Office: 5057 Woodward, 12th floor; 313-577-2474
Chairperson: John Corvino
Undergraduate Advisor: Royanne Smith
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Joshua Wilburn
Courses in this department are designed with four aims:
- They contribute to the liberal education of any student, whatever his/her predominant interest, by their emphasis on clear and cogent thought, by consideration of the interrelations of fact and value, by training in logic and the methodology of inquiry, and by a study and analysis of major philosophical outlooks.
- They supply a minor and cognate courses to students majoring in other Departments who wish to study their major subject in its wider philosophical implications.
- They give Departmental majors a wide and intensive training in philosophy. The major appeals to those who wish to take graduate work in philosophy and to those who wish a broad background from which to study and understand the emergence and conflict of ideas in relation to contemporary problems.
- They supply a relevant major and minor for students who plan a career in such fields as the law or the ministry.
CORVINO, JOHN F.: Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin; B.A., St. John's University; Professor and Chair
COTTRELL, JONATHAN D.: Ph.D., New York University; B.A., University of Oxford; Assistant Professor
FANSELOW, RYAN T.: Ph.D., M.A., University of Maryland; B.A., University of California, Riverside; Lecturer
HIDDLESTON, ERIC D.: Ph.D., M.A., Cornell University; B.A., University of Nebraska; Associate Professor
KIM, KATHERINE: Ph.D., M.A., University of Washington; B.A., University of Southern California; Assistant Professor
LOMBARD, LAWRENCE B.: Ph.D., Stanford University; A.B., Cornell University; Professor
MCKINSEY, T. MICHAEL: Ph.D., Indiana University; M.A., Kansas State University; B.A., Southern Methodist University; Professor
RUSSELL, BRUCE A.: Ph.D., M.A., B.S., University of California, Davis; Professor
STIDD, SEAN C.: Ph.D, M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; B.S., Harvey Mudd College; Senior Lecturer
VINEBERG, SUSAN N.: Ph.D., B.A., University of California, Berkeley; Associate Professor
WILBURN, JOSHUA J.: Ph.D., Princeton University; B.A., University of Texas, Austin; Associate Professor
YANAL, ROBERT J.: Ph.D., M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago; B.A., University of Pittsburgh; Professor Emeritus
PHI 1010 (PL) Introduction to Philosophy Cr. 4
Survey of some major questions that have occupied philosophers throughout history, such as Does God exist? What is a good person? Do we have free will? Is the mind the same as the brain? What can we really know? Course will acquaint students with major figures both historical and contemporary. Offered Every Term.
PHI 1020 (PL) Honors Introduction to Philosophy Cr. 3-4
Survey of some major questions that have occupied philosophers throughout history, such as Does God exist? What is a good person? Do we have free will? What can we really know? Course will acquaint students with major figures both historical and contemporary. Offered Irregularly.
PHI 1050 (CT) Critical Thinking Cr. 3
Knowledge and skills relevant to the critical evaluation of claims and arguments. Topics will include: the formulation and identification of deductively and inductively warranted conclusions from available evidence; the assessment of the strengths of arguments; the assessment of consistency, inconsistency, implications, and equivalence among statements; the identification of fallacious patterns of inference; and the recognition of explanatory relations among statements. Offered Every Term.
PHI 1100 (PL) Contemporary Moral Issues Cr. 3
Critical discussion of contemporary moral issues including pornography, adultery, same-sex marriage, abortion, preferential treatment, obligations to the poor, capital punishment, terrorism, and others. Offered Yearly.
Repeatable for 9 Credits
PHI 1110 (PL) Ethical Issues in Health Care Cr. 3
Survey of moral issues that arise in the practice of medicine and in pursuit of medical knowledge: abortion, euthanasia, experimentation on human subjects, informed consent, rights to health care, genetic engineering, the concepts of death, health and disease. Offered Yearly.
PHI 1120 (PL) Professional Ethics Cr. 3
Critical examination of moral issues in the workplace, including: discrimination and preferential treatment, sexual harassment, whistle-blowing, privacy and disclosure, corporate social responsibility. No credit after PHI 1110. Offered Yearly.
PHI 1130 (PL) Environmental Ethics Cr. 3
Is the natural world something to be valued in itself, or is its value exhausted by the uses human beings derive from it? This course introduces students to some of the major views on the subject, anthropocentric (human-centered) and non-anthropocentric. Offered Yearly.
Restriction(s): Enrollment is limited to Undergraduate level students.
PHI 1200 (PL) Life and Death Cr. 3
Central philosophical and religious questions about life and death, and the enterprise of answering these questions through reasoning and argument. What is it to be alive, and to die? Do we cease to exist when we die, or might we continue to exist in an afterlife following our deaths? Should we fear or regret the fact that we will die someday, or should we be indifferent to it? Why is killing wrong? Is it always wrong to prevent a life from beginning, or to help someone bring his or her own life to an end? What, if anything, makes a life meaningful? We will study the ways in which these questions are raised and answered in a selection of classic and contemporary works of philosophy and literature. Offered Yearly.
History of Philosophy
PHI 2100 (PL) Ancient Greek Philosophy Cr. 3
Introduction to the Western philosophical tradition from its origins in Ancient Greece. Readings from the pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle. Offered Biannually.
PHI 2110 (PL) Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Philosophy Cr. 3
A survey of the views concerning knowledge and reality of the major European philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Offered Biannually.
PHI 2150 (FC) Chinese Philosophy Cr. 3
Main philosophical traditions from ancient to pre-Communist China. Readings from Confucianism. Taoism, Mohism, Legalism, Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, and the Chinese Enlightenment. Offered Winter.
Restriction(s): Enrollment is limited to Undergraduate level students.
PHI 3450 Existentialism Cr. 3
Examines major philosophical views and figures in the Existentialist tradition, such as Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, de Beauvoir, Buber, Ortega y Gassett, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Offered Fall.
PHI 5400 The Presocratics and Sophists Cr. 4
Selected readings on topics in philosophers who preceded or were contemporaneous with Socrates (7th - 5th centuries B.C.E), such as Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno, Democritus. Offered Irregularly.
PHI 5410 Plato Cr. 4
Selected readings on topics in Plato. Offered Biannually.
PHI 5420 Aristotle Cr. 4
Selected readings on topics in Aristotle. Offered Biannually.
PHI 5440 Continental Rationalism Cr. 4
Topics concerning Descartes, Spinoza or Leibniz. Offered Irregularly.
PHI 5450 British Empiricism Cr. 4
Topics concerning Locke, Berkeley or Hume. Offered Irregularly.
Theory of Value
PHI 2320 (PL) Introduction to Ethics Cr. 3
An introduction to some classical and modern views concerning such questions as: What determines the rightness and wrongness of actions? What is the nature of moral reasoning? What constitutes a moral life? Offered Every Term.
PHI 2330 Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy Cr. 3
Introduction to the basic issues of political philosophy, such as the nature of the state, the ways of justifying its power and authority over its citizens; a philosophical analysis of central concepts like those of freedom, justice, and equality. Selected readings from some of the following: Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, and Rawls. Offered Irregularly.
PHI 2390 Philosophy of Human Rights Cr. 3
Addresses central issues in the philosophy of human rights, including questions about the foundation, content, and application of human rights. Examines different approaches to the foundation of human rights and considers whether human rights have one unique foundation or plural foundations. Offered Fall.
PHI 3270 Foundations of Law Cr. 3
The legal system we live under commands, forbids, punishes, and defines responsibilities and harm. Common-sense morality: what is it, and what is its relation to law? Statutory interpretation: do judges create new law? Punishment: why do we have it, and what rights do the accused have? What is the legal concept of harm and responsibility? Offered Biannually.
PHI 3700 (PL) Philosophy of Art Cr. 3
What are art works? Why are they so moving? What is the nature of the experience they offer? This course introduces the student to some of the schools of thought on these issues. It also attempts to deal with the specific natures of the various artistic media, such as: drama, literature, film, painting, photography, music and opera. Offered Every Term.
PHI 5240 Special Topics in Social and Political Philosophy Cr. 4
Selected topics and readings from major social and political philosophers. Offered Irregularly.
Repeatable for 8 Credits
PHI 5260 Philosophy of Sex and Gender Cr. 3
Explores ethical and conceptual issues surrounding sex, gender, and sexual orientation. Specific topics include conceptual analysis of sex, gender, and sexual orientation; sexual perversion, natural law, consent, marriage, adultery, “casual” sex, polygamy and polyamory, prostitution, and pornography. Offered Biannually.
PHI 5270 Philosophy of Law Cr. 4
Intensive investigation and discussion of special topics or particular authors in the philosophy of law. Offered Biannually.
PHI 5280 History of Ethics Cr. 4
A survey and discussion of historically important moral philosophers from Plato to Mill. Offered Biannually.
PHI 5300 Foundations of Ethics Cr. 4
Twentieth century moral philosophers in the analytic tradition, with focus on debates in moral realism, moral epistemology, and the ""Why be moral?"" question; includes such philosophers as Moore, Stevenson, Foot, Mackie, Blackburn, Gibbard, Parfit, Korsgaard, and Railton. Offered Biannually.
PHI 2400 (PL) Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion Cr. 3
Religious beliefs provide subject matter for philosophical study; for example, Are the traditional arguments for the existence of God credible? Does the existence of evil conflict with a belief in God's omnipotence and omnibenevolence? What is the value of religious experience? Offered Irregularly.
PHI 2550 (PL) Introduction to Philosophy of Science Cr. 3
Distinguishing science from non-science; how scientific knowledge is established; what constitutes scientific progress; whether science is cumulative; the place of science in the enterprise of knowledge and rational belief. Offered Biannually.
PHI 2650 Philosophy of Psychology Cr. 3
Central examples of these questions and proposed answers: Could we build an intelligent computer? Is our mind just a piece of software that our brain is running? Is there a ""language of thought""? Are we much less rational than we think? How can we understand each other's minds? Can there be laws in psychology? What is consciousness, and can it be studied scientifically? We will address these and other questions via the work of philosophers, psychologists and cognitive scientists. Offered Fall, Winter.
Equivalent: PSY 2650
PHI 3500 (PL) Theory of Knowledge Cr. 3
The distinction between knowledge and belief is germane to every field of inquiry. What is the difference between knowledge and belief? Do we know anything at all? If so, how? Are we ever in a position of being certain about beliefs pertaining to an objective world? Is our belief in an objective world based on our subjective experiences? Offered Every Term.
PHI 3550 (PL) Metaphysics Cr. 3
Survey and examination of some of the enduring questions of metaphysics concerning the nature of reality. Topics include: the nature of physical objects, abstract entities, the concepts of time and change, the relation between mind and body, causation, the nature of metaphysics. Offered Yearly.
PHI 3600 Space, Time, and the Philosophy of Physics Cr. 3
Survey of some principal problems concerning the concepts of space and time and their relation to physical theories. Topics include: our knowledge of the geometric features of the world, the existence of space and time, time without change, the passage of time, the philosophical foundations and implications of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, and the explanation of motion and the General Theory of Relativity. No prior knowledge of modern physics will be presupposed. Offered Biannually.
Prerequisites: ([PHI 2000 with a minimum grade of D-])
PHI 5230 Philosophy of Science Cr. 4
Intensive investigation and discussion of special topics or particular authors in the philosophy of science. Offered Yearly.
PHI 5500 Topics in Metaphysics Cr. 4
Intensive investigation and discussion of special topics or particular authors in metaphysics. Offered Yearly.
PHI 5530 Topics in Epistemology Cr. 4
Intensive investigation and discussion of special topics or particular authors in the theory of knowledge. Offered Irregularly.
PHI 5550 Philosophy of Mind Cr. 4
Intensive investigation and discussion of special topics or particular authors concerned with the nature and status of the mental and theories about the mental. Offered Biannually.
PHI 5570 Philosophy of Language Cr. 4
Intensive investigation and discussion of philosophical problems concerning meaning, truth, and the nature of language. Offered Biannually.
Equivalent: LIN 5570
PHI 5630 Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy I Cr. 4
Major works, movements, and writers in the analytic tradition in the twentieth century up to the 1940s, such as Frege, Russell, Moore, the early Wittgenstein, Carnap, Ayer. Offered Irregularly.
PHI 5640 Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy II Cr. 4
Major works, movements, and writers in the analytic tradition from the 1940s to the present, such as Quine, Austin, Ryle, the later Wittgenstein, Grice, Kripke, Putnam. Offered Irregularly.
PHI 2850 Introductory Symbolic Logic Cr. 3
The logic of propositions; the general logic of predicates and relations. Offered Yearly.
Equivalent: LIN 1850
PHI 2860 Honors Introductory Symbolic Logic Cr. 3
See PHI 1850. Offered Yearly.
Equivalent: LIN 1860
PHI 5050 Advanced Symbolic Logic Cr. 4
Formal, extensive treatment of first-order predicate logic with emphasis on the notions of a formal logical language and truth in a model; the logic of identity; definite descriptions; brief introductions to set theory and the metatheory of propositional and first-order logic; some additional advanced topics to be selected by the instructor. Offered Yearly.
Equivalent: LIN 5050
PHI 5350 Logical Systems I Cr. 4
Metaresults concerning formal systems of first-order logics; soundness, completeness, and compactness; introduction to model theory; introduction to recursive functions and Church's theorem; formalization of elementary arithmetic; discussion of Godel's first and second incompleteness theorems; and Tarski's theorem. Offered Irregularly.
Prerequisites: ([PHI 1850 with a minimum grade of D-] OR [PHI 1860 with a minimum grade of D-] OR [PHI 5050 with a minimum grade of D-] OR [MAT 5600 with a minimum grade of D-] OR [MAT 5420 with a minimum grade of D-])
Equivalent: MAT 5350
PHI 3800 Topics in Philosophy Cr. 3
Topics to be announced in Schedule of Classes . Offered Irregularly.
Repeatable for 6 Credits
PHI 4870 Honors Directed Reading Cr. 4
Research on topic of honors essay and research for comprehensive examinations. Offered Fall.
Restriction(s): Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Philosophy Honors, enrollment limited to students in a Bachelor of Arts degree.
PHI 4890 Honors Thesis Cr. 3
Continuation of PHI 4870. Offered Winter.
Restriction(s): Enrollment limited to students in the Honors College.
PHI 4995 Research Training Cr. 1-4
Students engage in an independent research project and learn research methods in Philosophy under the supervision of a faculty member. Offered Every Term.
Repeatable for 4 Credits
PHI 5800 Special Topics in Philosophy Cr. 2-4
Topics and prerequisites to be announced in Schedule of Classes . Offered Irregularly.
Repeatable for 8 Credits
PHI 5990 Directed Reading Cr. 1-6
Intensive investigation by student on topic chosen by student in consultation with instructor. Offered Every Term.
Repeatable for 12 Credits
PHI 5993 (WI) Writing Intensive Course in Philosophy Cr. 0
Disciplinary writing assignments under direction of faculty member. Must be selected in conjunction with a course designated as a corequisite; see section listing in Schedule of Classes for corequisites available each term. Satisfies the University General Education Writing Intensive Course in the Major requirement. Directed practice in rewriting assignments for the concurrently-elected course, for the purpose of perfecting skills in philosophical writing. Does not count toward the course minimums for the major or minor. Required for all majors. Offered Every Term.
Restriction(s): Enrollment is limited to Undergraduate level students.