Here are some syllabi that I've taught or am working on:
- Normative Powers
- Description: Human beings have a remarkable power to change their normative circumstances by mere utterance (or, in some cases, mere thought). Take, for instance, the power of consent. Heidi Hurd famously wrote that "consent can function to transform the morality of another's conduct," turning "a trespass into a dinner party; a battery into a handshake; a theft into a gift; an invasion of privacy into an intimate moment; a commercial appropriation of name and likeness into a biography." What could possibly explain such an amazing ability? In this course, we will survey a variety of phenomena that may be considered normative powers: promise-making, consent, forgiveness, and resolution-making. Along the way, we will consider the conditions that are needed to make these powers possible and how these powers can be used (or suppressed) for good and evil.
- Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
- Description: In this course, we will consider a series of questions about the nature of art and other aesthetic phenomena and the role that they play in our lives. What is art? What makes art good or bad, and who decides? Why do so many people think that art is pretentious? Can art created by morally reprehensible people nevertheless be good art? Can we love art even if the artworld is rife with injustice? And why, in the end, should we care about art and beauty? No background in philosophy or art is assumed in the course.
- From Womb to Tomb: Topics in Bioethics
- Description: In this class, we will consider a series of questions about the course of a human life. We begin with questions concerning ancestry and birth (e.g., is there value in being biologically related to one's parents? Do fetuses have moral status?). Next, we look to childhood and later stages of life (e.g., in what morally important sense are children different from adults? Why do so many people experience midlife crises?). We conclude by looking at moral issues surrounding aging and death (e.g., do we have a right to die? Would it be good for us if we could live forever?). No background in philosophy is assumed.
- Oppression and Resistance
- Description: In this course, we will learn about the experience of oppression, the structures and institutions that perpetuate oppression, and different modes of resisting oppression. We begin with a unit on what oppression is. Next, we discuss some experiences of oppression (including experiences of anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, White poverty, misogyny, and being undocumented), with special attention paid to intersectionality. Finally, we we will consider a series of questions about resisting oppression. This course assumes a feminist and critical philosophy of race perspective; rather than focus on questions regarding the legitimacy of gender, race, poverty, and other ways of carving out human differences, we will focus on questions that arise from considering how injustices along these dimensions are embedded in our social structures, institutions, and consciousness.
- Decisions, Games, and Rational Choice
- Description: In this course, we will explore ways that philosophers and social scientists have approached rational decision-making, both at the individual and the group level. We will begin with a unit on individual decision-making, focusing on expected utility theory–the view that rational choices are those that maximize expected utility–and considering the advantages and disadvantages of this view. Next is a unit on game theory, where we will learn mathematical models for strategic interactions. Finally is a unit on group decision-making, where we will consider, among other things, the possibility group intentions and decisions.
- Introduction to Symbolic Logic
- Description: Logic is the study of arguments. In this course, we will use formal tools to analyze arguments and explain what makes them good or bad. We will study two systems of formal logic—sentential logic and predicate logic—and develop a "metatheory" for these systems to address questions regarding their power and dependability. Students will leave the course with the ability to break down arguments and analyze their truth conditions, to prove that a conclusion follows from some premises, and with a generally more robust understanding of reasoning and argumentation.
- "The Greatest Hits of Analytic Philosophy, According to Angela" (an introductory philosophy course built around my favorite philosophy papers) – email me for a draft
Introductory Logic Resources
In Spring 2021, I taught Symbolic Logic (PHIL 303)—an introductory logic course for advanced undergraduates—at the University of Michigan. Here is the syllabus, and here are most of the materials I prepared for the course (including problem sets and solutions), which may be helpful to anyone interested in an introductory logic course that uses mostly open source materials. Most of the assigned reading is from forallx: Calgary. The readings from the metatheory unit are from The Logic Book, 6th ed., but only from chapter 6, so they can be shared freely with students without copyright infringement.
Additional logic resources:
Introduction to Philosophy Resources
I prepared some teaching resources for Maegan Fairchild's Fall 2020 PHIL 101 course at Michigan. These materials might be useful to anyone teaching an introductory philosophy course, or a course discussing personal identity, free and determinism, skepticism, and related topics.
Teaching at the University of Michgian
I'm a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) at the University of Michigan. Here are the courses I've taught and some samples of materials I've prepared:
- Rational Choice Theory (PHIL 443) for Jim Joyce in Fall 2020 and Fall 2021
- Symbolic Logic (PHIL 303) for Jamie Tappenden in Winter 2020
- Logic midterm study guide
- After the University of Michigan moved courses online due to COVID-19, I began making videos covering material that I would have gone over in class with my students so they could watch them on their own time. Here's my YouTube channel.
- Groups and Choices (PHIL 444) for Brian Weatherson in Fall 2019
- Ethics (PHIL 361) for Dan Lowe in Winter 2019
- Law and Philosophy (PHIL 359) for Ishani Maitra in Fall 2018
From 2017-2020, I was a coach for the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl. This involved teaching ethics and political philosophy to high school students. I coached:
- Beaverton High School in 2019-2020
- University Liggett School in 2019-2020
- Meadow Montessori School in 2018-2019
- Huron High School in 2017-2018 (semi-finalists in the state bowl!)