Philosophy, BA

Program Description

Philosophy involves rigorous, persistent reflection on a wide range of issues, such as how one ought to live, the existence of God and the problem of evil, the relation between mind and body, and the ways in which beliefs may be justified. Students in philosophy courses learn to:

  • understand important periods, themes, movements, and figures in the history of philosophy;
  • apply ethical theories to major social issues;
  • analyze arguments using the principles and methods of logic;
  • develop their own philosophical views and arguments;
  • evaluate responses to problems in metaphysics, epistemology, and other areas of philosophy.

The study of philosophy can have a significant impact on one’s beliefs and values, and it helps develop a variety of intellectual skills and abilities which students can put to use in their lives, whatever they choose to do after they graduate. Among those skills and abilities are the capacities to engage in thinking that is critical, disciplined and creative; to express oneself effectively and appreciate the ideas and perspectives of others; to uncover and examine assumptions; to understand, construct, and evaluate arguments on different sides of issues; and to deal reasonably with questions to which there are no easy answers.

Studying philosophy also prepares students well for professional careers in such fields as law, ministry, psychology, business, and medicine, and for postgraduate work in philosophy. In recent years, philosophy majors have achieved exceptionally high scores on admissions tests to law schools and business schools (the LSAT and the GMAT) and on the GRE. They have been extremely successful in gaining admission to law schools and medical schools.

Students may select philosophy as a major or as a minor. Philosophy courses are also offered as electives for students in all fields of study.

Program Requirements

Students majoring in philosophy must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of philosophy course work, at least 21 of which must be at the upper-division level.

General Requirements

Requirements Credit Hours
Core Curriculum Program 42
First-Year Seminars (when applicable)1 0-2
Philosophy Major Requirements 30
University Electives 40-42
Foreign Language Requirements 6
Total Credit Hours 118-122
Full-time, First-year Students
UNIV 1101First-Year Seminar I1
UNIV 1102First-Year Seminar II1
Core Curriculum Program
University Core Curriculum42
Philosophy Major Requirements
PHIL 1301Introduction to Philosophy 1,23
PHIL 2303Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking 1,23
PHIL 2306Introduction to Ethics 13
History of Philosophy
Select 6 hours of the following:6
History of Eastern Philosophy I
History of Eastern Philosophy II
American Philosophy 3
Ancient Philosophy 3
Modern Philosophy 3
Contemporary Philosophy 3
Metaphysics and Epistemology
Select 6 hours of the following:6
American Philosophy 3
Minds and Machines
Metaphysics
Truth, Knowledge, and Justification
Ancient Philosophy 3
Modern Philosophy 3
Contemporary Philosophy 3
Philosophy and History of Science and Technology
Issues in Philosophy of Religion
Values and Society
Select 3 hours of the following:3
Philosophy of Love and Sex
Philosophy of Law
Social and Political Philosophy
The Meaning of Life
Ethics, War, and Terrorism
Moral Issues in Contemporary Medicine
Environmental Ethics
Moral Philosophy
Prescribed Electives
Select 6 hours of the following or any other upper-level Philosophy courses not used to satisfy the requirements of the groups listed above:6
Elementary Formal Logic
Philosophy and Science Fiction
Advanced Seminar in Philosophy
Philosophy of Language
Topics in Philosophy
Directed Individual Study
Total Hours74

Courses

PHIL 1301  Introduction to Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN EXAMINATION OF MAJOR PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES SUCH AS THE EXISTENCE OF GOD, FREEDOM AND DETERMINISM, MORAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS, AND THE NATURE AND LIMITS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE.

TCCNS: PHIL 1301  
PHIL 2303  Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

BASIC PRINCIPLES AND TECHNIQUES USED IN UNDERSTANDING, CONSTRUCTING, AND EVALUATING ARGUMENTS. TOPICS COVERED MAY INCLUDE FORMAL METHODS OF ANALYZING ARGUMENTS, INFORMAL FALLACIES, SCIENTIFIC REASONING, AND MORAL ARGUMENTS.

TCCNS: PHIL 2303  
PHIL 2306  Introduction to Ethics  
3 Semester Credit Hours  

THIS COURSE INCLUDES A STUDY OF ETHICAL THEORIES AND PRINCIPLES, AND APPLICATION OF THOSE THEORIES AND PRINCIPLES TO ETHICAL ISSUES. I

TCCNS: PHIL 2306  
PHIL 3306  History of Eastern Philosophy I  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF TRADITIONAL INDIAN PHILOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS (SUCH AS VARIOUS VERSIONS OF HINDUISM, JAINISM, AND BUDDHISM) AND THEIR RELEVANCE FOR CONTEMPORARY PEOPLE AND SOCIETIES.

PHIL 3307  History of Eastern Philosophy II  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF SOME OF THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS DEVELOPED IN CHINA, TIBET, AND JAPAN (SUCH AS VARIOUS SCHOOLS OF MAHAYANA BUDDHISM, TAOISM, CONFUCIANISM, AND ZEN BUDDHISM).

PHIL 3327  American Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

  AN INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY AND THE INFLUENTIAL MOVEMENT KNOWN AS PRAGMATISM. THE COURSE FOCUSES ON THE WORKS OF C.S. PEIRCE, WILLIAM JAMES, JOHN DEWEY, AND GEORGE SANTAYANA. ISSUES ADDRESSED INCLUDE SKEPTICISM, THE REJECTION OF FOUNDATIONALISM, THE ROLE OF BELIEF IN INQUIRY, VERIFICATION AND MEANING, AND THE NATURE OF TRUTH.

PHIL 3342  Philosophy of Love and Sex  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE IS A STUDY OF THE ETHICS OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS. TOPICS INCLUDE FRIENDSHIP, ROMANCE, MARRIAGE, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, ADULTERY, PROMISCUITY, SEXUAL CONSENT, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, RAPE, PORNOGRAPHY, AND PROSTITUTION.

PHIL 3343  Philosophy of Law  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES CONCERNING THE LAW, SUCH AS THE NATURE OF LAW, RELATIONS BETWEEN LAW AND MORALITY, THEORIES OF LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND THE ROLE OF LAW IN SOCIETY.

PHIL 3344  Social and Political Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A SURVEY OF CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY MATERIAL IN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY, COVERING TOPICS SUCH AS INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION, THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.

PHIL 3345  The Meaning of Life  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN EXPLORATION OF A VARIETY OF VIEWS CONCERNING THE MEANING OF LIFE. THREE KINDS OF RESPONSES TO THE QUESTION OF LIFE'S MEANING WILL BE EXAMINED: THEISTIC RESPONSES; NON-THEISTIC RESPONSES FOCUSING ON THE CREATION OF PERSONAL MEANING WITHIN A NATURAL UNIVERSE; AND RESPONSES THAT CHALLENGE THE INTELLIGIBILITY OF THE QUESTION REGARDING THE MEANING OF LIFE.

PHIL 3346  Elementary Formal Logic  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A COURSE ON TECHNICAL METHODS AND FOUNDATIONAL ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY, COMPUTER SCIENCE, AND MATHEMATICS. TOPICS INCLUDE THE PROPOSITIONAL CALCULUS, FIRST-ORDER PREDICATE CALCULUS, META-THEORETIC RESULTS (SUCH AS CONSISTENCY, SOUNDNESS, COMPLETENESS, AND DECIDABILITY), AND ZERMELO-FRAENKEL SET THEORY.

PHIL 3347  Philosophy and Science Fiction  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN EXPLORATION OF ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY SUCH AS THE NATURE OF LIFE, PERSONHOOD AND SELF, KNOWLEDGE AND SKEPTICISM, TIME TRAVEL, AND OBLIGATIONS TO THE NON-HUMAN WORLD. THE COURSE COMBINES THE READING OF PURELY PHILOSOPHICAL WORKS WITH AN EXAMINATION OF CONTEMPORARY WORKS OF SCIENCE FICTION (INCLUDING NOVELS, SHORT STORIES, AND FILMS).

PHIL 3348  Ethics, War, and Terrorism  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

 WHY IS IT WRONG TO KILL? IS KILLING AN INNOCENT PERSON EVER JUSTIFIED? UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS CAN WE JUSTIFY WAR? HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO TERRORIST THREATS? THE COURSE EXPLORES ETHICAL THEORIES IN APPLICATION TO THESE AND SIMILAR ISSUES.

PHIL 4303  Minds and Machines  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE MENTAL TO THE PHYSICAL AS IT PERTAINS TO THE FOUNDATIONS OF PSYCHOLOGY, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND ROBOTICS.

PHIL 4304  Metaphysics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN EXAMINATION OF ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY METAPHYSICS, SUCH AS FREEDOM OF THE WILL AND DETERMINISM, THE NATURE OF CAUSATION, THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM, AND THE EXISTENCE OF ABSTRACT AND CONCRETE ENTITIES.

PHIL 4305  Truth, Knowledge, and Justification  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

IN THIS COURSE, WE WILL DISCUSS THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AMONG OTHERS: WHAT IS THE NATURE OF TRUTH? SHOULD TRUTH BE UNDERSTOOD AS CORRESPONDENCE WITH REALITY? WHAT IS IT TO KNOW SOMETHING? IS KNOWLEDGE OF THE EXTERNAL WORLD POSSIBLE AT ALL? CAN I CONCLUSIVELY RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT I MIGHT BE DREAMING RIGHT NOW, OR THAT I MIGHT BE JUST A BRAIN IN A VAT? ARE THERE ANY PRIVILEGED BELIEFS THAT CAN BE SAID TO CONSTITUTE THE FOUNDATION FOR ALL OF OUR KNOWLEDGE? ARE THE STANDARDS FOR RATIONALITY AND JUSTIFICATION ABSOLUTE OR RATHER RELATIVE TO CULTURAL NORMS? CAN THERE BE RATIONAL DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN EQUALLY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE WHO SHARE THE SAME BODY OF EVIDENCE?

PHIL 4321  Ancient Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A SURVEY OF THE ANCIENT WESTERN PHILOSOPHICAL TRADITION, INCLUDING THE PRESOCRATICS, PLATO, ARISTOTLE, AND THE HELLENISTIC PHILOSOPHERS.

PHIL 4322  Modern Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A STUDY OF SOME OF THE MAJOR PHILOSOPHICAL DEVELOPMENTS OF THE 17TH -20TH CENTURIES, FOCUSING ON TOPICS SUCH AS THE RELATION BETWEEN MIND AND BODY, RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, RATIONALISM AND EMPIRICISM, AND THE LIMITS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE.

PHIL 4323  Contemporary Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A COURSE ON IMPORTANT TRENDS IN CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY BEGINNING WITH THE FREGEAN LINGUISTIC TURN, AND EXAMINING THE MAJOR WORKS OF PHILOSOPHERS SUCH AS FREGE, RUSSELL, WITTGENSTEIN, QUINE, DAVIDSON, DUMMETT, PUTNAM, KRIPKE, AND LEWIS.

PHIL 4330  Philosophy and History of Science and Technology  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN EXPLORATION OF IMPORTANT ISSUES CONCERNING THE NATURAL AND FORMAL SCIENCES FROM THE STANDPOINT OF HISTORICAL DISPUTES AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES. ISSUES INCLUDE THE NATURE OF SCIENCE AND OF SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS, THE JUSTIFICATION OF SCIENTIFIC THEORIES, THE POSSIBILITY OF OBJECTIVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD, THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SCIENCE AND PSEUDO-SCIENCE, AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND SCIENCE.

PHIL 4331  Issues in Philosophy of Religion  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

STANDARD PHILOSOPHICAL METHODS WILL BE USED TO EXPLORE ISSUES SUCH AS THE EXISTENCE AND NATURE OF GOD, THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MORALITY AND RELIGION.

PHIL 4332  Moral Issues in Contemporary Medicine  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN EXAMINATION OF MORAL ISSUES THAT ARISE IN MEDICINE, FOCUSING ON TOPICS SUCH AS EUTHANASIA, GENETIC INTERVENTIONS, MEDICAL RESEARCH INVOLVING VULNERABLE SUBJECTS, AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF MEDICAL RESOURCES.

PHIL 4333  Environmental Ethics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

AN EXAMINATION OF OUR ETHICAL OBLIGATIONS WITH RESPECT TO ANIMALS, PLANTS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS, AND OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND POLICY. CAN BE CROSS LISTED WITH ESCI 4490, BIOL 4590 OR BIMS 4590.

PHIL 4335  Moral Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A STUDY OF MORAL THEORIES, AND OF MORAL ISSUES SUCH AS WHETHER MORALITY IS SUBJECTIVE, WHETHER THERE ARE MORAL FACTS, AND THE JUSTIFICATION OF PRACTICES SUCH AS CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND ABORTION.

PHIL 4336  Advanced Seminar in Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

IN-DEPTH EXPLORATION OF PHILOSOPHICAL TOPICS, DESIGNED FOR PHILOSOPHY MAJORS, WITH EMPHASIS ON STUDENT RESEARCH AND PRESENTATIONS.

PHIL 4337  Philosophy of Language  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE NATURE OF LANGUAGE. TOPICS INCLUDE MEANING, TRUTH, THEORIES OF MEDIATED REFERENCE, THEORIES OF DIRECT REFERENCE, AND SPEECH ACTS.

PHIL 4390  Topics in Philosophy  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

STUDY OF IMPORTANT PHILOSOPHICAL THEMES AND FIGURES. MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT WHEN TOPICS VARY. TOPICS MAY INCLUDE, FOR EXAMPLE, MINDS AND MACHINES, EASTERN PHILOSOPHY, ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY, ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS, AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY, AND MORAL ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY MEDICINE.

PHIL 4396  Directed Individual Study  
1-3 Semester Credit Hours  

SEE COLLEGE DESCRIPTION.