Summer 2011 Courses

3week session – May 23-June 12

101/201 Introduction to Philosophy
8:55-11:35 MTWRF

No description available at this time.

243 Ethics in Business
1:10-3:50 MTWRF

Profit-seeking business as we now know it came into existence after centuries of moral thinking which looked askance at any activity which is aimed solely at material gain. It is not surprising that some people think that most business activity is somewhat shady, while others think that business takes place in a peculiar world of its own where distinctions between right and wrong can have no meaning at all. In this course we will rethink our moral assumptions and apply them to business as it is actually done. We will discuss the moral legitimacy of corporate enterprise, the moral arguments for various sorts of business regulation, and some of the difficult decisions which people in business must sometimes face. Readings for the course illustrate and clarify the issues covered in the course.

Course requirements will include two written essays and a final exam.

341-1 Contemporary Moral Issues
1:10-3:50 MTWRF

How should we respond to terrorism? According to Noam Chomsky (who has been called by the New York Times “arguably the most important intellectual alive”), the United States is one of the worst terrorist states in the world, and there is an easy way to greatly reduce the amount of terrorism in the world: stop participating in it. This course critically examines Chomsky’s and others’ ideas on terrorism, and also addresses the death penalty and abortion. A main objective of the course is to provide students with analytical tools that they can use to make up their own minds on controversial moral issues like the above.

First 4 week session – June 13-July 10

211 Elementary Logic
8:55-11:35 MTWR

Suppose I say, “The cheese was in the fridge when you left. If no one removed the cheese, it’s still in the fridge. I’m the only one who could’ve removed the cheese, and I didn’t. So the cheese is still in the fridge.” This argument concerning the whereabouts of the cheese contains some premises followed by a conclusion. The argument is structured so that if the premises are true, the conclusion is true as well.

In this course we will represent arguments in symbols to reveal their structure, then study argumentative structures that guarantee a true conclusion from true premises. We will also learn how to prove that an argument with a particular structure is valid. The techniques we will learn are necessary for every area of contemporary philosophy, and are relevant to areas of economics, mathematics, computer science, rhetoric, and the law.

241 Introductory Ethics
1:10-3:50 MTWR

This course introduces students to ethical theory through selected classics from some of the most historically influential philosophers, including John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, Aristotle, and Friedrich Nietzsche. These classics will be supplemented with contemporary reflections by African American thinkers, a feminist philosopher, and a Holocaust survivor. Questions to be addressed range from “What is a good life?” and “What ought I to do?” to “Is everyone basically selfish?”, “Are there universal standards of right and wrong?” and “How are moral values related to other values?” Course objectives are to offer a foundation in ethical theory for further work in ethics, political philosophy, or law and to develop skills in ethical reasoning and sensitivity to the nuances of ethical argument and distinctions. There will be cumulative essay examinations at midterm (end of second week) and at the end of the course (end of 4th week), with the possibility of additional exams at the end of the first and third weeks if needed (review questions distributed in advance of each exam).

341 Contemporary Moral Issues
1:10-3:50 MWTR

No description at this time.

Second 4 week session – July 11-August 7

241 Introductory Ethics
1:10-3:50 MTWR

No description available at this time.

304 The Meaning of Life
7:00-9:00 TR

Whether life can have meaning, and if so, how, are two of life’s Big Questions. This course will examine different approaches that thinkers and philosophers have taken to the issues surrounding the large question of life’s meaning. Among other things, the course will examine:

What role personal desires – and their satisfaction or frustration – play in a meaningful life
Whether happiness is the end-all and be-all of personal meaning
What links are there between a good life and a meaningful life
Whether religion is essential for a meaningful life
Whether immortality and transcendence are essential to the prospect of a meaningful life