2022-23 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 1520. Reasoning About Moral Problems — 3 hrs.

Introduction to critical thinking and writing about moral and social problems. Topics may include hunger, economic justice, anti-Semitism, sexism, animal rights, affirmative action, abortion, and homosexuality. (Variable)

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 2120. Philosophy of Art — 3 hrs.

Examines the question of the nature of art through a discussion of the major philosophical theories: imitation theory, expression theory, and formalism, as well as a critique of these theories. Field trips included. Prerequisite(s): One philosophy course or consent of instructor. (Even Falls)

PHIL 2130. Philosophy of Science — 3 hrs.

Philosophical problems of the sciences; nature of laws and theories, causation, explanation and scientific method, and relation between natural and social sciences. (Variable)

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 3000CE. Philosophy Course — 1-3 hrs.

Philosophy Course

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. Prerequisite(s): junior standing. (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. Philosophy of Mind — 3 hrs.

Examines fundamental questions about the nature of mind, soul, consciousness, artificial intelligence, personal identity and free will, with emphasis on contemporary philosophical theories. (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 3340. Existentialism — 3 hrs.

The unique contribution of existentialism to philosophy in its sustained focus on everyday life: the contradictions of human existence, the human body, the existence of others, and human freedom. (Same as RELS 3340) (Variable)

PHIL 3350. Theories of Knowledge — 3 hrs.

Examines fundamental questions about the conditions, sources, functions and limits of human knowledge, and the nature of belief, truth, evidence, rationality and objectivity, with emphasis on contemporary philosophical theories. (Even Falls)

PHIL 3360. Virtues and Vices of the Mind — 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, courage, and autonomy, as well as wisdom) and vices (such as closed-mindedness, epistemic injustice, and epistemic indifference). 2. Investigate the relevance of intellectual virtues and vices 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. Prerequisite(s): junior standing. (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 3680. Marxisms — 3 hrs.

Marxism as a critical method to examine social, political, and economic issues. Includes classic works of Marx and Engels, varieties of socialism and communism, 60s New Left, socialist feminism, liberation theology, third world liberation, and anti-globalization movements. (Variable)

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)

PHIL 4550. Ethics Practicum — 1-3 hrs.

Combines service-learning with study of theoretical and applied ethics. Students work 4-6 hours per week in a community agency and meet with instructor. May be repeated once. Prerequisite(s): one completed or concurrent ethics course; consent of instructor. (Same as RELS 4550) (Variable)