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Skidmore College
Philosophy Department

FALL 2022 COURSE OFFERING

PH 101 - Introduction to Philosophy

3 credits

This course introduces students to the study and the practice of philosophy. Through the analysis of historical and contemporary texts, class discussions and lectures students gain an understanding of philosophy both as a discipline and as a way of asking—and attempting to answer—fundamental questions about ourselves and the world. The emphasis is both on learning about philosophy and on doing philosophy.

Open to first- and second-year students or by permission of instructor. Fulfills Humanities and Humanistic Inquiry requirements.

PH 101-001     T/TH     11:10 – 12:30                                                                                                          W. Lewis

PH 101-002     T/TH     12:40 – 2:00                                                                                                        TBD

PH 101-003      M/W      2:30 – 3:50                                                                                                        S. Blake

PH 101-004     M/W     4:00 – 5:20                                                                                                         S. Blake

PH 203 - Ancient Greek Philosophy

4 credits

Ancient Greek thinkers engaged in a continuous dialogue about core philosophical questions, such as: What is the nature of the cosmos and what place do human beings have in it? How do we attain knowledge about ourselves? What kinds of political communities provide the best opportunities to lead good lives? What is happiness and how do love and friendship contribute to it?

It will be our task to enter into that conversation and consider its relevance for our own lives. Special attention will be given to Socrates’, Plato’s and Aristotle’s approaches to these questions.

Fulfills Humanities and Humanistic Inquiry requirements. Counts toward Classics.

T/TH      3:40 – 5:30                                                                                                                                                TBD

PH 207 - Introduction to Logic

4 credits

An introduction to the basic concepts and methods of modern symbolic logic, with a focus on their application to proper reasoning. Students learn how to represent sentences in logical notation, to reconstruct arguments in that notation, to assess arguments for validity and soundness, and to prove conclusions from premises using a system of natural deduction. Students also learn to recognize common argument forms and common mistakes in reasoning (fallacies), are introduced to philosophical issues related to logic, and learn how symbolic logic is the basis for the digital computer.

Fulfills QR2 requirement (except for class of 2024 and beyond)

T/TH    9:10 – 11:00                                                                                                                                            P. Murray

PH 211 - Ethics

3 credits

A critical examination of the nature and principles of some of the major ethical theories proposed in the history of Western thought. Theories studied may include virtue ethics, natural law, deontological ethics, social contract, and utilitarianism. The course may also include some consideration of the application of the theories studied to selected contemporary moral issues.

Fulfills Humanities and Humanistic Inquiry requirements.

 W/F    10:10 – 11:30                                                                                                                                             S. Blake

PH 221 - Memory & Retrospective Justice

4 credits 

A course focusing on memory, memorialization, and retrospective justice in the United States, focusing particularly on issues of race, taking as its case study the contested memory of the Civil War in the United States and the enduring systemic injustices that resulted from national efforts at reconciliation. Retrospective justice focuses on repairing historic wrongs, wrongs that resulted in serious and lasting harms and yet the primary actors are long dead. In this course, students will investigate the promises and limits of methods of responding to historic injustices, focusing in particular on three areas: (a) memorials, monuments, and memorial spaces; (b) truth telling and efforts at reshaping the narratives; and (c) reparations.

Fulfills Bridge Experience guidelines and Humanistic Inquiry requirement

W/F   12:20 – 1:40  & M  12:20 - 1:15                                                                                                                L. Jorgensen

PH 230C - Madness: Blessing or Curse?

3 credits 

Madness: Is it a mark of the most exalted spiritual and intellectual life, or a definitive sign of the collapse that places a person on the margins of human existence? This course considers madness with regard to its history, its representations in the arts and literature, and its contemporary treatment in philosophy and psychology.

Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.

T/TH   12:40 – 2:00                                                                                                                                                     R. Lilly

PH 327 - Spinoza's Ethics

4 credits

In the 17th century, Spinoza was described as the “most dangerous person of the century.” Spinoza (1632-1677) presented one of the most comprehensive metaphysical visions, universal in its scope and radical in its implications. This new vision, according to one interpreter, “promises a path for sweeping personal transformations, from bondage to freedom, foolishness to wisdom, weakness to empowerment, fear to love, passivity to activity, even corruptibility to eternality.” In this course, we will study Spinoza’s magnum opus, which he entitled simply Ethics. The topics Spinoza discusses in this book include God-Nature, mind-body, causation and necessity, ways of knowing, the self, the nature and role of emotion, and human freedom.

Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement & the 300-level history of philosophy requirement in the Philosophy major.

Prerequisites: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor

M/W  2:30 – 4:20                                                                                                                                       L. Jorgensen

PH330D-001  Materialism

4 credits

In many philosophical traditions, materialism and idealism have been rivals. “Idealism” or the “perennial philosophy” has often gotten the better of materialism as it is favored by priests and politicians and philosophers who communicate its truths to the people.  Materialism, or the metaphysical position that only matter and the void exist and that there are neither gods, nor spirits, nor eternal forms, reason, or right, is decidedly less popular. This seminar will examine materialist philosophies from multiple cultures and periods, and we will ask questions about what embracing materialism means for how we understand the world and for how we live our lives individually and collectively.

Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement & the 300-level history of philosophy requirement in the Philosophy major.

Prerequisites: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor

T/TH  2:10 – 3:30                                                                                                                                                 W. Lewis

PH330D-002 - Personal Identity

4 credits 

The fact that we are people is central to the rights we enjoy and the responsibilities we bear, and it has far-reaching implications in discussions of animal rights, abortion rights, advanced directives, end-of-life care, and penal justice. But what is a person, and what about each of us makes it true that we are persons? Also, what determines one’s identity in the sense that answers the question “Who am I (really)?”? These and related questions are collectively referred to as questions of personal identity, and we will explore them in this course through classic and contemporary reading and films.

Fulfills Humanities and Humanistic Inquiry requirements.

Prerequisites: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor

W/F   12:20 – 2:10                                                                                                                                          P. Murray