Graduate and Undergraduate Course Offerings


The link below takes you to possible course offerings in Philosophy at BGSU.  Not all of these courses are offered each semester.  Contact the Department Office for further details.

General Descriptions of Possible Philosophy Courses Offered

The link below will take you to a page that shows all of the Philosophy course offerings in the upcoming semester:

Spring 2016 Philosophy Course Offerings        

Below are some more detailed descriptions of particular courses that are being offered in upcoming semesters.  See the Course Offerings document above for details about class schedules.

Spring 2016: Undergraduate Courses

Phil 1020: Introduction to Ethics* (Adam White)
*the description below is for Adam White's Phil 1020 class in particular; sections taught by other faculty may differ somewhat in content and emphasis.

All of us are morally obligated to do the right thing.  This introductory course has two primary aims: to sketch the main concepts and concerns of moral philosophy; and to do moral philosophy, i.e., examine arguments that seek to justify moral claims.  The course is a balance of moral theory and compelling moral issues.  Vibrant student participation occurs in full class, in small groups, and through an in-class Ethics Bowl.  Our lectures and readings are from a variety of accessible sources.

Phil 2040: Aesthetics (Dr Callen)

 The course is designed to help students develop and improve their understanding, concepts, and judgments of the meaning of aesthetic value or “beauty”, approached through interactive engagement with many and diverse perspectives, works of art, and art forms.

Phil 2320: Environmental Ethics (Dr Young)

This course concerns the rightness or wrongness of human actions as applied to our natural environment.  As you are no doubt aware, this is an area of immediate concern to all of us.  Indeed, our lives and the lives of our children may depend on how we decide to act in this regard.  In this course, we will attempt to grapple with some of the philosophical and practical aspects of environmental ethics.  Examples of questions that will be explored are: What kind of value does pristine nature have?  How should a balance be struck between the interests of humans and those of non-human nature?  Why preserve endangered species?  Do indigenous species deserve a higher value than introduced species?  Are the aggressive tactics employed by some environmental groups justifiable?  Are national parks good for environmentalism?  Hopefully by considering these and other questions we will come to a new understanding not only of the issues, but of our own perspectives and those of others. 

PHIL 4250:  Humans and Other Animals (Dr Gardner)

What, if anything, makes humans unique? This course will explore historical and contemporary perspectives on human nature and human value. We will read works by Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, and Mill as well as numerous contemporary philosophers, and we will consider what is supposed to make us special—whether it is rationality, autonomy, higher quality pleasures, or something else altogether. We will also consider ways in which human nature may or may not be relevant to our moral rights and obligations. This course satisfies one of the history requirements for philosophy majors.

Spring 2016 Graduate Courses

PHIL 7800:  Metaphysics and Ethics (Dr Gardner)

If the future isn't real, can we have moral obligations to future generations? Do merely possible people have moral standing? When we evaluate the causal consequences of our actions, which theory of causation should we use? In this course we will examine these and other issues at the intersection of metaphysics and ethics. We will consider both whether our moral judgments can inform our metaphysical theories of time, reality, and causation, and whether our metaphysical theories of time, reality, and causation can inform our moral judgments.   

Phil 7800: Public Reason Liberalism (Dr Vallier)

Perhaps the most prominent version of contemporary liberal political theory is political or public reason liberalism. This view combines traditional liberal commitments to freedom and equality with a requirement that all coercive laws are justified to each person in terms she can reasonably be expected to accept. In other words, for the public reason liberal, coercion must be publicly justified if it is to be compatible with respect for persons as free and equal.

This course introduces students to contemporary public reason liberalism.  Successful completion of coursework will leave students with a deep understanding of this branch of liberal political thought. We will begin with what is arguably public reason’s seminal work, John Rawls’s Political Liberalism (1993) and explore developments of Rawls’s position, especially Jonathan Quong’s Liberalism without Perfection (2011). We will also focus on Gaus’s recent landmark work on the topic, The Order of Public Reason (2011) and the substantial alterations it makes to the tradition. We’ll end by reading a draft of my book, Must Politics Be War? In Defense of Public Reason Liberalism (which will hopefully be published in 2017). I know I promised not to assign my work in a graduate seminar, but I’m going back on it. ;)