Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)


Spring 1997


Philosophy is about as broad a subject as one can find in a university curriculum. It addresses a wide array of questions, some quite familiar (Does God exist? Why be moral? What is art?), others less so (What is a thing? Is space a substance?). It also falls within philosophy to examine the methods and practices of virtually all academic disciplines. Because of this breadth, a person can study philosophy in ways involving the styles and techniques of thought of most other fields of inquiry. For example, the work of a philosopher concentrating in logic is much like that of the student of mathematics. A philosopher primarily interested in the philosophy of religion will often be doing much the same things as a theologian or a student of the history of religion. Political philosophy is regarded by some as including political activity itself. Many other such examples exist. In addition, philosophy examines the practices of other activities, such as the fine arts, that are sometimes thought of as different from typical academic disciplines. However, for the most part the activities characteristic of philosophy are peculiar to the discipline. The only way to know what it's really like is to give it a try.

In the Spring Term, the Department offers a number of courses that do not carry prerequisites Philosophy 181, 303, 359, and 365. Philosophy 181 is a general introduction designed to acquaint students with a representative sample of philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self, morality, religion, and society. Philosophy 303 is an introduction to symbolic logic, and meets a requirement for the concentration. Philosophy 359 focuses on philosophical issues that arise in connection with the law. Philosophy 365 focuses on philosophical thinking about religion. In addition, the department offers Philosophy 372, which addresses philosophical issues that arise in connection with gender. Spring offerings are limited to 50 students, and sometimes enroll as few as 20.

181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (2). (HU).

This course will introduce students to the tools of philosophical analysis by focusing on issues that are related to how we view ourselves and how our lives gain the significance and meaning that we take them to have. We will start with a study of free will and move out from there to discuss the role of morality and knowledge in a valuable life. WL:4 (Shah)

303. Introduction to Symbolic Logic. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 203, 296 or 414. (3). (N.Excl). (BS).

Philosophy 303 is an introduction to formal logic. We will (1) identify and analyze some important concepts, for example, the concepts of validity, logical form, inference, etc.; (2) use that knowledge to develop formal systems which model deductive arguments, so we can get some deeper understanding about how they work; (3) become familiar and develop competence with those formal systems; and (4) investigate the formal systems themselves in an effort to prove some interesting results about the power and limitations of deductive logic. This course meets the logic requirement for undergraduate concentrators in philosophy, and should be of interest to anyone who would like to learn more about either logic or philosophy. There are no prerequisites. Course requirements include a weekly quiz in class and a final examination. WL:1 (Devlin)

359. Law and Philosophy. (2). (HU).

This is not a course in law, nor will it prepare you for law school. Rather, we shall use the tools and methods of philosophy to reflect on the law, legal systems, and moral issues arising in legal contexts. We shall read important judicial decisions as well as classic and contemporary theoretical works by philosophers and legal academics. Subjects to be discussed include the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, theories of punishment, judicial review, the death penalty, abortion, equal protection, sexual harassment, and affirmative action. Course requirements include consistent class participation, several short essays, and (possibly) an exam. WL:4 (Brand-Ballard)

365/Rel. 365. Problems of Religion. (2). (HU).

This course is an advanced introduction to central topics in the Western philosophical tradition concerning God and religion. Topics will include the concept of God; traditional arguments for and against the existence of God, including whether God's existence can be reconciled with the existence of suffering; the significance of religious experience and miracles; whether religion is essential to morality; the relationship between faith and reason; and religious toleration. Students will be encouraged to supplement lectures with a discussion of their own views on these topics throughout the course. WL:4 (Diller)

372. Philosophical Topics in the Study of Gender. One course in philosophy or women's studies, or permission of instructor. (2). (HU).

We will discuss two major issues: What does justice require with respect to gender equality? What does justice require with respect to the status of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals? Topics may include: (1) What is the best way to conceive of the ideal of equality between men and women? (2) How do inequalities between men and women in the domestic sphere translate into inequalities in the public sphere, and vice versa? (3) Does socialization into distinct masculine and feminine gender roles perpetuate sexism and homophobia? Does justice require the reform, or perhaps even the elimination, of gender role norms? (4) Does justice require laws which prohibit discrimination according to sexual orientation? Does it require affirmative action? Legally recognizing same-sex marriages? Requirements: two papers, final exam, class participation. WL:4 (Allen)


Summer 1997

Philosophy is about as broad a subject as one can find in a university curriculum. It addresses a wide array of questions, some quite familiar (Does God exist? Why be moral? What is art?), others less so (What is a thing? Is space a substance?). It also falls within philosophy to examine the methods and practices of virtually all academic disciplines. Because of this breadth, a person can study philosophy in ways involving the styles and techniques of thought of most other fields of inquiry. For example, the work of a philosopher concentrating in logic is much like that of the student of mathematics. A philosopher primarily interested in the philosophy of religion will often be doing much the same things as a theologian or a student of the history of religion. Political philosophy is regarded by some as including political activity itself. Many other such examples exist. In addition, philosophy examines the practices of other activities, such as the fine arts, that are sometimes thought of as different from typical academic disciplines. However, for the most part the activities characteristic of philosophy are peculiar to the discipline. The only way to know what it's really like is to give it a try.

In the Summer Term, the Department offers a number of courses that do not carry prerequisites Philosophy 180, 181, 340, and 355. Philosophy 180 is an introduction to critical thinking and logic. Philosophy 181 is a general introduction designed to acquaint students with a representative sample of philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self, morality, religion, and society. Philosophy 340 addresses the relationship between mind, consciousness, and intelligence to matter and the brain. Philosophy 355 focuses on a number of contemporary moral and social issues. Summer courses are limited to 50 students, and sometimes enroll as few as 15.

180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (2). (N.Excl). (BS).

This course is an introduction to topics related to good reasoning and the evaluation of arguments. It will cover the following topics: the structure of arguments, informal fallacies, the character and techniques of definition, and the evaluation of different kinds of inductive argument. It will also include an introduction to categorical logic and propositional logic. It is intended to satisfy two functions: to acquaint the students with logic as a topic of study, and to provide them with greater critical tools and improved reasoning abilities for use in any field. The course requirements are four non-cumulative in-class tests, and homework assignments. WL:4 (Kelly)

181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (2). (HU).

This course examines problems drawn from a number of branches of philosophy. Examples of issues that might be discussed include: How do we know that anything exists, other than ourselves? What is knowledge, and can we really know anything at all? Are minds immaterial spirits, or are minds brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects? If human actions are causally determined by heredity and environment, is there any free will or moral responsibility? How extensive are our moral obligations to others, the sick and the starving, for instance? Is the nature and extent of our moral obligations determined by our feelings, self-interest, social convention, Divine commands, or something else? How should one live one's life? What is the meaning of life, and what does this question mean? Are there good reasons for believing that God exists? Class will include both lecture and discussion. Several short papers will be assigned. There will also be a final exam. WL:4 (Weber)

340. Mind, Matter, and Machines. (2). (HU).

How are mind and matter related? Are minds nothing more than natural objects, that is, just complicated arrangements of matter? Were that so maybe machines could have minds, too, and so have free will, exhibit creativity, emotions and consciousness. Some of the most lively and important contemporary philosophy seeks answers to these and related questions, such as: How are animal minds like human minds? Could a machine have a self? When do we know we should call something an agent, and treat it responsibly? We will critically examine a number of models of the mind, with the aim of grasping why these issues matter to our conception of ourselves. Requirements for the course include two very short papers and one longer paper. WL:4 (Lawlor)

355. Contemporary Moral Problems. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 455. (2). (HU).

This course is about learning to understand moral and political disagreements and conflicts in contemporary America. It will explore competing theories of what "justice" means or should mean, the moral dimensions of such concepts as "equality," "freedom" and "autonomy," and the concrete implications of these in public policy debates. There will be special attention on racism and sexism, and on how race, gender, and religion figure in arguments about public policies. In particular, we will spend much time on understanding debates about affirmative action, various forms of gender inequality, and the freedom of expression. Active participation in the classroom will be very important; in addition, there will be four in-class writing assignments and a final examination. WL:4 (LaVaque-Manty)


lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.