Spring 2023 Courses

Philosophy Spring 2023 Course Brochure Cover 

Download the Spring 2023 course brochure here!

All 100 and 200-level philosophy courses satisfy the Gen Ed Humanities requirement -- except PHIL 120, which satisfies the Mathematics requirement. We offer both a major and a minor in philosophy plus a concentration in Politics, Philosophy, and Law. More information can be found at philosophy.cofc.edu.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN PHILOSOPHY:

33 semester hours in philosophy which must include 120; 201; 202; and 450 (or PPLW 400). Of the remaining 21 hours, at least 3 hours must be taken in value theory courses; 12 hours must be taken at or above the 200 level; and least nine hours must be taken at or above the 300 level.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR IN PHILOSOPHY

18 semester hours in philosophy which must include a course in the history of philosophy (201, 202, 304, 305, 306, 307, or 310), and one course at or above the 300 level.

Philosophy majors who are interested in independent study options (including Internships, Bachelor’s Essays, and Teaching Apprenticeships) should consult with the department chair or their advisor. A maximum of six hours these courses may be taken to satisfy the requirement of nine elective hours at or above the 300-level.

CRN

SUBJECT

COURSE TITLE

INSTRUCTOR

DAYS/TIME

CRN 20393

PHIL 101.01

Introduction to Philosophy

Grantham

MWF 10:00-10:50

CRN 20394

PHIL 101.02

Introduction to Philosophy

Nadelhoffer

TR 9:25 -10:40

CRN 20395

PHIL 101.03

Introduction to Philosophy

Coseru

MWF 1:00-1:50

CRN 21272

PHIL 101.04

Introduction to Philosophy

Coseru

MWF 2:00-2:50

CRN 22010

PHIL 115.01

Critical Thinking

Hemmenway

MWF 11:00-11:50

CRN 23245

PHIL 120.01

Symbolic Logic

Kingston

MWF 11:00-11:50

CRN 23246

PHIL120.02

Symbolic Logic

Kingston

MWF 1:00-1:50

CRN 21618

PHIL 170.01

Biomedical Ethics

Baker

TR 9:25-10:40

CRN 21619

PHIL 170.02

Biomedical Ethics

Baker

MWF 12:15-1:30

CRN 20396

PHIL 202.01

History in Modern Philosophy

Boyle

TR 12:15-1:30

CRN 23247

PHIL 205.01

Existentialism

Hough

TR 1:40-2:55

CRN 23248

PHIL 209.01

Political Philosophy

Hemmenway

MW 3:25-4:40

CRN 21154

PHIL 270.01

Philosophy of Law

Neufeld

TR 10:50-12:05

CRN 22015

PHIL 270.02

Philosophy of Law

Nadelhoffer

TR 1:40-2:55

CRN 23249

PHIL 305.01

Special Topics in the History of Philosophy

Boyle/Fasko

MW 2:00-3:15

CRN 20397

PHIL 450.01

Senior Seminar in Philosophy

Coseru

MW 4:00-5:15

 

PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy

Prof. Grantham

CRN 20393 (MWF 10:00-10:50)

NO PREREQUISITES

This course offers a general introduction to philosophy. The course begins with a careful reading of Plato’s dialogue, Meno. We then turn to four enduring philosophical issues: (1) Religion: Are there good grounds to think that God does (or does not) exist? If the evidence doesn’t decide the case, is it reasonable to believe “based on faith”? (2) Knowledge: What is “knowledge”? Can we know anything with certainty? If we lack certainty, can we still have objective knowledge? (3) Metaphysics of Free Will: If minds are nothing but collections of mindless particles governed by deterministic laws, is free will possible? (4) Equality & Justice: Does wealth inequality violate our principles/ideals of equality and justice? We will explore classic philosophical texts and discuss how philosophical arguments remain relevant today.

PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy

Prof. Coseru

CRN 20395 (MWF 1:00 – 1:50)

CRN 21272 (MWF 2:00 – 2:50)

NO PREREQUISITE

What is it to know, and what is the difference between knowledge and mere opinion? What is truth, and how do I tell the difference between fact and fiction? Are there such things as “alternative facts”? Are our ideas innate or acquired? Is there anything we can we be certain of in the face of constant change? Are virtue and happiness related in some way? Can we be truly free? Does power have a corrupting influence on truth? What role does culture, religion, gender, politics, and science play in shaping our view of the world and our identity? No matter what our answers to these questions, how are we to proceed? And, in general, what is the best way to live? What is the good life? We will examine a variety of answers to these questions through a combination of classical, modern, contemporary readings. 

PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy

Prof. Nadelhoffer

CRN 20394 (TR 9:25 –10:40) *Online synchronous*

NO PREREQUISITE

This course is designed to provide students with a general introduction to some of the perennial questions of philosophy. During the semester we will examine three main questions: Does God exist? What is the nature of free will? What is the nature of morality? In exploring this third question, we will examine both ethical theory and applied ethical issues such as wealth inequality, distributive justice, the nature of charity, and the moral permissibility of abortion. The goal will be to familiarize students with some of the most well-known answers to these questions from classical and contemporary philosophy and to help students develop well-informed answers of their own. 

PHIL 115: Critical Thinking

Prof. Hemmenway

CRN 22010 (MWF 11:00 – 11:50)

NO PREREQUISITE 

Being a free human being means being able to think for yourself when you think about what you believe, what is important, what you deem prudent to do, what you understand is moral to do, etc.  Some of the tools an independent thinker needs are critical thinking skills, for example, the ability to evaluate somebody else’s claims about the world.  This course teaches you about some of those skills and gives you practice in evaluating the reasoning of others so that you can come to your own conclusions.  These skills should also enable you to present a stronger case to others for what you believe.

PHIL 120: Symbolic Logic

Prof. Kingston

CRN 23245 (MWF 11:00 – 11:50) *Online synchronous*

CRN 23246 (MWF 1:00 – 1:50) *Online synchronous*

NO PREREQUISITE

We find arguments in many areas of human life: politics, legal reasoning, science, and everyday discussions.  In each of these domains, people offer reasons and evidence to support their beliefs.  The methods of formal logic have been a valuable tool for assessing arguments for millennia.  We will learn how to translate English sentences into contemporary forms of syllogistic, propositional, and predicate logic and to assess the validity of inferences in these languages. Studying this formal system will build abstract reasoning skills, teach you how to recognize and construct valid arguments, and give you a language with which to talk and think about deductive arguments efficiently and effectively.

PHIL 170: Biomedical Ethics

Prof. Baker

CRN 21618 (TR 9:25-10:40)

CRN 21619 (TR 12:15 – 1:30)

NO PREREQUISITE

Bioethics (or medical ethics) is one of the most significant way in which we test our ethical principles. In this course we learn about the harrowing reasons for the development of bioethics. Then we consider the ethical proposal that were meant to focus the field on a strict and shared commitment to ethics. One particular approach (principalism) is still the most widely used by medical researchers and clinicians, and we consider how it and the limited, specific "goals of medicine" influence the decisions of researchers and clinicians. The text we use takes a clinical approach so that we focus on the real-world interactions and decisions that those who work in medicine have. We will also engage with new research in bioethics journals, participate in a major international bioethics conference on the topic if organ transplant, and have guest speakers to talk about ethics in their specialities and departments. Particular focuses for us will be organ donation, vaccine ethics, the treatment of addiction, mental illness, teenagers giving consent to cancer treatment, and the care of infants born with severe impairments. We will also emphasize the dimensions of the social rule played by clinicians. Students will write final papers on these topics. 

 

PHIL 202: History of Modern Philosophy

Prof. Boyle

CRN 20396 (TR 12:15-1:30)

NO PREREQUISITE:

The early modern period (the 17th & 18th centuries) saw the rise of modern science, when medieval and Artistotelian

Conceptions of knowledge, nature, and our plans in the world began to reject. In this course we will read, discuss, and critically evaluate the works of Rene’ Descartes, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Baruch Spinoza, David Hume, Mary Shepherd, and Immanuel Kant, important philosophers from the early modern era who sought to find new understandings of the world, our place in it, and our knowledge of it. 

PHIL 205: Existentialism

Prof. Hough

CRN 23247 (TR 1:40-2:55)

NO PREREQUISITE

‘L’existentialisme’, a term coined by Jean-Paul Sartre shortly after the end of World War II, is a philosophical and literary movement that explores and amplifies many concerns of several 19th-Century philosophers, particularly Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.  We will explore this controversial philosophical approach by reviewing its 19th-Century roots, and by reading novels that have inspired or been written in the spirit of existentialism.  Topics will include Heidegger’s notion of authenticity and Sartre’s claims about freedom and bad faith. 

PHIL 209: Political Philosophy

Prof. Hemmenway

CRN 23248 (MW 3:25-4:40)

NO PREREQUISITE

We will read three of the seminal philosophers in Social Contract theory: Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, and Rousseau’s Second Discourse and Social Contract.  These books approach basic questions of politics by arguing what agreements human beings would make in coming out of a state of nature to form a political association.  Some of the questions addressed are: what is the origin of government, what conditions does it have to meet to be legitimate, and what natural rights ought to be protected in civil society.

PHIL 270: Philosophy of Law

Prof. Neufeld

CRN 21154 (TR 10:50-12:05)

NO PREREQUISITES                                              

This class is an examination of a few fundamental philosophical questions about law. What is law? How do you know what the laws are in any jurisdiction? Since not all laws are written down, what kind of thing are you looking for when you want to identify a law (as opposed to a custom, a moral rule, a bit of etiquette). How does legal reasoning work? Are answer to legal questions to be found within the four corners of the page (as Antonin Scalia, for example, believed)? Or do judges need to look beyond to other, non-textual reasons (political reasons, moral reasons, economic reasons…)? Is judicial reasoning really independent (as Stephen Breyer has recently argued) or is it affected by other factors—political, economic, sociological? If so, then what do we do? Do we have an obligation to obey an unjust law? What kind of authority does the law have? Is it just a kind of moral authority? What if morality (justice, a commitment to liberty or autonomy—whatever), and law conflict as they have appeared to so many times throughout history? At least one topic will be democratically determined by class interest

We will look at texts from thinkers like Aquinas, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Ronald Dworkin, HLA Hart, Oliver Wendall Holmes, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Posner, Joseph Raz, Patricia Williams and more.

PHIL 270: Philosophy of Law

Prof. Nadelhoffer

CRN 22015 (TR 1:40 – 2:55)

NO PREREQUISITES                                              

This course is an introduction to some perennial issues in the philosophy of law. Students will be familiarized with works from both classical and contemporary legal, moral, and political theorists. The course will be focused primarily on the following questions: What is the actus reus and men’s real requirements for criminal responsibility? What does it mean to have a legal excuse? What are the goals and limits of criminal sanctions? Is the death penalty morally and legally permissible? What is the relationship between free will and the law? Finally, what role, if any, should recent advances in neuroscience and genetics have in determinations of criminal responsibility? This final topic will help highlight both the practical side of the philosophy of law and the importance of interdisciplinarity when it comes to legal theorizing.

PHIL 305: Recovering Vanished Voices: Women Philosophers of the 17th-19th Centuries

Prof. Boyle & Prof. Fasko

CRN 23249 (MW 2:00-3:15)

PREREQUISITE: 6 hours in philosophy, but others are encouraged to enroll with the permission of one of the instructors.  

While female thinkers have been part of philosophy since its inception, their contributions were systematically neglected and ignored from the 19th century onwards, when philosophy became the university subject it is today. This started to change in the last three decades when new research found many works of philosophy by women philosophers that, for hundreds of years, were left out of the standard, androcentric narrative of the history of philosophy. That picture of the history of philosophy is now being challenged and rewritten. In this course, we will read and discuss some of these exciting new finds, drawing from works by women philosophers such as Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673), Anne Conway (1631-1679), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648–95), Mary Astell (1666–1731), Emilie du Châtelet (1706­–1749), Mary Shepherd (1777–1847), Sojourner Truth (c.1797–1883), or Constance Naden (1858-1889). We will discuss how these thinkers contributed to well-known philosophical problems such as the mind-body-problem or raised new questions, such as the role of women in philosophy or society more generally. Become part of the effort to let these previously vanished voices be heard, thereby changing the way we look at the past, and, in doing so, ultimately shaping the future.

 

PHIL 450: Senior Seminar: in Philosophy

Prof. Coseru

CRN 20397 (MW 4:00 – 5:15)

PREQUISITE: Junior or senior philosophy major with at least 9 previous semester hours in philosophy, 1 of which must be a 300- level course, or permission of the instructor. 

Listen to the sound of a Mozart concerto, taste the flavor of a strong espresso, or feel the cool breeze of a spring morning. Is there something it is like to have these experiences? Does such conscious experiences come bound up with a sense of self? Or can there be consciousness without subjectivity? What are some of the problems associated with attempts to explain consciousness in physical and neurobiological terms? This seminar will focus on the “big questions” in the interdisciplinary field of consciousness studies. We will primarily draw from work in philosophy of mind, phenomenology, cognitive neuroscience, and Buddhist philosophy.