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Prerequisite: MATH 100 or equivalent.
Introduction to modern symbolic logic, involving paraphrasing, truth-functional evaluation of arguments, and the construction of proofs in propositional and predicate logic. Offered in the fall and spring semesters.
Prerequisite: PHL 101.
Advanced introduction to symbolic logic: symbolization of English statements and arguments and proof construction in propositional logic and predicate logic with relation symbols. Some meta-mathematical techniques may also be covered.
Is it reasonable to believe God exists? Is your mind your brain? What makes you the same person, over time? What is the proper role of government? Are right and wrong just human ideas, or are they objective? If there is a right way to live, what reason is there to follow it? Answers, and arguments for them, at an introductory level. Offered in the fall semester.
Credit for PHL 200 will not be granted to students who have already taken PHL 202 or PHL 204. 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. Offered in the fall and spring semesters.
Credit for PHL 202 will not be granted to students who have already taken PHL 200 or PHL 204. Course content varies; a current version centers around classical ethical theories, the question of whether ethics is subjective, and the nature of wickedness.
Credit for PHL 204 will not be granted to students who have already taken PHL 200 or PHL 202. Introduction to ethics via the moral problems that arise when someone is ill or injured or dying. Topics include euthanasia, truth-telling and medical paternalism, AIDS, and whether health care should be guaranteed to all citizens by the government.
Introduction to social philosophy and some of the ethical parameters of scientific technology and its application through engineering. Topics may include problems posed by advances in medical science and alternative means of electric power generation.
What are the proper aims of government, and the proper scope of its power? The views of Aristotle, Locke, Mill, and Marx will be explored, as well as the implications for current issues such as civil rights, income redistribution and welfare programs, and the protection of the environment.
Issues include the following: What should count toward making an activity criminal? What is it to be responsible for a crime? What considerations should govern what happens when someone is found to be responsible? What role should juries play in all this?
Issues include the following: Are there limits to what a person should be able to own? What makes a contract fair, and to what extent should only fair contracts be enforceable? Should we be free to contract anything we wish? When should one person be liable for a harm befalling another, and what limits, if any, are there to what that liability should cost him or her?
Issues include (at one level) what we ought to have by way of particular rights and (at another) how the Supreme Court ought to reason about such matters. The rights examined vary each semester. Recent focus has been on freedom of religion and on freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Theorists studied include Bork, Posner, and Dworkin.
Basic issues in philosophy of science, including the following: What distinguishes science from pseudo-science? Is there a scientific method? If so, what is that method? What constitutes a scientific explanation? How are theory and observation related? How do hypotheses get confirmed? And how do values function in science?
A history of philosophy from the 16th century to the 20th century, which may include study of Hobbes, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Bentham. Offered in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: PHL 101 or equivalent.
Full and intensive treatment of the logic of truth functions and predicates aimed at developing facility in formal inference and at understanding the logic of natural languages. Topics include normal forms, multivariate quantification with identity, relations, and the logic of singular terms.
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.
A deeper study of ethics, exploring such topics as moral relativism, excuses and moral responsibility, the free will problem, and questions concerning moral character (e.g., the nature of courage, humility, pride, compassion, jealousy, etc.).
Prerequisite: PHL 101 or permission of the instructor.
Advanced study of prominent theories of distributive justice (including those of Rawls and Nozick) and the implications of these theories for such social problems as the distribution of health care, wage compensation, and funding public goods.
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.
Study of the philosophical problems surrounding the nature of the mind and its relation to the world. Topics may include physicalism, reductionism and the unity of science, the content of mental states, cognitive psychology, and the role of mind in psychological explanation.
Study of philosophical issues about language, typically theories of reference and meaning. Other topics may include the nature of language, speech-act theory, theories of translation and interpretation, and theories of truth.
Issues include the following: What distinguishes science from pseudo-science? Is there a scientific method and, if so, what is it? What constitutes a scientific explanation? Is scientific change merely a replacement of one paradigm by another? What bearing have social and cultural changes had on the development of science?
The nature of law and legal systems, the question of an obligation to obey the law, the role of a judge in a system of law, and selected topics such as the place of mercy in a system of justice and the moral relationship between those who commit crimes and the victims of those crimes.
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