Course Information

Fall 2018 – Undergraduate and Graduate Philosophy Courses

Below are descriptions of the courses--both undergraduate and graduate--that the Department of Philosophy will offer in the Fall 2018 semester.  Please don't hesitate to email the instructor if you would like further information!

PHIL 1000: General Introduction to Philosophy, Dr. Claire Horisk

LST 01 TTh 10:00 - 10:50 am A&S 110

Credit Hours: 3

Philosophy is often called the mother of all the sciences, and it is at the center of a liberal arts education, asking “big” questions about the world and the human experience of the world, and cultivating critical thinking skills that will be useful throughout your college education and your working life. This course introduces central questions and techniques in philosophy. The questions we will address include:

• Does the natural world provide proof that God exists?

• Do we know that any physical things exist?

• What is the relationship between the mind and the body?

The goal of the course is to learn how to think like a philosopher about those questions. The questions we address in this course are so difficult that we can't give direct answers to them. We will learn to think philosophically about the answers to these questions by breaking up the questions into smaller parts – for example, to find out whether we know that any physical things exist, we might first think about what counts as knowing something. We will use philosophical skills and techniques to help us assess and give reasons for different views. We will give reasons for and against different answers to these questions, setting aside both our pre-conceptions and our feelings about these issues.

PHIL 1000: General Introduction to Philosophy, Dr. Marina Folescu

LST 04 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm STRICK 114

Credit Hours: 3

We live in relationship to the people, animals, and objects around us. Our nature partly determines who we are; but so do our cultural heritage and political environment. We can and do influence how others perceive us through our relationships and actions. The notions of personal and political freedom cannot be understood well unless we have a framework for understanding what we are, as mind-and-body unions, and what we owe to each other, as fellow citizens in a society. In this class, we will start at the beginning: we will dedicate most of the time to closely reading three of the most famous texts in the history of Western philosophy, all three written in the 17th century. First, to gain a better idea about what weare,we will carefully read René Descartes' Meditations, where he laid the foundations of dualism, a thesis that is still alive and well in contemporary psychology and philosophy of mind. In the second part of this class, we will be discussing John Locke’s Second Treatise of Governmentand A Letter Concerning Toleration, where he laid the foundations of the theory of social contract. This theory is aimed at explaining how it is that people congregate together in societies and what is the nature of their rights and obligations, as members of particular societies.

PHIL 1000H: General Introduction to Philosophy (Honors), Dr. Alex Radulescu

LST 01 MW 09:30 - 10:45 am STRICK 304

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Honors eligibility required

This class is about the Declaration of Independence. This is a very interesting document, and many people have written about it, both within academia and without. Even if you disagree about its importance (and many do), it certainly has been influential in American history. Ours will be a philosophical approach: we’ll be interested in what the text says, and whether there are any good arguments for or against the claims it seems to make. Consider this most famous sentence of the Declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident,that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienableRights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The texts we will bereading are all, to some extent, about ideas that can be found here. René Descartes’s Meditations talk about what we can be properly said to know, and the relation between that, science, and God. John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government was read by Jefferson, and many ideas in it are echoed in the Declaration (and many are not). Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration discusses the relation between religion and state. John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty talks about the notion of liberty. Consider this class an introduction to both philosophy and the Declaration of Independence.

PHIL 1100: Introduction to Ethics, Dr. Kenny Boyce

LST 01 MW 09:00 - 09:50 am ELLIS AUD

Credit Hours: 3

What makes things right or wrong? Are there facts about what is right and wrong or is morality just a matter of opinion? What does it take to be a good person? What does it look like to live a good life? How should we think about issues surrounding our duties to the poor, animal rights, just warfare, human sexuality, abortion, and many other controversial topics? In this class we will explore these and other questions from a philosophical perspective.

PHIL 1100H: Introduction to Ethics - Honors, TBA

LST 01 TTh 09:30 - 10:45 am STRICK 307

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Honors eligibility required

What makes things right or wrong? Are there facts about what is right and wrong or is morality just a matter of opinion? What does it take to be a good person? What does it look like to live a good life? How should we think about issues surrounding our duties to the poor, animal rights, just warfare, human sexuality, abortion, and many other controversial topics? In this class we will explore these and other questions from a philosophical perspective.
 

PHIL 1150: Introductory Bioethics, Stephen Herman

LST 01 MWF 09:00 - 09:50 am STRICK 217

Credit Hours: 3

This course approaches moral problems in biomedical and scientific research from a philosophical perspective. First, we'll familiarize ourselves with ethics and political philosophy. Then we'll study the ethical issues that arise in connection with a series of issues, including research involving human and animal subjects, eugenics, the human genome project, cloning and stem cell research. By thinking about these issues, we learn how to think critically about particular moral quandaries, as well as to uncover and examine some of our deepest moral commitments.

PHIL 1200: Logic and Reasoning, Dr. André Ariew

LST 01 TTh 10:00 - 10:50 am SCHLDT 103

Credit Hours: 3

This course is designed to teach you what philosophers have been developing for the last two thousand years: the rules of reasoning. By mastering these rules, you will acquire the ability to systematically distinguish valid from invalid arguments and assess the strength of inferences on the basis of available evidence. You will learn how to think about probability and how to make good decisions when you are uncertain about the possible outcomes of different courses of action. Mastering these rules of reasoning will help you sharpen your judgment and decision-making skills for use both in and out of the classroom. You will learn how to apply the rules and skills to a wide range of issues, from questions about the existence of God to questions about the interpretation of medical test results. The rules can be applied to every major and every career, from business, law, and medicine to science, agriculture, and journalism.

PHIL 1200H: Logic and Reasoning (Honors), Dr. Andrew Melnyk

LST 01 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm CORNELL 30

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Honors eligibility required

The topic of this course is arguments, i.e., bits of reasoning. An argument’s job is to provide some reason to think that something is the case. Arguments are useful to us not only in getting other people to think certain things, but also in discovering in the first place what we ought to think. By the end of this course, you should be able, having read a passage containing an argument in a book or article,

· to explain precisely how the reasoning in the passage is supposed to work; and

· to assess how strong a reason to believe its conclusion its premises provide.

· to construct successful arguments of your own.

The course therefore aims to improve the way you reason, rather than to fill your heads with more facts. Knowing facts is indispensable for assessing arguments, but this course will not much increase your factual knowledge.

PHIL 2100: Philosophy: East and West, Ritwik Agrawal

LST 02 TTh 12:30 - 01:45 pm CORNL 30

LST 03 TTh 02:00 - 03:15 pm HILL 309

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing

This course examines certaincommonalities and differences in how some basic categories, such as good, bad, right, wrong, duty, essence, meaning, freedom and liberation, havebeen analyzed by philosophers in the Western and Eastern traditionsover time. We will cover a fairly wide sweep, from the ancient Greek tradition to modern Western philosophy, contemporaryapplied ethics, Buddhism, some strains of Hinduism, and the thought of Gandhi. We will begin by equipping learnerswith some basic philosophical tools and terminology to navigate the material ahead. No prior knowledge of philosophy orreligion (Eastern or Western) is presumed.

PHIL 2150: Philosophy of Race, Drew Woodson

LST 01 MW 11:00 - 12:15 pm A&S 40A

Credit Hours: 3

This course surveys developments in the philosophy of race. We will examine the ordinary conception of race and consider criticisms of it. Theorists in the field generally hold the ordinary notion of race in disrepute. The line of inquiry then becomes “What does ‘race’ denote?” and “Why?”. In response, we will disambiguate race from closely associated concepts such as ethnicity, culture, nation, and class as part of a sustained investigation into the relationship between race and racism. Toward the end of the course, we will more directly reflect on implications of the inequality race seems to track with a focus on mass incarceration and reparations.

PHIL 2400: Ethics and the Professions, Keith Harris

LST 01 TTh 09:30 - 10:45 am TUCKER 8

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing

An examination of ethical issues confronted by members of different professions such as medicine, law, business, journalism and engineering.

PHIL 2410: Philosophies of War and Peace, Ethan Howe

Internet Class

Credit Hours: 3

This course addresses moral issues about the recourse to war by the nation and the individual's obligations to participate, and the nature of peace, both social and personal. Special attention is paid to the Vietnam War and the nuclear age.

PHIL 2410W: Philosophies of War and Peace, Tim Wu

Internet Class

Credit Hours: 3

This course addresses moral issues about the recourse to war by the nation and the individual's obligations to participate, and the nature of peace, both social and personal. Special attention is paid to the Vietnam War and the nuclear age.

PHIL 2430: Contemporary Moral Issues, Travis Holmes

LST 01 MWF 11:00 - 11:50 am STRICK 316

LST 02 MWF 09:00 - 09:50 pm STRICK 316

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing

A review of the major contemporary ethical theories and their contribution to the resolution of major social issues such as euthanasia, suicide, abortion, capital punishment, violence and war.

PHIL 2440: Medical Ethics, Troy Hall

LST 01 MW 09:00 - 09:50 am JESSE WRENCH

LST 02 MWF 10:00 - 10:50 am STRICK 223 Jon Marc Asper

LST 06 MWF 12:00 - 12:50 pm STRICK 109 Jon Marc Asper

LST 04 MWF 11:00 - 11:50 am STRICK 318 Aaron Sullivan

LST 05 MWF 12:00 - 12:50 pm STRICK 117 Aaron Sullivan

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites:
sophomore standing

This extremely popular course considers issues of patient autonomy, consent, healthcare rights, abortion, euthanasia, and animal and human research from an agenda-free ethical perspective. It is also perfect as a first philosophy or ethics course, as fundamental ethical theories are explained before integrating them with medical cases. Many students have reported that taking this course was a positive transformative experience for them at Mizzou. Taught by William B. Bondeson and College of Arts and Science Green Chalk teaching award-winner Troy Hall.

PHIL 2700: Elementary Logic, Dr. Alex Radulescu

LST 01 MW 02:00 - 02:50 pm LFVRE 106

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing and grade of C or better in MATH1100 or MATH 1120

This is a first course in modern symbolic logic. You will learn how to translate arguments in English into formulas in an artificial symbolic language and then to apply formal procedures to the formulas and thereby determine the deductive validity of the original argument. The ability to do this is invaluable in analyzing philosophical arguments and in any circumstance when it is vital to know what really follows from what. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

PHIL 2900: Environmental Ethics, Troy Hall

LST 02 MW 11:00 - 11:50 am STRICK 105

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

Truly a course for everyone, Environmental Ethics explores our relationship to each other and the natural world. A perfect first philosophy course or ethics course, cutting edge contemporary topics such as animal ethics, sustainability, environmental justice and racism, ecofeminism, deep ecology, and eco-terrorism are covered in an agenda-free way. Taught by William B. Bondeson and College of Arts and Science Green Chalk teaching award-winner Troy Hall. Diversity Intensive Course.

PHIL 3000: Ancient Western Philosophy, Dr. Marta Heckel

LST 01 TTh 12:30 – 1:45 pm STRICK 223

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

Most people have heard of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, but what were their philosophical views, and why did they hold them? This course will answer these questions and many others as you read some of the richest and most influential philosophical works in the Western tradition.

PHIL 3600: Twentieth Century Philosophy, Dr. Don Sievert

LST 01 MW 2:00 – 3:15 pm A&S 203

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

The 20th-century saw the rise of “analytic” philosophy. Questions about language, about method, and the relation between science and philosophy loomed large. About language, philosophers asked how to think about the meaning of words and sentences: is meaning established by private intentions, by some sort of “picturing relation” between language and reality, or by social use? About method, philosophers asked whether philosophy be done as a science. Can its theories be tested? If so, how? About science, philosophers asked how the scientific image – what we know from science – fits with ordinary experience – the manifest image. How does the colorful, melodious world we know relate to the world of charged particles that physics describes? This course, taught by Professor Donald Sievert, explores the views of prominent analytic philosophers of the last century, including Russell, Wittenstein, Quine, Sellars, and Anscombe.

PHIL 4100/7100: Philosophy of Language, Dr. Claire Horisk

LST 01 TTh 02:00 - 03:15 pm AGR 2-10

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing and PHIL2700
Recommended: one other course in Philosophy

We use language every day without paying it much attention, but it raises fascinating philosophical questions. How do mere patterns of ink on paper or vibrations in the air come to mean things—to be about things in the world and to be true or false depending on how things in the world are? Why does “cats” mean cats, and “dogs” mean dogs, rather than the other way around? What role do the intentions of language-users play in determining linguistic meaning? Can we really make words mean anything we please? Which aspects of language are conventional and which are not? What role do rules play in language? Such questions as these will be addressed in this course.

PHIL 4210/7210: Philosophy of Mind, Dr. Andrew Melnyk

LST 01 TTh 02:00 - 03:15 pm STRICK 307

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

Our mental states—our beliefs, thoughts, wants, emotions, and sensations—seem to be produced in us by our interactions with the world, when we perceive the world, and in turn to explain why we act as we do. But we also know that these same perceptual interactions with the world put our brains into certain electro-chemical states that go on to cause our bodily behavior. It’s then tempting to suspect that our mental states in some sense are (certain of) our brain states. Such a view, however, raises all sorts of difficult questions. There’s something it’s like to smell gasoline or see a rose, but how could there be anything it’s like to be in an electro-chemical state of one’s brain? How can each of us be aware of our own (e.g.) pains in a way that no one else can be aware of them, if pains are just publicly observable brain states? How could mere electro-chemical states be, like our beliefs and wants, about things, including things that don’t exist (e.g., unicorns)? And if our behavior is entirely explained by the brain states we’re in, how can our mental states as such make any difference to what we do?

PHIL 4220/7220: Philosophy of Religion, Dr. Kenny Boyce

LST 01 MW 11:00 - 12:15 pm MDLBSH 210

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing
Recommended: One course in Philosophy

It’s often claimed that the question of God’s existence is a matter of faith that can’t be rationally debated. This course, however, will critically examine important arguments that philosophers have given both for and against the claim that God exists, e.g., the argument that the fundamental physical constants are fine-tuned for life, and the argument that the world contains too much suffering to have been created by a morally perfect God. The course will also address fascinating questions about the characteristics that God has traditionally been thought to have. For example, if God is omniscient (all-knowing), how is human free will possible?

PHIL 4400/7400: Philosophy of Science, Dr. Andre Ariew

LST 01 TTh 12:30 - 01:45 pm A&S 40A

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing
Recommended: two courses in Philosophy

Science raises many metaphysical and epistemological questions, and this course aims to acquaint students with the attempts of contemporary philosophers of science to answer some of them. For example, what sort of a thing is a scientific theory? What kind of explanation can a scientific theory provide? Must a scientific explanation appeal to a law of nature, and what is a law of nature anyway? Are the answers to these questions the same for all branches of science? Are there objective reasons for preferring some scientific theories to others? What role does observation play in scientific inquiry? Can observation ever justify the claim that a law of nature holds? Can one theory be more probable than another, and if so, under what conditions? How can science find out about things too small, or too far away in space or time, to be observed by us now?

PHIL 4800/7800: Asian Philosophy

Self-Paced Online

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing
Recommended: one course in Philosophy

This course traces the origins of Indian and Chinese philosophical world views. Included are the major ideas in Hindu, Jaina, and Buddhist thought in India, and Taoism and Confucianism in China. Emphasis is placed on the diverse, assimilative, and pragmatic nature of Indian thought and its impact on contemporary Asian philosophy.

PHIL 4850/7850: Special Readings in Philosophy, TBA

By special arrangement.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: junior standing

Special readings on topics not addressed in regular courses.

PHIL 4998: Honors I in Philosophy, TBA

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: junior standing

Work toward a thesis for students aiming at Departmental Honors.

PHIL 4999: Honors II in Philosophy, TBA

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: junior standing

Work toward a thesis for students aiming at Departmental Honors.

PHIL 8100: Protoseminar in Philosophy, Dr. Peter Markie

LST 01 W 03:30 - 05:50 pm STRICK 429

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Restricted to first year graduate students in philosophy

This seminar is an intensive workshop designed—and required—for all incoming graduate students. The aim is to help students refine their research and writing skills. The topics are drawn from multiple areas of philosophy, from ethics to epistemology. The readings, with a few exceptions, are drawn from recently published work in the field.

PHIL 8210: Teaching of Philosophy, Dr. Andrew Melnyk

LST 01 F 03:00 - 04:30 pm STRICK 104

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Graduate philosophy students only

The goal of this course is three-fold: (i) to provide a venue for students to get advice on problems they are currently encountering as TA’s; (ii) to promote reflection on the principles of effective teaching in philosophy; and (iii) to provide detailed practical advice on effective teaching in philosophy.

PHIL 8300: Dissertation Seminar, Dr. Peter Vallentyne

LST 01 F 01:00 - 02:50 pm STRICK 429

Credit Hour: 1
Prerequisites: Philosophy Ph.D. student

We will address five topics for students who are beginning to work on their dissertation proposals or dissertations:

(1) Time management and effective work habits,

(2) Writing publishable papers.

(3) Presenting a paper at a conference

(4) Writing dissertation proposals and dissertations.

(5) Preparing for the job market (CV, teaching statement, advice on interviewing, etc.).

PHIL 9120: The Empiricists, Dr. Marina Folescu

LST 01 Th 03:30 - 04:30 pm STRICK 429

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: graduate Philosophy student

Advanced study of the epistemological and metaphysical doctrines of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.

PHIL 9320: Social and Political Philosophy, Dr. Peter Vallentyne

LST 01 M 03:30 - 05:50 pm STRICK 429

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: PHIL4600 or instructor's consent and graduate Philosophy student

We shall examine two completely independent topics:

(1) Under what conditions, if any, does a state have political authority in the sense that residents have a pro tanto moral obligation to obey its directives (e.g. laws)? We will read John Simmons, Boundaries of Authority (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

(2) What are the moral constraints on military operations in war, especially with respect to the killing or harming of civilians? We will read Seth Lazar, Sparing Civilians (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

PHIL 9887: Seminar in Logic, Dr. Paul Weirich

LST 01 T 03:30 - 05:50 pm STRICK 429

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: PHIL4110 graduate Philosophy student

This semester the seminar will treat epistemic modality. Many brilliant philosophers have addressed the topic recently and stirred up widespread interest. We will explore their ideas in a collection of readings.