Some Recent Courses (Syllabi available on request)
Ethics and Animals: Most people agree that we have moral obligations to non-human animals, but there is considerable disagreement about the basis and extent of these obligations. Among the more contentious questions concern the moral status of animals (e.g., whether they have rights) and our use of animals for food, biomedical research, and entertainment. In this course, we’ll examine some of these disagreements in an effort to better understand our relationship to animals and to come to reasoned opinions of our own about these issues.
Ethical Controversies: This course introduces students to moral philosophy through an examination of ethical controversies over issues like abortion, affirmative action, animal rights, the death penalty, euthanasia, world hunger, etc. Other topics discussed may include debates over popular ethical principles (e.g., do the ends justify the means?) and over the nature of ethical values.
Introduction to Philosophy: An introduction to the problems, methods, and aims of philosophy. This course is designed to give students a general understanding of philosophy as a field of inquiry through a survey of central philosophical problems and/or significant figures within the history of philosophy.
Life, Death, Immortality: This course examines a set of interrelated questions about life, death, and immortality. Does life have any meaning? If so, what is it? To what extent does living a meaningful life depend on the survival of humanity? To what extent does it depend on our own mortality? Is a person’s death a bad thing for that person, something for the person to be bemoan and perhaps even dread, and if so, why? Is it reasonable to fear death? Is life after death a possibility for beings like us?
Philosophy of Law: This course examines philosophical issues in and about the law. Topics discussed may include the nature of law, its proper scope, judicial interpretation of law, civil disobedience, moral challenges involved in the legal profession, and problems concerning legal liability and punishment.
Philosophy of Religion: This course examines philosophical issues about religion. Topics discussed may include arguments for and against the existence of God, the nature of religious faith, the relation between faith and reason, and the relationship between religion and ethics.
A Life Well Lived: Most people want to live life well. But what does a life well lived look like? What sorts of habits, activities, commitments, relationships, and experiences does it include? And what can we do to ensure that our lives have more of those things? In this course, we explore these questions through close reading and discussion of both philosophical and religious texts.