Poster with Fall 23 Philosophy Course Offerings

PHIL 101 – Introduction to Philosophy

Prof. Tiehen: MoWeFri 10:00 AM- 10:50AM

(Humanities Core)

Representative philosophical topics, such as mind and body, the grounds of knowledge, the existence of God, moral obligation, political equality, and human freedom, are discussed in connection with contemporary philosophers and figures in the history of philosophy.


PHIL 104– Existentialism

Prof. Tubert: TuTh 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

Existentialism describes an influential set of views that gained prominence in Europe following World War II, stressing radical human freedom and possibility, as well as concomitant responsibility and anxiety, in a world bereft of transcendent significance. This course examines the nineteenth-century philosophical roots of such views, their leading twentieth-century philosophical and theological expression, and a few of their most compelling incarnations in literature.


PHIL 210 – Ancient Greek Philosophy

Prof. Protasi: MW 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM

(Humanities Core; GLAM Major/Minor)

A survey of the origins of Western philosophy in Ancient Greece, beginning with the Presocratics and covering Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenistic philosophy. In this course students are introduced to the answers some of the most influential ancient philosophers have given to the question: “How can we be happy?” In addition to learning what these philosophers thought, students are stimulated to think about these questions from their own modern perspective, and reflect on the extent to which their modern viewpoint differs. Finally, but not least importantly, students learn to read and interpret texts that were written millennia ago. In the process, they encounter argumentative techniques that are still as current as the theses defended through them.


PHIL 230 – Philosophy of Mind

Prof. Tiehen: TuTh 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM

(Bioethics Minor; Neuroscience Major/Minor; STHS Major; Interdisciplinary Humanities)

This course introduces central issues in the philosophy of mind, especially the relation between mind and body - the brain, in particular - and the nature of consciousness. Other topics may include the possibility of artificial intelligence, the nature of psychological explanation, self-knowledge, psychopathology and psychopharmacology, psychoanalysis, and the concept of a person. Course materials reflect scientific developments in such fields as psychology, neurobiology, medicine, linguistics, and computer engineering.


PHIL 232 – Philosophy of Science

Prof. Tiehen: MW 3:30 PM - 4:50 PM

(STHS Major/Minor; Interdisciplinary Humanities)

This course consists of a philosophical examination of science. The course examines attempts to describe what is distinctive about science, including views concerning scientific methodology. The course also examines the character of scientific change, asking how one should understand the history of science. This examination leads to a discussion of the nature of scientific knowledge, including whether scientific entities should be considered real and what role values play in the development of science. Issues that arise from particular sciences also may be discussed.


PHIL 333- Philosophy of Emotions

Prof. Protasi TuTh 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM

(STHS Major; Neuroscience Major/Minor)

Anger, fear, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise, envy, pride, jealousy, love, grief- without emotions our experience of the world would be flat and grey, void of upheavals, accelerations, and turns that make the journey of life so exciting. But what are emotions? What kind of mental state are they? Are there universal emotions, or are all emotions culturally- relative? What does it mean to feel fear- as opposed to think- that something is scary? How can we know that someone is envious? Is disgust always bad? Can joy be inappropriate? In this course students explore these and many other questions concerning the metaphysics, epistemology, phenomenology, value, and rationality of emotions. Readings are drawn from a variety of sources; classical philosophical texts, contemporary articles in philosophy and psychology, popular culture, and literature.


PHIL 350- Moral Psychology & Metaethics

Prof. Tubert TuTh 3:30 PM - 4:50 PM

(Neuroscience Major/Minor)

This course is focused on the interconnection between value judgments and a scientific perspective on the world and human psychology. Drawing on philosophical work that connects to and draws implications from attempts to study human behavior scientifically, the course explores answers to questions like: What motivates ethical actions- is it emotions, reasoning, or something else? What is the connection between a person's values and their behavior? As students explore various answers to these questions, they will draw connections and look at the implications of those answers for epistemological and metaphysical issues connected to ethics, such as whether morality is objective or subjective; whether morality can be universal or whether it is relative to a person, to some aspect of a person's psychology, or to a community; whether ethical language is an expression of a person's feelings or a statement of some fact (be it a fact about the community or the psychology of the speaker, or a non-natural fact); and whether moral responsibility requires freedom of choice.


PHIL 499 – Ethics Bowl

Prof. Tubert: Fri 2:00 PM - 3:50 PM

This 0.25 activity course provides students with a unique opportunity to practice applying ethical theories to controversial ethical problems. An Ethics Bowl is a collaborative yet competitive event in which teams analyze a series of wide ranging ethical dilemmas. Throughout the semester, students research and discuss case studies dealing with complex ethical issues in a number of practical contexts and possibly compete in an Ethics Bowl. Cases concern ethical problems on wide ranging topics, such as personal relationships(e.g. dating, friendship), professional ethics (e.g. cases in engineering, law, medicine), social and political ethics(e.g. free speech, gun control, health care, discrimination), technology (e.g. autonomous cars, care-bots), and global issues (e.g. the impact of globalization, global warming, biodiversity).


SSI1 146- The Good Life

Prof. Protasi: MoWeFr 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

(Seminar in Scholarly Inquiry 1)

What is happiness and how can human beings achieve it? Can a bad person be truly happy or is moral virtue required for happiness? Is suffering valuable, and if so, should we pursue suffering? Is it better to be detached and invulnerable from loss, or are love and attachments always worth the risk? Do emotions give us any knowledge? What does it mean when cognitive scientists talk about "the divided mind"? What is implicit bias and how can we fight it? What does it mean that race or gender or disability are a "social construct"? These are questions concerning human flourishing that both philosophers and scientists have contributed to answer, or to attempt to answer. In this course, students are invited to engage in a variety of debates concerning happiness, morality, and identity. Readings range from ancient primary philosophical texts to contemporary cognitive science articles.