Philosophy (PHI) Courses

PHI-104 Introduction to Philosophy: Nature

This course will serve as an introduction to philosophy by examining the ways philosophers have used nature historically to justify the social order: by identifying essences that prescribe roles, legitimating social hierarchy by dividing the world between what is closer to nature and what overcomes or surpasses nature, distinguishing between good and natural actions and bad and unnatural ones, and distinguishing between culture and the material of culture. This course will examine the philosophical positions behind these claims and critiques of these positions. The course will take up the example of gender at various places across the semester to think about the implications of various conceptions of nature in the history of philosophy. Students are discouraged from taking more than one course numbered 109 or below.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion
Equated Courses: GEN-104

PHI-105 Intro to Philosophy: Videogames

This course serves as an introduction to philosophy by means of thinking about videogames. In part, this means that thinking about videogames sheds light on venerable philosophical questions concerning, for example, free will, moral responsibility, and our knowledge of reality. In addition, videogames raise challenging new questions about the nature of art and its place in our lives. For example: Can a videogame be a work of art? Is it immoral to play videogames with violent or misogynist content? Can playing videogames be an important part of a good life? In this course, we tackle these questions by studying some important works of classical and contemporary philosophers, and playing a number of recent games from a philosophically engaged perspective. This course counts toward the Film Studies Minor. Students are discouraged from taking more than one course numbered 109 or below.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-106 Intro to Philosophy: Humans & Robots

This course will serve as an introduction to philosophy by thinking about robots and artificial intelligence as threats to or enhancers of human existence. The course will draw on the history of philosophy in conversation with existing, planned and imagined technology of robots in news stories, film, and television to ask: What does it mean to be human? Have technological advances in robots and algorithms have made it impossible for us to distinguish between the human and non-human? Is there a distinctly human sense of language? What might it mean to consider new leaps in machine learning in terms of self-consciousness? How much of a human can be replaced by biomedical technology and still remain (the same) human? Students are discouraged from taking more than one course numbered 109 or below.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-109 Introduction to Philosophy

A course in some selected philosophical topic or range of topics designed to provide an example of philosophical reflection and inquiry. Not open to junior or senior majors without permission of the instructor.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-110 Philosophical Ethics

Thought about what is good, what is right, and what ought to be done pervades our lives. Philosophy can contribute to this thought by providing ways of organizing it and reflecting on it critically-which is done in this course using both historical and contemporary sources.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-124 Philosophy and Film

This course uses film to investigate a variety of philosophical issues-issues in such areas as ethics, the theory of knowledge, or existentialism, specific issues such as free will, human responsibility, or human subjectivity, or issues concerning such topics as dystopian futures. The course may also explore philosophical questions about film. Students will typically be expected to watch one film that will be the focus of the class discussion each week and additional films on their own that are related to the theme of the week. The final project may be a paper or perhaps a student-produced film that uses film to investigate a philosophical issue.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion, Literature/Fine Arts

PHI-144 Intro to Existentialism

An introduction to some of the primary texts in philosophy of human existence of the 19th and 20th centuries, including works of fiction, philosophy, and psychology from such writers as Kierkegaard, Dostoyevski, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Jaspers.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-187 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-188 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-213 Philosophy of Law

An introduction to philosophical issues concerning the analysis of legal concepts and the moral justification of the law. Typical issues include the nature of law and its relation to morality, issues of moral justification arising in specific branches of the law (e.g., criminal, tort, or contract law), and the nature and justification of international law.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion
Equated Courses: PPE-213

PHI-215 Environmental Philosophy

Environmental philosophy explores the relationship between human beings and the natural world. It raises questions about the meaning of nature, the place of human dwelling within nature, the moral status of nonhuman animals and ecosystems, human responsibility for environmental challenges such as pollution, climate change, and species extinction, and environmental and intergenerational justice. This course raises such questions from multiple perspectives that may include conventional approaches in environmental ethics like utilitarianism and deontology as well as ecofeminism, deep ecology, and political ecology.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion
Equated Courses: PPE-215

PHI-216 Philosophy of Gender

This course examines theories of the meaning of gender, sex, and sexuality. It considers what the source of gender inequality is in society and what is required for achieving gender equality. Topics could include cultural difference in the meaning and operations of gender, how gender influences our concept of knowledge, and the role of gender in moral theory. Meets the Diversity Requirement for the PPE major.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion
Equated Courses: PPE-216

PHI-217 Philosophy of Race

This course covers the history of the development of the concept of race, the metaphysical framework for thinking about the "reality" of race, the various ways to consider the meaning of race, and the relation between the meaning of race and the experience of racism. Questions about how difference and equality function in the law and the application of the law, concepts of white privilege and community investment in racial distinctions, intersectional analyses that think race together with gender, class and sexuality and the concept of race in colonial and post-colonial settings are likely topics. Meets the Diversity Requirement for the PPE major.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion
Equated Courses: PPE-217

PHI-218 Philosophy of Commerce

This course will consider broadly how concerns for the oikos, the household, the root of our word economics, serve, support and potentially undermine our efforts to live well. The concepts of property, markets, labor, corporations, collective and individual responsibility, economic vs. political freedom, wealth, debt, and value will be subjected to philosophical scrutiny. Philosophical investigation of these ideas will be joined to broad philosophical questions, including but not limited to: their treatment in the history of philosophy, the role of these concerns in the good life, the development of markets in the context of the emergence of modern subjectivity, the relation of desire and its production to the need for markets, and the account of what it means to be human that these concepts assume or encourage. The goal of this course is for students to have a robust understanding of the historical and contemporary arguments, assumptions and views these economic concepts presuppose about what it means to be human. Application of these considerations to contemporary debates in public life will be encouraged.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion
Equated Courses: PPE-218

PHI-219 Topics Ethics & Social Philosophy

Seminar discussion of a topic or area in ethical theory, applied ethics, or social and political philosophy. Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for topics and descriptions of current offerings.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-220 Aesthetics

A survey of work in the philosophy of art both prior to and during the 20th century. Topics considered include the concept of art and a work of art, the relation between art and truth, the objectivity of aesthetic evaluation, the nature of representation, and issues concerning meaning and interpretation.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-240 Ancient Philosophy

A survey of Ancient Greek philosophy, including Pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle; Hellenistic philosophy may also be included. This course focuses on acquiring and improving abilities in philosophical reading, thinking, and expression. Students will be asked to consider the questions and problems raised by ancient thinkers on the basis of close textual analysis and to see how these questions and problems remain relevant through lectures and discussion. Topics include nature, human knowledge, the good, and ultimate being. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion, Literature/Fine Arts
Equated Courses: CLA-240

PHI-242 Foundations of Modern Philosophy

Readings and discussion of the classical modern philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, focusing on questions such as scientific method and the possibility of knowledge, the nature of reality, ethics and the relation of the individual to society, and the existence of God. Readings from among Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and Rousseau. This course is offered in the spring semester.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-249 Topics in the History of Philosophy

Seminar discussion of a historical period, figure or topic. Please refer to the Registrar's page for course description.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-269 Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology

Seminar discussion of a topic or area in metaphysics or the theory of knowledge. Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for topics and descriptions of current offerings.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-270 Elementary Symbolic Logic

An introduction to the principles of deductive logic for connectives ("and," "not," "or," "if") and quantifiers ("all," "some"). Attention is given to the logical structure of English sentences and its representation in symbolic notation and to formal proofs establishing the logical properties and relations of sentences.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion, Quantitative Literacy

PHI-272 Philosophy of Science

An introduction to philosophical issues concerning the logical structure and historical development of natural science. Among the general issues considered will be the relations among theory, observation, and experiment; the reality of theoretical entities; and the significance of scientific revolutions. Some attention is usually given also to philosophical issues regarding specific sciences, principally biology and physics.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-279 Topics Logic & Philosophy of Science

Additional topics in formal or informal logic or the philosophical study of science and its historical development. Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for topics and descriptions of current offerings.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-287 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-288 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-299 Special Topics in Philosophy

Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for topics and descriptions of current offerings.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-319 Seminar in Ethics & Social Phil

Seminar discussion at a more advanced level of a topic or area in ethical theory, applied ethics, or social and political philosophy.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-345 Continental Philosophy

Seminar discussion of major themes or figures in the Continental tradition from the 19th century to the present, which may include work in phenomenology and existentialism, Marxism and critical theory, poststructuralism, and feminism. Readings may be drawn from Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas, Sartre, Beauvoir, Foucault, Derrida, or others. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: PHI-240 (or taken concurrently), and PHI-242
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-346 Analytic Philosophy

Seminar discussion of major themes or figures in the Analytic tradition.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-349 Seminar in the History of Philosophy

Seminar discussion at a more advanced level of a historical period, figure, or topic.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-369 Seminar in Metaphysics & Epistemology

Seminar discussion at a more advanced level of a topic or area in metaphysics or the theory of knowledge.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-379 Seminar in Logic & Philosophy of Science

Additional topics in formal or informal logic or the philosophical study of science and its historical development offered at a more advanced level.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-387 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-388 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-399 Proseminar

An advanced course in some selected philosophical topic.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-449 Senior Seminar

A detailed study of a major philosopher or philosophical topic. Required of majors and open to other students. Normally taken in the senior year. This course is offered in the fall semester.
Prerequisites: none
Credit: 1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-487 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion

PHI-488 Independent Study

Individual research projects. The manner of study will be determined by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students must receive written approval of their project proposal from a department Chair before registering for the course.
Prerequisites: none
Credits: 0.5-1
Distribution: History/Philosophy/Religion