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PHILOSOPHY (PHL)

Professor James Otteson, Chairperson
Office: 239 ten Hoor Hall

Usually, only 100-level and 200-level courses are offered in the summer.

PHL 100 Introduction to Philosophy. Three hours.

Survey of the main topics of philosophy, which may include God, souls, free will, the nature of right and wrong, just government, truth, and knowledge. Offered in the fall and spring semesters.

PHL 101 Introduction to Deductive Logic. Three hours.

Prerequisite: MATH 100 or equivalent.

Introduction to modern symbolic logic, involving paraphrasing, truth-functional evaluation of arguments, and the construction of proofs in propositional and predicate logic. Offered in the fall and spring semesters.

PHL 102 Introduction to Inductive Logic. Three hours.

Prerequisite: PHL 101.

Elementary probability theory, reasoning from samples, reasoning about causes, decision theory, and related aspects of scientific inference. Offered in the spring semester.

PHL 103 Honors Deductive Logic. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Eligibility for membership in the University Honors Program.

Advanced introduction to symbolic logic: symbolization of English statements and arguments and proof construction in propositional logic and predicate logic with relation symbols. Some meta-mathematical techniques may also be covered.

PHL 104 Critical Thinking. Three hours.

Introduction to the concepts and methods used to identify, construct, and assess arguments as they appear in editorials, articles, ordinary speech, etc.

PHL 105 Honors Introduction to Philosophy. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Eligibility for membership in the University Honors Program.

Is it reasonable to believe God exists? Is your mind your brain? What makes you the same person, over time? What is the proper role of government? Are right and wrong just human ideas, or are they objective? If there is a right way to live, what reason is there to follow it? Answers, and arguments for them, at an introductory level. Offered in the fall semester.

PHL 200 Introduction to Ethics. Three hours.

Credit for PHL 200 will not be granted to students who have already taken PHL 202. Introduction to competing views of how one ought to live, designed to promote the development of a reasoned view of one's own. May include such topics as ethical relativism, the nature of justice and of rights, and the relationship of law and morality. Offered in the fall and spring semesters.

PHL 201 Ancient Greek Philosophy. Three hours.

History of philosophy from Thales to Aristotle. Offered in the fall semester.

PHL 202 Honors Introductory Ethics. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Eligibility for membership in the University Honors Program.

Credit for PHL 202 will not be granted to students who have already taken PHL 200. Course content varies; a current version centers around classical ethical theories, the question of whether ethics is subjective, and the nature of wickedness.

PHL 204 Medical Ethics. Three hours.

Introduction to ethics via the moral problems that arise when someone is ill or injured or dying. Topics include euthanasia, truth-telling and medical paternalism, AIDS, and whether health care should be guaranteed to all citizens by the government.

PHL 210 Science, Technology, and Society. Three hours.

Introduction to social philosophy and some of the ethical parameters of scientific technology and its application through engineering. Topics may include problems posed by advances in medical science and alternative means of electric power generation.

PHL 215 Introduction to Metaphysics. Three hours.

An introduction to some of the "big questions" of philosophy. Topics may include proofs for the existence of God, the nature of reality, free will and determinism, personal identity, or the nature of time.

PHL 217 Aesthetics. Three hours.

Introduction to problems in the philosophy of art, including the nature of art and beauty, the function of art, the objectivity of aesthetic evaluation, and politics and the arts.

PHL 220 Political Philosophy. Three hours.

What are the proper aims of government, and the proper scope of its power? The views of Aristotle, Locke, Mill, and Marx will be explored, as well as the implications for current issues such as civil rights, income redistribution and welfare programs, and the protection of the environment.

PHL 225 Philosophical Issues in Criminal Law. Three hours.

Issues include the following: What should count toward making an activity criminal? What is it to be responsible for a crime? What considerations should govern what happens when someone is found to be responsible? What role should juries play in all this?

PHL 226 Philosophical Issues in Civil Law. Three hours.

Issues include the following: Are there limits to what a person should be able to own? What makes a contract fair, and to what extent should only fair contracts be enforceable? Should we be free to contract anything we wish? When should one person be liable for a harm befalling another, and what limits, if any, are there to what that liability should cost him or her?

PHL 227 Philosophical Issues in Constitutional Law. Three hours.

Issues include (at one level) what we ought to have by way of particular rights and (at another) how the Supreme Court ought to reason about such matters. The rights examined vary each semester. Recent focus has been on freedom of religion and on freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Theorists studied include Bork, Posner, and Dworkin.

PHL 235 Classic American Philosophy. Three hours.

Philosophers including Jonathan Edwards, Charles Peirce, William James, George Santayana, and John Dewey are read.

PHL 236 Introduction to Philosophy of Science. Three hours.

Basic issues in philosophy of science, including the following: What distinguishes science from pseudo-science? Is there a scientific method? If so, what is that method? What constitutes a scientific explanation? How are theory and observation related? How do hypotheses get confirmed? And how do values function in science?

PHL 251 Renaissance and Modern Philosophy. Three hours.

A history of philosophy from the 16th century to the 20th century, which may include study of Hobbes, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Bentham. Offered in the spring semester.

PHL 252. Mind and Nature. Three hours.

Introduction to philosophical topics involving human nature, such as the relation between mind and body, the emotion, artificial intelligence, psychic phenomena, and determinism and moral responsibility.

PHL 300 Symbolic Logic. Three hours.

Prerequisite: PHL 101 or equivalent.

Detailed study of the logic of truth functions and predicates aimed at developing facility in formal inference and at understanding the logic of natural languages. Topics include normal forms, multivariate quantification with identity, relations, and the logic of singular terms.

PHL 301 Philosophy of Religion (same as REL 301). Three hours.

Prerequisite: One philosophy course other than PHL 101, PHL 102, or PHL 300, or permission of the instructor.

Advanced study of such topics in religion as concepts of God and religion, ritual, atheism, the problem of evil, the nature of religious language, traditional proofs of God, the concept of faith, mysticism, the concept of miracle, and the relation between theism and morality.

PHL 304 Ethical Theory. Three hours.

Prerequisite: PHL 200, PHL 202, or PHL 204.

A deeper study of ethics, exploring such topics as moral relativism, excuses and moral responsibility, the free will problem, and questions concerning moral character (e.g., the nature of courage, humility, pride, compassion, jealousy, etc.).

PHL 305 Philosophical Logic. Three hours.

Prerequisite: PHL 101 or permission of the instructor.

Consideration of alternatives to classical logic, such as free logic and modal logic, and applications.

PHL 310 Theories of Justice. Three hours.

Prerequisite: At least two philosophy courses or permission of the instructor.

Advanced study of prominent theories of prominent historical and contemporary theories of justice (for example, those of Plato, Aristotle, Rawls, or Nozick) and the implication of those theories for political problems such as the distribution of health care, affirmative action, or public goods.

PHL 336 History of Philosophy: Special Topic. Three hours.

Prerequisite: At least two philosophy courses or permission of the instructor.

Study of a particular philosopher, philosophical movement, or problem in the history of philosophy. Recent offerings have included David Hume and Plato.

PHL 350 Contemporary Philosophy. Three hours.

Prerequisite: At least two philosophy courses.

Analytic philosophy in the 20th century. Topics may include linguistic analysis, logical atomism, logical positivism, ordinary language philosophy, existentialism, and phenomenology.

PHL 352 Metaphysics. Three hours.

Prerequisite: At least two philosophy courses or permission of the instructor.

Advanced study of such traditional metaphysical problems as personal identity, the mind-body problem, action theory, free will, universals, the nature of space and time, creation, causation, and purpose.

PHL 354 Philosophy of Mind. Three hours.

Prerequisite: At least two philosophy courses or permission of the instructor.

Study of the philosophical problems surrounding the nature of the mind and its relation to the world. Topics may include physicalism, reductionism and the unity of science, the content of mental states, cognitive psychology, and the role of mind in psychological explanation.

PHL 355 Philosophy of Language. Three hours.

Prerequisites: PHL 101 or PHL 103 and one other philosophy course, or permission of the instructor.

Study of philosophical issues about language, typically theories of reference and meaning. Other topics may include the nature of language, speech-act theory, theories of translation and interpretation, and theories of truth.

PHL 380 Special Studies in Philosophy. Three hours.

Prerequisite: At least two philosophy courses or permission of the instructor.

Studies of selected philosophers, philosophical movements, or philosophical issues. Recent offerings have included cognitive science, contemporary problems in political philosophy, and philosophy and evolution.

PHL 400 Special Studies in Ethics. Three hours.

Prerequisites: PHL 200 or PHL 202 or PHL 204.

Current topics. Content varies. Recent topics include free will, moral realism, equality, and egalitarianism.

PHL 402 Philosophy of Science. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Previous philosophy or science courses.

Issues include the following: What distinguishes science from pseudo-science? Is there a scientific method and, if so, what is it? What constitutes a scientific explanation? Is scientific change merely a replacement of one paradigm by another? What bearing have social and cultural changes had on the development of science?

PHL 405 Special Studies in Metaphysics. Three hours.

Prerequisite: At least two philosophy courses or permission of the instructor.

Current topics. Content varies. May include the nature of time, identity through time, the nature of consciousness, and the relationship between language and reality.

PHL 412 Philosophy of Law. Three hours.

Prerequisites: At least one course chosen from PHL 220, PHL 225, PHL 226, or PHL 227; PHL 200 or PHL 202 also recommended.

The nature of law and legal systems, the question of an obligation to obey the law, the role of a judge in a system of law, and selected topics such as the place of mercy in a system of justice and the moral relationship between those who commit crimes and the victims of those crimes.

PHL 480 Seminar on Special Topics. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

PHL 485 Research. Three hours.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

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