- History of Philosophy
These courses focus on one or more historical periods, examining a specific period or school of philosophical thought.
Note that courses marked with an asterisk * are rarely taught. With the consent of the Philosophy Director of Undergraduate Studies, you may substitute corresponding Religious Studies courses for PHIL-P328 and PHIL-P374.
PHIL-P 135 Introduction to Existentialism
Philosophical themes in 19th- and 20th-century existentialism. Topics may include free choice and human responsibility, the nature of values, the influence of phenomenology on existentialism, and existentialism as illustrated in literature. Readings from some or all of Buber, Camus, Heidegger, Husserl, Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Marcel, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, and Sartre. No prior knowledge of philosophy is presupposed.
PHIL-P 201 Ancient Greek Philosophy
Selective survey of ancient Greek philosophy (pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle).
PHIL-P 205 Modern Jewish Philosophy *
A survey and critical analysis of modern Jewish philosophers and thinkers such as Mendelssohn, Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, and Fackenheim. Topics: concepts of God; the nature of religion; autonomy and revealed morality; God and history; theodicy and the Holocaust; empiricists and analytic criticism of divine human encounter; Jewish philosophy and modern philosophy.
PHIL-P 211 Early Modern Philosophy
Selective survey of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy, including some or all of the following: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant.
PHIL-P 301 Medieval Philosophy
A selective survey of Western philosophy from the turn of the Christian era to the end of the Middle Ages. Readings from some or all of Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Ockham.
PHIL-P 304 19th Century Philosophy
Selective survey of post-Kantian philosophy. Readings from some or all of Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Mill, and Nietzsche.
PHIL-P 305 Topics in the Philosophy of Judaism *
Comparative analysis of two or more Jewish philosophers; or selected topics in the philosophical treatment of contemporary Jewish experience; or topics in the history of Jewish philosophy. May be repeated once with different topic.
PHIL-P 319 American Pragmatism *
Examination of the central doctrines of Peirce, James, Dewey, Mead.
PHIL-P 328 Philosophies of India *
Historical and critical-analytic survey of the major traditions of Indian philosophy. Attention to early philosophizing and the emergence of the classical schools in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Attention also to contemporary thought in India including critical theory and subaltern theorizing. Credit not given for both PHIL P328 and REL R368.
PHIL-P 330 Marxist Philosophy *
An examination of major philosophical issues in the light of Marxist theory. Historical materialism and the critique of idealism in metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, ethics, and social science. Discussion of both classical and contemporary sources.
PHIL-P 335 Phenomenology and Existentialism
Selective survey of central themes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century phenomenology and existentialism. Readings from some or all of Buber, Camus, Heidegger, Husserl, Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Marcel, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, and Sartre.
PHIL-P 374 Early Chinese Philosophy *
Origins of Chinese philosophical traditions in the classical schools of Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism. Explores contrasting agendas of early Chinese and Western traditions. Credit given for only one of P374, EALC E374, or REL R368.
PHIL-P 401 History of Philosophy: Special Topics
Special topics, such as developing views on one or more of the following subjects: substance, nature, essence, dialectics. May be repeated once with a different topic.
- Ethics and Value Theory
These courses focus on questions of goodness, rightness, conduct, standards of living, the nature of aesthetic value, art, government and society and their relationship to individuals.
PHIL-P 103 Gender, Sexuality and Race
New issues and emphases in philosophy arising out of a focus on gender, sexuality, and race. One basic issue is the nature of a person and definitions of “human being.” Another issue concerns the assumptions underlying current discussions in personal identity, feminism, race relations, and ethics.
PHIL-P 107 Philosophy and the Environment
Fundamental problems of environmental philosophy. What is “natural”? What obligations do human beings have regarding non-human animals, endangered species, and the natural environment? How might these obligations be grounded? How might competing environmental interests be balanced, especially when they conflict with human economic interests? Readings mainly from contemporary sources.
PHIL-P 141 Introduction to Ethics
Philosophers' answers to ethical problems (e.g., the nature of good and evil, the relation of duty to self-interest, the objectivity of moral judgments), and the applications of ethical theory to contemporary problems.
PHIL-P 145 Liberty and Justice: A Philosophical Introduction
Fundamental problems of social and political philosophy: the nature of the state, political obligation, freedom and liberty, equality, justice, rights, social change, revolution, and community. Readings from classical and contemporary sources.
PHIL-P 240 Business and Morality-Ethics in Context
Fundamental issues of moral philosophy in a business context. Application of moral theory to issues such as the ethics of investment, moral assessment of corporations, and duties of vocation.
PHIL-P 242 Applied Ethics
Application of moral theory to a variety of personal, social, and political contexts, such as world hunger, nuclear weapons, social justice, life-and-death decisions, and problems in medical ethics.
PHIL-P 246 Introduction to Philosophy and Art
Introduction to the philosophical study of art and the relationship between art and philosophy. Topics include the nature of a work of art, the role of emotions in art, the interpretation and appreciation of art, and the way philosophy is expressed in art.
PHIL-P 332 Feminism and Value
Selected topics from recent feminist philosophy, including the reassessment of classical philosophical texts, the construction of gender, perspectives on the good life, and the relation of private and public spheres.
PHIL-P 340 Classics in Ethics
Readings from Plato and Aristotle to Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche. Topics include virtue and human nature, pleasure and the good, the role of reason in ethics, the objectivity of moral principles, and the relation of religion to ethics.
PHIL-P 342 Problems of Ethics
May concentrate on a single large problem (e.g., whether utilitarianism is an adequate ethical theory), or several more or less independent problems (e.g., the nature of goodness, the relation of good to ought, the objectivity of moral judgments).
PHIL-P 343 Classics in Social and Political Philosophy
Readings from Plato and Aristotle to Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, and Marx. Topics include the ideal state, the nature and proper ends of the state, natural law and natural right, social contract theory, and the notion of community.
PHIL-P 345 Problems in Social and Political Philosophy
Problems of contemporary relevance: civil disobedience, participatory democracy, conscience and authority, law and morality.
PHIL-P 346 Classics in Philosophy of Art
Readings from Plato and Aristotle to Nietzsche and Dewey. Topics include the definition of art, the nature of beauty, and art and society.
PHIL-P 347 Contemporary Controversies in Philosophy of Art
Topics include the intersection of art, art criticism, philosophy, modernism and post-modernism, and the relation of aesthetic and cognitive judgment.
PHIL-P 375 Philosophy of Law
Selective survey of philosophical problems concerning law and the legal system. Topics include nature and validity of law, morality and law, legal obligation, judicial decision, rights, justice, responsibility, and punishment.
PHIL-P 393 Biomedical Ethics
A philosophical consideration of ethical problems that arise in current biomedical practice, e.g., with regard to abortion, euthanasia, determination of death, consent to treatment, and professional responsibilities in connection with research, experimentation, and health care delivery.
- Metaphysics and Epistemology
These courses focus on the study of reality, its general features and structure, knowledge, justification, truth, and belief.
PHIL-P 310 Topics in Metaphysics
Topics such as existence, individuation, contingency, universals and particulars, causality, determinism, space, time, events and change, relation of mental and physical.
PHIL-P 312 Topics in the Theory of Knowledge
Topics such as various theories of perceptual realism, sense-datum theories, theories of appearing, phenomenalism, the nature of knowledge, the relation between knowledge and belief, relation between knowledge and evidence, and the problem of skepticism.
PHIL-P 320 Philosophy of Language
Special prerequisite—P250 or equivalent and at least one other course in philosophy, or permission of instructor. A study of selected philosophical problems concerning language and their bearing on traditional problems in philosophy.
PHIL-P 371 Philosophy of Religion
Topics such as the nature of religion, religious experience, the status of claims of religious knowledge, the nature and existence of God.
- Philosophy of Mind
These courses focus on the study of the mind and its relationship to the body, as well as consciousness and cognitive science.
PHIL-P 360 Introduction to Philosophy of Mind
Selected topics from among the following: the nature of mental phenomena (e.g., thinking, volition, perception, emotion); the mind-body problem (e.g., dualism, behaviorism, functionalism); connections to cognitive science issues in psychology, linguistics, and artificial intelligence; computational theories of mind.
PHIL-P 363 Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
A critical study of the basis and philosophical implications of psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice. Topics may include psychodynamic models of the mind, arguments for the dynamic unconscious, unconscious motivation and rational action, emotion, gender, sexuality, autonomy, self-knowledge.
PHIL-P 366 Philosophy of Action
The nature of human and rational action: the structure of intentions and practical consciousness; the role of the self in action; volitions; the connections of desires, needs, and purposes to intentions and doings; causation and motivation; freedom; the structure of deliberation; rational actions and duties, whether moral or institutional.
- Logic Courses
These courses study reasoning and the structure of arguments. Upper-level courses listed are mainly investigations of formal logical systems and the role of logic in philosophy.
PHIL-P 105 Critical Thinking
Basic rules of correct reasoning; roles of definitions and of language in thinking; roles of observation, hypothesis, and theory in knowledge; basic techniques for gathering information, testing beliefs for truth, and problem solving.
PHIL-P 150 Elementary Logic
Development of critical tools for the evaluation of arguments. Not a prerequisite for P250. Not open to students who have taken or are enrolled in P250.
PHIL-P 250 Introductory Symbolic Logic
Propositional logic and first-order quantificational logic. No credit for P150 if P250 taken first or concurrently.
PHIL-P 251 Intermediate Symbolic Logic
Special prerequisite—P250. Identity, definite descriptions, properties of formal theories, elementary set theory.
PHIL-P 350 Logic of Sets
Special prerequisite—P250. Elementary operations on sets, relations, functions, orderings, introduction to ordinal and cardinal numbers.
PHIL-P 352 Logic and Philosophy
Special prerequisite—P150 or P250 or equivalent course. Relation of logic to other areas of philosophy. Selected topics from among the following: logic and ontology; logic and language; logic, reasoning, and belief; intentionality and intensional logic; tense and modal logic and the nature of time and necessity; individuation and reference; relative vs. absolute identity.
- General introductory courses
These courses provide an overview of philosophy, covering many different topics. Check the individual course listings for information on specific content, as the topics covered in these courses may vary by instructor.
PHIL-P 106 Introduction to Philosophy
Perennial problems of philosophy, including problems in ethics in epistemology and metaphysics, and in philosophy of religion.
PHIL-P 200 Problems of Philosophy
Selected writings of philosophers concerning important philosophical problems.
PHIL-P 270 Introductory Topics in Philosophy
Topics vary. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
- Special courses
These Philosophy courses focus on special topics such as literature, writing, and leadership. This selection also includes courses with topics that change each time the class is offered. See specific semester listings and descriptions for information about special content.
PHIL-P 300 Philosophical Methods and Writing
Open only to students pursuing a philosophy major or minor. Provides intensive training in all aspects of writing clear, grammatical, well-argued and persuasive philosophical essays through a combination of lectures and tutorials.
PHIL-P 348 Philosophy and Literature
A study of philosophical issues raised by and in literature. Special emphasis on reading works of literature as texts of philosophical interest.
PHIL-P 370 Topics in Philosophy
A survey of selected topics or figures in an area of philosophy (areas vary). May be repeated with different topics for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
PHIL-P 376 Leadership and Philosophy
Allegiance to a philosophical vision of “the right” and “the good” seems to be an important foundation for successful leadership. This course aims to study the connections between leadership and philosophy, by focusing on diverse and illuminating case studies of philosophically-informed leaders such as George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
PHIL-P 470 Special Topics in Philosophy
Advanced study of a topic (or cluster of related topics) in an area of philosophy. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
- Opportunities + Honors Courses
These courses provide opportunities for credit in the Philosophy department, and Honors courses for the Philosophy major.
PHIL-P 471 Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship in Philosophy
Special requirement: approval of major department. Designed to provide academic credit for assisting a Philosophy faculty member in an undergraduate course. S/F grading. Does not count toward the major in philosophy.
PHIL-P 473 Internship in Philosophy
Special requirement: approval of major department. Designed to provide academic credit for paper or other project competed under the guidance of an intern’s academic supervisor in a given semester. Internships may be within the Philosophy department or in a professional work setting elsewhere. Credit hours tied to the number of internship hours worked. S/F grading. Does not count toward the major in philosophy. Credit given for only one of X473 or P497.
PHIL-P 490 Readings in Philosophy
Special requirement: consent of instructor. R: 9 credit hours philosophy. Intensive study of selected authors, topics, and problems.
PHIL-P 498 Honors Thesis Directed Research
Requires approval of departmental honors committee. Directed research course preparatory to writing the senior honors thesis. Training in skills necessary for original philosophical research. Goals are to achieve appropriate mastery over a body of philosophical material relevant to the honors thesis project, and to develop core ideas for a successful honors thesis.
PHIL-P 499 Honors Thesis
Requires approval of departmental honors committee.