Philosophy (PHI)

Paul GrayGenevieve MigelyJim White (chair)

Essential to a liberal education is the ability to think, to detect bad arguments and evidence, to see more than one side of a matter and to decide which is best, to construct a coherent case, and to make words perform their tasks with clarity and precision. These principles, along with a concern for representing the principal areas of philosophical inquiry, and an emphasis on the careful, creative, and critical reading of important philosophical texts, guide the Department in planning its curriculum.

Major: A minimum of nine course credits, which include PHI 111 and 202; either 203 or 204; two courses selected from 302, 304, 305, 306, and 308; PHI 485; and three additional courses in Philosophy, at least two of which must be at the 300 level.

Minor: A minimum of six course credits in Philosophy which include PHI 111 and 202; either 203 or 204; either 302 or 304 or 305 or 306; and two additional 300-level courses in Philosophy.

109. Ethics and Climate Change
The nature of climate change raises urgent questions about what we ought to do--i.e., questions about morality. We will spend some time considering climate science and questions raised by controversy about that science. We will spend more time considering the moral challenges climate change generates: what is the nature of our obligations to prevent harm to people distant in space and in time; what responsibilities do nations of the industrialized world have to respond to threats generated by climate change; what does it make sense for such nations to do given the uncertainty of some outcomes of climate change; what should we, as citizens of such nations, be doing? Seminar for first year students only.  (Humanities) WHITE

111. Introduction to Philosophy
Problems of philosophy as they are discussed in the writings of major philosophers, including such topics as the nature of reality, problems with knowledge, morality, and the rationality of religious belief. Designed for first year students and sophomores. (Humanities)  

202. Ethics
The nature of moral experience, moral judgments, and moral principles, and the relation of each to the other. Course may consider applications to contemporary moral problems. Readings from some major ancient, modern, and contemporary moral philosophers. (Humanities)  

203. Logic and Critical Thinking
Principles and techniques useful for evaluating arguments and avoiding fallacious reasoning in ordinary life.

204. Symbolic Logic
An introduction to formal argument analysis, including first order predicate logic and mathematical logic. Offered upon request and subject to availability of faculty.

224. Environmental Ethics
Moral dilemmas associated with human populations, industrial productivity, a deteriorating environment, and generally, our treatment of the natural world. Alternate years. (Humanities) WHITE

225. Utopia
Philosophical study of selected works in Utopian literature such as: Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Perkins-Gilman's Herland, Hilton's Lost Horizon, Rand's Anthem, Clarke's Childhood's End, and Lowry's The Giver. (Humanities) GRAY

261 through 266. Topics in Philosophy
See Topics Courses. (Humanities)

280/380. Internship: see Courses 280/380.

290/390. Individual Project: see Courses 290/390.

301. Asian Philosophy
Study of Eastern philosophies such as Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism through their classic texts. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) MIGELY

302. Ancient Philosophy
Advanced study of the beginning of Western thought on topics such as the foundation of philosophical and scientific inquiry, the basis of reality, the nature of the human being and how humans ought to live socially, politically and ethically. In-depth analysis of the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) MIGELY

304. Modern Philosophy: Seventeenth Century
Critical and historical examination of the modern period of philosophy starting with the background to the Scientific Revolution and ending with advanced theories on the nature of reality achieved by a careful analysis of such philosophers as Galileo, Newton, Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke and Berkeley. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) MIGELY

305. Modern Philosophy: Eighteenth Century
European philosophy from 1700 to 1800. Study of the philosophers of the middle of the modern era such as Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Kant. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities)GRAY

306. Nineteenth Century Philosophy
European philosophy from 1800 to 1900. Study of the philosophers of the late modern era such as Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) GRAY

307. Marx and Marxism
Primary emphasis on reading a comprehensive and balanced selection of the writings of Karl Marx. Reading will include some leading Marxists such as Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Marcuse. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) GRAY

308. Twentieth Century Philosophy
Study of philosophers such as Wittgenstein, Russell, Dewey, Heidegger, Foucault, and Rorty. Analytic philosophy, pragmatism, and continental philosophy, including postmodernism, will be examined. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every second or third year. (Humanities) GRAY

309. Existentialism
Reflections on death, the meaning of life, absurdity, alienation, despair, freedom, and the self. Study of selected works of Simone De Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Jean Paul Sartre. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) GRAY

352. Philosophy of Feminism
Exploration of philosophical theories on the nature of women, feminist critiques of Western philosophy, and current issues in feminist ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics with application to social debates such as pornography, body image, and discrimination. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) MIGELY

353. Philosophy of Law
Inquiry into the nature of law, and its relation to morality and society through both classical and contemporary legal theories. Specific issues covered include liberty, justice, responsibility, and punishment employing actual legal cases. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) MIGELY

354. Political Philosophy
Intensive study of the work of a major political philosopher, such as A Theory of Justice by John Rawls or Plato's The Laws. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every third year. (Humanities) GRAY

355. Philosophy of Religion
Philosophical examination of the major concepts and claims of the Western religious tradition. Topics to be discussed include the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil, the nature of religious language, the relation between faith and reason, the possibility of religious knowledge. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) WHITE

356. Philosophy of Science
Examination of science as a source of information about the world. Topics include the structure of scientific confirmation and explanation, the nature of scientific knowledge and progress, the difference between science and pseudo-science, and the moral evaluation of science. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) WHITE

357. Philosophy in Literature
Philosophical study of selected works of world literature by authors such as Mishima, De Beauvoir, Calvino, Clark, and Rand. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) GRAY

358. Philosophy of Mind
Theories about the mind and mental phenomena: the relationship between minds and brains; consciousness; free will; artificial intelligence; and the philosophy of psychology. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) WHITE

360. Evolution and Philosophy
An examination of the theory of evolution--what it says, what support it has, what it can (and cannot) explain–in order to see what (if any) implications it has for religion, morality, philosophy, and the understanding we have of ourselves and our world. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Alternate years. (Humanities) WHITE

361 through 366. Advanced Topics in Philosophy
See Topics Courses. (Humanities)

485. Senior Seminar in Philosophy
Advanced focus on an issue or movement or problem in philosophy, or on a particular philosopher. Prerequisites: at least three 300-level courses in Philosophy, a major in philosophy, and senior standing or permission of the department.