Undergrad Catalog 2010


 Philosophy Department

Ronnie Littlejohn (chair), James Mark Anderson, Noel Boyle, Andrew Davis, Qingjun Li, Melanie Walton

Vision:

The Belmont Philosophy Department is a community of learners that invites its students to join in the active pursuit of philosophical thinking and the exploration of profound philosophical questions raised in the tradition as part of the quest for an enriched life.

Purpose:

The study of philosophy contributes to an enlightened understanding of the fundamental beliefs which guide thought and action, thereby helping one construct an enriched and humane life. Philosophical studies also form an excellent preamble to careers in law, theology, business, and politics, as well as the scholarly fields which depend upon extraordinary critical reflection. For students interested in advanced study in philosophy, the department has a fine record of placing students in highly recognized graduate programs across the nation.

Goals:

  1. To encourage the growth of the intellectual curiosity and imaginative talents of students by introducing them to the foundation questions of humankind through courses that introduce the basic issues, problems, and concerns of philosophy as they have found expression in primary texts by key thinkers in the History of Philosophy.
  2. To encourage students to think and write philosophically, employing critical, analytical, and research skills in the examination of the thought of significant thinkers and in the development and defense of their own ideas.
  3. To invite students to engage their professors and peers in the types of philosophical dialogue which will enrich their academic experiences and to offer students the opportunity to share the harvest of their intellectual efforts with others, both formally and informally.
  4. To facilitate the students' participation in the ongoing conversation of philosophy through well ordered encounters with the many voices of the philosophical community, both historical and contemporary.
Major in Philosophy Hours
General Education Core Requirements for B.A. or B.S. 56-58
Major Requirements*   30
PHI 2330, History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval 3  
PHI 2340, History of Philosophy: Modern 3  
PHI 2350, History of Philosophy: Contemporary 3  
PHI Topical Courses 6  
PHI ____ Philosophers and Philosophical Movements 6  
PHI 2920, Proseminar in Philosophy 3  
PHI Electives 6  
Minor Requirements   

 18

Electives 22-24
Total   128
 
 
Minor in Philosophy Hours
Minor Requirements*   18
PHI 2330, History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval 3  
PHI 2340, History of Philosophy: Modern 3  
PHI 2350, History of Philosophy: Contemporary 3  
PHI 2920, Proseminar in Philosophy 3  
PHI electives 6  

 

Minor in Comparative Philosophy Hours
Minor Requirements   18
Core 12
PHI 2920 Proseminar in Philosophy 3  
PHI 2330 History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy 3  
PHI 3230 Comparative Philosophy 3  
PHI 4070 Eatern Philosophical Traditions 3  
Cognate (choose two courses)

 6

CLA 3300 Classical Mythology
HIS 1700 The Samurai and Their World
HUM 1500 World of Asian Humanities
PHI 3160 Metaphysics
PHI 4080 Philosophies of China
REL 4590 World Religions
___ 3950, 4950 Study Abroad (with approval of Department)


Note: Majors and minors in Philosophy must take PHI 1600 as part of their B.A. or B.S. core requirements.

The Philosophy department also participates in an Interdisciplinary Ethics Minor located on the Interdisciplinary page of the catalog.

Philosophy and the General Education Core Requirements

Exceptions:1) ENG 1050 will count as a Humanities credit. 2)  These individual courses will notfulfill the Humanities requirements in General Education: ENG 1000, 1030, 1010, 2030, 3010; ENL 1990, 2000, 3440, 4900; ENW 2000, 3050, 3960, 3970, 4900; EUR 4500; PHI 1540,  2330, 2340, 2350, 2360, 3150, 3160, 3240, 3430, 4110, 4120, 4130, 4140, 4150, 4200. (The following PHI willmeet the Gen Ed Humanities requirement: PHI 1510, 1520, 1600, 2250, 2310, 2380, 3110, 3200, 3260, 1950, 2950, 3950).

Courses with the HUM prefix can count toward the philosophy major or minor with approval of the philosophy faculty.

Introductory Courses (PHI)

Any one of these 3 courses will meet the core curriculum requirement. They will also count as elective credit toward a major in philosophy.

PHI 1510. Critical Thinking (3). This course seeks to develop the student’s ability to recognize, evaluate and create arguments. The goals of the course are to sharpen critical thinking skills, to enhance the ability to make informed decisions, and to focus on the practical effects of critical thinking in everyday experience. This course may have both traditional classroom sections and distant learning sections. Can be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 1520. Ethics (3). This course offers a philosophical description of moral practice and an analysis of the theoretical questions which arise from the study.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

PHI 1540. Logic (3). This course introduces the student to traditional logic, including categorical syllogisms, other deductive forms and induction, and to formal logic including symbolic logic, truth tables and quantification theory. Can be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 1600. Introduction to Philosophy (3). This course is an introduction to philosophy, its questions, topics and issues.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

History of Philosophy Courses (PHI)

PHI 2330. History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval (3).A critical study of selected works in the history of ancient and medieval philosophy from the Pre-Socrates to William of Occam. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied are Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

PHI 2340. History of Philosophy: Modern (3).Prerequisite: PHI 2330. A critical study of selected works in the history of modern philosophy from the breakup of scholasticism to the end of the nineteenth century. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied are Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant and Hegel.

PHI 2350. History of Philosophy: Contemporary (3).Prerequisite: PHI 2330 and PHI 2340. A critical study of selected works in the history of contemporary philosophy from reaction to Hegelian philosophy to neo-Pragmatism and Deconstructionism. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied are Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Mill, Heidegger, Sartre, Carnap, Russell, Moore, Derrida, Foucault, Wittgenstein, James, Rorty.

PHI 3220. Existentialism and Phenomenology (3).Prerequisite: PHI 2350 or permission of instructor. The study of the basic thinkers, themes, and contemporary directions of Phenomenology and Existential thought. Some of the major thinkers covered will include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, and Kafka. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

Phi 3240. Philosophy of the Mind (3).

PHI 3330. Anglo-American Philosophy (3).Prerequisite: PHI 2350 or permission of instructor. A survey of the themes and figures associated with the contemporary shift in philosophy toward issues of logical and linguistic concern. Attention is given to Realism (Moore); Logical Analysis (Russell); Positivism (Carnap, Ayer); Ordinary Language (Wittgenstein); and Conceptual Analysis (Ryle and Austin); Pragmatism (James, Dewey); and Neo-pragmatism (Rorty, Quine). The actual philosophers studied may vary. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 4070. Eastern Philosophical Traditions (3). This course provides a study of selected philosophies of Asia especially the complex and multi-layered systems of Hinduism and Buddhism.  The course emphasizes an in-depth understanding of selected traditions through the study of primary texts supported by secondary readings in the relevant scholarly literature.

PHI 4080. Philosophies of China (3).This course is an overview of the thinkers and movements which have shaped philosophical reflection in China from classical to the modern period. Texts and thinkers which are studied in the course vary with each offering. Sometimes the focus is on classical texts (Yi Jing; the Zhongyong; Laozi; Lun Yu; Zhuangzi; the Mengzi; the Xunzi; Zhu Xi), and other times it is on contemporary work (e.g., Boston Confucianism and the New Confucians), still other emphases are tradition directed: Confucian tradition; Taoist tradition; Buddhist tradition; Contemporary Social Philosophy in China.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).

PHI 4100. Philosophical Readings (3). In this course, students do concentrated primary readings in a philosopher. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

Topical Philosophy Courses (PHI)

PHI 2250. Applied Ethics (3). This course focuses on everyday ethical and political issues. Topics of major current interest may include business; medicine; media; law; environment; race, gender and ethnicity; sexual ethics and orientation; animal rights; politics and public policy; and criminal justice. Can be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 2310. Philosophy of Religion (3). A philosophical investigation of the nature of religion. Special attention is given to contemporary problems associated with such concepts as God, faith, immortality, and the nature of religious language.

PHI 2380. Creationism and Evolution (3). An exploration of the current state of the debate about the teaching of evolution. Questions to explore will include scientific issues about the evidence for evidence, historical questions about the changing nature of the creationist movement, and constitutional questions about the separation of church and state. Strictly philosophical questions about the nature of scientific theories, the difference between scientific and non-scientific forms of enquiry, and the compatibility of evolution in Christian theology will also be discussed.

PHI 3110. Moral Theory (3). An in-depth analysis of key theoretical issues arising from a study of moral practice. The content varies among topics such as Comparative Moral Theory and Practice, The Origins of Morality, and Moral Themes in Literature. Does not fulfill general education humanities requirement.

PHI 3150. Epistemology (3). Examines the basic issues in the theory of knowledge including belief, certainty, understanding, and theories of truth and doubt. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 3160. Metaphysics (3). A study of basic theories about the nature of reality, mind-body problems, the nature of the self, freedom and determinism, and the question of immortality. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 3200. Philosophy and Film (3). An examination of films as sources for philosophical discussion. Sometimes a particular philosophical work will be discussed in conjunction with a film portrayal of a related issue. Can be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 3230. Comparative Philosophy (3). This course engages questions of commensurability, relativism, skepticism, and pluarlism  by an intentional selection of widely divergent philosophical texts coming from the traditions of humanity.

PHI 3240. Philosophy of Mind (3). An examination of the current state of the debate in philosophy of mind.  Of special concern will be the nature of mental states and the metaphysical status of subjective experiences. Particular emphasis may be placed on the recent history of the philosophy of mind, the relationship between philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, or on the relevance of neuroscientific evidence to philosophical questions.

PHI 3260. Environmental Ethics (3). A study of how the principles of ethical theory can be applied to contemporary environmental controversies. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

PHI 3430. Philosophy of Law (3). A study of the fundamental theories of the nature of law, the method and uniqueness of judicial reasoning and legal interpretation, the use of the law to enforce morality, and the establishment of legal responsibility and the justification of punishment.

PHI 4200. Special Topics (3). A seminar devoted to selected topics determined by both faculty and student interest and announced at least one semester prior to its being offered. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

Writings and Research Philosophy Courses (PHI)

PHI 1990-4990. Independent Studies (1-3). Courses designed with a professor for independent study purposes.

PHI 1895-4895. Special Topics (1-3). Special Topics or pilot courses in Philosophy.

PHI 2920. Proseminar in Philosophy (3). Required of all Philosophy majors and minors.  This course is designed to introduce new majors and minors to the intellectual habits and scholarly methods appropriate to the academic pursuit of philosophy.  This class will study, reflect upon, and discuss topics such as the art of philosophical conversation, the varieties of philosophical style, techniques of academic research and presentation, and the nature of the philosophical life.  Does not fulfill general education humanities requirement.

PHI 2950-3950. Studies Abroad (3-12). Study in a foreign country. Individual course titles and locations are assigned for each course taken. See Studies Abroad program for details.

PHI 4400. Directed Studies (1-3). An individualized course in which a student develops an independent research or reading program in consultation with a philosophy instructor. Prior arrangement with the instructor is required. Does not fulfill general education humanities requirement.