Santa Clara University

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Philosophy Courses

Lower Division Courses

PHIL 1 Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to philosophy. Consideration of the problems raised in at least three major areas: ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology.

PHIL 2 Introduction to Ethics
Consideration of the traditional theoretical questions posed in moral philosophy: standards that determine the morality of an action, the motives and consequences of an act, the good life. Authors studied may include Plato, Aristotle, Mill, Kant. Satisfies Ethics requirements for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School

PHIL 3 Ethical Issues in Computing
Normative inquiry into the use of computers. Topics may include information privacy, peer-to-peer file sharing, end-user copying, software as intellectual property, hacking, online communities, safety-critical software, verification, and encryption. Fulfills Ethics requirements for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School.

PHIL 4A Ethics and Gender
Formal inquiry into normative ethics. Emphasis on ethical principles and theories as well as the application of these to issues essentially intertwined with concepts of sex and gender as they apply to both men and women. Special attention to gender theory and feminism. Topics studied may include pornography, sexuality, heterosexual/homosexual marriage and family life, domestic violence and rape, abortion and reproduction, fashion and appearance, gender discrimination, sex-based affirmative action, and sexual harassment. Fulfills Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except Business School and fulfills the Ethnic Studies/Women's Studies requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences.

PHIL 4B Ethics and Gender in Film
Formal inquiry into normative ethics.  Emphasis on ethical principles and theories as they relate to concepts of gender and sex applicable to both males and females.  In addition to written texts about ethics and gender, both dramatic and documentary films will be studied to illustrate how gender is both experienced by men and women and portrayed in the lived world.  Topics studied may include sexuality and sexual orientation, male and female gender roles, heterosexual/homosexual marriage and family life, sexual violence, transsexuality, abortion and reproduction, and gender discrimination.  Films studied may include Southern Comfort, Boys Don't Cry, daddy and papa, Sliding Doors, The Brandon Teena Story, If These Walls Could Talk, The Laramie Project, and thirteen. Fulfills Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except Business School and fulfills the Ethnic Studies/Women's Studies requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences.

PHIL 5 Ethical Issues in Society
Formal inquiry into normative ethics. Special attention to general ethical principles and to the practical application of these principles to current ethical issues in society. Topics may include the concepts of freedom, obligation, value, rights, justice, virtue, and moral responsibility, as applied to issues like abortion, punishment, economic distribution, racial and sexual discrimination, sexuality, political obligation, nuclear war, and pornography. Satisfies Ethics requirements for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School.

PHIL 6 Ethical Issues in Business
Formal inquiry into normative ethics. Special attention to general ethical principles and the application of these principles to current moral issues in business. Topics may include truth in advertising, corporate social responsibility, affirmative action, capitalism, government regulation, quality of work-life, environmental and resource issues, and ethical codes of conduct. Satisfies Ethics requirements for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges including the Business School.

PHIL 7 Ethical Issues in Medicine
Formal inquiry into normative ethics. Special attention to general ethical principles and the application of these principles to current moral issues in medicine and the health sciences. Topics may include the definition of death, informed consent, distribution of health care, euthanasia, genetic manipulation, artificial conception, prolongation of life, and organ transplants. Satisfies Ethics requirement for bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School.


PHIL 8 Ethical Issues in Politics
Formal inquiry into normative ethics. Emphasis on moral issues in politics and/or public policy. Topics include the concepts of rights, justice, dignity, equality, personhood, desert, retributivism, and utility. Issues discussed may include alienation, individualism, community, discrimination and preferential treatment, capital punishment, abortion, pornography and censorship, sexual equality, world hunger, and animal rights. Satisfies Ethics requirements for bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School.


PHIL 9 Ethical Issues and the Environment
Formal inquiry into normative ethics. Emphasis on moral issues and the environment. Topics include animal rights, anthropocentrism, cost-benefit analysis, human rights, interspecies justice, land (use and value), population control, rights (of future generations and natural objects), values (moral and aesthetic) and preferences, wildlife protection, wilderness. Satisfies Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School.


PHIL 10 Ethical Issues in the Law
Formal inquiry into normative ethics.  Emphasis on moral issues and concepts in contemporary legal debates such as the rule of law, the duty to aid, the relationship between law and ethics, freedom of speech, the right to die, criminally charging minors as adults, the legalization of drugs, obscenity and indecency, the moral justification for punishment, including capital punishment, and state regulation of marriage.

PHIL 20 Introduction to Philosophy

An introduction to fundamental theoretical issues in the western philosophical tradition.  The course will range widely over central areas of philosophy and will study any of a number of important philosophical problems:  the nature of mind, the nature of reality, the existence of God, the possibility of free will, the sources and scope of human knowledge, etc.  While the course is appropriate for all interested students, it is especially designed to provide a rigorous foundation for further study in philosophy, including as preparation for those who may wish to go on to major in Philosophy.


Cultures and Ideas


PHIL 11A and 12A   Cultures and Ideas I and II
A two-course sequence focusing on a major theme in philosophy and culture over a significant period of time.   Courses emphasize either broad global interconnections or the construction of Western culture in its global context.  Courses may address autonomy, personhood, community, justice, human dignity, law, the self, religion, cosmology, and other topics.


Logic Courses

PHIL 25 Informal Logic
Introduction to the art of logical reasoning. Emphasis on the ability to recognize common fallacies of argumentation.


PHIL 27 Introduction to Formal Logic
Introduction to the study of deductive inference, including traditional and modern techniques

Metaphysics and Epistemology

PHIL 90 Knowledge and Reality
Introduces two central areas of philosophy-epistemology and metaphysics-through the study of several fundamental problems in those areas. Problems that may be studied include the existence of God, the relation between mind and body, freedom of the will, the nature and possibility of knowledge, and the relation between language and reality. Required of all philosophy majors and normally taken during the sophomore year.

History of Philosophy

PHIL 51 Classical and Medieval Beginnings of Western Philosophy
Representative philosophers of the Greek and Medieval traditions, with attention to their historical milieu and their relevance to contemporary thought.

PHIL 52  Early Modern Principal Fashioners of the Modern Mind
17th- and 18th-century philosophers studied in the historical context of their times with attention to their impact on the present.


PHIL 53  Modern and Contemporary
Introduction to the closer roots of modern philosophy, from the critical revolution of Kant to some of the dominant currents of the 20th century.  Prerequisite:  PHIL 52 strongly recommended.

Science, Technology, and Society

PHIL 80 Science, Technology, and Society
Investigation of the significance of the impact of technology on society. Satisfies Technology Core requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges.

Upper Division Courses

PHIL 109 Ethics and the Environment
Formal inquiry into normative ethics. Investigation of environmental issues from the point of view of classical ethical perspectives and consideration of how questions about the moral value of the environment provide new challenges to such classical theories. Topics may include animal rights, human rights, the rights of future generations, the rights of nature, anthropocentrism, interspecific justice, land (use and value), wilderness, and values and preferences. Satisfies the Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School.

PHIL 110 Ethics in the Health Professions
Formal inquiry into applied ethics. Emphasis on moral issues encountered by members of the health professions. Topics may include the formulation of professional ethical standards and the examination of moral dilemmas in medicine, psychological counseling, and other areas of health care. Satisfies Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School. (Cross-listed as Religious Studies 157.)

PHIL 111 Bioethics and the Law
Bioethics (normative ethics as applied to medicine & the health care professions, the left sciences, and biotechnology) is partially constituted by legal norms and values, and the law has been profoundly influenced by bioethical principles and concepts. This course will explore the evolving relationship between law and bioethics as well as the substantive law and ethics of selected topics by studying course cases (e.g., Quinlan, Cruzan, and Barber) and bioethical texts. Topics studied may include the definition of death, informed consent, the physician-patient relationship, euthanasia/assisted suicide & the law of criminal homicide, advance directives for health care, confidentiality, involuntary civil commitment for mental illness, regulation of research involving human subjects, the use of nonhuman animals in biomedical research, the legal and moral status of prenatal humans, parental control over the medical care of minor children, tort law and medical practice, and state licensure of health care professionals. Satisfies Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School

PHIL 112 Ethics in Management
Formal inquiry into applied ethics. Emphasis on moral issues encountered by managers. Topics may include the role of ethical principles in business and ethical dilemmas raised by the management and administration of business organization, such as conflicts of interest, organizational politics, commercial bribery, whistle-blowing, labor-management conflicts, and consumerism. Satisfies Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges including the Business School.

PHIL 113 Ethics in the Law
Formal inquiry into applied ethics. Emphasis on important issues in the formation and the practice of law. Topics may include the relationship between legal and moral obligation, moral principles underlying the law, and the nature of legal reasoning. Satisfies Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School.

PHIL 115 Feminism and Ethics
Exploration of theories of feminism, patriarchy, and gender, and of ethics as applied to the contemporary experience and social situation of women. Topics of study may include equality, affirmative action, comparable worth, pornography, sexuality, reproductive technologies, maternal-fetal relations, rape and domestic violence, female body image, cosmetic surgery, "alternative" families, militarism, and environmentalism. Fulfills the Ethnic Studies/Women's Studies requirement in all colleges.


PHIL 118 Ethics and Warfare
Historical and contemporary approaches to the ethical issues that arise in warfare. Satisfies Ethics requirement for the bachelor's degree in all undergraduate colleges except the Business School. (Also listed as Religious Studies 159.)

PHIL 119 Special Topics in Applied Ethics
Selected philosophical problems in applied ethics studied at an advanced level.

PHIL 120 Ethical Theory
Examination of major philosophers or issues in moral and social philosophy. Topics may include dignity, moral rights and obligations, justice, moral relativism, virtue, the good, and happiness. 

PHIL 121 Classic Issues in Ethics
Exploration of the fundamental questions of ethics through close study of some of the great works of moral philosophy, such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Kant's Groundwork, and Mill's Utilitarianism. Prerequisite: upper-division standing.

PHIL 122 Political Philosophy and Ethics
Moral issues in political philosophy, especially traditional ethical justification for political authority. Topics may include theories of political authorization and contract theory, rights, liberty, equality, justice, community, revolution, civil disobedience, and others. Specific variations include 115A (Classical and Modern), 115B (Contemporary). Prerequisite: upper-division standing.

PHIL 123 Marx and Ethics
Examination of Marx's ethical thought in the context of traditional ethical theory (Aristotle, Kant) and in relationship to his political views and philosophy of history. Topics may include alienation, the human essence, the individual, community, needs, freedom, equality, rights, and justice. 

PHIL 124 Virtue Ethics
Exploration of various basic issues in ethics, such as friendship, courage, or compassion, from the point of view of virtues or (moral) character. Close study of classic authors, for example, Aristotle, as well as contemporary writers on virtue ethics. Prerequisite: upper-division standing.

PHIL 125 Moral Epistemology
An investigation into the foundations of ethics: principally concerned with (1) the nature of ethics, and (2) the nature and possibility of moral knowledge. Issues to be discussed may include cognitivism and noncognitivism in ethics, moral relativism, moral realism, and moral skepticism. Prerequisites: Philosophy 50 and one ethics course; or permission of instructor.

PHIL 129 Special Topics in Ethical Theory
Selected philosophical problems in ethical theory studied at an advanced level. PHIL 130 PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY Study of major figures in the philosophy of history. Exploration of such questions as whether history is moving toward a goal, whether it can be rationally guided, and if so, how.

PHIL 131 Ancient Philosophy
Study of one major philosopher or philosophical issue (such as substance, causation, or virtue) from the ancient period. Specific variations include 131A (Socrates), 131B (Plato), and 131C (Aristotle). Prerequisite: Philosophy 51.

PHIL 132 Medieval Philosophy
Study of one major philosopher or philosophical issue (such as universals, existence and the nature of God, or free will) from the medieval period. Specific variations include 132A (Augustine) and 132B (Aquinas). Prerequisite: Philosophy 51.

PHIL 133 Modern Philosophy
Study of one major philosopher or issue (such as mind and body, skepticism and knowledge, or causation) from the modern period. Specific variations include 133A (Hume), 133B (Kant), and 133C (Hegel). Prerequisite: Philosophy 52.

PHIL 134 Skepticism
Study of the problem of skepticism from its origin in ancient Greece to the present day. Considers both skeptical positions and views critical of skepticism. Readings may include Sextus Empiricus, Descartes, Hume, and Wittgenstein. Prerequisite: Philosophy 51 or 52.

PHIL 135 Existentialism
General introduction to existentialism in its analysis of the basic structures of human existence, particularly freedom, and in its major thinkers. Prerequisite: Philosophy 52 or permission of instructor.

PHIL 136 Analytic Philosophy
Examination of the major current in 20th-century Anglo-American philosophy. Philosophers studied may include Frege, Russell, Carnap, Moore, Wittgenstein, and Austin; movements may include logical positivism and ordinary-language philosophy. Prerequisites: Philosophy 52 and 25 or 27.

PHIL 137 Contemporary European Philosophy
Selected topics from 20th-century European philosophy; movements such as phenomenology and structuralism; philosophers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre.

PHIL 138 Heidegger
Intensive study of the work of a major thinker of the 20th century. Prerequisites: Philosophy 53 and either 51 or 52.

PHIL 139 Special Topics in the History of Philosophy
Selected philosophical problems in history of philosophy studied at an advanced level.

PHIL 140 Philosophy and Science
Exploration of selected philosophic questions that arise in contemporary science, especially physics. Topics include the nature of scientific knowing, the replacement of theories, paradoxes of relativity and quantum theory, and the sense in which scientific objects are "real." Prerequisite: Philosophy 52.

PHIL 141 Metaphysics
Examination of major issues in metaphysics. Topics may include the nature and possibility of metaphysics, free will and determinism, the mind/body problem, personal identity, and metaphysical issues arising in science. Prerequisites: Philosophy 51, 52, and 25 or 27.

PHIL 142 Theory of Knowledge
Examination of major issues in the theory of knowledge. Topics may include justification of belief, a priori knowledge, perception, and theories of truth. Prerequisites: Philosophy 52 and 25 or 27.

PHIL 143 Analytic Metaphyics
Philosophical investigation of the free-will problem. Discussion of concepts of freedom, fate, causation, and God.

strong>PHIL 144 Philosophy of Mind
Examination of issues relating to the existence and nature of mind and its relation to body. Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

PHIL 149 Special Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology
Selected philosophical problems in metaphysics and/or epistemology studied at an advance level.

PHIL 150 Philosophy of Religion
Philosophical inquiry, based on both classical and contemporary views, as to whether the existence of God can be rationally demonstrated, whether it is compatible with evil, how human beings relate to God, the nature of faith, and the nature of religious language.

PHIL 151 Philosophical Topics in Literature and Film
This course will focus on the aesthetic and the ethical dimensions of English language films from the silent era to the present. We will discuss at least some of the following topics:  What makes a good film, or screen play or novel, "good"?  This will include discussion of what both aesthetic and ethical values contribute to the quality of film and literature.  What is the role of artistic intention in understanding and evaluating film (including the "auteur theory" account of cinematic creation & the "intentional fallacy").  What role do various types of interpretation play in understanding and evaluating the quality of film and literature?  What, if any, is the proper place of various types of censorship, from the "production code" of the 1930's to the MPPA rating system in place today?

PHIL 152 Symbolic Logic
Study of various topics in modern symbolic logic. Prerequisite: Philosophy 27 or permission of instructor. 

PHIL 154 Philosophy of Law
Proper limits and uses of the criminal law in regulating human behavior. No philosophy prerequisite.

PHIL 155 Aesthetics
Philosophical examination of the historical development of the concepts of taste and beauty.

PHIL 157 Feminism and Philosophy (no current class offered)

PHIL 159 Special Topics

PHIL 198 Senior Research Thesis
Creation of a carefully researched and scholarly paper, under the active direction of a selected member of the department’s staff. Of particular value to senior students who intend to pursue graduate studies.

PHIL 199 Directed Research
Tutorial work, with demanding requirements, for advanced students in particular problem areas not otherwise accessible through courses. Prerequisite: previous arrangement with the instructor and department chair.

 

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