Philosophy

One of the things most characteristic of human being is our capacity for reflection, especially self-reflection, i.e., our ability to reflect on our own ability to reflect, a thinking about our own thinking. To engage in philosophical reflection, then, is to reflect on the fundamental nature and meaning of our very existence. The study of philosophy is thus at once both deeply personal (as the question of the meaning of my own existence) and communal (as the question of our shared historical human identity). The study of philosophy always entails a dual focus - first, on the methods and processes of thinking, and second on the determinate histories or traditions of philosophical reflection. It means learning, then, to think for oneself about fundamental issues, while at the same time learning about how others have ventured such reflection. By critically interacting with examples of sustained philosophical reflection on the most fundamental problems of human existence, students can gain greater control of their own reasoning processes as they partake in this fundamental questioning on their own, and can come to have more important critical insights into their world - social and otherwise - and more imaginative and thoughtful responses to life's challenges.

Minor Requirements: Philosophy. A minor in philosophy consists of 15 hours distributed as follows:

Required Courses (9 hours):
PHI 101: Introduction to Philosophy 3 hours
PHI 223: Ethics 3 hours
PHI 224: Logic 3 hours
 
Electives (6 hours):
Two of the following philosophy courses, at least one of which must be at the 300-level.
PHI 210: Readings in Philosophy 3 hours
PHI/REL 216: Faith and Doubt 3 hours
PHI/REL 306: Seminar in Ancient or Medieval Philosophy 3 hours
PHI/REL 309: From Modern to Postmodern 3 hours
PHI/WST 355: Seminar in Gender and Philosophy 3 hours
 

Philosophy (PHI) Gen. Ed. Course Descriptions

101: Introduction to Philosophy.
Goal: To introduce students to the history of philosophy from its beginning in Greece through the modern times.
Content: Through examination of primary texts in translation, students will be introduced to the questions about reality, human existence, God, and the good life that motivated philosophical speculation from its very beginnings int eh Greek world through modern times.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Historical Events & Phenomena, (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
210: Readings in Philosophy.
Goal: To introduce students to the sorts of questions and issues discussed in philosophical texts and the ways in which philosophers discuss these questions and issues. To help students develop their own skills in the reading and analysis of philosophical texts.
Content: Writings from one, two, or three different significant philosophers in the Western tradition. If the course focuses on the work of one philosopher, students and faculty will read together a significant part of that philosopher's work. If the course covers more than one philosopher, students and faculty will consider the philosophers' different approaches to a particular philosophical theme or set of themes. Representative topics might include Chinese philosophy, philosophy and the everyday, or Existentialism.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Developing; Writing competency, (HUM).
Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of College writing proficiency requirement.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as AST 210 (for Asian content only).
 
216: Faith and Doubt.
Goal: To introduce students to the philosophical issues raised by faith and doubt concerning "the Divine," including the nature of religious language and institutions and the impact such faith and doubt has on views of reality and ethics.
Content: Faith in some conception of a "Divinity" is still an important component of human societies, in spite of increasing attacks against faith and in favor of doubt. These debates about faith and doubt employ interesting philosophical arguments and have important philosophical, social, and political ramifications. Students will engage texts that argue for and against the rationality of belief in divinity, the importance of faith and doubt on views of social and ethical life, and differing views of reality connected with faith and doubt.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Individuals & Communities, (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours;cross-listed as REL 216.
 
223: Ethics.
Goal: To introduce students to the various issues involved in making moral decisions and to alternative theoretical constructs for making these decisions.
Content: Theories and principles of value and moral decision-making, and the application of these theories and principles to problematic situations in personal and professional life.
Taught: Annually.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Individuals & Communities, (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
309: From Modern to Postmodern.
Goal: To engage students in the critical reading and assessment of significant philosophical and religious thinkers or philosophical and religious trends from the Modern period until today.
Content: Students will examine in detail the philosophical and religious ideas of a particular thinker, school of thought, or philosophical/religious trend from the early modern period until today.Emphasis will be given to the characteristics of Modernism (in a range of different fields, including philosophy, theology, literature, and art) and the critiques of it in Postmodernism.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen Ed. Category: Synthesizing, (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours;cross-listed as REL 309.
 
355: Seminar in Gender and Philosophy.
Goal: To engage students in the critical reading and assessment of significant philosophical works concerning how gender impacts the practices of philosophy and society.
Content: Students will examine in detail the philosophical ideas of a particular philosopher, school of philosophy, or philosophical trend that concerns the impact of gender on issues such as views of reality, theories of knowledge, and the nature of human existence and society.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen Ed. Credit: Synthesizing, (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as WST 355.
 
Philosophy (PHI) Other Course Descriptions
224: Logic.
Goal: To introduce students to fundamentals of logical theory and its application in the development and evaluation of arguments.
Content: Formal and informal reasoning and fallacies; basic symbolic logic.
Taught: Alternate years.
Credit: 3 hours.
 
306: Seminar in Ancient or Medieval Thought.
Goal: To engage students in the critical reading and assessment of significant philosophers/theologians or philosophical/theological trends from the pre-Socratics throught the High Middle Ages.
Content: Students will examine in detail the philosophical/theological ideas of a particular philosopher/theologian, school of philosophy/theology, or philosophical/theological trend from the pre-Socratics through the High Middle Ages, such as the close examination of the works of a single thinker (e.g., Plato or Augustine), a school of thought (e.g., Neoplatonism or Aristotelianism), or philosophical/theological issue (e.g., problem of universals, nature of sacraments, or mysticism).
Taught: Alternate years.
Credit: 3 hours;cross-listed as REL 306.
 
396: Special Topics in Philosophy.
Goal: To engage students in a focused and careful study of a particular area of philosophical inquiry.
Content: Topics will vary according to the interests of the students and the instructor. Possible topics include philosophical sub-fields such as metaphysics or aesthetics, philosophical issues such as those of the understanding of personal identity or the implications of gender in philosophical expression, philosophical schools such as pragmatism or modern British empiricism, and the work of a particularly significant philosopher such as Plato, Kant, or Arendt.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisite: Any 300-level PHI course or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours. A student may take a maximum of six to eight semester hours (two courses) of special topics in any one field.
 
451: Directed Independent Study.
Goal: To engage an individual student in a sustained research project that culminates in the writing of a paper.
Content: Topic varies according to the interests of the student.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Credit: 1-6 hours.
 
452/199: Field Study.
Goal: To introduce students to on-site experience of specific vocations in their major.
Content: Actual work experience.
Taught: Fall, Spring.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor and program director.
Credit: 1-12 hours.
 
499: Honors Thesis. (Fee required)
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