Philosophy Courses

PH 120 - Ethics 3 hrs.

Ethical decisions are a vital part of a person’s life and can have profound significance. This course provides a systematic examination of answers given by philosophers to such questions as What is virtue? What sort of life leads to human happiness? and What are the ultimate standards of moral conduct? The readings in this course may also cover topics in applied ethics such as euthanasia, abortion, animal welfare, capital punishment, and economic justice.

PH 201 - History of Western Political Thought I 3 hrs.

This course covers some of the major political writings of philosophers from Plato in the 5th century BCE Greece to Machiavelli in 15th century Italy. Issues discussed in this course may include the following: What is an ideal state? To what extent is individual happiness dependent upon the state? To what extent should government be involved in the education of citizens? To what extent should the citizens in a state be treated equally? What are the problems are inherent in various forms of government (aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny)? What is the foundation of civil law? When are laws just? What is the role of religion in a state? (Cross-listed as PS 201).

PH 202 - History of Western Political Thought II 3 hrs.

This course covers major political writings of philosophers from the 16th century to the present. These may include selections from Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, Rawls, Hospers, and MacIntyre. The schools of thought typically covered include liberal, socialist, communitarian, and libertarian. Issues discussed may include the following: Why do states exist? What obligations can states legitimately ask of their citizens? How does one determine if a state’s laws are just? What constitutes a just distribution of a state’s wealth? When are property rights legitimate? To what extent should governments try to influence citizens to hold specific beliefs or adopt certain lifestyles? (Cross-listed as PS 202).

PH 228 - History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy 3 hrs.

This course is a survey of ancient philosophy from the ancient Greeks and Romans to thirteenth-century France. The philosophers studied may include Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Epicurus, and Thomas Aquinas. Issues to be addressed may include What is virtue? What is happiness? What is the nature of reality? Is it reasonable to believe in God?

PH 239 - Philosophy of Religion 3 hrs.

This course consists of the study of the major problems in the philosophy of religion, including the problem of evil, proofs for the existence of God, proofs for the immortality of the soul, the relation between faith and reason, the meaning of the religious language, the relation of religion and ethics, and the nature of religious experience. (Cross-listed as RE 239.)

PH 270 - World Philosophies 3 hrs.

This course surveys the ways thinkers from a variety of cultures have dealt with such philosophical questions as 1) What is reality? 2) What are the foundations of religious beliefs? 3) What is human nature? 4) What are our rights and duties as humans? Readings include works from Chinese, Indian, South American, Islamic, American Indian, Greek, and European thinkers.

PH 310 - Social Justice: Theory and Practice 3 hrs.

This course surveys various philosophical approaches to questions of social justice and an application of these theories to relevant social problems. Such problems include questions concerning the distribution of wealth, property rights, socialization of vital industries, and business ethics. The theories of justice include contracterian, utilitarian, libertarian, socialist, and communitarian theories. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy, political science, or economics. (Cross-listed as PS 310.)

PH 311 - Logic and Argumentation 3 hrs.

This course focuses on how to recognize, analyze, and evaluate arguments. Topics include deductive logic, inductive reasoning, and predicate logic. Prerequisite: LA 101 or 301.

PH 320 - History and Philosophy of Science 3 hrs.

This course consists of a historically oriented study of the development, methods, and problems of scientific knowledge from the ancient Greeks to modern times. Readings are from such thinkers as Aristotle, Bacon, Descartes, Hume, Mill, Kuhn, Popper, and other contemporary philosophers of science. Prerequisite: LA 102 and one course in natural science or permission of the instructor.

PH 322 - History of Modern Philosophy 3 hrs.

This course is a survey of modern thought beginning with the Enlightenment and ending in the twentieth century. Readings include works from Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Issues to be addressed may include the existence and nature of God, the scope and limits of scientific knowledge, the mind and its relationship to the body, the foundations of morality, and the meaning of life. Prerequisite: LA 102 or permission of the instructor.

PH 350 - Law and Morality 3 hrs.

The purpose of this course is to examine selected problems concerning the nature of law and its relation to morality. Topics to be addressed may include one or more of the following: (i) the moral limits of the law, (ii) moral issues in constitutional law, (iii) the nature of law, and (iv) legal ethics. Issues to be discussed under these topics may include “What is law?” “How is it related to morality?” “What are the moral limits of governmental coercion?” “Is the practice of law inherently immoral?” Additionally, issues in constitutional law relating to topics such as abortion, capital punishment, affirmative action, and gay rights may be covered, as well as the moral, historical and political basis of the United States Constitution. Prerequisite: One course in Philosophy or Political Science or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed as PS 350.)

PH 440 - Contemporary Philosophy 3 hrs.

This course focuses on contemporary issues in philosophy. The writings of philosophers from both continental and analytic schools of thought are read. Topics to be discussed may include the meaning and value of human existence, free will and determinism, knowledge and its limits, the nature of the human mind, and contemporary issues in theoretical and applied ethics. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PH 290, 490 - Seminar in Philosophy 3 hrs.

Seminars in philosophy cover special topics in philosophy. These include environmental ethics, philosophy and literature, feminism, existentialism, and epistemology. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PH 495 - Senior Project 1-3 hrs.

Under the guidance of a philosophy department faculty member, each student majoring in philosophy will write a significant paper over an issue or area of philosophy. The paper must demonstrate strong research, analytical, and writing skills. The project’s topic must be mutually agreeable to the instructor and student. The student will be asked to present the paper to the Philosophy Club.

PH 499 - Independent Study in Philosophy 1-3 hrs.

This opportunity is offered to superior students in philosophy who desire to study an area of philosophy not covered in catalog courses. Prerequisite: Department chair approval.