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Course Descriptions

Philosophy Courses:

PHI 101 Problems of Philosophy (4 SH). This course will explore various themes introducing the student to the whole discipline of philosophy, the history of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the contemporary thinkers, and some of the divisions of philosophical thought such as epistemology, ontology, and ethics.

PHI 102 Practical Logic (4 SH). A systematic introduction to critical thinking. This study of the methods and principles for the evaluation of argument includes formal techniques for reasoning that provides conclusive grounds for the truth of its conclusions. Both traditional (Aristotelian) and modern (Boolean) logic are considered, as is informal logic.

PHI 135 Ancient Greek Justice (4 SH). This course will be an examination of the philosophical ideas of justice that surfaced in the Golden Age of Greece and will include a travel-abroad component. The emphasis will be on the early establishment of a “people’s court” in which a jury of citizens stands judicial watch, continuing through the development of the Athenian judicial system that tried, convicted, and sentenced Socrates. Focus will be on differentiating the two types of justice that surfaced (shame and guilt), with a view towards understanding the impact that the Socratic idea of justice had on the development of Western culture.

PHI 200–209 The History of Philosophy (4 SH). Studies of the various historical periods of philosophy, such as the Ancient, Medieval, and Modern periods, and studies of the thought characteristic of particular centuries, such as the 19th and 20th centuries. More than one course in this sequence may be taken for credit, as long as each course has a different number, indicating different content. The following specific courses in this sequence are currently available:

PHI 200 Ancient & Medieval Philosophy. A study of the conceptual history that is Western philosophical thought, starting with its surge within the ancient Greek Ionian civilization (approximately 600 B.C.) and continuing until the end of the Medieval period (around 1400 A.D.). Emphasis will be placed on reading primary sources, in English translation, as a vehicle to understanding first the philosophical method itself; secondly, the philosophical problems that have defined Western philosophy; and thirdly, the developmental nature of philosophical thought. Authors to be discussed may include: the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Abelard, Maimonides, Avicenna, Averroes, and others.

PHI 202 Foundations of Modern Philosophy. An examination of the philosophical period that began with the philosophy of Rene Descartes, whose impact led to a redirecting of intellectual efforts and still reverberates today. Beginning with his attack on the epistemological methodologies of his contemporaries, this course will trace the impact followed. Included will be an examination of the primary epistemological divisions of the time (rationalism and empiricism), as expressed by the key philosophers of the time period (Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume), as well as a look at the culminating transitional figure who closes the period (Immanuel Kant).

PHI 206 19th & 20th Century Philosophy. This course will be an examination of a single, influential philosophical movement that occupied the 19th and 20th centuries: phenomenology. Following a brief historical sketch of Western philosophy, emphasizing the major philosophical positions and the development that defines Continental philosophy, the course will examine the turn that philosophy takes with Descartes, and then follow the major influences in this branch of Continental philosophy, with emphasis on figures such as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Beauvoir, and Derrida.

PHI 210–229 Topics in Philosophy (4 SH). Philosophical studies of various specific topics, such as philosophy of science, of religion, of the mind, etc. More than one course in this sequence may be taken for credit, as long as each course has a different number, indicating different content. The following specific courses in this sequence are currently available:

PHI 212 Philosophy of Science. An introduction to critical thinking as approached through philosophical problems concerning science. What is science? What is theory? How are theories verified or confirmed? The course includes inductive reasoning, the history and logic of scientific discovery, and how society and human perspectives affect scientific claims.

PHI 218 Philosophy of Mind. The philosophy of mind is one of the most rapidly developing and vigorous areas in contemporary philosophy. New techniques in neuroscientific imaging are providing a steady flow of data requiring philosophical analysis and interpretation. Guided reading will be supplemented by historical primary sources and articles on neuropsychology. Since it is highly desirable that both philosophy majors and students of neuropsychology be given the opportunity to study philosophy of mind, this course will normally be offered as part of a cluster with PSY 262: Neuropsychology of Mind.

PHI 230–259 Practical Ethics (4 SH). Studies in the application of moral philosophy to ethical questions raised by the practical issues of our time. Individual courses will focus on the application of developed moral theories (such as virtue ethics, utilitarianism, or an ethics of duty) to specific areas of inquiry, such as business, the environment, genetic engineering, and medicine. More than one course in this sequence may be taken for credit, as long as each course has a different number, indicating different content. The following specific courses in this sequence are currently available:

PHI 230 Environmental Ethics. Beginning with an examination of the nature of ethics in general, this course will explore a variety of theoretical positions on subjects such as the philosophy of nature, animal rights, deep ecology, eco-feminism, and global justice. One guiding theme will be the difference between the “anthropocentric” and an “eco-centric” attitude.

PHI 240 Biomedical Ethics. This course will deal with fundamental moral issues that surface in regard to the medical community and to practices therein, beginning with an examination of the theoretical foundation for making moral choices. Initial focus will be on the divergent religious and philosophical positions that have been put forward to justify medical moral choices. Included will be an examination of both consequentialist and non-consequentialist positions, including Divine Command Theory, Utilitarianism, Kant’s categorical position, Buddhist compassion, and others. Once students are grounded in these differing theoretical perspectives, we will examine specific issues from alternative perspectives, giving students an opportunity to compare and contrast divergent positions.

PHI 250 Business Ethics. This course will be a study of the ethical issues and problems that surface in our contemporary business environment. We will begin with an examination of the theoretical grounds upon which more decision making is based, looking at human conduct in relationship to what we ought to do. From this theoretical foundation, we will proceed to examine concrete ethical business practices, using case studies as a means to grasp the ethical issues of conducting modern business. Possible topics include corporate responsibilities (to shareholders, to the general population, and to the environment), product safety and liability, sexual harassment in the workplace, distribution of wealth.

PHI 401–410 Advanced Topics in Philosophy (4 SH). A thorough investigation of restricted areas of study in philosophy. One philosopher, one area, one idea or term, or one branch of philosophy will be selected and explored in detail. Different areas of content will receive different course numbers and a student may take more than one 400-level course as long as they have different numbers, indicating different content.

PHI 590-594 Field Experience/Internship (1-4 SH). Prerequisite: consent of the instructor and the department chair.

PHI 601 Philosophy Capstone (4 SH). The capstone in philosophy will attempt to prepare majors for the challenges of publication in the field. Under the guidance of their adviser, senior students will produce a polished article on a selected topic, using an appropriate style and format, and will attempt to publish this paper in a suitable journal. This course is required of all senior philosophy majors who are not doing an Honors Project in philosophy.

PHI 620-624 Independent Study (1-4 SH). Advanced study under guidance of a staff member in a special area selected by the student. Prerequisites: four relevant courses in philosophy and approval of the department chair.


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