CU Denver Philosophy Department

 

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

Section 001                                                                           MW 9:30am-10:45am                                                                 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                                                                           TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm                                                              S. Walker

Introductory course in philosophy that focuses on some of the central questions of philosophy, including theories of reality and the nature of knowledge and its limits. The knowledge of these areas is essential to the student for informed participation in the resolution of contemporary problems in today’s society.

Section 003                                                                          MW 11:00am-12:15pm                                                                 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 004                                                                          TuTh 12:30pm-1:45pm                                                                S. Finnegan

Introductory course in philosophy that focuses on some of the central questions of philosophy, including theories of reality and the nature of knowledge and its limits. The knowledge of these areas is essential to the student for informed participation in the resolution of contemporary problems in today’s society.

Section 005                                                                          TuTh 2:00pm-3:15pm                                                                  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 E01                                                                           Online                                                                                         D. Mehring

See Section 003

 

PHIL 1020- Introduction to Ethical Reasoning                                                                                              

Section 001                                                                          TuTh 9:30am-10:45am                                                                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 002                                                                          MW 12:30pm-1:45pm                                                                 M. Wilding

Studies some of the traditional problems in ethics that tend to be focused on individual morality within the larger context of social and political philosophy. Some specific contemporary moral and social problems may be addressed, such as AIDS, abortion, famine, and individual rights versus the collective rights of society.

Section 003                                                                           MW 2:00pm-3:15pm                                                                  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 004                                                                          TuTh 12:30pm-1:45pm                                                                D. Reeves

See Section 001

Section 005                                                                          TuTh 2:00pm-3:15pm                                                                  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 E01                                                                           Online                                                                                        D. Mehring

See Section 003

 

PHIL 2441- Logic, Language, and Scientific Reasoning                                                                  

Section 001                                                                          MW 9:30am-10:45am                                                                  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 002                                                                          TuTh 3:30pm-4:45pm                                                                  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 E01                                                                           Online                                                                                           B. Hackett

This course teaches the basics of systematic reasoning and its relation to the sciences. We begin the semester 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 “good” argument? After discussing the answers to these (& other) questions, we distinguish two modes of reasoning (deductive & inductive), & learn two simple ways of objectively assessing the reasoning in deductive arguments. Next, we learn how to systematically represent the reasoning in any important argument so that each can be accurately understood & effectively evaluated. Finally, we learn methods for conducting systematic inquiry in both the deductive & physical sciences. In an effort to encourage the mastery of learned skills, we practice techniques throughout the semester on actual, simple 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.

Section E02                                                                           Online                                                                                          B. Hackett

See Section E01

 

PHIL 3002- Ancient Greek Philosophy                                                                                          

Section 001                                                                          MW 12:30pm-1:45pm                                                                   R. Metcalf

A study of the history of Greek thought, from Homer, Hesiod and the earliest Presocratic philosophers, through Plato and Aristotle, and into the Hellenistic age, with careful attention given to the Greek philosophical vocabulary and to problems of interpretation.

 

 

PHIL 3022- Modern Philosophy                                                                                                    

Section 001                                                                          TuTh 2:00pm-3:15pm                                                                  C. Shelby

The period of Western philosophy commonly referred to as “modern” (roughly the end of the 16th century to the end of the 18th century) is often presented as a period narrowly focused on questions of epistemology: questions concerning the nature and extent of human knowledge. In our course we will examine some of these basic epistemological themes, while attempting to broaden that scope a bit by also surveying some of the metaphysical themes that modern thinkers inherit from classical and medieval philosophy. We will be reading and discussing texts by Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Kant. Some of the basic questions we will be addressing are as follows: how does the strictly causal realm of matter in motion relate to the mental, subjective character of knowledge, and what can we claim about the nature of subjectivity within that relation? Similarly, can philosophy establish a foundation for knowledge that can save scientific inquiry from the challenges of skepticism?

 

PHIL 3440- Symbolic Logic                                                                                      

Section 001                                                                          MW 2:00pm-3:15pm                                                                  M. Bauer

This course is an introduction to formal or symbolic logic. In formalizing logic, we aim to construct “mechanistic” models for different types of reasoning systems. The techniques involved in formalizing rationality play a role in a diverse set of fields, e.g., cognitive psychology, philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence research, and genetics. The logics covered include propositional, predicate, modal, and tense as well as their two-valued and some multi-valued variants. The aim of the course is for you to become proficient in those logics by semester’s end. 

 

PHIL 3500- Ideology and Culture: Racism and Sexism                                                                           

Section 001                                                                          MW 11:00am-12:15pm                                                               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                                                                          TuTh 9:30am-10:45am                                                                B. Lisle

See Section 001

Section 003                                                                          MW 2:00pm-3:15pm                                                                    B. Lisle

See Section 001

Section E01                                                                           Online                                                                                         B. Jeong

In this course, we will approach the question of ideology, racism and sexism in terms of subjectivity. We will begin with the basic questions concerning the idea 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 ‘the Other.’ As we think about how our identities are formed by the differences in gender and race, 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 who we are. This course fulfills the CU Denver Cultural Diversity Requirement.

 

PHIL 4780/5780- Heidegger  

Section 001                                                                          TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm                                                             M. Tanzer

This course will examine some key writings of Martin Heidegger, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th Century.  We will begin with a study of Heidegger’s Being and Time, which is representative of his early phenomenological pursuit of the meaning of being.  We will then study the Introduction to Metaphysics, which exhibits the later Heidegger’s renewed approach to the being-question.  Issues emphasized will include Heidegger’s critique of the subject/object distinction, his conceptions of finitude and death, and his interpretation of ancient Greek thought, all in the context of his inquiry into the nature of being.

 

PHIL 4790/5790- Nietzsche

Section 001                                                                          MW 12:30pm-1:45pm                                                               G. Zamosc

In this course we will examine the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche through some of his most important and influential works. Some of the texts we will read include: The Birth of Tragedy, The Untimely Meditations, Beyond Good and Evil, and The Genealogy of Morals. One explicit aim of the class will be to explore whether and how Nietzsche’s thought changed during the course of his intellectual development. Another goal will be to try to understand not just Nietzsche’s various criticisms of the philosophical tradition but his positive contributions to it as well: that is, the ideals and values he sought to promote.

 

PHIL 4810/5810- Aristotle

Section 001                                                                          W 5:00pm-7:50pm                                                                   R. Metcalf

This course on Aristotle comprises two parts:  first, a close study of the Nicomachean Ethics; and second, a study of the Politics and Rhetoric, in light of the Ethics.  Students will gain some exposure to scholarly work on Aristotle, and they will have the opportunity to present their own work to their peers.

 

PHIL 4833/5833- Existentialism

Section 001                                                                          TuTh 12:30pm-1:45pm                                                             B. Lisle

The lasting appeal of Existentialism as a literary, philosophical and artistic movement has much to do with its overall approach to basic human questions, such as: how to live in a seemingly absurd world full of incomprehensible forces and events. For example, when one lives during a time of war, it becomes tempting to conclude that life is absurd, that justice is an impossible ideal, and that beauty is only a temporary distraction. This course is an investigation of some of the central themes in the Existentialist tradition, including some of the most famous late 19th and early 20th Century writers in that tradition. We will be focusing on the philosophical writings of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and de Beauvoir (if time permits).

 

PHIL 4920/5920- Philosophy of Media and Technology  

Section 001                                                                          Tu 5:00pm-7:50pm                                                                    D. Hildebrand

As we are constantly reminded, we live in an ever-accelerating “Information Age,” an era of rapidly shifting images and voluminous data. This is an age of apps, algorithms, and robots where social media and identity become increasingly difficult to disentangle. What is "knowledge" and "truth" in such an environment? What is "wisdom"? What is morality in this shifting technological era? And what challenges are posed to democracy? To pursue these questions, this course will present philosophical accounts of visual literacy and criticism, the changes imposed by media and new automatic technologies (such as robots) and — most important — how we might relate these changes to the permanent human question to live meaningful lives. Philosophers may include Heidegger, Dewey, Postman, Turkle, Verbeek, Dreyfus, Latour, Borgmann, Benjamin, Dennett and others.