Philosophy Major (40 credits)
4 credits at the 100 or 200 level
Ancient Philosophy (331)
Modern Philosophy (334)
Philosophy Capstone (388)
One course from the following: Medieval (333), 19th Century European Philosophers (336), Analytic Philosophy (337), American (338), 20th Century Continental Philosophers (341).
One course from the following: Philosophy of Knowledge (364), Metaphysics (365), Topics in Philosophy of Science (363)
One course from the following: Moral Philosophy (321), Political Philosophy (326), Feminist Ethics (325)
8 additional credits with no more than 4 additional credits at the 100 level.
Philosophy Minor (20 credits)
Required Courses: Five course, at least three of which must be at the 300 level.
110 Logic. (4)
This course is an introduction to the fundamental structure of logic. It includes deduction, syllogistic reasoning, the symbolic quantification of deduction, induction, informal arguments and fallacies, and the basic structure of scientific procedure.
121 Great Issues in Philosophy. (4)
An introduction to philosophical questioning through a study of perennial issues in philosophy. Questions that might be treated: freedom and responsibility, God, love, being, knowledge, death. Topics in this course may be treated in the context of the great philosophers of the past or through a study of more contemporary writers.
123 Philosophy of Human Nature. (4)
An introduction to philosophical questioning through a study of what it means to be human. Questions that might be treated: body and soul; immortality; meaning of person and personality; determinism and freedom; reason and imagination; emotion and will; individuality and group; relationship to others and to God; language; labor; temporality; the significance of our evolutionary origins; meaning in life.
125 Social Philosophy. (4)
An introduction to philosophical questioning through a study of the human in society. Questions that might be treated: the meaning of society; individual and society; society and law; economy and society; work as social phenomenon; society and freedom; world of culture and society; violence and nonviolence; philosophy of power; philosophy of conflict in community; political philosophy.
146 Philosophy of Religion. (4)
An introduction to philosophical questioning through a study of God and religion. Questions that might be treated: religious experience; difference in experience of God in Western and Eastern religions; philosophy of spirituality; theism and atheism; culture and religion.
150 Philosophy in Literature. (4)
An introduction to philosophical questioning through a study of major themes of novels, plays and/or poetry. Readings will serve as an avenue for treating aesthetic or psychological or ethical concerns.
153 Philosophy and Gender. (4)
An introduction to philosophical questioning through a study of gender. Areas that might be treated: philosophy of sexuality; whether men and women know the world in the same way; whether the nature of man and woman is the same; sexual ethics; feminism.
156 Asian Philosophy. (4)
We will engage in careful study of wisdom teachings from the Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist and Christian traditions. Readings from the Hindu tradition will include selections from the Upanisads and the Bhagavad Gita. Buddhist teachings will be taken primarily from the Theravada scriptures, though there will be a brief introduction to the Mahayana tradition as well. The Taoist tradition will be approached through the Lao Tzu (a.k.a. the Tao Te Ching). The course will finish by comparing teachings from these Asian traditions with those from the Christian theologian and philosopher Meister Eckhart, a fourteenth century Dominican monk. This course has a practice requirement that requires a minimum of two hours of contemplative practice in addition to class meetings.
321 Moral Philosophy. (4)
Ethics covers a wide range of topics: right and wrong, good and evil, rights and responsibilities, virtues and vices, values and obligations, and methods of decision-making. This course explores and examines different bodies of philosophical thought on ethics. A number of systematic theories of morality such as utilitarian, Kantian, virtue, care, or natural law ethics will be presented, discussed and used as frameworks to examine live ethical issues. Fall and/or spring.
322 Environmental Ethics. (4)
This course investigates a variety of ethical issues that arise from consideration of the relation between humans and the non-human natural world (i.e., the environment, animals, land, ecosystems, wilderness areas). This course will introduce students to the basic concepts of environmental ethics, to specific ethical issues associated with environmental policy, and to philosophical theorizing about the environment.
323 Biomedical Ethics. (4)
An examination of ethical questions raised by health-care practice and recent advances in medical technology. Both ethical theory and ethical decision-making will be addressed. Possible topics include: confidentiality, informed consent, genetic engineering, reproductive technology and death and dying issues. Offered occasionally.
324 Business Ethics. (4)
This course will examine ethical and social issues associated with contemporary American business. Responsibilities of businesses to employees, consumers and the society at large will be considered. Questions of individual moral responsibility and questions of social justice and public policy will be addressed. Students will examine these issues from the point of view of a variety of stakeholders: business management, employees, investors, consumers, and citizens. Offered often, typically in the spring
325 Feminist Ethics. (4)
Consideration of whether women's experiences offer unique perspectives in moral theory. Comparison of feminine and feminist approaches to ethics. Possible topics include: the nature of feminism, freedom and oppression; the role of care, trust, autonomy, reason and emotion in the moral life; different moral voices among women.
326 Political Philosophy. (4)
This course examines the relation between moral and political values and goods. Consideration of such questions as whether politics can be neutral among competing conceptions of morality, the nature, justification, and limits of political authority and whether politicians should be held to different moral standards from the rest of us.
331 Ancient Philosophy. (4)
Western philosophy traces its origins to the great thinkers of Greece. This course combines a careful investigation into ancient philosophy as a whole with concentration on the thought of Plato and Aristotle. Fall and/or spring.
333 Medieval Philosophy. (4)
Philosophy in the West did not take a long nap after the ancient era. This course in medieval philosophy will investigate the period which began with Augustine and reached its culmination in 13th- and 14th-century Scholasticism, especially with Thomas Aquinas. It will investigate at least three major philosophers or schools of philosophy of that era.
334 Modern Philosophy. (4)
A new turn in philosophy begins with the writings of Rene Descartes and ends with the Critiques of Immanuel Kant. This course will seek to highlight three thinkers or schools from that era.
336 19th-Century European Philosophers. (4)
Philosophy on the European continent followed no one pattern in the 19th century. G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche make this century one of the most varied in the history of philosophy. This course will focus on one or more thinkers to explore European thought of that epoch. This course can be repeated for credit, with the approval of the department chair, when content varies. Alternate years.
337 Analytic Philosophers. (4)
An examination of the dominant philosophical orientation in the English speaking world during the 20th-century. Both "foundational" analytic thinkers (e.g., Russell, Wittgenstein) and contemporary philosophers (e.g., Quine, Kripke) will be considered. Alternate years.
338 American Philosophers. (4)
Though American thinkers have been heavily influenced by European philosophers, an indigenous philosophy began to develop in North America in the 19th century and continued into the 20th century. Philosophers that may be discussed include Charles Sanders Peirce, Josiah Royce, William James, John Dewey and Alfred North Whitehead. This course can be repeated for credit, with the approval of the department chair, when content varies. Alternate years.
339 Chinese Philosophy. (4)
An introduction to the Chinese philosophical tradition through selected foundational texts like the Tao Te Ching, the Chuang Tzu, the Analects of Confucius, the Mencius, the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch and selections from the writings of Chu Hsi. Students will also study early Chinese philosophical teachings concerning the nature of male and female and their appropriate social roles, contemporary analyses of the role Confucian teachings played in constructing these gender categories and institutions, and philosophical discussions of the compatibility of Confucian teachings with contemporary (Western) egalitarian gender sensibilities.
341 20th-Century Continental Philosophers. (4)
A series of philosophies with the same kind of method but with different content has grown from the methodology of the philosopher and mathematician Edmund Husserl. People such as Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Jean Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur and Michael Foucault have applied the method of Husserl to very different problems. This course will choose from these and other contemporary continental thinkers. This course can be repeated for credit, with the approval of the department chair, when content varies. Alternate years.
355 Philosophies of Violence/Nonviolence. (4)
This course looks at the way that the search for security and the claim to possession of absolute truth can lead to violence. The way of thinking involved in technology easily structures the world so that whatever does not fit into that framework is discounted and ignored and treated violently, as the philosopher Martin Heidegger shows. How does such an attitude lead to violence? Finally, the course will look at the nonviolent ethical response which the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas demands from the person who hears the call of the poor and the oppressed when they cry out against their oppression and poverty.
356 Aesthetics of Violence and Nonviolence. (4)
Art in all of its manifestations of literature and painting and sculpture and music has a power to move people to experience the world in a new way. How does that shift in world view happen? Does art have the capacity to move us from violence to nonviolence or from nonviolence to violence? What does the language of the novel, of the poet, of the painter, of the musician do to create a new way of seeing the world? How does the imagination relate to beauty? Why are some portrayals of violence so beautiful? Is there an ethics that goes with art? Alternate years. Fall.
358 Philosophy of Law. (4)
This course will consider some of the central conceptual and normative issues in the area of jurisprudence. Concepts such as legal responsibility, negligence, causality, cruel and unusual punishment, etc., will be considered. Frameworks for legal decision-making will be developed and applied. Fall.
363 Topics in the Philosophy of Science. (4)
An examination of selected topics in the philosophy of the natural and social sciences. Possible topics include philosophical presuppositions of the sciences, models of explanation, induction and confirmation, causality, evolution, philosophy of psychology, and the nature of theoretical entities. Course can be repeated for credit with the approval of the department chair when content varies.
364 Philosophy of Knowledge. (4)
What is meant by saying a sentence is true? What are the criteria to be followed in order to arrive at truth? Is it possible to reach definitive truth? Theories of knowledge and truth from Empiricist to Rationalist to Realist. Alternate years.
365 Metaphysics. (4)
Metaphysics examines and tests our most fundamental ideas about what is real and how it hangs together. We may be led to examine these ideas by realizing how they are entangled with the solution of persistent problems: Is real freedom possible? Is the soul immortal? Is there a God? Sooner or later we confront questions about the meaning of concepts like being, time, cause, nature and mind. This course investigates a selection of these fundamental problems and concepts. Spring.
368 Special Topics. (4)
Offered by faculty members in areas of their special interest. Offered as schedule allows.
371 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.
388 Philosophy Capstone (4)
Required for senior philosophy majors for graduation with the philosophy major. Topics vary, but the course centers around an integrative philosophical experience that calls for independent work and presentations. Spring.
398 Honors Senior Essay, Research or Creative Project. (4)
Required for graduation with "Distinction in Philosophy." Prerequisite: HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and director of the Honors Thesis program. For further information see HONR 398.