Fall 2016 Teacher-Advisor Program (TAP) Seminars

Fine Arts
Social Sciences
Natural Sciences & Mathematics


PHIL 010 A & B - Skepticism

Instructor: Don Loeb

In this class we will consider debates in three areas in which philosophical doubts have been raised:

  1. Is there reason to believe that there are objective standards of morality and that these standards are knowable by us?
  2. Is there reason to believe in God, and in particular in a God who is the author of morality? And most radically
  3. Is there reason to believe in a world external to one's own mind, in other people, in one's own body, in what one remembers about the past, and in the pronouncements of science?

Requirements Satisfied: Humanities and Writing and Information Literacy

PHIL 010 J & K - Ethics of Eating

Instructor: Tyler Doggett

Unlike breathing or sleeping or various other things we have to do to stay alive, eating is ethically problematic. The course explains why. Topics will include the ethics of factory farming and free-range farming, of treating food workers various ways, and of various diets. Some more general ethical topics-consequentialism, deontology, rights-will show up, too. Grades will come from a series of short writing assignments and three exams.

Requirements Satisfied: Humanities, Writing and Information Literacy, and Sustainability (SU)

PHIL 010 N - Death and Dying

Instructor: Michael Ashooh

We are all going to die. Everyone we know and everyone we care about is going to die. This, at least, is one truth we must all confront. Whether we cease to exist at our death is another question. But what should the prospect of our death mean to us? Should we fear it, loathe it, despair at its inevitability? Should we prepare for it and how could we? Can thinking about death be good for us? We will begin with some ancient arguments regarding the nature of death and whether it should be feared. We will discuss what philosophical reflection is and how we might begin to reflect on the nature and significance of death. We will explore Socrates’ claim that philosophy teaches us how to die. We will then move on to some contemporary debates regarding these arguments, their role in philosophical reflection, and what they are meant to teach us about what are attitudes toward death should be. We will explore how philosophical reflections on the nature of death and dying might help us to both live better and die better. We will consider whether life after death is possible, whether it would be desirable and how knowing that we will die influences how we live and our self-conceptions. We will also consider end of life decision making and the ethical implications of our own deaths and the deaths of others. Finally, we will consider whether and how death relates to questions of “the meaning of life” and whether death renders life meaningless.

Requirements Satisfied: Humanities and Writing and Information Literacy