Graduate Course Descriptions | Philosophy | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

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Course Descriptions

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) An 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 philosophical 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 499B) A survey and critical examination of a range of theories on the nature and meaning of “race,” 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, integrationism, 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,” “Pan-Africanism,” “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, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy. Readings will consist of selections from the corpus.

PHIL 471A-3 History of Medieval Philosophy. An examination 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 reading the works of such figures as Augustine, Boethius, Abelard Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, 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 Aquinas, 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. Prerequisite: 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 (happiness), 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 Buddhist Philosophy. An examination of several major philosophical traditions or figures in Buddhism, such as Madhyamika, 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 emphasis 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 (early 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 Milesians, 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 Rorty.

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 500-3 Metaphysics. Seminar focusing on readings taken from major classical to contemporary writings in the subject   of metaphysics (e.g., Aristotle`s Metaphysics, Descartes` Principles, Whitehead`s Process and Reality, etc.) or on special movements or on problems in the subject (e.g., substance, causation, reductionism, etc.).

PHIL 501-3 Philosophy of Religion. Analysis of a problem in philosophical theology or the phenomenology of religion or of the work of a particular thinker.

PHIL 530-3 Theory of Knowledge. Seminar focusing on readings taken from major classical to contemporary writings in the theory of knowledge (e.g., Plato, Theaetetu; Aristotle, De Anima; Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Quine, Ontological Relativity; Rorty, The Mirror of Nature, etc.) or on movements or on problems in the subject (the object of knowledge, justification, method, etc.).

PHIL 542-3 Political and Legal Philosophy. Relations of law, morality, and politics, and consideration of problems and issues in philosophy of law.

PHIL 545-3 Ethics. An examination of the fundamental assumptions underlying twentieth century British and American moral theory. Special attention is given to recent attempts to develop a psychologically realistic moral philosophy that avoids both moral absolutism and extreme forms of relativism.

PHIL 551-1 Introduction to Teaching and the Profession. Introduction to the methodology and ethics of teaching philosophy; supervision of teaching assistants. Restricted to philosophy graduate students on assistantship contract.

PHIL 552-1 Teaching Practicum. Ongoing supervision of teaching assistants and discussion of pedagogical, ethical and professional issues.  Prerequisite:  PHIL 551.

PHIL 553-1 Supervision of Teaching for Graduate Assistants. Instruction in the methods of teaching philosophy and direct supervision of course teaching.  Prerequisite: PHIL 551.

PHIL 558-3 Phenomenology Research Group. The Phenomenology Research Group is a forum for doing phenomenology. Each year we focus on a particular theme. Beginning with first-person perspectives, we examine how something becomes meaningful for us in experience, and we inquire after cross-cultural structures of those experiences. Since the touchstone for such reflection is experience, the orientation of scholarship is problem-based and contextual. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grades.

PHIL 560-3 Aesthetics.  Selected topics or writings.

PHIL 562-3 Philosophy of Human Communication. (See CMST 562)

PHIL 563-3 Philosophy of Nietzsche. A reading of Nietzsche`s works and critical discussion of his major themes in light of their historical and contemporary reception.

PHIL 564-3 Frankfurt School Critical Theory. An examination of the conceptual foundations and historico-philosophical theories of the Institute for Social Research School, known as critical theory, covering one or more of the major first- and second- generation thinkers: Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas.

PHIL 565-3 Continental Feminist Philosophy. (Same as WGSS 565) An examination of major figures and problems in continental feminism, focusing on metaphysical, ethical, political, and aesthetic theories in the works of Beauvoir, Kristeva, Iragaray, Butler, and Kofman.

PHIL 566-3 Psychoanalysis. An examination of psychoanalytic theory in the context of continental philosophy, studying the foundation of psychoanalysis and major developments since Freud, including French psychoanalytic theory, the British School, and developments in American psychoanalysis.

PHIL 570-3 American Idealism. One or more American idealists. Recent seminars have been devoted to the thought of Brand Blanshard and Peter A. Bertocci.

PHIL 573A-3 American Realism-New Realism. An examination of selected works of representatives in the realist tradition of American philosophy.

PHIL 573B-American Realism-Critical Realism. An examination of selected works of representatives in the realist tradition of American philosophy.

PHIL 573C-3 American Realism-Scientific Realism. An examination of selected works of representatives in the realist tradition of American philosophy.

PHIL 573D-3 American Realism-Post Realism. An examination of selected works of representatives in the realist tradition of American philosophy.

PHIL 577A-3 Classical American Philosophy-Peirce. A focused study of various aspects of Peirce`s philosophy such as his pragmatism and semiotics.

PHIL 577B-3 Classical American Philosophy-James. A critical examination of James` pragmatism, radical empiricism and pluralism.

PHIL 577C-3 Classical American Philosophy-Dewey. An examination of such themes in Dewey`s philosophy as the influence of Darwin, nature and experience, aesthetics, technology and democracy.

PHIL 577D-3  Classical American Philosophy- Mead. A critical examination of Mead`s theories regarding the social self and social life.

PHIL 578-3 Husserl. A careful and systematic reading of Husserl`s major works or treatment of important themes throughout his writings, such as, the problem of evidence, perception and rationality, time-consciousness, phenomenology of association, or the lifeworld.

PHIL 579-3 Heidegger.  This course features a close reading of Heidegger`s masterwork, BEING AND TIME, supplemented by selected later essay and secondary literature as suggested by the instructor.

PHIL 580-3 The Pre-Socratics. The emergence of Greek philosophy in the sixth century B.C., the Milesians, Heraclitus and the Pythagoreans; the Eleatic movement and Parmenides, and the critical systems of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and atomism; concluding with a discussion of the Sophistic movement and Socrates. Epic, lyric and dramatic literature of the period may be examined as well as philosophical writings.

PHIL 581-3 Plato. Intensive reading of selected texts focusing on some aspect of Plato`s thought or on Platonism as a movement.

PHIL 582-3  Aristotle.  Intensive reading on several texts, analyzing selected portions of Aristotle`s thought.

PHIL 583-3 Merleau-Ponty. This course will  focus  on  a  major work by Merleau-Ponty (such as the Phenomenology of Perception), or will develop a major theme (perception, aesthetics, politics) in his thought by consulting several of his works.

PHIL 584-3 Levinas. This course will be devoted to a detailed and systematic study of one of Levinas’ major works, such as Totality and Infinity or Otherwise than Being, or to a survey of key elements of his thought contained in his many important essays.

PHIL 587-3 Kant.

PHIL 588-3 Hegel.

PHIL 589-3 Scheler. This course is devoted to a systematic reading of Scheler`s works that concern any one of the many dimensions of his thought, for example, the nature of “person”, ethics and value theory, the philosophy of religion, the sociology of knowledge, or politics.

PHIL 590-1 to 12 General Graduate Seminar. Selected topics or problems in philosophy. Repeatable for 12 hours per term, 30 hours toward degree.

PHIL 591-1 to 16 Readings in Philosophy. Supervised readings for qualified students. Prerequisite: Students must have written permission from the Graduate Director to register for more than six hours at each level.

PHIL 599-2 to 6 Thesis. Minimum of four hours to be counted towards a Master`s degree.

PHIL 600-3 to 32 (1 to 16 per semester) Dissertation. Repeatable for 16 hours per term, 30 hours toward degree.

PHIL 601-1 per semester Continuing Enrollment. For those graduate students who have not finished their degree programs and who are in the process of working on their dissertation, thesis, or research paper. The student must have completed a minimum of 24 hours of dissertation research, or the minimum thesis, or research hours before being eligible to register for this course. Concurrent enrollment in any other course is not permitted.  Graded S/U or DEF only.

PHIL 699-1 Postdoctoral Research. Must be a Postdoctoral Fellow. Concurrent enrollment in any other course is not permitted.