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Undergraduate Course Offerings

FALL 2018

For a complete listing of Undergraduate Philosophy courses, click here.

Course # Course Title Instructor Crosslisting/Meets
PHI 107        Theories/Knowledge & Reality - Lect. and 6 disc. Robert Van Gulick N / A
PHI 107 Theories/Knowledge & Reality - 6 ind. sects. 4 Senior TAs/PTIs N / A
PHI 109 Introduction to Philosophy (Honors) TBA N / A
PHI 125 Political Theory - Lect. and 6 disc. David Morgan PSC 125
PHI 171 Critical Thinking Kevan Edwards N / A
PHI 175 Social & Political Philosophy - Lect. and 2 disc. David Sobel N / A
PHI 175 Social & Political Philosophy - 2 ind. sect. Pamela Ryan N / A
PHI 191 Ethics & Contemporary Issues Laurence Thomas N / A
PHI 192 Introduction to Moral Theory - Lect. and 4 disc. Hille Paakkunainen N / A
PHI 192 Introduction to Moral Theory - 4 ind. sect. Looney/Javier-Castellanos/Dauksz/Simmons  N / A
PHI 197 Human Nature - Lect. and 4 disc. Christopher Noble N / A
PHI 197 Human Nature - 3 ind. sect. Fortier/Ryan/Sethi N / A
PHI 251 Logic - Lect. and 6 disc. Mark Heller N / A
PHI 251 Logic - 1 ind. sect. Carolyn Garland N / A
PHI 293 Ethics and the Media Professions Paul Prescott N / A
PHI 297 Philosophy of Feminism Kara Richardson WGS 297
PHI 300 Philosophy of Race Luvell Anderson N / A
PHI 317 Social Contract Tradition Kara Richardson PSC 373
PHI 341 Philosophy of Religion Kristopher McDaniel N / A
PHI 342 Theories of the Self Ahmed Abdel Meguid REL 342
PHI 373 Philosophy of Science Kim Frost N / A
PHI 377 Philosophy of Psychology Kevan Edwards N / A
PHI 381 Metaphysics  Janice Dowell N / A
PHI 387 Epistemology Hille Paakkunainen N / A
PHI 391 History of Ethics Christopher Noble N / A
PHI 400 Selected Topics: Freedom and Self-Command Laurence Thomas PSC 400
PHI 417 Contemporary Political Philosophy Elizabeth Cohen PSC 382
PHI 435 Modern Jewish Thought Zachary Braiterman REL 435/JSP 435
PHI 451 Logic and Language Michael Rieppel N / A
PHI 500 Selected Topics: Empiricism Frederick Beiser N / A
PHI 593 Ethics & Health Professions Paul Prescott REL 551

Class Descriptions

PHI 107 - Theories of Knowledge & Reality

Students should enroll either in Lecture section (M100) (Instructor: Robert Van Gulick, TTH 11:00 - 11:55) + one of the discussion sections (M101-M106); OR in one of the 6 independent small class sections (M001-M006).  

COURSE TOPIC:   An introduction to some of the main issues, theories and arguments in the areas of philosophy concerned with knowledge (epistemology) and with fundamental and basic features of reality (metaphysics).  The course will have 4 equal units concerned with four core issues:                 

            • the existence of God,                                                                                                                         

            • the nature and limits of Knowledge,                                                                                     

            • the relation of Mind & Matter (Mind-Body problem),                                                         

            • the problem of Free Will.                                                                                                            

As well as providing an understanding of the philosophical theories and debates on those four topics, the course is intended to introduce students to the methods and skills of philosophical thinking and reasoning, both in evaluating the arguments of others and in constructing and defending arguments of one's own.

Two lecture meetings & one discussion section weekly. Midterm & Final examtwo essays.  Satisfies Liberal Art Core, writing intensive course requirement.

PHI 109 - Introduction to Philosophy (Honors)
Instructor:  TBA
TTH  9:30 - 10:50
This course will familiarize students with the scope and methodology of contemporary analytic philosophy, as well as with a selection of major questions in the field. Such questions include: Does God exist? Is free will possible? What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? What, if anything, can we know with certainty? Course content will be drawn from an assortment of historical and contemporary works, with an aim towards illustrating both the historical development and the current state of the debates over these questions. This course is designated as writing intensive by the University, and students will be guided through the process of writing and revising an essay on a philosophical topic of their choosing.
PHI 125/PSC 125 - Political Theory
Instructor:  David Morgan
TTH  5:00 - 5:55
This is a course covering the great political thinkers of Western Civilization. Covering the major political theories from Plato to Rawls, we will discuss issues of human nature, the justification of the state, democracy and its difficulties, liberty and rights, economic justice, war and peace and alternatives to liberalism. Students will also have the opportunity to apply this knowledge to current political issues and events. 

We will be reading some of the classic texts of Western civilizations as we make our way through the human nature, liberty and rights, economic justice, justification of the state and war and peace. It is expected the student will be a more informed, reflective and critical citizen after this course. 

PHI 171 - Critical Thinking

Instructor:   Kevan Edwards

TTH  12:30 - 1:50

TBA

PHI 175 - Social & Political Philosophy

Students should enroll either in Lecture section (M100) (Instructor: David Sobel, MW 12:45-1:40) + one of the discussion sections (M101-M102); OR in the independent small class sections (M002).   

Social and Political Philosophy will focus on issues concerning what, if anything, gives governments the right to rule, what a just government would look like, and how benefits and burdens ought to be distributed in society.  We will read classic and contemporary sources.

PHI 191 - Ethics & Contemporary Issue

Instructor:  Laurence Thomas

TTH - 12:30 - 1:50

This class will provide a background in general ethical theory, both about the content of morality and the status of morality.  Different ethical frameworks will be considered and critically assessed.  Additionally, that background will be used to help us address ethical issues of special contemporary concern.

PHI 192 - Introduction to Moral Theory

Students should enroll either in Lecture section (M100) (Instructor: Hille Paakkunainen, MW 11:40 - 12:35) + one of the discussion sections (M101-M106); OR in one of the 2 independent small class sections (M001-M004).  

This course is an introduction to major theories about moral rightness and wrongness, about virtue and vice, and about value and disvalue. We examine historically influential theories that continue to be of contemporary interest, such as utilitarian, Kantian, Aristotelian, and social contract theories. Along the way, we discuss the relationship between morality and self-interest, as well as a range of disputed moral issues, such as our duties to non-human animals, the obligations of the affluent towards the poor, and the ethics of radical human enhancement. We use both historical and contemporary readings.

Course goals: To enable students to (a) gain a basic understanding of major moral theories, and of their merits; (b) gain a firm understanding of core ethical concepts and distinctions; (c) gain a facility for independently grappling with ethical issues in an articulate and informed manner; and (d) gain improved critical reading and analytical writing skills.

Credit cannot be received for both PHI 192 and PHI 209.

PHI 197 - Human Nature

Students should enroll either in Lecture section (M100) (Instructor:  Christopher Noble, TTH 2:00 - 2:55) + one of the discussion sections (M101-M104), OR in one of the 2 independent small class section (M001-M003).

What are we? What does it mean to be human? Are we rational animals? What does that even mean? Are we free? What is freedom anyway? Do facts about human nature have consequences for how we ought to live? How could facts about human nature have such consequences? (How could they not?)


This course is a wide-ranging introduction to key texts about human nature drawn mostly from the Western philosophical tradition. We will read historical texts by Plato, Aristotle, Mill, Freud, Marx, Sartre, and Russell. We will also read some more contemporary texts by Nozick , the Dalai Lama, Kahneman, Fine, Nussbaum and Le Guin. You will learn how to read philosophical texts drawn from different periods of history, how to identify philosophical arguments, and how to critically evaluate and construct philosophical arguments.

PHI 251 - Logic

Students should enroll either in Lecture section (M100) (Instructor: Mark Heller, TTH  2:00 - 2:55) + one of the discussion sections (M101-M106), OR in the independent small section (M001).

In a good deductive argument the conclusion follows from the premises.  But what exactly does this involve?  Logic aims to answer that question by giving a mathematically precise account of the relation of logical consequence.  In this course we will study three increasingly complex systems of logic: sentential logic, monadic predicate logic, and first-order logic.  We will learn how to represent the logical forms of English arguments, and then develop a semantics as well as a system of natural deduction in each system to determine the validity of arguments given such formal representations.  Upon completing the course students will be familiar with basic model- and proof-theoretic concepts and techniques, and be able to apply them to analyze and evaluate natural language arguments.

PHI 293 - Ethics & The Media Professions

Instructor:  Paul Prescott

TTH  5:00 - 5:55

Ethics and the Media Professions is an introduction to the ethical issues raised by the media, including television, radio, film, graphics, and photography. The goal of the course is to provide students with the resources and background required to recognize, navigate, and constructively respond to the ethical challenges faced by entertainment media professionals. Toward that end, the course focuses on three interrelated topics:

1.       Ethical concepts and methods, including traditional views about ethical standards and how they should be determined.

2.       Specific areas where ethical issues arise for the entertainment media: including the portrayal of sex and violence; the representation of race, class, and gender; and the ethical implications of digital technology.

3.       Questions concerning personal, professional, and institutional responsibility, and the ethical challenges of professional life.

The course is open to Newhouse students only.

PHI 297.M001/WGS 297 - Philosophy of Feminism

Instructor:  Kara Richardson

TTh  2:00 - 3:20

This course will address a range of philosophical issues under the broad topic of

feminism . In the rst part of the course, we'll deal with Ätraditional" issues in

feminist philosophy, including work on oppression, sex, and feminist ethical theory.

In the second part of the course, we'll turn our attention to feminist epistemology,

with a special focus on recent work by Miranda Fricker on the nature of (and

corrective for) what she calls Äepistemic injustice."

PHI 300 - Selected Topics: Philosophy of Race

Instructor:  Luvell Anderson

TTH  2:00 - 3:20

TBA

PHI 317/PSC 373 - Social Contract Tradition

Instructor:  Kara Richardson

TTH  9:30 - 10:50

This course will explore the idea of the social contract as a basis for political obligation and political authority as well as various criticisms of that view of the social contract.  Readings will include both classic and contemporary texts, including Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, John Simmons, Carole Pateman, Charles Mills, Jean Hampton, and David Gauthier.  We will also explore the idea of liberal toleration as it has appeared in the social contract tradition since (at least) Locke:  is it a coherent ideal?  Does tolerating something already suggest it is less valuable?  Locke, the great liberal theorist, thought we should not tolerate atheists—and he was uncertain about Catholics!  If Locke was mistaken about this, what are appropriate limits on toleration? 

PHI 341 - Philosophy of Religion

Instructor:  Kristopher McDaniel

MW  12:45 - 2:05

TBA

PHI 342/REL 342 - Theories of the Self

Instructor:  Ahmed Abdel Meguid

MW  3:45 - 5:05

TBA

PHI 373 - Philosophy of Science

Instructor:  Kim Frost

TTH  3:30 - 4:50

TBA

PHI 377 - Philosophy of Psychology

Instructor:  Kevan Edwards

TTH  3:30 - 4:50

TBA

PHI 381 - Metaphysics

Instructor:  Janice Dowell

TTH  11:00 - 12:20

TBA

PHI 387 - Epistemology

Instructor:  Hille Paakkunainen

MW  3:45 - 5:05

We will be examining issues about knowledge and justified belief. In the case of knowledge we will be asking the following questions. What is it to know something? What kinds of knowledge are there? How much, if any, do we have of each kind? We will also be asking the corresponding questions about justified belief. What is it? What kinds are there? How much do we have belonging to each kind? In attempting to answer these questions we will discuss some celebrated arguments for skepticism about knowledge and justified belief. Specifically we will be looking at skepticism about the external world, other minds, the future and the past. Other topics we will investigate include testimony, whether we can have knowledge, which is independent of experience, perception, introspection and naturalized epistemology.

PHI 391 - History of Ethics

Instructor:  Christopher Noble

MW  8:00 - 9:20

TBA

PHI 400 - Selected Topics: Freedom and Self-Command

Instructor:  Laurence Thomas

TTH  5:00 - 6:20

TBA

PHI 417/PSC 382 - Contemporary Political Philosophy

Instructor:  Elizabeth Cohen

TTH  11:00 - 12:20

TBA

PHI 435/REL 435/JSP 435 - Modern Jewish Thought

Instructor:  Zachary Braiterman

T  3:30 - 6:15

TBA

PHI 451 - Logic and Language

Instructor:  Michael Rieppel

TTH  9:30 - 10:50

TBA

PHI 500 - Selected Topics: Empiricism

Instructor:  Frederick Beiser

TTH  2:00 - 3:20

TBA

PHI 593/REL 551 - Ethics & Health Professions

Instructor:  Paul Prescott

W  4:30 - 7:30

TBA