Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Philosophy B.A.

Philosophy Department
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2021
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 30
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
If you have ever pondered, "Why am I here?" or "What is the meaning of life?" then you have already thought about philosophy. Philosophy poses questions about human endeavors and examines our basic assumptions about everything we think we know. It takes on challenging issues that sometimes defy resolution and trains the brain to think in a rigorous and analytic way about all the possible answers and what's at stake. Philosophy is not just a subject matter but a way of thinking. In your philosophy courses, you will learn about the way that people throughout history have engaged in this kind of thinking with questions such as "Can I really trust my senses to tell me about reality?", "Is anything really morally right or wrong or is it all just relative?", "Do scientific theories tell us the truth about the world or are they tools that are useful for certain purposes?" and "Are some societies more just than others?". You will discover that thinking about these questions with an open mind is deeply satisfying. Philosophical thinking also contributes to a worthwhile life; in the words of Socrates "the unexamined life is not worth living". Of course, life isn't all about having fun thinking. Philosophy is also much more practical than you might think! Because philosophy is so far-reaching, the method it uses for study enhances the study of other fields such as art, math, science, language, and law with tremendous success. It is a great complement to other majors as a second major or a minor. You can find details about good combinations on our website. Also, studying philosophy is a fantastic way to hone your critical thinking and analytic writing skills. You'll learn two types of critical thinking: First, a method for rigorous analysis of arguments. Second, a habit of asking penetrating questions about the hidden assumptions of any position, ideology, or practice. You will develop your capacities to conceive of alternative assumptions, evaluate which ones are best and determine where they lead. You'll learn to write papers that clearly demonstrate these skills. And finally, you can reassure your parents about your choice of philosophy with the fact that the skills of critical thinking and analytic writing are highly desirable and sought by graduate programs and employers. Evidence of this includes: • PHIL majors rank first among all majors in law school acceptance rate: 82.4%. • PHIL majors rank first among all majors in verbal and analytic sections of the GRE (and first among humanities majors in the quantitative section) • PHIL majors score higher on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (the test that most MBA programs require) than students in any business major (management, finance, accounting, marketing, etc.) • PHIL majors' salaries increase more over 10 years than most other majors, including marketing and accounting (The Wall Street Journal). • "The present value of the extra earnings that graduates in humanities majors can expect over their lifetime is… $444,700 for English majors, $537,800 for history majors, and $658,900 for philosophy majors" (Forbes). For more information, visit: http://www.philosophy.umn.edu/
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
General Requirements
All students in baccalaureate degree programs are required to complete general University and college requirements including writing and liberal education courses. For more information about University-wide requirements, see the liberal education requirements. Required courses for the major, minor or certificate in which a student receives a D grade (with or without plus or minus) do not count toward the major, minor or certificate (including transfer courses).
Program Requirements
Students are required to complete 4 semester(s) of any second language. with a grade of C-, or better, or S, or demonstrate proficiency in the language(s) as defined by the department or college.
CLA BA degrees require 18 upper-division (3xxx-level or higher) credits outside the major designator. These credits must be taken in designators different from the major designator and cannot include courses that are cross-listed with the major designator. The major designator for the Philosophy BA is PHIL. No more than 8 credits of PHIL 1xxx may count toward the degree. At least two 3-or-more-credit courses must be PHIL 4xxx or higher. At least 11 upper-division credits in the major must be taken at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Students may earn a BA or a minor in philosophy, but not both. All incoming CLA freshmen must complete the First-Year Experience course sequence. All students must complete a capstone in at least one CLA major. The requirements for double majors completing the capstone in a different CLA major will be clearly stated. Students must also complete all major requirements in both majors to allow the additional capstone to be waived. Student completing an addition degree must complete the capstone in each degree area.
Core Courses
Take exactly 4 course(s) totaling 14 - 16 credit(s) from the following:
History of Philosophy
Take exactly 1 course(s) totaling 4 or more credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 3001W - General History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period [AH, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3005W - General History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period [AH, WI] (4.0 cr)
· Logic
Take exactly 1 course(s) totaling 4 or more credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 5201 - Symbolic Logic I (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 1001 - Introduction to Logic [MATH] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 1001H - Honors Course: Introduction to Logic [MATH] (4.0 cr)
· ELMS (Epistemology/Philosophy of Language/Metaphysics/Philosophy of Science)
Take exactly 1 course(s) totaling 3 - 4 credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 3234 - Knowledge and Society (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought [WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4101 - Metaphysics (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4105W - Epistemology [WI] (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4231 - Philosophy of Language (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4607 - Philosophy of the Biological Sciences (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4605 - Space and Time (3.0 cr)
or PHIL 5605 - Space and Time (3.0 cr)
· Value Theory
Take exactly 1 course(s) totaling 3 - 4 credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 3311W - Introduction to Ethical Theory [WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4311W - History of Moral Theories [WI] (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4320 - Intensive Study of a Historical Moral Theory (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4331 - Contemporary Moral Theories (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4414 - Political Philosophy (3.0 cr)
Electives
Students can choose any combination of courses from the Philosophy Electives to reach the 30-credit minimum for the major.
Take 13 - 16 credit(s) from the following:
Lower-division Courses
No more than 8 credits of PHIL 1xxx may count toward the major.
Take 0 - 8 credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 1003W - Introduction to Ethics [CIV, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 1004W - Introduction to Political Philosophy [AH, CIV, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 1005 - Scientific Reasoning (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 1001 - Introduction to Logic [MATH] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 1001H - Honors Course: Introduction to Logic [MATH] (4.0 cr)
· Upper-division Courses
Take 0 or more course(s) from the following:
· PHIL 3001W - General History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period [AH, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3005W - General History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period [AH, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3231 - Philosophy and Language (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3234 - Knowledge and Society (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3301 - Environmental Ethics [ENV] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3304 - Law and Morality (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 3305 - Medical Ethics (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3311W - Introduction to Ethical Theory [WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought [WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3602 - Science, Technology, and Society (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 3607 - Philosophy of Psychology (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4055 - Kant (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4101 - Metaphysics (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4105W - Epistemology [WI] (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4231 - Philosophy of Language (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4311W - History of Moral Theories [WI] (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4320 - Intensive Study of a Historical Moral Theory (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4326 - Lives Worth Living: Questions of Self, Vocation, and Community [CIV, AH] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4331 - Contemporary Moral Theories (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4414 - Political Philosophy (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4607 - Philosophy of the Biological Sciences (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4615 - Minds, Bodies, and Machines (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 5201 - Symbolic Logic I (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 5202 - Symbolic Logic II (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 5211 - Modal Logic (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 5222 - Philosophy of Mathematics (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 5415 - Philosophy of Law (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 5601 - History of the Philosophy of Science (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 5602 - Scientific Representation and Explanation (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 5603 - Scientific Inquiry (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 5606 - Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 3302W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society [CIV, WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 3322W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society [CIV, WI] (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4010 - Ancient Philosophers (3.0 cr)
or PHIL 5010 - Ancient Philosophers (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4085 - Wittgenstein (3.0 cr)
or PHIL 5085 - Wittgenstein (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4510 - Philosophy of the Individual Arts (3.0 cr)
or PHIL 5510 - Philosophy of the Individual Arts (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4605 - Space and Time (3.0 cr)
or PHIL 5605 - Space and Time (3.0 cr)
Capstone
The Philosophy capstone culminates students' work in the major. It offers the opportunity to engage and combine skills in analysis, critical thought and clear and cogent expression developed throughout the course of undergraduate work in philosophy. All options require instructor permission and enrollment in PHIL 4995 or PHIL 4995H. Some options require additional enrollment.
Take 1 - 2 course(s) totaling 1 or more credit(s) from the following:
Students who double major and choose to complete the capstone requirement in their other major may waive the Philosophy capstone, but are still responsible for taking the 30 credits required for the Philosophy BA.
· Capstone Paper
through independent research
Complete an independent research paper (of roughly 15 pages) under supervision of a faculty advisor. Capstone papers should be written in drafts with some revision in response to feedback from your supervisor.
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies) (1.0 cr)
or in conjunction with a philosophy course
Complete the capstone paper (of roughly 15 pages) concurrently with a philosophy course taught by a faculty member. The capstone paper can be an elaboration of an assignment for the class, but it must be roughly 15 pages and it should be revised in response to feedback from your supervisor. The capstone paper cannot be identical to a paper submitted as part of the regular course requirements – some additional work is required. Instructor permission and registration in PHIL 4995 required.
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies) (1.0 cr)
· 8xxx-level options
Graduate seminar
Complete all the required work for an 8xxx-level graduate seminar. Students must register for PHIL 5993 (generally 3 credits), PHIL 4995, and attend the seminar. Do not register for the 8xxx-level seminar.
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies) (1.0 cr)
PHIL 5993 - Directed Studies (1.0-3.0 cr)
or Graduate workshop
Complete all the required work for an 8xxx-level graduate workshop, which must include one written assignment beyond what is required by the associated 4xxx-level course. Students must take the associated 4xxx-level class, register for PHIL 4995, and attend the workshop meetings. Do not register for the 8xxx-level workshop. Workshop meeting times are usually arranged the first day of class.
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies) (1.0 cr)
PHIL 4xxx that is cross-listed with a PHIL 8xxx-level graduate workshop
· Non-traditional capstone project
Complete a “non-traditional” philosophy project with guidance from a faculty supervisor. Examples of such projects include: editing the undergraduate philosophy journal, creating a prototype for a philosophy magazine, or conducting a semester-long philosophy reading group. Not all faculty members are willing to supervise non-traditional projects. If you want to take this option it is important to get to know your professors and find someone who is willing to work with you.
· PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies) (1.0 cr)
Upper Division Writing Intensive within the major
Students are required to take one upper division writing intensive course within the major. If that requirement has not been satisfied within the core major requirements, students must choose one course from the following list. Some of these courses may also fulfill other major requirements.
Take 0 - 1 course(s) from the following:
· PHIL 3001W - General History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period [AH, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3005W - General History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period [AH, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3311W - Introduction to Ethical Theory [WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought [WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4105W - Epistemology [WI] (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4311W - History of Moral Theories [WI] (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4320 - Intensive Study of a Historical Moral Theory (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 3302W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society [CIV, WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 3322W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society [CIV, WI] (3.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
A sub-plan is not required for this program.
Ethics and Civic Life
The Department of Philosophy's optional concentration in ethics and civic life is an opportunity for students who are interested in ethics and community service to relate their experiences in the classroom to their work in the community and vice versa. Students who complete the concentration will receive acknowledgment on their transcripts.
Ethics and Civic Life Concentration Courses
Ethics and Civic Life Concentration Courses also count towards the Philosophy Electives in within the major.
Take 3 or more course(s) from the following:
· PHIL 1004W - Introduction to Political Philosophy [AH, CIV, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 1006W - Philosophy and Cultural Diversity [AH, DSJ, WI] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3301 - Environmental Ethics [ENV] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3304 - Law and Morality (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 3305 - Medical Ethics (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3602 - Science, Technology, and Society (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 4326 - Lives Worth Living: Questions of Self, Vocation, and Community [CIV, AH] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4414 - Political Philosophy (3.0 cr)
· PHIL 3302W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society [CIV, WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 3322W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society [CIV, WI] (3.0 cr)
Community Service
The community service component may be completed by taking a practicum course in philosophy (for example, PHIL 1007 in conjunction with 1004W); a community service component of one of the above courses; or a directed study in philosophy with a community service component.
 
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PHIL 3001W - General History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period (AH, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3001W/V/3101
Typically offered: Every Fall
Major developments in ancient Greek philosophic thought: pre-Socrates, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic thinkers.
PHIL 3005W - General History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period (AH, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3005W/V/3105
Typically offered: Every Spring
Can anything be known beyond a shadow of a doubt? How ought scientific knowledge be discovered and justified? In what does one's identity as a person consist? How does our human nature affect the way that we conceive of and come to know the world? This course examines the momentous intellectual transformations in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries that inspired such questions and their innovative solutions.
PHIL 5201 - Symbolic Logic I
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Study of syntax and semantics of sentential and first-order logic. Symbolization of natural-language sentences and arguments. Development of deductive systems for first-order logic. Metatheoretic proofs and methods, including proof by mathematical induction and proof of consistency and completeness. prereq: 1001 or instr consent
PHIL 1001 - Introduction to Logic (MATH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1001/1001H/1021
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Sharpen your reasoning skills through a close examination of arguments. Learn formal methods for representing and assessing arguments, including how to represent informal arguments in formal languages, and how to evaluate whether the premises of an argument entail its conclusion.
PHIL 1001H - Honors Course: Introduction to Logic (MATH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1001/1001H/1021
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Sharpen your reasoning skills through a close examination of arguments. Learn formal methods for representing and assessing arguments, including how to represent informal arguments in formal languages, and how to evaluate whether the premises of an argument entail its conclusion.
PHIL 3234 - Knowledge and Society
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Critical discussion of concepts such as knowledge, objectivity, justification, rationality, evidence, authority, expertise, and trust in relation to the norms and privileges of gender, race, class, and other social categories.
PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Science influences us daily, shaping how we understand ourselves and interpret nature. This course is an introduction to how scientists reason about the world, what that means for our lives, and the status of science as a human activity. What is science and what?s so great about it? Is science the ultimate authority on the world and our place in it? This course examines the authority of science, how scientists reason, and science?s status as a human activity. prereq: One course in philosophy or natural science
PHIL 4101 - Metaphysics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Broadly speaking, metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality. Metaphysical questions include questions about what kinds of things exist, what is the nature of things, what are persons, what is possible or impossible, what is the nature of time, what is causality, and many other fundamental questions about the world. The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the central questions of metaphysics to investigate some of their answers. prereq: One course in history of philosophy or instr consent
PHIL 4105W - Epistemology (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Theories of nature/sources of knowledge/evidence. prereq: 1001 or instr consent
PHIL 4231 - Philosophy of Language
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4231/Phil 5231
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Theories of reference, linguistic truth, relation of language/thought, translation/synonymy. prereq: 1001 or 5201 or instr consent
PHIL 4607 - Philosophy of the Biological Sciences
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4607/Phil 5607
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Biology dominates the landscape of contemporary scientific research, and yet "biology" consists of a variety of different disciplinary approaches: from protein biochemistry to field ecology, from developmental biology to evolutionary genetics. Many philosophical issues can be found in the concepts and practices of life science researchers from these different disciplines. What is the structure of evolutionary theory? What is a gene? What are the units of selection? What is an individual? What counts as a "cause"? What is the relationship between evolution and development? Are all biological phenomena reducible to genes or molecules? What are adaptations, and how do we identify them? What is an ecological niche? Is there a progressive trend in the history of life? Is there such a thing as 'human nature'? This course is an introduction to these and other related issues in the biological sciences with an emphasis on their diversity and heterogeneity. It is designed for advanced undergraduates with an interest in conceptual questions and debates in biology that are manifested across a variety of majors (e.g., animal science; anthropology; biochemistry; biology, society and environment; biosystems and agricultural engineering; chemistry; ecology, evolution and behavior; genetics, cell biology and development; microbiology; neuroscience; physiology; plant biology; psychology). Some of these issues will appear familiar from previous coursework or opportunities, whereas new issues will be intriguing because of their similarities and differences with those that have been encountered in other contexts.
PHIL 4605 - Space and Time
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4605/5605
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Philosophical problems concerning nature/structure of space, time, and space-time. prereq: Courses in [philosophy or physics] or instr consent
PHIL 5605 - Space and Time
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4605/5605
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Philosophical problems concerning nature/structure of space, time, and space-time. prereq: Courses in [philosophy or physics] or instr consent
PHIL 3311W - Introduction to Ethical Theory (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Nature and justification of moral judgments and moral principles; analysis of representative moral views.
PHIL 4311W - History of Moral Theories (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4311/Phil 5311
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Is human nature fundamentally selfish or are we sympathetic creatures? What is free will and do we have it? Do moral principles have a rational basis or are our moral judgments expressions of feelings? Should morality be thought of in terms of acting on principle or producing good outcomes? We will focus on these and other questions as they are explored in primary texts from the early modern history of western philosophy. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 4320 - Intensive Study of a Historical Moral Theory
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Intensive consideration of an author or theory in the history of moral or political philosophy. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 4331 - Contemporary Moral Theories
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4331/Phil 5331
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Is morality objective, just a matter of feeling, or something in between? How do we know even the most basic of moral truths? Do I always have a reason to do what is moral? What motivates people to be moral and why do some people behave immorally? This class looks at these and related questions in metaethics, moral psychology, and other areas of contemporary moral theory. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 4414 - Political Philosophy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4414/Phil 5414
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Works in political philosophy, whether historical or more contemporary, are one central element of the study of philosophy more broadly. As we will address these works, and the issues and concepts they take up, they fall within the larger field of moral philosophy. Like other works in this broad category, discussion in political philosophy typically consider both metaethical and normative questions. Metaethical questions concern the concepts we use as we consider matters of right and wrong or of ethical value. In the realm of political philosophy, authors consider rightness, wrongness and ethical value as they bear on political societies and political leaders, and not only on citizens but on non-citizens who experience the effects of political power. Examples of such questions include: What is justice? What is political power? What are freedom, equality and autonomy? Normative questions, by contrast, concern matters of practice. In the context of moral and political philosophy, they are typically questions about what we must do or refrain from doing if we are to act rightly (as opposed to prudently or efficiently for instance). Examples in the political realm include: What are just standards of criminal punishment? What obligations does a just state have to citizens and to non-citizen residents? What right, if any, do citizens and others have to protest state laws, policies and actions? What rights can citizens or others claim to equality under the law? What grounds or justifies our responses to such questions? Over the course of this semester, we will read both canonical texts in the history of political philosophy and pieces by a variety of authors who are less well known. Our aim will be to improve our ability to understand broad claims and more nuanced points, to compare and critically assess contrasting views, and to appreciate the ways in which political philosophers often draw or expand on others' works even as they challenge them. We will also be working towards improvements in the difficult task of explaining and supporting claims and analyses, in short written pieces, longer essays and oral discussions. prereq: 1004 or instr consent
PHIL 1003W - Introduction to Ethics (CIV, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1003W/V/1103
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Are values/principles relative to our culture? Is pleasure valuable? Are there any absolute rules? These questions and others are addressed through critical study of moral theories.
PHIL 1004W - Introduction to Political Philosophy (AH, CIV, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1004W/V
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Government -- what are its purpose; the limits on its authority; its responsibilities to citizens (and vice versa)? What roles do freedom, equality, rights, property, punishment and justice play here? Join in as we discuss and debate competing views.
PHIL 1005 - Scientific Reasoning
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1005/Phil 1005H
Typically offered: Every Fall
How does science work? What is scientific method? How to evaluate scientific information in popular media or specialized publications, especially when it relates to technology used in everyday life? General reasoning skills. prereq: [1st or 2nd] yr student or instr consent
PHIL 1001 - Introduction to Logic (MATH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1001/1001H/1021
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Sharpen your reasoning skills through a close examination of arguments. Learn formal methods for representing and assessing arguments, including how to represent informal arguments in formal languages, and how to evaluate whether the premises of an argument entail its conclusion.
PHIL 1001H - Honors Course: Introduction to Logic (MATH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1001/1001H/1021
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Sharpen your reasoning skills through a close examination of arguments. Learn formal methods for representing and assessing arguments, including how to represent informal arguments in formal languages, and how to evaluate whether the premises of an argument entail its conclusion.
PHIL 3001W - General History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period (AH, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3001W/V/3101
Typically offered: Every Fall
Major developments in ancient Greek philosophic thought: pre-Socrates, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic thinkers.
PHIL 3005W - General History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period (AH, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3005W/V/3105
Typically offered: Every Spring
Can anything be known beyond a shadow of a doubt? How ought scientific knowledge be discovered and justified? In what does one's identity as a person consist? How does our human nature affect the way that we conceive of and come to know the world? This course examines the momentous intellectual transformations in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries that inspired such questions and their innovative solutions.
PHIL 3231 - Philosophy and Language
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Philosophical issues concerning the nature and use of human language.
PHIL 3234 - Knowledge and Society
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Critical discussion of concepts such as knowledge, objectivity, justification, rationality, evidence, authority, expertise, and trust in relation to the norms and privileges of gender, race, class, and other social categories.
PHIL 3301 - Environmental Ethics (ENV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Philosophical basis for membership in moral community. Theories applied to specific problems (e.g., vegetarianism, wilderness preservation). Students defend their own reasoned views about moral relations between humans, animals, and nature.
PHIL 3304 - Law and Morality
Credits: 3.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
What is law? Must true laws be just? When (if ever) are civil disobedience or legal punishment morally justified? Do good laws incorporate (or legislate) morality? Consider and debate these issues using philosophical texts, case law, and the occasional novel.
PHIL 3305 - Medical Ethics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Moral problems confronting physicians, patients, and others concerned with medical treatment, research, and public health policy. Topics include abortion, living wills, euthanasia, genetic engineering, informed consent, proxy decision-making, and allocation of medical resources.
PHIL 3311W - Introduction to Ethical Theory (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Nature and justification of moral judgments and moral principles; analysis of representative moral views.
PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Science influences us daily, shaping how we understand ourselves and interpret nature. This course is an introduction to how scientists reason about the world, what that means for our lives, and the status of science as a human activity. What is science and what?s so great about it? Is science the ultimate authority on the world and our place in it? This course examines the authority of science, how scientists reason, and science?s status as a human activity. prereq: One course in philosophy or natural science
PHIL 3602 - Science, Technology, and Society
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Philosophical issues that arise out of interaction between science, technology, society (e.g., religion and science, genetics and society, science and the environment).
PHIL 3607 - Philosophy of Psychology
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
What are minds and mental states (like desires and beliefs)? How are these different from brains and brain states? Should scientific explanation abandon any appeal to the mental (like behaviorism) or can we offer a scientific account of mind? prereq: One course in philosophy or psychology
PHIL 4055 - Kant
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Major work (e.g., Critique of Pure Reason). prereq: 3005 or 4004 or instr consent
PHIL 4101 - Metaphysics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Broadly speaking, metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality. Metaphysical questions include questions about what kinds of things exist, what is the nature of things, what are persons, what is possible or impossible, what is the nature of time, what is causality, and many other fundamental questions about the world. The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the central questions of metaphysics to investigate some of their answers. prereq: One course in history of philosophy or instr consent
PHIL 4105W - Epistemology (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Theories of nature/sources of knowledge/evidence. prereq: 1001 or instr consent
PHIL 4231 - Philosophy of Language
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4231/Phil 5231
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Theories of reference, linguistic truth, relation of language/thought, translation/synonymy. prereq: 1001 or 5201 or instr consent
PHIL 4311W - History of Moral Theories (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4311/Phil 5311
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Is human nature fundamentally selfish or are we sympathetic creatures? What is free will and do we have it? Do moral principles have a rational basis or are our moral judgments expressions of feelings? Should morality be thought of in terms of acting on principle or producing good outcomes? We will focus on these and other questions as they are explored in primary texts from the early modern history of western philosophy. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 4320 - Intensive Study of a Historical Moral Theory
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Intensive consideration of an author or theory in the history of moral or political philosophy. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 4326 - Lives Worth Living: Questions of Self, Vocation, and Community (CIV, AH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 8.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4326/5326
Typically offered: Every Summer
Immersion experience. Students live together as a residential community of learners. Works of philosophy, history, and literature form backdrop for exploring such questions as "How is identity constructed?," "What is vocation?," and "What experiences of community are desirable in a life?" Each student creates a life-hypothesis for a life worth living. prereq: instr consent
PHIL 4331 - Contemporary Moral Theories
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4331/Phil 5331
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Is morality objective, just a matter of feeling, or something in between? How do we know even the most basic of moral truths? Do I always have a reason to do what is moral? What motivates people to be moral and why do some people behave immorally? This class looks at these and related questions in metaethics, moral psychology, and other areas of contemporary moral theory. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 4414 - Political Philosophy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4414/Phil 5414
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Works in political philosophy, whether historical or more contemporary, are one central element of the study of philosophy more broadly. As we will address these works, and the issues and concepts they take up, they fall within the larger field of moral philosophy. Like other works in this broad category, discussion in political philosophy typically consider both metaethical and normative questions. Metaethical questions concern the concepts we use as we consider matters of right and wrong or of ethical value. In the realm of political philosophy, authors consider rightness, wrongness and ethical value as they bear on political societies and political leaders, and not only on citizens but on non-citizens who experience the effects of political power. Examples of such questions include: What is justice? What is political power? What are freedom, equality and autonomy? Normative questions, by contrast, concern matters of practice. In the context of moral and political philosophy, they are typically questions about what we must do or refrain from doing if we are to act rightly (as opposed to prudently or efficiently for instance). Examples in the political realm include: What are just standards of criminal punishment? What obligations does a just state have to citizens and to non-citizen residents? What right, if any, do citizens and others have to protest state laws, policies and actions? What rights can citizens or others claim to equality under the law? What grounds or justifies our responses to such questions? Over the course of this semester, we will read both canonical texts in the history of political philosophy and pieces by a variety of authors who are less well known. Our aim will be to improve our ability to understand broad claims and more nuanced points, to compare and critically assess contrasting views, and to appreciate the ways in which political philosophers often draw or expand on others' works even as they challenge them. We will also be working towards improvements in the difficult task of explaining and supporting claims and analyses, in short written pieces, longer essays and oral discussions. prereq: 1004 or instr consent
PHIL 4607 - Philosophy of the Biological Sciences
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4607/Phil 5607
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Biology dominates the landscape of contemporary scientific research, and yet "biology" consists of a variety of different disciplinary approaches: from protein biochemistry to field ecology, from developmental biology to evolutionary genetics. Many philosophical issues can be found in the concepts and practices of life science researchers from these different disciplines. What is the structure of evolutionary theory? What is a gene? What are the units of selection? What is an individual? What counts as a "cause"? What is the relationship between evolution and development? Are all biological phenomena reducible to genes or molecules? What are adaptations, and how do we identify them? What is an ecological niche? Is there a progressive trend in the history of life? Is there such a thing as 'human nature'? This course is an introduction to these and other related issues in the biological sciences with an emphasis on their diversity and heterogeneity. It is designed for advanced undergraduates with an interest in conceptual questions and debates in biology that are manifested across a variety of majors (e.g., animal science; anthropology; biochemistry; biology, society and environment; biosystems and agricultural engineering; chemistry; ecology, evolution and behavior; genetics, cell biology and development; microbiology; neuroscience; physiology; plant biology; psychology). Some of these issues will appear familiar from previous coursework or opportunities, whereas new issues will be intriguing because of their similarities and differences with those that have been encountered in other contexts.
PHIL 4615 - Minds, Bodies, and Machines
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4615/Phil 5615
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Mind-body problem. Philosophical relevance of cybernetics, artificial intelligence, computer simulation. Mental phenomena present the philosopher with a number of deep but inescapable puzzles and challenges. We tend to suppose that we know what it is to have a mind, to have beliefs, desires, etc., and we think that we know how to explain our own behavior and that of others -- and all of this without any formal training in the relevant science. All of this is surely amazing; indeed it verges on the outrageous. We admit to not knowing the makeup of the simplest structures, to not knowing how to explain the behavior of the simplest organisms -- we, OF COURSE, leave such issues to scientific investigation. Yet, at the same time, we think we know how to explain the behavior of this most complex of systems; we know how to do it, and we know what we are talking about when we explain behavior by citing the relevant beliefs, desires, etc. And, to repeat, we know all of this with no formal training. Strange indeed. Not only is this initial confidence puzzling, but attempts to articulate the mental story and to integrate it into the larger scientific picture have all proven problematical. We start our investigation with a very brief glance at a mid-century proposal that initiated a very different way of thinking about mind: the proposal by Turing -- one of the great minds of the 20th Century--that machines of a certain kind could exhibit intelligence. A story told in part in the recent movie, The Imitation Game. We then turn to some more traditional approaches to mind: Cartesianism, Behaviorism and Materialism. prereq: one course in philosophy or instr consent
PHIL 5201 - Symbolic Logic I
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Study of syntax and semantics of sentential and first-order logic. Symbolization of natural-language sentences and arguments. Development of deductive systems for first-order logic. Metatheoretic proofs and methods, including proof by mathematical induction and proof of consistency and completeness. prereq: 1001 or instr consent
PHIL 5202 - Symbolic Logic II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Elements of set theory, including the concepts of enumerability and nonenumerability. Turing machines and recursive functions; the results of Church, Godel, and Tarski and the philosophical significance of those results. prereq: 5201 or instr consent
PHIL 5211 - Modal Logic
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Axiomatic and semantic treatment of propositional and predicate modal logics; problems of interpreting modal languages. prereq: 5201 or instr consent
PHIL 5222 - Philosophy of Mathematics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Major philosophical questions arising in connection with mathematics. What is mathematics about? How do we know the mathematics we do? What is the relation between mathematics and the natural sciences? Selected readings of leading contributors such as Frege, Dedekind, Russell, Hilbert, Brouwer, Godel, Quine. prereq: College level logic or mathematics course or instr consent
PHIL 5415 - Philosophy of Law
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Analytical accounts of law and legal obligation. prereq: 1003 or 1004 or 3302 or social science major or instr consent
PHIL 5601 - History of the Philosophy of Science
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
History of logical empiricism, from its European origins in first half of 20th century to its emergence as nearly universal account of science in post-war Anglo-American philosophy. prereq: instr consent
PHIL 5602 - Scientific Representation and Explanation
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Contemporary issues concerning representation and explanation of scientific facts. prereq: instr consent
PHIL 5603 - Scientific Inquiry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Philosophical theories of methods for evaluating scientific hypotheses. Role of experimentation in science. How hypotheses are accepted within scientific community.
PHIL 5606 - Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Problems of interpretation in ordinary (nonrelativistic) quantum mechanics. Two-slit experiment, Schrodinger cat paradox (measurement problem), Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. Leading approaches to interpretation (Copenhagen, hidden variables, universal wave function) and their connections with philosophical issues.
PHIL 3302W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society (CIV, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3302W/Phil 3322W
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
One feature of life in modern society is the presence of deep moral disagreement. Individuals must decide what actions are right, and societies must make political choices. How do we know what the right answer is? Which answers and approaches are rationally defensible? Philosophical reflection, rational argument, and systematic analysis can help us think about these problems more clearly and arrive at answers that are both useful and intellectually satisfying. This course will address various rotating topics, such as abortion, animal rights, criminal punishment, censorship, personal relationships, affirmative action, and other active areas of moral and social concern.
PHIL 3322W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society (CIV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3302W/Phil 3322W
Typically offered: Every Summer
How do we determine what is right and wrong? How should we live our lives? What do we owe others? Moral/ethical thought applied to problems and public disputes (e.g., capital punishment, abortion, affirmative action, animal rights, same-sex marriage, environmental protection).
PHIL 4010 - Ancient Philosophers
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4010/Phil 5010
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Major work of selected ancient philosophers (e.g., Plato's Parmenides, Plato's Sophist, Aristotle's Metaphysics). Works discussed may vary from offering to offering. prereq: 3001 or instr consent
PHIL 5010 - Ancient Philosophers
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4010/Phil 5010
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Major work of selected ancient philosophers (e.g., Plato's Parmenides, Plato's Sophist, Aristotle's Metaphysics). Works discussed vary. prereq: 3001 or instr consent
PHIL 4085 - Wittgenstein
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4085/Phil 5085
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
In "Philosophical Investigations" Wittgenstein challenged some of the most long-standing and entrenched intuitions of philosophers -- basic intuitions about mind, rationality, linguistic understanding, and the very nature of philosophical/conceptual inquiry. Many of these intuitions remain entrenched and Wittgenstein's challenge is as relevant today as it was in 1950. In Phil 4805 we examine the text and the secondary literature, and do so in the light of issues and debates that continue to demand attention.
PHIL 5085 - Wittgenstein
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4085/Phil 5085
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
In "Philosophical Investigations" Wittgenstein challenged some of the most long-standing and entrenched intuitions of philosophers -- basic intuitions about mind, rationality, linguistic understanding, and the very nature of philosophical/conceptual inquiry. Many of these intuitions remain entrenched, and Wittgenstein's challenge is as relevant today as it was in 1950. In Phil 4805 we examine the text and the secondary literature, and do so in the light of issues and debates that continue to demand attention.
PHIL 4510 - Philosophy of the Individual Arts
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4510/Phil 5510
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Aesthetic problems that arise in studying or practicing an art. prereq: 3502
PHIL 5510 - Philosophy of the Individual Arts
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4510/Phil 5510
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Aesthetic problems that arise in studying or practicing an art. prereq: 3502
PHIL 4605 - Space and Time
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4605/5605
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Philosophical problems concerning nature/structure of space, time, and space-time. prereq: Courses in [philosophy or physics] or instr consent
PHIL 5605 - Space and Time
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4605/5605
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Philosophical problems concerning nature/structure of space, time, and space-time. prereq: Courses in [philosophy or physics] or instr consent
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Guided individual study leading to research paper that satisfies senior project requirement. prereq: instr consent, dept consent
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Guided individual study leading to research paper that satisfies senior project requirement. prereq: instr consent, dept consent
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Guided individual study leading to research paper that satisfies senior project requirement. prereq: instr consent, dept consent
PHIL 5993 - Directed Studies
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 6.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Guided individual reading or study. prereq: instr consent, dept consent, college consent
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Guided individual study leading to research paper that satisfies senior project requirement. prereq: instr consent, dept consent
PHIL 4995 - Senior Project (Directed Studies)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Guided individual study leading to research paper that satisfies senior project requirement. prereq: instr consent, dept consent
PHIL 3001W - General History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period (AH, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3001W/V/3101
Typically offered: Every Fall
Major developments in ancient Greek philosophic thought: pre-Socrates, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic thinkers.
PHIL 3005W - General History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period (AH, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3005W/V/3105
Typically offered: Every Spring
Can anything be known beyond a shadow of a doubt? How ought scientific knowledge be discovered and justified? In what does one's identity as a person consist? How does our human nature affect the way that we conceive of and come to know the world? This course examines the momentous intellectual transformations in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries that inspired such questions and their innovative solutions.
PHIL 3311W - Introduction to Ethical Theory (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Nature and justification of moral judgments and moral principles; analysis of representative moral views.
PHIL 3601W - Scientific Thought (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Science influences us daily, shaping how we understand ourselves and interpret nature. This course is an introduction to how scientists reason about the world, what that means for our lives, and the status of science as a human activity. What is science and what?s so great about it? Is science the ultimate authority on the world and our place in it? This course examines the authority of science, how scientists reason, and science?s status as a human activity. prereq: One course in philosophy or natural science
PHIL 4105W - Epistemology (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Theories of nature/sources of knowledge/evidence. prereq: 1001 or instr consent
PHIL 4311W - History of Moral Theories (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4311/Phil 5311
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Is human nature fundamentally selfish or are we sympathetic creatures? What is free will and do we have it? Do moral principles have a rational basis or are our moral judgments expressions of feelings? Should morality be thought of in terms of acting on principle or producing good outcomes? We will focus on these and other questions as they are explored in primary texts from the early modern history of western philosophy. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 4320 - Intensive Study of a Historical Moral Theory
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Intensive consideration of an author or theory in the history of moral or political philosophy. prereq: 1003 or instr consent
PHIL 3302W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society (CIV, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3302W/Phil 3322W
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
One feature of life in modern society is the presence of deep moral disagreement. Individuals must decide what actions are right, and societies must make political choices. How do we know what the right answer is? Which answers and approaches are rationally defensible? Philosophical reflection, rational argument, and systematic analysis can help us think about these problems more clearly and arrive at answers that are both useful and intellectually satisfying. This course will address various rotating topics, such as abortion, animal rights, criminal punishment, censorship, personal relationships, affirmative action, and other active areas of moral and social concern.
PHIL 3322W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society (CIV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3302W/Phil 3322W
Typically offered: Every Summer
How do we determine what is right and wrong? How should we live our lives? What do we owe others? Moral/ethical thought applied to problems and public disputes (e.g., capital punishment, abortion, affirmative action, animal rights, same-sex marriage, environmental protection).
PHIL 1004W - Introduction to Political Philosophy (AH, CIV, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1004W/V
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Government -- what are its purpose; the limits on its authority; its responsibilities to citizens (and vice versa)? What roles do freedom, equality, rights, property, punishment and justice play here? Join in as we discuss and debate competing views.
PHIL 1006W - Philosophy and Cultural Diversity (AH, DSJ, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1006W/Phil 1026W
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
In this course, we will consider some of the numerous questions debated within philosophy. These include: What can we know? How do we know it? Is there a God? What is a person? What makes anyone the same person over time? How ought we organize ourselves politically? How do gender and race shape our lives? To think through these questions, we will read texts authored by a diverse cross-section of philosophers, with the express purpose of regularly engaging students with perspectives relevantly unlike their own.
PHIL 3301 - Environmental Ethics (ENV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Philosophical basis for membership in moral community. Theories applied to specific problems (e.g., vegetarianism, wilderness preservation). Students defend their own reasoned views about moral relations between humans, animals, and nature.
PHIL 3304 - Law and Morality
Credits: 3.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
What is law? Must true laws be just? When (if ever) are civil disobedience or legal punishment morally justified? Do good laws incorporate (or legislate) morality? Consider and debate these issues using philosophical texts, case law, and the occasional novel.
PHIL 3305 - Medical Ethics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Moral problems confronting physicians, patients, and others concerned with medical treatment, research, and public health policy. Topics include abortion, living wills, euthanasia, genetic engineering, informed consent, proxy decision-making, and allocation of medical resources.
PHIL 3602 - Science, Technology, and Society
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Philosophical issues that arise out of interaction between science, technology, society (e.g., religion and science, genetics and society, science and the environment).
PHIL 4326 - Lives Worth Living: Questions of Self, Vocation, and Community (CIV, AH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 8.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4326/5326
Typically offered: Every Summer
Immersion experience. Students live together as a residential community of learners. Works of philosophy, history, and literature form backdrop for exploring such questions as "How is identity constructed?," "What is vocation?," and "What experiences of community are desirable in a life?" Each student creates a life-hypothesis for a life worth living. prereq: instr consent
PHIL 4414 - Political Philosophy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 4414/Phil 5414
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Works in political philosophy, whether historical or more contemporary, are one central element of the study of philosophy more broadly. As we will address these works, and the issues and concepts they take up, they fall within the larger field of moral philosophy. Like other works in this broad category, discussion in political philosophy typically consider both metaethical and normative questions. Metaethical questions concern the concepts we use as we consider matters of right and wrong or of ethical value. In the realm of political philosophy, authors consider rightness, wrongness and ethical value as they bear on political societies and political leaders, and not only on citizens but on non-citizens who experience the effects of political power. Examples of such questions include: What is justice? What is political power? What are freedom, equality and autonomy? Normative questions, by contrast, concern matters of practice. In the context of moral and political philosophy, they are typically questions about what we must do or refrain from doing if we are to act rightly (as opposed to prudently or efficiently for instance). Examples in the political realm include: What are just standards of criminal punishment? What obligations does a just state have to citizens and to non-citizen residents? What right, if any, do citizens and others have to protest state laws, policies and actions? What rights can citizens or others claim to equality under the law? What grounds or justifies our responses to such questions? Over the course of this semester, we will read both canonical texts in the history of political philosophy and pieces by a variety of authors who are less well known. Our aim will be to improve our ability to understand broad claims and more nuanced points, to compare and critically assess contrasting views, and to appreciate the ways in which political philosophers often draw or expand on others' works even as they challenge them. We will also be working towards improvements in the difficult task of explaining and supporting claims and analyses, in short written pieces, longer essays and oral discussions. prereq: 1004 or instr consent
PHIL 3302W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society (CIV, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3302W/Phil 3322W
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
One feature of life in modern society is the presence of deep moral disagreement. Individuals must decide what actions are right, and societies must make political choices. How do we know what the right answer is? Which answers and approaches are rationally defensible? Philosophical reflection, rational argument, and systematic analysis can help us think about these problems more clearly and arrive at answers that are both useful and intellectually satisfying. This course will address various rotating topics, such as abortion, animal rights, criminal punishment, censorship, personal relationships, affirmative action, and other active areas of moral and social concern.
PHIL 3322W - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society (CIV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 3302W/Phil 3322W
Typically offered: Every Summer
How do we determine what is right and wrong? How should we live our lives? What do we owe others? Moral/ethical thought applied to problems and public disputes (e.g., capital punishment, abortion, affirmative action, animal rights, same-sex marriage, environmental protection).