The following list represents detailed course descriptions of our current offerings; for the full range of graduate courses offered in MA in Practical Philosophy & Applied Ethics, as well as the Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics, please consult the Graduate Course Descriptions in the UNF catalog.
CRN: 80553W 1800-2045
Instructor: B. Bannon
Throughout the history of philosophy, there has been a concern with how best to live one's life. In this course, we will be examining the historical trajectory of responses to this concern. In the Classical world the concern was for the formation of one's character through specific social practices, but over time this project transformed into the development of a moral principle to guide actions and eventually into the quest to formulate a "decision procedure" that can be applied to specific situations. In light of these changes, contemporary philosophers have begun to question the very project of morality conceived in this way. The main questions of this course, then, will not only be how philosophers have come to define good and bad, right and wrong, but also whether it is even desirable to do so and what it means for us if it is not. This course is one in ethical theory, which means we will not so much be discussing the application of ideas, but rather we will inquire into the foundational concepts of morality in general. PHI 3601 is a course required of all philosophy majors. A section of PHI 5605 is required of all students in the M.A. program in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics.
CRN: 80533T 1800-2045Instructor: 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, and democracy. Part III explores practical philosophy in its application to issues of special topicality today, such as global justice 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. A section of PHI 6937 is required of all students in the M.A. program in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics.
CRN: 81191 MW 1630-1745 Instructor: M.Haney
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?
CRN: 82965M 1200-1445 Instructor: B. Bannon
This course will focus upon the philosophical problems surrounding humanity's relationship to the rest of the natural world. We will survey the various approaches philosophers have recently taken in their attempts to determine what, if any, responsibilities human beings have toward their environments. While the predominant approach has been a moral one, we will devote significant time and attention to alternative models that seek to elucidate the connection between social institutions and the treatment of nature as well. Some of the questions we will be asking are as follows: Are humans a part of nature or somehow distinct from it? What is the best way for us to live in the natural world? What is the relationship between human oppressions and the domination of nature? Can you dominate something like nature? How do we care for nature? Throughout the course, we will be using the theories we learn in order to address case studies of actual environmental problems. The aim of the course, then, is not only to learn the theories, but to see how they might help to guide our practical choices as well.
CRN: 82969TR 1630-1745Instructor: S. Mattice
The course explores major themes in philosophical aesthetics, from classical traditions to the contemporary world. We will examine questions such as: What makes something art? What is beauty? What is the nature of aesthetic experience? What is the role of creativity in art? How do/should we interpret works of art? What is the role of the art critic? What is the relationship between art and morality? Is art a universal phenomenon? What are the political implications of art? What is a nude? What does it mean to live aesthetically? Along the way we will examine various texts, artists, works of art, and artistic practices from both western and non-western aesthetic traditions.
CRN: 82974TR 1340-1455 Instructor: E. Gilson
This course examines contemporary ideas about love and sex, as well as the foundations of these ideas in the history of philosophy. We will discuss the way love, sex, and sexuality shape our identities, the relationship between love, sex, sexuality and gender roles, heterosexuality and homosexuality, the power of norms concerning love and sex, the role of socio-cultural depictions of love and sex, and the ethics of romantic and sexual practices. In addition to readings drawn from the history of philosophy, some particular texts to be studied include Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality, Laura Kipnis' Against Love, and Michael Warner's The Trouble with Normal.
CRN: 82972R 1800-2045 Instructor: H. Koegler
This course will reconstruct the fundamental importance of language as the essential medium of human experience. The revolutionary Linguistic Turn defines much of the profile of 20th century philosophy and remains one of the major inspirations of contemporary philosophical thought. We will follow its impact by focusing on questions like: What is the relation between language and thought? How do we understand other minds through language? How do linguistic entities-signs, words, sentences, propositions, and speech acts-hook onto things and state of affairs in the world? How does the social nature of language redefine truth and justification? What constitutes linguistic meaning: intentions, references to external facts, or shared rules and social practices? The course is unique by approaching these questions through all the four major perspectives in philosophy of language, including hermeneutics, semiotics and discourse analysis, analytic philosophy of language, and speech act theory. Thinkers discussed will include Humboldt, Gadamer, Heidegger, de Saussure, Foucault, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Searle, and Habermas. The course specifically addresses the social grounds of truth, reason, and ethics, including the grounds of normative and ethical judgments.
CRN: 82976TR 1050-1205Instructor: E. Gilson
This course is an examination of major issues and figures in 20th century continental philosophy. We will briefly survey the central themes of major schools of thought such as phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, and structuralism, but the focus of the course will be post-structuralism and deconstruction (especially contemporary French thinkers, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida). Main topics will 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. Graduate students will find substantial resources for thinking about the relationship between social life and ethics, the limits of ethical prescription, and the nature of politic engagement.
CRN: 82980A 1800-2045Instructor: 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.
CRN: 82982TR 1505-1620 Instructor: A. Buchwalter
This course introduces and critically examines the main themes in Western political thought. Thinkers covered include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, Nietzsche, Arendt, Rawls, Sandel, Habermas, Okin, Foucault, and Fanon. Through a close reading of these ancient, modern, and contemporary thinkers, we will develop a deeper understanding of key concepts such as rights, freedom, equality, justice, citizenship, obligation, privacy, power, and political community itself. We examine as well classical positions in political philosophy--e.g., liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, republicanism, contractarianism--as well as important contemporary theories, like communitarianism, feminism, multiculturalism, postmodernism, deliberative democracy, and postcolonialism. An overarching aim of the course is to clarify, both historically and conceptually, the relationship of individual and community, with the ultimate goal of clarifying for ourselves the nature of that relationship. Graduate students will be assigned supplemental readings and will also participate in occasional graduate-student only special sessions.
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