- Read texts/arguments in a reflective and critical manner.
- Write in a coherent and persuasive manner.
- Understand and apply logical thinking skills in evaluating arguments.
- Be literate with respect to ancient and modern Western philosophical thought concerning ethics, metaphysics and epistemology.
PHIL-101 Problems in Philosophy
An introduction to philosophy and philosophical problems. Emphasizes standards and ideals of morality and truth. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.
PHIL-105 Philosophy of Love and Desire
An introduction to philosophy, this course examines theories of love, desire and friendship from ancient, medieval, modern, and 19th- and 20th-century philosophers. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.
PHIL-115 Social Justice Leadership
This course is designed to introduce students to a number of theoretical frameworks in the fields of philosophy, leadership and social justice. Using multiculturalism and social justice as guideposts, the course will help student leaders understand diversity using the central tenets of mentoring, leadership and agency. Through these theories, the concepts of oppression, activism and advocacy will be investigated. 2 SH.
PHIL-122 Resolving Moral Conflicts
Investigates problems involved in moral decision making, providing students with a better understanding of what it means to be a good individual, a good family member and a good citizen of the nation and world. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.
This introductory course is a philosophical inquiry into the idea of justice. Rather than focusing on personal morality, we will investigate issues of public policy. How ought we, through our laws and institutions, distribute the benefits and burdens of society, income and wealth, duties and rights, powers and opportunities, offices and honors? Philosophical writings, as well as practical issues that illustrate competing theories of justice, will be investigated. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.
PHIL-130 Philosophy and Hip-Hop
This course provides an introduction to moral theory through examining the content of socially conscious rap songs in relation to traditional philosophical assumptions about the good life, the nature of justice, and the pursuit of wisdom. This course also provides an introduction to the field of critical race theory through examining how several rap songs express ideas or theories that are now prominent in the field. 4 SH. CC: Diversity, Ethics.
PHIL-150 Race, Class and Ethics
Examines ethical theory and practice in connection with the relevant social and political philosophy, focusing on the philosophical issues that arise in everyday life. 4 SH. CC: Ethics, Diversity Intensive.
PHIL-210 Philosophy of Religion
Focus on classical and contemporary writings to determine the credibility of religious faiths and beliefs. Same as RELI-210. 4 SH.
An intensive study of the themes and ideas that inform different existentialist texts. This course also examines the historical context for the emergence of this contemporary school of thought. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive, Interdisciplinary.
PHIL-212 Feminist Philosophy
An examination of the various forms of feminist philosophy (e.g., liberal feminism, radical feminism, existential feminism, Marxist/socialist feminism, psychoanalytic feminism, postmodern feminism, eco-feminism, and multicultural and global feminism). Emphasizes how feminism differs from common (mis)understandings of it. Some attention is also given to various women in professional philosophy. Same as WMST-200. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or one course in women's studies or completion of the Diversity Central Curriculum requirement or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Diversity.
PHIL-213 Symbolic Logic
Examines basic procedures for determining the validity or invalidity of deductive arguments. Emphasizes standard notations, principles and methods used in modern symbolic logic. Also covers aspects of set theory. 4 SH. CC: Analytical Thought.
PHIL-214 Black Existentialism
This course examines the work of key figures in black existential philosophy from the early twentieth century to the present day. These philosophers take up ideas central to the existentialist movement in the course of analyzing the lived conditions of black life under systems of colonialism and antiblack racism. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary, Diversity Intensive, Ethics Intensive.
PHIL-221 Applied Ethics
Examines a variety of practical ethical issues and problems using the tools of philosophical analysis and moral theory. Subject area for course changes on a rotating basis and includes ethics of war and peace and environmental ethics. 2-4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive.
PHIL-222 Advanced Ethical Theory
Principal theories of moral value and duty in the history of Western thought, as well as in contemporary philosophy. Readings may include works from such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Held, Korsgaard, Hursthouse, Hooks, Bordo, de Waal, MacIntyre, Blackburn and Lear. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or instructor's permission. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.
PHIL-223 Business Ethics
A systematic and philosophically informed consideration of some typical moral problems faced by individuals in a business setting, and a philosophical examination of some common moral criticisms of the American business system. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive.
Examines the major ethical controversies in medicine, subjecting them to close philosophical analysis. Subjects addressed include the patient/doctor relationship, informed voluntary consent, beginning and end of life issues, abortion, reproductive rights, genetic therapies and cloning, human subject medical experimentation, and health care resource allocation. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.
PHIL-225 Just War Theory
Examines from a philosophical perspective the ethical issues raised by the Just War Tradition. Subjects addressed include pacifism, realism, the criteria for starting and conducting a just war, international law, terrorism, humanitarian interventions, and the moral responsibility for war and war crimes. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive.
Examines artistic and aesthetic values reflected in both past and present philosophies of art and beauty. Readings may include selections from Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant and Tolstoy, as well as 20th-century philosophers and artists. 4 SH. CC: Artistic Expression.
PHIL-240 Being Awesome At Life
This course offers a cross-cultural examination of the pursuit of a good human life, and how one learns to live better. In other words, it is about the theory and practice of being awesome at life. We focus on ethical dispositions (skills, habits and virtues) as critical features of ethics, explored through texts from various religious and philosophical figures in English translation, as well film and other media. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Previous experience in philosophy or religious studies is helpful, but not required. 4 SH. CC: Ethics, Team Intensive.
PHIL-241 Ancient Philosophy
The origins of Western philosophical thought in ancient Greece and Rome. Emphasizes Plato and Aristotle and the Stoics. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive.
PHIL-243 Modern Philosophy
Focuses on the ideas of European and British philosophers from Descartes through Kant. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.
PHIL-245 19th- and 20th- century Philosophy
This course is a study of works by noted philosophers in the 19th and 20th centuries that represent the dominant movements that arose in response to the critique of idealism and metaphysics, such as existentialism, phenomenology, psychoanalytic theory, analytic philosophy and postmodern philosophy. 4 SH. CC: Oral Intensive.
PHIL-255 Philosophy and the City: Plato's Republic and HBO's The Wire
This course examines HBO's The Wire in comparison with Plato's Republic. Both the Republic and The Wire concern life in a city and which factors foster justice and which foster injustice. These texts raise philosophical questions, such as: What is justice? Who should rule? What are the obligations of rulers? How should children be educated? Who is best suited to protect the city, and how should they be educated for this important job? How should desire be managed in society? Our task is, first, to work to understand the philosophizing being done in both these texts and, second, to philosophize on our own about the topics raised by both texts. 4 SH. CC: Diversity, Ethics Intensive.
PHIL-301 Plato Seminar
An intensive study of the works of Plato. Topics vary and may include Plato's theory of education, Plato and the Greek literary tradition, Plato's Republic, the role of the body in Plato's epistemology, and dialectic and dramatic dialogue. Prerequisite: PHIL-241 or instructor's permission. 4 SH.
PHIL-302 Philosophy in the Wake of the Holocaust
This course examines the validity of certain traditional philosophical assumptions in the aftermath of the Nazi genocide. In this effort the class will read texts by scholars in a variety of fields who throw doubt on the moral value of rational thought, the teleological worldview, the Western conception of "human nature," and the legacy of the Enlightenment through an analysis of the Holocaust and other genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries. Same as JWST-302. Prerequisite: Junior standing. 4 SH. CC: Ethics Intensive, Interdisciplinary.
PHIL-305 Topics in Philosophy
Examines selected topics in philosophy, depending on student and instructor interest. Course may be repeated for credit if topic is different. 2-4 SH.
PHIL-310 Philosophy of Science
Investigates the logic of the scientific method, the history of scientific thought and the philosophical underpinnings of modern science. Focuses on developing an understanding of the nature, origins and growth of modern science and the application of scientific knowledge to human affairs. Prerequisites: One course in philosophy and junior standing. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.
PHIL-312 Theories of Knowledge and Reality
Do we have knowledge of the world around us, the so-called external, objective world? Are there any objective truths about the world for us to discover? If there are, how do we come to have knowledge of these truths? These and other related questions of epistemology constitute the subject matter of this course. 4 SH.
PHIL-400 Independent Study
Individual work on selected topics for qualified students under faculty direction. Requires approval of supervising professor and department head. 1-4 SH.
PHIL-500 Directed Reading and Research
Study of a specific topic in the field for qualified students in consultation with the department. 2-4 SH. Capstone.
PHIL-226 Philosophy, Ethics and the Environment
This course centers on ethical issues surrounding consumption, both of food and fuel. We examine the environmental and moral implications of our agricultural practices, factory farming, and energy use and production with particular attention to climate change. We will examine foundational questions in environmental ethics concerning the value and moral standing of elements of the environment, including wide-ranging questions about human beings’ proper relationship with the natural environment and with non-human forms of life, as well as our relationships with one another. 4 SH. CC: Ethics.
Honors. The honors program in philosophy encourages and commends outstanding academic work. To graduate with departmental honors in philosophy, students must do the following:
- Complete requirements for the major,
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 overall and at least 3.50 in philosophy, and
- Perform outstanding academic work in at least one course of directed readings and research in philosophy.
Capstone Requirement. Students majoring in philosophy are expected to take the senior capstone requirement in the appropriate subject. A student with a double major may fulfill the university capstone requirement in a major outside of this department. Any student who elects to fulfill the capstone requirement in this manner must complete the philosophy major by successful completion of an additional four-semester-hour course, or the equivalent, in the relevant subject. Any student wishing to qualify for philosophy departmental honors must fulfill the appropriate capstone as provided by the philosophy department in addition to any capstone requirements imposed in a second major.
The course description for the departmental capstone states that it is "to serve [students] as a culmination of all their studies, allowing them to address a particular topic, issue or thinker in philosophy through the lens of their total undergraduate education." Philosophy majors are encouraged to develop capstone projects that also draw on knowledge and strengths they have acquired in declared minors. Primary oversight of such projects will rest with the appropriate faculty supervisor in philosophy, although students will also be expected to work with an appropriate adviser from their minor area(s) of study.