Philosophy

Requirements & Courses

  • Major Requirements
    1. Thirty-six credits, including PHL 102, 103, 111 or 112, 126 and 500. Sixteen credits at the upper level; typically some are independent studies developed in consultation with the Department.
    2. Successful completion of the thesis and oral examination administered by the Department.
  • Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits, including PHL 102, 103, 111 or 112, and 126. Others selected in consultation with the Department.

  • Four credits from PHL, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Humanities.

Courses

  • PHL
    102
    .
    Issues in Philosophy
    4
    Exploration of issues in and development of individual positions in respect to basic philosophical questions.
  • PHL
    103
    .
    Critical Thinking
    4
    Introduction to Logic. Elementary semantics, common fallacies in inference, the analysis of arguments, and the logic of induction and deduction. Emphasis primarily on reasoning as it occurs in everyday contexts.
  • PHL
    111
    .
    Western Philosphy I
    4
    Survey of major ideas which have helped shape the Western tradition and the thinking of contemporary persons. The timeframe covered includes the beginnings in Greece to Renaissance, including meeting of Greek and Christian worldviews.
  • PHL
    112
    .
    West Philosophy II
    4
    Survey of major ideas which have helped shape the Western tradition and the thinking of contemporary persons. The timeframe includes the Renaissance to 20th century.
  • PHL
    126
    .
    Introduction to Values
    4
    Exploration of moral values, nature of moral judgments, and bases for moral decisions. Practice in decision making. Study of such controversial contemporary issues as capital punishment, abortion, privacy, death with dignity, racism and sexism. Focus on person as individual and member of society.
  • PHL
    131
    .
    Introduction to Political Theory
    4
    Introduction to normative political theory, both historical and contemporary. Includes analysis of central concepts of politics such as power, freedom, justice, democracy and equality. Explore key modern ideologies, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, fascism and political Islam. Cross-listed with POL-131.
  • PHL
    180
    .
    Topics in Philosophy
    2-6
    Selected topics in philosophy. Subject, credits and applicability to distributive requirements and to Major or Minor to be announced in advance.
  • PHL
    202
    .
    Feminist Philosophy
    4
    Examination of recent feminist studies in philosophy and religion. Focus on method, style, approach and arguments of the feminist critique.
  • PHL
    215
    .
    Philosophy of Religion
    4
    Examination of classical and contemporary issues in the philosophy of religion such as arguments for and against the existence of God, religious language, the relation between faith and reason, the evidential value of religious claims, and the relationship between morality and religion. Also listed as REL 215.
  • PHL
    216
    .
    Themes in Existentialist Literature
    4
    Examination, evaluation and discussion of selected subjects - the individual, freedom, responsibility, anxiety, hope, death, meaning of life - as treated in various essays, short stories and dramas. Focus on analysis and interpretation of texts. Also listed as REL 216.
  • PHL
    217
    .
    Asian Philosophy and Religion
    4
    Exploration of the history, thought and contemporary roles of the major religious and philosophical traditions of Asia, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Also listed as REL 217.
  • PHL
    224
    .
    Aesthetics
    4
    Exploration of values pertaining to the arts. Study of principal aesthetic views, major issues in the philosophy of art, application to various art works and nature of aesthetic judgments, creative activity and aesthetic qualities of experience.
  • PHL
    225
    .
    Environmental Ethics
    4
    Examination of conceptual and moral issues about nature and humans’ relationship to it. Focus is on both theoretical frameworks about humans’ responsibility for the environment and on contemporary environmental controversies, such as global warming, population issues, pollution, global justice and sustainability.
  • PHL
    227
    .
    Ethics and Business
    4
    Exploration of the nature of moral values, moral judgments and ethical decisions. Analysis of selected issues in modern business. Test cases used for practice in decision making. Especially pertinent for those planning business careers but designed for all interested students.
  • PHL
    228
    .
    Ethics and Law
    4
    Exploration of conceptual and ethical issues in the making and administration of law. Introduction to ethical theory. Study of such topics as criminals’ rights, justification of punishment, death penalty, nature of legal responsibility, extent of justifiable government interference with freedom and relation between law and morality. Especially pertinent for Pre-Law students, but designed for all interested students.
  • PHL
    229
    .
    Ethics and Medicine
    4
    Exploration of nature of moral values, moral judgments and ethical decisions. Analysis of selected issues in medicine and other health fields. Test cases used for practice in decision-making. Especially pertinent for those planning careers in health professions, but designed for all interested students.
  • PHL
    230
    .
    Religion and Science
    4
    Examination of the relationship between religion and science through both historical and contemporary issues. Also listed as REL 230.
  • PHL
    232
    .
    Ancient Political Thought
    4
    Exploration of key ideas in ancient and medieval political thought. The works of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Epicurus, Augustine and Aquinas are considered. Key questions addressed include: Is democracy superior to rule by the enlightened few? Are humans by nature political creatures? What is the proper relation between the individual and the state? Is the state a natural entity? Cross-listed with POL-232.
  • PHL
    234
    .
    Modern Political Thought
    4
    Analysis of selected original works of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, the American founders, Bentham, Mill, Marx and Nietzsche. Emphasis on relevance to contemporary political thought and issues. Cross-listed with POL-234.
  • PHL
    235
    .
    Ethics and Education
    4
    Examination of ethical issues and education. Emphasis on the ethics of education, such as the very idea of compulsory education; and ethics in education, such as the tension between moral education and indoctrination, and issues pertaining to multiculturalism, gender and disability. Of special interest to students planning to become elementary or secondary teachers, but accessible to all interested students.
  • PHL
    240
    .
    Philosophy of Love and Sex
    4
    Examination of conceptual and moral issues related to love and sex. Conceptual issues include the nature of love and of sexual desire. Moral issues include marital fidelity, exclusivity in romantic relationships, sex without love, homosexuality, romantic relationships that involve power differentials, sexual harassment, date rape, prostitution and pornography.
  • PHL
    242
    .
    Philosophy of Sport
    4
    Examination of conceptual and moral issues that arise in sport. Conceptual issues include the relationship between play, games and sport, and the nature of competition. Moral issues include the role of sport in education, sportspersonship, performance-enhancing drugs, violence in sport, hunting and gender equity in sport.
  • PHL
    *
    280
    .
    Topics in Philosophy
    2-4
    Selected topics in philosophy in such areas as historical studies, epistemology, metaphysics and values. May be taken more than once if different topic.
  • PHL
    299
    .
    Philosophy Independent Study
    4
    Planned program of individual study of a particular subject in philosophy, developed with the supervising professor. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHL
    *
    303
    .
    Symbolic Logic
    4
    In-depth examination of symbolic logic, extending the propositional logic developed in PHL 103 to include predicate logic and logic of identity. Study of translation into notation, test validity by such methods as deduction, truth tables and truth trees. Examination of logical concepts: logical truth, consistency, equivalence, interpretations and the properties of relations.
  • PHL
    *
    305
    .
    Philosophy of Science
    4
    Analysis of the nature of science. What justifies the view that science is the most objective source of human knowledge? What makes a scientific theory true? Examination of rival accounts of science and their relation to actual practice of scientists. Especially pertinent to science majors, but designed for all interested students. Extensive background not required.
  • PHL
    *
    326
    .
    Virtue Ethics
    4
    Any ethics course from PHL-126, 202, 225, 227, 228, 229, 235 , 240 or 242 or Permission
    In-depth examination of “virtue ethics.” Is virtue based on reason alone, or does it also involve feeling and sentiment? What kind of character traits should I try to cultivate? What kind of person should I try to become? Consideration of such virtues and vices as honesty, friendship, loyalty, selfishness, gossip and greed, ending on the ultimate ethical question: What makes my life worthwhile or meaningful?
  • PHL
    *
    347
    .
    Philosophy of Mind
    4
    Any Philosophy course or COG-120 or Permission
    Exploration of rival views on relation between mind and body, beginning with dualism, the view which is most hospitable to belief in life after death. Emphasis on various materialist theories which explain human actions without any reference to non-physical entities. Exploration of implications of theories of mind for issues such as immortality and human freedom.
  • PHL
    *
    380
    .
    Seminar
    2-4
    Selected topics in philosophy which arise in various fields. Generally interdisciplinary, team-taught. Reading, discussion, papers and critiques. Subjects and credits to be announced. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHL
    *
    399
    .
    Philosophy Independent Study
    1-4
    Planned program of individual study of a particular subject in philosophy, developed with the supervising professor. Major can include more than one enrollment in independent study. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHL
    *
    499
    .
    Philosophy Independent Study
    4
    Planned program of individual study of a particular subject in philosophy, developed with the supervising professor. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHL
    *
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    1-4
    Individual research culminating in preparation of a major paper and departmental oral examination. Requires instructor permission.