I enjoy teaching a variety of topics. Below you’ll find course descriptions and syllabi for several courses I’ve taught in recent years. To download my teaching portfolio click here.
Introduction to Ethics
This course is a general introduction to ethics (a.k.a. moral philosophy), the branch of philosophy that deals with questions about what we should and should not do. We’ll be exploring some of the major ethical questions that confront us as individuals and as a society. These include: Is morality relative? Does the end justify the means? Do non-human animals have rights? What obligations, if any, do we have to those in extreme poverty? Should we abolish capital punishment? Is it OK to “put people out of their misery?” Is abortion wrong?
Philosophy as Conversation
One way to think about philosophy is as a conversation about some of the most important questions we have about ourselves and about the world we live in. Can we know anything at all? Does God exist? Do we have free will? Is death really a bad thing? How do we determine right from wrong? These are the sorts of questions that philosophers tend to discuss and to which they try to provide reasoned, well-informed answers. What we’ll be doing in this class is joining their discussion by critically examining the answers some of them have given to these and other questions and the reasons they have offered in support of their answers.
Philosophy of Religion
This course is an introduction to some of the central questions and issues in the philosophy of religion. The course is divided into two main sections. The first section will focus on the major arguments for and against the existence of God as conceived in the major monotheistic religions (i.e., Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). The second section will focus primarily on epistemological questions about the rationality of religious beliefs.
This course is an introduction to the philosophy of the “modern” period in Europe (roughly, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries). We will examine attempts by five influential philosophers of this period to deal with some central metaphysical and epistemological questions. The course has two main objectives. The first is to familiarize you with the work of influential philosophers of the modern period. The second is to develop your ability to think carefully and critically about the issues covered by challenging you to accurately and concisely reconstruct philosophical positions and arguments in your own words and then critically and intelligently evaluate those positions and arguments.