I teach three courses every year:
For my fourth course, I try to switch between (1) classes for first and second year students, such as Problems of Philosophy (Phil 1) or ID-1, and (2) classes for juniors and seniors, such as the expansively titled “Topics in Philosophy of Law, and Law and Society” (Phil 185b) or “Topics in Social and Political Philosophy” (Phil 185s). (The titles and descriptions are deliberately broad. That way we can put a variety of different topics under the same number without having to go to the curriculum committee for approval.)
Anyway, next year (2014–15) would be a junior-senior class. As of December 2013, I think I will do one on punishment. In doing my own research on seventeenth-century theories of punishment, I was struck by the fact that the problems they discussed then are different from the ones that we discuss now. In the seventeenth century, the chief question was who has the right to punish. The thought was that this was the crucial right for a sovereign state: if you can’t show that the state has the right to punish, you can’t give a justification of the state. Now, I think we take it for granted that the state has this right and we largely ask questions about the aims of punishment: deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution, and so on. I’m interested in the gap.
But wait, there’s more! Thanks to the persuasive powers of Josh Ortiz and Patrick Little, it looks like I’ll be doing a small group independent study on Hume as well. The idea is that we would meet on Friday afternoons to go over the major topics in Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Michael Someck might sign on as well. If you’re interested, let me know.
551 N. College Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711
|office||Pearsons Hall, room 207|
|office hours||Wednesdays 2–4 (Spring 2014)|