PHIL - Philosophy

PHIL100 Introduction to Philosophy (3 Credits)

An introduction to the literature, problems, and methods of philosophy either through a study of some of the main figures in philosophic thought or through an examination of some of the central and recurring problems of philosophy.

PHIL140 Contemporary Moral Issues (3 Credits)

The uses of philosophical analysis in thinking clearly about such widely debated moral issues as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, pornography, reverse discrimination, the death penalty, business ethics, sexual equality, and economic justice.

PHIL170 Introduction to Logic (3 Credits)

Development of analytical reasoning skills through study of formal logics, reasoning systems, and fallacious inference patterns.

PHIL201 Spooky Action at a Distance? Where Physics Meets Metaphysics (3 Credits)

Einstein believed that physics should represent a "reality in space and time, free from spooky action at a distance." He worried that quantum theory failed this test. Later developments suggest that quantum systems really can influence one another instantly, no matter how far apart they are, but the question remains controversial and experiments are not sufficient to provide an answer. This self-contained course will draw on philosophy and physics to investigate the controversy.

Recommended: Students should be comfortable with moderately mathematical presentations. Placement into MATH110 or higher is strongly recommended.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL201 or PHIL209I.

Formerly: PHIL209I.

PHIL202 Know Thyself: Wisdom Through Cognitive Science (3 Credits)

How do we improve our decision making? Cognitive science demonstrates that self-knowledge isn't as easy as we think, and that there are numerous biases and fallacies that impact our decision-making in ways that are hard for us to be aware of. In this course you will learn what some of these are and how they have been discovered, and you will explore potential strategies for avoiding these fallacies and for making wiser choices.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL209N or PHIL202.

Formerly: PHIL209N.

PHIL203 The Rights and Wrongs of Killing People (3 Credits)

Virtually everyone thinks it's permissible to kill people only in special circumstances. But why is killing usually wrong? Is it ever acceptable to kill an innocent human being intentionally? This course raises these and related questions and examines cases such as terrorism, suicide, abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, war. Except for a brief discussion of animals, all the controversies considered deal with killing and causing death to human beings.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL209J or PHIL203.

Formerly: PHIL209J.

PHIL204 Happiness (3 Credits)

What does the discipline of philosophy teach us about happiness? This course explores how philosophers have addressed questions about the nature of happiness and its role in the good human life. Questions to be addressed include: what is it to be happy? What social, economic, and political institutions foster and support human happiness? Can an immoral person be happy? And is a happy life the same as a meaningful life?

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL209E or PHIL204.

Formerly: PHIL209E.

PHIL209 Philosophical Issues (3 Credits)

An examination of selected philosophical issues of general interest.

Repeatable to: 6 credits if content differs.

PHIL218 Issues in in Epistemology/Metaphysics (3 Credits)

An examination of selected philosophical issues in epistemology or metaphysics.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

Additional Information: Counts toward the epistemology/metaphysics requirement for the Philosophy major.

PHIL220 Bioethics: Regulating Right and Wrong (3 Credits)

Bioethicists formulate ethical guidelines. They answer questions such as: When life-saving health resources are scarce, who should get them? Should we increase supply of one such resource, kidneys, by buying them from living "donors"? If drug trials in developing countries benefit patients who consent to participate, are the trials ethical, even if the same research would be forbidden in the US? If a sick person aims to hasten her death, how, if at all, might her doctor permissibly help her? In this course, students construct and defend ethical rules in four domains: research ethics, allocation of scarce resources, markets in organs, and physician-assisted dying.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL209A or PHIL220.

Formerly: PHIL209A.

PHIL228 Issues in History of Philosophy (3 Credits)

An examination of selected issues in the history of philosophy.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

Additional Information: Counts toward the history of philosophy requirement for the Philosophy major.

PHIL230 Philosophy of the Arts (3 Credits)

A survey of theoretical perspectives on the arts from Plato to the present, along with critical examination of specific works of art. Analysis of concepts central to thought about art, such as beauty, form, content, expression, representation, interpretation, creation, style, medium, realism, aesthetic experience, and aesthetic value.

PHIL233 Philosophy in Literature (3 Credits)

Reading and philosophical criticism of fiction, poetry, and drama, dealing with issues of moral, religious, and metaphysical significance.

PHIL234 Fundamental Concepts of Judaism (3 Credits)

A conceptional introduction to Judaism, analyzing its fundamental concepts from both analytical and historical perspectives. Discussion of "normative" Judaism as well as other conceptions of Judaism. Topics include: God, the Jewish people, authority, ethics, the sacred and the profane, particularism and universalism.Also offered as: JWST250, RELS250.

Credit Only Granted for: JWST250, PHIL234, or RELS250.

PHIL235 Authority, Faith, and Reason in Judaism (3 Credits)

A broad survey of the concepts of authority, faith, and reason in Jewish tradition from the Bible to the modern period, and their interrelationships.Also offered as: JWST251.

Credit Only Granted for: JWST251 or PHIL235.

PHIL236 Philosophy of Religion (3 Credits)

A philosophical study of some of the main problems of religious thought: the nature of religious experience, the justification of religious belief, the conflicting claims of religion and science, and the relation between religion and morality.Also offered as: RELS236.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL236 or RELS236.

PHIL238 Issues in Value Theory (3 Credits)

An examination of selected issues in ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy and related areas.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

Additional Information: Counts toward the value theory requirement for the Philosophy major.

PHIL245 Political and Social Philosophy I (3 Credits)

A critical examination of such classical political theories as those of Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, and such contemporary theories as those of Hayek, Rawls, and recent Marxist thinkers.

PHIL250 Philosophy of Science I (3 Credits)

Main issues in the philosophy of science. Special attention to the ways scientific developments have influenced the philosophy of science and how philosophy of science has influenced scientific progress. Case studies of selected historical episodes in which science and philosophy have interacted significantly, focusing on the physical, biological, or social sciences.

PHIL256 Philosophy of Biology I (3 Credits)

Issues in the discovery and justification of biological theories and models. Focus on cases from twentieth century biology, such as the genetic revolution or evolutionary theory.

PHIL261 Philosophy of the Environment (3 Credits)

An evaluation of different kinds of arguments for the claim that the natural environment should be preserved. Perspectives cut across the disciplines of philosophy (environmental ethics and philosophies of nature); economics (cost-benefit analysis); and biology (evolution, ecology, environmental studies).

Credit Only Granted for: HONR218F or PHIL261.

Formerly: HONR218F.

PHIL269 Speical Topics in Study Abroad II (1-6 Credits)

Special topics course taken as part of an approved study abroad program.

Repeatable to: 15 credits if content differs.

PHIL282 Free Will & Determinism (3 Credits)

A study of the main positions and arguments in the free will debate in contemporary analytic philosophy.

PHIL308 Studies in Contemporary Philosophy (3 Credits)

Problems, issues, and points of view of current interest in philosophy.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

Repeatable to: 6 credits if content differs.

PHIL309 Philosophical Problems (3 Credits)

A focused study of a contemporary philosophical problem or issue. Topics will vary, but the course will encourage students to to generate critical analyses or proposed resolutions of issues in the contemporary philosophical literature.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

PHIL310 Ancient Philosophy (3 Credits)

A study of the origins and development of philosophy and science in ancient Greece, focusing on the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Prerequisite: Must have completed 6 credits in philosophy or classics.

PHIL318 Studies in Epistemology/Metaphysics (3 Credits)

Problems, issues, and points of view in epistemology or metaphysics.

Prerequisite: 1 course in PHIL.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

Additional Information: Counts toward the epistemology/metaphysics requirement for the Philosophy major.

PHIL320 Modern Philosophy (3 Credits)

A study of major philosophical issues of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries through an examination of such philosophers as Descartes, Newton, Hume, and Kant.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL324 Existentialism (3 Credits)

A study of authors such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sarte, and Camus on issues of human morality, freedom, and suffering.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL328 Studies in the History of Philosophy (3 Credits)

Problems, issues, and points of view in the history of philosophy.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

Repeatable to: 6 credits if content differs.

PHIL332 Philosophy of Beauty (3 Credits)

Philosophical theories, historical and contemporary, of beauty, sublimity, and other aesthetic qualities, of aesthetic experience, and of aesthetic judgment.

Prerequisite: 3 courses in PHIL; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

PHIL338 Studies in Value Theory (3 Credits)

Problems, issues and points of view in ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy and related areas.

Prerequisite: 1 course in PHIL.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

Additional Information: Counts toward the value theory requirement for the Philosophy major.

PHIL341 Ethical Theory (3 Credits)

A critical examination of classical and contemporary systems of ethics, such as those of Aristotle, Kant, Mill, and Rawls.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL347 Philosophy of Law (3 Credits)

Examination of fundamental concepts related to law, e.g. legal systems, law and morality, justice, legal reasoning, responsibility.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL347 or PHIL447.

Formerly: PHIL447.

PHIL354 Philosophy of Physics (3 Credits)

An introduction to current issues at the interface of physics and philosophy, associated with our current picture of the physical world as fundamentally quantum mechanical. Topics include the debate between Einstein and Bohr on the objectivity and completeness of the quantum description, nonlocality and Bell's theorem, realism and the measurement problem, irreversibility and the arrow of time.

Prerequisite: MATH120 or PHYS260; or must have completed MATH220; or students who have taken courses with comparable content may contact the department; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

Recommended: PHYS401 and PHYS270.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL354 or PHIL452.

PHIL360 Philosophy of Language (3 Credits)

An inquiry into the nature and function of language and other forms of symbolism.

Prerequisite: 2 courses in PHIL; and (PHIL170 or PHIL370). Or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department. Also offered as: LING350.

Credit Only Granted for: LING350 or PHIL360.

PHIL362 Theory of Knowledge (3 Credits)

Some central topics in the theory of knowledge, such as perception, memory, knowledge, and belief, skepticism, other minds, truth, and the problems of induction.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses; and PHIL170.

Formerly: PHIL462.

PHIL364 Metaphysics (3 Credits)

The study of some central metaphysical concepts and issues including the nature and validity of metaphysical thinking, universals, identity, substance, time, God, and reality.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

Formerly: PHIL464.

PHIL366 Philosophy of Mind (3 Credits)

An introduction to core issues in the philosophy of mind, focusing especially on the basic metaphysical question of dualism versus physicalism.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL369 Special Topics in Study Abroad III (1-6 Credits)

Special topics course taken as part of an approved study abroad program.

Repeatable to: 15 credits if content differs.

PHIL370 Symbolic Logic (3 Credits)

A review of propositional and predicate logic and related topics and an introduction to the semantics and metatheory of first-order logic.

Prerequisite: PHIL170 or CMSC250; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL271, PHIL370, or PHIL371.

PHIL386 Experiential Learning (3-6 Credits)

PHIL408 Topics in Contemporary Philosophy (3 Credits)

An intensive examination of contemporary problems and issues. Source material will be selected from recent books and articles.

Repeatable to: 99 credits if content differs.

PHIL409 Advanced Studies in Contemporary Philosophy (3 Credits)

An in-depth study of a contemporary philosophical problem or issue. Topics will vary, but the course will encourage students to grapple with the primary literature in order to generate sustained critical analyses or proposed resolutions of issues under active consideration in contemporary philosophy.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

PHIL412 The Philosophy of Plato (3 Credits)

A critical study of selected dialogues.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL414 The Philosophy of Aristotle (3 Credits)

A critical study of selected portions of Aristotle's writings.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL416 Medieval Philosophy (3 Credits)

A study of philosophical thought from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries. Readings selected from Christian, Islamic, and Jewish thinkers.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL417 The Golden Age of Jewish Philosophy (3 Credits)

Jewish philosophy from Maimonides in the 12th century to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain at the end of the 15th century. Topics include the limitations of human knowledge, creation of the world, foreknowledge and free will, and the existence of God.

Prerequisite: 3 credits in PHIL courses; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department. Also offered as: JWST452.

Credit Only Granted for: JWST452 or PHIL417.

PHIL418 Topics in Epistemology/Metaphysics (3 Credits)

An intensive examination of contemporary problems and issues in epistemology or metaphysics. Source material will be selected from recent books and articles.

Prerequisite: 2 courses in PHIL.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

PHIL424 The Philosophy of Spinoza (3 Credits)

An investigation of the metaphysical, ethical and political thought of the 17th century philosopher Benedict Spinoza.

Prerequisite: 3 credits in PHIL courses; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

Restriction: Must not have completed JWST453. Also offered as: JWST453.

Credit Only Granted for: JWST453 or PHIL424.

PHIL428 Topics in the History of Philosophy (3 Credits)

PHIL431 Aesthetic Theory (3 Credits)

Study of the theory of the aesthetic as a mode of apprehending the world and of the theory of criticism, its conceptual tools and intellectual presuppositions.

Prerequisite: 9 credits in PHIL courses; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

PHIL438 Topics in Value Theory (3 Credits)

An intensive examination of contemporary problems and issues in ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy and related areas. Source material will be selected from recent books and articles.

Prerequisite: 2 courses in PHIL.

Repeatable to: 12 credits if content differs.

PHIL440 Contemporary Ethical Theory (3 Credits)

Contemporary work on fundamental problems in ethical theory, such as whether there are moral truths, whether and how our moral claims can be justified, what exactly makes an act right or wrong, the nature of moral language, and the role of reason and emotion in moral judgment.

Prerequisite: PHIL341; or permission of instructor.

PHIL443 Moral Psychology (3 Credits)

Philosophers often stress reasoning as the appropriate source for practical and moral action. Would a realistic view of human psychology undermine this assumption? This course will examine recent philosophical and empirical work on the relevance of emotion and/or intuition to rationality, moral worth, and moral judgment.

Prerequisite: 2 courses in PHIL.

Recommended: PHIL341 is strongly recommended for background on the historical authors that the readings make reference to.

Credit Only Granted for: PHIL408P or PHIL443.

Formerly: PHIL408P.

PHIL445 Contemporary Political Philosophy (3 Credits)

Major trends in contemporary political philosophy: liberal, libertarian, communitarian, socialist, feminist.

Restriction: Must have completed 3 credits in philosophy or political theory; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department. And sophomore standing or higher.

PHIL446 Law, Morality, and War (3 Credits)

An exploration of fundamental moral and legal issues concerning war.

Prerequisite: GVPT401 and PHIL341; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department. Also offered as: GVPT403.

PHIL454 Philosophy of Space and Time (3 Credits)

A non-technical investigation of philosophical issues in the foundations of physics. Topics may include traditional philosophical problems of space and time, metaphysical issues about the nature of particles and fields, and philosophical problems associated with the introduction of probability into physics, such as the problem of irreversibility in thermodynamics and the problem of objectivity in quantum theory.

Prerequisite: 6 credits in PHIL courses.

PHIL456 Philosophy of Biology II (3 Credits)

Questions about concepts, reasoning, explanation, etc., in biology, and their relations to those of other areas of science. Case studies of selected aspects of the history of biology, especially in the twentieth century.

Prerequisite: PHIL256 or PHIL250; or must be Life Science major; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

PHIL458 Topics in the Philosophy of Science (3 Credits)

A detailed examination of a particular topic or problem in philosophy of science.

Repeatable to: 6 credits if content differs.

PHIL469 Study Abroad Special Topics IV (1-6 Credits)

Special topics course taken as part of an approved study abroad program.

Repeatable to: 15 credits if content differs.

PHIL470 Logical Theory (3 Credits)

This course will treat a selection of the most important topics in modern logic: alternative proof-theoretic presentations of logical systems, completeness proofs for classical propositional and first-order logic, some basic computability theory, basic limitative results (such as Godel's incompleteness theorems), and some results concerning second-order logic. The primary focus of the course is a study of these fundamental topics, but we will also discuss some of the philosophical issues they raise.

Prerequisite: PHIL370; or permission of instructor.

PHIL478 Topics in Philosophical Logic (3 Credits)

Methods and results of philosophical logic, the application of logical techniques to the study of concepts or problems of philosophical interest. Content will vary, either treating a particular logical area in detail--such as modal logic, conditional logic, deontic logic, intuitionistic or relevance logic, theories of truth and paradox--or surveying a number of these different areas.

Prerequisite: PHIL370; or permission of instructor.

Recommended: PHIL470.

Repeatable to: 9 credits if content differs.

PHIL488 Topics in Philosophy of Cognitive Studies (3 Credits)

Examination of a particular topic or problem in philosophy of cognitive studies.

Prerequisite: 3 credits in PHIL courses; or permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

Repeatable to: 9 credits if content differs.

PHIL489 Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy (3-6 Credits)

An intensive examination of a philosophical topic or topics.

Restriction: Permission of ARHU-Philosophy department.

Repeatable to: 6 credits if content differs.

PHIL498 Topical Investigations (1-3 Credits)