Academics Banner


PHL 1003: Human Values (3 cr.)
Why be moral?  Is there any unbiased moral guide?  Are right acts those that have good results or those that are well intended?  What is worth pursuing in life: happiness, salvation, self-realization, or a more humane society? This course examines philosophical views of moral principles, the ends of action, virtues and obligations in their historical context as proposed by Aristotle, Augustine, Kant and Mill.  Critical views of Marx and Sartre will be presented. Readings from complete texts, selections included in a textbook with commentary.  (Spring)

PHL 1004: Theory of Knowledge (3 cr.)
Philosophy is commonly divided into four parts: Logic, Ethics, Metaphysics and Epistemology.  This course provides an elementary overview of 'Epistemology,' the classical Greek term for Theory of Knowledge.  Since Plato, many philosophers have held that knowledge is definable in terms of true belief based upon adequate evidence.  We will examine this thesis, and will also examine the three concepts from which it defines knowledge: truth, belief, and adequate evidence.

PHL 1005: Foundations of Philosophy (3 cr.)
An introductory course in philosophy, using representative selections from the major conceptual systems: idealism, rationalism, and empiricism.  Basic texts will include Plato, Aristotle, stoics, medievals and the modern philosophy of 17th-19th centuries.  The student will confront definitions of reality, knowledge and morality, and the analysis and critique of modes of argumentation.   (Fall) (Spring)

PHL 1016: Moral Reasoning (3 cr.)
This course is an introduction to elementary deontic logic and focuses on alternative theories of truth for statements concerning obligations and rights.  The practical goal of the course is to increase the student's skill both at constructing proofs to support moral judgments and at testing sets of value judgments for consistency.  (Fall) (Spring)

PHL 1029: Introduction to Symbolic Logic (3 cr.)
This course is an introduction to elementary first-order and second-order symbolic logic, and focuses on increasing the student's skill at reasoning which makes use of words such as: if, and, not, each, any, all and some.  (Spring)

PHL 2019: An Introduction to Modal Logic (3 cr.)
This is a first course in elementary modal logic.  The theoretical part of the course is designed to explain the logic of a variety of alternative concepts of truth.  The practical part of the course is designed to increase the student's skill at analyzing reasoning, which uses intentional concepts such as possibility, belief, knowledge, and obligation.  (Fall)

PHL 2021: Philosophy and Literature: Novel and Poetry (3 cr.)
This course offers a broad canvas of how literary artists handle major philosophic themes.  Topics include: the transmission of values from culture to civilization, the hope and doubt of reason, self-consciousness and self-realization, determinism and freedom, and the individual and society.  Philosophic issues will be analyzed in brief texts and exemplified in writings by past masters and contemporary authors.  (Fall)

PHL 2025: Philosophy and Literature: Tragedy and Opera (3 cr.)
Ancient and modern drama are meant to elicit fear and pity through the portrayal of the unequal struggle between flawed humans and gods who use decree destiny to negate desires and actions.  Opera seria uses music and voice to intensify the tragedies by attempting to resolve individual, family and political conflicts.  Philosophy, emphasizing reason and control of passions, contests a tragic view of life.  The course will examine tragic dramas, readings on tragic theory and philosophy, and view opera videos like Othello, Don Giovanni, Carmen, and Passion.  (Fall)

PHL 2026: Ethics (3 cr.)
This course will examine the basic question of Ethics: under what conditions, if any, does knowledge concerning moral claims exist? Emphasis will be placed on detailed philosophical analyses of theories concerning the nature of moral truth and moral evidence (e.g., skepticism and utilitarianism).  Also the concepts of pleasure, happiness, duty, self-deception, courage and the good life will be analyzed.  (Spring)

PHL 2028: The Logic of Time (3 cr.)
This course is an introduction to a study of a wide variety of alternative theories of the nature of time.  The focus is on the effect of a concept of time on the nature of the truth and also on increasing the students' skill at evaluating beliefs relative to different concepts of time.  (Fall)

PHL 2050: American Philosophy (3 cr.)
This course will focus on the development of Pragmatism in America, a new philosophy for a new land.  Beginning with the Puritan heritage and the Transcendental movement, readings from Jonathan Edwards, R.  W.  Emerson, C.S. Pierce, Wm.  James, O.W. Holmes, Josiah Royce, John Dewey, George Santayana and A.N. Whitehead will be examined.  In addition, essays by contemporary American philosophers will be read.  (Fall)

PHL 2065 19th-Century Philosophy (3 cr.)
Antagonistic philosophic systems developed throughout the 19th-century in response to economic and historical revolutions: Post Kantian idealism, romanticism, pessimism, political and social philosophy, positivism and existentialism.  Readings from Fichte, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Spencer, Marx, Mill.

PHL 2067 20th-Century Philosophy (3 cr.)
This course will examine critical theories concerning philosophic anthropology, psychology, linguistics and ontology, as well as the controversies between the modernism of the first half of the century and postmodern movements of structuralism and deconstruction.  Selections from Bergson, Saussere, Husserl, Levi-Strauss, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, Lacan and Rorty will be analyzed.

PHL 3000: Plato (3 cr.)
Plato is the greatest literary talent in the history of philosophy.  Both through perception and misperception of his writings, Plato's influence on subsequent philosophy remains unsurpassed.  The primary aim of this course is to introduce students to Plato's dialogues and to provide a foundation for a lifetime of independent study of Plato.  There is perhaps no better way to begin one's personal study of philosophy than with Plato's writings.

PHL 3006: Hegel and Development of Modern Idealism (3 cr.)
This course studies the post-Kantian development of German idealism in Fichte and Schelling and makes a detailed analysis and critique of Hegel's Absolute Idealism as expressed and dramatized in Phenomenology of Mind and selections from other works.  Prerequisite: permission of instructor.  (Fall)

PHL 3012: Kant (3 cr.)
This course offers an extensive analysis and criticism of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.  Emphasis will be on arguments in the aesthetic and transcendental analytic, with selections from the transcendental dialectic.  Students will outline text prior to class discussion and prepare a class presentation of a scholarly interpretation of Kant's doctrine.  Prerequisite: permission of instructor.  (Spring)

PHL 3013: Freud and Marx (3 cr.)
This class will analyze Freud's and Marx's claims to offer a scientific and philosophical interpretation of human culture and behavior.  Contemporary critiques and modifications of psycho-analysis and Marxism will be examined.  (Spring)

PHL 3014: Descartes (3 cr.)
Rene Descartes is known as the Father of Modern Philosophy.  This course is designed to introduce Descartes' major ideas in the context of a discussion of how to read and evaluate a philosophical text.  (Spring)

PHL 3020: Russell (3 cr.)
Twentieth-century philosophy is already being called the Age of Russell.  Reading Russell prepares one for studying most of the work that has been done in the past 100 years on logic, ethics, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, political philosophy, metaphilosophy, and the history of philosophy. 

PHL 3029: Heidegger and Sartre (3 cr.)
This course will examine the major ideas of Sartre and Heidegger.  Students will discuss various themes of being, nothingness, authenticity, irrationality and faith.  (Fall)

PHL 3021: Existentialism (3 cr.)
Readings from major existentialist thinkers: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers, Heidegger and Sartre.  Comparative interpretations of ontology, religion, knowledge, value and culture.  Supported by diverse existential readings drawn from a variety of writers. 

PHL 3031: Gödel
This course serves as an introduction to Gödel's work in logic and philosophy, and is also designed to serve as an introduction to metaphysics and to the philosophy of logic and the philosophy of mathematics.  It pays particular attention to ideas of Gödel that sharpen our understanding of these three concepts: Truth, Proof, and Infinity.  Students will also study provability logic, which is useful for its characterization in an elementary setting of Gödel's most famous work, his results on the incompleteness of logic and mathematics.

PHL 3032 Kierkegaard and Nietzsche (3 cr.)
Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were seminal thinkers who changed the focus of philosophizing.  They were the first to insist on the limits of reason and to deal with irrationality, the incommensurability between the finite and infinite, and to describe the absurd, finite and contingent aspects of existence and culture.  But from these shared assumptions Kierkegaard concluded to subjectivity and faith while Nietzsche returned to an aesthetic morality and valued creativity.

PHL 4020: Honors Logic Seminar (3 cr.)
Introduces candidates for Honors in Logic both to the study of logic at the graduate level and to the art of original research in logic.  Topics to be covered vary and the course may be repeated for credit given sufficient change in research topics.  (Spring)