Fall 2021 – 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 2021 semester. Please don't hesitate to email the instructor if you would like further information! To see the complete list of courses ever offered by the Department, please visit http://catalog.missouri.edu/courseofferings/phil/

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PHIL 1000: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – MW – 10-10:50am – Dr. Jeffrey Freelin
    • Discussion 01A (face-to-face) – F – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01B (face-to-face) – F – 12-12:50pm – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01C (face-to-face) – F – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01D (face-to-face) – F – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01E (face-to-face) – F – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01F (face-to-face) – F – 12-12:50pm – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 02 (face-to-face) – MWF – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 03 (face-to-face) – MWF – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 04 (face-to-face) – TTh – 9:30-10:45am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 05 (face-to-face) – TTh – 11-12:15pm – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 10 (online self-paced) – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 10A (online self-paced) – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 11 (online self-paced) – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 11A (online self-paced) – Staff

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

Philosophy is among the oldest fields of academic study. You may be 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 probably 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.

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PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – MW – 12-12:50pm – Dr. Robert Johnson
    • Discussion 01A (face-to-face) – Th – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01B (face-to-face) – Th – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01C (face-to-face) – Th – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01D (face-to-face) – Th – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01E (face-to-face) – Th – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01F (face-to-face) – Th – 12-12:50pm – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 02 (face-to-face) – MWF – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 03 (face-to-face) – MWF – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 04 (face-to-face) – TTh – 9:30-10:45am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 05 (face-to-face) – TTh – 11-12:15pm – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 06 (online self-paced) – Dr. Troy Hall
    • Discussion 06A (online self-paced) – Dr. Troy Hall

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

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.

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PHIL 1100H: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics - Honors
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 2-3:15pm – Dr. Marta Heckel

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Honors eligibility required

We tend to think that it’s wrong to lie, steal, and murder, but right to tell the truth, be generous, and kind. But why do we think these things? What reasons do we have? What do we even mean by “right” and “wrong”? In this course, we will engage in philosophical discussions about right and wrong, using texts from throughout history, from ancient Greece to contemporary America. Students will learn to articulate positions of different philosophers; to understand arguments and texts; evaluate, defend, and criticize arguments of their own and of others; and think critically about philosophical issues.

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PHIL 1150: Introductory Bioethics
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – MWF – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 02 (face-to-face) – MWF – 11-11:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 03 (face-to-face) – TTh – 9:30-10:45am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 04 (face-to-face) – TTh – 11-12:15pm – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 06 (online self-paced) – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 07 (online self-paced) – UM Instructor

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

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 (face-to-face) – MW – 12-12:50pm – Dr. Andre Ariew
    • Discussion 01A (face-to-face) – F – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01B (face-to-face) – F – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01C (face-to-face) – F – 12-12:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01D (face-to-face) – F – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01E (face-to-face) – F – 11-11:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01F (face-to-face) – F – 12-12:50pm – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 02 (face-to-face) – MWF – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 03 (face-to-face) – MWF – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 06 (online self-paced) – Dr. Troy Hall
    • Discussion 06A (online self-paced) – Dr. Troy Hall

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

This is an introductory course in critical thinking. In every academic discipline and in every walk of life reasons are given for believing claims to be true. But not all reasons are alike: some are good, some are not so good, some are downright bad. How do we tell the difference between good and bad reasons? The answer is to learn some rules and methods of good reasoning. This is the aim of the course. By mastering rules and methods of good reasoning, students will acquire the ability to sharpen their judgment and decision-making skills for use both in and out of the classroom.

The course is designed to be a foundational course of your college education. That's a bold statement, but it’s true. Everything you learn in college will be implicitly or explicitly based on reasons. Hence, a course that teaches you the rules of reasoning counts as a foundational course. Every citizen should take a course like this. Again, that's a bold statement. But if you cannot reason properly, then your life choices will be poor. In this course, you will acquire the tools of reasoning and learn how to use them for thinking more effectively about the world.

Course Goals: At the end of the semester you should be able to...

1. Analyze the logical structure of an argument.

2. Determine whether an argument is deductively valid (hence truth preserving) or not.

3. Identify the various ways to test hypotheses.

4. Test the probability that a hypothesis is true given some evidence in its favor.

5. Determine the best course of action given information about the likely outcomes associated with each option.

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PHIL 1200H: How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everyday Life - Honors
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 12:30-1:45pm – Dr. Andrew Melnyk

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

The topic of this course is arguments, i.e., bits of reasoning. An argument has a job or function: to provide someone with some reason to think that something is the case. A good argument is one that does its job. Arguments are useful not only in getting other people to think certain things, but also in discovering what we ought to think in the first place. 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. The examples of arguments that we study will be drawn from current newspapers, journals, and magazines.

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PHIL 2010: The Philosophy of Film
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – MW – 2-3:15pm & Th – 3-6:00pm – Dr. Robert Johnson

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

This is an introduction to the philosophy of film. Topics that may be discussed include:

• What is film? How is it different from photography? Theatre?

• What is documentary film? How if at all is it different from fiction films?

• Do films have to have narrators?

• Do films have to have authors?

• How do we understand our reactions to fiction films?

• Can a film that glorifies something monstrous (e.g., Nazis) be a great work of art?

· Can a film with explicit sex be a great work of art?

• Can films make philosophical arguments?

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PHIL 2410: Philosophies of War and Peace
  • Lecture 01 (online) – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01A (online) – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 02 (online) – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 02A (online) – UM Instructor

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

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.

Note: this course counts toward the Philosophy Department’s Certificate in Ethical Theory and Practice. For more information, go here: https://philosophy.missouri.edu/undergrad/certificate-ethical-theory-and-practice.

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PHIL 2410W: Philosophies of War and Peace – Writing Intensive
  • Lecture 01 (online) – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01A (online) – UM Instructor
  • Lecture 02 (online) – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 02A (online) – UM Instructor

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. This course is writing intensive.

Note: this course counts toward the Philosophy Department’s Certificate in Ethical Theory and Practice. For more information, go here: https://philosophy.missouri.edu/undergrad/certificate-ethical-theory-and-practice.

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PHIL 2440: Medical Ethics
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – MW – 11-11:50am – Dr. Troy Hall
    • Discussion 01A (face-to-face) – F – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01B (face-to-face) – F – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01C (face-to-face) – F – 11-11:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01D (face-to-face) – F – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01E (face-to-face) – F – 11-11:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01F (face-to-face) – F – 12-12:50pm – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01G (face-to-face) – F – 9-9:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01H (face-to-face) – F – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01J (face-to-face) – F – 12-12:50pm – UM Instructor

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

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 and Purple Chalk teaching awards-winner Dr. Troy Hall. Note: this course counts toward the Philosophy Department’s Certificate in Ethical Theory and Practice. For more information, go here: https://philosophy.missouri.edu/undergrad/certificate-ethical-theory-and-practice.

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PHIL 2600: Rational Decisions
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 12:30-1:45pm – Dr. Paul Weirich

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and grade of C or better in MATH 1050, MATH 1100, MATH 1160, MATH 1400, or MATH 1500

Course Description:

This is a course on making decisions in a rational way, whether in your job or in your home life. The main topic is strategic reasoning—making rational decisions in cases where the outcome of your choice depends on the choices of other people. Thinking carefully about probabilities often plays a crucial role in such reasoning.

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PHIL 2900: Environmental Ethics
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 11-11:50am – Dr. Troy Hall
    • Discussion 01A (face-to-face) – F – 10-10:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01B (face-to-face) – F – 11-11:50am – UM Instructor
    • Discussion 01C (face-to-face) – F – 1-1:50pm – UM Instructor

Credit Hours: 3

Recommended Prior Course: PHIL 1100

Course Description:

This popular course is 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 and Purple Chalk teaching awards-winner Dr. Troy Hall. Note: this course counts toward the Philosophy Department’s Certificate in Ethical Theory and Practice. For more information, go here: https://philosophy.missouri.edu/undergrad/certificate-ethical-theory-and-practice.

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PHIL 3000: Ancient Western Philosophy
  • Lecture 02 (face-to-face) – TTh – 11-12:15pm – Dr. Marta Heckel

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to ancient western philosophy, focusing on some of the most influential philosophical ideas and texts of Ancient Greece and Rome. The aim of the course is for students to gain an understanding of key views and arguments of Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic Philosophers, and to engage critically with them. Students will be asked to explain arguments and texts; evaluate, defend, and criticize arguments of their own and of others; and think critically about philosophical issues.

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PHIL 4110/7110: Advanced Logic
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 3-4:45pm – Dr. Paul Weirich

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and PHIL 2700

Course Description:

Logic is the study of arguments. We translate arguments into a symbolic language and formulate rules for the symbolic arguments. This procedure reveals logical structure. Also, the rules for arguments in the symbolic language are simpler and more precise than the rules for arguments in natural languages. In fact, we demonstrate that they meet certain formal standards of adequacy. The course cultivates skill in recognizing the logical structure of arguments, skill in constructing proofs, and an understanding of the criteria for good systems of proof.

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PHIL 4300/7300: Epistemology
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 9:30-10:450am – Dr. Kenneth Boyce

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing
Recommended: Previous work in PHIL 1000, PHIL 3000, PHIL 3200

Course Description:

What do we know and how do we know it?  Can we really know, for example, that we live in what we perceive as the real world and not some sort of elaborate simulation?  If so, how?  What things are rational for us to believe?  How are our commonsense and scientific beliefs justified?  What about our beliefs regarding morality, politics, and religion?  Does the fact that there is so much disagreement about these matters give us a reason to give up those beliefs?  Epistemology is the study of knowledge and rational belief, and these are just a few of the questions we will explore in this class.

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PHIL 4420/7420: Philosophy of Biology
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – MWF – 1-1:50pm – Dr. Andrew Ariew

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing
Recommended: two courses in Philosophy

Course Description:

Darwin’s evolutionary biology is not only the most important contribution to modern biological sciences; its great influence spans many disciplines including psychology, anthropology, medicine, and economics. No other biological work has been responsible for a more drastic shift in our humanistic world-views than Darwin’s.  Yet only 28% of Americans recently polled by Gallup believe in evolution by natural selection. Most of these people (along with a significant number of committed Darwinians) fail to understand it. This is a lost opportunity to understand how nature works.  The objective of this course is to understand what Darwin’s theory is, why it has shifted world-views, and what it is about the theory that makes people misunderstand it or reject it as false.  

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PHIL 4700/7700: Art, Beauty, and the Brain: An Introduction to Aesthetics
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 12-12:50pm – Dr. Philip Robbins

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing
Recommended: one course in Philosophy

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to aesthetics via the philosophy and psychology of art. We’ll begin by considering art from an evolutionary point of view, as a prelude to pondering the age-old question: What is art, anyway? From there we’ll take up a range of questions in the vicinity, including questions concerning the nature of aesthetic appreciation and interpretation, the paradox of emotional responses to fiction, how pictures represent, the relation between aesthetic and moral value, and — last but not least! — the nature of beauty, both in art and in nature. We’ll also explore some of the findings of neuro-aesthetics, a new brain science that promises to illuminate long-standing philosophical puzzles surrounding our experience of art and beauty.

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PHIL 4800/7800: Asian Philosophy
  • Lecture 01 (online self-paced) – Dr. Bina Gupta

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing
Recommended: one course in Philosophy

Course Description:

This course constitutes a historical-critical analysis of 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: 1-3

Prerequisites: junior standing

Regular individual meetings with an instructor as part of studying a sequence of readings, comparable in difficulty and number to readings assigned in a regularly-offered 4000-level course. Only by special arrangement with an instructor.

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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 4850: Special Readings in Philosophy
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – TTh – 9:30-10:45am – Dr. Kenneth Boyce

Credit Hours: 3

Course Description:

Regular individual meetings with an instructor as part of studying a sequence of readings, comparable in difficulty and number to readings assigned in a regularly-offered 4000-level course. Only by special arrangement with an instructor.

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PHIL 7850: Special Readings in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 1-99

Individual study with a mentor. Requires departmental consent

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PHIL 8090/9090: Research in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 1-99

Research not leading to thesis. Graded S/U only.

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PHIL 8100: Protoseminar in Philosophy
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – M – 1-3:20pm – Dr. Andrew Melnyk

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: graduate Philosophy student

Course Description:

The goal of this course is to train graduate students entering the department in the most important skills necessary for joining the philosophy profession and then functioning within it.  We will focus in particular on the writing of philosophy papers suitable for presentation at professional conferences or publication in refereed journals.  The goal of the course will be achieved through (i) weekly written assignments on which students will receive abundant feedback from their instructor and from their peers (in class) and (ii) a substantial term paper, to be revised twice in light of the instructor’s written comments.

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PHIL 9001: Topics in Philosophy

Credit Hours: 1-99

Prerequisites: instructor's consent

Organized study of selected topics. Need departmental consent for repetition.

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PHIL 9320: Social and Political Philosophy
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – T – 1-3:20pm – Dr. Peter Vallentyne

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: graduate Philosophy student

Course Description:

Topics of current interest in social and political philosophy. generally one of the following: social contract theory, utilitarianism, voting procedures, or convention.

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PHIL 9610: Metaphysics
  • Lecture 01 (face-to-face) – Th – 1-3:20pm – Dr. Kenneth Boyce

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: graduate Philosophy student

Course Description:

Theories of the categories and structures of reality, e.g., appearance and reality, causality, space and time, God, Nature, the human being.

Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies

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

Director of Graduate Studies

Kenneth Boyce
BoyceKA@missouri.edu
430 Strickland Hall
(573) 882-2871