Undergraduate courses are designed to provide students with a foundation in the history of philosophy and the different philosophical areas of study. Students typically begin with Philosophy 1200, which is a general introduction to the study of Philosophy both as a contemporary intellectual discipline and as a body of knowledge. The course covers the main divisions, fundamental questions and essential terminology of Philosophy through a reading of classical texts. Multiple sections of Philosophy 1200 are offered each fall and winter semester.
Other courses designed to introduce students to the basic approaches of philosophy are Philosophy 1000 and 1100:
PHIL 1000, Philosophy of Human Nature is an approach to philosophical thinking by way of analysis and critique of theories of human nature, classical and modern, and the world views associated with them. Philosophy 1000, or the former Philosophy 1600, is not required for further courses in philosophy but is of particular value to students interested in the Social Sciences and Humanities. All sections of this course will qualify as a Research/Writing course for the B.A. Core Requirements.
PHIL 1100, Critical Thinking aims to impart critical analytic skills: i.e., the ability to recognize good and bad arguments, to explain why a particular argument is good or bad, and a general understanding of why a good argument ought to persuade and a bad argument ought not to persuade.
At the 2000 (second year) level, undergraduate students begin taking courses which introduce them to different sub-disciplines within the domain of philosophy. These courses include:
PHIL 2000, Introduction to Metaphysics is an introduction to the systematic inquiry into the nature of reality. Topic may include the nature of being, time, the question of God, appearance and reality, the one and the many, mind and matter, essence and existence.
PHIL 2210, Logic is an introduction to traditional and modern logic. Open in any year to all students wishing acquaintance with basic logical skills.
PHIL 2211, Intermediate Logic (same as the former PHIL 3110) examines techniques and topics in the logic of propositions, of predicates and of induction and probability. Normally the second course in logic.
PHIL 2220, Epistemology examines various concepts of knowledge - empirical, rational, transcendental, systematic. Their metaphysical grounds and implications. The concept of scientific knowledge; real and abstract entities; objectivity and subjectivity.
PHIL 2230, Moral Philosophy examines the sources and validity of ethical principles which underlie individual and social action.
PHIL 2300, Philosophy of Language and Mind is a survey of philosophical thinking about human language and thought, and about how these phenomena relate to the rest of the natural world. Topics covered include the nature of language, the relations between thought and language, and the nature of consciousness.
PHIL 2400, Introduction to Philosophy of Law employs historical and contemporary sources to explore major traditions and concepts in the philosophy of law. Topics covered include natural law, legal positivism, the nature of legal interpretation, the relationship between law and morality, and the concepts of rights, responsibility, and justice.
Courses in the 2500-2550 Contemporary Issues Series discuss the philosophical dimensions of an area of practical concern such as contemporary culture, professional ethics, leisure, education, the mass media, gender, war and human rights:
PHIL 2541, Philosophy and Western Spirituality examines Western theories and practices of soul-care which parallel and resonate with Eastern approaches. We will learn what is distinctive to Western approaches with selections from Socrates, Jesus, Paul, Plotinus, Augustine, Eckhart, Alchemy, Freud, Jung and Foucault. Students will not only gain knowledge of this lost road in Western culture, but also an understanding of themselves.
PHIL 2551, Health Ethics examines concepts of health and illness and their ethical implications.
CR: the former PHIL 2803
PHIL 2552, Mental Health Ethics examines concepts of mental health and illness and their ethical implications.
PHIL 2553, Biomedical Ethics examines medical dilemmas from legal and ethical points of view.
PHIL 2561, Environmental Ethics examines concepts of nature and their ethical implications.
PHIL 2571, Technology examines concepts of technology and their ethical implications.
PHIL 2581, Philosophy of Film introduces some of the central philosophers, topics and themes in the philosophy of film. Topics and themes include: the nature of film image, the relationship between film and “reality”, the social/ political role and function of film and the nature and value of the documentary. The course will also consider the representation of broader philosophical ideas in film. A film or films will accompany each section.
PHIL 2582, Media Ethics examines ethical issues and dilemmas arising in the realm of the mass media, within the context of foundational ethical theories and major philosophies of mass communication. Topics include the nature and structure of mass communication, the public sphere, and the role of the media in a functioning democracy. Subtopics include: propaganda, censorship, freedom of speech, and access to information and communication.
PHIL 2701, History of Ancient Philosophy (same as Classics 2701) is a survey of the origin and development of Western philosophy among the Greeks and Romans.
PHIL 2702, History of Modern Philosophy is a survey of the development of Western philosophy since the 17th century.
If you've read this far, chances are you are interested in pursuing further studies in more specific areas in philosophy! Please explore the links on the right to discover the courses we offer at the 3000 (third year) and 4000 (fourth and final year) levels.