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2017 Northwestern Summer Session Classes

Northwestern University offers more than 300 courses during the summer quarter. Whether you're a current Northwestern student or visiting from another university, Summer at Northwestern is a great way to get ahead or catch up on courses. Undergraduate and graduate courses are offered in the subjects below and are flexibly scheduled – ranging from three to eight weeks and taught during the day, evenings and on weekends. Intensive language and science sequences compress three quarters of academic content into one summer, allowing you to earn a year’s worth of credit in your chosen subject.

Summer Session Courses

PHIL 110-0 Introduction to Philosophy

This course serves as a historical introduction to philosophy, focusing on the topic of philosophical doubt or skepticism. Over the course of the history of philosophy, some philosophers have relied on skepticism – the questioning of our most closely held beliefs – as a means for arriving at philosophical positions that are not susceptible to skeptical concerns. Others have embraced skepticism wholeheartedly, arguing that we can never justify some of our most closely held beliefs. We will consider two varieties of skepticism: First, skepticism that our understanding of the external world accurately reflects the world around us. Second, skepticism that there is an objective moral code that applies to humans, and that such a code is worth following. In taking this focus, the course introduces students to two principal areas of philosophical inquiry: theoretical philosophy (considering questions about the contents of the world and what we can know about them) and practical philosophy (considering moral questions).

Summer 2017 Sec #26
06/19/17 - 07/30/17 TuTh noon – 2:30 p.m. University Hall 412
Evanston Campus Open
PHIL 225-0 Minds and Machines

This course is about the nature of the mind, and in particular the nature of emotions. We will focus on questions about computational approaches to understanding the human mind, and the possibility of fully minded artificial intelligence. Throughout the course our focus will be on problems that arise when we think about emotions and the ways in which a better understanding of emotions can help us grasp what it is to have a mind and what that might mean for the future of artificial intelligence.

Summer 2017 Sec #25
06/19/17 - 07/23/17 MW noon – 3 p.m. Kresge Hall 2325
Evanston Campus Open
PHIL 240-0 Freedom and Responsibility

It is customary for us to hold each other responsible for our actions. Moreover, this seems to be an indispensible aspect of everyday human interaction, without which we could hardly make sense of our lives. Upon closer inspection, however, this ordinary practice leads to a puzzle. It seems that we are responsible for our actions only if we have the freedom to do otherwise. On the one hand, if our current choices are determined by the past together with the laws of nature, it seems that we never have the freedom to do otherwise. On the other hand, if our current choices are not determined by the past, it seems that they are not subject to our control and are not free in any meaningful sense. Hence, it appears that having the freedom necessary for responsibility is impossible. In this class we will try to make progress on diffusing this puzzle. Along the way we will be asking questions like: What is moral responsibility? What kind of freedom is necessary for responsibility? Is determinism compatible with this kind of freedom? What is the relationship between rationality and responsibility? Can we make sense of our lives if there is no responsibility? Are metaphysical questions about freedom and determinism relevant to understanding responsibility?

Summer 2017 Sec #26
06/19/17 - 07/30/17 MW 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Kresge Hall 2440
Evanston Campus Cancelled
PHIL 269-0 Bioethics

An analysis of the ethical issues that arise as a result of developments in medicine and biotechnology. Topics considered will include cloning and stem cell transplantation, human and animal research, new reproductive technologies, the definition of death, abortion, euthanasia, and the allocation of resources.

This course counts toward the Weinberg College Ethics and Values distribution requirement, Area V.

Summer 2017 Sec #25
06/19/17 - 07/23/17 MW 4 – 7 p.m. University Hall 121
Evanston Campus Open