Introductory Courses

Introductory Courses, whether issues-oriented or historically-oriented, do not presuppose any prior acquaintance with philosophy. They may be taken in any order.

PHL-100. Introduction to Philosophy

An introduction to some of the most enduring questions of philosophy: Does God exist? Might the external world be an illusion? Is science rational? What is the relationship between the mind and the body? What is it to be moral, and why should one bother?

PHL-105. Introduction to Ethics

An introduction to traditional normative ethical theories, which attempt to provide a rationally defensible account of morally right and wrong conduct and morally good and bad character, and consideration of the challenges posed to these theories by ethical relativism and feminist ethics.

PHL-110. Moral Problems: A Case Study Approach

An introduction to ethics by considering how a wide variety of reality-based examples of complex and controversial ethical issues might be resolved in a rational manner.

PHL-120. The Examined Life: A First-Year Philosophy Seminar

An introduction to some of the central problems of philosophy and to ways of approaching any issue philosophically, including the existence of God, conflicts between science and religion, free will, the nature of the mind, truth, and knowledge.

PHL-125. Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking

A course in informal logic, with a very brief introduction to elementary formal logic. Students will learn to identify, analyze and evaluate English-language arguments in areas ranging from the sciences to current affairs to the law.

PHL-135. Philosophy in Film

This course will be an exploration of the portrayal in film of philosophical issues, followed by a focused consideration of the issues themselves. The goal will be to stimulate students’ philosophical imaginations through film and then use that energy as the springboard for philosophical study and discussion of such issues as appearance and reality, freedom and responsibility, the existence of god, the question of whether computers are sentient, rational, and moral agents, and our moral obligations to others and to the state

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