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Department Chair:
John Wall
Tel: (856) 745-6532
johnwall@camden.rutgers.edu

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Sharon Smith
Tel: (856) 225-6080
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429 Cooper St., Room 109
sas548@camden.rutgers.edu

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Home » Courses » Philosophy Course Descriptions

Philosophy Course Descriptions

50:730:101      INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC, REASON, AND PERSUASION (3)                      

Development of skills in reasoning. Consideration of what an argument is, how arguments go wrong, and what makes an argument valid. Application of techniques for clarifying meaning, evaluating, and constructing arguments. Enrollment not open to students who have taken 50:730:201. Formerly 50:730:141.

50:730:105      INTRODUCTION TO CURRENT MORAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES (3)     

Introduction to moral theory and application to selected contemporary issues. Possible topics include abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, punishment, equality, sexism, racism, affirmative action, privacy, obligations to the world’s needy, treatment of animals, drug use, and the meaning of life. Formerly 50:730:315,316.

50:730:111      INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3)           

An exploration of central philosophical problems, such as truth, justice, mind, and person, with a view to surveying the field and locating particular philosophical specialties within it such as logic, ethics, and metaphysics.

50:730:201      SYMBOLIC LOGIC (3)

An introduction to modern symbolic logic, with an emphasis on methods for the evaluation and construction of deductive arguments, and on the concepts of validity, consistency, and implication. Additional topics may be selected from among the following: informal fallacies, logic and ordinary language, induction, the scientific method, syllogistic logic, and the relation between logic and other areas in philosophy. Satisfies requirement for Philosophy Major.

50:730:211      HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY I (R) (3)

The beginnings and early developments of Western philosophy. Readings selected from among the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Sextus-Empiricus, Plotinus, Augustine, Maimonides, Aquinas, and Occam. Topics may include the nature of argument, knowledge, political loyalty and political dissent, justice, normative ethics, causality, the nature of the self, and the existence of God. Satisfies requirement for the Philosophy Major and Minor.

50:730:212      HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY II (R) (3) History of Philosophy II Sample Syllabus

The development of philosophy from its modern beginnings in Descartes. Readings selected from the classical modern period, from Descartes through Kant. Topics include the relationship between mind and body, the origins and extent of human knowledge, skepticism and belief, and the nature of personal identity. Satisfies requirement for the Philosophy Major and Minor.

50:730:215      EASTERN PHILOSOPHIES (G) (3)

An introduction to the philosophical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, focusing on the issues of metaphysics, mysticism, epistemology, ethics, and the nature of consciousness. 

50:730:216      AFRICANA PHILOSOPHY (D) (3)

Africana (or African-American) philosophy, the modern intellectual tradition of the African diaspora in North America and the Caribbean, deals with philosophical issues related to identity, race, and culture; the phenomenon and experience of oppression and liberation; and contemporary philosophical concerns about the black past, present, and future.

50:730:218      AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY (3)     American Philosophy Sample Syllabus

Introduction to the contributions of American philosophers in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries to inquiries into the nature of experience, truth, goodness, and society, with particular attention paid to the tradition of American pragmatism. Readings selected from among Emerson, Peirce, James, Dewey, Mead, Royce, Lewis, Rorty, and Putnam. Formerly 50:730:367.

50:730:220      MIND, KNOWLEDGE, AND REALITY (3)

An investigation of fundamental problems in metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. Topics addressed include the nature of the mind, its relation to the world, and the possibilities for knowledge. Satisfies requirement in metaphysics/epistemology for Philosophy Major and Minor.

50:730:222      SELF AND IDENTITY (3)

An exploration of the nature of the self, with emphasis on the conditions for remaining the same person over time and the relation between selfhood and moral responsibility. Satisfies requirement in metaphysics/epistemology for Philosophy Major and Minor. Formerly 50:730:181.

50:730:226      ETHICS (R) (3)     Ethics Sample Syllabus

An examination of fundamental issues in ethical theory through the works of contemporary philosophers and key figures in the history of ethics such as Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. Topics may include human goodness, moral obligation, rights and duties, the relation of happiness to duties, the idea of role obligations specific to professional contexts, and the possibility of objective justifications of value judgments as contrasted with views from moral nihilists, skeptics, and relativists.  Satisfies requirement in ethical/political/social theory for Philosophy Major and Minor.

50:730:247      PHILOSOPHY OF SEX, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY (D) (3)     Sex Gender Sample Syllabus

Critical examination within social philosophy of sex, gender, and sexuality. Topics include ways we understand sexual attraction and desire, the relationship between biological sex and gender roles, ideas of femininity and masculinity as they are reinforced through cultural and social norms, the regulation of sexuality and marriage, the publicity of sex and sexuality, and the relationship and tension between multiculturalism and feminism. Class includes applications of concepts to contemporary debates concerning parenting, pornography, sex education, same sex marriage, harassment law, and sexual reassignment. Satisfies requirement in ethical/political/social theory for Philosophy Major and Minor. Formerly 50:730:327.

50:730:249      BIOMEDICAL ETHICS (3)     Biomedical ONLINE Sample Syllabus   

Exploration of moral issues in medicine and medical research. Course will typically focus on issues raised by the creation and termination of life and include topics such as abortion, stem cell research, cloning, prenatal screening for disability, right to medical care, human experimentation, genetic enhancement and eugenics, animal experimentation, the diagnosis of death, and euthanasia. Formerly 50:730:349.

50:730:250      ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3)

Exploration of ethical issues concerning the environment. Course will typically focus on issues raised by the moral justification for coercing individuals and corporations, just distribution of resources, moral rights of animals, and the study of topical issues such as clean air standards, population control, land use.

50:730:251 or 351      ETHICS AND BUSINESS (3)

Social and moral problems that arise in the context of business: profit motive, corporate social responsibility, use and abuse of corporate power, truth in advertising, consumer rights, strikes, stockholders’ rights, preferential hiring. Contemporary case studies augmented with basic texts in ethics. Formerly 50:730:260.

50:730:252      EATING RIGHT: THE ETHICS OF FOOD CHOICES AND FOOD POLICY (3)

Exploration of ethical issues concerning individual food choices, food policies, and the cultural importance of culinary traditions. Course will analyze arguments concerning vegetarian and vegan diets, for organic and/or local food choices, and about policies we should collectively adopt to shape the processing, marketing, and sale of food within communities

50:730:256      PHILOSOPHY OF LITERATURE (3)

An exploration of philosophical questions about literature, including interpretation in criticism, the nature of critical evaluation, truth in fiction, and metaphor. Specific literary work selected to serve as a base for the discussion of these philosophical issues.

50:730:258      PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (3)

Introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of law and its relation to morality and to power. Focuses on the concept of justice and punishment, the function of law, and types of legal argument. Legal materials include cases drawn from constitutional law, contracts, torts, and criminal law. Formerly 50:730:320.

50:730:263      PHILOSOPHY AND THE ARTS (3)

Introduction to the major issues in the philosophy of art, with an emphasis on the implications of recent developments in film, music, painting, and digital media for art theory. Formerly 50:730:361.

50:730:265      PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (3)

Introduction to philosophical issues concerning religion including the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, faith versus knowledge, mysticism, the problem of religious language, and attacks on religion by authors such as Hume, Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud. Formerly 50:730:326.

50:730:268      EXISTENTIALISM (3)

Critical examination of the works of existential philosophers and the ways in which their analysis of human existence affects their views of freedom, choice, and action. Authors may include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Jaspers, Buber, Marcel, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty. Formerly 50:730:344.

50:730:290      SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (3)

50:730:301      INTERMEDIATE LOGIC (3)

A continuation of 50:730:201, with an emphasis on application. Predicate logic with identity, soundness, and completeness. Topics selected from among axiomatic theories, nontruth-functional logics (such as modal, deontic, and epistemic), set theory, and issues in the philosophy of logic and language. Prerequisite: 50:730:201 or permission of Instructor

50:730:305      TOPICS IN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY (3)

Critical examination of major issues in ancient philosophy as discussed in the works selected from, for example, pre-Socratic philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, Skeptics, Epicureans, Plotinus, and the neo-Platonic tradition. Course content varies from year to year, either by dealing primarily with particular issues (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, or aesthetics, for example) or by dealing primarily with the works of a sub-set of philosophers.

50:730:306      TOPICS IN MODERN PHILOSOPHY (3)

Critical examination of major issues in 17th and 18th century philosophy as discussed in works selected from, for example, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Kant or others. Course content varies from year to year, either by dealing primarily with particular issues (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, or aesthetics, for example) or by dealing primarily with the works of a sub-set of philosophers. Formerly 50:730:313.

50:730:307      NINETEENTH-CENTURY PHILOSOPHY (3)

Critical responses to Kant and the philosophy of the Enlightenment, the rise of the social sciences, and antecedents of 20th-century intellectual movements. Readings from among philosophers such as Fichte, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard.

50:730:310      TWENTIETH-CENTURY PHILOSOPHY (3)

Major movements in 20th-century philosophy, such as American Pragmatism, development of logic, logical positivism, existentialism, phenomenology, structuralism and post-structuralism, and deconstruction. Philosophers such as Peirce, James, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Sartre, Arendt, Heidegger, Husserl, Gadamer, Foucault, and Derrida. Formerly 50:730:308.

50:730:330      ETHICS OF WAR AND CONFLICT (3)

Exploration of moral issues raised by collective violence through critical examination of the traditional theories of just war. Topics may include foundations of the right of self-defense, notions of a just cause for war, preventive war, humanitarian intervention, distinction between legitimate and illegitimate targets of attack, basis of moral liability to attack in war, terrorism, interrogational torture, and the relation between the morality of war and the law of war. Satisfies requirement in ethical/political/social theory for Philosophy Major and Minor.

50:730:333      EVIL (3)     Evil Sample Syllabus

Examines the phenomenon and meaning of evil, especially “moral” evil. Key questions pursued are how evil may be explained, why humanity is capable of It in the first place, whether it belongs to some or all people, how to differentiate its perpetrators and its victims, whether evil is compatible with the existence of a good God, and how one may judge the difference between evil and good. These and other fundamental questions are pursued through a wide range of classic, historical, and contemporary texts and in relation to examples of evil in today’s world. Enrollment not open to students who have taken 50:840:333.

50:730:334      PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (3)

Examination of major philosophical issues concerning science. Topics selected from among science and pseudoscience; scientific explanation, method, theories, laws, and falsification; scope and limits of science; revolutions in science; science and ethics. Satisfies requirement in metaphysics/epistemology for Philosophy Major and Minor.

50:730:335      PHILOSOPHY OF MIND (3)

An examination of the nature and characteristics of the mind. Possible topics include the mind-body problem, artificial intelligence, thought, consciousness, perception, emotion, and the self. Satisfies requirement in metaphysics/epistemology for Philosophy Major and Minor. Formerly 50:730:418.

50:730:336      THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE (3)

An examination of the nature of knowledge, as well as the possibilities and limitations on obtaining it. Topics of study include truth, justification, rationality, and skepticism. Satisfies requirement in metaphysics/epistemology for Philosophy Major and Minor. Formerly 50:730:412.

50:730:337      METAPHYSICS (3)

An investigation into what exists and the different modes of existence. Topics to be explored may include appearance and reality, objects and universals, time, free-will and determinism, and personal identity. Satisfies requirement in metaphysics/epistemology for Philosophy Major and Minor. Formerly 50:730:415.

50:730:342      POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (3)     Political Philosophy Sample Syllabus

Critical examination of the philosophical problems involved in theories of the state and its relationship to citizens. Topics include the nature and justification of political obligations, natural rights, justice, anarchism, and the development of political ideals of communism, socialism, liberalism, and democracy. Satisfies requirement in ethical/political/social theory for Philosophy Major and Minor. Formerly 50:730:319.

50:730:343      SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY (3)     Social Philosophy Sample Syllabus

Critical examination of the philosophical problems involved in theories of the society and relationships between individuals. Topics include ways gender and/or racial consideration enter into the social standing of the individual, political and economic consequences of one’s social class, and the use of liberalism, critical social theory, and post-modernism to challenge existing social institutions. Satisfies requirement in ethical/political/social theory for Philosophy Major and Minor.

50:730:350      RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY (W) (3)     Religion Democracy Sample Syllabus

Critical examination of contemporary theories of liberalism and democracy as they relate to the inclusion of religious citizens in political contexts. Topics include the defense of religious freedom and tolerance, the use of religious reasons to justify laws regulating abortion and marriage, and the ideals of mutual respect and understanding in pluralistic political societies. Satisfies requirement in ethical/political/social theory for Philosophy Major and Minor. Enrollment not open to students who have taken 50:840:322. Formerly 50:730:322. 

50:730:390,391           ADVANCED TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY (3,3)

50:730:455,456           ADVANCED SEMINAR IN PHILOSOPHY (3,3)

The focus could be either a concentrated study of a particular text, philosopher, or school of thought, or an examination of a particular philosophical concept, methodology, or problem. Course content varies from year to year. Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission of Instructor.

50:730:495,496           INDEPENDENT STUDY IN PHILOSOPHY (3,3)

An individual reading and research project under the guidance of a member of the philosophy department in an area of interest to the department. Prerequisite: Permission of department.