Philosophical Worldviews

PHIL 110 Introductory Philosophy (3)
Readings and discussions designed to introduce the student to the major areas and problems of philosophy through a study of the writings of classical and contemporary thinkers. Section 71317 also satisfies LO2 Critical Thinking Seminar. 

PHIL 110W Introductory Philosophy (3.5) 
A unit of the tandem The Art of Living, taken in conjunction with ART 290W Earth Art.  Both art and philosophy are concerned with exploring, expressing, critiquing, and creating ways of seeing our world and our place in it. Artists who create "earth art" do this in an especially deliberate way, taking as their medium our interactions with the natural world that provides the supporting context for all human endeavors to live a meaningful life. The philosopher, likewise, reaches for a deeper understanding of her medium, in this case, life itself, exploring in a conceptual fashion what it might mean to live a life that is a rich and meaningful whole.

In this tandem we will read our way in historical order through some highlights of western philosophical attempts to discover, by deploying our capacity for abstract thought, what goes into fashioning a meaningful life. Along the way, we will discuss the nature of beauty and creativity, learning what we can from the very concrete activity of bringing aesthetically satisfying meaning forth by working with and through the opportunities our local natural environments present us. Assignments in one class will in many cases connect directly to those in the other, allowing us plenty of opportunity for exploring the connections between these two challenging and engaging disciplines. As the philosophy component of this tandem also fulfills a Women's Voices requirement in the Sophia Program, we will also be pausing on occasion to consider ways in which issues of gender factor into the work we are doing. This course satisfies an LO2 Women's Voices and provides students the opportunity to earn the W.

PHIL 235 Philosophy of Human Existence (3)

This course offers an introduction to philosophy structured around encounters with a number of existentialist thinkers and their philosophical predecessors as they reflect on philosophical issues pertaining to human existence. These issues coalesce, ultimately, around the most serious philosophical question of them all: does human life have any meaning? Ultimately this course will provide students with an opportunity to think philosophically about how their views on human existence contribute to their larger views of the world and about how these views translate into concrete actions.

PHIL 247 Philosophy of Religion (3)
There are many questions that have vexed people of faith over the centuries. In this course, we will explore three of them: What, if anything, can we know about God? What is the relationship between faith and reason? And if God is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then why does evil exist? We will examine these questions from philosophical perspectives (i.e., from perspectives that begin from reason rather than from faith). Popular films will be used to spark discussion and introduce classical readings.

PHIL 253 Philosophy of Politics (3)
This course introduces students to the discipline of philosophy through a philosophical exploration of social and political organization. The various ways in which human societies and institutions are organized reflect philosophical ideas about what human beings are like, what governments are for, and what human reason can achieve. The course will provide plenty of opportunities to engage with contemporary social and political controversies, and to gain a deeper understanding of the philosophical foundations of both contemporary liberal and conservative thinking, and demonstrate the relative narrowness of the contemporary left/right political spectrum. Taking a broader and deeper philosophical view of politics will allow students to see familiar political issues in new ways, and to begin to develop a consistent political philosophy of their own.