Course Descriptions

Winter 2022

PHIL 2600: INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC                                                           
Dr. Matthew Rellihan
MWF 9:20-10:45

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.  Please note: Logic will not be offered in spring 22. If you need the class in order to graduate this year, then you must sign up for this section in winter.

PHIL 3620: EXISTENTIALISM                                                       
Dr. Paul Kidder
MWF 10:55-12:20 

Existentialism is one of the most powerful philosophical movements of the twentieth century and beyond, in part because it was not only a philosophical movement, but also a movement in literature, psychology, politics, and the arts. It is a profoundly personal form of philosophy which addresses, at the same time, some of philosophy’s oldest and most basic questions. This course will examine the defining philosophical ideas of Existentialism through works of Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, and Martin Heidegger. We will explore themes in literature and film through Camus’ novel, The Stranger and Ingmar Bergman’s film, The Seventh Seal. We will evaluate the debate that Kierkegaard had with Hans Chris-tian Anderson over the value of romantic fairy tales. We will consider the existentialist feminism of Simone de Beauvoir and the Black Existentialism to be found in Franz Fanon’s debate with Sartre over the significance of African literature. We will study the existential psychology and psychotherapy of Victor Frankl and Irvin Yalom. Through these authors we will discover a form of phi-losophy that is both profound in its insights and broad in its cultural and personal relevance. X: PSYC 3910-01

Dr. Daniel Dombrowski
TTh 1:30-3:35

In this course we explore the concept of anthropocentrism, the belief that human beings are the center of the world. The course will have six parts: (1) We will consider anthropocentrism in relation to the moral status of nonhuman animals who are sentient. 2) We will then consider Carol Adams’ related thesis regarding the sexual politics of meat. (3) A transition occurs when anthropocen-trism is treated in relation to the rest of apparently nonsentient nature (rocks, air, bodies of water, plants, etc.). Here we will con-sider Henry David Thoreau’s classic work Walden. (4) Holmes Rolston’s book Environmental Ethics is a contemporary version of the Thoreauvian view. (5) The implications of this view for the contemporary climate crisis are explored in Brian Henning’s Riders in the Storm. And (6) the relationship between Rolston’s and Henning’s view and ecofeminism is treated in the work of Greta Gaard. The goal is to have students prepared by the end of the course to state and defend their own view regarding anthropocentrism in light of various positions like the land ethic, deep ecology, and duties to future generations of human beings and members of other spe-cies. Counts toward EVST minor; for other options see your EVST advisor.

Dr. Matthew Rellihan
MWF 12:30-1:55

This class will focus on contemporary work on the metaphysics of mind, free will, and personal identity. Are our thoughts and feelings purely physical phenomena, as materialists believe? Or do they somehow transcend the physical? Are our choices and actions truly free? Must they be if we are to be morally responsible? And what is the nature of the self? Are we entirely constitut-ed by our memories and experiences? Do we even possess a ‘true self’ or is this merely a social fiction? We will consider a variety of sometimes surprising responses to these and similar questions

Dr. Jason Wirth
TTh 3:45-5:50

Although it will remain in dialogue with them, this course will decenter philosophical discourse from its dominant European prac-tices. What does philosophy look like when it is rooted in African, Indigenous, Buddhist, and Latinx traditions? We will explore some of the premodern roots of these approaches, with a special emphasis on global indigenous thought. We will also examine how these alternative traditions can illuminate the ecological crisis. Also counts for INST credit.