Philosophy
Mount Saint Mary's College
Home » Undergraduate Bachelor Programs » Philosophy » Course Descriptions

Philosophy

Course Descriptions

PHI 5 - Introduction to Logic (3)
An introduction to argument structure, including inductive and deductive arguments, the rules of inference and replacement, fallacies of reasoning, validity and soundness, syllogisms, the use of language, diverse frames of reference, analysis, decision-making and problem-solving, and evaluating arguments. GS-II, VB3

PHI 10 - Critical Thinking (3)
Students taking this course will learn reasoning techniques so they develop their skills at argumentation, spotting fallacious reasoning, examining uses of language, evaluating reasoning, examining assumptions, weighing evidence, determining credibility of witnesses, problem solving, decision-making, and applying critical thinking skills to moral reasoning, advertising, the media, and legal reasoning. This course carries credit equivalent to PHI 5. GS-II, VB3

PHI 15 - Challenges in Philosophy (3)
An introduction to the nature of philosophy and why philosophy is considered the love of wisdom. Included are philosophical questions, major thinkers, and the methodology involved in a philosophical inquiry. Topics covered include: Freewill and determinism, the existence of God, the problem of evil, mind and body, the theory of knowledge, and personal identity. Traditional views, as well as contemporary ones from diverse perspectives (such as women and people of color) will be included. Prerequisite: eligible for ENG 1A or completion of ENG 10A with C or better. GS-VBI, VI.

PHI 21 - Moral Values and Ethical Decisions (3)
This course is an introduction to moral reasoning and ethical decision-making, with a focus on fundamental ethical theories (such as Formalism, Utilitarianism, egoism, relativism, virtue theory, the ethic of care). Using the different theories, students will examine some major moral dilemmas we face (such as the death penalty, world hunger, environmental ethics, abortion, sexual morality, censorship). GS-VB

PHI 24 - Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (3)
An introduction to the origins of philosophical traditions in the West through study of the lives and major works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Philosophy majors and minors only are to take this course for upper division credit as PHI 124. They will be assigned an additional critical assignment appropriate to a more advanced level of study. This may be in either written or oral form. GS-VBI

PHI 92 - Introduction to Business Ethics (3)
A case study approach to business ethics. Using ethical theories, we will cover such moral dilemmas as public welfare, issues in hiring, affirmative action, and business practices (product liability, whistle blowing, honesty, advertising) environmental concerns, global issues, corporate decision-making and responsibility. Students who take this course may not take PHI 21 for credit. Honors students should take PHI 21H, not PHI 92. GS-VB2

PHI 126 - Descartes to Kant (3)
The development of modern views on the relationship of reality and knowledge; the tension of reason and experience in classical modern rationalists and empiricists and the synthesis of Kant. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI

PHI 130 - Existentialism (3)
A study of existentialist thinking drawing from Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, Camus, de Beauvoir. The emphasis is on the individual, free-will, choices, decision-making, authenticity vs. inauthenticity, and global considerations. Existentialist literature (Kafka, Beckett, Atwood, Shange, etc.) and challenges raised by women and people of color may be included. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI

PHI 134 - American Philosophy (3)
A study of the major philosophical ideas that have influenced the development of American intellectual life, civilization, and culture: Transcendentalism, Idealism, and the Pragmatic movement. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI

PHI 150 - Metaphysics (3)
A study of philosophical theories of being. Among a cluster of metaphysical concepts to be considered are: substance, matter, mind, causation, space and time, and the transcendent. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI

PHI 152 - Theory of Knowledge (3)
An examination of the nature and possibility of human knowledge; objectivity, perception, truth, self-knowledge and the knowledge of other minds, the conditions of justified belief, Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI

PHI 155 - Symbolic Logic (3)
This course provides the tools to do more advanced work in deductive reasoning and legal reasoning. This includes prepositional logic, quantification logic, and examining complex argument forms. This course is highly recommended for pre-law students, as part of the course will look at analytical reasoning on LSAT exams. Also recommended for Computer Science majors. Prerequisite: PHI 5 or PHI 10. GS-VB3

PHI 158 - The Scientific Method (3)
An historical introduction to the philosophy of science from Aristotle to modern times. Topics will include: Aristotle's inductive / deductive method; Copernican vs. Ptolemaic models of the universe; the Newtonian synthesis; Mach's sensationalism; twentieth century positivism Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. Offered only on request. GS-VBI or VB3

PHI 160 - Philosophy of Religion (3)
A study of the philosophical concerns raised in religion, including the existence of god, faith, images and concepts of god, the problem of evil, along with multi-cultural and feminist considerations of religion and mythology. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy and one in religious studies. See RST 198. GS-VA4 or VBI, VI

PHI 162 - Philosophy and Native Cultures (3)
In this course we explore the philosophy, mythology and world views of four major groups of Native Americans. The focus is usually on the tribes of the Southwest, Northwest, Far North, and Mexico (especially Huichol). Examination of the philosophical issues, myths, language, literature of these tribes; as well as contemporary issues (such as casinos and gambling, nuclear waste storage on reservations, and cultural authenticity). Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI

PHI 165 - Philosophy of Law
This course examines philosophical issues and concerns in law and in application of laws. This includes notions of personhood, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, pornography and obscene speech, major Supreme Court decisions affecting a particular field (e.g., bioethics, medicine, research, biotechnology, business, the media). In any given semester, we examine a particular theme (such as laws regarding women and men in the workplace, environmental law, the media, or philosophical issues in international law). GS-VB2, VI

PHI 167 - Ethics and Film (3)
This course examines the ways in which films can raise ethical issues that challenge us to reflect upon our lives and the society in which we live. There are two approaches that we will take: (1) case study approach-- going from the film itself (the characters, the story, etc) and examine the sorts of ethical issues that arise, the ethical decision-making, and ways in which we might evaluate the decisions and actions shown in the film; (2) theoretical approach-- going from major ethical theories to specific films (e.g. Fargo, Do the Right Thing, the Insider, What About Bob?, Shawshank Redemption, Quiz Show). Prerequisites: Any other ethics class or any two Philosophy classes

PHI 168A - Contemporary Moral Problems (3)
A study of contemporary moral and social problems; including the death penalty, public policy issues, corporate responsibility, environmental ethics, world hunger, animal experimentation, advertising and media ethics, and individual vs. societal rights. At least one third of the course covers bioethical issues (such as surrogacy, euthanasia, abortion, medical experimentation, justice and health care). Prerequisite: one lower division ethics course. GS-VB2, VI

PHI 168B - Bioethics (3)
An examination of moral problems regarding the moral issues, decision-making processes and procedures facing the medical profession, presented within a historical context. This includes informed consent, honesty, patient rights v. paternalism, physician assisted death, abortion, surrogate parenting, pregnant substance abusers, cloning, medical experimentation, biotechnology, and justice issues such as the allocation of scarce resources. Prerequisite: one lower division ethics course. GS-VB2

PHI 170 - Social and Political Philosophy (3)
A study of the traditions of social and political theories, including an examination of the nature of persons and of society, the nature and justification of government, political rights and political obligation, justice and equality, the relationship between personal morality and social and political goals and the inclusion of women and minorities in society and government. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI

PHI 172 - Marxism (3)
An examination and comparison of some of the central works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, and other writers in the Marxist tradition with a focus on the criticisms of capitalism, the revolution to establish communism, the nature of communist society; and the relevance to the contemporary world and the future of Marxist/socialist societies. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VB1

PHI 174 - Philosophy of Art (3)
A study of the philosophical concerns around the creative process, the work of art, and aesthetic evaluation. This includes a study of the classical thinkers of aesthetics (e.g., Aristotle, Plato, Croce, Langer, Tolstoy), as well as contemporary theories. As part of this study, we examine multicultural perspectives (e.g. Chicano murals, African American film directors, women in film). Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI

PHI 175 - Philosophy of Film (3)
A study of philosophical ideas and theories about film, film theory and various schools of film criticism. In a particular semester, we may focus on a particular theme, such as the hero in American film, or authenticity and personal integrity, or visions of society. In addition, we will be interested in looking at film as an expression of cultural values and an instrument for change. As part of that goal, we will examine the role of race, class, and gender in assessing film. Prerequisite: one philosophy course. GS-VB1, VI

PHI 176 - Philosophy in Literature (3)
In this course we study of the literary expression of philosophical concerns, such as authenticity, freedom and choice, good vs. evil, justice vs. injustice. This involves one or two philosophical works that investigate a philosophical issue (e.g., the ideal society) and then we look at various novels or plays to see how the issue is treated in literature. This course includes multicultural and non-traditional expressions and concerns. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI

PHI 178 - Philosophy of Women (3)
A critical study of traditional and contemporary conceptions of women and various manifestations of the oppression of women particularly in Western societies and the US, especially for women of color. Various strategies of addressing women's issues will be studies, including various forms of feminism and research on or by women and of the women's movement will be explored from diverse perspectives, especially those of women of color. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI

PHI 179 - Women and Values (3)
An examination of women's perspectives in areas reflecting values, including ethics, aesthetics and art, political and social theory, the law, and religion. The course focuses on how women tend to perceive values differently than men and the contributions women make to value theory as well as the problems of interpretation and practice that these differences raise, e.g. regarding sexual harassment, pornography, or the value of attachment. Differences among women, especially cultural differences, will be explored throughout. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI or VB2, VI

PHI 180 - Chinese Philosophy (3)
This course will study the origins of Chinese philosophy in the classical writings of Confucius, Mozi, Menchius, Laozi, and others. The focus will be on understanding the basic conceptual framework of Confucianism and Daoism in the context of ancient Chinese history and also how these philosophies are understood today. We will also explore the place of women in Chinese philosophy; both what it was understood to be in the past and how it can be conceptualized today. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI

PHI 192 - Business Ethics (3)
A case study approach to business ethics and information technology. Using ethical theories, we will cover such moral dilemmas as affirmative action, electronic privacy, censorship and the Internet, and business practices (product liability, whistle blowing, honesty, advertising) environmental concerns, global issues, corporate decision-making and responsibility. Prerequisite: Any ethics course or any two Philosophy classes. GS-VB2

PHI 198 - Special Topics (1-3)
May be repeated for credit

PHI 199 - Senior Thesis (1-3)
May be repeated for credit. Offered only on request

PHI 199H - Senior Thesis (3)
Only open to students admitted to the Honors Program

Independent Study Policy:
Independent studies are open to philosophy majors and minors who wish to explore an area of philosophy for advanced or specialized work. Any non-major wishing to do an independent study in philosophy must have a clearly defined goal and must confer with both the faculty member and the chair of the department to see if it is appropriate. Independent studies require independent research. Students are expected to meet the faculty member at least one hour per week, undertaking an equivalent amount of work that would be expected in a 3 credit course. Normally, independent studies are not intended to replace a course taught in the department. For details on what must be included in your petition for an independent study, please contact the Chair of the Philosophy department.