Survey of the main topics of philosophy, which may include God, souls, free will, the nature of right and wrong, just government, truth, and knowledge. Offered in the fall and spring semesters.
Introduction to the concepts and methods used to identify, construct, and assess arguments as they appear in editorials, articles, ordinary speech, etc.
Through analyzing influential arguments from the history of philosophy, including arguments concerning questions of values, ethics, and aesthetics, students will learn to apply tools and methods of formal deductive logic. Such analytical tools include the construction of proofs and countermodels to evaluate philosophical arguments as well as arguments concerning other topics.
Survey of the main topics of philosophy, which may include God, souls, free will, the nature of right and wrong, just government, truth, and knowledge. Restricted to UA Honors students.
In this course, you will explore and analyze influential arguments from the history of philosophy, including arguments concerning questions of values, ethics, and aesthetics. You will learn to apply tools and methods of formal deductive logic to those arguments, and to appreciate the breadth of topics for which such analysis is appropriate. You will use analytical tools such as the construction of proofs and countermodels to evaluate philosophical arguments as well as arguments concerning other topics. The arguments analyzed in this course include a number of influential arguments from the history of philosophy.
This course is an opportunity to do 200-level self-directed study and writing on an approved topic early in a student’s study of philosophy.
This course will focus on the major themes of ancient Greek philosophy, from the earliest pre-Socratic philosophers, through Plato and Aristotle, to the later Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics. We will proceed chronologically and pay special attention to the systematic connections between metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics in each school of thought, as well as the development of later views in light of criticisms of earlier ones. The aim of this course is to provide students a reasonably comprehensive background in the main areas of Western analytic philosophy through an examination of some of the earliest systematic philosophies.
This course will look at the main figures and intellectual developments of the early Modern period of philosophy. We will proceed chronologically, starting with Descartes's seminal Meditations on First Philosophy and tracing two very different branches of influence from there to what are often called the Rationalist and Empiricist schools. Other figures of note will be Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.
Relatively few courses are offered on American philosophy, in spite of the fact that the United States has become a worldwide center of philosophy, and is the home of Pragmatism, one of the three major philosophical approaches. This course will be an introduction to American philosophy from the theologian Jonathan Edwards and the political philosophers who had a hand in the founding of America, to classic pragmatists such as Peirce, James and Dewey, and leading 20th century thinkers, such as Quine, Kuhn, Rorty, Putnam and others.
This course is designed to give the students a broad introduction to the field of philosophical ethics. The primary aim is to acquaint students with the basic subject matter of ethics as it is studied within philosophy, a few central authorities and positions, and a feel for how philosophers engage with contemporary ethical issues in light of some of the historical influences on the discipline. We will read a variety of texts ranging from historical works on ethics generally to contemporary works focusing on specific moral issues. The hope is that students will develop an understanding and appreciation of how different ethical theories apply to particular cases, and how they might begin to engage in genuine ethical debates. Restricted to UA Honors students.
This class provides an introduction to the philosophical study of applied ethics by way of a discussion of topics related to the practice of medical and biological science. Topics of discussion will include abortion, stem cell research, cloning, the allocation of scarce or limited resources, animal experimentation, and patient autonomy, among others. Along the way, other important topics in moral philosophy will be discussed.
This course serves as an introduction to central debates in political philosophy. The major questions we explore are the following: How can the coercive authority the government exercises over its citizens be justified? What does justice require in our society today? What role do democracy, freedom, rights and equality play in our understanding of a just society? Through the study of both historical and contemporary texts, we investigate these topics. We also consider how these issues bear upon debates in the contemporary American context concerning the following: restrictions on free speech, participation in the democratic process, the war on drugs, homelessness, education and socioeconomic inequality.
How should we live together? In this course, we seek to answer this question through moral assessment of the institutional rules and cultural norms that shape our interaction with others and the world around us. We specifically consider issues in the following two categories: I. Markets & consumption. In the modern-day economy, we must grapple with important issues concerning the responsibilities of individual consumers and corporations, what goods may be legitimately bought and sold in a free market, and how economic transactions between nations should be structured to count as fair. II. Violence. One of the features thought to make the state distinctive is that it has a monopoly over the legitimate use of force. Given this power, we will examine the legitimate use of violence by the government. Is the death penalty justified? Is the use of torture permissible under any circumstances? How should it deal with terrorists as opposed to traditional combatants in war?.
This class is an introduction to and survey of philosophical issues in the law, focusing on issues in general jurisprudence such as the nature of law and its relation to morality, the grounds of the legitimacy of legal authority, and the sources of legal normativity and validity. There may also be some discussion of issues in specific jurisprudence such as the value of written constitutions and their interpretations, the nature of extent of legal responsibility, and questions about the authority of non-elected judges. At least one prior course in philosophy is strongly recommended.
This is a course exploring major issues in the philosophy of constitutional law. Generally constitutional law is concerned with what powers and responsibilities governments have as well as what the limits on those powers might be, including civil rights. In doing so, constitutions guide official determinations of what counts as legally valid within the relevant jurisdiction. Topics might include debates over the proper way to interpret constitutions, whether constitutions must (or should) be written documents, whether they are necessary (or desirable) in a democracy, the relation between principles of legality set forth in constitutions and moral principles (especially the relation between legal rights and moral rights), and the advisability of official bodies tasked with interpreting and applying the constitution such as the Supreme Court.
This course will examine some of the major themes in the burgeoning field of philosophy of sport, paying special attention to a number of important ethical issues. We will look at the nature of sports (and games more generally), sportsmanship and fairness, the role of officials, gender equity, racism, and issues surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs. This course is reading intensive. Prior exposure to philosophy is welcome but not required.
This course is framed around two questions. First, what is the place of the mind in nature? Second, what is the place of nature in the mind? The first question is a form of mind/problem, which concerns the relationship between mental phenomena such as consciousness and the physical world. The second question is a part of the epistemology, the philosophy of knowledge, and concerns the nature and scope of human knowledge.
Topics may include proofs for the existence of God, the nature of reality, free will and determinism, personal identity, and the nature of time.
This course offers introductory-level study of a special philosophical topic that is not a part of the Department's regular course offerings.
In this course, we will be introduced to some of the most fundamental concerns about art: What is distinctive, if anything, about the experience of artworks? Why do we identify anything as a work of art? How do we, or should we interpret an artwork? On what grounds can we criticize an artwork?.
Introduction to competing views of how one ought to live, designed to promote the development of a reasoned view of one’s own. May include such topics as ethical relativism, the nature of justice and of rights, and the relationship of law and morality.
This is a survey course in environmental ethics. Students will be introduced to philosophical debates on a range of contemporary environmental issues. Centrally, we will consider how traditional ethical reasoning, which focuses on humans, can be extended to analysis of the natural world. We will examine conceptual and normative issues concerning biodiversity, sustainability, animal welfare, climate change, and population growth. We will also take up questions such as the following: What is owed to future generations and to distant others? How should we balance the goals of environmental protection and economic development? What does it mean to be an ethical consumer?.
This course number is for students who are receiving course credit for working as TAs for philosophy classes. Ordinarily, students working as TAs for classes are responsible for taking roll, proctoring and grading tests, and, most importantly, providing tutorial assistance to the students. Specific duties might vary depending on the needs of the class.
This class explores the moral status of legality and the legal status of morality, the status of unjust laws, and the role of moral judgments of lawmakers. Is a good law one that does good? What is the relation between morality and legal validity? Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course. Prereq: at least one prior philosophy class with a B or better.
This course explores philosophical issues that arise with respect to the international law. Some of these are conceptual. For instance, what qualifies as ‘international law’ and in virtue of what characteristics? International laws, norms, and rule-mediated practices are different in character from the laws that govern our lives within the state. Who makes international laws, and who enforces them? A host of normative issues arise with respect to international law too. What if anything gives international legal bodies like the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization rightful authority over those who are taken to be bound by their rules? In cases of conflict, do the laws of states trump international laws or vice-versa? We will consider some of the ethical issues surrounding international laws, treaties, and conventions concerning some of the following issues: human rights; war, humanitarian intervention and the use of violence more broadly; trade and economic globalization; the environment and the use of natural resources; immigration and refugees; and intellectual property. You are required to have taken at least two philosophy classes prior to this one, including one at the 200-level or above. If you do not meet this requirement, you must obtain special permission from the instructor. This 3-credit hour course carries a W designation. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.Tentative course requirements: two papers, a final exam, and homework.
This class gives you the reasoning skills you need to enter law school and those you need while in law school and beyond. While learning analytical and logical reasoning skills as well as legal research and argument-writing skills, the course covers topics such as problems with rule following and vagueness, the nature and authority of precedent, statutory interpretation, judicial decisions and burdens of proof.
What is the relationship between the mental and the physical? That is the central question in the philosophy of mind, and we will approach it from different angles. We will focus largely on consciousness and its place in nature. Most readings will be from the contemporary literature but some will be historical. This course carries a W designation, and so writing proficiency within the discipline of philosophy is required for a passing grade in this course. Two philosophy courses or instructor’s permission. PHL 260 Mind and Nature is recommended but not required.
This course concerns the nature of meaning and its connection to metaphysics and epistemology. We will study classic works by Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Saul Kripke, and others. We will also study more recent work in philosophical semantics and its application to arguments in the philosophy of mind. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course. Must have taken Introduction to Deductive Logic (PHL 195 or PHL 106) and one other philosophy course, or have instructor’s permission.
This course addresses some core questions in the philosophy of cognitive science. Topics covered are likely to include: the computational theory of mind, the role of mental representations in cognition, the extended mind hypothesis, and mechanisms of mental state attribution. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. Need to have taken at least two previous philosophy courses.
Advanced study of such traditional metaphysical problems as personal identity, the mind-body problem, action theory, free will, universals, the nature of space and time, creation, causation, and purpose. Must have taken at least two philosophy courses prior to this course. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
This course surveys issues in the philosophical study of knowledge. Typical questions addressed include: What is the nature of knowledge? What are the limits of what we can know? When is a belief justified? What can science tell us about the nature of knowledge or rational thought? Must have taken Introduction to Deductive Logic (PHL 195 or PHL 106) and one other philosophy course, or have instructor’s permission. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
Advanced study of such topics in religion as concepts of God and religion, ritual, atheism, the problem of evil, the nature of religious language, traditional proofs of God, the concept of faith, mysticism, the concept of miracle, and the relation between theism and morality. At least two previous philosophy courses required. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
This course will cover some of the main topics in philosophy of science: the demarcation of science and pseudoscience, scientific methods, the nature of evidence, scientific progress, and values and science.
The “Darwinian Revolution” – the acceptance and development of evolutionary theory - is one of the most significant intellectual events in recent human history. It is significant partly because it has changed the way we understand the world, and the processes that operate within it. But it is also significant for the philosophical issues it raises about scientific method, conceptions of human nature, biodiversity, knowledge, ethics and the arts. This course will examine these philosophical issues raised by the Darwinian revolution. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
The arts are seemingly found in all human cultures. Why is this so? Is art deeply embedded in what we might call “human nature”? Philosophers have long thought about the arts in terms of human nature. More recently, there are proposals that we can think about the arts “naturalistically” in terms of what the biological and human sciences tell us about human nature, and the very human tendencies to make and appreciate art of all kinds. This naturalistic turn requires philosophical thinking first about how we should conceive art; second, how we can interpret and evaluate art, and third, how it functions in a variety of cultural and environmental contexts. We will be looking first at some classical theories of art and human nature, then at some naturalistic/scientific theories of art. Because this course carries a "W" designation, writing proficiency within the discipline is required for a passing grade in this course. Regardless of examination grades, an average essay grade below a “D-” guarantees a course grade of F. Instructor is willing and able to teach writing skills as needed to assist students in meeting the writing requirements of the course. As is appropriate for courses with the W designation, students are expected to produce “coherent, logical, and carefully edited prose” that demonstrates “higher-level critical thinking skills, such as analysis and synthesis. Your writing will be assessed according the following criteria: Organization Clarity of Exposition Accuracy of Exposition Use of Language (precision and concision) Strength of Reasoning Consistent with the University policy, students enrolled in this course must submit an electronic copy of their first essay to Turnitin.com through Blackboard Learn.
This course offers advanced study of a special philosophical topic or movement that is not a part of the Department's regular course offerings.
Advanced study of a particular philosopher or philosophical movement or problem in the history of philosophy. Must have taken at least two previous philosophy courses or permission of instructor.
With an emphasis on philosophical writing, this seminar offers advanced study of a special philosophical topic that is not a part of the Department's regular course offerings. Prerequisite: successful completion of at least two PHL courses. PHL 392 may be repeated up to 12 hours. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
Advanced study of a particular philosopher or philosophical movement or problem in the history of philosophy. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course. Must have taken at least two previous philosophy courses or permission of instructor.
This course is an opportunity to do self-directed study and writing in an approved topic.
Due to advances in psychopharmacology and brain imaging, scenarios resembling those of science fiction may soon be upon us: Medications that enhance our memory, cognitive abilities, or happiness could be widely available in the near future, and advances in neuroimaging promise to allow the detection of lying, mental illness, or even level of intelligence. Technologies like these bring a host of ethical questions in their wake, ones pertaining to privacy, justice, and authenticity to self. Issues such as these are what compose the field of Neuroethics, and will be what we look at in this class.
This course provides an in-depth examination of some of the central ethical issues encountered by physicians and other medical professionals. Students will acquire breadth in the field of medical ethics as well as engage in an in-depth examination of specific issues. Possible topics include: The physician-patient relationship, the role of physicians and other medical professionals, end-of-life decision-making (advance directives, do not resuscitate orders, palliative care, the definition of death), beginning of life decision-making (genetic counseling and prenatal screening), and the ethics of clinical research, and bias and unequal treatment in healthcare practice. The course is specifically aimed at students who are considering a career in healthcare but will be of interest to anyone who has a special interest in biomedical ethics. This course carries a W designation. Writing proficiency within philosophy is required for a passing grade in this course.
In this seminar we will explore issues in contemporary metaethics. Metaethics is concerned with the nature of moral properties, what moral claims mean, and how moral knowledge can be justified. In our everyday lives, we make a number of moral judgments—for instance, that we should not lie to a friend or that it is wrong to steal. Can these moral judgments be factually true, or are they just a matter of opinion? How do we come to know what is right or wrong? These are some of the key questions that will be explored in this course. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
This is a course covering a specialized advanced topic in specific jurisprudence. Specific jurisprudence deals with issues relevant to one area of law or legal system. Example topics are issues in criminal punishment, debates over the proper way to interpret the U.S. Constitution, and the dilemmas of privacy law. The Professor will determine the specific topic each semester the course is offered. It requires writing proficiency in philosophy in order to pass and requires students to draft sustained philosophical arguments.
This is a course covering a specialized advanced topic in general jurisprudence. General jurisprudence deals with issues relevant to law as a whole. Example topics are issues in legal authority, interpretation and rule following, and legal validity. The Professor will determine the specific topic each semester the course is offered. It requires writing proficiency in philosophy in order to pass and requires students to draft sustained philosophical arguments.
This course aims to deepen philosophical understanding primarily through watching and discussing documentary films, supplemented with philosophical readings. The topics covered will vary with the films chosen by the instructor.
Consciousness is one of the last great mysteries. Recent years have seen the use of neuroscientific methods to try to understand consciousness, in hopes that this approach succeeds where others failed. This course surveys and analyzes current neuroscientific and philosophical approaches to studying consciousness, the goal being to integrate the two as much as possible. Topics covered include: the relationship between visual consciousness and bodily action; whether higher-order thought is necessary for consciousness; the use of brain lesions in consciousness research; the relationship between attention and consciousness. Because this course carries a W designation, writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
This class will explore a variety of philosophical questions concerning mental health, mental illness, and how we should think about mental health in the context of medical practice more generally. Topics covered may include: Ontology and classification: What makes an illness mental as opposed to physical? When does a mental problem qualify as pathological (and so, get classified as an “illness”) and what are the implications of classifying something as an illness with respect to how we think about and treat it? Research on mental illness: What special challenges arise in studying mental illness?.
It is difficult to overstate the significance of medicine, in that it affects each of us from birth through death; or the complexity of medicine, in that it involves scientific, conceptual, economic, ethical and philosophical issues. We will here look at three of these issues from a philosophical standpoint: 1) the ways that we conceptualize health and disease; 2) the relation between medicine and science, and the patterns of reasoning associated with medical thinking; 3) the challenge posed by evolution to how we think about medicine, health and disease. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
This course offers advanced study of a philosophical topic or movement that is not a part of the Department's regular course offerings. At least two previous philosophy courses or permission from instructor required.
With an emphasis on philosophical writing, this advanced seminar offers study of a special philosophical topic that is not a part of the Department's regular course offerings. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course. Prerequisite: successful completion of at least two PHL courses. PHL 492 may be repeated up to 12 hours.