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Philosophy Course Descriptions


VTPH 103 and PHIL 203 are prerequisites for all other courses in the traditional undergraduate program except PHIL 201.

VTPH 103 Classical Philosophy (3)
This course explores the early history of Western Philosophy, from its birth in the Greek polis to its role in the development of early Christian thought and of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic thinking in the Middle Ages. Students will learn how to pose and evaluate answers to questions concerning the nature of truth, the value of knowledge, the relationship between faith and reason, and the nature of the human good. (Spring)

PHIL 203 Modern and Contemporary Philosophy(3)
This course explores the history of philosophy from late Renaissance through the Scientific Revolution and the rise of the nation-state. Students will learn how to pose, and evaluate answers to, questions concerning the nature of truth, the value of knowledge, the relationship between faith and reason, the relationship between the individual and community, and the nature of the human good. (Fall) Prerequisite: VTPH 103.


Traditional Undergraduate Program Courses

PHIL 201 Logic (3)
An examination of the nature of arguments and the principles of right reasoning and an endeavor to foster in students the habit of critical thinking. (Fall)

PHIL 211 From Cosmos to Citizen (3)
An investigation of ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary responses to questions concerning the nature of the human reality, the nature and limits of human knowing, human freedom, human happiness or well-being, and the relation of the individual to society. (Fall)

PHIL 212 From Self to Society (3)
An investigation of modern and contemporary responses to questions concerning the nature of the human reality, the nature and limits of human knowing, human freedom, human happiness or well-being, and the relation of the individual to society. Different sections of this course explore the following themes: faith and reason; science and nature; the human person; individual and community; and culture and society. Prerequisite: PHIL 211. (Spring)

VTPH 300 Ethics and the Human Good (3)
An integrative course for juniors in which they reflect on the communal contexts, goods, and ends of the moral life as well as the critical moral questions they will face in the practices of their personal and professional lives. Taught either from a philosophical or theological perspective, the course emphasizes character and virtue especially as articulated by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. (Fall)

PHIL 301 Moral Philosophy (3)
An inquiry into the nature of the moral good, the structures of moral agency and the proper criteria for making choices that bear on human beings and their well-being. Seniors only. (Fall and Spring)

PHIL 308 American Philosophy (3)
An exploration of specifically American perspectives on philosophical problems through the works of thinkers such as James, Dewey, Peirce and Santayana. (As needed)

PHIL 311 Ancient Philosophy (3)
An investigation of the development of Western philosophy from the Pre- Socratic period through Plato and Aristotle to Neo-Platonism. (Fall)

PHIL 312 Medieval Philosophy (3)
An investigation of the development of Western philosophy from the early Middle Ages to the Renaissance. (Spring)

PHIL 313 Modern Philosophy (3)
An investigation of the development of Western philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Fall)

PHIL 314 Contemporary Philosophy (3)
An investigation of the development of contemporary philosophy through selected topics and readings. (Spring)

PHIL 315 Nineteenth Century Philosophy (3)
An investigation of selected topics and readings in 19th-century philosophy. (As needed)

PHIL 317 Philosophy of Mind (3)

PHIL 318 Theory of Knowledge (3)
An investigation of the nature of knowledge and its properties, namely truth, certitude and probability. Readings representative of different historical periods will be studied. (Spring)

PHIL 321 Metaphysics (3)
An investigation of the nature of beings; topics examined include the one and the many, being and nonbeing, the nature of substance, monism versus dualism and causality. Readings representative of different historical periods will be studied. (Fall)

PHIL 322 Philosophy of Religion (3)
An investigation of the nature of religious experience and the relation between faith and reason. (As needed)

PHIL 323 Political Philosophy (3)
An investigation of the nature of political society through an examination of the concepts of political authority, civil obligation, state neutrality, equality and just distribution. (Spring, even years)

PHIL 326 Philosophy of Law (3)
An investigation of theories of the sources and nature of law, and of central legal concepts such as rights, obligation, punishment and unjust laws. (Spring, odd years)

PHIL 329 Existentialism (3)
An exploration of major issues considered by 19th- and 20th-century existentialists, such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Camus, Sartre and Marcel. (As needed)

PHIL 333 Environmental Philosophy (3)
An exploration of philosophical problems concerning our human obligations to nature and its inhabitants. (Spring, even years)

PHIL 335 Islamic Philosophy (3)
An examination of the writings of prominent Islamic philosophers from the classical period and the issues and questions raised in these texts, such as those concerned with the created world, the nature of God, the existence of the soul and human freedom. (As needed)

PHIL 337 The Death Penalty (3)
An in-depth, interdisciplinary study of the death penalty through an analysis of philosophical, theological, sociological, political and historical texts. (Fall)

PHIL 344 Intercultural Dialogue (3)
An investigation of the philosophical issues arising from the attempt to understand other cultures, especially the possibility of intercultural dialogue, and an exploration of these issues as manifested in current exchanges between Western and non-Western cultures. (This course satisfies the core requirement in non-Western studies.) (As needed)

PHIL 345 Alienation and Social Transformation (3)
An investigation of the contributions and limitations of Marxism in giving voice to the aspirations of African cultures emerging from colonialism. (This course satisfies the core requirement in non-Western studies.) (As needed)

PHIL 375 Mysticism: East and West (3)
An investigation of major figures or schools in Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian mysticism, with reference to the Greek philosophical mysticism of Neo- Platonism, and of the philosophical questions concerning the nature of mystical experiences. (This course satisfies the core requirement in non-Western studies.) (Same as THEOL 375.) (Fall, odd years)

PHIL 400 Topics in Philosophy (3)
An investigation of several approaches to a major issue in philosophy. This course can be taken for credit more than once as long as the topic studied varies. (As needed)

PHIL 410 Great Figures (3)
An investigation of the thought of a selected major figure (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, Husserl, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Rawls) in the history of philosophy. This course can be taken for credit more than once as long as the figure studied varies. (As needed)

PHIL 398 Independent Study (1-3)
Approval of the instructor, the chair of the department and the dean for academic affairs.

PHIL 498 Senior Seminar (3)
The capstone course for Philosophy majors. Students will read a common book in recent philosophy, chosen by the instructor, to be discussed at weekly meetings, and write a multi-draft paper of 20-25 pages of publishable quality. The first part of the semester will be devoted to weekly discussions of the book, after which students will begin meeting weekly with the instructor as they continue working on the multi-draft essay. Students will submit the final version of the essay at the end of the fall semester. (Fall)


Nontraditional Program Courses

PHIL 200 Introduction to Philosophy - MPAS (3) (Division of Continuing Studies only)
An investigation of ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary responses to questions concerning the nature of the human reality, the nature and limits of human knowing, human freedom, human happiness or well-being, and the relation of the individual to society.

PHIL 301 Moral Philosophy - MPAS (3) (Division of Continuing Studies only)
An inquiry into the nature of the moral good, the structures of moral agency and the proper criteria for making choices that bear on human beings and their well-being. Prerequisite: PHIL 200.

PHIL 310 Civic and Professional Issues - MPAS (3) (Division of Continuing Studies only)
An inquiry into specific moral and social issues that arise in the professions and civic life. The course will focus on issues arising in society and specific professions, especially as they bear on social justice issues. Prerequisites: PHIL 200 and PHIL 301.


For a complete look at Mount courses, please visit the Online Catalog.

 
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