Philosophy

Chair: Irene Liu

Professor: Thomas Brockelman, William Day, Karmen MacKendrick, Mario Saenz, Jonathan Schonsheck, Ludger Viefhues-Bailey

Associate Professor: Steven Affeldt, C.Tabor Fisher, Michael Kagan, Irene Liu

Assistant Professor: John Monteleone

Professor of Practice: Eugene B. Young

Visiting Assistant Professor: Matthew Cortese

Adjunct Faculty: Alex Krantz, Max Malikow, Charles F. Maxfield, Daniel Murphy, Jeremy Pierce, Pamela A. Ryan

The aim of the study of philosophy at Le Moyne is to orient students in the development of critical and speculative thought, under conditions of intellectual and affective freedom, and with a sense of openness towards alternative visions of life-experience. The study of philosophy at Le Moyne is pluralistic in approach. As such, it allows majors and non-majors alike to focus on those philosophical themes that best respond to their individual concerns and vocational aspirations. These include graduate study in philosophy or related disciplines (e.g., religious studies; women’s studies; critical, literary and film theory; etc.), professional studies (in law, medicine or the ministry), and other career studies (in civil rights, ecology, etc.).

Core Program

The core program of study in philosophy serves majors and non-majors alike, since questions proper to philosophy are common to everyone and should be thematically studied by every liberally educated person. The core program is intended to clarify philosophic questions about human life and reality generally and to help students develop a philosophic understanding of their world and a method for enlarging that understanding in the future. See core curriculum at the beginning of the Undergraduate Programs section for regulations concerning sequence of core courses.

Student Learning Outcomes in Philosophy

Eyes of others
Students will be able to articulate a philosophical understanding of the world through the eyes of others.
 
Philosophically Significant Life-Experiences
Students will be able to articulate philosophically significant issues in their own life-experiences.
 
Historical concepts and themes
Students will be able to explain important philosophical concepts and themes in relation to significant historical periods of philosophy.
 
Flow of logic
Students will be able to summarize a philosophical argument with appropriate detail.
 
Evaluate arguments
Students will be able to evaluate arguments.
 
Construct arguments
Students will be able to express their original philosophical views persuasively in writing.

Philosophy (PHL)

PHL 110. Introduction to Philosophy. 3 Credit Hours.

As a writing instructional course, this course introduces students to the practice of philosophy and to some of the central questions, modes of inquiry, and forms of analysis and argumentation that distinguish philosophy from other ways of understanding ourselves and our world. Organized around the themes of "the human condition" and "the examined life", the course engages students in reflective dialogue about central concepts that define the human condition (e.g., knowledge and understanding, beauty and value, justice and community, transcendence and the divine, etc.). By linking rigorous analysis with engaged reflection on the concrete task of living an examined life, PHL 110 exemplifies the core value of Le Moyne's Jesuit educational mission of educating both the hearts and minds of our students.

Prerequisite: WRT 101 or permission of the department chair.

PHL 210. Moral Philosophy. 3 Credit Hours.

This course investigates the philosophical foundations of normative ethics in an effort to clarify the status of moral values in human life. Drawing upon classical as well as contemporary texts in moral theory, the course will consider issues such as: What does it means to be a moral being or a moral agent? Are moral values grounded in human nature, the natural order, the divine? What are the methods and possible limits of reasoning about moral values? Is moral philosophy (merely) descriptive of the practices and values of various groups or can it be prescriptive; can it, that is, tell us what we ought to do? How might we understand the historical development of moral theory and the diversity of systems of value? How might conflicts between these systems of thought be understood, assessed, and/or resolved? Sections capped at 30.

Prerequisite: PHL 110 or HON 110 or permission of the department chair.

PHL 310. Critical Reasoning. 3 Credit Hours.

This class will help students become better critical thinkers through a non-technical study of arguments. Students will learn what an argument is, how to distinguish arguments from explanations and other non-argumentative uses of language, and how to both recognize and understand the structure of arguments. Students will also practice identifying weaknesses in arugments offered by others, and will consider argument forms that occur frequently in the media, politics, the academy, and everyday life. Finally students will hone their skills at crafting strong arguments, which contain relevant and persuasive evidence, clear definitions, and effective methods of reasoning. Prerequisite(s): PHL 110, PHL 210, HON 110 or HON 215.

Fulfills: Logic/Writing requirement.

PHL 311. Introduction to Formal Logic. 3 Credit Hours.

Students will have the opportunity of discovering and exploring the structure and interrelations of the various kinds of propositions that occur in deductive reasoning. Logic will be presented as applying to the actual world incidentally, but to possible types of order explicitly. Propositional logic, predicated logic, classes and relations will be part of its content. Quantified expressions will be studied. Some attention will also be given to the non-deductive processes of the scientific method and the analysis of probabilities. Throughout the course there will be a wide selection of problem-solving challenges.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210 OR HON 215.

Fulfills: Logic/Writing requirement.

PHL 320. Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is an introduction to ancient and medieval philosophy. The course covers a variety of topics, e.g. happiness, nature, knowledge, and God, through engagement with Plato, Aristotle, and other major philosophers of these periods. In addition to addressing philosophical topics of perennial interest, this course seeks to cultivate an appreciation of philosophical inquiry in its intellectual and historical context by considering developments such as the emergence of philosophy from traditional Greek wisdom, the challenge of the Sophists, the encounter between Greek philosophy and Christianity, etc.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: History requirement.

PHL 321. Descartes to Kant. 3 Credit Hours.

This course examines, in historical context, the philosophical ideas ingredient to the emergence of the modern world. Attention will be paid to theories that undergird major developments of the early modern period, e.g. in science, politics religion, or art. Themes covered may include, for example, the increasing emphasis on epistemology (rationalism & empiricism) at the expense of metaphysics, the subjectivist birth of the modern idea of the self, and the modern transformation of approaches to moral and ethical questions. Texts will be drawn from (among others) works of Descartes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau and Kant.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: History requirement.

PHL 322. Kant Through Contemporary Thought. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is a survey of Western philosophy from the nineteenth century until today. It begins with the rise of German idealism (Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) and its nineteenth century critics, for example, the "dialectics of suspicion" concerning the transcendental subject as elaborated by Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, or the utilitarian tradition. Depending on student or faculty interest, the course may continue with a study of existentialism and phenomenology ( for example, the analysis of lived experience and intersubjectivity), logical positivism and analytic philosophy (for example, the linguistic turn, or philosophical reflections on science and scientific method), and/or critical theory, poststructuralism and postmodernism (e.g., critiques of positivism and metanarratives, as well as the introduction of the relational subject).

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

PHL 324. Philosophies of Judaism. 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of a variety of Jewish philosophical tendencies as responses to fundamental crises and challenges. The course will focus on several paradigmatic philosophies of Judaism in terms of the following: (a) the human person (philosophical anthropology); (b) revelation and obligation; (c) theology; and (d) Jewish identity and existence. The influence and importance of gender and culture in the development of these philosophies will also be stressed.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Cross-listed Courses: REL 383

PHL 325. Asian Philosophy. 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of the main philosophical traditions of India and the Far East: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. This course will focus upon mysticism as a primary determinant of Eastern thought and will seek to place these philosophies in their historical and cultural setting.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Cross-listed Courses: PGS 335

PHL 327. Phil in the United States. 3 Credit Hours.

This course examines the development of philosophical thought in the United States from the colonial period to the middle of the twentieth century. The main emphasis falls upon the rise of pragmatic philosophy, as exemplified in the writings of Charles Sanders Pierce, William James and John Dewey. Other traditions such as Puritanism and Transcendentalism are considered, along with readings dealing with race and gender issues.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

PHL 329. Freud and Philosophy. 3 Credit Hours.

An investigation of Freud's contributions to philosophy. The course will be divided between an intensive examination of texts from the founder of psychoanalysis (The Interpretation of Dreams, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Moses and Monotheism, etc.) and readings of philosophical interpretations and evaluations of Freud. Topics covered may include the therapeutic claims of psychoanalysis, Freud and politics, psychoanalysis and the arts (literature, etc.) and psychoanalysis and feminist theory.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Ways of Knowing/Metaphysics.

PHL 340. Philosophy of Art. 3 Credit Hours.

Why do we call some things beautiful and others not? And why do we often disagree? Is "This is beautiful" never more than an opinion, or can it be true? If it can't be true, then are works of art meaningless? If they aren't meaningless, how do we know what they mean? This course will examine these and related questions through careful reading and discussion of classic and contemporary writings in the philosophy of art. Visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, and creative writers should find it especially valuable, as will anyone who likes to think about art. Fulfills Core Requirement(s):Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Value Theory.

PHL 341. Philosophy and Literature. 3 Credit Hours.

This course will explore the various literary and philosophical dimensions of the imagination in order to appreciate how poets, novelists and philosophers have interpreted the world we live in through the ages. Representative works from the English Renaissance to the present will be analyzed and discussed.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Value Theory.

PHL 345. Issues in Medical Ethics. 3 Credit Hours.

Using a practical, context-specific approach that is sensitive to the philosophical, scientific, social, legal and economic dimensions that shape and define the field of bioethics, this course is devoted to a detailed study of ethical issues debated in the health professions. Specific topics will vary, but may include some of the following: death and dying, the medicines, choices in reproduction, presymptomatic testing for genetic disease, AIDS and social justice, allocation of medical resources and access to health care. Open only to students in the Physician Assistant Program.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

PHL 346. Ethics and the Nurse. 3 Credit Hours.

Using a practical, context-specific approach that is sensitive to the philosophical, scientific, social, legal and economic dimensions that shape and define the field of bioethics, this course is devoted to a detailed study of ethical issues in nursing. Specific topics will vary. Open only to students in the Bachelor's of Science in Nursing program.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills Core Requirement(s): Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS).

PHL 348. Social & Polit Phil:Historical. 3 Credit Hours.

This course investigates central issues in social and political philosophy from ancient times through the 19th century. Specific issues may vary, but will include some of the following: attempts to design the ideal state, attempts to provide a moral justification for the actions of states (the problem of power vs. authority), philosophical foundations of individual property rights, principles limiting the scope of legitimate governmental actions, principles of just revolution.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Value Theory.

PHL 349. Social & Pol Phl: Contemporary. 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of methodological and substantive issues in contemporary social and political philosophy. Methodological issues center around the question: "What sort(s) of arguments (if any) justify the existence of states?" Substantive issues center around the questions: "What state functions are morally permissible? Morally obligatory?" Some current social issues are examined in light of the theories discussed; e.g., moral limits (if any) on political dissent, income redistribution, covert non-compliance with laws. (A,C).

Prerequisite: PHL 301 or 302 or 303.

PHL 350. Philosophy of Law. 3 Credit Hours.

This is not a course in the study of law. It is a course designed to afford students who have an interest in the law (not necessarily professional) an opportunity to reflect on the philosophical presuppositions of the law and the philosophical problems that arise within the general domain of jurisprudence. Based on readings (historical and contemporary) written by both philosophers and jurists, the course typically addresses general theories of law, law and morality, judicial reasoning and crime and punishment. Students should expect to do a great deal of linguistic analysis as well as some case study.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Value Theory.

Cross-listed Courses: LGS 350

PHL 352. Critical Theory & Technological Society. 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of modernity, rationality and technological society through the lens of the twentieth century critical theory movement (also known as the Frankfurt School). Emphasis will be upon (a) critical theory's relation to Hegelian and Marxist theories, (b) its reflections on the rise of positivism and "scientism" in epistemology, and (c) the distinction between instrumental reason and communicative rationality. Figures studied may include Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Marcuse and Habermas.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Ways of Knowing/Metaphysics.

PHL 353. Latin American Social Philosophy. 3 Credit Hours.

This course will study some of the major philosophical trends in Latin America in the light of both the search for cultural identity and the discovery of difference in the heart of sameness. Therefore, it will also consider those philosophies of social change which (a) provide a critique of hegemonic ideologies, (b) try to rediscover the submerged validity of pre-conquest and non-Western world views and (c) seek a dialogical integration of the diversity of voices in Latin America.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Value Theory.

Cross-listed Courses: PGS 353

PHL 355. Philosophy and Erotic Love. 3 Credit Hours.

Drawing on both classical and modern sources (including Plato, Emerson, Freud, and Mann), this course examines important views of the nature of erotic love and the complex relationships between erotic love and individual ethical developlment, the pursuit of wisdom, and the human relation to the divine.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 or HON 110 and PHL 210 or HON 215.

Fulfills: Value Theory.

PHL 357. The Social Production of Space. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is an introduction to the work done in philosophy, geography and cultural studies that addresses the social production of space. In contrast to modern conceptions of space as a pre-given, homogenous and infinite grid of possible locations, the idea of a social production of space leads to a conceptualization of space as deeply textured, often conflicted, and historically produced and reproduced. Key concepts to be covered are: abstract space, time-space compression, the decorporealization of space, the impact of everyday practices on spatial production, multiple spaces, raced spaces and spaces of resistance.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Value Theory.

Cross-listed Courses: GWS 323

PHL 358. Philosophy of Race. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the historical discourse and contemporary debates concerning race, racial identity, and racism in philosophy. The discipline of philosophy has traditionally viewed the philosophical enter- prise as an investigation into a universal human condition. To this extent, the philosophical salience of race and thinkers whose main concern was to understand race and racism has been obscured within the tradition. This course will examine the history of the concept of the race, discussions of race and race consciousness, as well as the formation and viability, or lack thereof, of racial identities. These discussions bring to the forefront the need for a critical perspective on how we understand race and racialized identities today.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Ways of Knowing/Metaphysics.

PHL 362. Theory of Knowledge. 3 Credit Hours.

The adequate appreciation and mastery of any intellectual discipline demands that the individual have a firm grasp of scope, operation, structure and limitations of human knowledge. This course intends to provide the student with a grasp of what knowledge is, how it is acquired, how it is evaluated, what distinguishes valid from invalid knowledge, evidence, theory construction, etc. Special attention is given to the theory of cognitive paradigms, i.e., the position that different theoretical models generate different sets of facts and different descriptions of reality. The course is recommended for philosophy and psychology majors and should be of particular interest to students majoring in the natural or social sciences.

Prerequisite: PHL 110, HON 110, PHL 210, or HON 215.

Fulfills: Ways of Knowing/Metaphysics.

PHL 363. Analytic Philosophy. 3 Credit Hours.

A presentation and examination of selected texts in the analytic tradition from J. S. Mill and Frege to Kripke. Focus is on topics such as reference, naming, predication, necessity and truth with an emphasis on their import for questions concerning the meaning of existence. (C,E)Fulfills: Ways of Knowing/Metaphysics.

PHL 364. Philosophy of Science. 3 Credit Hours.

This is a meta-mathematical/meta-scientific course in philosophical analysis. The concepts to be investigated are drawn from the fields of mathematics, physics and cosmology (e.g., number, shape, gravity, force, energy, matter, space, time, infinity, singularity). Focused attention will be given to the traditional "paradoxes" associated with the attempt to understand these concepts as well as to the more contemporary "anomalies" brought to light in the investigations of physics and astrophysics. (E)

Fulfills: Ways of Knowing/Metaphysics.

Cross-listed Courses: GWS 355

PHL 369. The Experience of Time. 3 Credit Hours.

Is time something "out there" - a part of nature and the universe - or is it something felt, so that we cannot imagine time passing without someone or something (a god) to experience it? The ancient physicists pictured time as a measure of motion or change. That picture raised for early Christian theologians the question whether time was created with the universe, and if so, whether God could do anything before there was time in which to do it. In our era, some philosophers have argued that time, properly understood, is unreal. But we might wonder whether such arguments can touch our experience of time. We speak of time as tyrannical, always moving forward, and finite for each of us. But it also moves fast or slowly, is full or empty. We travel through time thanks to the gift or curse of memory. And music can shape time beyond what physics can account for. This seminar will explore, through discussion of classical and contemporary readings in philosophy and literature, music and film, a range of attempts to understand our concept and experience of time.

Prerequisites: PHL 101 or 110, PHL 201 or 210.

Fulfills: Ways of Knowing/Metaphysics.

PHL 390. Independent Study. 3-6 Credit Hours.

Independent Study is intended for any student wanting a program of study in philosophy for which there is no existing couse in the department. A student who wishes to pursue an independent study project for academic credit must submit, prior to registration, a proposed plan of study that includes the topic to be studied and goal to be achieved, the methodology to be followed, schedule of supervision, end product, evaluation procedure and number of credits sought. The proposal must be approved by the supervising faculty member, the department chair and the academic vice president and dean. It will be kept on file in the dean of arts and science's office.

PHL 420. Advanced Argumentative Writing. 3 Credit Hours.

The purpose of this seminar is to guide students through the difficult process of bringing a philosophical argument to life. Over the course of the semester, students will work on refining and presenting a piece of philosophical writing [approximately 15-20 pages]. Students will review the rudiments of philosophical prose, and they will be guided through the proces of revising, getting feedback, and revising yet again. They will practice presenting their work to others, as well as giving feedback on the work of others. Thus, students will learn what it means to work independently in a community of other philosophers. At the discretion of the Philosophy CHair, a student may substitute this course for the first semester of the two-semester philosophy honors project (PHL 490). The student must secure permission for this substitution at the time of registration. DOES NOT FULFILL OLD CORE REL/PHL SEMINAR REQUIREMENT.

Prerequisites: PHL 110 and PHL 210.

Fulfills: Logic/Writing.

PHL 490. Research in Philosophy. 3-6 Credit Hours.

An upper-class philosophy major who wishes to write a substantial philosophical essay on a topic already studied in a philosophy elective should submit a proposal to this effect prior to registration. The proposal, indicating the topic to be researched, the number of credits sought and the schedule of supervision, must be approved by the research director, the department chair and the academic dean. The proposal will be kept on file in the academic dean's office. (F).