The department includes scholars of national and international reputation. Areas of specialization range across Philosophy and Classics and represent a variety of methodological approaches.

Course Descriptions

The analysis of arguments and rhetorical forms. Deals with common forms of valid and fallacious reasoning and includes exercises and drill in practical reasoning.
Examination of ethical problems and theories which have a bearing on contemporary life. Texts may include both classical and contemporary ethical writings and deal with problems such as the conditions under which life may be taken (abortion, capital punishment, medical ethics), business ethics, social justice, and individual rights.
Approaches philosophy through a broad application of philosophical perspectives to humanistic disciplines, including history, literature, and the arts. Recommended for students satisfying the social/cultural core requirement.
An examination of one or more basic problems of lasting interest to philosophers. Typical problems may include human nature and limits of knowledge. Formerly listed as 1300. Credit cannot be received for both 1300 and 2300.
The development of formal and symbolic systems for the analysis of arguments. The scope of the course will be basically modern logic: truth-functional analysis, propositional calculus, and some predicate calculus. Prerequisite: PHIL 1301 or six hours of mathematics.
An inquiry into the basic principles of the moral life through a critical examination of traditional and current theories of value, right and wrong, good and evil, happiness, duty, and freedom.
Topics and episodes in the history of science and mathematics from a philosophical point of view. Students are brought to understand that science has a fascinating history, is underpinned by deep philosophical presuppositions, and depends upon special social and cultural factors for its continued growth and revision. This course is part of the UTeach program. Prerequisite/corequisite: SCIE 1101.
Examination of philosophical methodology; philosophical analysis,   philosophical writing, discipline-specific bibliographic tools, etc. Students   write a series of short papers on topics of interest. Prerequisite: PHIL 2311   and one other PHIL course.
Problems that engage philosophy of religion (e.g.,   the existence of God, theodicy, religious language) and the way these   problems have been treated by some outstanding Western thinkers.
Begins with predicate calculus and includes such   topics as soundness and completeness theorems, definite descriptions,   identity, modal logic, and others. Prerequisite: PHIL 2311.
The method and goals of scientific scholars and inquiry. The distinction between   formal and empirical sciences, laws and theories, measurement, the role of   observation and experiment, and probability. Formerly listed as 4315. Credit   cannot be received for both 4315 and 3318.
Major ethical problems which arise in modern   medicine and in medical/biological research (euthanasia, abortion,   patient-physician relations, allocations of medical resources, genetic   research, etc.).
Examination of the institution of law, legal   concepts, legal reasoning, and the legal process. Topics may include the   nature of law; the moral limits of the criminal law; legal rights; liberty,   justice, and equality; punishment; responsibility; the private law (property,   contract, and tort); constitutional law; and feminist jurisprudence.
Topics to be investigated include the nature of   language and communication; the distinction between natural and artificial   language; the traditional division of the field into syntax, semantics, and   pragmatics; and such specialized subtopics as meaning, reference, truth, and   speech acts. Completion of PHIL 2311 is recommended, but not required.
Selected ethical issues in business, such as the   nature and moral status of capitalism; corporate moral agency and   responsibility; issues and challenges in the workplace (e.g., civil   liberties, personnel policies, unionization, privacy, and safety); moral   choices facing employees (e.g., loyalty, insider trading, and   whistleblowing); job discrimination (e.g., affirmative action, comparable   worth, and sexual harassment); consumer protection; environmental protection;   and globalization.
Investigation of the basis   (if any) of political obligation. Analysis of social and political concepts,   such as equality, liberty, rights, and justice. Discussion of social and political   theories, such as anarchism, contractarianism, Marxism, and conservatism.
Investigation of a single moral issue or a cluster   of issues that arise in the context of a particular profession. Examples of   the former are abortion, punishment, freedom of speech, the environment, and   the moral status of animals. Examples of the latter are business ethics,   legal ethics, engineering ethics, nursing ethics, and computer ethics. May be   repeated for credit as content changes.
An interdisciplinary course designed to meet the   needs of advanced undergraduates in the Honors College.
The role of ideas in literature and an analysis of the actual contacts between philosophy and the dominant world views of the great writers of literature.
Phenomenology is a major philosophical movement   based on the methodically controlled and objectively validated description of   human experience, as uncovered at first introspectively. This course focuses   on (1) the origin of the movement in common problems stemming from the   devaluation of the subjective point of view brought on by positivistic and   scientistic views in philosophy and the sciences, (2) the development of the   movement's method, and (3) a close study of some influential   phenomenologists.
Philosophical hermeneutics - the theory or study of interpretation dates back at least to   Aristotle and grew in the 20th century from a focus on texts to an analysis   of the interpretation of every human act and idea. This course traces the   history of the problems of interpretation from Aristotle to the present.
Problems which arise from attempts to give an   account of human knowledge. Skepticism, perception, induction, or the nature   of truth. Note: Although there are no prerequisites for this course, students   who have had no previous philosophy courses may find the material difficult.
Problems which arise from attempts to give an   account of reality and its manifestations. Possibility and necessity,   causality, the nature of events, mind-body, and universals. Note: Although   there are no prerequisites for this course, students who have had no previous   philosophy courses may find the material difficult.
In-depth treatment of an issue or topic within   value theory, which is broadly construed to include moral philosophy (and its   subfields, such as moral epistemology and moral psychology), social   philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of law, aesthetics, philosophy   of religion, and feminist philosophy. May be repeated for credit with   permission of the department.
In-depth treatment of a   single important philosophical writer, a related group of writers, or an   extended tradition. May be repeated for credit with permission of the department.
In-depth treatment of one   or more of the social sciences from a philosophical perspective: may include   the philosophy of history, social philosophy, political philosophy,   philosophy of the social sciences, or any specific subject therein. Credit   may not be granted for 4311 or 4317 (no longer offered) and 4389. May be   repeated for credit with permission of the department.
During the senior year, the student completes a   thesis under the direction of a faculty member in the major department.   Required of all pre-professional track philosophy majors and of all   philosophy majors who are members of the University Honors College.

Philosophy Organizations

Learn more about joining the Philosophy Club, the International Honor Society in Philosophy, and the Philosophy Reading Group.