Undergraduate Philosophy Courses

NOTE: *indicates online option available

PHIL 1101 - Intro to Philosophy

Description: Introduction to critical exploration of such issues as knowledge, reality, consciousness and the good life; readings from Plato, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, or more recent sources. 

PHIL 1102 - Intro to Ethics*

Description: Introduction to such social and ethical questions as, "What makes a happy life? What justifies ideas of good and evil? How should we live with others? What is the role of science, religion, sex, and race in society?"

PHIL 1311 - Critical Thinking*

Description: Introduction to the appraisal of arguments found in everyday and specialized sources; typical forms of strong and weak reasoning; avoidance or repair of faulty arguments; common problems in statistical, causal and analogical reasoning.

PHIL 1611 - Elementary Logic*

Description: Formal reasoning as a practical method for problem solving.

PHIL 3001 - History of Ancient Philosophy*

Description: History of philosophy from 7th century B.C. through early Middle Ages structured around major themes that shaped classical period, attention to cultural and historical settings in which they arose and to which they contributed; readings from philosophical and nonphilosophical sources.
PREREQUISITE: PHIL 1101 or PHIL 1102, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 3002 - History of Modern Philosophy*

Description: History of philosophy from late Middle Ages through 19th century structured around major themes that shaped the modern period; attention to cultural and historical setting in which they arose and to which they contributed; readings from philosophical and nonphilosophical sources. NOTE: while this is a continuation of PHIL 3001, it may be taken separately. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 1101 or PHIL 1102, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 3411 - Contemporary Moral Problems*

Description: Such important contemporary moral issues as pornography and obscenity, capital punishment, abortion, human rights, "reverse discrimination," and civil disobedience; underlying philosophical ideas for each issue considered and discussed.

PHIL 3451 - Existentialism

Description: Historical and comparative study of different existentialist writers and their relation to literature, religion, and psychology; readings from such writers as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers, Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus.

PHIL 3452 - Feminist Theory*

Description: Selected ideas from the history on women from the Greeks to the present; developing methods and ideologies within contemporary theoretical approaches to feminist studies; diversity, equality and difference discussed by drawing on different epistemologies, such as existentialism and poststructuralism.

PHIL 3453 - 19th/20th Century Continental

Description: Introduction to key figures and movements in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy; phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical theory, deconstruction, poststructuralism, and feminism.

PHIL 3460 - Nature/Mind/Knowledge

Description: The nature of mind, free will vs. determinism, personal identity and immortality, and the nature and possibility of knowledge.

PHIL 3511 - Ethical Theory

Description: Critical analysis of classical ethical theories and their application to problems of individual and society. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 1101 or PHIL 1102, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 3512 - Science/Technology/Human Values

Description: Ethical problems growing out of development of modern science and technology; of such issues as relation of science to society, dehumanization of the individual, impact of technology on environment, and modern warfare. Specific content of course varies each semester.

PHIL 3514 - Biomedical Ethics*

Description: Discussion of ethical problems raised by contemporary medical practices and biological innovations from standpoint of contemporary ethical theories including abortion, euthanasia, human experimentation, genetic engineering, pandemics, and healthcare.

PHIL 3515 - Environmental Ethics*

Description: Discussion of ethical problems raised by human interaction with the environment; consideration of such questions as to what kinds of entities one can have a duty. Specific issues may include the moral standing of future and possible humans, nonhuman animals, species and ecosystems.

PHIL 3516 - Philosophy of Law*

Description: Philosophical analyses of nature and justification of law, legal reasoning, legal institutions, practices such as punishment.

PHIL 3550 - Issues in Political Philosophy

Description: Introduction to canonical and contemporary issues and thinkers in political philosophy such as the role of the civil state, divine right, social contract theory, individualism, nationalism, fascism, and theocracy, as well as the nature and variety of justice.

PHIL 3571 - Business Ethics and Society*

Description: Examination of ethical issues that arise in interactions between business and society; ethical theory, economic justice, corporate responsibility, and employee rights and obligations.

PHIL 3621 - Intermediate Logic

Description: Symbolic logic, including propositional calculus, lower functional calculus, and related topics.

PHIL 3701 - Human and the Divine

Description: Examination of one or more major religious movements with regard to their origins, doctrines, and philosophical significance; contrasting conceptions of deity, worship, and role of religion in how we think about ourselves and our roles in society.

PHIL 3702 - Philosophy of Religion*

Description: Selected religious doctrines and practices from standpoint of philosophy. Topics vary from semester to semester. Sequel to PHIL 3701, but may be taken independently.

PHIL 3720 - Asian Philosophy

Description: This course covers the development of Asian philosophy and religious philosophical thought. Concentration will be on those traditions with continuing significant sociological, political, and literary influence. The course will include a survey of the foundations of Chinese thought in Confucianism, Legalism and Daoism: Indian thought in the Vedas, the Upanisads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga-sutras, followed by an introduction to Buddhism (the four noble truths, no-self, the eightfold path) and major philosophical developments of Buddhist philosophy in China and Japan. Contemporary approaches to Asian Philosophy will be explored at the end of the course (including but not limited to Comparative Philosophical approaches to Asian traditions).

PHIL 3721 - Chinese Philosophy

Description: Introduction to Chinese philosophy; readings from primary source of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, supplemented by commentary from contemporary scholarship.

PHIL 3722 - Buddhist Philosophy

Description: This course will examine the origins of Buddhist thought, and explore some of its developments as it spread throughout Asia and eventually into North America. We will begin by examining Buddhist thought during and shortly after the Buddha’s lifetime, and then we will turn our attention to the two principal schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism: Madhyamaka and Yogācāra. The Madhyamaka school is characterized by the view of emptiness (the view that all things are devoid of independent, inherently existing essences). The Yogācāra school reinterprets the concept of emptiness, emphasizing the idea that nothing is ultimately separate from the mind. We will then turn our attention to the Chan/Zen lineage as they originated in China and developed in Japan through Dogen’s Sōtō Zen characterized by seated meditation and Hakuin’s Rinzai Zen characterized by kōan recitation. We will then turn our attention to modern interpretations of Buddhist thought. This course may cover India, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, North America and Brazil.

PHIL 3723 - Confucianism*

Description: This course will provide an overview of the history of Chinese philosophy with an emphasis on Confucianism. We will focus primarily on the “classical period” of Chinese philosophy which developed during the seminal Warring States Period in Chinese history. This period begins with Confucius and culminates with Han Feizi at the end of the Warring States Period and the beginning of the Qin Dynasty.

PHIL 3741 - African American Philosophy

Description: Philosophical investigation of social and political themes which have developed historically in African American culture such as theories of social elevation, civil disobedience, race and racism, and black feminism.

PHIL 3751 - Philosophy of Race & Racism

Description: Investigation of concepts of race and racism as well as related concepts (e.g., racial identity, intersectionality) through an examination of metaphysical, epistemic, phenomenological, psychological, ethical, linguistic, or political problems associated with race.

PHIL 3771 - Philosophy and Literature

Description: Expression of philosophical ideas in literature; readings from philosophers, playwrights, novelists and poets.

PHIL 3772 - Critical Theory

Description: Exploration of various social and political writings concerning the nature of human agency, intersubjectivity, communication, democratic procedure and practice, developed during the Enlightenment period and in the philosophies of Kant, Hegel, and Marx, and that were advanced in the 20th century writings of the Frankfurt School of Social Criticism.

PHIL 3781 - Philosophy and Film

Description: An examination of some basic philosophical problems, integrating philosophical readings with films which illustrate positions that have been taken regarding the problems; enhance understanding and appreciation of both the philosophical problems and the films.

PHIL 3806 - The Ethics of AI and Big Data*

Description: A relatively new and rapidly developing field of moral theory, Data Ethics focuses on ethical problems posed by the ever-expanding volume of data that surrounds us, the collection and analysis of large datasets and on the use of "big data." This course will examine select moral problems related to data (including creation/storage, data farming, and usage), algorithms (artificial intelligence, algorithmic bias, etc.) and corresponding practices (responsibility, privacy/surveillance, etc.).

PHIL 3880 - Problems in Philosophy

Description: An intensive study of selectied philosophical problems. Repeatable. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours credit when topic varies.

PHIL 4211 - Ancient Philosophy

Description: Readings from primary sources, supplemented by commentary from antiquity and modern scholarship, including Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenistic period. Repeatable. May be repeated once when topic varies for an additional 3 credit hours, more with permission of the department director of undergraduate studies. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 3001 or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4311 - Modern Philosophy

Description: Readings from major philosophers of 17th to early 19th centuries, supplemented by commentaries from modern and contemporary sources. Repeatable. May be repeated once when topic varies for an additional 3 hours credit, more with permission of department director of undergraduate studies. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 3002 or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4421 - Philosophy of Mind

Description: Major issues and positions in recent philosophy of mind; behaviorism; reductive, non-reductive, and eliminative versions of materialism; functionalism; mental causation; phenomenal consciousness; psychoanalysis and the unconscious; computational and connectionist models of mind. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 1101, PHIL 1102, or PHIL 1611, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4422 - Recent Anglo American Philosophy

Description: Major developments in philosophy in England and United States from 1900 to present, reading from such philosophers as Russell, Moore, Ayer, Wittgenstein, James, Dewey, Lewis, Quine and other contemporary authors. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 3002 or PHIL 4311 or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4441 - Recent Continental Philosophy

Description: Major figures in 20th Century European thought; phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, critical theory, and hermeneutics. Repeatable. May be repeated once when topic varies for an additional 3 hours credit, more with permission of department director of undergraduate studies.

PHIL 4551 - Social and Political Philosophy

Description: In depth discussion of major philosophical theories of the individual and the state; emphasis on concepts of society, culture, institutions, government, law, power, authority, rights, and obligations. PREREQUISITE: one of PHIL 3411, PHIL 3511, PHIL 3516, 3551, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4632 - Advanced Logic

Description: Nature of axiomatic systems, techniques of formalization, and logical foundations of mathematics. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 3621, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4661 - Philosophy of Science

Description: Basic features and presuppositions of science; nature of scientific method, theories, explanation, and verification; emphasis on the natural sciences. PREREQUISITE: PHIL 1611, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4671 - Aesthetics

Description: Introduction to philosophical theories and assumptions concerning nature and role of art and possibility of aesthetic evaluation.

PHIL 4801-4820 - Special Topics in Philosophy

Description: Epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, logical theory, and axiology. Area to be covered appears in the online class listings the semester it is taught. Repeatable. May be repeated for maximum of 15 hours credit without changing an earlier grade if different areas are treated. PREREQUISITE: two courses in philosophy or permission of instructor.

PHIL 4891 - Senior Honors Thesis

Description: Directed reading and research culminating in a Senior Thesis. Thesis topic to be selected by student with approval of thesis director before semester student intends to take course. Open only to senior honors students in philosophy. Repeatable. May be repeated in successive semesters for up to 6 hours credit.

PHIL 4994 - Readings and Research

Description: Individual directed study in area of special interest. Repeatable. May be repeated in successive semesters for up to 6 hours credit.