Philosophy, broadly defined, is the systematic inquiry into some of the problems of human existence. These problems are ones which cannot be dealt with by the methods of the sciences, and ones whose structures are based strictly on rational argument. In this sense, the study of philosophy, through the broad humanistic background that it provides, has always been an essential, perhaps the most essential, ingredient of a liberal education.

Development of the abilities to reflect, analyze and think critically, which result from the study of philosophy, enables the student to understand and correlate all the insights garnered from other disciplines. The varied perspectives that philosophy provides, from the fields of religion, ethics, politics and art, guide the student in his or her search for a sound sense of values. At the same time, philosophy adds a distinctive emphasis on questions of meaning, from linguistic expressions to life itself, and calls for justification of claims to knowledge from any source.

The primary goals of the program are to contribute significantly to the liberal education of university students, to prepare majors for advanced studies in their chosen field, and to help students in their various future professional activities by acquainting them with applied philosophy.

Jeanine Nithirageza, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chair
John Casey, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Alfred Frankowski, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Dan Milsky, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Program Coordinator

Affiliate Faculty:
Sophia Mihic, Ph.D., Associate Professor

PHIL-101. Critical Thinking. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the study of persuasive devices, semantic pitfalls, informal fallacies, rational vs. emotional appeals, and the techniques used in evaluating arguments.

PHIL-102. Introduction To Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the main problems of philosophy, i.e. knowledge, reality, morality, religion and art.

PHIL-105. Feminist Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Analysis of recent work in feminist theory in order to investigate woman's situation and its foundations in culture, perception and reality.

PHIL-201. Logic I. 3 Hours.

Introductory course in symbolic logic, dealing with propositional calculus, quantification theory and the logic of relations and classes.

PHIL-202. Comparative Religion. 3 Hours.

A comparative study of the main beliefs and practices of early and primal religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

PHIL-210. Writing Intensive Program: Arguing Philosophically. 3 Hours.

For as long as people have reasoned philosophically, they have noticed that there is something about successful arguments which compels any rational listener to either embrace the conclusion or, barring that, to offer equally compelling reasons for rejecting it. Indeed, what makes for a compelling reason is a matter worthy of careful investigation. Compelling reasons come in various forms-from the extremely compelling deductive arguments of formal logic, to the comparatively weak forms of everyday presumptive reasoning. While we will cover some of the former, we will focus our study of philosophical argument on the various forms of non-deductive argument-inductive, presumptive, and defeasible argument. While our aim is to participate in the exploration of argument, our goal will be the decidedly practical one of analyzing actual arguments in ordinary language.
Prerequisite: ENGL-101 minimum grade of C.

PHIL-211. Philosophy Of Religion. 3 Hours.

Philosophical scrutiny of some of the central themes in religion, i.e. the existence of God, the problem of evil, human freedom and immorality, the nature of faith and the role of reason in theorlogy.

PHIL-213. Ethics. 3 Hours.

Introduction to some of the main problems of ethics, including the nautre of morality, the meaning of ethical terms, standards for evaluating choices and actions, and the major ideas of important moral philosophers.

PHIL-214. Medical Ethics. 3 Hours.

This course will focus on the ethical dilemmas both doctors and patients confront as practitioners and patients in medicine. We will pay careful attention to the issues of paternalism, voluntary informed consent and personhood and apply these ideas to actual cases.

PHIL-215. Business Ethics. 3 Hours.

Philosophical introduction to the ethical content of some of the current problems confronting the business community, such as the social responsibility of business, poverty and equal rights, the ethical implications of ecology, advertising and consumerism.

PHIL-218. Philosophy Of Sex. 3 Hours.

In this course we will look at a wide range of philosophical topics related to human sexuality-perversion, prostitution gender roles, and sex roles. Along the way will examine the role of power and coercion in sex and we will examine some of the psycho-social implications of sexual violence. The course will have a decidedly normative bent insofar as our analysis and discussion will be conducted through the lens of ethics.

PHIL-222. History Of Ancient Philosophy. 3 Hours.

This course is a critical survey of the development of philosophy in the West from the Presocratics to Plotinus.
Prerequisite: ENGL-101 minimum grade of C.

PHIL-231. History Of Medieval Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Critical survey of the development of philosophy in the West from the rise of Christendom to the dawn of the Renaissance.

PHIL-241. History Of Modern Philosophy. 3 Hours.

A critical survey of the development of philosophy in the West in the seventeenth and eithteenth centuries.

PHIL-247. Phenomenology And Hermeneutics. 3 Hours.

This course will fouces directly on the main views and debates in the phenomenological tradition which studies consciousness as experience from the first-person point of view and then look at one of its offshoots, hermeneutics, the study of interpretive practices. The course covers the works of Husserl and Heidegger, Scheler and Derrida, Gadamer and Ricoeur.

PHIL-251. Philosophy Of Art. 3 Hours.

An examination of art and aesthetic experience, including personal, social and political significance. Issues explored may include artistic concepts pertaining to form and content, representation and expression, meaning and truth critical interpretation and evaluation.

PHIL-303. Logic II. 3 Hours.

Study of the theory and development of axiomatic systems, including the problems of definability, completeness and consistency.
Prerequisite: PHIL-201 minimum grade of D.

PHIL-306. Logic III. 3 Hours.


Prerequisite: PHIL-303 minimum grade of D.

PHIL-313. Ethical Theory. 3 Hours.

Study of theories about the meaning and justification of moral judgements: good and bad, right and wrong, human rights, justice, punishment, freedom and responsibility, self-interest, the common good, pleasure and happiness, religion and morality, relativism, subjectivism and scepticism.

PHIL-332. Contemporary Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Critical survey of the salient schools of contemporary philosophy, notably idealism, pragmatism, logical positivism, analytic philisophy, phenomenology and existentialsim.

PHIL-333. American Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Intensive study of the trends prevalent in the modern American philosophical scene, notably pragmatism, idealism, naturalism, positivism, philosophical analysis and phenomenology.

PHIL-335. Analytic Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Critical survey of the development of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century.

PHIL-337. Existentialism. 3 Hours.

Intensive study of selected works of existentialist thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus.

PHIL-339. Post Modernism. 3 Hours.

This course will examine the rise of modernity as an "age of unrest", and therein delineating the confrontation between contemporary philosophy and the current epoch. To this end, we will assess the precise ways in which modernity has cast itself forward as a historical and epistemological rupture of devastating proportions, one that irrevocably alters our understanding of knowledge, society, power, technology, language, and the question of human experience.

PHIL-341. Metaphysics. 3 Hours.

Systematic analysis of some of the main problems of metaphysics, such as existence, substance and attribute, change and permanence, essence and accident, universals and particulars, mind and body, identity, individuation and casuality.

PHIL-342. Topics In Nonwestern Philosophy And Religion. 3 Hours.

A careful examination of a topic in an important nonwestern tradition and/or religious philosophy.

PHIL-343. Religion & Globalization. 3 Hours.

The course will examine the impact on various forms of religious expression of secularization and the resulting marginalization of regional ideological perspectives that are a result of increased globalization. Attention will be given to the roles played by religious nationalism and fundamentalism as they stand in tension with growing ecumenicalism, religious parochial and relativistic pluralism, and the increased growth of alternative religions. Special attention will be given to the philosophical arguments that are employed in support of these conflicting perspectives.

PHIL-344. Buddhism. 3 Hours.

The course will begin with an analysis of Buddhism's origins within Hinduism and the early development of its religious beliefs and philosophical concepts in India. It will continue with an in depth look at its spread throughout Asia and the transformation of its core beliefs and concepts within the main traditions of Theravada, Mahayana, and the Vajrayana. The course will include a study of current global trends, such as the rise of political and social engagement and the impact of Buddhism on western philosophical traditions including existentialism and phenomenology.

PHIL-345. Social And Political Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Systematic investigation of some of the salient issues currently discussed by social and political philosophers, such as the nature and origin of the state, political obligation, justice, human rights, authority, liberty and evaluation of social and political institutions.

PHIL-346. 19 Century Continental Philosophy. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on the development of German Idealism and its relation to Continental Philosophy. Thematically the class will cover topics such as freedom, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophy of history, and politics in the work of Kant, Fichte, Schellling, Hegel, and Marx.
Requirement: One course in the History of Philosophy or permission of instructor.

PHIL-353. Feminism And The Philosophy Of Science. 3 Hours.

Analytic examination of the concept of femininity as found in the biological and social sciences in order to facilitate discussion of the nature of objectivity and scientific investigation.

PHIL-362. Philosophy Of Law. 3 Hours.

In this course, we will engage in an examination of law and legal systems, as well as of the ideas, ideologies, and principles that are at the core of the establishment and interpretation of law. The pervasive presence of law in our lives should encourage us not only to understand it, but to scrutinize its foundations and presuppositions. Toward this end, we will pay special attention to three aspects of philosophy of law: analytic jurisprudence, normative jurisprudence, and critical law theory.

PHIL-364. Critical Race Theory. 3 Hours.

This course begins with the recognition that racism is prevalent in the United States. Critical Race Theorists confront the historical centrality of white supremacy and the complicity of the law in upholding, indeed constructing, racism. Following the challenge to ahistoricism and acontextualism embedded in standard legal practice brought by Critical Legal Theorists, Critical Race Theorists address racism as embedded in U.S. legal structure. We will examine the law's role in the construction and maintenance of social domination and subordination in order to understand and articulate a critical race theoretical approach to the intersections of race, gender, class and the law.

PHIL-365. Environmental Ethics. 3 Hours.

How ought we behave towards nature and what are the implications of human interaction with ecosystems? We will pay special attention to the value of restored nature and whether it is a form of human domination or whether restoration is a legitimate endeavor to be pursued out of moral obligation. We will integrate actual cases into the class in order to flesh out the policy implications of our philosophical commitments.

PHIL-366. Feminist Ethics. 3 Hours.

What is feminism? What is Feminist Ethics? How do feminists differ in their ways of thinking about the good life and acting in the world than a non-feminist? Why do they differ in their understanding of these issues? How should we live our lives in a way that reflects feminist values? These are just some of the questions we will explore in this class. Specifically, we will explore the key concepts of different types of feminist ethics and the ways to apply it to our everyday lives.

PHIL-367. Postcolonialism. 3 Hours.

In this course we will move toward not a postcolonialism that transcends colonialism, but thinking with those who work toward a practice of decolonial thinking. While there have been many empires which have plundered pre-existing cultures and civilizations, modern colonialism did more than extract tribute, goods and wealth from conquered countries. It restructured economies, societies, languages, histories. Thus, while political colonialism is over in many locales, economic and cultural colonialism reverberate within both former colonies and colonizing countries. Postcolonial theorists write from the margins of and in resistance to reverberating colonial cultural productions.

PHIL-368. Multiculturalism. 3 Hours.

The U.S. is mono-cultural in its structural institutions such as the law, along with the way it represents itself. It is multicultural in that it is made up of peoples of many different cultures all of whom have contributed in significant ways to its formation and continued existence. In this class we will explore the difference between ornamental and structural multiculturalism. While liberal multiculturalism ignores asymmetries of power, we are going to take up polycentric multiculturalism, a multiculturalism that recognizes many centers and the racial, gendered, and classed structural framings of our worlds of sense.

PHIL-370. Re-Thinking Race & Gender. 3 Hours.

This intensive summer course runs for ten days over three weeks. It takes up history critically to engage in a concentrated re-thinking of how we learn to see, identify, and inhabit issues of race and gender. Workshops, lectures, and sessions with invited guests will unpack structures and relations of race and gender and the ways they get naturalized. The course is designed for graduates, undergraduates, and teachers, and is cross-listed in the Graduate College and the College of Arts and Sciences. Prereqs: Graduate status or Junior/Senior status in English, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, WGS, AFAM, or LGBTQ.

PHIL-371. Theory Of Knowledge. 3 Hours.

Systematic inquiry into the nature of knowledge, with a consideration of such topics as ways of knowing, perception, memory, personal identity, and other minds.

PHIL-373. Advanced Feminist Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Analytic investigation of the latest feminist theory in order to study the development of feminism.

PHIL-375. Philosophy Of Science. 3 Hours.

Examination of some of the main problems currently discussed by philosophers of science, such as the methodology and foundations of empirical science, the meaning and verification of scientific statements, theories, laws, hypotheses and explanations.

PHIL-381. Independent Study In Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Readings, discussions, and reports on a special topic with faculty supervision. Normally open to majors in their junior or senior year.

PHIL-381A. Independent Study In Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Readings, discussions, and reports on a special topic with faculty supervision. Normally open to majors in their junior or senior year.

PHIL-381B. Independent Study In Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Readings, discussions, and reports on a special topic with faculty supervision. Normally open to majors in their junior or senior year.

PHIL-384. Seminar In The Philosophy Of Religion. 3 Hours.

This seminar course examines questions concerning the existence, nature and evidence for the primary and fundamental objects of religious belief. Topics may include the following: 1) Can we demonstrate God's existence? 2) Is faith irrational? 3) Can we know anything about God? 4) Is the existence of evil evidence against the existence of God? 5) Is religion necessary for morality?.

PHIL-385. Seminar In Philosophy Of Mind. 3 Hours.

This course examines the central issues and debates in philosophy of mind from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Topics covered may include theories of the mind's relation to the body (dualism, monism, functionalism, behaviorism, identity theory, eliminative materialism), theories of mental content, free will, personal identity and first-person experience, among others.

PHIL-387. Seminar On Arendt. 3 Hours.

In this course, we will investigate the work of Hannah Arendt on politics, society and political action. Our primary questions will be what does political action require and what can it accomplish? But we will also pay careful attention to how Arendt thinks politics, because she moves with ease between theoretical abstraction and concrete political practice. Our readings will include texts on civil disobedience, the relationship between history and political theory, the meanings of power and violence, colonialism, totalitarian rule during the Third Reich and the Soviet era, and on racial prejudice as political tool.

PHIL-388. Philosophy Of Language Seminar. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on language use and begins with theoretical challenges from both the analytic (Wittgenstein) and continental (Derrida) traditions in philosophy to idealized theories of language, particularly the reference theory of language as well as the idea that language is a pure and formal unity. We will explore strategies of using language to construct consensus through both syntax and semantics, generating commitment to particular and tacit understandings. We will also work on theories of metaphor and performatives to become skilled in articulating practical complexities of language use.

PHIL-389. Foucault Seminar. 3 Hours.

Michel Foucault is and will remain one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. His work is influential not only in philosophy, but in history, sociology, gender studies, justice studies, art, and literary theory. We will focus on the shorter works and interviews found in Dits et Écrits both because they are often easier to read than the books, and because Foucault presents his philosophical conclusions most succinctly there.

PHIL-390. Classical Political Theory. 3 Hours.

In this course, we will study ancient political thought to gain a critical perspective on the politics and ethical practices of our own time. But to do so is not to bow to the present. This approach guided the Medieval Era's study of classical philosophy and the Modern Age's study of classical history. And thus, to ask what the ancients teach us about ourselves is to ask a question that is both contemporary and traditional. It is also to ask a question that requires respect for antiquite's distinctiveness.
All political philosophy is an inquiry into how we should live and how we should live together and this is especially ture for the ancients. Throughout the semester, we will be attentive to how their understandings of these dimensions of human existence are sometimes quite different from our own.
This course will introduce you to some of the dominant texts and concepts of "Western" political thought drawn from the Mediterranean region and originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Some of our readings will challenge the centrality of these texts--they will force us out of the frame-- and we will take the fact of this centrality in this liberal arts and sciences as a problem for thought and discussion.

PHIL-391. Modern Political Theory. 3 Hours.

Study of the dilemmas of political order that compel the development of modern political philosophy and practice. The course will address the emergence of modern humanism and Machiavelli's republican vision, analyze obligation and the rule of law in the contract tradition represented by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, and examine ongoing conflicts between authority and freedom and power and equality that plague the 19th, 20th and now 21st centuries. Additional readings will include works by Marx, Hegel, Wollstonecraft, J.S. Mill, Nietzche and others.