Catalog


Philosophy

Professors Cummiskey (chair); Associate Professors Ashwell and Stark; Assistant Professor Dacey; Visiting Assistant Professor Schofield; Lecturer Chessa

The practice of philosophy is a careful, in-depth study of humanity’s most basic ideas, presuppositions, and beliefs. Its goal is to understand as clearly as possible who we are, how the world is, and how we conceive the world. Philosophy then seeks to challenge those conceptions and examine the reasons for holding them. While the discipline of Western philosophy has a historical lineage traced back through Europe and Ancient Greece, increasingly the practice of philosophy includes previously marginalized voices and approaches in order to understand the human being in all its embodied identities. The Bates philosophy curriculum emphasizes both the history of philosophical thought and the striking innovations, insights, and relevance of contemporary philosophy. The study of philosophy, with its creative interplay of insight and reason, has ancient roots, yet remains in continual ferment.

The philosophy department encourages all Bates students to take a philosophy course and to consider a philosophy major, minor, or concentration. Students new to philosophy are encouraged to start off with 200-level courses that focus on particular problems of philosophical interest. Some topics addressed in these courses include the nature of morality, the justification of law, the place of mind in a physical world, the nature of perception, the justification of our beliefs, the possibility of knowledge, the social construction of race and gender, the understanding of the self, the understanding of space and time, the possible existence of god, the nature and possibility of truth, the purpose and proper understanding of language, and the nature of emotions as well as the point and value of philosophical inquiry itself. Although critical reading, thinking, and writing skills are developed in all philosophy classes, PHIL 195 (Introduction to Logic) provides a more focused study of proper reason that is beneficial to majors and nonmajors alike.

The faculty cultivate a department atmosphere that is inclusive and makes room for historically underrepresented perspectives. A number of courses include a focus on non-Western approaches to philosophy. Many courses consider how oppressions have influenced or determined the nature of philosophical questions. Other courses focus on or include discussions of the consequences of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and ableism. Finally, all courses welcome a diversity of views in class. Students are encouraged to examine reasons for and against views they encounter, and are taught to think critically about all views, holding views only when and if the reasons for them stand up to careful, reflective, sympathetic scrutiny.

More information on the benefits and opportunities open to philosophy majors is outlined at “Why study philosophy?” on the department website (bates.edu/philosophy/).

Major Requirements. Students who major in philosophy are expected to complete eleven courses in the field. Eight of the eleven courses must meet the distribution requirements indicated below. Students are urged to take the courses listed in 1) and 2) below as soon as possible after they decide to major in philosophy. The philosophy faculty has structured these requirements to allow students the flexibility to plan their own programs within the constraints of a broad philosophical education. Philosophy courses offered in the Short Term count toward the eleven required courses. First-year seminars taught by philosophy faculty count toward the eleven required courses. In addition, students may, with departmental approval, fulfill one of the eleven courses with a course from another field. Study-abroad courses and transfer courses may satisfy major or minor requirements with the approval of the department chair. Students arrange their programs in consultation with their departmental advisor. Those considering graduate or professional school are encouraged to consult with their advisor in order to design an appropriate course of study.

1) Logic.
PHIL 195. Introduction to Logic.

2) History of Philosophy. Both of the following:
CM/PL 271. Ancient Philosophy.
PHIL 272. Philosophy in the Modern Era (1600-1800).

3) Ethics and Political Philosophy (the good, the right, and community). One of the following:
PHIL 213. Biomedical Ethics.
ES/PL 214. Environmental Ethics.
PHIL 255. Human Nature, Politics, and Morals.
PHIL 256. Moral Philosophy.
PHIL 257. Moral Luck and Social Identity.

4) Metaphysics and Epistemology (being, meaning, knowledge). One of the following:
PHIL 210. Philosophy of Cognitive Science.
PHIL 211. Philosophy of Science.
PHIL 234. Philosophy of Language.
PHIL 235. Philosophy of Mind.
PHIL 236. Theory of Knowledge.
PHIL 245. Metaphysics.
PL/RE 260. Philosophy of Religion.

5) Seminars.
Two courses at the 300 level.

6) Senior Thesis.
PHIL 457 or PHIL 458.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major.

Minor. The minor in philosophy consists of six courses. A coherent program for each student's minor is designed in accordance with program guidelines and in consultation with a member of the philosophy faculty who is chosen or appointed as the student's departmental advisor for the minor. Among the six courses there should be at least four courses related in a coherent group. Examples might include a group of courses relevant to philosophical reflections about the student's major field, or a group of courses on ethical and political questions, or a group of courses on a specific historical period. This group of courses should be designated, in consultation with the departmental advisor. The minor may include one first-year seminar and up to two Short Term courses in philosophy.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may be elected for only one course applied toward the minor.

Courses

PHIL 195. Introduction to Logic.

An investigation of the nature of valid reasoning, coupled with training in the skills of critical thinking. Close attention is paid to the analysis of ordinary arguments. Enrollment limited to 39 per section. Normally offered every year. [QF] M. Okrent, L. Ashwell.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 210. Philosophy of Cognitive Science.

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind, including psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, and philosophy as its core. This course examines the conceptual foundations of cognitive science, and different approaches to integrating findings and perspectives from across disciplines into a coherent understanding of the mind. Students also consider issues in the philosophy of science, the nature of mind, self, agency, and implicit bias. Prerequisite(s): one course in philosophy, psychology, or neuroscience. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] M. Dacey.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

PHIL 211. Philosophy of Science.

Science has become our model for what counts as knowledge. This course examines that model and discusses how far its claims are justified in light of the nature and history of science. Topics include scientific explanation, scientific reasoning, the role of values in science, social construction and objectivity, scientific progress, similarities and differences among scientific fields, and science’s relations to society and to other views of the world. Readings include traditional and contemporary work in the philosophy of science. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] M. Daley.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

PHIL 213. Biomedical Ethics.

Rapid changes in the biological sciences and medical technology have thoroughly transformed the practice of medicine. The added complexity and power of medicine has, in turn, revolutionized the responsibilities and duties that accompany the medical professions. This course explores the values and norms governing medical practice; the rights and responsibilities of health care providers and patients; the justification for euthanasia; and the problems of access, allocation, and rationing of health care services. In addition to Western bioethics, this course typically includes Confucian, Buddhist, and Islamic approaches to bioethics. Not open to students who have received credit for FYS 362 or PHIL s26. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [AC] [HS] D. Cummiskey.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

ES/PL 214. Environmental Ethics.

What do we owe to nonhuman animals? How ought we treat plants and other nonsentient organisms? Are ecosystems appropriate objects of moral concern? This course focuses on moral issues that arise as a result of human interaction with the environment. Students discuss mainstream Western philosophers as well as challenges from the point of view of indigenous cultures and ecofeminism. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] P. Schofield.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 233. Making Moral Minds: Nature, Nurture, and the Sources of Morality.

This course examines the origins and mechanisms of moral judgment and decision making. How much is our moral cognition shaped by culture as opposed to evolved nature? How much is it shared with nonhuman animals? What motivates us and drives our evaluations? What weaknesses, limitations, and biases might we face? In addressing these questions, students read from classic philosophical texts, recent philosophical publications, research in psychology, and popular science writing. Along the way, they attempt to glean practical lessons for how we think about ourselves, our decisions, and our moral community. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [AC] M. Dacey.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

PHIL 234. Philosophy of Language.

An advanced introduction to contemporary discussions of how language functions. Students investigate the natures of reference, meaning, truth, and the ways that language shapes the way we think about the world. They address questions such as: What is it for a sign or a bit of language to be meaningful? What is it for words to represent or identify something? What are the social impacts of particular instances of language use? Prerequisite(s): one course in philosophy. Recommended background: PHIL 195. Enrollment limited to 29. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 235. Philosophy of Mind.

The mind resists straightforward placement in the natural world. For instance, we are conscious. How could a first-person perspective arise in an unfeeling universe? Similarly, the mind has the ability to think about things out in the world. This seems to relate the mind to the world in a way no physical things are related. In light of these and other puzzles, this course asks: What sort of thing could the mind be? Is the mind just the brain? Is the mind software running on the brain’s hardware? Is it something else entirely? What can we know about other minds and how can we know it? Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] M. Dacey.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

PHIL 236. Theory of Knowledge.

Is knowledge possible, and if so, how? The course investigates how we can know the ordinary things we take ourselves to know. Students are introduced to major philosophical theories concerning when our thoughts about ourselves and the world are rationally justified. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] L. Ashwell.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 245. Metaphysics.

This course introduces students to some of the central issues in metaphysics. Questions considered may include: Which kinds of things exist? What is one saying when one says that something "exists"? What does it mean to say that something causes something else? What is one saying when one says that something might possibly be other than it is? What does it mean to say that something is the same identical thing at one time that it is at another? Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] L. Ashwell.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 255. Human Nature, Politics, and Morals.

What is the essence of human nature? How does human nature inform our understanding of the difference between right and wrong? Which political institutions are appropriate for creatures like us? This course considers answers to these questions offered by philosophers throughout history as well as contemporary attempts to address these questions from a post-Darwinian perspective. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] P. Schofield.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 256. Moral Luck and Social Identity.

An introduction to moral philosophy, including several ethical theories (e.g., utilitarianism, deontology, egoism, virtue theory). The course considers whether morality is a matter of custom, opinion, convention, or preference, and asks how we can tell what is morally right and what is morally wrong. The course may consider some of the following: recent developments of moral philosophy, including Philippa Foot’s trolley problems; the moral philosophy of the Dalai Lama and/or Martin Luther King Jr.; and individual and collective responsibility for historical injustices. Students may examine a moral problem (e.g., famine and globalization, racism and mass incarceration) to illustrate the theories and issues of the course. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [AC] D. Cummiskey, S. Stark.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 257. Moral Luck and Social Identity.

Our lives are deeply subject to luck. This course provides an introduction to philosophical analysis and the moral philosophies of Aristotle and Kant. The course also considers social luck: luck in one’s identity and how that identity is regarded by one’s culture. The course focuses on racism, with particular attention to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and slavery in the United States. Students examine ongoing white supremacy in the United States and consider racism as a kind of social and moral luck. Topics also may include moral responsibility for implicit bias, the nature of evil, and responsibility and reparations for slavery. Not open to students who have received credit for FYS 288 or PHIL s22. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29 per section. [AC] S. Stark.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 258. Philosophy of Law.

What is law? What is the relationship of law to morality? What is the nature of judicial reasoning? Particular legal issues include the nature and status of liberty rights (the right to privacy including contraception, abortion, and homosexuality), the legitimacy of restrictions on speech and expression (flag burning and racist hate speech), and the justification of the death penalty. Readings include traditional and contemporary legal theory, case studies, and court decisions. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [AC] [HS] D. Cummiskey.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PL/RE 260. Philosophy of Religion.

A consideration of major issues that arise in philosophical reflection upon religion. Particular issues are selected from among such topics as the nature of faith, the possibility of justifying religious beliefs, the nature and validity of religious experience, the relation of religion and science, and the problem of evil. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

GS/PL 262. Feminist Philosophy.

What is gender? What is race? What is oppression? What does it mean to experience discrimination or oppression? Feminist philosophy uses philosophical methods to think carefully about gender, the way gender intersects with other identities, the lives of historically marginalized voices, and the concepts employed in feminist political movement and similar social movements such as those centered around race, class, sexual identity and orientation, and disability. Additional areas of study may include science and society; gender and science; sex and sexuality; reproduction; family; gender in popular culture; and the body and appearance, including the fashion and beauty industries. Not open to students who have received credit for PL/WS 262. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [AC] [HS] S. Stark, L. Ashwell.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

CM/PL 271. Ancient Philosophy.

This course examines the ancient philosophical views and questions that were foundational for Western philosophy. Philosophers discussed may include the Pythagoreans, the Atomists, Theano, Hypatia, Socrates, Aspasia of Miletus, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Epicureans. Ancient Greek thought is considered in its historical and social context, with indications of how ideas were developed in later centuries, including in the present. The course may also take up ancient Chinese philosophy, including Confucius; Islamic philosophy; and ancient Indian philosophy. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [AC] [HS] S. Stark.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 272. Philosophy in the Modern Era (1600-1800).

In this course students discuss problems surrounding knowledge, mind, reality, and reason as they developed from the birth of modern philosophy until their culmination in Kant. The course considers thinkers such as René Descartes, Princess Elisabeth, Margaret Cavendish, John Locke, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant. It also takes up non-Western thinkers from the period who are interested in related issues. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [AC] P. Schofield.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 274. Phenomenology.

A survey of several of the dominant themes in twentieth-century phenomenology. The course is designed to familiarize students with this area through the study of some of the works of Husserl and Heidegger, among others. Prerequisite(s): one course in philosophy. Enrollment limited to 29. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 310. Buddhist Philosophy.

This course explores Buddhist philosophy with a special emphasis on moral and political philosophy. Philosophical topics include the Four Noble Truths, the doctrine of impermanence and codependent arising, the doctrine of no-self, and the concept of emptiness. The relationships among Buddhist philosophy, insight meditation, and moral virtue—especially the practical social, political, and ethical implications— are a primary focus of the course. Prerequisite(s): two courses in philosophy. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] D. Cummiskey.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

ES/PL 314. The Environment and What We Owe to Each Other.

As we use and deplete natural resources and alter the global environment, the consequences do not respect national borders, the boundaries among generations, or species distinctions. This course takes up questions about the nature and scope of justice as it pertains to the environment. Specifically, it considers what we owe to our fellow citizens, to the global community, to future generations, and to nonhuman animals, as we change the environment. Prerequisite(s): ES/PL 214; or two courses in philosophy; or one course in philosophy and one course in environmental studies. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] P. Schofield.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 321. Seminar: Topics in the Contemporary Philosophy of Mind and Language.

An examination of recent discussions of topics concerning language, intentionality, and what it is to be a person. Topics vary from year to year.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 321D. The Rise of Philosophical Analysis.

This course explores the history of twentieth-century philosophy by examining the methods and characteristic doctrines of two successive philosophical movements. Students first focus on the early twentieth-century attempt, pioneered by Russell and the early Wittgenstein, to apply the newly developed techniques of formal logic to the analysis of the cognitive significance of our ordinary ways of talking. The course then considers the way in which a later generation of "ordinary language" philosophers, including Ryle, Austin, and the later Wittgenstein, reacted against this attempt. Readings are taken from the works of Russell, G. E. Moore, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Quine, Ayer, Ryle, and Austin. Prerequisite(s): one course in philosophy. Recommended background: PHIL 195 or two courses in philosophy. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] P. Schofield.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 321J. Topics in the Contemporary Philosophy of Mind and Language: Self-Knowledge.

We seem to know our own minds — our beliefs, desires, intentions, feelings, and sensations — in a distinctive and particularly secure way. But although introspective self-knowledge is so familiar, it is difficult to account for. This course examines a range of philosophical problems associated with self-knowledge: What (if any) are the differences between self-knowledge and other knowledge, such as knowledge of other people's minds? Can plausible accounts of the process of introspection be reconciled with plausible accounts of the objects of self-knowledge (i.e., mental states and their contents)? Do we even have knowledge of our own minds? Prerequisite(s): one 200- or 300-level course in philosophy. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] L. Ashwell.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 321K. Philosophy of Animal Minds.

Nonhuman animals seem like us in many ways, and unlike us in many others. Sometimes they are studied as models of human minds; other times, they are studied to discover what (if anything) makes human minds unique. Beyond these questions, the cognitive abilities of animals like great apes, corvids, and octopuses are fascinating in their own right, and the task of understanding other minds presents a deep and complex challenge to science. Students discuss these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective including philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology. Prerequisite(s): two courses in philosophy, or one course in philosophy and one course in neuroscience or psychology. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] M. Dacey.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 322. Seminar: Topics in Contemporary European Philosophy.

An examination of recent developments in Continental philosophy.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 322B. Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception.

An intensive study of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception. Interpretations by contemporary critics are considered. Prerequisite(s): two courses in philosophy. Recommended background: PHIL 274. Enrollment limited to 19. [W2] Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 323. Seminar: Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology.

This course focuses on advanced issues in the theory of knowledge and in the theory of ultimate reality.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

GS/PL 323D. Feminist Epistemology.

In this course, students read feminist accounts and critiques of how we know what we know as well as how and what we value, and why. Students consider questions such as: Is rationality gendered? Are conceptions of philosophy "masculine"? What role do "subjects" play in knowledge production? What epistemic role does ignorance play in knowing and unknowing? What role does epistemic responsibility play in being justified? What is epistemic injustice and how can such injustice be addressed? Recommended background: PHIL 236 and GS/PL 262. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] [HS] L. Ashwell.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

BI/PL 323E. Philosophy of Evolution.

Evolutionary theory raises many deep and complicated philosophical issues as well as questions about how science operates: Are concepts like function, selection, and optimality scientifically legitimate? How do we make inferences about the unobserved past? Can thinking about the evolutionary past help us understand how biological processes, such as the mind, work today? It also raises questions about who we are and where we come from: How do we relate to other species? Can we better understand our moral and intellectual strengths and weaknesses by looking to evolution? In this course, students approach these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective, including philosophy, biology, and the cognitive sciences. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: PHIL 211; two courses in philosophy; or one course in philosophy and one course in biology. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] M. Dacey.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 324. Seminar: Topics in Ethics.

This course focuses on important issues in ethics and political theory.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 324C. Liberty, Equality, and Community.

Liberty and equality are the central values of contemporary political philosophy. These values, however, seem inevitably to conflict. Unlimited freedom leads to inequalities and remedies for inequalities restrict liberty. This seminar focuses on competing accounts of the proper balance between liberty and equality. In particular, students focus on John Rawls' theory of justice and competing theories of justice, including utilitarian liberalism, Nozick's libertarian theory, communitarian theories, feminist theories, and multicultural approaches. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 255, 256, or 257. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] [HS] D. Cummiskey.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 324F. I and Thou: Recognition and Second-Personal Morality.

Morality requires that we treat persons not simply as objects to be planned around or manipulated, but as beings with a special status that we ought to recognize or acknowledge. It is this status to which we gesture when we talk about owing a duty to someone. Philosophers have long sought to understand the relationship that holds between persons who recognize one another's status as morally significant beings. Participants in this seminar seek to understand this as well. Readings include both historical philosophical texts and contemporary works. Prerequisite(s): one course in philosophy. New course beginning Fall 2019. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] P. Schofield.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 325. Seminar: Topics in Metaethics.

These courses consider a broad range of issues, both historical and contemporary, in metaethics and moral epistemology. [AC] S. Stark.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 325C. Moral Realism and Irrealism.

This course examines contemporary views on the meaning of moral language, the possibility of moral knowledge, the possibility of moral facts, the nature of moral arguments, the relationship among morality, emotion, and reason. Some background in moral or political philosophy is recommended. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 255, 256, or 257. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] S. Stark.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 332. Moral Psychology.

Facts about how people actually do choose and judge actions seem to matter for how we understand morality. But any attempts to trace these connections face the famous gap between "is" and "ought," claims about how the world is versus how it ought to be. The last two decades have seen an explosion in work at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience attempting to make these connections explicit. In this course, students attempt to bridge the is-ought gap to better understand our selves, our well-being, our duties, our valves, and our biases and limitations. Prerequisite(s): two courses in philosophy, or one course in philosophy and one course in neuroscience or psychology. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] [AC] M. Dacey.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 350. Seminar on Major Thinkers.

The course examines in depth the writings of a major philosopher. Thinkers who may be discussed include Anscombe, Aristotle, Beauvoir, Butler, Descartes, Foot, Hume, Kierkegaard, Marx, Merleau-Ponty, Mill, Nagarjuna, Nietzsche, Nussbaum, Plato, Rawls, Rousseau, Santideva, Sartre, Spinoza, Vasubandhu, Tu Weiming, and Wittgenstein. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 351. Kant.

This course is an intensive study of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Interpretations by contemporary critics are considered. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 272. [W2] Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 360. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Normally offered every semester. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 365. Special Topics.

A course or seminar offered from time to time and reserved for a special topic selected by the department.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 457. Senior Thesis.

Students register for PHIL 457 in the fall semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both PHIL 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL 458. Senior Thesis.

Students register for PHIL 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both PHIL 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

Short Term Courses

PHIL s20. Film as Philosophy.

Some philosophers have argued that movies may be approached as works of philosophy, asking philosophical questions that they themselves go on to answer. In this course, students watch films from a number of genres (westerns, science fiction, thrillers, comedies of remarriage, etc.) and then attempt to discern their philosophical contributions to questions about knowledge, politics, love, embodied agency, race, and feminism. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. [AC] P. Schofield.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL s29. Logic: Possibility, Proofs, and Paradox.

Building on PHIL 195 (Introduction to Logic), students consider the relationship between logic and reasoning, learn about modal logic (the logic of possibility and necessity), Turing machines, and alternative logics, prove some surprising metalogical results, and puzzle through some logical paradoxes. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 195. Not open to students who have received credit for PHIL 295 or 395A. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. [QF] L. Ashwell.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL s32. Teaching Philosophy: Course Design and Classroom Instruction.

The line between practicing philosophy and teaching it has always been a blurry one, enough so that being a philosopher is often thought to involve being a teacher. In this course, students assume the role of philosophy instructor. The course covers works by a number of contemporary authors writing on course design and innovative teaching methodology, and students design a week-long introductory philosophy mini-course targeted at high school students. Prerequisite(s): three philosophy courses. Enrollment limited to 9. Instructor permission is required. (Community-Engaged Learning.) [AC] P. Schofield, S. Stark.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

PHIL s50. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term. Normally offered every year. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations