Course Descriptions

FLO 125 The Art of Thinking 3 CR
The purpose of The Art of Thinking is to improve students’ critical thinking skills by addressing them directly and individually. This course addresses the actual inferences and patterns of thought that make careful, critical thought possible.  Specifically, the student will be able to consider information and determine, as necessary: (a) whether it contains an argument (b) the relationships between the premise(s) and conclusion in the argument (c) the argument type (d) the logical soundness, cogency and/or fallaciousness of the argument. The student will be able to analyze and, in some cases, compose arguments using: (a) methods of inductive and causal reasoning  (hypothetical, analogical and statistical inferences) and (b) methods of deductive reasoning (categorical logic, truth-functional logic). The successful student should leave the course confident in his or her ability to  analyze others’ arguments and well-prepared to create careful, well-reasoned arguments of his or her own.

PH 101 Introduction to Philosophy 3 CR
Introduction to Philosophy is a first encounter with the fundamental problems of Western philosophy as they have been presented and addressed by outstanding and representative figures from the main epochs of the history of Western thought. These investigations pose questions of permanent human significance including those concerning the nature of reality, the possibility of knowledge, and the place of the human being in the universe as well as issues concerning the good life and the grounds of moral obligation.

PH 220 Logic & the Nature of Rationality 3 CR
Building on the material studied in Art of Thinking (FLO 125), this course explores the question, “What does it mean to be rational?”  Attention is divided between the formal study of logical systems (first order logic, formal induction, decision theory, and game theory) and more philosophical discussions about the connection between formal systems like these and the nature of rationality. Prerequisite: FLO 125

PH 221 Historical Survey of Philosophy I 3 CR
Primary texts from the philosophers of ancient Greece, the Hellenistic-Roman period and the Middle Ages.

PH 223 Historical Survey of Philosophy II 3 CR
The classics of modern Western philosophy from Descartes to the present.

PH 225 Philosophy of Plato 3 CR
The nature of the philosophical life is examined through an exploration of selected Platonic dialogues.

PH 226 The Philosophy of Aristotle 3 CR
Emphasizes the ethics, politics and metaphysics ofthe Aristotelian system, and its contrast to thePlatonic synthesis.

PH 231 Philosophy of Knowledge 3 CR
The conditions that make knowledge possible and the criteria of truth and falsity. Selected representative historical thinkers.

PH 232 Philosophy of Science 3 CR
Selected topics in the philosophy of science are explored, such as: the distinction between science and pseudoscience; the nature of confirmation, refutation, and explanation; realism and antirealism about scientific theories; the possibility of conflict between science, religion, and the law.

PH 241 Medieval Philosophy 3 CR
The Aristotelian tradition as developed within Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

PH 245 The Philosophy of Augustine 3 CR
Aurelius Augustine's contribution to the development of Roman Catholic philosophy and theology.

PH 246 The Philosophy of Aquinas 3 CR
The existence and nature of God, human knowledge, the state, natural and divine law, virtue, grace and the Incarnation as explicated in the Summa Theologica.

PH 251 Ethics 3 CR
Are there good reasons for acting morally? Are consequences relevant to the morality of actions, or only our intentions? What is the nature of moral virtue? What is a good life? This course will provide systematic analysis of these and other questions, drawing from important works in the history of moral philosophy, and engaging with pressing contemporary ethical issues.

PH 253  Philosophy of Law
The philosophical study of the nature of law, the legal system's relationship to natural law, and theories of jurisprudence.

PH 255 Political Philosophy 3 CR
Primary texts from the history of political thought including Plato, Lao-Tzu, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill and Rawls.

PH 256 The Philosophy of Technology 3 CR
An examination of the nature of technology, its relationship to science, and its influence on our understanding of reality and ourselves. Particular metaphysical, ethical, or socio-cultural aspects of philosophy of technology may be emphasized.

PH 258 Bioethics: Philosophical Perspectives 3 CR
This course will examine the ethical and legal issues surrounding abortion, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, genetic cloning, genetic therapy/enhancement, genetic patenting and healthcare allocation.

PH 260 Women, Gender & Philosophy 3 CR
Women, Gender, and Philosophy: A philosophical investigation of the ways that sex and gender shape our lives, experiences, and societies. Are there natural differences between men and women? Does our gender provide us with a distinct ethical, political, or epistemological perspective? What does it mean to treat men and women equally? In thinking about these questions, the course will place special emphasis on women’s contributions to ethics, epistemology, political theory, and other branches of philosophy.

PH 270 Philosophical Anthropology 3 CR
Reflections on the nature and meaning of humanexistence, especially in contemporary philosophysuch as existentialism and Marxism. Writings ofBuber and Scheler on human nature are studied.

PH 271 Philosophy of Being 3 CR

PH 272 Metaphysics 3 CR
We will investigate some of the great themes of European philosophy and the problem of metaphysics as the intellectual inquiry which is supposed to clarify them. Topics will include: The problems of the One and the Many, Substrata and Substances, Being and Nothingness, Appearances and Things-in-Themselves, Change and Necessity, the world as will and as representation, the relation between the intelligible world and phenomenal reality, personal identity and free will.

PH 273 Philosophy of Person 3 CR

PH 278 East/West Comparative Philosophy 3 CR
Heidegger and East Asian thought, the origin of Greek and Chinese philosophy; the Kyoto school; Nishitani's Religion and Nothingness.

PH 283 Philosophical Theology 3 CR

The problem of God before and after Kant's “Copernical Revolution,” phenomenology of religion and postmodern theology.

PH 284 Philosophy & Film 3 CR

PH 285 Philosophy of Performing Arts 3 CR
This course examines influential accounts of the nature of beauty and of art in the history of Western Philosophy. Working on the basis of this theoretical examination of the aesthetic dimension of life, the course then examines the nature of performance. Students will develop an understanding of how the performative and improvisational dimensions of performing arts give these arts a unique character among art forms. 

PH 299 Special Topics in Philosophy 3 CR
Designates new or occasional courses capitalizing on a timely topic, a faculty member's particular interest, an experimental alternative to existing courses, etc. Consult the current course schedule for available topics and current prerequisites. Prerequisites established by the department.

PH 306 Existentialism 3 CR
Nineteenth- and 20th-century existentialism, especially the thought of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre.

PH 307 Philosophy of the Lived Experience 3 CR 
Introduces phenomenology as a working method for philosophical reflection on lived-experience. Topics include the distinction between the natural and phenomenological attitudes, the intentional structure of consciousness, the basic analysis of cognitive, evaluative and volitional experience, and the phenomenological critique of naturalism, dualism, and subjective idealism. Representative themes and/or historical figures may be emphasized. Formerly “Introduction to Phenomenology”

PH 312 Philosophy of Marx 3 CR

Philosophical foundations of Marx’s thought in Aristotle, Hegel, Feuerbach and other predecessors . Analysis of Marx’s critique of liberal political thought, as well as his conceptions of alienation, exploitation, and historical materialism. Investigation of various philosophical responses to Marxism and evaluation of its applicability to contemporary capitalist societies.

PH 313 Contemporary Continental Philosophy 3 CR
An investigation of themes and methods that have emerged in continental philosophy since the second half of the twentieth century. Possible foci include the hermeneutic and deconstructivist challenges to phenomenology and existentialism, post-humanist approaches to ethics, post-structuralist approaches to society, and the metaphysics of structures and events.

PH 314 Truth and Meaning 3 CR  
An historical investigation of the nature of meaning and language, with a particular focus on work done since the mid-nineteenth century.  We will explore the relationship between the meaning of a proposition and the conditions for the possibility of its truth or verification, and the extent to which all meaning and understanding are (or are not) unified into a holistic “conceptual scheme”.

PH 322 American Philosophy 3 CR
This course engages representative figures from American Transcendentalism and American Pragmatism in the attempt to answer the questions,  “How shall I live?”  “What can I know?” and  “What is real?”

PH 329 Eastern Philosophy 3 CR
An introduction to the philosophies of India, China and Japan. A presentation and analysis of the major schools of philosophy, including Hinduism, Buddhism, the Confucian school, Taoism and Zen Buddhism. Topics include finding one's self, transformation, compassion, moral cultivation, sagehood and enlightenment.

PH 351 Philosophical Psychology 3 CR Investigates philosophical questions that arise in establishing psychology as a science. The course will explore field-defining concepts such as soul and mind, as well as particular problems pertaining to the division and connection of mental phenomena. Specific themes such as the relation between psychology and physiology, the practical value of psychology, the nature of psychological laws, the ontological status of the mental object, the normal and the abnormal, or the comparability of human and animal may be emphasized. Broader questions about how philosophy and psychology may influence and enrich one another may also be addressed.

PH 360 Evolution, Philosophy & Christianity

PH 361 Modern Philosophy

PH 365 German Philosophical Tradition

PH 366 Philosophy of Kant

PH 380 Love in the Western Tradition

PH 382 Problems in Contemporary Philosophy 3 CR
Topics, selected by the instructor, such as war and peace, near-death studies, the philosophical novel, new directions in philosophy or the crisis in professional ethics.

PH 390 Great Texts in Philosophy 3 CR
A detailed examination of a single work that has had a significant influence on the history of philosophy. Emphasis is on understanding the author’s arguments, methods and motivations through close reading. The historical background, history of influence, and contemporary appropriation of the text may also be considered.

PH 399 Independent Study 1–3 CR
An area of study for which no course is presently provided. The student must find an instructor competent in his or her proposed topic and secure the permission of the chairperson and the dean.