Department of Philosophy

Fall 22 Electives

PHIL 329: Bioethics:

Moral issues arising in health care delivery, including social policy as well as clinical problems


PHIL 336: Liberalism:

This semester we will be talking about political theories of liberalism or, in other words, what politics looks like if we start from the assumption that human beings are naturally free.  Our conversations will be framed around some of the basic questions that arise in liberalism: How can political authority be legitimate if we are born free from such authority? What limits on authority are necessary, given our freedom? What can political communities legitimately ask of their individual members, and what can individual members legitimately ask of their political communities? How valuable, and how dangerous, is individuality? 


PHIL 338: Enlightenment & Revolution:

According to Aristotle, the primary theme of ancient pre-Socratic philosophy was the discovery and discussion of Nature.  Subsequently, a set of questions emerged regarding the relationship between Nature and political things.  Specifically, Plato portrays Socrates as inquiring into whether political things are natural and, if so, to what extent.  Similarly, Socrates raises the question of whether the laws, and even justice itself, have their roots in something other than mere convention.  Classical political philosophy suggests that the laws must be “according to nature,” and especially according to the nature of man, if they are to be good.  This course explores the modern responses to the classical explanations of law and nature, particularly the modern discussion of natural right and convention. 


PHIL 341: Philosophy of Time:

What is time? How is it related to change, space, and the human mind? Authors read may include Aristotle, Augustine, Kant, and Heidegger.


PHIL 346: The Scottish Enlightenment:

This course will explore issues in morals, politics, economics and culture from the standpoint of several 18th century Scottish thinkers. Readings will include Hutcheson, Ferguson, Hume, Kames, Smith, and Millar


PHIL 363: Medieval Political Philosophy

We will examine selections from the four principal political philosophers of the Middle Ages, namely, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, and Marsilius of Padua.  We will focus on two historical aspects in medieval political philosophy.  First, what we call today "church" and "state" were not two separate entities in the Middle Ages; rather, church (sacerdotium) and state (regnum) were two parts of a single entity--Christendom.  Thus, how did each of these philosophers understand the relationship between church and state?  Secondly, the separation of church and state, which was first proposed in the Middle Ages, was accompanied by a separation of law (lex) from natural right (ius) and a tendency to root political life in artifice and will rather than in nature and reason.  Thus, how did each of these political philosophers understand law and its relation to ethics and human nature?




An in-depth reading of several of Nietzsche’s works.