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.

180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (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 or are enrolled in 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (HU).

This course will provide an introduction to some basic philosophical issues drawn from a number of branches of philosophy. At least three of the following topics will be discussed: (1) How do we know that anything exists, other than ourselves and our own thoughts? (2) 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? (3) Are minds immaterial, or are minds merely brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects? (4) Under what conditions, if any, is abortion morally permissible? Competing answers to each question will be considered. There is no prerequisite. Freshmen are welcome. There will be two required five to eight page papers, and a final examination. (Loeb)

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

Philosophy/Religion 365 and Philosophy 480 will principally be devoted to an examination of philosophical issues that arise in connection with the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. As much as half the course will be devoted to traditional arguments for the existence of God. The remainder of the course will be devoted to selected topics. A number of the following will be discussed: Divine foreknowledge and human freedom, survival of death and immortality, mystical and religious experience, the claims of competing religions, the evidential status of religious belief, faith, and religion and morality. Freshmen are welcome in 365, which has no prerequisite; 480 has a prerequisite of one previous course in philosophy. Undergraduates are discouraged, however, from enrolling in Philosophy 480 unless they have taken one or more intermediate-level (300-level) undergraduate courses in philosophy. Whereas Philosophy 365 is an intermediate level course that has no prerequisite, Philosophy 480 is an advanced undergraduate/lower-level graduate course, and will therefore be graded by more rigorous standards and involve more substantial writing assignments, that will include a term paper. (Loeb)

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

See Philosophy 365. (Loeb)


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