DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY
PHIL 110R Logic and Critical Rreasoning
This course is divided in two parts. The first part of the course considers important aspects of philosophical reasoning in relation to the Aristotelian tradition by way of the study of categorical logic, the analytic tradition by way of the study of prepositional/predicate logic and its different applications. Students will take three exams and weekly quizzes to determine their competency during this part of the semester. The second part of the course helps students develop their critical thinking skills. Students will engage in exercises evaluating landmark Supreme Court decisions. Students, for example, will evaluate Dred Scott v. Sanford, Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. These are just a few examples of landmark cases that not only had undeniable political implications, but forced us to question our willingness to accept others. The second part of the class will be evaluated by weekly quizzes, in-class exercises and one final paper. Prerequisite: Minimum Math Placement 22. Math reasoning intensive.
PHIL 200R Knowledge and Social Change
Knowledge and Social change is an introductory level course in theories of knowledge, i.e., epistemology, and their relation to ethics. The goal of the course is to help students understand that the epistemologies we hold have a substantial bearing upon how we live and that certain kinds of epistemologies are more conducive to more meaningful and ethical lives for individuals and for the flourishing of groups and communities. We will work to critically assess the merits of different epistemologies and their applicability to life. Weekly quizzes, exams, and project.
PHIL 200R Philosophy of Women’s Lives
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. Weekly quizzes, exams, and service project.
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.
PHIL 210R Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
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): (1) the notion that abstractions (like geometrical figures and the periodic table of elements) are the true objects of knowledge, (2) the notion that it is sometimes very difficult if not impossible to do what you know is good and not to do what you know is bad, (3) the notion that to be real and to be excellent are the same, i.e., that being and goodness are identical, and (4) the notion that the soul is immortal and lives on after the body decays and ceases. Students will take a mid-term and a final exam.
PHIL 312 20th Century Philosophy
While the focus of this class will not be all movements in the 20th century, the student will become acquainted with two traditions, namely “continental tradition” and the “pragmatist tradition.” We will be asking questions related to but not limited to the following: How does Marx influence philosophy, most specifically the Frankfurt School, in the 20th century? What is the relation between philosophical positions and social change? Can we identify the ills of society? If so, how do we go about critiquing social movements and social institutions? Do human beings have the power to change the world or does the world exert so much power over human beings that we are at the whim of social (and natural) forces? What constitutes a philosophical solution both to a philosophical problem and a social-political problem? Students will be expected to write two 8-10 page papers and will be required to take two in-class exams. In addition, students will have weekly quizzes. Prerequisite: PHIL 211R. Writing intensive.
PHIL 380-Ethics of Economic Development
The primary aim of the course is to provide students with the abilities to recognize and evaluate ethical issues and perspectives as they relate to economic, social, cultural, political, and technological development. Students will be engaged critically with aspects of development ranging from the growing rates of economic inequalities, poverty and healthcare, and sexism and its effects on policy alternatives. Students will be expected to write four critical essays. In this class you and your classmates will be expected to engage in dialogue with me and, at times, with each other. Your education, as a philosopher, requires that you learn to understand, appreciate, and be able to think critically about philosophical positions. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission. Writing intensive.