201. World Philosophy
An exploration of philosophical issues as they have been dealt with from a variety of non-Western philosophical traditions. Readings may include important texts from the Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist (South Asian and East Asian), Muslim, and Indian Brahminical philosophical traditions, as well as the traditions of indigenous African and American peoples. Successful completion of this course satisfies the Cultures and Peoples requirement for graduation.
203. Problems of Philosophy
An exploration of philosophy through analysis and discussion of selected philosophical texts and problems. Sample topics include the relation of mind and body, free will and determinism, moral relativism and moral truth, and the nature of knowledge and belief. Emphasis is placed on oral and written communication skills. Open only to freshmen and sophomores during the regular semesters; open to all students in the summer sessions.
205. Philosophy of Food
An exploration of how food relates to major areas of philosophical inquiry, including metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, and political theory. Topics include the nature of food, food as art, biotechnology, the ethics of eating animals, human rights and food safety, cultural identity, and the politics of global food distribution and production.
206. Reasoning and Critical Thinking
A course aimed at developing the student’s ability to evaluate arguments and
other informative prose and to construct arguments with greater cogency and
effectiveness. The course employs only a minimal amount of formal logic.
210. Bio-Medical Ethics
An introduction to ethics through a study of its applications in the area of health
care. The course includes a survey of the major ethical theories and focuses
on a selection of important problem areas such as euthanasia, reproductive
technologies, human experimentation, and the justice of health care distribution. This course may count toward the requirements for the Medical Humanities Program.
213. Ethics and Business
An introduction to ethics through discussion and analysis of major ethical systems,
theories of social and economic justice, and specific case studies in the area of
215. Environmental Ethics
An exploration of the challenges presented by the ethical analysis of environmental issues. The course explores both the theoretical and practical aspects of these issues. This course may count toward the requirements in Environmental Studies.
216. Social and Political Philosophy
An introduction to some of the most influential theories of Western social and
political thought. Topics include the nature and legitimacy of political authority
and democracy, the role of morality in society, the duties and responsibilities of
citizens, and the challenges of diversity and inclusion. Multicultural and feminist
perspectives are components of the course.
218. Computers, Ethics, and Society
An introduction to ethics in relation to computers, cyberspace, and the digital era. Through the detailed analysis of selected case studies, the course will explore the questions raised by computer technologies and their impact on business, scientific research, and society. This course may count toward major requirements in Computer Science.
220. Philosophy and Film
A study of the language and aesthetics of film including the ways in which film may be used to investigate significant philosophical questions—especially in comparison to more traditional media.
222. Human Nature
An examination of selected classical and modern conceptions of the human being.
Aristotle, Darwin, sociobiology, and our relation to other animals are among topics
explored. This course may count toward the requirements in Environmental Studies.
223. Philosophy of Science
An examination of the methods, aims, and limits of scientific inquiry, with special
attention to the evaluation and construction of arguments. The course will explore
the logic of scientific explanation and the nature of scientific laws, theories, and
change. This course may count toward the requirements in Environmental Studies.
225. Science and Religion
An examination of the nature of science and religion and their historical and
contemporary relationships. The course will explore a selection of traditional
problem areas such as evolution, cosmology, ethics, and education. This course
may count toward requirements for the Religion major. This course may count toward the requirements in Environmental Studies.
280. Selected Topics in Philosophy
Selected topics in Philosophy at the introductory level.
301. Philosophy of Law
An introduction to basic issues in the philosophy of law, such as methods of legal
reasoning, the relation between legal norms and moral values, and the scope and
foundations of rights. Seminal concepts of concern to law are discussed, including
liberty, justice and punishment. Readings include classical and contemporary
essays in jurisprudence, studies of specific US and international cases, and selected
Supreme Court decisions.
303. Feminist Philosophy
An introduction to feminist theory with an emphasis on the variety of responses
to the situation of women in modern society. Topics may include gender
socialization, sexuality, popular culture and self-image, sexist language, women and
religion, and multiculturalism. This course may count toward the requirements for the Gender Studies Program.
304. Philosophy through Literature
A discussion and analysis of classical and contemporary philosophical issues as they
are presented in selected works of literature, with attention to the question of how
philosophical ideas are conveyed through this alternative medium. Topics include:
political philosophy; responsibility, free will, and determinism; the nature and
purpose of humanity; and the meaning of life.
310. Philosophy of Art
An examination of philosophical issues concerning the creation and appreciation of works of art. Examples for study will be drawn from painting, sculpture, music and other visual, literary and dramatic arts. Topics may include art and morality, the definition of the concept of art, the nature of artistic value, the expression of emotion in art, and the relation between art and truth. This course may satisfy a requirement for the Art History major.
311. Principles of Ethics
A study of the major systems of ethical thought, both ancient and modern, and
their development. Emphasis is on the critical examination and reevaluation of
those systems in light of contemporary social developments and non-Western
312. Rationality and Commitment
A critical examination of the issue of the extent to which reason can and should
guide our moral commitments.
315. Philosophy of Love, Sex, and Friendship
A seminar on the nature and morality of love, sex, and friendship and their social meanings. Topics to be discussed may include, but are not limited to, familial love, marriage, homosexuality, prostitution, pornography, erotic love, sexual objectification, and the different forms of friendship. Emphasis is on the study of how gender norms inform our understanding of the controversies surrounding these topics. This course may count toward the requirements for the Gender Studies Program.
321. Symbolic Logic
An introduction to the techniques of modern symbolic logic with an emphasis on ordinary language applications. Topics include categorical logic, statement logic, and predicate logic. Additional topics vary and may include modal, deontic, and non-classical logics.
331. African Philosophy
An introduction to traditions of African philosophical thought focusing on
problems of definition, sources, function, and methodology. The course compares
the scope and application of African thought on basic philosophical questions of
human existence with thought from recent developments in Western philosophy
on the same questions. This course may count toward the requirements for
program in African/African-American Studies. Successful completion of this course
satisfies the Cultures and Peoples requirement for graduation.
333. Chinese Philosophy
An in-depth study of the notions of personhood, human nature, moral responsibility, and social justice as they are developed in the major traditions of classical Chinese thought. Readings may include texts from the Confucian, Daoist, Neo-Confucian, and Buddhist traditions. Knowledge of Chinese language is not required for this course. This course may count toward requirements in Chinese and Chinese Studies. Successful completion of this course satisfies the Cultures and Peoples requirement for graduation.
335. Buddhist Philosophy
An introduction to key concepts in Buddhism’s view of persons, the world, and
salvation. The course examines these concepts as they were expressed in early
Buddhism and in recent Zen Buddhism. This course may count toward the
requirements for the major in Chinese. Successful completion of this course satisfies the
Cultures and Peoples requirement for graduation.
340. Philosophy of Medicine
A study of the practice of medicine through an examination of its fundamental
concepts and values such as the nature of health and disease, the phenomenology
of illness, the goals of medical practice, and the roles of individual autonomy and
communal interest. This course may count toward the requirements for the Medical Humanities Program.
342. Philosophy of Religion
An examination of the meaning of religious beliefs and of arguments about their
truth or falsity. The course focuses on religious beliefs about God and includes
some discussion of different ideas of God within the Western tradition. This course
may count toward requirements for the major in Religion.
345. Philosophy of Language
An exploration of major themes in the philosophy of language, especially as they have developed in the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics may include the nature of language; meaning and reference; metaphor and other non-literal uses of language; and the philosophical implications of contemporary research in linguistics and cognitive psychology.
An introduction to central topics in epistemology including the nature, sources,
and structure of scientific, moral, and religious belief, justification, and knowledge
as well as skeptical challenges to their legitimacy.
An introduction to concepts and issues in metaphysics, such as the mind-body
problem and the nature of the basic entities that constitute the universe. The
course includes a consideration of differing positions on these issues and gives
students the opportunity to develop, articulate, and defend their own positions.
351. Ancient Western Philosophy
An exploration of ancient Western philosophical thought. Topics include the nature, purpose, and best life of persons; justice; the nature and order of the physical world; and the nature of truth. Emphasis is on discussion of primary texts drawn from pre‐Socratic fragments and from the works of Plato, Aristotle, and select Hellenistic and Roman philosophers.
352. Early Modern European Philosophy
A historical survey of the rise of modern European philosophy in its cultural setting
during the 17th and 18th centuries. Emphasis is on the study of selected primary
texts, from Descartes to Hume, in relation to the philosophical, religious, and
scientific thought of their day.
353. Nineteenth-Century European Philosophy
A survey of the development of 19th-century philosophy beginning with Immanuel Kant. The course examines Kant’s legacy in subsequent thinkers such as G.W. F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Søren Kierkegaard, and John Stuart Mill. Issues for discussion include the role of human cognition in constituting reality, the rational basis of faith, the nature of individual liberty, and socio-economic determinants of belief.
A survey of ideas and authors in the existentialist tradition. The course examines core ideas of existential philosophy such as freedom, authenticity, anxiety, absurdity, and awareness of death as developed by thinkers like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers, Marcel, Heidegger, Sartre, and Beauvoir. Selected films and literary works may supplement written texts.
An exploration of the phenomenological movement in philosophy focused on thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Arendt, Merleau‐Ponty, and Gadamer. The course examines core ideas of phenomenology such as intentionality, embodiment, the life‐world, the critique of the theoretical knowing, and the subjectivity of consciousness. Selected poetry and short films may be used to supplement written texts.
356. American Pragmatism
A survey of American Pragmatism from the 19th Century to the Present, with readings by Pragmatism’s founders, Peirce, James, and Dewey, as well as by neopragmatists such as Quine, Goodman, and Rorty. Topics include Pragmatist contributions to debates about truth, meaning, experience, freedom, and democracy.
357. The Analytic Tradition
A study of landmark works in analytic philosophy from the late 19th century to the present, focusing on figures such as Bertrand Russell, A. J. Ayer, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. The course explores the extent to which a critical understanding of language illuminates philosophical issues in metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology.
380. Topics in Philosophy
Seminars on selected topics in philosophy offered on an occasional basis.
450. Senior Directed Study
A course of individualized directed study in which the student prepares a written
paper (typically a revised and expanded version of earlier work) and makes an oral
presentation on the paper topic. Required of all students majoring in philosophy.
Normally to be completed in the fall of the senior year. Prerequisite: Permission of
470. Independent Study in Philosophy
A course in which the student pursues independently, under the guidance of a
member of the department, a specific philosophical topic of interest. Prerequisite:
Permission of instructor.
480. Advanced Topics in Philosophy
Selected topics in Philosophy at the advanced level.