The philosophy minor requires a minimum of 15 credit hours.
All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the following courses.
Introductory Courses (3 hrs.)
Choose one course from the following:
This course helps students learn to think clearly, concisely and analytically, through a familiarity with the reasoning methods of logic in terms of learning how to define terms, formulate arguments and analyze statements critically and objectively. The course deals with the language of logic and the methods of deductive and inductive reasoning.
The meaning of life is a question that all people confront at some point in their lives. This course will take up this question, reading selections from the writings of great thinkers in both the Eastern and Western intellectual traditions, and using the tools of conceptual analysis and critique to assess the various answers that have been given to it. The following is a partial list of themes that will be covered during the course of a semester. The course seeks to provide students with an introduction to the fundamental issues at stake, along with the means for assessing these issues. The aim is to get students to reflect on their lives and what makes them meaningful, and then to articulate their own vision of a meaningful life.
An introductory survey of a number of perennial philosophical questions such as “How can a physical body produce a mind?” “Does free will exist?” “What is the self?” “Can we know if God exists?” and “Is there really an external world?” Offered annually. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.
Ethics (3 hrs.)
Choose one course from the following:
This course explores the ethical dilemmas confronting contemporary medicine. It both inquires into a broad range of topics (abortion, euthanasia, health-care costs, organ transplantation, etc.) and provides a thorough study of ethical theories that may be applied to address the dilemmas of modern medicine.
In this course, students will be expected to confront, reflect on, and critically think through the central ethical traditions as offered by the West and then work to see if these traditions find analogues in the Eastern Asian tradition. Specifically, this course will require a close examination of western ethical theories and then a close reading and examination of the central texts of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.
Students will be expected to confront, reflect on, compare and contrast, apply, and critically think through, the central ethical traditions offered throughout human history— particularly virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism. The course begins with a discussion of critical questions relevant to the study of ethics, such as relativism, human nature, and free will, then turns to examining the main theories and ends with criticisms of ethics.
This course seeks to develop a better understanding of both the factual and ethical dimensions of our current and possible future environments. Explores several contemporary approaches in environmental ethics (including deep ecology, ecofeminism, animal rights, market efficiencies, the loss of biodiversity and responses from deontological, utilitarian and virtue ethics, etc.) and representative theoretical problems (e.g., Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” vs. natural rights views, ecological holism vs. moral atomism, market efficiency vs. moral obligations, etc.). Using a case-study approach, students then learn to apply different ethical frameworks to several ethical choices occasioned by human interaction with the natural order.
This course explores the biblical resources for Christian moral decision-making, examines the historical development of moral theology (from the early church through the twentieth century) and addresses selected moral issues.
Electives (9 hrs.)
Choose three courses from the following:
No question in the history of philosophy has been debated for a longer period of time than the free will problem. Are we merely dominoes falling in accordance with fate, history, causation, genetics, or socialization; or are we the “final arbiters of our own wills”? The question of human freedom goes right to the center of the meaningfulness of our very existences - after all, if we are not free, what is the point of making decisions, formulating life plans and striving for goals? Throughout this course we will survey all of the major “camps” in the free will debate. Along the way you will learn that each camp, in providing its own answer to the debate, also reveals further and perhaps more disturbing problems and issues.
Every discipline (whether the sciences, humanities or social sciences) makes claims to knowledge that practitioners in those disciplines take seriously. Consequently, any serious practitioner of a discipline must ask: “How does my discipline define knowledge and so make claims about what is true? What are the limits, strengths and weaknesses of such methods of knowing?” Clearly, not all claims to knowledge are equally worthy of our assent, so it is crucial that a practitioner of any field be able to investigate these questions. Armed with such an understanding of knowledge, a practitioner of any field is given the tools to be more critical of the claims of his/her own field and those of others. Given these concerns and questions, in this foundational course we will survey the various origins and sources of knowledge, the different ways in which knowledge could be justified, the limits and possibilities of those various approaches and the ways in which skepticism about knowledge can be generated as well as avoided when different methods of knowledge are employed. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.
Our world is embedded within a powerful narrative that sees science as the epistemic path towards understanding what reality is and how it behaves, providing science with a tremendous amount of authority and power in modern discourse (cultural, scientific, and interpersonal). Is this power and authority legitimate? In this course we will analyze science philosophically, questioning the assumptions underlying the scientific method, asking whether science is objective or value neutral, and asking whether science makes historical progress, or whether science can ever reveal anything to us about the true nature of reality itself.
A study of the most prominent types of philosophy and their influence in contemporary Europe. The course begins with Nietzsche, Husserl and Heidegger, and works through the reaction to their work in Critical Theory, Derrida, Foucault, Levinas and others. The course seeks to provide students with an understanding of the philosophical issues and the impact of philosophy on European culture.
Prerequisite: Sophomore status or higher.
This course provides an in-depth study of a single philosopher. May be repeated when philosophers vary.
Although many tend to treat selfhood and its structure as an obvious given, philosophers have developed a complicated variety of doctrines to talk about what selves are and how our modern idea of the self-came into existence. In this course, students will survey this rich philosophical history.
Does life have a meaning? If not, then what’s the point of living? In this course we will study the movement known as existentialism, famous for exploring these questions. We will read various philosophers; such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Sartre; watch four existential films; such as Kirosawa’s Ikiru and read four literary works that deal with existential themes; such as Dostoyevski’s Notes from the Underground.
One of the most perplexing problems to haunt philosophy, but particularly since the 1600s, is the mind-body problem. Fundamentally, we will concern ourselves with investigating the (purported) connection between consciousness (the mind) and the physical world (specifically, the body). In this course, we will engage in a very in-depth theoretical investigation into the (perhaps limited) degree to which psychology can explain consciousness, and relatedly whether a complete study of consciousness necessarily requires inquiries outside of science as a whole, whether a coherent explanation of consciousness permits or rejects traditional notions of free will, how information and consciousness are related, the degree to which artificial intelligence (the creation of consciousness) is possible and the possibility of forging a link between explaining consciousness and understanding foundational metaphysics.
A critical examination of some of the major interpretations of God, humanity, evil, human destiny and history, and immortality. Each student is encouraged to work out a personal constructive philosophy of religion.
Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.
Many academic departments offer special research or investigative projects beyond the regular catalog offering. Significant responsibility lies with the student to work independently to develop a proposal for study that must be approved by a faculty mentor and the appropriate department chair. The faculty member will provide counsel through the study and will evaluate the student’s performance. Sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible. Students must register for research (291, 292, 391, 392, 491 or 492) to receive credit and are required to fill out a Permission to Register for Special Coursework form. It is recommended that students complete not more than 12 hours of research to apply toward the baccalaureate degree.
Interns must have at least 60 credit hours, completed appropriate coursework and have a minimum GPA of 2.5 prior to registering for academic credit. Also, approval must be obtained from the student's faculty sponsor and required forms must be completed by the deadline. Note: *Architecture, Music Therapy and Education majors do not register internships through Career Planning & Development. These students need to speak with his/her advisor regarding credit requirements and options. S/U grading.
Many academic departments offer special research or investigative projects beyond the regular catalog offering. Significant responsibility lies with the student to work independently to develop a proposal for study that must be approved by a faculty mentor and the appropriate department chair. The faculty member will provide counsel through the study and will evaluate the student’s performance. Sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible. Students must register for research (291, 292, 391, 392, 491 or 492) to receive credit and are required to fill out a Permission to Register for Special Coursework form. It is recommended that students complete not more than 12 hours of research to apply toward the baccalaureate degree. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.
This course is a foundational exploration of the key theories and principles of political philosophy, including the discussion of the issues of political authority, the justification of the state and its coercive power, social contract theories and the role of consent, rights and justice, civil disobedience, race and gender, issues that shaped political and moral thinking from antiquity to the present. Students will have the opportunity to read and discuss authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Rousseau, Mill, and John Rawls. Attention will also be given to contemporary discussions of these issues.