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Philosophy Course Descriptions


300 Level

400 Level

Introductory Courses:

PHIL 105 Introduction to Philosophy
This course will focus primarily on the writings of Plato and Aristotle as central figures in that historical period when Western humanity began to use and to develop reason systematically as an instrument for understanding the world and its place in that world. Students will be introduced to the Greek contributions to logic, metaphysics, and ethics. 3.0 Credit hours.

PHIL 205 Ethics
This course undertakes a systematic analysis of fundamental problems and issues involved in questioning whether and how moral discourse can be rationally grounded; the utilitarian-deontological debate; questions concerning different levels of moral discourse; competing notions of justice and the relationship between morality and religion. 3.0 Credit hours


300 Level:

PHIL 320 Philosophy of Being
This class considers the real as real-its radical principles and common characteristics. As a course in metaphysics the aim is to deal systematically with the nature and structure of all reality. We consider the metaphysical basis for philosophical anthropology, philosophy of God, religion and ethics. Consideration is also given to criticisms of metaphysics by Hume, Kant, and other recent thinkers. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 325 Philosophy of Religion
What is God's nature? What reasons are there for believing God exists? In this course, we approach these sorts of questions using tools and methods of philosophical investigation in order to engage students in reasoning about God. The course draws on classic texts of Western thought and on contemporary philosophical discussions. Prerequisites: PHIL-105 & 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 330 Philosophy of the Human Person
A systematic or historico-systematic treatment of central philosophical problems relating to human nature including: the mind-body problem; the unity of persons; survival and immortality; sensation and intelligence; the emotions, their interplay with intelligence and volition; freedom vs. determinism; the person in and with or against society. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 335 Philosophy and the Good Life
This course will examine the idea of the good life: what's important in life? Topics may include: theories of well-being; happiness; the meaning of life; the examined life; morality and the good life; and religious vs. secular conceptions of the good life. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours.

PHIL 336 Medical Ethics
This course examines core ethical problems relating to the practice of medicine, nursing and the life-sciences. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 338 Business Ethics
In this class we will reflect on ethical issues relating to contemporary business practices and institutions.

PHIL 340 Ethics and Engineering
This course examines the moral and social issues that arise in the practice of engineering, e.g., risk assessment, use of proprietary information, whistle-blowing, environmental impact. The course applies moral theories and casuistic analysis to cases. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 342 Environmental and Ecological Ethics
This course will survey a number of environmental problems, looking at philosophical and ecological approaches to the issues. Topics may include: the moral status of animals, plants, ecosystems and species: poverty vs. the environment; global justice; consumerism; motivating people to care for the environment; mass extinctions; global climate change. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 345 Disaster Narratives
In this class students reflect on the nature and implications of disasters, including disease, climate change, and war. We will consider disasters from the standpoint of their real-life effects upon human beings, both with respect to innocent victims caught by forces beyond their control and with respect to perpetrators of disasters.
3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 350 The Stranger as a Sociological/Philosophical Problem
This course examines the philosophical, sociological, and literary texts that explore the critical and moral potential that strangers offer for individuals, cultures, and societies and for sociological and philosophical theory. The course will also seek to understand better structures and processes of exclusion. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205; 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 360 Science and Religion
This course surveys the relationship between scientific and religious thought from the perspective of major developments in the history of science. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205; 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 365 Topics in Science, Technology, and Society
This class investigates issues and themes connected with the relationships between science, technology, and human values: e.g., the role of science and technology in society; technology and ethics; critical theory of technology; philosophy of engineering; artificial intelligence and human nature; and science as a social process. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 380 Language and Argument
The class involves critical assessment of arguments and argumentative processes as found in actual social contexts and institutions. The course draws on the range of perspectives and tools available from formal and informal logic, dialectical analysis, rhetoric, linguistic philosophy, fallacy theory, and social analysis. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 & 205; 3.0 Credit hours


400 Level:

PHIL 404 Symbolic Logic
This course develops a theory of valid reasoning. The logic (and semantics) of propositions, quantifiers, properties, relations and identity are covered. It also examines the concepts of consistency, logical truth, logical form, logical equivalence, validity, and related notions. The student should emerge more attuned to how deductive arguments work in actual use and able to evaluate them. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205 or two mathematics courses or some combination of these. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 406 Logic for Pre-Professionals
This course is designed to provide pre-law (and other pre-professional school) students with a comprehensive treatment of modern formal and informal logic both in the area of argumentation and decision-making.
3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 407 Reasoning- probability & Uncertainty
This course explores philosophical problems of reasoning under conditions of uncertainty, and major approaches to solving such problems. Included are discussions of concepts of probability, statistical inference, and scientific evidence. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205, or two mathematics courses or some combination of these. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 408 Advanced Symbolic Logic
This course examines the meta-theory of sentential and first-order logic. The proof theory and model-theoretic semantics for a standard formal language will be developed. Included are proofs of completeness, compactness, and Loewenheim-Skolem theorems. Problems in the philosophy of logic may be raised along the way. Prerequisites: PHIL 404.  3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 409: Topics in Advanced Logic
This course examines some non-classical systems of logic. Examples include one or many of the following: modal, intuitionistic, paraconsistent, free, fuzzy, and multi-valued logics and their metatheories. The course may cover probability theory, computability theory, or the philosophy of logic. Such topics in the philosophy of logic include possible worlds, necessity, existence, logical consequence, logicism, and theories of conditionals. Prerequisite: PHIL 404. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 410 Survey of Epistemology
This course surveys central problems of epistemology. What is knowledge? What is justification? Do we know anything at all? Topics may include: various puzzles and paradoxes (including the lottery and surprise exam paradoxes); the problem of skepticism; foundationalism and coherentism; externalism and internalism; defeasivility; truthtracking; reliabilism; virtue epistemology; proper function; and contextualism. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 412 Topics in Epistemology
In this course we concentrate on an epistemological topic, such as skepticism, contextualism, virtue epistemology, or the value of knowledge. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205; 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 415 Survey of Philosophy of Science
This course explores some of the most prominent themes in recent philosophical studies of the sciences. Students should emerge with a deeper understanding of the meaning and status of scientific research and knowledge. Readings include discussions of particular endeavors from a range of scientific disciplines. Prerequsite: PHIL 105 and 205; 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 417 Topics in Philosophy of Science
This course takes a close look at philosophical problems and arguments relating to a particular scientific discipline, a particular aspect of scientific research, or a particular development of an aspect of the history of science. Prerequisites: PHIL105 and PHIL205; 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 418 Philosophy of Social Sciences
Consideration and evaluation of the analytic, phenomenological, and Marxist approaches to the social sciences. Representative thinkers in each approach will be studied. Problems of scientific laws in social sciences, type-construction, and objectivity in the social sciences. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 421 Metaphysics
An examination of one or more topics in contemporary metaphysics (including but not limited to: universals; individuation of concrete particulars; propositions, facts and events; necessity and possibility; persistence through time; realism-versis-anit-realism; vagueness; free will; personal identity; material constitution). Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205; 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 422 Survey of Philosophy of Language
This course surveys classical issues in contemporary philosophy of language. Topics include: meaning; truth; reference and descriptions; names and demonstratives; propositional attitudes; modality. This introductory course presupposes no previous acquaintance with philosophy of language. It is not, however, an elementary course since philosophy of language discussions reach into other areas of philosophy, such as logic, epistemology, and metaphysics. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205; 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 426 Philosophy of Mind
In this course, we will survey a range of topics in the philosophy of mind, including: the mind-body problem; physicalism; dualism; mental causation; consciousness; mental representation. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 428 Biology and Mind
Courses in physiological psychology say little about higher-level cognitive capacities, whereas cognitive psychology courses often ignore their neural underpinnings. In contrast, Biology and Mind employs a framework that combines neurobiological and cognitive considerations. Employing this framework, we first examine visual perceptual and imaging capacities, after which we explore philosophical issues concerning the conscious, causal, and creative aspects of such cognition. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.000 Credit hours

PHIL 430 Survey of Ethical Theory
A survey of recent ethical theory, focusing on two questions. First, what is the nature of morality? E.g., are there objective moral facts? Second, what does morality require of us? E.g., can it ever be immoral to promote the best consequences? Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 431 Topics in Ethics
An in-depth examination of one or more topics in ethics. Topics might include: virtue ethics; metaethics; moral realism and anti-realism; well being; happiness; moral evil; moral responsibility; ethics and human nature; recent work in deontological ethics (and/or consequentialism); theories of practical reason; morality and the emotions; moral relativism; moral psychology; and God and morality. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.000 Credit hours

PHIL 433 Philosophy of Law
A critical survey of the major Western conceptions on the nature of law and on the relationship between law and morality. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 434 Game Theory and Ethics
Treating game theory - the mathematical theory of individual rational choice in strategic situations - this course analyses pure conflict, static variable-sum, dynamic, repeated, and bargaining games, as well as utility theory. Applications are made in evaluating the contractarian political, economic, and moral theories of contemporary Hobbesians, Kantians, and Humeans. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 435 Survey of Social and Political Philosophy
This course will read and consider critically the works of selected major figures in the history of social-political philosophy. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.000 Credit hours

PHIL 436 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy
This course considers in depth selected issues in social-political theory, such as equality, democracy, rights, critical social theory, intersubjective understanding, collective action and solidarity, and social explanation. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 440 Ancient Greek Philosophy
This course engages classical philosophical problems through close study of one or more of the main figures or issues in ancient Greek thought. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.000 Credit hours

PHIL 450 Medieval Philosophy
This course introduces students to some of the central texts and thinkers of the medieval period (c.400-1500 a.d.). The aim of the course is to engage students in the scholarly work of reading and interpreting medieval philosophical texts and in the philosophical work of evaluating the arguments and positions such texts contain. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 455 Topics in Medieval Philosophy
A systematic treatment of a particular topic or figure from the Middle Ages. Potential subject matter might involve the philosophical views of a particular scholar (e.g. Augustine) or it might involve the development of thought on a general topic (e.g. free will). Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 456 Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas
A systematic treatment of important topics in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, including theories in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of human nature and action, ethics, and philosophical theology. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 460 History of Modern Philosophy
A survey of developments in Western philosophy from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. The course examines Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, and Kant, and may cover other figures (e.g. Spinoza, Berkeley, Hobbes, or Hegel) at the instructor's discretion. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 465 Topics in Modern Philosophy
Examines select themes and/or thinkers in the history of philosophy from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. Topics may include a specific thinker (e.g. Descartes), a related group of thinkers (e.g. the rationalists), or a philosophical topic as discussed in the modern period (e.g. social contract theory).Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 470 Contemporary German Philosophy
This class covers nineteenth and twentieth century philosophical thought in Germany. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 471 Survey of Continental Philosophy
This course will cover the nineteenth and early twentieth century origins of continental philosophy; the relation between the philosophies of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger; and the directions continental philosophy has taken subsequently, such as existentialism, phenomenology, deconstruction, and critical theory. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours.

PHIL 472 Topics in Continental Philosophy
This course takes up major topics discussed within continental philosophy, such as: intentionality; phenomenological methodology; freedom; the life-world; consciousness; intersubjectivity; deconstruction; ethics; the body; death; being; temporality; and transcendental foundations. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205.
3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 480 Topics and Movements in Contemporary Philosophy
Specific theme and focus of course to be determined by instructor. Course offered at Departmental discretion. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 481 Philosophy of Feminism
A critical examination of the feminist challenge to traditional conceptions of law, morality and epistemology. The philosophical and methodological assumptions underlying the feminist challenge will be explored.
3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 482 Philosophy and Race
A critical examination of the philosophical bases of multiculturalism; the biological and socio-cultural significance of race; varied philosophical approaches to racial identity; the epistemic and ethical dimensions of interracial interpretation and prejudice; and the questions posed about the philosophical tradition by its relationship to victims of racial prejudice. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 483 Person and Action-the Philosophical Anthropology and Ethics of John Paul II
Using the writings of Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) on the philosophy of human nature (The Acting Person) and special ethical issues (War, Labor, Sexuality, Justice), this course will suggest the outlines for a systematic philosophy based upon Thomism, phenomenology, personalism, and collectivism. Prerequisites: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 484 Catholic Social Thought
This course focuses on understanding the meaning of social justice as it has developed in the Catholic intellectual tradition, especially as expressed in the social encyclicals of the last 100 years. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 485 Topics in Philosophical Anthropology
This course is an intensive treatment of a topic or topics within the ongoing discussion about what it means to be a human person. For example: human nature and uniqueness; immortality; embodiment; love and friendship; freedom; and other topics related to the quest to understand what it means to be human. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 486 Topics in Philosophy of Religion
This course consists in an in-depth examination of one or two topics in the Philosophy of Religion, broadly construed. Specific topics might include issues such as: the problem of evil; God's nature and attributes; proofs for God's existence; faith and reason; religion and morality; the meaning and nature of religion, etc. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and 205. 3.0 Credit hours

PHIL 487 Systematic Survey
This course, principally for student in the College of Philosophy and Letters, serves as a "capstone course." Students write small papers on philosophy of human nature, epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of God and mutually criticize each other's papers. Finally, they produce their own full synthesis. Prerequisites: PHIL 105, 205 and permission of the instructor. 3.0 Credit hours

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