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Undergraduate Course Offerings


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

Course # Course Title Instructor Crosslisting/Meets
PHI 107        Theories/Knowledge & Reality - Lect. and 8 disc. Mark Heller N / A
PHI 107 Theories/Knowledge & Reality - 6 ind. sects. 5 Senior TAs/PTIs N / A
PHI 109 Introduction to Philosophy (Honors) André Gallois N / A
PHI 125 Political Theory - Lect. and 4 disc. Pamela Ryan PSC 125
PHI 175 Social & Political Philosophy - 2 ind. sect. Neelam Sethi/Nicole Fortier N / A
PHI 191 Ethics & Contemporary Issues Laurence Thomas N / A
PHI 192 Intro. to Moral Theory - Lect. and 4 disc. David Sobel N / A
PHI 192 Intro. to Moral Theory - 2 ind. sect. Hamed Shirmohammadi/Megs Gendreau N / A
PHI 197 Human Nature - Lect. and 6 disc. Christopher Noble N / A
PHI 197 Human Nature - 2 ind. sect. Carolyn Garland/Megs Gendreau N / A
PHI 200 Selected Topics:  Chinese Philosophy Paul Prescott N / A
PHI 241 Christian and Muslim Philosophy Ahmed Abdel Meguid REL 292
PHI 251 Logic - Lect. and 6 disc. Michael Rieppel N / A
PHI 251 Logic - 3 ind. sect. James Lee/Scott Looney/Dante Dauksz N / A
PHI 293 Ethics and the Media Professions Paul Prescott N / A
PHI 297 Philosophy of Feminism Nathaniel Sharadin WGS 297
PHI 307 Ancient Philosophy Christopher Noble N / A
PHI 311 The Rationalists Kara Richardson N / A
PHI 317 Social Contract Tradition Kenneth Baynes PSC 373
PHI 319 God in Political Theory Ahmed Abdel Meguid REL 371/PSC 399
PHI 325 Existentialism Gregg Lambert N / A
PHI 378 Minds and Machines Joseph Hedger N / A
PHI 379 American Slavery and the Holocaust  Laurence Thomas PSC 379/JSP 379
PHI 387 Epistemology André Gallois N / A
PHI 393 Contemporary Ethics Hille Paakkunainen N / A
PHI 394 Environmental Ethics Lorenza D'Angelo N / A
PHI 396 Stem Cells and Society Paakkunainen/Erdman BIO 396/REL 359
PHI400 Selected Topics: Philosophy and Psychiatry Kim Frost N / A
PHI 401 Seminar for Philosophy Majors Samuel Gorovitz N / A

Class Descriptions


PHI 107 - Theories of Knowledge & Reality

Students should enroll either in Lecture section (M002) (Instructor: Mark Heller, MW 11:40 - 12:35) + one of the discussion sections (M003-M012); OR in one of the 6 independent small class sections (M101-M107).  

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:  André Gallois
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:  Pamela Ryan
TTH  5:00 - 5:55

PHI 175 - Social & Political Philosophy

Students should enroll in one of the 2 independent small class sections (M001-M003). 

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 (M101) (Instructor: David Sobel, MW 10:35 - 11:30) + one of the discussion sections (M102-M105); OR in one of the 2 independent small class sections (M001-M003).  

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 12:30 - 1:25) + one of the discussion sections (M101-M106), OR in one of the 2 independent small class section (M001-M002).

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 200 - Selected Topics: Chinese Philosophy
Instructor:  Paul Prescott
TTH  2:00 - 3:20

Chinese Philosophy is an introduction to the major philosophers of the classical period in China (ca. 600—221 BCE). Topics include Kongzi (Confucius), Mozi, Yang Zhu, Mengzi (Mencius), the Daodejing, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Han Feizi. The course also attends to issues in East-West comparative thought, and to the relevance of Chinese philosophy for the contemporary world.

PHI 241/REL 292 - Christian and Muslim Philosophy
Instructor:  Ahmed Abdel Meguid
TTH  11:00 - 12:20
PHI 251 - Logic

Students should enroll either in Lecture section (M001) (Instructor: Michael Rieppel, MW  2:15 - 3:10) + one of the discussion sections (M002-M009), OR in the independent small sections (M102 - M104).

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:  Nathaniel Sharadin

TTh  2:00 - 3:20


PHI 307 - Ancient Philosophy

Instructor:  Christopher Noble

MW  12:45 - 2:05



PHI 311 - The Rationalists

Instructor:  Kara Richardson

TTH  12:30 - 1:50



PHI 317/PSC 373 - Social Contract Tradition

Instructor:  Kenneth Baynes

TTH  11:00 - 12:20



PHI 319/REL 371/PSC 399 - God in Political Theory

Instructor:  Ahmed Abdel Meguid

TTH  2:00 - 3:20


PHI 325 - Existentialism

Instructor:  Gregg Lambert

TTH  2:00 - 3:20


PHI 378 - Minds and Machines

Instructor:  Joseph Hedger

TTH  12:30 - 1:50


PHI 379/PSC 379/JSP 379 - American Slavery and the Holocaust

Instructor:  Laurence Thomas

TTH  3:30 - 4:50


PHI 387 - Epistemology

Instructor:  André Gallois

TTH  11:00 - 12:20


PHI 393 - Contemporary Ethics

Instructor:  Hille Paakkunainen

MW  2:15 - 3:35

This course will familiarize students with the scope and methodology of contemporary moral philosophy, as well as with some central open questions in the field. Such questions include: What makes actions right or wrong? Are there really moral properties such as rightness or wrongness, and if so, what is their fundamental nature? Under what conditions are agents morally responsible for their actions? We deepen our grasp of basic ethical concepts and theories by thinking about specific contemporary moral issues, such as the ethics of terrorism and torture, of free speech and hate speech, of disability and radical human enhancement, and our obligations to future generations. Course content will be drawn predominantly from the philosophical works of recent decades, providing students with a survey of the current state of the discipline.

Course goals:

Our goals throughout are to (a) gain some appreciation of the rich variety of topics discussed in contemporary ethics, (b) gain a firm understanding of core ethical concepts and distinctions, (c) develop skills in active, critical reading of texts in contemporary moral philosophy, and (d) gain a facility for independently grappling with ethical issues in an articulate and informed manner, both orally and in writing.


PHI 394 - Environmental Ethics

Instructor:  Lorenza D'Angelo

MW  3:45 - 5:05

"The primary goal of this course is to help students develop a good understanding of some core problems in contemporary philosophical ethics through an engagement with environmental issues. These are among the most theoretically challenging and yet practically urgent moral problems of our time. In the first half of the semester, we will examine major views about welfare and explore their application to non-human animals. In the second half of the semester, we will deal with issues of welfare distribution; in particular, we will focus on the special challenges that global climate change and population growth pose for international and intergenerational justice."


PHI 396/BIO 396/REL 359 - Stem Cells and Society

Instructor:  Paakkunainen/Erdman

MWF  10:35 - 11:30

Description: This is a 3-credit course that will meet three times a week for lectures and discussion. Each class session may include a combination of lecture segments, group and individual work, and discussions with the entire class, with some sessions dedicated more to lecture, others for discussion. The course covers some of the central scientific, ethical, religious, and social issues surrounding the research and use of stem cell technologies, including discussion of the media coverage surrounding stem cell science. 

The course is team-taught by Instructors with expertise in the relevant science, ethical, religious, and media issues. Students will gain requisite knowledge of these topics as well as acquiring skills for identifying and critically addressing the complex issues raised by stem cell research and uses.

Learning Objectives:  Upon completing this course students will:

  1. Be able to describe the biology of stem cells, their sources and actual and potential uses
  2. Be able to discuss related ethical, social and religious issues associated with stem cells and their uses.
  3. Have gained facility with analyzing and criticizing arguments, including key concepts in debates about stem cell uses.
  4. Have gained facility in reading and interpreting the primary scientific literature.
  5. Have gained a critical perspective on media coverage of stem cell technologies

PHI 400 - Selected Topics: Philosophy and Psychiatry

Instructor:  Kim Frost

MW  2:15 - 3:35

In this class we will examine how philosophy of mind, philosophy science, and ethics apply to a host of complex, interrelated questions about psychiatry. Questions we shall address include: what is the nature of mental health, and mental illness? Is mental illness a biological, biochemical, or social kind (or some mix of these)? What roles do values play in the definition and classification of kinds of mental illness? In what sense is the patient’s point of view important for the definition, nature, and treatment of mental illness? In what sense (if any) is psychiatry a field of scientific research? In what sense (if any) is psychiatry a form of social control? What do various psychiatric treatment and research programs assume about the nature of the mind? Are the assumptions clearly correct? How do categories like mental health and mental illness relate to categories like autonomy and (moral; legal) responsibility? (How do we answer complex, interrelated questions like these?)

PHI 401 - Seminar for Philosophy Majors

Instructor:  Samuel Gorovitz

TTH  2:00 - 3:20