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 of Religion Major
The Philosophy department participates with the School of Religion in the Philosophy of Religion Major. The curriculum major matrix is located at Philosophy of Religion under the School of Religion majors page.
Philosophy and the General Education Core Requirements
The following Philosophy courses meet the General Education Humanities requirement: PHI 1510, 1520, 1600, 2250, 2310, 2380, 3200. With approval of instructor, the requirement may also be met by PHI 1950, 29550, 3950.
Other Philosophy courses do not count toward the General Education Humanities requirement.
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 not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements. Pre-requisite: prior coursework in philosophy or permission of instructor.
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 2310. Philosophy of Religion (3). A philosophical investigation into the nature of religion. Concepts given special attention may include the nature of knowledge of God, faith and doubt, religious and spiritual experience, immortality, the problem of evil, free will and determination, and religious language and expression.
PHI 2330. History of Philosophy: Ancient (3). A survey of selected works in the history of ancient philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus. Among the major philosophers to be studied are Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. 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). A critical study of selected works in the history of contemporary philosophy from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. Special emphasis will be placed on the split between Analytic and Continental European approaches to philosophy in the twentieth century. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied include Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir, Kripke, and Nagel. Pre-requisite: prior coursework in philosophy or permission of instructor.
PHI 2360. History of Philosophy: Medieval (3). A critical study of selected works in the history of medieval philosophy from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied are Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Boethius, Avicenna, Anselm, al-Ghazali, Maimonides, Hildegard of Bingen, Averroes, Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Porete, and Teresa of Avila.
Gen. Ed. Designation: GS (G – Global Studies).
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 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 4110. Kant and Hegel (3). A critical comparative study of key works by two of the most important and challenging authors in the philosophical canon. Possible themes include: the difference between understanding and reason, the status and possibility of metaphysics, the limits of human knowledge, the relationship between philosophy and the natural sciences, and special topics such as art, nature, history and morality.
PHI 4120. Aristotle (3). A close study of several major works by "the philosopher." The course will substantially develop students' ability to read and engage Aristotle. Texts will include two or three of the following: Physics, Metaphysics, On the Soul, Posterier Analytics, On the Parts of Animals and On the Heavens. Possible themes include: motion, time, place, first principles, demonstration, parts/wholes, causality, actuality/possibility, natural purposes and being.
PHI 4130. Nietzsche (3). A critical study of the major works of Friedrich Nietzsche.
PHI 4140. Wittgenstein (3). This course will provide an introduction to the primary philosophical writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Attention is given to works from the Tractatus-logico Philosophicus, through the transitional period, to the later Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, On Certainty, and writings in the philosophy of psychology.
PHI 4150. Plato (3). A critical study of Plato's dialogues.
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 into the nature of religion. Concepts given special attention may include the nature and knowledge of God, faith and doubt, religious and spiritual experience, immortality, the problem of evil, free will and determination, and religious language and expression. Can be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.
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 and of the medium of film as visual text itself. Films viewed will change, but all are considered from the point of view of content and presentation; philosophical reflections may include the nature of films as both truth and representation, their appeal to reason and senses, how we judge films, and whether films and filmmakers have moral responsibilities. Can be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.
PHI 3230. Comparative Philosophy (3). This course engages questions of commensurability, relativism, skepticism, and pluralism 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 3330. Analytic Philosophy (3). A survey of the themes and figures associated with the analytic philosophical tradition. Attention may be given to topics including logical analysis, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy. The actual philosophers studied may vary, but are likely to include Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Hempel, Quine, Kripke, Nagel, Rawls, and Dennett. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements. Pre-requisite: prior coursework in philosophy or permission of instructor.
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.
Special Courses in 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 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 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.
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.