Philosophy

Chair: Patrick R. Frierson

Mitchell S. Clearfield

Timothy Golden

Rebecca Hanrahan

Julia A. Ireland

Michelle Jenkins

 

About the Department

Philosophy courses provide the opportunity for the development of a critical and unified understanding of experience and nature. This is accomplished through their concern — from both historical and contemporary perspectives — with the ethical, social and political, aesthetic, religious, metaphysical, epistemological, and scientific dimensions of existence. All four-credit courses in philosophy meet the equivalent of three periods per week.

The Philosophy department offers two majors, Philosophy and Ethics and Society, as well as a minor in Philosophy.

Learning Goals

Upon graduation, a student will be able to:

  • Develop individual insights, pursue them with depth, and present them clearly in writing.
  • Develop individual insights and present these insights clearly and rigorously orally.
  • Understand the history of philosophy and be able to reconsider questions and problems as they are raised and transformed by a succession of thinkers.
  • Use philosophical tools for close reading, investigation, analysis, and argument.
  • Discover and question hidden assumptions in their own work and the work of others.

Distribution

For students who started at Whitman College prior to Fall 2024, courses in Philosophy apply to the humanities distribution area with the following exceptions:

Quantitative analysis: Philosophy 200 Symbolic Logic and 488 Tutorial in Symbolic Logic

For students who start at Whitman College in Fall 2024 or later, please refer to the General Studies section for a full list of courses that count toward each distribution area.

Programs of Study

Courses

Credits 4

Focuses on principles and standards applicable to thinking critically on any topic. Arguments and their analyses, the nature and use of evidence, fallacies both formal and informal, are included in the matters addressed in the course. Intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course aims at providing a gateway for you to engage with prominent philosophers in three major East Asian traditions, namely Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Such engagement takes the format of philosophical dialogues around questions that are important for us to live “a good life.” Upon completion of the course, you are going to learn about key ideas and arguments in the tradition, how to read philosophy out of historical texts situated in another cultural tradition, and ways of developing your own personal philosophy in conversations with the East Asian thinkers.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course examines a variety of issues in the philosophy of education, ranging from the general nature and proper aims of education to a variety of specific issues in contemporary educational philosophy and policy such as the role and nature of diversity in education, moral education, testing and assessment, and the role of technology in education.  We start with a historical survey of some central approaches to the philosophy of education from ancient Greece and China through modern Europe and then turn primarily to contemporary thinkers debating key issues.  We end the course by engaging with the thought of one of the most important progressive educational thinkers of the twentieth century, the Brazilian philosopher Paolo Friere.  Students will be required to participate in class discussion, to lead at least one debate over the course of the semester, and to write several short papers. 

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

With the recent resurgence of nativism across the globe, the concept of “world citizenship” has received renewed attention by philosophers and critical theorists. On the one hand, the notion of the world citizen has been invoked to combat nationalism and xenophobia; at the same time, however, it remains a site of contestation over what “world” itself means as a universal idea and self-evident image of commonality, belonging, and rights. The aim of this course is to examine how philosophers and contemporary theorists have understood world citizenship, cosmopolitanism, and rights against the backdrop of current political crises. Readings draw from contemporary and canonical figures, and include Kwame Anthony Appiah, Wendy Brown, Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, Jacque Derrida, Seyla Benhabib and Judith Butler. The course is writing and discussion intensive; the final integrative essay applies conceptual resources to a current political event or topic of interest, e.g. immigration, climate cosmopolitanism. Formerly Philosophy 216; may not be taken for credit if previously completed 216.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

An introductory study of some of the major problems of philosophy. Among those general problems considered will be the nature of philosophy; problems of knowledge; metaphysical questions concerning materialism, idealism, and naturalism; and questions of ethics. Other problems may be considered as time permits. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Does the nonhuman world have any intrinsic value or is it valuable only because of its relation to human interests? That is, does anything besides humanity have “moral standing”? If so, what is its basis? Should we, for instance accord rights to all those creatures that are sentient? If we do, will we have gone far enough, morally speaking? What about those creatures that lack sentience? What about the environment in which all creatures, human and nonhuman, live? Does it have moral standing? In answering these questions, we will consider the works of Aldo Leopold, Peter Singer, Karen Warren, Arne Naess, and Julian Simon, among others. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Power and Equity (PEQ)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Science fiction as a genre invites us to explore distinctly philosophical questions, including questions about the nature of existence, the nature of time, what it means to be a person, the possibility of free will, and our obligations toward others. In this course, we will engage with these sorts of questions, drawing both from philosophical texts and from science fiction short stories, novels, and movies. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only. Fulfills the Analytic category requirement for the major. May be taken for credit toward the Film and Media Studies major or minor.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Consists of the careful reading and discussion of several classical texts of moral philosophy. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; juniors by consent only; not open to seniors.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: The Individual and Society (TIS)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

The existence of objective truth is hotly debated, both within popular culture and in academic circles.  Whether it exists at all, and about which topics, seems to make a significant difference personally, politically, and intellectually.  In this course, we will begin by looking at skeptical and relativistic challenges to the existence and attainability of objective truth in general.  Then, we will examine a series of more specific challenges regarding the ability of science to reveal deeper objective truths about how the world works, regarding the possibility for genuine understanding and evaluation across languages and cultures, and regarding the existence of objective moral values.  We will end by considering the potential value of truth itself, and the relationship between truth and genuine happiness. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors by consent; not open to seniors. Applies to the Analytic requirement for the philosophy major.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Nationwide, over two million people are now in prison, including over 2,000 at the Washington State Penitentiary here in Walla Walla. Yet as a society, there is no clear consensus regarding the goal(s) or purpose(s) of sending someone to prison. How can it be right intentionally to cause someone suffering? What is the connection between having done wrong and being justifiably made to suffer? What kind of suffering can be justified, and under what circumstances? In this course we will critically examine some of the ultimate philosophical justifications of punishment, such as deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation. We also will examine importantly related questions about personal responsibility and the conditions necessary for punishment to be appropriate. Finally, we will consider the relevance and impact of excuses and mitigating factors like mental illness, age, addiction, and socioeconomic status. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; juniors by consent; not open to seniors.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: The Individual and Society (TIS)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

An introduction to some of the central arguments in the philosophy of religion, focusing on proofs for and against the existence of God and discussions of the nature of religious belief. This course is intended for first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by consent only.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course serves as an introduction to philosophy via literature. Students will read a selection of both literature (novels and/or short stories) and philosophy that is structured around a set of philosophically rich questions and issues. Authors read may include Philip K. Dick, Kobo Abe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Julian Barnes, Franz Kafka, and Milan Kundera. Open to First- year and sophomores; juniors and seniors by consent only.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

How is philosophy a necessary resource for responding to the most complex personal and social problems facing us today? The temptation, most especially for “pragmatic” Americans, is to see philosophy as a mildly interesting but ultimately abstract self-indulgence, and certainly not to see it as a necessary resource for, first, understanding, and then adequately addressing the most important problems we face. This course will explore the philosophical response to one such problem. See course schedule for any current offerings.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Symbolic logic attempts to capture certain features of human language and reasoning in a precise, systematic way.  Logic is used in some branches of philosophy, as well as in linguistics, computer science, mathematics and statistics, and other fields.  In this course, we will develop techniques for working with a logical “language,” translating between that language and ordinary English, and constructing formal proofs within that language following specified rules from premises to conclusions.  We will cover both propositional logic and first-order quantificational logic, as well as the basic concepts of set theory. 

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Quantitative Analysis (QU DIST)
Credits 4
Cross-Listed

This course is a survey of some of the central figures and texts in the ancient western philosophical tradition. Readings may include texts from Plato and Aristotle, from the Presocratic philosophers, the later Hellenistic schools (which include the Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics), and other Greek intellectuals (playwrights, historians, orators). May be elected as Classics 201.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

A survey of key 17th and 18th century European philosophers and texts, from Descartes’ Meditations through key works by Hume and Kant.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4
Cross-Listed

This course studies major philosophers from the European continent during the long nineteenth century, from Immanuel Kant at the end of the eighteenth century through Martin Heidegger and Edith Stein in the early twentieth.  The course provides a general overview of philosophical perspectives of the period with a particular focus on the nature of human freedom. May be elected as German 210.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course focuses on selected figures and themes within the history of philosophy as that discipline has been practiced on and around the area that we now call Mexico. We explore a range of thinkers from the precolonial Nahua philosophy through late 20th and early 21st century Mexican and Mexican-American philosophers. Themes will include the challenge of indigenous philosophy; fundamental questions about the nature of reality; the ethics of colonization, revolution, and war; the role of race and culture in identity, and notions of borderlands, fluidity, and hybridity. The course will be conducted in English.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

A course which examines special topics in Philosophy. See course schedule for any current offerings.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of knowledge and justification. We will consider questions such as: What is knowledge? How is knowledge different from mere opinion? Can we really know anything at all? What should we believe? How can our beliefs be justified? In the process, we will also consider how these kinds of epistemological questions relate to questions in other areas of philosophy and to scientific inquiry.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4
Cross-Listed

This course examines the moral challenge of what it means to be ethical after Auschwitz. Using Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the concentration camp as a touchstone, it includes texts by Primo Levi, Victor Klemperer, Kant, Giorgio Agamben, Karl Jaspers, and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as poems by Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan, and the film Son of Saul.  Course taught in English. May be elected as German Studies 215 for students with intermediate or advanced German language skills. Students electing to take the German Studies section will complete some reading in the original German and may complete some writing, and discussion assignments in German.  Open to Seniors by consent of instructor only.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Global Cultures and Languages (GCL)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course introduces students to a selection of current debates in bioethics, including topics such as artificial reproductive technology, abortion, health care resource allocation, disability accommodation, genetic testing, end-of-life care, physician-assisted suicide, and clinical research. In the context of discussing these issues, we will consider various ethical theories, including theories that emphasize the primacy of character, rights, consequences, and care for others. The class will be discussion focused with an emphasis on philosophical argumentation and writing.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Restorative justice views wrongdoing as a breach of personal and/or communal relationships, and proposes that the proper response to wrongdoing is to make efforts to repair those relationships. In this course, we will examine both the theory and practice of varying forms of restorative justice. In a final project, groups of students will propose ways that our society could implement ideas of restorative justice -- within, alongside, or in place of our current criminal justice system.

Note: course meetings will occur at the Washington State Penitentiary, and the class will be composed of incarcerated and non-incarcerated students. Students must follow all rules and guidelines of the Penitentiary. Consent of the instructor is required, and students must also submit to, and pass, a criminal background check conducted by the Penitentiary. All semester, the course will meet at a non-standard time. Interested students should contact the instructor as soon as possible.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Prerequisites

Consent of instructor.

Credits 4

The course will begin with a brief introduction to different ethical theories and frameworks. Then for the bulk of the semester, students will work in teams to develop and support proposed resolutions to specific case-studies. The culmination of the semester will be a public event where teams will present their resolutions of those cases. Each student will also submit an individually-written position paper about one of the cases.

Note: course meetings will occur at the Washington State Penitentiary, and the class will be composed of incarcerated and non-incarcerated students. Students must follow all rules and guidelines of the Penitentiary. Consent of the instructor is required, and students must also submit to, and pass, a criminal background check conducted by the Penitentiary. All semester, the course will meet at a non-standard time. Interested students should contact the instructor as soon as possible.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Prerequisites

Consent of instructor.

Credits 4

Human interactions, particularly those that involve educational or caregiving relationships, can be dehumanizing and oppressive.  Such interactions are also essential for becoming human, and they can be truly liberatory.  How can one respect the humanity of all participants in educational relationships while also cultivating, through education, various forms of personal and social liberation?  The course seeks to answer this question as it applies to “students” ranging from infants through adults, with a focus on texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Maria Montessori, Paolo Freire, and bell hooks.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Power and Equity (PEQ)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course explores a variety of philosophical conceptions of nature and the natural world in Modern European philosophy, from Francis Bacon to 20th century thinkers such as Heidegger. May be elected as Environmental Studies 227.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course will introduce students to some of the questions explored within the philosophy of feminism, questions such as: What is it to be a woman? Are women oppressed? How do institutions of motherhood, marriage, and sex shape the lives of women? To answer these questions, we will read works by Marilyn Frye, bell hooks, Andrea Dworkin, Susan Bordo, and Christina Hoff-Summers.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course explores major schools in Chinese philosophy and how they can be applied to think about contemporary issues. Part One surveys the fundamental concepts of the three main schools in the Chinese tradition, namely Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism. Part Two focuses on the theoretical and practical relevance of Chinese philosophy to contemporary issues. Part Two is divided into three themes: the self and family, community and extending care, and ideal governance. May be taken for credit toward the South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies major.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course focuses on philosophical issues that arise in the context of modern science.  We will start with problems related to science in general, such as the difference between science and pseudoscience, the problem of induction, the nature of scientific objectivity, feminist critiques of science, and the role of values in science.  We will then focus on philosophical problems arising within particular sciences, with a special focus on the philosophy of biology.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4
Faculty
Hanrahan

Our lives are intertwined with the lives of animals.  We eat them, wear them, and experiment on them, and yet we also consider them family members.  What are animals such that they can serve all of these purposes?  We will engage this question through two interrelated pathways.  We will try to understand the mental lives of non-human animals.  And we will try to define the moral dimensions of our relationship to animals. Formerly Philosophy 345-may not be taken for credit if completed 345.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Power and Equity (PEQ)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course will examine some key questions about the nature of persons, such as:  What, if anything, binds a person together as a unified thing at any one time?  What does it take for someone to remain the same person over time, and what kinds of changes would be equivalent to death?  What would it take for a person to act freely and be responsible for their actions?  Are human beings ever actually able to do that?  We will approach those questions from both first-person and third-person perspectives, drawing on both philosophical reflection and scientific findings.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4
Cross-Listed

Students will engage in an in-depth examination of one or more of Plato’s dialogues. This examination may center on a particular dialogue, a particular question or set of questions, or a particular theme as it develops throughout the Platonic corpus. Students are encouraged to contact the professor for more information about the particular topic of the current iteration of the course. May be elected as Classics 311.  See course schedule for any current offerings.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4
Cross-Listed

Students will engage in an in-depth examination of one or more of Aristotle'92s texts. This examination may center on a particular text, a particular question or set of questions, or a particular theme as it develops throughout the Aristotelian corpus. Students are encouraged to contact the professor for more information about the particular topic of the current iteration of the course. May be elected as Classics 312. See course schedule for any current offerings.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course is a focused exploration of the nature of happiness. In the course, we will look at the nature of happiness as it is articulated in both historical and contemporary contexts.  In the first half of the course, we will look at ancient conceptions of happiness, focusing on the accounts offered in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Cicero’s On Moral Ends.  In the second half of the course, we will turn our attention to contemporary accounts of happiness, looking at treatments of happiness in both psychology and philosophy. 

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4
Cross-Listed

Hannah Arendt disavowed the title of philosopher, instead describing herself as a “political thinker.” This seminar will investigate what Arendt means by this description, focusing in particular on the notions of “world,” “natality,” and what she terms the vita activa. Texts will include selections form Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, and Eichmann in Jerusalem as well as essays from Arendt’s work on cultural theory. Course taught in English. May be elected as German Studies 318 for students with intermediate or advanced German language skills. Students electing to take the German Studies section will complete some reading in the original German and may complete some writing, and discussion assignments in German.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: The Individual and Society (TIS)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Global Cultures and Languages (GCL)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4
Cross-Listed

This course introduces Frankfurt School Critical Theory through the writings of Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas. Proceeding from Marx, it poses such questions as, What is ideology? How can one distinguish between ideological and non-ideological forms of consciousness? What is the Frankfurt School's notion of "critique"? The course seeks to engage the diverse answers Marxist and post-Marxist thinkers have given to these questions, considering what remains at stake in questions of ideology today. Course requirements include regular short papers, presentations, and a longer seminar paper. May be elected as German 319.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

Contemporary pragmatism largely defines itself in opposition to modern Western philosophy, which it sees as wrongly trying to establish a foundation for indubitable truth about a mind-independent and language-independent external world. This course will work through the views of some of the most important contemporary pragmatists, with particular focus on the writings of Richard Rorty.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)

This course will examine the writings of contemporary philosopher and queer theorist Judith Butler in response to seminal texts from the European philosophical tradition. These texts will include selections from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, the “Second Essay” from Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals,” Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?” as well as Foucault’s reply to that essay, and Levinas’ “Peace and Proximity.” The seminar will focus on, first, the close reading of the primary source philosophical texts, placing those texts into dialogue with Butler’s critical interpretation of them. Thematically, it will engage such themes as the constitution of the subject, critique, and the relationship to the Other; methodologically, it will explore Butler’s deconstructive and rhetorical style of reading, using it as an exemplar for the theoretical appropriation of traditional philosophical texts. classBi-weekly seminar presentation papers will be required, as well a final presentation and researched paper. The seminar is writing intensive, and emphasizes structured peer feedback. May be elected as Rhetoric, Writing and Public Discourse 321.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Studying the Past (STP)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Prerequisites

Philosophy 201 or Rhetoric, Writing and Public Discourse 230; or consent of instructor.

Credits 4

This course explores Kant’s moral theory and recent appropriations of that moral theory in contemporary neo-Kantian ethics.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Prerequisites

Philosophy 127 or 202; or consent of instructor.

Credits 4

Ludwig Wittgenstein was not one but two of the most important and original philosophers of the 20th century. Throughout his life, he emphasized the importance of understanding the nature of language, through which he addressed issues including logic, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and ethics. However, he did so in two radically different ways early and late in his career. In this course, we will work carefully through works from both periods, supplemented by relevant secondary sources.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

In this class, we will explore the ethical and metaphysical questions associated with reproduction. So, for example, do we have a right to have a child? If we do, is there ever a situation when we should forego acting on that right? What obligations do we have to our offspring? Do those obligations change as our offspring grows? What relationship should heterosexual sex have to reproduction? Does this relationship shape when and whether two people engage in this activity? Finally, how does reproduction impact our understanding of our genders? May be taken for credit toward the Gender Studies major or minor.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. The focus will be on the nature of linguistic meaning and the relationship between words and the world. We also will consider some of the implications of those issues on the nature of cognition and on our understanding of reality through language.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

A study of the nature and function of mind and consciousness and their place in the world of physical stuff. Readings will include classical as well as recent and contemporary work.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

An examination of a philosopher or philosophical movement. See course schedule for any current offerings.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

An examination of a philosophical problem. See course schedule for any current offerings.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: The Individual and Society (TIS)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

What makes a work of art a work of art? How are artworks distinguished from everyday things like tools and use objects? Where does technology fit in this schema? This upper level seminar explores these questions through some seminal writings by 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Readings will include selections from Being and Time, "The Origin of the Work of Art," "The Thing," and "The Question Concerning Technology." The selections from Heidegger will be supplemented by Plato and Aristotle, Walter Benjamin's "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," Derrida's The Truth in Painting, and Giorgio Agamben's "The Apparatus." Students will be asked to explore works of art by German, Austrian, and Swiss artists as well as works of their own choosing. The course is taught in English, and culminates in a Final Portfolio that includes a Final Seminar Paper. Applies toward the German Studies major requirement for a course taught at the 350 level or above. May be elected as German Studies 353.

Distribution Area
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Textual Analysis (TA)
Students entering Fall 2024 or later: Writing Across Contexts (WAC)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course offers an advanced reading of several of the most important papers in contemporary philosophy of science, dealing with issues such as the nature of scientific “rationality,” whether scientific theories contribute to understanding what is real, the nature of scientific evidence and scientific laws, and specific philosophical issues in contemporary physics and biology. 

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Prerequisites

One Philosophy course; or consent of instructor.

Credits 4

This seminar course explores key systems of thinking about women, gender, and sexuality in Asian traditions. Can one be a Confucian feminist? What about a Daoist feminist? How do we evaluate these culturally situated views? And most importantly, how can Asian philosophies help us understand the following dualities: sex/gender, nature/nurture, and biological/constructed? Drawing upon studies in social anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience, this seminar course critically engages with gender issues in Asian philosophy. May be taken for credit toward the South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies major.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course is a close reading of the Analects, a seminal text in the Confucian tradition. As a class, we will explore the philosophy of the Analects and ways of reading the Analects as philosophy. We will also practice writing one’s own philosophical commentary for the Analects following examples of historic Chinese philosophers.  May be elected as Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 365.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

An examination of a text or problem from the Continental philosophical tradition. See course schedule for any current offerings.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 4

This course is a close reading of the Zhuangzi, focusing on its “Inner Chapters” as curated by Guo Xiang (d. 312). The Zhuangzi is a wildly imaginative text featuring discussants of myriad “piping of Heaven”: from a summer cicada to a toeless amputee to the emperor of the Southern Sea to a talking skull. As philosophy, the Zhuangzi is deeply personal, sensitive, and ingenuous. Yet, at the same time, the text presents the utmost abstract and elevated thinking about the world and beyond. Furthermore, through close reading the Zhuangzi, students learn to see how foundational concepts in Western philosophy, such as the self, emotion, and well-being, could be carved out differently and the radical new possibilities of philosophy the Zhuangzian building blocks mount to. Applies to the Ethics requirement for the philosophy major.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Prerequisites

At least one course in Philosophy; or consent of instructor.

Credits 4
Cross-Listed

Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927) is arguably one of the most groundbreaking works of philosophy published in the 20th century. This seminar is an intensive exploration of Heidegger’s most important conceptual innovations in that work. These innovations include the relationship between Dasein, care, and world; the analysis of being-toward-death, anxiety, and the call of conscience; and the “destructuring” of the Western philosophical tradition. The seminar will be focused on the close reading of Being and Time supplemented by other primary and secondary sources intended to facilitate the understanding of basic terms and concepts. Course taught in English. May be elected as German Studies 422 for students with intermediate or advanced German language skills. Students electing to take the German Studies section will complete some reading in the original German and may complete some writing, and discussion assignments in German

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Prerequisites

One course in Philosophy at the 200-level or above; or consent of instructor.

Credits 2

This course is a senior capstone course for Ethics and Society majors. In this course, seniors will be tasked with collaboratively undertaking a public-facing project that develops their abilities to understand, critically analyze, and publicly communicate some complex moral question or issue. This course is required for Ethics and Society majors in their final fall semester. Senior philosophy majors can enroll, with consent of the instructor.

Credits 4

This seminar course discusses normative concepts, questions, and principles surrounding global health care from an interdisciplinary perspective. Drawing upon studies of health care policy, Asian amerychology, and medical anthropology, this course critically engages with ethical issues such as the social epistemology of health, fair distribution of health care resources, and cultural challenges to universal health care principles.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)
Credits 1 Max Credits 4

Study of selected philosophies or philosophic problems.

Prerequisites

Consent of instructor.

Credits 4

An introduction to the methods of symbolic logic, including the propositional calculus, quantification theory, and the logic of relations. Recommended for, and restricted to, advanced students who are considering graduate work in philosophy.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Quantitative Analysis (QU DIST)
Prerequisites

Consent of instructor.

Credits 4

A course designed to further independent research or projects resulting in the preparation of an undergraduate honors thesis and including an oral defense of the central issues of the thesis to be taken during the second term of the student'92s senior year. Required of and limited to senior honors candidates in philosophy.

Prerequisites

Admission to honors candidacy.