Major in Philosophy
Departmental Honors Program
Interdepartmental Major in Philosophy and Political Science
Interdepartmental Honors Program in Philosophy and Political Science
Interdepartmental Major in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Interdepartmental Honors Program in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Minor in Philosophy
Professor Timothy O'Connor
Marcia Baron, Karen Hanson
Marcia Baron, Myles Brand, Gary Ebbs, Karen Hanson, Mark Kaplan, David C. McCarty, Michael McRobbie, Timothy W. O'Connor, Frederick Schmitt, Paul Vincent Spade, Joan Weiner
Adam Leite, Dennis M. Senchuk
Kate Abramson, Kevin Toh, Jonathan Weinberg
Leah Savion, Sandra Shapshay
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Sandra Shapshay, Sycamore Hall 015, (812) 855-4131
The curriculum of the Department of Philosophy (PHIL) can contribute to the intellectual training of all undergraduates and acquaint them with some of the most important developments in the history of ideas. Courses in the department emphasize clear and cogent thinking about fundamental problems, locate the origins of these problems in the writings of the great philosophers, and provide in-depth examinations of proposed solutions.
Prerequisites for courses may be waived with consent of instructor.
The major in philosophy leads to the B.A. degree and is flexible enough to meet the needs and interests of those who are not planning to become professional philosophers, as well as the needs and interests of those who do have such plans.
Students must complete a minimum of 27 credit hours in philosophy. No more than 3 credit hours of course work in the category of introductory courses (that is, any 100-level course or P240 or P270) may be included in the 27 credit hour minimum. Students are required to take:
Students must complete the degree requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.
An exemplary plan of course work for majors who are considering graduate study in philosophy might be as follows: one course in logic (P250, which should be completed at the earliest opportunity); four courses in the history of philosophy (e.g., P201, P211, P301 or P304, and P401); two courses in epistemology and metaphysics (e.g., P310 and P312); and two courses in ethics and sociopolitical philosophy (e.g., P340 or P342). Varied interests in particular areas of philosophy will suggest other equally worthwhile plans of course work.
Transfer of Credits toward Major
Students planning to transfer philosophy credits toward a major in philosophy should consult with the director of undergraduate studies. Of the 27 credit hours required for the major in philosophy, at least 13 must be completed in residence on the Bloomington campus. These 13 credit hours will usually be 300- and 400-level courses taken from at least three of the following areas: logic, ethics and social-political philosophy, history of philosophy, and epistemology and metaphysics.
Outstanding undergraduate majors in philosophy may be eligible for participation in the Philosophy Honors Program. Prior to their last two semesters of enrollment as majors, interested students should apply to the director of undergraduate studies. Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.300, and this minimum must be maintained until graduation. An Honors Program participant is expected to take P498 (4 cr.) under the direction of a faculty advisor, to engage in independent study of a self-selected topic in philosophy. The candidate for Philosophy Honors designation must then take P499 (3–6 cr.), again under the direction of a faculty advisor, and must complete a substantial honors thesis. The completed thesis must be examined and certified by a committee of at least two philosophy faculty members, including the thesis advisor.
Students must take a minimum of 42 credit hours, with a minimum of 18 credit hours in each department.
Students with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.300 and minimum 3.500 in political science are eligible for the interdepartmental honors program in political science and philosophy, which culminates with an honors thesis. The honors program has two requirements:
The choice of the pair depends on whether the student's honors director is a philosophy or political science faculty member. The thesis will be judged by an honors committee that consists of members from both departments.
*Although the thesis will typically involve topics and issues from both disciplines, exceptions will be allowed with the approval of the directors of undergraduate studies from both departments.
Students must take a minimum of 42 credit hours, including one course (from either department) in the philosophy of religion (either P371 or R380) and the following course work in each department:
Students with a minimum grade point average of 3.300 are eligible for the interdepartmental honors program in philosophy and religious studies, which culminates with one final honors thesis that combines notions from both disciplines. The honors program has the additional following requirement:
One of the following pairs of courses:
The choice of the pair depends on whether the student works with a Philosophy or Religious Studies faculty member. The thesis will be judged by an honors committee that consists of members from both departments.
Students must complete a minimum of 15 College of Arts and Sciences credit hours of philosophy, including:
P100 Introduction to Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H Perennial problems of philosophy, including problems in ethics in epistemology and metaphysics, and in philosophy of religion. Major emphases for each section appear in the online Schedule of Classes. I Sem., II Sem., SS.
P103 Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Philosophical Perspectives (3 cr.) A & H New issues and emphases in philosophy arising out of a focus on gender, sexuality, and race. One basic issue is the nature of a person and definitions of "human being." Another issue is the assumptions underlying current discussions in personal identity, feminism, race relations, and ethics.
P105 Thinking and Reasoning (3 cr.) A & H Basic rules of correct reasoning; roles of definitions and of language in thinking; roles of observation, hypothesis, and theory in knowledge; basic techniques for gathering information, testing beliefs for truth, and problem solving.
P115 Pro and Con: Philosophical Analysis of Contemporary Social Controversies (3 cr.) Uses philosophical tools to analyze and create arguments for/against a position. Uses PBS's Pro and Con as a source of examples of positions on current issues, such as affirmative action. Students learn critical thinking skills and are introduced to areas of philosophy such as ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
P135 Introduction to Existentialism (3 cr.) A & H, TFR Philosophical themes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century existentialism. Topics may include free choice and human responsibility, the nature of values, the influence of phenomenology on existentialism, and existentialism as illustrated in literature. Readings from some or all of Buber, Camus, Heidegger, Husserl, Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Marcel, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, and Sartre. No prior knowledge of philosophy is presupposed.
P140 Introduction to Ethics (3 cr.) A & H Philosophers' answers to ethical problems (e.g., the nature of good and evil, the relation of duty to self-interest, the objectivity of moral judgments), and the applications of ethical theory to contemporary problems.
P145 Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H Fundamental problems of social and political philosophy: the nature of the state, political obligation, freedom and liberty, equality, justice, rights, social change, revolution, and community. Readings from classical and contemporary sources.
P150 Elementary Logic (3 cr.) A & H Development of critical tools for the evaluation of arguments. Not a prerequisite for P250. Not open to students who have taken or are enrolled in P250. I Sem., II Sem, SS.
P240 Business and Morality (3 cr.) A & H Fundamental issues of moral philosophy in a business context. Application of moral theory to issues such as the ethics of investment, moral assessment of corporations, and duties of vocation.
P270 Introductory Topics in Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H Topics vary. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
P250 Introductory Symbolic Logic (3 cr.) N & M Propositional logic and first-order quantificational logic. No credit for P150 if P250 taken first or concurrently. I Sem.
P251 Intermediate Symbolic Logic (3 cr.) N & M P: P250. Identity, definite descriptions, properties of formal theories, elementary set theory. II Sem.
P350 Logic of Sets (3 cr.) P: P250. Elementary operations on sets, relations, functions, orderings, introduction to ordinal and cardinal numbers.
P352 Logic and Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H P: P150 or P250 or equivalent course. Relation of logic to other areas of philosophy. Selected topics from among the following: logic and ontology; logic and language; logic, reasoning, and belief; intentionality and intensional logic; tense and modal logic and the nature of time and necessity; individuation and reference; relative vs. absolute identity.
History of Philosophy
The courses P201, P211, P301, and P304 are the department's "core sequence" in the history of Western philosophy. P201 and P211 cover the two most important periods in that history, while P301 and P304 offer further study of other important periods. The courses may be taken in any order, but the department recommends that P201 and P211 be taken sequentially before either P301 or P304.
P201 Ancient Greek Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H, CSA R: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Selective survey of ancient Greek philosophy (pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle). I Sem.
P205 Modern Jewish Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H, CSA A survey and critical analysis of modern Jewish philosophers and thinkers such as Mendelssohn, Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, and Fackenheim. Topics: concepts of God; the nature of religion; autonomy and revealed morality; God and history; theodicy and the Holocaust; empiricists and analytic criticism of divine human encounter; Jewish philosophy and modern philosophy.
P211 Modern Philosophy: Descartes through Kant (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Selective survey of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy, including some or all of the following: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant.
P301 Medieval Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H, CSA P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. A selective survey of Western philosophy from the turn of the Christian era to the end of the Middle Ages. Readings from some or all of Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Ockham.
P304 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Selective survey of post-Kantian philosophy. Readings from some or all of Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Mill, and Nietzsche.
P305 Topics in the Philosophy of Judaism (3 cr.) A & H, CSA P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Comparative analysis of two or more Jewish philosophers; or selected topics in the philosophical treatment of contemporary Jewish experience; or topics in the history of Jewish philosophy. May be repeated once with different topic.
P319 American Pragmatism (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Examination of the central doctrines of Peirce, James, Dewey, Mead.
P328 Philosophies of India (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Historical and critical-analytic survey of the major traditions of Indian philosophy. Attention to early philosophizing and the emergence of the classical schools in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Attention also to contemporary thought in India including critical theory and subaltern theorizing. Credit not given for both PHIL P328 and REL R368.
P330 Marxist Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. An examination of major philosophical issues in the light of Marxist theory. Historical materialism and the critique of idealism in metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, ethics, and social science. Discussion of both classical and contemporary sources.
P335 Phenomenology and Existentialism (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Selective survey of central themes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century phenomenology and existentialism. Readings from some or all of Buber, Camus, Heidegger, Husserl, Jaspers, Kierkegaard, Marcel, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, and Sartre.
P374 Early Chinese Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Origins of Chinese philosophical traditions in the classical schools of Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism. Explores contrasting agendas of early Chinese and Western traditions. Credit given for only one of P374, EALC E374, or REL R368.
Ethics and Value Theory
P242 Applied Ethics (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Application of moral theory to a variety of personal, social, and political contexts, such as world hunger, nuclear weapons, social justice, life-and-death decisions, and problems in medical ethics.
P246 Introduction to Philosophy and Art (3 cr.) A & H Introduction to the philosophical study of art and the relationship between art and philosophy. Topics include the nature of a work of art, the role of emotions in art, the interpretation and appreciation of art, and the way philosophy is expressed in art.
P332 Feminism and Value (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours in philosophy. Selected topics from recent feminist philosophy, including the reassessment of classical philosophical texts, the construction of gender, perspectives on the good life, and the relation of private and public spheres.
P340 Classics in Ethics (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Readings from Plato and Aristotle to Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche. Topics include virtue and human nature, pleasure and the good, the role of reason in ethics, the objectivity of moral principles, and the relation of religion to ethics.
P342 Problems of Ethics (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. May concentrate on a single large problem (e.g., whether utilitarianism is an adequate ethical theory), or several more or less independent problems (e.g., the nature of goodness, the relation of good to ought, the objectivity of moral judgments).
P343 Classics in Social and Political Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Readings from Plato and Aristotle to Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, and Marx. Topics include the ideal state, the nature and proper ends of the state, natural law and natural right, social contract theory, and the notion of community.
P345 Problems in Social and Political Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Problems of contemporary relevance: civil disobedience, participatory democracy, conscience and authority, law and morality.
P346 Classics in Philosophy of Art (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Readings from Plato and Aristotle to Nietzsche and Dewey. Topics include the definition of art, the nature of beauty, and art and society.
P347 Contemporary Controversies in Philosophy of Art (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours in philosophy. Topics include the intersection of art, art criticism, philosophy, modernism and post-modernism, and the relation of aesthetic and cognitive judgment.
P375 Philosophy of Law (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Selective survey of philosophical problems concerning law and the legal system. Topics include nature and validity of law, morality and law, legal obligation, judicial decision, rights, justice, responsibility, and punishment.
P393 Biomedical Ethics (3 cr.) A philosophical consideration of ethical problems that arise in current biomedical practice, e.g., with regard to abortion, euthanasia, determination of death, consent to treatment, and professional responsibilities in connection with research, experimentation, and health care delivery.
Epistemology and Metaphysics
P310 Topics in Metaphysics (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Topics such as existence, individuation, contingency, universals and particulars, causality, determinism, space, time, events and change, relation of mental and physical.
P312 Topics in the Theory of Knowledge (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Topics such as various theories of perceptual realism, sense-datum theories, theories of appearing, phenomenalism, the nature of knowledge, the relation between knowledge and belief, relation between knowledge and evidence, and the problem of skepticism.
P320 Philosophy and Language (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. A study of selected philosophical problems concerning language and their bearing on traditional problems in philosophy.
P360 Introduction to Philosophy of Mind (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Selected topics from among the following: the nature of mental phenomena (e.g., thinking, volition, perception, emotion); the mind-body problem (e.g., dualism, behaviorism, functionalism); connections to cognitive science issues in psychology, linguistics, and artificial intelligence; computational theories of mind.
P366 Philosophy of Action (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. The nature of human and rational action: the structure of intentions and practical consciousness; the role of the self in action; volitions; the connections of desires, needs, and purposes to intentions and doings; causation and motivation; freedom; the structure of deliberation; rational actions and duties, whether moral or institutional.
P370 Topics in Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. A survey of selected topics or figures in an area of philosophy (areas vary). May be repeated with different topics for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
P371 Philosophy of Religion (3 cr.) A & H P: 3 credit hours of philosophy. Topics such as the nature of religion, religious experience, the status of claims of religious knowledge, the nature and existence of God.
P401 History of Philosophy: Special Topics (3 cr.) A & H P: 6 credit hours of philosophy or consent of instructor. Special topics, such as developing views on one or more of the following subjects: substance, nature, essence, dialectics. May be repeated once with a different topic.
P470 Special Topics in Philosophy (3 cr.) A & H P: 6 credit hours of philosophy. Advanced study of a topic (or cluster of related topics) in an area of philosophy. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
P490 Readings in Philosophy (1–3 cr.) P: Consent of instructor. R: 9 credit hours philosophy. Intensive study of selected authors, topics, and problems.
P497 Internship in Philosophy (1–3 cr.) P: Approval of major department. Designed to provide academic credit for paper or other project done for supervisor of the intern in a given semester. The student will also be assisting in some course(s) in this department. Does not count toward the major in philosophy. May not be repeated.
P498 Senior Seminar (4 cr.) P: Approval of departmental honors committee. Special topics.
P499 Honors Thesis (3–6 cr.) P: Approval of departmental honors committee.