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Graduate Courses

The Department of English and Philosophy offers selected Philosophy courses at the graduate level.

PHIL 5500 Philosophy of Art 3 credits. Study of philosophic problems encountered in perceiving, interpreting, and evaluating works of art. Topics include the nature of a work of art, aesthetic response, expression, symbol; the nature and role of representation; the nature of interpretive and evaluative claims.

PHIL 5510 Philosophy of Language 3 credits. Study of theories of language, with emphasis on contemporary thinkers such as Frege, Heidegger, Russell, Wittgenstein, Piaget, and Chomsky. Topics include the nature and origin of meaning, the temporal dimension of discourse, the significance of syntax, animal languages, computer languages.

PHIL 5520 Philosophy of Mind 3 credits. Inquiry into the mind-body problem and representative solutions, such as dualism, philosophical behaviorism, central-state materialism. Related topics include the self, personal identity, immortality, claims of parapsychology, mystical consciousness.

PHIL 5525 Existentialism 3 credits. A survey of major works of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus. Topics may include the origins of values, the death of God, the varieties of despair, the inevitability of love’s failure and the absurdity of life.

PHIL 5530 Philosophy of Science 3 credits. A survey of the philosophical issues related to science. Topics include the nature of scientific theories, science and non-science, scientific explanation and causation, realism and anti-realism in science, and scientific revolutions. Specific, evaluated graduate-level activities are identified in the course syllabus.

PHIL 5535 Metaphysics 3 credits. A study of some of the main questions of metaphysics including such topics as being, substance, universals, space and time, appearance and reality, identity, freewill and determinism, causality and the nature and possibility of metaphysics itself.

PHIL 5540 Philosophy and Literature 3 credits. Reflections on the relation between poetic and speculative discourse. Topics include forms of consciousness, temporality and narrative, metaphysics of genre. Cross-listed as ENGL 5540.

PHIL 5550 Ethical Theory 3 credits. Study of the nature of value claims, stressing ethical value claims; examination of the scope of reason in ethical decision-making. Applications to normative ethical theories. Related topics include human rights, justice, ethical and legal systems.

PHIL 5554 Topics in Biomedical Ethics 3 credits. This course examines a selection of current issues in biomedical ethics. Theoretical frameworks for analyzing ethical issues will be explored. Issues to be considered will vary and will be guided by current debates in biomedical ethics, such as gene editing technology, assisted dying, or the ethical limits of screening and vaccination programs. 

PHIL 5555 Environmental Ethics 3 credits. Examination of ethical issues that arise in our relationship with the natural environment. Topics include the moral status of non-human animals and ecosystems, the nature and value of wilderness, endangered species, human population, human poverty, sustainable growth, and climate change. 

PHIL 5556 Ethical Issues in Healthcare Law and Policy 3 credits. 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 conflict of interest, and responding to medical errors.

PHIL 5560 Theory of Knowledge 3 credits. A survey of topics in epistemology such as the nature of knowledge, the problem of skepticism, and the nature of justification. Various claims about the sources of knowledge, and truth will also be considered. Readings from classical and contemporary sources. Specific, evaluated graduate-level activities are identified in the course syllabus.

PHIL 5570 Symbolic Logic and Foundations of Mathematics 3 credits. A comprehensive study of formal methods of determining validity and of systems of symbolic logic, with attention to the philosophy of logic and the relationship between logic and mathematics.

PHIL 5590 Philosophy Seminar 1-3 credits. Advanced reading and discussion on selected topics in philosophy. May be taken for credit more than once with permission of the department.

PHIL 6600 Ethics in Health Care 3 credits. Application of ethical principles and theories to current issues in health care. Topics include allocation of scarce resources, informed consent, duty to treat, research on human subjects, organ transplants, death and dying.