Current Course Information

The following list represents the detailed course descriptions of our current offerings; for the full range of courses offered in the BA and MA programs in philosophy, please consult the Undergraduate Course Descriptions and Graduate Course Descriptions in the UNF catalog.

 

Summer A 2015 Upper Division

PHI 3930 Philosophy of Media

CRN: 51145
Distance Learning 
Instructor: M. Skees 

 

This course will take a transdisciplinary approach to the study of media culture.  We will focus on the role of new media technologies – specifically digital media and the Internet – in transforming our culture, economy, and politics. Central themes will include: the materiality of media; the evolution of mass communication; the cultural antecedents of the digital revolution; computational media and recent discussions of posthumanism; the ubiquity of code; hacking, cracking, phreaking, culture jamming, and the political uses of digital media. 

   

PHM 3050 Ethical Issues In Death and Dying

CRN 51134

MW 1240-1610
Instructor: A. Swota 

 

 

According to many, death is one of the greatest evils that confront human beings. But what exactly is death and why do we fear it? In this course, we take an interdisciplinary approach to death and dying in order to understand some of the ethical, medical, and legal issues surrounding death and dying. Topics to be covered include whether life is always preferable to death, deciding how much control we should have over our own deaths, how much control (if any) advance directives should have in directing end-of-life treatment plans, how much cost should play a role in deciding whether expensive treatments which provide little benefit are offered to patients, the moral obligation of doctors to disclose information to their patients, different criteria for determining death, and whether one is allowed to bring about or assist in the death of another. The main objectives of the course are to introduce students to some of the central issues in the philosophy of death and dying, to encourage open communication about death and dying, and to foster appreciation of the experiences and needs of the dying, and to help students recognize some of the many vexing ethical issues that arise in health care at the end-of-life. 

 

 

Summer B 2015 Upper Division

PHI 3930 Concepts of God

CRN: 51130
MW 1240-1620 
Instructor: M. Treyz

 

 If God is immutable, ideas about God are not.  Over the course of millennia, humans have struggled to articulate their understanding of the divine in response to changing understandings of themselves and the world.  This course investigates the idea of the divine in the Judeo–Christian tradition as it has evolved through history. Beginning with a review of the historical and theological development of monotheism, we then consider the ideas about the divine and proofs for the existence of God explored by philosophers. Finally, we will look at what anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists tell us about why people and cultures believe in supernatural beings and how they speak of gods.  

 

 

PHI 3930 Islam: Thought & Practice 

CRN: 51132
MTWR 1240-1420 
Instructor: A. Creller

   

 This course provides an introduction to the historical birth of Islam and some of the philosophical issues it addresses, both in its history and in contemporary times.  This course covers the revealing of the Qur’an and the development of sources of authority within the tradition as well as the way those resources are used to answer questions in Islamic law, theology, philosophy, and mysticism.  Through thinkers such as Ibn al-Arabi, al-Ghazali, and Ibn Rushd (Averroes), we will cover problems that remain pertinent into the medieval period and beyond: How does determinism influence ethical blame? How do universal laws and particular cases relate?  What is the proper relationship between reason, knowledge, and revelation?  

 

 

Fall 2015 Upper Division

PHH 3100 Ancient Greek Philosophy 

CRN 80472

TR 1050-1205

Instructor: P. Carelli 

 

 In this course we study the origins of the largest philosophical questions in the ancient Greek world. Beginning with an overview of the social/historical context in which these questions arose, we will go on to examine the thought of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle as well as the Hellenistic schools of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism. We’ll ask about the kind of life human beings ought to lead, the nature of justice and morality, the basic constituents of the world, and the nature and limits of human knowledge. Once we understand the views of the Greek philosophers, and their arguments for these views, we’ll need to decide whether or not to accept them ourselves as guides to leading our own lives. 

 

PHH 4601 Contemporary European Philosophy

CRN 82987

MW 1330-1445

Instructor: E Gilson 


 The European philosophers of the 20th century break with tradition by questioning fundamental assumptions and challenging our normal categories, inciting a revolution in philosophical thinking. This course surveys the major schools of thought such as phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, structuralism, post-structuralism, and feminism, and considers the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Cixous, Irigaray, and Judith Butler. Central themes include the nature of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, otherness and difference, language and power, the critique of foundational truth, and the impact of these critical perspectives on ethics and politics.

 

 

PHI 3500 Introduction to Metaphysics 

CRN 82992

TR 1340-1455

Instructor: J Matheson 

 

This course will be a topical introduction to central themes in metaphysics – a branch of philosophy that tries to answer the fundamental questions about the nature of reality. In it we will carefully consider accounts the relation of freedom and determinism, personal identity, mental states, material objects, and properties.  The philosophical questions to be discussed include: Is free will compatible with determinism?  What makes it the case that the same person exists at two different times?  How is the mind related to the brain? When (if ever) do two or more objects compose another object?  Given that material objects exist, do such things as properties exist?

 

PHI 3601 Ethics 

CRN 82305

W 1800-2045

Instructor: M. Haney  

 

What is morality? What is its basis? What norms or principles should guide our actions? This course offers a detailed investigation of these fundamental questions. We will examine theories about the source of morality (topics from the area known as metaethics) and theories concerning how we ought to structure our moral thought and action (topics from the area known as normative theory). We will be concerned throughout to see how metaethical and normative questions interrelate: what are the arguments, for example, for thinking that moral norms derive from different cultural ways of life, and what effect should agreement with such arguments have on one’s moral outlook? The fact that this is primarily a course in abstract theory does not mean that we will not devote time to the discussion of real life moral problems and dilemmas. Indeed, one major goal of the course will be the exploration of the relationship between ethical theory and everyday life. PHI 3601 is a course recommended to all philosophy major

 

 PHI 3633 Bioethics 

CRN 82994

MW 1500-1615

Instructor: A. Swota  

 

 

Arising out of the changing landscape in medicine are a number of ethical issues. In this course we will analyze and examine some of these issues that have evolved out of recent and anticipated developments in medicine. Issues to be discussed include the physician-patient relationship, informed consent, advance directives, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, issues in reproductive ethics, experimentation on human subjects, and access to health care. Throughout this course we will examine assumptions about rights, persons, and ethical principles at play in the medical arena. Readings will include discussions of ethical principles in medical contexts and legal decisions. In addition, case studies will be utilized to provide students with the opportunity to sharpen their analytic skills and develop a deeper understanding of some of the major bioethical issues currently being debated.

 

PHI 3641 Business Ethics 

CRN 80240

MW 1630-1745

Instructor: A. Creller  

 

This course will prepare and engage students to answer the following questions: Do we need ethical organizations? What does it mean for an organization to be ethical? What tools, structures, and ethical values constitute the elements of an ethical organization? How do we evaluate organizations from an ethical perspective? What are the means of improving organizations from an ethical perspective?

 

PHI 3930 Philosophical Methods 

CRN 82996

MW 1200-1315

Instructor: S. Mattice  

 

This course is an investigation of various central methods in philosophical inquiry. The course covers analytic, continental European, comparative/non-Western, and historical perspectives. Attention is paid to developing students’ abilities to interpret philosophical material, construct and evaluate arguments, and write philosophical essays. Specific topics will vary by instructor. This course is required for the philosophy major and minor, and is a prerequisite for all 4000 level courses. In Fall 2015, we will explore the theme of "beauty" throughout the course.

 

PHI 3930 Religion And The Courts

CRN 82997

MW 1200-1315

Instructor: J. Ingersoll  

 

When the First Amendment to the Constitution was written, it addressed only the federal government (Congress), yet when people now debate the meanings of the Free Exercise and no Establishment clauses, they often try to ground their views in the "intentions of the founders."  This course will explore the evolution of interpretation of the First Amendment religion clauses from the bill of Rights, through the Fourteenth Amendment, to the important cases currently before the courts.

 

 

PHI 3930 Philosophy Of Education

CRN 83000

M 1800-2045

Instructor: E. Gilson    

 

This course explores central questions, both perennial and contemporary, related to education: What is education? What does it mean to become educated? Who should be educated and in what way? Who is responsible for providing education? What is the purpose or aim of education in general and, more specifically, in a democratic society? Is education merely about the acquisition of knowledge and skills? Or should education also have ethical and political aims? In a democracy, should education cultivate an informed or capable citizenry? Which educational methods, models, pedagogies are the best and for what ends? We will consider various historical and contemporary perspectives on these questions as well as the state of education – primary, secondary, and higher education – in the 21st century US. The course material will include texts from authors such as John Dewey, Paolo Freire, Martha Nussbaum, bell hooks, Henry Giroux, Anthony Appiah, Amy Gutmann, Nel Noddings, and Lawrence Blum. Graduate students will be expected to consider how ethical, social, and political theories relate to education and what their implications are for educational policy. 

 

 

PHI 3930 Jewish Philosophy

CRN 83002

TR 1630-1745

Instructor: P. Carelli   

 

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the long, dynamic history of Jewish thought and how this history establishes for itself a distinctive voice in contemporary philosophical discourse. The course begins by tracing the founding of Jewish philosophy at the beginning of the Common Era, and then moves to Jewish medieval philosophy, looking at how Moses Maimonides used the philosophical concepts and arguments of his time to understand and defend the fundamental tenets of Judaism. This historical survey serves as the contextual backdrop against which modern Jewish thought can be appreciated: the non-theistic, critical exegesis of Spinoza and the call for tolerance and religious freedom of Mendelssohn are exemplars of modernity and enlightenment thinking; while Martin Buber’s development of the philosophy of dialogue and Emmanuel Levinas’ privileging the position of the other show how the challenges of secularism and the post-modern age shaped and were shaped by Jewish philosophy. This course will demonstrate how Jewish thought, far from being a philosophy at the margins, was and remains a central force in the western philosophical tradition and an important contributor to global thought and culture.  

 

 

PHI 3932 Introduction to Buddhism 

CRN 83006

R 1800-2045

Instructor: S. Mattice  

 

Prerequisite: At least one upper-division course in either philosophy or religious studies, or instructor approval. In this course we will critically engage Buddhist philosophy and religion, from its origins in ancient India to its spread across Asia and its impact on the contemporary world. After a focused survey of key ideas, practices, and texts, we will delve into the Heart Sutra, an important Mahayana text, and examine in detail several commentaries from different traditions.

 

PHM 3400 Philosophy of Law

CRN 83010

TR 1505-1620

Instructor: A. Buchwalter

 

This course explores basic concepts in legal theory and jurisprudence, including rights, liberties, justice, constitutionalism, authority, liability, responsibility, punishment, equal treatment, the rule of law, and the legal practice. Special attention will be given to the nature of law itself, as thematized in classical writings and the most contemporary discussions. We also consider the nature of legal reasoning and interpretation, the relationship of law and economics, the place of law in international justice, as well as the relationship of law to democracy and matters of contemporary public policy.  In applying legal theory to specific events and concrete cases, we consider current issues associated with universal human rights, freedom of expression, gun rights, same-sex marriage, the insanity defense, the death penalty, as well as controversies surrounding critical legal studies and other alternative theories. 


 

 

Graduate Courses

Summer A 2015

PHI 5934 Philosophy of Media

CRN: 51145
Distance Learning 
Instructor: M. Skees 

 

This course will take a transdisciplinary approach to the study of media culture.  We will focus on the role of new media technologies – specifically digital media and the Internet – in transforming our culture, economy, and politics. Central themes will include: the materiality of media; the evolution of mass communication; the cultural antecedents of the digital revolution; computational media and recent discussions of posthumanism; the ubiquity of code; hacking, cracking, phreaking, culture jamming, and the political uses of digital media.  

    

PHM 5056 Ethical Issues In Death and Dying

CRN 51134

MW 1240-1610
Instructor: A. Swota  

 

 

According to many, death is one of the greatest evils that confront human beings. But what exactly is death and why do we fear it? In this course, we take an interdisciplinary approach to death and dying in order to understand some of the ethical, medical, and legal issues surrounding death and dying. Topics to be covered include whether life is always preferable to death, deciding how much control we should have over our own deaths, how much control (if any) advance directives should have in directing end-of-life treatment plans, how much cost should play a role in deciding whether expensive treatments which provide little benefit are offered to patients, the moral obligation of doctors to disclose information to their patients, different criteria for determining death, and whether one is allowed to bring about or assist in the death of another. The main objectives of the course are to introduce students to some of the central issues in the philosophy of death and dying, to encourage open communication about death and dying, and to foster appreciation of the experiences and needs of the dying, and to help students recognize some of the many vexing ethical issues that arise in health care at the end-of-life. 

Summer B 2015 

                                   

Fall 2015 

 

PHI5605 Ethics  

CRN 80492

W 1800-2045

Instructor: M. Haney  

 

What is morality? What is its basis? What norms or principles should guide our actions? This course offers a detailed investigation of these fundamental questions. We will examine theories about the source of morality (topics from the area known as metaethics) and theories concerning how we ought to structure our moral thought and action (topics from the area known as normative theory). We will be concerned throughout to see how metaethical and normative questions interrelate: what are the arguments, for example, for thinking that moral norms derive from different cultural ways of life, and what effect should agreement with such arguments have on one’s moral outlook? The fact that this is primarily a course in abstract theory does not mean that we will not devote time to the discussion of real life moral problems and dilemmas. Indeed, one major goal of the course will be the exploration of the relationship between ethical theory and everyday life.  PHI 5605 is a course required of all students in the M.A. in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics.


 

PHI 5628 Business Ethics

CRN 81009

MW 1630-1745

Instructor: A. Creller

  

This course will prepare and engage students to answer the following questions: Do we need ethical organizations? What does it mean for an organization to be ethical? What tools, structures, and ethical values constitute the elements of an ethical organization? How do we evaluate organizations from an ethical perspective? What are the means of improving organizations from an ethical perspective?

 

 

PHI 5634 Bioethics 

CRN 82995

MW 1500-1615

Instructor: A. Swota  


Arising out of the changing landscape in medicine are a number of ethical issues. In this course we will analyze and examine some of these issues that have evolved out of recent and anticipated developments in medicine.  Issues to be discussed include the physician-patient relationship, informed consent, advance directives, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, issues in reproductive ethics, experimentation on human subjects, and access to health care.  Throughout this course we will examine assumptions about rights, persons, and ethical principles at play in the medical arena. Readings will include discussions of ethical principles in medical contexts and legal decisions.  In addition, case studies will be utilized to provide students with the opportunity to sharpen their analytic skills and develop a deeper understanding of some of the major bioethical issues currently being debated.

 

 

PHI 5634 Philosophy of Education

CRN 83001

M 1800-2045

Instructor: E. Gilson  

 

This course explores central questions, both perennial and contemporary, related to education: What is education? What does it mean to become educated? Who should be educated and in what way? Who is responsible for providing education? What is the purpose or aims of education in general and, more specifically, in a democratic society? Is education merely about the acquisition of knowledge and skills? Or should education also have ethical and political aims? In a democracy, should education cultivate an informed or capable citizenry? Which educational methods, models, pedagogies are the best and for what ends? We will consider various historical and contemporary perspectives on these questions as well as the state of education – primary, secondary, and higher education – in the 21st century US. The course material will include texts from authors such as John Dewey, Paolo Freire, Martha Nussbaum, bell hooks, Henry Giroux, Anthony Appiah, Amy Gutmann, Nel Noddings, and Lawrence Blum. Graduate students will be expected to consider how ethical, social, and political theories relate to education and what their implications are for educational policy. 

 

 

PHI 5634 Introduction to Buddhism

CRN 83007

R 1800-2045

Instructor: S. Mattice  

    

In this course we will critically engage Buddhist philosophy and religion, from its origins in ancient India to its spread across Asia and its impact on the contemporary world. After a focused survey of key ideas, practices, and texts, we will delve into the Heart Sutra, an important Mahayana text, and examine in detail several commentaries from different traditions.

 

 

 

 

PHI 6936 Contemporary European Philosophy

CRN 82988

MW 1330-1445

Instructor: E. Gilson   

 

The European philosophers of the 20th century break with tradition by questioning fundamental assumptions and challenging our normal categories, inciting a revolution in philosophical thinking. This course surveys the major schools of thought such as phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, structuralism, post-structuralism, and feminism, and considers the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Cixous, Irigaray, and Judith Butler. Central themes include the nature of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, otherness and difference, language and power, the critique of foundational truth, and the impact of these critical perspectives on ethics and politics. 

 

 

PHI 6937 Themes Methods Practical Philosophy

CRN 80473

T 1800-2045

Instructor: A. Buchwalter

 

This course is an advanced-level introduction to central themes and approaches in practical philosophy, with emphasis equally on social and political thought and application to trends in current social and cultural life.  The course is divided into three main parts.  Part I explores practical philosophy via the interpretation of seminal historical texts. Its focus is on main trends in ancient and modern political theory, with special attention to the distinction between liberalism and republicanism.  Part II explores practical philosophy via conceptual analysis, examining efforts by contemporary political and social theorists to theorize central concepts like justice, liberty, democracy, and human rights.  Part III explores practical philosophy in its application to issues of special topicality today, such as global justice, cosmopolitanism, and religion in the public sphere.  Readings draw on writers from diverse traditions and orientations.  The course seeks to enhance advanced-level philosophical writing skills.  Conducted as a seminar, this course presumes active student participation.  PHI 6937 is a course required of all students in the M.A. in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics.

 

 

 

PHM  5405 Philosophy of Law 

CRN 83011

TR 1505-1620

Instructor: A. Buchwalter

 

This course explores basic concepts in legal theory and jurisprudence, including rights, liberties, justice, constitutionalism, authority, liability, responsibility, punishment, equal treatment, the rule of law, and the legal practice. Special attention will be given to the nature of law itself, as thematized in classical writings and the most contemporary discussions. We also consider the nature of legal reasoning and interpretation, the relationship of law and economics, the place of law in international justice, as well as the relationship of law to democracy and matters of contemporary public policy.  In applying legal theory to specific events and concrete cases, we consider current issues associated with universal human rights, freedom of expression, gun rights, same-sex marriage, the insanity defense, the death penalty, as well as controversies surrounding critical legal studies and other alternative theories.   The graduate section of this course gives special consideration to advanced themes in international law, judicial review, religious freedom, as well as such new trends in legal theory and discourse theory.