Philosophy
Holloway Hall

Listed below are all the courses our department offers, covering a full curriculum in philosophy.
A brochure listing our current course offerings can be located by clicking here.

Want to see what we will be offering in Spring 2013? Please see this course brochure (PDF).

[Go to Course Schedules]

Course Descriptions

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PHIL 101 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY [+]
Invites students to philosophize, asking and creatively responding to basic questions about human existence which are usually left unasked, e.g., are we free, what is the self, what value should we live for? Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 103 CRITICAL THINKING [+]
Develops abilities to reason effectively, analyze problems, identify issues, critically evaluate evidence, argue logically and reach and defend justifiable conclusions. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 202 INTRODUCTION TO SYMBOLIC LOGIC [+]
Provides a basic introduction to logic, emphasizing modern symbolic methods. Nature of formal deductive proof is given special attention. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 203 ETHICS [+]
Helps students develop a personal framework for ethical action. Emphasis on identification of ethical theories; applications to contemporary problems utilized as exercises to strengthen each student's own ethical position. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 209 PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURE [+]
A reflection on the significance of culture and the difficulties posed when one seeks to translate other cultural perspectives into one's own world view. Emphasis is on cultivating knowledge of particular cultures outside the American scene, as well as on the struggle within our own nation to form a culture in which intercultural relationships can flourish. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 210 NATURE, SCIENCE AND RELIGION [+]
Science and religion sometimes make conflicting claims about nature and human nature. Throughout history the two enterprises have reacted to and shaped one another in diverse ways. Introduction to past and current thinking about the relations between science and religion. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 290 PROSEMINAR IN PHILOSOPHY [+]
Careful study of selected important texts in the history of philosophy with the purpose of developing reading and writing skills. Intended to prepare new majors for upper-level courses, required for philosophy majors and recommended for minors. Prerequisite: Students must have declared a major or minor in Philosophy. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 300 PHILOSOPHY OF ARTS [+]
Analysis of the complexity of problems concerning the nature of beauty and artistic value. Topics include attempts to define “the aesthetically pleasing,” the role of formal and sensuous components in a work of art, the relationships of art to emotions and to intellect, the debate about the “moral” component of art, the dialogue between the artist and the beholder, the nature of value judgments and role of the critic. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 301 VIOLENCE AND NON VIOLENCE [+]
Explores and analyzes the philosophical meaning of violence and nonviolence, the ethics of just and unjust wars, and the moral efficacy of pacifism. Applies to issues such as capital punishment, nonviolent resistance and specific wars. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 305 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY [+]
Examines political reality as the public place where people come together to speak and act, freely and equally, and thereby become more fully human. Students develop a model of political speech and action (from a dialogue with the tradition) and apply that model to contemporary political problems. Prerequisite: One philosophy course/consent of instructor. Three hours per week plus enhancement.
PHIL 306 ANIMALS AND ETHICS [+]
Examines fundamental moral questions concerning our interactions with nonhuman animals. Attention to what we can know about the mental and emotional capacities of animals, to whether animals have rights, and to human-animal relationships. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 307 MIND, LANGUAGE AND WORLD: THEMES IN ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY [+]
Examines the relationship between the mind and the world and the role of language within this relationship. Some typical questions that will form the topic of discussion are What is the mind?, Can (some) machines think?, How does mind represent the world?, How does language refer to the world? and Is it possible to have thought without language?. Prerequisite: One Philosophy course or permission of instructor.
PHIL 308 ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY [+]
Study of philosophy in the Greco-Roman world from the Pre-Socratics to the Neo-Platonists. Special emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. Prerequisite: One philosophy course/consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 309 MEDIEVAL PHILOSPHY [+]
The absorption of Greek philosophical concepts by Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Study of the great medieval systems constructed to strengthen revealed religions and the skeptical revolts against them. Augustine to the medieval mystics. Prerequisite: One philosophy course/consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 310 PHILOSOPHICAL TOPICS [+]
Examines in depth a philosophical theme or problem. Content varies semester to semester. May be repeated under different subtitles. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 311 MODERN PHILOSPHY [+]
Surveys the development of philosophy from the Renaissance to the 19th century and includes a study of Descartes, Hume, Kant and Hegel. Cannot receive credit for both PHIL 302 and 311. Prerequisite: One philosophy course/consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 312 INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN PHILOSOPHY [+]
Examines some of the major philosophical ideas of Indian, Tebetan, Japanese and Chinese thought. Emphasis is on the following question: Is Asian thought really fundamentally different from Western thought? Discussion of how Asian philosophers have attempted to answer questions such as How do I know that I know something?, What is the nature of the self?, 'What is good? Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 313 STUDIES IN HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY [+]
Intensive study of a major thinker, period or theme in the history of philosophy. May be repeated for credit under different subtitles. Prerequisite: One philosophy course. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 315 LIFE AND DEATH ISSUES IN HEALTH CARE: THE ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE [+]
Identification, analysis and evaluation of contemporary problems resulting from the new breakthroughs in biomedicine. Topics include physician-patient relationship, euthanasia, experimentation, social control, genetic engineering, the health care system. Emphasis on developing an ethical framework to deal with these and future biomedical issues. Students cannot receive credit for both NURS 325 and PHIL 315. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 316 PHILOSOPHY & FEMINISM [+]
Examines the theoretical basis of several traditions which define women as “other” or “special” or “different from” the human standard (male), along with some of the social and personal consequences this has. Also looks at contemporary redefinitions of what it is to be female/male/human and the rights and obligations that logically follow from legal and social recognition of woman's full humanity. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 317 19TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY [+]
A study of various philosophical movements and figures within 19th-century Europe. Explores questions of progress, history and moral change, and contrasts systematic, hermeneutical and creative philosophical methodologies. Special emphasis on post-Kantian philosophy and Hegel. Prerequisite: One philosophy course or permission of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 318 ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY [+]
Focus on two central questions: How does our manner of encountering nonhuman entities affect how they become meaningful for us? How might we best formulate our obligations to the earth's diverse ecosystems and the creatures populating them? Satisfies General Education IB. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 319 LAW AND MORALITY [+]
Examination of the philosophical issues that arise in thinking about the law, such as: What is the relationship between morality and the law? What kind of equality does the Constitution guarantee? What makes an act a crime? Classic and contemporary theories of law, as well as recent legal cases, are also discussed. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 321 RACE AND ETHNICITY [+]
Explore some of the philosophical questions that arise in regard to the concepts of race and ethnicity, such as: What is race? Is it a valid biological category? What is ethnicity? Are race and ethnicity central to one's sense of self? What race is a mixed-race person? Is racist and ethnic discrimination primarily an emotion or a belief? Can people of color be racist? How can racist and ethnic discrimination be reduced? Prerequisite: One philosophy course. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 322 EXISTENTIALISM [+]
Close look at the basic human problems of self, God and others as seen from the existentialist perspective. Major themes of alienation, authenticity, freedom, commitment and dread are traced from their roots in the 19th century philosophies of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to contemporary expressions by Sartre, Camus, Heidegger and Buber, et al. May not receive credit for both PHIL 322 and 403. Prerequisite: One philosophy course or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 323 BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY [+]
Provides a general introduction to the Buddhist philosophy of the Indian subcontinent, Tibet, China and Japan. Discusses the teachings of the historical Buddha before concentrating on a number of Buddhist schools that developed from these teachings. Emphasis will be on Buddhist metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and philosophy of mind. Three hours per week with enhancement. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 324 TOPICS IN ASIAN PHILOSOPHY [+]
Examines in depth a particular theme or problem in Asian philosophy. The content varies from semester to semester. May be repeated once under a different subtitle. Prerequisite: One philosophy course or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 325 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION [+]
Promotes understanding of religious experience by focusing on a variety of its aspects, such as worship, prayer, vocation, mysticism, secularity and the encounter with evil. Prerequisite: One philosophy course or consent of instructor. Three hours per weekwith enhancement.
PHIL 330 THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE [+]
Examines the sources, types, methods, structure and validity of knowledge. A study is made of classical, modern and contemporary sources of meaning, truth and perception giving students an acquaintance with, and appreciation of, the scope and limits of knowledge. Prerequisite: One philosophy course or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 335 PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE [+]
Critical examination of the philosophical problems common to the natural sciences, such as the nature of scientific laws and theories, and problems involved in scientific explanation. Cannot receive credit for both PHIL 335 and 406. Prerequisite: One philosophy course or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 399 INTERNATIONAL STUDIES IN PHILOSOPHY [+]
Study abroad course that focuses on historical or contemporary philosophical issues that relate to the country in which the course is taught. May be taken twice for credit under different subtitles. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Meets General Education IIIA or IIIC (Prior to Fall 2008: IB).
PHIL 401 MORAL THEORY [+]
Examines the foundations and nature of morality. A study of metaethical and normative ethical questions, such as: Are claims about morals objective? If so, what makes them so? Are there general principles or rules that we should follow? Or is morality best understood in terms of virtues? Prerequisite: Two philosophy courses. Three hours per week with enhancements.
PHIL 402 PROBLEM OF GOD [+]
Involves students in thinking through the ultimate questions philosophy asks about God's nature and existence. Attention given to a variety of themes, including the relationship between God and nature, the personhood of God, atheism and the meaningfulness of human speech about God. Prerequisite: One philosophy course or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 405 CONTEMPORARY CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY [+]
Treats questions raised by philosophers writing in the wake of Heidegger and the existentialist tradition. Areas of discussion include feminism, foundationalism, embodiment, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, epistemology, ethics and theology. Prerequisites: Two philosophy courses or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 408 METAPHYSICS [+]
Examines a variety of philosophical theories which propose a portrait of reality as a whole and are evaluated in terms of their ability to respond to ultimate questions we raise about being, matter and the absolute. Considers whether it is possible for us to achieve a comprehensive knowledge of reality. Cannot receive credit for both PHIL 306 and 408. Prerequisite: Two philosophy courses or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 450 PHILIOSOPHICAL CONCEPTS IN LITERATURE [+]
Examines a philosophical theme (e.g., existentialism, tragedy) as reflected in works of literature. Theme varies semester to semester. Prerequisites: ENGL 101, 102 and one philosophy course or consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 475 SEMINAR IN PHILOSOPHY [+]
Offers advanced students in philosophy an opportunity to research and reflect on an issue or theme more thoroughly and intensely than is possible in an ordinary course. Content varies semester to semester. May be repeated for credit with faculty approval. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 490 INDEPENDENT STUDY [+]
Tutorial course in a specific problem of philosophy, a particular philosopher or a particular period of philosophy. Open to junior and senior students, conditional on faculty member's consent. May be repeated for credit with faculty approval. Up to three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 497 RESEARCH IN PHILOSOPHY [+]
Provides advanced philosophy students an opportunity to study an area of philosophy in more depth than is possible in the traditional classroom setting. Working with a faculty mentor, students will choose an area of philosophical inquiry, study the relevant philosophical literature in that area, and produce a substantial paper worthy of presentation at an undergraduate philosophy conference. Course may be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: Junior status. Three hours per week with enhancement.
PHIL 590 INDEPENDENT STUDY [+]
Tutorial course in a specific problem of philosophy, a particular philosopher or a particular period of philosophy. Open to junior and senior students, conditional on faculty member's consent. May be repeated for credit with faculty approval. Up to three hours per week.