Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Ancient Philosophy—(PHH 3100)
- Major philosophers and movements from the pre-Socratics to Augustine, with primary attention to Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine.
Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy—(PHH 3280)
- A careful and in-depth examination of the philosophers of the medieval period and of the 14th to 16th centuries. The course may include the reading of original texts, secondary sources, or both. Special attention is paid to metaphysics, logic, ethics, and political philosophy.
Early Modern Philosophy—(PHH 3420)
- A careful and in-depth examination of major European philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. The course may include the reading of original texts, secondary sources, or both. Special attention is paid to philosophical methods, presuppositions, and contributions to epistemology, metaphysics, and political philosophy.
American Philosophy—(PHH 3700)
- Inquiry into views of various American philosophical thinkers from 17th century to present. Jefferson, Thoreau, Dewey, Peirce, James, Whitehead, Quine, Rawls, and Macklin are among the thinkers to be considered. Specific emphasis will be placed on their contributions to political philosophy, value theory, religion, logic, and philosophy of science.
Late Modern Philosophy—(PHH 4440)
Prerequisite: PHH 3420 or permission of instructor
- A careful and in-depth examination of major philosophers from Kant to Nietzsche. The following philosophers are included: Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Bentham, Mill, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. The course may include the reading of original texts, secondary sources, or both. Special attention is paid to philosophical methods, presuppositions and contributions to the theory of knowledge, logic, foundations of mathematics, metaphysics, ethics, and social and political philosophy.
University Scholars Seminar in Philosophy—(PHI 1930)
Writing Across Curriculum (Gordon Rule)
- An honors seminar in the University Scholars Program on topics in philosophy.
Introduction to Philosophy—(PHI 2010)
Writing Across Curriculum (Gordon Rule, Compositional)
Prerequisites: ENC 1101 and ENC 1102 with grades of "C" or better
- An introductory philosophy course that treats major issues of knowledge, ethics, society, mind and body, freedom and religion, with an emphasis on strengthening students' writing skills.
Critical Thinking—(PHI 2100)
- This course is designed to strengthen students' critical thinking skills by teaching them to distinguish between well-supported and poorly supported arguments, to understand the nature of assumptions and the importance of providing evidence to support one's conclusions, and to recognize and avoid reasoning errors and argumentative fallacies. The course also introduces students to various forms of reasoning, focusing on inductive and probabilistic reasoning, and to informal fallacies.
Philosophy Study Abroad—(PHI 2952)
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
- Credit for enrollment in approved study abroad programs.
Gordon Rule, Computational
IFP (Foundations of Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning)
- This course is an in-depth study of deductive syllogistic logic and of the symbolization techniques of propositional logic, which capture the formal features of simple declarative propositions and of arguments constructed from such propositions. The course also examines the principles of truth-functional logic and applies these principles to the construction of truth-tables for propositions and arguments.
Philosophy of Mind—(PHI 3320)
- This course engages in a careful and in-depth study of some of the major issues and problems in the philosophy of mind, through the reading of original texts and/or secondary sources. The topics examined include, but are not limited to, the mind/body problem, the nature of consciousness, and the problem of personal identity.
Body-Mind/East and West—(PHI 3321)
- This course is geared toward students who have no previous background in philosophy. It provides systematic knowledge of important issues concerning the relationship between mind and body, examining these issues from a comparative perspective, including sources from both the European and Asian philosophical traditions.
Philosophy of Psychiatry—(PHI 3453)
- This course offers an overview of the central issues in the philosophy of psychiatry, such as the notion of the unconscious, responsibility for actions, the concept of the self presupposed by different psychotherapeutic models, and the relation between psychiatric diagnosis and culture. The course will also consider whether society creates, constructs, or encourages certain pathologies of the soul.
- This course examines problems in the philosophy of medicine, an interdisciplinary area that includes such issues as the logic of diagnosis, the nature of sound clinical judgment, the reality of disease entities, culture and medical practices, alternative versus traditional medicine, the concept of health, and selected bioethical issues.
- Examines moral problems of contemporary importance such as animal rights, censorship, a patient's right to die, physician-assisted suicide, morality in war, and human enhancement. Introduces students to the standard ethical theories that form the foundation of moral deliberation about these issues.
Environmental Ethics—(PHI 3640)
- Study of contemporary environmental philosophy and ethical principles and practical issues related to the natural environment.
Asian Aesthetics and Art Theories—(PHI 3870)
- This course focuses on the central issues in aesthetics and philosophy of art through a study of some Asian aesthetic philosophies. Students explore influences on contemporary Western philosophy and the arts, while becoming acquainted with a comparative approach in philosophy.
Philosophy of Literature—(PHI 3882)
- A systematic introduction to the philosophy of literature through a study of both philosophical and literary texts. Students will read authors such as Aristotle, Kafka, Freud, Wittgenstein, and Shakespeare.
Philosophy of the Performing Arts—(PHI 3885)
- Examines whether there is a distinction between the performing and nonperforming arts and, if so, what the nature of this distinction is. To this end, the course also considers such issues as what kind of an entity a work of art is, what constitutes an interpretation, the nature of the creative and artistic processes, and the sense in which a work of art can express an idea or emotion.
Prerequisite: PHI 2102 with a grade of "B" or better or permission of instructor
- This course begins by studying the principles of symbolization and natural deduction for formal proofs in propositional logic. The course then advances to quantification theory and to the symbolization techniques of the monadic and the polyadic predicate calculi. The principles of natural deduction are then applied in the construction of formal proofs in first-order and second-order predicate logic.
- An examination of the central concepts of the theory of knowledge within the context of scientific investigation. This includes a study of the nature and structure of scientific knowledge, the nature of formal reasoning, the role of observation, the function of models, the nature of perception, scientific explanation, scientific truth, probabilistic and inductive inference, and the nature of causal laws.
Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences—(PHI 4420)
- The course introduces students to the philosophical foundations (epistemology) of the human and social sciences and explores many of the methodological issues and problems resulting therefrom.
Biomedical Ethics—(PHI 4633)
- This course acquaints students with the philosophical treatment of biomedical concerns, primarily fthrough analysis of attempts to resolve ethical issues arising fromthe practice of medicine.
Ethical Theory—(PHI 4661)
- Analysis of moral judgment and moral reasoning. Evaluation of ethical theories, with particular attention to utilitarian, Kantian, and 20th-century theories. Study of the application of various ethical approaches to contemporary social problems.
Philosophy of Religion—(PHI 4700)
- Inquiry into classical and contemporary questions regarding the nature and existence of God, religious knowledge and experience, and the language and symbolism of religion.
Aesthetics and Art Theory—(PHI 4800)
- Provides the student with a greater understanding of the arts in personal life and society through knowledge of critical theory and philosophical views of the arts. The main topics discussed will be the nature of art; form, representation, and expression in art; criticism of the arts; and aesthetic experience and value.
Directed Independent Study—(PHI 4905)
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor and department chair
- Readings and research in selected issues of philosophy, with a program of study selected in consultation with departmental faculty.
Special Topics—(PHI 4930)
- The study of a special area in philosophy. Topics will vary. May be repeated for credit.
Senior Seminar in Philosophy—(PHI 4938)
Prerequisite: Senior standing and permission of department chair
- A writing-intensive, variable topic philosophy course requiring students to write between one and three substantial papers and to read these papers in class. The course is required of all philosophy majors and must be taken during the fall semester of the senior year. The course is open to philosophy minors in their senior year by permission of department chair.
Philosophy Study Abroad—(PHI 4957)
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
- Credit for enrollment in approved study abroad programs.
Honors Thesis in Philosophy—(PHI 4972)
Prerequisites: PHI 4938 with a minimum grade of "B", 3.5 GPS in the major, 3.5 GPS overall, and permission of department
- Capstone requirement for the Honors Program in Philosophy. Research and completion of a substantial honors thesis, under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The honors thesis will focus on a subject area of philosophy (e.g., epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, logic, etc.) or a particular philosopher. Upon completion, the honors thesis must be defended in front of a department faculty committee.
Feminist Philosophy—(PHM 3123)
- This course critically examines philosophy itself, its history, methods and categories of thought from a liberationist perspective. The course will introduce students to selected critical works by feminist philosophers and will study core conceptual constellations, such as reason-objectivity-impartiality and sexism-oppression-exclusion. May be taken for credit toward the Women's Studies Program.
Social and Political Philosophy—(PHM 3200)
- An examination of major social and political theorists since the 17th century. Approximately ten thinkers are studied. Problems such as authority and legitimacy, freedom and control, sources of political obedience, and the ideal commonwealth are taken up.
Philosophy of Law—(PHM 3400)
- Provides an introduction to the kinds of theories that have dominated Anglo-American thinking about the nature, function, and point of law, while demonstrating the essential connections between jurisprudence and other areas of general philosophy, e.g., moral philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, etc.
Philosophy of Technology—(PHM 4223)
- Examination of the nature of technology that reflects philosophically upon its impact on the individual, and the social, cultural, work, and physical environments. Also examines the relationship between technology, human values, and sociopolitical change and control.
Africana Philosophy—(PHP 3781)
- An examination of the concerns and aspirations of certain major philosophical thinkers in the African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean traditions.
- Introduces students to the structuralist account of language and examines Hegel's holistic, Nietzsche's perspectivitst, and Derrida's deconstructivist accounts. The course concludes with an examination of Foucault's application of poststructuralist accounts to an understanding of epistemology, power relations, and sexuality.
- A careful and in-depth examination of 20th-century phenomenology. The course may include the reading of original texts, secondary sources, or both. Special emphasis is placed on the study of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Beauvoir. Contemporary developments in phenomenology will also be examined.
Analytical Philosophy—(PHP 4784)
- A critical examination of 20th-century analytical philosophy. Analysis of logical atomism, logical positivism and ordinary language analysis is provided. Emphasis is place on original writings of Frege, Peirce, Moore, Russell, Carnap, Ryle, Ayer, Strawson and Quine.
- A careful and in-depth study of 19th- and 20th-century existentialism. The course may include the reading of original texts, secondary sources, or both. Emphasis is placed on the varieties of existentialism represented by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Fanon, and Beauvoir.
graduate Course Descriptions
Although the philosophy department does not currently offer a graduate degree, the faculty of the department regularly contribute to the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Studies by offering a variety of graduate courses in philosophy.
Renaissance Thought and the Scientific Revolution—(PHH 6320)
- The course examines the thesis that the Scientific Revolution was crucially shaped by the dissemination of hermetic and neo-Platonic currents within the philosophical and scientific culture of the Renaissance. The course addresses these ideas from a critical perspective at the intersection of the history of philosophy, thTe history of science, and the philosophy of science.
The Phenomenon of the Black Public Intellectual—(PHI 6127)
- The course focuses on several dominant themes constituting the Black intellectual tradition such as the nature and different styles of Black leadership, the role of Black creative intellectuals, the dialectics of race and gender regarding Black leadership, race and conservative Black intellectuals, scholarship and the politics of Black life.
Technology, Environment, and Values—(PHI 6326)
- The course utilizes the perspectives of social, political, economic, and environmental philosophy, as well as ethics and metaphysics. Course analyzes and evaluates the impact of different technologies upon individuals, their physical, economic, social, and cultural environments, and their value and belief systems.
Philosophy of Psychiatry—(PHI 6458)
Prerequisite: Graduate standing
- The course presents a critical examination of several central issues in the philosophy of psychiatry, such as the unconscious and the unity of the self, the role of narrative in psychiatry, madness and moral responsibility, and the ontology of diagnostic categories.
Philosophy of Art—(PHI 6806)
- Examination of the basic issues in philosophical aesthetics, such as the definition of art, the nature of artistic expression, the social value of art, and the basis for evaluation of artworks. The aim of the course is to teach the student to think philosophically and critically about the arts.
Pragmatism and the Arts—(PHI 6808)
- Exploration of how pragmatism, America's distinct philosophy, has interpreted the nature, function, and value of the arts, and how its understanding of aesthetics diverges from the dominant European outlook. Readings include the major figures of classical and contemporary pragmatism and are related to art's diverse expression in the genres of literature, music, and visual arts.
Directed Independent Study—(PHI 6905)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor and Chair
- Readings and research on selected issues in philosophy, with a program of study selected in consultation with Departmental faculty.
Special Topics—(PHI 6930)
Prerequisite: Graduate standing in an M.A. or Ph.D. program
- The intensive study of a special area, problem, or figure in philosophy. Topics will vary. The course itself may be repeated for credit, but specific topics may not be repeated.
Philosophies of Body—(PHM 6028)
- Examining philosophy's diverse theories on the crucial role of embodiment in human experience, this course studies the body's expression in mind, morality, art, sexuality, society, race, gender, and other topics. The readings range from ancient and modern classics to contemporary sources.
Environmental Philosophy—(PHM 6035)
- A study of the ideas that ground current environmental laws and public policy debates concerning land use. Consideration of issues generated by diverse conceptions of the good, diverse characterizations of wilderness, and the variety of opinions regarding wilderness and the wild as something we should value.
Globalization in Philosophical Perspective—(PHM 6228)
- Course provides a comprehensive critical and reflective analysis of the many faces of globalization. It also includes an analysis and evaluation of globalization's implications for individuals and cultures and their political, social, economic, and moral or ethical systems.
Critical Thinking and Deconstruction—(PHP 6793)
- Analysis of the deconstruction of traditional notions of objective reality and truth. Course suggests some non-absolutist criteria for judging between different perspectives and interpretations. This postmodern critique of traditional notions of objectivity is examined with regard to its implications for the liberal arts as well as for the human, social, and natural sciences.
Marx and Freud—(PHP 6810)
- Given the methodological impact that Marxist ideology and Freudian psychology have had on the disciplines, the aim of this course is to provide a critical understanding of the more significant claims and frameworks developed by Marx and Freud. The course shows how the insights of Marxist and Freudian methodology may be deployed.