Course Descriptions for Fall 2022

UK Department of Philosophy


PHI 100 001-010, 012, 201   Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality

An introduction to philosophical studies with emphasis on issues of knowing, reality and meaning related to human existence.


This course fulfills the UK Core Requirement: Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities.

PHI 100-011 Know Thyself: An Introduction to Philosophy Through the Self (Honors) – Batty TR  11:00-12:15

The Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates famously said that “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom”. Throughout the history of philosophy, the concept of the self has occupied a central place in philosophical inquiry.  This course is an introduction to philosophy that centers on questions of the nature of the self and its place in the world.  In it, we will consider traditional philosophical questions about the self, but will situate these within the broader contexts of personal narrative and memoir.  We will also consider how scientific research in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive neuroscience connects to, and informs, answers to these important philosophical questions.


PHI 120 001-009, 202, 202 Introduction to Logic

A course which treats argumentation, syllogistic and sentential logic.  The focus will be on the use of formal methods in the construction and criticism of actual arguments, the aim being to inculcate standards of good reasoning, e.g. clarity, consistency, and validity.  Credit is not given to students who already have credit for PHI 320.


This class satisfies the UK Core: Quantitative Foundations requirement. This class satisfies the Logic requirement for philosophy minors.

PHI 130 001-008 Introduction to Philosophy: Morality and Society   

An introduction to philosophical studies with emphasis on a critical study of principles of moral action and social and political values.


PHI 205 001-003 Food Ethics

An examination of philosophical issues about food, including whether taste is subjective or objective, why different foods are acceptable to eat in some cultures but not in others, the moral permissibility of eating animals and animal by-products, and the impact of food production on the environment.


This course fulfills the UK General Education Requirement:  Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA.

PHI 245-001 Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion    Sheeley  MWF 11:00-11:50

An introduction to the philosophical study of religion, with attention to issues such as the nature of religious language, religious experience, concepts of God, science and religion, religious pluralism, miracles and revelation, death and the afterlife, and the problem of evil.


PHI 260-001 History of Philosophy I:  From Greek Beginnings to the Middle Ages – Sanday  MWF  12:00-12:50

This course is a chronological survey of leading thinkers and ideas in western philosophy from the early Greeks to the Middle Ages. Although we will read broadly across a wide range of authors, the lion’s share of attention will be devoted to Plato and Aristotle, whose work far excelled anything written earlier in scope and sophistication and laid the foundation for most of what followed during the Hellenistic, Roman, and medieval eras


PHI 270-001   History of Philosophy II: Renaissance to the PresentVan Wulven TR 2:00-3:15

An introductory study of the development of Western philosophy from early modern to recent times including systematic work in logic, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics by such philosophers as Occam, Descartes, Hume and Kant.


PHI 300-002 Special Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy of RaceFarr TR 12:30-1:45

Until recent decades philosophical discourse has tended to focus on problems that appeared to presuppose a disembodied view of the human person.  The focus on abstract concepts and categories, pure consciousness, pure reason, the existence of God, formalistic procedures in moral and political philosophy, abstract rights, etc., seemed to miss many important features of human life. 

The formal nature of much philosophy fails to properly address the ways that forms of embodiment and the form of social organization of which that embodiment is a part affects the development of consciousness, the experience of freedom or lack of freedom, rights, acceptance as fully human, the ability to be a part of a moral community, etc. 

What is the connection between philosophy and the lived experience of racism, police brutality, white supremacy, BLM protests?  What does philosophy look like when it directly addresses the black experience in America rather than abstract concepts?  Human consciousness is not formed in a vacuum or in the starry heavens, it is form within concrete material, social, historical, and political conditions.  Michel Foucault once argued that the human soul Is the result of the way in which society has written on the body.  That writing on the body is then interpreted according to the values of that society.  Put back into our context, how is the black body interpreted by white Americans, especially policemen?  These are some of the issues that we will explore in this class as we try to understand our present predicament.


PHI 305-001  Health Care Ethics - Johnson TR 9:30-10:45

PHI 305-002  Health Care Ethics - Craig MWF 12:00-12:50

PHI 305-003  Health Care Ethics - Craig MWF 11:00-11:50

PHI 305-004  Health Care Ethics - Bohannan MWF 2:00-2:50

PHI 305-201  Health Care Ethics – O’Dell 1st 8 weeks

A consideration of the ethical issues and difficult choices generated or made acute by advances in biology, technology and medicine.  Typical issues include:  informed consent, healer-patient relationships, truth telling, confidentiality, problem of birth defects, abortion, placebos and health, allocation of scarce medical resources, genetic research and experimentation, cost containment in health care, accountability of health care professionals, care of the dying and death.


PHI 310-001 Philosophy of Human NatureCasadonte TR 9:30-10:45

PHI 310-002 Philosophy of Human NatureLeaman TR 3:30-4:45  

A course introducing philosophy at the upper division level which studies various issues involved in analyzing what it means to be human, in the interest of developing a coherent conception of man.  Answers will be sought to questions like these: Is there a human nature?  What would differentiate the properly human from the nonhuman?  What kind of relations tie a human being to environment, society, and history?


PHI 315-001 Philosophy and Science FictionMcCaffrey MWF 1:00-1:50

PHI 315-201 Philosophy and Science FictionGrimsley 2nd 8 wks

An examination of fundamental questions in metaphysics and epistemology through a comparison of works of philosophy and science fiction. Questions will be discussed such as: Can there be time travel? Can computers think? Can there be non-human persons, and if so how would we identify them? Can there be ways of knowing that are radically different from our own, and what might they be like? How much can a person change while remaining the same person.


PHI 320-001 Symbolic Logic IRoso MWF 10:00-10:50

A systematic study of sentential logic, elementary quantification, and the logic of identity.  The student will acquire specific skills in symbolic methods of analysis which are necessary for further study in logic as well as useful in addressing complex issues in philosophy and other areas.


PHI 334-001 Business Ethics - Cameron MWF  9:00-9:50

PHI 334-002 Business Ethics - Cameron MWF  10:00-10:50

PHI 334-003 Business Ethics - Storozhenko MWF  11:00-11:50

PHI 334-004 Business Ethics - Storozhenko MWF  12:00-12:50 

PHI 334-201 Business Ethics - Turner 1st 8 wks

An introduction to moral problems that arise in contemporary business practice and the ethical frameworks proposed to resolve them.  Topics will include areas such as truth-telling and integrity; social responsibility; property rights and their limitations; and justice in personnel and labor practices.


PHI 335-001 The Individual and SocietyFarr TR 9:30-10:45  

In this course we will examine several views on the relationship between the individual and society.  We will see that some of these views contradict each other.  We will also discover that some of these views contain internal contradictions or tensions.  In exploring these views and the tensions between as well as within them we will discover that our own views about the individual and society may not be as consistent as we thought.  Through some of the readings we will discover the problematic origin of some of the views that we take for granted. 

In addition to examining the relationship between the individual and society, we will explore theories about how society is constituted by individuals as well as the way in which individuals are shaped by their society.  Finally, we will use these theories to raise serious questions about ourselves, our society, justice, rights, oppression, and violence.


PHI 336-001 Environmental Ethics - Sandmeyer MWF 1:00-1:50

PHI 336-002 Environmental Ethics - Sandmeyer MWF 2:00-2:50

In Environmental Ethics, we study the theory of our ethical relation to the nonhuman world, the social and political contexts in which these ethical theories function, and the idea of sustainability.  Some basic questions we ask include the following: How does an environmental ethic differ from traditional ethical theories? Do nonhuman animals or ecosystems have moral worth, and if so, how can competing moral claims between distinct moral entities be adjudicated? What is the human place in nature? How ought we to conserve the natural world? What is sustainability, and in what sense is this an ethical theory?

Student Learning Outcomes: At the conclusion of class, students will be able to

  • demonstrate skills necessary to read complex and dense texts comprehendingly
  • explain and defend one's own ethical standpoint according to basic theories & concepts
  • summarize and critique ethical positions from the perspective of traditionally underrepresented groups
  • describe the system of public lands protection in the United States and analyze the philosophical ideas underlying the main public lands management agencies in the Federal Government
  • identify and assess one's own concrete interaction to their surrounding world, especially in reference to the concept of sustainability


PHI 337-001 Introduction to Legal PhilosophyMarquis TR 2:00-3:15

This course introduces students to the task of thinking philosophically about the law. This refers primarily to considering how law’s interaction with life places an ongoing responsibility on legal theorists to rethink legal concepts and laws to make them more accountable to people’s actual lives and thus to be more truly universal. The first part of the course focuses on traditional philosophical treatments of law: natural law theory and its considerations of law as an instrument of the common good; and law in Enlightenment thought, especially social contract theory, which stipulates law’s role in securing freedom and equality versus the legalization of gross inequalities such as slavery and slave-like oppression. We also read Enlightenment women’s critiques of the legalization of women’s second-class status and of their political disenfranchisement. Next, we turn to the rise of modern jurisprudence, which focuses on mapping the “mechanics” of positive law. Finally, we consider concrete contemporary areas of law. Here, we cover civil rights and racial injustice. A major area of our focus will be gender-based discrimination, including LGTBQ discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse and violence against women. We may also consider these topics and legal questions as they relate to Covid-19.


PHI 340-001  Introduction to Feminism and PhilosophySuperson TR 12:30-1:45

This course offers an introduction to basic feminist thought from a philosophical perspective explored through topics such as oppression and privilege, gender roles, intersectionality, images of women in society, violence against women (woman battering and rape, transgender violence), and male socialization.  The main goal is to explain the oppression of women through these issues, though a subsidiary goal is to offer ways to examine ways to overcome women’s oppression.  The course emphasizes gender and issues affecting all women.  This course fulfills the UK General Education Requirement: Community, Culture, and Citizenship in the USA.

Assignments will include papers and class participation, depending on format (TBA).


PHI 343-001 Asian PhilosophyLeaman TR 11:00-12:15

Asian philosophy is taken to include theories and arguments derived from Buddhist, Chinese, Japanese, and Islamic culture. The focus will be on a number of philosophical questions such as the nature of personal identity, reality, death and the afterlife, morality, the role of society, and meditation. We shall explore notions such as Buddha nature, compassion, creation, emptiness, evil, karma, love, maya, nirvana, shari`a, yoga, and zen. Although this is not a course on religion, it will be necessary to know something of the religious context within which much of Asian philosophy operates, and so there will be some discussion of Asian religions also. Material will be drawn from the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Changes, and the Qur’an.


PHI 350-001 Metaphysics and Epistemology - Winterfeldt TR 11:00-12:15  

An examination of fundamental issues in metaphysics and epistemology, such as causation, the nature of space and time, personal identity, free will, the existence of God, the nature and types of knowledge, the character of human existence, skepticism, and rationality.

This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.


PHI 380-001 Death, Dying and Quality of Life  - Van Wulven  TR 9:30-10:45

PHI 380-002 Death, Dying and Quality of Life  - Roso MWF 1:00-1:50

A philosophical and interdisciplinary investigation of a cluster of prominent issues about the meaning of life and death, caring for dying persons, and the quality of life of the terminally ill.  Among topics included are: death definitions and criteria; allowing to die vs. killing; euthanasia and suicide; life prolongation, ethics of care of the terminally ill; and rights of the dying.


PHI 509-001 Topics in Modern Philosophy-Kant’s EthicsNenadic TR 12:30-1:45

This course centers on principal figures of Post-Kantian Philosophy as treated in Robert C. Scharff’s recent book How History Matters to Philosophy: Reconsidering Philosophy’s Past After Positivism (2015). Some of these figures include Dilthey, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Charles Taylor, and Richard Rorty. We examine how they reassert philosophy’s identity as a historical-humanistic enterprise distinct from the natural sciences, at a time when philosophy was losing its identity as the source of the sciences and was becoming, instead, an emulator of (an idea of) science, moreover on a path to being reduced to logic, with little to do with life and existential concerns. We explore how they navigate a relation to scientific epistemology in their efforts to spell out an epistemology appropriate to philosophy. In this examination, we interrogate what these figures understood philosophy to be and how they did it. We thereby also appreciate some differences between academic philosophy and how these (and other) canonical figures understood philosophy’s vocation, differences that center on situated knowing of contemporary crises and generative relationships with philosophy’s past


PHI 519/ST500 Critical Social ThoughtBird-Pollan TR 2:00-3:15

The course is designed to give an overview of main currents in 20th Century critical theory. Critical theory is understood as standing in the tradition of the critique of dogmatism stemming from Kant’s Copernican turn and Hegel’s extension of the concept. Critique is the process whereby thought turns back on itself, inquiring into its own suppositions in order to be more adequate to its sensible or merely experiential understanding of reality. The objective of the course is to track three, at times overlapping, conceptions of critique. We begin with the strand which proceeds from Marxist to Frankfurt School Critical theory. Second is the strand that begins with a more cultural rather than materialist understanding of the notion of critique extending from Gramsci to Foucault and Laclau. Finally, we examine the intersection of feminist criticism of social structures with Marxist critique which issues in a discussion of Critical Race Theory.


PHI 530-001 Ethical TheorySuperson TR 9:30-10:45

This course is on some of the major ethical theories, including that of Hobbes, Bentham, Mill, Kant, and Hume.  We will read portions of works from these historical figures, in addition to contemporary journal articles on some main issues raised in the historical works.  For each theory, we will aim to answer the following questions:  Where does morality come from?  What is morality?  What is the ideal moral person like?  Why should we be moral?

Course Assignments:  Grades will be based on papers and participation.  Format TBA.


PHI 565-001 Philosophy of LanguageSundell MWF 11:00-11:50

This course will provide an introduction to several issues in the philosophy of language. We’ll begin by reading a series of classic articles and books on topics such as reference, names, and descriptions. We’ll go on to read several papers on topics including context sensitivity, presupposition, and implicature. The notion of language itself is difficult to pin down and so, having gotten a sense of the field, we will conclude with a handful of readings from both philosophers and linguists on how exactly to define our object of study.


This course satisfies the contemporary M&E requirement for graduate students in philosophy.

PHI 650-001 Seminar in Metaphysics & Epistemology: Philosophical Issues in Virtual Reality Batty T  4:00-6:30

This is a graduate level seminar on philosophical issues related to virtual reality. Among the questions to consider are:

Is virtual reality experience veridical, illusory, or hallucinatory?

In what way does virtual reality technology present a challenge to existing theories of intentionality?

What is the ontological status of elements represented in virtual reality?  Are virtual objects real?  In what sense do they have (or not have) the properties that we experience them to have?

Can the use of virtual reality help us to better understand our engagement with fiction?

What is the epistemological or justificatory status of experience in virtual reality?

In what way can we employ virtual reality to better understand ourselves?  For example, what is the nature, or status, of the emotions in virtual reality experience?  How do they, or could they, map onto non-virtual reality?

What ethical pros and cons does the use of virtual reality pose for society?

Questions of virtual realities are not new to philosophy.  Descartes’ Evil Demon hypothesis and Robert Nozick’s Experience Machine thought experiment are examples in which philosophers have considered the philosophical implications of virtual realities—one in more recent history, one much longer ago.  In considering these questions, then, we will situate their importance, and the proposed answers, in broader themes in the history of philosophy. 


This course satisfies the contemporary M&E requirement for graduate students in philosophy.

PHI 680-001 Special Topics in Philosophy: Living in a Digitalizing WorldSchatzki M 4:00-6:30

This seminar will consider various philosophical and social theoretical issues about living in a world that is becoming increasingly digitalized.  Overall, the seminar will examine the process of “a life” (living-in-the-world), the digitalization of the practices and material arrangements through and amid which living proceeds, and changes in living wrought by this digitalization.  Topics will include the nature of living; lives, subjects, selves, and persons; the digitalization of the practices and material arrangements through and amid which everyday life proceeds, (i.e., how digitalization alters the contexts and conditions under which individual lives proceed); and changes in living consequent on these altered contexts and conditions, including whether digitalization enhances the appropriation of collective ways of being (concerning, e.g., attention or affect) or effects a “cyborgization” of life.  Readings have not yet been firmly determined but could include works of Tim Ingold, Gilles Deleuze, Julia Kristeva, Ole Dreier, Bernard Stiegler, Seb Franklin, Lucien Floridi, Mark Andrejevic, Shoshana Zuboff, Mike Power, Brett Frischmann & Evan Selinger, Stacey Irwin, and Don Ihde.


PHI 715-001 Seminar in Recent Philosophy: Philosophy of the UnconsciousBird-Pollan R 4:00-6:30

This course will examine philosophical and psychoanalytic treatments of the concept of the unconscious. We will begin by looking at the theories of consciousness in Kant and Schopenhauer order to ascertain whether there is room in German idealism for the concept. Since I believe the answer will be ‘yes’, we will be able to use the German idealism framework to understand Freud’s conception as well as some of his psychoanalytic followers including Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, W. R. Bion, Ignacio Matte Blanco, and Michel Henry. We will end with some reflections on how the concept of the unconscious can help us understand contemporary society for instance in the work of Critical Race Theory.


PHI 740-001 Proseminar in Teaching MethodsWallace F 2:00-2:50

An introduction to teaching methods for graduate students.


PHI 741-001 Proseminar in Metaphysics & EpistemologyBradshaw/Bird-Pollan/Wallace  W 4:30-7:00

First-year graduate course in Metaphysics and Epistemology in the ancient, modern, and contemporary periods.