I am lucky enough to come to LaGuardia at a time when they are expanding the philosophy major and we are trying to introduce four new classes to the curriculum. I am responsible for designing two of them; Logic and Philosophy and Medical Ethics (the other two are Aesthetics and Environmental Ethics). I thought I would post the course descriptions and outlines in the hopes of getting some feedback from any LaGuardia students lurking around here on whether or not classes like these sound interesting and would be something you might consider taking if it were offered.
Logic and Philosophy
Course Description: An introduction to modern symbolic logic with a focus on its application to actual philosophical problems. Topics to be discussed include validty, entailment, truth-tables, proofs, translations from English into symbolic form, as well as more philosophical topics like the relation of modern logic to earlier syllogistic logic, the possibility of the use of logic to resolve philosophical problems (e.g. God’s existence or free will), the relation of English to logic, and the possibility of ‘alternative’ logics.
1. Validity & soundness
–Logic and the philosophical method.
–Entailment, inference, and validity.
–Aristotle’s identification of validity with the form of the argument.
–The seperation of validity (formal structure) and soundness (truth of premises).
–The counter-example method of testing validity
2. Syllogistic Logic
–The square of opposition and the cannonical A, E, I, and O sentence forms.
–Categories and Venn diagrams.
–The mood and forms of the valid syllogisms.
3. Philosophical issues in syllogistic logic
–Does ‘all’ imply ‘some’?
–Are some logical truths known by reason alone, independently of experience?
–some arguments cannot be expressed in syllogistic logic.
4. Basic Propositional logic I
–Beginning definitions of formal symbols for ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’ and ‘if…then’.
–Simple translations into symbols.
–The truth-table test for validity.
5. Basic propositional logic II
–More advanced translations.
–Introduction of rules for symbol manipulation.
6. Propositional proofs
–Introduction to natural deduction.
–Introduction to truth-trees.
7. Philosophical issues in propositional logic
–paradoxes of material implication.
–why accept valid inferences?
8. Basic quantificational logic
–Introduction of ‘all’ and ‘some’ into the formal language.
–Translations and proofs.
9. Identity and relations
–Introduction of identity into the formal language.
-Introduction of relational predicates (e.g. ‘taller than’).
10. Philosophical issues in quantificational logic.
–Is existence a predicate?
–Do mathematical truths reduce to logical truths?
–Treating names as descriptions.
–Informative identity statements.
11. Basic modal logic
–Introduction of ‘necessary’ and ‘possible’ into the formal language.
–Introduction to possible world semantics.
–translations and proofs.
12. Philosophical issues in modal logic
–The metaphysical status of possible worlds.
–one logic, or many?
–Names and rigid designators.
–different concepts of possibility: Epistemic, metaphysical, and logical.
13 Final Exam
Course Description:An introduction to some of the basic issues in medical ethics. The course emphasizes the application of moral theory to the issues that arise in the context of medical research and practice. Topics to be addressed include, among others, the role and responsibility of heathcare givers in death and dying, the use of stem cells and animals in medical research, the use of genetic information to influence the outcome of human pregnancy, cosmetic surgical addiction, and issues involving involuntary psychiatric care.
1. Review of basic ethical theories
2. Killing those who can’t speak for themselves
–Active vs. passive Euthanasia.
–patients that can’t make their own decisions.
3. Physician-assisted suicide
4. Ethical issues in reproductive science
5. The use of human embryos in scientific research
6. Elective cosmetic surgery and surgical addiction
7. The use of animals in scientific research
8. Issues involving justice and the allocation of medical resources
–transplants and alchoholics.
–Transplants and the black market.
9. Involuntary psychiatric care
10. Issues in genomics (genetic counseling/genetic engeneering)
11. Universal heathcare
12. Issues involving HIV/AIDS
13 Final Exam