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This course introduces students to some of the main issues in Western philosophy. Students will be exposed to classic and contemporary writings from core areas of philosophy such as epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, social/political philosophy, and aesthetics. By critically evaluating the arguments that arise in these areas, students will develop a deeper understanding of the nature of philosophical inquiry. Emphasis will also be placed on how thinking philosophically can help us address many important contemporary issues.
Introduces students to the problems of philosophy through the critical examination of the earliest developments of Western thought. Philosophers covered are the Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
The aim of this course is to equip students with the capacity to critically evaluate various claims, arguments, and other purported reasons for belief. The focus will not be on factual knowledge. Rather, the goal is for students to acquire a certain skill, or know-how. Students will learn to identify and construct arguments, discern whether the premises of arguments support their conclusions, and discover many common valid and invalid argument forms. Students will also learn to identify common logical fallacies in real-world examples, construct arguments for "should" conclusions (e.g., arguments with the conclusion that such-and-such should be done), and analyze analogies.
An introductory course in which students will critically examine the problems of philosophy which were addressed by the major philosophical movements of 17th- and 18th-Century Europe. Emphasis will be placed on issues in metaphysics and epistemology. Representative readings will be selected from among the works of Descartes, Malebranche, Leibniz, Spinoza, Bacon, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and Kant.
Primarily concerned with the post-Kantian trends in the philosophy of 19th century Europe. Emphasis will be placed on the most conspicuous figures of this period including Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Mill, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.
The student will be introduced to the two major philosophical movements of the 20th century, Analytic Philosophy and Existentialism, through selected writings of such philosophers as Moore, Russell, Austin, Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus.
An introductory course in symbolic logic. Students will be introduced to the basic principles of logical analysis, including argument recognition, the distinction between deductive and inductive arguments, validity, and soundness. Students will also learn how to construct truth tables and proofs in propositional logic. The fundamentals of predicate logic will also be covered.
An introduction to basic problems about the application of the concepts of right, wrong, good and bad to persons and their actions. Topics covered may include major ethical traditions, relativism and absolutism, morality and religion, and the foundations of moral obligation.
An introductory course examining issues in the traditions of western religious thought, e.g., proofs of the existence of God, the problem of evil, the relationship between religious belief and moral belief, religious experience and knowledge, immortality.
Devoted to the search for characteristically American contributions to philosophical investigations. The course will examine how the issues of the great tradition of philosophy, developed in Europe, in the theories of existence, knowledge, ethics, and politics, have all been addressed by writers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Pierce, James, Dewey, Margaret Fuller, and also by Native American thinkers.
This course is an investigation of fundamental ethical issues relating to the fields of engineering and technology, focusing on organizing principles and ethical theory to frame problems that are typically encountered in the engineering industry. Topics to be discussed include: professional responsibility and accountability; honesty and integrity in the workplace; intellectual property; conflicts of interest; environmental issues; risk, safety and product reliability; legal liability; and diversity in the workplace. Contemporary case studies will be examined and debated in the context of such traditional philosophical schools of thought as utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. Prerequisite: ENG 103 or Permission of Instructor.
This course introduces students to moral concepts that will help them understand humanity's relationship with the natural world. The first part of the course considers the extent to which traditional moral concepts can be extended to non-human aspects of the world. Later, students will explore more non-traditional approaches to the issue, including biocentrism, ecocentrism, ecofeminism and Native American perspectives. Students will also have the opportunity to apply theoretical tools to an examination of some practical issues surrounding the environment and sustainability, such as global climate change, overpopulation and pollution.
This course concerns the fundamental nature of law, and the relations between law and morality. It covers natural law, imperative and rule-based theories of the nature of law, and alternative statements of the justice of law. The philosophers covered in the course will include Aristotle, Aquinas, Austen, Hart and Rawls. Prerequisite: one prior course in PHI or Permission of Instructor.
Concerned with the nature of scientific theories and the evidence for them, as well as the ways these theories develop and change. Examples of the sorts of problems to be considered are the status of theoretical entities, the problems of induction, simplicity of theories, isomorphism of theories, and the nature of prediction. Examples of theories will be drawn from classical as well as contemporary science. Prerequisite: one prior course in PHI or Permission of Instructor.
Concerned with fundamental questions about the nature of reality and our knowledge of it. Emphasis will be placed on acquiring the analytic tools required to examine these areas intelligently, and an attempt will be made to show how uncritical opinions in these areas affect behavior and belief. Prerequisite: one prior course in PHI or Permission of Instructor.