2023-24 Academic Catalog
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Philosophy Courses (PHIL)


PHIL 1020. Philosophy: The Art of Thinking — 3 hrs.

Introductory exploration of the Western philosophical tradition. Topics may include the nature of happiness, freedom & responsibility, truth & knowledge, faith & reason, and the self & personal identity. Emphasis on critical thinking, logical reasoning, careful reading, and effective writing. (Fall, Spring, Summer)

PHIL 1030. Elementary Logic — 3 hrs.

Critical thinking, using both formal and informal methods, including proof techniques and recognizing logical fallacies. Enhances reading, writing, and thinking in any area of study, and in preparing for grad-school exams (e.g., LSAT, GMAT, and GRE). (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 1040. Justice and the Good Life: Philosophical Perspectives — 3 hrs.

What makes a society just or unjust? What does it mean to lead a good life? The course will provide philosophical perspectives on these questions, including investigations of the principles and virtues that should guide how we interact with others in our communities and lead meaningful lives. (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 1050. The Art of Critical Thinking and Writing — 3 hrs.

The course aims to develop fundamental skills of critical thinking and writing academic essays at the college level and enable students to make the most of their college education. As part of their coursework, students will use the skills they develop in the course to think critically and write with skill, clarity, and rigor on a range of issues that are meaningful to them and relevant to their lives as college students and as citizens. Class sessions will combine lecture and discussion, including small group work. (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 1080. World Philosophies — 3 hrs.

This course introduces multiple philosophical traditions around the globe. One focus is on finding common and diverging themes demonstrating shared human interests across differences. Another is the demonstration of unique philosophical ideas and developments of societies and cultures often given little attention in traditional philosophy courses. (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 1540. Ethics in Business — 3 hrs.

Application of ethical principles and analytic methods to contemporary issues in business. Topics include moral responsibility of corporations and their regulation; economic policy, business practices, and social justice; rights and obligations of employers and employees; meaningful work, motivation, and the worker; affirmative action and reverse discrimination; environment and natural limits of capitalism. (Same as RELS 1540) (Variable)

PHIL 1560. Science, Technology, and Ethics (STE) — 3 hrs.

The course is an interdisciplinary survey of ethical issues raised by recent developments in science and technology. Sample topics include, but are not limited to, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, big data, privacy, energy, medicine, and science itself. (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 2140. Philosophy of Religion — 3 hrs.

Examination of philosophical discussions on the nature and function of religion and religious language; special attention to how philosophical frameworks and methods shape understanding of religion and talk about God and human fulfillment. (Same as RELS 2140) (Variable)

PHIL 2210. Dawn of Western Thought: Ancient Philosophy — 3 hrs.

History of philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to late antiquity, with emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. (Odd Falls)

PHIL 2220. Faith and Reason: Philosophy in the Middle Ages — 3 hrs.

Traces the historical development of philosophical thought on the interrelation of religious faith and reason, from late Roman times through the Middle Ages, in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic philosophical traditions. (Same as RELS 2220) (Even Springs)

PHIL 2230. The Age of Reason: Philosophy in the Renaissance and Enlightenment — 3 hrs.

History of philosophy from Renaissance through Hume, with emphasis on continental rationalism and British empiricism. (Even Falls)

PHIL 2240. The Limits of Reason: Modern Philosophy — 3 hrs.

History of philosophy from Kant to present; emphasis on idealism, romanticism, materialism, positivism, phenomenology, existentialism. (Odd Springs)

PHIL 2500. Ethics — 3 hrs.

Study of the major schools of ethical theory through reading major thinkers and their contemporary commentators. Examination of selected theoretical and practical problems in contemporary ethics. (Variable)

PHIL 2550. Environmental Ethics — 3 hrs.

Introduction to and application of ethical theory to environmental issues, including responsibility for plants and animals, pollution, natural resources, and population growth. (Same as RELS 2550) (Variable)

PHIL 2570. Good Sex: The Ethics of Human Sexuality — 3 hrs.

This course introduces students to a range of ethical perspectives (religious and non-) on what constitutes good sex, morally speaking. It then brings these perspectives to bear on a number of issues in the realm of sexual ethics including: homosexuality, casual sex, sex for sale, and abortion. [Same as RELS 2570] (Even Springs)

PHIL 3110. Perspectives on Death and Dying — 3 hrs.

Multidisciplinary study of death, dying, and bereavement across cultures, religious and ethnic groups, and historical periods, with attention to ritual and memoir, ethical dilemmas at the end of life, and psychology of mourning. (Same as CAP 3194 and RELS 3110) (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 3186. Studies in Philosophy — 3 hrs.

Study of a philosophical thinker or a problem listed in Schedule of Classes. (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 3310. Consciousness and Mind: Philosophical Perspectives — 3 hrs.

No aspect of mind is more familiar and yet more mysterious than consciousness, our conscious experience of ourselves and the world around us. This course examines fundamental questions about consciousness and mind: What does it mean to be conscious? How can physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective conscious experiences? Can artificial intelligence evolve consciousness? What does self-consciousness imply about free will, personal identity, and immortality? More fundamentally, what is the place of consciousness in the universe? Does consciousness appear only when matter achieves a brainlike level of organizational complexity as modern science assumes, or as many religious and contemplative traditions have contended, some form of consciousness is present in all of reality? (Odd Springs)

PHIL 3320. Political Philosophy — 3 hrs.

Critical investigation of contexts of engagement and responsibility of persons as members of social institutions and as participants in public discourse on policy and law. Prerequisite(s): junior standing or consent of instructor. (Even Springs)

PHIL 3330. Death, Sex and the Body: Phenomenology and Foucault — 3 hrs.

Examination of phenomenology, the description of basic structures of human experience. Focus on Martin Heidegger and others on conscious, practical, social, mortal, and embodied life; then Michel Foucault on forms of power in social science and modern culture. (Odd Falls)

PHIL 3350. How We Know: Philosophical Perspectives — 3 hrs.

This introduction to epistemology examines fundamental questions about human knowledge: What distinguishes knowledge from mere belief? What can be known with certainty? How can we know if we have knowledge? How can we use our reason, our senses, the testimony of others, and other resources to acquire knowledge? How do social relationships and interactions affect the knowledge of individuals and groups? How can we evaluate the claims of knowledge by socially accepted authorities? (Even Falls)

PHIL 3360. Intellectual Vices and Virtues: Theory and Practice — 3 hrs.

This course will provide students with opportunities to accomplish four objectives: 1. Gain a rigorous understanding of virtues and vices, and in particular intellectual virtues (such as intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual autonomy, open-mindedness, curiosity, and wisdom) and intellectual vices (such as closed-mindedness, intellectual cowardice, gullibility, wishful thinking, conspiracy mentality, and epistemic injustice). 2. Investigate the relevance of intellectual vices and virtues to specific domains such as education, science, business, leadership, politics and social activism, religious belief and practice, interpersonal relationships, and mental health and well-being. 3. Foster self-improvement to character by cultivating intellectual virtues and mitigating intellectual vices. 4. Develop skills essential to critical thinking and effective communication. (Fall)

PHIL 3370. Philosophy of Law — 3 hrs.

This course provides an introduction to philosophy of law that is both thematically and historically oriented. Our chief concern will be to understand the nature of law and its implications for morality and our social and political existence together. The first part of the seminar focuses on the nature of law: We will begin by considering the essence and nature of law in trying to find answers to questions such as "What is law?", "Can anything be law?", "Do laws have moral content?". The second part inquires into the relationship between law and morality, drawing on the normative standing of law: We will try to answer questions such as "Is there an obligation to obey the law?" and "Is civil disobedience justified?". In the third part, we will turn to the specific context of interpreting the U.S. Constitution, and attempt to understand how to do legal analyses of actual court decisions pertaining to significant issues such as reproductive freedom, equality, and freedom of speech. Prerequisite(s): junior standing or consent of instructor. (Variable)

PHIL 3510. Bio-Medical Ethics — 3 hrs.

Application of principles and analytic methods of ethical theory to contemporary issues in medical practice and research. Topics include fundamental concepts of health and disease, life and death; rights and obligations of medical practitioners and their patients; informed consent and confidentiality; abortion and euthanasia; reproductive and transplantation technologies; and health policy and the provision and rationing of health care. (Same as CAP 3173 and RELS 3510) (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 3610. Nietzsche, Nihilism, and Technology — 3 hrs.

Examination of Nietzsche's genealogy, diagnosis, and prognosis of contemporary nihilism, the experience of one's values as empty or meaningless. Examination of Heidegger's later critique of Nietzsche's views as expressions of problematic aspects of the modern technological age. (Odd Springs)

PHIL 3620. Philosophy of Language: Wittgenstein — 3 hrs.

Examination of Wittgenstein, sometimes called "the two most important philosophers" of the 20th century. Topics include language and formal logic, language as social practice, and ways in which classic philosophical problems arise from a misunderstanding of how we use common words. (Even Springs)

PHIL 4080. Individual Readings in Philosophy — 1-3 hrs.

Individually arranged readings and reports drawn from history of philosophy or contemporary philosophical problems. May be repeated for maximum of 6 hours. Prerequisite(s): junior standing; consent of department head. (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 4490. Professional Development Seminar — 3 hrs.

Through reflection and concerted involvement in a reciprocal relationship with a community organization, philosophy students will bring their work in philosophy to thoughtful integration, clarifying what they have done and linking their achievements with their long-term goals and preparation for professional careers. This critical service-learning course is required of all junior and senior philosophy majors. Prerequisite(s): junior standing or consent of instructor. (Even Falls)