PHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy 1.0 course credit
How do we know what we know? Who are we? What is real? Do people have free will? Is there absolute knowledge or only contingent knowledge? Many issues that we deal with in daily life are ultimately philosophical issues. The word philosophy is from the Greek for “love of wisdom,” but what is wisdom? Reading a selection of texts from the history of Western philosophy and from world philosophy, the class will consider these and other questions, while we work to perfect the art of “slow reading” and to value open-ended questions as much as or more than certain answers.
PHIL 201. Critical Thinking: Introduction to Logic 1.0 course credit
This course will be an introduction to the art of reasoning. We will practice analyzing arguments in advertising, the media, in selections from philosophical and literary texts, and in our own conversations as we explore deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, and fallacies.
PHIL 205. Classical and Medieval Philosophy 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as CLAS 205)
This course will offer a survey of some of the primary texts of ancient Greek and medieval philosophy in their cultural contexts. After considering Greek philosophy, we will trace some of its impact on the development of medieval philosophy. We will study the influence of the Arab-Muslim scholarship of medieval Spain both for its role in preserving, translating, and expanding on Greek texts and for its foundational role in the development of European culture.
PHIL 207. Ethics: Philosophical and Religious 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as RELG 207)
This course will examine some of the moral problems we face in our lives and will consider a variety of ways of thinking about how to understand them as well as how we talk about them in dialogue. Beginning with an overview of some of the main theoretical approaches in ethical thought in the Western philosophical tradition, the class will then consider specific issues, which may include: sexual ethics, violence and peace, economic justice, environmental ethics, business ethics, race, gender, etc.
PHIL 211. Philosophy of Education 1.0 course credit
An introduction to some of the philosophical foundations of education in order to consider the purposes of education for student, teacher, family, and society and some strategies for reaching educational goals. Students will consider how those philosophical foundations apply to educational practices of students and teachers and will ask what constitutes effective teaching and learning for both students and teachers. The class will explore how philosophies of education both shape and reflect societal values and will examine how those philosophies of education, put into practice, shape students and teachers, either to support and/or to challenge societal norms. This course is designed for students entering the teaching profession. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 213. Philosophy of Religion 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as RELG 213)
Can the existence of God be proven? How do we make philosophical sense of an event described as a miracle? Why does God permit the existence of evil in the world? How do we understand the fact of religious pluralism? These and other topics are explored in this introduction to the basic problems and issues that constitute philosophy of religion. This is a discussion-centered course that encourages meaningful debate between theists and atheists.
PHIL 215. Philosophy of Art 1.0 course credit
An examination of perennial questions concerning beauty in works of art and nature, the attribution of value, the relation of aesthetic judgment and imagination to cognition and moral duty, and the impact of these matters on inquiries in related disciplines (i.e., linguistics, psychoanalysis, and religious studies). This course fulfills the Beauty and Meaning in Works of Art requirement. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 217. Peace: Philosophical and Religious Approaches 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as RELG 217)
This course examines a topic, movement, or figure pertaining to philosophical and religious approaches to issues of peace and justice. Examples might include: Martin Luther King Jr., the philosophy of nonviolence, religious conceptions of peace, etc.
PHIL 218. Peace with Justice 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as RELG 218)
This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of peace and justice studies. Peace is not the mere absence of war but includes the redress of the kinds of structural violence (imperialism, racism, sexism, economic disparities, environmental degradation, etc.) that lead to conflict. Students will study a problem related to violence or injustice, analyze that problem critically, and engage in moral imagination as they develop strategies to address the problem. Prerequisites: None.
PHIL 225. Philosophy and Feminism 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as WOST 225)
This course will offer an introduction to some of the questions that shape feminist philosophy. What connections are there between feminist philosophy and feminist writing in other disciplines and feminist movements inside and outside the academy? The class will assume the importance of diverse women’s voices. Reading theoretical, literary, and experimental texts which challenge the distinction between theory and literature, the class will focus on how an awareness of the intersections of race, class, sexuality, gender, ability, and ethnicity is vital for disciplinary and interdisciplinary study in feminist philosophy. This course is required for the Women’s Studies Minor. Prerequisites: WOST 201 for WOST 225 students. For Phil 225 students, sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 230. Political Philosophy from Plato to the Present 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as POLS 230)
A historical survey and philosophical analysis of political theory from ancient Greece to the present. Includes works by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Mill. Prerequisites: None. PHIL 250. Special Topics 1.0 course credit
PHIL 300. Philosophy and Religions of Asia 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as RELG 300)
An introduction to the origins, histories, thought, practices, and developments of the great religions and philosophies of Asia. The course will study some of the following: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Eastern philosophies will be explored in religious and cultural contexts. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 307. Modern Philosophy 1.0 course credit
This course will trace the development of European modernity, from its beginnings in the Renaissance through the Reformation and Scientific Revolution and into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We will look especially at how the rise of modernity, as expressed by the Rationalists, the Empiricists and through the Kantian turn, shaped European views of nature, science, mind, body, spirit/faith, and the nature of human beings. The emphasis will be on understanding modern philosophical works in their historical context. Recognizing that how we conceptualize ourselves and our world is shaped by our cultural moments, we will also consider challenges to modern European conceptions of people and our planet. This course is designed for students with some experience in philosophy and assumes some familiarity with the discipline. Prior completion of Phil 101, Phil 201, Phil 205, or Phil 207 is highly recommended. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 310. Environmental Ethics 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as RELG 310)
An examination of ecological problems caused by human activities and possible solutions, starting with a rethinking of the relationship between human beings and nature. From different perspectives the course will investigate various interrelated issues ranging from ethical to metaphysical, including: Do we have an obligation to natural objects? If there should be an environmental ethic, what kind of ethic should it be? Students will have opportunities to develop and express their own views on these issues. This course is intended primarily for students in their sophomore, junior, and senior years. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 311. Contemporary Philosophy 1.0 course credit
This course will explore some of the directions philosophy has taken from late modernity to the present. Starting with a review of the eighteenth-century philosopher, Immanuel Kant, we will outline the defining features of modernity and some of the cracks in those foundations. Although quintessentially modern, Kant also paved the way for contemporary critiques of modernity on one hand and for contemporary attempts to defend and maintain modernity on the other. We will briefly consider the divergent paths contemporary philosophy has taken since Kant—the so-called Analytic and Continental paths—and we’ll ask ourselves if the two are really as separate as they sometimes seem. Finally, we’ll ask ourselves if there is a way to move from modernity’s selfassurance that the world can be understood with absolute certainty to contemporary views that the world may be beyond our grasp and that different cultures (broadly defined) have different foundations for understanding in a world of contingencies. This course is designed for students with some experience in philosophy and assumes some familiarity with the discipline. Prior completion of Phil 101, Phil 201, Phil 205, Phil 207, or Phil 307 is highly recommended. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 316. Existentialism 1.0 course credit (Cross listed as RELG 316)
An overview of issues and claims associated with existentialism, a cultural phenomenon touching upon and influenced by diverse fields of interests. The course necessarily is interdisciplinary, examining existential influences on literature and religious thought, as well as philosophy. Readings are from a number of contributors to the tradition, including Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Tillich, Sartre, Camus. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 320. Individualized Study 1.0 course credit
Directed research and writing in an area of special interest to the student. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.
PHIL 340. Africana Philosophy 1.0 course credit (Cross-listed as RELG 340)
This course will study a small selection of the vast literature on the philosophies of Africa and the African diaspora. After an examination of some of the framing philosophical questions and the relationship of Africana thought to the terribly destructive and culture interrupting twin episodes of European colonization of the continent and the Atlantic slave trade, the class will explore three strands in African thought: sagacity, an Akan perspective on morality and ubuntu. Three main texts, Brand’s Map to the Door of No Return, Krog’s Country of My Skull, and Williams’ Losing My Cool, will frame the remaining major sections of the course. The first will be an exploration of diasporic consciousness framed by and in resistance to the castles in West Africa that are the door of no return about which Brand writes. The second is an examination of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in the wake of apartheid in South Africa and the ubuntu philosophy that framed them. And, finally, we will read Thomas Williams’ memoir exploring what it means to be Black in the contemporary United States. His text provides a context to discuss a variety of African-American philosophical thinking, from the 19th century to the present. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 350. Topics in the History of Philosophy 1.0 course credit
This course will examine a particular figure, period, or theme in the history of philosophy, in a more focused manner than a survey course will allow. Emphasis will be placed on the significance of these ideas for contemporary debates and perspectives. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
PHIL 450. Senior Research 0.25 to 1.0 course credit
Research semester, during which the students conduct research in preparation for their senior theses in philosophy. By the end of this semester, students will have read broadly in the relevant scholarship to generate and then focus a topic for the senior thesis.
PHIL 452. Senior Project 0.25 to 1.0 course credit
The student thoroughly examines a topic in philosophy and composes an extended essay involving in-depth research and analysis and/or synthesis under the individualized direction of a faculty member, or in a seminar. The thesis option culminates in a public presentation of the student’s work.