Course Descriptions - Spring 2007

Introductory Courses in Philosophy

Philosophy 101, Introduction to Philosophy:, 3 credits, HU
LEC 404, MW 10:00-10:50, MER 131
LEC 405, MW 1:00-1:50, ACL 120
Instructor: John Koethe,

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.

Philosophy 101, Introduction to Philosophy: God, Metaphysics, & Value, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, T 6:30-9:10, CRT 309
Instructor: Patrick Fessenbecker,

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.

Philosophy 101, Introduction to Philosophy: Selected Topics & Issues, 3 credits, HU
LEC 002 W 6:30 - 9:10 CRT 309
LEC 003 R 6:30 - 9:10 CRT 309
Instructor: David Barack,
Courtney Morris,

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.

Philosophy 111, Informal Logic: Critical Reasoning, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, MW 9:30-10:45, CRT 209
LEC 002, MW 12:30-1:45, EMS E220
Instructor: Karl Steldt,

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.

Philosophy 111, Informal Logic: Critical Reasoning , 3 credits, HU
Instructor: Gerhard Nuffer,

This course teaches students to identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments to rationally defend and criticize viewpoints, and to apply reasoning skills in practice. (online course description)

Philosophy 204, Introduction to Asian Religions, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001 T 6:30 - 9:10 BOL B83
Instructor: Michelle Mahlik,

A descriptive survey of major Asian religious traditions, with special emphasis on Hindu and Buddhist religious life and thought. (Online Course Description)

Philosophy 204, Introduction to Asian Religions, 3 credits, HU
LEC 402 MW 1:00-1:50 END 103
Instructor: James Lewis,

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.

Philosophy 207, Religion and Science, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, TR 5:00-6:15, CRT 309
Instructor: David Luce,

The alleged conflict between science and religion: case histories, analysis of the issues, implications for the concepts of religious beliefs and scientific knowledge. (Online Course Description)

Philosophy 211, Elementary Logic, 3 credits, HU
LEC 404 MW 10:00 - 10:50 ACL 120
LEC 405 MW 12:00 - 12:50 MER 131
LEC 001 T 6:30 - 9:10 MER 211
LEC 002 R 6:30 - 9:10 MER 211
LEC 003 M 6:30-9:10 CRT 309
Instructor: (404/405): Richard Tierney,
Instructor (001/002): Justin Remhof,
Joshua Hersey,

Enrollment in one of the large lectures (LEC 404/405) 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.

Philosophy 212, Modern Deductive Logic, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, TR 12:30-1:45, EMS W109
Instructor: Michael Liston,

The task of the first logic course - Philosophy 211 - was to develop a means for evaluating deductive arguments. This task involved the use of a formal language for expressing the logical structure of English sentences and the use of various formal techniques, including truth tables and deductions, for evaluating arguments. Once an English argument was translated into the formal language, formal techniques were used to solve an apparently informal problem, i.e., the problem of finding out whether it is possible for the conclusion of the argument to be false while all its premises are true.

In Philosophy 212 we will continue this inquiry into the evaluation of deductive arguments. We will concentrate on two central areas. First, we will deal with statements and arguments that are more quantificationally complex than those studied in Philosophy 211. Second, we will address the issue of the adequacy of the formal system. Explicit definitions of validity of arguments and formal systems will be used for the investigation, via informal reasoning and proof, of what can be achieved by a deductive system. Philosophy 211 with a grade of 'C' or better is a prerequisite for this class.

Intermediate and Advanced Courses in Philosophy

Philosophy 232, Topics in Philosophy: New Religions and the Cult Controversy, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001 M 5:00-7:40pm CRT 175
Instructor: James Lewis,

New Religions emerged as a field of study in the 1970s when "cults" became a hot public issue. It became an established field by the 1990s, in the wake of a series of tragedies involving small alternative religious groups-the Branch Davidian siege, the Solar Temple murder-suicides, the AUM Shinrikyo subway gassings, and the Heavens Gate suicides. This course will survey the most prominent New Religions, the cult controversy, and New Religions as a field of study.

This is a course in contemporary feminist thought, with special emphasis on feminist contributions to ethics and social theory. We will explore a variety of questions, including: What is gender, and what relevance does it have to moral and political thinking? Are there distinctively feminine and/or feminist ethical perspectives? How might sensitivity to gender affect our thinking about concepts such as justice, care, autonomy, dependence, equality, and difference? How might it affect our understanding of concrete moral and political issues? In thinking about these questions we will be attentive to ways in which gender interacts with other factors, such as race, class, sexuality and cultural context.

Philosophy 24, Introductory Ethics, 3 credits, HU
LEC 401, MW 11:00-11:50, END 103

Instructor: Julius Sensat,

Enrollment in Philosophy 241 also requires enrolling in a corresponding discussion section.

We'll look at 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'll see how the second approach leads naturally to utilitarianism, while contractualism has important sources in Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy. We'll also see how the three basic approaches get reflected in theories of social and economic justice.

Philosophy 244, Ethical Issues in Health Care: Contemporary Problems, 3 credits, HU
LEC 101 M 6:00 - 8:40*
Instructor: Kristen Tym,

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 life-sustaining 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.

Philosophy 245, Critical Thinking and the Law: Law of Torts, 3 credits, HU
LEC 101, M 6:30-9:10pm*

Instructor: Paul Santilli,

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.

Philosophy 250, Philosophy of Religion, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, MW 9:30-10:45, CRT 309
LEC 402, MW 12:00-12:50, END 103
Instructor: James Lewis,

Enrollment in LEC 402 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.

Philosophy 253, Philosophy of the Arts, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, MW 11:00-12:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Michelle Mahlik,

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.

Philosophy 317, Metaphysics, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Gerhard Nuffer,
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. (Online Course Description)

Philosophy 324, Philosophy of Science, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, MW 12:30-1:45, CRT 309
Instructor: Robert Schwartz,
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

We will be discussing scientific explanation; scientific reasoning; scientific realism; laws and causation; scientific revolutions. We may also discuss the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of physics.

Philosophy 341, Modern Ethical Theories, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, MW 11:00-12:15, PHY 120
Instructor: Susan Hahn,
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

Ethical theories and problems as discussed in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (Online Course Description)

Philosophy 355, Political Philosophy, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, MW 9:30-10:45, END 109
Instructor: Gary Jaeger,
Prereq: jr st; Philos 242(P) or a course in ethics

Political philosophy is the branch of ethics that asks how political institutions ought to govern their citizens, and how citizens ought to participate in the institutions of which they are members. This course will explore classic social contract theories as well as contemporary theories like liberal egalitarianism and socialism.

Philosophy 432, History of Modern Philosophy, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, CRT 309
Instructor: Margaret Atherton,
Satisfies L&S International req.
Prereq: jr st & 3cr in philos

The course will study the history of European philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries, also called the modern period. This is an astonishingly rich period in the history of philosophy as thinkers came to grips with devastating challenges to the authority of centuries of tradition in the areas of religion, natural science and social theory. We will be concentrating on a few of the philosophers working at this time in order to be able to explore their ideas in some detail. We will be reading selections from Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.

Philosophy 453, Special Topics in the History of Modern Philosophy: Kant, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, MW 3:30-4:45, CRT 607
Instructor: Julius Sensat,
Satisifies L&S International req.
Prereq: jr st; 3cr in philos; Philos 432(R)

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is generally regarded as the most important philosopher of the modern period. Certainly one cannot achieve an adequate understanding of developments in nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, whether in metaphysics, epistemology, moral or political philosophy, without a grasp of Kant's ideas.

The course will provide an introduction to Kant's system as a whole. We'll study extensive selections from major foundational works of his system, especially the Critique of Pure Reason, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, and Critique of Practical Reason. We'll also read selections from Religion Within the Bounds of Reason Alone and Critique of Judgment, and also from his popular political essays.

Philosophy 522, Special Topics in the Philosophy of Science: Philosophy of Physics , 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, TR 11:00-1:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Stephen Leeds,
Prereq: jr st

Consideration of one or more of the following: logic of theory construction, theoretical entities, measurement, nature of laws, conventionalism, operationalism, and induction.

Philosophy 532, Philosophical Problems: Metaethics, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001, T 3:30-6:10, CRT 607
Instructor: Gary Jaeger
Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos

Ethicists can ask questions about which actions are right or wrong, good or evil, or they can ask questions about what rightness, wrongness, goodness, and evilness are. Metaethics seeks to answer questions of the second type. This course will be concerned with the issue of whether moral beliefs express facts that can be true or false, or whether they express something like the feelings or emotions of agents.

Philosophy 681, Seminar in Advanced Topics: Nietzsche & Foucault, 3 credits, HU
SEM 001, MW 2:00-3:15, CRT 607
Instructor: Susan Hahn,
Satisfies L&S Seminar req.
Prereq: sr st & 12 cr in philos at 300-level or above; or grad st

Seminar on a philosopher, philosophical movement, issue, or problem for majors and graduate students. Research papers required. (Online Course Description)

Philosophy 685, Capstone Senior Seminar: Modality, 3 credits, HU
SEM 001, T 6:30-9:10, CRT 607
Instructor: Gerhard Nuffer,
Satisfies L&S Seminar req.
Prereq: sr st; cons instr.

Seminar study of a philosophical text for senior philosophy majors and graduate students. (Online Course Description)

Philosophy 712, Fundamentals of Formal Logic, 3 credits, HU
LEC 001 TR 12:30 - 1:45 BOL B72
Instructor: Michael Liston,
Prereq: grad st.

We will work through standard soundness, completeness, and other metatheoretic results for first order logic.

Philosophy 756, Seminar in Major Movements in Philosophical Thought: Pragmatism, 3 credits, HU
SEM 001, M 5:00-7:40, CRT 607
Instructor: Robert Schwartz,
Prereq: grad st; cons instr

Philosophy 941, Seminar in Ethics and Social & Political Philosophy: Virtue Ethics, 3 credits, HU
SEM 001, R 3:30-6:10, CRT 607
Instructor: Andrea Westlund,
Prereq: grad st & cons instr

Elizabeth Anscombe's paper "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958) simultaneously launched an influential critique of the two dominant traditions in moral philosophy at the time (utilitarianism and Kantianism) and ushered in a period of renewed and vigorous interest in the concepts of virtue, vice, and character which continues to the present time. In this course we will focus primarily on developments in virtue ethics since the publication of Anscombe's groundbreaking piece, though we will fill in historical background (especially Aristotle) as appropriate. We will begin by considering Anscombe's and other related criticisms of modern moral philosophy, but will spend the bulk of the course exploring more recent work on virtue and related concepts by Rosalind Hursthouse, Alasdair MacIntyre, John McDowell, Philippa Foot, Michael Thompson, and others. Later in the term, if time permits, we will examine one or more specific virtue(s) in more detail, and we may also consider challenges, from a social-psychological perspective, to the usefulness of the very notion of character in ethics.