Wilkes University

Philosophy

PHL-101. Introduction to Philosophy

Credits: 3

An introduction to some of the major figures, problems, and concerns of philosophical thought. Students in this course typically examine a variety of philosophical questions and problems such as the existence of God, human nature and the good life, freedom and responsibility, skepticism and the nature of knowledge, and theories of reality.

PHL-110. Introduction to Ethical Problems

Credits: 3

An exploration of a series of basic ethical problems. Topics to be covered include basic ethical theories, how to evaluate ethical theories and moral arguments, the relationship between religion and ethics, and a selection of current moral problems such as abortion, capital punishment, affirmative action, animal rights, etc. Specific moral problems covered will vary. Other ethical questions such as 'How should we live?' may also be covered in the course.

PHL-122. Introduction to Symbolic Logic

Credits: 3

An introduction to the nature of logical systems and deductive reasoning. The study of the syntax and semantics of formal languages; testing arguments for validity; and an examination of other important logical notions, such as proof and consistency.

PHL-198. Topics

Credits: 3

The study of a topic of special interest not extensively treated in other courses. Topics chosen according to interest of the instructor. Because of its variable content, this course may be repeated for credit.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of the instructor.

PHL-214. Medical Ethics

Credits: 3

A selection of important issues facing health care providers, patients, and society in general are examined. Topics include euthanasia, abortion, doctor-patient relationships, the use and misuse of information, research on human and non-human animals, informed consent, patients' rights, truthfulness and the right to know, conflicts of obligations, the right to health care, the allocation of resources, mandatory testing for AIDS, and the use of genetic and reproductive technologies.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of instructor.

PHL-216. Violence and Nonviolence

Credits: 3

An examination of the concepts and practices of violence and nonviolence. Historical and modern theories and applications will be explored including questions such as why and how nonviolence has been advocated, how civil defense might be structured without violence, whether nuclear weapon use can be justified, and whether torture is ever morally permissible. Students will be expected to consider the importance and relevance of the ideas for their own lives. 

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101, 110 or permission of instructor.

PHL-217. The Question of Animal Rights

Credits: 3

An exploration of arguments supporting a wide variety of conclusions regarding our ethical obligations to nonhuman animals. We will examine standard moral theories, theories about the nature of current social practices, the history of our attitudes toward nonhuman animals, feminist arguments that our attitudes toward nonhuman animals are connected to negative views of female humans, and more.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101, PHL-110, or permission of the instructor.

PHL-218. Environmental Ethics

Credits: 3

An examination of the central problems of environmental ethics as viewed from the perspectives of science and of philosophy. The value of nature and 'natural objects,' differing attitudes toward wildlife and the land itself, implications of anthropocentrism, individualism, ecocentrism, and ecofeminism, bases for land and water conservation, and other topics will be examined within a framework of moral and scientific argument. (Cross-listed with EES-218.)

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or EES-240 or permission of the instructor.

PHL-236. American Political Philosophy

Credits: 3

The study of the political ideas, ideals, and ideologies that contributed to and developed from the American experience. An analysis of the ideas that underlie America’s political institutions and practices. Cross listed with PS-262.

PHL-242. The Meaning of Life

Credits: 3

A selection of culturally diverse classic and contemporary answers to the question of the meaning of life will be examined and the implications of our lives will be explored. Perspectives to be addressed include those of Epicurus, Epictetus, Aristotle, Lao-Tzu, the Buddha, Viktor Frankl, Albert Camus, A.J. Ayer, Peter Singer, and more.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101, PHL-110, or permission of the instructor.

PHL-244. Buddhist Thought

Credits: 3

An exploration and examination of basic ideas in Buddhist philosophy, considering all three main 'vehicles' of Buddhist thought—Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana schools. Comparisons to Western philosophical thought will be made and some Buddhist practices explored.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of the instructor.

PHL-272. Philosophy of Religion

Credits: 3

An examination of various problems that arise when religion is made the object of philosophical reflection: the nature and forms of religious experience; the relationship between faith and reason; arguments for the existence of God; the problem of evil; arguments for immortality; the concepts of worship and miracle; the nature of religious language; and the possibility of religious knowledge.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of the instructor.

PHL-298. Topics

Credits: 3

The study of a topic of special interest not extensively treated in other courses. Topics chosen according to interest of the instructor. Because of its variable content, this course may be repeated for credit.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of the instructor.

PHL-301. Origins of Western Thought

Credits: 3

The development of Western philosophical thought from its beginnings in the Greek world to early Christian thought. Philosophers to be studied include the Pre-socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, the Stoics, Epicurus, Sextus Empiricus, and St. Augustine.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of instructor.

PHL-310. Ethical Theory

Credits: 3

A study of classical and contemporary ethical theories, the problems that they raise and the problems they are intended to solve. The theories of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hume, and Mill will be examined as well as recent contributions by Ross, Harman, Moore, Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare. Questions addressing ethical relativism, the relationship of religion to ethics, skepticism, moral realism, egoism, and value judgments will also be discussed.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of instructor.

PHL-314. Advanced Topics in Bioethics

Credits: 3

An in-depth exploration of the ideas of a selection of philosophers known for their often radical contributions in the field of bioethics. Topics include the appropriate and inappropriate use of moral principles and theories, public policies to change or maintain in the area of bioethics, and whether our attitudes toward personhood and life and death are defensible.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-214 or permission of instructor.

PHL-316. Moral Psychology

Credits: 3

An analysis of some current questions in moral psychology, an area of philosophy that addresses normative issues regarding human psychology including motives, emotions, psychological reactions, etc. Questions to be addressed include questions about moral luck (whether it is possible for an agent to be caught in a situation, through no fault of her own, in which it is impossible to act rightly), about whether one's moral character may be subject to luck in important ways, about whether there are reasons to act morally if one does not care about reputation or morality, and questions about when judgments of responsibility for actions and character are appropriate.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-310 or permission of instructor.

PHL-332. Social and Political Philosophy

Credits: 3

Social and political institutions as seen by such classic critics as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Bentham, and others. More recent views such as those of Marx, Rawls, and Nozick will also be covered. Special attention is paid to the related questions of the role of the state and the relationship between the individual and the state.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of instructor.

PHL-334. Philosophy of Law

Credits: 3

This course serves as an introduction to the central topics in the Philosophy of Law, including the nature and justification of the law, the relation between law and morality, the principles of legal interpretation, and the justification and limits of criminal sanctions. The work of both classical and contemporary legal and political theorists will be explored, as well as a selection of legal cases that have shaped American law, including recent cases, and an investigation of some implications for legal cases arising from new developments in neuroscience. .

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of instructor.

PHL-344. Advanced Topics in Buddhist Thought

Credits: 3

An examination of the history of Buddhist philosophy and the issues it raises with particular emphasis on shunyata.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-244 or permission of instructor.

PHL-350. Philosophy of Science

Credits: 3

A critical examination of various issues concerning scientific thought. Topics may include the nature of science, distinguishing science from pseudo-science, the nature of theories, scientific explanation, space and time, causality, the problem of induction, laws of nature, and the reality of theoretical entities.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of instructor.

PHL-372. Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Religion

Credits: 3
Pre-Requisites
PHL-272 or permission of instructor.

PHL-390. Senior Projects: Capstone

Credits: 1

An independent project culminating in a formal essay and presentation. The project serves as a capstone experience demonstrating the student's learning in the major.Open only to senior Philosophy majors.

PHL-397. Seminar

Credits: 1-3

Presentations and discussions of selected topics.

Pre-Requisites
Approval of course instructor is required.

PHL-398. Topics

Credits: 3

The study of a topic of special interest not extensively treated in other courses. Topics chosen according to interest of the instructor. Because of its variable content, this course may be repeated for credit.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or permission of instructor.

PHL-399. Cooperative Education

Credits: 1-6

Professional cooperative education placement in a private or public organization related to the student’s academic objectives and career goals. In addition to their work experience, students are required to submit weekly reaction papers and an academic project to a Faculty Coordinator in the student’s discipline. (See the Cooperative Education section of this bulletin for placement procedures.)

Pre-Requisites
Sophomore standing, 2.0 cumulative GPA, consent of academic advisor, and approval of placement by the department chairperson.

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