Course Descriptions Fall 2008

PH 100 A1 – Introduction to Philosophy
Prof. Griswold
T, Th 2:00-3:30pm

An introduction to the nature of philosophy through careful reflection about several classical philosophical themes and questions: the value and meaning of life; whether death is bad, and if so, why (and correlatively, whether immortality would be desirable); the ethics of suicide; the nature of free will; and the relation between mind and body. There are no prerequisites for this course.

PH 110 A1 – Great Philosophers
Prof. Kuehn
M,W,F 2:00-3:00pm

A comparative introduction to the life and thought of six preeminent philosophers from classical times in both the Western and Eastern traditions.

PH 150 A1 – Introduction to Ethics
Prof. Dahlstrom
T, Th 9:30-11:00am

Who ought we to be, what ought we to do, what ought we to strive for? Examination of our obligations to ourselves, to other humans, and to the natural world in light of ethical theory and contemporary problems. Readings from a wide range of texts in philosophical ethics.

PH 150 B1 – Introduction to Ethics
Prof. Sreedhar
M,W,F 12:00-1:00pm

Who ought we to be, what ought we to do, what ought we to strive for? Examination of our obligations to ourselves, to other humans, and to the natural world in light of ethical theory and contemporary problems. Readings from a wide range of texts in philosophical ethics.

PH 150 C1 – Introduction to Ethics
Prof. Garrett
M,W,F 1:00-2:00pm

Who ought we to be, what ought we to do, what ought we to strive for? Examination of our obligations to ourselves, to other humans, and to the natural world in light of ethical theory and contemporary problems. Readings from a wide range of texts in philosophical ethics.

PH 160 A1 – Reasoning & Argumentation
Prof. Hintikka
M,W,F 11:00-12:00pm

A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students’ actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse.

PH 160 B1 – Reasoning & Argumentation
TBA
T,Th 3:30-5:00pm

A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students’ actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse.

PH 160 C1 – Reasoning & Argumentation
Prof. Webb
M,W,F 9:00-10:00am

A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students’ actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse.

PH 241 A1 – Philosophy of Personality
Prof. Kestenbaum
M,W,F 1:00-2:00pm

Consideration of the nature and problems of self-understanding and self-realization. Philosophical perspectives on growth and maturity in personality. Particular attention to philosophical issues associated with emotion: rationality, freedom, responsibility, and romantic love.

PH 248 A1 – Existentialism
Prof. Hopp
T,Th 9:30-11:00am

Existentialism is perhaps the most self-consciously unsystematic and non-academic movement in recent intellectual history. As such, it defies any tidy characterization. Nevertheless, the central philosophical and literary figures commonly regarded as existentialists seem united in their skepticism concerning the power of traditional philosophical or scientific analysis to render human thought and action intelligible, the value they place on individual authenticity, and the importance they assign to emotionally exceptional states of mind for the full disclosure of human reality. In this course we will examine works by, among others, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Jaspers, Camus, and Sartre. We will be especially concerned with what these thinkers have to say about the condition of modern humanity, the ability of science to explain human action, the authority of moral norms, and the “absurdity” of human life, either with or without God.

PH 251 A1 – Medical Ethics
Prof. TBA
T,Th 12:30-2:00pm

Examination of a number of value problems arising within the context of medicine and health care. Particular ethical problems of euthanasia, abortion, human experimentation, reproduction, and allocation of scarce resources; critiques of contemporary medicine as an institution.

PH 253 A1 – Social Philosophy
TBA
M,W,F 3:00-4:00pm

A survey of philosophical and sociological analyses of modern Western society, including Rousseau, Marx, Weber, and a number of contemporary writers.

PH 254 A1 – Political Philosophy
Prof. Michalski
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

Types of political theory, their key concepts and underlying assumptions; paradoxes in the modern idea of freedom; the concept of property; scientific progress and the understanding of the politics.

PH 265 A1 – Minds and Machines
Prof. Bokulich
T,Th 2:00-3:30pm

An examination of the efforts of artificial intelligence to model the human mind and explain human thought by means of suitably programmed computers. Attention is given to the historical and mathematical origins of such efforts, as well as the main psychological and philosophical assumptions on which they depend.

PH 270 A1 – Philosophy of Science
Prof. Bokulich
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

Main features of the scientific enterprise are illustrated by examples in the study of physics, biology, and mind: the aims of scientific activities, the nature of scientific understanding and procedures, the structure and interpretation of scientific theories, and the development of science.

PH 277 A1 – Philosophy and Methods in the Human Sciences
Prof. Devlin
T,Th 3:30-5:00pm

Examination of Marx, Freud, Koch, and other thinkers in terms of several concepts of psychology and social science: bracketing, reduction, separation of fact-value, methodology, prediction, materialism, determinism, and atheism. The course considers philosophical problems of human sciences, including economics, psychology, and political science.

PH 300 A1 – History of Ancient Philosophy
Prof. Brinkmann
M,W,F 9:00-10:00am

Classical Greek philosophy, with a concentration on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

PH 300 B1 – History of Ancient Philosophy
TBA
T,TH 9:30-11:00am

Classical Greek philosophy, with a concentration on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

PH 310 A1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Prof. Kuehn
M,W,F 12:00-1:00pm

An examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

PH 310 B1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Prof. Webb
M,W,F 9:00-10:00am

An examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

PH 350 A1 – History of Ethics
Prof. Speight
T.Th 12:30-2:00pm

A critical and comparative examination of the ideas of representative moral philosophers from Plato to Nietzsche.

PH 403 A1 – Plato I
Prof. Roochnik
T,Th 12:30-2:00pm

A study of the three dialogues Plato wrote about love: the Lysis, the Symposium, and the Phaedrus.

PH 405 A1 – Artistotle I
Prof. Hintikka
M,W,F 2:00-3:00pm

A careful study of the philosophy of Aristotle conducted primarily through a close reading of several of his major works.

PH 409 A1 – Maimonides
Prof. Lobel
T,Th 2:00-3:30pm

A comprehensive study of the thought of Maimonides. Close attention is given to topics in his logic, ethics, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion.

PH 410 A1 – Continental Rationalism
Prof. Garrett
M,W,F 3:00-4:00pm

A critical study of major texts of seventeenth-century philosophy

PH 416 A1 – Hegel
Prof. Brinkmann
M,W,F 12:00-1:00pm

Critical study of Hegel’s system as presented in his Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences.

PH 426 A1 – Phenomenology
Prof. Hopp
T, Th 12:30-2:00pm

Corresponding to any type of object whatsoever (an individual, a property, a number, a philosophical argument, etc.) there is an account to be given concerning the mental acts in virtue of which we can become conscious of it. Phenomenology’s task is to provide such an account by examining the essential features of conscious acts as they are given in phenomenological reflection. In this class, we will tackle some of the main questions of phenomenology by examining works by Edmund Husserl, John Searle, and Brian O’Shaughnessy.

PH 443 A1 – Philosophy of Mind
Prof. Bokulich
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

The topic is sentience, embodiment, and the brain. The aim is to develop a “neurophenomenological” approach to consciousness and embodied experience in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind.

PH 444 A1 – Persons and Nature
Prof. Tauber
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

The relation of persons to nature is a complex array of epistemological, moral, and metaphysical relationships. These will be explored in the context of modern environmentalism.

PH 446 A1 – Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Olson
T,Th 12:30-2:00pm

An examination of the principal issues and topics in the philosophy of religion: first, by way of an historical overview of the philosophy of religion as a discipline or sub- discipline of philosophy and theology; and second, by way of a close reading of Hegel’s 1827 Lectures on The Philosophy of Religion.

PH 453 A1 – Theories of Political Society
Prof. James
T,Th 9:30-11:00am

An examination of recent political accounts of “modernity,” that is, of the unique character of advanced industrial cultures. Readings include classic authors (Rousseau, Marx, Freud, Weber) and contemporary writers (Habermas, MacIntyre, Lyotard, Toulmin).

PH 455 A1 – Legal Philosophy
Prof. Baxter
T,Th 2:00-4:00pm

Philosophy of Law: Examination of influential approaches to the philosophy of law of the last half-century. Readings include works by H.L.A. Hart, Ronald Dworkin, and John Rawls.

PH 456 A1 – Topics in Philosophy and Religion
Topic for Fall 2008: Justice, War and Peace
Prof. Speight
T 2:00-5:00pm

This course will focus on issues of justice in war and peace, engaging the tradition of philosophical and religious literature on the topic of just war from Augustine to Walzer, including issues of the justice of war’s cause and its conduct, the doctrine of pre-emption, and humanitarian and other interventions. A particular focus will be the requirements of justice in the aftermath of war: what are a nation’s obligations after a war or conflict has ceased? What is required to effect reconciliation of previously warring parties? This course will parallel a series of lectures by visiting and BU professors next fall in the Institute for Philosophy and Religion, which will be incorporated in the course design.

PH 465 A1 – Philosophy of Cognitive Science
TBA
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

Can humans be thought of in analogy with machines? The course examines questions of natural and artificial intelligence in light of traditional theory and of recent research in computer science and artificial intelligence.

PH 471 A1 – Ecology in Philosophy and Literature
Prof. Tauber
W 4:00-7:00pm

We will examine how an ecological sensitivity has been transmitted in literature as part of a larger philosophical project of presenting ‘nature’ as a special concern for contemporary societies.

PH 483 A1 – Top:Ph Religion
Prof. Michalski
W 2:00-5:00pm

PH 484 A1 – Topics in Speculative Philosophy: Thinking
Prof. Kestenbaum
M,W,F 11:00-12:00pm

What is thinking? To what is it responsible? What are its ends? What does thinking desire at first and then later? Thinking invites–and resists–skepticism. Readings from Heidegger, Arendt, and Cavell.

PH 603 A1 – Plato I
Prof. Roochnik
T,Th 12:30-2:00pm

A careful study of one or several Platonic dialogues. Emphasizes both close reading of the text(s) and discussion of the deep philosophical issues raised by them. Frequent references to other Platonic dialogues as relevant. Knowledge of Greek is helpful but not required. Familiarity with Greek philosophy is helpful.

PH 605 A1 – Aristotle I
Prof. Hintikka
M,W,F 2:00-3:00pm

A survey of Aristotle’s central and theoretical views on thinking, reasoning, logic, scientific method, necessity, and possibility, metaphysics (especially the notion of being) and time, considered in historical setting.

PH 609 A1 – Maimonides
Prof. Lobel
T,Th 2:00-3:30pm

PH 616 A1 – Hegel
Prof. Brinkmann
M,W,F 12:00-1:00pm

Critical study of Hegel’s system as presented in his Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences.

PH 626 A1 – Phenomenology
Prof. Hopp
T,Th 12:30-2:00pm

Rigorous examination of the foundations of philosophical phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger.

PH 643 A1 – Philosophy of Mind
Prof. Bokulich
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

The topic is sentience, embodiment, and the brain. The aim is to develop a “neurophenomenological” approach to consciousness and embodied experience in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind.

PH 644 A1 – Persons and Nature
Prof. Tauber
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

Studies in philosophical ecology with emphasis on environmental ethics and the place of humans in the cosmos. Broad range of readings in environmental, deep, and moral ecology.

PH 646 A1 – Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Olson
T,Th 12:30-2:00pm

An examination of the principal issues and topics in the philosophy of religion in the following two stages: first, an historical overview of the philosophy of religion as a discipline or subdiscipline of philosophy and theology; and, second, attention to the problems and challenges facing this discipline in the context of the comparative study of religions.

PH 653 A1 – Theories of Political Society
Prof. James
T,Th 9:30-11:00am

PH 655 A1 – Legal Philosophy
Prof. Baxter
T,Th 2:00-4:00pm

PH 656 A1 – Topics in Philosophy and Religion
Prof. Speight
T 2:00-5:00pm

Religion, Science, and the Occult in the Early Modern Age.

PH 665 A1 – Philosophy of Cognitive Science
TBA
T,Th 11:00-12:30pm

Can humans be thought of in analogy with machines? The course examines questions of natural and artificial intelligence in light of traditional theory and of recent research in computer science and artificial intelligence.

PH 671 A1 – Ecology in Philosophy and Literature
Prof. Tauber
W 4:00-7:00pm

An investigation of ecological thinking, examining philosophical and literary accounts of the natural world. What is “nature”? How do humans differ from animals? How has technology affected our relation to nature? What are our ethical responsibilities toward the earth’s inhabitants?

PH 854 A1 – Political Philosophy
Prof. James
Th 3:30-6:30pm

PH 881 A1 – Topics in Philosophy
Prof. Griswold
W 6:00-9:00pm

This seminar is open to (and required of) incoming PhD students only.