Philosophy, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
PHIL-201
Ancient Philosophy
This course examines the origin and development of Western philosophy in ancient Greece from Thales in the sixth century down to at least the fourth 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?
3
Professional/Technical Core Courses
6
First Year LAS Elective
3
LAS Perspective 1, 2, 7A
9
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?
3
PHIL-205
Symbolic Logic
3
First Year Writing Seminar
3
ACSC-010
Year One: College Experience
The Year One class serves as an interdisciplinary catalyst for first-year students to access campus resources, services and opportunities that promote self-knowledge, personal success, leadership development, social responsibility and life academic skills awareness and application. Year One is also designed to challenge and encourage first-year students to get to know one another, build relationships and help them become an integral part of the campus community.
0
Wellness Education*
0
Second Year
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?
3
Program Electives
9
Professional/Technical Core Courses
6
LAS Perspective 3, 4, 5‡, 7B
12
Third Year
Program Electives
6
Free Electives
6
Professional/Technical Core Course
3
LAS Electives
6
LAS Perspective 6
3
Specialization Course
3
LAS Immersion 1
3
Fourth Year
Specialization Courses
9
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.
3
LAS Immersion 2, 3
6
LAS Electives
9
PHIL-595
Senior Thesis in Philosophy†
This course is required of philosophy majors during their senior year. A student will choose a faculty member to serve as a primary advisor. With the advisor's guidance, a student will research and write a substantial paper on a specific philosophical topic. Students will be encouraged to investigate a particular question in depth, likely building on earlier coursework. The finished thesis will be discussed and examined by a committee including two other faculty members.
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
120

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.

† Students may complete Senior Thesis in Philosophy or they may choose a 400-level philosophy course.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement.

Specializations

Philosophy of mind and cognitive science
Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
PHIL-315
Responsible Knowing
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?
PHIL-407
Philosophy of Action
This course explores the three central philosophical issues of action theory: what is an action, what is an agent, and what is metaphysical freedom. The first part of the course examines the most significant theories of action and the different ways in which they characterize intentional behavior. The second part of this course explores the nature of agency. The third part of this course focuses on the classical problem of free will and its relation to moral responsibility.
PHIL-414
Philosophy of Language
This course examines how philosophers and others have understood the nature of language. It explores the classical philosophical contexts in metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics and rhetoric in which concerns about the nature of language arose. In addition, the course focuses on recent debates, within both contemporary analytic and continental traditions of philosophy. Some likely areas of inquiry will be: theories of reference, description and naming; theories of meaning, metaphor and narrative; functionalist, pragmatist and naturalist accounts; structuralist, post-structuralist, and hermeneutic accounts, among others. The prominence of one or the other of these debates and approaches will vary.
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)
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.
PHIL-449    Special Topics*
Philosophy of science and technology
Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
PHIL-315
Responsible Knowing
PHIL-316
Bioethics and Society
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.
PHIL-310
Theories of Language
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.
PHIL-314
Philosophy of Vision and Imaging
This course examines how philosophers and others have understood the nature and primacy of sight. It explores how technologies of seeing and imaging have influenced theories of sight and our most dominant and authoritative practices of seeing and representing in the humanities and the arts, as well as in the natural and social sciences. The course will focus on the impact these theories and practices of seeing and representing both analogue and digital have on the nature of knowing, as well as on how they shape and mediate our experiences of personal and social identity and agency more generally.
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.
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)
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.
PHIL-449
Special Topics*
A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.
Applied ethics
Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
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.
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.
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.
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.
PHIL-315
Responsible Knowing
PHIL-316
Bioethics and Society
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)
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.
PHIL-449
Special Topics*
A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.
Philosophy of social sciences and political philosophy
Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
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.
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.
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.
PHIL-309
Feminist Theory
This course examines the main currents in contemporary feminist thought. Feminist theory explores the nature and effects of categories of sex and gender upon our ways of living, thinking and doing, while also challenging how gendered assumptions might shape our conceptions of identity and inquiry more generally. Different conceptions of sex and gender will be discussed, and the course will investigate how these concepts affect our lives in both concrete and symbolic ways. Special attention will be paid to how gendered assumptions color our understanding of knowledge production, experiences of embodiment and emotion, public and private activities, and the nature of ethical decision making.
PHIL-315
Responsible Knowing
PHIL-316
Bioethics and Society
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.
PHIL-405
Philosophy of Social Sciences
This course examines the methods, foundations, assumptions and purposes of the social sciences. In particular, it will examine the ways in which science and non-science are distinguished as well as the similarities and differences between the social and natural sciences. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which both Anglo-American and European philosophical traditions approach the social sciences. Other topics may include the role of values in social scientific inquiry, the processes of explanation and theory confirmation in the social sciences, and various conceptions of interpretation and meaning in the social sciences. The course will also examine how the tensions between claims of universality and claims of relativism, claims of objectivity and claims of partiality should be understood within the social sciences.
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)
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.
PHIL449
Special Topics*
A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.
Philosophy of art and aesthetics
Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
PHIL-303
Philosophy of Art/Aesthetics
This course introduces students to thinking philosophically about the nature of art and its relation to other human experiences. Among the topics considered are the aesthetic experience, the relation between morality and art, ugliness in art and truth in art.
PHIL-313
Philosophy of Film
Introduces students to models of film interpretation and critique that arose in pre-war Europe and that have burgeoned since; these models combine philosophical, aesthetic, economic and psychoanalytic methods of analysis. Among the topics considered are the nature of the image, ideology and alienation, trauma, fetishism, magical realism, realism and anti-realism in film.
PHIL-314
Philosophy of Vision and Imaging
This course examines how philosophers and others have understood the nature and primacy of sight. It explores how technologies of seeing and imaging have influenced theories of sight and our most dominant and authoritative practices of seeing and representing in the humanities and the arts, as well as in the natural and social sciences. The course will focus on the impact these theories and practices of seeing and representing both analogue and digital have on the nature of knowing, as well as on how they shape and mediate our experiences of personal and social identity and agency more generally.
PHIL-317
Renaissance Philosophy
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.
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)
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.
PHIL-417
Continental European Philosophy
PHIL-449
Special Topics*
A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.
History of philosophy
Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
PHIL-301
Philosophy of Religion
This course will examine critically definitions, assumptions, and arguments central to religion. Topics may include interpreting the nature of religion, arguments for and against the existence of God, the relation between theology and philosophy, the relation between God and the world, paganism, the problem of evil, and the nature of religious language and experience.
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.
PHIL-312
American Philosophy
This course examines the contributions of American philosophers from the colonial era to the present day. From the New England Transcendentalists of the 19th century, to the Pragmatism and Neo-Pragmatism of the 20th and 21st, American philosophy has responded to the demands of a pluralistic, ever-changing society. Because American philosophy is a reflection of American culture, it has also offered a unique perspective on perennial philosophical problems in ways that have differed sharply from dominant forms of European philosophy. Authors may include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, C.S. Peirce, Jane Addams, William James, John Dewey, Richard Rorty, and Cornel West.
PHIL-317
Renaissance Philosophy
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)
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.
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.
PHIL-409
Existentialism
Existentialism is distinguished by its emphasis on human existence and the way its meaning is created through actions and choices. Existentialism focuses on the concept of individual freedom in an effort to respond authentically to the possibilities which life presents, emphasizing the importance of certain psychological states (e.g., anxiety, anticipation of death, fear, care, responsibility, and hope) and extreme situations in bringing us to an awareness of our radical freedom. This course will consider such philosophers and writers as Dostoevski, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Berdyaev, Heidegger, Jaspers, Camus, Sartre, Kafka, Beauvoir, Marcel, Buber, Ortega, and Unamuno.
PHIL-410
Medieval Philosophy
This course is an introduction to the philosophical thought during the medieval period (approximately 300 C.E. to 1500 C.E.). It will consider the thought of various major figures from the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions, and will take up this period's two principal areas of concern: the philosophy of religion and theology, on the one hand, and metaphysics and epistemology, on the other.
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.
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.
PHIL-417
Continental european Philosophy
PHIL-449
Special Topics*
A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.
Philosophy and law
Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
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.
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.
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.
PHIL-316
Bioethics and Society
PHIL403
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.
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)
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.
PHIL-449
Special Topics*
A critical examination of issues in some area of philosophy not covered in other philosophy courses.

* These courses are eligible only when their topic is relevant. Permission to include these courses in a specialization must be approved by the department.

Requirements

Philosophy Core

  • PHIL-201 Ancient Philosophy
  • PHIL-202 Foundations of Moral Philosophy (or PHIL-415 Ethical Theory )
  • PHIL-203 Modern Philosophy
  • PHIL-205 Symbolic Logic

Specialization within Philosophy

In addition to four courses in the philosophy core, each student will take four courses which will constitute an area of specialization within philosophy, usually related to the student’s program electives and/or professional core (described below). Seven such pre-approved specializations are given here. With faculty advising, students may also develop their own specializations.

Program electives (15 credit hours)

These can be one or the other (or a combination) of:

  • any philosophy courses not used to satisfy program requirements.
  • complementary courses outside of the department of philosophy. (Students are free, with proper advising, to seek out non-philosophy courses which complement their Philosophy specializations.)

Professional/Technical Core (15 credit hours)

Each student must complete a series of courses designed to provide foundational knowledge in a professional/technical discipline outside of philosophy which complements the student’s studies in Philosophy. Such a core will be at least 15 credit hours and can be satisfied in any of the following ways:

  • completing an existing minor (outside of philosophy);
  • completing an individually designed professional core (subject to the approval of the student’s philosophy advisor and the external department); or
  • for double-majors, completing the major in the other discipline.

Please note that for transfer students, some (or even all) of the professional core requirements might be satisfied by courses already taken in the former department.