Undergraduate Courses

The following is a list of the undergraduate courses contained in the Department of Philosophy's course catalog. Only select courses are offered in any given semester. To see whether a particular course is currently being offered, please click on "Course Information" to your left or consult myZou.

PHIL 1000  The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy

Introduction to traditional philosophical problems and methods of philosophical enquiry. Consideration given to different philosophical theories on the nature of reality, man, nature and God; knowledge and how it is acquired; values and social issues.

3 Credit Hours

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

Introduction to traditional philosophical problems and methods of philosophical enquiry. Consideration given to different philosophical theories on the nature of reality, man, nature and God; knowledge and how it is acquired; values and social issues.

Prerequisites: Honors eligibility required.

3 Credit Hours

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

Introduction to different philosophical theories regarding when acts are morally right rather than wrong; when things are good rather than bad; nature of the "good life", nature of ethical reasoning and justification.

3 Credit Hours

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

Introduction to different philosophical theories regarding when acts are morally right rather than wrong; when things are good rather than bad; nature of the "good life", nature of ethical reasoning and justification.

Prerequisites: Honors eligibility required.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 1150  Introductory Bioethics

This course approaches moral problems in biomedical and scientific research from a philosophical perspective. First, we'll familiarize ourselves with ethics and political philosophy. Then we'll study the ethical issues that arise in connection with a series of issues, including research involving human and animal subjects, eugenics, the human genome project, cloning and stem cell research. By thinking about these issues, we learn how to think critically about particular moral quandaries, as well as to uncover and examine some of our deepest moral commitments.

3 Credit Hours

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

Methods of analyzing and evaluating arguments of all types. Uses both informal and formal techniques. Identifies informal fallacies and introduces elementary symbolic logic.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 1200H  How to Think: Logic and Reasoning for Everyday Life - Honors

Methods of analyzing and evaluating arguments of all types. Uses both informal and formal techniques. Identifies informal fallacies and introduces elementary symbolic logic.

Prerequisites: Honors eligibility required.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2000  Philosophical Ideas in Literature

Philosophical ideas and issues revolving around human freedom as these ideas and issues are embodied in great literary works from Plato through Dostoyevski to Burgess.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2005  Topics in Philosophy-Humanities

Organized study of philosophical issues to which no regular course in devoted. Subjects and earnable credit may vary from semester to semester.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

1-3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2010  The Philosophy of Film

(same as FILM_S 2010). Philosophical problems having to do with film. Topic may include the nature of films, the differences between fiction and documentary film, ethical issues with film and filmmaking.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2100  Philosophy: East and West

(same as S_A_ST 2100). Compares the interpretation and role of philosophical concepts such as experience, reason, permanence, change, immortality, soul, God, etc., in Indian, Chinese and European traditions.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2150  Philosophy of Race

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. Graded on A-F basis only.  Recommended: PHIL 1000, PHIL 1100, or PHIL 1200.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2200  Philosophy and Intellectual Revolution

Examines such revolutions as the Copernican, Darwinian, Marxian and Freudian. What are the new views? How is our place in the universe affected? What puzzles arise in replacing old by new views? Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2300  Philosophy and Human Nature

Philosophical exploration and examination of theories of human nature with reference to relevant developments in such sciences as biology, psychology, and economics.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2350  The Meaning of Life

Does life have meaning, or is it essentially meaningless, absurd? This course will examine some of answers philosophers have given to this and related questions.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2400  Ethics and the Professions

Examination of ethical issues confronted by members of different professions such as medicine, law, business, journalism and engineering.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2410  Philosophies of War and Peace

(same as PEA_ST 2410). Moral issues about the recourse to war by the nation and the individual's obligations to participate. The nature of peace, social and personal. Special attention to the Vietnam War and the nuclear age.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2420  Ethical Issues in Business

Major theories of moral obligation and justice and their application to business practices. Corporate responsibility, government regulation, investment and production, advertisement, the environment, preferential hiring, etc. through case studies, legal opinions and philosophical analysis.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2430  Contemporary Moral Issues

Review of the major contemporary ethical theories and their contribution to the resolution of major social issues such as euthanasia, suicide, abortion, capital punishment, violence and war. Emphasis on nature, interests, and rights of persons. Graded on A-F basis only.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2440  Medical Ethics

Considers moral issues posed by developments in biological sciences and medical technology. Topics may include: genetic engineering, abortion and euthanasia, distribution of health care.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2500  Philosophy and Gender

(same as WGST 2500). A critical examination of central ideas and themes in feminist philosophical thought. Topics may include: sex, marriage, parenthood, reproduction, body image, pornography, prostitution.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2600  Rational Decisions

Principles for making decisions in a rational way. Special attention to principles that use probabilities and utilities. Some discussion of decisions made in conjunction with other people, and decisions made for other people. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and grade of C or better in MATH 1100 or MATH 1120.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2700  Elementary Logic

(same as LINGST 2700). Introduces a symbolic language for representing the structure of arguments. Presents precise rules for demonstrating the validity of arguments. Covers natural deduction for sentence and predicate logic. Develops skill in constructing derivations. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and grade of C or better in MATH 1100 or MATH 1120.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2820  Introduction to Cognitive Science

(same as PSYCH 2820 and LINGST 2820). Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind. After an overview of the foundations of cognitive science as a whole, we will see what particular sectors of it have to say about mental capacities such as vision, language, categorization, and social cognition.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: PSYCH 1000.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 2900  Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics explores the ethical, ecological, and policy dimensions of a range of issues such as climate change, land and natural resource management, sustainability, animal rights, hunting and fishing, ecofeminism, property rights, and environmental justice. Graded on A-F basis only.

Recommended: PHIL 1100.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3000  Ancient Western Philosophy

(same as CL_HUM 3025). Philosophical thought on nature, knowledge, the gods, human life and society, from Thales to Augustine. Emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. The relevance of the ancients to contemporary life.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3100  Medieval Philosophy

Major thinkers from St. Augustine through 14th century Ockhamists.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3200  Modern Philosophy

Surveys critical and speculative thinking of modern period from Descartes to Kant in relation to scientific, religious and social movements.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3400  19th Century Philosophy

A careful and sympathetic study of some of the major thinkers of this period, notably Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3500  Existentialism

The nature of human existence, the meaning of life, the relation of the individual to nature, society, and any gods that may be, according to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus and others. Students are encouraged to come to grips with the issues in relation to their own lives.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3600  20th Century Philosophy

The course will be a survey of some of the notable philosophers/thinkers whose contributions have been made in the twentieth century.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3700  Selected Modern Philosophers

Advanced study of a particular philosopher or a number of philosophers from the same school in the modern period. May be taken twice for credit with permission of the department.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 3800  Selected Contemporary Philosophers

Advanced study of a particular contemporary philosopher or philosophers. May be taken twice for credit with permission of the department.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4001  Topics in Philosophy-General

Organized study of selected topics. Subjects and earnable credit may vary from semester to semester.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and two courses in Philosophy, or instructor's consent; departmental consent for repetition.

1-99 Credit Hours

PHIL 4005  Topics in Philosophy-Humanities

Organized study of selected topics. Subjects and earnable credit may vary from semester to semester.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and two courses in Philosophy, or instructor's consent, departmental consent for repetition.

1-99 Credit Hours

PHIL 4100  Philosophy of Language

(same as LINGST 4100). Examination of contemporary views of the relationship between language, minds, and the world.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and PHIL 2700. Recommended: one other course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4110  Advanced Logic

(same as LINGST 4110; cross-leveled with PHIL 7110). Presents the method of truth trees for sentence and predicate logic. Examines proofs concerning the decidability, soundness, and completeness of formal systems. Emphasizes the theory of formal systems. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and PHIL 2700.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4120  Selected Topics in Logic

Elementary set theory. Modal logic, the logic of possibility and necessity.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and either PHIL 2700 or PHIL 4110.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4130  Probability and Induction

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.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and PHIL 2700.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4150  Formal Semantics

(cross-leveled with PHIL 7150). The course provides a systematic introduction to the semantics of natural languages, using the tools of formal logic.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing and one of the following classes: PHIL 2700, PHIL 4110, or ENGLSH 4640.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4200  Metaphysics

Metaphysics studies what there is and how things are, most generally speaking. Topics may include realism versus nominalism, substance and attribute, facts, modality, identity and causality.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: Previous work in PHIL 1000, PHIL 3000 or PHIL 3200.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4210  Philosophy of Mind

Considers theories and arguments in contemporary philosophy of mind, focusing on the nature of mental states, their relation to brain states and the plausibility of various materialist theories of the mind.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: two Philosophy courses.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4220  Philosophy of Religion

Considers basis for and nature of religious beliefs.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: One course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4300  Epistemology

An examination of contemporary philosophical theories concerning the nature, sources and limits of knowledge and justified belief.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: Previous work in PHIL 1000, PHIL 3000, PHIL 3200.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4400  Philosophy of Science

Why believe the scientific world-view? What, if anything, is the scientific method? Are today's theories really superior to past theories? Examines contemporary philosophical answers to such questions.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: two courses in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4410  Philosophy of History

Readings from classic and contemporary philosophers of history. Problems about nature and limits of historical knowledge; relation between history and other disciplines; the existence, nature, and kinds of historical laws.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: two courses in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4420  Philosophy of Biology

A survey of philosophical problems arising from consideration of evolutionary theory and the biological sciences. Topics may include reductionism, sociobiology, biological laws, and epistemic problems relating to evolutionary theory.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: two courses in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4500  Theories of Ethics

Normative and meta-ethical theories. Topics may include the rationality and objectivity of morality, the meaning of moral language, the differences between deontological, utilitarian and virtue theories.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: two courses in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4600  Political and Social Philosophy

(same as PEA_ST 4600). Contemporary and/or historical theories of justice and the state. Utilitarianism, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Marxism, Communitarianism and Feminism may be among the views covered.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: two courses in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4610  Philosophy of Law

What is law? Are there pre- or trans-legal rights? Is punishment justifiable? How can judicial decisions be justified? What are the relations between law and morality?

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4620  Marxism

A philosophical examination of (a) the notion of critique as seen in Marx's early and middle writings, and (b) specific topics by such authors as Lenin, Lukacs and Plekhanov.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Recommended: two courses in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4700  Aesthetics

Typical components of art; theories of art as representation, form, expression; relation of art to value.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4800  Asian Philosophy

(same as S_A_ST 4800). This course traces the origins of Indian and Chinese philosophical world views. Included are the major ideas in Hindu, Jaina, and Buddhist thought in India, and Taoism and Confucianism in China. Emphasis is placed on the diverse, assimilative, and pragmatic nature of Indian thought and its impact on contemporary Asian philosophy.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4810  Philosophy of India

(same as S_A_ST 4810). General development of Indian philosophy.

Prerequisites: sophomore standing. Recommended: one course in Philosophy.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4850  Special Readings in Philosophy

Special Readings in Philosophy.

Prerequisites: junior standing.

1-3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4950  Senior Seminar in Philosophy

A capstone course required of and only open to senior Philosophy majors. Course content will vary, depending on the professor teaching the course.

Prerequisites: senior Philosophy major.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4998  Honors I in Philosophy

Special work for Honors candidates.

Prerequisites: junior standing.

3 Credit Hours

PHIL 4999  Honors II in Philosophy

Special work for Honors candidates.

Prerequisites: junior standing.

3 Credit Hours