Course Descriptions - Fall 2006

Introductory Courses in Philosophy

PHILOS 101, Introduction to Philosophy: Reflections on the Human Condition (HU)
LEC 404, MW 10:00-10:50, MER 131
LEC 405, MW 1:00-1:50, ACL 120
Instructor: Edward Hinchman, hinchman@uwm.edu

This course is an introduction to Western Philosophy. Students need not have any background in philosophy, or any plans for further study. The course has three broad aims:

  1. to introduce students to the tradition of philosophical argument in the West via primary texts,
  2. to teach students how in general to make and evaluate philosophical arguments,
  3. to demonstrate to any student who cares to participate actively how exciting and even fun philosophy can be.

Since philosophy is simply informed public reflection on what we're up to as we try to do and believe what we ought to do and believe - as Socrates put it, "What we are talking about is how one should live" - I hope that by the end of the term the third aim of the course will have taken priority over the other two.


PHILOS 101, Introduction to Philosophy: God, Metaphysics, & Value (HU)
LEC 003, T 6:30-9:10, CRT 309
Instructor: Sami Hawi, hawi@uwm.edu

The course is a general orientation in the basic issues of philosophy. We discuss certain highlights in the philosophic tradition from Plato to John Stuart Mill. Such topics as: the proofs for God's existence, His nature, His relationship to man, the origin and scope of knowledge, the mind-body problem, evaluation of the scientific procedure, and the various standards of right and wrong behavior are examined and studied in detail.


PHILOS 101, Introduction to Philosophy: Selected Topics & Issues (HU)
LEC 001, M 6:30-9:10, Room TBA
LEC 002, R 6:30-9:10, Room TBA
Instructor: TBA

We will look at a representative selection of topics from the history of philosophy and current philosophical debates: ethics, social and political philosophy, the scope and nature of our knowledge of the world, the nature of the self and mind.


PHILOS 111, Informal Logic: Critical Reasoning (HU)
LEC 001, MW 9:30-10:45, Room TBA
LEC 002, MW 12:30-1:45, Room TBA
Instructor: Karl Steldt, karlsteldt@hotmail.com

Aside from being a body of knowledge in its own right, logic is an instrument for acquiring understanding. As such it is not specific to any subject matter. The principles of logic are applicable to the various sciences, art, religion, law, ethics, politics, and business. For the student who works in any of the foregoing areas, the study of logic is essential.

This course is devoted to a range of topics central to logic. People make claims and defend them with reasons, which together are referred to as arguments. The first order of business is to learn to identify arguments and to recognize how their structure is indicated in ordinary discourse. Second, meaning and linguistic usage underlie the determination of truth. In this connection distinctions are drawn between different kinds of definition, and rules are laid down for constructing and evaluating definitions. A third topic is that of informal fallacies. Some arguments are good and some are bad, and fallacies are by definition bad arguments. Since these are all too often mistaken for good arguments, being able to recognize common varieties of fallacies is a useful skill. Next on the agenda is deduction. The relation between truth and validity is considered. Some immediate inferences that have traditionally been recognized are covered, along with a number of elementary forms of deductive arguments. A procedure is established for testing a certain kind of deductive argument, the categorical syllogism, for validity and invalidity. The last part of the course is devoted to a study of inductive arguments. Here the focus is on arguments by analogy, causal reasoning, and scientific explanation.


PHILOS 204, Introduction to Asian Religions, (HU)
LEC 001, MW 9:30-10:45, Room TBA
LEC 402, MW 11:00-11:50, END 103
Instructor: James Lewis, jim.lewis@uwsp.edu
Enrollment in the large lecture (LEC 402) Philosophy 204 requires enrollment in a small discussion section.

Emphasis in this course will be upon the philosophy and worldviews-the nature of the universe, human destiny, the problem of evil, etc.-of several forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, though some attention will also be given to Taoism and to a few contemporary Western new religions influenced by Asian religions. From time to time, representatives of these traditions will be invited in to dialog with the class.


PHILOS 211, Elementary Logic (HU)
LEC 403, MW 10:00-10:50, BUS N146
LEC 404, MW 12:00-12:50, MER 131
LEC 001, M 6:30-9:10, Room TBA
LEC 002, R 6:30-9:10, CRT 309
Instructor: (403/404): Michael Liston, mnliston@uwm.edu
Instructor (001/002): TBA
Enrollment in one of the large lectures (LEC 403/404) also requires enrollment in a corresponding discussion section.

The Island of Knights and Knaves is a place where only Knights and Knaves live. A Knight is a person who always tells the truth. Knaves, on the other hand, never tell the truth. Harry, who lives on the island, says: "If I am a Knight, then I'll eat my hat." Did you know that you can prove from the above information that Harry will eat his hat? Did you know: 1) Given that Sarah loves either Jim or Tom and that if she loves Jim then she loves Tom, you can prove that she loves Tom? 2) that if everyone loves a lover and there is even one lover in the world, then everyone loves everyone? Learn how to solve these and other puzzles in Philosophy 211, where we will study formal deductive logic -- the science of what follows from what.

The concepts and techniques encountered in the study of deductive logic are of central importance to any analysis of argument and inference. They reflect fundamental patterns of proof found in science and mathematics, they underlie the programs that enable computers to "reason" logically, and they provide tools for characterizing the formal structures of language. This is an introductory course intended for students who have had no previous work in logic. There will be 3 exams and weekly homework assignments.


Intermediate and Advanced Courses

PHILOS 217, Introduction to Metaphysics (HU)
LEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Sami Hawi, hawi@uwm.edu

The course deals with the nature of metaphysical thinking and the issues arising from such thinking. Representative philosophers from ancient, medieval and modern philosophy are dealt with at length, e.g., Plato's Phaedo, Avicenna's identity theory and metaphysical scheme, Descartes' Meditation, and Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion.


PHILOS 232, Topics in Philosophy: Philosophical Aspects of Socialism (HU)
LEC 001, MW 3:30-4:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Dennis Casper, dcasper@uwm.edu

This course is intended to introduce the student to some perspectives on and assessments of socialism: its definition; various models of socialism both tried and untried, and what it might still promise with respect to a range of fundamental human concerns and practices including freedom, equality, democracy, community, efficiency, religion, science and technology, art and culture; and what new avenues for socialist practice and new conceptions of the socialist project should be considered in the light of the socialist experience of the twentieth century and the current capitalist context. After a brief look at some early forms of socialism, the first half of the course will concentrate on a survey of the philosophy of Karl Marx, the dominant thinker in the socialist tradition, outlining his analysis and critique of capitalism and his understanding of such concepts as class, human nature, alienation, freedom, social and historical change, among others. The second half will focus on contemporary discussions of the topics mentioned above.


PHILOS 232, Topics in Philosophy: Topic TBA (HU)
LEC 002, MW 2:00-3:15, CRT 309
Instructor: TBA

A course for beginning students dealing with such philosophical problems as freedom of will, skepticism, or a historical figure or movement.


PHILOS 232, Topics in Philosophy: History of Science from Galileo to Einstein (HU)
LEC 003, TR 11:00-12:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Stephen Leeds, sleeds@uwm.edu

This is a course on the history of science from the 17th to 20th centuries, concentrating mostly on physics, astronomy, and chemistry. The instructor believes that the great discoveries of this period should be accessible to everyone, not just scientists; for this reason, the course presupposes no background in physics. The student will however be expected to have, or anyway develop, a tolerance for a certain amount of mathematical argument, since so much of the reasoning by which Newton, Maxwell and the rest arrived at their discoveries was mathematical.


PHILOS 241, Introductory Ethics (HU)
LEC 401, MW 11:00-11:50, BOL B56
Instructor: Julius Sensat, sensat@uwm.edu
Enrollment in Philosophy 241 also requires enrolling in a corresponding discussion section.

We shall study three basic approaches in moral philosophy: ethical rationalism, which takes moral principles to describe an independent order of values fixed in the nature of things, the ideal-spectator approach, which takes morally wrong actions to be those an impartial sympathetic observer would disapprove of, and contractualism, according to which the correct moral principles are those which would be agreed to by all reasonable beings as a basis for their community. We shall see how the second approach leads naturally to utilitarianism, while contractualism has important sources in Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy. We shall see how the three basic approaches get reflected in theories of social and economic justice.


PHILOS 242, Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy (HU)
LEC 002, TR 5:00-6:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Susan Hahn
songsuk@uwm.edu

Introduction to modern political philosophy. We will focus on how philosophers, such as, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Emerson and Thoreau, among others, explain political life by referring to equalities and inequalities in a state of nature, naturalized norms, self-cultivation, and power. Topics will include: the pessimistic view of human nature and moral psychology at the basis of Machiavelli and Hobbes's political theories; Rousseau on the process of civic education, in particular, how the moral psychology of the pre-political condition gets developed in the political sphere; and Nietzsche's individualistic theory of self-realization and selfexpression that developed out of his theory of power.


PHILOS 244 Ethical Issues in Health Care: Contemporary Problems (HU)
LEC 101, M 6:00-8:40*
Instructor: Kristin Tym, ktym@earthlink.net

This course will provide a general overview of many of the challenging ethical issues faced in health care delivery today. We will begin the course with an introduction of ethical theories and other approaches to moral decision-making. These theories and approaches will then be applied to ethical problems currently confronting health care providers, patients and their families, and society at large. Issues we will consider include informed consent and confidentiality, futility and withdrawal of lifesustaining treatment, euthanasia and assisted suicide, assisted reproduction, genetics, allocation of scarce resources and research ethics.

* This course is taught off-campus at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, 9455 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee.


PHILOS 245, Critical Thinking and the Law: Law of Torts (HU)
LEC 101, M 6:30-9:10pm*
Instructor: Paul Santilli, santilli@execpc.com

The goals of critical thinking are to instill in the student an understanding of the fundamental principles of analysis, problem solving and construction of an argument. In order to convey these principles, students are taught how to use tort law using legal materials, including but not limited to, the language used by the legal profession and legal resources. It is through the study of law that teachers hope to impart to their students a system for analytical thinking which they may use in their every-day lives.

* This course is taught off-campus at the School of Continuing Education, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave, Room 7230.


PHILOS 250, Philosophy of Religion (HU)
LEC 001, MW 5:00-6:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Fabrizio Mondadori

We shall analyze and discuss (a) some of the traditional arguments for the existence of God (especially St. Thomas' Five Ways and the ontological argument), (b) the socalled problem of Evil (we shall read texts by Leibniz and Hume), (c) the question whether or not God's omniscience and human freedom are mutually consistent, and (d) the problem of miracles.


PHILOS 250, Philosophy of Religion (HU)
LEC 002, T 6:30-9:10, Room TBA
Instructor: Michelle Mahlik, mmahlik@uwm.edu

One of the most intriguing and controversial philosophical issues is the human religious experience. By requiring us to replace passion with reason, philosophy provides us with a methodology to examine this contentious but inherently interesting topic. This course will examine various philosophical perspectives on such issues as: the arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, the nature of religious experience, religious pluralism, the possibility of human free will, and the rationality of religious faith.


PHILOS 250, Philosophy of Religion (HU)
LEC 403, MW 12:00-12:50, END 103
Instructor: James Lewis, jim.lewis@uwsp.edu
Enrollment in LEC 403 requires enrolling in a corresponding discussion section.

We shall analyze and discuss (a) some of the traditional arguments for the existence of God (the cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments), (b) the so-called problem of Evil, (c) the question whether or not God's omniscience and human freedom are mutually consistent, (d) Pascal's Wager and William James, and (e) the question of human immortality.


PHILOS 253, Philosophy of the Arts (HU)
LEC 001, MW 11:00-12:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Michelle Mahlik, mmahlik@uwm.edu

Art differs from nature in being a human creation, and as our own creation art has something to say about how we view our selves, our world, and our relationship to the world. An objective of this course is to examine philosophically the nature of art and its relation to individuals and their environment.

How do we distinguish works of art from natural objects? Is art merely an imitation of the natural world? Do works of art have intrinsic meaning, or do they have no meaning at all? Is the value of a work of art merely a matter of subjective judgment? Are there specific criteria by which to judge works of art? Are we to define art in terms of form, expressiveness, artistic intention, or social role? Is there a relationship between beauty and moral goodness?

In this course, we will consider these questions and the answers provided by a variety of philosophers and artists, both ancient and modern. Although an interest in art is recommended, this course requires no previous experience in art or philosophy.


PHILOS 272, Philosophical Classics (HU)
LEC 004: The Life & Death of Socrates
LEC 005: Descartes' Meditations
LEC 006: Hume's Dialogue on Natural Religion
LEC 004, MW 12:30-1:45, CRT 309 (9/5-10/7)
LEC 005, MW 12:30-1:45, CRT 309 (10/9-11/11)
LEC 006, MW 12:30-1:45, CRT 309 (11/13-12/13)
Instructor: Margaret Atherton, atherton@uwm.edu
Note: LEC 001, 002, & 003 are worth one credit each. You do not have to enroll for all three sections.

This course or courses offers an opportunity to earn from 1-3 credits. Each 1 credit 5 week mini-course will examine carefully a different philosophical classic.

272-001, The Life and Death of Socrates
Socrates' life and teachings were immortalized by his great pupil, Plato and in his own right, Socrates has been accorded an honored place in the history of philosophy. Yet he remains an enigmatic figure. What sort of a teacher was this man who insisted he was the wisest of all because he knew nothing? Why did the Athenians find his teachings so threatening that they put him to death? In this course we will seek to uncover the puzzle that was Socrates through a reading of Plato's account of his last days.

272-002, Descartes' Meditations
If we sometimes dream, then perhaps the world we perceive when awake has no more reality than the world we dream about. How can you be sure that you do not believe that 2+2=4 because an evil demon has tricked you into so believing? With speculations like these, Descartes took his figure of a meditator into an understanding of the underlying nature of reality, where minds are firmly distinct from bodies and our knowledge of the nature of reality is saved from skepticism through a proof for the existence of God. We will follow the thoughts of the meditator through the steps Descartes laid out for him or her, and see why Descartes ushered in a new era of philosophical endeavor.

272-003, Hume's Dialogues on Natural Religion
Through the mouths of his various characters, Hume recorded the struggles of his age, as thinkers tried to reconcile the discoveries of the great scientists, such a Isaac Newton, with the truths of religion that were supposed to be equally available to rational inspection. One mystery remains for Hume's readers: Who speaks for Hume? Was Hume himself an agnostic or a believer?


PHILOS 303, Theory of Knowledge (HU)
LEC 002, TR 3:30-4:45, CRT 309
Instructor: TBA
Prereq: jr. st.; Philos 101, 201, or 215

Study of the nature, source, and limits of our knowledge of the world of experience and of necessary truth.


PHILOS 317, Metaphysics (HU)
LEC 002, TR 9:30-10:45, CRT 309
Instructor: TBA
Prereq: jr. st & 3 cr in philos

Study of perennial philosophical issues about the nature of the world and our relation to it; realism, idealism, causality, the mind-body problem, time, truth.


PHILOS 332, Philosophical Problems: Topic TBA (HU)
LEC 002, MW 9:30-10:45, CRT 309
Instructor: TBA

Specific philosophical topic or issue, such as contemporary aesthetics, personal identity, the mind-body problem, the nature of beauty, equality, the just-war doctrine.


PHILOS 349, Great Moral Philosophers: Aristotle and Kant on Choice and Agency (HU)
LEC 001, TR 12:30-1:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Carla Bagnoli, cbagnoli@uwm.edu
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

Arguably, Kant and Aristotle are the greatest moral philosophers of western tradition. This course focuses on their conceptions of agency and deliberation, and their legacy in contemporary ethics. Kant's ethical theory promises a systematic and universalistic conception of morality grounded on reason. Because of its generality and abstractness, however, some have objected that Kant's model of practical reasoning cannot account for the variety and importance of particular attachments, loyalties and special relations. On the contrary, Aristotle's ethics is sensitive to the various tonalities of concrete situations, and makes sense of the agents' relations with their community. But it is at risk of discounting the role of reason in moral education. Contemporary ethical debates are deeply influenced both by Kant's and Aristotle's ethics, and some philosophers have attempted to reassess moral their legacy by taking these two accounts of ethics as complementary, rather than as mutually exclusive. Readings include: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Critique of Practical Reason, and Doctrine of Virtue, B. Williams' Moral Luck, C. Korsgaard, Creating the Kingdom of Ends, B. Herman, The  Practice of Moral Judgment.


PHILOS 351, Philosophy of Mind (HU)
LEC 002, TR 11:00-12:15, Room TBA
Instructor: TBA
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

Critical study of the nature of mind and its relation to body and matter, with emphasis on recent advances in philosophy and psychology.


PHILOS 381H, Honors Seminar: It's About Time-Temporality from Plato to Einstein (HU)
SEM 001, MW 11:00-12:15, Room TBA
Instructor: Scott Spiker, spiker@uwm.edu
Prereq: soph st & cons Honors dir

What is time? St. Augustine famously confessed that he knew what it was...as long as no one asked him to explain it. We will try to do better than that in the present course by examining a range of issues relating to time that have perplexed thinkers for well over two thousand years.

Among the topics we will consider are the following: Is everything that happens destined to happen years before it ever occurs? Is it possible that not just the universe but time itself had a beginning? Are time and change inextricably linked, or could time march on even though nothing ever changed? Is the passage of time, as some have argued, nothing more than a grand illusion? Is the present all that is real or do the future and past exist as well in some sense? Finally, is time travel-that darling of sci-fi literature and film-truly possible?

Although we will be in no danger of leaving our armchairs when debating these issues, this will not be your stereotype of a philosophy class. We will take great pains to acquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of Einstein's groundbreaking theories of relativity, which arguably afford us the best contemporary understanding of the nature of time. (The elementary mathematics needed to understand the special theory of relativity-basically, high-school algebra-will be introduced when the need arises.)


PHILOS 430, History of Ancient Philosophy (HU)
LEC 001, MW 2:00-3:15, Room TBA
Instructor: Fabrizio Mondadori
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos

In the thought of Ancient Greece we uncover a remarkable phenomenon. The Ancient Greeks, starting from an essentially myth-making way of understanding the world and the human place in it, as found in the work of Homer and Hesiod, developed their ideas to a culmination in a theory of the natural world and of human nature and human contact put forward by Aristotle, which dominated human thinking for many hundreds of years and is still said to capture human "common sense" beliefs about the world. How did this transition come about? We will look at the changing questions asked by the Pre-Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, as well as the reflections of these questions in Greek literature and history, in order to understand how their ideas and theories about the natural world and human nature resulted in the development of natural science, ethics and political theory.


PHILOS 453, Special Topics in the History of Modern Philosophy: 19th Century Continental Philosophy (HU)
LEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, Room TBA
Instructor: Susan Hahn
Prereq: jr st; 3cr in philos.

An introduction to German Idealism, beginning with some background in the theoretical and practical philosophy of Kant. We will begin with Kant's Transcendental Idealism in the Prolegomena and moral philosophy in Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, then move on to an investigation of the German Idealists' response to Kant, beginning with Fichte's theoretical and practical works. This investigation will form the background for a study of Hegel's Absolute Idealism in the Phenomenology of Spirit. Time permitting, we'll discuss some responses to German Idealism by the young Hegelians, Marx and Feuerbach.


PHILOS 532, Philosophical Problems: TBA (HU)
LEC 002, T 11:00-1:40, CRT 607
Instructor: TBA
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

Intensive study of one or two particular problems, such as determinism and freedom, ethical relativism, memory, or perception.


PHILOS 685, Capstone Senior Seminar: Descartes (HU)
SEM 002, W 5:00-7:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Margaret Atherton, atherton@uwm.edu
Prereq: sr st; cons instr.

We will seek in this course to uncover and explain the nature of Rene Descartes' contribution to philosophy through the lens of one important aspect of his work: his dualism. While the importance of the thesis that the mind is distinct from and other than the body to Descartes' thinking is widely acknowledged, it is not today likely to be widely admired. It can often be dismissed as an attempt on Descartes' part to maintain a religious doctrine, the immortality of the soul. But a proper assessment of the thesis requires an assessment and an understanding of the role dualism plays in the context of Descartes' thought. We will bring to this matter a series of questions. Why did Descartes express his dualism as a substance dualism? What role does the concept of substance play in his dualism? What are the arguments by means of which Descartes establishes that the mind is distinct from the body? What are the important assumptions underlying these arguments? Finally, we will need to ask, what are the consequences for other are as of Descartes' philosophy that result from his dualism? How is Descartes' understanding of physics different from the non-dualistic accounts of his predecessors? How is Descartes' understanding of human psychology different from the non-dualistic accounts of his predecessors?


PHILOS 758, Seminar in Major Philosophers: The Political Philosophy of John Rawls (HU)
SEM 001, MW 3:30-4:45, CRT 607
Instructor: Julius Sensat, sensat@uwm.edu
Prereq: grad st; cons instr

Rawls is widely regarded as the most important political philosopher of the 20th century. His two main contributions are his theory of justice as fairness and his conception of political liberalism. The seminar will critically examine these two doctrines. Our main textual focus will be two of his last published works: Justice as Fairness: A Restatement and The Law of Peoples, though we shall refer to his other writings as needed. We shall also examine some of the secondary literature.


PHILOS 941, Seminar in Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy: Moral Emotions (HU)
SEM 001, T 5:00-7:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Carla Bagnoli, cbagnoli@uwm.edu
Prereq: grad st & cons instr

Moral practices seem to be associated with particular emotions, such as respect and self-respect, shame, guilt, blame, and love. This seminar will investigate alternative philosophical accounts of the status and role of this category of emotions. In particular, we will consider what "emotions" are supposed to be and how they relate to the authority of morality. Rationalistic theories take emotions such as respect and self-respect to be constitutive aspects of autonomy, and typical of self-reflective minds. To this extent, rationalism acknowledges the centrality of moral emotions and regards them as the very basis of moral motivation; but it attributes to moral motivation a peculiar status. Naturalistic theories instead conceive of moral motivation as continuous with non-moral motivation, and draw from cognitive science and game theory to account for its complexity. They focus on guilt, blame and shame, and treat them as sanctions that enforce moral norms. On this reading, moral emotions are indicators of social reliability and their function is to foster peace and cooperation in a community governed by norms. Realistic accounts consider emotions as forms of discernment and understanding rather than as modes of assessment. They focus on love as a mode of discernment of reality, and most importantly as the key mode of recognition of concrete individuals.