Philosophy

This is an archived copy of the 2015-2016 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalog.ewu.edu.

Terrance MacMullan, Director
229B Patterson
509.359.6020


Faculty

Kevin S. Decker, Christophe C. Kirby, Terrance MacMullan, David M. Weise.


Undergraduate Degrees

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Undergraduate Certificate

Undergraduate Minor


Undergraduate Program

The Philosophy Program offers general interest courses that deal with our philosophical heritage and contemporary thought and a minor in philosophy that encompasses some principal concerns of the discipline. It also offers a BA in Philosophy and BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (ITDS) with an option in Philosophical Studies that combines intermediate and advanced classes in logic and the history of philosophy with selected offerings from cooperating programs.

The skills learned in philosophy are useful in all academic areas. Immanuel Kant noted that philosophy teaches us to think for ourselves, so that we do not passively receive what we are told. It also encourages us to put ourselves imaginatively in the place of everyone else, so that we occupy the standpoint of universal humanity. Above all, it enjoins us to think consistently. Study of philosophy contributes to a broad, liberal arts education valuable for its own sake as well as a preparation for a career in some related professional, social or humanistic discipline. As an American Philosophical Association pamphlet notes, employees in the business community “want and reward many of the capacities which the study of philosophy develops: for instance, the ability to solve problems, to communicate, to organize ideas and issues, to assess pros and cons and to boil down complex data. These capacities represent transferable skills.’’ Logical skills are especially beneficial in conceptual professions like accounting and law.

Required courses in the following program of study may have prerequisites. Reference course descriptions section for clarification.


Philosophy Streams

Stream #1: Political Philosophy

This stream concentrates on political philosophy and related topics. Political philosophy examines the nature of moral value, normativity and justice in practical and historical contexts. Political philosophers also evaluate classical and contemporary political institutions and suggest ways of improving the political life of our society. Students enrolled in this stream will study both the theory and practice of classical and contemporary politics.

ECON 415HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT5
ECON 417POLITICAL ECONOMY5
ECON 424ECONOMICS OF POVERTY AND DISCRIMINATION5
HIST 301HISTORY OF THE PRESENT5
HIST 303U.S. HISTORY 1607-18775
HIST 304U.S. HISTORY 1877-PRESENT5
HIST 305PATHS TO THE AMERICAN PRESENT5
HIST 306MODERN EUROPE5
HIST 341RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION5
HIST 350WAR AND SOCIETY5
HIST/GERM 38220TH CENTURY GERMANY, FROM WORLD WARS TO COLD WAR5
HIST 425GREEK HISTORY TO 400 BC5
HIST 428ROMAN EMPIRE5
HIST 440HISTORY OF WORLD WAR I4
HIST 441HISTORY OF WORLD WAR II4
HIST 454DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF EUROPE, 1914 TO THE PRESENT5
HIST/WMST 468HISTORY OF MODERN AMERICAN WOMEN5
HIST 471AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 1763-18245
HIST 481HISTORY OF AMERICAN FORIEGN RELATIONS FROM 18985
HIST 487ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES5
POLI 300U.S. JUDICIAL PROCESS5
POLI 304U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES5
POLI 305JURISPRUDENCE5
POLI 313ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL POLITICAL THOUGHT5
POLI 314MODERN WESTERN POLITICAL THOUGHT5
POLI 317AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT5
POLI 401TOPICS IN POLITICAL THEORY5
WMST 410FEMINIST THEORY4

Stream #2: Philosophy of Art and Literature

This stream concentrates on aesthetics, the philosophical study of art. Broadly construed this includes fine arts, performance arts and literature. Students enrolled in this stream will address questions like: What is art? What is beauty? How do we tell good art from bad art and can these judgments ever be objective? What is taste? What is the proper relationship between art and morality? Students of this subject will ground their inquiry in the study of particular art forms such as literature, film, theatre, music and painting.

AAST 301HARLEM RENAISSANCE: RECONSTRUCTION TO 19305
ART 310WORLD ART5
ART 311AFRICAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN ART HISTORY5
ART 409WOMEN AND MEN IN CONTEMPORARY ART1
ART 415HISTORY OF ANCIENT ART5
ART 420HISTORY RENAISSANCE ART5
ART 422HISTORY OF BAROQUE AND ROCOCO ART5
ART 423ART OF THE 19TH CENTURY5
ART 430HISTORY OF MODERN ART5
ART 431HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY ART5
ENGL 315TOPICS IN LITERATURE AND CULTURE5
ENGL 340SURVEY OF BRITISH LITERATURE I5
ENGL 341SURVEY OF BRITISH LITERATURE II5
ENGL 342SURVEY OF BRITISH LITERATURE III5
ENGL 343SURVEY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE I5
ENGL 344SURVEY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE II5
ENGL 350SHAKESPEARE5
ENGL 360LANGUAGE STRUCTURE AND USE5
ENGL 380SURVEY OF NATIVE AMERICAN LITERATURE5
ENGL 381CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE5
ENGL 382STUDIES IN EPIC FANTASY5
ENGL 384FOLKLORE5
ENGL 385MYTHOLOGY5
ENGL 387LITERATURE OF THE BIBLE5
ENGL/WMST 389WOMEN, LITERATURE AND SOCIAL CHANGE5
THTR 303SURVEY OF THEATRE HISTORY5

Stream #3: Philosophy and History

This stream investigates epistemological issues regarding the nature of historical truth, how present context and the narrative urge shape our understanding of the past and the diverse philosophical influences that have produced schools of historiographical thought. Students in this concentration address the meaning of historical progress, the theoretical basis for new histories of social affairs, of women and other oppressed groups and philosophical explanations of both recurrence and change in history.

All 300- and 400-level classes in History are eligible for satisfying the electives of this stream. The following classes outside of History are also eligible:

ART 415HISTORY OF ANCIENT ART5
ART 420HISTORY RENAISSANCE ART5
ART 422HISTORY OF BAROQUE AND ROCOCO ART5
ART 423ART OF THE 19TH CENTURY5
ART 430HISTORY OF MODERN ART5
ART 431HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY ART5
ECON 417POLITICAL ECONOMY5
ENGL 384FOLKLORE5
ENGL 385MYTHOLOGY5
ENGL 387LITERATURE OF THE BIBLE5
ENGL/WMST 389WOMEN, LITERATURE AND SOCIAL CHANGE5
POLI 313ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL POLITICAL THOUGHT5
POLI 314MODERN WESTERN POLITICAL THOUGHT5
POLI 317AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT5
THTR 303SURVEY OF THEATRE HISTORY5
WMST 410FEMINIST THEORY4

Philosophy Courses


PHIL 210. CRITICAL THINKING. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101 and pre-university basic skills in mathematics.
Satisfies: GECR for humanities and fine arts, list 3, philosophy and reasoning.
Logic as a tool for the analysis of informal arguments. The course develops techniques for formalizing and testing arguments from everyday life.

PHIL 211. INTRODUCTORY PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Satisfies: GECR for humanities and fine arts, list 3, philosophy and reasoning.
Some traditional problems about the nature of the world and human knowledge. Typical problems concern the existence of God, personal identity and free will, the relations of minds to bodies and of perception to the external world.

PHIL 212. INTRODUCTORY ETHICS. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Satisfies: GECR for humanities and fine arts, list 3, philosophy and reasoning.
An examination of the nature and content of morality. Two questions are central: Is morality based on knowledge or on emotion? Is there a rational motive to act morally?

PHIL 213. MORAL ISSUES IN AMERICA. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Satisfies: GECR for humanities and fine arts, list 3, philosophy and reasoning.
An introduction to normative moral issues in current thought and life. Typical problems concern social justice, the relation of work to a person’s concept of himself, manipulation and indoctrination in a technological society and relationships between social success and human flourishing.

PHIL 214. PHILOSOPHICAL VOICES AND POP CULTURE. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: ENGL 101.
Satisfies: cultural and gender diversity university graduation requirement.
This course is a thematic survey of several areas of basic philosophical problems. It will combine an examination of philosophical themes in media and popular culture—including fiction, television and cinema—with retrieval of under-represented, diverse voices addressing each thematic area. Themes may include, but are not restricted to: metaphysics, theory of mind and knowledge, aesthetics, ethics and social and political theory.

PHIL 299. INDEPENDENT STUDY. 1-5 Credits.

Independent Study

PHIL 301. INTRODUCTION TO FORMAL LOGIC. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101 and and MTHD 104 or placement into college-level MATH. PHIL 210 suggested.
Logic as a formal deductive system. The course develops sentential logic and introduces predicate logic. It examines arguments typical of science and mathematics and covers some elementary metatheorems for sentential logic.

PHIL 311. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 311.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Major political theories and analysis of arguments that attempt to justify actual or proposed political and social institutions.

PHIL 312. PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 312.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Philosophical problems with religion and theology. Typical problems concern the existence of God, God’s relation to evil, the immortality of the soul, the meaning of religious language and the criteria for theological verification.

PHIL 320. HISTORY OF ANCIENT WESTERN PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 320.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
The history of Greek philosophy from the first theories about the causes of the universe to the Socratic inquiry about how to live and to Plotinus’ theory of the soul.

PHIL 321. HISTORY OF MODERN WESTERN PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 321.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
16th–18th century European philosophy against the background of religion and science. The main theme is the relation of knowledge to reason and experience.

PHIL 322. HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY WESTERN PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 322.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
This course is a survey of the major European and American schools of the 19th and 20th century philosophy. Course material includes German idealism, existentialism, utilitarianism, Marxism, pragmatism, feminism, logical positivism and post-modernism.

PHIL 331. CHINESE PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 331.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Confucius’ humanistic ethics, the naturalistic philosophy of Taoism and Buddhism—especially the Zen Buddhist method of enlightenment.

PHIL 398. SEMINARS ON SELECTED TOPICS. 1-5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: 5 credits of philosophy and successful completion of ENGL 101.

PHIL 400. SPECIAL PERIODS IN THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 400.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Intensive study of a period in the history of philosophy that is not included in the 320–322 sequence.

PHIL 411. THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: 5 credits of philosophy and successful
completion of ENGL 101. The nature, grounds, and limits of human knowledge. Topics typical of the course are perception, memory, truth, knowledge of other minds, and the relations among knowing, believing and doubting.

PHIL 417. WOMEN AND ETHICS. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: WMST 417.
Pre-requisites: at least one of the following: WMST 101 or WMST 310 or PHIL 211 or PHIL 212.
Satisfies: cultural and gender diversity university graduation requirement.
The course will begin with a brief examination of the treatment of women within traditional ethics. We will then address the views of early women philosophers, followed by a close analysis of contemporary feminist approaches to ethics.

PHIL 420. QUEER THEORY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: WMST 420.
Pre-requisites: junior standing.
This course examines the emerging field of queer theory. Queer theory questions the stability of various identity categories, suggesting instead that all performances of sex, gender, and sexuality are influenced by cultural, historical and political factors.

PHIL 435. MAJOR AUTHORS IN THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: HONS 435.
Notes: repeatable for credit with different authors.
Pre-requisites: successful completion of ENGL 101.
Intensive study of a single major philosopher.

PHIL 440. WOMEN AND PHILOSOPHY. 5 Credits.

Cross listed: WMST 440.
Pre-requisites: at least 4 credits in WMST and/or PHIL.
The course offers an examination of the treatment of concepts relating to women and femininity, both by traditional philosophers and by more recent feminist philosophers. The course will address key issues within philosophy while simultaneously exploring the role of gender in the production of philosophical knowledge.

PHIL 445. BIOMEDICAL ETHICS. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: ENGL 101.
This course is an examination of a variety of moral theories as well as professional oaths and codes of ethics in order to clarify, analyze and propose solutions to significant contemporary ethical problems in biological research and medical practice. These may include abortion, genetic research on humans, animals and crops, stem cell research, advance directives, end-of-life issues, etc.

PHIL 447. ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: PHIL 212 or PHIL 213 or permission of instructor.
This course is a study of mainstream and alternative moral theories regarding the environment, including the application of these theories towards contemporary environmental problems, such as climate change, pollution, resource depletion, species extinction and land use.

PHIL 490. PHILOSOPHY SENIOR CAPSTONE. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: completion of PHIL 301, PHIL 320, PHIL 321 and PHIL 322.
Satisfies: senior capstone university graduation requirement.
In this seminar, the advanced student of philosophy consolidates and synthesizes philosophical scholarship and community-focused, practical application. Working collaboratively, instructor and students relate the theories and methods of public intellectuals and social critics across various disciplines, drawing conclusions about the nature of critical thinking, public argumentation, and social change.

PHIL 496. EXPERIMENTAL COURSE. 1-5 Credits.

PHIL 497. WORKSHOP, SHORT COURSE, CONFERENCE, SEMINAR. 1-5 Credits.

PHIL 498. SEMINARS. 1-5 Credits.

PHIL 499. DIRECTED STUDY. 1-5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: 10 credits of philosophy and successful completion of ENGL 101; permission of the instructor, department chair and college dean.