Courses in Philosophy

Ethics in Society

PHIL 100     3.00 Credits
This course studies the foundations for moral beliefs and values and the part they play in practical ethical judgments. After providing a general introduction to moral concepts and theories, the course covers a wide range of social problems through an analysis of power, privilege, and justice. The class is organized by overarching themes of race, social class, gender, and global concerns and addresses issues involving criminal justice, economic inequality, gender differences, and sexuality. (Prerequisite: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading Comprehension portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0090) (MNTC Goal Areas 7, 9)

World Religions

PHIL 105     4.00 Credits
This course is a basic introduction to the major world religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It also explores related issues in the Philosophy of Religion. (Prerequisites: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0080 and READ 0090 with a grade of C or higher) (MNTC 6, 8: Humanities and Fine Arts, Global Perspective)

Philosophy and Popular Culture

PHIL 110     3.00 Credits
This course introduces some basic concepts in philosophy and identifies positions taken on these concepts by important figures in the Western tradition. This course utilizes examples from popular culture to illustrate and elucidate these ideas and critically analyzes themes within and specific aspects of contemporary culture. Finally, it encourages students to articulate, develop, and defend their own views on perennial issues in philosophy. (Prerequisites: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0080 and READ 0090 with a grade of C or higher) (MNTC 6: Humanities and Fine Arts)

Global Philosophies

PHIL 115     3.00 Credits
This course provides a practical introduction to the discipline of philosophy. In addition to exploring what philosophy has meant in Western society, this course will survey perspectives on philosophy in non-Western cultures -- including Indian, Chinese and indigenous traditions. It will explore how different philosophical schools have answered several "essential questions" regarding human nature, the purpose of life, and how society should be structured to maximize human flourishing. Special emphasis will be placed on philosophies which offer practical guidance for living, and students will be encouraged to develop and articulate their own philosophical perspective. (Prerequisite: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading Comprehension portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0090) (MNTC Goal Areas 6, 8)

Logic

PHIL 130     4.00 Credits
In this course we will explore some of the methods and principles that distinguish logically correct from incorrect reasoning. We will also learn to use formal techniques to evaluate the cogency of everyday argumentation. Most of the semester will be spent becoming familiar with a variety of elementary logical techniques and rules: distinguishing inductive from deductive arguments, valid from invalid arguments, mastering the formal rules of inference, truth tables and the propositional logic. Some find this material fascinating in its own right. Others value logic for the light it casts on everyday argumentation, and for its uses in philosophy, mathematics, and computing. Logical skills are not only an important component of aptitude tests such as the GRE and LSAT, but are also valuable in almost any course or job that involves using analytical techniques.(Prerequisites: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0080 and READ 0090 with a grade of C or higher) (MNTC 2, 4: Critical Thinking, Mathematical/Logical Reasoning)

Medical Ethics

PHIL 150     3.00 Credits
This course examines the moral problems confronting medical providers and surveys the broader field of bioethics. After providing a general introduction to ethical concepts and theories, it focuses on specific issues relating to the American health care system, including access to care, inequality, obesity, reproductive rights, end-of-life care, disability, organ transplantation, and alternative medicine. Emphasis is placed on practical application of moral principles and critical analysis of case studies. (Prerequisites: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0090 with a grade of C or higher) (MNTC Goal Areas 2, 9)

Special Topics in Philosophy:

PHIL 205     1 - 3 Credits
All PHIL 205 courses will help students learn about other areas of philosophy which are important to the study of other disciplines and philosophy itself. Students will explore broader areas of philosophical concern such as metaphysics (free-will, truth, realism, universals, necessity/contingency, causation, mind, time, God, etc.); epistemology (skepticism, inferential justification, knowledge, internalism/externalism, a priori/a posteriori, closure, direct/indirect realism, memorial knowledge, etc.); meta-ethics (moral knowledge, oral realism/anti realism, ethical intuitionism, reductionisms such as utilitarianism, relativism, subjectivism, divine command theory, contractarianism, Aristotelianism/teleology, virtue ethics, etc.). Furthermore, students can also focus on political philosophy, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of science or specialize in some facet of the above topics. All PHIL 205 courses will emphasize the use of primary texts and the development of philosophical thought throughout history. These courses will focus on the most basic questions of human existence (this indeed is philosophy) such as truth, knowledge, free-will, moral rightness, justice, and so forth. We assume answers to these questions in every other study we partake in. For instance, science presupposes the legitimacy of inductive reasoning, the law of non-contradiction, the justification of using inference to the best explanation, the uniformity of nature, the reliability of perception, the nature and possibility of a posteriori knowledge and others. These courses will deal with the questions we presuppose answers to in discussing those things that matter to us. In the end, PHIL 205 courses will give philosophy instructors and students the opportunity to explore areas of philosophy which are of interest not only to the psychologist, historian, and novelist, but also to those who wish to pursue a career in philosophy or become competent in philosophical problems. As Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living." These courses will help encourage others to avoid the unexamined life. (Prerequisite: Any 100 level PHIL course or instructor permission) (MNTC 6: Humanities and Fine Arts)

Environmental Ethics

PHIL 210     3.00 Credits
This class explores the place of human beings within the broader ecosystem, focusing on the environmental impact of human behavior and sustainable alternatives to consumerist lifestyles. In addition to surveying the scientific evidence for the ecological problems humans cause, it addresses the political, economic, cultural, philosophical and religious dimensions of the current environmental crisis. The class also includes discussion and application of solutions to these problems, encouraging students to become involved in environmental activism and consider changes in their own behavior. (Prerequisites: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0090 with a grade of C or higher) (MNTC 9, 10: Ethical and Civic Responsibility, People and the Environment)

Business Ethics

PHIL 215     3.00 Credits
The intent of this course is to show that the world of business traffics in the world of ethics. Business is not a neutral domain where one may do as one pleases. For instance, there is the question of what sorts of obligations businesses have toward their employees. Do businesses have a positive moral duty to promote social goods? Do they have a primary obligation or do their moral responsibilities comprise a set of different and equally important obligations? We will examine several views of the moral relation between businesses and others including the stockholder theory and the stakeholder theory. The goals of this course are to become acquainted with the architecture of morality, master the various moral theories and their unique implications for business, and to gain facility sliding between talk of each and applying each in various business contexts. We will examine various moral theories like utilitarianism and deontological type theories and then examine them in the context of applied business ethical issues. We will also look at broader issues about the nature of a just society and just economy in which the business is to function.(Prerequisites: Must have a score of 78 or higher on the Reading portion of the Accuplacer test or completion of READ 0090 with a grade of C or higher) (MNTC 2, 9: Critical Thinking, Ethical & Civil Responsibility)