Courses Next Semester

Spring 2019 – Undergraduate and Graduate Philosophy Courses

Below are descriptions of the courses--both undergraduate and graduate--that the Department of Philosophy will offer in the Spring 2019 semester.  Please don't hesitate to email the instructor if you would like further information about the course!

PHIL 1000: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy, Dr. Philip Robbins

LST 01 MoWe 10:00AM - 10:50AM Ellis Library (Ellis Aud)

Credit Hours: 3

Philosophy is among the oldest fields of academic study. Many of us are familiar with the names of some famous philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant). But what is philosophy? What do philosophers actually do? 

As a first approximation, we might say that the task of philosophy is to solve philosophical puzzles. Philosophical puzzles are puzzles concerning the fundamental character of the world and our place in it, puzzles so fundamental that they cannot be solved by science  — or at least, not by science alone. 

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to philosophy by teaching them the tools of the philosopher’s trade. This will be done by demonstrating the application of those tools to the study of several long-standing philosophical puzzles, including the following:

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

• Do we have free will?

• What is the difference between knowing something and merely believing it?

• Is happiness the only thing that matters in life?

• Is morality objective?

By learning how to use the analytical tools required to investigate these puzzles, students will develop their general critical reasoning skills — skills that readily transfer to all fields of study, from the sciences to the humanities.

 

PHIL 1000: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy

LST 02 MWF 09:00 - 09:50 am STRICK 320  Mr. Eric Rowse

LST 03 MWF 11:00 - 11:50 am STRICK 119  Mr. Eric Rowse

LST 05 TTh 09:30 - 10:45 am STRICK 310  Mr. Aaron Sullivan

LST 06 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm CORNL 127  Mr. Aaron Sullivan

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 1000H: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (Honors), Dr. Marina Folescu

TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM  STRICK 223

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: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics, Dr. Robert Johnson

LST 01 MoWe 11:00AM - 11:50AM  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: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics (Honors), Dr. Kenneth Boyce.

LST 01 TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM CROWDER HALL 101

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, Ms. Beth Barker

LST 01 MWF 09:00 - 09:50 am STRICK 213

LST 02 MWF 11:00 - 11:50 am STRICK 208

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: How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everday Life, Dr. André Ariew

LST 01 TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM STRICKLAND HALL 105

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: How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everday Life (Honors), Dr. Peter Markie

LST 01 TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM STRICKLAND HALL 305

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 2300: Philosophy and Human Nature, Dr. Don Sievert

LST 01 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm STRICK 318

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing

This course is a philosophical exploration and examination of theories of human nature with reference to relevant developments in such sciences as biology, psychology, and economics.

PHIL 2350: The Meaning of Life, Mr. Ritwik Agrawal

LST 01 MWF 11:00 - 11.50 am STRICK 318

LST 02 MWF 09:00 - 09.50 am STRICK 318

Credit Hours: 3

In this course we will critically examine some of the influential views about the meaning of life in both Western and Eastern philosophy. We will also study some religious perspectives on the meaning of life. 

PHIL 2410: Philosophies of War and Peace, Mr. 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, Mr. 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 2420: Ethical Issues in Business, Mr. Tian Zhang

LST 01 TTh 09:30 - 10:45 am STRICK 320

LST 02 02 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm STRICK 320

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: sophomore standing

Major theories of moral obligation and justice and their application to business practices. Corporate responsibility, government regulation, investment and production, advertisement, the environment, preferential hiring, etc. through case studies, legal opinions and philosophical analysis.

 

PHIL 2440: Medical Ethics, Dr. Troy Hall

LST 01  TTh 02:00 - 02:50 pm NAKA 102  Dr. Troy Hall (College of Arts and Science Green Chalk Award Winner)

LST 02 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm AGR 2-10  Mr. Doug Moore

LST 03 TTh 09:30 - 10:45 am MCKEE 111  Mr. Doug Moore

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.

PHIL 2600: Rational Decisions, Dr. Paul Weirich

LST 01 TTh 02:00 - 03:15 pm STRICK 209

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and grade of C or better in MATH 1100 or MATH 1120

Decisions are often hard to make.  Principle of rationality are a useful guide.  We will give special attention to cases in which several people make decisions that together settle the fate of all.  Some principles for these cases use probabilities and utilities of possible outcomes. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

PHIL 2700: Elementary Logic, Dr. Claire Horisk

LST 01 TTh 10:00 - 10:50 am LFVRE 106

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

Do you love solving puzzles like Sudoku? Then this is a great course for you. We will learn how to solve logical puzzles, by learning a formal logical language and formal methods of evaluating arguments. Having logical abilities is great for anyone who needs to reason --- and that is all of us --- and is an especially useful skill to have if you are interested in law, business, or linguistics. Logic also serves as a fundamental basis for computer science and artificial intelligence. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

PHIL 2900: Environmental Ethics,Dr. Troy Hall 

LST 01 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm STRICK 221  Dr. Troy Hall (College of Arts and Science Green Chalk Award Winner)

LST 02 MW 09:30 - 10:45 am STRICK 223,  Dr. Keith Harris

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 3200: Modern Philosophy, Dr. Marina Folescu

LST 01 TTh 11:00 - 12:15 pm STRICK 219

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

Surveys critical and speculative thinking of modern period from Descartes to Kant in relation to scientific, religious and social movements.

PHIL 3600: Twentieth Century Philosophy, Dr. Alex Radulescu

LST 01 MW 12:30 - 01:45 pm STRICK 221

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

We'll be reading some of the works of Saul Kripke, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. His influence on philosophy of language, philosophy of logic, philosophy of mind, and epistemology is undeniable, and very well justified. We'll talk about quite a few questions, such as what it is for a name to name something, what is the essence of a natural kind, what is the relation between pain and neurons firing in the brain, and what it would be for a course of action to constitute following a rule.

PHIL 4150/7150: Formal Semantics, Dr. Alex Radulescu

LST 01 MW 02:00 - 03:15 pm STRICK 314

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and one of the following classes: PHIL 2700, PHIL 4110, or ENGLSH 4640.
Recommended: one other course in Philosophy

This course is an introduction to one aspect of the study of linguistic meaning: semantics. The topic of the class is, very likely, something you've never thought about. The simplest way to state the main issue is this: how is it that sometimes, when words are put together, they make up meaningful strings of words? And how is it that we can understand infinitely many such strings? This is a skill most of us learn when we're very young, and then, naturally, we take it for granted. But such is the nature of inquiry: sometimes the things which seem simplest turn out to be quite complicated.

PHIL 4300/7300: Epistemology, Dr. Keith Harris

LST 01 MW 03:30 - 04:45 pm STRICK 314

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

An examination of contemporary philosophical theories concerning the nature, sources and limits of knowledge and justified belief.

PHIL 4420/7420: Philosophy of Biology, Dr. Marta Heckel

LST 01 TTh 02:00 - 03:15 pm STRICK 310

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

A survey of philosophical problems arising from consideration of evolutionary theory and the biological sciences. Topics may include reductionism, sociobiology, biological laws, and epistemic problems relating to evolutionary theory.

PHIL 4610/7610: Philosophy of Law, Dr. Peter Markie

LST 01 TTh 12:30 - 01:45 pm A&S 302

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

What is law? Are there pre- or trans-legal rights? Is punishment justifiable? How can judicial decisions be justified? What are the relations between law and morality?

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 4950: Senior Seminar in Philosophy (Writing Intensive), Dr. Andrew Melnyk

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: senior Philosophy major

Much excellent philosophical work on free will has been done over the past two decades.  In this course we will study some of it, in an attempt to understand and critically assess it.  By the end of this course, you should be
• familiar with recent philosophical theories concerning the nature of free will and whether we have it;
• able to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of these theories in a sophisticated and informed way; and
• better in general at handling complex conceptual issues.
  The problem of free will, though obviously going back to the ancients, is one to which recent scientific work—e.g., in social psychology and in neuroscience—is relevant.  It is also closely linked to issues in moral philosophy about responsibility, praise, and blame (e.g., whether criminal psychopaths are responsible for their crimes).  We will explore these connections in the second half of the semester. 

A capstone course required of and only open to senior Philosophy majors. Course content will vary, depending on the professor teaching the course.

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

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PHIL 9130: Kant, Dr. Robert Johnson

LST 01 M 03:30 - 05:30 pm STRICK 104

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Graduate philosophy students only

Critique of Pure Reason: historical context, meaning and cohesion of its claims, critical assessment of them.

PHIL 9610: Metaphysics, Dr. Kenneth Boyce

LST 01 T 03:30 - 05:30 pm STRICK 112 

Credit Hour: 3
Prerequisites: Philosophy Ph.D. student

The subtitle for the course this semester is “The Metaphysics of Theism.”  We will be exploring metaphysical issues as they arise in connection with traditional theism (the view that there is a personal, omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good, necessarily existing being, who is the source of all other things).

PHIL 9710: Philosophy of Mind and Psychology, Dr. Philip Robbins

LST 01 W 03:30 - 04:30 pm

Credit Hours: 3

Survey of important recent work in contemporary philosophy of mind and psychology. Graduate seminar.
 

PHIL 9840: The Philosophy of Language, Dr. Claire Horisk

LST 01 Th 03:30 - 05:50 pm STRICK 106

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: Graduate philosophy student

Topics of current interest in the philosophy of language.