Department of Philosophy

Philosophy (from the Greek “love of wisdom”) originated as the search for understanding concerning the most basic features of reality, the natural world, and human life. The discipline prizes and develops the skill of engaging effectively with arguments on a tremendous range of subjects. In ancient times, philosophers pioneered the study of topics from the physical cosmos to the gods to human conduct. They debated not only the character of fundamental reality but also questions of how we can attain knowledge of it. To this day, philosophy engages with questions drawn from every part of our life and experience. For example: Is there such a thing as a purely objective observation? Am I identical with my brain? Is it ever permissible to break the law? Why is there evil in the world? Is death to be feared, and why?

Job candidates and applicants to professional schools can only be helped by being able to examine both sides of a question, think critically, write cogently, and solve very general abstract problems. Moreover, the powers of reflection, imagination, self-expression, and engagement with the ideas of others that philosophy cultivates are in themselves of fundamental value for human life.

Distinction

Departmental Distinction

Students may declare themselves as candidates for Distinction after completion of 16 hours of philosophy course work. Distinction will be awarded to students who:

  1. satisfy the requirements for the Major in Philosophy,
  2. complete one 400-level course in addition to courses taken to satisfy requirements of the major, and
  3. earn a GPA of 3.70/4.00 in all philosophy courses, including transferred courses.

High Departmental Distinction

In addition to satisfying the requirements for Departmental Distinction, students must satisfactorily complete PHIL 390, which is offered every fall. To select this option, students must have the approval of both the director of undergraduate studies as well as the professor with whom the student will be writing the thesis.

Courses

PHIL 100. Introduction to Philosophy. 3 hours.

A survey of traditional problems concerning the existence and nature of God, freedom, justification, morality, etc. Readings from historical or contemporary philosophers. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 101. Critical Thinking. 3 hours.

A practical course designed to improve a student's reasoning skills. Emphasis is on developing skill at evaluating, formulating and presenting arguments. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion and one Lecture. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 102. Introductory Logic. 3 hours.

Sentential logic: representation of English using truth-functional connectives, decision methods, natural deduction techniques. Introduction to predicate logic: representation of English using quantifiers. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion and one Lecture. Natural World - No Lab course.

PHIL 103. Introduction to Ethics. 3 hours.

Surveys attempts to answer central questions of ethics: What acts are right? What things are good? How do we know this? Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 104. Introduction to Political Philosophy. 3 hours.

An introductory survey of topics in political philosophy that bear on U.S. society. Readings will usually be drawn from both classical and contemporary sources. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course, and US Society course.

PHIL 105. Science and Philosophy. 3 hours.

An exploration of central philosophical (and/or religious) issues as they arise in the sciences. Readings include both scientific (e.g. physics or biology) and philosophical works, and may be drawn from various periods. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Natural World - No Lab course.

PHIL 106. What Is Religion? 3 hours.

Examination of issues concerning religion, including varying views of the purposes that religions serve, differences between religions, and arguments for the existence of God. Course Information: Same as RELS 106. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 107. What is Art? 3 hours.

Introduction to the fundamental problems in understanding art; the historical background; the concept of the aesthetic; theories of art; intentionalistic criticism; metaphor; symbolism; expression; theories of evaluation. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Creative Arts course.

PHIL 108. What Is Freedom? 3 hours.

Introduction to philosophy through an investigation of freedom. What is freedom, and why do we value it? Do we have free will? What limitations on individual freedom by society are legitimate? What is a free society? Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 109. Who Am I? 3 hours.

Who am I? What does it mean to be human? How am I different from other humans? What is the source of my identity, and is it something I can control? These questions addressed through philosophical texts from Plato to the present. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 110. Philosophy of Love and Sex. 3 hours.

A philosophical inquiry into traditional and contemporary views about love and sex. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 112. Morality and the Law. 3 hours.

What must the law do if it is to protect our rights (such as free speech, privacy, equal treatment)? Why believe we have rights? Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 115. Death. 3 hours.

Philosophical examination of our attitudes towards death. Our attitudes towards mortality and immortality; definitions of death; treating others as persons; our attitudes towards life, quality of life issues, suicide, rights of the dying. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 116. Medical Ethics. 3 hours.

Moral issues as they arise in medical contexts, including such topics as abortion, euthanasia, paternalism, allocation of medical resources, and psychiatric issues. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 120. Introduction to Ancient Philosophy. 3 hours.

Introduction to issues and methods of philosophy through engagement with classic Greek and Roman texts (read in translation). Course Information: Same as CL 120. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course, and Past course.

PHIL 122. Philosophy of Consciousness. 3 hours.

A philosophical investigation into the nature and importance of consciousness as discussed in a variety of sources in philosophy, literature, and psychology. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture-Discussion.

PHIL 184. The Basics of Neuroscience. 1 hour.

Introduction to the scientific study of the brain and behavior. Overview of neuroscience as an integrative discipline. Course Information: Same as BIOS 184 and PSCH 184. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading only.

PHIL 201. Theory of Knowledge. 3 hours.

Basic issues concerning knowledge of the external world, other minds, scientific laws, and necessary truths. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 202. Philosophy of Psychology. 3 hours.

Theories and methods of scientific psychology: modes of explaining the structure of theories, the nature of mental states; implications of commonsense conceptions of the mind. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy; or junior or senior standing in the physical, biological, or social sciences; or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 203. Metaphysics. 3 hours.

Philosophical issues concerning free will, causation, action, mind and body, identity over time, God, universals and particulars. Emphasis varies from term to term. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture-Discussion.

PHIL 204. Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. 3 hours.

The nature of scientific observation, explanation, and theories; confirmation of laws and theories; the relation between the physical and social sciences. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy; or junior or senior standing in the physical, biological, or social sciences; or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 206. Introduction to the Philosophy of Language. 3 hours.

Philosophical issues concerning meaning, the relationship between language and thought, how language is to be distinguished from other forms of communication, and how truth relates to meaning. Course Information: 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 102 or PHIL 210. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion.

PHIL 210. Symbolic Logic. 3 hours.

Representation of English sentences using quantifiers and identity; quantificational natural deduction; interpretations. Optional topics include naive set theory; axiomatic systems; theory of descriptions; metatheory. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): PHIL 102. Recommended background: Grade of B or better in PHIL 102. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Natural World - No Lab course.

PHIL 211. Inductive Logic and Decision Making. 3 hours.

How to gamble and make other decisions rationally. The role of probability, decision rules, and statistics in real-life contexts. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): PHIL 102 or PHIL 210. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 220. Ancient Philosophy I: Plato and His Predecessors. 3 hours.

Introduction to Plato and his predecessors in the ancient period. Course Information: Same as CL 220. It is recommended that PHIL 220/CL 220 and PHIL 221/CL 221 be taken as a sequence in successive terms. Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 221. Ancient Philosophy II: Aristotle and His Successors. 3 hours.

Introduction to Aristotle and his successors in the ancient period. Course Information: Same as CL 221. It is recommended that PHIL 220/CL 220 and PHIL 221/CL 221 be taken as a sequence in successive terms. Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 223. History of Modern Philosophy I: Descartes and His Successors. 3 hours.

Introduction to Descartes and some of his successors in the early modern period. Course Information: It is recommended that PHIL 223 and PHIL 224 be taken as a sequence in successive terms. Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 224. History of Modern Philosophy II: Kant and His Predecessors. 3 hours.

Introduction to Kant and some of his predecessors in the early modern period. Course Information: It is recommended that PHIL 223 and PHIL 224 be taken as a sequence in successive terms. Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 225. Nineteenth Century Philosophy. 3 hours.

A survey course of the works of major nineteenth century philosophers such as: Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Schopenhauer. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): One course in Philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion. Individual and Society course.

PHIL 226. Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy. 3 hours.

Historical introduction to the major issues and figures of twentieth-century philosophy in the analytic tradition. Readings from Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, and others. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): PHIL 102 or PHIL 210 or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 227. Continental Philosophy I: Phenomenology and Existentialism. 3 hours.

Existential themes in dramas and fiction as well as selections from the works of such thinkers as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Camus and Sartre. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 230. Topics in Ethics and Political Philosophy. 3 hours.

Survey of major topics in ethical theory and political philosophy. Emphasis varies. Course Information: 3 hours. May be repeated if topics vary. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: PHIL 103 or PHIL 109 or PHIL 112 or PHIL 116. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 232. Sex Roles: Moral and Political Issues. 3 hours.

Philosophical inquiry into controversies surrounding the changing roles of men and women. Course Information: Same as GWS 232. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 234. Philosophy and Film. 3 hours.

A philosophical examination of film, dealing with aesthetic issues, or moral and political issues, or both. Screening accompanies discussion. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 240. Philosophy and Revelation: Jewish and Christian Perspectives. 3 hours.

Introduction to philosophical ways of addressing the claim that a book (the Bible, the Quran) comes from God. Texts by Immanuel Kant, Moses Mendelssohn, and Soren Kierkegaard, among others. Course Information: Previously listed as PHIL 141. Same as RELS 240 and JST 240. Prerequisite(s): Two courses in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture. Individual and Society course, and World Cultures course.

PHIL 241. Philosophy of Religion. 3 hours.

Philosophical inquiry into the grounds of faith and belief, the nature of religious and mystical experience, and the existence and nature of God. Course Information: Same as RELS 241. Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion and one Lecture.

PHIL 299. Seminar. 3 hours.

Selected topics. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): One course in philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 300. Fundmentals of Philsophical Discourse. 3 hours.

An intensive course for philosophy majors aimed at introducing and developing skill in philosophical writing and oral presentation. Course Information: Previously listed as PHIL 400. Prerequisite(s): Major in philosophy; and junior standing or above or approval of the department.

PHIL 310. Aristotle and the Arabs. 3 hours.

Traces the major topics of ancient Greek philosophy, especially those of Aristotle, and their transformation into the philosophy developed in the Arabic classical period. Course Information: Same as ARAB 310 and CL 310. Prerequisite(s): CL 221 or PHIL 221 or RELS 230.

PHIL 390. Senior Thesis in Philosophy. 3 hours.

Students will work individually with a member of the faculty on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the faculty. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): Open only to seniors; Consent of the instructor and department.

PHIL 399. Independent Study. 2-6 hours.

Independent study, under the supervision of a staff member, of a topic not covered in the regular curriculum. Offered at the request of the student and only at the discretion of the staff members concerned. Course Information: May be repeated. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: This course counts toward the limited number of independent study hours accepted toward the degree and the major.

PHIL 401. Theory of Knowledge. 3 or 4 hours.

Survey and analysis of key topics in epistemology, such as skepticism, the nature of propositional knowledge, justification, perception, memory, induction, other minds, naturalistic epistemology. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 201 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 402. Topics in Philosophy of Mind. 3 or 4 hours.

Survey and analysis of one or more topics in philosophy of mind, such as the mind-body problem, philosophy of psychology, perception and sensation, intentional content, consciousness, and mental causation. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours; 4 graduate hours. May be repeated if topics vary, with consent of the instructor. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 202. Recommended background: PHIL 102 or PHIL 210.

PHIL 403. Metaphysics. 3 or 4 hours.

Intensive treatment of one or more topics, such as free will, personal identity, causation, existence, substance and attribute, the nature of the mind. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 203 or PHIL 226 or PHIL 426 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 404. Philosophy of Science. 3 or 4 hours.

Selected works on the aims and methods of science; the status of scientific theories, natural laws and theoretical entities; the nature of scientific explanation. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 102 or PHIL 210, and one 200-level course in philosophy; or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 406. Philosophy of Language. 3 or 4 hours.

Intensive treatment of one or more topics, such as meaning and reference, communication, the structure of language, language and thought, and the relation of language to reality. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 102 or one 200- or 400-level logic course or PHIL 226 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 410. Introduction to Formal Logic. 3 or 4 hours.

Review of predicate logic and of introductory set theory. The concept of a formal system. Notions of completeness and soundness. Introduction to Godel's first incompleteness theorem. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 210 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 416. Metalogic I. 3 or 4 hours.

Metatheory for sentence and predicate logic. Completeness and compactness theorems and their applications. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Students who have taken MATH 430 may not register for this course. Should be taken in sequence with PHIL 417. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 210 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 417. Metalogic II. 3 or 4 hours.

Effective computability and recursive functions. Peano arithmetic. Arithmetization of syntax. Incompleteness and undecidability: Godel's and Church's theorems. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 416 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 420. Plato. 3 or 4 hours.

Careful reading of selected works. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 220 or PHIL 221 or 3 courses in philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 421. Aristotle. 3 or 4 hours.

Careful reading of selected works. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 220 or PHIL 221 or 3 courses in philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 422. Medieval Philosophy. 0-4 hours.

Study of selected philosophers such as Augustine, Boethius, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas, William of Ockham, Buridan, Suarez. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 220 or PHIL 221 or PHIL 420 or PHIL 421 or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Discussion/Recitation and one Lecture.

PHIL 423. Studies in Early Modern Philosophy. 3 or 4 hours.

Careful reading of selected works of one or more philosophers, 1600 to 1750, such as Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkely, Hume, Reid and Rousseau. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 223 or PHIL 224 or 3 courses in philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 424. Kant. 3 or 4 hours.

Intensive study of Kant's metaphysics and theory of knowledge with main reading drawn from the Critique of Pure Reason. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 223 or PHIL 224 or 3 courses in philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 425. Studies in Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. 3 or 4 hours.

Careful reading of one or more post-Kantian philosophers such as Hegel, Schelling, Fichte, Schopenhauer, Marx, J.S. Mill, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level course in philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 426. Analysis and Logical Empiricism. 3 or 4 hours.

Developments in twentieth century philosophy with roots in the study of logic and language, such as logical atomism, logical empiricism, and contemporary analytic philosophy. Topics vary. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 210 or PHIL 226 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 427. Continental Philosophy II: European Thought Since 1960. 3 or 4 hours.

European thought since 1960: Existential Marxism; Critical Theory; Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and Deconstruction. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 227 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 428. Topics in Ancient Philosophy. 3 or 4 hours.

Careful reading of related works by Ancient Philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours; 4 graduate hours. May be repeated if topics vary, with consent of the instructor. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 220 or PHIL 221; and junior standing or above.

PHIL 429. Special Studies in the History of Philosophy. 3 or 4 hours.

Advanced study of a historical school, period, or the development of a historical theme. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level course in the history of philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 430. Ethics. 3 or 4 hours.

Selected topics in moral philosophy, such as normative ethics, value theory or meta-ethics. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: Credit in a course in moral, social, or political philosophy.

PHIL 431. Social/Political Philosophy. 3 or 4 hours.

Selected topics in social and political philosophy. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: Credit in a course in moral, social, or political philosophy.

PHIL 432. Topics in Ethics. 3 or 4 hours.

Selected topics in ethics. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: Credit in a course in moral, social, or political philosophy.

PHIL 433. Topics in Social/Political Philosophy. 3 or 4 hours.

Selected topics in social and political philosophy. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 1 time(s) with approval. Approval to repeat course granted by the department. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level course in philosophy or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: Credit in a course in moral, social, or political philosophy.

PHIL 441. Topics in Philosophy of Religion. 3 hours.

Intensive study of one or more selected topics concerning the philosophical aspects of basic religious beliefs and concepts. Course Information: Same as RELS 441. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours of credit if topic is different for each registration. Students may register for more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): One 200-level course in philosophy (except 210) or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 484. Neuroscience I. 3 hours.

Neuroscience as an integrative discipline. Neuroanatomy of vertebrates, neural development, cellular neurobiology, action potential mechanisms, synaptic transmission and neuropharmacology. Course Information: Same as BIOS 484 and PSCH 484. Prerequisite(s): BIOS 286 or PSCH 262.

PHIL 485. Neuroscience II. 3 hours.

Intergrative neuroscience, including sensory and motor systems; learning, memory, and language; pathology of nervous systems; philosophical perspectives, and modeling. Course Information: Same as BIOS 485 and PSCH 485. Prerequisite(s): BIOS 286 or PSCH 262.