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Courses

Through a combination of critical discussion and Socratic questioning, philosophy faculty strive to get students to develop their capacity to thoughtfully examine the key concepts, presuppositions and implications from across the entire range of human inquiry, and articulate and defend their positions clearly, cogently and effectively. 

Students begin the major by taking classes in ancient Greek philosophy or modern Western philosophy or various other 200-level electives. From this foundation, students move on to upper level courses covering a wide range of topics. Classes incorporate rich readings and opportunities for extensive exploration through writing. Professors approach philosophy courses from a range of perspectives, based on their own academic disciplines and interests.  As a result, students are introduced to a wide variety of subject areas beyond philosophy, including everything from psychology, sociology and art to physics, history and rhetoric.

Below is a listing of all courses offered through the Department of Philosophy. Students who are planning their coursework for next semester are encouraged to view the list of upcoming courses. All available courses can also be viewed via BannerWeb.

Courses
PHIL 101 Introduction to Philosophical Problems and Arguments
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement FSLT
Description
Introduction to philosophy as a working discipline, with emphasis on analysis of problems and proposed solutions. Sample topics: Is there a thing that can be called the self? What is the meaning of life? What is the relationship between knowledge and opinion? Can individuals be held responsible for their actions?

PHIL 120 Contemporary Moral Issues
Units: 1
Description
Philosophical introduction to the application of moral reasoning. Aims to clarify, organize, and sharpen our ideas about moral concerns of everyday life, and to examine and critique prominent moral theories. Topics may include abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, animal rights.

PHIL 239 Existentialism and Postmodernism
Units: 1
Description
Survey of themes in 20th-century existentialist and postmodern philosophy. Issues to be addressed include freedom, selfhood, embodiment and historical situation, and knowledge in the absence of transcendence. Students will read works by such thinkers as Heidegger, Sartre, Beauvoir, Fanon, Levinas, Foucault, and others.

PHIL 250 Topics Seminar: Historical
Units: 1
Description
Selected topics in philosophy arranged historically. Recent topics: Kant, critical theory, Freud, Bertrand Russell's Radical Essays. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.

PHIL 251 Elementary Symbolic Logic
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSSR)
Description
Introduction to modern logic beginning with truth-functions and covering formal proofs (propositional and predicate) to the level of multiply-general and relational statements. No mathematical applications. Recommended for pre-law and pre-computer studies.

PHIL 260 Philosophical Problems in Law and Society
Units: 1
Description
Examination of purpose and justification for legal limits on individual liberty, with special attention to problems of liability and punishment.

PHIL 265 Bioethics
Units: 1
Description
A survey of prevalent topics in recent bioethics, the study of ethical discussions surrounding the sciences of biology and medicine. Works to improve ability to think critically and to argue from the standpoint of a certain moral theory in the ethical evaluation of problems concerning the human body, health care, doctor-patient relationship, life and death, food, and animals.

PHIL 269 Environmental Ethics
Units: 1
Description
Examines various ethical approaches to environmental problems. Topics may vary from year to year but typically will include such issues as treatment of nonhuman animals, resource depletion, environmental justice, genetic engineering, and climate change. (Same as Environmental Studies 269.)

PHIL 271 Ancient Greek Philosophy
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSHT)
Description
Introduction to ancient Western philosophy, with emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. Discussion of both the development of philosophical thought and topics such as: What is knowledge? Why should I be moral? What is the good life? Readings drawn from primary texts.

PHIL 272 Modern Western Philosophy
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSHT)
Description
Study of development of modern philosophy from Descartes to Kant. Readings from Descartes, Hume, and Kant; some attention may be given to other modern philosophers such as Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, and Berkeley. Readings drawn from primary texts.

PHIL 280 Topics Seminar: Issues
Units: 1
Description
Selected topics in philosophy arranged by issues. Recent topics: the emotions; science, pseudoscience, and the paranormal; intermediate logic; ethics, human and nonhuman. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.

PHIL 314 Philosophy of Science
Units: 1
Description
General introduction to philosophy of science. Topics may include distinguishing science from nonscience; the structure of scientific theories and explanations; the nature of scientific activity; and the relationship(s) of science with values, culture and society.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 336 Nineteenth-Century European Philosophy
Units: 1
Description
Examination of movements and individuals; emphasis on Kierkegaard's and Marx's response to Hegel. Previous work in philosophy or good background in history and/or literature is presumed.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 337 Social and Political Philosophy
Units: 1
Description
Examination of major theories in social and political philosophy, historical and current.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor or PPEL 261 or PPEL 262.

PHIL 343 Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
Units: 1
Description
Critical examination of 20th-century topics and thinkers in the analytic tradition.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 344 Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Units: 1
Description
Critical examination of 20th-century topics and thinkers in the French and German traditions.
Prerequisites
Phil 272 or premission of instructor.

PHIL 351 Topics Seminar Historial I
Units: 1
Description
Selected topics in philosophy arranged historically. Recent topics: Kant, critical theory, Freud, Bertrand Russell's Radical Essays. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 352 Topics Seminar Historial II
Units: 1
Description
Selected topics in philosophy arranged historically. Recent topics: Kant, critical theory, Freud, Bertrand Russell's Radical Essays. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 353 Philosophical Methods
Units: 1
Description
Development of skills related to critical reading, evaluation, writing and presentation of philosophical texts along with techniques of analysis and interpretation. Required for majors.
Prerequisites
Permission of department.

PHIL 357 Nietzsche
Units: 1
Description
Devoted to analysis and understanding of some of the main philosophical themes and writing of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), such as critique of Western morality and religion; affirmation of creativity and life of this world; eternal recurrence of all things; and diagnosis of modern nihilism and suggestions as to how it might be overcome. Close reading of a number of texts by Nietzsche. Lecture/discussion format.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 358 Topics in Feminist Philosophy
Units: 1
Description
Examination of recent and contemporary feminist theory. (Same as Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies 379 and Political Science 379.)
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 359 Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
Units: 1
Description
Devoted to exploring some questions having to do with the meaning and significance of the visual arts. Among topics of the course are relation between words and visual images; use of art as a way of learning about ourselves and the world; phenomenology of visual experience; and criteria for interpreting the meaning of art works. Theorists include G.E. Lessing and representative thinkers from such recent tendencies as phenomenology, existentialism, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 360 Ethics
Units: 1
Description
Critical examination of main types of ethical theory. Discussion of current topics and controversies, as well as fundamental questions about the object of morality and the objectivity and justification of moral evaluations.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor or PPEL 261 or PPEL 262.

PHIL 362 Philosophy of Religion
Units: 1
Description
Is there such a thing as religious knowledge? Can a rational individual believe in God(s)? Alternative conceptions of use and meaning of theological language (description, ritual, belief formation, moral persuasion); Transcendence; Mysticism, and logic.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 363 Power and Politics
Units: 1
Description
Examination and appraisal of classical liberal political philosophies--particularly their treatment of consent, rebellion, and political change--in light of 20th-century civil rights movements. Theorists studied include John Locke and various American revolutionaries such as James Madison. Movements studied are the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56, the Birmingham desegregation movement of 1963, and the gay and lesbian movement of the 1990s. Studies will evaluate liberalism as both a descriptive and prescriptive theory. Lecture/discussion format. (Same as Political Science 379.)
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 364 Philosophy of Law
Units: 1
Description
Alternative ways of conceiving of law. Such legal concepts as right and strict liability. Such problems as nature of judicial decision-making process, tension between crime control and due process, rationale of legal punishment, insanity defense.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor or PPEL 261 or PPEL 262.

PHIL 365 Action, Responsibility and Free Will
Units: 1
Description
Examination of a core philosophical puzzle--can responsible action be both free and determined?--in writings of classical and contemporary philosophers. Seminar format, with multiple written and oral critiques, term paper, midterm, and final exams.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 370 Philosophy of Mind
Units: 1
Description
Critical examination of fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind such as: How can we tell if something has a mind or is capable of thinking? What is the mind? What is thought? Consciousness? Do machines or non human animals have minds? What is the relationship between the mental and the physical? Between thought and action?
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 373 Epistemology
Units: 1
Description
Explores central issues in epistemology. These include the nature of knowledge, justification, and rationality. Historical and contemporary readings will expose students to a wide variety of different approaches and answers to questions concerning the nature and scope of knowledge.
Prerequisites
PHIL 271 or PHIL 272 or permission of instructor.

PHIL 375 Ethics and Practical Reasoning
Units: 1
Description
A survey of basic issues about the nature of practical reason. Also considers associated issues about intentional action; persons; the good, moral demands; and the normativity of ethics.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 381 Topics Seminar Issues I
Units: 1
Description
Selected topics in philosophy arranged by issues. Recent topics: the emotions; science, pseudoscience and the paranormal; intermediate logic; ethics, human and nonhuman. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 382 Topics Seminar Issues II
Units: 1
Description
Selected topics in philosophy arranged by issues. Recent topics: the emotions; science, pseudoscience and the paranormal; intermediate logic; ethics, human and nonhuman. May be repeated for credit when topic differs.
Prerequisites
One previous philosophy class or permission of instructor.

PHIL 386 Honors Seminar
Units: 1
Description
Seminar for honors students on topic selected mutually by instructor and those enrolled. Permission of department.
Prerequisites
Permission of department.

PHIL 390 Independent Study
Units: .5-1
Description
Faculty member directs student's reading and study.
Prerequisites
Permission of department.

PHIL 395 Honors Thesis
Units: 1
Description
Supervised completion of research thesis begun and approved in majors' seminar.
Prerequisites
Permission of department.

PHIL 406 Summer Undergraduate Research
Units: 0
Description
Documentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 8 weeks, the student must engage in the project full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.
Prerequisites
Approval for summer Arts and Sciences fellowship by faculty mentor