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PHIL Course Descriptions

  • PHIL 101 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3)

    Introduces the fundamental questions and problems of philosophy and critically examines how some of the greatest philosophers in the history of Western cultures have attempted to answer these questions. Emphasis is placed on students’ demonstration of their own abilities to seek answers to these “eternal questions.” A capstone feature of the course challenges students to communicate, orally and in writing, the value of philosophical thinking in their personal lives and their chosen professions. [HIPL] [CTE] [HAT] [AH]

  • PHIL 140 CONTEMPORARY MORAL ISSUES (3)

    Explores contemporary issues of ethical concern. Students are introduced to philosophical reasoning on controversial topics, including the responsibilities of corporations, war and violence, human relationships and other currently debated matters of public policy and personal ethics. The course aims to help students develop abilities to understand, evaluate and construct arguments in the realm of applied ethics. [HIPL] [CTE] [HAT] [AH] [IL]

  • PHIL 150 CRITICAL THINKING AND ARGUMENTS (3)

    Explores the process of thinking critically and philosophically and guides students in thinking more clearly, insightfully and effectively. In addition, this course focuses on helping students identify, understand and critically assess philosophical arguments. Students use classic philosophic texts and real-world examples to develop both their critical-thinking skills and their ability (in written and oral forms) to formulate, express and critique arguments. [HIPL] [CTE] [HAT] [AH]

  • PHIL 200 THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF LAW (3)

    Introduces students to the nature and purpose of law by exploring a number of fundamental questions related to law and its role in our personal, social and political lives. Covers both historical and contemporary accounts of the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and legal reasoning, including a discussion of how judges ought to decide cases. Emphasis is on development of student's' critical-thinking and written and oral communication skills. Prerequisite; None

  • PHIL 250 SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (3)

    Examines the values and principles that establish and justify societies and that determine the rights and responsibilities of a society to its own members; of the members in relation to each other and to the society as a whole; and of a society in relation to other societies. The course considers the application of these principles to such issues as justice, human rights, political and social institutions, and international relations. [AH]

  • PHIL 280 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3)

    Explores the relationship between humans and the nonhuman environment and guides students in thinking more clearly, insightfully and effectively about that relationship. Students read a wide array of classic and contemporary texts from a variety of philosophic traditions, and they are asked to consider some of the most pressing ethical, political and legal issues concerning our treatment of the environment. [HIPL] [CTE] [HAT] [AH]

  • PHIL 301 ETHICS (3)

    A critical examination of fundamental questions in ethics: What is good and evil? Why be moral? What is right and wrong moral conduct? What does it take to be a good person, and what does it mean to live a good life? Students read a balanced selection of classical and contemporary works and explore a variety of moral issues in personal and professional life. [AHE]

  • PHIL 302 PHILOSOPHY OF COMMUNITY (3)

    Covers some of the basic concerns raised by the cosmopolitan liberalism and communitarian critique. The goals are to help students think through the arguments on each side of this debate and to help figure out for themselves the extent to which they want their lives and the policies of the communities in which they live to reflect either cosmopolitan liberal or communitarian commitments.

  • PHIL 305 PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN HUMAN SERVICES (3)

    An examination of values, moral principles and ethical issues inherent in, and related to, the human service professions. The major focus is directed toward determining the moral responsibilities of the human service professions and whether the moral responsibilities are being realized.

  • PHIL 309 EASTERN RELIGIONS (3)

    A study of the history, beliefs and rituals of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto

  • PHIL 316 LOGIC OF LANGUAGE (3)

    An introduction to informal and formal logic. The use and abuse of language in general is first considered, then informal fallacies are examined. Next, deductive, inductive and analogical arguments are distinguished. The remainder of the course is devoted to examining the formal structures of descriptive language and the formal rules of logic.

  • PHIL 317 ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY (3)

    A critical examination of the questions, systems and contributions of the most influential philosophers of Western antiquity. The pre-Socratics and their legacy of questions and world views are first considered. The philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are examined next in light of the attempts of both philosophers to deal with the inherited questions of pre-Socratics and the moral and cultural problems of their time. Concludes with a look at the Epicurean, Stoic and neo-Platonist philosophies and the influence of neo-Platonism on Christian theology. [AH]

  • PHIL 319 MODERN PHILOSOPHY (3)

    Traces the development and influence of British empiricism and continental rationalism from the scientific revolution of the 17th century through the age of reason, the romantic rebellion and the industrial revolution, and the rise of nationalism. Philosophers to be studied are Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Rousseau, Mill, Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche. [AH]

  • PHIL 320 20TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY (3)

    A critical examination of the most influential American and European philosophers of the 20th century. Emphasis is placed on the rebellion against 19th-century idealism and metaphysics as manifested in the two divergent and predominant contemporary philosophies: existentialism and analytic philosophy. Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein, Whitehead, Bergson, James, Dewey, Sartre, Kafka and Camus are among the philosophers considered. [AH]

  • PHIL 321 PHILOSOPHERS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (3)

    Surveys one or more great philosophers of the instructor's choosing in the history of philosophy. Exposes students to an in-depth study of each of the chosen philosopher's ideas and how those ideas changed the world and continue to shape peoples' current understandings. Emphasizes careful study of philosophical texts.

  • PHIL 322 GOD, PHILOSOPHY, AND RELIGION (3)

    Examines diverse answers to fundamental questions about religion that have intrigued and puzzled human beings throughout history. Does God exist? If so, what can humans know about God, if anything? If God doesn't exist, could there still be meaning in the universe? To what extent are these questions of reason versus questions of faith? What is evil and why does it exist? Is there life after death? Whether immersed in a religious tradition or not, a proponent of religious belief or a skeptic, this course considers a range of the most influential writings ever created to respond to basic religious questions. [AH] [GD]

  • PHIL 419 THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS IN AMERICA (3)

    Considers Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Native American and other major religions practiced on the American continent. What are these religions about, all of which are practiced in the United States and most of which are practiced within a short walk from the University of Baltimore? The approach is to study the most fundamental ideas at the core of each religion to consider what makes each tradition distinctive and how they relate to each other. The course may include visits to nearby religious institutions. [AH]

  • PHIL 460 MORAL LEADERSHIP AND THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE (3)

    Introduces a range of diverse philosophical writings about the nature of moral leadership and excellence. What are the special qualities that enable someone to become a moral leader? What kind of knowledge and character do moral leaders have? When moral leaders pursue excellence, what kind of excellence is this? Is "morality" irreducibly subjective or are there objective standards to moral leadership? Beginning with philosophical accounts such as Aristotle's ethics and Socrates' trial and death, and continuing through contemporary literature, such as in the life and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., philosophers and theologians, among others, have tackled the most fundamental questions of moral leadership. This course presents some of the best philosophical writings on the nature of moral leadership and excellence and applies these ideas for understanding the current world and our roles within it.

  • PHIL 470 PHILOSOPHY AND AMERICAN SOCIETY (3)

    Develops the notion of public philosophy in American society, integrating civics education, democratic theory, and social and political philosophy. Ranging from Supreme Court decisions to political debate to the distinctive nature of American philosophy, the course explores fundamental philosophical arguments that have shaped and influenced American life.

  • PHIL 480 PHILOSOPHY, LAW, AND CURRENT EVENTS (3)

    Studies the intersection of philosophical ideas with current events, with a special focus on law-related events, as well as politics, government and economics. The main text is typically the print edition of a nationally or internationally respected newspaper or periodical, such as The New York Times or The Economist. Students read the paper / periodical alongside a selection of philosophical writings relevant to understanding domestic and international news. The course offers the unique format of studying a newspaper or periodical closely as a main text. The approach is to show how a philosophical analysis of this range of information provides value and insight, and develops a life skill, for whatever educational objectives students wish to pursue. The aim is both to understand the relevance and application of important philosophical ideas to current events, and to deepen the ability to address enduring philosophical questions through a study of current events.

  • PHIL 490 THEORIES OF JUSTICE (3)

    Examines competing classical and contemporary theories of justice at the foundations of law and morality, from such philosophers as Plato, Kant, Rousseau, Marx, Rawls and others from diverse traditions. Demands for justice are often deep and enduring, and their claims create deep intellectual disagreements: What is justice? What does it mean to be a just person or to live within just institutions? What is the nature of injustice and wronging others? The course examines concepts often at the center of competing ideas of justice, including equality, the rule of law, human rights, the common good, the social contract, what people deserve, sovereignty and liberty. These concepts shape social, economic and political institutions, as well as our personal lives. [AH]

  • PHIL 492 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1 - 6)

    Provides for individual work in research. prerequisites: presentation of a research proposal to the divisional chair, and permission of the chair and instructor. prerequisites: 3.5 GPA and permission of the Denit Honors Program director

  • PHIL 493 HONORS SEMINAR (3)

    An advanced interdisciplinary seminar that focuses on important books and issues and encourages independent thinking, clear presentation and an understanding of the concerns and methods of various disciplines. The course may be team taught; topic and instructor(s) may change from semester to semester. Course may be repeated for credit when topic changes. prerequisites: 3.5 GPA and permission of the Denit Honors Program director

  • PHIL 494 HONORS PROJECT (1 - 6)

    Directed individual instruction in an advanced project of the student’s choice; the project must be academically related to this discipline. Each student works closely with a faculty director who guides his/her progress. The project must be of honors quality and must be finally approved by both the faculty director and a second faculty member. Course is eligible for a continuing studies grade. prerequisites: 3.5 GPA and permission of both the Denit Honors Program director and the faculty director

  • PHIL 495 EXISTENTIALISM (3)

    An in-depth study of one of the most provocative philosophies of the modern age. The major works of the leading philosophers of the movement are examined as well as the expression of their philosophies in contemporary art, poetry, fiction and cinema.

  • PHIL 496 INTERNATIONAL LAW AND MORALITY (3)

    Explores the relationship between international law and morality and guides students in thinking more clearly, insightfully and effectively about the various legal, political and social institutions that make up the international legal regime. Students read a wide array of classic and contemporary texts from a variety of philosophic traditions, and they are asked to consider some of the most pressing conceptual and ethical issues concerning international law. [AH] [GD]

  • PHIL 497 SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (3)

    Intensive exploration of topics in philosophy of mutual interest to faculty and students. Content varies according to the concurrent interests of faculty and students. The subject studied appears under the Topics heading in the class schedule. Course may be repeated for credit when topic changes.

  • PHIL 498 INTERNSHIP IN PHILOSOPHY, LAW, AND ETHICS (1 - 3)

    Designed for students who wish to observe and gain firsthand experience at designated profit or nonprofit organizations in the greater Baltimore community. Students work with a mentor at the organization to write a substantial essay (15-25 pages) or academic equivalent that integrates the internship experience with academic content in the Philosophy, Law and Ethics major, guided by the faculty program director or designee. Eligible for a continuing studies (CS) grade. prerequisites: interview with and permission from the PLE faculty program director prior to the internship

  • PHIL 499 CAPSTONE IN PHILOSOPHY, LAW AND ETHICS (3)

    A culmination of the student's program of study in the Philosophy, Law and Ethics program. Required for all PLE majors. Students complete a capstone paper as part of an approved cross-listed 400-level course, integrating course content across the major as part of the capstone project. prerequisite: permission of program director, normally all other required courses in the major must be completed or concurrent [CAP]