Colby College, Spring 2015 Enrollment: 22
This was an intermediate introduction to epistemology. The course covered standard topics in epistemology, including skepticism and the analysis of knowledge. The course also introduced students to contemporary questions emerging from feminist epistemology and cognitive science.
The Cognitive Science of Religion
Colby College, Spring 2015 Enrollment: 20
This was an intermediate introduction to the study of cognitive science, focused on recent work on religious cognition. The course explored the cognitive foundations of belief in the supernatural, ritual behavior, and the underlying psychology of other areas including meditation and suicide bombing. Course goals included introducing students to basic concepts in cognitive science, including models of human psychology, experimental design, and statistical inference.
Introduction to Formal Logic
Colby College, Fall 2014 Enrollment: 80
This was an introduction to formal logic. The course covered standard topics in propositional calculus and first-order logic, introducing students to a system of natural deduction as a model for reasoning. The course had two goals, i) to provide students with the basic tools of formal reasoning, and ii) introduce the formal machinery used in various intermediate math, logic, and programming courses.
Experimental Philosophy & Moral Psychology
Colby College, Fall 2014 Enrollment: 16
This was a seminar for majors and minors introducing the empirical methods of experimental philosophy, and focused on contemporary research in moral psychology. With a grant from the Provost’s office, each student conducted a series of experiments exploring the psychology of charitable giving. The course used the social science’s laboratory model of guided instruction as students learned the empirical methods of the social sciences, and applied them explore aspects of moral cognition. Student’s presented their research at Colby’s year-end research symposium.
Introduction to Philosophy
Stevenson University, 2011 – 13 Enrollment: 54; 48; 50; 54
This was a historical introduction to philosophy focused on readings in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of mind, and moral philosophy (sometimes epistemology). The goal of the course was to introduce students to the skills of reading and evaluating an argument, and to teach the structure of an academic, argumentative essay. Course website: http://2012stevensonphilosophy101.blogspot.com/
The Cognitive Science of Religion
Johns Hopkins, 2012 – 2014 Enrollment: 16; 16; 15; 15
This course was part of Johns Hopkins’s Program in Expository Writing, and served primarily as a writing-intensive introduction to the college essay. Through classwork, conferencing, and direct instruction the course introduced students to the methods of writing with sources, and the intellectual moves of an analytical essay. Part of a writing-in-the-disciplines initiative, it introduced students to recent work on the cognitive psychology of religious beliefs and practices. Course website: http://goo.gl/mKmYwy
Stevenson University, 2011 – 2013 Enrollment: 17; 14; 25; 60
This was an applied ethics course for students pursuing degrees in the health and medical sciences. It covered topics in general moral theory, and applied cases including the patient-provider relationship, conflicts of interest, and concerns over the distinction between morality and the law. Later topics included those at the intersection of bio-ethics and public policy, including abortion, genetic testing, and funding health insurance. Course Websites: http://goo.gl/weLSsb
The Theory of Knowledge
Johns Hopkins, 2014 Enrollment: 19
This was a freshman seminar in philosophy exploring cross-cultural work in epistemology. The course explored central questions in epistemology, including skepticism, the nature of rationality, and relativism from a cross-cultural perspective. Course readings drew from historical texts of the Western, South Asian, and East Asian traditions, and concluded with recent cross-cultural work on the cognitive science of human reasoning.
The Cognitive Science of Politics
Johns Hopkins, 2013 Enrollment: 9
A personal favorite. This freshman seminar explored political philosophy through classic texts, including Rawls’ ATOJ and Nozick’s AS&U, and readings drawn from burgeoning study of the cognitive science of political cognition. Using online survey software, students participated by taking recreated versions of the studies they were reading about. A central goal was to encourage students to reflect on their political intuitions by reflecting on their results from participating in the recreated studies.
Johns Hopkins, 2012 – 13 Enrollment: 10; 12
This was a seminar on the role of intuition in philosophy. The course explored the role of intuition in philosophical argumentation in ethics, epistemology, and logic. Using historical and contemporary readings, from Plato’s Republic to Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, the course explored issues relating to the a priori, the analytic-synthetic distinction, and conceptual analysis. Course Website: http://goo.gl/5OtyO7
Introduction to Bioethics
Johns Hopkins 2010 – 11 Enrollment: 16; 14
This was a full three-credit summer course for incoming freshman and high school seniors. The course was designed as an introduction to philosophy through the topic of bioethics. The course examined concepts from normative ethics, including consequences, intentions, virtue, and justice and encouraged students to use them as tools to analyze contemporary debates in bioethics, over reproductive rights, end of life issues, and genetic enhancement. Website: http://goo.gl/6zt6p9
The Future of Humanity
Johns Hopkins 2010 – 11 Enrollment: 23; 19
This was an introduction to philosophy through an exploration of issues in the ethics of technology. Modeled on a popular course at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, the course covered topics connected by the idea that thinking seriously about the future of the human species is morally required. Topics included: genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, mind reading, assessing existential risk, and Derek Parfit’s non-identity problem. Course Website: http://goo.gl/zuBfMp
Foundations of Logic
Johns Hopkins 2010 Enrollment: 21
This was an advanced introduction to formal logic. The course covered standard topics in propositional calculus and first-order logic, introducing students to a system of natural deduction as a model for reasoning. It concluded with topics in meta-theory, including soundness and completeness. The course used Jon Barwise and John Etchmendy’s Language, Proof, and Logic as a textbook.