Philosophy Courses

Completion of PHI118  is a prerequisite for enrollment in any other course in the department.

*PHI118 The Examined Life (4)
Introduces students to important historical and thematic issues about what it means to be human: Who are we? What is our place in the cosmos and how do we relate to the natural world around us? What does it mean to find an object or work of art beautiful? What does it mean to live well as opposed to just living? What is the best way to live well together as a society of persons? How can we know what is true? And how, given that we are made in God’s image, are we to understand our relationship to God?

PHI202 History of Philosophy I: Ancient through Medieval (4)
Surveys and interprets development of philosophical thought from Greco-Roman through Medieval periods. Alternate years.

PHI203 History of Philosophy II: Early Modern Philosophy (4)
Surveys and interprets philosophical thought from 17th century through Kant. Emphasizes epistemology and metaphysics. Alternate years. 

PHI204 History of Philosophy III: Late Modern Philosophy (4)
Traces philosophical thought from Kant through Heidegger; development of such major movements as idealism, romanticism, existentialism, pragmatism, process philosophy, analytic philosophy, and neo-Thomism. Alternate years.

*PHI210 Understanding Reality with Physics and Philosophy (4)
Introductory study of philosophical problems arising out of methods and results of modern physics that indicate commonsense understanding of natural world is deeply flawed. Fulfills core Natural World theme. Alternate years.

PHI212 Formal Logic (4)
Introduces theory and practice of modern logic. Emphasizes analyzing and evaluating deductive arguments. No prior acquaintance with logic necessary.

*PHI220 Philosophy of Religion (4)
Explores philosophical questions arising from religious belief and practice.  Topics include the nature and justifiability of religious beliefs, faith and reason, theistic proofs, divine attributes, eternity and time, problem of evil, possibility of miracles, meaningfulness of religious language, and the evidential value of religious experience.  Readings from classical and contemporary sources. Fulfills core Human Person theme. Alternate years.

PHI223/POL223 Theories of Politics (4)
See POL223 course description.

PHI230 Ethics (4)
Surveys and critiques key theories in the Western philosophical tradition from Plato to Pragmatism.  Meta-reflections offered on relevance of such theories for our practical experience as Christians.

*PHI233 Environmental Ethics (4)
Designed to deal both historically and philosophically with the persistent problem of what humanity's responsibility is to its environment. Fulfills core Civic Responsibility theme. Alternate years.

*PHI234 Aesthetics (4)
Systematic reflection upon nature of aesthetic properties and consequent philosophy of art, ranging over major issues traditionally and currently discussed. Fulfills core Aesthetic Sensibilities and Practices theme. Alternate years.

PHI235/LAW235 Philosophy of Law (4)
Introduces basic terminology, themes, and issues in Western legal theory by examining essays and case studies. Required for prelaw concentration. Alternate years.

PHI238 Philosophy and Literature (4)
Compares and contrasts strengths and weaknesses of philosophy and literature for addressing universal questions and problems; e.g., Is the good life possible? Is there anything I can be certain of? What constitutes self-identity? What does it mean to understand? Alternate years.

*PHI240:  Philosophy of Women: Women's Knowing, Doing, Being (4)
Inquires into historical use of term “woman” and its significance for us today. First part of course acquaints students with selected canonical Western philosophical texts about the nature of women; second part engages with theoretical writings by contemporary feminist thinkers who challenge such traditional readings. Fulfills core Human Person theme. Alternate years.

*PHI241 Brains, Minds, and Persons (4)
Introduction to contemporary issues in philosophy of mind. Central topics include relation between brain and mental states and nature of consciousness with particular concern with ways of understanding human person in light of recent advances in cognitive sciences. Fulfills core Natural World theme. Alternate years.

PHI310 Language and Interpretation (4)
Surveys major movements in philosophy since 1945; centers on problems of language and interpretation. Includes development of post-Wittgensteinian theories of language and development of poststructuralist hermeneutics. Alternate years.

PHI321 C. S. Lewis and the Christian Imagination (2)
Appreciative and critical examination of Lewis's distinctive contribution to modern Christian thought. Emphasizes attempt to renew imaginative and speculative thinking in religion. Alternate years.

PHI322 Kierkegaard (4)
Examines selected texts from Kierkegaard's authorship with view toward expounding his distinctive views of Christianity, human existence and rhetoric. Gives attention to ways Kierkegaard's practice of "indirect communication" anticipates deconstruction and other preoccupations of postmodernism. Alternate years.

*PHI325 Eastern Philosophy and Religion (4)
Studies fundamental philosophical and religious tenets of HInduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Engages primary texts to develop introductory understanding of important belief systems
while also continuing dialogue between these ideas and major tenets of Western monotheism and Christianity in particular. Fulfills core Global Understanding or Human Person theme.

PHI330 Contemporary Ethical Theories and Issues (4)
Explores current theories and/or issues in ethics. Offered periodically.

PHI331 Community, Politics and the Good Life (4)
Examines challenge presented by modern Western culture to belief held by Aristotle and other classical thinkers that human happiness was impossible outside of political or social action.

PHI370 Selected Topics: History of Philosophy (2 or 4)
Examines areas in recent philosophy not covered in normal curriculum; for advanced students. Focuses on major figure, problem, or system. Designated as repeatable if topic different.

PHI371 Selected Topics: Knowledge, Truth and Method (2 or 4)
Examines areas in epistemology, logic, hermeneutics, and scientific method not covered in normal curriculum; for advanced students. Focuses on major figure, problem, or system. Designated as repeatable if topic different.

PHI372 Selected Topics: Faith and Reason (2 or 4)
Examines areas in philosophy, religion, and theology not covered in normal curriculum; for advanced students. Focuses on major figure, problem or system. Designated as repeatable if topic different.

PHI373 Selected Topics: Virtue and Value (2 or 4)
Examines areas in ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of education not covered in normal curriculum; for advanced students. Focuses on major figure, problem, or system. Designated as repeatable if topic different.

PHI374 Selected Topics: Existence and Being (2 or 4)
Examines areas that explore questions in metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, gender studies, and the philosophy of mind or psychology not covered in normal curriculum; for advanced students. Focuses on major figure, problem, or system. Designated as repeatable if topic different.

PHI411 Epistemology (4)
Examines classical and contemporary theories of knowledge and truth.  Topics include definition of “knowledge,” justification of beliefs, epistemic norms, cognition, subject and object, and recent controversies such as foundationalism vs. postfoundationalism, internalism vs. externalism, and realism vs. anti-realism.

PHI413 Metaphysics (4)

Studies nature of and warrants for metaphysical systems. Includes several major topics.

PHI415 American Pragmatism (4)
Addresses themes of truth, knowledge, the self, democratic practice, ethics, and religious experience in the thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, John Dewey, Richard Rorty, Cornel West, and others. Alternate years.

PHI420 Postmodernity and Religious Belief (4)
Critically examines reappropriation of religious discourse in so-called postmodern era by thinkers and traditions that seemed to put all such religious discourse aside. Purpose is to see how thinkers such as Lévinas, Henry, Marion, Heidegger, Ricoeur, Kearney, Vattimo, Westphal, Hart and even Derrida have turned to religion as a central theme. Offered periodically.

PHI441 The Human Condition (4)
Surveys major movements in philosophy since 1945; centers on problems of self and community. Examines liberal, postmodern, feminist, neo-Aristotelian, and contemporary Christian perspectives. Alternate years.

*PHI473 Gender Today: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives (4)
Seminar presenting current research in feminist theory and theology on issues of gender identity.  Prerequisite: at least one 200-level or higher course in philosophy, theology or sociology. Fulfills core Human Person theme.

PHI491 Senior Seminar: Research Methods (2)
Use multiple research tools to find recent work in philosophy, present findings to class, and, for those going on to PHI492, prepare topic and outline for senior thesis.

PHI492 Seminar: Writing and Defense (2)
Complete research of senior thesis, present and defend thesis before an open forum of the Philosophy Department.

* Fulfills core common or thematic requirement.