Holly Moore (department head)
Academic study of philosophy is a systematic inquiry into the basic assumptions of human life and experience. Philosophy courses are designed to deepen reflection about the nature of persons, the world, or the divine. Philosophy explores the meaning of value and the good, as well as the nature of knowledge and reason itself. Thus the study of philosophy has the possibility of enhancing and deepening study in every major, and the liberal arts generally; philosophy courses are designed with this goal in mind.
Philosophy minors receive a more comprehensive knowledge of philosophy alongside their major course of study. All students in philosophy move toward "the love of wisdom", which provides insight about the most important questions. Pursuit of the "examined life" provides students of philosophy the means to flourish both in and beyond academic pursuits.
Required for a minor: A minimum of five courses in philosophy, with at least three courses numbered 200 or above.
Students who lack the formal prerequisites for advanced philosophy courses but have appropriate academic experience and interest may obtain consent of instructor to enroll.
View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Philosophy.
An introduction to basic questions in philosophy concerning God, the nature of reality, knowledge and truth, human nature, morality, and the individual in society, together with the range of arguments and answers that philosophers have developed in response to them.
An introduction to critical thinking, with attention to the structure of everyday arguments and common fallacies in areas including probabilistic, causal, and inductive reasoning.
A study of reasoning and argumentation, introducing formal symbol systems, including propositional and predicate logic, with attention to informal logic and fallacies.
A topical introduction to moral philosophy, considering both historical and contemporary developments. Topics include human nature, standards of morality, obligation and rights, justice, responsibility and freedom, character and action.
A study of the philosophical response to the environmental crisis. The course begins with a survey of environmental problems and a brief history of the environmental movement. It then examines various philosophical attempts to reevaluate human attitudes and responsibilities toward the nonhuman environment.
An introducation to major social and political theories with focus on such concepts as obligation, law, authority, freedom, rights, justice, individual, community, ideology, and oppression.
An examination of philosophy's development in the Greek world and beyond. Primary focus will be on the thought of Plato and Aristotle, their influences and legacy. Special attention is paid to comparing ancient and modern methods of formulating a history of the western intellectual tradition.
An examination of the development of modern European philosophy. Primary focus will be on the formation of scientific philosophies in the 17th and 18th centuries and upon the synthesis of these views in Kant's philosophy.
A study of the nature of scientific methodology, which has entitled the sciences (especially the natural sciences) to their authoritative status as reliable sources of knowledge and rational belief. This involves issues such as the relation between theory and evidence, the nature of confirmation, explanation, probability, and rational considerations in delivering and consuming scientific information. Offered alternate years.
This course introduces students to philosophy of religion. It attempts to bring rational justification and clarification to religious beliefts and practice. This course will explore the traditional approaches as developed in the Christian and Islamic traditions as well as the global critical approaches suggested by current scholarship. Topics may include: the existence and nature of ultimate reality, the existence and attributes of God, faith and reason, death and immortality, miracles and revelation, religious experience, the problem of evil, the purpose of religious practice and rituals, the difficulties of defining religion, the question of religious morality, and religious pluralism. (Same as Rel 232)
In the wake of the devastation of Europe and the horrors of fascism during and following WWII, the existentialist movement took seriously the call to question the meaning of both life and death. In this course, we will immerse ourselves in the texts of existentialism (those of literature, drama, visual arts and film) and those they influenced in order to reflect on this movement's fundamental questions: What does it mean to live authentically? What is the meaning of death? Is genuine freedom possible? How is life shaped by the depths of human suffering? Are there grounds for morality?
A study of development of philosophical movements responding to German idealism, including existentialism, phenomenology, pragmatism, analytic and post-modern philosophy. Special attention will be paid to the interaction between these movements and the evolving conception of history.
Study of particular theories, movements, issues, major philosophers in value theory. Examples include major works in virtue ethics, utilitarian theory, deontological ethics. Offered alternate years.
This course explores topics in the philosophy of mind, including historical and contemporary attempts to address a wide range of questions about the mind and mental phenomena, such as: Is the mind independent of the body/brain? Can consciousness be explained? Can machines think? How can we account for personal identity? Is free will an illusion? How do evolutionary theory and neuroscience relate to our understanding of the mind?
Designed for students with significant interest and experience in philosophy. Offered alternate years.
In-depth study of specific topics or philosophers in seminar format, designed for students with significant experience in philosophy.