PHILOSOPHY COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Complete list of courses taught by the Philosophy Department. (Please note that not every course is offered each year: see the Schedule of Courses for the offerings each semester).
100 The Meaning of Philosophy. (3). General education introductory course. An exploration of the meaning of philosophic activity. Through an examination of several basic interpretations of the distinguishing intentions, characteristic procedures and essential function of the philosophic endeavor, this course introduces some of the fundamental problems and possible values of philosophy. Develops a broad understanding of the meaning of philosophy as a diverse and self-critical historical enterprise.
105 Critical Reasoning. (3) General Education Course. Helps students become better at reasoning. Focuses on different patterns of reasoning common in college-level studies and in everyday life. Some patterns are treated in concrete and content-specific ways, and others are treated in highly abstract ways. Students also learn to be critical by different kinds of standards. For example, students learn about how much precision to demand when reasoning about different kinds of topics, and how to evaluate considerations in terms of relevance. Ultimately, students learn how to strengthen their own capacities for reasoning and how to recognize and correct errors in their own thinking and in other people’s reasoning.
125 Introductory Logic. (3). General education introductory course. Deals with the uses of logical concepts and techniques to evaluate and criticize reasoning, Studies some elementary systems of formal logic. Arguments evaluated are drawn from such diverse fields as law, science, politics, religion, and advertising.
144 Moral Issues. (3). General education introductory course. An introduction to philosophical thought about ethics. Discusses a number of contemporary moral issues and considers various philosophical approaches to their solutions.
300 Science and the Modern World. (3). General education issues and perspectives course. Develops an understanding of the methods and accomplishments of science and how these have affected the way people understand themselves, society and the universe. The approach is both historical, with respect to the re-creation of the prescientific world view and the developments of science, and analytic with respect to understanding the goals, methods and limits of contemporary science. No prerequisite but prior completion of general education requirements in science is desirable.
302 Values and the Modern World. (3). General studies issues and perspectives course. An examination of the philosophical pressures on values wrought by rapid modern cultural and technological change. Explores relations between social values and social institutions, provides a framework for critically and objectively thinking about moral values, and considers various standards proposed for resolving moral dilemmas.
303 Nineteenth Century Philosophy. (3). General education further studies course. A study of selected 19th century philosophers or systems of thought such as Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Mill, Bradley, Kierkegaard, Peirce, Nietzsche, Comte, Dilthey, Schleiermacher, idealism, materialism, positivism, empiricism and pragmatism.
305 Analytic Philosophy. (3). General education advanced further study course. Studies the rise of analytic philosophy in the 20th century, emphasizing the themes unifying philosophers who originated modern philosophical analysis. Includes the nature of analysis and the relationship between analysis and classical philosophical problems, such as the nature of reality, the nature of knowledge, the nature of language, the nature of morality.
306 Business Ethics. (3). General education issues and perspectives course. A critical examination of representative moral issues that arise in the context of business. Focuses on topics such as the nature of professionalism, the social responsibility of business, regulation, employee rights and obligations, sexual harassment, economic justice, environmental impact, the limits of property rights, and conflicting international mores and practices. Prerequisite: PHIL 125 with a grade of C or better.
311 Philosophy of Law. (3). General education further studies course. An introduction to philosophical problems arising in the theory and practice of law. Includes the objective basis of legal systems, the relationship between morality and legality, the justifiability of civil disobedience, the limits of legal constraints on the individual and the nature and justification of punishment. Attention to classical and contemporary readings.
313 Political Philosophy. (3). General education further studies course. An examination of various philosophical issues concerning political systems. Discusses issues such as the nature of political authority, the rights of individuals, constitutionalism and civil disobedience.
315 Late Modern Philosophy. (3). General education further studies course. A study of philosophical thought in the 18th century with selections from philosophers such as Berkeley, Hume, Reid, Adam Smith, Butler, Hutcheson, Wolff and Kant, and movements such as empiricism, rationalism, the Scottish common sense school and idealism.
320 Philosophy of Science. (3). General education further studies course. A study of the methods, goals, and world views of the sciences with attention to such topics as the structure and evaluation of scientific theories, the nature of explanation, the dynamics of scientific revolutions and the impact of science on human society and values.
321 The History and Philosophy of the Physical Sciences in the 20th Century. (3). The 20th century saw radical changes in our theories about the nature of the physical world. This course uses a brief initial survey of the so-called "classical" physics of the late 19th century as a springboard for exploring the rise and development of our current views about space, time, matter, energy, gravitation, cosmology and more. The emphasis is not on mastery of technical details but rather on understanding important results in the physical sciences from a humanistic perspective, including their cultural, philosophical and technological implications.
322 Early Modern Philosophy. (3). General education further studies course. A study of philosophical thought in the period from the Renaissance through the 17th century with selections from philosophers such as Pico, Vico, Galileo, Cusanus, Telesio, Erasmus, More, Hobbes, Bacon, Machiavelli, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche, and Locke.
325 Formal Logic. (3). Cross-listed as Ling. 325. A study of systems of formal logic including sentential and predicate logic. Emphasizes the uses of these systems in the analysis of arguments.
327 Bioethics. (3). General education further studies course. An examination of the philosophical and ethical issues generated by the development and expansion of the health care professions. Examines topics such as the concept of health, rights of patients, the medical team, professional rights and responsibilities, behavior control, euthanasia and institutional care. For the layperson as well as the medical professional.
331 Ancient Greek Philosophy. (3). General education further studies course. An examination of the development of Greek philosophy in its major phases, including an exploration of the Milesian and Eleatic traditions, Pythagoras, the Atomists, the Pluralists, the Sophists, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
338 Philosophy of Feminism. (3). General education further studies course. Cross-listed as Wom.S. 338. An exploration of philosophical issues raised by the feminist movement emphasizing conceptual and ethical questions.
341 Contemporary Ethics. (3). General education advanced further study course. A study of contemporary developments in ethics. Highlights landmark works from the 20th century to the present. May explore contemporary approaches to an important ethical issue or investigate recent defenses of such ethical theories as Kantian deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, contractualism, care ethics, and feminist ethics. Prerequisite: PHIL 100, 125, or 144.
342 History of Ethics. (3). General education advanced further study course. Examines the development of ethics from its ancient Greek origins to the present, or focuses on the ethics of an important historical period such as the modern period. Highlights the substantive and methodological shifts, as well as the historical, social and philosophical pressures that make such shifts explicable. Engages such historically influential philosophers as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Hume, Kant, Mill and Nietzsche. Prerequisite: PHIL 100, 125, or 144.
345 Philosophy of Sex and Love. (3). Examines the ethical, metaphysical, and conceptual dimensions of sex and love. Includes the nature of sex, sexual perversion, homosexuality, pornography, sadomasochism, the nature and varieties of love, the features of love, and the relationship between love and sex. Uses selections from writings of both historical and recent authors.
346 Philosophy of Religion. (3). General education further studies course. Cross-listed as Rel. 346. An examination of some basic religious problems such as the nature and grounds of religious belief, religions language, the existence and nature of God, human immortality and the problem of evil.
350 Ancient Chinese Philosophy. (3). A survey of Chinese philosophy during the pre-Han period, roughly 500-200 BCE. Includes major figures such as Confucius, Mencius, Mo-Tzu, Hsun-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu, Lao-Tzu, and Han-Fei-Tzu. Includes major positions such as Confucianism, Mohism, Legalism, Taoism, and Dialectialism.
354 Ethics and Computers. (3). General education further studies course. Ethics with application to the ethical issues which may arise from the use of computers. Attention to such specific topics as the moral responsibility of computer professionals for the effect their work has on persons and society; the conceptual and ethical issues surrounding the control and ownership of software; and the justifiability of regulation of the design, use and marketing of computer technology.
360 Ethical Theory. (3). General education further studies course. A study of selected topics in ethics. Investigates issues such as the meaning and justification of moral judgments, the nature of morality, the relations between normative categories and the concept of justice and the problem of revolution in moral schemes. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy.
361 Metaethics. (3). General education advanced further study course. A study of selected topics in metaethics. Investigates, for example, ethical realism, moral relativism, expressivism, moral knowledge, moral motivation and moral value. Readings may include work from figures such as G.E. Moore, A.J. Ayer, R.M. Hare, J.L. Mackie, Gilbert Harman, Philippa Foot, Bernard Williams and Christine Korsgaard. Prerequisite: PHIL 100, 125, or 144.
365 Survey of Asian Philosophy. (3). A survey of philosophical systems of Asia, including Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Key points of similarity and contrast among these systems and between these systems and those dominant in Western societies, regarding the nature of the self and reality, and the sources of moral, political, and social value are considered.
450 Truth and Reality. (3). A survey of philosophical theories of truth, including the correspondence, pragmatic, and deflationary theories. Topics to be covered include skepticism, realism and anti-realism, and social constructionism. Readings may include from figures such as James, Peirce, Dewey, Wittgenstein, Russell, Tarski, Quine, Davidson, Austin, Strawson, Field, Hacking, and Horwich.
481 Cooperative Education. (1-3). An examination of some philosophical issues in work which combines theoretical inquiry and practical work experience. Issues studied include: worker alienation; nature of worker satisfaction; workers' rights/responsibilities; affirmative action; whistle-blowing; drug testing in the workplace; etc.
COURSES FOR GRADUATE/UNDERGRADUATE CREDIT:
501 Philosophy of Language. (3). Examines the relationships between philosophy and language. Focuses on questions such as: What is the relation between language and thought? Language and the world? What can the study of language contribute to the resolution of philosophical problems? Prerequisite: one 300-level or higher course in philosophy.
510 Philosophy of History. (3). A philosophical examination of the meta-level issues that arise in the discipline and practice of history. Issues investigated include:?What is history? What is the proper form of explanation in history? How are causal claims in history to be understood? Is it possible to achieve objectivity in historical explanations? What criteria should be employed in evaluating historical explanations? What are the moral obligations which should guide historical research and presentation? Prerequisite: instructor's consent.
525 Evidential Reasoning. (3). Explores philosophical issues related to reasoning about evidence. Topics may include: induction, confirmation, falsification, the under-determination of theories by evidence, theories of probability, and scientific method. Examines some case studies of reasoning about evidence in, for example, poker, medicine, risk analysis, forensic sciences and the law.
519 Empiricism. (3). A study of the philosophical views that emphasize sensory experience rather than reasoning as a source of knowledge with particular attention to the philosophies of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Mill.
540 Theory of Knowledge. (3). A critical examination of the nature of knowledge and of the philosophical problems concerning skepticism; knowledge of the self; material objects; other minds; the past, present, and future; universals; and necessary truths. Includes selections from both historical and recent writings. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy.
546 Rationalism. (3). A study of the philosophical views that emphasize reasoning rather than sensory experience as the source of knowledge with particular attention paid to the philosophies of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz.
549 Topics in Ancient Philosophy. (3). Explores one decisive issue in philosophy from the time of Thales through the Stoics. The examination of an issue may confine itself to one period within the total span of ancient philosophy or it may trace the issue throughout the span, indicating its contemporary treatment. Some of the issues treated are: the nature of what is, the concept of the sacred, the meaning of truth, the relation of invariance and process, the existence of universal standards of thought and conduct, the problem of knowledge, skepticism, the nature of language and the character of philosophical inquiry.
550 Metaphysics. (3). An exploration of some basic topics in the theory of reality. Includes such notions as space, time substance, causality, particulars, universals, appearance, essence and being. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy.
555 Philosophy of the Social Sciences. (3). Studies such topics as the relations of social science with natural science and philosophy, methodological problems peculiar to social science, the nature of sound explanation concepts and constructs and the roles of mathematics and formal theories in social science.
557 Contemporary European Philosophy. (3). An exploration of a theme, issue, philosopher or movement in contemporary European philosophy. Includes such philosophers as Husserl, Heidegger, Jaspers, Gadamer, Habermas, Marcuse, Adorno, Bergson, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, and Ricoeur. Examines philosophical movements such as phenomenology, idealism, existentialism, structuralism, process philosophy, hermeneutics and Marxism.
585 Studies in a Major Philosopher. (3). A concentrated study of the thought of one major philosopher announced by the instructor when the course is scheduled. Repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: instructor's consent.
585R. Major Philosopher: Nietzsche. (3).
590 Special Studies. (3). Topic for study announced by instructor. Repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: instructor's consent.
590K Philosophy of Medicine. (3). Covers topics related to the metaphysics and epistemology of medicine, not excluding their human impact. Topics of philosophical investigation may include for example concepts of disease and disability, evidence based medicine, medical models and mechanisms, reductionism, constructivism, expert consensus, clinical judgment, categorization and classification, epidemiology, and outcome measurement. May include historical and multicultural approaches to health and medicine.
590AD Environmental Ethics. (3). A course surveying various philosophical and ethical questions raised by human interaction with, and impact on, the natural
environment. Will focus on historical and contemporary, theoretical and applied, issues in environmental ethics. Topics will include: anthropocentrism versus non-anthropocentrism; environmental justice and rights; progress and innovation versus stewardship and restoration; the science of climate change.
699 Directed Reading. (2-3). For the student interested in doing independent study and research in a special area of interest. Repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: departmental consent.
COURSES FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS ONLY:
850 Directed Reading. (3). For the graduate student desiring independent study and research in an area of special interest. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: departmental consent.