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-233. Reason, Science, and Humanity
We will examine some of philosophy’s “Greatest Hits” from some of the 17th and 18th centuries’ greatest thinkers: Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. We will consider questions like: Is there a God, and how could we know? Is your mind just your brain, or do you have an immaterial soul? What is free will, and is human free will merely an illusion? Does your subjective perception of the world correspond to how it is in reality, and how can you possibly know? Are there universal moral duties, which everyone has an obligation to follow regardless of their personal inclinations?
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.
An introductory survey of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Carvaka. Over the centuries, Indian philosophers inquired into the nature of reality and mind, debated epistemological issues concerning the criteria for valid knowledge, proposed paths for attaining spiritual liberation, and developed social theories for the welfare of people. Methods used by Indian philosophers include meditation, yoga, reasoning, logic, debate and observation. Some of these methods will be explored in class. GenEd: LCC
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.
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