Philosophy Course Descriptions, IUPUI

For each course, the first description is the general description from the course catalogue. For many of the courses, additional descriptions are provided—they come from recent syllabi. (The descriptions, by the way, reflect the content of the courses, not the course requirements.) When you enroll in a course, there’s no guarantee that it will perfectly fit one of the descriptions from the relevant syllabi. Even so, those descriptions should give you a feel for what the course is about, what sort of readings it includes, and so on. We intend to revise and add to this list periodically, e.g., as new courses are developed.


S110 Introduction to Philosophy—Honors (3 cr.) This course is an introduction to key philosophical concepts and issues as well as major thinkers and historical periods.

S120 Ethics—Honors (3 cr.) A study of ethical values in relation to such problems as personal and societal decision making, selection and justification of lifestyle, goal orientation, conflict resolution, freedom and creativity, commitment and responsibility.

S314 Philosophy and Modern Times—Honors (3 cr.) A study of one or more philosophical concepts, themes, or developments characteristic of the modern period.


P110 Introduction to Philosophy (3 cr.) An introduction to the methods and problems of philosophy and to important figures in the history of philosophy. Concerns such topics as the nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the existence of God. Readings from classical and contemporary sources, e.g., Plato, Descartes, Nietzsche, and Sartre.

P120 Ethics (3 cr.) An introductory course in ethics. Typically examines virtues, vices, and character; theories of right and wrong; visions of the good life; and contemporary moral issues.

P162 Logic (3 cr.; some sections of this course are in classroom format; others are taught online). A study of the principles of logic. The course covers a variety of traditional topics, selected for their practical value, within formal and informal logic. Among the topics typically covered are fallacies, syllogisms, causal hypotheses, logic diagrams, argument analysis, and truth-functional reasoning.

P208 Causality and Evidence (3 cr.; usually taught online). A study of the principles of evidence-based reasoning with a strong emphasis on induction and causality. Among the topics covered are observing vs. intervening, causal graphs, underdetermination, confounders, d-separation, and causal path analysis.

From a recent syllabus:
This course focuses on reasoning about evidence; it covers various aspects of reasoning that attempt to construct knowledge from the observation of evidence. Generally known as inductive reasoning, it is the kind of reasoning that is typically involved in scientific inquiry, but can be used in any field that relies on making and testing predictions. Much of inductive reasoning is directed at determining the causes of things, so this course will focus extensively on causality. The course will explore several important philosophical notions of cause and effect, including Hume’s notion of constant conjunction, Mill’s causal conditions, Lewis’s counterfactual theory, and Dowe’s conserved quantity theory. These philosophical theories will be juxtaposed with an instructional sequence in causal discovery utilizing an intelligent online tutoring system which allows students to build causal models and test hypotheses. By the end of the course, students will be able to articulate several philosophical notions of causation and understand their interrelationships, and have a greater understanding of causal investigation as it is practiced in the field, including being able to distinguish between observation and intervention, describe the relevance of causal claims to policy decisions, and construct and interpret causal graphs.

P220 Social Ethics (3 cr.) Introduction to ethical aspects of social issues such as welfare policy, employment opportunity, access to health care, world hunger, and children’s rights.

P237 Environmental Ethics (3 cr.) Addresses moral issues concerning the relation between humans and the environment. Covers such topics as resource depletion, population growth, endangered ecosystems, deep ecology, and the land ethic.

From a recent syllabus: This course is an in depth investigation of complex and difficult questions about our moral obligations to the environment and the many life-forms with whom we must share it. Such questions may include the following: How does technology, industry, and corporate interest affect the environment and our relationship to it? What is “sustainability” and how is it implemented in the context of various political-economic systems? Is there a relationship between the human exploitation of the environment and other forms of exploitation (such as economic exploitation, racial exploitation, sexist exploitation, or the exploitation of animals)? How should our obligation to future generations inform our treatment and consumption of natural resources?

P265 Introduction to Symbolic Logic (3 cr.; usually taught online; occasionally taught in classroom format). A study of the most important and widely applicable parts of modern symbolic logic: propositional logic and predicate logic.

From recent syllabi:
P265. Logic is the science of correct reasoning. Accordingly, the course has two related goals: first, to learn to distinguish correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning, and second, to learn to reason correctly. We will achieve these goals by (i) learning how to translate English arguments into symbolic notation that makes them much easier to evaluate, and (ii) learning how to reason correctly by applying precise rules of inference to sentences of the symbolic language.

P265. This course is an introduction to symbolic or “formal” logic. We will be working with deductive arguments with respect to their validity (correctness). We will accomplish this through the construction of proofs, and our primary concern will be the form of the arguments (hence the term “formal”). For much of the course, we will focus on the use of symbolic languages which allows us to focus on the argument’s form while setting aside its content. A valid argument is one that possesses a correct form. Because much of our work will center on these abstractions—formal symbolized arguments—one might wonder about the practical applications of such work. The primary practical application is just this: constructing proofs is a strategic activity and its basic principles can be applied to anything that requires strategy, from playing chess to politics. This course is specifically designed to help develop strategic thinking skills. In chapter 6, after you’ve learned some of the basic rules of sentential logic, the course will focus more intensely on a strategic approach to constructing proofs.

P280 Philosophical Problems (variable title) (3 cr.) Concentrated treatment of an important philosophical problem. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

P301 Medieval Philosophy (3 cr.) A selective survey of Western philosophy from the turn of the Christian era to the end of the Middle Ages. Readings from some or all of: Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Ockham.

P307 Classical Philosophy (3 cr.) A study of the significant texts of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, including the Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic Thinkers.

From a recent syllabus: We will examine the history of ancient Greek philosophy. We will begin by trying to understand the early Greek world—socially, politically, culturally, scientifically, and epistemologically (their ways of ‘knowing’). After an introduction to such pre-Socratic thinkers as Thales, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno, and others, we will look closely at the life and thought of Socrates. To fully understand and appreciate Socrates’ wisdom, one must also understand the sophists—the skeptical, relativistic teachers of oration and rhetoric in Socrates’ Athens. So we will look briefly at the skeptical arguments of three sophists (Protagoras, Gorgias, and Thrasymachus) before finally trying to capture Socrates’ worldview. After an overview of Plato, and a set of readings from some of Plato’s dialogues including the Apology, and Euthyphro, we will turn to the main emphasis of the semester: a careful study of Plato’s Republic, especially Books I, II, IV, VI, and VII.

P314 Modern Philosophy (3 cr.) A study of Western philosophy from the rise of modern science through the Enlightenment. Covers such philosophers as Bacon, Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz, and Kant.

From a recent syllabus: This course surveys perhaps the most important era of European philosophy: the “modern” era of the 17th and 18th centuries. We will examine the metaphysics and epistemology of that era through a survey of seven canonical figures: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Other important figures, such as Elizabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, and Nicolas Malebranche will receive attention as well.

P316 Twentieth-Century Philosophy (variable title) (3 cr.) A study of one or more twentieth-century approaches to philosophy, e.g., pragmatism, analytic philosophy, phenomenology, existentialism, postmodernism, and neo-Marxism. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

From recent syllabi:
P316. Subtopic: Pragmatism. In this course we follow the trajectory of pragmatism throughout the twentieth-century and explore its contribution to philosophical issues with an eye toward the development of future avenues of thought. We begin with the work of Charles S. Peirce and William James who can be characterized the school’s two main progenitors and conclude with several contemporary figures, such as Cornel West, Susan Haack, and Huw Price.

P316. Subtopic: Projects of Modernity. Our class objectives revolve around seeking to understand one of the significant projects of modernity, the Enlightenment idea of the value and work of Reason. This project of ours requires that we use reason to understand the work of reason, possibly involving us in a vicious circularity. We must therefore proceed with due (but not undue) caution. We seek to uncover the Question of the Question, the Reason behind Reason, the Thinking underlying Thought, those values and purposes that ground values and purposes themselves. Required texts: T. Adorno, Lectures on Negative Dialectics; A. MacIntyre, After Virtue, 3rd ed.; S. Toulmin, Cosmopolis; A. N. Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas.

P316. Subtopic: Reading (with) Foucault. This course is concerned with an aspect of Twentieth- Century Philosophy, namely, certain portions of the work of Michel Foucault. In particular, we will address Foucault’s approach to reading texts and historical processes seeking to ‘read with’ him and thus to learn from him how to read.

P317 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (3 cr.) A historical survey of philosophy in the nineteenth century from Hegel to Nietzsche, including, e.g., utilitarianism, positivism, and philosophies of evolution. From a recent syllabus: This course will be an in depth investigation of four of the Nineteenth Century’s most influential thinkers: Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Our primary focus will be on their ideas concerning the following: (a) the nature and structure of ultimate reality; (b) the structure and development of consciousness; (c) the relationship between reality and consciousness; and (d) the role of religion in the human experience.

P322 Philosophy of Human Nature (3 cr.) Theories of human nature and their philosophical implications.

From a recent syllabus: Are humans by nature selfish? Do they have souls as well as bodies? Are they born good, and then corrupted by society? Are they controlled by their genes? These are some of the questions addressed in this course. Readings are from such authors as René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Charles Darwin, Simone de Beauvoir, E. O. Wilson, Laura Betzig, and Susan Blackmore.

P323 Society and State in the Modern World (3 cr.) Topics, issues, and key figures in modern political philosophy, e.g., distributive justice, state authority, and the political thought of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, and Rawls.

From recent syllabi:
P323. It is difficult to read the news today without getting enmeshed in discussions about justice both at home and abroad. Whether it be sequestration, Wall Street regulations, health care reform, the use of drones in war, or humanitarian aid abroad that grabs your attention, there is no doubt that we are living in tumultuous times. What do you think when you read about the new restrictions on abortion in Arkansas? Or about the deregulation of marijuana in Colorado? Or about the abolition of capital punishment in Connecticut? To figure out how to frame answers to these kinds of questions, we shall look at some of the main topics in social and political philosophy: rights, property, justice, criminal punishment, humanitarian intervention and just war theory. Readings are from such authors as Locke, Kant, Mill, Rawls, Nozick, Hampton, and Walzer.

P323. We’ll focus on the following issues in social/political philosophy: First, can there be state authority, meaning state power exercised by right, not merely by force? If so, under what conditions? Second, what are the limits to the state’s right to interfere with the behavior of individuals? Third, what constitutes a just distribution of the benefits and burdens of social cooperation? In addition, we’ll consider three “challenges to the tradition,” namely, Marxism, feminism, and Burkean conservatism. We’ll read selections from Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Rawls, Robert Nozick, G. A. Cohen, J. S. Mill, Patrick Devlin, Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, Alison Jaggar, Virginia Held, and Edmund Burke.

P325 Social Philosophy (variable title) (3 cr.) Concentrated study of one or more topics in social philosophy, e.g., human rights, political violence, civil disobedience, and legal paternalism. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

From recent syllabi:
P325. Subtopic: Ethics of Sports. Do athletes have a responsibility to their fans? What do you think when you hear the name Lance Armstrong? If a player deliberately takes a penalty for strategic reasons, has s/he done something wrong—or is it just part of the game? The goal of this course will be to address questions like these. We shall look at new research being done in sports ethics encompassing issues like gene doping, disability, gender and ethnicity, sports media and sports business. Many of the readings are from M. McNamee, ed., The Ethics of Sports: A Reader.

P325. Subtopic: Philosophy of Atrocity. The purpose of this course is to engage you in the meaningful ethical issues springing from the dark acknowledgement of past and present atrocities, including genocide. Considering history, we search for a suitable philosophical description of what constitutes atrocity, and why. We consider the existence of moral certainty, authority and progress, while also considering the existence and character of evil. We ask what in the nature of humans causes atrocity. We consider the responsibility to answer existing atrocities, and if so, what we are obliged to do about them. We consider a practical and applied approach to ethics, perhaps leading to the terrifying conclusion that we must spend part of our lives fighting the terrible reality of widespread atrocity. Readings are from such sources as Claudia Card, The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil; and Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century.

P325. Subtopic: The Philosophy of Liberalism and Conservatism. This course explores the evolution of liberal and conservative political theories from a philosophical perspective. The first few weeks will focus on the contribution of such classical political thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas to modern political thought, particularly modern conservatism. Then we will begin to explore the origins of modern liberalism and conservatism in the late seventeenth century and eighteenth centuries before proceeding to the more modern political thinkers culminating in the division of mainstream American political opinion into modern liberalism, libertarianism and various species of conservatism. Required texts: Garner and Oldenquist, Society and the Individual; David Boaz, The Libertarian Reader; Gregory L. Schneider, Conservatism in America Since 1930; John Stuart Mill, On Liberty; John Lawrence Hill, The Political Centrist.

P326 Ethical Theory (3 cr.) A variable title course. Advanced consideration of one or more ethical theories or theoretical issues about the nature and status of ethics.

From a recent syllabus:
Morality is a bit mysterious; it often spawns questions like these: Just what is morality, anyway? Is anything objectively right or wrong, or is it all just a matter of custom, preference, or personal taste? What do we mean by the words “good,” “bad,” “right,” and “wrong”? What, if anything, really makes an action right or wrong, good or bad? These questions, among others, are addressed in this course. Readings are from classical and contemporary sources, e.g., from the writings of A. J. Ayer, J. L. Mackie, Philippa Foot, Ruth Benedict, J. S. Mill, Joshua Greene, Immanuel Kant, and W. D. Ross.

Note: P326 is nearly always taught as a survey of ethical theory; however, it has variable-title status, and thus can focus on a specialized topic. Here’s a description from one of the few cases in which it was taught that way:

P326. Subtopic: Why be Moral? A spectre haunts moral philosophy—the spectre of amoralism. The amoralist does not doubt that some acts are right, others wrong. He agrees that the moral life involves kindness, honesty, and respect for others. But the amoralist doesn’t care about living the moral life—he contends that he has no good reason to live that way. He asks, “Why should I be moral?” and claims that no one can answer his question. Some philosophers maintain that the amoralist’s question is the ultimate question of moral philosophy. Many have tried to answer it; others have criticized the answers. In short, the challenge of amoralism has been a central concern of moral philosophers from Plato to the present. This course provides an upper-level examination of the literature on this subject.

P328 Philosophies of India (3 cr.) Historical and critical-analytic survey of the major traditions of Indian philosophy. Attention to early philosophizing and the emergence of classical schools in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Attention also to contemporary thought in India and its influence on the West.

P330 Marxist Philosophy (3 cr.) An examination of major philosophical issues in the light of Marxist theory—e.g., historical materialism and the critique of idealism in metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, ethics, and social science. Discussion of both classical and contemporary sources. From a recent syllabus: This class will focus on social, economic, and political critiques that depend upon approaches set forth in the writings of Karl Marx. This leaves a great deal of room for interpretation since, as is true of most writers, the way Marx addressed the issues of his day not only varied over time but is open to a variety of understandings. We will begin with a discussion of Marx himself then give attention to several of those depending upon Marx for their critical analysis of twentieth- and twenty-first century society. Among the authors we will read are David Harvey, Georg Lukács, Herbert Marcuse, Alex Honneth, and Fredric Jameson.

P331 Philosophy of Science (3 cr.) A study of theories regarding the nature, purpose, and limitations of science.

From a recent syllabus:
This course introduces you to the philosophy of science. We will explore a set of philosophical issues pertaining to science and will encounter a number of key thinkers as they wrestle with those issues. Our path will be roughly historical, tracing key ideas and the problems they’ve encountered. A brief sample of questions to be addressed along the way: Is there a scientific method? If so, what is it? What is the difference between science and nonscience? What is the relationship between observation and theory in science? What are the criteria for theory choice? Have theory choices been rational historically? This course will be divided into a few general topics, with a few weeks dedicated to each. The topics are as follows: (1) Inductivism, (2) Hypothetico-Deductivism/Confirmationism, (3) Falsificationism, (4) Historicism, (5) Rationality of Theory Choice and Meta-methodology. Readings are from such authors as K. Popper, C. Hempel, T. Kuhn, I. Lakatos, and P. Feyerabend.

P334 Buddhist Philosophy (3 cr.) An examination of the basic philosophical concepts of early Buddhism and their subsequent development in India, Japan, and Tibet. Implications of the Buddhist view of reality for knowledge, the self, and ethical responsibility will be explored. From a recent syllabus: Buddhism begins with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama about twenty-five hundred years ago. We will begin with the core teaching of Gautama Buddha and the early articulation of his teachings to Hinayana, which includes the philosophies of Sautrantika and Vaibhasika. We will study the Buddhist system of psychoanalytic metaphysics known as Abhidharma. Following the historical development some five hundred years after Gautama Buddha, there was the emergence of Mahayana with the philosophical schools of Yogacara and Madhyamika. The latter was articulated by the great Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna. Evolving out of Mahayana and remaining congruent with its philosophy is Vajrayana, also known as Tantric Buddhism. This form of Buddhism developed mostly in Tibet. When Mahayana Buddhism made it way into China it merged with Philosophical Taoism producing Ch’an (Zen). From China, Zen moved into Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. As Buddhism has move into modern times it has moved into the West. We will end the course with Zen Philosophy and the influences of Zen on American culture.

P335 Phenomenology and Existentialism (3 cr.) Selective survey of central themes in phenomenology and existentialism. Readings from such philosophers as Buber, Camus, Heidegger, Husserl, Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Marcel, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, and Sartre.

From a recent syllabus: In this course we will study major philosophers who belong to phenomenology and existentialism and examine the relationship between these two philosophical traditions. We will read selections from the major works of the founder of phenomenology, Husserl, and some of his followers, such as Merleau-Ponty. Existentialism has its sources in the 19th century, in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, but became best known through the writings of Sartre and Camus. We will also read selections from Being and Time by Heidegger, who was claimed by both traditions, but strongly opposed both.

P348 Philosophy and Literature (3 cr.) A study of philosophical issues raised by and in literature. Special emphasis on reading works of literature as texts of philosophical interest.

From recent syllabi:
P348. We will be reading only one philosophy text this semester (Martha Nussbaum’s Love’s Knowledge). The rest of our reading will focus on literature as an approach to philosophy. We will be reading for themes, ideas, states of wonder, and openings into questions about such perennial philosophic ideas as the nature of reality, society, humanity, values, and wisdom. Instead of attempting to use prior philosophic ideas to assess or understand literature, we will aim to discover in the literature itself how we might think about it and about our philosophic interests. Assigned authors will include Virginia Woolf, Ann Patchett, Walter Mosley, José Saramago, Haruki Murakami, and Guy Gavriel Kay.

P348. We will study most important philosophical interpretations of tragedy and will read selected tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The course will be conducted as a seminar and students are encouraged to participate in class discussions. Assigned philosophers include Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzsche, Walzer, and Nussbaum.

P349 Philosophies of China (3 cr.) A study of Chinese philosophical traditions, typically including Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism, and Chinese Buddhism.

From a recent syllabus: A study of Chinese philosophical traditions beginning with Confucius and those who followed him, such as Mencius and Hsun-tzu, in contrast to Legalism, Taoism and the School of Mo-tzu. From Taoism we will study the writings of Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu and other Taoist and Neo-Taoists. Taoism in synthesis with Buddhism yields Ch’an (Zen). We will explore Taoist/ Buddhist dialectic in the evolution of Zen. The synthesis of Ch’an and Taoism with Confucianism yields Neo-Confucianism. We will study the process of intergrading the Buddhist/Taoist synthesis into Confucian philosophical understanding as we read from the Neo- Confucian sources. The course will follow this historical process into modern times.

P355 Philosophy of Film (3 cr.) Philosophic topics, themes, and issues raised by and in film. Special emphasis on viewing film as a visual text with philosophical import.

From a recent syllabus:
What is real? What is really real? Does it even make sense to speak of the real or to multiply terms concerning reality (the “really real”)? On the other hand, might image or appearance be all there is? Can appearance be deceiving? How? Why? If so, what are we deceived about? How do our images of ourselves, of others, and of the world in which we live affect how we live and think? How does a media that depends entirely on image (such as film) play into our sense of reality and our concerns about image or appearance? Questions such as these will form the core of our investigations this semester. We will read philosophy in relation to film issues, and we will screen and discuss films asking, in relation to those films, about the relation between image and reality. We will address our questions relying both on the historic philosophical issue concerning appearance and reality as well as on contemporary interrogations of film from a philosophic perspective. Required text: T. Wartenberg and A. Curran, eds., Philosophy of Film: Introductory Text and Readings

P356 American Indian Philosophies (3 cr.) An examination of the philosophical views, themes, and implications of North American Indian traditions, with applications to a variety of cross-cultural and philosophical issues.

From a recent syllabus: While being mindful of the great diversity in North American Indian traditions, we will focus on some central themes in Indigenous thought which inform a wide range of philosophical issues. Topics considered may include the following: Indigenous science, including the processes and means by which humans learn how the universe works, as well as the many notable Indigenous contributions to the modern world. Environmental concerns, including sustainability and the human relationship to the natural world and non-human life forms. Social and political considerations, including sovereignty, traditional methods of governance, gender roles, and religion. Other topics of historical and contemporary importance, including the population (and de-population) of the Americas, AIM (the American Indian Movement), sports teams with Indian mascots, Leonard Peltier, and religious freedom.

P360 Introduction to Philosophy of Mind (3 cr.). Selected topics in philosophy of mind, e.g., the nature of mental phenomena (e.g., thinking, volition, perception, emotion), the mind-body problem (e.g., dualism, behaviorism, functionalism), and computational theories of mind.

From a recent syllabus: Is the mind a physical thing? Or is it a non-physical, ghost-like thing? Are mental states and properties merely physical states and properties of the brain? Or are they irreducible to physical states and properties? If the mind is merely physical, then why do qualitative aspects of experience—the smell of coffee, for example—seem unexplained (and unexplainable!) by means of physical states of the brain? If the mind is non-physical, then how does it interact causally with the physical part of the world? We’ll be looking at some attempts to answer these and other questions about the mind, consciousness, and human nature. Most of the readings come from D. Chalmers, ed., Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings.

P365 Intermediate Symbolic Logic (3 cr.) Prerequisite: P265. Topics in metalogic, set theory, and modal logic.

P367 Philosophy of Art (3 cr.) A study of fundamental concepts and theories of aesthetics and a philosophical exploration of major artistic movements and genres. From a recent syllabus: The first task in philosophy of art is to analyze and clarify the concepts we use in thinking and talking about how we should understand works of art. Another basic task is to investigate questions about meaning, truth, and creativity in the arts. Do the general terms “meaning,” “reality,” “truth,” have any definite meaning at all when applied to the arts, and if so, is it the same meaning these terms have in logic or metaphysics? What is creativity in art, and how is it possible? Readings will be primarily from contemporary sources (e.g. from John Hospers, Theodore Gracyk, Nelson Goodman, Carl Hausman, and Larry Briskman). These readings will address both contemporary issues in the philosophy of art and longstanding ones raised by classical philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Alexander Baumgarten, and the 19th century American philosopher C. S. Peirce).

P368 Philosophy of Language (3 cr.) Philosophical study of the nature and functions of language. Covers such topics as meaning and truth, theories of reference, linguistic relativity, and speech acts.

From a recent syllabus: Philosophy of Language dominated 20th century analytic philosophy. In this course, we will cover the classic issues (and texts) of this short and lively tradition. Topics addressed will include: meaning, descriptions, names, propositional attitudes, non-referring terms, the distinction between pragmatics and semantics, context sensitivity, and alleged cases of “relative truth.” Along the way, we’ll learn about the history of analytic philosophy and touch on various related issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Readings are from such authors as G. Frege, B. Russell, W.V.O. Quine, S. Kripke, K. Donnellan, and H.P. Grice.

P369 Epistemology (3 cr.) Knowledge and justified belief: their nature, structure, sources, and limits.

From a recent syllabus: Epistemology is the theory of knowledge. Accordingly, a course in epistemology deals with questions like the following. What is knowledge? Can it be defined? Do we know anything, or are the skeptics right that we know nothing (or very little)? Can we trust our senses? Are there ways of knowing things (e.g., mathematics) that do not depend on the senses? Do we have special, authoritative access to the contents of our own minds? What is the nature of this special, authoritative access? Is it ever a good idea to believe something that one does not know to be true? We will investigate these and other issues by carefully studying the best contemporary work on epistemology—e.g., the writings of E. Gettier, T. Burge, T. Williamson, and H. Putnam.

P371 Philosophy of Religion (3 cr.) Philosophical views regarding such topics as the meaning and purpose of religion, religious experience, religious knowledge, and the existence and nature of God.

From a recent syllabus: In this class, we will examine several basic religious beliefs and concepts from a variety of perspectives, both classical and contemporary. Of specific note, we will look closely at three seminal arguments for the existence of God (the ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments) and at least one argument against (the argument from the problem of evil.) We will also critically examine the epistemological relationship between faith and reason. Time pending, we may also consider the question of the phenomenon of miracles, the possibility of an afterlife, and the veracity of claims of religious experiences. Assigned readings will come from such sources as St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, Samuel Clarke, Gaunilo, David Hume, William Paley, William James, William Clifford, William Rowe, and John Hick.

P374 Early Chinese Philosophy (3 cr.) Origins of Chinese philosophical traditions in the classical schools of Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism. Explores contrasting agendas of early Chinese and Western traditions.

From a recent syllabus: This course aims to give you an understanding of many of the issues, concepts, arguments, and theories central to the classical tradition in Chinese philosophy. It’s especially (though certainly not exclusively) concerned with the social thought and assumptions of that tradition. The course also has two secondary aims: first, to give you a grasp of the similarities and differences between the classical Chinese philosophical tradition and Western philosophical traditions; and second, to give you sufficient acquaintance with Chinese philosophy to serve as a springboard to further study of Chinese thought and culture. Required Texts: P. Ivanhoe and B. Van Norden, eds., Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, 2nd ed.; B. Van Norden, Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy.

P375 Philosophy of Law (3 cr.) Selective survey of philosophical problems concerning law and the legal system. Includes such topics as the nature and validity of law, morality and law, legal obligation, judicial decision, rights, justice, responsibility, and punishment.

From a recent syllabus: The purpose of this course is to empower you to explore the nature of law, to identify and address tensions in the philosophy of law, and to survey a wide range of legal philosophical problems. Covers such topics as liberty, equality, privacy, and freedom. Explores legal realism, judicial activism, civil disobedience, and constitutional interpretation. Engages the work of Plato, J. S. Mill, Joseph Raz, Ronald Dworkin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others.

P381 Religion and Human Experience (3 cr.) An attempt to understand religious experience in light of interpretations and insights from various fields, e.g., anthropology, psychology, value theory, and sociology of knowledge.

From recent syllabi:
P381. A philosophical examination of the phenomenon of religious experience. What is religious experience? What are the various forms of it? What are we to make of it? Does it reveal a spiritual world? Does it have a purely physiological basis? Does it have any evidential force? These questions, and many others, will be addressed in this course. We’ll study such authors as William James, Carl Jung, W. T. Stace, Rudolf Otto, Wayne Proudfoot, and Caroline Franks Davis.

P381. In general, this course will be about existentialism and religion, each broadly construed, and much of it will involve the crucial and highly personal issues at the intersection of the two, such as Heidegger’s notion of dasein, Sartre’s assertion that existence precedes essence in human beings, and Camus’ challenge in The Myth of Sisyphus as to whether life is worth living or not. In addition to these three thinkers, we will read a seminal essay by Walter Kaufman, a collection of selected writings by Kierkegaard, a 19th century Christian philosopher and theologian generally recognized as the first existentialist, and a smattering of works-in-progress by your instructor.

P382 Philosophy of History (3 cr.) An analysis of some of the philosophical problems implicit in the study of history, such as the possibility of historical objectivity, and a survey of influential interpretations of history from Augustine to Heidegger.

P383 Topics in Philosophy (variable title) (3 cr.) Advanced treatment of a special topic. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

From recent syllabi:
P383. Subtopic: Creativity in the Arts and Sciences. Creativity is an extremely rich and often mysterious topic which crosses the boundaries of various philosophical disciplines including metaphysics, value theory and logic. Moreover, it has direct import for the arts, sciences and social sciences. This course explores such metaphysical topics as creating and becoming, teleology and mechanism, and the concept of a process; axiological topics such as creativity-asvalue; and logical topics such as the role of probability in the creative process. Readings will be from various areas of philosophy as well as the fields of art, psychology and education. Examples will be studied from architecture, drama, science, and the fine arts in order to illustrate and understand various elements and theories of creativity. Finally, drawing on all of these sources, the course culminates in attempts to answer some of the most fundamental questions of creativity, such as the true significance of creative work, and why creative endeavors often seem to provide insight into the very nature of humanity. Assigned authors include I. Kant, A. N. Whitehead, C. Hausman, C. Hartshorne, J. Krishnamurti, R. Pirsig, M. Polanyi, A. H. Maslow, R. Helson, and R. G. Collingwood.

P383. Subtopic: Diversity, Conflict and Wisdom in America. While it will include representative works from Classic American Philosophers (such as C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey), the aim of this course is to provide a bigger picture of philosophical activity in America. Accordingly, we will read philosophical selections by thinkers in other American traditions including Sa-Go-Ye-Wat-Ha (also known as Red Jacket), Olaudah Equiano, Zit Kala Sa, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Benjamin Franklin, David Walker, Lydia Maria Francis Child, Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams, Emma Goldman, Alain Locke, and others. The course is organized by theme and includes discussion of origins, knowledge, cultural identity, community, slavery, and democracy. The title of the course, “Diversity, Conflict, and Wisdom in America” refers to the diverse traditions and outlooks found in America and the conflict that has occurred among them as well as the conflict that has given rise to them. In this context wisdom is not a fixed set of doctrines but lies perhaps in the goal of negotiating the diversity of the American tradition intelligently and fruitfully. Wisdom in this tradition might be expressed, following an editor of our textbook, as “an ongoing creation.”

P383. Subtopic: Ethics, Autonomy, and Consent. Informed consent is a cornerstone of modern bioethics, but it is surrounded by confounding questions: How much should an individual be expected to understand in order to make a truly informed decision? If a patient asks a doctor to make a decision for him, should the doctor do so? Is it ever appropriate for health professionals to present choices in ways that encourage healthy behavior or selection of certain options? Can we rely on things a patient said earlier in life to decide what they would want now, if they are unconscious or suffering from dementia? We will consider these questions and use them to lead us into deeper exploration of key concepts such as rationality, autonomy, and beneficence. Our readings will include philosophy, medicine, and ethics, including the writing of Jay Katz, Carl Schneider, Derek Parfit, Tom Beauchamp, Onora O’Neill, and others.

P383. Subtopic: Existentialism and Human Values. This course will explore some of the most important writings of an influential group of 19th and 20th century thinkers who contributed in various ways to the development of the philosophical movement known as existentialism. Through a careful consideration of the works of thinkers such as Schelling, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus, we will explore the nature of human freedom, selfhood, good and evil, the role of time and the “other” in shaping subjectivity, and the sources of meaning and value in human experience.

P383. Subtopic: Human Wickedness. Why do people do such horrible things to each other? Are “evil” people somehow different from the rest of us or are the roots of human wickedness present in all human beings? Through a consideration of the writings some of the most influential historical and contemporary philosophers (Aristotle, Augustine, Kant, Camus, and others), we will explore the nature and causes of moral evil, along with possible responses to it by morally serious human beings. As we assess the arguments of a number of different philosophers, we will trace the development of key ideas about the nature of moral responsibility that still inform reflections on these topics today.

P383. Subtopic: The Life and Philosophy of Bertrand Russell. Bertrand Russell is without doubt one of the most fascinating figures of the twentieth century. Many of his major achievements were in the field of philosophy, but his work transcended that discipline—or any singular discipline. There is, literally, something for everyone in Russell’s writings: something that may excite you, anger you, stimulate your intellect or touch your passions. Russell is considered one of the founders of modern analytic philosophy as well as one of the most important logicians of the twentieth century. But his work was not intended for academics only; many of his writings were on topics of interest to the general public: sex, love and marriage; religion and atheism, war and pacifism, education, science, and women’s rights. His personal life was every bit as interesting as his intellectual life: he was married four times and divorced three; spent time in jail for his anti-war views; founded an experimental school, performed in movies, radio broadcasts and television programs; ran for British parliament three times; and was fired from several academic appointments due to his controversial stances on such topics as pacifism, free love, and atheism. Later in life, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, co-authored the Russell- Einstein manifesto on nuclear disarmament, and organized the International War Crimes Tribunal to investigate American military intervention in Vietnam. This course will include a biographical survey of Russell’s life, and reading and discussion of several major categories of his writings and philosophy: mathematics and logic; epistemology and language; religion; science; social, political and moral philosophy; and literature. Students will be expected to complete a focused project directed toward one area of interest within Russell’s body of work.

P383. Subtopic: Love, Friendship, and Desire. Love, Friendship, and Desire: If these have been perennial preoccupations of the greatest philosophers, novelists, and playwrights of the Western word, it’s undoubtedly for the same reason that these themes are so important to each and every one of us. Sources of our greatest happiness and joy, they also have a nasty habit of embroiling us in terrible pain, confusion, and strife. In this course, we’ll attempt to puzzle out the meaning of this paradox through a consideration of the writings of some of the greatest thinkers who have wrestled with this topic, such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Freud, and Girard.

P383. Subtopic: The Meaning of Life. This class will consider the notion of a meaningful life. The course begins with a look at Ancient Greek notions of a complete human life as expressed in works by Plato and Aristotle. The rationale for beginning here is the influence of Greek thought on subsequent reflection in the European and American traditions. The course then considers the problem of meaninglessness as articulated by 19th century Russian writer Leo Tolstoy and considers responses to the problem of meaninglessness as proposed by 19th and 20th century thinkers. These responses include theistic and non-theistic responses (Emil Fackenheim, Philip Quinn, Kurt Baier), existentialist responses (Albert Camus), and other contemporary responses (William James, Thomas Nagel, John McDermott, and others).

P383. Subtopic: Metaethics of Sexuality. A metaethical critique of sexuality and gender based on radical feminist philosophy as related to social issues and cultural history. Readings are from such authors as Mary Daly, Gyn/ecology; and Walter Robinson, Primal Way and the Pathology of Civilization.

P383. Subtopic: Nature, Technology, and the Environment. In this course we will examine an assortment of topics concerning the relationship of human beings to our natural environment and other living creatures. In particular, we will consider how modern technology has transformed our relationship to the natural world, raising a new set of ethical questions about the proper ends of human action. We will also examine and critique the mechanistic worldview that first arose in the 17th century, with its conception of nature as a vast, intricate machine that we can manipulate for our own ends. We will look at alternative ways of thinking about the value of our natural environment, including “Gaian thinking,” deep ecology, and eco-feminism. And finally we will consider how it might be possible for philosophy to step beyond its traditional anthropocentric assumptions to affirm how much we have in common with other nonhuman living beings.

P383. Subtopic: Philosophy and Animals. According to Aristotle, human beings are the rational animals. Philosophers have thought a lot about what it means to be rational, but what does it means to be an animal? In this course we’ll examine the views of a number of historical and contemporary philosophers on the nature of animal existence. Questions we’ll consider include the following: Are there any fundamental differences between human beings and the other animals, such as language, reason, or morality? Or are there only differences of degree? What can we infer about “other minds” when the “other” isn’t human? Do nonhuman animals think and feel? Does morality have its roots in sentiments that we share with other social animals? Do we have moral responsibilities to other animals?

P383. Subtopic: Philosophy of Krishnamurti. Jiddu Krishnamurti is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and teachers of all time. He did not subscribe to any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its violence and corruption, of the individual’s search for security and happiness, and the need for mankind to free itself from the inner burdens of fear, anger, and sorrow. He explored these deep questions by engaging in Socratic-style dialogs with general audiences as well as internationally renowned world figures such as the Dalai Lama, David Bohm and Aldous Huxley. His work is characterized by the complete rejection of authority and tradition, insisting on an individual, direct approach to the major questions of existence. This course explores common themes in Krishnamurti’s work, such as fear, conflict, thought, conditioning, and awareness. Also covered will be special topics of interest to Krishnamurti, such as education, psychology, violence and nationalism, and the future of humanity. Krishnamurti’s teachings bring to light some important philosophical issues, such as the possibility of religion without metaphysics, the workings of human consciousness, a scientific, “experimental” approach to spirituality, and the relation of the observer to the observed.

P383. Subtopic: Philosophy of Love. The nature and possibility of love has occupied the minds of great thinkers (and lesser ones too!) from ancient times to the present. In this course, we will critically examine a variety of important issues related to love from a wide range of philosophical perspectives. Among the questions that will be raised are: What is love—a feeling, a perception, an idea, a decision, or something else? What sorts of things can and ought we love? Are there several different kinds of love? How is love related to oft-associated phenomena such as pleasure, happiness, romance, sex, friendship, etc.? Is love a product of free choice or compulsion? And how has the fact that philosophy has been traditionally male-dominated shaped the kinds of questions raised, approaches taken, and answers given to salient questions on this topic?

P383. Subtopic: Philosophy Through Pop Culture. Socrates, the father of Western philosophy, never published a philosophical article or book. Instead, he stationed himself in the central marketplace and engaged the citizens of Athens in lively discussions that often took as their point of departure the popular culture of the day. While we may not find a Socrates hanging out at the local shopping mall today, we enjoy a host of new media besides academic writing that offer a virtual marketplace of philosophical ideas. This course will explore a wide range of thinkers (such as Aristotle, Kant, and Sartre) and questions (concerning human nature, morality, and happiness—”life, the universe and everything”) through the lens of pop culture media, such as film and television shows. For each class meeting, you will have read a primary source text from one or more philosophers, often supplemented with an essay relating the philosophers read to a pop culture source. Classroom media presentations will be accompanied by lecture and discussion of the assigned philosophical readings.

P383. Subtopic: The Problem of Evil. Why does evil exist? Is there any meaning to suffering? Why do people do such horrible things to each other? What kind of a God would permit so much wickedness and woe in the world? Is there a God at all? What kind of an attitude should we adopt towards the pain of existence, both our own and others? Everyday people struggle with these questions—as do some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers. In fact the problem of evil has provided the theme of humanity’s most powerful literature and most profound philosophical speculations. This course will focus on the literary and philosophical treatment of this problem as we explore two overlapping themes. The first concerns the traditional question of theodicy: Can we, in light of the pervasive evil in the world, whether natural or moral, affirm the existence of a providential deity? The second concerns the nature and implications of moral evil and will involve distilling the basic features, types and roots of moral evil along with the possible responses to it by morally serious human beings.

P383. Subtopic: Scientific Inference, Scientific Realism. The aim of this seminar is to explore, in depth, two closely related issues that are receiving significant attention in contemporary philosophy of science. The first issue pertains to how our non-deductive inferences in both scientific and everyday reasoning are to be described. Many contemporary philosophers have come to hold that many or most such inferences are inferences to the best explanation (which some will equate with abductive inferences). However, just how such inferences are to be articulated remains an open question and will constitute our primary concern for the first half of the course. The second issue pertains to whether we are justified in inferring (and thereby believing) that the best explanation for a set of phenomena is true. Scientific realists claim that we can justifiably believe that our successful scientific theories are (approximately) true, truth here pertaining to both the observable and unobservable realms. And it is generally argued that the justification for this belief comes from an overarching inference to the best explanation. We will concern ourselves, in the second part of the course, with whether our inferences to the best explanation are justified and whether, as some conclude, scientific realism holds. Required Texts: P. Lipton, Inference to the Best Explanation, 2nd ed.; and readings (e.g., from the works of D. Hume, J. S. Mill, W. Whewell, C. G. Hempel, T. Kuhn, B. Van Fraassen, E. McMullin, L. Laudan, I. Hacking, and S. Psillos) made available via Errol, JSTOR, Oncourse, or as handouts.

P383. Subtopic: William James on Religious Experience. A study in the philosophy of William James focusing on his major work, The Varieties of Religious Experience. After a general introduction to the thought of James and a review of the context of this work, the majority of the time in the course will be spent in a detailed analysis and critique of the work itself.

P385 Metaphysics (3 cr.) A study of several of the principal problems of metaphysics, such as identity through time, the self, the mind-body problem, freedom and determinism, fate, causation, the problem of universals, and the existence of God.

From a recent syllabus: Metaphysics investigates the nature of reality in its most fundamental aspects. Accordingly, we will investigate such fundamental aspects of reality as: existence and being, universals and particulars, possibility and necessity, parts and wholes, time and change. Readings are primarily drawn from contemporary sources, e.g., from such authors as W. Quine, P. Van Inwagen, R. Chisholm, B. Russell, D. Armstrong, D. Lewis, and A. Plantinga,

P393 Biomedical Ethics (3 cr.) A philosophical consideration of ethical problems that arise in current biomedical practice, e.g., with regard to abortion, euthanasia, determination of death, consent to treatment, and professional responsibilities in connection with research, experimentation, and health care delivery.

From recent syllabi:
P393. In this course, we will wrestle with questions such as: What counts as an individual’s interests at the end of his life? What is a physician’s duty to a patient who requests help with dying? What is the nature of a person? Is there a right to healthcare? What obligations does society have to protect health or provide healthcare? When does life begin? What responsibilities do we have toward entities like fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses? How can a pluralist society—with people holding incompatible ideas about such issues—answer such questions fairly? We will explore these questions and delve into the deeper philosophical and ethical issues they raise, aiming at answers but also improved understanding of the questions and how to talk about them. Many of the readings come from Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer, eds., Bioethics: An Anthology, 2nd edition.

P393. This course will introduce students to foundational principles and philosophical discussion underlying the practice of medicine. Subjects to be discussed include: advance directives; surrogate decision-making; euthanasia; end-of-life care; organ donation; healthcare: right or need?; brain death; research ethics; and abortion. Texts: Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 6th ed., ed. T. Beauchamp & J. Childress; and A Time to Die by Sharon R. Kaufman. All other readings for the course will be posted in the Resource section of Oncourse.

P393. We will cover the principles behind the goals of modern science and modern medicine, including: What is the meaning of “Bioethics”? Of the many competing interests for human beings, which should be primary: health, life, freedom, justice, autonomy…? How can we understand what it means to “be human”? How can people from various ethical, religious, and cultural backgrounds be expected to agree upon issues of life and death? Should modern science/medicine try to restore people to their “natural state” or try to go beyond what is natural, to enhance human beings? If medicine tries to prolong life, why not work toward indefinite life— or even immortality? Should science/medicine be at the service of human desires—a service to provide people with what they believe they want, or is there an obligation to something prior? Can the medical profession ever rightly refuse to treat a patient or to Perform a procedure? We will use selections from multiple texts. The ones you should purchase are: Better Than Well by Carl Elliot; and Being Human, a literary collection edited by Leon Kass. In addition we will read selections from various resources, which may include: Toward a More Natural Science by Leon R. Kass; Toward a Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche; Discourse on the Sciences and Arts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau; and The Case Against Perfection by Michael Sandel.

P394 Feminist Philosophy (3 cr.) A study of one or more philosophical topics in feminist thought. Examples: feminist ethics; feminist critiques of science; and feminist perspectives on motherhood, sexuality, and reproductive technology.

P414 Philosophy and Culture (variable title) (3 cr.) In-depth consideration of a topic involving the interrelationship between philosophy and culture. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

From a recent syllabus:
P414. Subtopic: Vocation. Through this course, a select group of students and representatives of the classic professions of medicine, law and divinity will explore the concept of vocation in an effort to understand better what it means to be a “professional” today. Today, the lines that distinguish professionals from others are unclear. Some might say that a professional is simply one who is paid for what she does, in contrast to an amateur who works for free. Others might contend that a professional must undergo extensive training through which he earns autonomy, prestige and membership in professional societies, such as the medical and bar associations. The more economically-minded could define professionals in terms of monopolies on providing services. Still others might insist that being a professional means complying with codes of conduct that require putting the interests of others before self-interest. In contrast to these perspectives, the premise of this course is that a sense of vocation or “calling” is fundamental to what it means to be a professional. Becoming a professional may indeed require extensive training, initiation into a tradition of practices, and a measure of autonomy and ethical duties— but these characteristics are secondary. Professionalism is ultimately rooted in concepts and practices of vocation, many of which have been distorted, lost or forgotten. By examining these concepts and practices, a clearer understanding of what it means to be a professional can be reclaimed. To this end, the course will explore questions such as: What does it mean to have a vocation? Can those who do not believe in God have vocations? Is it possible to miss or reject a calling? How can I know what my calling is? Can my vocation change?

P418 Seminar in the History of Philosophy (variable title) (3 cr.) Intensive study of a philosopher or philosophical school of enduring importance. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

From recent syllabi:
P418. Subtopic: Ethics of Plato and Aristotle. The focus of our work lies in taking a close look at two major pieces of ancient philosophy: Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. The semester will be spent primarily reading our way carefully through the two works, often bringing them together for points of comparison, while looking as well at a number of pieces of contemporary analysis, critique, or discussion of relevant points in the texts. Both of our main texts are complex, multi-faceted works that demand and reward thoughtful scrutiny. We will not have time in one semester to address all or even most of the important issues raised by Plato and Aristotle but will instead look for a few significant features in each section as we move through the dense thicket of ideas offered. Our plan will be to read the texts focusing on portions of interest and that interest can begin from any of us. The class will be run in seminar style in that each of us will be called upon to provide direction, questions, and an analysis of texts as we go along. The instructor will guide discussion and bring a set of comments to provide a focal point for our work. The work itself is intended to be a joint endeavor, with each one contributing to the process.

P418. Subtopic: Great Debates in Early Modern Philosophy. Unlike a survey of early modern (17th/18th-century) philosophy, this course is more specialized, focusing on selected debates among European philosophers of that period. Even so, it’s broad enough to familiarize students with several of the issues that occupied philosophers of that time. The debates it covers deal with such topics as innate knowledge, religious tolerance, psychological egoism, moral rationalism, personal identity, the ontological argument, and the problem of evil. Philosophers such as René Descartes, John Locke, G. W. Leibniz, William Wollaston, John Clarke, Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant figure prominently in the course.

P418. Subtopic: Heidegger. Martin Heidegger is arguably the most important twentieth-century thinker. This seminar follows the development of his philosophy from phenomenology to the new philosophical thinking that seeks to reach beyond metaphysics. We will study large selections from Being and Time and several of his important later works. We will also consider the philosophical underpinnings of his political involvement with the Nazis.

P418. Subtopic: Hume’s Skeptical Philosophy. Central to much of the Western philosophical tradition is the view that reason is the divine spark in human beings, something that makes humans not so much parts of nature as semi-divine spectators of nature. David Hume (1711– 1776) vigorously opposed this view, partly by arguing that the powers of reason are very limited, that reason provides no foundation for our most fundamental beliefs. In this course we’ll examine many of Hume’s skeptical arguments, e.g., his criticism of induction, his skepticism about the external world, his critique of the argument from design, his argument concerning miracles, and his claim that moral beliefs are logically cut off from facts. Critics of Hume’s arguments, e.g., Thomas Reid, George Campbell, and Judith Thomson, will receive attention as well.

P418. Subtopic: Kant. This course is an intensive study of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, one of the most important theoreticians in the history of human thought. In particular, we shall look at the Critique of Pure Reason with special focus on questions about Kant’s distinctive accounts of space, time, concepts, causality and idealism, all of which had a significant role to play in his own philosophy and in the historical evolution of physics, psychology and cognitive science.

P418. Subtopic: Machiavelli. Machiavelli’s deliberately enigmatic writings provoke wildly divergent interpretations. The recently discovered evidence of the influence of Lucretius and the Epicurean atomism on Machiavelli’s metaphysics, which he had to conceal for political reasons, helps to clarify the obscurity and apparent inconsistencies of his writings. We will study Machiavelli’s two major works: The Prince and the Discourses on Livy, and also his comedy Mandragola. We will concern ourselves with the metaphysical underpinnings of his moral and political philosophy; we will pay special attention to the conflict between moral goodness and political excellence, and to the question of superiority of the republic over the princely rule.

P433 Social Origins of Philosophy (3 cr.) An interpretation of Western philosophy as originating in, and/or legitimizing, features and conditions of the social order. Typically gives attention to indigenous and feminist perspectives and to early mythological, literary, and philosophical documents.

P448 Seminar in American Philosophy (3 cr.) An intensive study of a major American thinker, such as Edwards, Royce, James, Peirce, Dewey, Whitehead, or Santayana, or of a leading theme, such as community, experience, or education. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

From recent syllabi:
P448. Subtopic: Charles Peirce’s Evolutionary Philosophy. In this course we will study, in mostly chronological order, a series of key texts found for the most part in volumes 1 and 2 of The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings (Indiana University Press), plus other texts (including copies of untranscribed manuscripts) that will be distributed in class. The objective is to acquire a substantial understanding of the key tenets of the core of Peirce’s evolutionary philosophy, whether they are logical, epistemic, metaphysical, or cosmological. We will explore Peirce’s arguments against Cartesian dualism, his realistic stance opposed to the dominance of nominalism, his theories about the nature and role of reason and laws in nature, the nature and role of chance, the foundation of his objective idealism (which eventually morphs into a semiotic realism), his conception of science as a method of conforming the functioning of human inquiry to that of nature, his conception of objective teleology, the basic tenets of his three-categorial philosophy, his theories about evolution, growth, and the nature of continuity, and ultimately his logical/cosmological theory about the emergence of the universe.

P448. Subtopic: The Idealisms of Charles Peirce and Josiah Royce. Both Peirce’s “objective idealism” and Royce’s “absolute idealism” attempt to redefine and reinvent idealism by providing it with far stronger logical and metaphysical grounding than their great predecessors had managed to do. We will study their arguments closely and gain in the process a solid understanding of the core tenets of their respective systems of thought while assessing the extents to which these systems are idealisms and are complementary of each other. We will study in depth a selection of key texts through which we shall explore the main tenets of Peirce’s and Royce’s respective epistemological and metaphysical philosophies. The first half of the course will focus on Peirce’s philosophy (several key texts published in the two volumes of The Essential Peirce), and the second on Royce’s, viewed both on its own and as compared with what we will have learned of Peirce. Royce texts include chapters from The Spirit of Modern Philosophy, Lectures on Modern Idealism, The World and the Individual, and The Problem of Christianity.

P448. Subtopic: John Dewey’s Philosophy of Experience. An in-depth introduction to the philosophy of John Dewey. Dewey (1859–1952) is arguably the most influential philosopher born in the United States. He wrote seminal works in psychology, education, and philosophy. His philosophical writing ranges over the fields of political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, logic, aesthetics, and philosophy of religion. He wrote both technical and popular works and often spoke to current social issues. He not only criticized his contemporary culture but also took an active role in the struggles and movements of his day including women’s suffrage, immigration, education reform, union organization, and the outlawry of war. Dewey conceived philosophy as an activity concerned with human problems and criticized the history of philosophy indicating where earlier thinkers had exchanged concrete problems for abstractions and intellectual gymnastic. He sought to begin his reflection in experience and this entailed not only rethinking the notion of experience but also of reflection. The aim of this course is to gain an understanding of Dewey’s philosophical outlook, its connection to different fields of philosophical inquiry, and its application beyond academic philosophy including one’s own concrete experience.

P458 American Philosophy (3 cr.) A study of the philosophical tradition in the United States, emphasizing major thinkers such as Emerson, Peirce, James, Royce, Dewey, Santayana, and C. I. Lewis.

From a recent syllabus: This course is a study of the American philosophical tradition of pragmatism as a unique and original contribution to Western philosophy. The focus of the course is on the thought of classical American philosophers: Peirce, James, Royce, Santayana, and Dewey. Consideration will be given to the influence on pragmatism from the transcendentalism of Emerson. The difference between the undergraduate and graduate versions of the course is in the written work to be completed.

P468 Seminar in the Philosophy of Mind (3 cr.) An in-depth study of some particular problem of current concern in the philosophy of mind. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

P488 Research in Philosophy I (1-4 cr.) Prerequisite: 9 credit hours of philosophy and consent of instructor. Independent research in philosophical theory approved by and reported to any member of the department. May be repeated for credit, but no more than 6 credit hours may be counted toward the major.

P489 Research in Philosophy II (1-4 cr.) Prerequisite: 9 credit hours of philosophy and consent of instructor. Independent research in applied philosophy approved by and reported to any member of the department. May be repeated for credit, but no more than 3 credit hours may be counted toward the major.

P493 Topics in Biomedical Ethics (3 cr.)

From a recent syllabus:
P493. Subtopic: Health and Medical Enhancements. In medicine, we have entered the era of enhancement. Psychoactive medications promise to lift our spirits and ease our anxieties. Botox injections smooth our skin and pills stave off baldness. Genetics promises even more power over the body and brain, providing tests and treatments that may modify the normal, perhaps eventually through genetic engineering. Managing these revolutionary possibilities wisely requires close examination of the ethics of medicine and developing an ethics of enhancement, which requires addressing deep and perennial questions about how to characterize human flourishing and human nature, how to measure well-being, and how to determine the priorities of medicine and public health. We will explore these topics through writing in bioethics, medicine, and philosophy, including works by Carl Elliott, Leon Kass, Norman Daniels, and Art Caplan.


** As the following notes reveal, some of these courses are often combined with undergraduate courses. Naturally, in such cases the graduate requirements are more advanced and extensive than the undergraduate requirements, and may even involve extra meetings.

P500 Philosophy Pro-Seminar (3 cr.) An advanced survey of areas and issues addressed in philosophy. Principal objective: to familiarize the post-baccalaureate student with the range and diversity of contemporary philosophical discourse.

P503 The Semiotics of C. S. Peirce (3 cr.) A rigorous initiation to Peirce’s logic of signs, including his theory of knowledge, his categoriology, his definitions and classifications of signs, the three branches of semiotics, with an applied research component.

From a recent syllabus: The main subject-matter of this course is the logic of signs, or semiotics, which is central to Peirce’s philosophical system. It provides fundamental answers to such questions as “what is meaning and how does it arise?”, or “what are the processes of representation, signification, and interpretation all about?” An interdisciplinary science with both theoretical and practical concerns, Peircean semiotics has in the last few decades captured the active interest of thousands of researchers across multiple fields worldwide. The course will introduce students to the basic elements of Peirce’s theory of knowledge, including his theory of categories, then turn to the progressive development of his theory of signs, from the earliest attempts at understanding the structure of representation in general to the increasingly elaborate classifications of signs of the later, mature years. A number of Peirce’s definitions of the sign’s triadic relation will be studied, as well as the three trichotomies (including the famous icon/ index/symbol trichotomy) and the ten classes of signs. The course has several philosophical dimensions: historical, epistemological, logical, and metaphysical. Students will learn that Peirce’s semiotics is a truly general science whose methods of analysis are applicable to any field of inquiry. Secondary authors brought into the discussion include St. Augustine, Poinsot, and Locke, as well as such Peirce commentators as John Deely, James Liszka, and T. L. Short.

P507 American Philosophy and the Analytic Tradition (3 cr.) An overview of the development of American philosophy during the twentieth century with a special focus on its contribution to and influence on the American analytic tradition. This course will discuss the views of people like Lewis, Morris, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, Rorty, Putnam, and Haack.

From a recent syllabus: This course will examine the development of American philosophy with a special focus on its contribution to and influence on the American analytic tradition. Attention will be given the views of such philosophers as Charles Peirce, Josiah Royce, John Dewey, C.I. Lewis, Rudolf Carnap, W.V.O. Quine, Donald Davidson, Hillary Putnam, Richard Rorty, and Susan Haack, to philosophical movements such as New Realism and the Unity of Science Movement, and to historical events such as the rise of National Socialism in Germany and McCarthyism in the U.S.

P514 Pragmatism (3 cr.) This course will examine what pragmatism stood for in its formative years and what it has become; then after studying some conflicting views of well-known pragmatists we will consider what pragmatism might become. Part of the course is devoted to the contributions of pragmatism to different areas within philosophy.

P514 is often combined with P316, Subtopic: Pragmatism. See that course/subtopic for a representative description of P514.

P515 Medieval Philosophy (3 cr.) Selected study of key medieval philosophers, including Augustine and/or Aquinas.

P520 Philosophy of Language (3 cr.) Advanced study of selected topics.

P520 is often combined with P368. See that course for a representative description of P520.

P522 Topics in the History of Modern Philosophy (3 cr.) A variable-title course. Selected topics from key movements, figures, or controversies in modern (17th/18th century) Western philosophy. May be repeated for credit (twice) when topics vary.

P522 is often combined with P418, specifically when P418 concerns a broad portion of 17th/18th-century Western philosophy. See P418 for some representative descriptions of recent P522 subtopics.

P525 Topics in the History of Philosophy (3 cr.) An advanced study of important themes or major figures in the history of philosophy. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

P525 is often combined with P418 or P448. See those courses for some representative descriptions of recent P525 subtopics.

P536 Topics in Contemporary Philosophy (3 cr.) A study of one or more contemporary (mainly 20thcentury) schools of Western philosophy (e.g., analytic philosophy, phenomenology, existentialism) or a selection of influential thinkers related to a specific contemporary topic.

From a recent syllabus:
P536. Subtopic: Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. This course is devoted to the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein—generally regarded one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century—set against the background of both the Cambridge school of philosophy (Russell, Moore) and the logical positivists (e.g., Schlick and Carnap). Special attention is given to the shift that separates the early Wittgenstein of the Tractatus from the later Wittgenstein of the Logische Untersuchungen, and how this shift reverberates within philosophy in the latter half of the century. The central aim of this semester is to explore and evaluate the various ways philosophers have sought to distinguish sentences that have meaning from those that only seem to have meaning. “My aim is,” Wittgenstein writes in the Untersuchungen, “to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense.” And that is pretty much going to be our aim as well.

P540 Contemporary Ethical Theories (3 cr.) P540 is usually combined with P326. See that course for a representative description of P540.

P541 Topics in History of Ethics (3 cr.) Selected topics in history of ethics—ancient, medieval, or modern.

P542 The Ethics and Values of Philanthropy (3 cr.) An inquiry into the ethics and values of philanthropy rooted in a general understanding of philanthropy, as voluntary action for the public good, as an ethical ideal. A consideration of philanthropic activity in light of this ideal.

From a recent syllabus: Philanthropic studies is a multi-disciplinary endeavor rooted in the humanities which “seeks to reflect on its subject as well as see its work carried forward into the world” (Turner 2004). Together in this course we will engage in an inquiry into the ethics and values of philanthropy rooted in a general understanding of philanthropy, as voluntary action for the public good, as an ethical ideal. Through classic and contemporary readings we will consider philanthropic activity in light of this ideal. Readings are from such sources as Amy Kass, The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic Imagination in Poetry and Prose; Richard Gunderman, We Make a Life by What We Give; Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (Penguin edition); Leo Tolstoy’s “Master and Man” and “The Death of Ivan Ilych.”

P543 Social and Political Philosophy (3 cr.) Advanced study of central issues, theories, and topics in social/political philosophy, such as property rights, distributive justice, political liberty, and the limits and foundations of state authority.

P543 is often combined with P323. See P323 for some representative descriptions of P543.

P547 Foundations of Bioethics (3 cr.) A rigorous examination of bioethical theory and practice. Stress is placed on moral and conceptual issues embedded in biomedical research, clinical practice, and social policy relating to the organization and delivery of health care. From a recent syllabus: This course begins with an overview of the four guiding principles of bioethics: beneficence; nonmaleficence; justice; and respect for autonomy. We will then discuss various philosophical theories of human nature in order to define the ontological boundaries of human personhood that inform discussion of issues at the beginning and end of life. The readings come from T. Beauchamp and J. Childress, eds., Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 6th ed.; and J. P. Lizza, Defining the Beginning and End of Life.

P548 Clinical Ethics Practicum (3 cr.) This course provides learning experiences both in the classroom and in a clinical settings, enabling students to fully to appreciate ethical issues that face health care professionals. The course is administered through the Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics at Clarian Health Partners. It will be team-taught by IUPUI faculty and clinicians, with support from the IU Center for Bioethics.

P549 Bioethics and Pragmatism (3 cr.) This course provides a critical examination of recent contributions by American philosophers to bioethics. The course will have a strong focus on a growing group of thinkers who seek their inspiration in Dewey, James, Peirce, Royce, and Mead, while dealing with contemporary issues in medical ethics.

P553 Philosophy of Science (3 cr.) A study of theories with regard to the nature, purpose, and limitations of science. Attention will be given to the cognitive significance of theories, the scientific method (hypothesis formation, theory construction, and testing), research paradigms, reductionism, and social epistemology.

P553 is often combined with P331. See that course for a representative description of P553.

P554 Practicum in International Research Ethics (4-8 cr.) Prerequisite: MHHS-M 592: African Health; or equivalent course. The Practicum in International Research Ethics involves a combination of observation and discussion with mentors while conducting an individual research project that will serve as the capstone for the student’s master’s degree.

P555 Ethical and Policy Issues in International Research (3 cr.) This course examines ethical and policy issues in the design and conduct of transnational research involving human participants. Topics discussed include: economic and political factors; study design; the role of ethics review committees; individual and group recruitment/informed consent; end-of-study responsibilities; national and international guidelines.

From a recent syllabus: This course examines ethical and policy issues that arise in the design and conduct of international research involving human participants. As such there will be an emphasis on both the philosophical issues that present themselves for research, regulator, sponsors, research participants and communities. But equally, there will be an effort to examine the practical and philosophical implications of various procedures, policies and guidelines used to assure ethical research in the international setting

P558 American Philosophy (3 cr.) A general overview of the most significant contributions of American philosophers, such as Emerson, Thoreau, Peirce, James, Dewey, Santayana, Mead, Jane Addams, Alain Locke.

P558 is often combined with P458. See that course for a representative description of P558.

P560 Metaphysics (3 cr.) In-depth discussion of representative contemporary theories. P560 is often combined with P385. See that course for a representative description of P560.

P561 Philosophy of Mind (3 cr.) In-depth treatment of central issues, problems, and theories (both classical and contemporary) in philosophy of mind, such as mental causation, the nature of consciousness, and dualism.

P561 is often combined with P360. See that course for a representative description of P561.

P562 Theory of Knowledge (3 cr.) Advanced study of selected topics. P562 is often combined with P369. See that course for a representative description of P562.

P590 Intensive Reading (1-4 cr.) A tutorial course involving in-depth consideration of a specific philosophical area or problem or author. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

P600 Topics in Philosophy (3 cr.) A detailed examination of a specific topic in philosophy. P600 is sometimes combined with P383. See that course for some representative descriptions of P600 subtopics.

P650 Topics in Semiotic Philosophy (3 cr.) An examination of various historical and theoretical issues arising from the philosophical study of semiosis—the general phenomenon of representation, objectification, signification, and interpretation—through the work of mostly American philosophers from the late nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on the impact of Peirce’s semiotic philosophy.

P696 Topics in Biomedical Ethics (3 cr.) Selected topics in bioethics, such as international research ethics; ethical issues in pediatrics; ethical issues in genetics.

From recent syllabi: P696. Subtopic: Genethics. This course will review a variety of philosophical issues, both ethical and metaphysical, that arise from the ability to map and manipulate the human genome. Issues that will be covered include prenatal genetic diagnosis, genetic treatment and enhancement, and reproductive cloning. Relevant philosophical questions include: Can there be an ethically legitimate eugenics initiative? What ethical obligations do parents and society have toward the health and well-being of future generations? Is there an objective definition of human nature that allows us to define what counts as “enhancement”? How should we understand the identity of a cloned human being in relation to her progenitor?

P696. Subtopic: Health Policy, Law And Bioethics. An advanced seminar designed to help students develop their ability to understand major issues facing the American health care system from an interdisciplinary perspective. The seminar is being offered through the Consortium for Health Policy, Law, and Bioethics and is being team taught by a bioethicist and philosopher (Meslin), a health lawyer (Kinney), and a medical sociologist (Wright). Over the course of the semester, the faculty and students will consider a wide-range of critical health policy questions using both inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives. This course is not designed to be an exhaustive survey of the challenges facing our health care system; rather the primary pedagogical objective of this class is to help students appreciate the importance and value of a multidisciplinary approach in developing policy proposals to address our health care system challenges.

P701 Peirce Seminar (3 cr.) This seminar is devoted to a critical examination of the general structure and development of Peirce’s systematic philosophy with a special emphasis on those tensions in the development of his thought that led to modifications in his philosophy, and on the nature and significance of those changes.

P701 is sometimes combined with P448, Subtopic: Charles Peirce’s Evolutionary Philosophy. See that course for a representative description of P701.

P730 Seminar: Contemporary Philosophy (4 cr.) Selected topics on the works of twentieth-century philosophers.

P748 Seminar in American Philosophy (3 cr.) Advanced study of a principal philosopher or a set of selected topics in classical American philosophy.

P748 is sometimes combined with P448. See that course for some representative descriptions of P748 subtopics.

P803 Master’s Thesis in Philosophy (arr. cr.)