6: College of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Academic Information | Departments and Programs | Faculty

Afro-American and African Studies | Anthropology | Archaeology | Art | Asian and Middle Eastern
Asian Studies | Astronomy | Biology | Chemistry | Classics | Cognitive Science | Comparative Literature
Drama | Economics | English | Environmental Sciences | French | German | Government and Foreign Affairs
History | Latin American Studies | Linguistics | Mathematics | Medieval Studies
Middle East Studies | Music | Personal Skills | Philosophy | Physics | Political and Social Thought
Psychology | Religious Studies | Service Physical Education | Slavic | Sociology
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese | Statistics | University Seminars | Women's Studies

Course Descriptions

PHIL 100 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Philosophy

Introduces a broad spectrum of philosophical problems and approaches. All or most of the following topics are covered: basic questions concerning morality, skepticism and the foundations of knowledge, the mind and its relation to the body, and the existence of God. Readings are drawn from classics in the history of philosophy and/or contemporary sources.

PHIL 111 - (3) (Y)
History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval

A survey of the history of philosophy from the Pre-Socratic period through the Middle Ages.

PHIL 112 - (3) (Y)
History of Philosophy: Modern

A general survey of the history of modern philosophy, beginning with Descartes and extending up to the nineteenth century.

PHIL 132 - (3) (IR)
Minds and Bodies

Do we really know what we think we know about our world and the other people in it? Discounting familiar sources of error, which we can obviate, the epistemological skeptic argues that there are other sources of error that may well infect our beliefs however careful we may be. Can he be answered? This aside, if we know anything at all, we would seem to know ourselves; are we essentially physical, or could we exist independently of physical bodies? Through reflecting on these and related questions, the course constitutes an introduction to basic problems in the theory of knowledge and in metaphysics.

PHIL 141 - (3) (S)
Forms of Reasoning

An analysis of the structure of informal arguments and of fallacies which are commonly committed in everyday reasoning. The course will not cover symbolic logic in any detail.

PHIL 142 - (3) (IR)
Basic Logic

Introduction to topics in traditional and symbolic logic, including some or all of the following: the syllogism, Venn diagrams, paradoxes, and propositional logic.

PHIL 151 - (3) (IR)
Human Nature

An examination of the major theories of human nature and the relation between human beings and the natural world. Includes the views of Plato, the Christian view, existentialism and Marxism, and. Recent psychological theories like Freud's and Skinner's, as well as theories drawing from contemporary biology. Examines the question of nature versus nurture in determining human conduct.

PHIL 153 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to Moral and Political Philosophy

An examination of some of the central problems of moral philosophy and their sources in human life and thought.

PHIL 154 - (3) (Y)
Issues of Life and Death

Study of the fundamental principles underlying contemporary and historical discussions of such issues as abortion, euthanasia, suicide, pacifism, and political terror. Examines Utilitarian and anti-Utilitarian modes of thought about human life and the significance of death.

PHIL 161, 169 - (3) (S)
Introductory Philosophy Seminars

Discussion groups devoted to some philosophical writing or topic. Information on the topics to be taken up in each seminar may be obtained from the philosophy department at course enrollment time.

PHIL 201, 205 - (3) (S)
Seminar in Philosophy

Seminars aimed at showing how philosophical problems arise in connection with subjects of general interest.

PHIL 206 - (3) (Y)
Philosophical Problems in Law

An examination and evaluation of some basic practices and principles of Anglo-American law. Discussion of such issues as the justification of punishment, the death penalty, legal responsibility, strict liability, "Good Samaritan laws," reverse discrimination and plea bargaining.

PHIL 230 - (3) (IR)
Minds and Language

A survey and discussion of theories about mind and language in contemporary philosophy.

PHIL 233 - (3) (E)
Computers, Minds and Brains

Do computers think? Can a persuasive case be made for the claim that the human mind is essentially a sophisticated computing device? These and related questions will be examined through readings in computer science, the philosophy of mind, logic, and linguistics.

PHIL 242 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Symbolic Logic

Introduction to the concepts and techniques of modern formal logic, including both sentential and quantifier logic. Acquaints the student with the concepts of proof, interpretation, translation, and validity.

PHIL 245 - (3) (O)
Philosophy and History of Science

An introduction to the philosophy of science. Historical examples illustrate the changing relationship between science and philosophy and the role that history of science has played in the development of scientific method. Topics include scientific explanation, theory structure, revolutions, progress, and scientific methodology. Illustrations are drawn from both natural and social sciences, but no background in any particular science is presupposed.

PHIL 252 - (3) (Y)
Bioethics: A Philosophical Perspective

An introductory survey of biomedical ethics. Although the field is interdisciplinary, this course emphasizes philosophical issues and methods. Topics include moral foundations of the physician/patient relation, defining death, forgoing life-sustaining treatments, euthanasia, abortion, prenatal diagnosis, new reproductive technologies, human genetics, experimentation on human subjects, and the allocation and rationing of health care resources. Reflects on the various ethical theories and methods of reasoning that might be brought to bear on practical moral problems. Not open to students who have already taken RELG 265.

PHIL 265 - (3) (Y)
Free Will and Responsibility

An examination of whether our actions and choices are free and whether or to what extent we can be held responsible for them. Topics include the threat to freedom posed by the possibility of scientific explanations of our behavior and by psychoanalysis, the concept of compulsion, moral and legal responsibility, and the nature of human action.

PHIL 311 - (3) (E)

An introduction to the philosophy of Plato. Begins a look at several pre-Socratic philosophers; the course consists mainly of a careful examination of selected Platonic dialogues.

PHIL 312 - (3) (O)
Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy

An introduction to the philosophy of Aristotle and of the major Hellenistic schools (the Stoics, Epicureans and Skeptics). The orientation of the course is philosophical rather than historical, and the readings are mainly in the fields of metaphysics, philosophy of nature, philosophy of knowledge, and ethics.

PHIL 314 - (3) (IR)
History of Medieval Philosophy

The continued development of philosophy from after Aristotle to the end of the Middle Ages.

PHIL 315 - (3) (O)
Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz

A study of the central philosophers in the rationalist tradition.

PHIL 316 - (3) (O)
Locke, Berkeley and Hume

A study of the central philosophers in the empiricist tradition.

PHIL 317 - (3) (E)
Kant and Nineteenth-Century German Philosophy

Primarily a study of Kant's metaphysics and epistemology, followed by a brief look at the views of some of Idealist successors.

PHIL 318 - (3) (O)
From Nietzsche to Habermas

Prerequisite: A course in the history of modern philosophy or permission of instructor
A survey of the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, and Habermas. An introduction to contemporary French and German philosophical thought. It presupposes some acquaintance with the classics of modern philosophy (Descartes, Hume, Kant, etc.). Cross-listed as ENCR 518.

PHIL 329 - (3) (E)
Contemporary Philosophy

A study of some recent contemporary philosophical movement, writing, or topic.

PHIL 331 - (3) (Y)

An examination of central metaphysical issues such as time, the existence of God, causality and determinism, universals, possibility and necessity, identity, and the nature of metaphysics.

PHIL 332 - (3) (Y)

A study of problems concerned with the foundations of knowledge, perception, and rational belief.

PHIL 333- (3) (IR)
Materialism and the Mind-Body Problem

An investigation of the theory that the mind consists of physical states of the body.

PHIL 334 - (3) (E)
Philosophy of Mind

Recommended preparation: PHIL 132
Study of some basic problems of philosophical psychology.

PHIL 350 - (3) (Y)
Philosophy of Language

Prerequisites: At least on course in philosophy at the 100 level or above, or permission of instructor
An examination of central conceptual problems raised by linguistic activity. Among topics considered are the relation between thought and language; the possibility of an essentially private discursive realm; the view that one's linguistic framework somehow "structures" reality; and the method of solving or dissolving philosophical problems by scrutiny of the language in which they are couched.

PHIL 351 - (3) (Y)

History of modern ethical theory (Hobbes to Mill) with especial emphasis on the texts of Hume, Treatise, Book III, and of Kant, Grundlegung, which will be studied carefully and critically. Among the topics to be considered: Is morality based on reason? Is it necessarily irrational not to act morally? Are moral standards objective? Are they conventional? Is it a matter of luck whether we are morally virtuous? Is the morally responsible will a free will? Are all reasons for acting dependent on desires?

PHIL 352 - (3) (Y)
Contemporary Ethics

Study of Anglo-American ethics since 1900. While there are selected readings from G.E. Moore, W.D. Ross, A.J. Ayer, C.L. Stevenson and R.M. Hare, emphasis is on more recent work. Among the topics to be considered: Are there moral facts? Are moral values relative? Are moral judgements universalizable? Are they prescriptive? Are they cognitive? What is to be said for utilitarianism as a moral theory? What against it? And what are the alternatives?

PHIL 356 - (3) (IR)
Classical Political Philosophy

A consideration of some of the perennial questions in political philosophy through an examination of classical works in the field, including some or all of the following: Aristotle's Politics, Hobbes's Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise of Government, and Rousseau's Social Contract.

PHIL 357 - (3) (Y)
Political Philosophy

Study of some problems involved in understanding the relation between public power and private right.

PHIL 361 - (3) (Y)

A critical examination of some central philosophical issues raised by artistic activity. Topics include: To count as an artwork must a thing have a modicum of aesthetic value, or is it enough that it be deemed art by the community? Is aesthetic value entirely in the eye of the beholder or is there such a thing as being wrong in one's judgment concerning an artwork?

PHIL 363 - (3) (O)
Freud and Philosophy

Philosophical questions arising from Freud's work. The first part of the course consists of a study of some of Freud's more general writings, as well as an examination of some case histories; the second is a critical review of writings about Freud by philosophers, including Wittgenstein, Sartre, and Pears.

PHIL 365 - (3) (Y)
Justice and Health Care

Prerequisite: PHIL 252 or RELG 265
A philosophical account of health care practices and institutions, viewed against the backdrop of leading theories of justice (e.g., utilitarianism, Rawlsian contractarianism, communitarianism, libertarianism). Topics include the nature, justifications, and limits of a right to health care; the value conflicts posed by cost containment, implicit and explicit rationing, and reform of the health care system; the physician-patient relationship in an era of managed care; and the procurement and allocation of scarce life-saving resources, such as expensive drugs and transplantable organs.

PHIL 366 - (3) (Y)
Philosophy of Religion

A consideration of the problems raised by arguments for and against the existence of God; discussion of such related topics as evil, evidence for miracles, and the relation between philosophy and theology.

PHIL 367 - (3) (IR)
Law and Society

Examination of competing theories of law; of the role of law in society; of the legitimacy of restrictions on individual liberties; of legal rights and conflicts of rights; and of the relationships between law and such social values as freedom, equality, and justice.

PHIL 368 - (3) (IR)
Crime and Punishment

A philosophical survey of criminal justice, critically examining the social force of legally proscribing certain conduct, and of convicting and punishing those who engage in it; the accepted notions of actus reus and mens rea, of action, intention, fault and responsibility; the nature and scope of excusing conditions, such as ignorance and mental incapacity; and theories of the nature and justification of criminal punishment.

PHIL 369 - (3) (IR)
Topics in Ethics

Classes are offered on selected topics in the field of ethics, considered in a broad sense to include moral philosophy, political philosophy, social philosophy, and legal philosophy.

PHIL 401, 402 - (3) (Y)
Seminar for Majors

A seminar whose enrollment is restricted to students majoring in philosophy. The topic changes from year to year.

PHIL 490 - (15) (S)
Honors Program

Enrollment restricted to students in the departmental honors program.

PHIL 493, 494 - (1-3) (S)
Directed Reading and Research

Independent study under the direction of a faculty member.

PHIL 498 - (3) (S)
Senior Thesis

PHIL 505, 506 - (3) (IR)
Seminar on a Philosophical Topic

PHIL 513 - (3) (O)
Topics in Medieval Philosophy

A seminar on St. Augustine, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. Topics include the existence of God, accounts of necessity and possibility, the justification and acquisition of concepts, and the interaction between Platonism and Aristotelianism in Christian thought.

PHIL 542 - (3) (E)
Symbolic Logic

Prerequisite: PHIL 242 or equivalent
An examination of various results in metalogic, including completeness, compactness, and undecidability. Effective computability, theories of truth, and identity may also be covered.

PHIL 543 - (3) (SI) Advanced Logic
Prerequisite: PHIL 542 or permission of instructor
A continuation of the study of the metatheory of first order logic, introduced in PHIL 542. Includes the significance of the Lowenheim-Skolem theorem and of Godel's incompleteness theorems for first order arithmetic; the limitations of higher order logic; and topics from specialized areas in logic: set theory, recursion theory, and model theory.

PHIL 546 - (3) (E)
Philosophy of Science

A logical analysis of the structure of theories, probability, causality, and testing of theories.

PHIL 547 - (3) (IR)
Philosophy of Mathematics

Prerequisite: Some familiarity with quantifier logic or permission of instructor
A comparison of various schools in the philosophy of mathematics (including logicism, formalism, and conceptualism) and their answers to such questions as "Do numbers exist?" and "How is mathematical knowledge possible?"

PHIL 548 - (3) (IR)
Philosophy of the Social Sciences

Prerequisites: Six credits of philosophy or permission of instructor
Problems studied include explanation in the social sciences; the place of theory; objectivity; the relation between social science and natural science, philosophy, and literature.

Continue to: Department of Physics
Return to: Chapter 6 Index