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Religion and Philosophy The content below is information specific to this academic department's fields of interest.

Course Requirements - Philosophy Program

Philosophy Major (28 hours)

Requirements: Philosophy 101; 325; 327; 350; 353 or 354; 495; 496

Electives: Courses from Philosophy; up to two from Religion offerings, with permission of department chair.

Philosophy Minor (15 hours)

15 hours in Philosophy offerings: option of one offering in Religion with permission of department chair.

Course Descriptions:

101. Introduction to Philosophy (3) presents the nature and role of philosophy considering fundamental philosophical topics such as human freedom, personal identity, immortality, the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil, the nature and source of knowledge, theories of truth, and the ingredients of a happy life.

202. Logic and Critical Thinking (3) examines formal and informal techniques for evaluating arguments in order to improve critical thinking skills. Topics include informal fallacies of reasoning, uses and abuses of language, arguments in context, symbolic logic, and validity.

203. Introduction to Ethics (3) critically examines ethical theories of the criteria used to make justified and responsible ethical decisions. Considers difficult moral problems connected to topics such as killing, lying, fairness, sexual morality, environmental concerns, and professional ethics.

305. Biomedical Ethics (3) explores moral issues relating to medicine and biology. Examples of issues considered include euthanasia, genetic engineering, disabilities, and allocation of healthcare resources. Students will explore arguments about these issues using the concepts and principes of ethical theory.

325. Western Philosophy: The Ancients (3) investigates Greek and Roman philosophy including figures such as Plato, Aristotle, pre-Socratics, Stoicism, Epicureanism, with a focus on the role of rational inquiry in the quest for human flourishing.

327. Western Philosophy: The Early Moderns (3) examines philosophies from 1600-1800 such as rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza), empiricism (Locke, Hume, Berkeley) and Kant’s critical philosophy. Focuses on this period’s response to scientific and political revolutions.

331. Environmental Ethics (3) explores the nature and basis of our ethical obligations regarding the natural environment. Considers views of these obligations ranging from the human centered (anthropocentrism), to the moral considerability of animals (animal liberation), to the notion that we have direct obligations to all living things or whole ecosystems (ecocentrism). Provides the opportunity to use these ethical perspectives to evaluate environmental policies, laws, or agendas.

342. Religions and Philosophies of Asia (3) deals with different forms of religious belief around the world--especially Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, and Islam. Cross listed as RELG 342.

343. Social and Political Philosophy (3) considers theories of the nature and legitimacy of the state and its laws. Also deals with topics such as the rights and responsibilities of citizens, ethics in politcal decision making, economic justice, punishment, race and gender oppression, political and cultural identity, and the value and meaning of democracy. Cross listed as POLI 343, SOCI 335.

350. Western Philosophy: The Late Moderns (3) examines philosophies from the late 1700's through the 1800's. Studies figures such as Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Kierkegaard, Nietzche, Schopenhauer, Peirce, Comte and Bradley. Focuses on themes such as the historical and transcendental conditions of human knowledge, the possibility of progress, nihilism and alienation.

353. American Philosophy (3) studies American philosophical movements such as Transcendentalism, Idealism, Pragmatism, Positivism. Some attention is given to the relation of philosophy to characteristic themes of American cultural and intellectual life. Examples include religion in the age of science, Darwinism in social theory, the value and nature of education, social and political reform movements, changing conceptions of democracy and cultural pluralism.

354. Continental Philosophy (3) presents a survey of the philosophical developments in 20th century continental philosophy, such as phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, deconstruction, feminism, and critical theory. Focus is on themes of being and consciousness, language, and truth, history and culture, theory and practice. Possible figures of study are: Heidegger, Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, Habermas and Irigaray.

360. Topics in Philosophy (1-3) allows students to explore special areas of philosophical study in more depth than regular course offerings can provide.

361. Topics in Moral Philosophy (3) provides students the opportunity for advanced study of moral philosophy. Topics range from theoretical questions about the status of morality to practical questions about specific moral problems. Descriptions of the course topic for a given semester are available in the course schedule bulletin and on the Religion and Philosophy Department web site.

403. Directed Readings in Philosophy (1-3) gives the student an opportunity to do intensive readings in areas of philosophy selected in consultation with the department.

495. Senior Seminar Research in Philosophy (1) involves research necessary for the completion of the senior seminar. Such preliminary research includes extensive reading, compilation of a bibliography, composition of a theses statement, and the creation of an initial outline. Students will be asked to demonstrate their progress in regular meetings with the instructor and/or department.

496. Senior Seminar (3) involves writing and extensive research paper on a focused topic. Students will be asked to demonstrate their progress in regular meetings with the instructor and/or department. This course culminates in an oral defense of the project. Prerequisite: PHIL 495.