Philosophy Course Descriptions

Philosophy 201 - Logic

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the formal logic of propositions, identity, and quantification, culminating in an introduction to metalogic and a study of some alternate and deviant logics. Lecture.

Philosophy 202 - Introduction to Metaphysics

Full course for one semester. An examination of selected topics in metaphysics, such as: What kind of beings are we? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Is time real? Does anything exist independently of our minds? Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 203 - Introduction to Ethics

Full course for one semester. An examination of selected historical and contemporary accounts of how we should live, of what makes life good, of what does harm, of what constrains our actions, and of what gives our lives meaning. Conference.

Philosophy 204 - Introduction to Epistemology

Full course for one semester.  An examination of the sources, structure, and scope of knowledge and justification.  Conference.

Philosophy 205 - Introduction to Mind and Action

Full course for one semester.  This course will investigate problems in the philosophy of mind, the theory of action, and some relations between the two.  Topics include the mind-body problem, intentionality, first-person authority, the nature of mental states, intention, and free will.  Conference.

Philosophy 206 - Minds, Brains, and Machines

Full course for one semester. Science gives us an increasingly detailed picture of the world. According to this picture, the world is at bottom physical: all there is are bits of matter arranged in various ways. How do we fit into this picture? Are we identical to our bodies, or are we essentially minds? Is the mind the same as the brain, or is it a separate kind of entity? Or is it not an entity at all, but a property of something physical, such as our brain? Does having a mind require having a brain, or could a machine have a mind, too? Is perhaps the relation of the mind to the brain the same as that of a computer program to a computer running the program? Finally, does the answer to these questions matter to how we should live our lives? Conference.

Philosophy 301 - Ancient Philosophy

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy focusing on the works of Plato and Aristotle. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference.

Philosophy 302 - Modern Philosophy

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the metaphysical and epistemological views of major Modern philosophers such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 303 - Hellenistic Philosophy

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to Hellenistic philosophy, including skepticism, stoicism, and Epicurianism. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Cross-listed as Classics 303. Not offered 2007-08.
Classics 303 Description

Philosophy 304 - Empiricism

Full course for one semester. An examination of the prospects and problems of the view that our only source of information about the world is experience. Prerequisite: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference.

Philosophy 308 - Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy

Full course for one semester. This course is an examination of the development of philosophy in Germany following the publication of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. Figures to be studied include Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 309 - Existentialism

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to some central topics in modern continental philosophy including subjective freedom, self-deception, anxiety, and death. Figures to be studied include Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 310 - Metaphysics

Full course for one semester. This course is a study of the central topics and problems of metaphysics, including the mind-body problem, free will and determinism, persistence and change, and the natures of particulars, properties, time, space modality, causality, identity, and persons. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference.

Philosophy 311 - Epistemology

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the central topics in the theory of knowledge, including the nature of knowledge, the nature of epistemic justification, and varieties of skepticism. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 312 - Ethical Theories

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the central theories and problems of ethics. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 313 - Philosophy of Literature

Full course for one semester.  This course is an examination of such topics as the concept of a character in fiction; the ontological status of persons, objects, and events in a fictional world; our emotional responses to the speech and action of fictional characters; fiction and reference; and the relevance of authorial intentions to the understanding of literary works of art.  Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy.  Conference.

Philosophy 314 - Aesthetics

Full course for one semester. This course is a study of the principal theories of criticism and taste. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 315 - Philosophy of Language

Full course for one semester. This course is a study of such topics as truth, reference, meaning, convention, linguistic and non-linguistic communication, and the relationships between language, thought, and reality. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 317 - Philosophy of Mind

Full course for one semester. Some physical things, such as the page you are looking at, represent other things, such as the contents of philosophy courses offered in 2007-2008.  How is this possible?  How can a physical thing represent anything?  Can we explain how a mental thing (e.g., your thought that it is raining) represents another thing (e.g., today's weather) in the same way? In the first part of the course, we look at answers to these questions, and in the second part, we examine how the answers pertain to the contents of mental states. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference.

Philosophy 318 - Philosophy of Biology

Full course for one semester. This course is a philosophical study of such topics as adaptation; units of selection; emergence and reduction; function and teleology; the status of species and systematics; evolutionary trends; implications of evolutionary theory for psychology, culture, epistemology, and ethics; and social implications of contemporary biology (such as the human genome project, genetic engineering, and artificial life). Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference.

Philosophy 321 - Modal Logic and Metaphysics

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to modal logic, possible-world semantics, and associated philosophical issues. Prerequisites: Philosophy 201 and one other 200-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 405 - Senior Seminar

Half course for one semester. An intensive study of selected philosophical problems or works. Primary emphasis is placed on exercising and developing the skills required for original and creative work in philosophy. Open to majors with senior standing, and to others with consent of the instructor. Discussion.

Philosophy 411 - Advanced Topics in Metaphysics: The Material World

Full course for one semester. We will examine central topics in the metaphysics of the physical world, focusing on the nature of material objects and their relation to the matter or parts of which they are composed.  We will consider both historical and contemporary theories and issues, such as:  ancient atomism, hylomorphism, and Platonism; early modern views on matter and substance; and contemporary discussions of identity over time, the possibility of spatial and spatio-temporal coincidence, mereology, essentialism, the problem of the many, and nihilism. Prerequisite: Philosophy 310 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Philosophy 412 - Advanced Topics in Epistemology

Full course for one semester. An intensive study of a subject within epistemology. Specific topics vary from year to year. Prerequisite: one 300-level course in philosophy. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 413 - Advanced Topics in Ethics: Humeanism and Its Critics

Full course for one semester. This course will investigate Humean approaches to ethics and criticisms of such approaches made by contemporary virtue ethicists.  We will look at the contrasting views of moral psychology, value and practical rationality that divide the Humean and virtue ethicist.  We will conclude by looking at how the two camps might approach a problem in applied ethics. Prerequisite: two courses at the 300-level or higher, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Philosophy 414 - Advanced Topics in Contemporary Philosophy: Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics

Full course for one semester. We will examine central topics within, and spanning, the philosophy of logic and the philosophy of mathematics.  Possible topics include: Tarski's theory of logical consequence, free logic, other non-classical logics, the status of second-order logic, mathematical platonism, formalism, logicism, intuitionism, structuralism, and the status of set theory.  Prerequisite: One 300-level course in philosophy or mathematics. Conference.

Philosophy 415 - Major Figures in Philosophy

Full course for one semester.  This variable topics course focuses on the work of a major figure in philosophy.  Prerequisite: Philosophy 301, 310, or 318.  Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

Philosophy 470 - Thesis

Full course for one year.

Philosophy 481 - Individual Work in Special Fields

One-half or full course for one year. Prerequisite: approval ofinstructor and division.




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