Philosophy Minor Requirements

Philosophy minor

A student may not complete both a major and a minor in philosophy. In meeting the requirements of this discipline-based minor, a student may not use more than nine credits that are also used to meet the requirements of another major or minor.

A minor in philosophy requires completion of at least 6 three- or four-credit courses in philosophy (not including PHIL 473: Senior Thesis or PHIL 493: Honors Thesis). These 6 courses must include at least 3 courses numbered 200 or above and must include the following:

1. PHIL 170

2. Five courses chosen from at least two of the following three groups:

History of philosophy or major figures: PHIL 100, 110, 120, 130, 135, 212 (REL 212), 214 (REL 214), 215, 221 (CLAS 221), 222, 230, 232, 235, 238, 310, 315, 320, 322, and, when the topics are appropriate, 180, 195, 295, 296, 395, 399, and 403

Ethics and value theory: PHIL 100, 140, 145, 150, 240, 242, 244, 246, 248, 250, 252, 254, 256, 262, 264, 266, 335 (BUS 335), 340, 342, 344, 346, 348, 354, 360, and, when the topics are appropriate, 180, 195, 295, 296, 395, 399, and 403

Metaphysics and epistemology: PHIL 100, 270, 272, 274, 278, 280, 282, 285, 288, 327, 372, 375, 378, 380, 382, 385, and, when the topics are appropriate, 180, 195, 295, 296, 395, 399, and 403

  1. Required course:
    • PHIL 170 - Introduction to Logic

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      The study of argumentation and modern formal logic. This course explores the basic principles of deductive and inductive reasoning. Students learn to symbolize and evaluate natural language arguments. Topics covered include sentential and quantificational logic.

  2. Five courses chosen from at least two of the following three groups:
    • History of philosophy or major figures:
      • PHIL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        The course provides a broad historical survey of Western Philosophy. Students read selections from the work of a number of great women and men from the ancient to the contemporary period, dealing with questions of ethics, knowledge and reality, and social and political philosophy. Starting with Socrates who stands trial for questioning his fellow citizens, we consider how philosophy can be way of life and how we can pursue wisdom through careful argumentation and analysis of the foundations of our beliefs about the world, god(s), mind and body, truth and falsehood, morality, human nature, good and evil, government and society, justice, and equality.

      • PHIL 110 - Ancient Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall
        Credits: 3


        An examination of the metaphysics of the pre-Socratic philosophers, especially the Milesians, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno of Elea, and the Atomists, and the ethics and political philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Topics include the origin and nature of the kosmos , the nature and existence of the god(s), the trial and execution of Socrates, theories of virtue, the nature of knowledge and truth, justice and the ideal state, the nature of eudaimonia (happiness, flourishing), and the possibility of akrasia (weakness of the will).

      • PHIL 120 - Modern Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        An examination of the metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of religion in the rationalist philosophers Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, and Gottfried Willhelm von Leibniz, and the empiricist philosophers John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. Topics include skepticism about the external world, mind-body dualism, the existence and nature of God, theories of substance, free will and determinism, personal identity, and causation.

      • PHIL 130 - Chinese Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Credits: 3


        An introductory course focusing on classical (Zhou period) Confucian and Taoist philosophers. No background in Chinese studies is presupposed.

      • PHIL 135 - Topics in 20th-Century Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Credits: 3


        An examination of philosophical issues in recent Western thought, from logical atomism to deconstructionism: Husserl, Russell, Heidegger, Dewey, Wittgenstein, Quine, and others.

      • PHIL 212 - Philosophy and Religion (REL 212)

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Not offered in 2012-2013
        Credits: 3


        An exploration of selected issues, such as mystical and numinous experiences and doctrines, theistic arguments, faith and reason, religion and morality, and science and religion.

      • PHIL 214 - Religion and Existentialism (REL 214)

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Credits: 3


        A consideration of the accounts of human existence (faith and doubt; death and being-in-the-world; anxiety, boredom, and hope; sin and evil; etc.) elaborated by philosophers, theologians, and literary figures in the 19th and 20th centuries. Attention may also be paid to forerunners in earlier centuries.

      • PHIL 215 - Philosophy of History

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2011 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Who makes history, individual human beings, social or economic classes, or broad and deep circumstances, such as climate, disease, currency exchange rates, or the collective psyche? How are explanations of historical events different from explanations in physics, biology, psychology, or economics? How is our understanding of historical events influenced by ethical, aesthetic, or ideological considerations? Is history just one thing happening after another, or is there a descernible pattern or meaning in it? What role do theories play in our understanding of history? What do historians and artists have in common? What does history tell us about ourselves? Readings include works by Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Arendt, and contemporary authors.

      • PHIL 221 - Plato (Classics 221)

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        An in-depth examination of the philosophy of Plato. We look at Plato's epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy through a careful analysis of several dialogues, including some or all of the following: Euthyphro, Laches, Apology, Gorgias, Meno, Phaedo, Symposium, Phaedrus, and Republic. In addition, we consider certain challenges posed by Plato's use of the dialogue form, such as whether we are justified in assuming that Socrates is a mouthpiece for Plato's own views, and how we should interpret Plato's frequent appeal to myths and other literary devices within his dialogues. 

      • PHIL 222 - Aristotle

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 3


        A study of Aristotle's comprehensive philosophy of man and nature, including his logic, physics, metaphysics, psychology, ethics, and aesthetics.

      • PHIL 235 - Beauvoir and The Second Sex

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        The Second Sex (1949) is Simone de Beauvoir's most well-known work in philosophy. It is a deep and urgent meditation on a true hope that is still elusive for many of us: to become, in every sense. one's own. It weaves together philosophy, history, social studies, economics, and biology to analyze the notion of "woman" and to explore the making and the power of gender and sexuality. Newly translated, The Second Sex is an important philosophical and political document about inequality and enforced otherness. In this course, we read this text together with recent work in the field and discuss it both as an important historical document and as a still relevant work on our gendered being in the world.

      • PHIL 238 - Existentialism: Meaning and Existence

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Overview of existential thought in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course presents core existentialist thinkers and their critics - e.g. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Fanon, Heidegger, Camus - and explores important existential themes such as human experience, anxiety, freedom, authenticity, and absurdity.

      • PHIL 230 - Kierkegaard

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 3


        What does it mean to exist as an authentic human being? This course explores diverse inquiries into this question by one of the 19th century's most challenging thinkers. We read from a variety of famous pseudonymous writings (including parts of Either/Or , Fear and Trembling , Philosophical Fragments , The Sickness Unto Death ), as well as some lesser-known works under his own name (Upbuilding Discourses, Works of Love ). In doing so, we not only follow Kierkegaard's literary and philosophical genius for displaying the intricacies and depths of aesthetic, ethical, and religious ways of living a human life, but we also deepen our own reflections on these matters -- and perhaps strengthen our grasp on authentic living as well.

      • PHIL 232 - Nietzsche

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 3


        An examination of Nietzsche's central philosophical conceptions - revaluation of values, genealogy of morality, self-overcoming, eternal recurrence - through selected readings from various periods in Nietzsche's authorship.

      • PHIL 310 - Kant

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        A close reading of the Critique of Pure Reason , Kant's most important work in metaphysics and epistemology and one of the most influential philosophical works ever written.

      • PHIL 315 - Hegel

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Every third year
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: At least sophomore standing.

        The truth is the whole. Hegel's philosophy was inspired by an effort to reconcile various dichotomies of modern thought: nature and freedom, mind and body, immanence and transcendence, sensibility and understanding, reason and faith, romanticism and enlightenment, what is and what ought to be. This course examines the method and starting point of Hegel's project, with a close reading of his Phenomenology of Spirit. In the process, we explore and assess his attempt to comprehend all of the perennial philosophical problems with a revolutionary, systematic approach. Because Hegel is also the first philosopher to take the history of philosophy seriously and make history a fundamental category of philosophy, we gain a better understanding of both his predecessors and those whom he influenced (including existentialists, Marxists, and postmodernists) in our own time.

      • PHIL 320 - Wittgenstein

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisites: One course in philosophy and instructor consent.

        Ludwig Wittgenstein is arguably the most influential philosopher of the 20th century. His thought presents a challenge to fundamental assumptions in the history of philosophical ideas. Ultimately, he sees philosophical problems such as those surrounding the nature of being and mind, and questions about how we understand the world as persuasive and subtle misdirections that language can pull us toward. Consequently, in later works, Wittgenstein attempts to dissolve philosophical problems by untangling their sources in language. This course is a close study of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, highlighted by the use of secondary sources, including an emphasis on the analysis of language, meaning, rule-following, understanding, mind, and states of consciousness.

      • PHIL 322 - Heidegger

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occassionally
        Credits: 3


        We use the expression 'being' all the time in our everyday language, but do we really understand what Being is? Heidegger argues that the extraordinary question of Being is the most important question of philosophy. This course explores this question through a careful reading of Heidegger's magnum opus Being and Time and some later essays. In addition to the meaning of Being, we discuss the following themes in Heidegger's writing: temporality, being-in-the-world, being-towards-death, authenticity, and care.

      • and, when the topics are appropriate,
      • PHIL 180 - FS: First-Year Seminar

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally. Each first-year seminar topic is approved by the Dean of The College and the Committee on Courses and Degrees. Applicability to FDRs and other requirements varies
        Credits: 3


        First-year seminar. Prerequisite: First-year standing.

        A seminar for first-year students.

        Fall 2014 topic:

        PHIL 180: FS: Race and Justice in America (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing. Over the last four decades, there has been a great deal of discussion and debate over the proper role that considerations of race should play in the formation of public policy and in related efforts on the part of individuals and institutions to achieve a more just and fair society. While some argue that we have transcended race and should aspire to ideals of color-blindness, others argue that race is still a significant determinant of unjust social and economic outcomes and that we cannot adequately deal with these injustices without addressing issues of race. The main goal of this course is to make sense of and to critically evaluate moral and political ideals of color-blindness, and to see what practical implications these ideals would have in our non-ideal world. (HU) Smith. Fall 2014

      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
        Credits: 3


        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

        Fall 2014 topic:

        PHIL 195-01: Seminar: Philosophy and Film (3). Film is popular and ubiquitous, but is it worthy of serious consideration? Or is it merely the detritus of consumer culture? In this seminar, we take film seriously, and we submit it to the variety of inquiry that we would give any artistic, literary, or philosophical text. To that end, we begin by looking at the ways in which film is philosophical, how film makers have explored traditional questions in philosophy (truth, knowledge, and mindedness) as well as how the film medium can itself be a mode of philosophical inquiry. In the second part of the class, we examine the more literary elements of cinema, including the nature of authorship, adaptation, and genre; we also look, if only briefly, at the role that gender and race can play in film. We close with "metacinema", or what happens when filmmakers make films about films. (HU) Burstein

      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring


        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

        Fall 2014 topics:

        PHIL 295: Seminar: Moral Dimensions of Power (3). This class examines how power works, both in theory and in everyday practice. Many political philosophers have distinguished license (the ability to do as one wishes) from liberty (the legitimate right to so act); yet, there has been little in the way of discussion about the way in which power serves to make license appear to be liberty. We draw on the philosophical analyses of power provided by various  philosophers, among them Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault.  Subsequently, we apply the insights of these philosophers to various contexts, beginning with a discussion of wealth, a highly concentrated form of power and examining the way uses of wealth (America's classic form of license) are morally constrained. We also consider philosophical accounts of more subtle and diffuse forms of power, including some familiar contexts and some perhaps surprising ones. (HU) Burstein.

      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • PHIL 395 - Advanced Seminar

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisites: Usually one course in philosophy other than PHIL 170. Varies by topic.

        An intensive and critical study of selected issues or major figures in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • PHIL 399 - Seminar on A Living Philosopher

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Restricted to philosophy majors or minors with at least junior standing.

        Philosophy has a long and distinguished history. It is also an amazingly lively and active area of current research. In this seminar, students engage in an in-depth examination of the work of a major contemporary philosopher, including relevant material from other authors. Toward the end of the term, that philosopher visits campus for a few days to meet with students in class and give a lecture open to the university at large. Students have the opportunity to exchange ideas with, and critique the ideas of, someone at the forefront of the field. This course may be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. Majors who are pursuing Honors may also chose to take PHIL 399 in place of one of their 10 courses in philosophy.

      • PHIL 403 - Directed Individual Study

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Permission of the department.

        May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

    • Ethics and value theory:
      • PHIL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        The course provides a broad historical survey of Western Philosophy. Students read selections from the work of a number of great women and men from the ancient to the contemporary period, dealing with questions of ethics, knowledge and reality, and social and political philosophy. Starting with Socrates who stands trial for questioning his fellow citizens, we consider how philosophy can be way of life and how we can pursue wisdom through careful argumentation and analysis of the foundations of our beliefs about the world, god(s), mind and body, truth and falsehood, morality, human nature, good and evil, government and society, justice, and equality.

      • PHIL 140 - Introduction to Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall or Winter
        Credits: 3


        The aim of this course is to sharpen your understanding of some important issues concerning value and morality. We read classic works and contemporary writings in considering such questions as: Is pleasure the only ultimate good? Are individuals' preferences the only basis for assessing the quality of their lives? What makes right acts right? What makes for a just society? What is the role of character in ethical behavior? We examine a number of influential ethical theories, including Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Contractualism, and Virtue Ethics, and assess their competing answers to these and other questions. The aim is to help you to understand the arguments put forward by defenders of these views and, by examining them, to refine your own understanding of the questions.

      • PHIL 145 - Contemporary Moral Problems

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Philosophical consideration of some of the main moral and political issues we confront in society and the world today, such as war, terrorism, global climate change, poverty, capital punishment, affirmative action, abortion, the treatment of animals, and hate speech. Topics vary.

      • PHIL 150 - Ethics and the Environment

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Yearly
        Credits: 3


        This course is a philosophical exploration of one's responsibilities to the natural world. It has three main objectives: first, to provide an understanding of different dominant ethical theories and their application to animals, plants, and ecosystems; second, to provide an understanding of major environmental issues in current political debates, such as climate change, species preservation, and sustainable development; and third, to facilitate the development of a student's own ethic towards the environment.

      • PHIL 240 - Contemporary Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Yearly
        Credits: 3


        An examination of different normative ethical theories, including consequentialism (utilitarianism), Kantian deontology, moral intuitionism, and virtue ethics, followed by an application of these normative theories to a selection of ethical problems, including famine and world hunger, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, suicide, and self-defense. Philosophers include W.D. Ross, J. J. C. Smart, Bernard Williams, Susan Wolf, Peter Singer, Michael Tooley, Judith Jarvis Thomson, and Shelly Kagan.

      • PHIL 242 - Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.

      • PHIL 244 - Feminist Social and Political Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2012 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        This course critically examines the gender norms that pervade our identities, govern our everyday behavior, and organize our social life. Questions addressed may include: What is gender? In what ways does it affect the quality of women's and men's lives? Is gender difference natural? Is it valuable? Can it contribute to, or interfere with, human flourishing? Can a gendered society be just? What can any of us do to promote good relations among women and men?

      • PHIL 246 - Philosophy of Sex

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall
        Credits: 3


        This course explores questions related to contemporary conceptions of sexuality and its proper role in our lives. Questions addressed include: What is the purpose of sex? Are sexual practices subject to normative evaluation on grounds of morality, aesthetics, and/or capacity to promote a flourishing human life? We consider the relation between sex and both intimacy and pleasure, viewed from the perspective of heterosexual women and men, and gay men and lesbians. What are our sexual practices and attitudes toward sex? What should they be like?

      • PHIL 248 - Ethics of War

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 4


        An investigation of important ethical issues concerning the justification, conduct, and consequences of war. The course concentrates, in particular, on traditional just war theory and on recent challenges that have been raised to the central tenets of this theory in light of the rise of terrorism and "asymmetric conflict" (i.e., conflicts waged between state and non-state parties), on the one hand, and reflection upon the moral responsibility of individuals who choose to support or participate in unjust wars, on the other. We address questions such as the following: Should we regard all combatants in war as having the same moral status, regardless of whether they are fighting for a "just cause"? Is it ever morally permissible to attack non-combatants? Is terrorism ever morally justified? Is torture ever morally justified? Is there a moral obligation to engage in humanitarian intervention to stop genocide? Can the conditions of war constitute an excusing condition for acts of moral atrocity?

      • PHIL 250 - Philosophies of Life

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2012 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: 3 credits in philosophy.

        This course provides opportunities to explore philosophies of life held by influential philosophers and by ordinary people, focusing on what it means to live a good or worthwhile life. It also gives students a chance to clarify and develop their own vision of what a good life is for them. Projects include conducting interviews with members of the community outside the classroom.

      • PHIL 252 - Philosophy of Law

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        An examination of topics in the philosophy of law, such as the concepts of a law and of a legal system; Natural Law theory; legal positivist and legal realist theories of law; the nature of the relationship between law, morality, and religion; civil disobedience; rights in the U.S. Constitution; freedom of speech and pornography; abortion and the right to privacy; punishment and the death penalty; and different forms of legal liability. Readings include United States Supreme Court opinions.

      • PHIL 254 - Philosophy of the Family

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter 2015 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        This course considers philosophical issues raised by family as a social institution and as a legal institution. Topics addressed include the social and personal purposes served by the institution of family, the nature of relationships between family members, the various forms that family can take, the scope of family privacy or autonomy, and how family obligations, mutual support, and interdependency affect individual members of families.

      • PHIL 256 - Free Will and Moral Responsibility

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        This course provides an introduction to the problem of free will and moral responsibility. It is natural to wonder what place there is for freedom in a natural world of cause and effect. Our ordinary practices of holding people responsible (which includes not just blame, but also, e.g., credit, where credit is due) seem threatened equally by either determinism or indeterminism, fate or chance. In this class, we ask: What sort of concepts are freedom and responsibility, and what must a person be for those concepts to be applicable? The course begins with a brief historical overview of the problem of free will and moral responsibility, and then examines a number of contemporary philosophical perspectives on this problem, including the seminal work of P. F. Strawson, Harry Frankfurt, Gary Watson, John Martin Fischer, Susan Wolf, and T. M. Scanlon, among others.

      • PHIL 262 - Art, Imagination, and Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 4


        This course considers ethical issues pertaining to the creation, consumption, and criticism of artistic works, including the visual arts, literature, and music. Can artistic works be assessed morally, and are such assessments relevant to their aesthetic assessment? Is it possible for a work of art to be deeply immoral and at the same time aesthetically excellent (or vice versa)? Is there a distinctive kind of moral knowledge that can only come about through engagement with works of art? To what extent, if at all, are artists accountable for the messages implicit in their works of art, or for the effects of these works on their audiences? Are there distinctive ethical issues raised by current forms of "popular art," e.g., video games, rap music, and slasher films?

      • PHIL 264 - Aesthetics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Credits: 3


        A consideration of the basic issues in philosophy of art. Selected viewings and readings from contemporary sources. What counts as art, and why do we value it? Do the particular arts, such as architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry, have a pecking order? What do works of art tell us about ourselves? What sets of skills, sensibilities, and insights are required of an artist? This course examines these questions in the work of G.W.F. Hegel and Friedrich Nietzsche. Hegel's Lectures on Fine Art represents perhaps the greatest attempt of philosophy to comprehend art, whereas Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy aims to show how art not only resists any such attempt but also undermines and overcomes philosophy.

      • PHIL 266 - Philosophy and Literature

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occassionally
        Credits: 3


        Great literature is often profoundly philosophical and great philosophy sometimes takes the form of powerful fiction. This course considers the many philosophical themes in the writings of 19th- and 20th-century authors, including Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Chinua Achabe, Toni Morrison, Jorge Luis Borges, and Robert Musil.

      • PHIL 335 - Ethics of Globalization (BUS 335)

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall or Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: At least junior standing.

        This seminar examines a number of ethical issues raised by the phenomenon of globalization. Though globalization is not new, recent business, technological, and policy developments have made the world more integrated and interdependent than ever before. Increasing economic, cultural, and political interconnections have created a host of new questions about how to conceive of the moral rights and responsibilities of individuals, multi-national corporations, nation-states, and global institutions within this new global framework. This course identifies and clarifies some of these questions, and considers how they have been addressed from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives. Questions concerning the ethics of globalization are approached through an analysis of a few specific topics, such as immigration, humanitarian intervention, and global poverty and inequality. Because the issues raised by the phenomenon of globalization cross disciplinary boundaries, readings are drawn from a wide variety of fields, including philosophy, business, economics, political science, and anthropology.

      • PHIL 340 - History of Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 3


        A close examination of the writings of some of the philosophers who have shaped modern ethical thought, including St. Thomas Aquinas, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and John Stuart Mill. Topics include theories of Natural Law; ethics and virtù, the social contract; the origin and nature of justice; morality and reason; morality and Christianity; and individual autonomy and state paternalism.

      • PHIL 342 - Metaethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        This course focuses on contemporary issues in metaethics. For example, we address questions such as the following: Do moral judgments express truths that are independent of our feelings and conventions? Are "goodness" and "wrongness" real properties of things, or do we simply use these terms to express our subjective preferences toward states of affairs? Can we reason about morality? Do moral considerations provide practical reasons for all rational agents, or does the normative force of these considerations depend upon an agent's subjective desires? We also consider some meta-theoretical questions about the aims, methods, and authority of moral theory.

      • PHIL 344 - Virtue Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 3


        This course examines the recent resurgence of interest in virtue-based theories in ethics. These theories, which trace back to the Ancient Greek philosophers (particularly Aristotle), emphasize the importance of the virtues and good character to living a flourishing human life. Such views are increasingly being defended as an alternative to traditional rule-based (deontological) and consequence-based (consequentialist) theories in ethics. We begin by looking at some of the seminal articles that sparked this renewed interest in virtue ethics, and then examine a fully developed neo-Aristotelian virtue ethical account (and some criticisms that have been raised to this account).

      • PHIL 346 - Medical Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Yearly
        Credits: 3


        An examination of the issues arising out of the human impact of modern biomedical research and practice. Specific issues are selected from among the following: abortion, contraception, death and dying, experimentation/research, genetics, in vitro fertilization, mental retardation, public health/community medicine, science/technology, transplantation and patients' rights.

      • PHIL 348 - Legal Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        An examination of the issues associated with lawyers' roles in society and their impact upon and obligations to the client, the court, and the legal profession. The course also addresses questions of the role and function of law and the adversary system.

      • PHIL 354 - Distributive Justice

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Junior standing or instructor consent.

        How should the product of social cooperation be distributed in a just society? Is wealth redistribution through taxes fair? Is it a fair distribution of wealth that a just society depends on, or is distributive justice more complicated than that? Should we have welfare programs, and, if so, what should they be like? Our studies may include John Rawls' political liberalism, Robert Nozick's libertarianism, Ronald Dworkin's equality of resources, Amartya Sen's capabilities approach, Stuart White's justice as fair reciprocity, and criticisms of the distributive paradigm.

      • PHIL 360 - Roe v. Wade and the Abortion Question

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2013 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        This course considers the question of whether abortion should be legal in a modern state from the perspectives of contemporary moral philosophy and U.S. law. For the first two weeks, we consider some of the most famous arguments for and against abortion from contemporary moral philosophers, law professors, and theologians. For the second two weeks, we consider the relevant U.S. Supreme Court cases that preceded the landmark Roe v. Wade (1973) case, and that case itself; we then consider the subsequent relevant cases, paying special attention to Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), and the more recent Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) and Gonzalez v. Carhart (2007). We listen to the oral arguments as they were presented to the Court in several of these cases, as well as watch some relevant films. Schedule permitting, we take a day trip to Washington, D.C. and visit the U.S. Supreme Court.

      • and, when the topics are appropriate,
      • PHIL 180 - FS: First-Year Seminar

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally. Each first-year seminar topic is approved by the Dean of The College and the Committee on Courses and Degrees. Applicability to FDRs and other requirements varies
        Credits: 3


        First-year seminar. Prerequisite: First-year standing.

        A seminar for first-year students.

        Fall 2014 topic:

        PHIL 180: FS: Race and Justice in America (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing. Over the last four decades, there has been a great deal of discussion and debate over the proper role that considerations of race should play in the formation of public policy and in related efforts on the part of individuals and institutions to achieve a more just and fair society. While some argue that we have transcended race and should aspire to ideals of color-blindness, others argue that race is still a significant determinant of unjust social and economic outcomes and that we cannot adequately deal with these injustices without addressing issues of race. The main goal of this course is to make sense of and to critically evaluate moral and political ideals of color-blindness, and to see what practical implications these ideals would have in our non-ideal world. (HU) Smith. Fall 2014

      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
        Credits: 3


        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

        Fall 2014 topic:

        PHIL 195-01: Seminar: Philosophy and Film (3). Film is popular and ubiquitous, but is it worthy of serious consideration? Or is it merely the detritus of consumer culture? In this seminar, we take film seriously, and we submit it to the variety of inquiry that we would give any artistic, literary, or philosophical text. To that end, we begin by looking at the ways in which film is philosophical, how film makers have explored traditional questions in philosophy (truth, knowledge, and mindedness) as well as how the film medium can itself be a mode of philosophical inquiry. In the second part of the class, we examine the more literary elements of cinema, including the nature of authorship, adaptation, and genre; we also look, if only briefly, at the role that gender and race can play in film. We close with "metacinema", or what happens when filmmakers make films about films. (HU) Burstein

      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring


        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

        Fall 2014 topics:

        PHIL 295: Seminar: Moral Dimensions of Power (3). This class examines how power works, both in theory and in everyday practice. Many political philosophers have distinguished license (the ability to do as one wishes) from liberty (the legitimate right to so act); yet, there has been little in the way of discussion about the way in which power serves to make license appear to be liberty. We draw on the philosophical analyses of power provided by various  philosophers, among them Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault.  Subsequently, we apply the insights of these philosophers to various contexts, beginning with a discussion of wealth, a highly concentrated form of power and examining the way uses of wealth (America's classic form of license) are morally constrained. We also consider philosophical accounts of more subtle and diffuse forms of power, including some familiar contexts and some perhaps surprising ones. (HU) Burstein.

      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • PHIL 395 - Advanced Seminar

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisites: Usually one course in philosophy other than PHIL 170. Varies by topic.

        An intensive and critical study of selected issues or major figures in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • PHIL 399 - Seminar on A Living Philosopher

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Restricted to philosophy majors or minors with at least junior standing.

        Philosophy has a long and distinguished history. It is also an amazingly lively and active area of current research. In this seminar, students engage in an in-depth examination of the work of a major contemporary philosopher, including relevant material from other authors. Toward the end of the term, that philosopher visits campus for a few days to meet with students in class and give a lecture open to the university at large. Students have the opportunity to exchange ideas with, and critique the ideas of, someone at the forefront of the field. This course may be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. Majors who are pursuing Honors may also chose to take PHIL 399 in place of one of their 10 courses in philosophy.

      • PHIL 403 - Directed Individual Study

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Permission of the department.

        May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

    • Metaphysics and epistemology:
      • PHIL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        The course provides a broad historical survey of Western Philosophy. Students read selections from the work of a number of great women and men from the ancient to the contemporary period, dealing with questions of ethics, knowledge and reality, and social and political philosophy. Starting with Socrates who stands trial for questioning his fellow citizens, we consider how philosophy can be way of life and how we can pursue wisdom through careful argumentation and analysis of the foundations of our beliefs about the world, god(s), mind and body, truth and falsehood, morality, human nature, good and evil, government and society, justice, and equality.

      • PHIL 270 - Intermediate Logic

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: PHIL 170 or instructor consent.

        An examination of alternative formal logics and issues in the philosophy of logic. Topics include formal ways of modeling possibility, actuality, and necessity; obligation and permissibility; pastness, presentness, and futurity; and others. They also include informal considerations of topics like conditionals, counterfactuals, intuitionism, and others.

      • PHIL 272 - Philosophy and Science Fiction

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2015 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Discussion of one or more major works in science fiction and in philosophy that explore related themes.

      • PHIL 274 - Metaphysics: Existence and Reality

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        An examination of central Issues in metaphysics. Topics include existence, the relationship between an object and its properties, time, space, persistence, and cause and effect. Topics may also include the nature of possibility, actuality, and necessary, and discussions about why anything exists at all.

      • PHIL 278 - Epistemology: Knowledge and Doubt

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        An examination of the basic problems in epistemology with an emphasis on contemporary discussions. Topics include skepticism, knowledge, justification (foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism), relativism, and rationality.

      • PHIL 280 - Philosophy of Nature

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Credits: 3


        An examination of various understandings of nature and the natural from the ancient Greeks to the present. The course includes exploration of basic philosophical issues regarding the concepts "nature," "wild," and "wilderness." The focus is on the relationship between landscapes and conceptualizations of time, self, and community.

      • PHIL 282 - Philosophy of Biology

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Yearly
        Credits: 3


        An examination of philosophical issues raised by biology, with an emphasis on current evolutionary theory. Topics include the structure of the theory of evolution by natural selection, an examination of the concepts of fitness and adaptation, the role of teleological explanation in biology, reductionism, the nature of biological species, individuality, levels of selection, and sociobiology.

      • PHIL 285 - The Unruly Body: Philosophy, Science, and Culture

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring alternate years
        Credits: 4


        In this course students study theories of embodiment. Beginning with the history of philosophy, we consider how the body gets to be subordinated to a mind; how it is considered mere matter, a building block that is unpredictable and passionate and needs to be controlled or shaped by the mind or the soul (e.g., Aristotelian biology). Continuing with an examination of how in science the body is depicted, shaped and, at times, reconstructed, the course then moves to social-cultural structures, including bodily containment and construction and, with Foucault, execution of power and punishment. Lastly, we consider how we can rethink, relive, regard, refigure, restore and respect our bodies and the bodies of others in more productive and thought-provoking ways.

      • PHIL 288 - American Pragmatism

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Every third year
        Credits: 3


        Pragmatism is America's most distinctive contribution to philosophy. In the 19th century, Pragmatists, inspired by the horrors of the Civil War and hopes of Darwinism, argued that truth is linked to concrete consequences, meaning is a social phenomenon, and the line between philosophy and social action is permeable. In the 20th and 21st centuries, philosophers developed these themes, so that today Pragmatism is a force to be reckoned with in philosophy. 

      • PHIL 327 - Perception and Human Experience: Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter 2014 and every third year
        Credits: 3


        This course is centered on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's landmark work, The Phenomenology of Perception. Bringing together phenomenological philosophy and (neuro)psychology. Merleau-Ponty discusses a wide range of subjects: the bodily nature of consciousness, the expressivity of the body, our relations to others, the experience of time, space, freedom. etc. The course situates this discussion within a contemporary dialogue between phenomenology and the cognitive sciences. Perception is the primary relation that we have to the world; it reveals to us a world of meaningful objects; it reveals a world to which we belong as embodied subjects. A careful philosophical study of perception not only makes us understand the world better but also gives us more insight into our own embodied existence: "By thus remaking contact with the body and with the world, we shall also rediscover ourself." (PhP. 206).

      • PHIL 372 - Philosophy of Language

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        A survey of central topics in the field, including some or all of the following: reference, meaning, truth, analyticity, speech acts, pragmatics, verificationism, indeterminacy, innateness, metaphor, and development of language in the species and in the individual.

      • PHIL 375 - Philosophy of Mind

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Yearly
        Credits: 3


        A consideration and assessment of dualism and materialism and of various theories of the relation between the mental and the physical, such as the identity theory, functionalism, and supervenience.

      • PHIL 378 - Philosophy of Science

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Discussion of philosophical issues raised by the natural sciences. Topics include the nature of scientific theories, evidence, and explanation, the demarcation of science from non-science, scientific revolutions, the unity of science, and scientific realism.

      • PHIL 380 - Philosophy of Mathematics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally
        Credits: 3


        This course is an introduction to the philosophy of mathematics. In it we investigate what (if anything) numbers are; how mathematics as a discipline relates to the sciences and humanities; whether mathematical truths are necessary, absolute, or permanent; and whether mathematical principles are invented or discovered - and if discovered where these principles exist. We start by reading a foundational work by Gottlob Frege, a philosopher-mathematician, and then read works by other philosophers. We conclude by reading works by other mathematicians

      • PHIL 382 - Human Nature and the Human Sciences

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2013 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        What does it mean to be human? Must we stay that way? We address these questions by looking critically at the technological enhancement of human capabilities. We have the means prosthetic, pharmaceutical, electronic, informational, and genetic to alter and enhance our biological endowments. We can increase our lifespan, improve our physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities like never before. What is currently possible? What will be possible in the short, medium, and long term? Could we change ourselves to such an extent that we are no longer human (becoming posthuman or transhuman)? If we can, should we? What are the dangers and moral/ethical considerations, and how are we to adjudicate them? We read authors ranging from essentialist bioconservatives to radical transhumanists. We also consider enhancements as mundane as caffeine and as far out as life extension and extreme body modification.

      • PHIL 385 - Philosophy of Time Travel

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2012 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or instructor consent.

        This course considers the philosophical possibility of time travel. Students read articles on the nature of time-travel. They also watch time-travel movies, some professional, others that they themselves will have made.

      • and, when the topics are appropriate,
      • PHIL 180 - FS: First-Year Seminar

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered occasionally. Each first-year seminar topic is approved by the Dean of The College and the Committee on Courses and Degrees. Applicability to FDRs and other requirements varies
        Credits: 3


        First-year seminar. Prerequisite: First-year standing.

        A seminar for first-year students.

        Fall 2014 topic:

        PHIL 180: FS: Race and Justice in America (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing. Over the last four decades, there has been a great deal of discussion and debate over the proper role that considerations of race should play in the formation of public policy and in related efforts on the part of individuals and institutions to achieve a more just and fair society. While some argue that we have transcended race and should aspire to ideals of color-blindness, others argue that race is still a significant determinant of unjust social and economic outcomes and that we cannot adequately deal with these injustices without addressing issues of race. The main goal of this course is to make sense of and to critically evaluate moral and political ideals of color-blindness, and to see what practical implications these ideals would have in our non-ideal world. (HU) Smith. Fall 2014

      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
        Credits: 3


        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

        Fall 2014 topic:

        PHIL 195-01: Seminar: Philosophy and Film (3). Film is popular and ubiquitous, but is it worthy of serious consideration? Or is it merely the detritus of consumer culture? In this seminar, we take film seriously, and we submit it to the variety of inquiry that we would give any artistic, literary, or philosophical text. To that end, we begin by looking at the ways in which film is philosophical, how film makers have explored traditional questions in philosophy (truth, knowledge, and mindedness) as well as how the film medium can itself be a mode of philosophical inquiry. In the second part of the class, we examine the more literary elements of cinema, including the nature of authorship, adaptation, and genre; we also look, if only briefly, at the role that gender and race can play in film. We close with "metacinema", or what happens when filmmakers make films about films. (HU) Burstein

      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring


        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

        Fall 2014 topics:

        PHIL 295: Seminar: Moral Dimensions of Power (3). This class examines how power works, both in theory and in everyday practice. Many political philosophers have distinguished license (the ability to do as one wishes) from liberty (the legitimate right to so act); yet, there has been little in the way of discussion about the way in which power serves to make license appear to be liberty. We draw on the philosophical analyses of power provided by various  philosophers, among them Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault.  Subsequently, we apply the insights of these philosophers to various contexts, beginning with a discussion of wealth, a highly concentrated form of power and examining the way uses of wealth (America's classic form of license) are morally constrained. We also consider philosophical accounts of more subtle and diffuse forms of power, including some familiar contexts and some perhaps surprising ones. (HU) Burstein.

      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

        A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • PHIL 395 - Advanced Seminar

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisites: Usually one course in philosophy other than PHIL 170. Varies by topic.

        An intensive and critical study of selected issues or major figures in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      • PHIL 399 - Seminar on A Living Philosopher

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Restricted to philosophy majors or minors with at least junior standing.

        Philosophy has a long and distinguished history. It is also an amazingly lively and active area of current research. In this seminar, students engage in an in-depth examination of the work of a major contemporary philosopher, including relevant material from other authors. Toward the end of the term, that philosopher visits campus for a few days to meet with students in class and give a lecture open to the university at large. Students have the opportunity to exchange ideas with, and critique the ideas of, someone at the forefront of the field. This course may be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. Majors who are pursuing Honors may also chose to take PHIL 399 in place of one of their 10 courses in philosophy.

      • PHIL 403 - Directed Individual Study

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: Permission of the department.

        May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

  3. These 6 courses must include at least 3 courses numbered 200 or above.