Phil 360 Theory of Knowledge
In this course we examine five related topics in the theory of knowledge:
- the analysis of knowledge;
- evidence and justification;
- the ethics of belief;
- disagreement; and
- skepticism. The five topics cover three main concepts: belief, justification, and knowledge; and three central problems: epistemic justification, the ethics of belief, and the threat of skepticism. By examining these concepts and problems, we will have a better understanding of the nature of human knowledge - what knowledge is, how we can have knowledge of the external world, and whether we really have such knowledge.
Phil 361 Metaphysics
In this course we will examine some of the major problems in metaphysics concerning time, identity, and freedom: the nature of time, the possibility of time travel, the relation of identity, criteria for personal identity, fatalism, and free will & determinism. We will not start with explaining what metaphysics is; instead, we hope to have a better understanding of the nature of metaphysics simply by thinking about and discussing particular metaphysical issues. There will be a lot of in-class discussions and a fair number of short writing assignments to encourage students to think about the issues.
Phil 370 Philosophy of Science
A primary goal of this course is for students to develop deeply considered views about science and other kinds of knowledge. This goal will be achieved through examination of and reflection on philosophical problems and ideas about science, such as the nature, authority, and ownership of scientific knowledge. Students will develop the skills to think critically about science, its relation to the world and society, how it works and what it tells us. The course material will be organized thematically. The main topics covered are: the relation between science and philosophy, what makes a theory scientific, the diversity of the sciences, progress in science, criticisms of science, and the relation between science and politics.
Phil 102 Logic and Critical Thinking
Instruction in critical thinking is to be designed to achieve an understanding of the relationship of language to logic, which should lead to the ability to analyze, criticize, and advocate ideas, to reason inductively and deductively, and to reach factual or judgmental conclusions based on sound inferences drawn from unambiguous statements of knowledge or belief. The minimal competence to be expected at the successful conclusion of instruction in critical thinking should be the demonstration of skills in elementary inductive and deductive processes, including an understanding of the formal and informal fallacies of language and thought, and the ability to distinguish matters of fact from issues of judgment or opinion.
Phil 207 The Meaning of Life
Is there meaning or purpose to life? Does science help or hinder the search for meaning? This course will examine philosophical and scientific perspectives on the meaning of life, the nature of happiness, and how to think about the value and purpose of your life. This is an approved GE course.
Phil 101 Introduction to Philosophy
The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the main philosophers and philosophical problems in western philosophy. Reading materials for the first half of the course are mostly historical; students have to read biographical articles about and writings by seven great philosophers, namely, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. The second half of the course covers some "big questions" in philosophy, such as "Does God exist?", "Do we have free will?", "Why should we be moral?", and "Does life have meaning?"; for each of these questions, students have to read an article by a contemporary philosopher.