Philosophy Department

Consider Philosophy

Philosophy Fall 2022


PHI 105 Philosophy thru History
Section 1 (60385) T/TH 2-3:15P
Section 2 (60386) Online asynchronous
Kenneth L Knight
*Cultural Interpretation Requirement 

An introduction to philosophy through its history and development, i.e., through an examination of central texts in the history of philosophy, up to and including contemporary works. Specific readings may vary from semester to semester, but will always include some canonical works by classic Western philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant).  Prerequisite: a college writing course. kenneth.knightjr@maine.edu

PHI 201(61978)  Public Philosophy
Online, asynchronous
Jason Read 
*Engaged Learning Requirement

What is the public? Is public debate possible? In recent years “fake news,” “cancel culture,” and the rise of  “conspiracy theories” have called into question the very possibility of public and debate and discussion. At the same time private and fleeting opinions about everything from political scandals to popular culture have become increasingly public, shared to millions of strangers (sometimes to detrimental effects for the individuals involved). How to make sense of the simultaneous death of the public and its ubiquitous nature? What does all this mean for politics, for culture, and for our individual lives?
The course will involve public events as well as reading, discussion, and writing.  jason.read@maine.edu  

PHI 205 (60953) Logic
Monday/ Wednesday 12:30-1:45
Yishai Cohen
*Quantitative Reasoning

Techniques to distinguish good from bad reasoning through the study of formal and informal logic including fallacies, inductive and deductive arguments, truth tables, evidence, and rules of implication.  yishai.cohen@maine.edu

PHI 211 (62609): Media Ethics
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00-12:15
Joseph Arel
*Ethical Inquiry Requirement

In the information age, media play an increasingly large role in our lives. Our notion of living in a global society is largely shaped by media. What is responsible journalism? Does violent programming contribute to violence in America? What are professional ethics and how should they guide media practitioners? We will discuss these questions by examining key ethical values in media such as: privacy, confidentiality, truth telling, conflicts of interest, and social responsibility. We will also explore some fundamental issues in ethical theory such as: Why be ethical? What is ethics? How do ethical theories differ? What are the best ways to evaluate and apply ethical theories to media controversies today? joseph.arel@maine.edu

PHI 212 : Environmental Ethics
Online asynchronous:
Section 1(60387)  8/29/22-10/14/22   7 weeks!
Section 2 (63526) 10/17/22-12/-09/22   7 weeks!
Julien Murphy
*Ethical Inquiry requirement

This course analyzes the relations between human beings and the environment in terms of the concepts of justice, the good, and human responsibilities. It attempts to provide a new cosmological model for adjudicating between conflicting rights and duties. Issues discussed include animal rights, environmental protection, ecological harmony.  jmurphy@maine.edu

PHI 215 (69304): Philosophy of Literature
Monday and Wednesday 11:00-12:15
Jason Read
*Ethical Inquiry requirement

Literature in terms of stories, myths, and narratives are false, inventions of the imagination, yet at the same time they not only feel real, eliciting joy and sadness, fear and fascination, but seem to shape both individual identity and collective belonging more than rationality. Because of this philosophy has repeatedly attempted to banish the bewitching power of narrative, while relying on literary metaphors and stories to express its most fundamental truths. This course is an examination of this paradox of fiction and reality, imagination and reason, through an exploration of the relationship between philosophy and literature. Finally, we will turn to science fiction to examine a different way to articulate the relation between the imagination, and reason. Examining to what extent is the imagination and not reason that makes it possible to not only confront the legacy of history, but also prepare for the future. Philosophers will include: Plato, Hegel, Marx, Adorno, Deleuze, and Haraway. Literary works include: Kafka’s short stories, The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin and The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. jason.read@maine.edu

PHI 285: Biology, Technology & Ethics
Section 1 (61580) Online asynchronous
Section 2 (62607) T/TH 2-3:15
William Seeley
*Ethical Inquiry requirement

Biomedical ethics is a branch of applied ethics dedicated to the evaluation of ethical issues surrounding medical practice. For instance, how do we distinguish disease and illness from health? Is 'normal function' a biological or a cultural concept? What is the distinction between a treatment and an enhancement? How do answers to these questions affect health care judgments? Does the possibility of neuropharmacological enhancement change these answers in the case of psychological health? Should nascent technologies whose effects are not fully understood be used to treat patients with chronic health issues? At what point do risks outweigh the benefits of treatment? Is it ethically permissible to use Alzheimer’s patients in human trials? Does permission of the family make a difference in one's evaluation of the matter? How should one go about determining the status and quality of life of a comatose patient? Does anyone have the right, or the ethical resources, to assess the life options of chronically ill patients? How should genetic screening be used to enhance the health of an individual? Should this tool be used to enhance the general health of the community? We will discuss these issues along with questions about the ethical foundations of human subjects research, the nature and ethics of genetic screening, informed consent and the physician-patient relationship, the definition of death, and the ethics of stem cell research and cloning. Many of our topics of discussion will be loosely directed towards emerging issues in neuroethics, a field focused on ethical questions about the growing use of neuropharmacological and surgical technologies in medical contexts. william.seeley@maine.edu

PHI 291: Death and Dying
section 1 (60891) online asynchronous
section 2 (60892) online asynchronous
Sandra Dutkowsky
*Ethical Inquiry requirement

The literature relating to death and philosophy is vast and complex. In this class, we will explore readings relating to the nature of death (ourselves and others), the goodness/badness of death, and the ethics of death and technology.

The study of the philosophy of death typically leads to a discussion of the meaning of life. Therefore, we will review some essays relating to that idea as well.

Finally, we will take an interdisciplinary approach and read some literary pieces that deal with these philosophical issues.  Sandra.Dutkowsky@maine.edu

PHI 330 (62606)  The Enlightenment: Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant 
Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:15 PM
Robert Louden
*Cultural Interpretation

PHI 330 focuses on close readings and evaluations of key texts written by Western European philosophers (and a few of their American offshoots) during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In addition to examining canonical works in metaphysics and epistemology by major figures of this period such as Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, and Kant, we will also explore some shorter pieces written by various Enlightenment authors on issues such as war and peace, reason and God, the economy and markets, gender and race, and childhood and education. The works in the first group represent different attempts to articulate a theoretical framework for modernity, while the works in the second group are primarily concerned with applications and implications of these theories.  louden@maine.edu

PHI 350 (60893) American Philosophy
Online asynchronous
Kenneth Knight

History and background of the origin of philosophical ideas in America; particular emphasis given to Peirce, James, Royce, Dewey . kenneth.knightjr@maine.edu

PHI 355 (61977) Contemporary Feminism
Online asynchronous -8/29/22-10/14/22 7 weeks!
Julien Murphy
*Diversity

This course examines recent work in feminist political and social philosophy by American and European feminist philosophers related to the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality. We will explore the unique contributions of philosophy to feminist theory. jmurphy@maine.edu

PHI 370 (62605) Analytic Philosophy
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30-1:45 PM
Yishai Cohen
*Cultural Interpretation

This course explores a philosophical tradition originating in the 20th century called “Analytic Philosophy”. This kind of philosophy attempts to break down concepts and “atomize” them into a variety of simpler concepts and, more specifically, offer necessary and sufficient conditions for concepts. Analytic philosophy is also joined at the hip to “naturalism”, the view that science is the primary, or, at any rate, a major resource of knowledge about reality. The themes that we will cover include language, metaphysics, epistemology, mind, free will, personal identity, ethics, and methodology. yishai.cohen@maine.edu

PHI 400 (60894) Philosophy Topics Seminar-Kant: The Pure and  the Impure
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00-12:15 PM
Robert Louden
*Major Capstone

Immanuel Kant is famous for (among other things) his advocacy of "a pure moral philosophy, cleansed of everything that may be only empirical and that belongs to anthropology." But in recent years increased attention has been directed to the impure, empirical side of his complex and multifaceted philosophical system, as revealed in such works as Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, his essays on the philosophy of history, and his Lectures on Pedagogy. In this seminar we will explore both the pure and the impure sides of Kant's practical philosophy, in an attempt to determine how these two sides do (or don't) fit together. Can a viable philosophy remain pure? Or must it also embrace the impure? louden@maine.edu

 REL 299-Topics (61920) Introduction to World Religion
Asynchronous online
Instructor  TBD
* Cultural Interpretation & International

This course will provide a basic understanding of the world’s major religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam). It will explore the nature of religion through the shared characteristics of ritual, sacrifice, prayer, pilgrimage, and  service/ethics as well as modern approaches to war, political power, the environment/climate change, and sexuality/gender within the world religions.