A list of regularly offered courses follows. Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement; (W) Writing requirement.
100. Introduction to Philosophy. (H)
Examination of traditional philosophical problems of method, knowledge, the nature of reality, religious belief and ethics. Staff
122. Introduction to Moral Philosophy. (H)
Survey of attempts to understand the nature and significance of moral thought. Theories will be assessed in part in light of current controversies, which may include capital punishment, affirmative action and the limits of state authority. Merli, Phillips
170 – 179. Special Topics. (H)
An introductory-level course on a topic chosen by the instructor. Topic changes from year to year. May be taken more than once.
210. History of Ancient Philosophy. (H)
The origin and development of the major themes of Greek philosophy from the Milesians through Aristotle. Same as CLS 210. Franklin
213. 17th- and 18th-Century Philosophy. (H)
A survey of main currents in Western philosophy from Descartes through Kant, emphasizing how the figures replaced the intellectual foundations of the medieval world with assumptions heavily influenced by the Scientific Revolution. Käufer
217. Existentialism. (H)
Existentialism is a label for a loose grouping of writers who investigate the personal and individual nature of one’s relation to the world and to others. These writers focus especially on questions about truth, commitment, responsibility, freedom and death. This class surveys some main texts in the existentialist tradition, with readings from Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche and Kundera. Käufer
218. Nietzsche. (H)
In-depth study of Nietzsche’s thought through close reading of his major writings. We will focus on literary and philosophical aspects of his writings. Käufer
220. Moral Theory. (H) (V)
A careful study of classic texts in moral philosophy, with an emphasis on questions about the foundations of ethics and the objectivity of moral judgment. Merli
223. Biomedical Ethics. (H)
Ethical issues related to developments in biology and medicine, including population control, genetic engineering and the allocation of medical resources. Same as STS 223. Merli
225. History of Political Philosophy. (H)
This course introduces classic texts of Western political philosophy. Topics include the role of the state and the extent of its legitimate power over citizens, the nature of property rights, and the nature and origin of our norms of justice. We also read contemporary texts that speak to the themes of the classic texts and that address modern concerns such as poverty, global justice, and personal liberty.
227. Contemporary Political Philosophy. (H) (V)
This course surveys contemporary debates in political philosophy. Topics may include the foundations of liberalism and democracy, feminist and antiracist critiques of liberalism, the case for various kinds of equality, the challenge of global justice, and multiculturalism and minority group rights. Phillips
244. Symbolic Logic. (H)
Deductive reasoning, emphasizing primarily symbolic; some discussion of issues in the philosophy of logic. Ross
250. Philosophy of Mind. (H) (ME)
A general introduction to the philosophy of mind, addressing four key philosophical issues: the nature of psychological explanation; the mind-body problem; the possibility of artificial intelligence; and the nature of persons. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or psychology. Same as SPM 250. Helm
270 – 279. Special Topics. (H)
An intermediate-level course on a topic chosen by the instructor. Topic changes from year to year. May be taken more than once.
317. Kant and German Idealism. (H)
Close examination of the two most important and influential views of the German idealist tradition: Kant’s critical philosophy and Hegel’s historicist reaction to it. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor. Käufer
319. 20th-Century Continental Philosophy. (H)
Close examination of the key texts of phenomenology and hermeneutics. We will study writings from Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas and others. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor. Käufer
320. Normative Ethics. (H) (V)
Survey of theories of right and wrong action, including examination of related questions concerning the good, well-being, obligation, etc. Literature will include defenses and criticisms of consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor. Merli
321. Meta-ethics. (H) (V)
Examination of the metaphysics, epistemology and semantics of moral discourse. Topics include objectivity of moral judgment, varieties of realism and anti-realism, cognitivism and competing accounts of practical rationality. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor. Merli
331. Free Will. (H) (ME)
An examination of contemporary theories concerning the nature of free choice. Special attention is given to the nature of moral responsibility and the relationship between free choice and determinism. Prerequisites: one prior course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor. Kroll
336. Metaphysics. (H) (ME)
Metaphysics asks what the most general features of the world are, why there is a world that has those features and how we human beings fit into that world. Examples of topics to be considered include: Is there a real, physical world outside the mind? What is the nature of time? What is required for things to persist through time? What is the nature of causation? Why does anything at all exist? Have we free will? Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor. Kroll
337. Philosophy of Natural Science. (H) (NSP) (ME)
The goals, methods, assumptions and limitations of natural science. Special attention will be paid to the philosophy of psychology, cognitive science and evolutionary biology. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor. Same as STS/SPM 337. Ross
339. Philosophy of Language. (H) (ME)
Investigation, based on contemporary writings, of the diverse functions served by language, of its conceptual presuppositions, and of its relationships to other symbolic media. Kroll
342. Rational Choice. (H) (ME)
An introduction to decision theory; topics include the rationality of the policy of nuclear deterrence, the rationality of pursuing self-interest in every situation, the impossibility of devising a democratic voting procedure, the irrationality of accepting all that is probable, and others. Less frequently offered. Ross
360. Concept of a Person. (H) (ME)
A careful examination of what it is to be a person, as an autonomous moral agent whose life can be meaningful, and of what distinguishes persons from the “lower” animals. Prerequisite: one prior Philosophy course. Helm
370 – 379. Special Topics. (H)
An intermediate- or advanced-level course on a topic chosen by the instructor. Topic changes from year to year. May be taken more than once.
381. Plato. (H)
An intensive treatment of some of the major philosophical themes in selected dialogues of Plato. Prerequisite: PHI 210. Same as CLS 381. Franklin
490. Independent Study.
Independent study directed by the Philosophy staff. Permission of the chairperson required.
498. Philosophical Research.
Intensive research and writing on a topic of the student’s choice carried on in a seminar setting. Includes several oral presentations by each student. Permission of instructor is required. Offered every Fall. Staff
TOPICS COURSES EXPECTED TO BE OFFERED IN 2014 – 2015
Philosophy of Emotions.