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Upcoming & Current Courses in Philosophy

Here are the courses the department is offering now and next semester, along with their instructors' descriptions. General descriptions of all DePauw courses in philosophy, along with major and minor requirements, may be found under All Courses.

Philosophy courses for Fall 2017

(Spring 2017 course descriptions are below.)

PHIL 101A: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 12:30-1:30 MWF
We will consider several important topics in philosophy such as our knowledge of the world outside our minds, God’s existence, human freedom, and how we should live. To do so we will read, discuss, and critique philosophical works from ancient times to the present. Requirements will include written responses to readings, short papers, exams, participation, and possibly a presentation.  Area: AH

PHIL 101B: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Richard Cameron, 9:10-10:10 MWF
Our course begins with critical examination of the conception of philosophy which seems to have inspired Socrates’ outrageous claim that the unexamined life is not worth living. Socratic philosophy involves the critical investigation of life-orienting and inescapable questions, questions which all of us answer and the answers to which send our lives off in dramatically different directions. The idea is illustrated through critical examination of core questions from the three main branches of philosophy: ethics (e.g., what are our obligations to the world’s poorest people?), epistemology (e.g., what can we know?), and metaphysics (e.g., is there a God?).  Area: AH

PHIL 101C: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 10:20-11:20 MWF
Does God exist? Can you tell whether you are dreaming? Are you obligated to help people who are far away as much as you are obligated to help those closer to home? In this course we will investigate these questions among others. In doing so, you will be introduced to several major themes in philosophy and works by important philosophers. We will be reading works from ancient philosophy through to contemporary philosophy, including philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume. By the end of the course you should have a better understanding of what philosophy is, and should have cultivated the ability to think and write clearly. Requirements for this course include active participation, short paper assignments, exams, and an essay. Seniors admitted only by permission of instructor. May not be taken pass-fail.  Area: AH

PHIL 216A: HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY – EARLY MODERN
Professor Marcia McKelligan, 1:40-2:40 MWF
A survey of major figures in Continental and British philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries, with particular attention to problems in metaphysics and epistemology. We read selections from Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and a little from Kant, not only for their historical interest, but also for what they have to say about perennial philosophical problems. Classes are a mixture of lecture and discussion. Graded work consists of exams and papers.  This is a challenging course but essential for those who wish to understand the development of Western philosophical thought. 

PHIL 230A: ETHICAL THEORY
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 9:10-10:10 MWF
This course is devoted to an examination of some of the central questions in theoretical ethics. Specifically, we will consider each of the following questions: What makes a human life good for the one who lives it? What is the nature of good (and evil) character? What makes morally right acts right? What is the relationship, if any, between living a moral life and living a life that is good for you? We will critically examine both historical and contemporary attempts to answer each of these questions. The readings include some classics of ethical philosophy by Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill, some works of fiction, such as Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, plus a smattering of shorter pieces from philosophy, psychology, and economics. The requirements include tests, a paper, and unannounced reading quizzes.  Competency: W/Area: AH/Interdisciplinary: Peace and Conflict Studies

PHIL 230B: ETHICAL THEORY
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 10:20-11:20 MWF
The question, "What should I do?" is ubiquitous for us. Clearly, in most situations, some choices are better than others. Further, various explanations can be given for why some choices are better, and some explanations are better than others. In this course we will consider several major types of ethical theory -- that is, explanations for why some choices are better -- and examine their features, merits, and weaknesses.  If time permits we may also consider various controversial issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and war. Requirements will include exams, papers, a presentation, and participation.  Area: AH/Interdisciplinary: Peace and Conflict Studies

PHIL 232A: ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
Professor Jen Everett, 9:10-10:10 MWF
Environmental ethics is a subfield of philosophy which studies the extent of, limits to, and grounds for our moral obligations with respect to the more-than-human world. It is also a practical, interdisciplinary field concerned with identifying and facilitating environmentally ethical behaviors, policies, and social systems. This course aims to do justice to both aspects of the field (and to advance the civic engagement goals of a liberal education) by discussing key works, concepts, and theories in environmental philosophy and by grounding these ideas in real-world environmental problems.  Area: AH

PHIL 251A: LOGIC
Professor Ash Puzzo, 1:40-2:40 MWF
What follows from what and why?  Logic is the formal study of inference and has played a central role in both philosophical and scientific inquiry for over 2,000 years.  We begin with an examination of propositional logic from both a syntactic and semantic perspective.  We will then transition into a study of quantificational logic including identity.  At the end of the semester we will do some readings in both metaphysics and ethics so the student may see how logic is used in philosophy.  In addition to homework and exams the student will have the opportunity to write a paper on her choice of the readings at the end of the semester.  For questions please do not hesitate to email me: ashleypuzzo@depauw.edu  Area: SM/Competency: Q

PHIL 251B: LOGIC
Professor Ash Puzzo, 12:30-1:30 MWF
What follows from what and why?  Logic is the formal study of inference and has played a central role in both philosophical and scientific inquiry for over 2,000 years.  We begin with an examination of propositional logic from both a syntactic and semantic perspective.  We will then transition into a study of quantificational logic including identity.  At the end of the semester we will do some readings in both metaphysics and ethics so the student may see how logic is used in philosophy.  In addition to homework and exams the student will have the opportunity to write a paper on her choice of the readings at the end of the semester.  For questions please do not hesitate to email me: ashleypuzzo@depauw.edu  Area: SM/Competency: Q

PHIL 342: PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 2:50-3:50 MWF
How should we interpret the law? What is the law’s basis? Can you attempt to murder someone who is already dead? How can punishment be justified? What duty do we have to rescue those in danger? Is it the business of law to enforce morality? We will examine legal rulings and read essays on such topics by lawyers, judges, philosophers, and others. Requirements will include written responses to readings, participation, at least one exam, some papers, and (depending on class size) presentations on topics of your choice.  Interdisciplinary: Peace and Conflict Studies

PHIL 469: MORAL EPISTEMOLOGY
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 2:20-3:50 TR
Suppose that there are facts about what is good and evil, right and wrong, virtuous and vicious.  Call such facts “ethical facts.”  In this class we explore three views about the nature of ethical facts and how we might acquire knowledge of them.  Naturalism has it that ethical facts are natural facts that can be investigated using the scientific method; supernaturalism has it that ethical facts are facts about God or other supernatural entities; and non-naturalism has it that ethical facts are their own kind of thing.  We will also examine some recent empirical investigations of human moral beliefs and attitudes and the processes that produce them as part of our exploration of how humans might acquire ethical knowledge.  Accordingly, we will not only make forays into various areas of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, and meta-ethics) but into psychology (particularly evolutionary psychology), anthropology, and neuroscience as well.  The requirements include a few short writing assignments, a term paper, and two exams (mid-term and final).  Prerequisites: At least two courses in philosophy, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 470A: INDEPENDENT STUDY: ETHICS BOWL
Professor Marcia McKelligan, Arr
If you are interested in joining the 2017-18 Ethics Bowl team, please see Professor McKelligan for information. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

PHIL 470B: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Staff, Arr
Directed studies in a selected field or fields of philosophy. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

PHIL 491A: SENIOR THESIS
Staff, Arr
This course provides an opportunity for outstanding philosophy majors to produce a substantial (normally 30+ pages in length) research paper on an important topic in philosophy. Students who are planning to do graduate work in philosophy are encouraged to take this course. Students must apply to the department for approval to undertake this project. Accepted students will be assigned a thesis advisor who will set the schedule for the completion of the paper. The course culminates with an oral defense of the completed paper. Prerequisites: Major in Philosophy, senior status, and departmental approval. May not be taken pass/fail.

 


philosophy courses for spring 2017

(Fall 2017 course descriptions are above.)

PHIL 101A: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Daniel Shannon, 10:20-11:20 MWF
This course is a historical introduction to philosophy. We will cover themes, ideas, and arguments from the ancient Greeks to contemporary existentialism and feminism. The main areas of philosophy (logic, epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics) will be covered.  The course involves a mixture of lectures and class discussions. There will be an emphasis on writing argumentative essays. There will be several small tests. 

PHIL 101B: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 2:50-3:50 MWF
This course introduces students to some of the central topics and methods of philosophy. The course will focus on these questions: What is free will, and do we have it? Do we have non-physical minds or souls? What are the legitimate limits of the State’s power over its citizens? Is civil disobedience ever morally permissible and, if so, under what circumstances? Does God exist? The readings for the course are drawn from a bewildering variety of classic and contemporary sources and include works by Plato, Martin Luther King Jr., C.S. Lewis, Patricia Churchland, Martha Nussbaum, Marilyn Adams, and Richard Dawkins. The requirements include tests, a paper, and unannounced reading quizzes.

PHIL 101C: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 9:10-10:10 MWF
We will consider several important topics in philosophy such as our knowledge of the world outside our minds, God’s existence, human freedom, and how we should live. To do so we will read, discuss, and critique philosophical works from ancient times to the present. Requirements will include written responses to readings, short papers, exams, participation, and possibly a presentation.

PHIL 101D: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Marcia McKelligan, 12:30-1:30 MWF
Exploration of philosophical problems and questions about God, consciousness, free will, and ethics. Class sessions are an informal mixture of lecture and discussion. The readings consist of selections from both classical and contemporary philosophers. Grades are determined by a mix of exams and papers.

PHIL 209A: TPS: EXAMINED LIFE
Professor Richard Cameron, 10:20-11:20 MWF
Socrates famously claimed that the unexamined life is not worth living.  But that claim is extremely puzzling -- we all know people who lead unexamined lives that, nevertheless, seem eminently worth living.  Was Socrates just wrong, or was he getting at something deeper?   If so, what might that deeper meaning be?  We'll look at both Platonic texts about Socrates and examples of more contemporary issues calling on us to examine our own lives as we work through this puzzle.

PHIL 209B: NATIVE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY
Professor Andrea Sullivan-Clarke, 1:40-2:40 MWF
This course is an introduction to the basic issues, arguments, and methods of traditional and contemporary Native American Philosophy. As we examine different areas in philosophy, we will learn about the similarities and differences between the Western and Native American traditions. The areas to be covered in class include (but are not limited to): logic, metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics. While covering these areas, we will actively engage issues affecting Indian Country today. Course objectives include: 
1. Demonstrating a general knowledge and comprehension of how the experience of the Indigenous people of North America differs from those of the colonizing and immigrant peoples. 
2. Developing critical reasoning skills through the study of Western and Native American philosophical frameworks. 
3. Improving formal expression of philosophical positions through writing and speaking assignments. 

PHIL 213A: HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY: MEDIEVAL
Professor Daniel Shannon, 12:30-1:30 MWF
This course covers topics and significant philosophers from the Middle Ages. Some topics include, what is truth?, are we genuinely free or determined beings?, can we know God's existence and attributes?, does the world have a beginning?, and whether life in this world has much meaning?  Various traditions will be featured, including Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thinkers. There will be class presentations, papers, and tests. This course may count towards the European Studies interdisciplinary minor.

PHIL 230A: ETHICAL THEORY ‘W’
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 9:10-10:10 MWF
This course is devoted to an examination of some of the central questions in theoretical ethics. Specifically, we will consider each of the following questions: What makes a human life good for the one who lives it? What is the nature of good (and evil) character? What makes morally right acts right? What is the relationship, if any, between living a moral life and living a life that is good for you? We will critically examine both historical and contemporary attempts to answer each of these questions. The readings include some classics of ethical philosophy by Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill, some works of fiction, such as Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, plus a smattering of shorter pieces from philosophy and psychology. The requirements include tests, papers, and unannounced reading quizzes.

PHIL 230B: ETHICAL THEORY
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 12:30-1:30 MWF
The question, "What should I do?" is ubiquitous for us. Clearly, in most situations, some choices are better than others. Further, various explanations can be given for why some choices are better, and some explanations are better than others. In this course we will consider several major types of ethical theory-- that is, explanations for why some choices are better -- and examine their features, merits, and weaknesses.  If time permits we may also consider various controversial issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and war. Requirements will include exams, papers, a presentation, and participation.

PHIL 233A:ETHICS & BUSINESS
Professor Stuart Yoak, 12:40-2:10 TR
Business ethics is about decision making and managing the values that drive relationships both inside and outside the company. The course is organized around a series of contemporary ethical situations in national and international business. Using critical thinking tools and core models for ethical decision making, students will gain competency in the analysis and application of these skills in proposing solutions to complex and often controversial situations confronting business leaders today. The course involves both individual and team based assignments, as well as active class discussion.

PHIL 242A PHILOSOPHY OF SEX & GENDER
Professor Daniel Shannon, 2:50-3:50 MWF
Traditional and contemporary theories on the nature of love, sex, and marriage will be discussed. We will also examine arguments concerning feminism, pornography, and the nature of homosexuality. There will be several writing assignments, including two major papers; class participation will be extensive. This course may count towards the European Studies interdisciplinary minor. May not be taken pass-fail.

PHIL 251A: LOGIC  ‘Q’
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 8:00-9:00 MWF
This course is an introduction to symbolic logic. The main goal is to familiarize you with certain formal methods for representing and evaluating deductive arguments. The course covers both sentential logic and predicate logic, with work equally divided between translating sentences into formal notation, and constructing formal proofs. Time permitting, we will consider the limits of deductive logic and consider some basic inductive logic. Requirements for this class include regular homework assignments, exams, and a final project. May not be taken pass-fail.

PHIL 251B: LOGIC  ‘Q’
Professor Ashley Puzzo, 10:00-11:30 TR
What follows from what and why?  Logic is the formal study of inference and has played a central role in both philosophical and scientific inquiry for over 2,000 years.  We begin with an examination of propositional logic from both a syntactic and semantic perspective.  We will then transition into a study of quantificational logic including identity.  At the end of the semester we will do some readings in both metaphysics and ethics so the student may see how logic is used in philosophy.  In addition to homework and exams the student will have the opportunity to write a paper on her choice of the readings at the end of the semester.  For questions please do not hesitate to email me: ashleypuzzo@depauw.edu

PHIL 309A: TPS: FEMINISM AND SCIENCE
Professor Andrea Sullivan-Clarke, 10:20-11:20 MWF
Feminist historians, sociologists, and philosophers have charged that “modern, Western science is a distinctly masculine enterprise” (Kourany, 1).  How did this come to be? Why are women still the minority in the STEM fields today? What does a feminist science look like?  In this course, we will answer these questions through the examination of the rich and heterogeneous research tradition of feminist philosophy. We will study the omission of women from the historical philosophical discourse on rationality and trace the trajectory of philosophical theories about science as advanced by feminist philosophers and feminist scientists when they emerged in the 1980’s.  We will continue our investigation through current approaches, ultimately considering what are the features of a socially responsible science.  Central themes include focusing on who is conducting scientific research and the “situatedness” of knowers; delineating what kind of enterprise is science (what are its aims, methods, and subject matter) and detailing the social implications of a feminist science.  

PHIL 309B: TPS: WAR & TERRORISM
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 2:20-3:50 MW
We will look at activities that, despite our protestations of dislike for them, we engage in a lot: war and terrorism. Specifically, we will critically examine (a) realism, i.e., the view that morality is irrelevant to international relations, (b) pacifism, (c) traditional ideas concerning the morality of war and some recent innovations, (d) the nature of terrorism and responses to it. Assignments will include lots of readings, an exam or two, short papers and a long paper, and presentations.

PHIL 309C: TPS: ETHICS & ECONOMICS
Professor Jennifer Everett, 8:20-9:50 TR
In this course we will explore questions in metaethics, ethical theory, and/or social and political philosophy that bear on economic theory and analysis. Topics may include the ethical limits of the market; environmental and ecological economics; cost-benefit analysis in public policy; economic justice; and/or concepts such as rationality, happiness, well-being, and efficiency. Since we will focus on philosophical approaches to these topics, no prior background in economics is required. Familiarity with prevailing bodies of ethical theory is advised.

PHIL 353A: METAPHYSICS
Professor Richard Cameron, 10:00-11:30 TR
Metaphysics is the philosophical study of what exists. We will “go beyond” physics in that if, e.g., physics employs the notion of a cause then we will ask what a cause is (something physics cannot answer). Our investigation will be critical, focused on arguments and reasons, and the topics will range over some of the most abstract questions ever asked: are there universals? Do we survive our deaths? Why is there something rather than nothing? Etc. We’ll also begin by asking why metaphysics matters, and end by discussing in more detail what it is. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission of instructor.

PHIL 469A: PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM: HUMILITY
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 2:20-3:50 TR
While identified as a tremendously important virtue in the Christian tradition, humility is somewhat controversial trait outside of a religious context. We will first examine humility as a Christian virtue, focusing on how humility is construed within Christianity and why it is viewed as so important in that tradition. We will next turn to some critical discussions of humility outside of Christianity before considering what Confucian thought has to say about humility’s nature and importance. Finally, we will examine contemporary work on humility by philosophers and psychologists. In addition to understanding and evaluating a number of views and arguments about humility, we will seek an answer to the following questions: (1) what would it mean for us to be humble? (2) should we be humble – and if so, why? Requirements include two short papers, a final paper, and two exams. Pre-requisites: any two courses in philosophy or permission of instructor.

PHIL 470A: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Staff, Time Arranged
Directed studies in a selected field or fields of philosophy. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

PHIL 490A: SENIOR SEMINAR  ‘S’
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 7:00-9:50 pm R
This class is the capstone course for majors in philosophy. It covers a broad range of advanced topics in philosophy; typically three or four topics are covered during the semester. Topics may be treated historically or systematically. The students are responsible for presentations and discussions of the material. Several papers will be assigned. May not be taken pass/fail. Open only to seniors.

PHIL 491A:  SENIOR THESIS
Staff, Time Arranged
This course provides an opportunity for outstanding philosophy majors to produce a substantial (normally 30+ pages in length) research paper on an important topic in philosophy. Students who are planning to do graduate work in philosophy are encouraged to take this course. Students must apply to the department for approval to undertake this project. Accepted students will be assigned a thesis advisor who will set the schedule for the completion of the paper. The course culminates with an oral defense of the completed paper. Prerequisite: Major in philosophy, senior status and departmental approval. May not be taken pass-fail.