Professor Doug Ehring, Department Chair
Professor: David Hausman; Associate Professors: Eric Barnes, Steven Sverdlik; Assistant Professors: Roberta Ballarin, Robert Howell, Jonathon Sutton, Brad Thompson; Lecturers: Matthew Burstein, James Okapal; Adjunct Professors: Stephen Anderson, Scott Bartlett, Stephen Hiltz, Jean Kazez, James Lamb, Bernard Roddy; Adjunct Associate Professor Emeritus: Benjamin Petty.
Requirements for the B.A. Degree. At least 30 term hours in the department, including at least 21 term hours of advanced work (courses 3000 and above). The 30 hours must include PHIL 1301, 3351, 3352, and at least one course from 3310-3319. At least 12 hours of a foreign language are strongly recommended.
The Departmental Distinction Program. Departmental distinction is awarded to philosophy majors graduating with at least a 3.50 G.P.A. in philosophy and who successfully complete a writing project under the guidance of a faculty member.
Requirements for the Minor in Philosophy. Students majoring in other departments may obtain a minor in philosophy. The minor will consist of 15 hours of work in the department. No more than six hours may be from 1000-level courses, and at least one course (three hours) must be chosen from the History of Philosophy sequence (3351, 3352, 3355, or 3370). It is recommended that each student minoring in Philosophy take one of the department's general introductory courses.
Requirements for the Minor in Ethics. Students majoring in departments other than the Philosophy Department may obtain a minor in Ethics. The minor consists of at least 15 hours, which must include the following philosophy courses: 1) PHIL 1305 or 1306 (Introduction to Philosophy); 2) one of PHIL 1316 (Introduction to Ethics), 1317 (Business Ethics), or 1318 (Contemporary Moral Problems); and 3) three from the sequence of PHIL 3371 through 3381.
1300. An Introduction to Practical Reasoning. Learning to analyze, evaluate, and present information in order to better assess one's own beliefs and to persuade others more effectively.
1301. Elementary Logic. An introductory course in symbolic logic. Logic provides a means for determining whether the purported conclusion of an argument really does follow from the premises. In symbolic logic, mechanical procedures are developed for determining whether a given argument is valid. The techniques and skills acquired through logic have important applications not only within other academic areas such as the sciences and humanities, but may be of use within various professional areas, including law.
1305. Introduction to Philosophy. A general introduction to the central questions of philosophy. We will discuss topics from such areas as the theory of knowledge, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy. Typical questions might include: Can we know the world outside our minds? Is it rational to believe in a God who allows evil to exist? Do the laws of physics allow for human freedom? Is morality more than a matter of opinion? Can there be unequal wealth in a just society? Readings will include classical authors such as Plato, Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Mill, as well as contemporary philosophers. The focus of the course will be on arguments for and against proposed solutions to key problems of philosophy.
1306. Introduction to Philosophy: Minds, Machines, and Persons. A focused introduction to the central questions of philosophy, with an emphasis on the mind and the self. Typical questions might include: Does the soul exist? Is the mind the same thing as the brain? Can animals feel pain? Can they think? Can a computer think? Might the mind be a computer? What is consciousness? Can we understand experiences radically different from our own? What is the self? Can we survive the death of our body? The focus of the course will be on arguments for and against proposed solutions to philosophical problems concerning mind, machines, and persons.
1316. Introduction to Ethics. A survey of leading theories of value and right conduct and exploration of some of their applications.
1317. Business Ethics. A discussion of the moral and political issues surrounding a free-enterprise system. Students will be introduced to basic moral theory. Further topics will include distributive (or economic) justice, the moral preferability of capitalism and socialism, and selected concrete moral issues such as truth in advertising, worker safety, and afrmative action.
1318. Contemporary Moral Problems. An examination of current moral and legal issues. Topics may include abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, afrmative action, racism, sexism, drug legalization, censorship, and homosexuality.
3301. Intermediate Logic. Students are introduced to the formal theory of the logical systems they have already learned to use: namely, Sentential Logic and Predicate Logic. Students will learn to prove the completeness and soundness of both of these systems. In addition, they may also learn some simple nonstandard logical systems, such as Modal, Epistemic, or Deontic logic, if time permits. Prerequisite: PHIL 1301, or its equivalent.
3302 (RELI 3302). Problems in the Philosophy of Religion. The philosophy of religion, considering such problems as religious experience, human freedom, good and evil, belief in God, and immortality.
3305. Philosophy and Gender. A consideration of whether or not there are differences between the sexes; whether or not Western science, philosophy, and ethics have been dominated by "male thinking;" and current issues such as pornography, censorship, rape, reproductive technologies, etc. Writings by feminist philosophers as well as their critics will be examined.
3310. Advanced Topics in Philosophy. (May be repeated for credit.)
3311. 20th Century Philosophical Analysis. An examination of the method of philosophical analysis as practiced by such 20th century philosophers as Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, Austin, and others.
3312. Introduction to the Philosophy of Language. A systematic treatment of such topics as the nature of linguistic reference, meaning, synonymity, truth, vagueness, and metaphor. The course will also examine issues relating to the goals and methodology of linguistics, such as the status of semantic descriptions, and the "nature versus nurture" controversy in language-acquisition theories.
3313. Epistemology. A systematic treatment of such topics as skepticism, analyses of factual knowledge, theories of epistemic justication, foundational versus coherence theories of knowledge, and the relationship between psychology and a philosophical account of knowledge.
3314. Metaphysics. A study to acquaint the student with traditional metaphysical issues such as the problem of universals, the existence of other minds, continuants, the mind-body problem, and the existence of God.
3315. Philosophy of Mind. A systematic treatment of the nature of consciousness, self, and person.
3325. Philosophy and Technology. A philosophical examination of the rationale and values underlying technology, bureaucracy, and urbanization. Positive and negative views of technology will be critically discussed.
3333. Topics in Philosophy. (May be repeated for credit.)
3351. History of Western Philosophy (Ancient). A study of the major philosophers from Thales to Plotinus, including Plato and Aristotle.
3352. History of Western Philosophy (Modern). A study of major developments in modern Western philosophy from Descartes to Kant.
3355. History of Western Philosophy (Medieval). A study of the major philosophical theories and movements from the 4th century to the 14th.
3360. Introduction to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. An explication of the foundational issues of social science: presuppositions, modes of theory construction, models and methods, and comparative analysis with natural and biological science.
3362 (CF 3341). Creativity, Discovery, and Science. An investigation into the nature of science and of scientic reasoning. Central questions to be considered include: What is the nature of the scientic method? Is science rational? What is the nature of evidence and explanation? To what extent do social realities (e.g., religious faith, prevailing politics, gender issues) play a role in inuencing the outcome of scientic disputes? The course will combine philosophical analysis with studies in the history of science to investigate these and other questions.
3363 (CF 3308). Aesthetic Experience and Judgment. A good deal of attention is devoted to these questions: What is beauty? Are there any standards or rules concerning what is beautiful? What is art? Why is art an important part of human culture? The course will also consider the role of emotion in art, the problem of correct interpretation, and the nature of tragedy.
3366. Philosophy in Literature. A nontechnical introduction to philosophy by an examination of traditional philosophical problems embodied in great works of ction.
3370. Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. A detailed study of selected major thinkers from the 19th century, such as Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schoepenhauer, Fichte, Feuerbach, and Marx.
3371 (CF 3342). Social and Political Philosophy. A historical study of philosophical formulation of the individual good (ethics) in its relation to the public good (social philosophy).
3372. Marx. What did Marx mean by alienation? Are capitalists as well as workers alienated under capitalism? Is there alienation under socialism? In what sense are workers exploited? Does their exploitation differ in kind from that of serfs or slaves? Why did Marx think that capitalism was less efcient than socialism? What is a class, according to Marx? What explains historical change? These and other questions about Marx's thought will be the focus of this course. We will seek to present a rational reconstruction of Marx based on his writings, as well as recent interpretations of Marx by "analytical Marxists." Anyone interested in understanding Marx will nd this course useful.
3373. Punishment and Responsibility. By what right does society punish some people? What is the correct amount of punishment? Who ought to be punished? Various philosophical responses to these questions are examined. Other topics include the morality of capital punishment, excuse and justication, the morality of self defense, and the justiability of punishing "self-regarding" acts such as drug use.
3374 (CF 3307). Philosophy of Law. An analysis of the foundations and nature of law.
3375. Topics in Moral Philosophy. A topics offering that seeks to take advantage of the wide variety of issues that can be fruitfully explored in a course on moral philosophy. (May be repeated for credit.)
3376. Medical Ethics. An introduction to the moral dimensions of decision-making in medical contexts.
3377 (CFA 3377). Animal Rights. An examination of the moral status of nonhuman animals, and its implications for the common use of animals as food and experimental subjects for humans.
3380. Doing the Right Thing: Contemporary Views of Morality. A study of contemporary ethical theory.
3382. Twentieth-Century European Philosophy. An examination of some methods and principles of European philosophies in the 20th century. Philosophical schools studied: phenomenology, existentialism, Neo-Kantianism, life-philosophy, hermeneutics, and Neo-Marxist critical theory.
3383. American Philosophy. Historical development and contemporary themes in American philosophy. Varying emphasis may be placed on trends (e.g., pragmatism), historical gures (e.g., Dewey), or inuential contemporary figures (e.g., Quine).
4381. Philosophy in the Ibero-American World. A survey of Latin-American philosophy as it relates to the social and cultural development of Latin-America. (SMU-in-Madrid only.)
4393, 4394. Independent Study and Research. Special topics to be selected by the student in consultation with the department. Prerequisites: Senior standing and departmental approval.
5310. Phenomenology. An explication of the main features, concepts, and methods of phenomenology, and its relation to the history and problems of philosophy and other disciplines. Prerequisite: PHIL 3352 or permission of instructor.
5357. Symbolic Logic. A theoretic investigation of the propositional and predicate calculi, the two systems of logic presented in PHIL 1301. Prerequisite: PHIL 1301, MATH 3308, or permission of instructor.
5391, 5392. Great Philosophers. In-depth study from various points of view of one of the major disputed questions of philosophy, or of the thoughts of one or two of the world's greatest philosophers. (May be repeated for credit.) Prerequisite: Six advanced hours of philosophy or permission of instructor.
6311, 6312. Philosophical Studies. Independent work on special topics.