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Upcoming Courses in Philosophy

Here are the courses the department is offering 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 Majors, Minor, & Catalog of Courses.

Philosophy courses for fall 2023


PHIL 101A: Introduction to Philosophy: Big Questions (area: AH)
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 10:20-11:20 MWF
This course introduces students to some of the central topics and methods of philosophy. The course will focus on these questions: What should we do about injustice? How does knowledge work? Do we have non-physical minds or souls? Does God exist? The readings for the course are drawn from a bewildering variety of classic and contemporary sources. Requirements include tests, papers, and several unannounced quizzes.

PHIL 101B: Introduction to Philosophy (area: AH)
Professor Joseph Porter, 2:50-3:50 MWF
Do the ends justify the means? Does God exist? What is it like to be a bat? In this course, we will explore these and other fundamental philosophical questions. No prior experience with philosophy is expected or required.

PHIL 101C: Introduction to Philosophy: Get it, Girl (area: AH)
Professor Jennifer Everett, 12:30-1:30 MWF
This course aims to introduce the field of philosophy in a way that's explicitly attuned to voices that have been missing or marginalized in the Western canon. All students who are curious about philosophy are welcome, regardless of how you identify with respect to race, gender, culture, religion, etc. You must be willing to study challenging texts - including but not limited to works considered part of the Western canon - and to think hard, discuss collegially, and write extensively about the difficult questions they raise concerning knowledge, reality, ethics, and society. The relevance of social identities, structures, and power relations to such questions will be a consistent theme.

PHIL 197A: First-Year Seminar: Heart of Darkness
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 12:30-1:30 MWF
(First-Year Seminar descriptions are here)

PHIL 197B: First-Year Seminar: Philosophy and Climate Change
Professor Richard Cameron, 8:00-9:00 MWF
(First-Year Seminar descriptions are here)

PHIL 209A: Topics: Human Nature and Free Market Capitalism
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 1:40-2:40 MWF
Traditional economics seems to assume that human beings have generally stable preferences, that we are happy to the extent that those preferences are satisfied, and that we always act so as to maximize the satisfaction of our preferences. Behavioral economists argue that this is an inaccurate (or at least incomplete) view of human nature. In this course we will first briefly examine the origins and (some of the) central principles of traditional economics. We will then consider some of the ways that, according to behavioral economists, traditional economics rests on a mistaken view of human nature. Finally, we will draw on ideas from behavioral economics to explore four interesting and important ways in which the free market and human nature interact: (1) the on-going “obesity epidemic”, (2) the impact of American-style free market capitalism on families and children, (3) the rise of “bullshit jobs”, and (4) the paradox of self-interest, according to which caring most about something other than money can result in money coming your way.

PHIL 209B Topics: Ethics Bowl (ETS)
Professor Marcia McKelligan, 2:50-3:50 MWF, 7:00-9:50pm T
Be a part of DePauw’s winning tradition! 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, 2023. I hope to have two teams of 6 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 cases that will be made available in early September. All cases will be discussed in detail by all members of the class. We will meet as a group for 6 hours a week (perhaps more once in a while, perhaps less sometimes). Students will write several drafts of papers that will form the basis of their case presentations. Those drafts will be energetically, charitably and constructively critiqued by me and 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 Cincinnati in early 2024. Other 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.It is possible to enroll in the class as an auditor rather than for credit and also for ¼, ½. or 1 credit. Whether you sign up for credit or as an auditor, the workload is the same, and 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 atAPPE IEB® (appe-ethics.org)

PHIL 209C: Game Theory in Society
Professors Jeffrey Dunn and Andrea Young,8:20-9:50 TR
Game Theory is a mathematical theory that studies strategic interactions between people. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to game theory that combines mathematical and philosophical perspectives. Topics may include prisoner's dilemma, strategic voting, the evolution of morality, Hobbes's state of nature, cheating, as well as many others. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on thinking about how mathematical models relate to reality and whether a model is helpful or unhelpful for aiding our understanding. This course assumes no mathematical or philosophical background.

Phil 216A: Early Modern Philosophy
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 12:30 - 1:30 MWF
Expect to be challenged as you join in some of the more ambitious projects in Western philosophical history, and begin to see the universe in radically different ways through the eyes of brilliant people. This course is a survey of some major Western philosophers from the 17th and 18th centuries: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, especially their metaphysics and epistemology--that is, their attempts to figure out what the universe is really like, and what we can and cannot know. Classes include lecture and discussion, and there will be exams and papers.

Phil 230A: Ethical Theory (area: AH; PACS, ETS)
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 10:20 - 11:20 MWF
The question, “What should I do?” is unavoidable for us. In many situations, some choices are clearly better than others. Further, various accounts can be given for why some choices are better. In this course we will consider some major types of ethical theory--that is, accounts of why some choices are better--and examine their features, merits, and weaknesses. We will also discuss whether there is an objective basis for ethical rules and, 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 232: Environmental Ethics (area: AH; ETS)
Professor Jennifer Everett, 12:40-2:10 TR
An examination of the extent of, limits to, and grounds for individual and collective moral obligations with respect to the 'more-than-human world.' This course discusses anthropocentric, zoocentric, biocentric and ecocentric value theories; ecofeminist, deep ecology, and environmental justice perspectives; and/or such topics as biodiversity, climate change, sustainable agriculture, and/or ethics of consumption.

PHIL 233A: Ethics and Business (PACS, ETS)
Professor Tucker Sechrest, 7:00-8:30pm TR
The course examines the ways the market impacts our social and political relations and the ways in which our legal institutions constrict and enable the market. Is the market a friend or foe of equality? What kind of freedom does the free market give us? Do businesses have an obligation to support socially desirable ends? Much of the coursework will be dedicated to tying Supreme Court case opinions to classical and contemporary political philosophy.

PHIL 251A: Logic (area: SM; Q)
Professor Ashley Puzzo, 1:40-2:40 MWF
Logic is the study of inference: What follows from what and why? We shall begin with a treatment of elementary propositional logic. This sets the foundation for the study of quantificational logic. We discuss semantics, syntax, and the relationship between them. No prior courses in philosophy are required. This is a Q course! For questions or sample syllabus, email me:ashleypuzzo@depauw.edu.

PHIL 251B: Logic (area: SM; Q)
Professor Ashley Puzzo,2:50-3:50 MWF
Logic is the study of inference: What follows from what and why? We shall begin with a treatment of elementary propositional logic. This sets the foundation for the study of quantificational logic. We discuss semantics, syntax, and the relationship between them. No prior courses in philosophy are required. This is a Q course! For questions or sample syllabus, email me:ashleypuzzo@depauw.edu.

PHIL 309A/419A: Plato’s Republic
Professor Richard Cameron, 10:00-11:30 TR
Study the work everyone's raving about! Morality is for fools! Amoralism! Justice on the rack! Female guardians! Rule by the wise! Greed! Plunder! The Sun! The Line! The Cave! Help Friends! Harm Enemies! Propaganda!The State of Nature! Justice! Gyges's Ring! Plutocracy! Democracy! Censorship! Education! Noble Lies! The action never stops! But seriously, Plato'sRepublicis not only a rollicking read (surprisingly, it is), it has been so influential that much of Western political philosophy reads like 'footnotes to Plato' and can't be fully understood without understanding the book everyone else is reacting (positively or negatively) to. It also raises a host of contemporary issues which we'll also highlight -- criticisms of democracy, the uses of propaganda, the place of women in society, and much more.

PHIL EXPA: Philosophy Honors Cafe
Professor Jennifer Everett, TBA
Philosophy Honors Café is an eight-week student-centered and student-led immersion in Socratic philosophical inquiry. Open to students nominated in their first year by a faculty member on the basis of exemplary curiosity and intellectual engagement, students will meet weekly with advanced Philosophy majors to discuss the questions we face as we endeavor to live an examined life. Discussions will follow the lead of students' interests, but will likely include topics such as the meaning of success, well-being and the good life; moral goodness and obligation; the value and plausibility of religious belief; the nature of consciousness and sentience; the significance of race and gender; and/or the existential challenge of the climate crisis.