Historically-oriented Introductory Courses

PHL-150. Ancient Philosophy

An examination of issues debated by ancient Greek and Roman philosophers that became central to western philosophy, including the nature of reality, the criteria for knowledge, the difference between good and pleasure, and the principles of political justice. Discussion of readings from the PreSocratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans and the Stoics.

 PHL-160. Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Philosophy

An exploration of some of the major trends in the philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries focusing especially on contemporary skepticism, cultural relativism, the crisis of faith and morality, language, and the metaphysics of truth, as reflected in the contemporary philosophical movements of existentialism, analytic philosophy, phenomenology, and postmodernism.

PHL-166. Indian Philosophy

This is an introduction to the diversity of Hindu and Buddhist philosophies in India, from roughly the fourth century BCE through the modern era.  Beginning from the earliest speculations about the nature of human beings and the world in the Upaniṣads and Bhagavad Gītā, we will consider arguments on the central topics of classical Indian philosophy, including knowledge and the means of knowing; the existence and structure of the external world; consciousness; the relation of mind and body; creation, causality, and the existence of God(s); and the search for meaning with, or liberation from, the ordinary world.  We will also consider practices such as yoga and meditation, and their relation to philosophical understanding. GenEd: LCC

PHL-167. Chinese Philosophy

An introductory survey of Confucianism, Daoism, Moism, Yin Yang, Legalism, Neo-Confucianism and Neo-Daoism. Among the theories covered in the course are Confucian theories of self-cultivation, the superior person and human nature, Menzi’s theory of original human goodness, Xunzi’s theory of evil human nature, Daoist theories of non-action, harmony with nature, and law of reversion, and Moist theories of universal love and non-discrimination. Many of these Chinese theories shaped Chinese civilization for over two millennia. GenEd: LCC

PHL-170. Philosophy in America

An introduction to philosophy by way of the works of major American philosophers.

PHL-180. Theories of the Good Life

This course takes a cross-cultural approach to theories of the good life by studying ancient Greek, Chinese, African and Hindu theories, as well as more modern versions of these theories. In class, we shall analyze and debate these theories in terms of their underlying beliefs about human nature and in terms of whether someone can actually live by these theories. GenEd: LCC

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