Winter/Spring 2014For detailed course information for the current semester, including syllabus, reading schedules, descriptions of assignments, and topics for essays, please check your email and/or BlackBoard.
In general, the courses I teach serve to introduce the discipline and practice of philosophy. We attempt to understand what philosophy is about, how it differs from other academic disciplines, the sorts of questions that interest philosophers, and what the distinctive methods of philosophy are.
My approach to philosophical coursework also provides an overview of the history of philosophy from the ancient Greeks and Judeo-Christian scriptures through the Enlightenment and up to the present time.
ObjectivesPhilosophy forms an integral part of any liberal arts curriculum and, insofar as philosophy seeks insight into truth, goodness, and beauty, it is worthy of study in its own right. Nevertheless, studying philosophy has other benefits and goals.
Part of the goal is academic. In particular, philosophy challenges us to think critically, to take a second look, and to attempt to uncover hidden assumptions. More generally, philosophy will hone our reading, communication, and writing skills.
Part of the goal is also personal and spiritual. The issues that philosophy raises are important to the meaning of what it is to be human, what constitutes a good life, and how we fit into a larger human community. Thus philosophy challenges us to think about our own goals, our basic commitments, as well as our relationship to others and to God.