Teaching

I teach courses in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, ethics, applied ethics and moral psychology.

2011-2012 Course Descriptions:

Phil. 106: Introduction to Moral Philosophy

A study of central issues in moral philosophy from ancient Greece to the present day. Topics include the nature of morality, conceptions of justice, views of human nature and their bearing on questions of value, and competing tests of right and wrong.

Phil. 201: Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

An introduction to the work of Plato, Aristotle, and select Hellenistic philosophers which aims to develop students' skills in analyzing and constructing philosophical arguments with attention to historical context.  Focusing on the ways in which various ancient philosophical views formed internally consistent systems, we will address a range of central topics in ancient thought, including issues in ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology.  The course will deal primarily with Plato and Aristotle, and end with a briefer treatment of the Epicureans, Stoics and Skeptics.

Phil. 206: Normative Ethics

Can we justify buying i-things while allowing those farther away to go without basic sustenance?  Can someone justify killing whales to satisfy a taste for blubber?  May the state prohibit recreational drug use?  This course will examine the relationship between general ethical principles and the application of these principles to current ethical issues, forcing us to reflect on the complexity of the moral choices we make as individuals and as participants in societies.  Special attention will be paid to conflicts between principles that aim to promote individual and collective well-being and those that prohibit restrictions on individual freedom and autonomy.

Phil. 310: Belief, Desire, Action: Ancient Moral Psychology

This course will examine ancient philosophical views about the nature of beliefs and desires and their roles in the motivation of action.  We will concentrate on the diverse answers that Plato, Aristotle and select Hellenistic philosophers offer to the following questions: What kinds of contents do beliefs have?  In cases where the soul has more than one part, does each part of the soul possess beliefs?  Does each part of the soul generate desires?  How do beliefs influence our desires?  What sorts of desires are bad?  When we have conflicting desires, how do we come to act in accordance with only one of these desires?