detect instances of prejudice, racism and oppression, identifying the biases inherent in certain structures like language. Students will be expected to write four critical reaction papers for this part of the course. The second part of the course is designed to introduce students to formal logic. By the end of the semester the students should be able to do the following:
PHIL 200R Philosophy of Women's Lives (4 credits) McHugh (Two sections)
In this course we will survey contemporary feminist theory across cultures. Because we will be doing readings across cultures, we will seek to question if there is one standard feminist view that encompasses all of feminist theory. We will be reading feminist perspectives from Islamic women, African women, African-American women, Latinas, Chicanas, Indian women, and Euro-American women. We will be covering a wide array of topics and a diversity of approaches.
Tentative texts are: Lila Abu-Lughod, (ed), Remaking Women; Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought; bell hooks, All About Love; Linda Kauffman, (ed) American Feminist Thought at Century's End; Elaine Kim, (ed) Making More Waves: New Writing by Asian American Women; Ellen McCracken, The New Latina Narrative: The Feminist Space of Postmodern Ethnicity; Gwendolyn Mikell, African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa; Vandana Shiva, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge. You should come to class having read the material for the day and prepared to write on and discuss the material. This will not be a lecture-oriented class. I expect your full participation so that we can engage in dialogue together. This will make the course much more interesting for all of us. The course is a writing-based course, requiring several shorter papers and one longer paper. (Cross listed with Women's Studies.)
PHIL 200R Philosophy/Politics/Literature in Latin America (4 credits) Martinez-Saenz
The course focuses its attention on selected Latin American philosophers and the role philosophical thought play in social and political revolutions. The context of this course, consequently, takes place within the context of Latin American revolutions primarily in the 20th century. The student should be able by the end of the semester to appreciate more fully some of the philosophical perspectives that have been developed in Latin American literature in relation to social and political problems most specifically. Through the study of the selected thinkers and their particular social involvements students will be asking some of the following questions: How/can does literature affect social change? Does literature mirror life or does literature anticipate life? What kind of critical force can we assign to literature? How do our competing conceptions of what it means to be a human being affect our understanding of social and political frameworks? Students will be expected to write four critical essays. There will also be short answer quizzes given periodically on the reading assignments. In this class students will be expected to engage in dialogue with me and, at times, with each other.
PHIL 210R Ancient & Medieval Philosophy (4 credits) Reed
This course is an introduction to the historical method of philosophical reflection, an introduction to the philosophers of a particular period and a particular tradition (ancient Greek to medieval European), and a preparation for advanced work in philosophy. As part of the first goal, we will observe the historical nature of philosophical thinking, i.e., the way it develops historically, not by accident but by its very nature. We will trace one tradition of answers to questions variously answered by four particular notions (which themselves are reformulated over and over again):
PHIL 400W Senior Seminar: Conscience (4 credits) Reed
If humans are descended from non-humans, through millions of years of natural selection, what is the status of claims like "Genocide is wrong"?
Can morality be construed as part of natural social life, consistent with an evolutionary understanding of human capacities, a developmental understanding of mature human functioning, and a culturally relativist understanding of right and wrong? Or does the idea that genocide is wrong -- in some capital "W," absolute or ultimate sense -- require that morality is something un-natural or extra-natural or super-natural? The instructor will try to convince the students that the first question (in this paragraph) can be answered in the affirmative. He will buy anyone dinner who can change his mind or show him some problem with some facet of his account to which he has not attended.
The Senior Seminar in Philosophy assumes that students can deal with complex philosophical arguments and can articulate insightful observations and responses to those arguments. The course will be conducted in seminar (rather than lecture) style, with student responsibility for leading class discussions and ample opportunities to review and comment on peers' work.