Undergraduate Courses

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FALL 2021

CAS – COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES

PH 100 A1 Introduction to Philosophy
Staff
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:05 AM – 9:55 AM

Introduces the nature of philosophical activity through careful study of major philosophical topics. Topics may include the nature of reality, knowledge, God’s existence, and the significance of human life. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Critical Thinking and Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meaning. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 100 B1 Introduction to Philosophy
Professor James Kinkaid
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

Introduces the nature of philosophical activity through careful study of major philosophical topics. Topics may include the nature of reality, knowledge, God’s existence, and the significance of human life. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Critical Thinking and Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meaning. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 110 Great Philosophers
Professor Benjamin Crowe
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

An introduction to philosophy through a reading of great figures in western thought. The list may include Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Russell. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

PH 150 A1 Introduction to Ethics
Professor Victor Kumar
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

Many of us want to lead meaningful lives. But what is it for a life to be meaningful? What makes some lives better or more meaningful than others? Can life as a whole have some significance or meaning? Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 150 B1 Introduction to Ethics
Professor Victor Kumar
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

Many of us want to lead meaningful lives. But what is it for a life to be meaningful? What makes some lives better or more meaningful than others? Can life as a whole have some significance or meaning? Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 150 C1 Introduction to Ethics
Professor Daniel Star
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Many of us want to lead meaningful lives. But what is it for a life to be meaningful? What makes some lives better or more meaningful than others? Can life as a whole have some significance or meaning? Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 155 Politics and Philosophy
Professor Charles Griswold
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
This course is an introduction to several major themes and questions in political philosophy, such as: What is justice?  What, if anything, legitimizes the exercise of governmental power? What are the arguments for and against the “social contract”?  What are the foundations of rights, liberty, and equality?  Does a free and fair society include a free market?  Can and should politics be conducted philosophically?  We will examine important works in both the history of Western philosophy and contemporary thought.  Current topics (possibly concerning immigration and global justice) will also be discussed.  Throughout the course, we will cultivate fundamental philosophical skills of analysis and argumentation as we delve into issues of ongoing importance. There are no prerequisites for this course.  We meet twice a week; in addition, the student is required to enroll in a once-weekly discussion section. This course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 159 Philosophy and Film
Professor Aaron Garrett
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15 AM – 12:05 PM

This class provides an introduction to philosophical and aesthetic issues connected with film. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

PH 160 A1 Reason & Argumentation
Professor Derek Anderson
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10 AM – 11:oo AM

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. We will emphasize argumentation and criticism in ordinary life and also present formal models of reasoning designed to elicit underlying patterns and structures of reasoning and argumentation that are widely applicable. Simultaneous training in skills of argument analysis, argument pattern recognition, argument construction, and argument interpretation and creation. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

PH 160 B1 Reason & Argumentation
Staff
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

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. We will emphasize argumentation and criticism in ordinary life and also present formal models of reasoning designed to elicit underlying patterns and structures of reasoning and argumentation that are widely applicable. Simultaneous training in skills of argument analysis, argument pattern recognition, argument construction, and argument interpretation and creation. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

PH 245 The Quest for God and the Good
Professor Diana Lobel
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:25 PM – 2:15 PM

An interactive seminar, investigating the meaning and purpose of human life, the significance of God or an Absolute, the role of contemplation and action in the spiritual quest, relationships between philosophy and religious thought, East and West. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship, and Intercultural Literacy.

PH 248 Existentialism
Professor Paul Katsafanas
Monday, Wednesday 10:10 AM – 11:25 AM
The existentialists grappled with some of the most difficult and problematic aspects of the human condition. Is it possible to lead a meaningful life? Might life be unavoidably absurd? What is it to be an authentic individual? Can you be alienated from yourself? Can the way in which we are seen by others limit our freedom? Does modernity foster nihilism? Do certain emotional experiences reveal otherwise hidden features of life? In this course, we will explore the ways in which Fyodor Dostoevsky, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus responded to these questions.  This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 251 A1 Medical Ethics
Professor Rachell Powell
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

This course will survey ethical issues that arise in connection with medicine and emerging biotechnologies. It will examine topics such as the right to healthcare, research on human subjects, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, genetic selection, disabilities, and the biomedical enhancement of human capacities. Students can expect to gain not only training in the concepts and methods of moral philosophy and the logic of argumentation, but also the resources needed for assessing ethically difficult questions that healthcare professionals routinely face. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 251 B1 Medical Ethics
Staff
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:25 PM – 2:15 PM

This course will survey ethical issues that arise in connection with medicine and emerging biotechnologies. It will examine topics such as the right to healthcare, research on human subjects, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, genetic selection, disabilities, and the biomedical enhancement of human capacities. Students can expect to gain not only training in the concepts and methods of moral philosophy and the logic of argumentation, but also the resources needed for assessing ethically difficult questions that healthcare professionals routinely face. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 256 Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality
Professor Derek Anderson
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:20 PM – 1:10 PM

This course analyzes gender and sexuality from an intersectional perspective. We focus on metaphysics, epistemology, and semantics to understand gender and sexuality as they exist within interlocking systems of oppression including racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and fatphobia. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, The Individual in Community, Critical Thinking.

PH 259 Philosophy of the Arts
Professor Allen Speight
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

What makes something beautiful? How do different arts (music, dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, drama) relate to our aesthetic experience of the world? Explores several philosophical theories of art through specific examples of artwork. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.

PH 261 Puzzles and Paradoxes
Professor Derek Anderson
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 3:35 PM – 4:25 PM

Some of our most basic beliefs, when scrutinized, lead to absurd conclusions. For example, using only beliefs that seem uncontroversial, we can conclude that motion is impossible, that everyone is bald, and it is impossible to give a surprise exam. Carefully scrutinizing the reasoning that leads to these absurdities often yields substantial philosophical insight. In this course, we will examine a number of such puzzles and paradoxes in detail. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking.

PH 266 Mind, Brain, and Self
Professor Walter Hopp
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:05 AM – 9:55 AM

This course is devoted to exploring the relationships among consciousness, the mind, and the brain, the nature of the self or person, and other related topics. This course will also examine whether and to what extent these issues can be addressed by contemporary natural science. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Writing-Intensive Course, Critical Thinking.

PH 270 Philosophy of Science
Professor Tian Yu Cao
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Uses scientific examples from the study of physics, biology, and mind. Focuses on the aims of science, the nature of scientific understanding, the structure and interpretation of scientific theories, and the development of science. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

PH 300 A1 History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Benjamin Crowe
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

A survey of ancient Greek philosophy, with an emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the fundamental nature of reality, how we know anything about it, wisdom, virtue, and human happiness. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Ethical Reasoning, Global Citizenship, and Intercultural Literacy.
Prerequisite: One philosophy course or sophomore standing; first-year writing seminar.

PH 300 B1 History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Allen Speight
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

A survey of ancient Greek philosophy, with an emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the fundamental nature of reality, how we know anything about it, wisdom, virtue, and human happiness. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Ethical Reasoning, Global Citizenship, and Intercultural Literacy.
Prerequisite: One philosophy course or sophomore standing; first-year writing seminar.

PH 310 A1 History of Modern Philosophy
Professor Aaron Garrett
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM

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. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Research and Information Literacy.
Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH 310 B1 History of Modern Philosophy
Professor James Kinkaid
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

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. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Research and Information Literacy.
Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH 350 History of Ethics
Professor Allen Speight
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Are there fundamental principles for determining the right way to act ethically? How do different eras answer this question? What is the significance of these differences? This course addresses these questions by examining classical ethical texts from different historical traditions. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH 401 A1 Senior Independent Work
Professor Rachell Powell
Individual tutorial instruction and directed research at distinction level.
Prerequisite: senior standing, consent of instructor and department, and approval of Honors Committee.

PH 401 G1 Senior Independent Work
Professor Marc Gasser-Wingate
Individual tutorial instruction and directed research at distinction level.
Prerequisite: senior standing, consent of instructor and department, and approval of Honors Committee.

PH 401 J1 Senior Independent Work
Professor Michaela McSweeney
Individual tutorial instruction and directed research at distinction level.
Prerequisite: senior standing, consent of instructor and department, and approval of Honors Committee.

PH 401 B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, H1, K1 Senior Independent Work
Staff
Individual tutorial instruction and directed research at distinction level.
Prerequisite: senior standing, consent of instructor and department, and approval of Honors Committee.

PH 402 A1 Senior Independent Work
Staff
Individual tutorial instruction and directed research at distinction level.
Prerequisite: senior standing, consent of instructor and department, and approval of Honors Committee.

PH 408 B1 History of Medieval Philosophy
Professor Diana Lobel
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

Topic for Fall 2020: Jewish and Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism. Thematic introduction to mysticism and philosophy, with a focus on dynamics of religious experience. Readings from medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy; Sufi mysticism and philosophy; Kabbalah, Biblical interpretation, Sufi poetry, Hebrew poetry from the Golden Age of Muslim Spain.
Prerequisite: sophomore standing and CASPH300 and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor.

PH 415 A1 (Cross PH 615) Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
Professor Sally Sedgwick
Tuesday, Thursday 
2:00PM – 3:15 PM
Course subtitle: “Constructing and Deconstructing Autonomy”. We will ask: To what extent is a practical agent-free or autonomous? We examine answers to these questions by figures such as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.
Prerequisite: CASPH310 and one other philosophy course.

PH 426 Phenomenology
Professor Walter Hopp
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15 AM – 12:05 PM

Rigorous examination of foundations of philosophical phenomenology in Husserl and others. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Oral and/or Signed Communication, Writing-Intensive Course, Philosophical Inquiry, and Life’s Meanings.
Prerequisite: CASPH310 and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor. First-Year Writing Seminar (either WR100 or WR120)

PH 436 (Cross PH 636) Gender, Race, and Science
Professor Samia Hesni
Tuesday 12:30 PM – 3:15 PM

An upper-level exploration of topics in the philosophy of gender and philosophy of race, informed by historical and scientific inquiry. Explores philosophical questions about the nature of race and racism, sex and sexism. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

PH 453 Classical to Early Modern Political Theory
Professor Judith A. Swanson
Monday, Wednesday 2:30 PM – 4:15 PM

Focuses on philosophical subjects relevant to ethics and politics, such as virtue and happiness; human nature and reason; qualifications of leadership; aims and means of civic education; and conceptions of law (man-made, natural, divine). Texts by Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

PH 456 Topics in Philosophy and Religion
Professor M. David Eckel
Wednesday 5:45 PM – 8:30 PM

Topic for Fall 2021: Buddhism as Philosophy. Topics include Buddhist philosophy of mind, religious knowledge, controversies with rival philosophers, and the path to nirvana. Seminar coordinates with the fall lecture series in the Institute for Philosophy and Religion. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

PH 461 Math Logic
Professor Akihiro Kanamori
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM

The investigation of logical reasoning with mathematical methods. The syntax and semantics of sentential logic and quantificational logic. The unifying Godel Completeness Theorem, and models of theories. A look at the Godel Incompleteness Theorem and its ramifications. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub area: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings.
Prerequisites: CASMA293 or consent of instructor.

PH 463 (Cross PH 663) Philosophy of Language
Professor Juliet Floyd
Tuesday 3:30PM – 6:15PM
Critical survey of the main issues in the philosophy of language and the foundations of linguistics, including the ideas of logical form and the universality of languages as well as the basic ideas of generative grammar, possible-worlds semantics, Wittgenstein, and speech-act theories.
Prerequisite: CASPH310, CASPH360, and one other course in philosophy, or consent of instructor.

PH 468 (Cross PH 668) Philosophical Problems of Logic and Math
Professor Juliet Floyd
Monday 2:30PM – 5:15PM
Selected traditional metaphysical and epistemological problems in the light of modern logic and various studies in the foundations of mathematics, including the nature of the axiomatic method, completeness in logic and mathematics, and the nature of mathematical truth.
Prerequisite: CASPH310, CASPH360, and one other philosophy course, or consent of instructor.

PH 470 Philosophy of Physics
Professor Tian Yu Cao
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

Philosophical problems concerning the interpretation of physical discoveries. Elementary particles, the anomalies of quantum mechanics, some modern problems of space and time, and the problem of wholes and parts. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Scientific Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
Prerequisite: CASPH310, CASPH360