Course Offerings 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 Foundations: Philosophy and Literature. 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 Foundations: Philosophy and Literature. 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 Foundations: Mathematical Sciences. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 202 Philosophy and Ethics of Health.  What is health and what ethical issues surround the care of health? Explore classic theories about the nature of physical and mental health through primary texts and philosophize about key issues in health care, such as consent, augmentation, distribution, and the value of health. Fulfills Foundations - Philosophy and Literature.  Three credit hours. 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 204 Knowledge, Politics, and Social Media. An introduction to philosophy focused on humans as knowing beings and as social-political beings. The course explores classical philosophical issues concerning how these facets of human existence interact, and applies the understanding gained to analyze how these interactions affect and are affected by the Internet and social media. Three credit hours. Offered starting winter 2022.

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: Cultures. 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 Foundations: Art. Three credits. Offered fall and winter semester.

PHI 230 American Philosophy. 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  and winter semester 

PHI 250 Existentialism. An investigation of a major philosophical and literary movement in the 19th and 20th century, important existentialists include Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kafka, Heidegger, Sartre, Unamuno, De Beauvoir, and Camus. Topics include authenticity, freedom, consciousness, absurdity, meaninglessness, commitment, the Other, God, emotions, and the limits of science and reason. Three credits.   Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor. 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 Human Identity Issue. Three credits.  Prerequisites: Junior standing.

PHI 311 Origins of Western Thought: Ancient Philosophy. A study of one or more ancient Greek or Roman philosophers (Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicureans, Stoics, Pyrrhonists). Topics may include ancient views of morality and the good life, metaphysics, ancient physics and astronomy, biology, psychology, education, and political philosophy, taking into account historical context. Cross listed with CLA 311. Three credits. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Offered fall semester.

PHI 312 Divine Revelation Meets Greek Rationality: Medieval Philosophy. A study of one or several medieval Greek, Jewish, Christian or Islamic thinkers such as: Plotinus, Augustine, Averroes, Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides. Topics may include: the relation between faith and reason, problems of law, virtue and happiness, the nature and destiny of the human soul, differences between metaphysical and mystical approaches to God. Attention given to context and tradition. Three credits.  Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Fulfills Religion Theme requirements. Offered winter semester.

PHI 313 Reason, Experience, Morality at the Dawn of Modernity: Early Modern Philosophy A study of one or more early modern thinkers such as: Hobbes, Descartes, Galileo, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, Kant. Topics may include: the nature of human knowledge, the foundation of morality and political legitimacy, science and religion, the relation between mind and body. Three credits. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Offered fall semester.

PHI 314 Capitalism, Secularism, Nationalism: 19th Century Philosophy. A study of responses by thinkers such as Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Schopenhauer to the social, political, and spiritual condition in the age of the French and American revolutions, industrialization, capitalism, nationalism, and Darwinism, concerning the role of religion, the source of values, history, the social determination of the self, the possibility of human flourishing in the age of industrialization, etc. Three credits.  Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor.  Offered winter semester.

PHI 315 Philosophy Now: Contemporary Great Philosophers. A study of one or more recent philosophers such as: Peirce, Russell, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Dewey, Arendt, Sartre, Foucault. Course usually focuses on themes in either continental, or analytic, or American philosophy (pragmatism, process-philosophy, phenomenology, logical positivism, analysis of language, analytic metaphysics/epistemology, existentialism, post-structuralism, critical theory, etc.) Three credits.  Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Offered winter semester.

PHI 320 Power, Justice, and Freedom: 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, and Marx. Part of Human Rights Issue. Three credits. Prerequisite: Junior standing. 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. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Offered fall and winter semesters.

PHI 330 Crime, Morality, Punishment: Philosophy of Law. Laws create and preserve rights. We will explore the nature, formation and interpretation of laws. What are they? Where do they come from? And how do we tell what they mean? We will also consider specific issues such as equality and affirmative action, and punishment and the death penalty. Part of the Human Rights Issue.  Three credits. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Offered fall semester of 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 Three credits. 

PHI 343 God, Faith, and Reason: 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. Part of the Identity Issue. Three credits. Prerequisites: Junior standing and prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor. 

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 Human Identity Issue. Three credits.  Prerequisite: Junior standing.

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. Permit required.

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 400 Wisdom of the East: Advanced Topics in Asian Philosophy. Study of one or more Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, or Taoist philosophers (The Buddha, Nagarjuna, Lao Zi, Zhuangzi, Confucius, Dogen, etc.) Topics may include: human nature, society and individual, moral practice, suffering and liberation, religiosity. Three credits. Repeatable for credit, if content differs. Offered Winter semester. Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy or instructor’s permission..

PHI 420 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, and the nature of scientific models and laws are also considered. Offered fall semester of even-numbered years.Three credits. Prerequisite: Prior coursework in philosophy or permission of instructor. 

PHI 430 Mind, Brain, Consciousness: Philosophy of Mind. A study of classical and contemporary philosophical perspectives on the human mind. Topics may include materialistic vs. non-materialistic conceptions of thought and consciousness; relation between mind and brain, body, behavior, and environment; artificial intelligence; animal cognition; mental illness; altered states of consciousness, self-consciousness, and personhood. Three credits.  Prerequisite: Prior coursework in philosophy or permission of instructor. Offered fall semester of even-numbered years.

PHI 440 Perception, Hallucination, Trust: Perspectives on Knowledge. 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. Three credits. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor. Offered winter semester.

PHI 450 Reality, Identity, Change: Metaphysics. An inquiry into the ultimate constitution of reality, taking into account classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophical sources. Is everything material? How is change possible? What are persons? Can we be free in a deterministic/indeterministic world? Is what’s real relative to the mind, or to culture? Three credits. Prerequisite: Prior work in philosophy, or permission of instructor. Offered fall semester, odd-numbered years.

PHI 460 Rights, Duties, and the Meaning of Life: Moral Philosophy.  An inquiry into the nature of morality through study of classical and contemporary philosophical sources. Where do rights and duties come from? How can we know what we should or might do? Nature of good and evil. Is morality objective, or relative to culture, history, or the individual? Is morality rational? Relation between morality and meaning of life. Three credits. Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor. Offered winter semester, odd-numbered years.

PHI 470 Truth, Meaning, Communication: Philosophy of Language. How are spoken sounds and written marks meaningful, true, and about anything in the world? How do we communicate by producing them? What is involved in interpreting speech? Topics may include semantics vs. pragmatics; speech acts; language and thought; language and reality, knowledge of language, metaphors, fictional discourse, language and culture, language and power, evolution of language. A careful study of classical and contemporary perspectives on these issues. Three credits.  Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy or permission of instructor. Offered Winter in even numbered years.

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.Permit required

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. Three credits. Prerequisites: Major or minor in philosophy and senior standing. . Offered fall and winter semesters.