Professor Steven Vogel, Chair
Professors Barbara Fultner, Anthony J. Lisska; Associate Professor Mark Moller (Current Dean of First Year Students); Visiting Assistant Professors Jonathan Maskit, John McHugh
To do philosophy is to encounter some of the most fundamental questions that can be asked about human existence. Philosophical investigation leads students to recognize the otherwise unnoticed assumptions that underpin even our most ordinary ways of interacting with other persons and engaging in human projects. Such assumptions concern, for example, the nature of human knowledge, action, and value. Philosophy challenges students to move beyond uncritical patterns of thought, to recognize problems, and to exchange a more naive worldview for a more considered and justifiable one. In doing so, students learn to think in ways that are simultaneously disciplined and imaginative. Philosophy Department faculty members cooperatively approach these concerns from diverse perspectives, both in studying the works of major philosophers and in their own creative activity. Students are encouraged to join with the faculty in this inquiry and to philosophize creatively on their own. The courses and seminars in the Department are intended to develop the abilities necessary for these activities.
Typically students without previous experience with philosophy will enroll in Philosophy 101 (Introduction to Philosophy) or possibly in one of the First-Year Seminars (FYS 102) offered by members of the Philosophy Department. Philosophy 121 and 126 are also possible choices for such students. Students who wish to continue in Philosophy and perhaps to major or minor in it will then usually take Philosophy 200 (Philosophical Studies) as their second course. Philosophy 200 is also available, with the instructor's consent, for students with a special interest in philosophy who have not taken any previous college-level course in the field.
A major in Philosophy requires ten courses selected in consultation with the major advisor. The ten courses must include Philosophy 200, Philosophy 231, Philosophy 232, and at least three courses numbered 300 or higher, of which at least one must be a Junior/Senior Seminar (Philosophy 431/2). Only one semester of Senior Research (Philosophy 451/452) may count as a 300 level course, and Directed Study (Philosophy 361/362) may only count as a 300 level course with the consent of the Department. FYS 102 sections taught by members of the Philosophy Department may count toward the major with the consent of the instructor. No more than three courses numbered below 200 (including FYS 102) may count toward the major. In addition, all majors must participate in and pass the Senior Symposium in their senior year.
The Philosophy Department welcomes double majors and self-designed majors, and is experienced in helping students integrate Philosophy with work in other disciplines. To avoid possible scheduling problems, a student considering a major in Philosophy (or one which includes Philosophy) should consult the Department early in his or her college career.
The Philosophy Department participates in the interdepartmental major in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Philosophy, by its very nature, is ideally suited to assist a student in integrating and articulating knowledge gained in other areas. For this reason we attempt to tailor a student's minor program in philosophy around the specific course of studies he or she is pursuing in his or her major subject. This means that our minor program places a premium upon departmental advising.
Each Philosophy minor is required to choose a department member as his or her Philosophy advisor. The Philosophy advisor will not replace the student's primary academic advisor. However, the Philosophy advisor will have responsibility for guiding the student in designing the minor program in Philosophy. A minor in Philosophy requires five courses in the department. Among these courses must be Philosophy 200 and one course numbered 300 or higher.
Additional information about Philosophy courses and a course guide with more detailed descriptions of current courses may be obtained from the Philosophy Department, and is available on the department's website.
The Philosophy Colloquium. Each year the department sponsors a colloquium series, bringing to campus nationally and internationally known philosophers who present papers and meet with students and faculty. Recent visitors have included Hubert Dreyfus (Berkeley), Ruth Millikan (Connecticut), Peter Singer (Princeton), Martha Nussbaum (Chicago), Virginia Held (CUNY), Anthony Kenny (Oxford), Larry Hickman (Southern Illinois), J. Baird Callicott (North Texas), Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (UNC Chapel Hill), and others.
Other Philosophy Activities. The Philosophy Department annually publishes a national undergraduate philosophy journal, Episteme. This journal is edited and produced by philosophy majors and minors in consultation with a faculty advisor. Episteme encourages and receives submissions from undergraduate philosophy students throughout the country and internationally. In addition, philosophy students organize Philosophy Coffees, informal discussions of philosophical topics, about three times each semester. Special coffees are held annually for parents during Big Red Weekend, and for Granville community members as well.
Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL-101). This course aims to introduce the student to the nature and concerns of philosophy by confronting fundamental issues in areas of philosophy such as ethics, political and social philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology and others. It is intended that the student develop skills in rigorous thinking and become involved in the process of philosophizing. (Offered each semester) 4
Ethics: Philosophical Considerations of Morality (PHIL-121). This course explores the fundamental questions of ethical theory, asking how ethical judgments can be made, what justifications they may receive, whether terms like "right" and "wrong" have fixed meanings, whether moral assertions can claim universal validity or whether morality is rather relative to a culture or to an individual's beliefs. Depending on the semester, issues of applied ethics - having to do with abortion, medical ethics, business and professional ethics, ethics and the environment, war and peace, etc. - will be raised as well. (Spring) 4
Social and Political Philosophy (PHIL-126). This course is about justice, power, and freedom, as ideals and as realities, and about whether objective or rational justifications of political and social views and actions are practical or even possible. The course includes an exploration of some fundamental philosophical questions regarding the nature of the community, the state, the individual, and the relationships among them. Students will study some of the great classical texts in Western political thought including works from thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Smith, Marx and Nietzsche as well as more contemporary philosophers. (Fall) 4
Introductory Topics Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL-191). An introductory inquiry into issues and problems that are now at the center of philosophical attention. Topics vary from semester to semester in accordance with current interests of students and faculty. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Introductory Topics Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL-192). An introductory inquiry into issues and problems that are now at the center of philosophical attention. Topics vary from semester to semester in accordance with current interests of students and faculty. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Philosophical Studies (PHIL-200). This course offers a careful study of some of the central texts, issues, and ideas in the history of Western philosophy. Among the figures studied will be Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Quine, and others. The course is intended for most students as a second course in philosophy; its goal is to prepare students for further philosophical work (and if desired for a major in philosophy) by providing them with experience in philosophical study beyond that offered in Philosophy 101. Some students with particular interest in the field, however, may choose to begin their philosophical studies with this course. In either case, the course will give students the opportunity to grapple with fundamental philosophical questions by examining the works of a series of great figures in the history of philosophy. Prerequisite: PHIL 101 or FYS 102 (taught by a member of the Philosophy Department, or consent (Both semesters) 4
Logic (PHIL-205). A study of reasoning in ordinary language and in contemporary symbolic languages with emphasis on the connections between the two. Attention is also given to informal fallacies, paradox, ambiguities of ordinary speech, the problems of definition, and the critical analysis of arguments in natural settings. Emphasis in symbolic logic is on translation and proof, and computer assisted instruction is employed in the teaching of these skills. (Spring) 4
Philosophical Issues in Science (PHIL-210). This course considers a range of conceptual issues connected with the understanding and practice of science. Issues to be considered include explanation, theoretical reduction, the nature of scientific truth-claims, methodology, confirmation theory, the possibility of scientific progress, etc. Although these questions are raised from the perspective of philosophy, they are intended to provide insight into the actual practice of the sciences - from both contemporary and historical perspectives. This course should prove especially helpful to science majors seeking to achieve a different perspective on the scientific enterprise; however, non-science majors are equally welcome. Prerequisite: one previous course in Philosophy or science major with junior or senior standing, or consent. (Spring) 4
Greek and Medieval Philosophy (PHIL-231). An examination of some fundamental problems in Metaphysics (what there is) and Epistemology (how we come to know), in the context of the origin and development of Greek thinking from the pre-Socratics, Sophists and Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, through selected writers in the Medieval period including Plotinus, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and Nicholas Cusanus. Prerequisite: PHIL 200 or consent. (Fall) 4
Modern Philosophy (PHIL-232). An examination of the two fundamental philosophical traditions of the 17th and 18th centuries, Rationalism and Empiricism, and of Kant's attempt to combine their insights. This course traces the development of such themes as the nature of human experience, the foundations of knowledge, and the limits of knowledge through the work of Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Their attempts to resolve these questions formed the basis for much of the intellectual history of the "Age of Reason" and Enlightenment and continue to inform contemporary investigations of knowledge, language, and mind. Prerequisite: PHIL 200 or consent. (Spring) 4
The Confucian Classics (PHIL-243). An examination of the basic Confucian texts of the East Asian cultural tradition that define the distinctive traits of what makes us human, and what norms define healthy and happy human relations. We shall read the Four Books of the Neo-Confucian tradition. In plumbing the subtleties of these texts we shall replicate the learning techniques employed in classical Confucian academies. Research essays concluding the course may focus on a Confucian thinker or concept in the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Vietnamese cultural traditions of East Asia. (Fall) 4
Philosophy of Law (PHIL-250). Does law have an intrinsic connection with the moral order, or is it whatever a legislature or judge says it is? This course will analyze the concept of law, with particular attention given to the conflict between the natural law tradition and legal positivism. The justification of legal authority and the nature of legal reasoning will be considered. Normative issues, including the relation between law and concepts of justice, equality, liberty, responsibility, and punishment will also be addressed. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. (Spring) 4
Environmental Ethics (PHIL-260). This course investigates the question of our ethical relations and responsibility to objects and systems in the natural world, including animals, other living beings, non-living entities, ecosystems, and "nature" as a whole. It also asks about nature as such: what nature is, what the place in it is of humans, the role of human action in transforming nature, etc. The question of the relation of the natural to the social will receive special attention. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or Environmental Studies or consent. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Philosophy of the Arts: Aesthetics (PHIL-269). This course addresses issues in philosophical aesthetics both in relationship to the arts as well as to other domains of human life (e.g., nature, food, and design). We will ask what makes something an artwork; how to differentiate between artworks and non-artworks; how to evaluate art works; what it means to judge something aesthetically; how aesthetic judgment differs for different kinds of objects; and other central issues from the field. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Philosophy of Feminism (PHIL-275). Feminism can radically challenge traditional ways of doing philosophy. In asking why women and women's experience seem to be missing from the tradition of philosophy, it implicitly questions philosophy's claim to objectivity, universality, and truth. Thus, feminist criticism probes some of the most fundamental philosophical assumptions about our knowledge of and interaction with the world and other people. Are there philosophically significant differences between men and women? If so, what are their implications? What, if any, are the differences among women and what is their significance? This course focuses on the problem of violence against women, in its many manifestations, in order to examine these and other questions in the context of contemporary feminist discussions of epistemology, ethics, and science. Cross-listed with WMST 275. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or Women's Studies or consent. 4
Philosophy of Mind (PHIL-280). This course addresses fundamental questions regarding the nature of the human mind and thought. Students will be introduced to the leading contemporary theories of mind as well as critical responses to these theories. They will become acquainted with the works of philosophers such as J.J.C. Smart, Gilbert Ryle, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Daniel Dennett, Patricia and Paul Churchland, Jerry Fodor, Fred Dretske, Hillary Putnam, and others. We will address questions such as whether we can know there are other minds, whether mental states are identical or reducible to brain states, how it is that our thoughts can be about anything at all, whether there is a "language of thought", and whether our ordinary talk about mental events genuinely explains human actions. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy, Psychology major, Neuroscience 200 or consent. (Fall) 4
Intermediate Topics Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL-291). An inquiry into issues and problems that are now at the center of philosophical attention. Topics vary from semester to semester in accordance with current interests of students and faculty. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Intermediate Topics Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL-292). An inquiry into issues and problems that are now at the center of philosophical attention. Topics vary from semester to semester in accordance with current interests of students and faculty. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Topics in the History of Philosophy (PHIL-293). This course provides a venue in the curriculum for topical seminars dealing with major figures and problems in the history of philosophy. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Topics in Ethics (PHIL-294). This course provides the opportunity for topical seminars on major issues in ethical theory. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. Topic 2012-2013: Contemporary Aristotelian Moral Theory: MacIntyre & Nussbaum. (Spring) 4
Topics in Social and Political Philosophy (PHIL-295). This course provides a venue in the curriculum for topical seminars dealing with major issues in social and political theory. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Topics in Contemporary Philosophy (PHIL-296). This course provides the opportunity for topical seminars on major issues and debates in contemporary philosophy. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. 2011–2012 topic: “Distributed Cognition.” (Fall) 4
Existentialism (PHIL-298). This course will involve a study and discussion of the basic concepts of Existentialism as they have developed primarily in the 19th and 20th Century "classics" of Existentialism - philosophical and other. Topics such as alienation and authenticity, freedom and responsibility, good faith vs. bad faith, rationality and the absurd, values and nihilism, God and meaninglessness, will be investigated. Selected literature from the philosophical and literary works of Tolstoy/Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, and Tillich will form the basis for our inquiry and discussion. Students will be expected to use the course both to become closely acquainted with the philosophy of Existentialism and to confront and clarify some of the fundamental issues and value concerns of their existence. Prerequisite: One previous course in Philosophy or consent. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Metaphysics (PHIL-305). Metaphysics is often regarded as the foundation of philosophy. To think metaphysically is to think rigorously about the ultimate nature of reality. This course is an examination of a variety of metaphysical problems, including personal identity, mind, causation, space, time and human freedom. Readings will include a mixture of contemporary and classical sources including Plato, Hume, Leibniz, Schopenhauer, Ayer, Ryle, Moore and others. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Fall) 4
Theories of Knowledge (PHIL-306). An inquiry into the meaning, possibility, conditions, criteria, and types of truth and/or knowledge, and a discussion of representative theories of knowledge. The class will aim to achieve clarity in respect to both classical and contemporary approaches to the problem of knowledge. The adequacy of those approaches will be assessed. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Metaethics (PHIL-321). We spend much of our time trying to answer such questions as: How ought we to act? What should we value? and What type of person should we be? But, it seems right that we can evaluate our answers to these questions and decide among them only if we correctly answer another set of questions first. For instance, how can we know what we should value unless we understand what values are, whether they exist and whether we can know them if they do? How can we know how we ought to act if we do not know what it means for an act to be morally good or why we are even obligated to do what is morally good in the first place? This course will pursue answers to this other set of questions. It will inquire into the nature of ethical statements, properties, judgments and attitudes. As such, it will draw on many other areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of language. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Theories of Justice (PHIL-326). This course will focus on contemporary work in political philosophy concerned with justice, including the work of philosophers such as Rawls, Dworkin, Nozick, Young, MacIntyre, Sandel, Nussbaum, and Habermas. We will examine questions such as: What is justice? Can it be defined independently of consideration of what the "good" is for human beings? Is justice possible in a society marked by significant religious, ethnic, cultural or other sorts of pluralisms? What is the relation between justice and nationhood, and what can be said about justice between nations? How is justice connected to social equality, and to liberty? What is meant by economic justice? What is the relation between justice and democracy? The course will examine contemporary philosophical debates about these questions, in order to help students think critically about the issue of justice in the context of the pressing real world issues in which such questions play a crucial role. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (PHIL-330). This course examines some of the most important developments in European philosophy during the nineteenth century. Figures to be read may include Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Mill, Frege, and others. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
History of Analytic Philosophy (PHIL-333). The course will trace the roots of Analytic Philosophy from its beginnings in the work of Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore (and their rejection of 19th Century British Idealism), through its development by the members of the Vienna Circle (the Logical Positivists), and later by Ryle, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Quine, Sellars, and others. The aim will always be to understand the substantive concerns of the movement along with its methodology. Thus, the class will confront some of the central issues in Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, Philosophy of Language, and Philosophy of Science as they have been treated by analytic philosophers. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
History of Continental Philosophy (PHIL-334). This course traces the development of Continental Philosophy from 1900 to the present, including the phenomenological movement of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and others; the neo-Marxism of the Frankfurt School and Habermas; the hermeneutics of Gadamer and Ricoeur; and the post-structuralism of Foucault, Derrida, and others. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Spring) 4
Philosophy of Language (PHIL-360). The nature of language and meaning has been a pivotal concern of twentieth-century philosophers. This course will consider questions such as: What is a language? What is it for a word to have meaning? How is communication possible? Are meanings "in the head"? What is the relation between language and thought? This course will address topics such as reference, the role of speaker intentions, and the indeterminacy of translation. Students will be introduced to several strands of philosophy of language such as formal semantics and ordinary language philosophy, and will become familiar with the writings of philosophers ranging from Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein to Quine, Austin, Putnam, Searle, Chomsky, Davidson, and others. Prerequisite: PHIL 200. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Advanced Topics Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL-391). An inquiry into issues and problems that are now at the center of philosophical attention. Topics vary from semester to semester in accordance with current interests of students and faculty. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Advanced Topics Seminar in Philosophy (PHIL-392). An inquiry into issues and problems that are now at the center of philosophical attention. Topics vary from semester to semester in accordance with current interests of students and faculty. (Not offered 2012-2013) 4
Seminar in Philosophy (Junior/Senior Seminar) (PHIL-431). An intensive study in a major figure in philosophic thought. The topic varies from semester to semester, depending upon the needs of the students and the interests of the Department. Recent seminars have dealt with Aristotle and Aquinas, Wittgenstein, Kant, Putnam and Rorty, Hume, and Heidegger. Prerequisite: PHIL 200 and junior/senior standing or consent. Topic Fall 2012: Smith & Hume. Topic Spring 2013: Foucault. (Both semesters) 4
Senior Symposium (PHIL-440). In the spring semester, senior philosophy majors orally present a paper in a symposium format to their peers and to philosophy faculty. The 12-page paper is the result of a year-long project. Students are also required to act as commentators for one other senior paper and to participate fully in all paper sessions. 1