Graduate Program

Courses in Philosophy

The Philosophy Department offers a variety of courses at all levels. Below is a list of recently offered graduate courses. Not all of these courses are offered in any given year, and there may be other courses offered some years.

Official term schedules:

Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for the official schedules for the widest range of terms for which such information is available. For the most up to date information on particular courses, consult the instructor.

Blackboard Course Management


Philosophy Courses

PHL 412 PROB, INFRENCE & DECISION

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 414 LOGICAL METHODS

Introduction to formal syntax and semantics, applied to modal logic, tense logic, free logic, subjunctive conditionals; elementary introduction to set theory.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or equivalent
Last Offered: Spring 2016

PHL 415 INTERMEDIATE LOGIC

Whereas in a standard introductory logic course, students learn how to do proofs within a formal logical system, in this course, students learn how to do proofs about formal logical systems. The main goal is to learn how to prove the soundness and completeness of different sorts of logical systems. Along the way, other important results in Proof Theory and Model Theory are considered.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or equivalent
Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 416 MATHEMATICAL LOGIC

This course is an introduction to the metatheory of first-order logic. The relationships between validity and provability are addressed through proofs of the consistency and completeness of one or more systems.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or permission of instructor.
Last Offered: Spring 2015

PHL 417 UNCERTAIN INFERENCE

The course is concerned with the analysis of uncertain inference, which covers all inference outside logic and mathematics. Real inference is uncertain either because its premises are uncertain, or because the rule of inference employed is not truth preserving. Probability theory and nonmonotonic logic are among the ways of dealing with this uncertainty.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or permission instructor; 216 recommended.

PHL 418 PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICS

A study of the nature of mathematics from a philosophical point of view.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or permission of instructor.

PHL 419 DEVIANT LOGIC

This course is concerned with the study of 'alternative' logics: logics in which more than two truth values are possible, logics in which not every statement has a truth value, logics that are designed to accommodate vagueness, logics that allow inconsistencies. Some of these alternatives have been suggested on philosophical grounds, others on pragmatic grounds.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or permission of instructor.

PHL 420 RECENT ETHICAL THEORY

The course will be a study of the work of major twentieth century philosophers on fundamental questions in ethics, such as: What is really meant by value terms like "good", "evil", "right", and "wrong"? How could we ever know what has value and what we morally ought to do? Are there any universally applicable ethical norms, or is morality subjective or otherwise relativized? Readings from Moore, Ross, Ayer, Stevenson, etc. This course may be taken for upper-level writing credit.

Prerequisites: One previous course in ethics.
Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 421 PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN REVOLUTION

In this course, we will examine the philosophical foundations of the American Revolution by examining the political theory which lies behind the revolution itself and which underlies the foundations of the Constitution, while keeping an eye at the historical contexts that shaped the philosophy. We will begin by looking at the important predecessors to the revolution, particularly the works of John Locke, Montesquieu, and David Hume. We will then consider important works from the period surrounding the revolution, including works by Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Finally, we will look at the debates surrounding the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, including the Federalist Papers and important anti-Federalist works.

Prerequisites: One previous course in philosophy or permission of instructor.
Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 423 SOCIAL &POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

An inquiry into the nature of human society, the role of the state, and relation of moral to legal obligations.

Prerequisites: PHL 102 or permission of instructor
Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 424 HISTORY OF ETHICS

A study of the theoretical thinking about ethics throughout history. The primary empjhasis is on Western figures, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche.

Prerequisites: One previous course in philosophy.
Last Offered: Fall 2015

PHL 426 PHILOSOPHY OF LAW

This course will examine the nature of law in common law legal systems. It will proceed historically, beginning with Aquinas, mentioning Blackstone, examining Bentham and Austin, mentioning Gray, examining Holmes, Hart, and Dworkin. Topics emphasized will include the relation between Law and Morality, the nature of legal interpretation, with emphasis on the role of precedent in common law, the nature of legal rules, and the issue of the completeness of law. Written work will include two short (ca. 5 pages) papers, mid-term, final exam, and periodic quizzes. Regular class attendance is expected.

Prerequisites: One previous course in Philosophy.
Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 427 KANT, HEGEL, KIERKEGAARD

No description

PHL 428 PUBLIC HEALTH ETHICS

Examines the values of health, social needs, and freedom through a systematic examination of situations in which these conflicts arise. Public health ethics lie at the intersection of medicine, political philosophy, and public policy.

Prerequisites: One previous course in philosophy.
Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 429 PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION

Theories and controversies about the nature and aims of education; boundaries of educational authority; educational adequacy, equality, and justice; learning, inquiry, knowledge, and critical thinking; the measurement of learning; moral and civic education; patriotism, evolution, and sex in the curriculum.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 430 ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Environmental injustice occurs whenever some individual or group bears unjustifiable environmental risks, lack of access to environmental goods, or lack of opportunity to participate in environmental decision-making. This course will examine issues of environmental justice, both local and global, bringing philosophical analysis to bear on case studies and topics ranging from toxic exposure and land rights, to energy, global warming, and responsibility to future generations.

Prerequisites: One previous course in Philosophy.
Last Offered: Spring 2015

PHL 441 AESTHETICS

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2015

PHL 442 METAPHYSICS

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 443 THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE

The course examines some classic and contemporary themes in epistemology. The topics typically include the nature of knowledge and justification, the merits of skeptical arguments about the external world and induction, and recent work about disagreement and rationality. The graded work typically includes essay question tests and short to medium length papers on issues discussed in the course.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

PHL 444 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND

An introduction to classic and contemporary problems in the philosophy of mind, this course investigates how the mind is related to the physical world. Topics include: What is the mind and how is it related to the brain? How is it possible for mental states to cause physical states, and vise versa? How do mental states get their intentional content? What is consciousness and can it be given a physical explanation? What are the minds of other beings - such as animals and artificially intelligent computers - like, and how could we know?

Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 447 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE

The goal of the course is to examine a number of central philosophical problems about language (including the nature of linguistic meaning and its relation to truth, reference, communication, and necessity), while exploring the connections between these problems and issues in and about philosophy more generally.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 449 FORMAL SEMANTICS

See Linguistics 265.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

PHL 451 PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2014

PHL 452 PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 454 PHILOSOPHY OF COGNITIVE SCI

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of cognitive science. Possible topics include the structure of cognition; theories of mental representation; explanation and reduction in cognitive science; folk psychology and theory of mind; and evolutionary psychology. While not assumed, it is recommended that students first take Philosophy of Mind, Minds and Machines, or at least one class in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. This course may be taken for upper writing level credit.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or permission of instructor.
Last Offered: Spring 2010

PHL 455 TOPICS IN PHL OF PHYSICS

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2013

PHL 456 DARWIN & RELIGION

Equal parts science, history, and philosophy, this course will examine the interaction between science and religion, especially as it pertains to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Through primary and secondary readings, students will investigate: whether the relationship between science and religion has been primarily one of conflict or harmony; how religious context influenced both the formulation and acceptance of Darwin’s theory; whether evolution is incompatible with common religious views; and the ongoing relevance of Darwinism to debates over the relationship between science and religion. These questions will be explored in part through an examination of Darwin’s own evolving scientific, philosophical, and religious views. This course is reading-intensive and discussion-based.

Prerequisites: One previous course in philosophy, religion, or a natural science. Only one (PHL/BIO/REL 256 or BIO 109) can be taken for credit
Last Offered: Fall 2016

PHL 460 TOPICS IN PHILSOPHICAL THEOL

See Religion and Classics, REL 291.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

PHL 461 KANT

A study of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant focusing on the "Critique of Pure Reason". The course will also pay some attention to several issues in Kant's practical and moral philosophy such as his account of volition and the free-will problem.

Prerequisites: PHL 202.
Last Offered: Fall 2014

PHL 465 SELECTED TOPICS IN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY: FOUNDATIONS

The course addresses central topics in ethics, metaphysics and epistemology and philosophy of mind in PreSocratic, Platonic, Aristotelian and Hellenistic philosophy.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 466 RATIONALISM

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2013

PHL 467 BRITISH EMPIRICISM

The course examines the British Empiricist School's views on the nature of induction and empirical knowledge. Our readings will be drawn from the works of Francis Bacon, John Locke, and David Hume. There will be both lectures and class discussions.

Prerequisites: PHL 202.
Last Offered: Spring 2015

PHL 468 AUGUSTINE, ANSELM & AQUINAS

Please see Religion and Classic REL 230.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

PHL 469 Origins of Analytic Philosophy

This course explores the origins and development of the analytic tradition in philosophy through the writings of Frege, Russell, and the early Wittgenstein. The focus of the course will be on their views on logic, language, mathematics, and the nature of philosophy, with special attention to the development of characteristic analytic themes, such as the centrality of language and logic to philosophy or the role of conceptual analysis in the resolution of philosophical problems. This course may be taken for upper level writing credit.

PHL 470 SEL TOPICS IN MODERN PHIL

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 479 TRINITY,INCARNATION,ATONEMNT

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2016

PHL 491 MASTER'S READINGS IN PHL

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 493 MASTER'S ESSAY

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 495 MASTER'S THESIS RESEARCH

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 502 FORMAL EPISTEMOLOGY

We will study two or three leading recent issues in epistemology. Possibilities include the problem of easy knowledge, the possibility of rational peer disagreement, the relevance of practical considerations to knowledge, experimental epistemology, how knowledge is valuable, and the nature of evidence.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

PHL 503 THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 515 SEL TOP PHIL OF MIND REDUCTN

No description

PHL 516 SEL TOP PHL OF LANGUAGE

This seminar is devoted to current issues in philosophy of language. Recent topics have included possible worlds, relativism, truth, propositions, deontic and epistemic modality.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

PHL 517 SEL TOP ETHICS

Critical exploration of work in contemporary metaethics and normative ethical theory and its applications.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 518 SEL TOPICS IN MORAL EPIST

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 519 TOP IN MOD PHIL: LEIBNIZ

A study of the 17th century philosopher Leibniz, focusing on metaphysics.

Last Offered: Fall 2013

PHL 520 SEL TOP IN POLITICAL PHIL

No description

PHL 521 ANCIENT PHIL: ARISTOTLE

Covers central issues and topics in Aristotle's philosophical writings. The topic to be discussed in a specific semester is determined by the instructor and announced in advance.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

PHL 522 PLATO SEMINAR

Addresses central issues and topics in Plato's dialogues. The topic to be discussed in a specific semester is determined by the instructor and announced in advance.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 527 SEL TOPICS IN MODERN PHL

Seminar focused on a topic or figure from early modern philosophy.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

PHL 530 KANT

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2012

PHL 542 SPECIAL PROB IN METAPHYSICS

An examination of a particular branch of metaphysics. Examples include the metaphysics of properties, the nature of causation, the philosophy of time, and even metaphysical method.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

PHL 544 TOPICS IN PHIL OF MIND

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2012

PHL 552 SELECTED TOPICS IN PHL SCI

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2015

PHL 555 SEL TOP HX OF PHL AND MIND

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 560 WRITING SEMINAR

Study of recent articles; writing short commentaries, replies, criticisms. Covers various topics under guidance of several faculty members.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 580 SUPERVISED INSTRUCTN IN PHL

Supervised teaching of undergraduates, including leading discussion sections, grading tests and papers, and meeting with students.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 581 SUPERVISE INSTRUCT:LEC TO UN

Continuation of PHL 580, with practice lecturing to the undergraduate classes.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 591 PHD READINGS IN PHL

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

PHL 594 INTERNSHIP

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 595 PHD RESEARCH IN PHL

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 595A PHD RESEARCH IN ABSENTIA

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 890 MASTER'S SUMMER IN RESIDENCE

No description

Last Offered: Summer 2011

PHL 895 CONT OF MASTER'S ENROLLMENT

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 899 MASTER'S DISSERTATION

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 985 LEAVE OF ABSENCE

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 986V FULL TIME VISITING STUDENT

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 990 SUMMER IN RESIDENCE

No description

Last Offered: Summer 2011

PHL 995 CONT OF DOCTORAL ENROLLMENT

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 997 DOCTORAL DISSERTATION

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 999 DOCTORAL DISSERTATION

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

PHL 999A DOCT DISSERTATN IN ABSENTIA

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017