Undergraduate Courses

Below is a list of upcoming undergraduate courses with full descriptions (when available) and other specific information. For a full listing of undergraduate-level courses offered by the Department, please see the course catalog. For a complete listing of courses offered in the current and upcoming semester see the schedule of classes.

Upcoming Undergraduate Courses

Spring Semester 2019

1100 Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: R. Samuels
PA 20, MW 10:20-11:15

This course is designed to introduce students to some longstanding and fundamental philosophical issues, including issues regarding the existence of God, the nature and extent of human free will, and issues regarding personal identity. In discussing these issues, we will focus on influential historical texts and well as more contemporary texts.

GE Culture and Ideas

1100H Introduction to Philosophy Honors
Instructor: N. Tennant
BO 120; TR 2:20-3:40

course description forthcoming

GE Culture and Ideas

1300 Introduction to Ethics
Instructor: Staff

The nature of right and wrong, good and evil; the grounds of moral choice and decision; the resolution of moral conflicts.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1332 Engineering Ethics
Instructor: Staff

An examination of contemporary issues in engineering ethics in the context of major ethical theories.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1338 Computer Ethics and Effective Presentation
Instructor: Staff

An introduction to ethical theory with a special focus on ethical issues that arise in the computing profession. It includes student presentations and feedback to improve discussion skills.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1500.01 Introduction to Logic
Instructor: Staff

Deduction and induction; principles of clear statement and valid reasoning; fallacies; and the methods by which theories and laws are established.

GE quant reason math and logical anly course

1500.02 Introduction to Logic (online)
Instructor: Staff

Online version of Philosophy 1500.01, Introduction to Logic. Teaches students the construction and evaluation of deductive and inductive arguments; principles of clear statement and valid reasoning; fallacies; and the methods by which theories and laws are established.

GE quant reason math and logical anly course

1501 Introduction to Logic and Legal Reasoning
Instructor: Staff
MP 1041, MWF 12:40-1:35

An informal introduction to elementary deductive and inductive logic, concentrating on application to reasoning in legal contexts (e.g., courtroom argumentation and jury deliberation).

GE quant reason math and logical anly course

1520 Probability, Data, and Decision Making
Instructor: S. Shapiro
ML 191; MW 9:10-10:05

Hardly a day goes by without our being bombarded with claims involving statistics. Statistical reasoning can be very powerful and enlightening; it is not an exaggeration to say, with Bishop Butler in the eighteenth century, that probability is the very guide to life. But statistics can also be misleading: figures don’t lie, but some liars know how to figure. Every election cycle and many advertising campaigns give us plenty of examples of misleading statistics.

In this course, we will be concerned with how statistical results are obtained, and how to evaluate those claims, culminating on the key notion of statistical significance. The treatment will be mostly informal, with a minimum of mathematics involved. This course satisfies the Quantitative and Logical Skills, Data Analysis subcategory of the Arts and Sciences GE requirements.

GE data anly course

2120 Asian Philosophies
Instructor: S. Brown

HH 180; MWF 12:40-1:35

This class will explore the main philosophical traditions that underly the cultures of India, China, Korea, Japan, and a number of other countries in south and east Asia. Specifically, we will work toward understanding some of the essential texts from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Daoism. However, we will not be approaching these texts merely for their historical value. We will be engaging them as potential sources of wisdom and insight into the nature of the world around us and our place within it. 

GE for literature and diversity global studies course

2342 Environmental Ethics
Instructor: P. Turner
JR 304; TR 12:45-2:05

This course surveys major ethical issues concerning our treatment of, and reliance on, the natural environment. Questions include: Is climate change a justice issue? Is sustainable development achievable? What constitutes human well-being? What do we owe future generations? What is the moral status of non-human animals, plants, and ecosystems? 

2367 Contemporary Social and Moral Problems in the US
Instructor: Staff

An intensive writing course concentrating on the analysis and evaluation of philosophical argumentation concerning contemporary social and moral problems about race, gender, class, and ethnicity. Does not count on a philosophy major or minor program.

GE writing and comm course: level 2 and diversity soc div in the US course.

2450 Philosophical Problems in the Arts
Instructor: R. Fletcher
SOE024; TR 12:45-2:05

This course explores some of the major philosophical problems in the arts (reality, representation, form, expression, taste, judgement, definition and identification) through close readings of classic texts and contemporary debates. We will engage with how these problems, texts and debates can be expanded and challenged by both a broad rand of analytic arguments and continental approaches to the philosophy of art, as well as through experimental encounters within a case study that examines the interventions of philosophers, artists, curators, educators and other working within the framework of the contemporary art exhibition, documenta 14 held in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany in 2017.

GE for Visual and Performing Arts

2465 Death and the Meaning of Life
Instructor: A. Silverman
HC 250, TR 2:20-3:40

What is a meaningful life? What role, if any, does the afterlife play in conceptions of meaningfulness? Can things like achievement, happiness, and engaging in valuable projects give meaning to our lives?   Would immortality or an extraordinarily long life increase or decrease the likelihood of a meaningful life? The course will explore these and related questions. 

GE for literature course.

2500 Symbolic Logic
Instructor: N. Tennant
TO 255; TR 11:10-12:30

A formal presentation of the elements of modern deductive logic; decision and proof procedures in sentential logic and functional logic.

GE quant reason math and logical anly course.

2670 Science and Religion
Instructor: R. Samuels
JE 160; WF 12:45-2:05

Some of the most fundamental questions of our age concern the relationship between science and religion. This course focuses on such issues.

GE cultures and ideas course.

3000 Gateway Seminar
Instructor: A. Roth
UH 353; TR 12:45-2:05

This course is meant for new philosophy majors.  The purpose of the gateway seminar is to coach students in reading and thinking about philosophical texts, and to train them in expressing their ideas both orally and in writing.  The aim is to provide the intellectual tools and resources that will help students succeed in more advanced philosophy courses as well as further afield, both inside and outside academic settings.  Various topics will be covered, but on this occasion there will be some emphasis on the epistemology of testimony and trust, directedness of duties/obligation, practical reasoning, and action. 

3220 History of Medieval Philosophy
Instructor: T. M. Rudavsky
HC 250; WF 9:35-10:55

A general  introduction  to  major issues in  medieval philosophy, with texts  drawn from Jewish, Islamic and Christian traditions.  All texts will be read in English. Representative issues include: creation vs. eternity of the world; divine omniscience vs. human freedom; immortality of the soul; and the perennial tension between faith and reason.  In each of these areas, we shall examine  whether  the tenets of reason and science can be harmonized  with  those of faith.

GE lit and diversity global studies course.

3240 History of 18th Century Philosophy
Instructor: L. Shabel
UH 38; MWF 12:40-1:35

This course will focus on the metaphysical and epistemological ideas of three major philosophers of the Eighteenth Century: George Berkeley, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant. Topics to be discussed include causation, the nature of substance, the existence of God, and also whether and how we can justify knowledge about such things. We will discuss the historical connections among the ideas of the three thinkers, aiming to understand how Kant reacts to his empiricist predecessors. Course requirements will likely include two exams and a paper.

GE for literature and diversity global studies course

3300 Moral Philosophy
Instructor: J. D’Arms
DE 206; TR 9:35-10:55

Moral Philosophy is concerned with questions like these:

What things are good? Whatever we want? Or are some things worth wanting in ways that others aren’t? What makes a person’s life go well?

What is it right to do? Is this determined by the consequences of actions, or by considerations of some other kind?

What is the relationship between being a rational person, on one hand, and wanting what’s good and doing what is right on the other?

This course will critically assess some philosophically influential answers to these questions, and to other, related ones.

This course will emphasize the development of essential philosophical skills: reading texts carefully for philosophical comprehension, writing papers that analyze arguments and philosophical positions clearly and raise critical points about them, discussing philosophical issues rigorously in a group setting.

3420 Philosophical Perspectives on Issues of Gender
Instructor: D. Howard
JR 304; TR 3:55-5:15

What does it mean to be a woman? What is the relationship between sex, gender, sexuality, and femininity? What role should considerations of gender play in our conception of justice? Is there a distinctly womanly or manly method of moral or theoretical reasoning? This course surveys these core philosophical issues surrounding gender. It explores the ways in which philosophers contributed to the development of feminism, and the ways in which feminist theory is expanding and challenging mainstream philosophy in turn. The course is thus intended to develop critical skills that are broadly applicable in a myriad of major current philosophical topics in epistemology, philosophy of science, ontology, ethics and political philosophy.

GE cultures and ideas and diversity soc div in the US course.

3440 Theorizing Race
Instructor: F. Barchiesi
CH 218; WF 11:10-12:30

course description forthcoming

3680 Sex and Death: Introduction to Philosophy of Biology
Instructor: C. Pincock
BO 318, WF 11:10-12:30

Contemporary biologists present many startling and troubling claims about the nature of humans and their place in the natural world. In this class we will consider how biology works, with a special emphasis on evolutionary theory and its interpretation. We begin with a careful reading of Darwin’s classic On the Origin of Species. Our aim here is to understand Darwin’s arguments and their limitations. In the second half of the course we will turn to Peter Godfrey-Smith’s recent book Philosophy of Biology. Godfrey-Smith offers an up-to-date introduction to recent debates about natural selection, genes, species and the evolution of social behavior. 

By considering these debates, we will uncover the philosophical assumptions implicit in much of biology and also the philosophical implications of biology. Students will thus learn how to understand and critically evaluate the findings of biology. 

Note: No prior background in biology or philosophy is presupposed. Contact the instructor for permission to enroll, if needed.

Texts: C. Darwin, On the Origin of Species: Facsimile of First Edition, Harvard University Press, 2001. (Paperback, 978-0674637528, $28.00)

E. Mayr, One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought, Harvard University Press, 1991. (Paperback, 978-0674639065, $28.50)

P. Godfrey-Smith, Philosophy of Biology, Princeton University Press, 2014. (Paperback, 978-0691174679, $19.95)

3700 Introduction to Metaphysics
Instructor: R. Kraut
HH 62; MW 2:20-3:40

The world is complex and mysterious.  We will examine various metaphysical assumptions: that reality contains spiritual as well as physical entities; that consciousness is not a physical phenomenon; that there exist necessities in nature; that there exist abstract objects knowable through reason alone; that moral and aesthetic properties, like physical properties, are real; that finite beings can have knowledge of the world as it is in itself.  Efforts will be made to clarify our concepts of possibility, necessity, causation, persistence, metaphysical dependency, identity, and mind-dependence.  Prerequisites: In addition to listed departmental prerequisites, students are strongly encouraged to have taken Symbolic Logic (2500) before enrolling in 3700.

5010S Teaching Philosophy
Instructor: J. Jorati
UH 353, WF 9:35-10:55

Isn’t it a shame that most people don't encounter philosophy until they get to college? In this course, we will do something about that: we'll develop a set of philosophy lessons and then team-teach some of these lessons to students at the Columbus Alternative High School (CAHS). Our lesson plans will incorporate a variety of different instructional methods in order to make these lessons as engaging and effective as possible. To lay the foundations for the development of the lessons, the course covers various teaching methods and strategies for lesson planning.

Note: 5010-S doesn’t count toward the 5000-level course requirements for the major.

Note also: some of the teaching will occur from 7.30–9.30am on Wednesdays. Contact me if that’s a problem: jorati.1@osu.edu

5210 Ancient Philosophy-Aristotle
Instructor: A. Silverman
UH 353; TR 11:10-12:30

Aristotle, one of, if not the most influential philosopher of all time, wrote on virtually every subject from Poetics, to Birth of Animals to Metaphysics. We shall try to cover a handful of his most famous writings and topics:


Class Requirements: participation and one paper approximately 10-15 pages.

5450 Advanced Aesthetic Theory
Instructor: R. Kraut
UH353; TR 2:20-3:340

The goal is to explore a number of issues that concern the interpretation and evaluation of artworks and artistic performances. Our concern is with artworld objects and practices: familiarity with aspects of the visual arts, music, dance, sculpture, literature, photography, and/or other artistic domains is essential. Topics to be explored include the ontology of art; testimony and aesthetic knowledge; artworld norms; interpretation of artistic objects; and the status of aesthetic properties. For a detailed description clickPDF icon here.

5500 Advance Symbolic Logic
Instructor: S. Shapiro
UH 353; MW11:10-12:30

An introduction to the meta-theory of first-order languages.  The proof theory and model-theoretic semantics for a standard formal language will be developed.  The course will include proofs of the completeness, compactness, and Löwenheim-Skolem theorems.  The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to mathematical logic, and to provide some of the logical background presupposed by many contemporary philosophical authors.  Occasionally, issues in the philosophy of logic will be raised.  There will be a midterm exam, a final exam, and several quizzes over homework exercises.  Prerequisite:  Philosophy 2500 or equivalent.