Philosophy Department

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INTRODUCTORY COURSES

102. Theories of Human Nature
A study of various theories about the nature of persons and their place in the universe. What does it mean to be human? What concepts are essential in understanding persons? How are persons related to other things in nature? To each other in society? To God? In what does human happiness or fulfillment consist? Readings will include works by Plato, Aristotle, Maimonides, Nietzsche, and Hannah Arendt.
Meets general academic requirement P.

104. Philosophy East & West
A comparison/contrast of some of the great systems of Eastern and Western philosophical thought. Topics will include selves and persons, immortality and reincarnation, theism and atheism, mysticism and rationalism, perception and illusion, monism and pluralism, being and nothingness. Meets general academic requirement D or P.

105. Conduct & Character
An introduction to ethics through the study of leading perspectives and familiar moral issues. We engage in moral choice and action every day of our lives, but we also struggle with questions about our moral life. Among the questions the course addresses are: Is there genuine moral truth, or is it all just ‘opinion’? What
is the relation of conduct to character? What standards might we use in judging conduct or character, and on what are they based? How do these various standards apply to concrete problems in contemporary life? Why should we struggle to be moral at all? Meets general academic requirement P.

106. Individual & Society
An introduction to the field of philosophy through an exploration of selected problems in socio-political theory with special attention to those that confront us in contemporary social life. These might include the grounds for political authority, the nature of individuals and social groups, our knowledge of the social good, and the comparative roles of reason, power, and wealth in human relations. Specific topics may vary by
section and year. Meets general academic requirement P.

108. Being & Knowing
An examination of various theories of the nature of reality and thought. As human beings we find ourselves in a world—experiencing and thinking. In short, we exist. But what is the meaning of our existence? What other kinds of things exist? Does God exist? Is the mind independent of the body? Do we have free will? Moreover, how are we to proceed with such inquiries? Are there objective standards of judgment? Whatis
knowledge as opposed to mere opinion? Can we have knowledge of reality at all?
Meets general academic requirement P.

LOGIC

110. Critical Thinking

A study of the principles and methods of correct reasoning. The course is designed to promote the development of skills in recognizing, analyzing, and evaluating arguments. Both deductive and nondeductive inferences will be considered; the identification of common fallacies in reasoning will be emphasized. Meets general academic requirement G.

211. Formal Logic
The formal analysis and assessment of deductive arguments using modern symbolic logic, including propositional and predicate logic.  Meets general academic requirement G.

HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY


221. Ancient Philosophy

The beginnings of western philosophy. A study of the enduring philosophical issues in the works of Plato and Aristotle with attention to their origins in pre-Socratic writings. Consideration will also be given to the development of Hellenistic thought and to the philosophical contributions of Augustine and Aquinas. Meets general academic requirement P.

223. Modern Philosophy
European philosophical thought during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A study of some of the most important attempts to formulate a systematic world-view consistent with modern science and its implications for an understanding of persons, knowledge, and society. Included are the continental rationalists Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz; the British empiricists Locke, Berkeley, Hume; and the critical
idealism of Kant. Meets general academic requirement P.

325, 326. Nineteenth Century Philosophy

European philosophical thought during the nineteenth century. A study of some of the significant issues and projects that emerged in the wake of Kant’s ‘critical’ philosophy and in a society increasingly shaped by scientific and industrial development. Readings will include works by Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.
Prerequisite: Any previous course in philosophy.
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 326.


ASIAN PHILOSOPHIES


220. Philosophies of Asia

This course explores many of the most influential philosophical ideas that have emerged from the cultures of South Asia and East Asia. We will read, discuss, and interpret translations of the primary texts themselves: the Vedas, the Upanishads, The Analects of Confucius, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, and many others. The
philosophical ideas of these texts are of fundamental importance for understanding the living cultures of Asian countries and Asian people today. Meets general academic requirements P or D.

250. Philosophies of India
A foundational course that explores the central schools of Indian philosophy. Through readings of primary texts we will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world views, styles of thinking, and  cultures of South Asia. We will examine several of the most important concepts, methods, texts,  philosophers, and schools of India thought. Topics will be taken from Vedas, Upanishads, Samkhya, Yoga,
Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Vedanta, Jainism, Carvaka, early Buddhist thought, Madhyamaka and  Yogacara Buddhist philosophies, and twentieth century appropriations and developments of traditional  philosophical themes.
Meets general academic requirements P or D.

251. Philosophies of China
A foundational course that explores the central schools of Chinese philosophy. Through readings of primary texts we will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world views, styles of thinking, and  cultures of East Asia. We will examine several of the most important concepts, methods, texts, philosophers, and schools of Chinese thinking. Topics will include Confucianism (Analects, Great
Learning, Doctrine of the Mean, Mencius, and Xunzi), Mohism (Mozi and the later Mohists), Daoism (Laozi, Zhuangzi), Legalism (Hanfeizi), the Logicians (Huizi and Gongsun Longzi), and Chinese Buddhist philosophies. Meets general academic requirements P or D.

351. Daoist Philosophies
An advanced course in Daoist philosophies. In this course we shall read closely, discuss and interpret, analyze, and engage critically with the three central texts of Daoist philosophical thought: the Laozi, also know as the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching), the Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), and the Liezi (Lieh Tzu). The course may also include the “Neo-Daoist” philosophical commentaries of Wang Bi and Guo Xiang, two influential
thinkers of the Han and Jin dynasties. We shall attempt to trace the development of Daoist ideas, especially through the various schools represented in the chapters of the Zhuangzi.
Prerequisite: Any previous course in philosophy. PHL 220 Philosophies of Asia is recommended
Meets general academic requirement W.


ETHICS AND SOCIAL THEORY

227. Philosophy of Feminism

Examination of the historical development and current state of feminist theory as both a critical perspective and an area of systematic inquiry. The course will include feminist epistemologies, political theory, and ethics. Readings will include works by Butler, Foucault, Irigaray, and Nussbaum. Meets general academic requirement P.

239. Political Philosophy
An examination of central issues and concepts in political philosophy in the work of historical and contemporary thinkers. Topics may include: the meaning and value of liberty, equality, and justice; competing political perspectives such as anarchism, liberalism, conservatism, fascism, etc.; debates within particular perspectives; the grounds of political legitimacy and of political obligation.
Not suitable for first year students.
Meets general academic requirement P.


241. Biomedical Ethics
An examination of the ethical issues raised by such practices as abortion, euthanasia, birth control, life prolonging techniques, human experimentation, recombinant DNA research, and cloning. How might such practices affect the individual and society? Are such practices ethical? Do patients and/or doctors have a right to refuse treatment? What considerations are relevant in making life or death decisions? How should
scarce medical resources be allocated? Meets general academic requirement P.

242. Law & Morality
An examination of issues at the intersection of law and morality. Readings drawn from historical and contemporary thinkers as well as from legal texts. Topics may include: the legitimate extent of legal control of individuals; the relation of legal validity and moral value; the role of moral reasons in judicial decision making; the nature of legal justice; legal obligation and forms of disobedience.
Not suitable for first year students.
Meets general academic requirement P.


245. Business Ethics
An examination of the ethical problems encountered in business. What obligations do employers have to their employees to provide suitable working conditions, follow fair hiring and promotion procedures, etc.? What obligations do businesses have to consumers to provide product information, use fair advertising techniques, etc.? What obligations do businesses have to the public to conserve limited resources, preserve
the environment, etc.? Meets general academic requirement P.

246. Environmental Philosophy
Examination of several theoretical approaches to the question of human relations with the nonhuman world and to associated questions about valuation, human society, and human morality. Theoretical approaches include utilitarianism, Kantianism, and right-based moralities, along with contemporary developments such as biocentrism, ecofeminism, and deep ecology. Attention is given, where possible, to non-European
perspectives. Applied topics include sustainability and our responsibilities to future generations, population ethics and consumerism, animal rights, and moral issues surrounding climate change. Meets general academic requirement P.

333, 334. Ethics
Examination of the theoretical structures and historical movement of predominantly western moral theories as well as of recent critical responses to traditional approaches. Perspectives typically covered include ancient and modern virtue theories, utilitarianism, Kantianism and its descendants, the critical views of
Nietzsche or Marx, and contemporary Anglo-American work. Related issues, such as indeterminacy, pluralism, and the nature of moral judgment are also addressed.
Prerequisite: any previous course in philosophy
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 334.


CONTEMPORARY AREAS AND MOVEMENTS

226. American Philosophy
A survey of American philosophical thought from the Colonial era through the twentieth century with special emphasis on the moral foundations of our political system, the history and development of the women’s and civil rights movements, the transcendental themes of individualism and optimism, and the meaning and value of religious and aesthetic experience. Readings drawn from the works of Jefferson,
Franklin, Thoreau, Emerson, DuBois, Stanton, King, James, and Dewey among others.  Meets general academic requirement P.

229. Phenomenology
In the twentieth century phenomenology has emerged as a new and powerful philosophical program. At its core is the impulse to reveal the reality which underlies and gets obscured by scientific activity and “everyday” thinking. But while the thinkers who carry out this project share a similarity of method, their writings reveal a provocative variation in results. What does this mean? And what are the strengths and
weaknesses of phenomenology as a method, program, and as a type of argument? We will consider these questions by considering the writings of thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty,  Irigaray, and Levinas.

234. Philosophy of Religion
An examination of the nature of religion, the meaning of religious claims, and the justification of religious beliefs. The views of both religious adherents and critics will be studied. Primary focus will be on the twentieth century writings in the attempt to explore the possibilities of intellectually responsible religious commitment in the contemporary world. Meets general academic requirement P.

236. Philosophy & the Arts
In this course we will think about art—about its nature and its important place in human life. To facilitate this, the course will bring together the writings of philosophers and the work of artists from a variety of domains. The goal here is not to intellectualize art but to understand the intelligence that goes into it, to enrich our experiences of art, and to foster our own creative sensibilities. Readings will include works byPlato, Aristotle, Kant, and Dewey. Meets general academic requirement P.

237. Philosophy of Science
An examination of the goals, methods, and assumptions of modern science. What distinguishes scientific explanations from non-scientific ones? How are scientific theories discovered and confirmed? What criteria of adequacy are used to decide between competing scientific theories? Are all sciences reducible to physics? Has physics proven that the world does not exist independently of our consciousness? Does science give us objective knowledge of the world? Is science a religion? Meets general academic requirement P.

327, 337. Philosophy of Language
A study of major movements in twentieth century philosophy arising out of the study of language and meaning. This “linguistic turn” in philosophy includes logical atomism, logical positivism, ordinary language philosophy, and deconstruction. Readings will be drawn from the work of Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Dummett, Quine, and Derrida.
Prerequisite: any previous course in philosophy
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 337.


328, 338. Philosophy of Mind
This course is a survey of the fundamental issues, controversies, and methods in contemporary philosophy of mind. Topics will include the relation between the mental and the physical, the problem of consciousness, perception, intentionality, mental causation, and the self. The course will also examine various methods for studying the mind, such as phenomenology, conceptual analysis, and natural scientific approaches.
Prerequisite: any previous course in philosophy or NSC 201 Mind & Brain
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 338.


331, 336. Epistemology
An exploration of the nature, scope, and sources of human knowledge. When and under what conditions do people have knowledge? Do we really know the things that we think we know? Is knowledge acquired by using the senses, the intellect, or both? Although some attention will be paid to the views of historical figures, the focus of the course will be on contemporary issues. Topics may include skepticism, the problem of analyzing the concept of knowledge, theories about the nature and structure of justification, a priori knowledge, feminist theories of knowledge, and the naturalization of knowledge.
Prerequisite: any previous course in philosophy
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 336.


332. Metaphysics
An inquiry into the ultimate nature of reality and our relationship to it. What sorts of things exist? Does the world consist solely of material objects or does it also contain immaterial objects such as God, souls, or numbers? What is the relationship between the mind and the body? Do humans have free will? Can humans survive the death of their bodies? Do our best theories reveal the truth about reality or do they merely reveal the ideological biases of the dominant group? Topics may include realism vs. anti-realism; nature of space and time; persons, minds, and free will; the problem of universals; and the existence of God.
Prerequisite: any previous course in philosophy
Meets general academic requirement W.

SEMINAR

500-549. Seminar

An investigation into a selected philosophical problem, text, thinker, or movement carried on by readings, discussions, and papers. The seminar is designed to provide majors, minors, and other qualified students with more than the usual opportunity to do philosophy cooperatively and in depth.
Meets general academic requirement W.

INDIVIDUALIZED INSTRUCTION

960. Philosophy Internship