Undergraduate Courses

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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.

Please note the following regularities as you plan for upcoming semesters, but be aware that there will be exceptions in some semesters. Please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Academic Advisor for Philosophy for help planning your Major or Minor in Philosophy.

  • Every Fall and Spring semester we typically offer 1100, 2120, 2450, 2465 and 2500, as well as a wide variety of other elective courses at the introductory level. 
  • Every Fall and Spring semester we offer 3000, the Gateway Seminar for Majors, as well as at least two courses from each category of courses required for the Major (i.e. at least 2 history of philosophy courses at the 3000 level; at least 2 topics courses at the 3000 level; and at least 2 advanced electives at the 5000 level, in addition to a variety of other electives.)
  • Every Summer we offer a variety of courses at the introductory level.

 

Upcoming Undergraduate Courses

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Summer Semester 2021

 

1100 Introduction to Philosophy (6 wks, session 2)
Instructor: X. Yu
MWF 10:20-1225
Delivery Mode: Distance learning

Examination of major problems, such as the nature of reality, knowledge, truth, morality, and the relation of philosophy to science and religion.

GE Cultures and ideas course.

1100H - Honors Introduction to Philosophy (8 wks, Session 2)
Instructor: R. Kraut
TR 12:45-3:05, PS 14
Delivery Mode: Distance learning

Examination of major problems, such as the nature of reality, knowledge, truth, morality, and the relation of philosophy to science and religion.

GE: Cultures and Ideas

1332 – Ethics in the Professions: Introduction to Engineering Ethics
Instructor: Staff
Various Times
Delivery Mode: Distance learning

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

GE: Cultures and Ideas

1500 - Introduction to Logic
Instructor: Staff
Various times
Delivery Mode: Distance learning

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

GE: Quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

2120 – Asian Philosophies (8 wks, Session 2)
Instructor: W. Marsolek
MWF 11:40-1:15, SO E004
Delivery Mode: In person

This class will explore the main philosophical traditions that underlie 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: Literature; Diversity: Global Studies

2465 - Death and the Meaning of Life (6wks, Session 2)
Instructor: A. Curtis-Trudel
MWF 3:00-5:05, SM 1005
Delivery Mode: In person

Explore the question of whether there is a relation between mortality and a meaningful life.

GE: Literature

2500 - Symbolic Logic (8 wks, Session 2)
Instructor: S. Shapiro
MWR 1:30-3:05, JR 251
Delivery Mode: In person

What is it to reason?  What is it to reason correctly?  What role do symbols play in reasoning?  We will try to answer these questions.

In this course we will present a symbolic deductive system to model correct reasoning.  It will be shown how many arguments in ordinary language can be “translated” into this system, where they can be checked for validity.  Important logical concepts, like consistency, consequence, validity are presented via the system, and the techniques of mathematical logic are illustrated with it.

There will be exercises for homework (checked with occasional short quizzes) and a midterm and final examination.

GE: Quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

 

Autumn Semester 2021

 

1100 - Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: N. Tennant
TR 11:10-12:30, JR 375
Delivery Mode: Distance learning

This is an introduction to rigorous thought about a variety of concepts and problems of fundamental significance. You will be introduced to methods of philosophical analysis, the clarification of important concepts, the careful appraisal of arguments and theories, and the sheer breadth and variety of philosophical concerns. The course aims to enable you to write more clearly, think more deeply, and pursue your intellectual interests both with more attention to detail and with an eye to the 'bigger picture'. We shall be covering topics drawn from the following list: Existence of God; Naturalism; Skepticism and the External World; the Mind-Body Problem; Free Will v. Determinism; the Problem of Induction; the Paradoxes. We shall be studying some profoundly influential writings by various famous thinkers 

GE: Cultures and Ideas

1100 - Introduction Philosophy
Instructor: R. Samuels
MW 11:30-12:25 (+ recitation), FL 1000
Delivery Mode: Distance learning

Examination of major problems, such as the nature of reality, knowledge, truth, morality, and the relation of philosophy to science and religion.

GE: Cultures and Ideas

1100H - Honors Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: A. Silverman
WF 12:45-2:05, HN 201
Delivery Mode: Hybrid

Happiness, Goodness and Meaning in Life

Socrates thought the only question that really matters was: How ought one to live one’s life? We shall consider Socrates question from the three vantage points contained in the title of the course: we should live a happy life, a good life, and a meaningful life. What are happiness, goodness and meaningfulness? And what is it to live a life?  Could one, for instance live a good life and still find it meaningless? To help guide in-class discussion of these topics, we will read three short modern classics , Phillipa Foot’s Natural Goodness, Jonathan Lear’s Radical Hope, and Susan Wolf’s, Meaning in Life and Why it Matters.

GE: Cultures and Ideas

1300 – Introduction to Ethics
Instructor: Staff
Various Locations and Times
Delivery Mode: In person

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 – Ethics in the Professions: Introduction to Engineering Ethics
Instructor: Staff
Various Locations and Times
Delivery Mode: Distance learning and in person

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

GE: Cultures and Ideas

1338 – Ethics in the Professions: Introduction to Computing Ethics and Effective Presentation
Instructor: Staff
Various Locations and Times
Delivery Mode: In person

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 – Introduction to Logic
Instructor: Staff
Various Locations and Times
Delivery Mode: In person and distance learning

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

GE: Quantitative Reasons: Math and Logical Analysis

1501 – Introduction to Logic and Legal Reasoning
Instructor: Staff
MWF 10:20-11:15, MP 1035
Delivery Mode: In person

This course equips students with the tools of logic and critical thinking especially as they apply to the assessment of legal reasoning. By examining court cases and legal materials, students will learn to assess the strength and validity of legal reasoning, and thus to be able to evaluate and weigh legal evidence and testimony to reach justified conclusions. The critical reasoning practiced in the legal context will generalize to other domains.

GE: Quantitative Reasoning: Math and Logical Analysis

2120 – Asian Philosophies
Instructor: S. Brown
MWF 11:30-12:25; SO 0048
Delivery Mode: Distance learning or In person

This class will explore the main philosophical traditions that underlie 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: Literature; Diversity: Global Studies

2342 - Environmental Ethics
Instructor: Staff
TR 11:10-12:30; PS 014

Delivery Mode: In person

Examination of the moral issues generated by the impact of human beings on the natural environment.

2367 – Contemporary Social and Moral Problems in the U.S.
Instructor: Staff
Various Locations and Time
Delivery Mode: In person

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: Diversity: Social Diversity in the US; Writing and Communication: Level 2

2400 - Political and Social Philosophy
Instructor: Staff
TR 11:10-12:20, TO 247
Delivery Mode: In person

Philosophical bases of social and political institutions and practices; analysis of such fundamental conceptions as rights, justice, equality, political obligation, and civil disobedience.

GE: Cultures and Ideas

2450 – Philosophical Problems in the Arts
Instructor: R. Kraut
TR 12:45-2:05, SO 40
Delivery Mode: In person

Our goal is to understand (and evaluate) several theories about the nature and function of art.  We will consider such questions as: What is the difference between creative innovation and fraudulence?  Is there a "correct interpretation" of a literary text or painting?  Is objective criticism possible, or is art criticism merely the expression of subjective preferences?  Can artworks be understood in isolation from social-historical forces?  Do artworks express emotions?  Is it worth theorizing about art?  Why?  

We will consider these theoretical questions in the context of music, painting, film, architecture, literature, and other artforms.

GE: Visual and Performing Arts

2455 – Philosophy and Videogames
Instructor: Staff
TR 2:20-3:40, BO 116
Delivery Mode: In person

Examination of the philosophical issues that accompany the creation, play, and critique of videogames.

GE VPA and cultures and ideas course.

2465 - Death and the Meaning of Life
Instructor: S. Brown
TR 9:35-10:55, ML 125
Delivery Mode: Distance learning or In person

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: Literature

2500 - Symbolic Logic
Instructor: L. Shabel
MW 11:30-12:25, TO 255
Delivery Mode: Hybrid

This is a first course in symbolic logic, which satisfies the GE requirement in mathematical and logical analysis. We will study the basic concepts and techniques of logic, including truth values, arguments, validity and soundness, and will develop formal methods for symbolizing sentences and constructing truth tables and derivations. We will cover the syntax and semantics of both sentential logic (also called truth-functional logic) and first-order predicate logic (also called first-order quantificational logic.) In this course, students will develop an acute grasp of the structure of deductive arguments and, so will be better equipped to evaluate them. GE in quantitative reasoning.

GE: Quantitative Reasons: Math and Logical Analysis

2660 - Metaphysics, Religion, and Magic in the Scientific Revolution
Instructor: L. Downing
WF 12:45-2:05, PAES A109
Delivery Mode: Hybrid

The seventeenth century saw revolutionary developments in natural science, specifically, in matter theory, mechanics, chemistry, and astronomy.  These developments were intertwined with magical traditions, religious doctrines and disputes, and, especially, philosophical theories and arguments.  This course will examine some of these connections in the works of some of the most influential natural philosophers of the period.  Our main goal is a richer understanding of this crucial period in the development of modern science.  In addition, as with any philosophy class, we will evaluate the cogency of the arguments and the consistency and plausibility of the views we encounter. 

GE: Historical Study

3000 - Gateway Seminar
Instructor: D. Smithies
WF 2:20-3:40, DU 12
Delivery Mode: Hybrid

The Gateway Seminar is designed to introduce new students to the philosophy major. The main aim of the course is to help you develop the intellectual skills you’ll need to succeed in upper-level philosophy courses. As a result, we’ll spend time talking about how to read a philosophy paper, how to write a philosophy paper, how to evaluate arguments, and how to design counterexamples. We’ll develop these skills through an exploration of some central problems in ethics, epistemology, and philosophical methodology.

3250 – History of 19th Century Philosophy
Instructor: C. Pincock
TR 11:10-12:30, MP 1040
Delivery Mode: In person

Nineteenth Century Philosophy: Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche

This class considers the philosophical views of Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche, with a special emphasis on their conceptions of history. Each philosopher asks how our history shapes who we are today and who we might become in the future. We begin with an investigation of some early parts of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), where Hegel considers how the knowing subject and its objects should be related for knowledge to be genuine. Hegel identifies a logical progression of different modes of thinking that seems to bear on human history. We then turn to Marx and consider how he transforms Hegel’s proposal by embedding it in a material investigation of the human condition. Through a study of some of the writings collected in McLellan’s Karl Marx: Selected Writings, we will identify what Marx thinks drives human history and the associated forms of human consciousness. Finally, we consider Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality (1887). Nietzsche challenges Hegel’s account of progress and Marx’s optimism with his own distinctive questioning of the function and origin of morality. While Marx says “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”, Nietzsche complains that all past and present philosophers “lack a consciousness of the extent to which the will to truth itself needs a justification ... The will to truth needs a critique – let us define our own task with this...” (Either Philos 3230 or 3240 is recommended but not required.)

Texts

S. Houlgate, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 978-0826485113.
J. Wolff, Why Read Marx Today?, Oxford, 2003. ISBN 978-0192805058.
F. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, Third edition, Cambridge, 2017. ISBN 978-1316602591.
Note: additional course readings will be distributed as PDFs.

GE Literature, GE Diversity: Global Studies

3261 – Fundamental Concepts of Existentialism
Instructor: T. Rudavsky
WF 9:35-10:55, ML 191
Delivery Mode: In person

This course will cover basic 19th and 20th century existentialist writings, selected from among the following authors: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Sartre, and Camus. We will read both literary and philosophical works, with an eye to understanding the underlying themes (nihilism; despair; angst) of classical existentialist writers.  

Requirements: midterm exam, final exam and several short written assignments.

GE Literature

3300-Moral Philosophy
Instructor: J. D’Arms
MW 10:20-11:15 (+ recitation), OR 110
Delivery Mode: In person

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
TR 3:55-5:15, SL E105
Delivery Mode: In person

What does it mean to be a woman or a man? Can one be neither? What is the relationship between sex, gender, sexuality, femininity and masculinity? How does one’s gender play a role in shaping one’s conception of the good, or of truth, or of justice? This course surveys these core philosophical issues surrounding gender, primarily but not exclusively from a feminist perspective. 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 thinking skills that are broadly applicable in a myriad of major current philosophical topics in epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy.

GE Cultures and Ideas, GE Diversity: Social Diversity in the US

3650 - Philosophy of Science
Instructor: N. Tennant
TR 2:20-3:40, MP 1021
Delivery Mode: Distance learning

Aims. We aim to become conversant with all the major concepts and controversies of mainstream discussion in the ‘general’ philosophy of science (as opposed to its more specialized areas, such as the philosophy of quantum physics). 

Prerequisite. A prerequisite for this course is PHIL2500: Introduction to Symbolic Logic. We shall be making important use of techniques of logical analysis and regimentation, for these are required for a properly rigorous understanding of important concepts in the Philosophy of Science. 

Topics. We shall be covering topics drawn from the following list: Scientific description, prediction, and explanation. The hypothetico-deductive method. 

Inference to the best explanation. Theory and evidence. Observable v. theoretical entities. The problem of induction. Criteria for theory-choice. 

5212 – Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle
Instructor: A. Silverman
WF 9:35-10:55, UH 353
Delivery Mode: Hybrid

We will focus on the Metaphysics, Epistemology and Ethics of Aristotle, to include readings on:

CATEGORIES--WHO NEEDS CATEGORIES? NOT JUST THE SYLLOGISM BUT THE WHOLE ORGANON!
CHANGE--WHAT'S CHANGE? NOT JUST THE PHYSICS BUT GENERATION AND CORRUPTION!
SOUL AND ENERGEIA--@#%$^!?--BOTH THE DE ANIMA AND THE METAPHYSICS.
AND AT LONG LAST, BESIDES ARISTOTLE ON HAPPINESS AND VIRTUE, 
A CHANCE TO SEE WHETHER ANY SENSE CAN BE MADE OF WEAKNESS OF WILL IN THE NICOMACHEAN ETHICS.
If you sign up for this exclusive offer, there will be no payment due for 3 months. After completion of the training participants will turn in a 10 to 15 page paper.

5750 – Advanced Theory of Knowledge
Instructor: A. Roth
WF 11:10-12:30, UH 353
Delivery Mode: Hybrid

The class starts by getting some epistemological concepts and concerns on the table with a look at several papers on the nature of the warrant or justification for perceptual belief.  The main focus of the course, however, is the epistemological literature on testimony and the moral psychology of trust.  The aim is to develop a properly epistemic notion of trust.  This will require looking also at some recent work on the nature of obligations that are in some sense owed or directed to others.  For exciting details you won’t want to miss, go to:  http://u.osu.edu/roth.263/courses/.

5840 – Advanced Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Instructor: R. Samuels
TR 3:55-5:15, 353 UH
Delivery Mode: In person

Cognitive science is an exciting interdisciplinary field of enquiry that has, over the past few decades, exerted a profound influence on longstanding philosophical debates about the nature of the mind. In this course we focus on some of these debates. In particular: Is consciousness amenable to scientific explanation? How is possible for us to represent world in thought? Is the human mind a computer of some sort? Although a background in cognitive science is not assumed, we will read papers by prominent psychologists and neuroscientists, as well as philosophers