PHIL 100.01: UTOPIAS
Anna Moltchanova, 6a
What would a perfect society look like? What ideals would it implement? What social evils would it eliminate? This course explores some famous philosophical and literary utopias, such as Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, and others. We will also consider some nightmarish counterparts of utopias, dystopias. One of the projects in this course is a public performance, such as a speech or a short play. 

PHIL 100.02: SCIENCE, FAITH AND RATIONALITY
Jason Decker, 5a
This seminar will introduce the student to the study of philosophy through a consideration of various epistemic and metaphysical issues surrounding science and religion. What distinguishes scientific inquiry from other areas of inquiry: Its subject matter, its method of inquiry, or perhaps both? How does scientific belief differ from religious belief, in particular? Is the scientist committed to substantive metaphysical assumptions? If so, what role do these assumptions play in scientific investigation and how do they differ from religious dogma (if they do)? Our exploration of these questions will involve the consideration of both classic and contemporary philosophical texts.

PHIL 100.03: FAMILY VALUES: THE ETHICS OF BEING A FAMILY
Daniel Groll, 2a

Everyone has a family of one kind or another. Whether you love them, hate them, or both at the same time, your family has played a huge role in making you the person you are. That fact raises all kinds of interesting philosophical questions such as: what limits should there be on how parents shape their kids’ lives and values? Are there demands of justice that are in tension with the way families are “normally” constituted? What duties do parents have to their children and vice versa? And what makes a person someone else’s parent or child in the first place–genetics, commitment, convention? This course will explore all these questions and more.

PHIL 117: RECLAIMING ARGUMENT
Ned Hall, 2,3c
Our lives are drenched in argument and persuasion. This course aims to teach you how to deftly and ethically manage argument and persuasion in your own life. Our goals: to develop your skill at recognizing how language can be used and misused as a tool for persuasion, by teaching techniques from formal logic, linguistics, and argument-mapping; and to show you how (and why) to construct your own arguments with honesty and logical transparency. Our hope is that you will come to see argument not primarily as a contest to be won or lost, but as something that should be “reclaimed” for a more noble purpose: building genuine understanding between people, even across profound differences of viewpoint.

PHIL 257: CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY
Hope Sample, 3a
This course provides a survey of contemporary issues in feminist philosophy as well as a selection of feminist theories of gender. For the latter, we will cover intersectional theory, narrative theory, and feminist theories of embodiment, among others. For the former, we will attempt to answer the following kinds of questions in this course: How does feminism interact with nationalism? How do categories of gender, sex, sexuality, race, nationality, and class affect our willingness to attribute knowledge or epistemic authority to others? How does the application of these categories affect our awareness of the social spaces that we inhabit? How do we know our sexual orientation? What is oppression? Should gender impact custody decisions? How does the criminal justice system reinforce structures of oppression? This course will ask students to analyze feminist arguments that support diverse answers to these questions and more.

PHIL 270: ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
Daniel Groll, 4a
Is there a key to a happy and successful human life? If so, how do you acquire it? Ancient philosophers thought the key was virtue and that your chances of obtaining it depend on the sort of life you lead. In this course we’ll examine what these philosophers meant by virtue and how they understood its implications for your everyday life. We will situate the ancient understanding of virtue in the context of larger questions of metaphysics (the nature of being and reality), psychology, and ethics, as they arise in foundational works from Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics.

PHIL 299: ETHICS BOWL
Daniel Groll, 5,6c

This course will prepare a team or two from Carleton to participate in the regional Ethics Bowl tournament. Ethics Bowl teams prepare analyses of contemporary moral and political issues which they present, and defend, at the competition, while also engaging with the analyses of other teams. While Ethics Bowl is a competition, the focus in our course will be on doing the research necessary to understand the cases and then thinking through the cases together. Students do NOT have to partake in the Ethics Bowl tournament in order to take (and pass!) the course. The class will meet once a week. Previous Ethics Bowl experience is not required.

PHIL 306: CAUSATION AND EXPLANATION
Ned Hall, 4,5c
Intimately related in deep but philosophically mysterious ways, the paired concepts of causation and explanation structure how we think about the reality we inhabit and our place in it, as well as our self-understanding as inquirers. After all, when we investigate just about anything, we aim to know not just the where and the when, but the how and the why. This seminar will introduce you to some of the most important philosophical investigations into causation, explanation, and their relationship to one another. Along the way, we’ll pay close attention to ways in which these investigations matter–well outside the confines of academic philosophy–by looking at stubborn disputes within the social sciences about what counts as “causal” or “explanatory”.