“Fixed ideas are like a cramp, in the foot for example–the best remedy is to step on them.” Kierkegaard
Introduction To Philosophy
Required Text: Classic Philosophical Questions, Fourteenth Edition.
Robert J. Mulvaney
The readings below are listed by author and chapter headings:
- Plato, The Euthyphro. Defining Philosophical Terms.
- Suggested Reading: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder.
- Plato, The Apology. Socrates’ Trial and Defense.
- Aristotle, Book II of Nicomachean Ethics. Happiness is Living Virtuously.
- Mary Wollstonecraft, Chapter Two of A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Equal Education.
- John Stuart Mill, Liberty is Independence from the Majority’s Tyranny.
- Martin Luther King Jr., Liberty and Racial Prejudice.
- Suggested Reading: “My Trip to the Land of Gandhi,” Martin Luther King Jr.
- St. Thomas Aquinas, The Cosmological Argument.
- Blaise Pascal, It is Better to Believe in God’s Existence than to Deny It.
- Suggested Reading: Life of Pi by Yann Martel and Lit by Mary Karr.
- Suggested Film: Contact, directed by Robert Zemeckis.
- David Hume, A Good God Would Exclude Evil.
- Descartes, Meditations I and II.
- Suggested Films: The Matrix, directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski. The Truman Show, directed by Peter Weir. Waking Life, by Richard Linklater.
- Baron d’Holbach, Humans are Determined.
- Suggested Film: Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg.
- Suggested Reading: Clarence Darrow’s defense of Leopold and Loeb.
- Richard Taylor, Humans are Free.
- Leo Tolstoy, Faith Provides Life’s Meaning.
- Albert Camus, Life’s Meaning is Determined by Each Individual.
- Suggested Film: Match Point, directed by Woody Allen.
*In class, I will play the following interviews from the Colbert Report to pair with the lectures:
- Aristotle lecture: Eudiamonia and Intellectual virtue, Sean Carroll.
- Wollstonecraft lecture: Modern Feminist Gloria Steinem.
- Hume lecture: Excellent design? Jim Holt.
- Descartes lecture: Brian Greene examines reality.
Ethical Considerations in Technology
Required Text: Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
- Aristotle, Book I-III.
- In class discussion: The Virtuous Engineer, a look at Dean Kamen (Colbert Report Interview).
- Kristin Frader-Scharett, “Technology and Ethics.” (From the anthology Philosophy of Technology.)
- Suggested Film: Flash of Genius, directed by Marc Abraham.
- Immanuel Kant, “Duties Towards Others.” (From Lectures on Ethics.)
- In class discussion: Kant’s principle of Autonomy, The Challenger Disaster, and The Titanic.
- John Stuart Mill, Chapter Two of Utilitarianism.
- Suggested Reading: Peter Singer, What Should A Billionaire Give and What Should You?
- Mario Bunge, “Philosophical Inputs and Outputs of Technology.” (From the anthology Philosophy of Technology.)
- In class film, “Hurricane Katrina,” from the History Channel’s Engineering Disasters.
- Suggested Reading: Dave Eggers, Zeitoun.
- Soren Kierkegaard, “Editor’s Preface” and “Rotation of Crops,” from Either/Or.
- Leo Tolstoy, My Confession.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ.
- Suggested Readings: The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin Yalom.
- Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and The Fall.
- Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit.
- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
- Suggested Reading: Shakespeare, Hamlet.
- Simone de Beauvoir, “Pyrrhus and Cineas.”