Course Descriptions

Philosophy Courses

Faculty

Professors: Alan S. Rosenbaum, Mary Ellen Waithe; Professors Emeriti/Emeritae: Joseph DeMarco, Richard M. Fox, Jane McIntyre, Nicholas J. Moutafakis, Nelson Pole, Samuel A. Richmond; Associate Professors: Michael R. Baumer,  Allyson Robichaud, Diane Steinberg (Chairperson); Associate Professors Emeriti: Edward Bartlett, Lee F. Werth; Assistant Professor: Sonya M. Charles.

Course Descriptions

PHL 120 Reasoning and Argument (4-0-4). An introduction to logical concepts and principles of inductive and deductive reasoning, which focuses on building the skills involved in analyzing, evaluating and constructing arguments of various types. Emphasis is placed on the application of concepts and principles to natural language contexts and examples. Not a symbolic logic course. Return to top

PHL 130 Introduction to Logic (4-0-4). An introduction to the basic concepts, principles, and methods of argument analysis and evaluation, including deductive vs. inductive reasoning, validity, soundness, truth tables, deductive proof, Venn diagrams, and probability and statistical reasoning. May also include Aristotelian logic, informal fallacies, and causal reasoning and scientific method. Return to top

PHL 131 Deductive Logic I (4-0-4). An introduction to symbolic logic, with an emphasis on the study of propositional logic. Return to top

PHL 171 Introduction to Philosophy (4-0-4). Prerequisite: Open only to freshmen and sophomores or by written permission of department chairperson. An elementary survey of leading themes, thinkers, movements, branches, and problems in Western philosophy. Return to top

PHL 175 Meaning of Life (4-0-4). A critical examination of views regarding whether life has meaning, what it means for life to have meaning, and what a meaningful life consists in. Return to top

PHL 181 Historical Introduction to Philosophy (4-0-4). Traces the development of fundamental themes, problems, and ideas in the Western philosophical tradition via readings drawn from the tradition's leading historical figures. Return to top

PHL 211 Morals and Rights (4-0-4). An introductory survey of philosophical approaches to moral problems. Emphasis will be on theories about how we ought to act and about goals, rights and responsibilities appropriate to human beings. Current moral issues are analyzed and discussed. Return to top

PHL 213 Environmental Ethics (4-0-4). This course will examine different conceptions of nature, and different theories about the relationship of humans to their natural environment, that have shaped current debates about environmental issues. Readings will be drawn from historically important moral theories as well as from contemporary philosophical writings in the area of environmental ethics. Philosophical questions addressed will include: What things are intrinsically valuable? What are rights? Do non-humans (e.g. other animals, natural objects) have rights? What responsibilities do we have to future generations? Return to top

PHL 213H Environmental Ethics - Honors (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Honors standing or permission of university Honors Program. This course will examine different conceptions of nature, and different theories about the relationship of humans to their natural environment, that have shaped current debates about environmental issues. Readings will be drawn from historically important moral theories as well as from contemporary philosophical writings in the area of environmental ethics and works of literature. Questions addressed will include: What are rights? Who/what should have them? What kinds of things, if any, are intrinsically valuable? What responsibilities do we have to future generations? Return to top

PHL 215 Engineering Ethics (3-0-3). An examination of the social impact of technology and its relationship to ethics, with the objective of identifying and clarifying obligations that might arise in technological research and its applications. The course will survey a variety of moral theories, as well as engineering codes of ethics. The case study method will be used: sources will include the history of science and technology, and reports from professional societies. Topics covered may include whistle blowing; and environmental, safety, and privacy issues. Return to top

PHL 220 Philosophy, Fantasy, and Science Fiction (4-0-4). This course introduces perennial philosophical problems and concepts through readings from great works of Western philosophy and classical works of fantasy and science fiction. Philosophical problems to be discussed include: the nature of reality, space and time; questions about knowledge; and alternative views of the good life and the good society. Return to top

PHL225H Utopias, Dystopias and Human Nature (4-0-4). Prerequisite: Honors standing or permission of University Honors Program. Course surveys utopian and dystopian visions from ancient times to the present, focusing on the relation between human nature and the structure of society.Retturn to top

PHL 240 Health Care Ethics (3-0-3). An introduction to major ethical theories and the principles of bioethics. This knowledge will be applied to the analysis of ethical problems that arise in the health-care field. Return to top

PHL 242H Ethics and Biotechnology - Honors: (4-0-4). Prerequisite: Honors standing or permission of university Honors Program. An application of major ethical theories and viewpoints, surveyed in the course, to important and controversial issues in biotechnology such as genetic modification of agricultural products, genetic enhancement of human traits, stem cell research, and human cloning. Return to top

PHL 245 Science and Philosophy (4-0-4). A survey of the interplay of key scientific concepts and philosophical ideas as these impact upon such areas as cosmology, evolution, technology, and social change. Return to top

PHL 246H Nature and Rationality - Honors (4-0-4). Prerequisite: Honors standing or permission of university Honors Program. An exploration of the issue of nature's intriguing openness to theoretical description and prediction. Areas of discussion include Pythagoreanism and its presence in the works of Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo and Newton. The implications of advances in evolutionary theory and quantum mechanics will be introduced as challenges to traditional views regarding comprehending a supposedly ordered universe. Return to top

PHL 252 African-American Social Philosophy (4-0-4). An examination of major African-American philosophers, with an emphasis on their views about the nature of race and racism and about appropriate responses to racism. The course will explore the philosophical roots of these themes, with special attention to the influences from the history of philosophy, including Marxism, American pragmatism, and existentialism. Return to top

PHL 253 Philosophy of Feminism (4-0-4). An examination of classical and contemporary views on the nature of woman; the variety of response within the feminist movement to the situation of women in modern society; emphasis is placed on discovery of underlying philosophical presuppositions concerning human nature, human good, equality, masculinity, and femininity. Return to top

PHL 255 Non-Western Philosophy (4-0-4). This course introduces students to the rich philosophical traditions of the non-western world. Emphasis is on non-contemporary traditions of metaphysics, cosmology, ethics, philosophy of religion, social and political philosophy and logic. Return to top

PHL 261 Ancient Philosophy (4-0-4). An examination of the beginnings of Western philosophic thought from Thales through the Hellenistic period, with extensive consideration of Plato and Aristotle. Return to top

PHL 262 Medieval Philosophy (4-0-4). A continued examination of Western philosophic thought with special emphasis on St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Return to top

PHL 263 Early Modern Philosophy (4-0-4). A continuation of the examination of Western philosophic thought up to the 19th century, including Continental Rationalism (Descartes, Leibnitz, Spinoza, and Kant) and British Empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, and Hume). Return to top

PHL 283 Introduction to Ethics (4-0-4). An introduction to ethics through the study of the history of ethics. This course traces the development of fundamental themes and problems of ethics in the Western philosophical tradition through readings drawn from leading philosophers. Return to top

PHL 311 Ethics (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. An examination of the assumptions, method and content of major theories of ethics, with an emphasis on contemporary approaches. Return to top

PHL 321 Philosophy of Art (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. An examination of art and aesthetic experience, including personal, social and political significance. Issues explored may include artistic concepts pertaining to form and content, representation and expression, meaning and truth, critical interpretation and evaluation. Return to top

PHL 331 Philosophy of Religion (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. An examination of the relations between various philosophical systems and historical religions; theories of faith and knowledge, including a discussion of proofs for the existence of God. Return to top

PHL 332 Deductive Logic II (4-0-4). Prerequisite: PHL 131 or permission of instructor. A continuation of the study of symbolic logic, with an emphasis on predicate logic. Return to top

PHL 341 Philosophy of Law (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. The meaning and role of law in human life and contemporary society, with reference to social and political problems. Return to top

PHL 345 Philosophy of Science (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy or permission of instructor. An examination of the assumptions and methodology of scientific explanation and its philosophic implications. Return to top

PHL 351 Social and Political Philosophy (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. A philosophical examination of the nature of justice, equality, liberty, rights and political obligation. Philosophers studied may include Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Marx and Mill, as well as contemporary theorists such as Rawls, Dworkin and Feinberg. Return to top

PHL 361 20th Century Continental Philosophy (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. An examination of some of the key movements in recent continental thought. Typical readings may include selections from the works of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Gadamer, Levinas. Return to top

PHL 362 American Philosophy (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. An examination of the thought of American philosophers, including Peirce, James, and Dewey. Return to top

PHL 363 19th-Century Thought (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. This course is a survey of competing 19th-century world views and methodologies. Excerpts from the works of philosophers such as Mill, Comte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche will be examined, and the relevance of their views to 20th-century philosophy will be explored. Return to top

PHL 377 Philosophy and Language (4-0-4). Prerequisite: One course in philosophy. An examination of the philosophical origins of traditional grammar and of transformational grammar; pertinent insights by thinkers, including Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Wittgenstein, Chomsky, and Katz; special attention to the tenability of claims made by transformational grammarians from the viewpoint of philosophical consistency. Return to top

PHL 405 Prominent Philosophers (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be numbered higher than 260. Concentrated study of the writings of outstanding philosophers (normally no more than one or two philosophers in any one offering). Usually offered every semester. May be repeated with change of topic. Return to top

PHL 410 Studies in the History of Philosophy (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be numbered higher than 260. Study of a particular philosophical movement and its assumptions, methods, and implications. May be repeated with change of topic. Return to top

PHL 420 Reasoning in Bioethics: Basic Issues (2-0-2). Examines alternative approaches to bioethical reasoning - principlism casuistry, and the philosophy of social justice - in relation to such questions as resource allocation, death and dying, and other issues in bioethics. Return to top

PHL 421 Reasoning in Bioethics: Contextual Approaches (2-0-2). Examines alternative approaches to bioethical reasoning - virtue theory, narrative ethics, intuitionism, and Feminist ethics - in relation to such questions as informed consent privacy, and institutional practices with special attention to cultural relativism. Return to top

PHL 422 Clinical Bioethics: Cases I (2-0-2). This course examines reasoning regarding classic and contemporary cases in bioethics. Professional conduct, conflicts of duties and conflicts of interests, relations among professions, cultural diversity, genetic counseling, and reproductive ethics are among topics typically included. This course is offered via the web. Return to top

PHL 423 Clinical Bioethics: Cases II (2-0-2). This course examines reasoning regarding classic and contemporary cases in bioethics. Human research subjects, informed consent, competence, organ transplantation, death and dying, and futility are among topics typically included. Return to top

PHL 424 Bioethics Policy: Prevention and Access (2-0-2). This course examines health policies regarding issues such as prevention, primary care, uninsured and underserved populations, rationing, and aims of managed-care relative to theories of justice, with international comparisons. Return to top

PHL 425 Bioethics Policy: Technology (2-0-2). This course examines the impact of rapid technological change on bioethics. Among topics typically included are DNA technology, gene therapy, enhancement of inherited traits, transplant policy, surrogacy, health and the human environment. Return to top

PHL 426 Bioethics and Law: Regulation (2-0-2). This course examines the foundations of human health institutions and practices in federal tax exemption legislation, federal financing (Medicare and Medicaid), state licensure laws, state insurance legislation, and proposal for health-law reform. Return to top

PHL 427 Bioethics and Law: Rights (2-0-2). This course examines individual rights in areas such as refusal of treatment conception, birth, abortion, protection of human subjects in experimentation, the law of medical liability, and proposed patients' rights legislation. Return to top

PHL 428 Bioethics: Special Topics (2-0-2). This course examines special topics in bioethics. May be repeated with change of topic. Return to top

PHL 432 20th-Century Philosophy: The Analytic Tradition (4-0-4). Prerequisites: PHL 131 plus another philosophy course numbered higher than 260. Study of the development of analytic philosophy in the 20th century. Typical readings may include selections from the works of Frege, Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Austin, Quine, Putnam, Kripke, and Davidson. Return to top

PHL 433 Advanced Symbolic Logic (4-0-4). Prerequisite: PHL 332 or permission of instructor. A continuation of the topics presented in PHL 332. Return to top

PHL 440 Moral Reasoning and Bioethics (4-0-4). An examination of ethical systems and forms of argumentation as they bear upon case studies in bioethics. Dominant ethical theories will be studied and critiqued, especially from the standpoint of application. Reasoning at the levels of principles, rules, and particular judgments will be distinguished; and the relevance of institutional practices, roles, and particular circumstances will be analyzed. This course is offered via the Web. Return to top

PHL 441 Clinical Issues in Bioethics (4-0-4). The course will focus on moral problems which arise in the day-to-day practice of health-care professionals, administrators, and researchers within the framework of existing institutions, social policies, and laws. It will include readings on controversial moral issues in clinical ethics and apply forms and strategies of moral reasoning to selected cases. This course is offered via the Web. Return to top

PHL 442 Policy Issues in Bioethics (4-0-4). Policy issues in bioethics reviews the role of governments in developing and implementing health-care policies. Readings and discussion will cover such topics as surrogacy, transplantation, problems of financing, the allocation of resources, and experimentation. This course is offered via the web. Return to top

PHL 443 Bioethics and the Law (4-0-4). Students will learn rudimentary legal research skills, the structure of the American legal system, and constitutional foundations of health-care law as applied to some classical and contemporary legal issues which may include death and dying, transplantation, genetic and reproductive law, human-subjects research, and employee testing for drug use. This course is offered via the Web. Return to top

PHL 444 Bioethics and Biotechnology (4-0-4). An application of bioethical viewpoints and major ethical theories to issues in biotechnology such as informed consent in genetic modification, potential risk and harm to humans and nonhuman animals, health resources used for human enhancement, genetic modification of agricultural products, stem cell research, use of human embryos, and human cloning. Tutorials on human genetics and recombinant DNA will be covered. This course is offered via the web. Return to top

PHL 445 Health Economics and Bioethics (4-0-4). An introduction to health economics and the economist's perspective and an exploration of applications of these constructs to bioethics and bioethical analysis. Applications may include advance directives and such bioethical principles as informed consent and patient autonomy. Patient cases and public policy proposals may be subjected to economic and bioethical analysis. The course includes an overview of bioethics. This course is offered via the Web. Return to top

PHL 446 Ethics of Human Reproduction (4-0-4). Prerequisites: none. This course explores some of the issues surrounding human reproduction including abortion, contraception, the medicalization of birth, the autonomy of pregnant women, and a variety of issues surrounding assisted reproductive technologies. An overview of the main controversies related to these topics, as well as more in-depth analysis of specific controversies, is provided. Media representations, and whether they contribute to meaningful public debate, are considered. Students develop skills to analyze these ethical issues and effectively articulate their own position. This course is offered via the web. Return to top

PHL 450 Philosophy of Mind (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be numbered higher than 260. An investigation into classical and contemporary accounts of the concepts of person and action. Issues such as the mind-body problem and the problem of other minds will be discussed. Return to top

PHL 453 Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be numbered higher than 260. Concentration upon special problems of social, political, and legal philosophy; classical and contemporary views. Return to top

PHL 471 Theory of Knowledge (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be numbered higher than 260. An examination of theories concerning the nature and extent of knowledge with an emphasis on contemporary approaches. Return to top

PHL 481 Metaphysics (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be numbered higher than 260. An examination of the problems concerning the nature of reality. Return to top

PHL 489H Research Methods for Undergraduates - Honors (4-0-4). Prerequisites: Open only to Philosophy majors in the University Honors Program who have selected a department honors adviser and are simultaneously working on their research project. Introduction to research materials and methods in philosophy. Return to top

PHL 491 Senior Seminar in Philosophy (4-0-4). Open only to students who have taken 20 or more hours of philosophy in previous semesters including at least two courses higher than 260, or by permission of instructor. Topic will vary. Course focuses on building analytical, research and writing skills in philosophy. Required for philosophy majors. Satisfies the capstone requirement for philosophy. Return to top

PHL 496 Research in Philosophy (1 to 4 credits). Exhaustive research on a philosophic problem to assist the student in attaining proficiency in independent research. Application for permission to register for PHL 496 must be submitted to department chairperson or representative during the semester prior to the enrollment in the course. May be repeated for credit. Return to top

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