Philosophy

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Philosophy studies the basic beliefs that support all of our thinking and living. These beliefs are about the nature and existence of the universe, God, persons, free will, space/time, and causality; about evidence, theory-testing, and rational judgment; and about justice, the good person, and moral education. The curriculum emphasizes the history of philosophy, as well as recent philosophical work concerning religion, science, business activity, environmental ethics, poverty, and social justice. Philosophy students will develop skills to evaluate critically what they read, to examine and to write clearly about what they believe, and to think in a cooperative way. These skills are useful in most careers and in graduate and advanced professional study. Majors often select an area of philosophy for independent study, and many students choose to double-major. The Department offers innovative tutorial courses to prepare students for study at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.

Students who successfully complete the major will:

  • show basic understanding of major western traditions in ethics;
  • show basic understanding of the history of western philosophy from the ancient world through the modern period;
  • show basic understanding of formal symbolic logic and its application to arguments in ordinary language;
  • analyze philosophical content effectively;
  • apply independent research skills to philosophy;
  • communicate effectively in writing;
  • communicate ideas effectively in an oral format.
Degree Type: Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Program Contact: Professor Roger Ward

 

Majors and Minors

Classes

PHI151 : Ethics

Introduction to important texts and authors, including Aristotle, Kant, and Mill, who provide interesting answers to the question, “How should one live?”

Credit Hour(s)

3

PHI152 : Logic

Introduction to principles of sound reasoning with emphasis on formal and informal techniques for evaluating arguments.

Credit Hour(s)

3

PHI195 : Discovering Vocation

This course introduces the idea of vocation through reading, discussion, writing, and research. “Vocation” is a term of art referring to the integration of practice and intellect with moral and spiritual calling. The interdisciplinary readings in this course will acquaint the student with representative and historical models of reflection on vocation. This course will be offered only as a Foundations 112 course.

Credit Hour(s)

3

PHI201 : History of Philosophy I

Survey of the development of Western philosophical thought within its cultural contexts from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages. Exploration of foundational approaches to questions of reality, virtue, knowledge, God, faith, and reason.

Credit Hour(s)

3

PHI307 : History of Philosophy II

Survey of the development of Western philosophical thought within its cultural contexts from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century. Exploration of issues foundational to contemporary philosophy, theology, and the sciences.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

Foundations 111 or one course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PHI325 : Business Ethics

Introduction to both the moral issues involved in business management and the ethical concepts and analytical skills relevant to resolving those issues.

Credit Hour(s)

3

PHI335 : Theories of Economic Justice

Introduction to the moral and political issues raised by the facts of absolute poverty and economic inequality in both international and domestic contexts. Contemporary theories of beneficence and distributive justice will be explored.

Credit Hour(s)

3

PHI345 : Environmental Philosophy and Ethics

Philosophical exploration of the concept of the natural environment, including a survey of ethical positions that guide human habitation in nature.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI355 : Philosophy of Religion

Philosophical exploration of the classical issues of theistic religious thought, such as the reality of God, the problem of evil, religious language, life after death, and the pluralism of religious traditions.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI365 : Social/Political Philosophy

An examination of the major political philosophies of our time, with same attention to the historical precedents.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI370 : Topics in Philosophy

The study of a special topic in philosophy, announced at advanced registration. Recent offerings include Postmodernism, Feminist Philosophies, and Friendship and Love.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI375 : Tutorial Topics

The study of a special topic in philosophy using a one-on-one tutorial method of instruction adapted from humanities courses at Oxford University. Please check with department for a list of current offerings.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy and permission of the instructor.

PHI385 : Medical Ethics

Philosophical exploration of the moral issues involved in the practice and management of medicine, including a basic introduction to the moral concepts and analytical skills relevant to resolving these issues.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI395 : Seminar on Vocation

This course introduces the idea of vocation through readings and discussions. The readings include scripture, biography, theology, and philosophical texts. The purpose of the course is to develop the student’s understanding of vocation as a reflective theme and to have access to rich sources for exploring the idea of vocation.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI412 : American Philosophy

Survey of the most influential American philosophies from the colonial period to the present: Puritanism, Deism, transcendentalism, pragmatism, and process philosophy.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI435 : 19th and 20th Century Philosophy

Survey of the development of Western philosophical thought within its cultural contexts from the beginning of the 19th century through the end of the 20th century. Exploration of issues pertinent to the development of contemporary theories of scientific discovery, personal identity, language, and mind-world relation. Major figures may include Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Russell, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Lewis.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI440 : Independent Study

With the approval and permission of a member of the Philosophy faculty and the chair of the Philosophy Department, students may undertake independent reading and research on a philosophical topic of their own choosing.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI450 : Seminar

Class presentation of research on a philosophical topic, announced at advanced registration, with the guidance of a member of the Philosophy faculty.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in Philosophy.

PHI460 : Internship

Students may receive graduation credit for internships with appropriate disciplinary content that meet the faculty-approved criteria for academic internships. Such experiences include a significant reflective component and must be supervised by a full-time member of the Georgetown College faculty.

Credit Hour(s)

1 - 3

Prerequisites

consent of the supervising instructor.