Courses

Future Undergraduate Major and Minor Philosophy Students:

If you are interested in more information about becoming a major or minor in Philosophy, please contact our Undergraduate Coordinator, Dr. Mark Sanders.

Future Graduate Program in Philosophy Students:

If you are interested in a Certificate in Applied Ethics or the Masters in Applied Ethics and Applied Philosophy, please contact our Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Lisa Rasmussen.

Undergraduate Courses in Philosophy

PHIL 1105. Critical Thinking. (3) (W) Fundamental skills of clear thinking that will help people reason better during communication, problem-solving, and design, particularly as these integrate scientific/engineering efforts with social needs and values.  The course will focus on clarifying goals, identifying constraints, and generating and evaluating ideas or solutions.  (Fall, Spring, Summer)

PHIL 2101.  Introduction to Philosophy.  (3) Exploration of some of the basic problems that have shaped the history of philosophy (truth, knowledge, justice, beauty, etc.) and remain relevant to students today on personal and professional levels.  Readings will range from classical to contemporary texts by a variety of philosophers representing diverse perspectives on these problems.  Please see the descriptions in Banner attached to each section to appreciate the different ways this course will be taught every semester.  Crosslisted as PHIL 2102, but does not fulfill the general education writing goal. Students can receive credit for either PHIL 2101 or PHIL 2102, but not both. (Fall, Spring, Summer)

PHIL 2102.  Introduction to Philosophy – Writing Intensive. (3) (W) Exploration of some of the basic problems that have shaped the history of philosophy (truth, knowledge, justice, beauty, etc.) and remain relevant to students today on personal and professional levels.  Readings will range from classical to contemporary texts by a variety of philosophers representing diverse perspectives on these problems.  Please see the descriptions in Banner attached to each section to appreciate the different ways this course will be taught every semester.  Makes substantial use of writing as a tool for learning.  Crosslisted as PHIL 2101, but fulfills the general education writing goal.  Students can receive credit for either PHIL 2101 or PHIL 2102, but not both. (Fall, Spring, Summer)

PHIL 2105. Deductive Logic. (3) Principles of deductive logic, both classical and symbolic, with emphasis on the use of formal logic in analysis of ordinary language discourse.  (Fall, Spring, Summer)

Prerequisites for upper level courses.  While PHIL 2101/2102 is not a prerequisite for courses at the 3000 level and above, students who have taken PHIL 2101/2102 typically benefit more from upper-level philosophy courses than students who have not.

PHIL 3010. Ancient Philosophy. (3) Western intellectual and philosophic thought from the early Greeks to the post Aristotelian period, often with an eye to issues in contemporary philosophy.  Readings from the pre Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Epicureans, Stoics, Skeptics, and Neoplatonists. (Yearly)

PHIL 3020. Modern Philosophy. (3) Modern philosophic and scientific thought from Descartes to Kant.  Readings selected from representative works in the 17th and 18th centuries.  (Yearly)

PHIL 3030  Twentieth-Century Philosophy.  (3) Examination of some central problems, issues, and methodologies of Twentieth Century Philosophy.  Examination may include:  pragmatism, phenomenology, logical analysis, existentialism, ordinary language philosophy, critical theory, hermeneutics, structuralism, or post-structuralism.  (Alternate Years)

PHIL 3110. Medieval Philosophy. (3) Western philosophical tradition from Augustine to William of Ockham.  Readings include such other authors as Anselm of Canterbury, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. (Periodically)

PHIL 3120.  Nineteenth-Century Philosophy.  (3) Examination of some central problems, issues, and methodologies of Nineteenth-Century Philosophy, including from some more contemporary perspectives, such as feminism.  Examination may include:  German Idealism (e.g. Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer), Early Existentialism (e.g. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche), Early Phenomenology (e.g. Balzano, Brentano), Social Philosophy (e.g. Comte, Feuerbach, Bentham, Mill, Marx), and American Philosophy (e.g. Peirce, James, Washington, DuBois).   (Periodically)

PHIL 3130. American Philosophy. (3) This class will analyze the question of what constitutes American Philosophy, examining the interaction between America and philosophy, and exploring some of the characteristics that may help contribute to the characterization of American Philosophy including: individualism, community, practicality, fallibility, and meliorism.  The course will critically examine the narrative of American philosophy, focusing on pragmatism, America’s distinctive contribution to philosophy, and assess the role that American philosophy has, can, and should play concerning social and cultural issues in America.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3140.  Existentialism. (3) Existentialist tradition in philosophy and literature including such issues as: authenticity, absurdity and the meaning of life, freedom and morality, anguish, death, and atheism.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3170. Major Figure in Philosophy. (3) An investigation into the thoughts and writings of a major figure in philosophy with special emphasis on primary sources.  Included may be Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Quine, Davidson, Rawls, and others as indicated by departmental needs and interests.  May be repeated for additional credit.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3190.  Topics in History/Genealogy.  (3) Specific topics in the history/genealogy of philosophy.  May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of the Department. (Periodically)

PHIL 3210.  Ethical Theory.  (3) Selective examination of major normative and metaethical theories that undergird our practical judgments about morally right actions and virtuous persons.  Normative theories studied may include virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism, and representative feminist theories.  Metaethical theories studied may include cognitivism, expressivism, realism, and error theory.  (Yearly)

PHIL 3220. Aesthetics. (3) Discussion and analysis of major theories of art ranging from historical figures (Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Dewey) to contemporary philosophers (Sontag, Danto, Kristeva, and Ranciere).  Emphasis will be on the development of aesthetics in relation to the visual and performing arts, new media, and philosophy, but also in response to social-political-cultural issues, such as feminism, racism,  and the like.   (Yearly)

PHIL 3230. Healthcare Ethics. (3) Major ethical dilemmas within medical science and biology are examined to assist students to identify, analyze, and decide ethical issues in such a way that they can defend their positions to themselves and others.  Issues include reproductive and genetic technology, death and dying, patient rights, and justice in distribution of healthcare benefits and burdens. (Yearly)

PHIL 3241. Ethics Bowl Prep. (3) (O, W) Prerequisites: ENGL 1102 or ENGL 1103. Preparation for participation on the University's Ethics Bowl Team. Training in ethical theory and argumentation. Oral and written practice, both individually and collaboratively, presenting sample case studies. (Spring)

PHIL 3242. Ethics Bowl. (3) (O,W)  Prerequisite: PHIL 3241. Students prepare for and participate in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl competition. Students intensively research cases (developed by the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl), and work both collaboratively and individually on written case analyses. Significant amounts of in-class time scrimmaging and working on public speaking and oral communication skills. (Fall)

PHIL 3310.  IT Ethics. (3) Looks at ethical issues that emerge in the context of new technologies.  We will combine a study of traditional moral theories with a look at how those theories might help us understand some of the many challenges presented by contemporary technologies.  Topic areas may include privacy/surveillance, intellectual property (things like cell patents, peer-to-peer file sharing, etc.), and genetically modified foods. (Periodically)

PHIL 3320.  Engineering Ethics. (3) This course will familiarize students with the ethical and social dimensions of professional engineering practice.  The course is built around discussions of (1) some of the classical philosophical theories (Utilitarianism, Respect for Persons, etc.), (2) concepts and techniques for breaking down complicated scenarios (factual, conceptual, etc.), (3) typical problem areas such as professional integrity and responsibility, risk analysis, and the conflict between engineers and managers, (4) case studies and special focus on classic cases (Columbia and Challenger disasters, etc.), and (5) various ethical codes of the engineering profession (electrical, mechanical, petroleum, etc.).  Emphasis on the enhancement of skills in critical thinking and effective communication in professional engineering.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3330. Philosophy and Literature. (3) Discussion and analysis of the classic and contemporary philosophical themes in literature, the literary dimensions of philosophy (e.g., Platonic dialogues and the modern essay), the role of philosophy in the development of literary theory, the effects of changes in literature on philosophy (e.g., new narrative structures in both fields), and the like.  Readings will range from the classical (e.g., Plato, Montaigne, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche) to the contemporary (e.g., Adorno, Derrida, Eco, and Nussbaum).   (Periodically)

PHIL 3340.  Business Ethics.  (3) Ethical problems confronting business as a social institution and individuals in business.  Application of ethical theory to business institutions and practices, internal exchanges of business (e.g., hiring, promotions, working conditions, employer/employee rights and duties) and external exchanges (e.g., product safety, environment, depletion, marketing, advertising.)  Emphasis is on the role of critical thinking about and in business.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3380. Internship in Applied Ethics (3) Prerequisite: Declared philosophy major or minor; at least junior standing; selection by department.   Field experience includes on-site visits to host companies, corporations, or agencies to investigate ethics codes, policies, culture, and practices. Background ethics research on ethics challenges facing the host organization today. Final reports evaluated by faculty advisor and shared with the host organization. (Fall, Spring, Summer with Permission)

PHIL 3390.  Topics in Ethics/Aesthetics. (3) Specific topics in Ethics/Aesthetics.   May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of the Department. (Periodically)

PHIL 3410.  Knowledge and Reality.  (3) An examination of interrelated issues concerning belief, justification, knowledge, and existence and the implications of these for broader philosophical issues.  "Narrower" issues may include:  What is the source of our beliefs?  How do these sources affect our determinations of what fundamentally exists and what those things are like?  How do our assumptions about what exists affect the objects and methods of knowing?  When do beliefs become knowledge?  Are there some things about the world that we cannot know about?  Broader issues may include:  What kind of thing is a mind or a self?  How does such a thing fit into a natural world?  What can non-human animals or computers tell us about intelligence?  In what sense can collective entities engage in intentional behavior?  (Yearly)

PHIL 3420. Philosophy of Language. (3) An inquiry into the nature of language and its use in actual practice.  Discussion will focus on theories of meaning and their relations to the fields of logic and linguistics, and will address special topics such as linguistic creativity and linguistic violence.  (Yearly)

PHIL 3430.  Mind, Cognition, and Behavior. (3) An exploration of epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical questions concerning the mind.  The main focus is on the possibility of integrating classic philosophical perspectives with contemporary research in cognitive science.  Topics include: the descriptive/normative relation, the connection between philosophy and science, the plausibility of the mind and/or brain as a computational, symbol-manipulating system, including cases in which ethical consequences emerge from this orientation, and other topics such as consciousness, free will and determinism, logic and language, emotion and reasoning, and rationality.  (Yearly)

PHIL 3510. Advanced Logic. (3) Advanced systems of logic, with emphasis upon symbolic logic and formal systematic characteristics such as axiomatics and proof techniques. (Periodically)

PHIL 3520. Philosophy of Science. (3) Questions concerning scientific knowledge and methods and their relation to technology, metaphysics, history/sociology, and interdisciplinary connections.  "Science" is construed broadly to imply a connection with all systematic inquiry, either past or present, into natural or social questions.  Particular topics may include the nature of theories, models, observations, predictions, and the conditions of progress. (Periodically)

PHIL 3530. Philosophy of Religion. (3) Crosslisted as RELS 3242.  Philosophical implications of religious experience including the definitions, development, and diverse forms of the problems of belief and reason in modern thought. (Periodically)

PHIL 3590.  Topics in Knowledge/Language. (3) Specific topics in the Knowledge/Language.   May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of the Department. (Periodically)

PHIL 3600. Practicum in Philosophy. (1-3) Prerequisite: permission of the department.  Directed individual study involving the student and instructor in rethinking and reworking some major problems in the teaching of undergraduate philosophy, including interaction with a particular class, usually PHIL 1105, 2101/2102, or 2105, in the preparation, presentation, and evaluation of the course.  (Not for teacher licensure.)  

PHIL 3605. Research Methods and Publication. (3) Permission of the instructor required. Individual instruction in current methods of research in philosophy through participation in major research project.  No more than six hours may apply towards the major in Philosophy. (Fall, Spring with Permission)

PHIL 3610. Independent Study. (1-3) Prerequisite: permission of the department. Directed individual study of a philosophical issue of special interest to the student. May be repeated for additional credit as the topics vary and with departmental approval. No more than six hours may apply toward the major in Philosophy. (Fall, Spring with Permission)

PHIL 3620. Senior Seminar. (3) (W) (O) Prerequisite: permission of the department. This capstone course provides an opportunity to develop or secure a philosophical literacy for those who will end their studies of philosophy with a B.A. and for those who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy or a related field. The course will thus help advanced students integrate their studies in philosophy, pursue their individual philosophical interests in more depth, and study philosophical texts or issues that they have not yet had a chance to cover but that are important to a well-rounded education in philosophy. The focus in the seminar will be on contemporary philosophy, though a research project may involve more historical figures or issues. (Yearly)

PHIL 3791. Honors Thesis. (3) Prerequisite: permission of the department. Individual or group inquiry into selected philosophic problems. Exposition and discussion of the results.  (Fall, Spring with Permission)

PHIL 3810. Social and Political Philosophy. (3) Examination of basic concepts involved in understanding the nature and structure of political and social formations.  Issues may include topics such as justice, human rights, the nature of political power, and the relations between individuals and political/social institutions.  Readings from historical and/or contemporary sources, and may include figures such as Plato, Hobbes, Marx, Rawls, Arendt, Foucault and Butler.  (Yearly)

PHIL 3820. Feminist Philosophy. (3) Crosslisted as WGST 3820. Overview of feminist critiques of the philosophical canon, contemporary feminist work on philosophical topics (e.g., feminist epistemology, feminist aesthetics, etc.), and philosophical work on topics such as gender, sexuality, and intersectionality.  Critical race, postcolonial, and global feminisms will also be studied.  (Yearly)

PHIL 3830.  Philosophy and Race. (3)  Crosslisted as AFRS 3830. This course both examines the role of the concept of race in the Western philosophical canon, and uses current philosophical texts and methods to examine Western discourses of race and racism.  Issues such as whiteness, double consciousness, the black/white binary, Latino identity and race, ethnicity, mixed-race identity, and the intersection of race with gender and class will also be examined.  (Alternate Years)

PHIL 3910. Philosophy of War and Peace. (3) Crosslisted as LBST 2101-H01.  This course focuses on the conceptual and historical aspects of violence, terrorism, war, non-violence, justice, and the economic motivations and results, both intended and unintended, associated with these phenomena.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3920. Philosophy of Technology. (3) Examination of basic concepts and controversies in philosophical discussions of technology.  Issues may include relations between technology and nature (and/or human nature), technological determinism, the prospects for intelligent and/or democratic control of particular technologies, and normative issues such as technological systems of social control.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3930. Philosophy of Body. (3) Opportunity to explore the implications of the Eastern and Western philosophical literature on what the body means to individuals and societies. Philosophical readings about the body’s relationship to the mind, politics, happiness, social interaction, and education will be explored through lecture, discussion, and writing.  (Periodically)

PHIL 3940. Philosophy of Education. (3) Exploration of classic Western approaches to education and the contemporary moral problems faced by America’s schools.  Issues to be considered are the effect of race, class, and gender on school culture and teacher preparation. (Periodically)

PHIL 3990.  Topics in Identity/Society. (3) Specific topics in Identity/Society.  May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of the Department.  (Periodically)

PHIL 4190. Advanced Topics in History/Genealogy. (3) Advanced topics in the history/genealogy of philosophy. May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of the department. (On Demand)

PHIL 4390. Advanced Topics in Ethics/Aesthetics. (3) Advanced study of specific topics in ethics/aesthetics. May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of the department. (On Demand)

PHIL 4590. Advanced Topics in Knowledge/Language. (3) Advanced study of specific topics in the philosophy of knowledge/language. May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of teh department. (On Demand)

PHIL 4990. Advanced Topics in Identity/Society. (3) Advanced study of specific topics in philosophy of identity/society. May be repeated for additional credit with the approval of the department. (On Demand)