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Course Catalog

UGRD > PHIL

Philosophy

  • PHIL 100  Introduction to Philosophy

    Description:
    An introductory examination of the problems and scope of philosophy.   More Info

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  • PHIL 105T  Contemporary Moral and Social Problems

    Description:
    For transfer purposes only. Course is similar to PHIL 105G.   More Info

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  • PHIL 108  Moral and Social Problems

    Description:
    Important moral and social issues of current concern are examined and debated. The course covers several problems each semester from a list including criminal punishment, war, abortion, racism, violence, the death penalty, private property, sexism, animal rights, the environment, and hunger.   More Info

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  • PHIL 109G  Moral Debate in Society

    Description:
    This course studies some contemporary problems of social ethics, particularly abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, and world hunger and global justice. It introduces various positions on these issues, and the justifications that have been offered to support them. This course develops each student's ability to articulate a position clearly and defend it persuasively. This course may count toward the philosophy major with the permission of the Department.   More Info

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  • PHIL 109T  Moral Debate in Society

    Description:
    For transfer purposes only. Course is similar to PHIL 109G.   More Info

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  • PHIL 110G  Equality and Justice

    Description:
    This course examines several forms of inequality: oppression and exclusion based on race and gender; the differences between born and unborn humans, and between humans and non human animals; and inequality in access to social goods such as health care. Participants examine issues of moral inclusion, justice and rights that underlie these inequalities.   More Info

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  • PHIL 110T  Equality and Justice

    Description:
    For transfer purposes only. Course is similar to PHIL 110G.   More Info

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  • PHIL 120  Introduction to Logic

    Description:
    The study of valid reasoning using formal methods of proof with truth functions, deductions, and quantifiers. Analysis of the logical structure of language related to philosophical questions of truth, paradox, and reference.   More Info

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  • PHIL 130G  Privacy

    Description:
    This course examines several of the current threats to privacy in the computer age related to drug testing, the assembling of personal information dossiers, genetic screening, privacy on the Internet, medical records, and workplace concerns. It makes use of philosophical, legal, and privacy rights. This course may count toward the major in philosophy.   More Info

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  • PHIL 130T  Privacy

    Description:
    For transfer purposes only. Course is similar to PHIL 130G.   More Info

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  • PHIL 201T  Morals and Law

    Description:
    For transfer purposes only. Course is similar to PHIL 201G.   More Info

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  • PHIL 205  Inquiry and Investigation

    Description:
    Examination of the structure, powers, and limitations of science as a systematic way of inquiring into the nature of physical, human, and social reality. Readings from Hempel, E Nagel, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Hanson, Toulmin, and Reichenbach.   More Info

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  • PHIL 206T  The Idea of God

    Description:
    For transfer purposes only. Course is similar to PHIL 206G.   More Info

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  • PHIL 207G  The Meaning of Life

    Description:
    Reading in this course centers around this question: Does life have meaning? If so, what is it? The course considers whether the question is coherent and whether religion, morality or the search for knowledge are possible answers to it. It also considers arguments that life is meaningless. Finally, discussions focus on what the rational attitude toward death should be. This course may count toward the major in philosophy. Capabilities addressed: Critical reading, critical thinking, clear writing.   More Info

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  • PHIL 207T  The Meaning of Life

    Description:
    For transfer purposes only. Course is similar to PHIL 207G.   More Info

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  • PHIL 208  Existential Themes in Philosophy and Literature

    Description:
    This course introduces the area of philosophical and humanistic studies by means of a consideration of existentialist ideas in both literature and philosophy. Issues will be chosen from a list including the self in relation to others; authenticity, self-deception, and bad faith; freedom and responsibility; death and the meaning of life; and the possibility of objective knowledge.   More Info

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  • PHIL 210  The Philosophy of Education

    Description:
    Philosophical ideas and concepts relevant to the nature and aims of education.   More Info

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  • PHIL 211  Ancient Philosophy

    Description:
    This class is an introduction to Greek philosophy, from early Greek philosophy through to the Hellenistic period, with emphasis on the Presocratics, Plato, and Aristotle. It covers early theories about the nature of the cosmos, the good life, politics, theology, epistemology, appearance and reality.   More Info

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  • PHIL 212  Modern Philosophy

    Description:
    The views of the continental rationalists-Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz-and the British Empiricists-Locke, Berkeley, Hume-in relation to general intellectual developments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. (Course offered in the spring only.)   More Info

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  • PHIL 215  Philosophical Foundations of Public Policy

    Description:
    This course explores several central philosophical frameworks underlying contemporary public policy debates, including various conceptions of social justice and human rights, utilitarian theory and decision theory. The role of philosophy in public policy will be illustrated through an analysis of such contemporary issues as foreign policy and human rights, tax policy, cost benefit analysis, environmental and health care issues, workfare, world population problems, and the dangerous mentally ill.   More Info

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  • PHIL 216  The History of Ethics

    Description:
    This course focuses on four or five philosophers whose impact on the development of Western thinking about ethics has been substantial, e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche. The following are the sorts of questions with which they were preoccupied, and upon which we focus in reading them: Is there a single ideal life which all human beings should strive to live-and if so, what does it consist in? What are the virtues that human beings should exemplify? Why should one live a moral life? Are there objective moral standards-and if so, how does one discover what they are? What roles do reason and the emotions, respectively, play in the moral life? Special attention is given to the role that one's metaphysical views and one's views of human nature play in shaping one's theory of et   More Info

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  • PHIL 218  Major Social and Political Thinkers

    Description:
    The primary concern of this course is historical: the elucidation of the political and social theories of some of the major figures of the Western tradition (e.g., Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Marx). Emphasis is given to the continuing relevance of these philosophers and political scientists.   More Info

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  • PHIL 220  Environmental Ethics

    Description:
    An examination of humanity's place in the natural world and its implications for ethics. Topics include the environmental crisis and the need for a new environmental ethic, the ethical dimensions of environmental policy issues, human-centered ethics, obligations to future generations, the intrinsic value of the natural world, animal rights, wilderness, and preservation of species.   More Info

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  • PHIL 222  Moral Issues in Medicine

    Description:
    Concepts of health, illness and healing, under different paradigms of medicine. Is medicine an art or science? What is the impact of medical technology on human life and death? What is considered "natural"? Attention is given to issues in human reproduction (e.g. in vitro fertilization, conception, abortion). Questions of authority, accountability in doctor-patient relationships, patient advocacy, self help, right to health care or to refuse treatment. Social and political questions of health care organization.   More Info

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  • PHIL 224  The Philosophy of Art

    Description:
    Late twentieth-century art has insistently challenged us to come to terms with our understanding of the very nature of the art work. This course is a survey of the major theories of the nature of art, with special emphasis on the views that art is a matter of representing or imitating reality, that art is a form of catharsis, that art is a matter of the expression of emotion, that art is a special kind of symbolic form. It also addresses such questions as the role of art history in a theory of aesthetic interpretation, the problem of forgery, the issue of artistic responsibility and the recent debates over censorship of the arts.   More Info

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  • PHIL 225  The Philosophy of Religion

    Description:
    An application of imagination and reasoning in order to appraise the strengths or weaknesses of famous arguments concerning the relation of faith to reason and the existence or non-existence of a western type of God, in view of natural evil and of the rise of science. Discussion of the significance of reports of miracles and of mystical and religious experiences.   More Info

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  • PHIL 230  Philosophy and Feminism

    Description:
    Different philosophical theories of feminist issues, including women's rights, whether women have a separate or special place in the family and social order, gender differences and biological factors in human nature, theories of patriarchy, how gender and world view are related. Readings from classical and contemporary philosophers and feminist thinkers. Note: At least one course in philosophy and one course in women's studies are recommended, though not required.   More Info

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  • PHIL 232  Philosophy, Race and Multiculturalism

    Description:
    The course explores the philosophical dimension of three or four of the following issues central to current debates concerning multiculturalism in society: cultural respect; ethnic and racial identities; speech codes; cultural and moral relativism; multiculturalism, separatism, and unity.   More Info

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  • PHIL 255  The Mystery of Consciousness

    Description:
    Consciousness has been described as the last great mystery. In this course students will read philosophers who attempt to clarify why it seems so mysterious, including some who argue that it will never be possible to explain consciousness scientifically. On the positive side, student swill consider philosophical approaches to understanding consciousness in terms of mental representations and will examine how cognitive science has re-conceptualized the role of consciousness in our brains. The course will also look at several interesting scientific discoveries and consciousness and discuss their philosophical significance.   More Info

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  • PHIL 264  Nineteenth Century Philosophy

    Description:
    This course offers an exploration of the works of such major thinkers of the nineteenth century as: Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.   More Info

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  • PHIL 281  Special Topics

    Description:
    A sophomore level course offering selected topics in philosophy. Course content varies and will be announced prior to registration.   More Info

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  • PHIL 286  What is Freedom?

    Description:
    Freedom is arguable the central value of modern Western societies. but what is freedom? This course tries to answer this question by approaching the concept of freedom from three distinct points of view, metaphysical, moral-psychological, and political. The course first takes up the questions of free will, of whether or not subjects are genuinely free to choose between different courses of action. The course then investigates the relationship between freedom and moral responsibility. Lastly, the course asks about the meaning of political freedom. Is political freedom secured by the having of certain fundamental rights, or does it also require that one live in a democratic society.   More Info

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  • PHIL 290  The Philosophy of Law

    Description:
    This course explores fundamental questions concerning the nature of law and the relation between law and justice. It examines questions concerning the source of the obligation to obey law, the limits of the obligation to law, and the moral conditions that make law possible. This exploration leads to an examination such of different judicial philosophies of constitutional interpretation as original intent, judicial restraint, and judicial activism. The course continues with a study of some perplexing questions about the meaning of equality and justice as they arise in legal cases dealing with race and/or gender. Some offerings of this course conclude with an exploration of the moral basis of international law by way of a critical analysis of the Nuremberg Trial.   More Info

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  • PHIL 297  Asian Philosophy

    Description:
    This course introduces students to some of the principal philosophical traditions of India and China. It examines the belief- systems of Hinduism and Buddhism in both India and China, as well as Taoism. Participants also explore in somewhat more detail the Hindu school of Advaita Vedanta in the work of Sankara, and the Madhyamika Buddhism of Nagarjuna. Traditional topics to be addressed include metaphysics, the theory of self (or not-self), relations of world and mind, the status of God (or the lack thereof), the situation of women in these religions, the goal of philosophy, and others. Comparisons among these traditions and with Western thought are attempted and encouraged, but no prior knowledge of specific traditions is assumed.   More Info

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  • PHIL 305  Action

    Description:
    It is said that life is a string of choices - and this course will look at some of the philosophical and psychological issues of how and why we choose our actions. There is a place of cookies in front of someone - they take one. Perhaps another signed up for the army, or did not go to a friend's housewarming party. The question of this class is why we act the way we do. What plays a role in actions such as those just mentioned and the endless other choices that we perform everyday? Could we have done differently? Is there such a thing as "free will" and if so what is it? Is the process of choice different for different kinds of actions? What are the characteristics of goal-directed or intentional action? How and to what extent are our actions shaped by action affordances - i.e. possibiliti   More Info

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  • PHIL 311  Medieval Philosophy: Islamic, Jewish, Christian

    Description:
    In this course we will read one or two major medieval Christian philosophers (e.g., Augustine and Aquinas), one or two major medieval Muslim philosophers (e.g. al-Ghazali and ibn Rushd [Averroes]) and one or two major medieval Jewish philosophers (e.g., Saadia and Maimonides). We will focus on some or all of the following themes: God's existence, God's nature, God's justice, the creation of the universe, the priority of reason versus faith, the literal versus metaphorical nature of religious language, and the soul's immortality.   More Info

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  • PHIL 318  Race and Racism

    Description:
    This course examines the genesis of the idea of "race" as a way of viewing human differences from the 16th to the 19th centuries. It also explores conceptions of "racism" in relation to such contemporary phenomena as white privilege, "institutional racism," race and crime, race and intelligence, affirmative action, racial hostility among non-"white" groups, "internalized racism," race and class, and anti-immigrant hostility. Finally, the course looks at the notion of "mixed race" persons, their place in the hierarchy of racism and their role in challenging the concept of "race" itself. Though the course focuses primarily on whites and African Americans, racism as it bears on Native Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos is also considered.   More Info

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  • PHIL 321  Public Health Ethics

    Description:
    This advanced introduction to public health ethics examines the ethics of society's organized measures to prevent disease and improve population health. Starting with a range of public health initiatives and laws, the course explores how a government's obligation to respect individual freedom should be weighed against an obligation to prevent diseases and improve population health. The course then examines data on health disparities and social determinants of health to ascertain how far a government's obligations should extend to narrow inequities that out certain groups at increased risk of disease and poor health outcomes.   More Info

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  • PHIL 327  Meaning and Being

    Description:
    Exploration of themes in recent European philosophy, such as the self and the social world, anti-Cartesianism, subjectivity, language, and embodiment. Special attention to the life-world, being-in-the-world, and forms of life. Readings from such philosophers as Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Wittgenstein. The course is an appropriate sequel to PHIL 315 or PHIL 227.   More Info

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  • PHIL 333  Ethical Theory

    Description:
    A study of some of the major contemporary approaches to issues of right and wrong, good and bad, and good character: utilitarianism, deontology, the ethics of care, virtue ethics, feminist ethics, and issues of current importance in ethics-relativism, moral excellence, gender differences in morality. A systematic rather than historical approach. (Course offered about every two years.)   More Info

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  • PHIL 337  The Ethics of Human Subjects Research: Consent, Coercion and Exploitation

    Description:
    This course is an advanced introduction to the ethics of human subjects research. The course starts with a brief history of the tragedies and triumphs of human subjects research, before introduction the codes, regulations and scholarly work that guide the ethics of this enterprise. Three philosophical concepts - consent, coercion and exploitation - are then used to introduce some of the most pressing issues in medical research ethics today.   More Info

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  • PHIL 340  Speech Acts

    Description:
    Speech Act Theory, pioneered by 20th century philosopher including Wittgenstein, Austin, Grice, and Searle, looks at ordinary language in terms of action, treats meaning as a matter of use, and emphasizes the power of language to shape social and material reality. Issues include how individual intentions shape meaning, how social conventions crate, shape, limit, or enhance individual meaning, the question of authority--its grounding and its scope, and more.   More Info

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  • PHIL 344  The Philosophy of Mind

    Description:
    The nature of mind and its relation to body and matter, with emphasis on recent advances in philosophy and psychology.   More Info

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  • PHIL 345  Theory of Knowledge

    Description:
    Knowledge-its nature, forms, methods, scope, and validation. What are the relations of knowledge and justification to sense experience? For example, does knowledge of our surroundings rest upon a foundation of sense experience? Is knowledge of the so-called "truths of reason" in some way independent of evidence provided by sense experience? How is a body of knowledge related to an individual knower? Does the justification of one's beliefs depend upon what psychology reveals about the reliability of methods for acquiring the beliefs? Readings from contemporary sources.   More Info

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  • PHIL 346  The Philosophy of Science

    Description:
    The nature of scientific explanation, with attention to the social and philosophical aspects of scientific methodology.   More Info

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  • PHIL 347  Problems of Metaphysics

    Description:
    Ideas such as substance, causality, mind and body, and free will, as they appear in several major metaphysical systems.   More Info

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  • PHIL 348  The Self

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  • PHIL 351  Plato

    Description:
    Plato's ethics, metaphysics, and theory of knowledge in the Phaedo, Republic, Theaetetus, Cratylus, Parmenides, Sophist, Statesman, and Philebus, as a solution to problems raised by his predecessors, notably the Pythagoreans, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and the Sophists.   More Info

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  • PHIL 360  American Pragmatism

    Description:
    This course is a survey of American Pragmatism. In it we will examine the three central figures of the pragmatic traditions: Charles S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. While Pragmatism is the most important philosophical movement produced by the United States, it also has a global philosophical significance owing to the fact that it was the first movement to decisively break with certain key assumptions governing Modern philosophy. Specifically, it broke with the rationalist notions that cognition could be examined in abstraction from action and that truth could be defined independently of human inquiry. The goal of this course-besides coming to an in-depth understanding of each of the major pragmatic figures-is to understand how Pragmatism challenges these assumptions while also pr   More Info

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  • PHIL 380  Social & Political Philosophy

    Description:
    Representative problems and themes of social and political philosophy, especially the concepts of human rights, liberty, justice, equality, law, social obligation and the social contract. These topics are explored through the work of classical and contemporary political and social philosophers.   More Info

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  • PHIL 381  Special Topics

    Description:
    This course offers study of selected topics within this subject. Course content and credits vary according to topic and are announced prior to the registration period.   More Info

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  • PHIL 387  Capitalism and Socialism

    Description:
    a comparative study of the philosophical foundation of two major systems of economic production and distribution. Through readings of representative authors the course focuses on the values embodied in each system. For Example: equality, justice, civil liberties, cooperation, and individual initiative. The nature and importance of underlying assumptions about human needs and desires are also considered.   More Info

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  • PHIL 391  Critical Social Theory

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  • PHIL 395  International Ethics

    Description:
    This course examines moral and political arguments concerning government and individual actions in the area of foreign policy, international relations, and global economic policy. Questions considered include: When, if ever, is war or intervention justified? Does justice require redistribution of wealth around the globe? Do universal human rights exist? Can they be enforced?   More Info

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  • PHIL 397  Marxist Philosophy

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  • PHIL 414  Contemporary Analytic Philosophy

    Description:
    This course deals with some major trends in analytical philosophy in the twentieth century. It examines such movements as logical atomism, logical positivism, ordinary language philosophy, contemporary pragmatism, and irrealism, in order to explore their emphasis on the role of language in the formulations of solutions to traditional problems in epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. The course also explores current debates over relativism. Readings include the work of such philosophers as Russell, Carnap, Ayer, Austin, James, Quine, Goodman, Putnam, and others. Some knowledge of logic is desirable.   More Info

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  • PHIL 418  The Ideas of Constitutional Democracy

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  • PHIL 430  Literary Theory and Critical Theory

    Description:
    This course presents contemporary literary theory in connection with related developments in contemporary philosophy of language. Philosophy of language asks: What is it for a set of signs or symbols to have meaning? How is meaning, in general, possible, and how is it that a particular set of signs can have a particular meaning? What is a language? What is the relation between the sign and the signifier, the word and the object? What is the relation between writing, speech, and being? Literary theory and critical theory ask: What is a literary text? What is a genre and why do we distinguish them? What is an author? What is interpretation? Is paraphrase (saying the same thing two different ways) really possible? What is the role of the critic? How do the norms governing interpretation help    More Info

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  • PHIL 437  Metaethics

    Description:
    This course is an advanced introduction to metaethics, the branch of ethics that explores the nature of moral judgments, properties and attitudes. This course covers all the major metaethical positions: Error Theory, Non-Cognitivism, Motivational Internalism/Externalism, Naturalist Moral Realism, Response Dependent Moral Realism and the Humean Theory of Motivation.   More Info

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  • PHIL 440  Philosophy of Language

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  • PHIL 450  Rights

    Description:
    This course examines a range of contemporary theories, including those of Rawls, Nozick, Feinberg, and Dworkin. It outlines the classical tradition, and introduces the work of legal positivists like Austin and Hart. Emphasis is placed on alternatives to rights based theories and on criticisms of rights systems, such as that put forward by contemporary communitarians, virtue theorists, and feminist theorists.   More Info

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  • PHIL 452  Aristotle

    Description:
    Aristotle's philosophy as a response to Plato's views about meaning, being, knowledge, ideas, number and the good.   More Info

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  • PHIL 455  Hegel and German Idealism

    Description:
    This course is an introduction to the philosophy of Hegel and to the Hegelian tradition, through a reading of Hegel's major work, The Phenomenology of Spirit. Other readings for the course include excerpts of The Science of Logic and The Philosophy of Right, as well as important critical sources.   More Info

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  • PHIL 462  The Critical Philosophy of Immanuel Kant

    Description:
    The Critique of Pure Reason, with special attention to Kant's epistemology and critique of metaphysics.   More Info

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  • PHIL 465  Kant's Moral Philosophy and Its Critics

    Description:
    A study of some of the major ethical writings of Immanuel Kant, possibly the greatest moral philosopher in the Western tradition-Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, selections from Critique of Practical Reason, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone. Also Arthur Schopenhauer's critique of Kant's ethics, On the Basis of Morality. Brief attention to Hegel's critique of Kant.   More Info

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  • PHIL 478  Independent Study I

    Description:
    Independent study on approved topics in philosophy.   More Info

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  • PHIL 479  Independent Study II

    Description:
    Study of a particular area of this subject under the supervision of a faculty member. Students wishing to register must do so through the department.   More Info

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