A list of regularly offered courses follows. The indication of when a course will be offered is based on the best projection of the department and can be subject to change.
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.
Examination of traditional philosophical problems of method, knowledge, the nature of reality, religious belief and ethics. Staff
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, Manis
What is the mind? Is it part of physical reality, or something separate? What distinguishes various kinds of mental states, such as sensation, perception, consciousness, and thought? What is the nature of the self, and what is involved in being responsible moral agents? We will investigate these questions, drawing on both philosophy and cognitive science. Semczyszyn
An introductory-level course on a topic chosen by the instructor. Topic changes from year to year. May be taken more than once.
The origin and development of the major themes of Greek philosophy from the Milesians through Aristotle. Same as CLS 210. Koss
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
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
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
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
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
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. Manis
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. Manis
Deductive reasoning, emphasizing primarily symbolic; some discussion of issues in the philosophy of logic. Ross
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. Semczyszyn
An introduction to foundational questions about knowledge and the nature of reality. Kroll
An intermediate-level course on a topic chosen by the instructor. Topic changes from year to year. May be taken more than once.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. Chemero, Ross
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
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
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.
An intensive treatment of some of the major philosophical themes in selected dialogues of Plato. Prerequisite: PHI 210. Same as CLS 381. Franklin
Independent study directed by the Philosophy staff. Permission of the chairperson required.
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. Staff
Nature of Mind.
Contemporary Political Philosophy.
Self and Identity Global Justice.
Rationalism/Empiricism Topics in Metaphysics.