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Philosophy Course Descriptions

PHI 1010 - Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits) (HON 1011)

Prerequisite(s): Minimum performance standard scores on the reading and writing preassessment placement tests

Description: This is a first philosophy course designed to introduce students to basic philosophical issues, primarily in the areas of metaphysics (what there is) and epistemology (how we know).  This course covers fundamental questions such as, for example:  “Do humans possess free will of is everything a matter of causal necessity?” or “Is there a God or an afterlife?” Important cultural achievements, in the form of original and complete works, will be emphasized. 

General Studies: Arts and Humanities Guaranteed Transfer: GT-AH3

Note: Credit will be granted for only one prefix: PHI or HON.

 

PHI 1030 - Introduction to Ethics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): Minimum performance standard scores on the reading and writing preassessment placement tests

Description: This is a first philosophy course designed to introduce students to basic philosophical issues, primarily in the areas of moral and social philosophy. This course covers fundamental questions such as, for example:  “What is the relation, if any, between morality and religion?” or “How should society be best organized?” Important cultural achievements, in the form of original and complete works, will be emphasized.

General Studies: Arts and Humanities Guaranteed Transfer: GT-AH3

 

PHI 1040 - Introduction to Eastern Religions  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): Minimum performance standard scores on the reading and writing preassessment placement tests

Description: An introductory survey of the major religious communities of the East, with primary emphasis on the historical evolution and living traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

General Studies: Arts and Humanities, Global Diversity

 

PHI 1050 - Introduction to Western Religions  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): Minimum performance standard scores on the reading and writing preassessment placement tests

Description: An introductory survey of the major religious communities of the West (originating in the Near East), with primary emphasis on the historical evolution and living traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 

PHI 1110 - Language, Logic and Persuasion  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): Minimum performance standard scores on the reading and writing preassessment placement tests

Description: This course is an introduction to critical analysis, thinking and expression, covering three main areas: (1) language: the significance of words, and their arrangements, in psychological appeals to the senses and the emotions; (2) logic: the structures of formal reasoning in arguments and in appeals to reason; and (3) persuasion: the rhetorical aspects of discourse and presentation, especially in appeals to ideals or character.  Practical skills and applications will be emphasized.

 

PHI 2040 - Philosophy of Religion  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 1040 or PHI 1050 recommended

Description: This is a course on the philosophical dimensions of religious faith and practice, the nature and scope of religious experience, and the existence and source of divinity.

 

PHI 2440 - Symbolic Logic  (3 credits)

Description: This course is a general introduction to formal or symbolic logic. Topics covered include all aspects of sentential or propositional logic, beginning with the rules for determining the validity of deductive arguments and continuing through to the symbolization and syntax of the first-order predicate calculus.

 

PHI 3000 - History of Ancient Philosophy  (3 credits)

Description: This course is a survey of the history of ancient philosophy, focusing on the Greeks. The life and work of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle receive special attention.

General Studies: Arts and Humanities

 

PHI 3020 - History of Modern Philosophy  (3 credits)

Description: This course is a survey of the history of modern philosophy, from the Renaissance to Romanticism. The work of Descartes, Hume, and Kant receive special attention.

General Studies: Arts and Humanities

 

PHI 3050 - Special Topics in the History of Philosophy: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3000 and/or PHI 3020 recommended

Description: This course is devoted to special topics in the history of philosophy. These topics may involve eras falling outside the foci of the historical sequence, such as Hellenistic or Roman philosophy, Medieval or Renaissance philosophy, or nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy.  Or they may consider the historical progression of a special topic, such as skepticism, that is considered in a more in depth or advanced level.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit up to four times under different topics.

 

PHI 3120 - Philosophy of Language  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 2440 is recommended

Description: This course is a general introduction to central questions and topics in the philosophy of language. Special consideration is given to historical and contemporary issues in the analytic tradition.

 

PHI 3150 - Social and Political Philosophy  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3000 or PHI 3020

Description: This is a course on selected topics in social and political philosophy, typically involving issues related to justice, rights, power, democracy, class, equality, freedom, property, representation, and community. Readings may include classical and contemporary sources.

 

PHI 3180 - Feminist Philosophy  (3 credits) (WMS 3180)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 1010 or 1030 and junior standing are recommended

Description: This course involves an examination of traditional philosophical topics and questions from the perspective of contemporary feminist theory. Special consideration is given to feminist critiques of logic, rationality and scientific objectivity and to feminist approaches to ethical, social, and political thought.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one prefix: PHI or WMS.

 

PHI 3320 - Metaphysics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3000 or PHI 3020

Description: This course is a comprehensive survey of traditional or contemporary problems in metaphysics. Topics typically covered include free will, causation, identity, God, and substance.

 

PHI 3330 - Epistemology  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 2440

Description: This course provides a survey of key topics in the theory of knowledge such as skepticism, propositions, justification, perception, memory, induction, other minds, and naturalism.

 

PHI 3350 - Ethical Theories  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3000

Description: This is a course on selected topics in ethical theory, including those derived from normative ethics, concerning the content of moral behavior, or those derived from meta-ethics, concerning the nature of ethical reflection. Readings may include both classical and contemporary sources.

 

PHI 3360 - Business Ethics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): At least junior standing

Description: This course investigates the value conflicts that may arise from current circumstances in the modern business world. Designed to assist students in becoming effective business professionals, it examines four main areas of current practice in some detail: the responsibility of business in society, corporate governance, ethical decision-making, and ethical leadership.  Interpretive, critical and analytical skills will be emphasized and cultivated.

General Studies: Arts and Humanities

 

PHI 3370 - Computers, Ethics, and Society  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): One of the following: Any PHI course or any CSI course or equivalent

Description: This course contains two main components: first, the ethical frameworks, relating to the nature of the person, in which three main concepts may emerge and be critically discussed: professionalism, privacy, and property; and second, the wider social, legal and political implications of computers, in particular for the nature of work, risk and legal liability, and the social context of computing (and other digital technologies).

General Studies: Arts and Humanities

 

PHI 3380 - Science and Human Values: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3020

Description: This course is designed to serve students interested in learning about a variety of applied ethical issues arising from the rapid increases in scientific knowledge and technological ability. Typical issues could include those associated with questions of bioethics (sometimes called medical ethics), environmental philosophy, human dignity or global ethics.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3390 - Aesthetics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): Two courses in philosophy or Permission of instructor

Description: A study of some basic concepts of aesthetics, focused either on a principal figure in the field (e.g. Plato, Kant, Schiller, or Nietzsche) or on a particular set of fundamental issues in aesthetics, e.g. the ontology of the work of art, intentions and originality, form and expression, criticism, aesthetic education, etc. May include an emphasis on a particular art (e.g. poetry, drama, film, jazz, or painting).

 

PHI 3400 - Philosophy of Science  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 1010 and three additional hours in philosophy or Permission of the instructor

Description: An advanced, critical examination of the concepts and problems involved in contemporary science. The nature of scientific method, explanation, and law is covered. Physical, biological, and psychosocial sciences are investigated.

 

PHI 3410 - Eastern Philosophy: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 1040

Description: This course is an in-depth study of a specific thinker, such as Zoroaster, Pantajali, Sankara, or Vivikenanda; or of a pair or group of thinkers, such as Confucius and Lao-tzu; or of a recognized movement of thought or tradition, such as Theravada or Zen Buddhism; or of a concept or problem, such as karma and reincarnation; or of a genealogy of sacred texts, such as the Vedas and the Upanishads; or of a conjunction of epic texts, such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, as rooted in primarily the Eastern or Near Eastern context.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3420 - Special Topics in Logic and Language: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 2440 or PHI 3120 recommended

Description: This course covers variable topics in the area of logic and language. Such topics might include, for example, set theory, model theory, proof theory, decidability or modal logic, on the logic side, or an in-depth consideration of theories of reference, definite descriptions and proper names, conversational implicature, pragmatics, or natural language processing, on the language side.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit up to four times under different topics

 

PHI 3430 - Philosophy of Law  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): One upper-division course in the humanities or social sciences, or one philosophy course; or Permission of instructor

Description: An examination of the origin of the individual and the idea of law in Greek thought and alterations of these notions in modern thought. The notion of interpretation in the law will be examined.

 

PHI 3450 - Human Nature and Conduct: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3000 or PHI 3020

Description: This variable topics course examines philosophical writings on the topic of human nature and/or concerns a critical investigation of social structures and cultural institutions that rely on some concept of human nature (either explicitly to implicitly). Possible themes may center around issues such as life and death, embodiment, nature vs. convention, responsibility, solitude and community, or personhood; alternately, the course may consider the ethical and social thought of an individual thinker, such as Dewey, Freud, or Habermas, or a school or movement, such as Stoicism, British Idealism, or the conservative tradition, with an emphasis on human nature and/or society.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3480 - Histories of Desire: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 1030

Description: This variable topics course contends with philosophical issues relating to love, desire, gender, and sexuality in a concrete cultural context.  Possible themes might center around issues such as eros and thanatos, conscience and internalization, transgression and trauma, eroticism and art, ecstasy and spirituality, sexuality and identity, the body and its modification of mortification, queer histories, the care of self, or desire in language; alternately, the course may focus on topics or problems raised by the work of an individual thinker or group of thinkers, such as Freud, Bataille, Lacan, Klein, Foucault, Deleuze, Irgaray, or Kristeva.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3500 - Advanced Humanistic Inquiry: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3000 and PHI 3020; or Permission of instructor

Description: This course is an interdisciplinary study of humanistic inquiry and cultural investigation, with course content drawn from the development of modern European and American culture since the Enlightenment. Special attention is given to the revolutionary transformations of ideas, institutions, structures, and forms of artistic and literary expression that characterize life in the modern world over approximately the last 250 years. Movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Decadence, Modernism, or Post-Modernism could receive special consideration.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3510 - Phenomenology  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3020 is recommended

Description: This course is a study of at least two major 20th century phenomenologists. Different conceptions of the nature and scope of phenomenology are critically examined.

 

PHI 3530 - Philosophy of Mind  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 2440

Description: This course is a study of mental phenomena, including traditional problems connected with the relation of mind and body, personal identity, solipsism and the knowledge of other minds, but also contemporary issues involving consciousness, perception, thought, feeling and volition in human, animal, and artificial contexts.

 

PHI 3550 - Existentialism  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3020 is strongly recommended

Description: Existentialism may be characterized as a philosophical and literary impulse, a multi-sided revolt against the “leveling down” of human existence by forces of industrialization, alienation, and homogenization. In the ideologies of mass society, existentialists identify a series of threats to human freedom and to the uniqueness of the individual. This course examines several approaches to a cluster of philosophical problems, rooted in the concrete realities of human existence.

 

PHI 3570 – Hermeneutics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3020 is strongly recommended

Description: Hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation, and it examines how human beings experience the world as intelligible. As a practice, hermeneutics is ancient; as a modern discipline, it is first codified in the nineteenth century and beyond. This course poses and assesses fundamental questions regarding the conditions of human understanding, particularly the complex relationship of writer, text, and reader in the interpretive process.

 

PHI 3600 - Currents in American Thought: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3020

Description: After a brief consideration of the methodological implications of intellectual and social history, this course could consider classical figures (such as Edwards or Emerson) and influential intellectual traditions in American culture (such as Puritanism or Transcendentalism); or seemingly peripheral individuals (such as Douglass or Du Bois) and the more subterranean impulses stemming from traditionally marginalized groups of diverse ethnic, cultural, gender or sexual communities (for example, abolitionism and the problems connected with slavery, race, and gender in American culture).

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3610 - Religious Studies: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 1050

Description: This course is an in-depth study of a specific thinker, such as Paul, Augustine, Mamonides, or Barth; or of a pair or group of thinkers, such as Luther and Calvin or Buber and Rosenzweig; or of a recognized movement of thought or tradition, such as Shia or Sunni Islam; or of a particular concept or problem, such as sin and redemption; or of a genealogy of sacred texts, such as the Tanakh and the New Testament; or of a conjunction of epic texts, such as Gilgamesh and Genesis, as rooted primarily in the Western or Near Eastern context.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3700 - Philosophy and the Arts: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3320 or PHI 3500 is recommended

Description: This course is an examination of some of the most intriguing and illuminating points of intersection between philosophy and the literary, the performing or the visual arts, including film. It may address philosophy on the arts (issues relating to ontological status, truth, interpretation, authorship, and self expression); or philosophy in the arts (literary texts, performance pieces or artistic works that explicitly invoke philosophical problems or evoke philosophical doctrines in their portrayal of social or psychological realities); or philosophy as art problems connected with meaning, representation and form in philosophical works, including across multiple media).

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 3810 - Major Philosophers: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 3000 or PHI 3020

Description: This course is an in-depth study of a specific philosopher, such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, or Heidegger; or a group of related thinkers, such as Plato or Plotinus, Marx and the Young Hegelians, or Wittgenstein and Austin; or a movement of thought, such as German Idealism, American Pragmatism, or Logical Positivism.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 4050 - Comparative Thought: Variable Topics  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): PHI 2040; PHI 3000 or PHI 3020

Description: Comparative thought or philosophy—sometimes called cross-cultural philosophy—is a sub field that considers a single myth, theme, topic or set of problems by comparing a plurality of sources from different streams and traditions, across cultural, linguistic, and historical boundaries. This course examines some fundamental human issues and questions from different perspectives, possibly involving a further examination of specific ideological or political viewpoints, both within and across cultures, as well. Some of the challenges to comparative work, including chauvinism, anachronism, incommensurability, and perennialism may also be discussed.

Note: This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

 

PHI 4100 - Senior Seminar  (3 credits)

Prerequisite(s): Completion of all General Studies requirements and senior standing

Description: This course is a capstone course and is required of all philosophy majors. It is an in-depth consideration of a topic or author (or group of topics or authors) involving synoptic reflection, detailed interpretation and thematic synthesis, with in-class presentations and an emphasis on philosophical writing.

University Requirement(s): Senior Experience