DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY
PHIL 103R 01. Ethics and Identity
Prerequisite: First year students only
This is an introductory level course in ethics and social identity, exploring the ways our moral principles and ethical ideals are related to our places and identities within concrete social systems. The goals of the course are to teach a method of moral decision-making, to enable students to understand how moral norms are in some sense relative and yet also in some sense objective, to explore ways that we are all to some extent selfish and yet to some extent always already in relations of interdependence and cooperation with others. Students watch several movies outside of class, which serve as extended examples for our class discussions. Primary texts by theorists such as Aristotle, Butler, and Hume are studied. A significant portion of the course is devoted to ethical issues arising in our uses of information and networking technologies. Evaluations will be based on periodic short tests, class participation, and a final exam.
PHIL 103R 02. Ethics and Identity
See PHIL 103R 01 description above.
PHIL 200R 01. Ethics of Everyday Life
This course takes a philosophical approach to some of the ethical questions and dilemmas that face each of us in our day-to-day existence. This means that we will consider some of the basic activities of our everyday lives as subjects worthy of examination and questioning. First, the course investigates what it means to talk about "ethics" by studying some important philosophical theories on the topic and discussing what is involved in being a good person, living one's life well, and acting rightly. Then we will turn to the activities that take up the bulk of our time (eating, buying, and working) and the types of relationships (friendship, love, and sex) that fill our lives. Rather than seeking to justify our actions, in this course we will be obliged to evaluate critically the ways we do these things. We will wonder what it means to engage in these activities and participate in these relationships in an ethical manner and consider how we might do so in our own lives. Brief weekly response essays, two essay exams, and projects will be assigned.
PHIL 200R 02. Ethics of Everyday Life
See PHIL 200 01 description above.
PHIL 200 03. Topics: Faith & Reason
This is a 1 credit, pass/fail only class, meeting on Fridays all semester. It is designed to give students an opportunity to explore issues of Christian faith through reasonable discussions among a group interested in such issues. Being Christian is not a formal prerequisite for the course, but all discussions will assume Christian faith as the orienting perspective and worldview, including the instructor. The diversity among Christian perspectives will be explored, with some attention to discerning what are "core" Christian beliefs and what are "adiaphora" or variable between persons and cultures. We will begin with a discussion of C.S. Lewis' Miracles and will move from there to other sources of interest to the students in the class. Evaluations of student performance will be based on class participation, informal writing in journals, and an end-of-semester paper. The course is not writing intensive and not eligible for general education credit. It is for personal edification, and hopefully for fun.
PHIL 204 R 01. Philosophy of Women’s Lives
4 credit hours
Philosophy of Women’s Lives is a course in global feminism that combines narratives of women’s lives from across the globe with arguments in feminist theory to actively connect theory with experience. We will be reading material by Latina, African, Islamic, European, East Asian and Asian feminists as well as African-American, Chicana and white U.S. feminists. Among the topics we will discuss are individual and collective rights, body image, sexuality, reproductive rights, women’s labor, various definitions of feminism, the role of feminism in cultures, and the future of global feminism. The course will be reading intensive. You will be assessed through quizzes, essay exams, written assignments, and course projects.
Optional Course Component: Cultures and Language Across the Curriculum
Interested in using your foreign language skills to earn extra credit connected to this course and to learn more about the subject matter of this course at the same time? If so, register for the CLAC components offered here. You don’t need to be fluent in the language to exercise this option. In fact, you need only to have completed two credits beyond 112 or to be currently enrolled in a course beyond 112. Your work will be guided by your professor and by faculty from the Languages Department. The CLAC module is designed for intermediate level language learners.
This course offers a foreign language component or CLAC component in the following languages:
German, Spanish, French
Students who select the CLAC option will complete work in a foreign language that will supplement the work in this course. Students who complete the CLAC assignments successfully will earn 1 credit for the CLAC component.
To register for the CLAC component, you must also register for a one-credit LANG 230 CLAC module listed among the Language Department’s offerings. Meeting times and location will be arranged at the beginning of the semester. Credit for CLAC modules may be counted toward the requirements for International Studies and as elective credit in the Language department.
PHIL 204 R 02. Philosophy of Women’s Lives
4 credit hours
See PHIL 204R 01 description above.
PHIL 310 1W. Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
Prerequisite: One prior course in PHIL or permission.
This course is an introduction to the historical method of philosophical reflection and an introduction to the philosophers of a particular period and a particular tradition (ancient Greek to medieval European). As part of the first goal, we will observe the historical nature of philosophical thinking, i.e., the way it develops historically, not by accident but by its very nature. We will trace one tradition of answers to questions variously answered by four particular notions (which themselves are reformulated over and over again): (1) the notion that abstractions (like geometrical figures and the periodic table of elements) are the true objects of knowledge, (2) the notion that it is sometimes very difficult if not impossible to do what you know is good and not to do what you know is bad, (3) the notion that to be real and to be excellent are the same, i.e., that being and goodness are identical, and (4) the notion that the soul is immortal and lives on after the body decays and ceases. Students will take a mid-term and a final exam and write four papers. Writing intensive.
PHIL 312 1W. Contemporary Philosophy
Prerequisite: PHIL 311 or permission.
By taking this class, students should 1) gain a basic understanding of philosophical movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries 2) gain a greater understanding of the ideas that shaped contemporary philosophy and the context in which those ideas developed 3) gain a greater appreciation of the diverse world around them and a greater understanding of the extent to which the past shapes the present 4) improve their written and oral communication skills, gain greater perspective and hone their critical and analytical skills (such as the ability to distinguish between fact and interpretation) and finally 5) nurture intellectual curiosity and skepticism and enjoy having a supportive audience with which to share ideas. Students will be expected to write weekly reaction papers, and four essays of varying lengths (from 4 pages to 10 pages) throughout the semester. Writing intensive.
PHIL 490 00. Independent Study
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
PHIL 491 00. Internship
Prerequisite: Permission required.
PHIL 499 1W. Senior Honors Thesis
Prerequisite: Departmental permission.