Academic Catalog

Philosophy (PHI)

PHI 1001  Logic and Critical Thinking  (5 Credits)  
An introductory course in logic that covers the following topics: the basic concepts of logic (such as validity and soundness), argument forms, identifying arguments, logic and language, categorical syllogisms and Venn diagrams, informal fallacies, truth tables and natural deduction (for propositional logic).
PHI 1002  Ethics and the Good Life  (5 Credits)  
This course will introduce students to the methods and practices of moral philosophy as we engage the perennial question of how should we live a good life. Students will engage with philosophers from a variety of cultural and philosophical perspectives and approaches. The aims of the course include: developing tools for productive cross-cultural moral discourse, learning how to analyze philosophical arguments, and learning how to articulate one's own moral views.
PHI 1004  The Examined Life  (5 Credits)  
Ever since Socrates declared that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” philosophers and other thinkers have debated what it means to live a well-examined life. This course discusses what it means to think critically and what it is to be human and pursue the good life. In addition, ethical questions pertaining to justice, holiness, social contract, and the nature of virtue will be explored. In considering these and other questions, the course brings those from Greek and other Western traditions into conversation with Islamic, feminist and African American intellectuals who have challenged the prevailing definitions of humanity, justice, and the good life.
PHI 2001  Advanced Logic  (5 Credits)  
Covers these topics: predicate logic with identity and modal logic.
PHI 2222  Social Ethics  (5 Credits)  
In this course we critically examine contemporary controversial moral issues. Questions that may be addressed include: Is abortion morally permissible? Under what conditions, if any, can war or terrorism be justified? Do animals have rights? Does the environment? Do we have a moral obligation to help people in other countries? May the state permissibly prohibit the use of drugs? Should homosexual couples be allowed to marry?
PHI 2500  Science, Technology and Society  (3 Credits)  
How has modern science and technology transformed the human condition and the modes in which humans engage creation/nature? This course examines what makes the sciences distinct as a way of knowing from other means to knowledge. It considers questions at the intersection of science and ethics and will look at the impact of technology on society and the pursuit of the good life. More pointedly, in what ways does modern technology undermine the good life and what challenging ethical questions are raised by the internet, artificial intelligence, and biotechnologies (e.g. genetic engineering or gene therapies/enhancements)? Typically offered: Alternate Years, Spring.
PHI 2700  Philosophy of Law  (3 Credits)  
This course is a rigorous introduction to topics in the philosophy of law such as: (i) Why do we have laws? (ii) At what types of goods (e.g., fairness, liberty, wealth) should the law aim? (iii) What are rationales behind particular laws? How do race or discrimination figure in the establishment, or enforcement, of some laws? (iv) Are we ever obligated to follow (or oppose) the law? We’ll engage these topics primarily by looking at various answers to them as well as the legal and philosophical arguments for those answers. By the end of the course, you should be able to understand arguments for and against various answers to the questions above; support your own answers to these questions with reasoned reflection; and apply your analytical skills to other subjects. Typically offered: Alternate Years.
PHI 2999  Ethics and the Arts  (3 Credits)  
This course is primarily concerned with understanding aesthetic value. Is beauty an objective quality that a thing either has or does not have, or are aesthetic judgments merely expressions of personal taste? What sorts of things should we take into account in evaluating art? What is the proper function of art, and of the art critic? Should the government fund art?
PHI 3601  Ancient Philosophy  (5 Credits)  
Surveys the work of principally Greek philosophers emphasizing Plato and Aristotle. Some consideration may be given to pre-Socratics and post-Aristotelian developments, such as stoicism and Neoplatonism.
PHI 3602  Medieval Philosophy  (3 Credits)  
What happens when Greek philosophy starts a conversation with the Abrahamic faith traditions (Judaism, Christianity, & Islam)? This course discusses some of the issues and questions arising from the Ancient period (especially in Plato and Aristotle) and engaged by later theologians and philosophers struggling to articulate the beliefs and practices of their faith traditions. Questions include: What is the nature of God? How are we to understand divine knowledge and power? How do answers to such theistic questions accord with human free will, sin, and evil? What is the relationship between faith and reason, and faith and ethics? The course focuses on such thinkers as: Augustine, Boethius, Al Farabi, Ibn Sina, Al Ghazali, Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas. Typically offered: Winter.
PHI 3606  Continental Philosophy  (5 Credits)  
Surveys major philosophical figures in the continental tradition such as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida and Rorty. Typically offered: Alternate Years.
PHI 3633  Early Modern Philosophy  (5 Credits)  
Surveys the thought of main figures in the early modern period such as Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume and Kant. Typically offered: Spring.
PHI 3651  Contemporary Ethical Theory  (5 Credits)  
An in-depth examination of the main philosophical theories of ethics such as consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Contemporary versions of these theories will be emphasized. Selected topics in metaethics will also be included, such as morality and self-interest, and morality and rationality.
PHI 3700  Philosophy of Language  (3 Credits)  
We typically communicate by using language, where communicating involves conveying meaning. But what is meaning? And what is a language? Philosophy of language examines these and related issues, such as: in virtue of what do words, or names, refer to objects or to persons? How do we mean more than what we literally say? Related topics include theories of meaning and reference, the distinction between semantics and pragmatics, and the variety of speech acts. May also cover recent work on metaphor and non-literal speech, pejoratives, or the language and power of propagandistic speech. Typically offered: Autumn.
PHI 3770  Political Philosophy  (3 Credits)  
An in-depth examination of the main philosophical theories of the nature of justice and the just society such as liberalixm, libertarianism, communism, and communitarianism. Contemporary and historical theories will be covered. Typically offered: Alternate Years.
PHI 3999  Minds and Machines  (3 Credits)  
This course explores the nature of minds, consciousness, and the relationship between the mind and the brain. If thoughts, beliefs, desires, intentions, and emotive states can be evident in organic structures like the human brain, what else could exhibit them? What varieties of artificial intelligence are possible? Can computers be truly intelligent?
PHI 4652  Contemporary Metaphysics  (5 Credits)  
An in-depth examination of classic metaphysical issues focusing on more recent contributions to the debates. Topics include agency, free will, causation, the nature of time, the temporal persistence of persons, and the ontology of race and gender. Typically offered: Winter.
PHI 4653  Contemporary Epistemology  (3 Credits)  
An in-depth examination of classic epistemological issues focusing on more recent contributions to the debates. Topics include the analysis of knowledge, the Gettier problem, the structure and sources of justification, skepticism, a priori knowledge, and naturalized and feminist epistemology.
PHI 4897  Philosophy of Religion  (5 Credits)  
Explores advanced issues in philosophy of religion / philosophical theology. Topics may include: religious epistemology, theistic arguments, religious diversity and pluralism, the problem of evil, divine providence and free will, the divine attributes, divine revelation, the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement. Fulfills the senior capstone requirement in philosophy.
PHI 4900  Independent Study  (1-5 Credit)  
Student works independently with a faculty member on a mutually agreed upon topic.
PHI 4920  Directed Readings  (1-9 Credit)  
Directed Readings
PHI 4930  Philosophy Practicum  (1-8 Credit)  
For advanced students who wish to assist as discussion leaders and readers in lower-division philosophy classes.
PHI 4940  Philosophy Internship  (1-5 Credit)  
Prerequisite: 30 credits of philosopy. Practical application of philosophical skills. (See philosophy Web-site for illustrative possibilities.)
PHI 4950  Special Topics in Philosophy  (1-5 Credit)  
An in-depth exploration of a specific philosophical topic chosen by the instructor. Recent topics include the problem of evil, the doctrines of the trinity and incarnation, political philosophy and C.S. Lewis on the quest for the permanent things.
PHI 4970  Independent Research  (1-9 Credit)  
Independent Research