Philosophy

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Philosophy

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Course Offerings

2014–2015

One unit of credit equals four semester hours.

Bidisciplinary Courses
Philosophy Courses

Bidisciplinary Courses

BID 300 Neuroethics
This course is a bidisciplinary survey of central philosophical and psychological concerns in the new field of neuroethics. Personal, ethical, legal and social implications of contemporary neuroscience are explored. Two categories of ethical work are addressed in this course. The “neuroscience of ethics” addresses the neuroscientific understanding of brain processes that may underlie moral judgments and behavior. The “ethics of neuroscience” addresses the potential impacts of advances in neuroscience on social, moral, and philosophical ideas and institutions as well as the ethical principles that should guide brain research, treatment of brain disorders, and cognitive enhancement. Special emphasis will be placed on the ways in which neuroscience might impact our sense of self and personal responsibility, and our  understanding of the structure of moral judgments. Students will learn the basics of neuroanatomy and neuroscientific methodologies as well as philosophical and psychological discourse concerned with issues of free will, autonomy, responsibility, privacy, and identity.

BID 322 Philosophy of Human Abilities
An examination of human ability and the social, cultural, philosophical and political influences on interactions with those having differing abilities. What is normal? What is a disability? What is it like to have a disability? How does our conception of human nature influence how  we see and treat those with disabilities? How are disabilities rights movements attempting to alter our perception of disabilities? Why are looks so important to us and how do they influence our judgments? How do we perceive the bodies and faces of others? This course will address these questions and others by bringing philosophical inquiry and analysis to issues surrounding those with disabilities.

BID 330 Federal Politics and Media Ethics
This course is offered in conjunction with The Washington Center. Students will examine issues and implications of the next administration, more specifically, factors that shape the relationship between the President and his/her administration, the executive branch and Congress and that set priorities and influence policymaking. Students will investigate the ethical relationship between the media and federal politics, the question of the ethical responsibilities of a free press, the changing role of the individual voter in a media-saturated culture and the challenges (foreign and domestic) facing newly elected federal officials. Students will visit several sites around Washington, D.C., including embassies, think tanks, media organizations, the Newseum and Capitol Hill. These field trips, as well as lectures and discussions led by politicians, journalists and professors from around the country, allow for an in-depth look at the relationship among ethics, politics and the media. Permission of the instructors required.

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Philosophy Courses

PHL 106 Critical Reasoning
This course provides the fundamentals of reasoning necessary for academic and everyday
life. The course will examine informal fallacies, rhetorical devices, induction and deduction, argument analysis, argument construction, the writing process, problem solving and decision making, the scientific method, and traditional syllogistic argument forms to assure that students are well-equipped for understanding and formulating arguments concerning crucial issues in their educations and lives.

PHL 210 Introduction to Philosophy
A critical examination of some of the basic problems of philosophy. Among topics discussed are: the nature of reality, of human knowledge, and of moral, esthetic and religious values.

PHL 220 Formal Logic
Introduction to the formal study of logical implication. Propositional and first-order logic will be treated in detail. Additional topics will include alternative logics such as modal and deontic logic and selected topics in metalogic.

PHL 260 Philosophy of Education
A multicultural and critical study of the metaphysical, epistemological, axiological and logical underpinnings of prominent historical and contemporary philosophies of education.

PHL 303 Ancient Philosophy
A survey of the philosophical tradition of the Western world from the beginnings among the pre-Socratics, through the classic periods of Greece and Rome.

PHL 304 Modern Philosophy
A study of the development of modern systems: Continental rationalism, British empiricism, Kantianism and the idealist tradition.

PHL 305 Philosophy of Science
A philosophical examination of the methods of science, including such topics as the nature of scientific explanations, the problem of induction and scientific paradigm shifts. Especially recommended for science majors.

PHL 306 Ethics
An analytical and critical examination of classical and contemporary moral theories, supplemented by an examination of selected moral problems. Topics include the principles and methods of both ethical theory and moral choice.

PHL 309 Philosophy of Art
Consideration of classical and contemporary theories of the nature of art and the aesthetics experience. Attention to problems inherent in any attempt to understand, interpret and evaluate works of art.

PHL 310 Business Ethics
A study of ethical theory as applied to individual and corporate behavior in business as it functions in a complex society.

PHL 311 Kant’s Critical Philosophy
A close reading of major portions of Kant’s Critical Philosophy with a focus on under- standing the unity of Kant’s philosophical project. Primary texts will be supplemented with other texts by Kant, texts by other con- temporaneous authors, as well as more recent responses to Kant. Topics to be considered include the nature of knowledge, the essence of human freedom and the powers of imagination.

PHL 312 Environmental Ethics
Emphasizes careful thinking about ethical concepts such as right and wrong, justice and injustice, duty and obligation, in relation to environmental concerns: population, pollution, land development, preservation of ecosystems and the rights of animals and future generations.

PHL 315 Philosophy of Law
An introductory study regarding the nature of law and legal authority and obligation. Emphasis is placed on naturalist versus positivist theories of law; legal rights (explored via U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence); and criminal responsibility and punishment. Especially recommended for student planning to apply to law school.

PHL 316 Ethical Aspects of Health Care
Application of classical ethical theories to problems encountered in the health care fields. Theories of prominent ethical philosophers provide conceptual grounding for discussions of the moral issues confronted in health care.

PHL 320 Social and Political Philosophy
A historical and topical exploration to several of the central problems in social and political philosophy, including discussion of justice, equality, citizenship and law.

PHL 326 Key Themes and Thinkers in Biomedicine
An investigation and analysis of one or several closely connected topics in the history of biomedicine. Topics may include the discovery of DNA, the development of the theory of evolution, issues surrounding death and dying, biomedical research, etc.

PHL 349 Philosophy of Religion
A critical and constructive examination of basic religious beliefs and concepts such as God (including arguments for the existence of God), faith, immortality and the problem of evil.

PHL 381 Critical Theories of Pornography
A critical examination of ethical, political and aesthetic issues raised by pornography. Special attention will be given to debates in contemporary feminist theory, media theory and psychoanalysis. Prerequisite: junior standing or above.

PHL 405 Contemporary Philosophy
A study of one or several of the main movements in philosophy from the latter half of the
19th century to the present, such as phenomenology, existentialism or analytic philosophy. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy.

PHL 406 Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness
Is the mind produced by the workings of the brain, or is it more than this? Is the mind like a computer? Do we have free will, or are our choices determined by unconscious brain events? Is your mental life permanently private and accessible only to you? How might the brain produce the mind? What are concepts? How does the human mind achieve the skills needed to speak a language? Will advances in science change the way we speak about our minds? These  questions will be addressed by reading current texts and by analytical writing as well as class discussions.

PHL 420 Seminar
A course with varying content from year to year consisting of concentrated study of some movement, problem or philosopher. Repeatable for credit. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy and consent of instructor.

PHL 492/292 Independent Study
Regular meetings are arranged with the instructor. The topic must be approved by the staff of the department two weeks prior to the beginning of the term. A written report must be submitted at the conclusion of the course. Repeatable for credit.

PHL 495 Honors Independent Research
.50 credit
This course gives Honors Program students the opportunity to design and implement a signifi- cant research project in the field of philosophy culminating in an appropriate public dissemi- nation of research methods and findings. This research must build upon previous coursework taken within the major or minor, facilitating faculty supervision and guidance. Repeatable for credit. Permission of the faculty supervisor and the director of the Honors Program required prior to registration.

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