Undergraduate and Graduate
Philosophy Course Descriptions
Ancient Philosophy (PHH 3100) 3 credits
Major philosophers and movements from the pre-Socratics to Augustine, with primary attention to Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine.
Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy (PHH 3280) 4 credits
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 Philosphy (PHH 3420) 4 credits
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) 3 credits
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 phliosophy, value theory, religion, logic, and philosophy of science.
Late Modern Philosophy (PHH 4440) 4 credits
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) 3 credits
Writing Across Curriculum (Gordon Rule)
An honors seminar in the University Scholars Program on topics in philosophy.
Introduction to Philosophy (PHI 2010) 3 credit s
Writing Across Curriculum (Gordon Rule)
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) 3 credits
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.
Philosophy Study Abroad (PHI 2952) 1-4 credits
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
Credit for enrollment in approved study abroad programs.
Logic (PHI 2102) 3 credits
Gordon Rule, computational
Introduces students to various forms of reasoning and to informal fallacies. Course also includes an in-depth study of deductive syllogistic logic and concludes by introducing students to the quantification techniques of propositional and predicate logic (first-order symbolic logic).
Philosophy of Mind (PHI 3320) 4 credits
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) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
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, and will consider whether society creates, constructs, or encourages certain pathologies of the soul.
Environmental Ethics (PHI 3640) 3 credits
Study of contemporary environmental philosophy and ethical principles and practical issues related to the natural environment.
Asian Aesthetics and Art Theories (PHI 3870) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
Examines whether thre 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.
Philosophy of Science (PHI 4400) 4 credits
An examination of the central concepts of the theory of knowledge within the context of scientific investigatin; 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) 3 credits
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) 4 credits
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.
Ethics (PHI 4661) 3 credits
Analysis of moral judgment and moral reasoning. Evaluation of ethical theories, with particular attention to utilitarian, Kantian, and 20th-century theories. Study of the applicaiton of various ethical approaches to contemporary social problems.
Philosophy of Religion (PHI 4700) 3 credits
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) 4 credits
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) 1-4 credits
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) 1-4 credits
The study of a special area in philosophy. Topics will vary. May be repeated for credit.
Senior Seminar in Philosophy (PHI 4938) 3 credits
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) 1-4 credits
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
Credit for enrollment in approved study abroad programs.
Feminist Philosophy (PHM 3123) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
An examination of the concerns and aspirations of certain major philosophical thinkers in the African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean traditions.
Poststructuralism (PHP 3792) 3 credits
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.
Phenomenology (PHP 4782) 3 credits
Prerequisite: PHH 4440 or permission of instructor
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 aslo be examined.
Analytical Philosophy (PHP 4784) 4 credits
Prerequisite: PHH 4440 or permission of instructor
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.
Existentialism (PHP 4786) 3 credits
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.
The prerequisite for all graduate courses listed below is graduate standing in one of the University's Master's or Ph.D. programs.
Renaisance Thought and the Scientific Revolution (PHH 6320) 3 credits
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 philosphy, the history of science, and the philosophy of science.
The Phenomenon of the Black Public Intellectual (PHI 6127) 3 credits
Course focuses on several dominant themese 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) 3 credits
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 inidividuals, their physical, economic, social, and cultural environments, and their value and belief systems.
Philosophy of Psychiatry (PHI 6458) 3 credits
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.
Metaphysics of Personal Identiy (PHI 6505) 3 credits
Course examines issues such as the existence of teh self over time, the relation between selfhood and agency, the self as unifying princple of consciousness, and the notion of survival.
Genethics, Bioethics and Biotechnology (PHI 6634) 3 credits
Seminar undertakes a critical analysis of morally-laden public policy issues relating to biotechnology - specifically human genetic technologies - and their ethical and socio-cultural implications. Various public policy issues are considered, including the use of human embryos in research, genetic modification, and privacy concerns in data mining and syndronic surveillance.
Philosophy of Art (PHI 6806) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
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.
Philosophy of Music (PHI 6887) 3 credits
Course focuses on such issues as the ontology of musical works, the standards for musical interpretation, the nature of performance, the expressive qualities of music, and the relation between music and society.
Directed Independent Study (PHI 6905) 1-4 credits
Prerequisites: 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) 1-3 credits
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) 3 credits
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) 3 credits
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.
Feminist Ethics and Social Theory (PHM 6125) 3 credits
A study of the core conceptual constellations that ground feminist ethics and social theory through a close reading of selected critical works by feminist theorists. An analysis of selected policy issues, such as the criminalization of women's bodies, the "militarization" of women's lives, and the politics of needs interpretation with respect to women's health.
Science as a Public Matter (PHM 6226) 3 credits
A seminar that examines the complex relationship between science and society, how science interacts with an is influenced by other normative enterprises such as law, religion, and politics. Course considers the role of public intellectuals - both scientists and nonscientists - and communities in reaching consensus or closure on debates in which scientific and ethical questions are intertwined.
Globalization in Philosophical Perspective (PHM 6228) 3 credits
Course provides a comprehensive critical and reflective analysis of th emany faces of globalizaion. 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) 3 credits
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 ita implications for the liberal arts as well as for the human, social, and natural sciences.
Marx and Freud (PHP 6810) 3 credits
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.