CU Denver Philosophy Department


PHIL 1012- Introduction to Philosophy: Relationship of the Individual to the World   

Section 001 MW 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM G. Zamosc

This course aims at helping students develop their skills at interpreting texts, critical thinking, and argumentation, while introducing them to a series of fundamental problems in philosophy. Among the topics we will study are: (1) Knowledge and skepticism about the external world; (2) free will and moral responsibility; (3) arguments for the existence of God; and, time permitting, (4) the problem of personal identity.

Section 002 MW 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM D. Mehring

This introductory course will examine the position of five major philosophers (Plato, Epicurus, the Stoics, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche) on perennial philosophical conundrums (What is the good life? Is there life after bodily death?) In a manner that is both understandable and relevant. In addition to reading the philosophers’ writings, we will read Alain de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy.

Section 003 MW 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM Staff

Soon to come!

Section 004 TuTh 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM B. Lisle

This course explores some of the key figures and texts in the history of Western civilization. We will learn how to interpret and analyze central claims and arguments made by these key figures, so that each student will develop a general understanding of this particular history of ideas. The main topics we will cover include: (1) a broad inquiry into the nature of the human condition, (2) the inquiry into the nature of knowledge as it may be distinguished from mere opinion, and (3) the basic metaphysical question, “what is the nature of reality?” We begin our semester with an examination of key texts in the tradition of the Ancient Greeks and then work our way toward some of the more well-known philosophical projects of the last four centuries. We will discuss such fundamental questions as: how do we come to know the underlying causes of experience? What is the nature of reality as it exists independently of our partial perspectives? What is the structure and function of language, and to what degree does that structure determine thought? On what evidence can we base our most cherished beliefs about the world, ourselves, God, nature, justice, virtue, beauty and truth?

Section 005 TuTh 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM B. Lisle

See Section 004

Section 006 TuTh 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM M. Tanzer

This course will examine fundamental philosophical issues, primarily, although not exclusively, in the theory of knowledge and in ethics. The first half of the course, focusing on the theory of knowledge, will examine the thought of Plato and of David Hume; while the second half of the course, focusing on ethics, will look at the ethical theories of John Stuart Mill and of Immanuel Kant. This section of the course will also look at how the ethical theories of Mill and Kant have been applied to the problem of animal rights, by Peter Singer and Tom Regan.

Section 007 TuTh 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM                B. Lisle

See Section 004

Section E01 Online                                D. Mehring

See Section 002

PHIL 1020- Introduction to Ethical Reasoning   

Section 001 MW 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM              D. Mehring

In this course we will not only examine the major ethical theories (e.g., Utilitarian, Duty-based, Existentialist, etc.) But since “theory without practice is empty” we will consider how to apply these ethical theories in real-life situations. Questions of honesty are regarded as of the utmost ethical importance. Yet, virtually none of us have been taught how to tell the truth “at the right time, in the right place, in the right way, for the right reason, to the right person”. Clearly, how one tells the truth is as important as what the truth is. This course will focus on questions of how to be an effective truth-teller—and when to depart from the absolute truth. We will consider such questions such as when is it permissible (even necessary) to “slant” the truth? Under what conditions do we need to (in the words of Mark Twain) “learn how to lie healingly and well?”

Section 002 MW 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM              R. Metcalf

This course introduces students to ethical reasoning through the careful study of classical and contemporary philosophical texts, along with some films, such as 'Crimes and Misdemeanors,' and 'Fog of War.'  The course concludes with a study of Frans de Waal's recent book, The Bonobo and the Atheist, on which students will give in-class presentations.

Section 004 MW 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM              Staff

Soon to come!

Section 005 TuTh 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM              S. Walker

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with useful tools for solving ethical problems. We will investigate major positions from the philosophic tradition of ethics from Plato to Sartre. We will work toward the understanding of moral terminology and the development of moral reasoning through the examination of contrasting ethical theories. We will consider such issues as virtue, rights, and our obligations to others.

Section 006 TuTh 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM              D. Reeves

This course will provide a journey into moral reflection. Its aim is to invite students to subject their own views about ethics to critical examination. We will work towards three goals. The first is to explore several moral issues that raise questions about ethics and justice in today’s diverse and complex society. We will ask how a just society might distribute the things we prize – income and wealth, duties and rights, powers and opportunities, offices and honors in the right way; how ought each person be awarded her or his due. The second goal will be to understand and evaluate the role of philosophy and critical thinking in addressing issues such as financial bailouts, affirmative action and the death penalty. We will ponder three central ideals or ways of thinking about ethical issues: virtue, freedom and welfare. The third goal is for students to engage in constructive discussion of the issues presented. A subset of this goal will to exposed students to diverse views while exploring and developing their own positions.

Section 007 MW 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM              M. Wilding

We reason every day. Often we reason by: employing ethical theory, utilizing logic, understanding emotional interrelatedness between people we are around, and considering past (possible) future knowledge. In this course, students will gain skills for sound decisions in ethical dilemmas. Areas of study include normative ethical theory, logic, narratives, and emerging methods of ethical reasoning. These will be applied to the history of ethics and current issues in social and political philosophy. Ethics study poses the question: “What kind of person should I be. What do you think?”

Section E01 Online 2:00pm-3:15pm              D. Mehring

See Section 001

PHIL 2441- Logic, Language, and Scientific Reasoning 

Section 001 MW 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM J. Golub

Intro course in argumentation, critical thinking and scientific reasoning. Covers rules of logical inference, informal fallacies, problem solving, and probabilistic reasoning. Enhances analytical and critical thinking skills tested on LSAT and MCAT, central to advancement in sciences, and broadly desired by employers.

Section 002 MW 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM J. Golub

See Section 001

Section 003 TuTh 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM M. Bauer

This course concentrates on enhancing students’ capacity to reason well. The aim, in short, is for you to be sharper and smarter when you finish this course! Students will learn to distinguish argumentative from non-argumentative passages in ordinary language, to analyze the form of an argument, as well as how to recognize and avoid argumentative errors and mistakes. Students will also learn how to employ several techniques for determining the acceptability of an argument. Further, students will be introduced to the basic structure of scientific inquiry, including standards of evidence, the argumentative function of hypothetical construction and experimentation, as well as the limits of scientific conclusions. Students will learn as well why the structure of scientific inquiry makes it a distinctively powerful form of inquiry into the natural world.

Section 004 TuTh 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM M. Bauer

See Section 003

Section E01 Online B. Hackett

This course teaches the basics of systematic reasoning and its relation to the sciences. We begin the semester, in Unit I, by focusing on the logician's notion of an argument.  What, exactly, counts as an argument?  What is the difference between a true statement and a valid argument?  After discussing the answers to these (and other) questions, we distinguish two modes of reasoning (deductive and inductive), and learn two simple ways of testing deductive arguments for validity. Next, in Unit II, we learn how to carefully identify, clarify, and reconstruct important arguments so that their reasoning can be faithfully represented, accurately understood, and effectively evaluated.  Finally, in Unit III, we learn methods for conducting systematic inquiry in both the deductive and physical sciences.  In an effort to encourage the mastery of learned skills, we practice argument evaluation techniques throughout the semester on actual (often very simple) English arguments.  Since these methods may be usefully applied to any academic inquiry, this course aims to be one of the most useful college courses you will take.

PHIL 2550- Investigating Nature 

Section 001 TuTh 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM M. Bauer

This course is designed to introduce students to Philosophy of Science. (No background in philosophy is required.) Philosophy of Science is concerned with how best to use observation and experiment to learn about the world, whether we are investigating fundamental physical structures, the complex operations of biological organisms, or the social dynamics of human groups. Drawing on both historical and contemporary works, we will seek to understand, among other topics, what makes scientific inquiry distinct from other forms of human learning, what accounts for the credibility and objectivity of scientific claims, the influence of psycho-social biases on observation and theory formation, as well as whether accepting a scientific theory, explanation or hypothesis means that we think it is true.

PHIL 3002- Ancient Greek

001 MW 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM R. Metcalf

This course introduces students to ancient Greek philosophy through a survey of its most important thinkers, beginning with the Presocratics, and concluding with Plato and Aristotle. By the end of the course students will be able to 1) transliterate Greek philosophical concepts and explain their significance, 2) identify the authors of influential and memorable passages in Greek philosophical texts, and 3) analyze the different philosophical positions of Greek thinkers and explain their relative merits.

PHIL 3030-Philosophies of Happiness

Section 001 F 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM D. Mehring

Immanuel Kant's revolutionary thought represents one of the most important developments in the history of Western philosophy. As a result, all subsequent philosophical thought has had to take Kant's transcendental idealism, and its radical reconceptualization of the subject/object distinction, into account. This course will consist of a detailed examination of Kant's ontology, epistemology and ethics.

PHIL 3280- War and Morality

Section 001 TuTh 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM S. Walker

Soon to come!

PHIL 3500- Ideology and Culture: Racism and Sexism

Section 001 MW 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM B. Lisle

This course explores, in detail, the way ideology functions within culture. Particular attention will be placed on the way ideological forces work to foster and maintain racist and sexist forms of thought and behavior. We will begin by analyzing the nature and scope of ideological forces as cultural forces, and then we will explore various ways certain contemporary thinkers claim it may be possible to resist or eliminate racist and sexist thinking within an individual and collectively. One basic question we will be asking: to what extent can one escape ideologically founded thinking? Is it possible, in other words, for one to gain a self-critical relation to one’s own culture, especially since cultural traditions seem to mask themselves within the guise of common sense or conventional wisdom?

Section 002 MW 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM B. Lisle

See Section 001

Section 003 TuTh 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM B. Jeong

In this course, we will approach the question of ideology, racism and sexism in terms of subjectivity. We will begin with basic questions concerning the notion of the self. Then we explore the view of the self as a social construct, the idea that the self is defined in its relation to ‘others.’ As we consider the processes by which gender and racial differences form our identities, we will examine our own assumptions, beliefs and practices. Personal and collective reflections produced in this class should allow us to understand how power works and shapes fundamentally who we are. 

Section 004 TuTh 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM D. Reeves

Soon to come!

Section E01 Online B. Goodrich

How is it that a particular social perspective, serving particular interests, can be propagated throughout a culture and become accepted, internalized, even by those it harms most? In this course we'll examine several accounts of what ideologies are, how they are developed and maintained, and what functions they serve in their societies. These accounts will range from Marx's classic theory to more recent theories, influenced by recent psychological studies.  Throughout the course we'll also explore a few case studies of the ideologies of sexism and racism, and possible ways to combat them with more helpful strategies.

PHIL 3760- Kant

001 TuTh 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM M. Tanzer

Immanuel Kant's revolutionary thought represents one of the most important developments in the history of Western philosophy. As a result, all subsequent philosophical thought has had to take Kant's transcendental idealism, and its radical reconceptualization of the subject/object distinction, into account. This course will consist of a detailed examination of Kant's ontology, epistemology and ethics.

PHIL 4220/5220- Aesthetics Philosophy of Art

Section 001 Tuesday 5:00 PM – 7:50 PM D. Hildebrand

Soon to come!

PHIL 4242/5242- Bioethics

Section 001 MW 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM   M. Wilding

Humans have cloned organisms, cracked the genome, genetically modified life and prolonged it...just because we can do something scientifically does that mean we should? What is fair? What happens when there are not enough resources to accommodate the needs? These are a few of the questions people grapple with when embarking on bioethics decision-making. In this course the aim is to evaluate bioethics topics utilized in current technology and practice. The tools to accomplish this will be through reflection, utilization of normative ethical theory, and case analyses. Topics covered include: beginning of life issues, end of life issues, organ transplants, stem cell research, cloning, and allocation of resources. Upon completion of the course participants will have explored and evaluated emerging issues in bioethics as they pertain to philosophy, science, medicine, and technology.

PHIL 4812/5812- Latin American Philosophy

Section 001 MW 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM G. Zamosc

This course aims at introducing students to the topic of Latin American Philosophy or Latin American thought. One explicit aim of the course is to explore the issue of whether or not there even is such a thing as “Latin American” philosophy or thought; that is, the problem of whether there is either some distinctive way of doing philosophy or a set of philosophical issues belonging to an original tradition that stands on its own or sets itself apart from other traditions in philosophy and thereby merits the special appellative “Latin American Philosophy”. In examining this question we will focus on subjects like whether Latin American Philosophy incorporates indigenous ideas that date even to pre-Columbian times; whether philosophy in Latin America emphasizes social and political struggles against European and American domination; whether Latin American thought borrows European and Anglo-American philosophical ideas in order to forge a peculiar point of view or whether is succumbs to a universalism that makes Latin American philosophy “invisible” by actually preventing the development of an inner and outer dialogue of the sort needed to construct distinct and stable philosophical communities; whether Latin American philosophy reflects a special preoccupation with Latin American “identity” or the development of an ethnic perspective; and so on. Although we might not be able to definitively answer what, if anything, characterizes Latin American philosophy, by the end of this class, students will have a good grasp of this subject, a greater appreciation of the complexity of Latin American thought, and adequate familiarity with the literature on this topic.

PHIL 4812/5812- Decolonial Thought

Section 002 Thursday 5:00 PM – 7:50 PM B. Jeong

This course examines the condition of coloniality and European white supremacy under which contemporary philosophical research is being conducted. We will be thinking through the ‘Decolonial Turn,’ a significant shift in knowledge production prompted by the non-Western critique of colonial-capitalist logics of race and gender. We will also be reading critically some canonical works in philosophy from the viewpoint of coloniality in order to develop collectively a conceptual framework of decolonial thinking.