Philosophy Courses

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PHIL - Philosophy Courses

PHIL-102: Critical Thinking (Credits: 4)

This foundational course teaches the skills involved in clear thinking, logical reasoning, and analytic reading applicable to all academic studies. It provides a brief treatment of deductive logic, covers how to identify logical fallacies in another person's argument, and includes the practice of reading skills necessary to get the most from your college education. This course is a required prerequisite for all upper-division philosophy offerings.

PHIL-129: Race, Power, and Privilege (Credits: 4)

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 we view the world. We will do this from a philosophical perspective. This discussion-based course will encourage students to complicate the ways they view their own identity, question the simplified accounts of power that they encounter from the media, and reflect upon the ways in which race structures society and affects the lives of individuals. (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: WCFAH, DE)

PHIL-134: Philosophy, Identity, and the Self (Credits: 4)

When we look at the world philosophically, we begin to question the basic assumptions in our lives that we used to ignore. This often forces us to live with shakier scaffolding than before. However, while this can be uncomfortable or downright annoying, it also spurs us to reflect on what we find truly valuable, and encourages us to build more meaningful relationships with ourselves, our loved ones, and our world. In this course we will read reflections on core questions in philosophy, especially surrounding theories of identity and the self. We will also discuss and write about how answering these questions affects 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)

This course explores ancient and medieval philosophy. Starting around the sixth century BCE, ancient and then medieval philosophers (in the east and west) established or shaped many of the core fields in the discipline, and this course will consider how questions and theories in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic, and aesthetics continue to affect how we conceptualize the world today. If you think human thought is a linear story of progress, this course might make you reconsider where we've been, and where we're going.

PHIL-202: History of Philosophy II (Credits: 4)

This course explores modern and contemporary philosophy. Philosophers since the seventeenth century have both led and responded to immense social, political, scientific, and artistic change, and we will consider how questions and theories in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic, and aesthetics continue to affect how we conceptualize the world today. If you think human thought is a linear story of progress, this course might make you reconsider where we've been, and where we're going.

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 ethically, politically, or economically justifies-if anything-the current state of the world in which so many people remain mired in extreme conditions of deprivation (i.e., in poverty that kills)? We will consider various arguments for the necessity of change in regards to poverty. (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" (to which we often suppose all human beings have a right, and thus that others have a duty to uphold), we will focus in this course on the role which health and adequate health care play in securing 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 philosophy, ethics is the study of moral decisions and moral actions. To put it 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 thinkers who try 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-302: Philosophers in Focus (Credits: 4)

This course is a concentrated study of one or two related philosophers and the major themes of their important works. Philosophers treated have included Simone de Beauvoir, William James, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Baruch Spinoza, Angela Davis, and Michel Foucault. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.

PHIL-303: Formal Logic (Credits: 4)

The course is an introduction to modern sentential and predicate logic. We will discuss 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. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.

PHIL-307: Environmental Ethics (Credits: 4)

The course is an examination of moral issues resulting from human use of the natural environment. We will focus on future responsibility as it results from action in the present, examine traditional secular and religious conceptions of morality which may have contributed to the "environmental crisis," and consider alternative views such as zoocentrism, biocentrism, ecocentrism, ecofeminism, the "land ethic," and ecojustice. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.

PHIL-311: God, Evil, and Us (Credits: 4)

This course treats 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 is paid to the relationship between science on the one hand and monotheistic religions and theologies on the other. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.

PHIL-312: Applied Ethics (Credits: 4)

This course treats 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. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.

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)

What is the nature and purpose of art? This course treats art as a significantly different way to think about and understand our experience of the human and natural world. We will examine philosophical theories of art, and consider the interplay between philosophy and various art forms. Thematic variations include: Philosophy and Film; Philosophy and Literature; Philosophy and the Visual Arts; and Philosophy and Music. Depending on the focus, this course may be taken more than once for credit. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.

PHIL-390: Thesis Research Preseminar in Philosophy (Credits: 4)

A required seminar for senior philosophy majors, this course focuses 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. Students will prepare a substantial literature review and thesis proposal. Majors and minors take this course during the fall semester of their senior year. (WCore: SC)

PHIL-401: Directed Studies (Credits: 1 to 4)

This is a tutorial-based course used only for student-initiated proposals for intensive individual study of topics not otherwise offered by the philosophy program. Requires consent of instructor and school dean. This course is repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: PHIL 102.

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)

This is a required seminar for senior philosophy majors, continuing the work begun in PHIL 390. Students produce a substantial piece of original scholarship in philosophy and present it to program faculty and their peers. Philosophy majors take this course during the spring semester of their senior year. (WCore: SC)