Spring 2020 – Undergraduate and Graduate Philosophy Courses

Below are descriptions of the courses--both undergraduate and graduate--that the Department of Philosophy will offer in the Spring 2020 semester. Please don't hesitate to email the instructor if you would like further information about the course! For the full list of Philosophy courses, visit http://catalog.missouri.edu/courseofferings/phil/.

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PHIL 1000: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy

Lecture 01 - TTh 2-2:50 p.m. - Dr. Marina Folescu

  • Discussion 01A - F 10-10:50 a.m. - Alok Tiwari
  • Discussion 01B - F 10-10:50 a.m. - Haeseong Shin
  • Discussion 01C - F 9-9:50 a.m. - Alok Tiwari
  • Discussion 01D - F 9-9:50 a.m. - Haeseong Shin
  • Discussion 01E - F 12-12:50 p.m. - Alok Tiwari
  • Discussion 01F - F 12-12:50 - Haeseong Shin

Lecture 02 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m. - Aaron Sullivan

Lecture 03 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m. - Aaron Sullivan

Lecture 04 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Douglas Moore

Lecture 05 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Douglas Moore

Lecture 09 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

Dr. Marina Folescu - We live in relationship to the people, animals, and objects around us. Our nature partly determines who we are; but so do our cultural heritage and political environment. We can and do influence how others perceive us through our relationships and actions. The notions of personal and political freedom cannot be understood well unless we have a framework for understanding what weare, as mind-and-body unions, and what we oweto each other, as fellow citizens in a society.  In this class, we will start at the beginning: we will dedicate most of the time to closely reading three of the most famous texts in the history of Western philosophy, all three written in the 17th century. First, to gain a better idea about what we are, we will carefully read René Descartes' Meditations, where he laid the foundations of dualism, a thesis that is still alive and well in contemporary psychology and philosophy of mind. In the second part of this class, we will be discussing John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, where he laid the foundations of the theory of social contract. This theory is aimed at explaining how it is that people congregate together in societies and what is the nature of their rights and obligations, as members of particular societies.

Douglas Moore - The practice of philosophy consists of careful reflection on questions that are not (or not fully) amenable to investigation by empirical methods, using rigorous logical argumentation. Examples of such questions are: What are you? Are you a soul, a body, a brain, or maybe an animal constituted by your body? Is there a God, or anything like God? How should we behave, individually and collectively, and what sorts of people should we be? Can we know the answers to those questions, or any question, really? Can we know if there’s anything outside of our minds? If so, how can we know these things? What is knowledge anyway?

In this class, we’ll follow the above method of philosophy to address these kinds of questions. The class will involve careful reading of historical and contemporary work by philosophers, as well as audio, video, and other media relevant to the things philosophers are interested in. We’ll carefully examine their arguments and views through logical, argumentative discussion.

Many of the topics we will cover may be sensitive ones. Part of the goal of philosophical practice is to develop intellectual humility with respect to our own views and opinions on these matters. We should honestly consider that we may be wrong about important matters. If we can do that, then perhaps we can develop the intellectual curiosity to carefully pursue the truth.

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PHIL 1000H: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (Honors)

Lecture 01 - WF 10-11:15 a.m. - Dr. Alexandru Radulescu

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Honors eligibility required

This class is about the Declaration of Independence. This is a very interesting document, and many people have written about it, both within academia and without. Even if you disagree about its importance (and many do), it certainly has been influential in American history. Ours will be a philosophical approach: we’ll be interested in what the text says, and whether there are any good arguments for or against the claims it seems to make. Consider this most famous sentence of the Declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The texts we will be reading are all, to some extent, about ideas that can be found here. René Descartes’s Meditations talk about what we can be properly said to know, and the relation between that, science, and God.  John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government was read by Jefferson, and many ideas in it are echoed in the Declaration (and many are not). Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration discusses the relation between religion and state. John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty talks about the notion of liberty. Consider this class an introduction to both philosophy and the Declaration of Independence.

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PHIL 1100: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics

Lecture 01 - MW 12-12:50 p.m. - Dr. Kenneth Boyce

  • Discussion 01A - Th 9-9:50 a.m. - Argon Gruber
  • Discussion 01B - Th 11-11:50 - Argon Gruber
  • Discussion 01C - Th 12-12:50 a.m. - Argon Gruber
  • Discussion 01D - F 11-11:50 a.m. - Tianqin Ren
  • Discussion 01E - F 10-10:50 a.m. a.m. - Tianqin Ren
  • Discussion 01F - F 9-9:50 a.m. - Tianqin Ren

Lecture 02 - MW 9-9:30 a.m. - Selwyn Griffith

Lecture 03 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m. - Selwyn Griffith

Lecture 04 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m. - Zeinab Rabii

Lecture 05 - MWF 12-12:50 p.m. - Zeinab Rabii

Lecture 07 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

Dr. Kenneth Boyce - What makes things right or wrong? Are there facts about what is right and wrong or is morality just a matter of opinion?  What does it take to be a good person? What does it look like to live a good life? How should we think about issues surrounding our duties to the poor, animal rights, just warfare, human sexuality, abortion, and many other controversial topics? In this class, we will explore these and other questions from a philosophical perspective.

Zeinab Rabii - The field of ethics investigates questions about where our moral judgments come from? Are they merely social conventions or absolute moral truths? What are the duties that we should follow? And how to articulate the good habits that we should obtain? It also examines controversial issues such as abortion, animal right, capital punishment and environmental issues. In this class, we layout major ethical theories to discuss some of these issues. The course requires your participation and essay writing to engage with the course material.

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PHIL 1100H: The Difference Between Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethics (Honors)

Lecture 01 - MWF 12-12:50 - Dr. Eric Rowse

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Honors eligibility required

Moral philosophers seek reasoned answers to questions about how we should live, what we should value, and the nature of morality. For example, is morality objective or relative to culture? Are we morally required to be vegetarians? What is social justice? Is abortion ever morally permissible? As an introduction to philosophical ethics, we shall charitably interpret and evaluate reasoned answers to these (and other) questions. We shall then work on developing our own reasoned answers through essay writing.

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PHIL 1150: Introductory Bioethics

Lecture 01 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m. - Alek Willsey

Lecture 02 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m. - Alek Willsey

Lecture 03 - MWF 10-10:50 a.m. - Dr. Chris Gadsden

Lecture 05 - Online (Self-Paced)

Lecture 06 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

Alek Willsey - We will examine several ethical problems concerning healthcare, scientific research, and medical technology. Such problems are bioethical problems. In particular, we shall consider the bioethical problems of access to healthcare resources, euthanasia, cognitive enhancement, abortion, and more. After an introduction to ethical theory, we shall charitably interpret and evaluate philosophical solutions to these bioethical problems. We shall then work on developing solutions of our own.

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PHIL 1200: How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everday Life

Lecture 01 - MW 11-11:50 a.m. - Dr. Philip Robbins

  • Discussion 01A - Th 9-9:50 a.m. - Daniel McFarland
  • Discussion 01B - Th 10-10:50 a.m. - Daniel McFarland
  • Discussion 01C - Th 11-11:50 a.m. - Daniel McFarland
  • Discussion 01D - Th 12-12:50 p.m. - Jean Janasz
  • Discussion 01E - Th 1-1:50 p.m. - Jean Janasz
  • Discussion 01F - Th 2-2:50 p.m. - Jean Janasz

Lecture 02 - MWF 12-12:50 p.m. - Travis Holmes

Lecture 03 - MWF 10-10:50 a.m. - Travis Holmes

Lecture 04 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Duke Cruz

Lecture 05 - TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m. - Duke Cruz

Lecture 09 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

Philip Robbins - This course provides the tools you need to reason better when deciding what to believe and what to do. It draws from several fields: cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, logic, probability, and decision theory. We will consider empirical evidence about ‘heuristics and biases’ — spontaneous judgments that can be predictably irrational. And we will study what good deductive, causal, and probabilistic reasoning looks like. But the goal of the course is entirely practical: to develop effective reasoning skills with clear applications in your personal and professional lives. The course is open to students from all areas of the University interested in improving their reasoning ability and their ability to construct and recognize compelling arguments. These skills may be helpful in a wide variety of university subjects and extra-academic pursuits, indeed, in everyday life more generally.

Duke Cruz - This course is called “How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everyday Life”. Well, what is “logic”, and what type of “reasoning” will we be discussing in this course? Logic is a language that undergirds our sciences and various branches of knowledge. Given that science tells us what we know, logic tells us how we know it. More precisely, logic is the systematic study of sound modes of reasoning. Hence, the type of reasoning that will be of central concern to us in this course is logical reasoning. In this course we will survey the basics of deductive, inductive, and informal logic in an effort to understand the importance of logic for knowledge and science, and moreover, our daily intellectual life.”

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PHIL 1200H: How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everday Life (Honors)

Lecture 01 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Dr. Eric Rowse

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Honors eligibility required

What is the difference between good and bad reasoning? This semester, we shall delve into this question by examining several kinds of reasoning—for example, deductive reasoning, inference to the best explanation, causal reasoning, probability theory, and common forms of fallacious reasoning. We shall also compare the different standards of reasoning set by the law, science, religion, and moral philosophy. In so doing, we aim to improve our abilities to reconstruct, evaluate, and offer arguments of our own. These abilities are applicable to the study of science, business, law, and the human condition. More generally, they can aid thoughtful democratic participation.

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PHIL 2150: Philosophy of Race

Lecture 01 - TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m. - Dr. Drew Woodson

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

This course surveys developments in the philosophy of race. We will examine the ordinary conception of race and consider criticisms of it. Theorists in the field generally hold the ordinary notion of race in disrepute. The line of inquiry then becomes “What does ‘race’ denote?” and “Why?”. In response, we will disambiguate race from closely associated concepts such as ethnicity, culture, nation, and class as part of a sustained investigation into the relationship between race and racism. Toward the end of the course, we will more directly reflect on implications of the inequality race seems to track with a focus on mass incarceration and reparations.

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PHIL 2200: Philosophy and Intellectual Revolution

Lecture 01 - TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m. - Dr. Don Sievert

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

The course will examine two intellectual revolutions: Lincoln’s reconceiving the nation as one, united states, and not north vs. south, free vs. slave-holding states, and the Freudian revolution in which humans are conceived as subjects who are very much part of nature and to which laws of nature are applicable.  Primary texts will be Lincoln’s speeches while President and writings by Freud, van der Kolk and Phillips.  You will exit the course knowing how Lincoln tried to avoid the Civil War, then led war efforts and attempted to remove one of the greatest ideological divides among Americans, and knowing the kind of revolution Freud started more than a century ago and how it looks to contemporary thinkers in his field.  In both revolutions, fundamental questions about the nature of humans and their interactions with one another and with society are under scrutiny and discussion.

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PHIL 2350: The Meaning of Life

Lecture 01 - MWF 11-11:50 a.m. - Jon Marc Asper

Lecture 02 - MWF 9-9:50 a.m. - Jon Marc Asper

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

The world can seem, at times, good, painful, sublime, or pointless. In such a world, do our lives matter, or is life just absurd? Who are we, where do we belong, and what should we be doing? Can our answers to these questions be wrong? The topic of the meaning of life is expansive, so the curriculum will weave together various themes, including the topics of purpose, God, naturalism, personal identity, death, happiness, success, boredom, and more.

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PHIL 2410: Philosophies of War and Peace

Lecture 01 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

This course addresses moral issues about the recourse to war by the nation and the individual's obligations to participate, and the nature of peace, both social and personal. Special attention is paid to the Vietnam War and the nuclear age.

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PHIL 2410W: Philosophies of War and Peace (Writing Intensive)

Lecture 01 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

This course addresses moral issues about the recourse to war by the nation and the individual's obligations to participate, and the nature of peace, both social and personal. Special attention is paid to the Vietnam War and the nuclear age.

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PHIL 2440: Medical Ethics

Lecture 01 - TTh 2-2:50 p.m. - Dr. Troy Hall

  • Discussion 01A - F 9-9:50 a.m. - Chuanke Wei
  • Discussion 01B - F 10-10:50 a.m. - Chuanke Wei
  • Discussion 01C - F 9-9:50 a.m. - Christian Culak
  • Discussion 01D - F 12-12:50 a.m. - Chuanke Wei
  • Discussion 01E - F 11-11:50 a.m. - Christian Culak
  • Discussion 01F - F 8-8:50 a.m. - Christian Culak
  • Discussion 01G - F 11-11:50 a.m. - Tian Zhang
  • Discussion 01H - F 10-10:50 a.m. - Tian Zhang
  • Discussion 01J - F 12-12:50 p.m. - Tian Zhang

Lecture 03 - TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m. - Dr. Eric Rowse

Credit Hours: 3

Dr. Troy Hall - This extremely popular course considers issues of patient autonomy, consent, healthcare rights, abortion, euthanasia, and animal and human research from an agenda-free perspective. It is also perfect as a first philosophy or ethics course, as fundamental ethical theories are explained before integrating them with medical cases. Many students have reported that taking this course was a positive transformative experience for them at Mizzou. Taught by College of Arts & Science Green and Purple Chalk awards winning teacher Dr. Troy Hall.

Dr. Eric Rowse - This semester we shall examine several moral problems that arise for medical professionals. For example, must doctors always respect patient autonomy? Is there a moral right to healthcare? Is euthanasia ever morally permissible? What are the moral constraints on human research? After an introduction to ethical theory, we shall charitably interpret and evaluate philosophical solutions to these moral problems. We shall then work on developing tentative solutions of our own.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

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PHIL 2700: Elementary Logic

Lecture 01 - MW 10-10:50 a.m. - Dr. Claire Horisk

  • Discussion 01A - F 9-9:50 a.m. - Stephen Herman
  • Discussion 01B - F 10-10:50 a.m. - Stephen Herman
  • Discussion 01C - F 12-12:50 p.m. - Stephen Herman

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and grade of C or better in MATH1100 or MATH 1120

Do you love solving puzzles like Sudoku? Then this is a great course for you. We will learn how to solve logical puzzles, by learning a formal logical language and formal methods of evaluating arguments. Having logical abilities is great for anyone who needs to reason --- and that is all of us --- and is an especially useful skill to have if you are interested in law, business, or linguistics. Logic also serves as a fundamental basis for computer science and artificial intelligence. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

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PHIL 2900: Environmental Ethics

Lecture 01 - TTh 3:30-4:20 p.m. - Dr. Troy Hall

  • Discussion 01A - F 12-12:50 p.m. - Tieying Zhou
  • Discussion 01B - F 9-9:50 a.m. - Tieying Zhou
  • Discussion 01C - F 10-10:50 a.m. - Tieying Zhou

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

This popular course counts as a Diversity Intensive Course. Truly a course for everyone, Environmental Ethics explores our relationship to each other and the natural world. A perfect first philosophy course or ethics course, cutting edge contemporary topics such as animal ethics, sustainability, environmental justice and racism, ecofeminism, deep ecology, and eco-terrorism are covered in an agenda-free way. Taught by College of Arts and Science Green and Purple Chalk awards-winning teacher Dr. Troy Hall.

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PHIL 3200: Modern Philosophy

Lecture 01 - TTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Dr. Marina Folescu

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required

This course examines the history of western philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The advent of the scientific and political revolutions, in Europe, during these two centuries have deeply influenced the way we think about our place, as human beings, in a clockwork universe, which functions according to pre-set, discoverable natural laws. What is a human being: just an automaton, with each organ being a part of a system of pulleys and levers? Or is there something more to the notion: feelings, and morality? Is a human being just a body, or is it also a mind? Are we inherently social creatures or, on the contrary, our actions are always determined by self-interest? These are just a handful of questions that philosophers aimed to answer, by evaluating the changes taking place around them, and, in some cases, by being the engine behind those very changes, both on the scientific and on the political front. The lectures are designed to give you some perspective on each work as a whole as well as provide a careful analysis of the more significant passages. We will be studying primary texts written by major figures of Western philosophy, who helped shape not only the development of philosophy, but also of some other academic disciplines, such as mathematics, physics, and psychology.

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PHIL 4130/7130: Probability and Induction

Lecture 01 - TTh 2-3:15 p.m. - Dr. Paul Weirich

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and PHIL 2700

Reasoning often yields a conclusion with probability rather than certainty. Then the reasoning is inductive. What forms of inductive reasoning are dependable? This course studies probability, its various interpretations, and its basic principles. It identifies forms of reasoning that establish the probability of a conclusion. The methods of reasoning it treats are at the heart of science and practical affairs.

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PHIL 4610/7610: Philosophy of Law

Lecture 01 - MW 2-3:15 p.m. - Dr. Peter Markie

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

We will examine major philosophical debates about the nature of law, the appropriate limits of legal regulation, the justification of punishment, and the proper standards for legal responsibility.  The readings will be drawn largely from contemporary sources. The requirements will include several analytical essays and a cumulative final exam.  The course is not recommended as a first course in Philosophy.

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PHIL 4700/7700: Aesthetics

Lecture 01 - MW 2-3:15 - Dr. Philip Robbins

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

This course is an introduction to aesthetics via the philosophy and psychology of art. We’ll begin by considering art-making from an evolutionary point of view, as a prelude to pondering the age-old question: What is art? From there we’ll take up a range of questions in the vicinity, including questions concerning the nature of aesthetic appreciation and interpretation, the paradox of emotional responses to fiction, how pictures represent, the objectivity (or lack thereof) of aesthetic judgment, the relation between aesthetic and moral judgment, and the nature of beauty. We’ll also briefly explore some of the findings of neuroaesthetics, a new brain science that promises to illuminate some of the puzzles surrounding the nature of art and our experience of it.

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PHIL 4800/7800: Asian Philosophy

Lecture 02 - Online (Self-Paced)

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: sophomore standing

Recommended: one course in Philosophy

This course constitutes a historical-critical analysis of the selected philosophies of India and China. The primary emphasis will be placed upon the historical development of Asian philosophies within the classical period. It will explore a broad range of philosophical issues discussed in the Vedas and Upanis‹ads, Advaita VedÅnta, the Bhagavad G≠tÅ, TherÅvÅda Buddhism, the Confucian Analects, and the Tao Te Ching.

My approach will be both historical and critical: (1) the attempt will be made to understand each philosophical school in its integrity, to enter into the fundamental doctrines of each school, with an open mind in order to grasp the system as a philosophical whole; (2) each system will be subject to rigorous philosophical criticism, first, of an internal sort, in order to reveal fundamental inconsistencies between the different assumptions of the system, and secondly, of an external sort, which discloses the limitations of a given system when judged by reference to the phases of human experience and knowledge to which it fails to do justice.

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PHIL 4850/7850: Special Readings in Philosophy

Individual study with a mentor.

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

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PHIL 4950W: Senior Seminar in Philosophy (Writing Intensive)

Lecture 01 - TTh 3:30-4:45 p.m. - Dr. Andrew Melnyk

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Much excellent philosophical work on free will has been done over the past two decades. In this course we will study some of it, in an attempt to understand and critically assess it. By the end of this course, you should be

· familiar with recent philosophical theories concerning the nature of free will and whether we have it;

· able to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of these theories in a sophisticated and informed way; and

· better in general at handling complex conceptual issues.

The problem of free will, though obviously going back to the ancients, is one to which recent scientific work—e.g., in social psychology and in neuroscience—is relevant. It is also closely linked to issues in moral philosophy about responsibility, praise, and blame (e.g., whether criminal psychopaths are responsible for their crimes). We will explore these connections in the second half of the semester.

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PHIL 4998: Honors I in Philosophy

Individual study with a mentor

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: junior standing

Work toward a thesis for students aiming at Departmental Honors.

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PHIL 4999: Honors II in Philosophy

Individual study with a mentor

Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisites: junior standing

Work toward a thesis for students aiming at Departmental Honors.

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PHIL 8090/9090: Research in Philosophy

Individual study with a mentor

Credit Hours: 3

Requires departmental consent

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PHIL 8540: Philosophy of Language, A Survey

Lecture 01 - M 1-3:20 p.m. - Dr. Alexandru Radulescu

Credit Hours: 3

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PHIL 9001: Topics in Philosophy

Individual study with a mentor

Credit Hours: 3

Requires departmental consent

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PHIL 9520: Ethical Theory

Lecture 01 - T 3:30-5:50 p.m. - Dr. Robert Johnson

Credit Hours: 3

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PHIL 9820: Epistemology

Lecture 01 - M 3:30-5:50 p.m. - Dr. Kenneth Boyce

Credit Hours: 3