academics

Philosophy

Associate Professor: S. Minister, D. O’Hara
Assistant Professors: L. Vicens

The Philosophy major has two tracks: a Philosophy track and Religion/Philosophy track. The major is designed to give students a broad introduction to the philosophical enterprise, to relate that enterprise to the student’s total educational experience, and to encourage creative reflection on life’s deepest questions. The major is designed to acquaint students with the discipline of philosophy in both its historic and contemporary expressions. It aims to broaden students’ intellectual horizons while heightening their moral sensitivity and to develop their thinking and speaking skills while encouraging the integration of learning.

While the study of philosophy is particularly important for students planning to enter the professions, the skills and attitudes acquired through philosophical inquiry will benefit anyone who wants to think more clearly, critically, flexibly, and comprehensively, no matter what one’s major or vocational goals may be. We are therefore eager to work with students who want to combine their study of philosophy with other majors or areas of study.

Philosophy Major:

24 credit hours
PHIL 120 — Critical Thinking (3 cr)
PHIL 200 — Reason, Faith and the Search for Meaning (3 cr)
PHIL 220 — Our Philosophical Heritage I (3 cr)
PHIL 230 — Our Philosophical Heritage II (3 cr)
PHIL 300 — Contemporary Moral Issues (3 cr)
PHIL 332 — Seminar (3 cr)
*PHIL — Elective courses (2 courses) 6 cr

*With the approval of the program coordinator, students may apply toward the philosophy major one course with philosophical content from another discipline.

Philosophy Minor:

15 credit hours
PHIL — Elective courses (5 courses) 15 cr

RELIGION/PHILOSOPHY Major TRACK: (See Religion/Philosophy Major)

Political Philosophy Minor:
See Government/International Affairs for minor requirements.

Related information: Students preparing for graduate study in philosophy need careful advising in their choice of courses. Majors are encouraged to broaden themselves by taking courses in the natural and social sciences as well as in the humanities. A study of one or more foreign languages is recommended.

Consult the Interim catalog for courses not listed here which may be applied to a Philosophy major.

Philosophy Courses:

PHIL 110 — Dimensions of the Self (Area 1.2) (3 credits)
An inquiry into the nature and conditions of selfhood. Issues explored include: the self in relation to education, vocation, maturation, morality, rationality, rights and responsibilities; the self in relation to its projects and possibilities and values, its capacity for transcendence, meaning, and interpersonal relationships. Offered Every Semester.

PHIL 120 — Critical Thinking (Area 2.2) (3 credits)
A broad introduction to the art of reasoning. Topics include: the basic concepts of logic, with techniques for detecting, classifying, and evaluating arguments; mistakes in reasoning committed in everyday life; deductive and inductive logic; problem solving skills. Designed to make the student a more careful thinker and a better judge of evidence and arguments. Offered Most Semesters.

PHIL 200 — Reason, Faith and the Search for Meaning (Area 4.2) (3 credits)
A study of those issues which are of common concern to philosophy and religion. Topics focused upon include: the nature and function of religion; the existence and attributes of God; the claims of reason and the claims of faith; God and the problem of evil; the meaning of religious statements; religious experience and the inexpressible; religion and morality; human freedom and the meaning of life. Cross-Listed with RELI 200; Prerequisite RELI 110; Offered Most Semesters.

PHIL 210 — Ethical Perspectives (Area 4.2) (3 credits)
An introductory exploration of basic ethical issues from different philosophical perspectives as well as from the vantage point of the Christian faith. This course is designed to encourage a thoughtful appraisal of the deep questions of life within the broadest possible context. Cross-Listed with RELI 210; Prerequisite RELI 110; Offered Most Semesters.

PHIL 220 — Our Philosophical Heritage I (Area 3.1A) (3 credits)
A survey of the history of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics through the scholastics, concentrating upon the main thinkers, ideas, and cultural developments of the period. Cross-Listed with CLAS 220; Offered Every Fall Semester.

PHIL 230 — Our Philosophical Heritage II (Area 3.1B) (3 credits)
A survey of the history of Western philosophy from the 17th Century through the 20th Century, concentrating upon the main thinkers, ideas and cultural developments which have shaped the modern mind.
Offered Every Spring Semester.

PHIL 241 — Theology and Philosophy in Dialog (Area 4.2) (3 credits)
This course is a survey of Western philosophical thought with the purpose of introducing students of theology to the philosophical ideas which have had a significant influence on the development of Christian theology. Cross-Listed with RELI 241; Offered Most Semesters.

PHIL 242 — Liberation Thought (Area 4.2) (3 credits)
This course is devoted to concentrated study in liberation theologies and philosophies. Specific attention will be given to understanding the differences between a variety of schools of liberation thought. Cross-Listed With RELI 242; Offered Occasionally.

PHIL 243 — Creation and Cosmology: Conversations Between Science and Religion (Area 4.2) (3 credits)
This course will develop the theological implications of the Christian doctrine of creation in light of current conversations between religion and science. The major topics of the course are: 1) a survey of the doctrine of creation, 2) theories, models, metaphors, and paradigms, 3) epistemological issues, and 4) spiritual dimensions of the doctrine of creation. Cross-Listed with RELI 243; Offered Occasionally.

PHIL 300 — Contemporary Moral Issues (W - Area 2.1B) (3 credits)
This course explores a variety of ethical theories, both classical and contemporary, acquaints students with a number of contemporary moral issues (abortion, euthanasia, world hunger, animal rights, civil disobedience, sexual morality, etc.), and examines the different ways in which these issues can be addressed. Prerequisite: PHIL 110, 120 OR 200; Offered Every Year.

PHIL 305 — Bioethics (3 credits)
This course will study the ethical implications of contemporary developments in the medical treatment of human life. The course will seek to develop a philosophical and theological perspective on decision-making as it relates to such issues as human experimentation, abortion, euthanasia, genetics and the control of human development, and the availability of medical care. Cross-Listed with RELI 305; Offered Occasionally.

PHIL 310 — Death, Dying and Beyond (Area 1.2) (3 credits)
This course will focus on such topics as: dealing with one’s own death; biblical, theological, and philosophical perspectives relating to death, suffering, self, and afterlife; care of the dying person, components of grief and loss, funerals, wills, suicide, and euthanasia. Cross-Listed with RELI 310; Offered Occasionally.

PHIL 311 — Readings in Plato and Aristotle (3 credits)
An introduction to the writings of Plato and Aristotle in the original Greek. A dialogue of Plato and representative selections of Aristotle’s thought are read, with emphasis on content and style of expression. Cross-Listed with CLAS 311; Recommended Prerequisite: PHIL 220; Offered Occasionally.

PHIL 320 — Political Philosophy (3 credits)
An examination of classical and modern political theory, concentrating on selected works from each period. Emphasis will be placed on differing interpretations of human nature, power, justice, and the best political order. Cross-Listed with GOVT 320; Offered Every Other Year.

PHIL 332 — Seminar (3 credits)
A concentrated study of one or more philosophers, a period or particular branch of philosophy. Prerequisites: PHIL 220 and 230; Offered Every Year.

PHIL 395 — Internship (2-4 credits)

PHIL 197, 297, 397 — Topics in Philosophy (1-4 credits)

PHIL 199, 299, 399 — Independent Study (1-4 credits)

PHIL 400 — Senior Thesis (3 credits)
In consultation with a faculty member, a second semester senior will select a research topic. With supervision from the faculty member, the student will research and write a paper during the semester. At a final senior thesis forum, the student will present his/her paper to fellow seniors as well as the faculty of the department. Prerequisite: Senior Status; Offered as Needed.