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2018 Courses


2018 Courses

“Drawing Your Identity,” Prof. Juli Thorson (Ball State University)

In Drawing Your Identity, we will use drawing exercises and techniques to develop a complex way of thinking, remembering, and problem solving about notions of personal identity. Philosophers usually think linearly with one claim following another. Once we have the claims lined up, we usually begin discussing philosophic views via a critique of one link in that linear chain. We will disrupt this linear approach. Ideas connect in an organic fashion and relationships between ideas can be more complex than a unidirectional line. Drawing provides a way to illustrate these complex relations so that the interconnections and relationships can be seen. From the complexity of these new relationships, new insights can be generated.

Anyone who can write has enough dexterity to participate in this course. The goal is not the production of a polished piece of artwork to hang on a wall. Rather, exercises focus attention on ideas, concepts, and the relations among them, and enable new questions to emerge. Short passages of philosophic texts on personal identity will be the philosophic content. At the end of the course, we will discuss the way the exercises and techniques can be applied to any thinking task.

The teaching assistant for "Drawing Your Identity" will be Amitpal Singh, Ph.D. student at University of Toronto.

“Democracy in Athens,” Prof. Shoshana Brassfield (Frostburg State University)

Wouldn’t you like to learn about the Western philosophical tradition by traveling back in time to ancient Athens and entering into a conversation with Plato himself? In this mini course you will experience for yourself how these questions play out in the cradle of Western democracy by playing the Reacting to the Past role-playing game, The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C.E. Students will read Plato’s dialogues, and other ancient Greek texts in order to explore the nature of philosophy, knowledge, justice, and democracy. Will Socrates live? Will Athens restore its empire? Will justice prevail? Polish your oratory skills, because you and your fellow assemblymen will decide!

The teaching assistant for "Democracy in Athens" will be Austin Heath, Hamilton ‘15, M.St. Oxford University ‘16, Ph.D. Candidate at Johns Hopkins University.

“Mapping Moral Reasoning,” Prof. Charles Rathkopf (Iona College)

Do we need new laws to restrict gun ownership in this country? Should doctors be allowed to help very sick patients bring about their own death? Is it wrong to stare at an attractive person as they walk down the street? To deliver a compelling answer to such questions, you have to do more than articulate your opinion. You have to build an argument.

In this course, you will learn how to represent, evaluate, and build moral arguments. Unlike most philosophy courses, ours will take place in a computer lab, and will depend heavily on the use of argument-mapping software that will force you to organize your thoughts precisely. Like most valuable skills, argument evaluation demands practice. We will therefore spend the majority of each class actively building new argument maps. During each class, students will project their work on the large screen at the front of the room. Together, we will then analyze and improve the work so displayed. As long as you are receptive to feedback from your fellow students, this course will boost your critical thinking skills, and help you to reason clearly about morally complex topics.

The teaching assistant for "Mapping Moral Reasoning" will be Mandy Long, Ph.D. student at University of Connecticut.

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