In recent years, my classroom teaching has largely been restricted to the two programs I help to administer -- the Glynn Family Honors Program and the Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) minor, though I have been fortunate to have advised or served as a reader for a number of outstanding undergraduate and doctoral theses. I hope to have many more such opportunities in the future. The courses I regularly teach are described below.
PHILOSOPHY 13195: Honors Introduction to Philosophy (course page under construction)
This course is an introduction to philosophy for students seeking (or being forced) to fulfill the first of their university philosophy requirements. The course is intended to introduce students to philosophical questions, to make them aware of how some of history's greatest philosophers have approached those questions and what they have had to say about them, to help students articulate philosophical concerns of their own and, most importantly, to learn how to address them. Among the areas of philosophy explored in the course are ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics and theory of knowledge. Texts for the class vary from semester to semester, but typically include works by Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Hume and sometimes Kant. The course is run as a seminar. Students are expected to participate often and enthusiastically, constrained only by the requirements of relevance and civility – both of which I am construe loosely.
PHILOSOPHY 20425: Contemporary Political Philosophy (course page under construction)
Recent decades have been an extraordinarily exciting time in the development of political philosophy. Many of the central questions in the subject have received their most authoritative formulation and treatment since the 19th century. A good deal of attention early on will be devoted to the ground-breaking writings of John Rawls and to a libertarian critique. Because we live in such interesting times, we also try to understand some of the political ideas moving our world. We therefore look at socialism in its Anglophone and Chinese versions, and at some writing of Pope Francis, asking whether it is as radical as it seems. We look at a critique of the power employers exercise over their employees, and at some philosophy of race. We conclude with the emergence of populism. The course is run as a seminar.
This course undertakes a critical examination of major theories of justice, focusing on both contemporary sources (including John Rawls's A Theory of Justice, Kenneth Arrow's seminal papers on social choice theory and recent papers in behavioral economics) and classic works of political theory and practice (including Aristotle's Politics and the Lincoln-Douglas debates). The seminar requires substantial student participation in the forms of seminar presentations and discussion. This class is the core course for the College’s interdisciplinary PPE minor.
The Justice Seminar is cross-listed as POLITICAL SCIENCE: 43640 and ECONOMICS: 33250