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Philosophy Fall 2024 Course Offerings

Group shot of Philosophy faculty members

SO courses are online courses that meet Synchronously Online.

AO courses are online courses that meet Asynchronously Online.

If nothing is listed, then this is an in-seat course.

There could be some adjustments in delivery mode options, like an additional SO section associated with an in-seat class. These changes will be found at classes.isu.edu.


PHIL 1101 (Objective 4A): Introduction to Philosophy

Multiple sections offered, see BengalWeb class schedule.

An introduction to major thinkers and major problems in philosophy. Topics may include the existence of God, the nature of knowledge, and the meaning of life.

For more information about this course, watch this video.


PHIL 1103 (Objective 4A): Introduction to Ethics

Multiple sections offered, see BengalWeb class schedule.

How should we live? This is the fundamental question of ethics, and it is in this sense that ethics, as a branch of philosophy, is practical rather than theoretical: it is concerned not primarily with what to believe or with what exists but with what to do, how to act. This course will introduce you to some of the most important questions that arise in ethics: What would constitute a good human life? What is the highest good? What is the foundation of morality? Can moral claims be objectively true or false? What could make them true or false? What is the content of morality? What (kinds of) actions are morally right or wrong, and why? Why should I be moral? What is the relationship between morality and self-interest? Is it always in my interest to behave morally? If so, how?

For more information about this course, watch this video.


PHIL 2201 (Objective 7): Introduction to Logic

01: MWF 10-10:50 with Mike Roche (CRN: 10034)

This course is an introduction to deductive logic. After a brief introduction to certain basic logical concepts, we will turn our attention to three systems of logic: propositional logic; basic predicate logic; and advanced predicate logic. Each system will allow us to precisely represent the logical structure that underlies certain of our own statements in natural language. We will first learn to translate English statements into each system. Once appropriately translated, we will then learn to test both individual statements and sets of statements for various interesting logical properties. The most important property for us will be validity. In addition to deductive logic, we will also study numerous informal fallacies.


PHIL 2230: Medical Ethics

01: AO with Ralph Baergen (CRN: 10035)
02: AO with Nobel Ang (CRN: 10036)
03: AO with Nobel Ang (CRN: 10037)

The practice of medicine raises ethical issues unlike those encountered in other spheres of life. The purpose of this course is to explore a number of these issues, drawing out the ethical considerations involved and examining how ethical decisions are made. The course will begin with a brief overview of ethical theories and their application. The issues to be examined include refusing life-sustaining treatment, medical futility, making medical decisions for others, assisted suicide, managed care, abortion, etc.

For more information about this course as taught by Professor Ang, watch this video.

For more information about this course as taught by Professor Baergen, watch this video.


PHIL 2250: (Objective 7) Contemporary Moral Problems

01: MW 10-10:50 BL with Jim Skidmore (CRN: 15420)
02: MW 10-10:50 BL/SO with Jim Skidmore (CRN: 15421)

In this course we’ll investigate some of the most interesting and urgent moral questions in contemporary life: Is the death penalty a just form of punishment? When is abortion morally permissible? What forms of human genetic engineering could be morally justified? Could torture ever be permissible in grave emergencies? Do non-human animals have rights? Is it morally wrong to eat meat? Do we have any obligation to preserve natural environments? Do we have any obligation to help people in the world who are desperately poor?


PHIL 2255: Political and Social Philosophy

01: TR 9:30-10:45 with Jim Skidmore (CRN: 12994)
02: TR 9:30-10:45 SO with Jim Skidmore (CRN: 12996)

Human beings live in societies, rather than simply on our own. This raises important philosophical questions: What is the proper relationship between the individual and society (or the state)? Why should I obey the laws of the society in which I live? What justifies the coercive power of the state? What is the source of its authority? What does it mean to say that individuals have rights (like the right to life or liberty), and what rights must the state respect? How should wealth and other social goods be distributed in societies?


PHIL 3305: Greek Reason and Christianity

01: TR 1-2:15 with Evan Rodriguez (CRN: 14830)
02: TR 1-2:15 SO with Evan Rodriguez (CRN: 15310)

Aristotle says that philosophy begins with wonder: What’s out there? How do we know? How should we conduct our lives? We will examine some of the puzzles that inspired the birth of Western philosophy, the methods that Greek and Roman philosophers developed to solve them, and the impact that their novel answers had on later philosophical and religious traditions.

There are no prerequisites for this course, though some previous experience with philosophy (e.g. PHIL 1101) is recommended. It is a requirement for the philosophy major and provides useful background for the philosophy and religion minor. It also will provide relevant background for a variety of other courses in the College of Arts and Letters that interface with Greek thought (art, history, and political science just to name a few). Special emphasis will be placed on the foundational skills of reading, interpreting, and discussing philosophical texts. These skills are essential for the major but are also widely applicable outside of the philosophy classroom.


PHIL 4420/5520: Philosophy of Mind

01: MW 1-2:15 with Mike Roche (CRN: 14831/14835)
02: MW 1-2:15 SO with Mike Roche (CRN: 14836/14837)

How is the mind related to the brain and body? We will begin this course by looking at various answers to this question, including those offered by dualists, behaviorists, identity theorists, and functionalists. A central question that we will examine is: can consciousness be scientifically explained? The last part of the course will focus on the philosophy of artificial intelligence. Philosophical readings will be combined with readings from science and science fiction.


PHIL 4425/5525: Existentialism

01: TR 2:30-3:45 with Nobel Ang (CRN: 14832/14838)
02: TR 2:30-3:45 SO with Nobel Ang (CRN: 14839/14840)

In this course, we will undertake a careful study of the works of the philosophers belonging to the movements known loosely as phenomenology and existentialism. By studying the original works of Freud, Nagel, Camus, Husserl, Heidegger and Sartre, we will arrive at an understanding of how these thinkers have shaped contemporary western thought.


PHIL 4456/5556: Ethical Issues in Healthcare Law and Policy

01: AO with Ralph Baergen (CRN: 12197/14841)

This course examines the ethical issues that arise from the laws, institutional policies, and professional standards that shape healthcare. In addition to describing ethical systems and principles, the course will cover issues such as ethical concerns with strategies to control healthcare costs, the abuse of laws to protect conscientious refusals, physician conflicts of interest, and responding to medical errors.