Philosophy of the Human (Temple University - Fall 2011)
What is a human being? Much of the art, science and philosophy of the modern period has been devoted to this question. In this course we examine a range of methodologies for the study of human beings, including self-reflexive/ autobiographical, mechanistic/ causal, zoological, existentialist, and ethnographic methodologies. We’ll also discuss the methods of philosophy and consider what philosophy in particular can contribute to the understanding of human beings. The questions we'll confront in detail include: In what ways are human beings like or unlike other animals? What role do embodiment, sociality, sex, and power play in our humanity? What does a study of these things contribute to our understanding of human beings, including our personal self-understanding? Is there a 'human nature' that underlies or transcends human difference? What are the implications of an understanding of this nature (or lack thereof) for politics and personal choice?
Philosophy of Science (Rowan University - Fall 2013)
'How is science different from non-science?' 'What makes for a good scientific explanation?' 'Do scientific theories describe a reality beyond our own minds and language, or merely provide a framework for organizing our observations?' Such questions have often emerged within reflections on the sciences, and the answers are hardly settled. In this course we raise and seek to address these questions, as well as: What is the distinction and relation between theory and observable data in the sciences? What is induction, is it reliable, and why or why not? Does the history of science show any regular patterns or tendencies? How do social factors like political affiliation and funding sources make a difference to what research is conducted and what theories are accepted? We also discuss currently debated theoretical issues in the natural sciences themselves, such as the scope of natural selection in evolution, what genetics and neuroscience can teach us (if anything) about human behavior, and how best to interpret apparently paradoxical concepts and theories in modern physics such as non-locality, the collapse of the wave function, and Everett's many-worlds interpretation.
Introduction to Philosophy (Richard Stockton College - Spring 2014)
The course introduces students to philosophy in roughly four installments: (1) Speculation about the fundamental structure of the cosmos, conducted in conjunction with a brief survey of early Greek speculations on the topic; (2) A brief, intensive workshop in techniques of reasoning and argumentation, achieved through a close-reading and analysis of a number of passages (mostly about justice, politics, and morality) in Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic; (3) A longer meditation on two especially deep and interconnected problems associated with our understanding of human persons – namely, the question of what (and how) human beings can know, and the question of how human mental and bodily existence are related – pursued with the assistance of René Descartes’s Meditations and the reflections of a number of other 'modern' (17th- to 20th-century) philosophers; and (4) an inquiry into the most fundamental structure and tendency of human societies in modern times (19th- to 21st-century). This last topic will be approached with the help of four extremely original and insightful thinkers of the past 220 years: the atheistic culture-critic Friedrich Nietzsche; the Christian mystic Simone Weil; the Enlightenment universalist Immanuel Kant; and the contemporary anarchist David Graeber.
Introduction to Philosophy Temple University, Rowan University,
Holy Family University,
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Philosophy of Human Nature / Holy Family University /
Philosophy of the Human Temple University
Philosophy of Mind Temple University
Symbolic Logic Temple University, Rowan University
Introduction to Ethics West Chester University of Pennsylvania
The Meaning of the Arts Temple University