Philosophy Major Course Descriptions

Philosophy Major Course Descriptions
Below we have listed for you course descriptions for the courses that make up the Philosophy Major. If you have further questions, you may speak with the professors who primarily teach in the major: Dr. Robert Frazier and Dr. Esther Meek.

3 hours in Introduction:
PHI 101 "Introduction to Philosophy" (3 hours) Study of the fundamental questions raised in philosophy--How does one know? What is reality? What is goodness?--in light of their historical development. Attention will be given to a brief introduction to critical thinking and logic and the implications of a Christian worldview on the philosophic endeavor.

3 hours of Freshmman electives selected from:
PHI 112 "Ethics" (3) Nature of ethical principles and analysis of various ethical problems such as abortion, capital punishment, and world hunger. Suitable as an introduction to philosophy. Second semester.

PHI 113 "C.S. Lewis" (3) Explores Lewis' thought through philosophical themes such as, What is morality? What is love? What does it mean to be human? Why does suffering occur? Students in this course will read The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, and The Problem of Pain.

9 hours of Historic Studies selected from:
PHI 200 Plato (3) Study of Plato's major works, including The Republic. (Approved Humanities Option). First semester, alternate years.

PHI 201 "Cicero" (3) Examines several of the philosophical texts written by Cicero, the great first century BC Roman orator. Included are Cicero's work On Duties, On the Nature of the Gods, On Friendship, On the Orator. Cicero's work provides an outstanding introduction to the philosphical context of the ancient Greco-Roman world.

PHI 202 Augustine (3) Study of Augustine's major works, including The City of God. (Approved Humanities Option). First semester, alternate years.

PHI 204 Aristotle (3) Study of Aristotle's major works, including Nicomachean Ethics. (Approved Humanities Option). Second semester, alternate years.

PHI 206 Aquinas (3) Study of Aquinas' theory in Summa Theologica. (Approved Humanities Option). Second semester, alternate years.

9 hours of Philosophy electives selected from:
PHI 300 "History of Modern Philosophy" (3) Continental rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz) and British empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume,). Approved Humanities Option. First semester, alternate years.

PHI 301 "Kant" (3) Explores the work of this great 19th century philosopher in the areas of metaphysics, religion, morality and the theory of knowledge. Students read primary texts and examine Kant's influence on the subsequent development of philosophy.

PHI 302 "Kierkegaard" (3) Studies the major developments of Kierkegaard's thought through the "stages of life's way," as he calls them. Kierkegaard's major works are examined in light of their Christian implications and as a challenge and critique of the enlightenment dogma of the 19th centjry.

PHI 303 "Nietzsche" (3) Examines the major texts of this 19th century existentialist including The Twilight of the Idols, Thus Spake Zarathustra, The Geneology of Morals, and On the Advantage and Disadvantages of History for Life. This course provides background to the radically critical movements of the 20th century.

PHI 304 "Pragmatism" (3) Explores the early pragmatist philosophers such as Pierce, James, and Dewey through their major philosophical texts. Pragmatism is a uniquely American variety of philosophy that has served to shape American cultural life, its educational and political experience, was the dominant position in the first half of the 20th century and has had a significant revival in modern philosophical discourse principally through the work of Rorty, whose essays will be examined as well.

PHI 305 "Austin and Wittgenstein" (3) Studies the philosophical movement known as the British analytic tradition through the works of Austin and Wittgenstein. Students will study Sense and Sensibility by Austin and several works by Wittgenstein from both his early and later period. Attention will be given to examining Wittgenstein's profound influence in social theory and theology.

PHI 306 "Post Modernism" (3) Explores the works of the philosophers who have influenced the reaction against modernity and the dominance of the enlightenment paradigm. Students will be given an overview of the trends in postmodernism and how these engage the Christian worldview with the challenges that postmodernity poses. Attention will be given to Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, and Rorty.

PHI 310 "Classical Christian Understanding of Life" (3) Classical Christian worldview of ethics, religion, and human nature.
NOTE: PHI 310 may be substituted for BIB 300 for philosophy majors

3 hours in Bible Interpretation:
BIB 200 How to Read the Bible (3 hours) This course provides a general overview to the principles of interpretation.

3 hours of Bible Electives selected from:
BIB 320 "Special Topics in Theology" (3) Various theological topics.

BIB 322 "Calvin's Institutes" (3) A survey of the theological concepts in John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion with an introduction to the life and ministry of John Calvin.

BIB 325 "Biblical Theology" (3) Dominant motifs of biblical literature, emphasizing biblical texts, with some review of theological literature and methods. Prerequisite: BIB 112 and 113

3 hours of Advanced Philosophic topics selected from:
PHI 350 "Logic" (3) Principles of reasoning fundamental to critical thinking in every academic discipline and avenue of life. Every semester.

PHI 351 "Metaphysics" (3) Explores the basic questions in metaphysics as a field of philosophical inquiry. Metaphysicians pose questions like: What is reality? What is the nature of the soul? What does it mean to have personal identity? What is time? What is the relationship of freedom to necessity? These questions will be evaluated through reading relevant passages in philosophical works of both classical and modern philosophers.

PHI 352 "Reformed Epistemology" (3) Provides an overview of the issues raised in contemporary epistemology such as, internalism, and externalism, justification and warrant, intellectual virtue, and foundationalism and coherentism. These isues will be evaluated in light of the work of a number of reformed thinkers including Van Til, Clark, Dooeyweerd and Plantinga.

PHI 353 "Philosophy of Science" (3) Examines the major theories in contemporary philosophy of science including inductivism, positivism, falseficationism, and perspectivalism. Students will explore the criteria of confirmation, the relevance of scientific inquiry and the logical force of an hypothesis as these are discussed among present philosophers of science.

PHI 354 "Political Philosophy" (3) Studies in the variety of political philosphies of the last 300 years including social contract theory, liberalism, Marxism and socialism, tolerance or pluralism by concentrating on the major theories with a view toward contemporary analysis and criticism. Cross listed as POL 309 and offered periodically.

PHI 430 "Philosophy of History" (3) Nature of historical knowledge and great speculative theories, such as those of Augustine, Hegel, Marx, and Toynbee with an attempt at a Christian critique. Alternate years. Prerequisite: HIS 272, 274 or the required humanities sequence, and junior standing or consent of the instructor. Also listed as HIS 430.

3 hours of Senior Seminar:
PHI 410 "Senior Seminar" (3) This course is designed for philosophy majors and minors to study a contemporary or historical philosophical topic in depth. Students will learn to do advanced research in philosophy and will write a major paper in the process.