Rice Unconventional Wisdom

Philosophpy DepartmentHumanities Building photos
Philosophy Courses

Fall 2011

Phil 100  001 Problems of Philosophy - J. Kolman  
MWF 9:00-9:50  HUM 117
An introduction to philosophy through such fundamental problems as the basis of morality; the foundation of state authority, determinism and freedom, and the possibility of knowledge.

Phil 100  002  Problems of Philosophy - A. Carreras
MWF 1:00-1:50
An introduction to philosophy through such fundamental problems as the possibility of knowledge, the existence of God, free-will and determinism, the basis of morality, and the foundation of state authority.  Readings will be drawn mostly from the great figures of the history of philosophy from the ancient period through the 20th century, e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Russell, and Rawls.  


Phil 101 Contemporary Moral Issues - Prof. G. Bradford  
MWF 10:00-10:50  SEW 309
Examination of moral issues surrounding such topics as abortion, euthanasia, war, capital punishment, justice, and equality.


Phil 104 Phil Perspectives on Science - Prof. M. Fagan
TR 10:50-12:05  HUM 227
This course examines basic features of scientific method and philosophical accounts of scientific knowledge.  Topics include: discovery, explanation, evidence, theories and models.


Phil 105 Hist. Intro. to Philosophy- C. Feierabend  
TR 9:25-10:40  HUM 227
What is the best way to live?  What is the fundamental nature of reality? How do we know? How should we deal with the unknown?  This course will introduce the novel way of relating to the world that developed on the ancient shores of the Aegean Sea, examine its maturation in the Enlightenment, and consider whether this mode of thought remains viable today.  In other words, the course surveys, from the perspective of reason, the major themes of human existence: beauty, trust, despair, love, death, desire, meaning, force, choice, etc.  Readings include Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Kant, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein.


Phil 201 History of Philosophy I - Prof. C. Siewert 
TR 10:50-12:05  SEW 305
A Study of important and influential ideas in the philosophy of Ancient Greece.  Topics will conclude: the early nature philosophers' challenge to traditional accounts of the gods and the origins of the cosmos; Socrates' trial and his call to live "the examined life"; Plato on the soul, the possibility of knowledge, and the nature of reality; Aristotle's search for first principles and his conception of the natural world; Aristotelian, Stoic, and Epicurean ideas on what constitutes a good human life and how it is to be achieved.


Phil 302 Modern Philosophy - Prof. M. Kulstad 
TR 9:25-10:40  HUM 117
Examination of themes or authors in 17th- and 18th- century philosophy. Topics vary from year to year. Repeatable for credit with consent of instructor. Normally offered every year. Recommended for majors that PHIL 202 be taken before PHIL 302. For non-majors one previous course in philosophy is recommended.


Phil 303 Theory of Knowledge - Prof. M. Fagan 
TR 1:00-2:20  SEW 305
This course examines the question: what is knowledge, and how is it possible that we have it? Topics include: definition or analysis of knowledge, justification and evidence, skeptical challenges, and relativism.


Phil 305 Mathematical Logic - Prof. R. Grandy 
MWF 10:00-10:50  RZR 123
Logic is the study of forms of argument,  the main goal being to distinguish correct from incorrect forms.  In this course we  develop  formal languages and methods for assessing correctness.  This requires facility both in manipulating the language and in thinking about it. Along the way we  discover  important strengths and limitations of the languages, and, by translating back and forth into English, learn a lot about the logical structure of English.  We briefly explore some further directions for developing logic—many-valued logics,  the logic of necessity and possibility, and if there is time, some tense logic. Distribution  Group III


Phil 306 Ethics - Prof. G. Bradford 
MWF 1:00-1:50  HUM 117
This course deals with fundamental questions of value and morality-questions such as: What sort of life is best? What kind of person is it best to be? What does morality require of us? It also deals with important second-order questions about these fundamental questions- for example: Can morality be justified? How can we know what's right or good? Is there moral truth? What is the relation between morality and self-interest? Readings are drawn from both classical and contemporary sources. 

Phil 307 Social and Political Philosophy - J.S. Summers  
MWF 9:00-9:50  HUM 328
Novel social and political situations prompt us to wonder whether new problems require new theoretical tools and arguments, or whether our strongest tools and arguments of the past are still applicable.  This course will  consider two areas that were not of general concern until very recently.  The first area is biomedical enhancement.  The second is extreme equality, both global and across species, of the sort that would have been impractical and perhaps unthinkable until recently.

Phil 309 Aesthics - J. Miller 
MWF 2:00-2:50  HUM 119
An introduction to the philosophy of art drawing upon traditional and contemporary philosophical theories, artist's manifestos, and reflection upon exemplary art works. Topics include: What is a work of art? What is artistic genius? What makes an artwork good? What is the place of art within morality and society.

Phil 321 Kant and 19th Century Philosophy - J. Miller 
MWF 11:00-11:50  BKH 229
An examination of Kant's philosophical revolution in his "Critique of Pure Reason," and of the development and criticism of conceptions of self-consciousness, autonomy, sociality, and history in the later post-Kantian philosophical tradition of German Idealism, German Romanticism, and works by Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Marx.


Phil 339 Death and Dying - J. Blumenthal-Barby 
TR  10:50-12:05  HUM 328
How are we to respond to the fact of death? This course examines the moral and metaphysical issues surrounding the death of persons.  Readings from analytic philosophy and bioethics, and some from continental philosophy.

Phil 353 Philosophy of Language - C. O'Callaghan 
TR 2:30-3:15  HUM 328

Phil 502 Seminar in Modern Philosophy - M. Kulstad 
F 1:00-4:00  HUM 227

Phil 505 Seminar in Mathematical Logic - R. Grandy 
MW10:00-10:50 F 10:00-12:00   SEW 462 (FRI)

Phil 506 Seminar in Ethics  - J.S. Summers 
M 2:00-5:00  HUM 227
Moral theory often focuses on acting for reasons, but why is acting for reasons a useful way to approach moral questions?  Does it illuminate moral issues, or does it merely give old questions a new vocabulary?  We will consider some literature on acting for reasons with an eye towards what role reasons do and should play in moral theory.

Phil 508 Seminar in Continental Philosophy - C. Siewert 
R 2:00-5:00  HUM 227
Merleau-Ponty's 1945 Phenomenology of Perception proposes that perception fundamentally involves a non-intellectual way of understanding the world through bodily movement, a "motor intentionality" distorted or ignored by traditional philosophical and psychological theories.  This text is central to the history of the phenomenological movement, and it has a renewed timeliness and many potential points of connection with current philosophy of perception.  We will examine key selections from it to get as clear as possible an interpretation of its core views.  We will also look at how they compare with contemporary discussions on topics such as: the intentionality of perception; the indeterminacy of perceptual content; the philosophical use of psychological deficits and pathologies ("philosophical psychopathology"); conceptualism; disjunctivism, and sensorimotor knowledge.

Phil 523 Seminar in Kant - H.T. Engelhardt 
T 2:00-5:00   HUM 227
Few philosophers have had as great an impact on contemporary thought as Immanuel Kant, whose influence reaches powerfully to both analytic philosophy and Continental philosophy. This seminar offers an introduction to his work and to his place in the history of ideas. Emphasis falls primarily on exploring Kant’s epistemology, moral theory, and political philosophy. The readings are drawn from the Critique of Pure Reason, The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, the Critique of Practical Reason, and The Metaphysical Elements of Justice. The goal of the seminar is to offer an introduction to Kant’s mature philosophy and his contribution to Enlightenment thought.

Phil 554 Philosophy of Perception - C. O'Callaghan 
W 2:00-5:00  HUM 227