Philosophy

Course Offerings



Courses Offered in Philosophy


PHI 101 Introduction to Philosophy. Inquiry into different perspectives on reality, reason, experience, and human excellence. Intensive reading of at least one classical text and its implications for life in the present. Fulfills Philosophy and Literature Foundation. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 102 Ethics. What is good? What is evil? Are there objective standards for right and wrong? What are these objective standards? How can they be applied to important contemporary moral problems? The course considers the answers philosophers give to these and related questions. Fulfills Philosophy and Literature Foundation. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 103 Logic. What does it mean to think clearly and correctly? What rules govern classification and definition? What is the nature of propositions? What are the rules for correct reasoning? How can we improve our reasoning skills? This course addresses these questions with the help of a standard textbook in classical logic. Fulfills Mathematical Sciences Foundation. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 203 Intermediate Logic.  A thorough introduction to classical quantificational logic. This course develops the syntax and semantics of the language of quantificational logic, assesses its relation to English, and introduces proof methods for, and some of meta-logic of, quantificational logic. The course also introduces some extensions of, or alternatives to, classical quantificational logic. Pre-requisites: PHI 103, or CS 160, or CS 162, or MTH 110. Three credits.  Offered fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PHI 210 Eastern Philosophy. Since the world is getting smaller, the scope of our knowledge and vision must expand. This course introduces students to major philosophies of the East such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, through the study of classic texts. Fulfills World Perspectives requirement. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 220 Aesthetics. An inquiry into the nature, criteria, and significance of the fine arts and/or artistic creation and response. Fulfills Arts Foundation. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semester.

PHI 230 American Philosophy. The course focuses on figures from the classical period of American philosophy such as Peirce, James, Royce, Dewey, Santayana, and Whitehead. Works from the Colonial period and from the Romantic and Transcendental movements, together with selected current sources, provide an historical and intellectual context for understanding these focal figures. Three credits. Offered fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PHI 240 Middle Eastern Philosophy.  This course introduces students to Middle Eastern philosophy from the medieval period through the contemporary era. The course will give students a thorough understanding of what Middle Eastern philosophy is, what makes it unique, and how both medieval and modern thinkers tackle philosophical problems of their day. Fulfills World Perspectives requirement. Three credits.  Offered winter semester, even-numbered years. Prerequisites: Previous work in Philosophy.

PHI 250 Existentialism. An investigation of a major philosophical and literary movement in the 19th and 20th century important existentialists include Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzche, Heidegger, Sartre and Camus. Topics include authenticity, freedom, consciousness, commitment, our relations to others and God, how emotions provide insights unavailable to reason, and the limits of philosophy. Three credits. Offered fall semester. 

PHI 300 Theories of Human Nature.  Survey of philosophical, scientific and religious conceptions of the human being, from past and present and from various cultures. Issues include meaning of life, destiny of humanity, relations between humans, human development and evolution, relations of humans to their creator/origins and to their environments and methodologies for investigating human nature. Part of the Identity issue. Three credits.  Offered fall and winter semesters. Prerequisites: Junior standing.

PHI 306 Eastern Great Philosophers. A study of one or several Eastern great philosophers, such as Lao Zi, Chuang Zi, Confucius, Mencius, The Buddha, Nagarjuna, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming. Focus will be on the philosophers' writings, but attention also will be given to context and tradition. Three creditsOffered Winter semester. Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor.

PHI 311 Ancient Great Philosophers. A study of one or several ancient great philosophers, such as: the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius. Focus will be on the philosophers' writings, but attention also will be given to context and tradition. Crosslisted with CLA 311. May be repeated for credit if content varies. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered fall semester.

PHI 312 Medieval Great Philosophers. A study of one or several medieval great philosophers, such as: Plotinus, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides. Focus will be on the philosophers' writings, but attention also will be given to context and tradition. May be repeated for credit, if content differs. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Part of Religion theme. Three credits. Offered winter semester.

PHI 313 Early Modern Great Philosophers. A study of one or several modern great philosophers, such as: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel. Focus will be on the philosophers' writings, but attention also will be given to context and tradition. May be repeated for credit, if content differs. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered fall semester.

PHI 314 Late Modern Great Philosophers.  A study of one or several later modern great philosophers beginning with Kant, such as Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Marx. Focus will be on the philosopher's writings, but attention will also be given to context and tradition. Course may be repeated if content differs. Three credits.  Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor.  Offered winter semester.

PHI 315 Recent Great Philosophers. A study of one or several recent great philosophers, such as: Kierkegaard, Marx, James, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Dewey, Arendt, Merleau-Ponty, Peirce, Whitehead. Focus will be on the philosophers' writings, but attention also will be given to context and tradition. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered winter semester.

PHI 320 Social and Political Philosophy. Analyzes the intellectual appropriation of the concept of freedom over time. Emphasis will be given to the dynamic interaction between freedom and social control in classics of Western philosophy from ancient times to modernity. Authors include Plato, Epicurus, Aristotle, Aurelius, Augustine, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx. Prerequisite: Junior Standing. Part of Human Rights Issue. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 325 Ethics in Professional Life. Examination of ethical principles and practice in business, medicine, education, law, and government. This course aims at providing students with the intellectual framework for an ethical analysis of situations which arise within various professions. Also seeks to foster mutual understanding across professional lines. Part of Human Rights Issue. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 330 Legal Philosophy. Introduction to the nature of law, law and morality, principles and practice, freedom and determinism, common sense and science, punishment, necessity, and coercion, mental disease, all arising directly form the careful study of a substantive body of law. Especially valuable for pre-law students. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered fall semester, even-numbered years.

PHI 335 Philosophy & Democracy.  Explores the idea of democracy within the context of a major philosophical tradition. Investigates the concept of democracy in such areas as social and political thought, educational theory, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion. Part of Democracy Theme. Three credits.  Offered fall semester, even-numbered years.

PHI 341 Philosophy of Death and Dying. A philosophical exploration of ethical,religious, and metaphysical questions about death and dying, such as care for the dying, euthanasia, suicide, life after death. What is a human being? The meaning of life? Our place in the universe? Classical and contemporary writings, East and West, will be examined. Part of Death and Dying theme.  Three credits. Offered fall semester.

PHI 343 Philosophy of Religion. Does God exist? Is there a life after death? How did evil enter the world? Is there any place for reason in religion, or is religious faith only a matter of subjective experience? Questions like these will be considered, as well as the answers that have been given to them by some important religious philosophers. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Part of Religion theme. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 345 Philosophy of Mind.  Introduction to theories about mind, brain, and consciousness, their development and interrelation in the species and individual. Topics include: the social construction of consciousness, subjectivity; "altered" states of consciousness, "higher" states of consciousness and the unconscious; relations between mind, consciousness and brain; consciousness and language, consciousness and machines. Part of Human Journey theme. Three credits. Offered fall semester even number of years.

PHI 350 Philosophy of History. The course first compares classical cyclical with Judeo-Christian views of history. It then follows the rise of ideas of progress, of historicism, and of Marxism. Students study primary texts from philosophers of history such as Plato, Augustine, Vico, Hegel, and Marx, and at least one contemporary philosopher of history. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PHI 360 Philosophy of Science. Scientific knowledge is compared with that acquired in other disciplines. Topics common to the physical, biological, and social sciences, such as discovery, explanation, confirmation, the nature of scientific models and laws, are also considered. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered fall semester, even-numbered years.

PHI 366 Perspectives on Aging.  This course examines the perception of the elderly from a multidisciplinary perspective. It is first approached from historical and philosophical perspectives, and then from a psychological perspective using contemporary empirical studies. Part of Human Journey Theme. Three credits.  Offered winter semester. Prerequisites: PSY 101 or PHI 101.

PHI 370 Sex Matters: Feminist Philosophy in the Contemporary World. Sex and gender are central to our identity. The course explores these concepts within the intersection of race, class, sexualities, and ethnicities. Philosophical analyses will be used to investigate how gendered biases infuse the structures of thought and action such that sex is a central component of our lives.  Part of the Identity Issue. Offered fall semester. Three credits.  Prerequisite: Junior standing.

PHI 375 Community Working Classics I.  A political philosophy/service learning seminar that involves students in community organizing and teaching as well as the study of classic texts in philosophy. Careful analysis of the relationship between theory and practice in a philosophical education. Offered fall semester. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

PHI 376 Community Working Classics II.  Continuation of PHI 375. Students will continue to develop their organizing and facilitating skills in the context of a philosophy service-learning seminar, but special emphasis will be placed on researching and writing an integrative essay of considerable length. Offered winter semester. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

PHI 380 Topics in Philosophy. A variable topics course on a problem, theme, or figure of importance to the practice of philosophy in the present. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered as needed.

PHI 399 Independent Readings. Reading on a topic or a philosopher, arranged both as to credit and content, with a member of the department. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. One to four credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 399 Teaching Apprenticeship (only specific sections of 399). Teaching Apprenticeship Program in Philosophy. The program is directed toward philosophy majors planning to attend graduate school, and is designed to provide an opportunity for selected students to apprentice in teaching philosophy. For such students, experience in this aspect of the practice of philosophy is an important complement to the undergraduate major. Prerequisite: Application and approval. Offered fall and winter semesters. See program description.

PHI 440 Epistemology. What is knowledge? What is the relation of knower to known? How is knowledge distinguished from belief? What are the nature and ground of certainty? Varieties of objectivism and subjectivism, ancient and modern, will be considered. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered winter semester. Part of Perception.

PHI 450 Metaphysics. A study of representative metaphysical systems and problems through the writings of the classical, medieval, modern and recent periods. Topics studied include being, substance, causation, essence, matter, form , space, time, relation, etc. Some attention to non-Western metaphysical thought. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PHI 460 Value Theory.  This course is dedicated to some of the most fundamental questions about value: What is value? Where does is come from? How many kinds of it are there? and What are the relationships between the different kinds of value? Readings will be drawn from classical and contemporary philosophical literature. Three credits.  Offered winter semester, odd-numbered years. Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor.

PHI 480 Advanced Study.  According to the needs of the students, seminars in historical and systematic studies in areas, philosophers, and movements, of which the following are examples: Aristotle, Thomas, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Hellenistic philosophy, philosophy of history, advanced logic, advanced ethics, theory of knowledge, philosophy of science, advanced political philosophy, and philosophy of education.

PHI 495 Reality, Knowledge, and Value (Capstone). The purpose is, by a review of basic presuppositions about knowledge, reality,and value, to make clear what unites and what separates the main traditions in people's search for wisdom. Prerequisites: Major or minor in philosophy and senior standing. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters. 

Page last modified October 21, 2014