Philosophy (PHIL) Courses

PHIL 150 Introduction to Philosophy
3 hours. This course is designed to introduce students to what it means to think and live philosophically. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation picks a different topic through which to explore how philosophy be a tool for interpreting, understanding and interacting with the world. Not only that, we will also examine how philosophy can shape the way in which we live out our lives. Each course includes some reading of Plato and at least one other major philosophy in the tradition. Examples of different variations of this course include: "God, Freedom and Evil", "Simplicity", "Socrates and Plato", "Land and Humans", and "Virtue and Faith."

PHIL 180 Ethics
3 hours. Ethics consists of an analysis of the ethical theories and systems by which persons make judgments and choices, with special attention to contemporary moral issues and the modern revival of virtue theory.

PHIL 250 Thinking Well: Logic and Life
3 hours. Logic involves a study of Aristotelian forms of deductive reasoning, including the syllogism, inductive reasoning, fallacies, and some aspect of symbolic logic, including Venn diagrams and truth tables. Its goal is to facilitate sound thinking that is both creative and critical.

PHIL 270 Philosophy of the Arts
3 hours. An introduction to philosophical issues in the arts, such as art and morality, the nature of creativity, aesthetics, and the relation of the arts to worldviews.

PHIL 275 Field Experience
1-3 hours. Supervised experience in the discipline including internships and practica required for professional programs. This introductory experience must have an on-site supervisor and/or a departmental instructor overseeing, designing, and evaluating the content of the course.
Prerequisite: instructor's permission.

PHIL 277 Spirituality and the Intellectual Life
3 hours. This course seeks to overcome the opposition between spirituality and the intellectual life. We will examine ways in which spirituality can deepen and undergird the intellectual life, as well as finding ways that a reflective, deep thinking life can nurture and strengthen one’s spirituality. We will not only examine these relationships abstractly, but will attempt to put into practice patterns of integrating mind and spirit.

PHIL 280 Introduction to Political Philosophy
3 hours. A study of great political thinkers and issues from Socrates to the present. Students are encouraged to understand and evaluate these thinkers in their historical contexts, and to consider them as philosophers whose insights are relevant for contemporary debates. (Identical to HIST 280 and PSCI 280.)

PHIL 285 Selected Topics
1-3 hours. A seminar on a topic chosen by the professor. Recent topics have been apologetics; postmodern philosophy and Christian thought; philosophy of science; philosophy of E. Levinas; and philosophy of sex, singleness, and marriage.
Prerequisite: upper-division majors and others by permission.

PHIL 300 American Political Theory
3 hours. A survey of the major developments in U.S. political theory from the Puritans to the present. The relationship between Christianity and American political theory is given special attention. (Identical to HIST 300 and PSCI 300.)

PHIL 310 Christian Apologetics
3 hours. A study of classic and contemporary defenses of the Christian faith, including theistic/atheistic arguments, postmodern assessments of religious belief, issues surrounding the doctrine of the resurrection, the miraculous and religious diversity. (Identical to RELI 310.)

PHIL 311 History 1: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
3 hours. What is the good life, how do we know things, if we do, and what is reality? Many proposed answers to these questions can be traced to those in the past whose thought is classified as philosophical. This course continues to study the trajectory of thought in the Western world begun in History 1. The course begins with Ockham and continues through to current times. Readings include both original sources and contemporary interpretations.

PHIL 312 History 2: Modern and Postmodern Philosophy
3 hours. What is the good life, how do we know things, if we do, and what is reality? Many proposed answers to these questions can be traced to those in the past whose thought is classified as philosophical. This course continues to study the trajectory of thought in the Western world begun in History 1. The course begins with Ockham and continues through to current times. Readings include both original sources and contemporary interpretations.

PHIL 315 Sex and Gender
3 hours. What we are sexually as humans is complex and our theories and beliefs about our sexuality profoundly influence us. No less does our gender and our beliefs about it influence us. The subject of this course will vary term to term but can include the nature of sex, the nature of gender, feminism, marriage, singleness, love, pornography among others. May be repeated for credit under different topics.

PHIL 320 Agrarian Philosophy: Life and Land
3 hours. This course seeks to develop an understanding of how humans are affected by their relation to the land and how land is affected by humans. We will examine how this relationship between humans and land affects who we are, how we know, and how we live ethical lives. We will examine this at a theoretical level, but also at the practical level of where we live, how we live, what we eat, and how we engage our local and global economies.

PHIL 330 Religion and Reason
3 hours. What is the nature of religion? Is there a God? What evidence is there for the existence of God? What role does reason play in faith? Does the existence of evil rule out God’s existence? What is religious experience? Does it provide grounds for rational religious belief? This course is a general introduction to the philosophy of religion and some of the problems falling under that title.

PHIL 332 Virtue Philosophy
3 hours. This course explores questions crucial to the virtue tradition: What is a good life? What are virtues? How do virtues contribute to a good life? What is the role of natural law and divine commands in understanding virtues? How does the study of moral philosophy contribute to living well? This course in ethical theory examines the history of the virtue tradition as represented by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hume and Kant as well as the tradition’s revival by contemporary philosophers, including Alasdair MacIntyre and Robert Adams.
Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics.

PHIL 335 Knowledge and What There Is
3 hours. What kinds of things exist? How do we know they do, if we do? The subject of this course will vary term to term, but can include freewill, theory of knowledge, skepticism, the nature of existence, human nature, the nature of God, personal identity, realism and antirealism, the nature of science and others. May be repeated for credit under different topics.

PHIL 373 Social Theory
3 hours. A critical study of some major social philosophers from Comte to the present. (Identical to SOCI 373.)
Prerequisites: SOCI 150 Principles of Sociology or PHIL 150 Introduction to Philosophy, or instructor's permission.

PHIL 380 Gender Theory
3 hours. This course is designed expose students to the ways that gender theory, including feminism, womanism, anti-sexism, and masculinism, has developed over the years, and how that theory is applied to literature. (Identical to LITR 380.)

PHIL 399 Cross-Cultural Study
3 hours. This course offers in-depth discipline specific cross-cultural study designed to enhance the intercultural emphasis of various academic majors. The course includes class meetings followed by travel to various locations throughout the world. Students will use core disciplinary knowledge to serve, learn and interact with other cultures. (Offered in May Term. Students must meet eligibility requirements.) Additional course fee is required.

PHIL 415 Contemporary Philosophers
3 hours. This course gives students the opportunity to explore the work of a particular contemporary philosopher in depth. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation picks a different philosopher for careful reading and criticism. Students are encouraged to incorporate insights gained from such study into their own beliefs and manner of life. May be repeated for credit under different topics.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing as a philosophy major or instructor's permission.

PHIL 435 Contemporary Problems
3 hours. This course examines a chosen philosophical problem by comparing the contributions of several contemporary influential thinkers who have addressed it. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation focuses on a different persistent philosophical topic (sometimes called “perennial questions” in philosophy). Students are expected to incorporate critical reflection on the chosen topic into their own beliefs and manner of life. Students may repeat the course, for credit, with a different subtitle.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing as a philosophy major or instructor's permission.

PHIL 445 History Seminar
3 hours. Examines a particular period or person in the history of philosophy. Choice of period or person determined by student interest and professorial competence.

PHIL 475 Field Experience
1-3 hours. Supervised experience in the discipline including internships and practica required for professional programs. This advanced experience must have an on-site supervisor and/or a departmental instructor overseeing, designing, and evaluating the content of the course.
Prerequisite: instructor's permission.

PHIL 485 Selected Topics
1-3 hours. A seminar on a topic chosen by the professor. Recent topics have been apologetics; postmodern philosophy and Christian thought; philosophy of science; philosophy of E. Levinas; and philosophy of sex, singleness, and marriage.
Prerequisite: upper-division majors and others by permission.

PHIL 490 Philosophy Capstone
3 hours. Taken by each senior philosophy major, this course is designed to allow each student to pursue his or her chosen track (pre-law, social justice, graduate school) in greater depth. This is comprised of some common reading among the entire cohort, a practicum related to one’s chosen track, and student-led discussion based on research done related to each person’s chosen track. For example, a pre-med philosophy student might do a practicum at a hospital, while researching medical ethics, and leading a seminar session on that research. It is meant as a culminating course shared with all the other senior philosophy students.

PHIL 495 Special Study
1-3 hours. Individual research.
Prerequisite: open to qualified students upon application.

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