Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)

In the Spring Term the Department of Philosophy teaches two introductory courses: 181, an introduction to philosophy and 180, an introduction to logic. Philosophy 181 is a general introduction designed to acquaint the student with a representative sample of philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self, morality, religion, and society. They deal with such questions as: If a person's actions are causally determined by heredity and environment, is he capable of free actions for which he can be held morally responsible? What is a person just a complex machine, a combination of a mind or soul and a body, or what? How can such common sense beliefs as that other human beings are conscious, or that there exists an external physical world, be justified? What are scientific theories, and what kinds of considerations bear on whether they should be accepted? Are there good reasons for believing that God exists? Is abortion, or euthanasia, or suicide, morally permissible? Are value judgments (e.g., moral or aesthetic judgments) "objective" or "subjective"? What are the basic differences between the major kinds of social, political and economic organizations, and what reasons are there for preferring any one of them to the others? How should one live one's life? What is the "meaning" of life, and what does this question mean? Philosophy 181 is generally limited to 50 students, and is taught in a combination lecture/discussion format. Philosophy 180 is a general introduction to logic which covers both informal and beginning symbolic logic. Some 300-level courses do not have prerequisites and can serve as introductions to particular branches of philosophy. Philosophy 365, Philosophy of Religion, taught in the Spring Term, is such a course. HUMANITIES DISTRIBUTION CREDIT CAN BE GOTTEN WITH DEPARTMENTAL APPROVAL, FOR PHILOSOPHY COURSES THAT DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFY FOR IT. CONSULT THE PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT.

180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (3). (N.Excl).

This is a course designed to improve critical reasoning skills and provide an introduction to formal logic. We will study some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning, some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic, and some philosophy of language. There will be lectures, discussions, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and reading and writing exercises.

181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No credit granted to those who have completed 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).

This course will provide an introduction to a number of philosophical issues. Issues that might be discussed include: How do we know that nothing exists, other than ourselves and our own thoughts? Are minds immaterial, or are minds merely brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects? If determinism is true, and every event to include human actions is causally determined by antecedent conditions, is there any free will or moral responsibility? Is the nature and extent of our moral obligations determined by our feelings, self-interest, social convention, Divine commands, or what? What is the meaning of life, and what does it mean to ask whether life has any meaning? There is no prerequisite for this course. Freshmen are welcome. Two five to eight paper papers, and a final examination, will be required. The course materials are Thomas Nagel, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?, plus a course pack. [Cost:1] (Loeb)

361. Ethics. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).

This is a course in PHILOSOPHICAL ethics. We will be concerned to see whether there is anything one can say in a principled way about what is valuable, worth wanting for its own sake, and what is morally obligatory, what it would be wrong not to do. But we shall also be concerned with philosophical questions ABOUT ethics - metaethical questions, as they are called. Here we will ask, not only what is valuable, but what is VALUE? And what is it for an action to be wrong? What are rightness and wrongness themselves? And we shall examine the relationship between these fundamental philosophical questions of metaethics and substantive ethical questions. Texts and requirements to be determined.

365/Rel. 365. Problems of Religion. (3). (HU).

This course will principally be devoted to an examination of philosophical issues that arise in connection with the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. Approximately half the course will be devoted to classical arguments for and against the existence of God. The remaining half of the course will focus on a number of selected issues in the philosophy of religion. Issues that might be discussed include: mystical experience, miracles, survival and immortality, religion and morality, the claims of competing religions, and faith. There is no prerequisite for this course. Two five to eight page papers, and a final examination, will be required. An effort will be made to devote approximately one-fourth of class time to discussion. The text is William L. Rowe and William J. Wainwright, editors, PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION, second edition (1988). [Cost:1] [WL:1] (Loeb)

480. Philosophy of Religion. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).

This course is the same as Philosophy 365, except that one five to eight page paper, one twelve to fifteen page research paper, and a final examination will be required for undergraduates. Also, whereas Philosophy 365 has no prerequisite, Philosophy 480 has a prerequisite of one previous course in philosophy. Undergraduates who have not previously taken intermediate-level undergraduate course in philosophy, however, are discouraged from enrolling in Philosophy 480, and are encouraged to enroll in Philosophy 365 instead. Requirements for graduate students will be set in consultation with the professor. [Cost:1] [WL:1] (Loeb)

498. Senior Honors in Philosophy. By departmental permission only. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

This course number is to used for those students who are in the process of writing philosophy honor theses. Anyone wishing to write and Honors thesis in philosophy should consult the Philosophy Honors Advisor.


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