Course Descriptions


Introduction to Philosophy: Ancient Period
3 hrs. I, II, S.
The origins of philosophical activity among the Greeks by means of a selective sounding of several major thinkers.


Introduction to Philosophy: Ancient Period
3 hrs. Honors
A detailed consideration of selected texts from Ancient philosophy, such as the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Academic Skeptics, and the neo-Platonists.


Introduction to Philosophy: Modern Period
3 hrs. I, II, S.
Questions and answers concerning the nature of existence and human values and how we come to know them.


Studies in Humanities
3 hrs. I, II.
An interdisciplinary course to introduce students to the elements of a humanistic education. (Same as Classics 250 and Religious Studies 250; PR or CR: English 101.)


Special Topics
1-4 hrs.
Group or individual study of areas demanding further study of a more specialized depth.


Plato’s Republic
3 hrs.
A deconstruction of the major time-worn prejudices and presuppositions of Platonism by way of a radical reading of Plato’s great dialogue the Republic.


Applied Ethics
3 hrs.
The application of basic ethical theories to contemporary moral issues drawn from such fields as medicine, business and the environment.


3 hrs.
A critical study of diverse moral norms, ideals and systems in theory and practice.


Logic and Interpretation
3 hrs. I, II.
Theory and practice of valid principles of thinking, including developing the skills of justifying diverse types of belief and evaluating reasons for conflicting standpoints (for example, racial, gender, and ethnic differences).


Philosophy of Art
3 hrs.
Examination of the qualities involved in the appreciation of beauty which serve as standards of taste.


American Philosophy
3 hrs.
Great American thinkers, including thinkers such as Emerson (transcendentalism), Peirce, James, Dewey, and Rorty (pragmatism), Royce (idealism), Quine (analytic philosophy), and de Man (post-structuralism).


Comparative Philosophy
3 hrs.

The relations of the world’s philosophies to the basic cultural and religious traditions of the world and to the development of the world community.



Current Philosophical Trends

3 hrs.
Selected reading in contemporary thought embracing such movements as realism, Marxism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, postmodernism.


Philosophy of Sex
3 hrs.
Introduction to some of the basic authors, texts, and themes in this branch of philosophy beginning with Plato’s Symposium.


Philosophy of Sexual Orientation and Gender
3 hrs.
An introduction to the philosophy of sexual orientation and its relation to gender, with a special focus on issues of knowledge and politics.


Philosophy of Science
3 hrs.
Reflections on crucial concepts of modern science relevant to philosophical issues in interpreting human beings and the universe; special attention given to epistemological and other problems of mathematics and physical and social sciences.


Philosophy of Feminism
3 hrs.
An introduction to contemporary feminist theory including discussion of current gender-related issues.


Humanities Junior Seminar
3 hrs.
A structured interdisciplinary study offered by the departments of Classics, Philosophy and Religious Studies in the foundations of Western thought: its myth, literature, religion, philosophy, art. (Same as Classics 390-394 and Religious Studies 390-394.)


Ancient Philosophy
3 hrs.
Advanced study of major philosophers drawn from the ancient Greek and Roman period. (PR: PHL 200.)


Modern Philosophy
3 hrs.
Advanced study of major movements in philosophy from the 17th century on, movements such as rationalism, empiricism, idealism, and existentialism. (PR: PHL 201, or any 300 level PHL course.)


3 hrs.
Advanced study of the most basic nature of reality. (PR: 3 hrs. of philosophy.)


Philosophy of Knowledge
3 hrs.
Advanced study of the nature and possibility of knowledge. (PR: 3 hrs. of philosophy.)


Philosophy of History and Culture
3 hrs.
Ancient and modern theories of the meaning and consequence of history and culture. (PR: 3 hrs. of philosophy.)


Philosophy of Religion
3 hrs.
Theories of the nature and functions of religion, including the meaning of religious language and the problems of belief. (PR: Six hours between philosophy and religious studies.)


Philosophy of Politics and Power
3 hrs.
Advanced study of the significance or the place in human reality of political organization, negotiation, strategy, and power (PR: 3 hrs. of philosophy.)


Existential Philosophy
3 hrs.
A study of existential philosophers from Kierkegaard to Heidegger, Sartre and beyond.


Philosophy of Logic
3 hrs.
Advanced study of the nature of logic: whether logic is possible at all, how far it applies, and whether and how there can be conflicting logics. (PR: 3 hrs. of philosophy.)


Special Topics
1-4 hrs.
Shared study and research on a special topic as announced. (PR: Permission of department chairperson.)


Independent Study
1-4 hrs.


Humanities Senior Seminar
3 hrs.
Designed for majors as the culminating interdisciplinary study in the Humanities program. Capstone experience. (Same as Classics 490-494 and Religious Studies 490-494.)


Readings for Honors in Philosophy
4 hrs.
Open only to philosophy majors of outstanding ability. See Honors Courses.


Directed Readings in Philosophy
3 hrs.
(Fall or Spring)
Advanced research adaptable to the needs of the individual student. (PR: Permission of department chairperson.)