Course Descriptions

A list of all Undergraduate courses in Philosophy.
Prerequisite Grade

Any course listed in this department with a prerequisite assumes a grade of C- or better in the prerequisite course.

Lower Division

5 Practical Logic
A course in the analysis and evaluation of everyday arguments. Recognition of patterns of argumentation, fallacies, and ambiguities in English is stressed. This course aims primarily at refining and disciplining the student’s natural ability to think critically. May not be counted for major credit.

10 Plato and Philosophical Inquiry
Study of Plato’s Republic or of selected Platonic Dialogues with a view to such questions as: What is philosophy? What is the act of philosophical inquiry? What makes for a philosophical question, or for a philosophical answer? Satisfies Common Good of the Core Curriculum.

11 Aristotle and Philosophical Method
Study of selected texts of Aristotle with a view to such questions as: What are the objects, and associated methods, of philosophical inquiry? Are there distinct kinds or divisions of philosophy? In what sense or senses may philosophy qualify as science? Satisfies Common Good of the Core Curriculum.

Philosophical Topics

Upper Division

110 Philosophy of Religion
A phenomenological study of man which seeks to discover the essential structure of the human phenomenon of religion through its various manifestations. Consideration is given to the ultimate meaning of human existence and those common principles rooted in man which give rise to religion. The orientation of the course is philosophical and considers religion as involving both man and God. Satisfies Theological Understanding (Explorations) of the Core Curriculum.

111 Philosophy of Art
An analysis of doing and making, of truth, good, beauty, the visible and invisible, of figure and finality, as these reveal the intellectual and spiritual universes disclosed by painters, sculptors, poets, etc. Satisfies Artistic Understanding (Analysis) of the Core Curriculum.

113 Contemporary Problems in Ethics
A study of the ethical aspects of such contemporary problems as personal freedom, personal rights, civil disobedience, and situation ethics.

114 Philosophy of Law
A study of the philosophy of law from Sophocles’ Antigone through
the great thinkers of the Middle Ages, giving particular attention to the notion of natural law of Thomas Aquinas.

115 Modern Legal Philosophy
The philosophy of law from Thomas Hobbes and John Locke to Marxism and contemporary legal positivism.

116 Political Philosophy
An investigation of the philosophical development of the notion of the “state,” “man’s relationship to the state,” and “forms of government.”

117 Philosophy of Nature
Raises the question of the possibility of a knowledge of nature which is independent of the quantification and mathematical methods of the “physical” sciences.

118 Theory of Knowledge
A study of the human approach to the nature of being, through an analysis of the works of Sartre, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas. Particular emphasis on the philosophical method and the practice of reflection.

120 The Bible and Philosophy
An investigation of interpretative principles in general and the specific issues that arise from interpreting the Bible in the normative context of the Catholic Church. This course satisfies the Theological Understanding (Christian Foundations) requirement of the Core Curriculum

130-131 Ethics
An investigation of the difference between good and evil and between virtue and vice; of the relationship of virtue to choice, to knowledge, to power, to pleasure, to happiness; of the relationship of the human person to God, to nature, to society; of the relationship of responsibility to freedom and necessity. Texts (130) by Plato and Aristotle, the Bible, and Aquinas and (131) by Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Kant and Nietzsche.  Satisfies Theological Understanding (Explorations) and Common Good of the Core Curriculum.

133 The Art of Logic
A study of classical logic with reference to primary texts. Logic is approached as the art of attending to and refining the acts of the discursive intellect— definition, predication, and argument (reasoning—in its coming to know). Among the major topics considered: signification, categories, predicables, categorical and complex propositions, syllogistic, induction, formal and informal fallacies.

135-136 Metaphysics
A study, through close reading and discussing and writing, of “metaphysical” texts of (135) Plato and Aristotle (and, through them, of Parmenides and Heraclitus); and (136) of Thomas Aquinas and Hegel (with some attention, as time permits and inclination prompts, to texts of one or more of the following: Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, Heidegger).

161 Philosophy of History
A study of the various "philosophies" of history from Augustine, through Vico, Hegel Marx and Lowith.

Authors and Schools

Upper Division

160 A Critical Reading of the Principal Works of a Single Major Author or School of Philosophy
Such philosophers will be chosen as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger. A “school” of philosophy, e.g., Empiricism, Rationalism, Idealism, is offered from time to time. May be repeated for credit as content varies.

170 Contemporary Philosophy
A study of a major philosopher or “school” of the contemporary period. Course may be repeated for credit as content varies.

172 Existentialism
Readings and discussions of some of the principal existential philosophers of the Continent, such as Kierkegaard, Camus, Sartre and Heidegger.

174 Greek Philosophy
A study of the full range of Greek philosophical thought from its pre-Socratic origins to its Neoplatonic conclusion. Platonic, Aristotelian, Cynic, Sceptic, Stoic and Epicurean Schools are examined through their texts, in historical context and evolution.

176 Medieval Philosophers
A consideration of the metaphysical and world view of major philosophers of the medieval period such as Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Course may be repeated for credit as content varies.

178 Renaissance Philosophers
A survey of major thinkers and artists from early 14th century to 16th century. The concern will be with questions of God, man, and the world, and the contrast of the world of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world.

196 Senior Thesis /198 Senior Thesis - Honors
Candidates for the degree arrange, in the fall or spring of the senior year, a program of reading and research on a topic in modern/contemporary philosophy under a department director, and compose a lengthy Senior Thesis, which is presented publicly at a departmental meeting. Directions for proposing the thesis and a catalog of library resources are available from the chair.

197 Special Study
An independent study or research course for students whose needs are not met by the regular course offerings of the department. Permission of the department chair and instructor required.

199 Special Study - Honors
An independent study or research course for upper division majors with a B average in philosophy. Permission of the department chair and instructor required.