King's College - Philosophy

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

PHIL 351 — Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (3)

An historical survey of the key thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition from Tha­les, the first Western philosopher, to William of Ockham, a late medieval philosopher.

PHIL 352 — Modern Philosophy (3)

An historical survey of the key thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition from Descartes, the founder of modern philosophy, to Nietzsche.

PHIL 361 — Existentialism (3)

This course is a historical survey of existentialism, a modern-day philosophy of human freedom and responsibility. In particular we shall focus on the thought of four existential philosophers: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Heidegger. We shall supplement our study of existential philosophy with discussion of existential novels by Camus, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. In exploring the thought of the existentialists we shall address such ques­tions as: What is authentic human existence? Is God dead? Is there any ground for ethical judgments? Are human beings free? How should one face death?

PHIL 371 — American Philosophy (3)

An historical survey of American Philosophy from the Puritans to the present day. The major figures studied include Jonathan Edwards, the Federalist authors, Emerson, Peirce, James, and Dewey.

PHIL 373 — Contemporary Continental Philosophy (3)

A survey of the major movements and figures in twentieth-century continental philoso­phy. Among the major figures treated are Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Sartre, Jaspers, Merleau-Ponty, and Derrida.

PHIL 385 — Eastern Philosophy (3)

This course is a topical survey of Eastern philosophy. The topics addressed include: eth­ics, death, reality, self, and knowledge. The schools of Eastern philosophy studied include Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. In studying Eastern philosophy stu­dents will be exposed to, and learn appreciation, for, different perspectives on traditional philosophical issues. Students will develop and refine the ability to offer criticism of philosophical positions, and will develop the ability to form their own educated views on philosophical issues. Cross-listed as Core 285.

PHIL 470 — Ethics and Values Seminar (3)

Seminar which considers current issues in ethics and values with particular emphasis on how they relate to public and professional life.Cross-listed as THEO 470.

PHIL 471 — Philosophy of Science (3)

An introduction to the fundamental issues encountered in the attempt to understand the nature and significance of the scientific enterprise, through a historical survey of its most influential theories and methods. Topics include the origins of science, ancient science, the Copernican revolution, the experimental and thematical methods, the Darwinian revolution, and the rise of the social sciences.

PHIL 472 — Philosophy of Art (3)

Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of beauty and art. Questions considered include: What is art? What difference is there between high art and popular art? What is an artist? What role should artistic intention play in the interpretation and evalu­ation of artworks? What is beauty? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder, differing with the individual and the culture, or are there universal standards by which to judge beauty? Why and how do we react emotionally to art and beauty? Areas of art and beauty to consider include: painting, sculpture, music, literature, film, food, jokes, nature, and the human form. The questions of aesthetics are grounded in the work of classic philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Nietzsche. Contemporary philosophers continuing the dialogue in aesthetics include Carroll, Cohen, Danto, Dickie, Kivy, Korsmeyer, Levinson, and Walton.

PHIL 473 — Metaphysics (3)

An introduction to the nature of existence, this course presents a critical, rational study of the different kinds of being and the various ways in which an entity may be said meaningfully to exist. Topics include the nature of ideas and their relation to the external world, the nature of space and time, freedom of the will, the existence and nature of the Supreme Being, and the question of immortality and the afterlife. Underlying these studies is an attempt to fathom the ultimate meaning and purpose of the cosmos and the place of humanity in the cosmos.

PHIL 474 — Philosophy of Law (3)

An introduction to the philosophy of law designed to introduce students to central philo­sophical problems in the law, primarily through the reading of constitutional cases. Topics include legal reasoning, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, privacy, racial and gender dis­crimination, the nature and justification of punishment, the death penalty, and legal ethics.

PHIL 477 — Philosophy of Knowledge (3)

An introduction to epistemology. Topics include: What is knowledge? How do we know? What is the role of experience in knowing and what is the role of pure reasoning? When is a belief rationally justified or warranted? Can we know anything? In this course, we address these questions from both a historical and a contemporary perspective.

PHIL 478 — Philosophy of Religion (3)

An introduction to the philosophy of religion. Topics include the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, the relationship between faith and reason, life after death, miracles, and the relation of God to morality.

PHIL 479 — Philosophy of Mind (3)

An examination of classic and contemporary problems in the philosophy of mind. Topics include theories of the nature of mind, the nature of consciousness, problems of percep­tion, and artificial intelligence.

PHIL 481 — Topics in Philosophy (3-6)

Philosophical issues or topics in philosophy pursued in an independent but directed way as suggested by a department faculty member. Open to junior and senior majors and minors as well as to non-philosophy students by special permission of the Department Chairperson. Available every semester on a tutorial basis.

PHIL 490 — Senior Seminar (3)

An independent study course intended to provide Philosophy majors with a culminat­ing and integrative capstone of their major field of study through advanced study of a particular philosophical topic or theme. Students will research, write, and present to the Philosophy department faculty a major paper that demonstrates a senior-level mastery of philosophical issues and methodologies as well as competence in the transferable skills of liberal learning. The topic will vary from year to year. To be taken in the senior year. Offered spring semester only.

 

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