Philosophy & Ethics
Both philosophy and ethics are concerned with the fundamental human questions, as well as the traditions to which they are attached. Areas of investigation include but are not limited to questions regarding the meaning of life, the ability to live ethically, and the human quest for the sacred. These concerns form the core of liberal arts education.
Learn more about the Philosophy and Pre-Law Concentrations, requirements, costs and aid, and how to apply.
Accelerated Undergraduate and Graduate Degree
Complete a B.A. in philosophy and get a J.D. in just six years.
We offer a wide range of courses for every level of student, ranging from ethics to film classes, to a graduate seminar on data and artificial intelligence. None of these courses require prerequisites and our capstone course can be used for many different majors, not just ours. All of our courses have first-time philosophy students in them and our professors teach to every student in the room.
PHIL 285: "AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY - GLOBAL PHILOSOPHY
T/R 2-00 - 3:15p
This semester, Global Philosophy will focus on African philosophy. Africa is a vast
continent with numerous civilizations, and there are heated controversies about the
description and future development of
African philosophy. This class will overview some of the scholars and debates in the
field, including those concerning colonialism, decolonization, equity and identity. We will also examine examples of philosophical sagacity or wisdom among individuals, and in proverbs and ethics. The goal will be to provide a helpful orientation for further research in the area.
PHIL 310: "ON UGLINESS" - PHILOSOPHY OF ART, LITERATURE & FILM
M/W 4:00p - 5:15p
“Ugliness is more inventive than beauty,” wrote the philosopher and novelist Umberto
Eco, because “a beautiful object must always follow certain rules.” In this seminar,
students will study influential
philosophical attempts to define the parameters for making aesthetic judgments
(or cultivating “taste”)—i.e., what makes something beautiful and, conversely, ugly.
Students will investigate questions such as: What is art? What makes something
“grotesque” or “disgusting” and can those phenomena be portrayed in an aesthetically
pleasing manner? Can evil or horrific subject matter be made “beautiful” in art?
What is the relationship between “beauty”/“ugliness” to creativity? In
addition to readings, lectures and discussions, students will participate in workshops designed to demonstrate how drawing helps us to observe, discover, and invent.
NB: This course is repeatable for up to 6 credit hours. Thus, students who have previously
taken PHIL 310 on a theme different than the one being offered this semester—Ugliness—can enroll and earn full credit for this course.
PHIL 450: PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS, AND ECONOMICS
THR 12:30p - 1:45p
America is a capitalist society; the world is one giant market. Is this good or bad,
how does it inform what we want out of life? Should we be mad that others have more than us or should we just be happy if we have enough? And, what is enough anyway? These questions reveal that
discussing politics alone doesn’t give us the perspective we need to understand how the
world interrelates. We need philosophy and economics as well.
This course focuses on the intersection between philosophy, politics, and
economics. In it, we will follow a t-shirt on its global journey from the cotton fields of
Texas to charitable organizations in Africa. We will ask how we measure the wealth of a
society and whether economic standards tell us anything about how people live. We’ll ask
about the moral limits of the free market and whether democracy and capitalism are
truly inherently connected. We’ll also consider pundits’ claims about what it
means to be poor and compare them to similar claims made by the most influential political economists, Adam Smith and Karl Marx.
We don't offer every class every semester. This chart will let you know what we're planning on teaching over the next few years, so you can plan ahead and be strategic about your courses.
What is Philosophy?
Both philosophy and ethics are concerned with fundamental human questions, as well as the traditions to which they are attached. The Department of Philosophy and Ethics is committed to creating an environment of dialogical inquiry both in and outside the disciplinary context. Areas of investigation include but are not limited to questions regarding the meaning of life, the ability to live ethically, and the human quest for the sacred. These concerns form the core of liberal arts education. The department maintains a major (with two concentrations in either Philosophy or Pre-Law) and two minors (Philosophy and Ethics), but also offers a wide range of courses in the disciplines of philosophy and ethics accessible to students of many interests.