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 study of major European philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries with emphasis on the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) and Empiricists (Locke, Berkeley, Hume), through the reading of original and secondary sources. Special attention is paid to philosophical methods, presuppositions, and contributions to epistemology and metaphysics.
- A careful and in-depth inquiry into the American philosophical movement known as pragmatism. Special emphasis will be placed on the contributions of Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey, on the world-wide impact of their ideas, and their influence on the development of contemporary philosophy.
Late Modern Philosophy—(PHH 4440)
Prerequisite: PHH 3420 or permission of instructor
- A careful and in-depth study of major philosophers of the late 18th and 19th centuries with emphasis on Kant and Hegel, through the reading of original and secondary sources. The course may also include discussions of other 19th centtury philosophers. Special attention is paid to philosophical methods, presuppositions, and contributions to epistemology, 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)
- A careful and in-depth philosophical study of the ethical issues arising from the practice of medicine. The course emphasizes the four principles of medical ethics and how these principles can be applied to resolve standard case studies in the field of biomedical ethics.
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.
Philosophy of Sexuality—(PHM 3020)
- The course explores questions int eh philosophy of sexuality that include, but are not limited to, the relation between sex and love, the question of human agency and identity, and social policies regarding intimate relations. Among the many timely issues addressed are questions regarding the nature of censorship, what constitutes pornography, and the moral dimension of the internet and other unconventional sexual relationships.
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 may 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.