Undergraduate Course Descriptions | Philosophy | SIU

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Course Descriptions

PHIL 102-3 Introduction to Philosophy. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: H4 900) Introduction to fundamental philosophical issues across a broad spectrum. Problems in metaphysics, epistemology and ethics will be among the areas explored.  Emphasis throughout is upon developing in the student an appreciation of the nature of philosophical questioning, analyzing and evaluating arguments and reflecting on the nature of human existence.

PHIL 103A-3 World Humanities. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: HF 904N] This course will explore the rise, development and interaction of the major world civilizations as embodied in ideas and their expressions in religion, philosophy, literature and art. The great traditions of Near Eastern, European, Central Asian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cultures will be examined. (A) The first semester will cover the early civilization of the Near East, the classical world of Greece and Rome, early China and India.

PHIL 103B-3 World Humanities. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: H9 900]  This course will explore the rise, development and interaction of the major world civilizations as embodied in ideas and their expressions in religion, philosophy, literature and art. The great traditions of Near Eastern, European, Central Asian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cultures will be examined. (B) The second semester will look at the integrative civilizations of Buddhism, Medieval Christianity and Islam, and Modern Europe.

PHIL 104-3 Ethics. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: H4 904] Introduction to contemporary and perennial problems of personal and social morality, and to methods proposed for their resolution by great thinkers past and present.

PHIL 105-3 Elementary Logic. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: H4 906] Study of the traditional and modern methods for evaluating arguments. Applications of logical analysis to practical, scientific and legal reasoning, and to the use of computers.

PHIL 106-3 Philosophy of Self-Cultivation. An introduction to the history of the relation between mind and body. It focuses on how the relation of mind and body can help bring about well-being or the good life. The course incorporates a physical activity component: walking, jogging, table tennis, for example.

PHIL 210-3 The American Mind. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: HF 906D] This course will survey the diverse traditions, ideas and ideals that have shaped American culture in the past and today. Major works from Native American, African American, feminist, Puritan, Quaker and American Zen Buddhist writers may be used as well as those from such intellectual movements as the Enlightenment, Transcendentalism and Pragma tis m.

PHIL 211-3 Philosophy and Diversity:  Gender, Race and Class. (University Core Curriculum) This course is a philosophical introduction to diverse perspectives within modern American culture. It will address through reading and discussion important contemporary moral and social issues from the perspective of nontraditional orientations including African American, Native American and American feminism. The resources of philosophy and other related disciplines such as psychology, sociology and literature will be used to develop a culturally enriched perspective on important contemporary issues.

PHIL 300-3 Metaphysics. Metaphysics deals with the broadest and most fundamental concepts: What does it mean to exist? It encompasses questions about whether what fundamentally exists is one or many. Is reality essentially physical or does it include something nonphysical? What is "causality''? Is there an ultimate or highest reality, that which some call God? If God exists, can there be anything that is not God? Can we know what reality truly is or is .the human mind fated to behold only the world as it appears to us? Can we at least know ourselves? Is human existence basically similar to the existence of any "thing" or does our sense of history and mortality make us experience Being in a different way? This course will engage these and other questions through readings selected from the Western tradition, from the ancient Greeks to the modern age. Readings from Asian traditions may also be included.

PHIL 301-3 Philosophy of Religion. An analysis of problems in the psychology, metaphysics, and social effects of religion. Among topics discussed are the nature of mystical experience, the existence of God, and problems of suffering, prayer, and immortality.

PHIL 303I-3 Philosophy and the Arts. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: H9 900] An interdisciplinary examination of (1) literary and other artistic works which raise philosophic issues and (2) philosophic writings on the relationship between philosophy and· literature.  Possible topics include: source of and contemporary challenges to the traditional Western idea that literature cannot be or contribute to philosophy; the role of emotion, imagination and aesthetic value in philosophic reasoning; the role of literature in moral philosophy; and philosophic issues of interpretation.

PHIL 304-3 Ancient Philosophy. (Advanced University Core Curriculum course) (Same as CLAS 304) The birth of Western philosophy in the Greek world, examining such Pre-Socratics as Anaximander, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides; focusing upon the flowering of the Athenian period with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The course will conclude with a discussion of the Hellenistic systems of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and the Neo-Platonic mysticism of Plotinus of the Roman period. Fulfills CoLA Writing-Across-the -Curriculum requirement. Satisfies University Core Curriculum Humanities requirement in lieu of 102.

PHIL 305A-3 Modern Philosophy-Metaphysics and Epistemology. (Advanced University Core Curriculum course) A survey course covering the major figures and themes in the development of modern philosophy up to Kant. Concentration on the Rationalist and Empiricist traditions and the simultaneous development of modern science. Either 305A or 305B fulfills the CoLA Writing-Across-the-Curriculum requirement.  305A or B satisfies the University Core Curriculum Humanities requirement in lieu of 102.

PHIL 305B-3 Modern Philosophy-Moral and Political Philosophy. (Advanced University Core Curriculum course) A survey course covering the major figures and themes in the development of modern philosophy up to Kant. Concentration on the Rationalist and Empiricist traditions and the simultaneous development of modern science. Either 305A or 305B fulfills the CoLA Writing-Across-the-Curriculum requirement.  305A or B satisfies the University Core Curriculum Humanities requirement in lieu of 102.

PHIL 306-3 Nineteenth Century Philosophy.  Survey of 19th century European philosophy, focusing on the development of idealism and romanticism. Readings include selections from Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and others.

PHIL 307I-3 Philosophy of Science, Nature and Technology. (University Core Curriculum) Interdisciplinary study of major humanistic critiques of technology, science and nature; analysis of topics such as ecology, the information revolution, aesthetics and ethics in various branches of science and technology, relation of science to technology.

PHIL 308I-3 Asian Religions: A Philosophical Approach. (University Core Curriculum) [IAI Course: H4 903N] This course examines three major areas of Asian religious traditions from a philosophical perspective: South Asia, East Asia, and Buddhist traditions. Since it is not possible to be all inclusive, concentration will be on those with continuing significant spiritual, philosophical, social, political, aesthetic and literary influence. More specifically, it is an introduction to some of the major Asian religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism, approached through philosophical reflection. Emphasis is on classical traditions, since this provides a solid foundation upon which students are than able to pursue further independent readings in more recent developments. Furthermore, this emphasis permits an extended exploration of the interaction among contemporary economic, sociological and religious developments and classical traditions.

PHIL 309I-3 Philosophy of Peace, Law, and Justice. (University Core Curriculum) An interdisciplinary exploration of classical and modern theories of peace, law, and justice with special attention to their implications for important contemporary political issues.

PHIL 310-3 Advanced Critical Thinking. A course designed to improve students' critical reading, thinking and writing skills and to help students planning to attend law school prepare for the LSAT exam. Uses LSAT guides on Logical Reasoning and Logic games as texts.

PHIL 314-3 Love, Sex, Gender, and Philosophy. (Same as WGSS 314) A survey of philosophical approaches to love, sex, and gender. A philosophical inquiry into the representation of love, sex, and gender, including materials that combine text, words, and images. The course studies an ancient philosophy text on love, a classical text of twentieth-century feminist philosophy, and critiques of feminism that draw on the life of gender: sexuality, and race·. It questions the nature and possibilities of love.

PHIL 320-3 Deductive Logic. An introduction to first order logic, including the Boolean connectives, conditionals, and identity. The emphasis is on the concept of logical consequence and the related concepts of tautological and analytic (semantic) consequence. Other topics include truth functional and non­ truth functional connectives, truth-tables, informal proofs, proofs of non-consequence, derivations using a Fitch natural deduction system, and translations to and from English.

PHIL 334-3 Ethics in Media, Culture and Society. (University Core Curriculum) (Same as JRNL 334)  The purpose of this course is to discuss what it means to act ethically. Does it mean anything more than doing what is right? Are ethics for a lawyer different from a journalist or priest or doctor? How does society decide what is ethical behavior and what is not?

PHIL 340-3 Ethical Theories. (Advanced University Core Curriculum course) [IAI Course: H4 904) Nature of ethfos and morality, ethical skepticism, emotivism, ethical relativism, and representative universalistic ethics. Bentham, Mill, Aristotle, Kant, Blanshard, and Brightman. Satisfies University Core Curriculum Humanities requirement in lieu of 104.

PHIL 344-3 Biomedical Ethics. Changes in biology and medicine have brought into sharp focus such problems as allocation of scarce medical resources, use of human subjects in experiments, abortion, euthanasia, genetic screening, truth­telling in medical practice, moral rights of patients and other matters. This course brings ethical principles to bear on these issues.

PHIL 360-3 Latin American Philosophy. The course deals with philosophy in Latin America from the 19th century to the present. Central themes of the course include: identity theory, philosophy and culture, and political philosophy.

PHIL 371-3 Introduction to Contemporary Phenomenology. Introductory survey of individual thinkers and questions in the contemporary phenomenological tradition: Husserl, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, and Ricoeur.

PHIL 375-3 Ecology and Ethics. An exploration of several views of the relationship between human beings and the natural world. This course will examine the changing paradigms of environmental studies for insights about our epistemological and moral approaches to nature. Both classical and contemporary literature on nature will be used. Such topics as the Gaia hypothesis, ecofeminism, deep ecology, and the use of nature for human purposes will be addressed.

PHIL 385-3 Mystical Literature and Meditation.  This course will introduce and explore the profound tradition of literature that has nourished religious, ethical, as well as philosophical and literary, developments in Western and Eastern cultures, but has often been overlooked, not only by the sciences, but also by the humanities: the tradition of mystical literature. In addition to reading primary sources representative of Western and Eastern mystical traditions, this course will include a weekly lab during which the student will be exposed to meditative techniques and actual meditative practices . Finally, this course will integrate guest speakers/practitioners, audio and visual supports pertaining to the course, and work on the Web, allowing students to broaden their connections to others who also share an interest in this field of study and practice. Prerequisite: at least one course (three hours) in the humanities on the 100 or 200 level.

PHIL 389-3 Existential Philosophy. Surveys the two main sources  of  existentialism,  the  philosophies  of  Kierkegaard and   Nietzsche,   with   occasional   reference   to    thinkers such  as  Sartre,  Heidegger,  Buber,  Marcel,  and  others.

PHIL 399-3 First Freedoms. (University Core Curriculum) (Same as JRNL 399) The First Amendment protects citizens from the government and sets boundaries of democratic self­government.  The course encompasses free expression in all media-social, broadcast and cinema. It explores tensions between law and ethics, press freedom and privacy, intellectual freedom and equality and liberty and security.

PHIL 400-3 Philosophy of Mind. An investigation of the philosophic issues raised by several competing theories of mind, focusing on the fundamental debate between reductionistic accounts (e.g., central state  materialism,  identity  theories  of the physical and mental) and views which reject such proposed reductions. Traditional and contemporary theories will be examined. Designed for students in the life and social sciences with little or no background in philosophy as well as philosophy students.

PHIL 405-3 Democratic Theory. (Same as POLS 405) Ari examination of various aspects of democratic thought, including the liberal tradition and its impact upon the United States. Fulfills the CoLA Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC) requirement. Prerequisite: POLS 114 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 415-3 Logic of Social Sciences.  (Same as SOC 415) An examination of the theoretical structure and nature of the social sciences and their epistemological foundations. The relationship of social theory to social criticism; theory and praxis. Historical experience and social objectivity. Social theory as practical knowledge.

PHIL 420-3 Symbolic Logic. An introduction to first order logic with an emphasis on quantification. Topics include the semantics of the quantifiers, first-order validity, quantifier equivalences, functions, informal proofs, proofs of non-consequence, derivations using a Fitch natural deduction system, translations to and from English, soundness and completeness, the axiomatic method, first order set theory, and mathematical induction. Prerequisite: PHIL 320 or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 434-3 Media Ethics. (Same as JRNL 434) Explores the moral environment of the mass media and the ethical problems that confront media practitioners. Models of ethical decision­ making and moral philosophy are introduced to encourage students to think critically about the mass media and their roles in modern society.

PHIL 441-3 Philosophy of Politics. (Same as POLS 403) The theory of political and social foundations; the theory of the state, justice, and revolution. Classical and contemporary readings such as: Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Dewey, Adorno and others. Prerequisite: PHIL 340 or PHIL 102 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 445-3 Philosophy of Law. Study of contemporary philosophical essays on topics at the intersection of law and philosophy, such as abortion on demand, capital punishment, plea bargaining, campus speech codes, legalization of addictive drugs, and animal rights, and of what systematic philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and H.L.A. Hart, have written about the nature of a- legal system and the appropriate realm of legal regulation.

PHIL 446A-Feminist Philosophy. (Same as WGSS 456A) A general survey of feminist theory and philosophical perspectives.

PHIL 446B-Special Topics in Feminist Philosophy.  (Same as WGSS 456B) A special area in feminist philosophy explored in depth, such as Feminist Ethics, French Feminism, Feminist Philosophy of Science, etc.

PHIL 446C-3 Women Philosophers. (Same as WGSS 456C)' Explores the work of one or more specific women philosophers, for example Hannah Arendt, Simone DeBeauvoir, etc.

PHIL 450-3 American Transcendentalism.  This course will study the rise of Transcendentalism as a philosophic al movement in early Nineteenth Century New England. Focus will be on Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau with possible attention to Margaret Fuller and other figures like Hedge, Parker and Brownson.

PHIL 451-3 History of African American Philosophy. (Same as AFR 499A) A survey of major thinkers and themes in the history of African American Philosophy from colonial times to the 20th century. Prerequisite: at least one previous course in either Philosophy or Africana Studies with a grade of C or better.

PHIL 455-3 Philosophy of Race.  (Same as AFR 4998) A s urvey and critical examination of a range of theories on the nature and mea ning of "rac e," the intersection of race with class and gender, and the promotion of racial progress. Such theories include racial realism and idealism, racial biologism, cultural race theory, social constructivist theory, integrationis m, separatism, racial eliminativism, cosmopolitanism, and especially critical race theory. Prerequisite: at least one previous course in Philosophy or Africana Studies with a minimum grade of C.

PHIL 459-1 to 6 Topics in Africana Philosophy. (Same as AFR 499C) A seminar on varying topics, themes, and figures in African, African American, and/or Caribbean Philosophy, e.g., "W.E.B. Du Bois and His Contemporaries," "PansAfricanism," "Philosophies of Liberation," "Black Feminism," "Contemporary African Philosophy," "Philosophies of the Caribbean." Prerequisite: At least one previous course in Philosophy or Africana Studies with a minimum grade of C.

PHIL 460-3 Philosophy of Art. We will examine several important theories that define art by focusing in on only one aspect, for example, imitation, expression, form, institutional setting, or even indefinability. What role does imagination play in each of these accounts, and does this tell us something important about how people experience their world?

PHIL 468A-3 Kant-Theoretical Philosophy.

PHIL 468B-3 Kant-Practical Philosophy.

PHIL 468C-3 Kant-Aesthetics, Teleology and Religion.

PHIL 469-3 Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy to Augustine. (Same as CLAS 469) The career of philosophy during the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Medieval period  especially as a means of personal salvation, exploring such figures and movements as: Epicurus, Stoicism, the Middle Academy, Skepticism, Gnosticism, Plotinus, Early Christianity, Augustine, and Boethius. Prerequisite: PHIL 304 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 470A-3 Greek Philosophy-Plato.  (Same as CLAS 470A) Survey of  Plato'  s  dialogues  mostly  selected  from  those of the middle period (Meno, Phaedo, Symposium , Republic , Phaedrus) , perhaps along with some from the early period (especially  Protagoras) and  late  period (Sophist , Timaeus).

PHIL 470B-3 Greek Philosophy-Aristotle. (Same as CLAS 470B) A general survey of the Aristotelian philosophy including the theory of nature, met a physics, ethics, and political philosophy. Readings will consist of selections from the corpus.

PHIL 471A-3 History of Medieval Philosophy.   An examina tion of some of the most important figures and themes in medieval philosophical thought.  Medieval  debates  in  the area of metaphysics, natural  philosophy,  epistemology,  ethics and politics will be explored in rea ding the works  of  such  figures as Augustine , Boet hius , Abelard Avice nna , Averroes, Maimonides, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquin as, Duns Scotus, Ockham and Nicholas of Cusa.  Prerequisite:  PHIL 304 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 471B-3 The Medieval Thinker. An examination of the thought of one of the central and most influential figures of the medieval world. Possible subjects of the course are Augustine of Hippo, Al-Ghazali, Moses Maimonides, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquin as, Duns Scotus, Dante Alighieri or William Ockham. Prerequisite: PHIL 304 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 472-3 The Rationalists. Study of the philosophy of one or more of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche, Wolff. Prerequisite: PHIL 305A or B or consent of instructor.

PHIL 473A-3 The Empiricists-Locke. Study of the principles of British empiricism as represented by Locke. May also include study of Berkeley. Prerequisite: PHIL 305 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 473B-3 The Empiricists-Hume. Study of the principles of British empiricism as represented by Hume. May also include study of Berkeley. Prerequsiite: PHIL 305 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 474-3 Aristotle's Ethics. This course will focus on reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.  Topics  will  include: the idea of a well-lived life (happines s), the  relation of reason and desire, character formation, deliberative  and  moral reasoning, the types of human  excellence,  friendship  and  the role of philosophy in a well-lived life. Readings may include: Greek drama (e.g., Abtigone, Medea), Aristotle's Politics, and contemporary writers in "virtue ethics." Prerequisite: PHIL 304 with a grade of B or better.

PHIL 475-3 Topics in Asian Philosophy. Extended examination of one or two· major texts, figures or philosophical schools in Asian philosophy. Topics vary; students are advised to consult with the instructor.

PHIL 477-3 Indian Philosophy. An examination of several major traditions and texts  of  Indian  philosophy,  such  as Vedanta , Nyaya, the Upanishads, the Bhagava Gita, and contemporary political philosophy, with an emphasis on their social and historical contexts.

PHIL 478-3 Budahist Philosophy. An examination of several major philosophical traditions or figures in Buddhism, such as Madhya mika, Yogacara, Zen, Mind-Only, and the Kyoto school, emphasis on  their social and   historical  contexts.

PHIL 479-3 Chinese Philosophy. An examination of several major traditions of Chinese philosophy, such as Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism and Maoism, Neoconfucianism,  with  an  empha sis on their social and  historical  contexts.

PHIL 480-3 History of Analytic Philosophy. An introduction to the works of several major 20th Century philosophers in the analytic tradition, including several of the following: Frege, Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein (ea rly and later), members of the Vienna Circle, Ayer, Ryle, Quine, Putnam, Davidson. Includes discussion of challenges to the tradition that have developed within it.

PHIL 482-3 Recent European   Philosophy. Philosophical trends in Europe from the end of the 19th Century to the present. Phenomenology, existentialism, the new Marxism, structuralism, and other developments. Language, history, culture and politics.

PHIL 485-3 The Presocratics. The course will survey the Presocratic movement from the Miles ia ns, Heraclitus and the Pythagoreans to the Eleatics, Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus. Topics will include: the idea of nature, origin/ source/principle (arche), the· mathematical and nature, Being, pluralism and monism, the atomic theory. Some attention may be paid to the Sophists and the Epicureans. Prerequisite: PHIL 304 with a minimum grade of B.

PHIL 486-3 Early American Philosophy. From the Colonial Era to the Eve of World War I. This course will trace the transplantation of European philosophy to the New World and watch its unique process of development.  Movements such as· Puritanism, the theory of the American Revolution, the philosophical basis of the Constitution, transcendentalism, idealism, Darwinism and pragmatism and such figures as: Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson , James Madison , Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josiah Royce, Charles Sanders Peirce, and William James .

PHIL 487-3 Recent American Philosophy. From World War I to the Present. The major American philosophers of the 20th Century, covering such issues as naturalism, emergentism, process philosophy, and neopragmatism. Figures include: John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, George Santayana, Alfred N. Whitehead, C. I. Lewis, W. V. Quine, and Richard Rort y.

PHIL 490-1 to 8 Special Problems. Hours and credits to be arranged. Courses for qualified students who need to pursue certain topics further than regularly titled courses permit. Special topics announced from time to time. Students are invited to suggest topics. Special approval needed from the department.

PHIL 491-1 to 6 Undergraduate Directed Readings. Supervised readings for qualified students. Open to undergraduates only. Additional hours beyond three (3) must have approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Special approval needed from the instructor.

PHIL 499-3 Senior Thesis. A paper on a topic agreed to by the student and a faculty thesis director.  The  paper  should be  of  sufficient  length  to  manifest  the  student's  mastery  of a philosophical area and logical and critical skills . Not for graduate credit. Special approval needed from the instructor and department.