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Philosophy

Philosophy Major

The philosophy curriculum for majors emphasizes the study of the history of philosophy and provides the opportunity to reflect on principal philosophical areas. Philosophy electives are organized under five headings: (a) Logic, (b) History of Philosophy and Regional Philosophies, (c) Moral / Political / Social / Cultural Philosophy, (d) Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Science, and (e) Special Topics / Independent Study and Research.

A student who majors in philosophy must take (1) the requirements of the core, (2) a course in logic (PHL 310 or PHL 311 or PHL 312), (3) two courses in the history of philosophy (to be chosen from PHL 320, PHL 321, PHL 322, and PHL 323), (4) three semesters of the one-credit Philosophy Colloquium (PHL 376-79), and (5) five additional philosophy electives.

 

Philosophy Minor

A student wishing to minor in philosophy must complete five courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be a philosophy elective (PHL 310-399). All philosophy electives except PHL 490-499 are open to non-majors. Most electives in philosophy may be taken as soon as PHL 201 has been completed.

 

 


 

Philosophy Courses

 

Core Courses


Philosophy Electives

Logic

 

History of Philosophy and Regional Philosophies

 

Moral / Political / Social / Cultural Philosophy

 

Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Science

 

Special Topics / Independent Study and Research Courses

Core Courses

PHL 100. WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? (1).

What is philosophy? The word "philosophy" means the love of wisdom. But what is the love of wisdom? Philosophy, far from being anti-religious or belonging to any single political outlook, is found in every world religion and in every political outlook. Everywhere, at every time, people search for wisdom and care about questions of truth, goodness or meaning. In this course, we study some of the most basic questions of philosophy, reading classic or good extracts of written philosophy, and exploring some of our own writing, too. (This course, offered during the summer, is open only to West Genesee High School students through their Renaissance Program for pass/fail credit.)

PHL 101. PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF WESTERN THOUGHT (3). 

This course explores the nature of philosophical inquiry through a consideration of the writings of major figures in the history of Western thought up to 1650. Philosophers to be considered will include Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Descartes. Some effort will be made to reflect on the world views these philosophers represent, the cultural assumptions and values (e.g., ethnocentrism, gender and racial biases) oper ative in these world views and the effects of these assumptions on philosophical thinking.

PHL 201. PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE HUMAN SITUATION (3).

This course examines a variety of interpretations of the human situation, drawn from the following categories: (1) the Western intellectual tradition since 1650; (2) contemporary thought; and (3) non-Western thought (e.g., Eastern, African, Latin American). Issues pertaining to (a) gender and the human situation and (b) race and the human situation will also be considered.

PHL 301-303. ETHICS (3).

These courses investigate the philosophical foundations of normative ethics in an effort to clarify the status of moral values in human life. The topics considered in these courses include the study of moral concepts, the characteristics of moral reasoning and the nature of moral responsibility. (Any one of these courses satisfies the third year core requirement in ethics.)

PHL 301. GENERAL ETHICS (3). 

This course investigates the nature and kinds of values that affect the quality of human life. It examines the basis of moral responsibility, the notions of good, right and ought, as well as the special characteristics of moral reasoning. Within the time available, specific types of conduct are examined as morally good or bad, in the light of the grounds of goodness discovered and the method of reasoning found appropriate to moral judgment. Prior to registration, faculty teaching sections of this course will publish an appropriate syllabus to help guide students in their choice of courses. Prerequisites: PHL 101, 201.

PHL 302. ISSUES IN ETHICS (3). 

This course attempts to investigate the ethical dimension of the human condition by focusing on a specific set of ethical problems or by focusing on a particular perspective of special interest to those carrying on the investigation. This course might well include such issues as capital punishment, euthanasia and the qual ity of the environment. It might also study various questions and problems that arise when one considers issues of gender and race. Prior to registration, faculty teaching sections of this course will publish an appropriate syllabus to help guide students in their choice of courses. Prerequisites: PHL 101, 201.

PHL 303. GREAT TRADITIONS IN ETHICS (3). 

This course aims at an understanding of the activity of making moral judgments or affirming one value or set of values over another . At issue are, typically, the meaning of the words spoken when people make ethical assertions, the possibility of justifying or proving the truth of such assertions and the implications of discovering situations in which the ethical dimension is problematic. Integral to this course is a study of these questions in the light of the great traditions of ethical thinking as they have come to light in the various wisdom literatures. Prior to registration, faculty teaching sections of this course will pub lish an appropriate syllabus to help guide students in their choice of courses. Prerequisites: PHL 101, 201.

PHL 400-419. SEMINARS IN PHILOSOPHY (3).

A selection of integrative seminars designed to investigate the presuppositions, structures and images that underlie the human attempt to understand and participate in the world. Each seminar will focus on a theme of general scope and significance and, in so doing, will enable students to come to a reflective understanding of their own assumptions and values in the context of what they have encountered in their previous years of study. Emphasis will be placed on student discussion and active integration of material through written work and class presentations.

PHL 400 (PGS 409). PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: SELF-KNOWLEDGE, COSMOPOLIS AND TRANSCENDENCE (3).

This course pays close attention to our own historicity. Each participant will make a conscious attempt to be authentic in responding to the question, "Who am I?", and to engage the question of the meaning of their own identity and existence in relation to the cosmos, transcendence and society. The selected readings and pedagogy employed will serve as a maieutic - midwife - in the Socratic sense: inspiring the student to articulate who he or she is, and how he or she ought to live with others, care for the earth, and collaborate in originating creative healing social and environmental structures. In this connection we will engage the significance and implications of the following phenomenon: "to equip an animal with intelligence constitutes not only the possibility of culture and of science but also the possibility of every abomination that has occurred in the course of human history."

PHL 401 (PGS 422). PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICS, EAST AND WEST (3). 

What is the relation between free thought and the society where it originates and is expressed? Is that relation necessarily hostile? Is this hostility a Western phenomena, or is it found in the Eastern traditions as well? Can philosophy and politics ever get along? This seminar is a cross-cultural, comparative study of the relation between philosophy and the political. It is aimed in two directions: "horizontally" - that is, we will read comparatively the founding thinkers in Chinese philosophy (Confucius and his disciples) and their U.S. "disciples" (Emerson, Thoreau) - and "vertically" - that is, we will compare the use of Emerson's thought in contemporary U.S. culture with the use of Confucian teaching in contemporary Chinese culture. The seminar will help you decide whether East and West are incommensurable culturally, or whether they share the quarrel between free thought and society - that is, whether it is free thought and society that are fundamentally incommensurable.

PHL 402. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: ROMANCE, MYTH AND LOGOS: A PHILOSOPHICAL STUDY OF THE STRUCTURES OF MEANING (3). 

Whether through a poem, a philosophical reflection, a piece of music or work of art, whether through falling in love, the power and challenge of one's life's vocation or a meandering boat ride up the Merrimac River, each of us has experienced the sublime state of meaningfulness. Some may have also experienced, in the evaporation of such meaning, the specter of meaninglessness. This course brings the tools of philosophical analysis to bear upon the phenomenon of meaning or meaningfulness. Through careful phenomenological study of the richly variated "family" of meaning-structures, each participant is provided with an opportunity for a critical understanding of the nature of humankind's engagement with meaningfulness. The course is predicated upon a presumed intimacy between our concern with meaning and the phenomenon romance. Thus, the distinctive but intertwined roles of mythos and logos in the creation of romance will serve as thematic threads into the investigation of meaning. The purpose of this experience is to afford each participant a greater appreciation of the birth and death of meaning, the manner in which it sustains us, and the full-blown range of its opportunity.

PHL 403. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: HEROISM AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT (3). 

This seminar will involve varied readings from world literature, augmented by some extra readings from philosophy and psychology in search of responses to the question, "What makes a person great?" Of central concern will be the issue of the nature of the heroic; we will also be concerned with some other philosophical problems which arise in connection with this question (such as: the problem of evil; personal identity; determinism, free will and fatalism; death; the mind-body problem and the problem of other minds; philosophical anthropology and philosophical psychology as well as some phi losophy of psychology; philosophical analysis of religious experience).

PHL 404. ON EDUCATION (3). 

You may have been in education most of your life, yet what is education? Let’s consider the nature of education, especially how to cultivate your humanity, to develop you as a whole, human being. How can education produce wisdom, maturity, or growing throughout life? Joining the history of educational thinking with contemporary questions, the course gives you the opportunity to reflect on your schooling and to find ways to learn throughout life.

PHL 406. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: LIMITATION AND TRANSCENDENCE IN THE HUMAN CONDITION (3). 

We can learn a great deal about the human condition from the struggles of human beings coping with the loss (or threat of loss) of aspects of experience that many of us take for granted most of the time: personal freedom, health and well-being, integrity and dignity, mobility, cultural stability, economic security. Looking at diverse cultural, historical and personal contexts (colonial Africa, American slavery, the Holocaust, the current AIDS crisis, physical disability), this course will explore the human being's struggle to find new sources of meaning and strength under conditions of profound challenge and limitation. An encounter with human differences as well as an exploration of what human beings have in common, the course also hopes to provide students with an opportunity to reflect philosophically on their own lives and the challenges they have met or will be faced with in the futu re. Assigned material will consist of short stories, novels, autobiographies, and films.

PHL 407. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: ETHICS, ART AND LITERATURE (3).

Investigations into questions concerning the relations between philosophical theories of ethics and actual works of art, including novels, paintings, plays, poetry and films, have recently been increasing. This course explores the thesis that philosophical theories of ethics, which state their case at a high level of generality, must be complemented and/or completed by detailed, individual case studies. It challenges students to bring human actions, their own and others, into relief through casting the lights of rival theories of ethics upon them. It works to reveal the differing social consequences of the adoption and/or truth of this or that theory of ethics for everyday life. Selected works of art are studied to determine what is gained and what is sacrificed in particular lives by putting trust in this or that theory. Finall y, the course explores various philosophical questions concerning the expression of values in art and in literature.

PHL 408. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: PHILOSOPHY AND REVOLUTION (3). 

This course will examine connections between philosophical discourse and radical transformative practices in politics, culture, the economy and society. It will consider whether and how philosophical discourse contributes to the enlightenment necessary for revolutionary and liberatory transformations of the established order, or, alternatively, whether and how it becomes an obstacle to those transformations. Some of the ideas studied will include Plato's conception of philosophy as liberation from the imprisonment of the cave, modern and post-modern conceptions of social revolution and its likelihood, desirability, relation to human liberation and, finally, contemporary treatments of the relation between revolution, on the one hand, and neocolonialism, violence, patriarchal society, racial oppression and class exploitation, on the other hand.

PHL 409. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: PHILOSOPHY, FAITH AND MYSTIC UNION (3). 

This seminar explores the concept of divinity developed in a contemporary project in philosophical theology. It then moves on to a consideration of the notion of religious faith as expressed by various authors in a biblical tradition. Finally, it inves tigates what it means to directly experience God by analyzing the several states of mystic union articulated by some of the great mystics.

PHL 410. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: HEALTH, SOCIETY AND THE LAW (3). 

The historical development of western ideas of health, disease and illness will be studied from the perspective not only of philosophy, but also of medicine and psychiatry, psychology, religion, sociology, economics and the law. The seminar will explore the development of concepts of mental illness, dementia and mental "retardation", as well as the definition of sexual preferences and "perversions" as diseases, and the role of international groups, such as the World Health Organization, in the social construction of definitions of human health. Prerequisites or corequisites: PHL 101, 201, 302.

PHL 412 (URB 412). PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE (3).

This course will examine philosophical issues raised by the practice of architecture – the relationship between space and place, the concept of "home," the boundary between "art" and "science," the demand that art reflect "our time," and the nature of the city. Beginning from some basic background in the history and language of architecture, the seminar will examine how philosophical questions arise from the everyday concerns of the architect. The course is taught concurrently with a seminar in the architecture school at Syracuse University and will involve weekly interaction with architecture students.

PHL 413. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: MOVIES, REMARRIAGE, AND UNKNOWNNESS (4).

This course will explore the familiar human cycle of disappointment and desire for change in oneself through examining a series of classic Hollywood and recent foreign films, in conjunction with readings in philosophy and literature. The films are concerned with marriage – marriage as a possibility to be reinvented with one's spouse, or alternatively as a possibility to be foregone in favor of some other, more private ideal. The work of the course will draw from philosophical and literary texts (chiefly by Stanley Cavell, but including works by Emerson, Locke, Nietzsche, Freud, Henry James, Shakespeare, and others) as well as from classic and recent Hollywood and foreign films (Moonstruck, Philadelphia Story, Now Voyager, Breaking the Waves, and others).

PHL 414. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: EXISTENTIALISM: PLAYWRIGHT PHILOSOPHER G. MARCEL (3).

This seminar integrates philosophy and drama by concentrating on the plays and philosophical essays of French existential thinker Gabriel Marcel. Marcel inquired into the meaning of life by appealing to the dramatic imagination; and his philosophical reflection clarified questions and themes that his theater first brought to light – e.g. I-Thou, interpersonal relationships, commitment, belonging, being and having, creative fidelity and hope vs. despair.

PHL 415 (REL 415). PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: THEOLOGIES AND PHILOSOPHIES OF LIBERATION (3).

This seminar will provide the opportunity for students to examine philosophical and theological traditions of social and political liberation in the Americas. Special consideration will be given to reflections on gender, race, and class that occur in the theological and philosophical works we read. The convergence of theory and social praxis in ecclesial based communities, as well as the politicization of Latin American philosophical thought as a
response to the Cuban Revolution challenge will be studied. and ecosystems will be examined. An important topic will be the nature and extent of value, particularly intrinsic value, in the natural world. Several important environmental issues will also be discussed, including obligations to future generations, population problems, and economics versus the environment.

PHL 416. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: BETWEEN EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE (3). 

When one is questioned about the origin of her knowledge, she must refer to her experience. This course explores more precisely just what the tie is between one's experiences and one's knowledge. For, despite the familiarity of this association, the bond between experience and knowledge
remains illusive. Through some enjoyable exercises in literary analysis and historical/autobiographical works, we will address three different relationships between experience and knowledge: scientific, social / cultural / historical, and phenomenological.

PHL 417. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: LOCATED KNOWLEDGES (3).

This course will be an exploration of the ethical and epistemological consequences of social location. Is your understanding of the world and your ability to move responsibly in it impacted by your race, gender, class, or sexuality? As you finish your final year at Le Moyne, we will reflect on how you have been prepared to promote justice in a diverse society.

PHL 419. PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR: PHILOSOPHY AND THE ENVIRONMENT (3). 

This course provides a broad perspective on environmental ethics. Many theories of environmental ethics will be considered, including animal rights, biocentric, ecocentric, deep ecologist and religion-based theories. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental ethics as a critique of the anthropocentrism in traditional ethics. Various methods of extending moral consideration to nonhuman organisms, species and ecosystems will be examined. An important topic will be the nature and extent of value, particularly intrinsic value, in the natural world. Several important environmental issues will also be discussed, including obligations to future generations, population problems, and economics versus the environment.

PHL 480-489. SPECIAL TOPICS FOR SENIOR STUDIES (3). 

These courses allow students to fulfill their requirement for a senior seminar in philosophy in new ways. The specific thematic focus and approach of each course, as well as the genre of texts and cultural materials employed will vary.


Philosophy Electives

Logic

PHL 310. INFORMAL LOGIC (3). 

An introduction to critical thinking, this course focuses on developing skills in evaluating and constructing arguments. Fallacy detection and analysis will be of central concern. The inf luence and importance of gender and culture on argument, both as product and as process, will also be stressed.

PHL 311. INTRODUCTION TO FORMAL LOGIC. (3). 

Students will have the opportunity of discovering and exploring the structure and interrelations of the various kinds of propositions that occur in deductive reasoning. Logic will be presented as applying t o the actual world incidentally, but to possible types of order explicitly. Propositional logic, predicated logic, classes and relations will be part of its content. Quantified expressions will be studied. Some attention will also be given to the non-deductive processes of the scientific method and the analysis of probabilities. Throughout the course there will be a wide selection of problem-solving challenges.

PHL 312. SYMBOLIC LOGIC (3). 

Building upon a foundation of an introductory course in logic, this course will examine the construction and comparison of axiomatic systems. It will study the propositional calculus that is developed in Principia Mathematica and the axioms and theorem of Boolean class calculus. Duals, para doxes, multivalue logic, and modal logic will be included in the content of this course. It will included opportunities for developing problem-solving skills. Prerequisite: PHL 311.


 

History of Philosophy and Regional Philosophies

PHL 320. SURVEY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY (3). 

A study of the development of Greek and Roman philosophy. This course aims at the formation of a sympathetic insight into the foundations of Western thought. Major items include the reflection of ancient philosophers upon the nature of the physical universe, the role of human beings in society and the nature of morality.

PHL 321. PHILOSOPHIC THOUGHT OF THE MIDDLE AGES (3). 

A survey course in the development of the philosophic foundations of Medieval humanism. The major thinkers from Augustine to William of Ockham will be examined through both primary and secondary sources with special emphasis on the themes that unify the speculative thought of this rich period.

PHL 322. HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY (3).

A survey of Western philosophical thought from Descar tes to Kant. The course traces the main lines of development of continental rationalism and Anglo-Saxon empiricism, culminating in the attempt at a synthesis in the transcendental philosophy of Kant.

PHL 323. NINETEENTH-CENTURY EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY (3). 

A survey of European thought after Kant. This course will focus on the rise and fall of idealism, the rise of positivism, and historico-materialist as well as existential reflections on culture, society and the human sciences. Figures studied may include Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Comte, J. S. Mill, Dostoevsky, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.

PHL 324 (REL 383). PHILOSOPHIES OF JUDAISM (3). 

An examination of a variety of Jewish phil osophical tendencies as responses to fundamental crises and challenges. The course will focus on several paradigmatic philosophies of Judaism in terms of the following: (a) the human person (philosophical anthropology); (b) revelation and obligation; (c) theology; and (d) Jewish identity and existence. The influence and importance of gender and culture in the development of these philosophies will also be stressed.

PHL 325 (PGS 335). ASIAN PHILOSOPHY (3). 

An examination of the main philosophical traditions of India and the Far East: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. This course will focus upon mysticism as a primary determinant of Eastern thought and will seek to place these philosophies in their historical and cultural setting.

PHL 326 (PGS 342/GWS 343). U.S. LATINA THOUGHT (3). 

U.S. Third World women in general and Latinas in particular have raised important philosophical questions that have enriched philosophical and feminist considerations about the nature of the self, reality, knowledge and politics. This course will involve a close reading of a number of philosophical and literary texts by U.S. Latinas from a number of different social locations.

PHL 327. PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNITED STATES (3). 

This course examines the development of philosophical thought in the United States from the colonial period to the middle of the twentieth century. The main emphasis falls upon the rise of pragmatic philosophy, as exemplified in the writings of Charles Sanders Pierce, William James and John Dewey. Other traditions such as Puritanism and Transcendentalism are considered, along with readings dealing with race and gender issues.

PHL 328. EXISTENTIALISM (3). 

An examination of existentialist views on human choice, personal commitment and subjectivity. This course will study the relationship between self and world as well as the existentialist notion that the meaning of that relationsh ip is always open; it will explore the existentialist view that the gap between self and world is unbridgeable. The ambiguity and/or the absurdity of human life will be considered by means of a sustained reflection on existentialist philosophical, literary and cinematic works.

PHL 329. FREUD AND PHILOSOPHY (3). 

An investigation of Freud's contributions to philosophy. The course will be divided between an intensive examina tion of texts from the founder of psychoanalysis (The Interpretation of Dreams, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Moses and Monotheism, etc.) and readings of philosophical interpretations and evaluations of Freud. Topics covered may include the therapeutic claims of psychoanalysis, Freud and politics, psychoanalysis and the arts (literature, etc.) and psychoanalysis and feminist theory.

PHL 330. POSTMODERN THOUGHT (3). 

This course conc entrates on European thinkers from 1870 to present. Themes include the role of the unconscious, the imagination, and desire in the creation of values and the presentation of knowledge.

PHL 331. CONTEMPORARY CONTINENTAL THOUGHT (3). 

An exploration of developments in German, French and North American continental philosophy since the 1950s, with an emphasis on current issues and debates. Topics discussed may included the critiqued of humanism, deconstructionism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, European feminism and critical theory.


 

Moral / Political / Social / Cultural Philosophy

PHL 340. PHILOSOPHY OF ART (3).

Why do we call some things beautiful and others not? And why do we often disagree? Is "This is beautiful" never more than an opinion, or can it be true? If it can't be true, then are works of art meaningless? If they aren't meaningless, how do we know what they mean? This course will examine these and related questions through careful reading and discussion of classic and contemporary writings in the philosophy of art. Visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors and creative writers should find it especially valuable, as will anyone who likes to think about art.

PHL 341. PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE (3). 

This course will explore the various literary and philosophical dimensions of the imagination in order to appreciate how poets, novelists and philosophers have interpreted the world we live in through the ages. Representative works from the English Renaissance to the present will be analyzed and discussed.

PHL 342 (THR 333). STUDIES IN PHILOSOPHY AND THE THEATRE: ANCIENT GREEK (3). 

This course offers one a study of the intimate weave between the development of ancient Greek philosophy and that of ancient Greek theatre. Through careful analysis of both philosophic and theatrical texts, one is afforded a richer and more sophisticated sense of the genealogical/conceptual/cultural interdependence of both genres of wisdom literature. Set within a phenomenological resurrection of the political and religious realities that nurtured to life such philosophical artistry, the study will walk through the great pillars of classical theatre, tragedians and comic playwrights both, as well as those of classical philosophy (Plato and Aristotle).

PHL 343 (THR 332). PHILOSOPHY AND THE THEATRE: TRANSITION TO MODERNITY (3). 

A philosophical exploration into the nature of theatre, this course would attempt to elucidate the richly theatrical dimensions of daily life. A careful interweaving of selections from the theatre (both classical and modern) and selections from the philosophical literature, will afford students the opportunity to enhance their appreciation of the artistry of the theatre as well as the theatrical artistry of life. The thesis which underlies the study is that meaningful life requires the presense (in one's life) of the fictive (i.e., the theatrical). Central to the development of this thesis will be the philosophical theory of the "as if" of Hans Vaihinger.

PHL 344. ART AND POLITICS (3).

This course uses art manifestos and a variety of current works in both art and philosophy to examine and question the relation between art and politics. We will ask whether this relationship is necessary, desirable, or detrimental to art, or for that matter, politics.

PHL 345. ISSUES IN MEDICAL ETHICS (3). 

Using a practical, context-specific approach that is sensitive to the philosophical, scientific, social, legal and economic dimensions that shape and define the field of bioethics, this course is devoted to a detailed study of ethical issues debated in the health professions. Specific topics will vary, but may include some of the foll owing: death and dying, the medicines, choices in reproduction, presymptomatic testing for genetic disease, AIDS and social justice, allocation of medical resources, and access to health care. Open only to students in the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

PHL 346. ETHICS AND THE NURSE (3). 

Using a practical, context-specific approach that is sensitive to the philosophical, scientific, social, legal and economic dimensions that shape and define the field of bioethics, this course is devoted to a detailed study of ethical issues in nursing. Specific topics will vary. Open only to students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

PHL 347 (CCM 408). ETHICS AND THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS (3). 

See course description for CCM 408.

PHL 348. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: HISTORICAL (3).

This course investigates central issues in social and political philosophy from ancient times through the 19th century. Specific issues may vary, but will include some of the following: attempts to design the ideal state, attempts to provide a moral justification for the actions of states (the problem of power vs. a uthority), philosophical foundations of individual property rights, principles limiting the scope of legitimate governmental actions, principles of just revolution.

PHL 349. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: CONTEMPORARY (3). 

An examination of methodological and substantive issues in contemporary social and political philosophy. Methodological issues center around the question: "What sort(s) of arguments (if any) justify the existence of states?" Substantive issues center around the questions: "What state functions are morally permissible? Morally obligatory?" Some current social issues are examined in light of the theories discussed; e.g., moral limits (if any) on political dissent, income redistribution, covert non-compliance with laws. Prerequisite: PHL 301 or 302 or 303.

PHL 350. PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (3). 

This is not a course in the study of law. It is a course designed to afford students who have an interest in the law (not necessarily professional) an opportunity to reflect on the philosophical presuppositions of the law and the philosophical problems that arise within the general domain of jurisprudence. Based on readings (historical and contemporary) written by both philosophers and jurists, the course typically addresses general theories of law, law and morality, judicial reasoning, and crime and punishment. Students should expect to do a great deal of linguistic analysis as well as some case study.

PHL 351 (PGS 352). THE MORAL ASSESSMENT OF GLOBAL POLICIES STUDIES (3). 

This course consists of three main elements. The first is an overview of great traditions in ethics, with particular attention to their use in morally assessing actions. The second element is an investigation of the particularities of assessing public policies and endeavors, as contrasted with assessing the actions of individuals. The third element is the moral assessment of global policies and endeavors. These may include, but are not limited to: international aid, human rights versus cultural prerogatives, nuclear weapons policies, terrorism, international military interventions.

PHL 352. CRITICAL THEORY AND TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY (3). 

An examination of modernity, rationality and technological society through the lens of the twentieth century critical theory movement (also known as the Frankfurt School). Emphasis will be upon (a) critical theory's relation to Hegelian and Marxist theories, (b) its reflections on the rise of positivism and "scientism" in epistemology, and (c) the distinction between instrumental reason and com municative rationality. Figures studied may include Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Marcuse, and Habermas.

PHL 353 (PGS 353). LATIN AMERICAN SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY (3). 

This course will study some of the major philosophical trends in Latin America in the light of both the search for cultural identity and the discovery of difference in the heart of sameness. Therefore, it will also consider those philosophies of social change which (a) provide a critique of hegemonic ideologies, (b) try to rediscover the submerged validity of pre-conquest and non-Western world views and (c) seek a dialogical integration of the diversity of voices in Latin America.

PHL 354. PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCES (3). 

A critical examination of certain assumptions, methods and goals of the social sciences, particularly with reference to ways of observing, describing and explaining human behavior. Issues raised are whether the social sciences can be sciences; the meaning an d possibility of "value-free" inquiry (the fact-value distinction); whether one can understand human activity without moral categories; the relation of the philosophical enterprise to that of the social sciences. These issues are studied as they present themselves in sociology, psychology, political science and anthropology.

PHL 355 (GWS 321). THE ANATOMY OF CRUELTY (3). 

Drawing on a combination of philosophical texts and other genres (e.g., novels, films, TV shows), this course seeks to provide students with an opportunity to study contemporary constructions of cruelty and criminal violence. We will probe the central images and tropes that permeate contemporary depictions of cruelty and criminal violence, with an eye to discerning the philosophical sources, the socio-political contexts, and the political uses of these representations. Particular attention will be paid to the structure of torture, the philosophy of emotion and cruelty, the paradoxes of cruelty, the Gothic imagination, and the impact of social hierarchies on contemporary constructions of cruelty and criminal violence. Prerequisites or corequisites: PHL 101, 201 or the permission of the instructor.

PHL 356 (GWS 316). PHILOSOPHY OF THE BODY (3). 

Examining both classical and contemporary texts, this course will present a variety of perspectives-metaphysical, phenomenological and cultural-on the body as a subject of philosophical exploration. Particular attention will be paid to the relatio nship between culture and body, contemporary attitudes toward the body and various dimensions of the experience of embodiment. Prerequisite: PHL 301 or 302 or 303.

PHL 357 (URB 323/GWS 323). THE SOCIAL PRODUCTION OF SPACE (3). 

This course is an introduction to the work done in philosophy, geography and cultural studies that addresses the social production of space. In contrast to modern conceptions of space as a pre-given, homogenous and infinite grid of possible locations, the idea of a social production of space leads to a conceptualization of space as deeply textured, often conflicted, and historically produced and reproduced. Key concepts to be covered are: abstract space, time-space compression, the decorporealization of space, the impact of everyday practices on spatial production, multiple spaces, raced spaces and spaces of resistance.

PHL 358. PHILOSOPHY OF RACE (3). 

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the historical discourse and contemporary debates concerning race, racial identity and racism in philosophy. The discipline of philosophy has traditionally viewed the philosophical enterprise as an investigation into a universal human condition. To this extent, the philosophical salience of race and thinkers whose main concern was to understand race and racism has been obscured within the tradition. This course will examine the history of the concept of the race, discussions of race and race consciousness, as well as the formation and viability, or lack thereof, of racial identities. These discussions bring to the forefront the need for a critical perspective on how we understand race and racialized identities today. Prerequisites: PHL 101, 201 unless given permission from instructor.


 

Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Science

PHL 360. QUESTIONING THE EXISTENCE OF GOD (3). 

An inquiry in a rational way into the things human reason can disclose concerning God. The course examines the logical and methodological issues involved in various arguments for the existence of God as well as objections raised to the whole enterprise of theistic proofs.

PHL 361. EVIL, FREEDOM AND GOD (3).

This course focuses on various classical and contemporary treatments of the problems that the existence of evil and human freedom pose for the recognition and intelligibility of an underl ying omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient agency.

PHL 362. THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE (3). 

The adequate appreciation and mastery of any intellectual discipline demands that the individual have a firm grasp of scope, operation, structure and limitations of human knowledge. This course intends to provide the student with a grasp of what knowledge is, how it is acquired, how it is evaluated, what distinguishes valid from invalid knowledge, evidence, theory construction, etc. Special attention is given to the theory of cognitive paradigms, i.e., the position that different theoretical models generate different sets of facts and different descriptions of reality. The course is recommended for philosophy and psychology majors and should be of particular interest to students majoring in the natural or social sciences.

PHL 363. ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY (3). 

A presentation and examination of selected texts in the analytic tradition from J. S. Mill and Frege to Kripke. Focus is on topics such as reference, naming, predication, necessity and truth with an emphasis on their import for questions concerning the meaning of existence.

PHL 364 (GWS 355). PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (3). 

This is a meta-mathematical/meta-scientific course in philosophical analysis. The concepts to be investigated are drawn from the fields of mathematics, physics and cosmology (e.g., number, shape, gravity, force, energy, matter, space, time, infinity, singularity). Focused attention will be given to the traditional "paradoxes" associ ated with the attempt to understand these concepts as well as to the more contemporary "anomalies" brought to light in the investigations of physics and astrophysics.


 

Special Topics / Independent Study and Research Courses

PHL 376-379. PHILOSOPHY COLLOQUIUM (1). 

The colloquium will meet every other week for two hours to consider a specific topic or directed research in philosophy or the history of philosophy. Faculty and students will decide upon a unifying theme for the course each semester, but course topics will depend upon the interests of the student or guest speaker presenting for the day. The colloquium will take advantage of public lectures, both at Le Moyne and in the region. Students will actively assess their progress toward meeting departmental objectives for the Philosophy major/minor. Eligible students may develop ideas for departmental Honors projects and, as they progress on their projects, present their research to their peers.

PHL 380-389. SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (3). 

These courses provide an opportunity for in-depth study in a particular area of philosophy. The specific thematic focus and approach taken in each course will vary according to student interest and faculty expertise.

PHL 390-399. INDEPENDENT STUDY. 

Independent study is intended for any student wanting a program of study in philosophy for which there is no existing course in the department. A student who wishes to pursue an independent study project for academic credit must submit, prior to registration, a proposed plan of study that includes the topic to be studied and goal to be achieved, the methodology to be followed, schedule of supervision, end product, evaluation procedure and number of credits sought. The proposal must be approved by the supervising faculty member, the department chair and the academic vice president and dean. It will be kept on file in the dean of arts and sciences' office.

PHL 490-499. RESEARCH IN PHILOSOPHY. 

An upper-class philosophy major who wishes to write a substantial philosophical essay on a topic already studied in a philosophy elective should submit a proposal to this effect prior to registration. The proposal, indicating the topic to be researched, the number of credits sought and the schedule of supervision, must be approved by the research director, the department chair and the dean of arts and sciences. The proposal will be kept on file in the dean of arts and sciences' office.

 


More Resources

For information about major requirements and course descriptions, please see the Le Moyne College catalog.

For information about the Core Curriculum, please visit the Core webpage.

For information about the Integral Honors program, please visit the Honors Program webpage.

For information about study abroad and internship opportunities, please visit the Career Advising and Development webpage.

For information about student research opportunities at Le Moyne and the annual Student Scholars Day, please visit the Student Research webpage.

For more information about academic advising and new student orientation, please visit the Office for Academic Advising and Support webpage.

For more information about academic calendars and registration procedures, please visit the Office of the Registrar webpage.

For information about the College of Arts & Sciences, please visit the Arts and Sciences homepage.