PHIL 100 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduces a broad spectrum of philosophical problems and approaches.
Topics include basic questions concerning morality, skepticism and
the foundations of knowledge, the mind and its relation to the body,
and the existence of God. Readings are drawn from classics in the
history of philosophy and/or contemporary sources.
PHIL 132 - (3) (IR)
Minds and Bodies
Do we really know what we think we know about our world and the
other people in it? Discounting familiar sources of error, which
we can obviate, the epistemological skeptic argues that there are
other sources of error that may well infect our beliefs however
careful we may be. Can he be answered? This aside, if we know anything
at all, we would seem to know ourselves; are we essentially physical,
or could we exist independently of physical bodies? Through reflecting
on these and related questions, the course constitutes an introduction
to basic problems in the theory of knowledge and in metaphysics.
PHIL 141 - (3) (S)
Forms of Reasoning
Analyzes the structure of informal arguments and fallacies that
are commonly committed in everyday reasoning. The course will not
cover symbolic logic in any detail.
PHIL 142 - (3) (IR)
Introduces topics in traditional and symbolic logic, including the
syllogism, Venn diagrams, paradoxes, and propositional logic.
PHIL 151 - (3) (IR)
Examines the major theories of human nature and the relation between
human beings and the natural world. Includes the views of Plato,
the Christian view, existentialism and Marxism, and. Recent psychological
theories like Freud's and Skinner's, as well as theories drawing
from contemporary biology. Examines the question of nature versus
nurture in determining human conduct.
PHIL 153 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to Moral and Political Philosophy
Examines some of the central problems of moral philosophy and their
sources in human life and thought.
PHIL 154 - (3) (Y)
Issues of Life and Death
Studies the fundamental principles underlying contemporary and historical
discussions of such issues as abortion, euthanasia, suicide, pacifism,
and political terror. Examines Utilitarian and anti-Utilitarian
modes of thought about human life and the significance of death.
PHIL 161, 169 - (3) (S)
Introductory Philosophy Seminars
Discussion groups devoted to some philosophical writing or topic.
Information on the specific topic can be obtained from the philosophy
department at course enrollment time.
PHIL 201, 205 - (3) (S)
Seminar in Philosophy
Seminars aimed at showing how philosophical problems arise in connection
with subjects of general interest.
PHIL 206 - (3) (Y)
Philosophical Problems in Law
Examines and evaluates some basic practices and principles of Anglo-American
law. Discusses the justification of punishment, the death penalty,
legal responsibility, strict liability, "Good Samaritan laws," reverse
discrimination, and plea bargaining.
PHIL 211 - (3) (Y)
History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval
Survey of the history of philosophy from the Pre-Socratic period
through the Middle Ages.
PHIL 212 - (3) (Y)
History of Philosophy: Modern
Surveys the history of modern philosophy, beginning with Descartes
and extending up to the nineteenth century.
PHIL 233 - (3) (E)
Computers, Minds and Brains
Do computers think? Can a persuasive case be made for the claim
that the human mind is essentially a sophisticated computing device?
These and related questions will be examined through readings in
computer science, the philosophy of mind, logic, and linguistics.
PHIL 242 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Symbolic Logic
Introduces the concepts and techniques of modern formal logic, including
both sentential and quantifier logic, as well as proof, interpretation,
translation, and validity.
PHIL 245 - (3) (E)
Introduces the philosophy of science. Topics include experiment,
casual inference, models, scientific explanation, theory structure,
hypothesis testing, realism and anti-realism, the relations between
science and technology, science versus non-science, and the philosophical
assumptions of various sciences. Illustrations are drawn from the
natural, biological, and social sciences, but no background in any
particular science is presupposed.
PHIL 252 - (3) (Y)
Bioethics: A Philosophical Perspective
Surveys biomedical ethics, emphasizing philosophical issues and
methods. Includes moral foundations of the physician/patient relation,
defining death, forgoing life-sustaining treatments, euthanasia,
abortion, prenatal diagnosis, new reproductive technologies, human
genetics, human experimentation, and the allocation and rationing
of health care resources. Reflects on the various ethical theories
and methods of reasoning that might be brought to bear on practical
moral problems. Not open to those who have taken RELG 265.
PHIL 257 - (3) (Y)
Studies problems involved in understanding the relation between
public power and private right.
PHIL 265 - (3) (Y)
Free Will and Responsibility
Examines whether our actions and choices are free and whether or
to what extent we can be held responsible for them. Includes the
threat to freedom posed by the possibility of scientific explanations
of our behavior and by psychoanalysis, the concept of compulsion,
moral and legal responsibility, and the nature of human action.
PHIL 266 - (3) (Y)
Philosophy of Religion
Considers the problems raised by arguments for and against the existence
of God; discussion of such related topics as evil, evidence for
miracles, and the relation between philosophy and theology.
PHIL 311 - (3) (E)
Introduces the philosophy of Plato, beginning with several pre-Socratic
philosophers. Focuses on carefully examining selected Platonic dialogues.
PHIL 312 - (3) (O)
Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy
Introduces the philosophy of Aristotle and the major Hellenistic
schools (the Stoics, Epicureans and Skeptics). Emphasizes philosophy
rather than history, with readings mainly in the fields of metaphysics,
philosophy of nature, philosophy of knowledge, and ethics.
PHIL 314 - (3) (IR)
History of Medieval Philosophy
Examines the continued development of philosophy from after Aristotle
to the end of the Middle Ages.
PHIL 315 - (3) (O)
Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz
Studies the central philosophers in the rationalist tradition.
PHIL 316 - (3) (O)
Locke, Berkeley and Hume
Studies the central philosophers in the empiricist tradition.
PHIL 317 - (3) (E)
Kant and Nineteenth-Century German Philosophy
Primarily a study of Kant's metaphysics and epistemology, followed
by a brief look at the views of some of Idealist successors.
PHIL 329 - (3) (E)
Studies some recent contemporary philosophical movement, writing,
PHIL 331 - (3) (Y)
Examines central metaphysical issues such as time, the existence
of God, causality and determinism, universals, possibility and necessity,
identity, and the nature of metaphysics.
PHIL 332 - (3) (Y)
Studies problems concerned with the foundations of knowledge, perception,
and rational belief.
PHIL 334 - (3) (E)
Philosophy of Mind
Recommended preparation: PHIL 132.
Studies some basic problems of philosophical psychology.
PHIL 350 - (3) (Y)
Philosophy of Language
Prerequisite: At least on course in philosophy at the 100 level
or above, or instructor permission.
Examines central conceptual problems raised by linguistic activity.
Among topics considered are the relation between thought and language;
the possibility of an essentially private discursive realm; the
view that one's linguistic framework somehow "structures" reality;
and the method of solving or dissolving philosophical problems by
scrutiny of the language in which they are couched.
PHIL 351 - (3) (Y)
History of modern ethical theory (Hobbes to Mill) with especial
emphasis on the texts of Hume, Treatise, Book III, and of Kant,
Grundlegung, which will be studied carefully and critically. Among
the topics to be considered: Is morality based on reason? Is it
necessarily irrational not to act morally? Are moral standards objective?
Are they conventional? Is it a matter of luck whether we are morally
virtuous? Is the morally responsible will a free will? Are all reasons
for acting dependent on desires?
PHIL 352 - (3) (Y)
Studies Anglo-American ethics since 1900. While there are selected
readings from G.E. Moore, W.D. Ross, A.J. Ayer, C.L. Stevenson and
R.M. Hare, emphasis is on more recent work. Among the topics to
be considered: Are there moral facts? Are moral values relative?
Are moral judgements universalizable? Are they prescriptive? Are
they cognitive? What is to be said for utilitarianism as a moral
theory? What against it? And what are the alternatives?
PHIL 356 - (3) (IR)
Classical Political Philosophy
Considers some of the perennial questions in political philosophy
through an examination of classical works in the field, including
some or all of the following: Aristotle's Politics, Hobbes's Leviathan,
Locke's Second Treatise of Government, and Rousseau's Social Contract.
PHIL 359 - (3) (IR)
Prerequisite: One course in ethics or bioethics, or instructor permission.
Canvasses the history of research scandals (e.g., Nuremberg, Tuskegee)
resulting in federal regulation of human subjects research. Critically
assesses the randomized clinical trial (including informed consent,
risk/benefit ratio, randomization, placebos). Examines the ethics
of research with special populations, such as the cognitively impaired,
prisoners, children, embryos and fetuses, and animals.
PHIL 361 - (3) (Y)
Critically investigates central philosophical issues raised by artistic
activity: To count as an artwork must a thing have a modicum of
aesthetic value, or is it enough that it be deemed art by the community?
Is aesthetic value entirely in the eye of the beholder or is there
such a thing as being wrong in one's judgment concerning an artwork?
PHIL 363 - (3) (O)
Freud and Philosophy
Philosophical questions arising from Freud's work. First studies
Freud's more general writings and examines some case histories;
then critically reviews writings about Freud by philosophers, including
Wittgenstein, Sartre, and Pears.
PHIL 365 - (3) (Y)
Justice and Health Care
Prerequisite: PHIL 252 or RELG 265.
Philosophical account of health care practices and institutions
viewed against the backdrop of leading theories of justice (e.g.,
utilitarianism, Rawlsian contractarianism, communitarianism, libertarianism).
Topics include the nature, justifications, and limits of a right
to health care; the value conflicts posed by cost containment, implicit
and explicit rationing, and reform of the health care system; the
physician-patient relationship in an era of managed care; and the
procurement and allocation of scarce life-saving resources, such
as expensive drugs and transplantable organs.
PHIL 367 - (3) (IR)
Law and Society
Examines competing theories of law; the role of law in society;
the legitimacy of restrictions on individual liberties; legal rights
and conflicts of rights; and the relationships between law and such
social values as freedom, equality, and justice.
PHIL 368 - (3) (IR)
Crime and Punishment
Critically examines the social force of legally proscribing certain
conduct, and of convicting and punishing those who engage in it;
the accepted notions of actus reus and mens rea, of action, intention,
fault and responsibility; the nature and scope of excusing conditions,
such as ignorance and mental incapacity; and theories of the nature
and justification of criminal punishment.
PHIL 369 - (3) (IR)
Justice, Law, and Morality
Prerequisite: One PHIL course or instructor permission.
Examines contemporary liberal theories of justice and of communitarian,
Marxist, libertarian, utilitarian, and feminist criticisms of these
theories. Uses landmark Supreme Court decisions to illuminate central
PHIL 401, 402 - (3) (Y)
Seminar for Majors
Prerequisite: enrollment restricted to philosophy majors.
Topic changes from year to year.
PHIL 427 - (3) (IR)
Prerequisite: two PHIL courses or instructor permission; PHIL 242
Study of Wittgenstein's major works.
PHIL 490 - (15) (S)
Prerequisite: Enrollment in the departmental honors program.
PHIL 493, 494 - (1-3) (S)
Directed Reading and Research
Independent study under the direction of a faculty member.
PHIL 498 - (3) (S)
PHIL 504 - (3) (Y)
Prerequisite: Fourth-year bioethics minor or interdisciplinary bioethics
The topic varies from year to year. Previous topics include Methods
of Practical Ethics and Reproductive Ethics.
PHIL 505, 506 - (3) (IR)
Seminar on a Philosophical Topic
PHIL 510 - (3) (IR)
The Historiography of Philosophy
Examines the issues arising from the study of the history of philosophy.
Authors include Aristotle, Hegel, Russell, Collingwood, and Rorty.
PHIL 513 - (3) (O)
Topics in Medieval Philosophy
Seminar on St. Augustine, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, and
Duns Scotus. Topics include the existence of God, accounts of necessity
and possibility, the justification and acquisition of concepts,
and the interaction between Platonism and Aristotelianism in Christian
PHIL 542 - (3) (E)
Prerequisite: PHIL 242 or equivalent.
Examines various results in metalogic, including completeness, compactness,
and undecidability. Effective computability, theories of truth,
and identity may also be covered.
PHIL 543 - (3) (SI)
Prerequisite: PHIL 542 or instructor permission. Continues the study
of the metatheory of first order logic, introduced in PHIL 542.
Includes the significance of the Lowenheim-Skolem theorem and of
Godel's incompleteness theorems for first order arithmetic; the
limitations of higher order logic; and topics from specialized areas
in logic: set theory, recursion theory, and model theory.
PHIL 546 - (3) (E)
Philosophy of Science
Logical analysis of the structure of theories, probability, causality,
and testing of theories.
PHIL 547 - (3) (IR)
Philosophy of Mathematics
Prerequisite: Some familiarity with quantifier logic or instructor
Comparison of various schools in the philosophy of mathematics (including
logicism, formalism, and conceptualism) and their answers to such
questions as " Do numbers exist?" and "How is mathematical knowledge
PHIL 548 - (3) (IR)
Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Prerequisite: Six credits of philosophy or instructor permission.
Problems studied include explanation in the social sciences; the
place of theory; objectivity; the relation between social science
and natural science, philosophy, and literature.