Fall 2020 – 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 2020 semester. Please don't hesitate to email the instructor if you would like further information about the course! For the full list of Philosophy courses, visit http://catalog.missouri.edu/courseofferings/phil/

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PHIL 1000: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy

Lecture 01 - MW 11-11:50 a.m. - Dr. Marta Heckel

  • Discussion 01A - F 9-9:50 a.m.
  • Discussion 01B - F 10-10:50 a.m.
  • Discussion 01E - F 10-10:50 a.m.
  • Discussion 01F - F 12-12:50 p.m.

Lecture 02 - MWF 8-8:50 a.m. - Argon Gruber

Lecture 03 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m. - Argon Gruber

Lecture 04 - TTh 8-9:15 a.m.

Lecture 05 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Dan McFarland

Lecture 06 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Tieying Zhou

Lecture 07 - TTh 2-3:15 p.m. - Tieying Zhou

Lecture 08 - MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

Lecture 09 - MWF 12-12:50 p.m.

Lecture 10 - Online (Self-Paced) - Aaron Sullivan

  • Discussion 10A - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

Introduction to traditional philosophical problems and methods of philosophical inquiry. Consideration given to different philosophical theories on the nature of reality, human beings, nature and God; knowledge and how it is acquired; values and social issues.

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PHIL 1000H: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (Honors)

Lecture 02 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Dr. Alexandru Radulescu 

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 unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The texts we will be reading 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). 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.

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PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics

Lecture 01 - MW 10-10:50 a.m. - Dr. Kenneth Boyce

  • Discussion 01A - Th 9-9:50 a.m. - Alok Tiwari
  • Discussion 01B - Th 10-10:50 a.m. - Alok Tiwari
  • Discussion 01C - Th 11-11:50 a.m. - Alok Tiwari
  • Discussion 01D - Th 9-9:50 a.m. - Christian Culak
  • Discussion 01E - Th 10-10:50 a.m. - Christian Culak
  • Discussion 01F - Th 12-12:50 p.m. - Christian Culak

Lecture 02 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m. - Selwyn Griffith

Lecture 04 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Lecture 05 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Doug Moore

Lecture 06 - Online (Self-Paced) - Troy Hall

  • Discussion 06A - Online (Self-Paced)

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.

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PHIL 1100H: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics (Honors)

Lecture 01 - TTh 12:30-1:45 - Dr. Robert Johnson

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Honors eligibility required

Moral philosophers seek reasoned answers to questions about how we should live, what we should value, and the nature of morality. For example, is morality objective or relative to culture? Are we morally required to be vegetarians? What is social justice? Is abortion ever morally permissible? As an introduction to philosophical ethics, we shall charitably interpret and evaluate reasoned answers to these (and other) questions. We shall then work on developing our own reasoned answers through essay writing.

PHIL 1150: Introductory Bioethics

Lecture 01 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Lecture 02 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m.

Lecture 03 - TTh 8-9:15 a.m. 

Lecture 04 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 

Lecture 05 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Dr. Chris Gadsden

Lecture 06 - Online (Self-Paced)

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.

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PHIL 1150: Introductory Bioethics

Lecture 01 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m. 

Lecture 02 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m.

Lecture 03 - TTh 8-9:15 a.m. - Zeinab Rabii

Lecture 04 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.  - Zeinab Rabii

Lecture 05 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Dr. Chris Gadsden

Lecture 06 - Online (Self-Paced) - Aaron Sullivan

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.

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PHIL 1200: How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everyday Life

Lecture 01 - TTh 11-11:50 a.m. - Dr. Philip Robbins

  • Discussion 01D - Th 9-9:50 p.m. 
  • Discussion 01E - Th 11-11:50 a.m. 
  • Discussion 01F - Th 12-12:50 p.m. 

Lecture 02 - MWF 12-12:50 p.m. - Tianqin Ren

Lecture 03 - MWF 10-10:50 a.m. - Tianqin Ren

Lecture 04 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Jean Janasz

Lecture 05 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Jean Janasz

Lecture 06 - Online (Self-Paced) - Dr. Troy Hall

  • Discussion 06A - Online (Self-Paced) - Dr. Troy Hall

Credit Hours: 3

Philip Robbins - This course provides the tools you need to reason better when deciding what to believe and what to do. It draws from several fields: cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, logic, probability, and decision theory. We will consider empirical evidence about ‘heuristics and biases’ — spontaneous judgments that can be predictably irrational. And we will study what good deductive, causal, and probabilistic reasoning looks like. But the goal of the course is entirely practical: to develop effective reasoning skills with clear applications in your personal and professional lives. The course is open to students from all areas of the University interested in improving their reasoning ability and their ability to construct and recognize compelling arguments. These skills may be helpful in a wide variety of university subjects and extra-academic pursuits, indeed, in everyday life more generally.

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PHIL 1200H: How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everyday Life (Honors)

Lecture 01 - TTh 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m. - Dr. Andrew Melnyk

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 ourselves ought to think. By the end of this course, you should be able to read a passage containing an argument and then:

  1.  explain precisely how the reasoning in the passage is supposed to work; and 
  2.  assess how strong a reason to believe the conclusion is provided by the premises. 

You should also be able to: 

      3. construct successful arguments of your own. 

The course aims to improve the ways in which 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.

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PHIL 2010: The Philosophy of Film

Lecture 01 - MW 2-3:15 p.m. - Dr. Marina Folescu

Credit Hours: 3

Come watch the movies! And stick around to talk about them. We will be concerned with questions regarding what makes a movie a movie: is it the depiction of movement, is it its narrative line, or something else? What about character development: how does this contribute to the rise and fall of certain emotions in audiences? And, finally, what makes a movie visually appealing: what, in the framing, the use of color, and costumes renders the message explicit?

This course is aptly named “philosophy of film”, and not “philosophy in film”, since we will not pick a handful of philosophical films and then discuss whatever philosophical issues happen to be relevant. Instead, we will be focusing on several philosophical issues that films raise, regarding their nature as artifacts and our specific ways of interacting with them. In this course we will present and discuss a framework for examining these issues. In particular, by adopting the methodology of analytic philosophy, we will examine whether film is an art form, discuss what is cinema, analyze the moving image (the shot, cinematic sequencing and narration, as well as the production of affect and emotions), discuss the nature of documentaries, and examine how to evaluate films. 

Each week, we will be screening a movie, as part of the class. Bring your own popcorn and enjoy the presentation.

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PHIL 2100: Philosophy: East and West

Lecture 01 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m. - Dr. Jeffrey Freelin

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

Compares the interpretation and role of philosophical concepts such as experience, reason, permanence, change, immortality, soul, God, etc., in Indian, Chinese and European traditions.

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PHIL 2150: Philosophy of Race

Lecture 01 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Mr. Drew Woodson

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.

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PHIL 2300: Philosophy and Human Nature

Lecture 01 - TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m. - Dr. Don Sievert

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

Philosophical exploration and examination of theories of human nature with reference to relevant developments in such sciences as biology, psychology, and economics.

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PHIL 2410: Philosophies of War and Peace

Lecture 01 - Online - Sukhvinder Shahi

  • Discussion 01A - Online

Lecture 02 - Online - Dr. Alex Howe

  • Discussion 02A - Online 

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.

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PHIL 2410W: Philosophies of War and Peace - Writing Intensive

Lecture 01 - Online - Sukhvinder Shahi

  • Discussion 01A - Online - Sukhvinder Shahi

Lecture 02 - Online - Dr. Alex Howe

  • Discussion 02A - Online - Dr. Alex Howe

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.

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PHIL 2420: Ethical Issues in Business

Lecture 01 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Jon Marc Asper

Lecture 02 - TTh 11 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. - Jon Marc Asper

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.

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PHIL 2440: Medical Ethics

Lecture 01 - MW 9-9:50 a.m. - Dr. Troy Hall

  • Discussion 01A - F 9-9:50 a.m.
  • Discussion 01B - F 10-10:50 a.m. 
  • Discussion 01C - F 12-12:50 p.m.
  • Discussion 01D - F 9-9:50 a.m. 
  • Discussion 01E - F 11-11:50 a.m. 
  • Discussion 01F - F 12-12:50 p.m. 
  • Discussion 01G - F 9-9:50 a.m.
  • Discussion 01H - F 10-10:50 a.m.
  • Discussion 01J - F 12-12:50 p.m.

Lecture 02 - MWF 1-1:50 p.m. - Dr. Jeff Freelin

Lecture 03 - Lecture 03 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m.

Credit Hours: 3

Dr. Troy Hall - This extremely popular course considers issues of patient autonomy, consent, healthcare rights, abortion, euthanasia, and animal and human research from an agenda-free 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 College of Arts and Science Green Chalk award-winning teacher Dr. Troy Hall.

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PHIL 2700: Elementary Logic

Lecture 01 - MW 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Dr. Marina Folescu

Credit Hours: 3

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

Dr. Marina Folescu - 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, medicine, business, or linguistics. Logic also serves as a fundamental basis for computer science and artificial intelligence. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

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PHIL 2850: Minds and Morals: An introduction to moral Psychology

Lecture 01 - TTh 2-3:15 p.m. - Dr. Philip Robbins

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

Recommended: PSYCH 1000

Cognitive science is a many-splendored thing. It draws on a variety of disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics, anthropology, and philosophy. The purpose of this course is to introduce the central questions of cognitive science, the conceptual and empirical tools used to investigate those questions, and some of the answers that have emerged so far. After an initial overview of the foundations of the cognitive-scientific enterprise as a whole, we will see what particular sectors of it have to say about mental capacities such as language, categorization, reasoning, social cognition, and consciousness.

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PHIL 2900: Environmental Ethics

Lecture 01 - MW 1-1:50 p.m. - Dr. Troy Hall

  • Discussion 01A - F 10-10:50 a.m. 
  • Discussion 01B - F 11-11:50 a.m. 
  • Discussion 01C - F 1-1:50 p.m. 

Credit Hours: 3

Recommended: PHIL 1100

This popular course counts as a Diversity Intensive Course. 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 College of Arts and Science Green Chalk award-winning teacher Dr. Troy Hall.

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PHIL 3000: Ancient Western Philosophy

Lecture 02 - MW 2-3:15 p.m. - Dr. Marta Heckel

Credit Hours: 3

Recommended: One course in Philosophy

Philosophical thought on nature, knowledge, the gods, human life and society, from Thales to Augustine. Emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. The relevance of the ancients to contemporary life.

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PHIL 4100: Philosophy of Language

Lecture 01 - TTh 8-9:15 a.m. - Dr. Alexandru Radulescu

Credit Hours: 3

Language can be used to communicate, to inform, to lie, to order, and to praise. Language can represent the world as it is now, change it, represent it as it could never be, and represent it as it once was. This class is about the ways that language can do these things, and that we can do these things by using language. We'll be reading texts written by philosophers, logicians, and linguists (who are sometimes the same person) that deal with some of these it-turns-out-very-puzzling features of language.

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PHIL 4110/7110: Advanced Logic

Lecture 01 - TTh 2-3:15 p.m. - Dr. Paul Weirich

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and PHIL 2700

Recommended: One other course in Philosophy

The formal approach to logic reveals the structure of arguments.  Because a typical argument’s validity depends on the argument’s structure rather than its content, the formal approach is very fruitful.  However, it has limits. A good formalization of a branch of logic has certain features: decidability, soundness, and completeness. This course shows that the richer the branch of logic, the harder it is to construct a formalization with all three virtues.  The course culminates with a study of Kurt Gödel’s famous incompleteness theorem.”

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PHIL 4210/7210: Philosophy of the Mind

Lecture 01 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Dr. Andrew Melnyk

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Recommended: Two Philosophy courses

Our mental states—our beliefs, thoughts, wants, emotions, and sensations—seem to be produced in us by our interactions with the world, and in turn to explain why we act as we do. But we also know that these same interactions with the world put our brains into electro-chemical states that go on to cause our 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 brain state? How could each of us be aware of our own (e.g.) pains in a way that no one else can be aware of them if they’re 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?

This course aims to acquaint students with the best of contemporary thinking on these central questions in philosophy of mind.  Together we shall read, analyze, and evaluate a substantial item of philosophical literature at the rate of roughly one a week.

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PHIL 4220/7220: Philosophy of Religion

Lecture 01 - MWF 1-1:50 p.m. - Dr. Kenneth Boyce

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Recommended: One course in Philosophy

Is it coherent to believe in an ultimate reality that transcends our ability to describe it?  Does Buddhist metaphysics call into question the correctness of classical logic?  Are the traditional divine attributes (omnipotence, omniscience, and perfect goodness) coherent?  Are they compatible with each other?  Does the problem of evil provide good reason to deny the existence of God?  Could we have free will even if God has exhaustive knowledge of the future?  What is it most reasonable to believe about the nature of the afterlife?  What is the relationship between faith and reason?  Are religion and science inherently at odds?  These are just a few of the questions we will explore throughout this course.

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Phil 4400/7400: Philosophy of Science

Lecture 01 - MWF 10-10:50 a.m. - Dr. André Ariew

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

Recommended: two courses in Philosophy

Why believe the scientific world-view? What, if anything, is the scientific method? Are today's theories really superior to past theories? Examines contemporary philosophical answers to such questions.

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PHIL 4800: Asian Philosophy

Lecture 02 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

Recommended: One course in Philosophy

This course constitutes a historical-critical analysis of the selected philosophies of India and China. The primary emphasis will be placed upon the historical development of Asian philosophies within the classical period. It will explore a broad range of philosophical issues discussed in the Vedas and Upanishads, Advaita Vedanta, the Bhagavad Gita, Theravada Buddhism, the Confucian Analects, and the Tao Te Ching. 

My approach will be both historical and critical: (1) the attempt will be made to understand each philosophical school in its integrity, to enter into the fundamental doctrines of each school, with an open mind in order to grasp the system as a philosophical whole; (2) each system will be subject to rigorous philosophical criticism, first, of an internal sort, in order to reveal fundamental inconsistencies between the different assumptions of the system, and secondly, of an external sort, which discloses the limitations of a given system when judged by reference to the phases of human experience and knowledge to which it fails to do justice.

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PHIL 4850: Special Readings in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Individual study with a mentor.

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PHIL 4998: Honors I in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: junior standing

Individual study with a mentor. Work toward a thesis for students aiming at Departmental Honors.

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PHIL 4999: Honors II in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: junior standing

Individual study with a mentor. Work toward a thesis for students aiming at Departmental Honors.

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PHIL 8090/9090: Research in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 3

Individual study with a mentor. Requires departmental consent.

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PHIL 8100: Protoseminar in Philosophy

Lecture 01 - T 3:30-5:50 p.m. - Dr. Robert Johnson

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: restricted to first year graduate students

Introduction to graduate level work in philosophy. Required of all students entering the program, in the first year. An intensive workshop focused on skills rather than any particular philosophical content.

 

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PHIL 8210: Teaching of Philosophy I

Lecture 01 - M 3:30-5:50 p.m. - Dr. Peter Vallentyne

Credit Hour: 1

Prerequisites: graduate philosophy students

Seminar meetings on course design, teaching methods, the evaluation of teaching, grading, instructor obligations, and teaching aids. Some individualized instruction, including help preparing for and assessing the effectiveness of practice teaching.

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PHIL 9001: Topics in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 3

Individual study with a mentor. Requires departmental consent.

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PHIL 9520: Ethical Theory

Lecture 01 - M 1-3:20 p.m. - Dr. Peter Vallentyne

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: graduate Philosophy student

We shall read and discuss two recent books, by two leading moral philosophers on the moral status of non-human animals: (1) Shelly Kagan, How to Count Animals, More or Less, OUP 2019, and (2) Christine Korsgaard, Fellow Creatures, OUP 2018.

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PHIL 9850: Philosophy of Biology

Lecture 01 - W 1-3:20 p.m. - Dr. André Ariew

Credit Hours: 3

Philosophical problems relating to the life sciences, with attention given especially to explanation and reductionism in biology.

Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Andrew Melnyk
MelnykA@missouri.edu
416 Strickland Hall
(573) 884-0906

Director of Graduate Studies

Philip Robbins
RobbinsP@missouri.edu
418 Strickland Hall
(573) 882-2764

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