Major

Ten courses, including 103, 201, 202; two courses at the 300-level; 401, plus four additional philosophy courses.

Declared majors have the right to participate in Departmental Meetings and to be consulted on significant changes to the academic program and policies.

Minor

Six courses chosen with the advice of the department.

Suggested curricular flow through the major

First Year
PHIL 101 or 102
PHIL 103*

Sophomore Year
PHIL 201* (Fall); PHIL 202* (Spring)
200 level electives

Junior Year
200 level electives
300 level seminars*♦

Senior Year
PHIL 401*
PHIL 300 level seminar*♦

*required for the major
♦taught as WR course
10 courses total which must include 103, 201, 202, two 300 level seminars, 401 (senior seminar)

Independent study and independent research

The department supports independent study by its majors, especially as leading to an Honors thesis (see below). Any student interested in independent study in philosophy should see the appropriate instructor to negotiate topics, readings, and logistics.

Honors

Students may complete an honors thesis in their senior year. The thesis is an original piece of philosophical writing, the product of student research and reflection, written under the guidance of a member of the department acting as adviser. Usually, students work on the thesis for two semesters senior year, enrolling in Independent Research (PHIL 500) each semester. Honors are awarded upon successful oral defense of the completed thesis.

Internships

Many students have found ways to combine their philosophical interests with internships, particularly in areas of applied ethics, law, or public policy. Contact the department chairperson.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Majors are encouraged to study abroad, at the Dickinson program at UEA or elsewhere. In the past majors have studies at universities in several other countries. The program at UEA is particularly well suited to support Dickinson philosophy majors in a year of study abroad. Contact the department chairperson.

Courses

Philosophy Colloquium. Informal colloquium bringing the department faculty and students together for discussions of contemporary issues in the field, usually based on selections from recent work or on presentations by visiting speakers.

101 Intro to Philosophy
An introduction to Western philosophy through an examination of problems arising in primary sources. How major philosophers in the tradition have treated such questions as the scope of human reason, the assumptions of scientific method, the nature of moral action, or the connections between faith and reason.

102 Moral Problems
An introduction to ethics treating normative ethical theories and their philosophical underpinnings, with consideration of contemporary moral problems.

103 Logic
The study and practice of forms and methods of argumentation in ordinary and symbolic languages,focusing on elements of symbolic logic and critical reasoning, including analysis and assessment of arguments in English, symbolizing sentences and arguments,constructing formal proofs of validity in sentential and quantificational logic.
This course fulfills the DIV 1.a. distribution requirement and the QR graduation requirement. Offered every semester, or every three out of four semesters.

113 Introductory Topics in Philosophy
Introduction to philosophy through the exploration of a specific topic or problem.

201 Ancient Philosophy
This course is an introduction to central questions, claims and arguments in ancient philosophy, centering on the work of Plato and Aristotle. Potential questions include: What is the value of reason and knowledge? What is knowledge? Is it always better to be just than unjust? What constitutes a good human life? What kind of thing is a human being?
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

202 17th and 18th Century Philosophy
This course treats the Rationalists, Empiricists and Kant, with particular emphasis on issues in epistemology and metaphysics, such as the possibility and limits of human knowledge, the role of sense perception and reason in knowledge, the nature of substance, God and reality.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

203 19th Century Philosophy
This course treats major texts by significant 19th century philosophers such as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

204 American Philosophy
An introduction to major philosophical texts and themes originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This course will cover such thinkers as Emerson, James, Peirce, Dewey, and Santayana and themes such as naturalism, transcendentalism, in particular, pragmatism. Contemporary developments in the American philosophical tradition may also be included.
Prerequisites: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

205 Topics in Asian Philosophy
This course focuses on the characteristics and problems of thought in Asia, with emphasis on methods of comparative philosophy and close examination of works and movements within a major tradition (in different semesters: China, India, Japan, Buddhist schools).
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

210 Philosophy of Feminism
Critical examination of key issues concerning the status and roles of women and of the developing theories which describe and explain gender-related phenomena and prescribe change for the future.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor. This course is cross-listed as WGST 210.

215 Existentialism
A study of existentialist thinkers, including Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus, who treat the human condition as irreducibly individual and yet philosophically communicable, and for whom the experience of the existing individual is of primary importance in issues ranging from one's relationship to God to the inevitability of death.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor. Offered every two years.

220 Biomedical Ethics
A study of ethical issues arising in the context of medical practice, biomedical research, and health related policy making, with focus on the ethical concepts, theories and reasoning methods developed to clarify and resolve these issues.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor. This course is cross-listed as PMGT 220.

251 Philosophy of Religion
This course focuses on philosophical issues arising from religious belief and practice.Topics treated may include: the existence and nature of god or gods; the contested relation of a god to moral values; faith and reason as sources of belief or ways of believing, as expressed in classic texts by thinkers such as Aquinas, Hume, Kierkegaard, and William James, as well as in contemporary texts.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

252 Philosophy of Art
The discipline of aesthetics is primarlily concerned with philosophical questions about art and beauty. This course will examine classic and contemporary Western discussions of such questions as, What is art? How can we determine what a work of art means? Are beauty and other aesthetic qualities subjective or objective? How should the quality of a work of art be assessed? Is there a general way to describe the creative process? What are the driving forces in the unfolding of art history? We will encounter such giants of the Western intellectual tradition as Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Hegel, and also such contemporary figures as Arthur Danto, Richard Wollheim, and Kendall Walton.
Prerequisite: one prior course in art history or philosophy or permission of the instructor. This course satisfies either the Division 1.a. or 1.c. distribution requirement. This course is cross-listed as ARTH 252.

253 Social and Political Philosophy
This course is an introduction to questions, claims and arguments in social and political philosophy. Potential questions include: Who, if anyone, should rule? How should resources be distributed? What is the nature and value of liberty, equality or diversity? Potential authors include: Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Mill, Marx, Foucault, MacIntyre, Rawls, and Habermas.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

254 Philosophy of Science
This course considers such issues as the distinction between science and non-science; the relation of evidence to scientific theories; truth and rationality in science; competition among theories; the nature of scientific explanation; methods of scientific thinking; the impact of science on society.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

255 Philosophy of Law
Fundamental problems of legal philosophy are considered, including the nature of law, the justification of legal authority, the relationship between legality and morality, the nature of judicial decision-making, theories of punishment, and/or issues involved in civil disobedience.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor. This course is cross-listed as LAWP 255.

256 Philosophy of Mind
This course investigates the nature of the mind and its relation to the brain, body, and the surrounding world. Analyses of these topics will draw on information from fields such as psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, or computer science.
Prerequisite: one previous course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor.

261 Intermediate Topics in Philosophy
Examination of specific problem, author, text, or movement.
Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

265 Non-Western Aesthetics
As the arts of non-Western cultures(roughly, non-European and European-American cultures) are distinct from those of the West, so are the reflections on that art. Philosophy of art courses often focus exclusively on Western philosophy. This course seeks to broaden the conversation. It concerns reflections on the arts in Japanese, Indian, Native American, and African (including diasporic) cultures. It is a question, with regard to several of these cultures, whether they conceive of a distinct sphere of art at all; the arts (as is true of the West until perhaps 1750) are often not distinguished from the crafts, religious ceremony and objects, festival, medicine, and so on. This provides an interesting challenge to the Western concept of art.
Prerequisite: one prior course in art history or philosophy or permission of the instructor. This course satisfies either the DIV 1.a. or 1.c. distribution requirement. This course is cross-listed as ARTH 265.

270 Philosophy and Literature
Dostoevsky's characters lie, steal, scheme, and murder. What is it about Dostoevsky's depictions of their lying, cheating ways that makes his novels not just literary but philosophical? And what is it about philosophical works like Kierkegaard's and Nietzsche's that makes them literary? More generally, where do the overlapping realms of literature and philosophy begin and end? This course investigates the intersections of philosophy and literature across different schools of thought, paying special attention to the work of Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Plato, Tolstoy, Voltaire, and others. We will pair the treatment of philosophical issues in fiction with their treatment in more traditional philosophical genres, thereby raising and discussing the contentious question of whether philosophy can achieve things that literature cannot, and vice versa.
Prerequisite: one course in PHIL or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the DIV 1.a. or DIV 1.b. distribution requirement. Offered every two years. This course is cross-listed as RUSS 270 and ENGL 329.

275 Beauty
Perhaps no term is as variously interpreted or as hard to define as "beauty." At one time, beauty was treated as among the ultimate values, along with goodness, truth, and justice. But in the last century or so it has been devalued, equated with prettiness or meaningless ornamentation. It has been quite out of fashion in art since the late nineteenth century. But one cannot understand much of the art of the Western tradition without understanding it as the attempt to make beautiful things, and without understanding what the goal meant in the cultures in which it had currency. And of course even now most people would not want to be without dimensions of beauty in their lives. We will look both at classic and contemporary attempts to answer such questions, and try to heighten our own appreciation for the beauty in the arts and in the world.
Prerequisite: one prior course in art history or philosophy or permission of the instructor. This course satisfies either the DIV 1.a. or 1.c. distribution requirement. This course is cross-listed as ARTH 375.

301 Metaphysics
This seminar will treat key issues in metaphysics, such as the self and personal identity, free will, universals and particulars, causation, reductionism, naturalism, realism and anti-realism, and the very possibility of metaphysics.
Prerequisites: three prior courses in philosophy, at least two at the 200 level, or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the WR graduation requirement.

302 Ethical Theory
This seminar will explore major issues or texts in classical or contemporary moral philosophy.
Prerequisites: three prior courses in philosophy, at least two at the 200 level, or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the DIV 1.a. distribution requirement and the WR graduation requirement. This course fulfills the WR graduation requirement. Offered at least once every two years.

303 Epistemology
This seminar will probe key issues in epistemology, such as: the nature of knowledge and justification, the challenge of skepticism, the relation of sense perception to conceptual thought.
Prerequisites: three prior courses in philosophy, at least two at the 200 level, or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the WR graduation requirement.

304 Philosophy of Language
What is the meaning of a word? How is it related to the thing or things it picks out? Can we provide a systematic account of the meaning of every sentence of a natural language (such as English, Japanese or Hebrew)? What is the relationship between what words mean and what we get across with them? In what sense, if at all, do we follow rules when we use language? This course is a seminar in which we will consider these sorts of questions among others.
Prerequisites: three prior courses in philosophy, including 103 (Logic) and two at the 200 level, or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the DIV 1.a. distribution requirement and the WR graduation requirement. Offered every two years.

391 Advanced Topics
A seminar focusing on a significant philosophical issue, text or philosopher.
Prerequisites: three prior courses in philosophy, at least two at the 200 level, or permission of the instructor.This course fulfills the WR requirement.

401 Senior Seminar
A seminar focusing in depth on a selected philosophical topic, author or text with special emphasis on student philosophical writing and voice.
Prerequisites: three prior courses in philosophy, at least one at the 300-level, or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the DIV 1.a. distribution requirement.