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 221 PH 221 Historical Development of Philosophy     3 CR
Students will gain an understanding of the broad narrative of Western Philosophy by studying texts from significant  philosophers in several historical periods.

PH 224 Introduction to Ancient Philosophy     3 CR
An examination of the beginnings of Wester Philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratics to the Hellenistic Period, with extensive consideration of Plato and Aristotle.

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

PH 240 Introduction to the Philosophy of Beauty     3 CR
What is art and how is it different from non-art? What is the nature of our appreciation of beauty? These are the questions that frame this introductory course in aesthetics.

PH 251 Introduction to 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 255 Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy     3 CR
Investigates the philosophical foundations of political authority and social organization. Concepts such as freedom, equality, justice, and power are explored through engagement with primary texts.

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

PH 290 Major Figures in Philosophy     3 CR
Representative writings of one or few philosophers. Consult the department for specific figures. May be taken a second time when the course features a different major figure.

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 301 The Art of Thinking II     3 CR
Building on the material studied in the Art of Thinking (FLO 125), this course explores the question, “What does it mean to be rational?” Features both the formal study of logical systems (first order logic, formal induction, decision theory, and game theory) and philosophical discussions about the connection between these systems and the nature of rationality. Prerequisite: FLO 125

Courses number above PH 301 have the prerequisite of one previous PH course, which includes PH 101 level (offered in previous years) or any 200 level course

PH 302 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 306 Problem of Authenticity    3 CR
An examination of the problem of being true to oneself informed by existential  ontology and ethics.

PH 307 Experience and Knowledge     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 309 Theories of Justice     3 CR
Explores theories of social, political, and economic justice from the ancient to the modern and contemporary periods.

PH 310 Philosophy of Race     3 CR
Investigates the many philosophical issues surrounding race and racial identity. Some issues are metaphysical, such as what races are and whether “race” is a real feature of persons or not. Other issues are moral and political issues such as what racism is, how it shapes our political landscape, and how societies can combat it.

PH 311 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 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 315 Philosophy of Gender     3 CR
Philosophically examines the impact of feminism on concepts and practices of masculinity.

PH 319 Medieval Philosophy     3 CR
The Aristotelian tradition as developed within Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

PH 320 Philosophy of Augustine     3 CR
Aurelius Augustine's contribution to the development of Roman Catholic philosophy and theology.

PH 321 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 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 323 Philosophical Theology     3 CR

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

PH 330 The Challenge of Islamism     3 CR
Deals with the challenge of Islamism, a movement that seeks to offer an authentically Islamic alternative to Western thought, culture and political order.

PH 333 Philosophy of Plato     3 CR
The nature of the philosophical life is examined through an exploration of selected Platonic dialogues.

PH 334 Philosophy of Aristotle     3 CR
Emphasizes the ethics, politics, and metaphysics of the Aristotelian system and its contrast to the Platonic synthesis.

PH 341 Aesthetics: Philosophy of Art and Beauty     3 CR
In-depth study of aesthetics, which is the theoretical attempt to explicate the essence of art by defining its nature, its specific function, and the grounds for its recognition and appreciation.

PH 342 Philosophy of Performing Arts     3 CR
Presents influential accounts of the nature of beauty and of art in the history of Western Philosophy, as a basis for examining the nature of performance. Students will develop an understanding of how the performative and improvisational dimensions of performing arts give them a unique character among art forms.

PH 343 Philosophy of Film     3 CR
Uses contemporary films to lead students through advanced philosophical examination of issues such as epistemology, ethics, religion, technology, and the nature of the mind.

PH 344 Philosophy and Literature     3 CR
Inquires how encountering great literature can help one wrestle with longstanding philosophical questions. Students read novels and stories and analyze them in light of philosophers associated with existentialism, phenomenology, and aesthetics.

PH 350 Environmental Philosophy     3 CR
Understanding of the various philosophical and ethical issues raised by the consideration of the environment and of humans’ place within it.

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

PH 353 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 354 Virtues, Acts and Consequences     3 CR
In-depth analysis of the three major normative theories of ethics—virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism—with some attention to metaethics.

PH 355 Happiness and the Good Life     3 CR
Examines some of the most important texts in the philosophical tradition on the questions of happiness and human flourishing.

PH 360 Evolution, Philosophy & Christianity
To gain an understanding of evolutionary biology and the philosophical difficulties it creates for Christianity and our understanding of human nature.

PH 361 Modern Philosophy
European and Anglo-American philosophy from the 17th century Enlightenment to the early 20th century.

PH 365 German Philosophical Tradition 
The philosophical traditions from Germany, from Leibniz in the 17th century through contemporary writers.

PH 366 Philosophy of Kant
The philosophical writings of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), one of the giants of Western philosophy.

PH 367 Philosophy of Hegel     3 CR
The philosophical writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831), the preeminent philosopher of German Idealism.

PH 376 Philosophy of the Person     3 CR
Reflections on the nature and meaning of human existence from a range of historical eras.

PH 380 Love in the Western Tradition     3 CR
Examines the idea of love in the Western intellectual tradition, from the Greeks to today. Philosophical problems arising from the scientific study of love and altruism are also investigated.

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 397 Internship in Philosophy    1-3 CR
Offers an opportunity for qualified Philosophy majors to gain practical experience in an area to which the discipline applies. Internships are arranged in advance of the semester in which they are to be taken. Prerequisite: Permission of Philosophy faculty.

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.