CORE 280: Introduction to philosophy

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

An introduction to the central problems and major figures in the history of philosophical thought. Topics include the meaning and purpose of human existence, the ultimate nature of reality, the foundations and limits of human understanding, and the basic norms of right and wrong.

Introduction:

Philosophy is the attempt to answer, through rational reflection, the deepest and most fundamental questions of human existence. What is the meaning of life? How can people achieve true happiness and fulfillment? Does God exist? Why should we be moral? How should we decide what is ethical? Are people really free, or are our actions all determined by genetics and environment? Do humans have souls, or are we just physically complex organisms? How can we really know anything? Is there life after death? Through the centuries, extraordinarily wise people have wrestled with these questions and have left us the equivalent of a huge bank account of wisdom upon which we can draw. This course invites students to reflect on these perennial issues in critical engagement with the great thinkers of the past.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an introductory-level familiarity with the major figures and developments in the history of Western philosophy;
  2. Demonstrate an introductory-level familiarity with the major subject areas of philosophy (including ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, and philosophy of religion) and the central issues and questions addressed in those subject areas;
  3. Demonstrate an introductory-level ability to formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues discussed in the course;
  4. Write an argumentative and/or critical essay on a philosophical topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Critical Thinking) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. Come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. Form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. Form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. Begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. Understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. Instructors may, if they choose, administer a pre- and post-test to assess key student learning outcomes.
  2. Three or four tests (one scheduled early in the course) to assess students’ mastery of the course material.
  3. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. A focused assessment of one of the objectives in the Master Syllabus in two or more courses by members of the Core Philosophy Project Team.
  6. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 281: Introduction to Logic

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

The principal aim of logic is to develop a system of methods and principles that may be used as criteria for evaluating the arguments of others and as guides in constructing arguments of our own. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, you should be able:

  1. To distinguish an argument from a set of claims which are not inferentially related;
  2. To draw appropriate inferences from data;
  3. To recognize hidden assumptions and implied premises and conclusions;
  4. To evaluate the acceptability of premises, their relevance to a conclusion, and their support of that conclusion;
  5. To distinguish between validity and soundness, as they are related to deductive argument, and to evaluate inductive arguments;
  6. To grasp the fundamentals of categorical and propositional logic, including Venn diagrams and truth tables;
  7. To grasp the fundamentals of natural deduction in propositional logic.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests (preferably three or four) to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes or homework assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 282: Philosophical Themes

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

An exploration of one of the main areas of philosophy: ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, or aesthetics. The courses offered in this category are intended to build upon the historical introductions to the main areas of philosophy that students receive in the first philosophy course. Each course in this category will provide students with introductory readings from those philosophers who distinguish themselves in a specific field of philosophy. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Read and understand primary philosophical texts;
  2. Understand the major figures and central issues addressed in the field of philosophy studied in the course;
  3. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues studied in the course;
  4. Write an essay on a philosophical topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. Come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. Form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. Form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. Begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. Understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.
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Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 283: Philosophy and Popular Culture

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

This course explores fundamental questions of human existence through the lens of popular culture. While much of popular culture is undoubtedly shallow and ephemeral, some is substantive and enduring. Popular but high-quality films (e.g., Star Wars and The Matrix), television series (e.g., House), and books (e.g., Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings) often raise Big Questions in particularly compelling ways. Although particular topics and readings in this course will vary from semester to semester, likely topics include: the limits of human knowing, the nature of reality, the possibility of free will, ethical decision-making, individual liberty versus authority, the meaning of life, and life after death. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Read and understand the primary and secondary philosophical texts that are read and discussed in the course;
  2. Understand the central issues, viewpoints, and debates explored in the course;
  3. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues studied in the course;
  4. Write an essay on a course topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. Come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. Form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. Form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. Begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. Understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 284: Environmental Ethics

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

This course will explore the ways philosophical analysis can be applied to environmental issues. Students will study a variety of ethical positions philosophers have offered regarding the environment, and will learn some of the challenges environmental problems pose for ethical theory. Students will also learn to recognize and assess philosophical presuppositions behind debates over environmental issues, and will work toward developing their own reasoned points of view toward the environment. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Course Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the views of major classic and contemporary thinkers in the field of environmental ethics;
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the main concepts and theories in environmental ethics;
  3. Apply these concepts and theories to case studies and contemporary environmental issues;
  4. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the issues studied in the course;
  5. Write an essay on a course topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Individualized and/or standard course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 285: Eastern Philosophy

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

This course is a topical survey of Eastern philosophy. The philosophical topics addressed include: ethics, death, reality, self, and knowledge. The schools of Eastern philosophy studied include: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.  In studying Eastern philosophy students will be exposed to, and learn appreciation for, different perspectives on traditional philosophical issues. Students will develop and refine the ability to offer criticism of philosophical positions, and will develop the ability to form their own educated positions on philosophical issues. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Read and understand primary philosophical texts in Eastern philosophy;
  2. Understand the major figures and central issues addressed in the field;
  3. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues studied in the course;
  4. Write an essay on a course topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. Come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. Form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. Form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. Begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. Understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 286: Ethics and the Good Life

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

This course is designed to give the student a nose for moral argumentation—the ability to distinguish good moral reasoning from bad and to sniff out mistakes in every day moral thought. It aims, through the close reading and discussion of ethical texts and cases, to foster in students a personal and reflectively stable moral sensibility, and to equip them to make fruitful contributions to moral and political discussion in the public arena. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Read and understand primary philosophical texts in ethics;
  2. Understand the major figures and central issues addressed in the field;
  3. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues studied in the course;
  4. Write an essay on a course topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. Come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. Form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. Form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. Begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. Understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 287: Business Ethics

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

An examination of the major ethical issues and dilemmas facing contemporary business in the light of the major theories of ethics. The course first addresses several challenges to the very idea of Business Ethics such as relativism, egoism, and the applicability of moral concepts to corporations. It then uses the case method to focus on the justice of capitalism as an economic system, ethics in the marketplace, business and the environment, the ethics of consumer production and marketing, and the ethics of the employee/employer relationship. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Read and understand primary philosophical texts in business ethics;
  2. Understand the major figures and central issues addressed in the field;
  3. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues studied in the course;
  4. Write an essay on a course topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. Come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. Form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. Form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. Begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. Understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 288: Bioethics

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

Bioethics studies the intersection of law, morality, science and medicine as the human good is pursued for the person as patient or subject. Among the topics studied are medical-ethical codes, informed consent, advance directives, abortion euthanasia, suicide, assisted suicide in the medical context, reproductive technologies, sterilization, and the delivery of health care. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Read and understand primary philosophical texts in bioethics;
  2. Understand the major figures and central issues addressed in the field;
  3. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues studied in the course;
  4. Write an essay on a course topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).
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General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. Come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. Form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. Form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. Begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. Understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.


Core 289: Social and Political Philosophy

Master Syllabus

Catalog Description:

This course introduces students to the major issues and thinkers in social and political philosophy. Topics include social and economic justice, freedom, individual rights, equality, the proper role of government, social contract theory, the ethics of war, physician-assisted suicide, the death penalty, free speech, affirmative action, social marginalization, and global justice. Prerequisite: Core 280.

Specific Learning Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students should be able to:

  1. Read and understand primary philosophical texts on social and political philosophy;
  2. Understand the major figures and central issues in social and political philosophy;
  3. Formulate, express, and defend their own views on the philosophical issues studied in the course;
  4. Write an essay on a course topic that meets the assessment standards for argumentative and/or critical essays students learned in Core 100 (Liberal Arts Seminar) and Core 110 (Effective Writing).

General Learning Goals:

As a result of taking this course, students should:

  1. come to appreciate the value of philosophical reflection in Western civilization and in the life of every liberally educated person;
  2. form the lifelong habit of philosophizing and leading an examined life;
  3. form the lifelong habit of reading and rereading classic and contemporary philosophical texts that they find interesting and relevant;
  4. begin to develop their own critically reflective philosophy of life;
  5. understand the practical value of philosophy in clarifying and contributing to current social and political debates.

Assessment Measures:

  1. At least two tests to assess mastery of course content.
  2. Periodic quizzes (at the instructor’s discretion) to encourage students to keep up with course readings and to measure their progress in the course;
  3. Short writing assignments (at the instructor’s discretion) to assess critical reading/thinking skills and mastery of course content.
  4. One major writing assignment—either a critical essay or an argumentative essay—to assess students’ ability to analyze and evaluate philosophical texts and to formulate and defend their own philosophical views.
  5. Teaching and/or course evaluations administered at the conclusion of the course.

Required Text(s):

Each instructor may choose a text or texts best suited to his or her pedagogical goals and individual teaching style.