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Instructor-specific Course Descriptions

Please See Banner/Timetable for Further Information about Sections, Times, Locations, and Instructors for Multiple Section Courses.

Fall 2018

Upper Division and Graduate Courses

PHIL 441 Global Justice & Human Rights
REIDY

This is an upper-division philosophy course focused on recent work concerning the norms, if any, that govern and/or ought to govern the international and global order. These norms include state sovereignty, non-intervention, the rule of law, jus cogens, the voluntarist nature of international law, just war theory, fair and free trade, human rights, humanitarian intervention and R2P (responsibility to protect), and much else. This is not a class focused on international or global politics or institutions, though of course both will be relevant. Nor is it a class on particular problems such as global climate change, though again such problems will be relevant. It is a philosophy class, though perhaps a bit more interdisciplinary than other philosophy classes, the aim of which is to move students closer to understanding the possibilities for and merits of a defensible normative order international or global in reach and scope. Class meetings will be devoted to lecture and discussion. I will not merely summarize readings during course lectures; you are expected to have read assigned readings in advance of attending lecture. Required readings will include John Rawls, The Law of Peoples, Harvard UP, 1999; Jim Nickel, Making Sense of Human Rights, 2nd Ed., Blackwell, 2007; and David Held and Pietro Maffetone, eds., Global Political Theory, Polity, 2016. Students wanting to get a feel for course material in advance may find it helpful to consult either Jon Mandle, Global Justice, Polity, 2006; or Mathias Risse, Global Political Philosophy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; but these are not required texts. Required assessments will include exams and papers.

PHIL 450 Contractualism and Utilitarianism
CURETON

In this course we will examine, evaluate and compare two prominent traditions in normative ethical theory: Utilitarianism, which focuses on maximizing overall happiness, and Contractualism, which focuses on living with others on terms that are justifiable to all.  We will explore several variants of utilitarianism, including Rule-Utilitarianism and Virtue-Utilitarianism, as well as some of the most prominent criticisms of that approach, including concerns about alienation and integrity.  And we will do the same for Contractualism by discussing the theories of Scanlon, Rawls and Kant as well as objections concerning redundancy and aggregation.

PHIL 450 Animal Psychology in Ethical Theory
GARTHOFF

This course investigates animal capacities with the aim of better understanding their distinctive roles within ethical theory and law. The first half examines various important capacities, including animacy (notably organism-initiated movement), perception (and more generally objective representation), consciousness (including sensation and imagery), judgment (including inference), and critical reason (including reflection and justification). The primary focus of this examination is the nature and constitutive conditions of these capacities, but their phylogeny and distribution among organisms is also a topic of interest. The second half explores the implications of the first half for ethics, with special attention paid to the moral and legal status of various animals. The course concludes by articulating and motivating a series of proposals which contend that important ethical phenomena are based in one or more of these animal capacities. These proposals are compared and contrasted with related work by Christine Korsgaard, whose book Fellow Creatures is due to be published this year.

PHIL 540 Contractualism and Utilitarianism
CURETON

In this course we will examine, evaluate and compare two prominent traditions in normative ethical theory: Utilitarianism, which focuses on maximizing overall happiness, and Contractualism, which focuses on living with others on terms that are justifiable to all.  We will explore several variants of utilitarianism, including Rule-Utilitarianism and Virtue-Utilitarianism, as well as some of the most prominent criticisms of that approach, including concerns about alienation and integrity.  And we will do the same for Contractualism by discussing the theories of Scanlon, Rawls and Kant as well as objections concerning redundancy and aggregation.

PHIL 540 Animal Psychology in Ethical Theory
GARTHOFF

This course investigates animal capacities with the aim of better understanding their distinctive roles within ethical theory and law. The first half examines various important capacities, including animacy (notably organism-initiated movement), perception (and more generally objective representation), consciousness (including sensation and imagery), judgment (including inference), and critical reason (including reflection and justification). The primary focus of this examination is the nature and constitutive conditions of these capacities, but their phylogeny and distribution among organisms is also a topic of interest. The second half explores the implications of the first half for ethics, with special attention paid to the moral and legal status of various animals. The course concludes by articulating and motivating a series of proposals which contend that important ethical phenomena are based in one or more of these animal capacities. These proposals are compared and contrasted with related work by Christine Korsgaard, whose book Fellow Creatures is due to be published this year.

PHIL 601/640 Emotion in Pratical Philosophy
SHAW

This course explores the role of emotion in practical philosophy.  We will start by studying early modern "moral sense" theorists (most likely David Hume, Adam Smith, and Sophie de Grouchy) and then turn to contemporary authors who write on related themes (most likely Christine Tappolet and Michael Brady).  We will distinguish and study different varieties of "sentimentalism".  One major concern will be with the epistemological thesis that emotions are indicators or experiences of value.


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