Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)

In the Summer 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 very 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. 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 anything 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 are no prerequisites for this course. Freshmen are welcome. An effort will be made to devote approximately substantial time to discussion. Texts are to be determined.

383. Knowledge and Reality. One course in philosophy. (3). (Excl).

This is a course in metaphysics (theory of reality) and epistemology (theory of knowledge). Among the metaphysical problems which we might investigate are: existence, necessity and possibility, identity, causation, mind/body relations, and freedom of the will. Possible topics from epistemology are: the analysis of knowledge, the nature of justification, perceptual knowledge, knowledge of the past and future, knowledge of other minds, and self-knowledge. Readings will be from various contemporary metaphysicians and epistemologists. Course requirements will depend on the instructor, who is yet to be determined.

499. 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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