Chair: Associate Professor Canteñs
Associate Professor: Moeller; Assistant Professor: Naraghi; Faculty Associate: St. John (Religion); Adjunct Faculty: Falla
The Philosophy Department provides students with the opportunity to explore questions of fundamental significance to human life: What is justice? How should we live? What is truly valuable? Is there a God? What is reality? What can we really know? And what meaning is there to life? Through training students to think, discuss, and write cogently on such matters, the department prepares them for graduate or professional school in the humanities, social sciences, seminary, and law school, as well as for lifelong learning and reflection.
The Major in Philosophy
The major in philosophy consists of nine course units, of which three are required, three are restricted electives, and three are general electives from among all philosophy courses. The required courses are Philosophy 120, 210, and 222. The restricted electives are two of the following four courses: Philosophy 241, 243, 245, and 247; and either Philosophy 351 or 353. One of the three general electives may come from a related program, subject to approval of the department chair.
The Minor in Philosophy
The minor in philosophy consists of five course units in philosophy, of which three are restricted and two are electives. The restricted courses are one course from Philosophy 120, 210, and 222; one course from Philosophy 241, 243, 245, and 247; and either Philosophy 351 or 353.
The Interdepartmental Major
The six courses that constitute Set I of the interdepartmental major in philosophy include Philosophy 120, 210, and 222, and one course in the history of philosophy (241, 243, 245, or 247). The remaining two courses in philosophy and the six courses of Set II are selected by the student with the approval of the advisor.
Students considering graduate work in philosophy should meet the language requirement with French, German, Greek, or Latin.
Courses in Philosophy
120. Introduction to Philosophy. Tasks and subject matters of philosophy, including major theories of reality, knowledge, religion, morality, and social justice. Attention to several classic philosophical texts as primary source readings. Fall and spring. (M3)
Canteñs, Naraghi, Staff
210. Symbolic Logic. Traditional formal logic together with discursive logic, fallacies, and argument construction.
222. Introduction to Ethics. Formulating principles defining the good human being and applying these to relevant problems of vocation and social and political justice. Fall. (M3)
Falla, Moeller, Staff
241. Ancient Philosophy. A critical examination of the history of Greek philosophy, including the pre-Socratics, Thales, Anaxagoras, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Plato, and Aristotle. Spring, alternate years. (M3)
243. Medieval Philosophy. History of philosophy from the pre-Socratics to Augustine and Aquinas, concluding with philosophical writings from the early Renaissance. Themes include ethical concerns, nature of reality, and relationships of reason, religion, and authority. Spring, alternate years. (M3)
245. Modern Philosophy. Concepts of modern philosophy beginning with Bacon, Descartes, and Locke, ending with Kant and Hegel. Examines and evaluates the modern period's turn to the study of knowledge and its increasing preference for reason and science over religion. Fall, alternate years. (M3)
247. 19th- and 20th-Century Philosophy. Trends in recent philosophy inaugurated by Nietzsche, Marx, and Kierkegaard and by Mill, Russell, and Ayer, through the present. Manifestation of these trends in contemporary phenomenology and analytic philosophy. May emphasize Continental or British-American traditions in current philosophy. Writing-intensive. Spring, alternate years. (M3)
250. Environmental Philosophy. An overview of the ethical, metaphysical, cultural, and political issues involved in understanding humankind's complex relationship with the natural world and with other-than-human animals. Examines positions and philosophies of radical environmentalists, environmental ethicists, animal-rights advocates, and political ecologists. Fall, alternate years. (U2)
251. Philosophy of Psychology. (Also Psychology 251) An examination of philosophical and empirical theories of the mind. Main questions will be: What is the mind? How does the mind relate to the brain and behavior? Can the mind be studied scientifically? What is the nature of conscious experience? Different accounts of the nature of mind will be discussed such as behaviorism, materialism, and functionalism. In addition, we will survey main approaches to the mind found in contemporary cognitive science, a multi-disciplinary field consisting of (among other things) artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy. Fall, alternate years.
252. Philosophy of Technology. An examination of how technology shapes our understanding of ourselves and our world as well as the moral dilemmas that it presents for us. Spring, alternate years. (U1)
253. Philosophy of Religion. (Also Religion 253) The nature of religion and beliefs concerned with the existence, nature, and knowledge of God, with alternative positions to theism. Fall, alternate years. (U2)
255. Social and Political Philosophy. An examination of central issues in social political thought such as: What is justice? How can considerations of justice negotiate our great differences of culture, identity, and circumstance? How are non-Western and Western approaches to philosophy to engage productively, across such historical legacies as imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism? (U2) Spring, alternate years. Moeller
257. Bio-ethics and Social Justice. A study of what is health, and how it relates to social justice issues, such as: How do such factors as income, race, and gender correlate with health? In health research and healthcare delivery, how do lingering patterns of inequality get rewritten into the social fabric or transformed out of it? How can we learn from the legacies of unethical medical experimentation and other ugly parts of medical history? Spring, alternate years. (U2)
259. Medical Ethics. An examination of the basic theory of bioethics as it is set in the broader field of moral philosophy. Contemporary ethical issues in biomedicine will be examined and the student will learn to think ethically about them within the context of the current ongoing debate. Spring. (U1)
261. Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism. (Also Religion 261) An exploration of key notions and figures in Islamic philosophy, theology, and mysticism. Some issues embedded in the enormous body of scholarship in Muslim intellectual heritage are employed to examine current global issues such as the struggle for justice and peace and the fight against violence and absolutism. Special attention is given to the structure of Being, the notion of the truth, and the way to attain the truth in the three systems. Spring, alternate years. (M5)
263. Latin American Philosophy. An examination of different aspects of philosophical thought related to Latin American nations and culture, including the works of Bartolomé de las Cases, Francisco de Vitoria, Simón de Bolívar, José Martí, José Vasconcelos, Francisco Romero, José Carlos Marátegui, and Risieri Fondizi. Fall, alternate years. (M5)
265. Feminist Philosophy. (Also Women's Studies 265) Feminist writings on questions such as: How do the legacies of gender inequality persist today? What would gender justice look like? Is there such a thing as a gender-neutral point of view? How do gender, race, class, and sexuality relate? Prerequisite: One prior course in philosophy or women's studies, or permission of instructor. Fall, alternate years. (U2)
267. West African Philosophy: Akan Ethics. Through study of philosophical texts, writings, proverbs, and other sources, we shall explore West African values. The foci will be both traditional and contemporary, primarily oriented toward the Akan people of what is now Ghana. Among the first nations to achieve political independence in the de-colonization movements, Ghana has kept traditional values alive, not in isolation from the rest of the world, but in active engagement with it. What do the values of the Akan have to teach us? Spring, alternate years. (M5)
271. Race, Gender, Identity, and Moral Knowledge Philosophy. A study of the relationships among identities, experiences, and moral knowledge. Some of the issues discussed are: How do our unique experiences shape our moral views? How are those experiences shaped by such differences as race, culture, gender, and family background? Can we gain moral knowledge from the testimonies of others, and, if so, how? Spring, alternate years. (U2)
311. American Pragmatism. A study of classical American philosophy with emphasis on the works of Charles S. Pierce, William James, and John Dewey. Prerequisite: Philosophy 120 or permission of instructor. Spring, alternate years.
313. Philosophy of Science. A study of what is science, how it works, what distinguishes it from other disciplines, and what is the nature and value of scientific inquiry and scientific theories. Prerequisite: Philosophy 120 or permission of instructor. Spring, alternate years.
323. Tibetan Buddhist Thought. A study of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, worldview, and spiritual practices. The course examines Tibetan Buddhist answers to questions traditionally asked in Western philosophy, at times looking at contrasts and parallels to Continental and British-American traditions in Western philosophy. Prerequisite: Philosophy 120 or permission of instructor.
351. Epistemology. Philosophical inquiry into the nature of knowledge, kinds of experience, belief and truth, justification and verification. Writing-intensive. Prerequisite: Philosophy 120 or permission of instructor. Fall, alternate years.
353. Metaphysics. A study of contemporary analytic metaphysics, adopting a pre-Kantian or traditional metaphysical perspective. The course approaches metaphysics as the study of the first causes and of being qua being, or as the most general discipline of all that studies the nature and structure of reality. Writing-intensive. Prerequisite: Philosophy 120 or permission of instructor. Fall, alternate years.
370. Seminar. Selected topics in philosophy. Non-majors require permission of instructor. Spring.
190-199, 290-299, 390-399. Special Topics.
286, 381-384. Independent Study.
288, 386-388. Internship.