PHIL - Philosophy
PHIL-102: Critical Thinking (Credits: 4)
Teaches the skills involved in clear thinking and intelligent intelligent reading applicable to all studies. Includes identification of fallacies in argumentation, a short treatment of deductive logic, and exercises in textual interpretation necessary for approaching the diverse genre of an educated person. An emphasis is placed on sound decision-making in life.
PHIL-129: Race, Power, and Privilege (Credits: 4)
No one lives as just an individual but rather all of us live within and interact with systems of identity, oppression, and privilege. Many people find solidarity, belonging, and pride in our relationships with categories such as race but these categories are also sites of oppression and privilege. In this course we will look at how systems of racism and privilege contribute to how we define ourselves, how we are defined by society, and how the world we know is defined. We will do this from a philosophical perspective. This means that while we will occasionally discuss concrete issues such as affirmative action and equal pay laws we will concentrate on theories of oppression, privilege, intersectionality, and resistance. This means that we will do a lot of abstract thinking in this course. While the topics that we will investigate in this class are different than what you would find in most philosophy courses we will be learning how to think philosophically about important issues that are part of who we are. We will read a wide variety of sources written by living philosophers of race, some sources from philosophers working in the early twentieth century, as well as quite a bit of work from theorists working in literature and sociology. Looking at sources from different time periods and disciplines will highlight how concepts related to race and power change significantly over time, as well as reflecting that "Philosophy of Race" as a subfield is always interdisciplinary. Assignments and discussions will encourage students to complicate the ways they view their own identity, question the simplified accounts of power that they encounter from the media, engage in social justice work, and reflect upon that work in meaningful ways. (WCore: WCFAH, DE)
PHIL-131: Philosophy of Gender and Power (Credits: 4)
The term "feminist" has almost as many meanings as it has both advocates and detractors. For some, the "feminism" means a radical shift in language, politics, and economics. For some, the term simply means equality. And still for others, the term means witchcraft, sexual deviancy, and the death of the American family. This semester, we will examine how contemporary theorists (many of whom call themselves "feminist") argue the world needs to change in order to make a more just environment for women. In the process, we will read about, write about, and discuss a wide range of issues including structures of power, sexuality and sexual violence, race, masculinity, and beauty norms. The goal for this class is not to decide on one solitary definition of "feminism" but instead to force ourselves to think more critically about how gender structures the world around us and how we can change our future. (WCore: DE)
PHIL-134: Philosophy, Identity, and the Self (Credits: 4)
When we begin to look at the world philosophically, we begin to question the basic assumptions in our lives that we used to ignore. This forces us to start to live in our world with shakier scaffolding than before. However, while this can be uncomfortable and often downright annoying, it also allows us to reflect on what we truly find valuable and encourages to build more meaningful relationships with ourselves, our loved ones, and our world. Throughout this course, we will read philosophical reflections on five core questions in philosophy. Moreover, we will write about and discuss how these questions enter into our own lives and how the ideas of fellow philosophers shake or stabilize our own scaffolding. (WCore: WCFAH, WE)
PHIL-201: History of Philosophy I (Credits: 4)
A treatment of ancient and medieval philosophy.
PHIL-202: History of Philosophy II (Credits: 4)
A treatment of modern and contemporary philosophy.
PHIL-208: Philosophy of Love and Sex (Credits: 4)
Love and sexuality are two of the most crucial and complex aspects of our identities. Moreover, these concepts are often intertwined and sometimes pitted against one another. In this class, we will examine different approaches to this topic from a wide selection of philosophical traditions. Furthermore, we will supplement traditional philosophical readings with analyses of artifacts from popular culture, such as music, movies, and television. All of this will prepare us to ask and respond to various questions, such as "what is love, what is sex, and how are they related?" "In what ways does who and how we love make us who we are?" "How is sexuality a personally and politically important construct?" and "How can love change the world?" (WCore: WCFAH, WE)
PHIL-209: Poverty and Global Justice (Credits: 3)
Poverty is examined in this course as an ethical issue of the most pressing sort. Reviewing various ethical theories and conducting a survey of some of the most commonly used definitions of poverty, we focus on this question: what justifies, ethically, politically and economically, if at all, allowing so many human being to remain mired in extreme conditions of deprivation (i.e. poverty that kills)? Arguably, we could act in such a way as to change such conditions to the benefit of the humans who are otherwise the victims of these unchanged, impoverished conditions. (WCore: WCFAH)
PHIL-216: Ethical Issues in Health and Healthcare (Credits: 4)
The basic or human right to life enjoys widespread endorsement, though just what sort of life is considered a basic right may vary from one society to another. While exploring some of these varieties of the conception of "life" which all human beings putatively have a right to (and thus someone or other has a duty to support such a claim), we will focus in this course on the role which health and adequate health care play, anywhere, as necessities, for human beings who are trying to enjoy the substance of such a basic right to life. Other necessities for a substantive life as a matter of right will be discussed as well. (WCore: WCFAH)
PHIL-221: Ethics of Diversity (Credits: 4)
In the context of philosophy, ethics is the study of moral decisions and moral actions. To put it more simply, the aim of this course is to ask the question "What ought I do?" Throughout this term, we will ask this question again and again, sometimes in the context of concrete decisions and sometimes in the context of more abstract theories of right and wrong. In the process, we will read the work of authors who are trying to answer the same questions, investigate their works thoroughly, and analyze their ideas and our own though writing and class discussion. (WCore: WCFAH, DE)
PHIL-300: Special Topics in Philosophy (Credits: 1 to 4)
Significant philosophical topics or themes are explored in certain sub-disciplines of philosophy. Examples of such courses are: The Ethics of Violence, Philosophy of Language, Advanced Topics in Logic, Existentialism and Phenomenology, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Literature.
PHIL-300C: Theories of Power (Credits: 4)
What is power? How should it be understood, and with what consequences? Is power a resource to be distributed, for example, or an experience? A dominating relation, or a totalizing system? The course will consider a wide range of philosophers who theorize power, including thinkers such as Beauvoir, Nietzsche, Foucault, Habermas, and MacKinnon. Perhaps most importantly, we will consider what different theories of power mean for practical questions of living a good human life--in terms of personal and political decisions, issues of social justice, and the possibility of freedom and empowerment.
PHIL-300E: Confronting Beauty Norms (Credits: 2)
Body image and beauty norms are more than superficial. They are important issues related to gender, race, class and social power. We will ask why so many of us spend time, money, and energy on trying to be beautiful and what effect that has on us as people. We will discuss how our perceptions of beauty affect who we perceive as ethical, how ideas of beauty affect our ideas of self, and how subverting these norms not only destabilizes structures of power in society but also changes what we think it means to be human.
PHIL-300EE: Is Everything for Sale? (Credits: 2)
This course explores ethical, economic and legal implications of the increasing commodification of everything, including human lives, which has occurred because of the ever increasing emphasis on consumption to drive economies. We explore the malign effects that this commodification of everything stimulating increasing levels of consumption may have on our individual capabilities to live humanly decent lives, which intuitively involves more than consuming and accumulating "stuff".
PHIL-300FF: Film After the Fall (Credits: 2)
In this course, we will consider important philosophical questions regarding violence, atrocities, memory, and forgiveness by analyzing world cinema that addresses these topics. Primary texts will include feature length films, television, photography, and documentary; we will pair those texts with philosophical readings that examine the nature of injustice and its consequences on those who survive conflict and those who remember. Themes discussed will include gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, religion, and identity.
PHIL-300I: Ethics, Magic, and Harry Potter (Credits: 2)
In this course we will explore several issues associated with the Harry Potter series (movies and books). First, we will examine the underlying ethics or moral values and principles that set Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore and others apart from Lord Voldemort and the death eaters. Secondly, we will delve into the kind of magic represented in this saga as opposed to the sort of magic represented in Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Part of our discussion of magic will focus on the difference between magic (in any sense) and science. Third, we will discuss, by way of selected reviews of Harry Potter, the reasoning behind an initial conservative religious condemnation of this enchanting series. Viewing of selected movies from the Harry Potter and selected episodes of Supernatural and Buffy will be a part of the course.
PHIL-300L: Live Like a Philosopher (Credits: 4)
What is the relationship between concepts and life? Between theory and praxis? Ideas are a way of understanding things, but can they become a way of living? This course will study four systems of thought, practice them through concrete exercises, and reflect on how well they work in helping us lead meaningful lives. We will read works by Aristotle (who ties meaning to pursuing excellence), Epicurus (who ties meaning to pursuing pleasure), the Stoics (who tie meaning to controlling one's mind), and Existential philosophers (who tie meaning to free choice). For each, we will read and discuss primary sources, and do daily activities to live the philosophy.
PHIL-300LL: Philosophical Stories (Credits: 2)
This course concerns the genre-bending fiction of Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentinian thinker who wrote fascinating and easy-to-read short stories that simultaneously constitute philosophical investigations of freedom, being, reality and illusion, ethics, identity, and the nature of creativity. We will read a modest collection of his short stories and discuss them in seminar style.
PHIL-300M: Madness and Melancholy (Credits: 2)
In this course, we will read, write about, and discuss philosophical works related to issues of sorrow, irrationality, and recovery. This is not a psychology course; we will not look at mental illness from a scientific or medical perspective, but instead, focus on particular examples as a philosophical phenomenon. This course will focus on two terms, "madness" and "melancholy," as sites of philosophical reflection on questions like "what makes for a good society," "how should humans relate to God," "what are our obligations to ourselves and others," and "what is the self?" Throughout this course, we will draw from texts in the classical American, existentialist, structuralist, and psychoanalytic traditions.
PHIL-300N: Utopian Dreams and Nightmares (Credits: 2)
Ah! A perfect world and a perfect life! So goes the utopian storyline in various writings by that name. In this course, we explore what makes a world or society perfect or upends that perfection. Ought we desire such a world? Using novels, essays, and short stories we examine proposed utopian schemes for the qualities that make for a perfect life and how such schemes go wrong producing dystopian nightmares. Are we wise enough to build our own utopian societies?
PHIL-300P: Harry and Buffy At the Abyss (Credits: 2)
Harry Potter(HP) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS), acting in two different imagined worlds, are alike engaged in a battle against evil adversaries in order to save their respective worlds. This course is an extended comparison and contrast of HP and BtVS as agents of good and their opponents as agents of evil. Taking into account the importance of their friends in the battles against evil, we address the following questions, among others: why are friends and friendship an essential element of HP and BtVS battle against their evil opponents?; what sort of evil does each agent for the good confront and where does it come from?; Is evil or good in both storylines relative or absolute in nature?; and how close do HP and BtVS, and their friends, come to becoming what they so relentlessly oppose?
PHIL-300RR: Religions and Violence (Credits: 2)
This course explores the contributions selected religions have made and continue to make to the use of violence as a means to achieve secular and/or religious goals. We will look at the three monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and Hinduism both historically and contemporaneously as to their role in causing and/or justifying violence. The profoundly insightful work of Girard, Derrida and Levinas on the relationship between religions and the presence of violence in the world will be used to get at the underlying structures of the religion(s)-violence connection.
PHIL-302: Philosophers in Focus (Credits: 2 to 4)
A concentrated study of one or two related philosophers and the major themes of their important works. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.
PHIL-302A: Philosophers: Nietzsche & Wittgenstein (Credits: 3)
A concentrated study of Nietzche and Wittgenstein and the major themes of thier important works.
PHIL-302G: Great Philosophers: Beauvoir (Credits: 4)
Simone de Beauvoir is a 20th century existential philosopher and novelist known for analyzing the oppression of women in foundational texts like The Second Sex, and for wide-ranging social and political theory. Her thought has spurred a great following among thinkers and activists in many fields. This seminar course will consider her major works.
PHIL-302H: Great Philosophers: American Women (Credits: 4)
Historically, philosophy has been seen as a largely male discipline. This misperception overlooks the rich contributions that women have made to the field. In this course, we will move beyond this oversight to look at work from women philosophers exclusively. In particular, we will read philosophy written by women throughout the Americas. We will read about, discuss, and write about a variety of philosophical topics, including, but not restricted to, metaphysics, ethics, and the self. Moreover, we will explore how these topics are situated within issues of various American identities and genders.
PHIL-302I: Great Philosophers: hooks (Credits: 4)
A concentrated study of one or two related philosophers and the major themes of their important works.
PHIL-302J: Great Philosophers: Angela Davis (Credits: 4)
Angela Davis is a contemporary American Philosopher, Marxist, and political activist. She has long fought for the rights of African American prisoners, and was herself unjustly jailed for conspiracy. We will read from Angela Davis: An Autobiography, Women, Race and Class, Are Prisons Obsolete?, and The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues.
PHIL-303: Formal Logic (Credits: 4)
Introduction to modern sentential and predicate logic. The nature of deductive and inductive argument, truth, validity and soundness, and the relationship between formal expression and natural language, with an emphasis on the application of formal logic to the analysis of arguments in ordinary language.
PHIL-307: Environmental Ethics (Credits: 4)
An examination of moral issues resulting from human use of the natural environment. Focuses on future responsibility as it results from action in the present, an examination of traditional secular and religious conceptions of morality which may have contributed to the "environmental crisis," and a consideration of alternative views such as zoocentrism, biocentrism, ecocentrism, ecofeminism, the "land ethic," and ecojustice.
PHIL-311: Philosophy of Religion (Credits: 4)
Philosophical issues in religion, including the nature of God, religious belief, the problem of evil, the prospect of immortality, and religious experience and its interpretation. Particular attention paid to the relationship between science on the one hand and monotheistic religions and theologies on the other.
PHIL-312: Applied Ethics (Credits: 4)
Analysis of specific contemporary issues via amoral lens. In some cases the course will focus on a specific field such as medicine, business, or sexual ethis; in other cases the course will focus on a range of fields or issues. Depending on the focus, this course may be taken more than once for credit.
PHIL-312B: Applied Ethics: Ethics of Education (Credits: 4)
Analysis of specific contemporary issues via a moral lens. In some cases the course will focus on a specific field such as medicine, business, or sexual ethics; in other cases the course will focus on a range of fields or issues. Depending on the focus, this course may be taken more than once for credit.
PHIL-330: Feminist Issues in Philosophy (Credits: 4)
Examines feminist theory, feminist criticism or feminist approaches to philosophical inquiry.
PHIL-365: Economic Justice (Credits: 4)
The importance of economic justice stems from the scarcity of resources: how should society allocate resources to achieve the social good? Invariably, questions of justice involve tradeoffs between fairness and efficiency. Such questions are inextricably related to religion, class, gender, poverty, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and so on. The course examines the concept of justice from the points of view of pre-market economies, classical liberalism, neo-classical economics, heterodox economics, Kenneth Arrow, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, among others. Same as JUST/PHIL 365.
PHIL-370: Philosophy and the Arts (Credits: 4)
Explores the interplay between Philosophy and various forms of art. Thematic variations include: Philosophy and Literature; Philosophy and Film; Philosophy and the Visual Arts; and Philosophy and Music.
PHIL-390: Thesis Research Preseminar in Philosophy (Credits: 4)
A required seminar for senior philosophy majors, focusing on research, analysis, and writing techniques aimed at a particular topic or question in philosophy, in preparation for the production of a senior thesis in PHIL 490. Majors and minors should take this class during the fall semester of their senior year. (WCore: SC)
PHIL-401: Directed Studies (Credits: 1 to 4)
A tutorial-based course used only for student- initiated proposals for intensive individual study of topics not otherwise offered in the Philosophy Program. Requires consent of instructor and school dean. This course is repeatable for credit.
PHIL-440: Internship (Credits: 1 to 8)
Offers students the opportunity to integrate class room knowledge with practical experience. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing (for transfer students, at least 15 hours completed at Westminster or permission of instructor), minimum 2.5 GPA, completion of the Career Resource Center Internship Workshop, and consent of program director and Career Center Internship Coordinator. This course is repeatable for credit. REGISTRATION NOTE: Registration for internships is initiated through the Career Center website and is finalized upon completion of required paperwork and approvals. More info: 801-832-2590 <a>https://westminstercollege.edu/internships</a>
PHIL-490: Research Seminar in Philosophy (Credits: 4)
A required seminar for Philosophy majors, continuing the work begun in PHIL 390. Students produce a substantial piece of original scholarship in Philosophy. Philosophy majors should take this class during the spring semester of their senior year. (WCore: SC)