The Philosophy Program at A&M University - Corpus Christi offers the Minor (18 hrs.) and the Major (30 hrs.) in Philosophy. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions about studying philosophy.

Of Liars and Paraconsistent Logic

The NY Times' oft (and justly) maligned Stone series redeems itself a bit with a contribution by Graham Priest which starts with the Liar Paradox, moves through the general problem of paradoxes, and ends with a discussion of the Principle of Noncontradiction and the development of paraconsistent logic.  The article is perfectly accessible, although Priest is probably right to add that "the details are, perhaps, best left for consenting logicians behind closed doors."

Perhaps it would be useful to offer the course "Introduction to Philosophy" as a survey of paradoxes so everyone could enjoy the philosophical pleasure of being utterly dumbfounded.

Professional Ethics Extra Credit Opportunity

Students of PHIL 3340: Professional Ethics (all sections) may receive 2% extra credit by completing the Core Curriculum Survey, printing the "thank you" page, and submitting it to your recitation section leader.

Peering into the Rubbish Bin of Science

Richard Thaler asks of Edge contributors, "The flat earth and geocentric world are examples of wrong scientific beliefs that were held for long periods. Can you name your favorite example and for extra credit why it was believed to be true?" and receives many thought-provoking responses.  Ruttger's Zenon Pylyshyn writes,

Why does it take so long to accept new views even when the evidence is clear? Wittgenstein tells the following anecdote (I presume to show that first impressions about why views change are generally wrong):

Two philosophers meet in the hall. One says to the other, Why do you supposed people believed for such a long time that the sun goes around the earth, rather than that the earth rotates? The other philosopher replies, Obviously because it looks as though the sun is going around the earth. To which the first philosopher replies, But what would it look like if it looked like the earth was rotating?

To be sure, one in five of our fellow citizens still believe (some very seriously!) that the sun revolves around the earth, with obvious implications for our educational system.  Could they be the same as these Americans?

Friday Funny: SCTV's "Philosophy Street"

This week's humor is courtesy the classic SCTV:

On Minds, Brains, and Metaphors

Neuroscientist and epic-bearded guy Robert Sapolsky contributes a fascinating article to the NY Times' Stone Series on how the brain can set the mind up for confusing the metaphorical with the literal.  From the article,

What are we to make of the brain processing literal and metaphorical versions of a concept in the same brain region? Or that our neural circuitry doesn’t cleanly differentiate between the real and the symbolic? What are the consequences of the fact that evolution is a tinkerer and not an inventor, and has duct-taped metaphors and symbols to whichever pre-existing brain areas provided the closest fit?

Jonathan Haidt, of the University of Virginia, has shown how viscera and emotion often drive our decisionmaking, with conscious cognition mopping up afterward, trying to come up with rationalizations for that gut decision. The viscera that can influence moral decisionmaking and the brain’s confusion about the literalness of symbols can have enormous consequences. Part of the emotional contagion of the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda arose from the fact that when militant Hutu propagandists called for the eradication of the Tutsi, they iconically referred to them as “cockroaches.” Get someone to the point where his insula activates at the mention of an entire people, and he’s primed to join the bloodletting.

Research in Philosophy

Students developing term papers are encouraged to visit the Research page of this site for useful advice on writing philosophy papers and links to important online resources in philosophy.  Two such resources are spectacularly useful and thus well worth highlighting:

First, no work should begin without visiting the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (also discussed here).  It is one of the gems of academic philosophy.  So far as I know, it has not been replicated by any other discipline.  Here one finds extensive articles written by leading scholars.  So, for example, if you find your research interests landing on the problem of freedom of the will, you cannot do better than start by reading Tim O'Connor's splendid SEP entry on the topic.  Pay special attention to the bibliography attached to every entry, as these bibliographies list many of the major sources you may need to consult as you pursue the topic.

Finding sources is, secondly, the job of the Philosopher's Index.  Because the Index is only available through a paid subscription (generously provided by our Librarian Chris Shupala) on our Library website, we cannot provide a direct link to the Index.  Rather, go to the Library website, select "Databases" from the "Find" drop-down menu, select the "Sociology, Psych," QuickSet at the bottom of the page, and finally select "Philosopher's Index".  Do not mistake the Philosopher's Index for the "Religion and Philosophy" database!  Note also that the entire text of many of the articles indexed in the Philosopher's Index are available by selecting the "Search for Full Text" link provided with every article.

And, as always, bear in mind that your faculty are here to consult, advise, encourage, brainstorm, and otherwise do whatever we can to help you engage in that unique activity known as philosophy.

Friday Funny: So You Want to Major in Philosophy?

Courtesy Leiter Reports, Minnesota's Roy Cook offers a humorous look at telling someone you are majoring in philosophy.

Spring 2011 Course Schedule

Below is our course schedule for the Spring, 2011 semester.  Please note that you may encounter a "time conflict" error if you try to enroll in two PHIL 4390 courses. 

So for example, you will see the error--and thus may be blocked from enrolling--if you try to enroll in both PHIL 4390: Philosophy and History of Science and Technology and PHIL 4390: The Meaning of Life. 

Try specifying the section numbers (PHIL 4390.001 and PHIL 4390.003 in this example).  If you still aren't allowed to enroll, we'll have to permit you into both courses.  Contact one of the philosophy faculty by email, phone, or office visit to resolve the problem.

Don Berkich:

  • PHIL 3340.103: Professional Ethics Recitation
  • PHIL 4390.001: Philosophy and History of Science and Technology (cross-listed with BIOL 4590.001, BIMS 4590.001, HONR 4390.002)
  • PHIL 4390.002: Minds and Machines (cross-listed with PSYC 4390.002)

Andrew Piker:

  • PHIL 2303.001: Introduction to Logic
  • PHIL 3322.001: Modern Philosophy

Stefan Sencerz:

  • PHIL 3340.001: Professional Ethics Lecture
  • PHIL 3340.002: Professional Ethics Lecture
  • PHIL 3340.003: Professional Ethics Lecture
  • PHIL 3340.005: Professional Ethics Recitation
  • PHIL 3340.126: Professional Ethics Recitation

Glenn Tiller:

  • PHIL 1301.001: Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 1301.002: Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 4390.003: The Meaning of Life

Movie Night Extravaganza!!!

11/16/2010 7:00 pm

 The Philosophy Club presents the last movie of the fall semester. 
(Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato; 2005)
Inside Deep Throat is a 2005 American documentary about the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat and its effects on American society.It features scenes from the movie, news of the time and interviews, both from archive and purpose-made, with director Gerard Damiano, actor Harry Reems, actress Linda Lovelace, Gore Vidal, Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner, John Waters, Erica Jong, a prosecutor, Reems' defense, Mafia money collectors, and other people involved or just commenting on the film. 

  • There will be a Question & Answer session immediately following the movie.
  • All students, faculty, staff and friends are invited.

Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Time: Starts @ 7:00pm
Place: IH 160 (the new nursing building)
FMI: email through "Philosophy Club" at

IF service event this weekend! All are welcome!

11/13/2010 10:00 am
11/13/2010 4:00 pm

Hey guys,

Here is information on the "Teaching Adults to Read" program. I'll be
there, and I hope to see you, too! (Especially those of you who said you
could make it! )




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