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PHIL 209

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An introductory course to a systematic field of philosophy, history, philosophical movement, or set of philosophical problems. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

Marcia McKelligan

209A: Tps:Ethics Bowl

In this class, we will engage in a variety of activities to prepare for the regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition at Marian University, which will take place in November, 2018. (The exact date has not been announced.) I hope to have two teams of 5 enter the competition. To prepare we will cover the basics of ethical theory and then explore the particular moral and social policy questions raised in the 9-15 cases that will be made available in early September. We can be flexible about how we distribute the case preparation and presentation duties: each case might be assigned to just one student, or all cases might be shared among all or some members of a team. Either way, all cases will be discussed in detail by all members of the class. We will meet as a group for 3 to 6 hours a week (perhaps more once in a while). Students will write several drafts of papers that will form the basis of their case presentations. Those drafts will be energetically (but charitably and in a friendly way) critiqued by other members of the class. One goal will be for a DePauw team to win or place highly enough in the regional competition to earn a bid to the national competition in Baltimore in early 2019. The more significant goals will be to learn in depth about timely and important moral issues, hone your argumentative skills, and gain experience and confidence in the oral presentation and defense of your ideas. Some of you may already be familiar with the Ethics Bowl competition. This is the just the second time that participation is being offered as a full-credit course. It is possible to enroll in the class as an auditor rather than for credit. Whether you sign up for credit or as an auditor, the instructor's permission is required to enroll in the course. Please see me as soon as possible so that I can answer your questions and we can determine if this class is a good option for you. You can learn more about Ethics Bowl at http://appe-ethics.org/ethics-bowl/.


Jessica Mejia

209B: Tps:Moral Controversies

Moral Controversies is an introductory course in applied ethics. Applied ethics is the branch of ethics that concerns itself with concrete, practical moral problems and controversies such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, pornography, etc. In this course, we will consider arguments for different conclusions on the same issue, e.g., pro-choice and pro-life arguments.

The aims for this course are: to equip students with the skills to evaluate ethical arguments, to equip students with basic skills for developing their own arguments, and to familiarize students with a variety of views on popular topics.

Moral Controversies is a philosophy course. As such we will focus on the quality of the arguments for various positions. We will evaluate the reasons offered and whether and to what extent they support their intended conclusion. We will also consider consequences of ethical principles across topics.


Spring Semester information

Richard Cameron

209A: Tps:Wealth and Happiness

It is purest common sense that a person needs a certain sufficiency of wealth, perhaps even a large sufficiency, to be successful or happy. But philosophers (and theologians and other social critics) have from time immemorial called the connection between wealth and happiness into question. And given another common sense belief, i.e., that the best things in life are free, one begins to wonder why so many are so frantically devoted to accumulating ever more wealth, especially in an age when the continuation of business as usual fossil-fuel driven consumption presents us with the near certainty of anthropogenic climate catastrophe. Even these initial ideas suggest that our 'common sense' ideas about wealth and happiness contain puzzles and tensions that deserve further scrutiny. The purpose of our course will be to read, discuss, and reflect upon classic and contemporary economists, philosophers, and other thinkers in the hopes of teasing out these sorts of puzzles, and more.


Jeffrey Dunn

209B: Tps:Philosophy for Children

The highlight of this course will be teaching philosophy to elementary school students in the Greencastle area. We will do this by leading discussions based on popular children's books once a week at Ridpath Elementary School. In preparing to lead these discussions you'll learn about various areas of philosophy such as ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy. You will also learn how to construct lesson plans that help facilitate good philosophical discussions. Throughout the semester we will also consider whether children are genuinely capable of philosophical inquiry and broader questions about the purpose of education. However, our primary focus will be on facilitating philosophical discussion among the elementary school students themselves.


Andrew Cullison

209C: Tps:The Philosophy and Ethics of Management

Matthew Stewart argues that the study of management is a "lost art of the humanities" and that we are better poised to understand management if we approach the study of it as a philosopher would approach it. That is what we will do in the course, which will have two main parts. In the first part of the course we will critically examine different theories about the nature of management. What it is to be a manager? What is the difference between being a manager and being a leader, if any? The second part of the course will examine the question what does good management look like? What is it to be a good manager? In examining that question we will also examine some practical ethical questions and challenges that are unique to those in positions of management and leadership.