Philosophy Minor Requirements

2017 - 2018 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
      FDRHU
      Credits3
      FacultyGoldberg, Gregory, McGonigal

      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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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 Greek Philosophy
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyTaylor

        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 European Philosophy: Descartes to Hume
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyGoldberg

        An examination of some of the metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of religion of the European Enlightenment, 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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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)
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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)
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyKosky

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyLambert

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyKosky

        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)
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultySmith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyM. Bell

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        FacultyVerhage

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyVerhage

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyGoldberg

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteAt least sophomore standing
        FacultyLambert

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteFirst-year seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing

        A seminar for first-year students.

        Fall 2017, PHIL 180-01: Philosophy of Education: Why Are We Here? (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. What is education? Which purposes can and should it serve? What obligations do private colleges have to the communities and societies in which they operate? These questions about the nature of education are essential to philosophy, and also to the history and future of Washington and Lee University. In this course, students read and discuss classic texts in the philosophy of education in close conjunction with materials concerning the public policy commentaries about present practices in American liberal arts colleges. Special attention is paid to Washington and Lee, and students are encouraged to reflect upon their own educational goals and choices in light of the philosophical works that they read. (HU) Dudley, Strong.


      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic
        FDRHU
        Credits3

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


      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics
        FDRHU
        Credits3 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.

        Winter 2016, PHIL 295A-01: Seminar: Medicine, Research, & Poverty (3). This course introduces students to central ethical issues in the provision of medical care and the conduct of medical research in the context of poverty. Specific topics include: medical research on prisoners and the indigent, ancillary care obligations in low and middle income countries (LMIC), meeting the standard of care in LMIC, access to essential medicines, allocation of scarce medical resources, and compensated donation for organs or tissues. This seminar will count toward the POV minor. Taylor.


      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent

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


      • PHIL 395 - Advanced Seminar
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteUsually 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.

        Fall 2017, PHIL 395A-01: Environmentalism in the Anthropocene (3).  No prerequisites. Students may not also register for ENV 395A-01. 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 403 - Directed Individual Study
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePermission of the department
        FacultyStaff

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


    • Ethics and value theory:
      • PHIL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultySmith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyBell, Smith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyCooper

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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)
        Credits3
        FacultyPickett

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyBell

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyBell

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyBell

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        FacultySmith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        Prerequisite3 credits in philosophy or instructor consent
        FacultyBell

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyBell

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyBell

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultySmith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        FacultySmith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyMcGonigal

        This course offers a wide-ranging, reflective overview of contemporary debates in the philosophy of art. We discuss the following kinds of questions: How are artistic experience and value interrelated? In what does beauty consist? What is the nature of aesthetic experience? Should we value works of art for what we can learn from them? How do pictures represent? What constitutes artistic expression? In what ways is the imagination involved in engaging with artworks? Can emotional responses to fiction be genuine and rational? Is artistic intention relevant to the interpretation of artworks? Are there general principles of aesthetic evaluation? What are the relations between the moral and aesthetic values of art?


      • PHIL 266 - Philosophy and Literature
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyVerhage

        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)
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteAt least junior standing
        FacultyReiter and Smith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultySmith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultySmith

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyTaylor

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyCooper

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteJunior standing or instructor consent
        FacultyBell

        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 180 - FS: First-Year Seminar
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteFirst-year seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing

        A seminar for first-year students.

        Fall 2017, PHIL 180-01: Philosophy of Education: Why Are We Here? (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. What is education? Which purposes can and should it serve? What obligations do private colleges have to the communities and societies in which they operate? These questions about the nature of education are essential to philosophy, and also to the history and future of Washington and Lee University. In this course, students read and discuss classic texts in the philosophy of education in close conjunction with materials concerning the public policy commentaries about present practices in American liberal arts colleges. Special attention is paid to Washington and Lee, and students are encouraged to reflect upon their own educational goals and choices in light of the philosophical works that they read. (HU) Dudley, Strong.


      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic
        FDRHU
        Credits3

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


      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics
        FDRHU
        Credits3 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.

        Winter 2016, PHIL 295A-01: Seminar: Medicine, Research, & Poverty (3). This course introduces students to central ethical issues in the provision of medical care and the conduct of medical research in the context of poverty. Specific topics include: medical research on prisoners and the indigent, ancillary care obligations in low and middle income countries (LMIC), meeting the standard of care in LMIC, access to essential medicines, allocation of scarce medical resources, and compensated donation for organs or tissues. This seminar will count toward the POV minor. Taylor.


      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent

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


      • PHIL 395 - Advanced Seminar
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteUsually 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.

        Fall 2017, PHIL 395A-01: Environmentalism in the Anthropocene (3).  No prerequisites. Students may not also register for ENV 395A-01. 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 403 - Directed Individual Study
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePermission of the department
        FacultyStaff

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


    • Metaphysics and epistemology:
      • PHIL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePHIL 170 or instructor consent
        FacultyGoldberg, Gregory

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        FacultyGoldberg

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


      • PHIL 274 - Metaphysics: Existence and Reality
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyGoldberg

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyCooper, Goldberg, Gregory

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyCooper

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyVerhage

        "We are bodies." This statement apparently affirms the obvious. But if this is so obvious why then do we so often disregard and disrespect our bodies and the bodies of others? In this interdisciplinary course, students study theories of embodiment through the study of the (i) history of philosophy, (ii) contemporary scientific and philosophical depictions of the body, and (iii) social-cultural structures affecting our bodies. Finally (iv), we consider how we can rethink, relive, regard, refigure, restore, and respect our body and the body of others in more productive and thought-provoking ways.


      • PHIL 288 - American Pragmatism
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyGoldberg

        A survey of historical and contemporary American pragmatist philosophers, who believe that truth is linked to concrete consequences, meaning is a social phenomenon, and the line between philosophy and politics is permeable.


      • PHIL 327 - Perception and Human Experience: Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyVerhage

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyGoldberg, Gregory

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyGregory

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        FacultyCooper, Gregory

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent
        FacultyGregory

        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
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteFirst-year seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing

        A seminar for first-year students.

        Fall 2017, PHIL 180-01: Philosophy of Education: Why Are We Here? (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. What is education? Which purposes can and should it serve? What obligations do private colleges have to the communities and societies in which they operate? These questions about the nature of education are essential to philosophy, and also to the history and future of Washington and Lee University. In this course, students read and discuss classic texts in the philosophy of education in close conjunction with materials concerning the public policy commentaries about present practices in American liberal arts colleges. Special attention is paid to Washington and Lee, and students are encouraged to reflect upon their own educational goals and choices in light of the philosophical works that they read. (HU) Dudley, Strong.


      • PHIL 195 - Seminar in a Philosophical Topic
        FDRHU
        Credits3

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


      • PHIL 295 - Seminar on Philosophical Topics
        FDRHU
        Credits3 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.

        Winter 2016, PHIL 295A-01: Seminar: Medicine, Research, & Poverty (3). This course introduces students to central ethical issues in the provision of medical care and the conduct of medical research in the context of poverty. Specific topics include: medical research on prisoners and the indigent, ancillary care obligations in low and middle income countries (LMIC), meeting the standard of care in LMIC, access to essential medicines, allocation of scarce medical resources, and compensated donation for organs or tissues. This seminar will count toward the POV minor. Taylor.


      • PHIL 296 - Spring-Term Seminar on Philosophical Topics
        FDRHU
        Credits4
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent

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


      • PHIL 395 - Advanced Seminar
        FDRHU
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteUsually 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.

        Fall 2017, PHIL 395A-01: Environmentalism in the Anthropocene (3).  No prerequisites. Students may not also register for ENV 395A-01. 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 403 - Directed Individual Study
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePermission of the department
        FacultyStaff

        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.