Philosophy

Program Description

The mission of the Philosophy Department follows from the mission of La Salle University as a Lasallian institution of higher learning, that is, one within the Catholic tradition of humanistic education, one concerned with the practical application of this tradition in the personal and social orders, and one committed to excellence in teaching and learning.

Why take this major?

Philosophy is the art or science of examining unexamined assumptions that we bring to any field or activity: science, politics, religion, or simply our own daily lives. As such, philosophy is the most fundamental discipline, bringing to awareness the fundamental assumptions we have about reality and subjecting them to scrutiny. Philosophy therefore is both an art and a science: it examines our beliefs with the logical rigor of the sciences; but since it looks into our own most cherished beliefs and biases, it cultivates a self-awareness that we associate most commonly with the arts and humanities.

Besides being an exciting adventure in itself, the study of philosophy leads to intellectual habits that are extremely useful and prized in professional life. the law profession is a natural practical application of philosophical reasoning, as are the professions of teaching, journalism, and government service. But our graduates have also gone on to excell in medicine, business, and politics.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the views of some historically important philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, Dewey)
  • Present clearly and rigorously in writing an extended argument on a topic of philosophic importance.
  • Reflect on one's intellectual and intuitive responses to issues concerning ethical values.
  • Comprehend and interpret philosophically significant texts.

Degree Earned

B.A.

Number of Courses Required for Graduation

12

Number of Credits Required for Graduation

36

Progress Chart

Level One - Core Courses

12 courses and 2 modules required

Universal Required Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete the following 4 courses.

ILO 8.1: Written Communication

ENG 110 - College Writing I: Persuasion

ILO 5.1: Information Literacy

ENG 210 - College Writing II: Research

ILO 1.1: Understanding Diverse Perspectives

FYS 130 - First-Year Academic Seminar **

NOTE. The following students use Level 2 Capstone Experience in Major instead of FYS 130: Honors, BUSCA, Core-to-Core, Transfer, and Non-Traditional/Evening.

ILO 2.1: Reflective Thinking and Valuing

REL 100 - Religion Matters

Elective Core Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course in each of the following 4 ILOs.

ILO 3.1a: Scientific Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 3.1b: Quantitative Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 6.1: Technological Competency

Choose course within ILO

ILO 8.1a/12.1: Oral Communication/ Collaborative Engagement

Choose course within ILO

Distinct Discipline Core Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course in each of the following 4 ILOs. Each course must be from a different discipline. (A "discipline" is represented by the 3- or 4-letter prefix attached to each course.)

ILO 4.1: Critical Analysis and Reasoning

Choose course within ILO**

ILO 9.1: Creative and Artistic Expression

Choose course within ILO**

ILO 10.1: Ethical Understanding and Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 11.1: Cultural and Global Awareness and Sensitivity

Choose course within ILO**

Universal Required Modules (2 Courses)

Students must complete the following 2 non-credit modules.
The Modules are not required for Transfer Students, Core-to-Core Students, or BUSCA Students. BUSCA students are required to take modules if/when they pursue a bachelor’s degree.

ILO 7.1a

Health Literacy Module

ILO 7.1b

Financial Literacy Module

Major Requirements

Major requirements include 4 Level Two ILO requirements, fulfilled through the major.

Students in this major must complete 12 courses in total in order to graduate. 12 courses will be from this major program.

Level Two (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course/learning experience in each of the 4 commitments.

ILO 2.2: Broader Identity (Capstone Course/ Experience)

Fulfilled within major

Choose one ILO from 3.2a, 3.2b, 4.2, 5.2, 6.2, 7.2a, or 7.2b: Expanded Literacies

Fulfilled within major

ILO 8.2b: Effective Expression (Writing-Intensive Course)

Fulfilled within major

Choose on ILO from 10.2, 11.2, or 12.2: Active Responsibility

Fulfilled within major

All Other Required Courses

**Note: All Philosophy majors will take PHL 326 and either PHL 151 or PHL 152. Because of the distinct discipline requirement, a student may only apply one of these three courses toward the core. Majors may therefore choose one of the following four options:

  • Option A (an option for those taking PHL 151):
    • ILO 4: PHL 151
    • ILO 9: Choose course within ILO
    • ILO 10: Choose course within ILO (may not take PHL 152)
    • ILO 11: Choose course within ILO (to be taken in addition to PHL 326)
  • Option B (another option for those taking PHL 151):
    • ILO 4: Choose course within ILO (to be taken in addition to PHL 151)
    • ILO 9: Choose course within ILO
    • ILO 10: Choose course within ILO (may not take PHL 152)
    • ILO 11: PHL 326
  • Option C (an option for those taking PHL 152):
    • ILO 4: Choose course within ILO (may not take PHL 151)
    • ILO 9: Choose course within ILO
    • ILO 10: PHL 152
    • ILO 11: Choose course within ILO (to be taken in addition to PHL 326)
  • Option D (another option for those taking PHL 152):
    • ILO 4: Choose course within ILO (may not take PHL 151)
    • ILO 9: Choose course within ILO
    • ILO 10: Choose course within ILO (to be taken in addition to PHL 152)
    • ILO 11: PHL 326

 

PHL 151 or PHL 152

PHL 264 or PHL 325

PHL 309 or PHL 303-336

PHL 311 or PHL 313 or PHL 323

PHL 326-History of Western Philosophy: The Ancient World

PHL 327-Angels & Demons: The Romance of Medieval Philosophy

PHL 328-(Early) Modern Philosophy

PHL 329-Contemporary Philosophy

PHL 480-Seminar

Three Philosophy Electives (may not include PHL 151 or PHL 152)

 

Free Electives

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must take enough courses to the fulfill graduation credit requirements for their School and major.

Minor Requirements

6 PHL courses are required for the minor.

PHL 151 or PHL 152

Five 200-400 level courses

The following courses are required for the major:

PHL 151: The Examined Life OR

PHL 152: Ethics and the Good Life OR

PHL 153: Beauty and the Soul OR

PHL 154: God: Beliefs, Proofs, and Doubts OR

PHL 326: History of Western Philosophy: The Ancient World

History Sequence:

PHL 327: Angels & Demons: The Romanice of Medieval Philosophy

PHL 328: (Early) Modern Philosophy

PHL 329: Contemporary Philosophy

Further Requirements:

PHL 264: Critical Thinking

AND

PHL 311: Problems of Knowledge OR PHL 313: Metaphysics

3 Elective Courses*

*"PHL 480: Seminar" will be taken by a major in his or her senior year in conjunction with any 300 level PHL course. In that course the student will be expected to produce a substantive research paper or reflective essay beyond the standard requirements for the course.

Course Descriptions

PHL 151 The Examined Life

This course will critically examine three of the most important questions we can ask about human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What can I hope for?

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

How Offered: Face-to-Face

ILO Met: ILO 4.1 - Critical Analysis and Reasoning

PHL 152 Ethics & The Good Life

This course is a study of classic and contemporary ethical theories that respond to the fundamental question, "How should I live my life?" Philosophical accounts of virtue and happiness, conditions of moral development, the role of reason in moral judgment, and the nature of moral obligation will be examined and applied to concrete ethical issues that arise in individual, interpersonal, and/or political life.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

ILO Met: ILO 10.1 - Ethical Understanding and Reasoning

PHL 153 Beauty and the Soul

The relationship between the human soul and beauty is explored through the critical study and evaluation of classical texts and works in the visual and performing arts.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

ILO Met: ILO 4.1 - Critical Analysis and Reasoning

PHL 154 God: Beliefs, Proofs, & Doubts

This course is a study of philosophical positions about the existence and nature of God. Themes discussed include various concepts of God; the possibility of proof for the existence of God; and the philosophical dimensions of the religious experience.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

ILO Met: ILO 4.1 - Critical Analysis and Reasoning

PHL 155 The Quest for Meaning: An Inside-Out Course

What is the meaning of life? This question has been central to the work of philosophers, scientists, and artists throughout human history. Is life inherent meaningful? Is meaning bestowed by a divine creator? Is life absurd and devoid of meaning at all? Is meaning something that we must create for ourselves? And perhaps most importantly, how should I live my life, based on my answers to these questions? This course will survey a wide variety of responses to these questions, using the texts of philosophers as our guide.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

How Offered: Face-to-Face

ILO Met: ILO 8.1.a - Oral Communication/ILO 12.1 - Collaborative Engagement

PHL 206 Social and Political Philosophy

This course is a critical examination of the nature of society through the reading and discussion of primary philosophical texts. Themes include: person and society, the foundation of the political order, human rights and law, justice and society, and the natural and the social sciences.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 212 Current Ethical Issues

This course presents an application of ethical principles to present-day moral problems and controversies.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 222 Love and Human Sexuality

This course offers a philosophical exploration of human love and sexuality. Classical and contemporary writings will be used.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 223 Perspectives on Death

This course is a study of various philosophical strategies for coming to terms with human death. Philosophical views on death applied to problems such as aging and dying, suicide and euthanasia, the medical conquest of death, and definitions of death are topics to be addressed. This course is of particular value for students choosing careers in the health professions.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 264 Critical Thinking

This course aims at developing the skill of analyzing, interpreting, and criticizing arguments from a variety of disciplines. Topics include: clarification of concepts, distinguishing between conclusions and reasons for conclusions, evaluation of arguments, and the recognition of fallacies.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 265 What Is Art?

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of art with emphasis on the metaphysics of beauty and on art's role in politics and society.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 266 Philosophy Looks at Film

This course is an application of philosophical perspectives to the study of film, with special attention to international cinema. The course will approach film either as a unique form of art or as a unique medium for engaging traditional philosophical questions.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 267 Philosophical Approaches to God

This course is a study of philosophical positions about the existence and nature of God. Themes discussed include various concepts of God; the possibility of proof for the existence of God; and the philosophical dimensions of the religious experience.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 268 Topics in Eastern Philosophy

This course will study the major philosophers and philosophies of the East through a focus on one or more of the following philosophical traditions: Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Buddhist, or Islamic.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any core PHL course or HON 131-132

PHL 270 Special Topics

Some recent topics have included the following:

  • Harry Potter and Philosophy
  • Tao and Zen
  • Art and Fascism

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 303 American Philosophy

This course presents a critical history of thought in North America, tracing its gradual transformation from 17th-century Puritanism to current movements.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 306 Environmental Philosophy

The course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to a wide range of philosophical issues and problems that are attached to the attribution of moral concern for the environment. Topics may include deep ecology, ecofeminism, social ecology, social action, and the moral standing of animals as well as other living beings.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 308 The Philosophy of History

This course is a study of some of the principal viewpoints about historical knowledge and historical development. Problems discussed include: subjectivity and objectivity, causality and explanation, and perspective and relativity in history. The great schemes of historical interpretation are also considered.

Number of Credits: 3

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 309 God, Reality, Heaven & Hell: Thomas Aquinas

This course is a critical study of the philosophical writing and intellectual world of Thomas Aquinas. Texts principally from the Summa Theologiae.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 310 Existentialism

This course is a critical study of existentialist thinkers and themes from the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics may include absurdity, nihilism, subjectivity, freedom, authenticity, and the Other.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 311 Problems of Knowledge

This course offers a systematic investigation into the sources, limits, and nature of knowledge. Topics include: meaning and its relation to truth of statements; nature and criteria of truth; and the role of observation, perspective, and conceptualization in the justification of knowledge claims.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 313 Metaphysics

This course is a study of the ways in which major philosophers have answered questions about the basic nature of reality.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 323 Philosophy of Science

The course looks at the practice of science, its aims, its methods, and its relation to society. Possible topics include the justification of scientific findings, the nature of scientific progress, the various branches of science, morally responsible scientific practice, and science and religion.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 325 Symbolic Logic

This course provides an introduction to formal logic, including truth-functional and quanti-ficational logic.

Number of Credits: 3

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 326 The Dawn of Reason: Ancient Greek Philosophy

This course focuses on the beginnings of rational thought in ancient Greece. We will read philosophers from the pre-Socratics through Plato and Aristotle to Plotinus.

Number of Credits: 3

ILO Met: ILO 11.1 - Cultural and Global Awareness and Sensitivity

PHL 327 Angels & Demons: The Romance of Medieval Philosophy

This course examines key questions in medieval philosophy such as: Is religious faith rational? What is the nature of the human soul and other spiritual beings (if they exist)? Why is there something rather than nothing (the creation of the world)?

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 328 (Early) Modern Philosophy

This course examines 17th- and 18th-century philosophy is studied with a concentration on the rationalists, the empiricists, and Kant. Prerequisites:

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 329 Contemporary Philosophy

This course is a comparative study of trends in twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy. These may include pragmatism, phenomenology, existentialism, deconstruction, feminist theory, and critical theory.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 330-336 The Great Philosophers

This course is an in-depth study of a single major thinker from the philosophical tradition. Emphasis is on the critical reading of texts, although attention will be given to the historical setting of the thinker's work. Previous thinkers have included St. Augustine, Karl Marx, Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 339 Gender, Body, And Culture

Patterns 2 or Concentration Option
This course provides a philosophical analysis of social and cultural practices that construct gender identity. Strategies of resistance to dominant modes of embodiment and concepts of sexual difference will also be explored.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 341 Minds, Brains, And Zombies

This course examines human consciousness. Topics include the relation between the mind and the brain, the possibility of building conscious machines, the mental life of animals, and conceptual puzzles posed by zombies.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 350 Business Ethics

Business practices evaluated in the light of ethical principles. Special concern is given to moral dimensions of management decision making and to the ethical problems of consumerism and government control.

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 370 Special Topics

Recent topics have included:

  • Revolution to Romanticism
  • Philosophy of Islam
  • Memory, Identity, and the Self
  • Evolution and Creation
  • J.R.R. Tolkien as Philosopher
  • Harry Potter and Philosophy

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Any PHL core course, HON 131-132 or permission of the departmental chair

PHL 480 Seminar

This course is an investigation of a philosophical theme chosen each year by the department. Students will write a paper on the theme and present their work to the seminar. The seminar has for its purpose the integration of previous philosophical study.

Number of Credits: 3

Restrictions: Required of philosophy majors; open to others with approval of the Department Chair.