Derek A. Leben

Derek A. Leben, Philosophy and Film, Summer 2016

Course Description

This is an introductory aesthetics course dealing with philosophy and film.

Required Texts:

-No required text books. Refer to CourseWeb for the assigned readings.

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Introduction to Philosophical Problems, Spring 2016

Course Description

An introduction to some classical problems of philosophy. Topics vary, but might include skepticism, free will, the existence of God, and the justification of ethical beliefs.

Required Texts:

-Exploring Philosophy (ed. Stephen Cahn)

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Philosophy and Public Issues, Spring 2016

Course Description:

The aim of this introductory undergraduate course is to encourage systematic and clear thought about issues of public importance by philosophic reflection that emphasizes the implications of different moral and political theories for these issues.

Required Texts:

-Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction by Jennifer Nagel
-On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt
-Respecting Truth by Lee McIntyre
-In Praise of Reason by Michael Lynch
-Nonsense on Stilts by Massimo Pigliucci
-Tower of Babel by Robert Pennock

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Political Philosophy, Spring 2016

Course Description

This course is concerned with the origin and justification of a state. What is it that justifies a state enforcing its laws and taking taxes from citizens, especially those who do not agree with these laws and taxes? What type of state is best, and who should control it? We will discuss Plato, Hobbes, Mill, Wolff, and other theorists (through Sandel).

Required Texts:

-Republic by Plato
-Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
-Justice by Michael Sandel
-On Liberty by J.S. Mill
-In Defense of Anarchism by Robert Paul Wolff
-The Second Treatise on Government by John Locke

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Moral Psychology, Fall 2015

Course Description:

This seminar will discuss the key debates and recent work within the field of moral psychology. The course is broken down into four units: (I) The Causes of Moral Judgments, (II) The Features of Moral Concepts, (III) Character and Responsibility Attributions, (IV) Justifying or Debunking Moral Beliefs.

Required Texts:

Moral Psychology

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Introduction to Ethics, Fall 2015

Course Description:

An examination of philosophical theories concerning good and evil, right and wrong, and virtue and vice, and their implications for some specific moral issues.

Required Texts:

Exploring Ethics by Steven Cahn

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Bioethics, Fall 2015

Course Description:

We often face moral decisions, but perhaps nowhere are moral decisions more difficult and complex than in the field of medicine. This course will address some of the major ethical issues within the medical field and potential approaches to navigating these difficult problems. The readings are divided into four units: (I) the physician-patient relationship, (II) policies of medical institutions, (III) end of life issues, and (IV) reproductive issues. Students will be responsible for at least two presentations throughout the semester that will discuss the readings and promote class discussion. While there are midterm and final exams, the course will be run as a seminar with a focus on class debate.

Required Texts:

• Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, History of Ancient Philosophy, Fall 2015

Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the main achievements and leading ideas of ancient Greek philosophy up to classical times. Emphasis will be on understanding and evaluating the arguments and ideas of the Greek philosophical tradition.

Required Texts:

Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy: From Thales to Aristotle

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Concepts Of Human Nature, Spring 2015

Course Description:

An introduction to some ways in which ethical and social thought has been influenced by different views of human nature. Readings are from such authors as Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, and Freud.

Required Texts:

-The Study of Human Nature edited by Leslie Stevenson
-Walden Two by B.F. Skinner
-The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould
-The Better Angels of Our Natures by Steven Pinker

Derek A. Leben, Political Philosophy, Spring 2015

Course Description

This course is concerned with the origin and justification of a state. What is it that justifies a state enforcing its laws and taking taxes from citizens, especially those who do not agree with these laws and taxes? What type of state is best, and who should control it? We will discuss Plato, Hobbes, Mill, Wolff, and other theorists (through Sandel).

Required Texts:

-Republic by Plato
-Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
-Justice by Michael Sandel
-On Liberty by J.S. Mill
-In Defense of Anarchism by Robert Paul Wolff

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