Courses Offered in Philosophy | Salem State University Skip to main content

Courses Offered in Philosophy

Philosophy

PHL 100: Introduction to Philosophy

A study is made of the role of philosophy in its relation to all areas of human knowledge. The student is introduced to some of the general questions, ideas, theories, and methods of inquiry which have given direction to Western thought. Students are encouraged to clarify and examine their own ideas regarding knowledge, reality, and value. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 125: Critical Reasoning

The goal of the course is to foster important cognitive and communication skills. Students will consider the structure of arguments (premises, inferences and conclusions) and the difference between inductive and deductive logic. Students will study how some uses of language, especially of ambiguous, vague or emotive terms, detract from good reasoning and how writers can remedy these defects. Students will learn to recognize some common informal fallacies. Students will examine several concepts essential in scientific and other inductive inquiries, including causal reasoning, inductive generalization, statistical reasoning, analogical reasoning and reasoning from accepted authority. Finally, the course will help students to gain greater media literacy. Critical Reasoning is recommended for students in all majors. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL 126 or PHL201. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 126: Critical Reasoning Through Writing

The goal of the course is to foster important cognitive and communicative skills through the use of various writing exercise. Students will consider the structure of arguments (premise, inferences and conclusions) and the differences between inductive and deductive logic. Students will study how some uses of language, especially ambiguous, vague or emotive terms, detract from good reasoning and how writers can remedy these defects. Students will learn to recognize some common informal fallacies. Students will examine several concepts essential in scientific and other inductive inquiries, including casual reasoning, inductive generalizations, statistical reasoning, analogical reasoning and reasoning from accepted authority. The course will apply all of these lessons to both formal and informal pieces of writing generated in the process of reading, analyzing, interpreting, synthesizing and evaluating several genres of philosophical writing—viz. professional journal articles, essays on popular culture, philosophers’ blog, and opinion editorials. In exposing students to genres of writing beyond the scope of strictly professional academic literature, the course will also help students to gain greater media literacy and deeper understanding of the way media works. Critical Reasoning through Writing is recommended for students in all majors. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL125 or PHL201.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Written Communication-Level I

PHL 203: Business Ethics

Business Ethics introduces students to major theories of social and economic justice and helps students reflect upon the rationale for and obligations of privately owned businesses in a good and just society. Students also examine consequentialist and deontological moral theories and how moral principles apply to concrete problems in business and professional life. Through the investigation of normative first principles and the analysis of case studies, students explore what legal and social frameworks businesses ought to operate under and how, within today's globalized economy, to ethically resolve the competing interests of owners, creditors, employees, customers, governments, and other people and institutions (and perhaps non-human animals or ecosystems) directly or indirectly affected by businesses. Three lecture hours per week. Required of Sociology majors with a Human Behavior in Organizations option, SMS majors with Sport Management Concentration and recommended for Business Administration majors.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society, Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 209: Social Ethics

An inquiry into the major theories in Moral Philosophy, with special application to social problems. Issues to be discussed will include some of the following: abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, sexual equality, discrimination and reverse discrimination, pornography and censorship, violence, economic injustice, and environmental and population control. Recommended of Social Work majors, but also open to other students. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society, Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 218: Medical Ethics

An examination of the moral dimensions of decision making in health related situations. Special attention will be focused on the implications for human life and values occasioned by recent advances in biological and medical technologies. Some of the main topics of consideration will be the following: euthanasia, reproductive technologies, behavior control, health-care delivery systems, human experimentation, pollution, and genetic engineering. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 224: Environmental Ethics

This course will incorporate a survey of the philosophical issues and methodological assumptions employed in the developing field of environmental ethics with a study of the ethical issues raised by the current environmental movement. Some of the issues to be discussed will be the moral status of animals and our natural environment, pollution, population, hunger, energy, our obligation to future generations and the just distribution of scarce resources.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 226: Symbolic Logic I: Propositional Logic

This introductory course examines truth-functional logic, a branch of deductive logic. Students will learn how to symbolize English sentences into propositional logic and test arguments, sentences, and sets of sentences in proportional logic for truth-functional truth/falsity/indeterminacy, truth-functional equivalence, truth-functional consistency/inconsistency, truth-functional validity/invalidity, and truth-functional entailment. The methods used to test for those properties will include truth tables, natural deduction, and truth trees. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL325. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 240N: History of Western Philosophy I: Antiquity & the Middle Ages

A survey of Western philosophy from its Greek origins in the 6th-century B.C. to European high scholasticism in the 13th- and 14th-centuries A.D. Students will be introduced to major philosophical ideas of Pre-Socratic, Classical Greek, and Hellenistic thinkers and will trace the influence of these ideas upon medieval philosophers. Course themes include the nature of reality, knowledge, and the life of excellence. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL240.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

PHL 260N: History of Western Philosophy Ii: the Modern Era

A survey of major philosophical figures of modern Western philosophy such as Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Hegel. Arguably, modern Western philosophy began with 15th-century Renaissance thought and ended in the 19th century. Topics may include the existence and nature of God, the extent and sources of human knowledge, the nature of substance, and the mind/body problem. Three lecture hours per week. Completion of PHL240N is recommended before PHL260N. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL160 or PHL260.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: The Human Past

PHL 303: Philosophy of Religion

A critical study of the relationship between faith and knowledge. Special emphasis will be placed on the following themes: the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, immorality, religion and science, naturalistic explanations of religion, religious language, and religious experience. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 304: Existentialism

An analysis and discussion of the "human condition," with special emphasis on the philosophic literature of Kierkegaard, Nietszche, Heidegger, Sartre and others. Three lecture hours per week. Recommended for English and Psychology Majors.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 305: Social and Political Philosophy

The course examines major normative theories of society and politics. Particular attention will be paid to questions of justice, rights, liberty, equality, natural law, and political obligations. Theories studied include libertarianism, contractarianism, communitarianism, utilitarianism, democratic theory, capitalism, socialism, Marxism, anarchism, environmentalism, or other significant theories of social and political philosophy. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL305A. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society, Written Communication-Level II

PHL 307: Ethics

A critical analysis of the different types of ethical theories through a reading and discussion of selected classical and contemporary works. Special emphasis will be placed on the ontological status of moral values and the problems of freedom and responsibility. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 308N: Philosophy of Art

This course will critically examine the philosophical theories of art and beauty as they impact artistic creation, reception, and performance. Students will explore concepts of beauty across different cultures and styles of artwork, and examine theories of art in their application to painting, music and theatre. Through these and other modalities, students explore the existential and ontological dimensions of aesthetics while learning about classical and contemporary works of art. Three lecture hours per week. Required for Music majors. Recommended for Art and English majors and minors.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Creative Expression & Apprec

PHL 309A: Alternatives to Violence: Philosophical Approach

This course explores the alternatives to violence by critically analyzing the lives and thoughts of major western and nonwestern practitioners of nonviolence, including Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and contemporary practitioners like Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and others. It considers different conflict resolution methods than can be applied at interpersonal, community, country and global levels. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL309.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 310N: Philosophy and Religion of the Eastern World

A study of the classical literature of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoisim, Confucuanism and Shinto. Traditional problems of the nature of human beings, such as reincarnation and the problem of evil, will be discussed in the context of the social/cultural matrix of the East. The objective of this course is to help students acquire a better understanding of the philosophy of the Eastern world and to determine how Eastern philosophy may complement that of the West. Three lecture hors per week. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL310.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Written Communication-Level II, World Cultures

PHL 311: Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet

Sustainability recognizes that social equity, environmental integrity, and economic prosperity are all worthy goals, but these goals are in tension with one another; it is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to maximize all three of them concurrently. Some objectives of sustainability are often realized at the cost of other equally valid objectives. How do people collectively move towards an ideal balance between these different aspects of sustainability? This course approaches sustainability from multiple viewpoints and explores various models for understanding sustainability. Through a variety of experiences students will examine the conflicts and trade-offs that result from the effort to put sustainability into practice. Students will also consider different approaches to sustainable living in order to find out how to integrate the ideal of sustainability in their own lives. Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisite: W-I.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility, Written Communication-Level II

PHL 313: Philosophy of Mind

An examination of historical and contemporary questions in philosophy of mind, such as: What are minds? If minds are immaterial, how do they interact with bodies? If minds are material, how can they be conscious? What are consciousness, intelligence, and free will, and could computers have those traits? How can mental states be about things, even about non-existent things? How do psychological explanations relate to explanations in neuroscience, chemistry, and physics? Can emotions be rational? Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 314: Philosophy of Science

A study of philosophical issues related to science. Topics may include: What is science, and is astrology, for instance bad science or not science at all? Do scientists identify the essence of things, or do scientists classify according to their interests and values? Is a good scientific theory true or merely useful? Do all sciences reduce to physics? No particular scientific background is presupposed, but previous philosophical coursework is recommended. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 315: Reality and Knowledge

The course examines contemporary metaphysics and epistemology. Metaphysics studies fundamental issues about the nature of reality such as ontology, mereology, modality, causation, space, time, the mind/body relation, free will, and materialism vs. idealism. Epistemology scrutinizes the sources, structure, limits, and nature of knowledge. Epistemological topics include skepticism, induction, whether the standards for knowledge vary, and what roles reason, the senses, memory, and testimony play in acquiring and justifying knowledge. Prior coursework in philosophy is recommended but not required. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 316: American Pragmatism

The course explores uniquely American contributions to philosophy primarily, if not exclusively, through the study of the influential pragmatist thinkers C.S. Pierce, William James and John Dewey. Students will examine these philosophers' approaches to subjects such as truth, knowledge, ethics, religion, education, and pluralism. The course may also include other American philosophers within or outside of the pragmatist traditions. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society

PHL 317: Philosophy of Happiness

Happiness is a concept that has received attention in philosophy, psychology, political science, and economics. This course will philosophically evaluate competing conceptions of the nature, source and value of happiness, as well as the relation between these theories and contemporary debates about well-being. The following questions, among others, will be discussed: What is happiness? Is it necessary for a worthwhile life? Does happiness depend on one's state of mind, one's circumstances or both? Are the "Happy Life" and the "Good Life" the same? We will explore both historical and contemporary sources, including such philosophers as Aristotle, Mill, and Kekes. We may also look at current scientific literature and studies on happiness. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Contemporary Society, Written Communication-Level II

PHL 320: Philosophical Perspectives On Women

An introduction and critical examination of the contemporary feminist theories, liberal feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, postmodernist feminism and others. It will include applications of feminist theories to women's sexual experience, work experience, pornography and other experiences. Discussions will focus on how women relate to themselves, to others, and to social and political institutions, and if contemporary feminist theorists address the voice of Black, Hispanic and non-western women. The objective of the course is to give students an overview of current western and non-western feminist thought. As a W-II course, this course uses writing to help students learn and practice writing for various purposes and audiences. 3 lecture hours per week. Prerequisite: W-I.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility, Written Communication-Level II

PHL 326: Symbolic Logic Ii: Predicate Logic

This course introduces students to predicate logic and its unique form of writing deductive proof. Students will learn how to symbolize English sentences into predicate logic and test arguments, sentences, and sets of sentences in predicate logic for quantificational truth/falsity/indeterminacy, quantificational equivalence, quantificational consistency/inconsistency, quantificational validity/invalidity, and quantificational entailment. The methods used to test for those properties will include natural deductions and truth trees. In addition, students will learn the basics of Aristotelian syllogisms and how to use Venn Diagrams to test these syllogisms for validity/invalidity. Not open to students who have received credit for PHL325. Three lecture hours per week.
Prerequisite: PHL226 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 350H: Topics in Ethics

An examination of some of the most widely read and influential works in the history of moral philosophy, such as Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, Immanuel Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, with applications to some of the following contemporary moral issues: euthanasia, suicide, war, sex, discrimination, affirmative action, and ethical problems in business and medicine. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Pers Growth & Responsibility

PHL 450: Special Topics

This course examines a single topic or set of related topics in any of the major fields of philosophy such as history of philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, or social and political philosophy. Through writing and revision, students will develop writing skills that are needed for philosophical study. The specific topic or topics are stated when the course is scheduled. Open to all students who have completed one previous course in philosophy. Other students require permission of the Department Chairperson. May be repeated with permission of the Department Chairperson. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 490: Senior Seminar

This course integrates students' previous knowledge of philosophy through work on special topics or problems in major areas of philosophy. Students will do research, participate in classroom discussions, and write reflective essays to assess their progress in the course. Students will also write multiple drafts of an integrated research paper. Offered every Fall. Students require permission of Department Chairperson. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 500: Tutorial, Readings and Research in Philosophy

This course is designed to allow the individual to pursue interests in philosophy beyond the limits of the regular course offerings under the direction of an instructor of choice. Through selection of an individual topic or field, the student will be encouraged to enlarge his or her vision and to participate in a philosophic dialogue using the methods of research or community service or internship. Meetings by arrangement.
Prerequisites: A minimum of two courses in Philosophy and permission of the Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 520: Internship in Philosophy

PHL520 is an internship designed to provide relevant on-the-job training and work experiences for students in the Applied Ethics and the Philosophy of Art and Culture Concentrations of the Liberal Studies Major. Time and service arrangements contracted between student, training site and Philosophy Department. The number of credit hours varies with commitment, intern advisor's recommendation and Chairperson's approval. Open to majors in the Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Applied Ethics or Philosophy of Art & Culture concentration only.
Prerequisites: Completion of at least 9 credits of Philosophy courses, junior or senior status, and permission of the department chairperson.

Credits: 3.00 - 6.00

PHL 600H: Honors Seminar: Philosophy

An intensive examination of philosophers, topics, issues, theories or themes conducted as a seminar. Specific subject matter will be announced each time this course is taught. Open only to Honors students. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 704: Nonviolence: Theory and Practice

This course will explore and analyze the concept of conflict resolution through nonviolence from various perspectives. Readings include works by the past practitioners of nonviolence- Mohandas K. Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as contemporary practitioners like Dalai Lama, Plowshares Eight and others.

Credits: 3.00

PHL 705: Professional Ethics & Sport Leadership

An inquiry into ethical theories of leadership with special emphasis upon the ethics of sports leadership. There is a dual focus upon classical ethical theory and contemporary professional ethics. Challenges faced by leaders in sport will be addressed through an examination of styles of ethical leadership. Students will learn to construct, evaluate, and critically assess moral arguments through case study analysis of current ethical dilemmas in the field of sport.

Credits: 3.00

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