Phone: (845) 257-2980
Location: Jacobson Faculty Tower, Room 916
Philosophy is the 'love of wisdom.' It involves a relentless probing of the most profound and difficult questions concerning human beings and their place in the universe. It is therefore the most comprehensive study. The Department of Philosophy offers a program designed to acquaint students with the major divisions of philosophy and with the principal historical and contemporary figures and schools. The study of philosophy is excellent preparation for a variety of vocations and professions, as well as for graduate study in medicine, law, government, business, and journalism.
The Department of Philosophy offers a major and a minor. Students should plan their programs in consultation with the department chair or another member of the Philosophy faculty as soon as they decide to major or minor in philosophy. Philosophy students are urged to complete a minimum of 15 credits in a foreign language and to gain as broad an education in other subject areas as possible.
PHI110. Reason and Argument . 3 Credits.
The identification, reconstruction, and evaluation of deductive and inductive arguments. Analytic skills are developed through critical analyses of examples of reasoning found in newspaper articles, scientific journals, statistical reports and ethical debates.
PHI120. Intro to Philosophy:Classics. 3 Credits.
Some main philosophical problems concerning human beings and their place in the universe as discussed in a selection of classic philosophical texts from Greek antiquity through the modern period. (Philosophy majors may receive credit in the major for only one of the following introductory courses: PHI120, PHI130.)
PHI130. Intro to Philosophy:Problems. 3 Credits.
Some main problems of philosophy as discussed by contemporary philosophers and by thinkers in the history of philosophy. Problems may include free will, mind and body, existence of God, ethical relativism, egoism, knowledge and belief. (Philosophy majors may receive credit in the major for only one of the following introductory courses: PHI120, PHI130.)
PHI180. Contemporary Moral Issues. 3 Credits.
An examination of several issues in contemporary applied ethics, such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, the treatment of animals, global poverty, immigration, and sexual morality.
PHI190. Elements of Reasoning. 1 Credit.
Brief introduction to the elements of informal logic: the recognition, analysis, and evaluation of arguments.
PHI193. Selected Topics, Philosophy. 3-12 Credits.
PHI201. Symbolic Logic . 3 Credits.
Techniques for determining the correctness of statements and arguments. Topics include truth-functional and quantificational logic.
PHI211. Ancient Greek Philosophy . 3 Credits.
A general introduction to the origin and development of philosophical thought among the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, with a detailed analysis of representative texts. Problems in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and religion in their historical and cultural context.
PHI215. Modern Philosophy. 3 Credits.
Philosophy of the 17th and 18th centuries: Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and/or Kant. Topics may include: subject/object, mind/body, self/other; theories of knowledge; ethical and political theories.
PHI251. Indian Philosophy . 3 Credits.
Survey of philosophical texts and schools from India, including Hindu and Buddhist representatives. Possible topics include the nature of reality, knowledge, the individual, the point of human life, and the problem of suffering.
PHI252. East Asian Philosophy. 3 Credits.
Survey of East Asian philosophy, focusing on three philosophical (and religious) traditions, Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, and their differing views of human nature, culture and ritual, our relation to the world, and how best to live.
PHI293. Selected Topics, Philosophy. 3-12 Credits.
PHI295. Indep Study Philosophy. 0 Credits.
PHI299. Modular Course. 1 Credit.
PHI303. Environmental Ethics. 3 Credits.
Philosophical issues in environmentalism. Questions to be considered include whether nature has objective value and can animals have rights. The implications of environmental thought for policy questions will also be explored.
PHI304. Ethics . 3 Credits.
Examination of the major theories of ethical evaluation and justification. Some attention may be given to questions of relativism, the relation between religion and morality, and contemporary issues.
PHI305. Business Ethics . 3 Credits.
Analysis, in light of ethical theories, of moral issues arising in business: economic justice, corporate social responsibility, conflict of interest, investment and production, ethics in advertising, environmental responsibility, discrimination.
PHI306. Biomedical Ethics . 3 Credits.
A study of the ethical issues arising in the practice of the medical and health sciences. Issues include abortion, euthanasia, genetic research, cloning, and doctor-patient relations.
PHI307. Philosophy of Mind . 3 Credits.
Philosophical issues concerning human mind and behavior. Topics may include: action, intention, motive, cause, desire; psychological theories such as behaviorism and psychoanalysis; cognitive psychology; the mind/body problem.
PHI308. Philosophy and Technology . 3 Credits.
Theoretical and applied knowledge and their place in human life. Ethical, political, and aesthetic issues raised by contemporary technology, with special attention to computers. Artificial intelligence: minds and machines. Historical and contemporary writings.
PHI310. Later Greek and Roman Philosophy . 3 Credits.
Selected works of the ancient Stoics, Epicureans, Skeptics, and Neoplatonists in their historical and cultural context.
PHI311. Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy . 3 Credits.
Selected works of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian philosophers of the medieval period. The transition from the Middle Ages to Modernity in the Renaissance.
PHI314. 19th-Century Philosophy . 3 Credits.
Selected authors and problems. Topics may change from year to year. Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Nietzsche, Comte, Mill, and F.H. Bradley are among the authors who may be studied.
PHI320. God, World, and Soul. 3 Credits.
The existence and nature of God, reason and faith, religious experience, immortality, miracles, the problem of evil. Ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary authors of different philosophical and religious persuasions.
PHI321. Religion, Ethics, and Society. 3 Credits.
Religion in relation to the development of moral ideas, and to individual morality and social and political institutions. Ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary authors and documents from Jewish, Christian, and other traditions.
PHI325. The Meaning of Life. 3 Credits.
An examination of various theories on the nature, purpose, and meaning of human existence. Readings, from both historical and contemporary sources, will include religious, atheistic, existentialist, analytic, and literary perspectives.
PHI330. Chinese Philosophy. 3 Credits.
The thought of the classical period of Chinese philosophy. Topics include human nature, self-cultivation, and proper government. Particular attention given to Confucianism and Daoism.
PHI332. Buddhist Philosophy. 3 Credits.
An exploration of Buddhist philosophies throughout Asia, from its origins to the present. Topics include Buddhist views on the self, reality, knowledge, and ethics, including contemporary moral questions.
PHI336. Philosophy of Language . 3 Credits.
Structure and meaning of spoken and written language. Topics may include:signs and meaning, ambiguity, the origin of language, ordinary usage, poetic and magical language.
PHI341. Philosophy and Literature . 3 Credits.
A study of philosophical questions as presupposed or expressed in different genres of literature. Topics will relate to the philosophy of literature or the literary treatment of philosophical questions. Background knowledge in Philosophy, English, or both would be helpful to students.
PHI343. Aesthetics . 3 Credits.
Problems concerning the interpretation and evaluation of works of literature and fine art. Readings from philosophers and from critics and historians of literature and the arts. Illustrations from the arts of different periods and genres.
PHI344. Philosophy of the Arts . 3 Credits.
Meaning and truth in the arts; the place of the arts in human life. Readings from philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. Illustrations from the arts of different periods and genres.
PHI352. Existentialism . 3 Credits.
Selected works of philosophers on existence and being in their historical, cultural, and spiritual contexts.
PHI353. Phenomenology . 3 Credits.
Selected works on phenomenological method in their historical, cultural, and spiritual context.
PHI357. Philosophy of Love and Sex. 3 Credits.
An examination of the conceptual, metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical issues relating to love and sex. Readings from historical and contemporary authors.
PHI372. Political and Social Philosophy. 3 Credits.
Inquiry into the meaning and justification of such basic concepts of social and political life as authority, equality, justice, and liberty.
PHI375. Philosophy of Law . 3 Credits.
The nature of law and its relation to morality and other human concerns. Specific problems concerning law and liberty, justice, responsibility and punishment. Readings from classic and contemporary philosophers and from court opinions.
PHI381. Contemporary Philosophers. 3 Credits.
Major works of selected contemporary philosophers, such as Whitehead, Russell, Wittgenstein, or Heidegger. (May be repeated for credit.)
PHI382. Contemporary Buddhism. 1 Credit.
An exploration of modern Buddhist thought, its presentation to Western audiences, the relationship between Buddhism and science, and how Buddhism fits in the modern world.
PHI393. Selected Topics, Philosophy. 3-12 Credits.
PHI399. Modular Course. 1-12 Credits.
PHI461. Philosophy of Natural Science. 3 Credits.
Review of the elements of scientific method; examination of the role of concepts, hypotheses and laws in science, and selected topics such as cause, space and time.
PHI465. Philosophy of Social Science . 3 Credits.
An examination of some of the basic assumptions, concepts and special problems of the social sciences, the nature and limits of their explanations and predictions, and the objectivity of their inquiries. Examples will be taken from contemporary work in anthropology, sociology, economics or social psychology.
PHI471. Theory Of Knowledge . 3 Credits.
What is knowledge and how can it be obtained? Topics may include: knowledge and belief; different kinds of knowledge in different domains; discursive and non-discursive knowledge; skepticism. Readings from philosophers past and present.
PHI474. Metaphysics . 3 Credits.
The nature of reality as a whole; events and things; particulars and universals; cause and effect; space and time; mind, matter, and God. One or more metaphysical systems may be studied.
PHI490. Seminar. 3 Credits.
An advanced seminar on a selected topic. The course may be taken multiple times.
PHI493. Selected Topics, Philosophy. 3-12 Credits.
PHI494. Fieldwork in Phl . 1-12 Credits.
PHI495. Indep Study Philosophy. 1-12 Credits.