Undergraduate Courses | Philosophy & Religion

Undergraduate Courses

  • Note: Philosophy Capstone (PHIL 4970) and Religious Studies Capstone (PHIL 4975) will only be taught during SPRING SEMESTER OF A STUDENT'S SENIOR YEAR.

PHIL 1050 - Introduction to Philosophy
(PHIL 1301) 3 hours. Survey of leading figures in the history of philosophy (from Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and the 20th century) and an examination of central areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, human nature, ethics, political theory and aesthetics.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Discovery

PHIL 1400 - Contemporary Moral Issues
(PHIL 2306)3 hours. Survey of basic ethical theories and exploration of such issues as abortion, euthanasia, national security and civil liberties, affirmative action, the death penalty, extramarital sex, pornography, animal rights, world hunger, and the environment.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Discovery

PHIL 1800 - Philosophy of Self
3 hours. Examination of the nature of the self through a reading of classical and contemporary sources. Topics may include the relation of mind and body; the soul, self and society; non-Western notions of self, freedom and determinism; the unconscious; gender; and race.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Discovery

PHIL 2050 - Introduction to Logic
(PHIL 2303)3 hours. Focus on critical thinking to develop the skills for making sound arguments and for evaluating the arguments of others in order to recognize the difference between arbitrary and well-reasoned judgments. Topics include deductive and inductive modes of practical reasoning, common fallacies, rules of inference, and the formal rules of logic.Prerequisite(s): None.Core Category: Discovery

PHIL 2070 - Great Religions
(PHIL 1304)3 hours. Philosophical and social dimensions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Humanism and Islam. Emphasizes the diversity of religious experience and traditions.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Language, Philosophy and Culture

PHIL 2100 - Introduction to Judaism
3 hours. Examines the beliefs, practices, laws and movements of Judaism from Biblical times to the present, emphasizing the impact of modernity on the central texts and traditions.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Language, Philosophy and Culture

PHIL 2310 - Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
(PHIL 2316)3 hours. Introduction to the worldview of Antiquity through an examination of metaphysical, epistemological and ethical views in Ancient Greek philosophy including the pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Language, Philosophy and Culture

PHIL 2400 - Religion and American Society
3 hours. Subjects covered include religious pluralism in the United States, religion and civil rights, evolution and creationism, religion and gender, and religious response to cultural change.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Discovery

PHIL 2500 - Introduction to Contemporary Environmental Issues
3 hours. Explores ethical, ecological and political dimensions of such international environmental issues as atmospheric and water pollution, global climate change, industrial agriculture, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the relationship between environmental issues and social and political concerns.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Discovery

PHIL 2600 - Ethics in Science
3 hours. Survey of the philosophical relationships between ethics (including political and cultural values) and science (as a practice and form of inquiry). Topics include research ethics, experimentation on animals, biotechnology, information technology, gender in science, religion and science, and science policy.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Core Category: Language, Philosophy and Culture

PHIL 3100 - Aesthetics
3 hours. Examination of the theories of the beauty of nature and art in the history of philosophy as represented by or found in painting, sculpture, music, literature, film and television to understand the nature of aesthetic experience, artistic expression and the relation of art to nature, truth, ethics, culture, technology and gender.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3120 - Social and Political Philosophy
3 hours. Examines how people should live together in communities and what legitimate governing institutions best promote the ideals of freedom, justice, rights, democracy, equality and happiness. Topics include civil and human rights, social contract theory, economic justice, group identity, race and gender.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3200 - Philosophy in Literature
3 hours. Examination of how philosophical themes arise in works of literary fiction and the differences between a philosophical and literary approach. Topics include personal identity, consciousness, Stoicism, skepticism, mysticism, free will, ethics and justice, life and death, and God.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3250 - Philosophy of Science
3 hours. Examination of what science is and how it works. Topics including the nature of scientific explanation, the distinction between science and pseudo-science, scientific progress, the aims of science, and the role of social and economic values in scientific theories and practices.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3260 - Philosophy of Social Science
3 hours. Examination of the methodologies and criteria of knowledge, truth and values in the social sciences. Topics include an analysis of the nature of action, rationality, agency, social meaning and interpretation.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3300 - Symbolic Logic
3 hours. Symbolic analysis applied to logical problems, propositional logic, predicate logic and modal logic.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3310 - Ancient Philosophy
3 hours. Advanced examination of selected philosophical thought from the pre-Socratics through Plotinus including Plato and Aristotle.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3320 - Medieval Philosophy
3 hours. Advanced examination of selected philosophical thought from Saint Augustine to the Renaissance. Philosophers might include Boethius, Anselm, Avicenna, Averroes, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Grosseteste and William of Ockham.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3330 - Modern Philosophy
3 hours. Advanced examination of selected philosophical thought from the Renaissance to the 19th century including Continental rationalism, British Empiricism and Kant.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3340 - Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
3 hours. Examination of major figures in European philosophy such as Hegel, Marx, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. Topics include the nature of knowledge, religion, the role of history, political economy and the relationship of the individual to society.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3350 - Twentieth-Century Philosophy
3 hours. Selected major figures and themes in Anglo-American and Continental philosophy including analytic philosophy, logical positivism, linguistic analysis, ordinary language philosophy, process philosophy, existentialism, phenomenology, pragmatism and post-Analytic philosophy.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3360 - American Philosophy
3 hours. Examination of the major American philosophies, including pragmatism and process philosophy. Figures might include C.S. Pierce, William James, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, Alfred North Whitehead, Hilary Putnam and Richard Rorty.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3400 - Ethical Theory
3 hours. Analysis of the important historical and contemporary theories of appropriate human conduct through a reading of major philosophers such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Mill and Nietzsche.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3440 - Bioethics
3 hours. Examines the philosophical, social, and legal issues arising in medicine, biotechnology, and the life sciences. Questions the definition and significance of life and death, the nature of personhood and identity, and the extent of human freedom and individual responsibility. Topics include cloning, gene therapy, xenotransplantation, enhancement techologies, human longevity, and transhumanism.
Prerequisite(s): None

PHIL 3450 - Philosophy of Technology
3 hours. Examines the relationship between science and technology; the role of experiment and instrumentation in scientific practice; the social construction of scientific knowledge and technical artifacts; the nature of technology in human perception and experience; the role of technology in the broader social impacts of science and technology; the relationship of biotechnology, information technology, imaging technology and nanotechnology to society.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3500 - Christianity and Philosophy
3 hours. Philosophical study of Christianity from its origins to the present, including Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism. Topics may include faith and reason, nature and grace, hope and redemption, love, evil and religious truth.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3510 - Hebrew Bible
3 hours. Philosophical and ethical concepts of the Hebrew Bible compared with ancient pagan thought and subsequent Western culture. Concepts discussed include creation, revelation, holiness, faith, covenant, prophecy, idolatry, chosen people, justice, mercy, truth and peace.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3515 - David, Saul and Solomon: The Early Israelite Monarchy
3 hours. An overview of the early Israelite monarchy through the biographies of its first three kings: Saul ben Kish, David ben Jesse, and Solomon ben David. Analyzes the rise of the Israelite kingdom in its historic and social milieu using the books of Samuel and I Kings, combined with the most recent translations and archaeological evidence.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3520 - Early Christian Thought
3 hours. Selected first-century Christian documents in light of Dead Sea Scrolls, Roman mystery religions, and biblical and extra-biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek writings.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3525 - Rabbinic Judaism
3 hours. An investigation of the fundamental principles of Jewish law, a system involving the interplay of biblical sources with evolving Rabbinic interpretations and traditions. Focuses on the major figures in the formation of Jewish Law, the core texts, and how it translates its theological insights into a practical working system that is relevant to the worlds of modernity and post-modernity.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3530 - Kabbalah: Jewish Mysticism, Myth and Magic
3 hours. An introduction to Jewish mysticism, presented in historical survey through lectures and readings from seminal texts: Sefer Yetzirah, Book of Radiance, Book of the Pious, The Treatise on the Left Emanation, Sepher Zohar, and Book of Reincarnations. Explores the major topics of Jewish mysticism, including Jewish cosmogony, apocalypse and eschatology, theosophy, word-mysticism, meditation, and rituals of power.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3535 - Classical Jewish Thought: The 13 Principles of Faith
3 hours. Maimonides' Thirteen Principles of Faith has stood the test of time as Judaism's seminal statement of creed. Yet, this formulation aroused both opposition and debate among the leading Jewish philosophers of the medieval era. Explores these Principles in depth, utilizing the original sources of Maimonides, as well as those of Nahmanides, Saadia Gaon, Halevi and other commentators.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3540 - Judaism and Philosophy
3 hours. Introduction to a wide range of Judaic texts--biblical, medieval and modern--that address Jewish law, history and thought from diverse points of view.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3550 - Jewish Business Ethics
3 hours. Assesses the ethical and social impact management implications in the deployment of business strategy and tactics using a comparative Jewish perspective. Specific attention given to the rights and responsibilities of the firm, consumers, and society. Explores real-world decision-scenarios dealing with ethics, organizational compliance, societal marketing, and social responsibility cast against a backdrop of Jewish value systems.Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3600 - Philosophy of Religion
3 hours. Examines the concepts, belief systems and practices of religions. Topics include religious experience, faith and reason, arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, religious language, life after death, miracles, religion and science, and the conflicting claims of different religions.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3620 - South Asian Philosophy and Religion
3 hours. An examination of South Asian philosophical and religious thought from earliest period in Indian history of the Indus Valley civilization to the religion of the Vedas, through the Upanishads, and classical period in Indian thought including the development of Buddhism and Jainism.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3625 - Modern South Asian Philosophy and Religion
3 hours. An examination of Medieval to Contemporary South Asian philosophy and religion from Puranic Hinduism, the influence of Islam upon Indian thought, the development of medieval devotional Hinduism, and the origin of the Sikh religion. Explores contemporary Indian philosophy as expressed in the thought of such figures as S. Radhakrishnan, Sri Aurobindo, Tagore, and most particularly Gandhi.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3630 - Jainism
3 hours. An examination of one of the world's oldest religious and philosophical traditions from its origins in the 6th century BCE to its influence on contemporary figures, including Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. Topics include pacifism and non-violence, self-control, non-materialism, compassion, meditation, and the relationship of the self to divine consciousness.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3635 - Bollywood
3 hours. Examination of Indian culture as manifested in the Hindi language film industry known as "Bollywood." Topics include South Asian religions, epics and classical drama, devotional songs, Hindi-Urdu poetry, poverty and urban life, crime, and romance. Course presupposes no previous knowledge of Indic religions or cinema.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3650 - Religion and Science
3 hours. Examination of the complex historical and contemporary relationship between sciences and religions. Historical elements focus on the rise of modern science and "the Galileo Affair." Theories of the relationship between the disciplines are also studied. Contemporary issues may include cosmology, religion and ecology, intelligent design and evolution, stem cell research, and artificial intelligence.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3660 - Western Religion and the Environment
3 hours. Examines the assumptions, values, and attitudes of the Western religious tradition concerning nature and the environment from its Biblical sources and the typical ways these sources have been interpreted in the history of Western religions. Examines the contributions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islamic thought to ecotheology.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3665 - Eastern Religon and the Environment
3 hours. An examination of non-Western religious traditions for an environmental philosophy geared toward assessing global environmental issues with a focus on South Asian and East Asian philosophical and religious traditions.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3680 - Buddhism, Daoism, Shintoism
3 hours. Philosophical study of East Asia from earliest times to the present, including ancient Chinese religion; Taoist, Confucian, Mohist and Legalist philosophies; Chinese Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism; the influence of Shinto, Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism upon medieval Japan; and Japanese philosophy since the Meiji Restoration.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3800 - Philosophy of Mind
3 hours. Examination of the nature of perception and consciousness, the nature of mental events and mental states, and the relationship of the mind to the brain and the body. Topics include free will versus determinism, scientific reductivism, holism, the unconscious, behaviorism, artificial intelligence, free will, and the self.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 3996 - Honors College Mentored Research Experience
Research experience conducted by an honors student with at least junior standing under the supervision of a faculty member.
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Honors College; at least junior class status; consent of Honors College dean.
May only be taken once for Honors College credit.

PHIL 4053 - Introduction to Subantarctic Biocultural Conservation [Same as BIOL 4053.]
3 hours. Introduction to the subantarctic ecosystems and culture of southern South America (geography, climate, ethnography, environmental philosophy and ecology) and exposure to both the practical and theoretical aspects of biocultural conservation, including its interdisciplinary character integrating the sciences and humanities.
Prerequisite(s): Upper level academic standing and consent of department.

PHIL 4054 - Tracing Darwin's Path [Same as BIOL 4054.]
3 hours. Annual in-depth field course that introduces students to the sub-Antarctic biota, geography, history, cultures and ecosystems of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve using the Omora Ethnobotanical Park as a field site that demonstrates the integration of ecological science and field environmental ethics in a novel approach to bioculture diversity.
Prerequisite(s): Upper level academic standing and consent of department.

PHIL 4100 - Epistemology
3 hours. Examines the nature of knowledge and justification. Issues include the relationship between knowledge and opinion, skepticism and the possibility of knowledge; the nature of truth and meaning; the roles and believing.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4150 - Feminism
3 hours. An introduction to Anglo-American, French and international feminisms. Topics include gender essentialism and gender differences; the relation between theory and practice; the relation between the personal and the political; the gendering of the history of philosophy; women and conflict; and ecofeminist issues in food security and climate change in developing countries.Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4200 - Science, Technology and Society
3 hours. Examination of the interconnections among science, technology and society and the ways they mutually shape one another to the benefit and detriment of social life and the environment. Topics include the social values of science and technology; technology and social progress; expertise and democracy; colonialism; and environmental justice.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4300 - Philosophy of Food
3 hours. Examination of the philosophical dimensions of food, agriculture, animals, eating and taste to explore the nature and meaning of food, how we experience it, the social role it plays, its moral and political dimensions, and how we judge it to be delicious or awful.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4400 - Metaphysics
3 hours. Examination of the ultimate nature of reality and the terms used to understand it, such as existence, substance, causality, space, time and identity. Themes include idealism, realism, naturalism and process metaphysics. Figures might include Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Whitehead and Derrida.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4450 - Philosophy of Ecology
3 hours. Traces the development of ecology from its roots in 19th-century natural history through general ecology, restoration ecology, deep ecology and social ecology. Examines the central philosophical concepts of biological and cultural diversity; the relations between societies and their environments; environmental and social problems determined by losses in biocultural diversity; agriculture, land ethics and conservation; non-Western conceptions of nature and society.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4500 - Existentialism
3 hours. Examination of humanity's place in the natural and social worlds. Emphasis on problems of freedom, authenticity, alienation, anxiety, affirmation, morality, religion and atheism. Figures typically include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4600 - Phenomenology
3 hours. Study of human experience and of the ways things present themselves to us in and through such experience. Examines phenomenology as a method of inquiry, a philosophical movement, and a study of the structures and conditions of experience. Figures typically include Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4650 - Philosophy of Water
3 hours. Examination of water issues at the interface of science, policy, philosophy, art and culture. Philosophical approaches include ethics, aesthetics and ontology of water; epistemological analysis of water conflicts; local and global governance theories.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4700 - Environmental Ethics
3 hours. Examination of appropriate human interventions in the natural world. Topics include the history of ideas behind environmental thought, the legal and moral standing of nature, animal rights and welfare, deep ecology, social ecology, environmental justice.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4740 - Enivronmental Justice
3 hours. An examination of the philosophical foundations of the environmental movements in the US and around the world. Analyzes the interplay of social justice and environmental harms, considers multiple conceptions of justice, the equitable distribution of environmental, risks and benefits, environmental law and policy, participation in environmental decision making, and local knowledge and cultural differences.
Prerequisite(s): None

PHIL 4750 - Philosophy and Public Policy
3 hours. Explores how recent developments in moral theory, political philosophy, and philosophy of science and technology can clarify issues in public policy. Topics include the nature of government, the justification and limitations of collective action, the instruments of public policy, democracy and the economy, social costs and benefits, science and technology policy, computers and information policy, food and water policy, and environmental and development policy.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4800 - Postmodernism
3 hours. Examination of contemporary philosophers and writers who question the premise of Enlightenment thought that Reason will liberate us from superstition, tradition and hardships imposed by nature. Topics may include a critique of foundationalism, representational epistemology, historical progress and Eurocentrism.
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4900 - Special Problems
1-3 hours.
Prerequisite(s): Department consent.

PHIL 4910 - Special Problems
1-3 hours.
Prerequisite(s): Department consent.

PHIL 4951 - Honors College Capstone Thesis
3 hours. Major research project prepared by the student under the supervision of a faculty member and presented in standard thesis format. An oral defense is required of each student for successful completion of the thesis.
Prerequisite(s): Completion of at least 6 hours in honors courses; completion of at least 12 hours in the major department in which the thesis is prepared; approval of the department chair and the dean of the school or college in which the thesis is prepared; approval of the dean of the Honors College.May be substituted for HNRS 4000. Course may be taken only once for Honors College credit.
Core Category: Capstone

PHIL 4960 - Topics in Philosophy
3 hours. Advanced study of specific figures, themes or problems in philosophy and religion studies. May be repeated for credit as topics vary each semester
Prerequisite(s): None.

PHIL 4970 - Philosophy Capstone
3 hours. Seminar on philosophical writing and argument focusing on the comparative study of important figures in the history of philosophy. Required course for philosophy majors only.
Prerequisite(s): Philosophy major, senior standing and consent of department.
Core Category: Capstone

PHIL 4975 - Religious Studies Capstone
3 hours. Seminar on methods and theories of the study of religions focusing on classic and contemporary texts.
Prerequisite(s) : Religious studies major, senior standing and consent of department.
Core Category: Capstone

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