Philosophy

Time, space, and cosmos, the mind, moral ideals, religion, political aspirations, education, professional obligations, love, death, the law, sports, mystical experience, art and creativity, logic, mathematics, freedom, and the meaning of life – philosophy is no less than the pursuit of a deep and systematic understanding of everything. It is the central academic discipline, drawing together questions and knowledge from all the other disciplines and attempting to integrate them with personal experience so that one achieves a greater understanding of oneself and one’s place in the order of reality. The Department of Philosophy offers major, minor, and certificate programs at the undergraduate level and four courses that may be taken by graduate students who are seeking advanced degrees in other areas. Courses in philosophy at every level are especially well-suited to developing excellence in critical thinking and analysis, a good grasp of intellectual history, tolerance, objectivity, intellectual curiosity, clear and logical expression of ideas in speech and writing, and the habit of thinking things through for oneself.

After college, philosophy majors typically continue their education in graduate school where they earn the professional credentials to pursue vocations in fields such as law, medicine, business, information technology, ministry, and education. Even with just an undergraduate degree in philosophy, students are attractive to employers, especially to employers looking for adaptability, good thinking and writing skills, and the ability to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Philosophy majors become particularly adept at examining information and coming to good judgments based on information. Recent graduates of the FHSU major program in philosophy have taken up professions as diverse as teacher, businessman, philosophical counselor, lawyer, minister, doctor, museum educator, data specialist, designer of legal software, tennis pro, and rodeo cowboy.

Department of Philosophy 

Courses

An introduction to induction, deduction, and common fallacies, the primary aim of the course being to develop skill in applying basic principles of sound reasoning.

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An introduction to perennial philosophical questions concerning topics such as knowledge, doubt, God, freedom, necessity, good and evil, immortality, time, the cosmos, and the meaning of life, and to some of the most noteworthy attempts to answer them.

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A study of the Old Testament, focusing on how it came to be written, on the social, cultural, and physical worlds it describes, on the meaning and interpretation of important passages and books, and especially on philosophical questions it raises, such as those concerning the problems of evil, the creation and evolution debate, and the relation between ethics and religion.

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A study of the world's major religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Students will explore the basic histories and beliefs of these religions as well as some of the ethical issues that arise from modern practitioners. The course will also consider related philosophical questions such as the definition of religion and the relation of religion to morality and the good life.

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A study of philosophical questions about knowledge, such as whether it can be defined, whether it is one thing in the sciences and something entirely different in the humanities or in mathematics, and to what extent it is achievable by and desirable for human beings.

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A critical introduction to topics such as state authority, human rights, justice, liberty, and equality, which are at the heart of understanding the nature of politics and what it is to live responsibly in society.

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A study of topics such as the fundamental nature of reality, the place of human beings in reality, the difference between knowledge and opinion, the nature of the good life, and the concept of freedom, through selections from the writings of the principal philosophers of the ancient Mediterranean world, especially Plato and Aristotle.

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A study of the New Testament, focusing on how it came to be written, on the social, cultural, and physical worlds it describes, on the meaning and interpretation of important passages and books, and especially on philosophical questions it raises, such at those concerning Jesus' divinity, the Trinity, the Resurrection, Salvation, and the relation between ethics and religion.

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A study of topics such as the mind-body problem, the quest for certainty, the justification of governmental authority, and the place of values in a mechanistic world, through selections from the writings of the principal philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, including Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.

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A critical examination of attempts by philosophers to understand the moral dimension of human life, which involves topics such as good and evil, rights and duties, reason and emotion, and the objectivity of values.

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An overview of fundamental topics in the philosophy of mind such as whether or not mental processes are physical, the puzzle of mental causation, the nature of consciousness and intentionality, and the similarity of minds to computers.

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A study of questions which arise in philosophical reflection on beliefs and concepts central to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, such as whether God can be defined, whether God's existence can be proven, and whether faith in God is reasonable given the variety and extent of suffering in the world.

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A study of the wisdom found in Asian traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. Topics may include atman, karma, reincarnation, nirvana, and yin-yang philosophy. Special attention will be paid to the manner in which such beliefs arise out of personal experience and are instantiated in practices such as yoga, meditation, and nonduality.

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A study of topics such as the nature of law, the relation of morality to the law, the moral justification of the use of coercion in enforcing the law, the significantly different types of law, and challenges to traditional understandings of the law.

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A study of philosophical questions about artistic creation and aesthetic experience, such as whether art can be defined, whether aesthetic value judgments can be justified rationally, how aesthetic values relate to ethical and religous values, and what the proper role of art is in a life well lived.

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A supervised practical experience in teaching and administering courses in philosophy. The content of this course will vary from semester, and students may enroll more than once.

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A study of a particular philosopher or philosophical topic not otherwise available in the curriculum. The content of this course will vary from semester to semester, and students may enroll more than once.

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A tutorial course for senior philosophy majors. The aim of which is to conduct a philosophical inquiry into a topic of interest to the student, produce a detailed essay on the topic, and present it to a public gathering of faculty and students.

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A tutorial course intended for those with some concentration in philosophy. The content of this course will vary from semester to semester, and students may enroll more than once.

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A tutorial course intended for those with some concentration in philosophy. The content of this course will vary from semester to semester, and students may enroll more than once.

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An intensive examination of a particular philosopher or philosophical topic. The content of this course will vary from semester to semester, and students may enroll more than once.

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An intensive examination of a particular philosopher or philosophical topic. The content of this course will vary from semester to semester, and students may enroll more than once.

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Last updated: 09/04/2019