Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)

Philosophy is about as broad a subject as one can find in a university curriculum. It addresses a wide array of questions, some quite familiar (Does God exist? Why be moral? What is art?), other less so (What is a thing? Is space a substance?). Moreover, it falls within philosophy to examine the methods and practices of virtually all academic disciplines. For this reason, a person can study philosophy in ways involving the styles and techniques of thought of most other disciplines. Philosophy also examines the practices of other activities, such as the fine arts, that are sometimes thought of as different from typical academic disciplines. There are many different views about how philosophy ought to be done, and philosophy includes the examination of its own methods, and its own history.

In the Spring Term, the Department teaches a number of courses that do not carry prerequisites Philosophy 181/182, 180, 158/370, 359, and 365. Philosophy 181/182 is a general introduction designed to acquaint students with a representative sample of philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self, morality, religion, and society. Philosophy

180 is a general introduction to logic and reasoning. Philosophy 158/370, 359, and 365 are introductions that focus on philosophical issues that arise in conjunction with literature (and possibly film), law, and religion, respectively. Spring offerings are generally limited to 50 students, and sometimes enroll as few as 25.

158. Philosophy and Narrative. Students are strongly advised not to take more than two Philosophy Introductions. (2). (HU).

For the Spring Term, 1995, this course is offered jointly with Philosophy 370 (see below) and will cover the same material. The difference between these courses lies only in the distribution of the writing assignments. Students who enroll in Philosophy 158 will write several short papers instead of the substantial term paper required in Philosophy 370. (Hinchman)

180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (2). (N.Excl). (BS).

This course is designed to improve critical reasoning skills that could be of use in a wide range of disciplines and careers, and to provide an introduction to formal logic. The course examines some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning, some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic, and logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. The course gives some attention to issues in branches of philosophy germane to logic, for example, the theory of knowledge, philosophy of language, and metaphysics. There will be lectures, some discussions, regular homework assignments, surprise quizzes, two in-class tests and a final exam. Textbook: A Practical Study of Argument by Trudy Govier (most recent edition). (Subramanyam)

181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (2). (HU).

For very many people in our culture today, questions like "What is the meaning of life?" and "How should I live?," seem to lack justifiable answers. In this course we will (1) begin to diagnose the philosophical and broader cultural roots of this "crisis of values" and (2) attempt to determine whether such a dreary perspective on the "Big Questions" is the only reasonable one. Towards these ends, we will develop and apply the techniques of contemporary Anglo-American "Analytic Philosophy" to a number of classic (and a few not-quite-so-classic) texts in the Western philosophical tradition, and carefully examine a variety of social phenomena from both Western and Non-Western cultures. Finally, (with a little luck), we may try to experience value (that is, live our lives) more reflectively, sensitively, and fully 3 short exams, 1 short paper, and 1 medium paper. WL:4 (Doris)

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

See description for Philosophy 181. This course has an additional two hours of class meetings, additional readings, and an additional paper. Students who feel they would benefit from fuller discussion and treatment of the issues are encouraged to enroll in 182. 3 short exams, 2 short papers, and 1 medium paper. (Doris)

359. Law and Philosophy. (2). (HU).

This is a course in philosophy, not law. So while the subject matter will be laws and legal systems, the questions, methods and standards of evaluation will all be decidedly philosophical. The overriding theme will be the nature of law and the relation between law and morality. Topics will include legal positivism and natural law theory, the characteristics which make for the "Rule of Law" and their moral significance, whether there is a general duty to obey the law, possible limits to the authority of the state and various theories of punishment. There is no prerequisite. Assignments will likely consist of a short paper and a final examination. WL:4 (Devlin)

365/Rel. 365. Problems of Religion. (2). (HU).

Philosophy/Religion 365 will principally be devoted to an examination of philosophical issues that arise in connection with the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. Topics will be selected from the following: arguments for the existence of God; the problem of evil; miracles; the soul, survival of death, and immortality; reason, faith, and revelation; religion and morality; and the claims of competing religions. Also see Philosophy 480.

370. Philosophical Aspects of Literature. (2). (HU).

What, how, is it possible to learn from a fiction? Can a fiction give the reader reason to believe, or the ability to discern, anything new and interesting about the non-fictional world? In this course we'll look at the work of two authors who have not only claimed such cognitive power for their fictions but offered some reflections on the nature of the knowledge thereby generated. These authors, Milan Kundera and Henry James, both conceive The Novel as a genre peculiarly concerned with knowledge about what it is to lead a fully human life. How then should we compare such knowledge to the knowledge traditionally deemed the province of moral philosophy? In addition to their self-reflective critical writings (collected in the case of each author under the title The Art of the Novel), we'll read two novels by Kundera, then three novels by James. We'll also look at some philosophical commentaries on these novels. One term paper. (Hinchman)

480. Philosophy of Religion. One Philosophy Introduction. (2). (Excl).

It is possible, though not certain, that the Department will offer Philosophy 480 as well as 365. (Students who wish to know whether 480 is being offered should call the Department prior to registration.) Whereas Philosophy 365 is an intermediate level course that has no prerequisite, 480 is an advanced undergraduate/lower-level graduate course. Philosophy 480 will be graded by more rigorous standards and involve more substantial writing assignments, that will include a term paper. Undergraduates are discouraged from enrolling in 480 unless they have taken one or more 300-level courses in philosophy.

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