Courses for Non-Majors

Courses of Interest to Non-Majors

Students from a wide range of fields find that they like the depth and rigor of Philosophy department courses in subject areas that interest them. Many Kelley School of Business students, for example, develop an interest in philosophy in P100, P140, or another introductory course and go on to take a few more courses in areas of philosophy that interest them. They often report that the skills they develop in Philosophy courses help them with the Kelley School’s iCore program.

Ethics courses

Our department offers more than ten courses relating to the study of systematic theories and problem areas in ethics and related areas. These include courses focused on the broad question of how we should live; courses on foundational issues in social and political philosophy; courses on philosophical issues in the law; and courses on topics relating to business and medical ethics.

This course surveys important theories of ethics such as those designed to answer the question, “How should we live?” It examines selected problems and topics, such as the morality of war, abortion, hunger, and poverty. Different sections cover different topics, so students should be sure to read the course description. No prerequisites. Satisfies the Gen Ed A&H requirement.

This course introduces fundamental problems of social and political philosophy, such as the nature of justice, the justification of the authority of the state, and the value of equality. No prerequisites. Satisfies the Gen Ed A&H requirement.

This introductory course focuses on issues in moral philosophy as they arise in the business context. These include deception and manipulation, conflicts of interest, workplace issues (diversity, sexual harassment, free speech, privacy, safety and other labor issues), exploitation (of workers or patrons), corporate social responsibility ( concerning the environment, for example), and whistleblowing. The course provides more content in ethical theory than is typically provided by a business school ethics course. No prerequisites. Satisfies the Gen Ed A&H requirement.

This sophomore-level introductory course focuses on specific contemporary problem areas, such as world hunger, abortion, poverty, social justice, racism, life-and-death decisions, problems in medical ethics. No prerequisites. Satisfies the Gen Ed A&H requirement.

This is an intermediate level course exploring philosophical feminism. Feminism can be summarized by saying that women are people and should be treated as such. The course consequently focuses on fundamental questions concerning what it is to treat–or fail to treat–someone as a person. It is appropriate for students who have taken one course in Philosophy or in some other field related to the topic of the course.

These intermediate level courses examine classic texts and problem issues in contemporary philosophical theorizing about ethics. They are appropriate for students who have already taken (and enjoyed) one course in ethics (such as P140, P240, or P242).

These courses use classic texts and contemporary problem areas to theorize about social and political life. They are appropriate for students who have taken at least one prior course in Philosophy or another field related to the course, such as Political Theory, International Studies, etc.

This course concerns foundational issues relating to the nature of the law and the basis of our obligation to obey the law, as well as questions about legal culpability, excuse, and justification.

This 300-level course is aimed at sophomores, juniors, and seniors. It focuses on ethical issues in current biomedical practice, such as abortion, reproductive technologies, euthanasia, determination of death, consent to treatment, and professional responsibilities in connection with research, experimentation, and health care delivery. No prerequisites, but presupposes skill in critical reading and writing.

Logic and reasoning courses

The department offers three different introductory level courses in logic and reasoning.

This course is the least technical of the introductory logic courses. It is well-suited for students who want an informal introduction to techniques and skills needed for the evaluation and construction of good arguments. Satisfies the Gen Ed A&H requirement.

This course provides an introduction to contemporary logical theory.  Unlike P105, it teaches students how to translate ordinary language arguments into a logical language in order to rigorously evaluate their validity. PHIL-P150 is a slower-paced introduction to logic than PHIL-P250, and it is not a prerequisite for PHIL-P250. Satisfies the Gen Ed A&H requirement.

This course moves faster than PHIL-P150 and goes further in contemporary logical theory. PHIL-P250 is of interest to many students with an interest in foundational issues in mathematics, linguistics, cognitive science, computer science, and informatics. Many prelaw and premed majors find it valuable for developing the reasoning skills required for graduate study in those fields.

These courses are more advanced courses that presuppose P250 or the equivalent. They are aimed primarily at philosophy, math, cognitive science, computer science, and informatics students or any other students with appropriate preparation who are interested in foundational issues in logic, math, and the use for formal languages.