McMicken College of Arts & SciencesMcMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

Course Catalog and Descriptions for 2012-2013

University Schedule of Classes

Please find descriptions for all courses the philosophy department is offering for undergraduate students at all levels. Interested students should feel free to contact the professor of a course to learn more about it. Students should use this guide in conjunction with UC Schedule of Classes.

To discuss a philosophy minor or major, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Peter Langland-Hassan, at 513-556-6344 or langland-hassan@uc.edu. Note to philosophy majors: If a PHIL class you wish to enroll in is closed, please visit the instructor and request to be added. All philosophy majors will be allowed to add closed philosophy courses.

Fall 2013 Semester Classes

PHIL1000.005: Introduction to Philosophy
Call Number: 905945
M/W/F, 11:15 am - 12:10 pm
Prof. Peter Langland-Hassan

PHIL1002.001: Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind
Call Number 906004
T/R, 12:30 pm - 1:50 pm
Prof: Robert Richardson

PHIL1010.002: Critical Thinking
Call Number 906028
T/R, 9:30 am - 10:50 am
Prof. Tim Allen

PHIL1010.003: Critical Thinking
Call Number 906029
T/R, 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
Prof. Tim Allen

PHIL1011: Introduction to Logic
Call Number 906033
M/W/F, 10:10 am - 11:05 am
Prof. Stephen Wilson

PHIL1025.004: Contemporary Moral Issues
Call Number 906054
T/R, 2:00 pm - 3:20 pm
Prof. Koffi Maglo

PHIL1030.001: Philosophy and Atheism
Call Number 906056
M/W/F, 12:20 pm - 1:15 pm
Prof. Lawrence Jost
This course will cover reasons for adopting a skeptical or negative attitude toward the claims that theists make about the existence of God. Atheism and agnosticism will be covered in considerable detail and we will read as well some of the classic statements of theistic positions on the nature and existence of the deity, alleged “proofs” of its existence, etc.. But, in stark contrast with standard courses in the philosophy of religion, this course “puts the shoe on the other foot” and assumes that assent to theism is problematic and dissent intellectually preferable. There are four required texts for the course. They are:

Malcolm Murray, The Atheist’s Primer (Broadview Press, 2010) = 9781551119625. 

Timothy A. Robinson, ed., God, 2nd ed (Hackett pb, 2002) = ISBN 9780872206410

Christopher Hitchens, ed. The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever  (Da Capo Press pb., 2007) = ISBN 9780306816086

Louise M. Antony, ed., Philosophers Wtihout Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secualar Life (Oxford UP pb, 2010) = ISBN 9780199743414

The exact above editions are required – not Kindle editions or others off the web!  You may well be able to save money by getting them ahead of time if you are sure you will be taking the course. These texts will be in constant use since the course will be centered on your reading, and our discussing  together, the many authors and opinions involved to get a comprehensive perspective. There will be pop quizzes to ensure that the reading is done and that you are prepared for each class. We will also have three exams over the course.

PHIL1032.001: How Science Works
Call Number 906057
M/W/F, 12:20 pm - 1:15 pm
Prof. Zvi Biener
Like a car, an airplane, or any other tool, science works in a particular way, for a particular purpose. So we can ask: what makes it go? What are its parts, and how do they fit together? What are they for?

We will explore these questions by looking at real-life scientific and technological innovations that shed light on the methods, procedures, and concepts of science. Specific topics include: the role of statistics, types of experimental procedures, the relation between scientific "models" and reality, and the values and starting assumptions that influence scientific theories. This course will prepare students for more focused work in particular sciences and help non-science majors become more sophisticated consumers of scientific information.

PHIL1088.001: Morality in Medicine: Freshman Seminar
Call Number 910469
T/R, 12:30 pm - 1:50 pm
Prof. Vanessa Carbonell

PHIL2010.001: Symbolic Logic
Call Number 906061
T/R, 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
Prof. Chris Gauker

PHIL2042.001: Science, Magic and the Occult
Call Number 906067
T/R, 9:30 am - 10:50 am
Prof. John McEvoy
This course is about the origins of modern science in the seventeenth-century and how it involved the displacement of age-old patterns of thought and practice associated with “magic.” It explores the sources of Western magic in Ancient Egypt and Rome, as well as the development of witchcraft up to the time of the great witch-hunt that resulted in the execution of thousands of women in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe. It will show how magic took a philosophical form in the works of the great Renaissance magicians: Ficino, Pico and Bruno and will discuss the influence of numerological thinking on the work of Copernicus and Kepler. It will then examine the rise of the mechanical philosophy in the work of Descartes, Gassendi, Boyle and Newton; it will also show how Newton’s mechanical science was shaped by magical and alchemical ideas: he was as much the last of the Ancients as well the first of the Moderns. The struggle between magic and science involved a conflict between vitalism (nature is fundamentally alive) and mechanism (the death of nature) which threw up a modern “masculine” view of science associated with the oppression of women and the exploitation of nature consequent upon the socioeconomic transition from feudalism to capitalism.

PHIL3020.001: Normative Ethics
Call Number 906090
T/R, 2:00 pm - 3:20 pm
Prof. Vanessa Carbonell

PHIL3028.001: Bioethics
Call Number 906094
T/R, 9:30 am - 10:50 am
Prof. Koffi Maglo

PHIL3030.001: Philosophy of Mind
Call Number 906160
T/R, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Prof. Tom Polger
This course will bring students up to speed with the central debates in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy of mind, with particular attention to ontological issues--that is, questions about the nature and existence of minds and minded creatures. Topics include: dualism, physicalism, functionalism, behaviorism, computationalism, intentionality, and consciousness.  A general familiarity with philosophical texts and skills is assumed, as is an introductory knowledge of key terms and ideas in philosophy of mind at the 1000 or 2000 level.  Earning an A or B in this course is evidence of preparedness for advanced study in philosophy of mind, e.g., 500-level courses.

PHIL3046.001: Metaphysical Foundations of Technology
Call Number 906095
T/R, 2:00 pm - 3:20 pm
Prof. John McEvoy
This course aims to stimulate critical thinking and discussion about what it means to live in a high-tech society. It links philosophical problems relating to the nature and function of technology in general to practical and ethical issues raised by the incorporation into modern society of specific technologies such as automobiles, computers, robots, and biotechnologies. It will explore such general questions as: Is technology merely applied science or a unique from of knowledge? Is technology value-free or is it laden with social, ethical and epistemological values? Does improved technology imply progress? How does technology influence the fabric of our daily lives? More specific issues will include the role of the internet in the surveillance society; the ethics of high-tech medicine in prenatal and terminal care; whether people or guns kill people; the ownership of genes and the genetic modification of food; is technology the cause or the cure (or both) of ecological degradation; etc, etc.

PHIL3060.001: Ancient Philosophy
Call Number 906091
M/W/F, 10:10 am - 11:05 am
Prof. Larry Jost
Western philosophy started back in Greek colonies on the coast of today’s Turkey in the early 6th C. BCE (before the current era). Since then we in the West have always refreshed and renewed our intellectual lives by returning to a study of these ancient sources. The Renaissance, for example, is so-called because it was a “re-birth” of learning due to the then-recent discovery and publication of long forgotten works from Greek and Roman sources. This course will start at the beginning with a fellow named Thales who predicted an eclipse in 585 BCE and thus initiated the recently revived study of philosophy and science as subjects best linked together. We will follow the tradition from the earliest thinkers down through at least a few Roman Stoics, Epicureans and Skeptics, with major attention to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, of course. This course would provide a good foundation for any future work a student wished to do in metaphysics, theory of knowledge (epistemology), philosophical psychology, ethics or history of philosophy of any later period. While the core of philosophy is still M & E, the ethical and political theories of the ancients are still very provocative and we will have time in a semester to get into these materials as well as metaphysics and epistemology.

The readings are shorter in the first half of the course and get longer as we go along and you get more used to the material. To try to make sure you are prepared for each class there will be a number of pop quizzes to be done in the first five minutes of the period and they will count for about 20% of your final grade, less any excessive absences picked up by roll calls or sign-up sheets on quiz-less days. The other portions of your grade will be from 3 take-home exams, requiring your mastery of both primary and secondary sources as well as lecture/discussion material.  As prior preparation for this course, you should have had at least 2 intro courses in theory of knowledge and/or metaphysics. This course is aimed at philosophy majors in the first instance, and serious students in all cases. If you don’t like to read difficult material and have no background at all in philosophy, you are likely to be disappointed and end up either dropping or doing poorly in the class.

The exact texts I will order for the course are listed below. They must be bought!

1.      Introductory Readings in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy, edd. Reeve & Miller (Hackett pb, 2006 = ISBN 978-0-87220-830-8)

2.      The Blackwell Guide to Ancient Philosophy, ed. Christopher Shields (2003 pb) = ISBN 9 780631 22156

3.      Presocratic Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, by Catherine Osborne  (Oxford University Press pb, 2004) = ISBN 9780192840943

PHIL3068.001: Existentialism
Call Number 906159
M/W/F, 11:15 am - 12:10 pm
Prof. Tim Allen

PHIL5099: Philosophy Capstone
Call Number 906141
M, 3:35 pm - 5:50 pm
Prof. Chris Gauker

 

Graduate Fall Semester Classes

The following is a catalog of graduate course offerings in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati for Fall Semester 2013. PhD students are advised to select courses in a way that optimizes time to completion of their track's distribution requirements (see requirements on the philosophy department website). First year PhD students must take the proseminar and Symbolic Logic I during the autumn and Readings in Logic during the winter. All students are advised to consult their advisors or the Director of Graduate Studies, Tom Polger to put their schedules together. (Note: Independent study courses, directed readings, and dissertation research courses are not included in this catalog.)

Visit the Department of Philosophy website to learn more about what we do.

PHIL6041.001: Readings in Logic
Call Number 906062
T/R, 9:30 am - 10:50 am
Prof. Chris Gauker
Formal logic is an indispensable tool in philosophy and also a source of philosophical questions in its own right.  This course will be an rigorous first course in formal logic.  Students will learn to interpret the sentences of first-order logic and to construct natural deduction proofs.  Students will learn the difference between model-theoretic validity and provability.  In the last part of the course we will prove that every provable argument is valid (soundness) and that every valid argument is provable (completeness).  

PHIL7009.001: Hobbes
Call Number 906142
M, 3:35 pm - 5:50 pm
Prof. Zvi Biener
Thomas Hobbes, like contemporary philosophers, saw himself as trying rework philosophy in light of then-current evidence from the biological and physical sciences. And so, while he is now best known for his political philosophy, during his life he was equally engaged with, and equally known for, developments in physiology, mathematics, and physics.

In fact, he saw political philosophy and natural philosophy as two facets of a single project of reforming human knowledge and human activity in light of new evidence. In this class we will focus on Hobbes's writing in natural philosophy -- the physiology of perception, optics, and their underlying accounts of matter and motion -- and their connection to the overall project of reforming knowledge. Readings will be both from primary and secondary sources, but focused on the so-called "Short Tract" and the "Elements." Student will be expected to read primary texts closely and to engage with historical positions in the same manner in which they engage with contemporary positions.

PHIL7070.001: Philosophical Methodolgy
Call Number 906145
R, 3:35 pm - 5:50 pm
Prof. Tom Polger
What is philosophy? What are the aims of philosophy? Is it possible to produce or discover new truths by doing philosophy? Does philosophy aim at truth, at all? Is philosophy possible? If so, how do we do it? If not, why not? In this course we will consider approaches to philosophy over the last hundred years or so, will special attention to recent debates about conceptual and philosophical analysis, a prioricity, metametaphysics, experimental philosophy, and the use of intuitions and thought experiments in philosophy. The tentative reading list includes Frank Jackson’s From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defense of Conceptual Analysis, Timothy Williamson’s Philosophy of Philosophy, Hermann Cappelen’s Philosophy Without Intuitions, and numerous articles.

PHIL7096.001: Graduate Pro-Seminar
Call Number 906098
T/R, 2:00 pm - 3:20 pm
Prof. Rob Skipper

PHIL8061.001: Philosophy of Biology: Classics in Evolution and Ecology
Call Number 906146
W, 3:35 pm - 5:50 pm
Prof. Robert Richardson

PHIL8064.001: Philosophy and Neuroscience
Calll Number 906150
T, 3:35 pm - 5:50 pm
Prof. Valerie Hardcastle
Most of the issues found in traditional philosophy of science are recapitulated in the philosophy of(cognitive) neuroscience.  In particular, philosophers of neuroscience worry about what counts as appropriate empirical justification for a theoretical claim, how to determine which level of organization is the correct one for a scientific explanation, what explanations should look like, whether all explanations will or should reduce to some primitives, and how what we learn about the mind/brain should affect largersocial, economic, and political decisions.  In addition, philosophers of neuroscience concern themselves some traditional aspects of philosophy of mind, including worrying how it is a brain can represent, if it does, and how and whether this representation ties to other notions of representation in cognitive science and beyond, what consciousness is, and whether minds and brains are identical. This course analyzes these areas of concern as they differ from traditional arguments.  We will engage these issues by working through several specific examples from neuroscience, although our primary focus will on the theoretical and methodological issues confronting neuroscientists working on cognition.

 

University Schedule of Classes

potochnik