Course Descriptions

 

PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT
COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

FALL 2020

PHIL 2600: INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC                                Dr. Kendall Fisher MWF 2:05-3:30

In this elementary introduction to informal and symbolic logic, students will develop their skills for evaluating and constructing arguments. Topics covered include propositional logic (truth-tables and natural deduction), predicate logic, argument analysis, inductive and causal reasoning, and informal fallacies. If you are considering law school, this class is excellent preparation for the LSAT.

PHIL 3010: ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY                        Dr. Daniel Dombrowski MWF 10:55-12:20
In this course we will study the thousand-year history of ancient philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to Socrates and Plato, to Aristotle, and to the Post-Aristotelian philosophers. We will pay special attention to Plato and Aristotle. Specifically, we will be concerned with how to read carefully, think logically, speak persuasively, and write clearly about these two giants in the history of philosophy. We will take seriously Coleridge’s claim that each person is born either a Platonist or an Aristotelian, and Whitehead’s belief that all of Western [and a significant portion of world] philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato.

PHIL 3060: PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY                      Dr. Jerome Veith MWF 12:30-1:55 

This course provides some orientation in the complex contemporary puzzlement about selfhood. We will use the last century’s (sometimes strained) dialogue between philosophy and psychology to see how these disciplines have challenged each other to become better at understanding human lived experience in its multi-layered contexts. Philosophy, especially in its sub-fields of existentialism, phenomenology, and hermeneutics, has been effective in pointing out structural constants of human experience, while psychological research and practice has underscored both how those structures develop and how susceptible they are to change, damage, or even loss. Some major themes we will address at the intersection of these disciplines include intersubjectivity, embodiment, affectivity, and language. The course will also highlight the immediate ramifications that these themes have for contemporary issues such as social discourse, design, and environmental policy.

      

PHIL 3180: PHILOSOPHY OF FILM                                    Dr. Jason Wirth TTh 3:45-5:50

Although many films merely seek to entertain and distract, there is a body of films from all over the world that invite us to think. How do films "think" and what does it mean for us to think along with  them? The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze thought these questions called for the creation of new concepts that are able to engage this new art form on is own terms. And what is philosophy, in the end, that it can engage something like cinema? This is not a course that takes seriously overt films about philosophy, as if cinema was somehow filming philosophy at work. This course begins by respecting the autonomy of great cinema, and attempts to engage it on its own terms and to allow film to reignite philosophy's own creative powers. We will consider directors like Terrence Malick, Andrei Tarkovsky, Akira Kurosawa, and Yasujirō Ozu. 


PHIL 3910: QUEER THEORY                                         Dr. Natalie Cisneros TTh 10:15-12:20
What does queer theory teach us? How does it help us think critically about both our commonly held assumptions and academic theories about gender and sexuality? The goal of this course is to “do theory” rather than to “know” or “master” it, so that we further develop our own practices of critique and reflection about our own lives and communities. We will investigate the historical foundations and contemporary innovations of queer theory in order to explore topics including queer politics and activism; histories of sexuality; forms of oppression including heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia; resistance to oppression; violence against LGBTQ people; diverse experiences of sexuality; and representations in literature, art, and popular media. We will also examine how queer theory intersects with other fields of study including critical race theory, feminism, psychoanalysis, trans studies, and disability studies.

PHIL 4850: MAJOR FIGURES: WITTGENSTEIN                Dr. Wai-Shun Hung TTh 1:30-3:35

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. Wittgenstein produced two influential yet very different philosophies in his lifetime. The “early” philosophy is centered around a theory of representation which would provide unified answers to questions about the nature of language, logic and the world. However, after a long leave from academic philosophy (and a brief stint as a gardener) he came to question many of the assumptions behind his early thinking—which he took to be epitomic of all of traditional philosophy—and developed “later” philosophy which is distinctive in both content and style, an anti-systematic or even anti-philosophical philosophy that has a lasting impact especially on the philosophies of mind and language.