PHIL 204: CONCEPTS OF TRUTH
This course intensively examines the concept of truth as it has been manifested in major western philosophers from the ancient and medieval period, the classical modern period, and the contemporary period in the history of philosophy. Students will consider how the philosophical concepts of truth in their respective time periods served as underpinnings for the entirety of culture at the time, and how that sheds light on how contemporary considerations of truth hold sway. Meets Core credit for humanities.
PHIL 205: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Examines formal and informal fallacies as well as deductive and non-deductive reasoning as they emerge from actual historical philosophical texts. Major themes will include fundamental questioning and the search for meaning and truth which have characterized philosophical thinking. Meets Core credit for math/logic.
PHIL 208: MAJOR THINKERS IN DIALOGUE
This course introduces students to the history of ideas through analyses of central and original texts of two great philosophers whose works form a dialogue, focusing not merely on the study of major works of philosophy, but also on the intellectual milieu in which those works are situated and the impact those works have had on a variety of other fields and on society in general. Students will come to know philosophical ideas and will strengthen their critical abilities in regard to basic concepts. Meets Core credit for humanities.
PHIL 210: PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN NATURE
Many fields of inquiry traffic in a conception of some fixed essence of humanity, in which we all share. The idea of there being a human nature servesas a kind of Archimedean point from which we can learn to judge whether particular virtues possessed by this or that society represent the best life for us,given that essential human nature. What makes this a philosophical issue isprecisely that there is disagreement among philosophers as to whether or not there is such a constant, and what the possession of such a notion entails.Meets Core credit for humanities.
PHIL 215: ETHICS
This course is a substantive study of major classical figures in western moral philosophy, including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche. It deals with the questions: What are the fundamental rules that guide our actions? Can we ever rationally justify moral judgments? What is the relationship between ethics and religion? While this course emphasizes theory, the philosophers’ views are explicated with regard to contemporary issues. Meets Core credit for humanities.
PHIL 217: THOUGHT AND BELIEF
The course probes specific areas where Western philosophy and the Christian tradition interrelate focusing on various religious topics that have philosophical implications, such as the nature of faith, salvation, the character of God, the problem of evil, and the practice of faith. Meets Core credit for religion.
PHIL 220: PRACTICAL THINKING
Examines formal and informal fallacies, symbolic translation, and deductive and non-deductive reasoning as they emerge in everyday practical contexts. The student will learn the basics of argument, master the notions of validity and soundness, and perform some real world proofs to enable him to defend against the persuasive tools used against him daily. Meets Core credit for math/logic.
PHIL 280: APPLIED ETHICS (variable credit)
Five-, ten-, or fifteen-week sections which investigate moral philosophy as it manifests itself in practical contexts. The focus is on how to arrive at the best moral reasons for acting within practical parameters which present their own special tasks, vocabularies, and sets of problems. A maximum of three hours may be taken for Core humanities credit.
A – SPORTS AND ETHICS
This course is an examination of ethical theory and moral deliberation as applied to the context of sports, specifically youth sports, college athletics, and professional sports.
B – ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
This course is an examination of ethical theory and moral issues as applied to the context of environmentalism. Does nature have inherent worth independent of the uses to which it is put by human beings: Do humans have moral duties to animals, plants, or even ecosystems? These and other questions will be critically examined.
D – BIOETHICS
This course is comprised of three “separable” one-credit courses regarding medical ethics. Part I has to do with moral foundations in medicine concerning paternalism, informed consent, and professional responsibilities. Part II deals with medical resource allocation, analysis of social policy from various ethical perspectives, and issues surrounding physician-assisted suicide. Part III focuses on research on humans and various issues in reproductive ethics.
H – WORKPLACE ETHICS
This course is an examination of ethical theory and moral issues with particular attention to specific workplace contexts. Includes issues such as the moral foundations of business involving at-will termination policies, workplace speech-codes, privacy issues concerning drug and genetic pre-screening, sexual harassment policies, workplace safety, whistle blowing, intellectual property, bribery, advertising, and moral obligations businesses have to family, community, and the environment.
PHIL 309: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
This course is the philosophical study of people in societies with particular attention to the abstract claims they have on each other in the form of individual rights, duties, and privileges, and their demands for equality, justice, and freedom. The course addresses the overlap between political and moral duties and obligations, how moral themes are translated into political rights, and how social categories of concern often conflict with their political articulation. Offered fall of even years. Meets Core credit for humanities. May be repeated for credit as topics change.
PHIL 311: HISTORY OF ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
An historical overview of the Greek, Roman and medieval philosophers, with special emphasis upon Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. Offered on a two-year cycle.
PHIL 312: HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
A study of influential Western philosophers from the Renaissance and the Enlightenment including Descartes, Hume, and Kant. Issues raised include empiricism and rationalism, human freedom, the nature and existence of God, skepticism, conceptual meaning, and the philosophy of mind. Offered on a two-year cycle.
PHIL 313: HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
A study of recent Western philosophy, including, but not limited to, phenomenology, existentialism, pragmatism, analytic, and post-modern philosophy. Offered on a two-year cycle.
PHIL 314: HISTORY OF 19TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
A study of major 19th century philosophical movements and figures, roughly covering the time period between Kant and Husserl, including Hegel and German idealism, historicism, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Marx, and neo-Kantianism. Offered on a two-year cycle.
PHIL 317: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
Philosophy of religion is the critical examination of basic religious beliefs and concepts. Its focus is to philosophically consider the claims that people make about religion, e.g., about the nature of God, and assess the conceptual grounds upon which these claims stand. The course evaluates the facts and theories available for and against certain religious claims, facts and theories that are available to any rational person, whether religious or not. The usual topic for this course will be making sense of the concept of God. Other topics may be offered on occasion. Offered spring of even years. Meets Core credit for humanities.
PHIL 318: TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
Focuses on unique, particular issues and their accompanying sets of arguments that have formed their own research categories in philosophy, such as the mind-body problem, the problem of evil, freedom vs. determinism, the issue of reference in the philosophy of language, the problem of universals, the problem of contextualism, or the problem of induction in the philosophy of science. The focus is on the arguments rather than on great books or individuals of historical significance. May be repeated for credit as topics change.
PHIL 320: SYMBOLIC LOGIC (Prerequisite: PHIL 220 recommended)
This course is a more advanced offering of techniques in logical analysis. Students will focus on constructing deductive arguments, engage in symbolic translation, recognize formal argument forms, do truth-table analysis, conduct proofs, and employ sentential and quantificational logics. Meets Core credit for math/logic.
PHIL 330: PHILOSOPHICAL READINGS (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
Philosophical readings courses are to be thought of as a series of “great works” which when taken together form a sustained whole. The course will conduct its inquiry in complete works which cross time periods and traditions within philosophy. Offered every three semesters. Meets Core credit for humanities. May be repeated for credit as topics change.
PHIL 350: SCIENCE AS A CULTURAL FORCE (Prerequisite: any natural science core course)
This course is team taught with a member of our science department. An inquiry into the nature of the scientific method in relation to human culture and its use in gaining and applying new knowledge. This course constitutes a substantial interdisciplinary investigation of the impact of science and technology upon society by way of a sustained look at one particular scientific issue or question for the semester. The ethical dimensions of advances in science and technology are explored in detail. Meets Core credit for humanities or natural sciences, but not both. May be taken only once for Core credit. CHEM/GEOL/PHYS/PHIL credit. Topics:
A – THE MAKING OF THE BOMB
B – THE TOBACCO WARS
C – SCIENCE AND HUMAN NATURE
D – EVOLUTION: FOR & AGAINST
E – SCIENCE AND RATIONALITY
PHIL 450 GREAT PHILOSOPHERS (Prerequisite: PHIL 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, or 217 or permission)
This course evaluates the thinking of a single major theoretical figure across a series of original texts addressing different subjects, but usually including combinations of that thinker’s views on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics. The course shows how thinker’s views often form an organic whole unified across texts and time periods in their lives, and how ideas develop from earlier to later views, or in response to personal or world events. Offered every three semesters. Meets Core credit for humanities. May berepeated for credit as topics change.