PHIL - Philosophy


Course Descriptions

PHIL 1010 Introduction to Critical Thinking (3)

Emphasizes identifying the techniques of critical analysis and analyzing arguments in a variety of short essays, most of them not by professional philosophers. Gives special attention to educating students to distinguish between their own beliefs as to the truth or falsity of a claim and the validity of the arguments offered in support of that claim.

PHIL 1100 Introduction to Philosophy (3)

Introduces a broad spectrum of topics in philosophy, such as knowledge, reality, freedom, morality, and art. The emphasis is not only on what is contained in these topics, but also on how to think critically about them.

PHIL 1200 The Meaning of Life (3)

This course explores what makes life meaningful from several perspectives, including western and eastern philosophical perspectives, theistic and atheistic perspectives, social and political perspectives from different cultures, both inside and outside the United States. Commitment to cultural values creates differences that often cause hostilities. This course aims to help students understand cultural values otehr than their own in order to promote an appreciation of and tolerance for cultural differences.

PHIL 2000 Making Decisions (4)

There are significant tensions between how we ought to decide (or how decision theory tells us we ought to decide) and how we in fact decide. This course reviews ideal methods for decision making, ways that decision makers habitually fall short of the ideals, and how decision theory can be applied in ordinary life to make more rational decisions and achieve better outcomes. Topics include mental and social impediments to good decision making, probabilities, risk, games, and bargaining.

PHIL 2010 Informal Logic (3)

Introduces the study of reasoning, including the nature of argument, deductive and inductive inference, meaning and inference, validity, hypotheticals, syllogisms, and the identification of fallacies. Emphasizes reasoning in a natural language and arguments in practical contexts with minimum use of symbolic notation.

PHIL 2020 Formal Logic (3)

Studies techniques of deductive inference in a symbolic notation, including propositional calculus and some operations with quantifiers. Covers theory of logic, including such topics as axiomatization, rules of inference, the distinctions between use and mention and validity and truth, semantic interpretations, completeness, and consistency. Crosslisted with MATH 1580 and COSC 1580.

PHIL 2050 Philosophy and History of Education (3)

Analyzes the nature of education, especially as this has developed historically in the West, paying special attention to the philosophical aims and aspirations that have motivated (and ought to motivate) Western education.

PHIL 2080 Topics in Philosophy (3)

Study of text or topic in a special area of philosophy. Contents and methodology on an introductory level. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

PHIL 2110 Introduction to Ethics (3)

A topical introduction to ethics. Topics to be covered may include: the nature of ethical reasoning, duty, and obligation; excuses, mitigating circumstances, and personal responsibility; conflicts between obligations and between duty and self-interest; conflict between personal and community moral standards; and the objectivity or subjectivity of values. Replaces BUSN 2110.

PHIL 2300 Social and Political Philosophy (3)

Introduces philosophical issues and concepts of political thought from antiquity to the present day through examination, from different perspectives, of democracy, sovereignty and authority, justice, liberty, and the relationship between the individual and the state. Cross-listed with POLT 1070.

PHIL 2310 Introduction to Scientific Understanding (3)

Offers an examination/analysis of scientific concepts in their historical, philosophical, and cultural contexts. The aim is to enable the students to gain insight into the development of scientific ideas in view of the interactions between science, technology, philosophy, and society.

PHIL 2320 Contemporary Moral Problems (3)

Examines the opposing positions typically taken in discussions of contemporary moral problems, such as euthanasia, the death penalty, pornography, animal rights, and world hunger. The focus is on developing and critically analyzing reasons used to support a moral position.

PHIL 2330 Philosophy and Technology (3)

Philosophical consideration of technology, including such issues as how technologies embody values, technological determinism, consequences of technological choices, and how technologies can be helpful or hurtful. Typically focuses on one or a related group of technologies.

PHIL 2340 Bioethics (3)

This course explores the ethical issues that arise with changes in medical technologies and health care policies. Students explore the philosophical concepts of autonomy, duty, justice, and care as they apply to patients and physicians. Topics covered may include stem cell research and cloning technologies, organ transplantation, experimentation on animals, prenatal diagnosis and abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, access to experimental treatments and allocation of scarce resources. 

PHIL 2360 Environmental Ethics (3)

This course considers how one ought to live, given what we know (and are learning) about ourselves in the physical and natural world. Students explore the values, rights, responsibilities, and obligations relevant to environmental problems, such as climate change, air pollution, waste disposal, land degradation, water depletion and pollution, threats to biodiversity, and population growth.

PHIL 2390 Philosophy of Sex and Love (3)

An introductory study of sexual philosophy including historical traditions as well as a variety of alternative belief systems. Critical analysis of topics such as marriage and adultery, sex with and without love, perversion, and pornography.

PHIL 2510 Philosophic Classics: Ancient Greece and Rome (3)

The great philosophic texts of ancient Greece and Rome are rich in insight and powerful in their influence on Western culture. This course reviews selected classics, familiarizing students with famous thinkers, their thoughts, and their methods.

PHIL 2520 Philosophic Classics: Early Modern Europe (3)

Early modern Europe, an era of profound intellectual, scientific, religious, and philosophic change, produced philosophic works with enduring influence on Western culture. This course reviews selected classics, familiarizing students with famous thinkers, their thoughts, and their methods. Prerequisite: PHIL 2510 is recommended.

PHIL 2540 American Philosophy (3)

Each civilization contributes a unique intellectual culture that characterizes the values and aspirations of its people. This course explores some intellectual impacts and influences of the unique contributions of American philosophers. An introductory study that combines the historical and cultural setting of inquiry into the nature of experience, truth, goodness, and society by nineteenth-and twentieth-century American philosophers, including Emerson, Thoreau, James, Peirce, and Dewey, and their influences on later philosophies in the United States.

PHIL 2610 Intermediate Reading (2-4)

Designed for students who have little background in philosophy but who have demonstrated an ability to do independent work and have an interest in exploring some philosophical or non-philosophical texts philosophically. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor and filing of official form.

PHIL 3080 Current Topics in Philosophy (3)

Upper level study of influential texts or topics in a special area of philosophy, such as epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of science, philosophy of social sciences, political philosophy, or logic. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

PHIL 3100 Literature and Philosophy (3)

Philosophical treatments of selected stories, novels, poems, plays, or films. Emphasizes the discovery of philosophical commitments in such works and the critical examination of their intelligibility, defensibility, and truth value. The question of the ineluctability of form is also raised.

PHIL 3110 Philosophy and Film (3)

Philosophic problems will be approached through their presentation in selected films. Emphasizes the discovery of philosophic commitments and claims in the works studied; the defensibility of those commitments and claims; and film as a mode of presentation for philosophic ideas. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

PHIL 3120 Philosophy and Art (3)

Raises philosophical issues surrounding the activities of producing and appreciating works of art. Sample topics: the theory of art, the relationship between art and other human institutions, standards of judgment in art, how works of art are meaningful and true, and the relationship between judgments of value in art and judgments of moral worth.

PHIL 3200 Philosophy of Religion (3)

This course explores the philosophical dimensions of religious belief and practice. Topics include: the nature of religion and of religious and spiritual experience; the problem of religious diversity; the nature of the Religious Ultimate, and evidence of its existence; evil and religious belief; scientific rationality and religious belief; religious naturalism; faith and rationality; continental philosophy of religion (God as "the impossible"); and the interrelation between religious, spiritual and moral values. The course draws on writers and texts located within or in relation to various world religious traditions, especially Buddhism, Hinduism, and Abrahamic Monotheism (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) and Humanism.

PHIL 3300 Epistemology (3)

Exploration of issues in the theory of knowledge, such as the origin, extent, and certainty of knowledge, as well as exploration of such positions as skepticism, relativism, and solipsism. Includes analysis of the concept of knowledge and the justification of belief. Prerequisite: 6 credit hours of history of philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PHIL 3310 Philosophy of Science (3)

An introduction to the main issues in philosophy of science such as: the role of scientific developments in shaping philosophy and philosophy of science; the influence of philosophy and philosophy of science on the development of science; noteworthy philosophical accounts of the scientific enterprise; and characterizations of confirmation, explanation, scientific realism, the nature of theories, and the growth of scientific knowledge.

PHIL 3320 Continental Philosophy (3)

European culture of the last one hundred years has produced philosophical works that have had a profound impact on the way we think and live today. This course reviews selected works from the period, familiarizing students with central thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Foucault, as well as some of the more important movements associated with these figures, including Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Post-structuralism.

PHIL 3350 Philosophical Ethics (3)

First course in philosophical reflection on the moral life. Includes the analysis of moral terms, the techniques of moral reasoning, the origin and nature of human values, and the justification of moral judgments. Specific topics and texts vary from year to year. Prerequisite: PHIL 2110, PHIL 2300, PHIL 2320, PHIL 2380, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL 3360 Ethics for Cyberspace (3)

A general introduction to ethical issues created, aggravated, or transformed by computing technology. Addresses such topics as: privacy, hacking, and computer intrusion; software piracy; freedom of expression; campus computing policies; professional ethics; responsibility and risks of relying on computers; ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence; just allocation of computing resources; and social implications of networked computing.

PHIL 3370 Philosophy and Women (3)

Analysis of the concept of oppression and a study of the systematic structures of sexism and sex roles. Specific areas of study include the institution of family/marriage, sex, love, and feminist moral issues such as abortion, pornography, and sexual equality.

PHIL 3380 Ethics in Social Research (3)

An examination of some moral issues that arise in social science research and its applications. Neither a review of recent work in the social sciences nor a "cookbook" for solving ethical problems. Rather, the course focuses on relationships between researchers and human subjects, among researchers as professionals, and between researchers and the broader public. Prerequisite: 6 credit hours of philosophy or social science or permission of instructor.

PHIL 3590 Theories of Human Rights (3)

Examines the historical development of theories of human rights and their relation to civil liberties, international law, social organization, and different conceptions of community, individualism, and the state. Also examines the most significant human rights documents in their historical context. May focus on specific cases and questions of current concern. Prerequisite: POLT 1070, PHIL 2300, or GNST 1600. Cross-listed with POLT 3590.

PHIL 4050 Topics in the History of Philosophy (3)

Advanced undergraduate study of texts or topics from the history of philosophy. Specific topics are decided on in consultation between philosophy majors and faculty prior to offering the course. Prerequisite: 6 credit hours of philosophy or permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

PHIL 4400 Practicum in Philosophy (1-6)

Places students in a position in business, school, or social service, or similar organization. Placement will be such as to stimulate philosophical and critical reflection. Work is supervised by the faculty advisor, and the work will be the topic of discussion in a philosophy seminar that will reflect on the problems encountered. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

PHIL 4600 Overview (3)

A critical examination of a significant text, with each student preparing an individual paper on some aspect of the text. To be acceptable, the quality of the paper must reflect significant mastery of the methods and content of philosophy and critical thought. Prerequisite: advanced standing and permission of the instructor.

PHIL 4610 Reading Course (1-5)

Prerequisites: permission of the instructor and filing of official form. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

-Revised October 29, 2013-

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