Philosophy

253.535.8306 www.plu.edu/philosophy/ phil@plu.edu
Pauline Shanks Kaurin, Ph.D., Chair

General Education Program

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The GenEd element of eight semester hours in philosophy may be satisfied with any course offered except for PHIL 233: Formal Logic. The initial course in philosophy is customarily PHIL 121, PHIL 125, or a 200-level course that provides a more focused topic but is still at the introductory level (PHIL 128, 220, 223, 230, 238, 253). The 300-level courses are suited for students with particular interests who are capable of working at the upper-division level.

Department Policy

For transfer students, at least eight semester hours must be taken at PLU. Non-PLU courses must be approved by the department chair.

Bachelor of Arts Degree

Major in Philosophy

Minimum of 32 semester hours, including:

  • PHIL 233, 499A, 499B
  • One course from: PHIL 331, 333, 334
  • One course from: PHIL 335, 336, 338
  • Either POLS 325 or GLST 325 (but not both) may count as an elective credit toward the major.
  • On approval of the department, one course (4 semester hours) in another field of study may be used for a double major in philosophy if it has a direct relationship to the student’s philosophy program. Transfer students will normally take 16 or more of their 32 hours at PLU. Students intending to major in philosophy should formally declare this with the department chair and choose a departmental advisor.
  • Students must be a declared philosophy major in order to be eligible for departmental scholarships.

Honors Major

In addition to the above requirements for the major:

  • PHIL 493: Honors Research Project, including an honors thesis written under the supervision of one or more faculty members and presented to the department.
    • Completion of the departmental reading program of primary sources. Honors majors in philosophy are expected to complement their regular courses by reading and discussing three or four important works under the personal supervision of department faculty. The reading list should be obtained at an early date from the department chair. it is best that the reading program not be concentrated into a single semester, but pursued at a leisurely pace over an extended period.
    • At least a 3.30 grade point average in philosophy courses, including at least a B in PHIL 493.

Minor

16 semester hours, including at least 4 upper-division hours

  • Either POLS 325 or GLST 325 (but not both) may count as an elective credit toward the minor.

Philosophy (PHIL) - Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 121 : The Examined Life - PH

Introduces philosophy by considering perennial topics and issues, such as what makes an action right or wrong and whether belief in God is reasonable. Includes a focus on developing skills in critical and systematic thinking. (4)

PHIL 125 : Ethics and the Good Life - PH

Major moral theories of Western civilization, including contemporary moral theories. Critical application to selected moral issues. (4)

PHIL 128 : Politics and the Good Society - PH

An examination of major political theories in the Western philosophical tradition, with a focus on questions regarding the nature of just political institutions. Can count toward a minor in Politics and Government. (4)

PHIL 190 : FYEP190: Inquiry Seminar

A four-credit seminar to introduce students to the methods and topics of study within a particular academic discipline or field. Students practice the academic skills that are at the center of the General Education Program. (4)

PHIL 220 : Philosophy and Gender - A, PH

An examination of past and present conceptions and critiques of the nature and status of men/masculinity and women/femininity, with an additional focus on the historical and contemporary relationship between sex/gender and the discipline of philosophy. (4)

PHIL 223 : Biomedical Ethics - PH

An examination of significant controversies in contemporary biomedical ethics, of major moral philosophies, and of their interrelationships. (4)

PHIL 224 : Military Ethics - PH

An examination of major ethical theories (Aristotle, Kant and Mill) and their applications to current moral issues in warfare and the military, including: morality of war, laws of war, military culture and the warrior ethos, the role of the military in international affairs and terrorism. (4)

PHIL 225 : Business Ethics - PH

Application of moral theories and perspectives of relevance to business practices. Examination of underlying values and assumptions in specific business cases involving, e.g., employer-employee relations, advertising, workplace conflict, and environmental and social responsibilities. Pass/fail options do not apply to business majors either declared or intending to declare. (4)

PHIL 226 : Environmental Ethics - PH

Apply ethical theories to determine what we should do in the face of environmental issues and dilemmas such as whether and why animals have rights, what kind of value nature possesses, the proper focus of an environmental ethic, and what ecology has to do with economics and justice. (4)

PHIL 227 : Philosophy and Race - A, PH

An examination of philosophical assumptions behind concepts of race. Beginning with the question "what is race?" the course addresses the notion of racial identities, metaphysical issues surrounding racial designations, and the ethical/political effects of such questions. (4)

PHIL 229 : Human Rights - C, PH

This course examines historical development of philosophical notions associated with "rights-based" language in domestic and international political life, and how these concepts are essential to understand the emergency and dominant discourse of human rights post 1948. (4)

PHIL 233 : Formal Logic

Principles of sound reasoning and argument. Development and practical use of formal logical systems, with a focus on symbolic logic. Includes an introduction to inductive and abductive reasoning. Not for philosophy core requirement; counts toward Option III of the College of Arts and Sciences requirement. (4)

PHIL 235 : Philosophy, Art, and Nature - PH

An examination of philosophical theories of art, nature, and our relationship with both. Topics include aesthetic appreciation and value, the beautiful and the sublime, the definition of art, natural and unnatural environments, environmental art and moral vs. aesthetic attitudes regarding art and nature. (4)

PHIL 238 : Existentialism and the Meaning of Life - PH

An introduction to the philosophical movement known as Existentialism. The course will explore themes central to human experience (such as alienation, guilt, suffering, joy and boredom), with a goal of asking how existentialism engages these ideas relative to the question of human meaning. As an introductory course we will survey specifically the major thinkers of this tradition and illustrate how existentialism connects to other areas such as religion, psychology and literature. (4)

PHIL 239 : Philosophy of Love and Sex - PH

An examination of philosophical issues surrounding theories and attitudes concerning intimacy, with special attention given to the ethical issues involving love and sex. (4)

PHIL 240 : Science, Reason, and Reality - PH

Investigates influential 20th century understandings of science's aims, methods, and limits. Includes concerns raised by Thomas Kuhn and others about the rationality of science and its ability to provide objective knowledge. (4)

PHIL 251 : Faith Meets Reason - PH

This introduction to the philosophy of religion focuses on monotheistic religious traditions in examining questions about the nature of religious faith and the relationship between faith and reason. Can there be good reasons for thinking there is, or is not, a God? Is the reasonableness of theism negatively affected by an awareness of religious diversity? And what about science and religion: are they in a duel, or more of a duet? (4)

PHIL 253 : Creation and Evolution - PH

Examination of the controversy surrounding the origin of life. Includes a historical introduction to the controversy; investigation into the nature of science, faith, evidence, and facts; and critical evaluation of three major origin theories: creationism, theistic evolution, and non-theistic evolution. (4)

PHIL 287 : Special Topics in Philosophy - PH

Explores an area of contemporary interest through the lens of philosophical inquiry. Acquaints students with the questions, methods, and skills of philosophy. May be repeated once for credit. (4)

PHIL 288 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 289 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 291 : Directed Studies

To provide individual undergraduate students with introductory study not available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as DS: followed by the specific title designated by the student. (1 to 4)

PHIL 327 : Environmental Philosophy - PH

Examines concepts such as wilderness, nature/natural, and consciousness. This examination leads to consideration of issues such as resource distribution and consumption, obligations to future generations and other than human life. Specifically the preservation of endangered species, animal experimentation, farming, resource consumption, pollution, and population growth will be addressed. (4)

PHIL 331 : Ancient Philosophy - PH

The development of philosophical thought and methods from the Pre-Socratic period to the end of the fourth century CE. Emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. (4)

PHIL 333 : Early Modern Philosophy - PH

The development of European and British philosophy from the 17th through the early 19th centuries. Figures may include Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. (4)

PHIL 334 : Kant and the Nineteenth Century - PH

An examination of Kant's critical project and the philosophical responses that followed. Special attention given to Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzche. (4)

PHIL 335 : The Analytic Tradition - PH

The development of Anglo-American philosophy from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. Figures include Moore, Russell, Ayer, and Wittgenstein. Prerequisite: one philosophy course. (4)

PHIL 336 : Pragmatism and American Philosophy - PH

An examination of such figures as Peirce, James and Dewey, as well as extensions and critiques of pragmatism (such as Alain Locke, Jane Addams, Josiah Royce, Alfred N. Whitehead). Links with current feminist and continental thought will be explored. (4)

PHIL 338 : Continental Philosophy - PH

Focus on recent issues in contemporary Continental philosophy such as hermeneutics, phenomenology and existentialism, and critical social theory. (4)

PHIL 350 : God, Faith, and Reason - PH

Classical and contemporary views of traditional issues regarding the nature and rationality of religious belief, with a focus on monotheistic religions and a unit on religious pluralism. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or religion. (4)

PHIL 353 : Topics in Philosophy - PH

Study of selected topics in philosophy, such as value theory, science, metaphysics, epistemology, feminism, film or health care. May be repeated for credit. (2 to 4)

PHIL 387 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 388 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 389 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 487 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 488 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 489 : Special Topics in Philosophy

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

PHIL 491 : Independent Reading and Research

Prerequisite: Departmental consent. (1 to 4)

PHIL 493 : Honors Research Project

The writing of an honors thesis and final completion of the reading program in primary sources required for the honors major. Presentation of thesis to department majors and faculty. (4)

PHIL 495 : Internship

To permit undergraduate students to relate theory and practice in a work situation. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as Intern: followed by the specific title designated by the instructor in consultation with the student. (1 to 12)

PHIL 499A : Capstone: Advanced Seminar in Philosophy - SR

Exploration in seminar format of an important philosophical topic, thinker, or movement. Topic to be announced at the time course is offered. Prerequisite: three philosophy courses or consent of instructor. May be repeated once for credit. (2)

PHIL 499B : Capstone: Advanced Seminar in Philosophy - SR

Continuation of PHIL 499A with the focus on the student's individual research project, preparation, and presentation of paper. Prerequisite: PHIL 499A. May be repeated once for credit. (2)

Last Modified: July 26, 2017 at 9:17 pm