Philosophy Course Descriptions
Introduces students to some of the key writers and concepts in philosophy, with a special emphasis on Western Philosophy (i.e. European and American). Topics could include human freedom, personal identity, the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil, the nature of knowledge, theories of truth, and approaches to values.
Examines formal and informal techniques for evaluating arguments in order to improve critical thinking skills. Topics include informal fallacies of reasoning, uses and abuses of language, arguments in context, symbolic logic, and validity.
Critically examines ethical theories of the criteria used to make justified and responsible ethical decisions. Considers difficult moral problems connected to topics such as killing, lying, fairness, sexual morality, environmental concerns, and professional ethics.
Explores moral issues relating to medicine and biology. Examples of issues considered include euthanasia, genetic engineering, disabilities, and allocation of healthcare resources. Students explore arguments about these issues using the concepts and principles of ethical theory.
Investigates Greek and Roman philosophy, with the possibility of including early Christian philosophy, in order to help students understand the origins of Western Philosophy. Includes figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, as well as movements such as Stoicism and Epicureanism, with a focus on the role of rational inquiry in the quest for human flourishing.
Examines philosophies from 1600-1800 such as rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza), empiricism (Locke, Hume, Berkeley) and Kant’s critical philosophy. Focuses on this period’s response to scientific and political revolutions.
Explores the nature and basis of our ethical obligations regarding the natural environment. Considers views of these obligations ranging from the human-centered (anthropocentrism), to the moral considerability of animals (animal liberation), to the notion that we have direct obligations to all living things or whole ecosystems (ecocentrism). Provides the opportunity to use these ethical perspectives to evaluate environmental policies, laws, or agendas.
Deals with the different forms of religious belief around the world—especially Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, and Islam. Cross listed as RELG 342.
Considers theories of the nature and legitimacy of the state and its laws. Also deals with topics such as the rights and responsibilities of citizens, ethics in political decision-making, economic justice, punishment, race and gender oppression, political and cultural identity, and the value and meaning of democracy. Cross listed as POLS 343, SOCI 335.
Examines topics about the nature of knowledge and reality from the period of the Nineteenth century through the early Twentieth century. Examples of topics include the nature and existence of God, the nature of mind, and the courses of knowledge.
This course examines two or more philosophical traditions in a comparative context. Fosters deeper understanding of philosophical traditions by articulating their assumptions from the perspectives of others. Examines themes such as the cultural conditions of knowledge and values, ethnocentrism, and marginalization.
Explores a historically recent (i.e. 20th/21st century) topic in either Metaphysics or Epistemology. Possible Metaphysics topics include (but are not limited to) recent conceptions of a Higher Power, the Nature of Being, Social Constructivism, and the supposed Death of Metaphysics. Epistemology topics may include exploring Logistical Positivism, Philosophy of Mind, the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, and Philosophy of Language.
Provides students the opportunity for advanced study of moral philosophy. Topics range from theoretical questions about the status of morality to practical questions about specific moral problems. Descriptions of the course topic for a given semester are available in the course schedule bulletin and on the religion and philosophy department website.
Gives the student an opportunity to do intensive readings in areas of philosophy selected in consultation with the department.
Involves research necessary for the completion of the senior seminar. Such preliminary research includes extensive reading, compilation of a bibliography, composition of a thesis statement, and the creation of an initial outline. Students are asked to demonstrate their progress in regular meetings with the instructor and/or department
Involves writing an extensive research paper on a focused topic. Students are asked to demonstrate their progress in regular meetings with the instructor and/or department. This course culminates in an oral defense of the project. Prerequisite: PHIL 495