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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 2019

(Spring 2019 course descriptions are below.)

PHIL 101A: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 10:20-11:20 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 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: 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. The main requirement of the course is participation in a series of structured debates that include both written and oral elements. There will also be two short papers and unannounced reading quizzes. Area: AH

PHIL 209A: TPS: ETHICS BOWL
Professor Marcia McKelligan, 2:50-3:50 MWF and 7:00-9:50 T
In this class, we will engage in a variety of activities to prepare for the Central States Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition at Marian University, which will take place in November, 2019.  (The exact date has not been announced.)  I hope to have two teams of 5-6 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 15 cases that will be made available in early September. (It may be that only 9 are chosen to be used in the actual competition.) 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 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 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 Atlanta in early 2020.  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. 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/

PHIL212A: ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
Professor Richard Cameron, 10:20-11:20 MWF
We survey the origins of Western philosophy through a close textual and philosophical investigation of core texts. Themes covered include the birth of philosophical method (epistemology), the nature of being and the possibility of change (metaphysics), and how, by our own lights, we think we ought to live our lives (ethics). The survey covers thinkers from the presocratics through the Hellenistic period with special emphasis on Parmenides, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Area: AH

PHIL 230A: 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.  Area: AH/Interdisciplinary: Peace and Conflict Studies

PHIL 230B: ETHICAL THEORY
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 8:00-9:00 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.  Area: AH/Interdisciplinary: Peace and Conflict Studies

PHIL 232A: ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
Professor Jennifer 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 242A: PHILOSOPHY OF SEX AND GENDER
Professor Daniel Shannon, 10:20-11:20 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. Area SS

PHIL 251A: LOGIC ‘Q’
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 9:10-10:10 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.  A Computer Science allied course. Area: SM

PHIL 251B: LOGIC ‘Q’
Professor Ashley 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.  A Computer Science allied course. For questions please do not hesitate to email me: ashleypuzzo@depauw.edu  Area: SM

PHIL 342: PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
Professor Jeremy Anderson, 1:40-2:40 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 352: EPISTEMOLOGY
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 10:00-11:30 TR
We seem to know various things: that the Patriots won (yet another) Super Bowl last Februarythat there will be a presidential election in 2020that 5+7=12that DNA has a double helical structure. Maybe you think we don't actually know these things. Even so, we at least seem to have very good reason to believe them. This raises the question: what is it to know or have a reason to believe something? More generally, how should we form our beliefs so that we get at the truth? Since we're often interested in evaluating the beliefs that we (or others) hold, these questions seem to be important. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that attempts to answer them. In this course we will cover the central topics within epistemology. We will read some classic work by authors such as Plato, Descartes, and Hume, but the majority of our reading will be recent work by contemporary philosophers. 

PHIL 419A: MAJOR PHILOSOPHERS: HEGEL AND MARX
Professor Daniel Shannon, 12:30-1:30 MWF
This class covers the philosophies of G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx as they relate to the understanding of social evolution through the struggle with alienation and the progress towards liberty. We will read selections from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Philosophy of History, and Philosophy of Right. We will read selections from Marx on his social and political writings. Some texts will be Economic and Philosophic Manuscript of 1844, Theses on Feuerbach, Das Kapital, and the Eighteenth Brumaire. The class will be a mixture of lecture and student seminar presentations. There will be two longer papers and a couple of tests.

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 2019

(Fall 2019 course descriptions are above.)

PHIL 101A: 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 101B: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Dan 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. Area: AH

PHIL 101C: INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY
Professor Erik Wielenberg, 1:40-2:40 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 101D: 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 102A:   GOD, EVIL, AND THE MEANING OF LIFE
Professor Jessica Mejía, 10:00-11:30 TR
Does God exist? Does the amount and kind of suffering in the world imply that there is no God? Can there be an adequate morality independently of God or religion? What is the meaning and value of human life? In this course, we will explore these and other related fun and engaging questions. Theists, atheists and agnostics alike are welcome. 

PHIL 209A: TPS: WEALTH & HAPPINESS  ‘W’
Professor Richard Cameron, 9:10-10:10 MWF
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.

PHIL 209B: TPS: PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 10:20-11:20 MWF
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.

PHIL 209C: TPS: THE PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS OF MANAGEMENT
Professor Andrew Cullison, 7:00-9:50PM W
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.  

PHIL 216A: EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Professor Marcia McKelligan
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 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 230B: 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 240A:   PHILOSOPHY OF ART
Professor Dan Shannon, 12:30-1:30 MWF
The Philosophy of Art deals with two main questions.  What is art?  Whether art is "good"?  The first question will be addressed by looking at various theories of art, such as, the Craft Theory, Expressionism, Significant Form, Instrumentalism, and the Institutional Theory.  The second question deals with aesthetics (standards of taste) and evaluation through judgment. We will consider theories concerning beauty, emotion, connoisseurship, embodied meaning, and values of belonging to the art world. We will read both those who advance the idea that art has value and is good, and those who contend it does not and has no value.  Various arts will be considered, including literature, painting, dance, and architecture. Class discussion is emphasized. There will be quizzes, papers, a final test, and oral or written response pieces. 

PHIL 251A: LOGIC ‘Q’
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 12:30-1:30 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.  Area: SM

PHIL 251B: LOGIC ‘Q’
Professor Jeffrey Dunn, 1:40-2:40 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.  Area: SM

PHIL 309A: TPS: WAR AND 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 309B: TPS: SOCIAL REALITY AND FAKE NEWS
Professor Richard Cameron, 10:00-11:30 TR
Back in 2006, an official in George Bush’s White House told the journalist Ron Suskind that the US was “an empire now,” and that “when we act, we create our own reality.”  The official mocked Suskind and other journalists as members of a passé “reality-based community” who would forever lag one step behind the reality-creators, “history’s actors,” as the journalists struggled to report on the previous ‘reality’ even as a new one was being ‘created’ by the Administration, a new ‘reality’ that would make reports about the old one obsolete.  Looking back on this exchange from the perspective of a post-Trump, fake news, Russian hackers, post-truth world where even photographic evidence that Trump’s crowds are smaller than Obama’s cannot convince die-hard loyalists – including the President and loyal Administration officials – of what their lyin’ eyes are telling them, it seems truer than ever that some sort of ‘reality’ seems to be created by social actors, and that these social realities can have powerful impacts on all our lives whether they are ‘really real’ or not.  Our goals in this course are twofold: to understand the process of constructing social reality, and thinking through the implications of the pervasiveness one sort of social reality – fake news – for our lives.

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 Dan Shannon, 12:40-3:30 T
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.