Philosophy Minor Requirements

2016 - 2017 Catalog

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, 212 (REL 212), 214 (REL 214), 215, 218 (REL 218), 221 (CLAS 221), 222, 228, 230, 232, 235, 238, 310, 315, and, when the topics are appropriate, 180, 195, 295, 296, 395, 399, and 403

Ethics and value theory: PHIL 100, 140, 145, 150, 240, 241 (POV 241), 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, 282, 285, 288, 327, 372, 375, 378, 382, 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

      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

        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

        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

        An examination of the metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of religion of the modern European philosophical era, including views of the rationalists Rene Descartes, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz; and the empiricists Catharine Cockburn, John Locke, and David Hume. Topics include skepticism about the external world, mind-body dualism, the existence and nature of God, theories of substance, personal identity, and causation.


      • PHIL 130 - Chinese Philosophy

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3

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


      • PHIL 212 - Philosophy and Religion (REL 212)

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

        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

        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. The central figures considered are Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. Attention is paid to their significance for future philosophers, theologians, artists, and literary figures, and consideration may also be paid to forerunners in earlier centuries.


      • PHIL 215 - Philosophy of History

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

        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 discernible 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 218 - Heidegger and Being in the World

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3

        This course explores the work of Martin Heidegger and the development of its themes in the work of select philosophical, literary, and/or film artists. A close reading of the magisterial account of being in the world in Being and Time is followed by careful study of representative essays from his later work. After our reading of Heidegger, we consider the literary, cinematic, and/or philosophical work of major 20th- and 21st-century artists who let us reflect on the possibilities and/or problems that his account of being in the world poses for ethical, religious, and existential concern.


      • PHIL 221 - Plato (Classics 221)

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

        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

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


      • PHIL 228 - John Stuart Mill

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2013 and alternate years

        A study of the life and ideas of a 19th-century philosopher who was ahead of his time. The class considers such questions as: Are liberty and individuality absolutely crucial to human happiness? Are we morally obligated to conduct our lives in ways that maximize the greatest aggregate happiness? Should women and men have equal rights and opportunities? How can we combine the benefits of capitalism (higher productivity and innovation) with the benefits of socialism (avoiding poverty and exploitation)? Is it more important to fill your head with knowledge or your heart with love?


      • PHIL 235 - The Second Sex: Beauvoir on the Power of Gender

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2016 and alternate years

        Sixty years after its initial publication, The Second Sex is as eye-opening and relevant as ever. Simone de Beauvoir's masterpiece weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of other disciplines to analyze the Western notion of "woman" and to explore the making and the power of gender and sexuality. The Second Sex is an important philosophical and political document about inequality and enforced "otherness." Referring to the history of philosophy, new developments in existential thought, and drawing on extensive interviews with women, Beauvoir synthesizes research about women's bodies and psyches as well as their historic and economic roles.


      • PHIL 238 - Existentialism: Meaning and Existence

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years

        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

        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

        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: Every third year

        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

        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.


      • 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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 180-01: FS: Animal Minds (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. This course explores the philosophical and scientific literature on animal cognition. It examines questions such as: Do rats laugh? Does the praying mantis have the concept of prey? Do primates exhibit rudimentary moral behavior? Do animals attribute "mindedness" to other creatures? Does animal cognition involve beliefs, concepts, and rationality? Can the study of animal cognition tell us something about human cognition? How do we investigate these kinds of questions scientifically? What role does philosophical inquiry play? We explore both the history of thought on animal cognition as well as the most current scientific and philosophical literature to arrive at our best current understanding of these issues. (HU) Cooper.


      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic

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

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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 195A-01: Seminar: Risk, Rationality, and Choice: Making Good Decisions (3). This seminar explores philosophical and formal questions related to reasoning under uncertainty. What are the principles of rational action when we are ignorant of, or uncertain about, some relevant facts? How is it rational to choose, or to form beliefs, under risk of being wrong? What does it mean to say that there is a particular chance that the stock market will lose half its value in five years? What are "chances" and how do they fit into a scientific vision of the world? How are chances, choices, beliefs, outcomes and rationality related? Topics can include: logic of probability; evidence and confirmation; decision theory; ampliative inference; rational preference; prisoner's dilemma; the problem of induction. (HU) McGonigal.


      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics

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

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


      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring

        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

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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 395A-01: Advanced Seminar: Environmentalism for the Anthropocene (3). Many people believe we have entered a new geological epoch: The Anthropocene, or Age of Human Domination. Some of the central questions explored in this seminar include: What does it mean to be an environmentalist in the Anthropocene? Are the traditional goals of wilderness preservation and conservation of biodiversity still appropriate? Should conservation biology shift its goals in the direction of conserving valuable ecosystem goods and services? Should our attitudes towards introduced and/or invasive species be transformed?  Should we assist the migration of species that are unable to respond on their own to the habitat shifts that will result from global warming? Has the planet become, in effect, one large human garden to be managed as best we can?  (HU) Cooper.


      • PHIL 399 - Seminar on A Living Philosopher

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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 241 - Poverty, Ethics, and Religion (POV 241)

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter 2015

        This course introduces students to some of the most influential and compelling ethical arguments (both secular and religious) about our moral obligations regarding poverty. The course also examines the benefits and challenges of doing comparative religious and philosophical ethical analysis of a pressing moral and social problem. In particular, students will consider the arguments for and against including religiously inflected arguments in public deliberation about anti-poverty policy.


      • PHIL 242 - Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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: Beyond Tradition

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

        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

        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

        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

        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 occasionally

        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

        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

        A close examination of the writings of some of the philosophers and writers who have shaped ethical thought, including Sophocles, Cicero, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Kant, and Nietzsche. Topics include ambition, pride, revenge, friendship, family, deception, inequality, justice, law, God, sympathy, duty, reason, and evil.


      • PHIL 342 - Metaethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years

        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

        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

        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, intellectual and developmental disabilities, public health/community medicine, science/technology, transplantation and patients' rights.


      • PHIL 348 - Legal Ethics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        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

        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

        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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 180-01: FS: Animal Minds (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. This course explores the philosophical and scientific literature on animal cognition. It examines questions such as: Do rats laugh? Does the praying mantis have the concept of prey? Do primates exhibit rudimentary moral behavior? Do animals attribute "mindedness" to other creatures? Does animal cognition involve beliefs, concepts, and rationality? Can the study of animal cognition tell us something about human cognition? How do we investigate these kinds of questions scientifically? What role does philosophical inquiry play? We explore both the history of thought on animal cognition as well as the most current scientific and philosophical literature to arrive at our best current understanding of these issues. (HU) Cooper.


      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic

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

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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 195A-01: Seminar: Risk, Rationality, and Choice: Making Good Decisions (3). This seminar explores philosophical and formal questions related to reasoning under uncertainty. What are the principles of rational action when we are ignorant of, or uncertain about, some relevant facts? How is it rational to choose, or to form beliefs, under risk of being wrong? What does it mean to say that there is a particular chance that the stock market will lose half its value in five years? What are "chances" and how do they fit into a scientific vision of the world? How are chances, choices, beliefs, outcomes and rationality related? Topics can include: logic of probability; evidence and confirmation; decision theory; ampliative inference; rational preference; prisoner's dilemma; the problem of induction. (HU) McGonigal.


      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics

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

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


      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring

        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

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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 395A-01: Advanced Seminar: Environmentalism for the Anthropocene (3). Many people believe we have entered a new geological epoch: The Anthropocene, or Age of Human Domination. Some of the central questions explored in this seminar include: What does it mean to be an environmentalist in the Anthropocene? Are the traditional goals of wilderness preservation and conservation of biodiversity still appropriate? Should conservation biology shift its goals in the direction of conserving valuable ecosystem goods and services? Should our attitudes towards introduced and/or invasive species be transformed?  Should we assist the migration of species that are unable to respond on their own to the habitat shifts that will result from global warming? Has the planet become, in effect, one large human garden to be managed as best we can?  (HU) Cooper.


      • PHIL 399 - Seminar on A Living Philosopher

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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: Alternate years

        An examination of central issues in metaphysics. Topics include free will and determinism; cause and effect; space and time; being and existence; and possibility, actuality, and necessity.


      • PHIL 278 - Epistemology: Knowledge and Doubt

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Alternate years

        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 282 - Philosophy of Biology

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Yearly

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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

        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 382 - Human Enhancement and Transhumanism

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

        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 - robotic, pharmaceutical, computational, neurological, 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 transhuman or posthuman? What if our technological descendants far surpass us and enslave us? 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.


      • 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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 180-01: FS: Animal Minds (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. This course explores the philosophical and scientific literature on animal cognition. It examines questions such as: Do rats laugh? Does the praying mantis have the concept of prey? Do primates exhibit rudimentary moral behavior? Do animals attribute "mindedness" to other creatures? Does animal cognition involve beliefs, concepts, and rationality? Can the study of animal cognition tell us something about human cognition? How do we investigate these kinds of questions scientifically? What role does philosophical inquiry play? We explore both the history of thought on animal cognition as well as the most current scientific and philosophical literature to arrive at our best current understanding of these issues. (HU) Cooper.


      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic

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

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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 195A-01: Seminar: Risk, Rationality, and Choice: Making Good Decisions (3). This seminar explores philosophical and formal questions related to reasoning under uncertainty. What are the principles of rational action when we are ignorant of, or uncertain about, some relevant facts? How is it rational to choose, or to form beliefs, under risk of being wrong? What does it mean to say that there is a particular chance that the stock market will lose half its value in five years? What are "chances" and how do they fit into a scientific vision of the world? How are chances, choices, beliefs, outcomes and rationality related? Topics can include: logic of probability; evidence and confirmation; decision theory; ampliative inference; rational preference; prisoner's dilemma; the problem of induction. (HU) McGonigal.


      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics

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

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


      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring

        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

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

        Fall 2016, PHIL 395A-01: Advanced Seminar: Environmentalism for the Anthropocene (3). Many people believe we have entered a new geological epoch: The Anthropocene, or Age of Human Domination. Some of the central questions explored in this seminar include: What does it mean to be an environmentalist in the Anthropocene? Are the traditional goals of wilderness preservation and conservation of biodiversity still appropriate? Should conservation biology shift its goals in the direction of conserving valuable ecosystem goods and services? Should our attitudes towards introduced and/or invasive species be transformed?  Should we assist the migration of species that are unable to respond on their own to the habitat shifts that will result from global warming? Has the planet become, in effect, one large human garden to be managed as best we can?  (HU) Cooper.


      • PHIL 399 - Seminar on A Living Philosopher

        FDR: HU
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        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

        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.