Philosophy

Philosophy Course Offerings

The unexamined life is not worth living. -Socrates

Courses marked with </ are part of the University’s General Education program.

</PH 100 Introduction to Philosophy (3)
Philosophy is introduced to students by a survey of major areas of Philosophy (e.g., metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, history of philosophy,) with an emphasis on traditional techniques of philosophical analysis and logical argument.

</PH 102 Ethics: Introduction to Moral Problems (3)
Rational decision-making procedures in moral theory and their application to specific moral problems and problem areas; e.g. racism and sexism; the moral status of animals; moral issues in sexual orientation.

PH 103 Introduction to Political Philosophy (3)
Philosophical examination of the central problems and ideas of Politics and the State; e.g., the legitimate nature and extent of the State; justification of political authority; rights of citizens.

</PH 104 Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking (3)
Students are exposed to general principles of thought and reason and to workable guidelines for improving their powers of rational thought.

PH 105 Introductory Topics in Philosophy (1-3)
Topics will vary from semester to semester and will be announced in advance. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

</PH 115 Philosophy of Love and Sex (3)
An introduction to philosophical thinking about human love and sexual relationships. The course will examine fundamental questions such as “What is Love?” and “What is Perversion?” It will also raise moral questions dealing with the proper role and circumstances of sex, and deal with socio-sexual issues such as pornography and the sexist implications of sex.

</PH 117 Creation, Evolution and Morality (2-3)
Evolutionary theory appears to hold that human beings are natural products of evolutionary forces, without special moral or religious status. What does this mean for morality? Can notions of right and wrong, good and evil, have a place in an evolutionary world? What are the religious implications of evolution? This course will consider these and other philosophical and moral issues raised by Darwinism.

PH 200 General Topics in Philosophy (1-3)
Topics will vary from semester to semester and will be announced in advance. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

</PH 201 - Corrupting the Youth: Ancient Greek Philosophy (3)
It is probably no exaggeration to say that the entire Western intellectual cannon can trace its roots to the first Philosophers in fifth-century BCE Greece. By far the most famous, was Socrates. So, should we be disturbed that he was sentenced to death for 'corrupting the youth'? We will look at the claims he made that resulted in his execution, before focusing on the ways in which his student, Plato, built upon and systematized these ideas. We will close by looking at Plato's student, Aristotle, widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in human history, and of whom it has been said, "it is doubtful whether any human being has ever known as much as he did." Prerequisite: EN 101 or EN 102 with a grade of C or better.

</PH 202 - I think therefore I am? Modern Philosophy 1600-1800 (3)
Contemporary scientific consensus seems to be that the Universe is an infinitely large machine, and that, ultimately, everything in it - including us - can be explained mathematically. But where did these notions come from, and why should we believe them? Is this really how the world is, and how can we find out? We will trace the origin of these claims to the sixteenth century. René Descartes, the 'father of modern philosophy', proclaimed, "I think, therefore I am." As one of the 'Rationalists' he argued that the world could be explained, mathematically, and through reason, alone. We will follow by investigating the 'Empiricists', who argued instead that the world could be known, if at all, only through experience. We will finish in the eighteenth century with Immanuel Kant, who claimed that the world as we know it is in some sense a product of our own minds. Prerequisite: EN 101 or EN 102 with a grade of C or better.

</PH 203 Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy (3)
An introduction to the basic problems, issues and theories of the Buddhist philosophical tradition, including: the four noble truths, the claim that there is no self as we normally understand it, and the claim that everything is impermanent and illusory. Prerequisite: EN 101 or 102.

PH 205 Existentialism (3)
Introduction to both theistic and atheistic existentialism through the study of some of the more prominent existentialists (e.g. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Buber, Tillich), major existentialist themes (e.g., concrete individuality, freedom of choice, dread, alienation and death), and the influences of existentialist thought on contemporary literature, ethics, social and political theory, psychology and religion. Prerequisite: EN 101 or EN 102 with a grade of C or better.

</PH 207 The Existence of God (3)
An elementary course in Philosophy and Religion focusing upon the specific rational arguments which have been advanced for and against the existence of a supreme being. Prerequisite: EN 101 or EN 102 with a grade of C or better, or consent of the instructor.

PH 211 Introduction to Ethical Theory (3)
Introductory survey of problems and positions in ethical theory: moral absolutism and moral relativism; moral decision-making theories, including Utilitarianism and Kant; evidence in moral argument. Prerequisite: EN 101 or EN 102 with a grade of C or better

</PH 214 Medical Ethics (3)
Philosophical examination of moral problems that arise in health care; e.g., professional-patient relationship; role and rights of the patient; truth-telling and confidentiality; abortion and euthanasia. Prerequisite: EN 101 or EN 102 with a grade of C or better. 

</PH 220 Symbolic Logic (3)
Analysis of argument forms, using symbolic logic as a primary tool.

PH 300/500 General Topics in Philosophy (1-3)
Topics will vary from semester to semester and will be announced in advance. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

PH 302/502 Philosophy of Religion (3)
Analyzes basic religious concepts such as God, faith, the problem of evil, etc. and looks closely at the meaning of religious language. Prerequisite: PH 201 or PH 202 with a grade of C or better, or consent of the instructor.

PH 303/503 Topics in the History of Philosophy (3)
Advanced study of a major period, movement, or individual in the History of Philosophy. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Prerequisite: PH 201 or PH 202 with a grade of C or better, or consent of the instructor.

PH 311/511 Issues in Ethical Theory (3)
Specific issues in the philosophical study of morality; e.g., the objectivity of moral judgments, the place of reason in moral thinking, proof of basic moral principles, the status of moral language. Prerequisite: At least one of the following: PH 100, PH 102, PH 201, PH 202, or PH 211 with a grade of C or better.

PH 312 Social-Political Philosophy (3)
Current problems in social and political philosophy including but not limited to distributive justice, reparations, liberalism, alienation, radicalism, freedom and natural rights, social decision procedures, the concept of public interest, and the relationship between justice and equality. Prerequisite: At least one of the following: PH 100, PH 102, PH 103, PH 201, PH 202, or PH 211 with a grade of C or better.

</PH 313 Professional Ethics (3)
The study of complex ethical issues that arise in professions such as medicine, finance, law, journalism, engineering, and others. Issues examined include, but are not limited to those that are found across many different professions: whistleblowing and loyalty, truth-telling and lying, privacy and confidentiality, and issues of social responsibility for professionals. Prerequisite: 3 credit hours of Philosophy, or instructor's consent.

</PH 315/515 Philosophy of Law (3)
A philosophical examination of such topics as the fundamental concept of law; relations between legal theory and moral theory; the nature of legal reasoning; justification of punishment. Prerequisite: three hours of Philosophy with a grade of C or better.

PH 320/520 Advanced Logic (3)
Advanced study of logical theory and language calculi. Prerequisite: PH 220 with a grade of C or better.

PH 325/525 Philosophy of Mathematics (3)
Philosophical aspects of mathematics, including the foundation of mathematics, the nature of mathematical truth, and the ontological status of mathematical objects. Prerequisite: PH 220 or MA 207 with a grade of C or better.

PH 327/527 Philosophy of Science (3)
Philosophical aspects of the physical and social sciences, including the nature and problems of theory construction and concept formation, empirical testability, explanation and prediction, and problems of induction and confirmation. When the topics studied differ significantly, this course may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: PH 104 or PH 220 with a grade of C or better.

PH 330/530 Philosophy of Mind (3)
Classical and contemporary treatments of the traditional problems of mind-body, other minds, mental acts, self, persons, perception etc. Prerequisite: PH 100, PH 201 or PH 202 with a grade of C or better, or consent of the instructor.

PH 335/535 Metaphysics (3)
Alternative theories of the nature of ultimate reality, including concepts such as cause, substance, time, etc. Prerequisite: PH 201 or PH 202 with a grade of C or better, or consent of the instructor.

PH 340/540 Aesthetics (3)
A philosophical approach to such questions as the nature of art, aesthetic value, and art criticism. Prerequisite: PH 201 or PH 202 with a grade of C or better, or consent of the instructor.

PH 386/586 Special Studies (1-3)
Individual study in the thought of a particular philosopher or on a particular philosophical problem. Regular conferences to be scheduled with the professor directing the study. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: nine hours of Philosophy, and permission in advance by the professor with whom the student desires to work.

PH 398 Senior Thesis Research (1)
Independent research in preparation for a senior thesis. Students will complete preliminary research in the area of their senior thesis and prepare a thesis proposal. The work completed in PH 398 and PH 399 may not be or have been submitted for credit in any other course. Pass/Fail only. Prerequisite: Senior Philosophy Major.

PH 399 Senior Thesis (3)
Independent research, writing and defense of a substantial paper, under faculty supervision. Work completed in PH 398 and PH 399 may not be or have been submitted for course credit in any other course. Prerequisite: PH 398.