Current and Projected Future Upper-Level Philosophy Offerings

The following list is tentative only, but it should give some idea of upcoming course offerings at the 200 level and above. (All of the 100 level philosophy courses are offered multiple times per year.)

Fall 2018 - 2019

PHIL-201 Ancient Philosophy

This course examines the origin and development of Western philosophy in ancient Greece from Thales in the 6th century down to at least the 4th century B.C.E., concentrating on the central ideas of the pre-Socratics, the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Some attention might also be given to the Hellenistic philosophers (Epicureans, Stoics, and Sceptics). This was a period of remarkable intellectual creativity in philosophy, mathematics, medicine, rhetorical theory, ethics, aesthetics and cosmology. Questions to be considered in this course will include: What are the nature and limits of knowledge? Is knowledge even possible? What is the nature of language? How reliable is perception? What is the true nature of reality? What is the origin and nature of the material world? Is moral knowledge possible? What is the nature of happiness, and what sort of life would make people happy?

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-202 Foundations of Moral Philosophy

This course is a survey of foundational, and normative, approaches to moral philosophy and their motivating moral questions. Topics will include virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism, and other approaches. Some of the questions to be examined are: How is human nature related to morality? What are the grounds for moral obligations? Is there an ultimate moral principle? How do we reason about what to do? Can reason determine how we ought to live? What are moral judgments? Are there universal goods? What constitutes a morally worthwhile life? Can morality itself be challenged?

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-304 Philosophy of Law

An introduction to philosophical analysis centering on the nature, extent and justification of law, the nature of legal thought, and the problems and theories of justice and the relationship between law, ethics and morality.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-307 Philosophy of Technology

Technology is a ubiquitous and defining force in our world. This course investigates how our conceptions of technology have emerged within philosophy, as well as the role technology plays in shaping how we live and how we reflect upon questions of meaning and value in life. Technological modes of understanding, organizing and transforming the world shape our relationships with others, with ourselves and with nature at fundamental levels. We will explore how these modes have emerged and why they emerged so predominantly within a Western social and intellectual context.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-308 Environmental Philosophy

A variety of decision procedures may be and have been used to determine what to do regarding various environmental issues. We might make the choice that has the least worst alternatives, or the best alternatives, or is approved by the majority of those who vote or of those who are affected, etc. Each alternative can determine what is reasonable and moral, and assessing them presents theoretical problems. We examine each in terms of morality, examine their presuppositions and consequences, determine whether we can assess them, and if so, how. Students begin to learn to be conscious of and assess the decision procedures that are often buried in policy recommendations regarding particular environmental problems.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-310 Theories of Knowledge

Epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, examines how we come to know what we know. This course covers historical and contemporary approaches to the question of what knowledge is, what makes a belief true, and how beliefs are justified. Philosophical skepticism, the idea that we actually know nothing at all, will also be discussed, as well as possible responses. Other topics may include epistemic relativism, feminist epistemology, naturalism, the internalism/externalism debate, and the application of epistemology to other fields.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-311 East Asian Philosophy

This course is an introduction to the origin and development of the philosophical traditions of primarily China and Japan through a consideration of selected thinkers, schools, and classic texts of Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Zen. Questions of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics are emphasized with reference to the nature of reality and the person, social harmony and self-realization, causality, right action, and enlightenment. Comparisons may also be made with Western philosophers, both contemporary and classical.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-315 Responsible Knowing

What we do is connected to what we know. Acting well depends on appropriate evaluation of perception, logic, and evidence, and acting on our beliefs commits us to various ethical outcomes. In addition, understanding how our minds work and how we produce knowledge in teams and institutions can improve the reliability of what we know and can assist us in achieving ethical goals. This course develops advanced critical thinking skills and investigates how knowledge claims and value claims interact in order to shed light on the conditions that make responsible knowing possible. We will study how we produce responsible knowledge individually and collectively: from how we make ethically rational choices in our own lives to how society directs research priorities in science and technology. Topics may include: rational decision-making, cognitive bias, moral psychology, social epistemology, epistemic, and ethical relativism, risk and uncertainty, research integrity, and values in science.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture 3, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-402 Philosophy of Science

An examination of the nature of the scientific enterprise; possible discussion topics include the presuppositions of science, its logic, its claims to reliability, and its relationships to society and to problems of human values.

Prerequisites: Completion of one (1) course in philosophy (at the 200 level or higher) or a major in the College of Science or College of Health Science & Technology or PSYC-BS.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-408 Critical Social Theory

Introduces students to models of cultural critique that arose in pre-war Germany and that have burgeoned in our contemporary aesthetic and philosophical practices. These models combine philosophical, aesthetic, economic and psychoanalytic methods of analysis. Among the topics considered are alienation and reification, hegemony or false consciousness, trauma, fetishism, the authoritarian personality and state, advertising and modern technology, and the relative autonomy of art.

Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-411 Metaphysics

Metaphysics is the study of the general features of existence or reality. This course focuses on the fundamental concepts of being as developed in several major philosophers from the Greeks to the present. Discussion will focus on such topics as God, time, space, substance, essence, existence, process, causality, possibility, necessity, chance, and value.

Prerequisites: Must have completed at least one PHIL course - 200 level or higher.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-412 Nineteenth Century Philosophy

The nineteenth century marks a radical shift in the history of philosophy and culture and stands in its own right as a distinct period of thought between the modern era and the contemporary era. This course will consider such philosophical positions as idealism, empiricism, existentialistic romanticism, Marxism, evolution, nihilism, positivism, pragmatism, and the role of the arts and aesthetics. Philosophers considered include Schelling, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Mill, Marx, Darwin, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Comte, Bradley, Green, Peirce, and James.

Prerequisites: Must have completed at least one PHIL course - 200 level or higher.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-413 Philosophy and Literary Theory

Introduces students to models of literary theory from the mid-twentieth century to the present and familiarizes them with the key works of literature to be analyzed. Prepares students to practice questioning and critiquing texts using the philosophical, aesthetic, economic and psychoanalytic methods of analysis which have come to form the foundation of contemporary literary theory. Among the topics considered are culture and imperialism, performativity, the encounter of modern literature and modern technology, structuralism and semiotics, the role of psychoanalysis, the role of the academy, and the relative autonomy of art.

Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-416 Seminar in Philosophy

Examines some area of philosophy at an advanced undergraduate level. The area examined may vary from semester to semester. The seminar is designed especially for those whose interest in philosophy goes beyond the requirements of the liberal arts curriculum.

Prerequisites: Completion of two (2) courses in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-449 Special Topics

A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.

Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

Spring 2018 - 2019

PHIL-202 Foundations of Moral Philosophy

This course is a survey of foundational, and normative, approaches to moral philosophy and their motivating moral questions. Topics will include virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism, and other approaches. Some of the questions to be examined are: How is human nature related to morality? What are the grounds for moral obligations? Is there an ultimate moral principle? How do we reason about what to do? Can reason determine how we ought to live? What are moral judgments? Are there universal goods? What constitutes a morally worthwhile life? Can morality itself be challenged?

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-203 Modern Philosophy

This course examines the history of modern philosophy, from Descartes through Kant. It concentrates on the development of modern thought, examining the concepts of mind, body, and causation among others. This period marked the beginning of modern science, with a rich ferment of ideas, and the philosophy of the period is essential to understanding modern science as well as contemporary problems about consciousness, mind/body interaction, causation, and so on. Questions to be considered in this course include the following: What can we know? How do we come to know what we can know? What is the scope and what are the limits of our knowledge? What is the nature of reality? Do we have access to reality? How is causal interaction possible, if at all? Does God exist, and if so, how do we know and what relation does God have to the world?

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-205 Symbolic Logic

An introduction to symbolic, or formal, deductive logic and techniques, such as truth tables, truth trees, and formal derivations. The emphasis will be on propositional (or sentential) logic and first-order predicate logic.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

PHIL-305 Philosophy of Peace

An introduction to some of the philosophical dimensions of the search for world peace, including the elements that would constitute a just and lasting peace, nations as moral entities, justice and national self-interest, force and violence, the morality of the use of force, peace-making and peace-keeping groups.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-306 Professional Ethics

This course critically examines ethical issues that arise in professional life. The course will examine not only the general relationship between ethics and professional life but the particular consequences of ethical considerations within the student's own profession and the professions of others with whom the student must live and work.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-316 Bioethics and Society

This course introduces students to some of the ethical considerations and problems that arise in the context of medical practice, biological science, health care policy, and related research. Issues that may be covered include: abortion; stem cell research; human cloning; euthanasia; informed consent; human organ procurement; health care allocation and how it is approached in various countries; bioethical concerns arising from human caused climate change and other environmental issues impacting public health concerns around the globe. Students will become familiar with the concepts and principles of bioethics while engaging with case studies and related media. Part of the philosophy immersion, the ethics immersion, the global justice immersion, the philosophy minor, the ethics minor, and the philosophy major. May also be taken to fulfill the ethical perspective, the global perspective, or as an elective.

Prerequisites: None

Credits: Lecture 3, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-401 Great Thinkers

An examination of the thought of some of those philosophers who have been most influential in the history of ideas. An attempt is made to cover in some depth the works of one or more of these great thinkers. The student will begin to recognize the enduring nature of some of our most pressing problems, as well as the intellectual foundation of proposed solutions. (Prerequisite: one course in philosophy, or permission of instructor) Class 3, Credit 3 (varies)

Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-402 Philosophy of Science

An examination of the nature of the scientific enterprise; possible discussion topics include the presuppositions of science, its logic, its claims to reliability, and its relationships to society and to problems of human values.

Prerequisites: Completion of one (1) course in philosophy (at the 200 level or higher) or a major in the College of Science or College of Health Science & Technology or PSYC-BS.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-403 Social and Political Philosophy

An examination of some of the main problems of social and political philosophy through an analysis, comparison and critical examination of various views concerning the natures of individuality and society and the relations between them.

Prerequisites: Completion of one (1) course in any of the following disciplines: PHIL, POLS, SOCI, or CRIM.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-404 Philosophy of Mind

The Philosophy of Mind includes issues of metaphysics, epistemology, logic, psychology, aesthetics, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and biology, to name a few. Issues to be investigated include: Is there an ontological difference between minds and bodies? Could there be minds without bodies? Can I know that I have a mind? Are there other minds in the universe? Can I be conscious of my own consciousness? Can other things have the kinds of experiences which I have?

Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-406 Contemporary Philosophy

This course examines developments in philosophy since 1900. During this time philosophy evolved along with science, politics, and the arts. In some cases philosophy responded to new discoveries and theories while at other times it precipitated movements that had far-reaching effects. A range of philosophical approaches may be discussed, including existentialism, experimental philosophy, feminist theory, hermeneutics, logical positivism, neo-pragmatism, phenomenology, and postmodernism. The connections among different approaches may also be addressed.

Prerequisites: Must have completed at least one PHIL course - 200 level or higher.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Fall

PHIL-415 Ethical Theory

This course examines the theoretical basis of ethics and morality, namely the theoretical commitments that enter into any judgment that a particular action is right or wrong, with special emphasis on a particular thinker or theoretical approach. Topics may include different ways of understanding the concepts of right and wrong; the existence or non-existence of moral facts; different criteria of moral actions; different conceptions of the good life.

Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring

PHIL-449 Special Topics

A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.

Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.

Credits: Lecture, Credits 3

Typically Offered: Spring