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Course Descriptions


PH 100 Introduction to Philosophy (3)

A study of the nature of philosophical thought and methods by examining actual examples from a selection of classical Greek, medieval Christian, and modern European philosophers. Students will develop an understanding of the ways in which western culture functions. This course satisfies either Critical Thinking General Education or Educate in Family Spirit requirement. Offered every semester.

PH 103 Critical Thinking (3)

Designed to be more than a study of non-formal reasoning methods, the course includes but is not limited to the study of logical fallacies. Assembling approaches from analytic philosophy, literary theory and cultural studies, the course models the rhetorical dimension of language and discourse. The course is useful for those who want to think, write and talk in a clear and straight forward manner. This course satisfies Critical Thinking General Education Requirement. Offered annually.

PH 105 Ethics (3)

The study of the concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, has a long history. This course will study the origins and legitimacy of our standards of conduct and character and will discuss modern studies which consider the compelling and unconditional overtones of ethical demands. The course will also discuss the ways in which we talk to children and young people about what is right and wrong. This course fulfils Critical Thinking General Education requirement

PH 250 Introduction to Asian Thought (3)

Are there fundamental differences between Western and Asian assumptions about life and reality? How do Confucian ideas manifest themselves in China, Taiwan, and Japan after modernization? What secular forms do Hinduism and Buddhism take in modern times? The course is useful for those who wish to understand Asia and how its people think and do business. It will introduce Asian ideas at an elementary level. Offered alternate years.

English 102 and Communication 101 prerequisites for all upper division courses.

PH 300 Philosophical Psychology (3)

What concepts or metaphors help us frame the notions of mind, consciousness, and self? Often called the philosophy of the mind in contemporary analytic culture, the subject examines the presuppositions of empirical studies of mental notions and explores the possibility of grounding them in language, culture, social practices. The course studies the ways in which we can be clear about mind and other ideas dependent on it. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 305 Sociology and Philosophy of Religion (3)

Religion from the perspectives of the behavioral sciences, especially sociology, and philosophy; the nature of religious experiences; higher states of consciousness (brought about by the use of drugs or other means); politics and religions; religion in the U.S. today; fundamentalism and electronic-media religions, ritual, belief and myth; faith and reason; problems of evil, death, salvation, immortality, and the existence of God. Cross-listed with RE 305 and SO 305. Offered annually. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course and SO 200 or consent of instructor. This course may be used to satisfy the 300- level Religious Studies General Education Core requirement or the Interdisciplinary requirement.

PH 310 Philosophy of Communication (3)

Moving beyond just using tools for enhancing our lives, we have first attempted to make technology become the extensions of our limbs and then have in recent times begun to reconstitute our own selves in accordance with the demands of technology. The course examines the relationship between the medium and the message in the context of this emergent technology, which demands that we be more like machines. The course examines the consequences of the technological revolution. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 315 Social Philosophy (3)

Poets, philosophers, novelists, and in our own times, film makers and musicians, have provided an immense variety of drama and narration responsible for making our lives meaningful and enjoyable. From Durkheim and Weber to sitcom artists and pop musicians, social philosophy examines life’s ongoing narratives and attempts to determine whether there is a master narrative of life. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 325 Philosophy of Law (3)

What is law, what does it do, and what can it do? Enjoying a historically venerable status, legal institutions are privileged in western civilization as the locus of ultimate social decision-making. Central to the philosophies that inform their structures is the controversy between the concepts of justice and order. The course examines whether laws maintain or attempt to change the status quo. The course also studies mediation as an alternative to litigation. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 338 Religion, Philosophy and Social Ethics (3)

Designed to give students an interdisciplinary experience in the study of social ethics from the perspectives of theology, religion and philosophy. Students will explore the theory and practice of social ethics and develop the knowledge and skills for philosophical and theological critique of ethical systems and social policy. Cross-listed with SO 338 and RE 338. This course satisfies Formation in Faith General Education Requirement. Offered annually. Prerequisites: any 100 or 200 level Religion course or any 100 level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 360 Sociology and Philosophy of Gender (3)

An interdisciplinary course on gender from the perspective of the social sciences, philosophy, and the humanities. Students will evaluate arguments which view gender as a cultural construct or as corresponding to an essential reality. The nature of masculinity and femininity will be explored as well major issues of public policy. Cross-listed with SO 360. Offered every two years. Fulfills interdisciplinary course requirement. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or SO 200 or consent of instructor.

PH 405 Theory of Knowledge (3)

Beginning with a discussion of the kind of questions that brought theory of knowledge into central focus as a philosophical discipline at the beginning of the Enlightenment, the course will examine a variety of modern approaches which study the intimate relationship between the quest for knowledge and the quest for power. The course explores what knowledge is and why we value it. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 410 Aesthetics (3)

Appreciating the fact that ideas of truth, goodness and beauty mark norms or standards of perfection, the course assembles a diversity of views on the constitution and consequences of the ideal of perfection. Of special significance is the impact of the distinction between the beautiful and the subline for contemporary intellectual culture. The course studies art not as a decoration of life, but as the very constitution of it. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 415 Philosophy of Language (3)

Assuming that reality is accessible to us only through the mediation of a symbolic system, the course will discuss various theories about the relationship between language and reality. Discussion of the ways in which we establish objectivity and other points of reference will be emphasized. The course studies language and culture as implicated in the very ways in which we think of the real and the valuable. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 463 The Psychology of Death and Dying (3)

The scope of this course is an exploration into the domain of death and dying. The focus of the course will be a psychological, philosophical, theological, ethical, biological, social and scientific inquiry to the nature of death. Topics to be examined include nature of death, life after death, assisted suicide, right to die, suicide, bereavement, death system, death counseling, death in society, and Eastern approaches to death. Focus on death will be guided by concepts derived from evolutionary theory, the stress response and stress management. Fulfills interdisciplinary course requirement. Cross-listed with PSY/RE 463. Offered annually. Prerequisites: PSY 101 or RE 103.

PH 471 Existential Psychology (3)

A philosophical and psychological inquiry into the core of human existence. This course will examine the relationship between Psychology and philosophy exploring such topics as anxiety, death, meaninglessness, freedom, isolation, free choice, and responsibility. Fulfills interdisciplinary course requirement. Cross-listed with PSY 471. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PSY 101 or any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 473 Holocaust (3)

Students will examine the history of anti-Semitism that led to the tragic destruction of most of European Jewry in the Holocaust. It involves a critical reflection on the relationship between Christianity and Judaism and the sources of the anti- Jewish polemic and modern anti-Semitism. From Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical accounts to numerous stories and experience of the Holocaust, students will confront their own doubts and fears, hopes and dreams about the meaning of humanity after the Holocaust. Cross-listed with RE 473. Offered annually. Fulfills the interdisciplinary course requirement. Prerequisite: Any lower division Religion course; any 100-level Philosophy course, or consent of instructor.

PH 475 Transpersonal Psychology (3)

A phenomenological exploration of spiritual experience an self-transformation; focus on eastern and western traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, mystic Judaism, Christian mysticism, and Sufism. The approach is interdisciplinary, integrating Psychology, philosophy and religion. Meditation exercises will be taught as part of the class. Fulfills either interdisciplinary or global awareness general education requirement. Cross-listed with RE/PSY 475. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PSY 101; and RE 103 or any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 480 Special Topics (3)

Selected topics in philosophy to be announced. Past offering include Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, and Metaphysics. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 490 Senior Seminar (3)

This is the capstone seminar for the Philosophy minor. Students will select a topic from their area of study, develop a  research plan, and implement that plan to produce a final work that will be presented at an open forum at the conclusion of the semester. Students will participate in a series of program related assessment projects based on the program learning outcomes. Seminar sessions will be held throughout the semester to cover topics of interest to the participants and the enhancement of their understanding of the field. Offered annually. Prerequisite: any 100-level Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH 499 Directed Study (3)

Individualized study on a topic arranged with the program advisor. Prerequisites: Consent of the program advisor.


This prerequisite course provides a study and overview of the major themes of philosophy as represented in the work of Thomas Aquinas and his impact on Western Thought. It will examine representative philosophers for these themes from each of the periods of philosophical history and provide the basis for more in depth examination of the role of philosophy in theology.


Examines the philosophy of the Classical and Medieval periods with particular attention to how Christian thinkers like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas adopted the philosophical principles of Plato and Aristotle to the Christian theological tradition.