Philosophy

PETER BAUMANN, Professor
RICHARD ELDRIDGE, Professor
TAMSIN LORRAINE, Professor and Chair
CHARLES RAFF, Professor
ALAN R. BAKER, Associate Professor 3
GRACE M. LEDBETTER, Associate Professor
KRISTA THOMASON, Assistant Professor
DONNA MUCHA, Administrative Assistant

 

3Absent on leave, 2014-2015.

 

Philosophy analyzes and comments critically on concepts that are presupposed and used in other disciplines and in daily life: the natures of knowledge, meaning, reasoning, morality, the character of the world, God, freedom, human nature, justice and history. Philosophy is thus significant for everyone who wishes to live and act in a reflective and critical manner.

The Academic Program

The Philosophy Department offers several kinds of courses, all designed to engage students in philosophical practices.

  1. There are courses and seminars to introduce students to the major systematic works of the history of Western philosophy: works by Plato and Aristotle (Ancient Philosophy); Descartes, Hume and Kant (Modern Philosophy); Hegel and Marx (19th-Century Philosophy); Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Heidegger, de Beauvoir (Existentialism); Russell and Wittgenstein (Contemporary Philosophy).
  2. There are courses and seminars that consider arguments and conclusions in specific areas of Philosophy: Theory of Knowledge, Logic, Moral Philosophy, Metaphysics, Aesthetics, and Social and Political Philosophy.
  3. There are courses and seminars concerned with the conceptual foundations of various other disciplines: Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Philosophy of Psychology, and Philosophy of Religion.
  4. There are courses and seminars on meaning, freedom, and value in various domains of contemporary life: Values and Ethics in Science and Technology, Feminist Theory, and Post-Modernism.

Members of the Philosophy Department emphasize the engagement of philosophy with other disciplines and recognize that philosophical inquiry is naturally related to concerns in other areas of study. They attempt to make these relations explicit, and so course and seminars are designed to be accessible to a broad range of students, not just those who intend to major in philosophy. Various courses and seminars in philosophy appear in concentrations in gender and sexuality studies, German studies, medieval studies, interpretation theory, and environmental studies.

Prerequisites

Satisfactory completion of either any section of PHIL 001 Introduction to Philosophy, or PHIL 012 Logic, or any First-Year Seminar (numbered 002–010) is a prerequisite for taking any further course in philosophy. Sections of Introduction to Philosophy and First-Year Seminars are intended to present introductions to philosophical problems and techniques of analysis. There are no prerequisites for these entry-level courses. Students may not take more than one introductory level course (First-Year Seminar or Introduction to Philosophy), with one exception: students may take Logic either before or after taking any other introductory course.

Juniors and seniors may enter intermediate courses in philosophy without having taken an introductory level course in philosophy.

Course Major

One can major in philosophy in either the Course Program or the Honors Program. Internal distribution requirements are the same for both programs. Only students who will have satisfactorily completed two philosophy courses by the end of their sophomore year will be considered for acceptance as majors. Normally, applications to complete a major in philosophy will not be accepted after the add/drop period in the fall term of a student’s senior year.

Philosophy students changing their program from course to honors (or honors to course) must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of senior year.

Acceptance Criteria

In addition to having completed two courses, majors must meet the general requirements for remaining in good standing at the College and have the ability to satisfy the department’s comprehensive requirements. They must further normally have at least a B- average in all philosophy courses taken at Swarthmore. For double majors, the standard is somewhat higher, and the philosophy faculty determines whether the student has the ability to complete the comprehensive requirements of two departments satisfactorily.

Requirements

Students majoring in philosophy must earn a total of eight credits, exclusive of senior work and complete at least

  1. One course or seminar in logic and
  2. Two credits in history: of these 2 credits, at least 1 must be in either ancient or modern (17th and 18th century) philosophy and
  3. Two credits in at least one course covering one or more of the following areas: Advanced Logic, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind and
  4. Two credits in at least one course covering one or more of the following areas: Moral Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Feminism, Aesthetics.

Note: With the exception of Logic (PHIL 012) – introductory level courses and First Year Seminars (PHIL 001–010) do not count toward the distribution requirements.

In addition, students majoring in philosophy are urged to take courses and seminars in diverse fields of philosophy. Prospective majors should complete the logic requirements as early as possible. Course majors are encouraged to enroll in seminars. Mastery of at least one foreign language is recommended.

Senior Course Study work

A student will complete a course major in philosophy by registering for a single credit of Senior Course Study in the spring term of the senior year. Senior Course Study does not count toward fulfilling the eight credit requirement for the major. Under this heading, the student will produce two independent essays, each of no more than 4,000 words, based on problems or texts considered in seminars or courses that they have already completed, and in response to questions set by the department faculty. These two independent essays must fall in two different areas of philosophy from the following list:

  1. History of Philosophy: Ancient Philosophy; Modern Philosophy; 19th-Century Philosophy; Existentialism and Phenomenology; and Contemporary Philosophy;
  2. Value Theory: Moral Philosophy; Social and Political Philosophy; Aesthetics; Feminist Theory; Philosophy of Law
  3. Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology: Logic, Theory of Knowledge, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Psychology, Philosophy of Language

Students should inform the chair about the general areas in which they wish to write their essays by the 10th week of the fall term. The faculty of the Philosophy Department will then set questions and specify additional readings (1-3 articles or book chapters) for each area. These questions will be available to students by the end of the fall term.

It is expected that these essays will demonstrate initiative in engaging with problems and texts and that they will develop lines of argumentation beyond what is normally expected of course or seminar papers. Conversation among students who are preparing these essays is encouraged, but each student must produce an independent, original essay. After completing these essays, each course major will be examined orally on both essays by two members of the department.

Course Minor

Students may complete a minor in philosophy by earning any 5 credits in philosophy courses. There is no distribution requirement for the minor.

Honors Major

Acceptance Criteria

Students undertaking to pursue honors in philosophy should have B+ grades in philosophy courses and a B+ average overall. The opinions of the philosophy faculty concerning the philosophical ability of students weigh heavily in borderline cases.

Only students who have already completed two philosophy courses will be considered for admission to the Honors Program.

Philosophy students changing their program from honors to course (or course to honors) must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of senior year.

Preparations

Students will normally prepare for external examination in a given field in philosophy by completing a double-credit seminar at Swarthmore. With the approval of the department, it is possible to combine one-credit courses or attachments, taken either at Swarthmore or elsewhere, to form a preparation. With the approval of the department, a double-credit thesis may be counted as one preparation and submitted to an examiner.

Requirements

Honors majors will register for one-credit of Seniors Honors Study in philosophy during the spring term of their senior year. Senior Honors Study does not count toward fulfilling the eight credit requirement for the major. External examiners will set questions and specify additional readings (3-4 articles or book chapters) for each preparation that is to be examined. These questions will be available to students by the end of the fall term. Honors majors will choose one question for each preparation.

Senior Honors Study

Honors majors will then produce for each preparation an independent essay of no more than 4,000 words in response to the question they have chosen.

It is expected that these essays will demonstrate initiative in engaging with problems and texts and that they will develop lines of argumentation beyond what is normally expected of papers produced for seminar discussion. The preparation of the essays will not be supervised by members of the faculty. Conversation among students who are preparing these essays is encouraged, but each student must produce an independent, original essay. The essays must be submitted to the department to be sent to the external examiners by the beginning of the written examination period. There will be no further written examination of preparations beyond these independent essays. An examiner will conduct a 60 minute oral examination for each preparation on both the independent essay and the materials considered in the preparation (typically all the materials listed on the syllabus for the related seminar).

Honors Minor

Requirements

Honors minors must complete six credits of work in philosophy. In special cases, with approval of the department, one or two of these credits may be closely related topics taught outside the philosophy department that are well-integrated with their work in philosophy. Minors in philosophy will register for 0.5 credit of Senior Honor Study in the spring term of their senior year. Senior Honors Study does not count toward satisfying the six credit requirement for the minor.

Senior Honors Study

Students will prepare one independent, original essay of no more than 4,000 words in response to a question set by an external examiner (as above with majors). An external examiner will conduct a 60 minute oral examination on both the independent essay and the materials considered in the preparation (typically all the materials listed on the syllabus for the related seminar).

Application Process Notes for the Major or the Minor

Follow the process described by the Dean’s Office and the Registrar’s Office for how to apply for a major. Submit application, with transcript, plan of study, and if applicable, honors application.

Transfer students will be deferred until they have obtained at least 1 philosophy credit from Swarthmore.

Students who are deferred may apply again after addressing the reason(s) for being deferred.

Off-Campus Study

With prior approval from the Chair, a student may take philosophy courses abroad for a semester or year and have them count both toward a major and as part of an Honors Program. Courses abroad do not, however, always fit neatly into a philosophy major and are not always suitable for full course credit. Full consultation with the Chair about study abroad is essential for constructing a viable program.

Deadlines

Students wishing to add a major or minor in Philosophy must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year.

Philosophy students changing their program from course to honors (or honors to course) must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year.

Philosophy honors students must declare their honors preparations by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of senior year. 

Philosophy students wishing to drop an honors major or minor must do so by the end of the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year.

Philosophy students wishing to drop a course major or minor after the add/drop period of the fall term of the senior year should speak to the chair of the department.

Courses

PHIL 001. Introduction to Philosophy

Philosophy addresses fundamental questions that arise in various practices and inquiries. Each section addresses a few of these questions to introduce a range of sharply contrasting positions. Readings are typically drawn from the works of both traditional and contemporary thinkers with distinctive, carefully argued, and influential views regarding knowledge, morality, mind, and meaning. Close attention is paid to formulating questions precisely and to the technique of analyzing arguments through careful consideration of texts.
1 credit.
Each semester. Staff.

Section 1: Knowledge and Agency

What shall I do? What are the demands of morality? What is their basis (if there is one)? What is freedom of the will and do we enjoy it? Why is death bad? What is the meaning of life? (Does it have a meaning?) What can we know? What is knowledge? Are we just material beings or do we possess an immaterial (and, perhaps immortal) soul? These are and have always been fundamental philosophical questions. We will deal with them by reading and discussing classical as
well as contemporary philosophical texts.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Baumann.

Section 3: Truth and Desire

This course is designed to develop your natural ability to think philosophically by heightening your sense of wonder and honing your critical skills. We will take a historical approach, starting with Plato and then reading Descartes and Nietzsche before turning to more contemporary theorists like Frantz Fanon and Sandra Bartky. Throughout the course, we will pursue questions about truth (What is it? How does it relate to knowledge? When do we know that we know?) as well as questions about desire (What do we want? How does that relate to what we should want, our ideas of the good life, and the kind of life we should lead?) and the relationship between the two.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Lorraine.

Section 4: Knowledge and the World

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth—more than ruin, more than even death.” Bertrand Russell believed that education’s primary goal should be to instill in students not only the ability to seek knowledge, but also the desire for it, the joy of it, and the appreciation of its power. For Russell, this was also an essential component of philosophy. In this course, we will investigate the quest for knowledge itself: what are we looking for and how should we be looking for it? We will read some of the canonical answers to these questions as well as some answers that are not so canonical. We will ask what knowledge is, what kinds of knowledge we can have, and what it is exactly that we can know.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Thomason.

PHIL 003. First-Year Seminar: The Meaning of Life

What is the meaning of life? Isn’t this question too big for us? Do we even understand the question? This course will engage critically with several philosophical attempts to make sense of this fundamental question; we will discuss different answers to it. More specifically, we will deal with questions like the following: Can life have a meaning only if there is a God? Isn’t life just absurd? Is there anything that really matters? Is death a problem for the attempt to lead a meaningful life? (and wouldn’t immortality be a good alternative?) What is the role of purpose, purposes and plans in our lives? Is a meaningful life a happy life? What role do values and goals play in a meaningful life? And, finally: What is a good life?
Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Baumann.

PHIL 005. First-Year Seminar: Human Nature

Who are we? Who are we becoming? Who could we become? Are we masters of the universe, co-participants in a larger whole, or instigators of an out-of-control path to destruction? What makes us distinct? How do we compare with other animals or machines? What part does our technology play in who we are? We will read classic conceptions of human nature drawn from the Western tradition of philosophy like Plato, Descartes, Rousseau, Kant, and Nietzsche. And we will consider interdisciplinary material drawn from evolutionary theory, animal studies, robotics, and neuroscience in order to consider how we might revise or rethink some of these earlier conceptions.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 006. First-Year Seminar: Life, Mind, and Consciousness

Classical problems of the nature and extent of life, the modern problems of mind and body, and contemporary issues that center on consciousness and thought serve as a chronological introduction to central philosophical issues. Individual writing conferences supplement plenary discussion sessions.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Raff.

PHIL 008B. First-Year Seminar: Philosophy, Culture, and Film

On how some major philosophers (Plato, Descartes, Marx, with some attention to Hegel and Nietzsche) have criticized forms of social and personal life and argued against the grains of their cultures in favor of life otherwise. Their work will be continuously compared with creative work on problems of human life by some major filmmakers (Herzog, Capra, Hawks).
Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Eldridge.

PHIL 010. First-Year Seminar: Questions of Inquiry

Classical and contemporary philosophical readings on questions of the nature and rationale for inquiry in science, morality, religion, and in philosophy itself.

Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Raff.

PHIL 011. Moral Philosophy

‘What should I do?’ This question is as old as philosophy itself. Just as it is one of the oldest and most complex philosophical puzzles, it also frequently occupies the minds of individuals in their day-to-day lives. In this course, we will focus on both ways of approaching this question. From the philosophical direction, we will discuss the ways in which philosophers have attempted to understand and describe our moral beliefs and commitments. From the practical direction, we will ask ourselves what it means to ascribe to these moral theories and how we might be able to actuallylive them.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for PEAC credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Thomason.

PHIL 012. Logic

An introduction to the principles of deductive logic with equal emphasis on the syntactic and semantic aspects of logical systems. The place of logic in philosophy will also be examined.
No prerequisite. Required of all philosophy majors.
Eligible for COGS credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Eldridge.

PHIL 013. Modern Philosophy

Seventeenth- and 18th-century theories of knowledge, morals, and metaphysics studied in philosophical masterpieces by Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Raff.

PHIL 016. Philosophy of Religion

(Cross-listed as RELG 015B)
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Wallace.

PHIL 017. Aesthetics

On the nature of art and its roles in human life, considering problems of interpretation and evaluation and some specific medium of art: Who should care about art? Why? How?
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 018. Philosophy of Science

(See PHIL 119)
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 019. Philosophy and Literature and Film

This course will focus on two interrelated issues 1) the natures of literature and film, and 2) their value for human life. Close attention will be paid to the formal, structural, thematic, aesthetic, and material features of works of literary and film art.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 020. Plato and His Modern Readers

(Cross-listed as CLAS 020)
Plato’s dialogues are complex works that require literary as well as philosophical analysis. While our primary aim will be to develop interpretations of the dialogues themselves, we will also view Plato through the lens of various modern and postmodern interpreters (e.g., Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Jung, Foucault, Irigaray, Rorty, Lacan, Nussbaum, Vlastos)
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for CLST credit.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Ledbetter.

PHIL 021. Social and Political Philosophy

The focus of this course is to explore the relationship between the individual and the state. We will examine three different conceptions of individuals and the three different theories of the state to which they give rise: political realism, political liberalism, and critical political theory. First we examine the historical foundations of these three theories. Then we will read contemporary work on particular issues in order to
draw out the implications of the three frameworks. We will see how each framework deals with questions about censorship, personal liberty, civil disobedience, and national security.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for PEAC credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 023. Metaphysics

Traditional issues of reality and appearance, and traditional topics of God, Freedom, and Immortality are background for contemporary questions of being.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 024. Theory of Knowledge

What is knowledge? Can we have it? If not, why not? If yes, how? Can we have a priori, “armchair” knowledge? Is cognition essentially social? What, if anything, is problematic about inductive inferences? How do our different senses relate to each other? In what consists the value of knowledge (if any)? We will discuss classic and contemporary answers to such questions.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for COGS credit.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Raff.

PHIL 025. Philosophy of Mathematics

Topics will include the nature of mathematical objects and mathematical knowledge, proof and truth, mathematics as discovery or creation, the character of applied mathematics, and the geometry of physical space. A considerable range of 20th-century views on these topics will be investigated including logicism (Frege and Russell), formalism (Hilbet), intuitionism (Brouwer and Dummett), platonism (Gödel), and empiricism (Kitcher). Important mathematical results pertaining to these topics, their proofs, and their philosophical implications will be studied in depth (e.g., the paradoxes of set theory, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, and relative consistency proofs for non-Euclidean geometries).
Prerequisites: Logic, acceptance as a major in mathematics, or approval of instructor.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 026. Language and Meaning

(Cross-listed as LING 026)
Language is an excellent tool for expressing and communicating thoughts. You can let your friend know that there will probably be fewer than 25 trains from Elwyn to Gladstone next Wednesday—but could you do this without using language? (have you tried?) Even more interesting is the question how you can do this using language. How can the sounds I produce or the marks that I leave on this sheet of paper be about the dog outside chasing the squirrel? How can words refer to things and how can sentences be true or false? Where does meaning come from? Philosophy has dealt with such questions for a long time but it was only a bit more than 100 years ago that these questions have taken center stage in philosophy. We will read and discuss such more recent authors, starting with Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein and leading up to authors like Austin, Quine, Kripke and Putnam.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for COGS credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Baumann.

PHIL 031. Advanced Logic

A survey of various technical and philosophical issues arising from the study of deductive logical systems. Topics are likely to include extensions of classical logic (e.g., the logic of necessity and possibility [modal logic], the logic of time [tense logic], etc.); alternatives to classical logic (e.g., intuitionistic logic, paraconsistent logic); metatheory (e.g., soundness, compactness, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem); philosophical questions (e.g., What distinguishes logic from non-logic? Could logical principles ever be revised in the light of empirical evidence?).
Prerequisite: PHIL 012.
Eligible for COGS credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 035. Environmental Ethics

Environmental ethics is normative moral and political philosophy as it pertains to environmental questions, concerns and issues. Here are some of the questions we’ll examine: Who counts in environmental ethics: animals, plants, ecosystems? E.g., culling deer in the Crum woods is bad for the deer killed but good for the flora and other fauna of the Crum; Does nature possess intrinsic value or only instrumental value?; Are values merely subjective e.g., expressions of personal preference or taste, or can they be, in some sense, objective?; Is there one sound environmental ethic or several?; Should we accept the claims of so-called “deep ecology” or is a more pragmatic approach better?; Should we be more concerned with sustaining, restoring, or preserving the environment e.g., with respect to wilderness?; How do we resolve a conflict between feeding people and saving nature?; Can we integrate human rights with environmentalism? Democratic decision making? This course is open to all, though it would be
desirable if students had at least one philosophy course.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for ENVS credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 039. Existentialism

In this course, we will examine existentialist thinkers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre, Beauvoir, and Camus to explore themes of contemporary European philosophy, including the self, responsibility and authenticity, and the relationships between body and mind, fantasy and reality, and literature and philosophy.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Lorraine.

PHIL 040. Semantics

(Cross-listed as LING 040)
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Note: This is not a writing course for PHIL.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 and spring 2015. Staff.

PHIL 045. Futures in Feminism

In this course, we will investigate the future directions feminist theory in the 21st century could or should take by looking at recent feminist theory and asking where we can go from here. Areas we will investigate include transnational theory, poststructuralist feminist theory, cultural theory, third-wave theory, critical race theory, and queer theory as well as theories that may not easily fit into any prevailing category of feminist thought.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for GSST credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 049. Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud

This course will examine the work of three 19th-century “philosophers of suspicion” who challenged the self-presence of consciousness by considering consciousness as an effect of other forces. Their investigations into one’s understanding of truth as the effect of will-to-power (Nietzsche), one’s understanding of reality as the effect of class position (Marx), and consciousness as the effect of unconscious forces (Freud) provide an important background to contemporary questions about the nature of reality, human identity, and social power.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Lorraine.

PHIL 051. Human Rights and Atrocity

Are there such things as human rights? If so, where do they come from and how are they best conceived? What should we do when they are violated? This course examines the theoretical underpinnings of human rights. To try to understand and answer these questions, we will read traditional philosophical arguments and accounts of human rights in addition to philosophical examinations of atrocities like genocide. We will then use the philosophical works to examine specific historical examples of human rights violations such as genocide, war rape, and apartheid.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for PEAC credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 052. Bioethics

Advances in medicine and biological research have no doubt contributed both to the body of human knowledge and to the advances of modern life. But these great strides are accompanied by serious ethical questions and those questions are the topic of this course. We will approach issues in bioethics from two perspectives. First, we will grapple with the ethical issues themselves, such as the use of human subjects in experimentation, physician-assisted suicide, and the rights of reproduction (among many others). Second, we will examine these issues at the level of policy: what can doctors, patients, researchers, and lawmakers actually do about any of these issues and how do we go about making those hard choices?
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 055. Philosophy of Law

In this course, we will examine some of the major theories of law: what exactly is law and why do we have to follow it? We then move to specific questions about criminal law, punishment, and civil disobedience. We conclude with a discussion of issues in international law and just war theory.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Thomason.

PHIL 059. Humans, Animals, and Robots

The philosophical tradition of phenomenology takes lived experience as its starting point and insists upon the embodied nature of human minds. Once we take our embodiment seriously, how different are we from other animals? And what would it take for computer circuits to replicate something like human sentience? What can phenomenological descriptions of lived experience add to our understanding of who we are? This course will take a phenomenological perspective on what it is to be human and explore questions about embodiment, consciousness, rationality, affect, and identity, as well as the boundaries between the human and other forms of sentience.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 061. Philosophy of Race and Gender

Philosophers have long been interested in questions of identity, but that topic has largely been approached from the perspective of an abstract self. Female and LBGTQ philosophers and philosophers of color explore identity from within particular perspectives that are informed by gender and race. The authors we will read explore philosophical questions about race and gender through a mix of personal narratives and conceptual analysis. We will be primarily concerned with three broad issues of identity: (1) how race and gender have been historically understood and (2) how race and gender are experienced by individuals, and (3) how race and gender ought to be conceived.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for BLST and GSST credit.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 069. Phenomenology—Then and Now

In this course we will take a phenomenological perspective on lived experience in order to investigate questions about subjectivity, perception, temporality, and the roots of knowledge in being-in-the-world. How does abstract thought emerge from pre-reflective immersion in the world and what kind of light might a closer look at lived experience shed on questions about who we are, what we know, and how we ought to live? In addition to close readings of classic figures in phenomenology like Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, we will read work that manifests phenomenology’s continued relevance to questions we face in the 21st century about what it means to be human, embodied cognition, and environmental change.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for INTP credit.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 079. Poststructuralism

This course will examine poststructuralist thinkers such as Foucault, Derrida, Kristeva, and Deleuze in light of contemporary questions about identity, embodiment, the relationship between self and other, and ethics.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 086. Philosophy of Mind

(See PHIL 118)
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one course in PHIL 001–010, or PHIL 012, before enrolling in this course.
Eligible for COGS credit.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 093. Directed Reading

Requires approval of a department faculty member sponsor.
Each semester. Staff.

PHIL 096. Senior Course Thesis

Requires approval of a department faculty member sponsor and the department.
Each semester. Staff.

PHIL 099. Senior Course Study

Required for all philosophy course majors.
1 credit.
Spring semester. Staff.
Seminars

PHIL 101. Moral Philosophy

An examination of the principal theories of value, virtue, and moral obligation—and their justification. The focus will be primarily on contemporary treatments of moral philosophy. A central question of seminar will be the possibility and desirability of moral theory.
2 credits.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 102. Ancient Philosophy

For the Greeks and Romans, philosophy was a way of life and not merely an academic discipline. With this perspective in mind, we will examine topics in ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, and theology through close readings of Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. We will also look more briefly at the thought of the Presocratics and the Stoics.
2 credits.
Eligible for CLST credit.
Fall 2014. Ledbetter.

PHIL 103. Selected Modern Philosophers

One or more 17th–or 18th–century philosophers selected for systematic or comparative study.
2 credits.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 104. Topics in Metaphysics

One or more central topics in contemporary metaphysics selected for sustained study: include: freedom, causation, universals, categories, necessity, identity of things and people, fiction, God.
2 credits.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 106. Aesthetics and Theory of Criticism

On the nature of art and its roles in human life, considering problems of interpretation and evaluation and some specific medium of art.
Eligible for INTP credit.
2 credits.
Spring 2015. Eldridge.

PHIL 113. Topics in Epistemology

What is knowledge? Can we have it? If not, why not? If yes, how? What does it mean to have evidence, justification or reasons for ones beliefs? How rational or irrational are we? Can we have a priori, “armchair” knowledge? Is cognition essentially social? We will discuss classic and contemporary answers to such questions.
Eligible for COGS credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 114. Nineteenth-Century Philosophy

The historical treatment of such topics as knowledge, morality, God’s existence, and freedom in Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche.
Eligible for INTP credit.
2 credits.
Fall 2014. Eldridge.

PHIL 116. Language and Meaning

(Cross-listed as LING 116)
Behaviorist theories of meaning, cognitivist theories of meaning, and conceptions of language as a social practice will be surveyed and criticized.
Eligible for COGS credit.
2 credits.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 118. Philosophy of Mind

The course is divided into three principal sections, focusing on philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science. Section 1 covers four core positions in the philosophy of mind “dualism, behaviorism, materialism, and functionalism,” and it serves as an overview of traditional philosophy of mind. Section 2 explores how the philosophical ideas developed above connect to ongoing research in artificial intelligence. Section 3 concerns the philosophy of cognitive science, a field that investigates the biological and neurophysiological underpinnings of human mentality. Part of the aim is to clarify the goals and methods of cognitive science and to investigate ways in which advances in cognitive science may yield philosophical insights into the nature of mind.
Eligible for COGS credit.
2 credits.
Spring 2015. Baumann.

PHIL 119. Philosophy of Science

A study of philosophical problems arising out of the presuppositions, methods, and results of the natural sciences, focusing particularly on the effectiveness of science as a means for obtaining knowledge. Topics include the difference between science and pseudoscience; the idea that we can “prove” or “confirm” scientific theories; explanation and prediction; the status of scientific methodology as rational, objective, and value free; and the notion that science aims to give us (and succeeds in giving us) knowledge of the underlying unobservable structure of the world.
2 credits.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 121. Social and Political Philosophy

The focus of this seminar is justice: what makes a society or a state just and how to we deal with issues of oppression and injustice? We begin with historical conceptions of political power and examine critiques of these traditions. We then turn to current questions about the nature of justice from the liberal, libertarian, neo-Marxist, and feminist traditions. We end the course with a discussion of current issues of social justice.
2 credits.
Fall 2014. Thomason.

PHIL 125. Philosophy of Mathematics

Mathematics is a discipline whose elegance, rigor, and stunning usefulness across a huge variety of applications has made it a central part of every school and college curriculum. But what exactly is mathematics about? At one level, the answer seems obvious: Mathematics is about numbers, functions, sets, geometrical figures, and so on. But what are these things? Do they exist? If so, where? And how do we come to know anything about them? If they do not exist, what makes mathematics true? This seminar will tackle these issues and look at what some of the great philosophers such as Plato, Descartes, Kant, and Wittgenstein have had to say about mathematics.
2 credits.
Not offered 2014–2015.

PHIL 139. Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Poststructuralism

In this course, we will examine the themes of reality, truth, alienation, authenticity, death, desire, and human subjectivity as they emerge in contemporary European philosophy. We will consider thinkers such as Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida, and Irigaray to place contemporary themes of poststructuralist thought in the context of the phenomenological and existential tradition out of which they emerge.
Eligible for INTP credit.
2 credits.
Spring 2015. Lorraine.

PHIL 180. Senior Honors Thesis

A thesis may be submitted by majors in the department in place of one honors paper, on application by the student and at the discretion of the department.
Each semester. Staff.

PHIL 199. Senior Honors Study

Required of all philosophy honors students.
1 credit majors; 0.5 credit minors.
Spring semester.