Philosophy (PHL)

PHL 110. Logic. 3 Credits.

The overall aim of this class is for each student to grasp the relationship of language to logic. Subject matter includes the nature of critical thinking; the structure of definitions; the structure of arguments; the difference between valid and invalid, or strong and weak reasoning; methods for analyzing and evaluating arguments; common argumentative fallacies; basic symbolic logic. Practical consideration is given to overcoming thinking errors; developing ethical thought; applying effective critical thinking skills to local, national, and global issues. Prerequisites: ENG 101(or co-requisite).

PHL 135. Applied Ethics. 3 Credits.

This class introduces different ethical theories that are used to guide moral decision making and reasoning. These theories will then be applied to the moral issues surrounding capital punishment, love and marriage, friendship, abortion, euthanasia, our responsibilities to animals, our responsibilities to the environment, war and terrorism, economic justice, race, gender, advancements in genetics, and technology. The focus of the class will be on students learning how to formulate ethical positions on these topics, respond to objections, and inquire into the philosophical underpinnings of their views. Prerequisites: ENG 101 (or corequisite).

PHL 180. World Philosophy. 3 Credits.

This class introduces the world's non-European philosophical traditions. It offers an opportunity for the student to inquire into various understandings of what the world is like, what it is to know, and how one should live one's life. The topics covered include: mystical insight, the ineffable, karma, reincarnation, creation stories and cosmologies, the purpose and meaning of life, contentment, societal harmony, freedom, the nature of the self, conceptions of good and evil, morality, reason, and human flourishing. The focus of the class will be on students reflecting on their own philosophical beliefs and worldviews informed by the fullness of the global traditions covered. The traditions surveyed will include Chinese philosophy, Indian philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, East Asian philosophy, African philosophy, and South American Philosophy. Prerequisite: ENG 101 (corequisite).

PHL 201. Introduction To Philosophical Issues. 3 Credits.

This is an introduction to the nature and practice of philosophical reflection on such questions as the meaning of awareness in defining self, the nature of reality, the problem of knowledge, the development of moral standards, the existence of God, and people's place in the universe. Emphasis is on discussion of case studies dealing with such issues as "How do we come to know the real world?", "What makes an action right or wrong?", "Are we a spirit within a body or a body within a spirit?", and "Do we have free will, or are all our actions determined?" Readings include historical and modern selections in philosophy and literature from both Western and Eastern traditions. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101 RDG 098, or placement.

PHL 209. Symbolic Logic. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to symbolic logic. The emphasis of the course will be on problem-solving. We will first study truth-functional, propositional logic and then move on to quantificational logic. Topics will include: (1) symbolization from English to a formal symbolic language; (2) relevant distinctions between the syntax and semantics of that language; and (3) truth-tables, derivations and proofs. Prerequisites: MAT 092 (or placement); ENG 101.

PHL 210. Levels Of Being. 3 Credits.

This introduction to metaphysics will investigate the nature of reality and our relationship to it. Questions asked will include: What are the most general features of the world? Does life have a purpose? Does God exist? Do we have free will? Is there a spiritual or supernatural dimension of reality and the self? Do we have souls that could survive death? Is there such a thing as objective value, or a distinction between objective right and wrong? What is time and space? How do objects and persons endure change? Is all that is real ultimately physical? The focus of the class will be on students learning how to formulate, defend, and respond to objections to their own answers to these basic questions. Readings will draw from western and non-western worldviews and philosophies. Prerequisite: ENG 101. Spring.

PHL 220. Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy. 3 Credits.

Social and political philosophy deals with the general assumptions that underpin beliefs about politics, society, and daily life. In this class the following topics, as well as theories commonly associated with these topics, will be addressed: human nature, the state of nature as a thought experiment, the justification of the state, power, liberty, property, morality, justice, alienation, race, and gender. Additionally, we will inquire into contemporary political ideologies and explore the differences between ideology and philosophy. Readings include historical and modern selections in philosophy and literature. Prerequisite: ENG 101 (or corequisite). Fall.

PHL 235. The Philosophy of Nature, Science, and Mathematics. 3 Credits.

What is nature? Where does nature begin and end? Is anything not a part of nature? Is science the final arbiter of what is true and real regarding nature? What is cause and effect? What is scientific explanation? Does scientific theory mirror natural structures? Is mathematics a universal language? Is mathematics an indispensable part of scientific practice? How do the abstract languages of mathematics relate to the physical world? What is to be done when scientific knowledge runs counter to our beliefs about daily life and the world around us? These are the questions that will be the focus of this class. The overall aims being to investigate the relationship between humanity and nature, and to inquire into the assumptions behind our understandings of the natural world. Prerequisites: ENG 101. Spring.

PHL 250. Moral Philosophy. 3 Credits.

This class is an introduction to moral philosophy. Topics will include the nature of morality, moral theories, and moral character. Questions asked will include: What is the purpose of morality? What is good and evil? What is happiness? Why be moral? What is the good life? Does life have a meaning? Readings include historical and modern selections in philosophy and literature from both Western and Eastern traditions. Prerequisite: ENG 101 (or co-requisite).