Philosophy

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College of Arts and Sciences

The Faculty of Arts and Letters

428 Normal Street

570-422-3601......www.esu.edu/phil

About the Program

The ESU Philosophy major is designed to give the best possible undergraduate grounding in philosophy. The ESU Philosophy major is structured around the study of the major texts in the history of philosophy. Unlike some other programs, which address issues in philosophy mostly in terms of contemporary readings and secondary sources, at ESU you will address these issues in the context of the classics in philosophy. You will not merely read about the great philosophers – you will read the great philosophers themselves.

Why Study Philosophy at ESU

Whether you are interested in thinking for yourself on the great issues of human life, or you want to go on to graduate school in philosophy, or use your degree as a preparation for further study in other disciplines such as law or business, the ESU Philosophy program gives you a solid foundation.

Philosophy majors are prized even outside the discipline for their clear thinking and their articulateness. Our program will help you to attain these abilities.

Are you interested in...

  • Analytical thinking and logic
  • Ethical issues
  • Life, the universe and everything

Choose Philosophy at ESU

  • Historically-based courses
  • Issue-based courses
  • Solid grounding in principles of sound thinking

Is Philosophy a career path for me?

Career Potential

  • Philosophical research
  • University teaching
  • Law
  • Business
  • Politics

Career Settings

  • Non-profit groups
  • Government
  • Education
  • Corporations

More detailed career information is available from the department.

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

  • Required courses: PHIL 251, PHIL 356 or PHIL 357, and PHIL 457, plus two other courses at the 300 level or above, and 15 additional Philosophy credits.

    Additional Requirements:

    • No more than one 100-level course in Philosophy (or transferred course equivalent to a 100-level course) may count towards the major.
    • No more than fifteen (15) transferred credits may count towards the major.
    • Completion of the Foreign Language Competency.

    PHIL 110, 221, 231, and 251 are taught every year.

    All other courses are offered on a two-year rotation. Therefore, the order of years 3 and 4 below may be switched, depending on the year of entry. The students may start taking 200-level elective courses with prerequisites once PHIL 110 has been completed. 300- and 400-level courses should not be taken at least until the second year.

  • Program Curriculum Plan

    • (Subject to change by the university without notice)

      Freshman Year

      Fall

      PHIL 110 GE: Introduction to Philosophy

      3

      Foreign Language I

      3

      ENGL 103: English Composition

      3

      General Education Elective – Natural Sciences

      3

      General Education Elective – Social Sciences

      3

      Subtotal

      15

      Spring

      PHIL 200-level course

      3

      Foreign Language II

      3

      General Education Elective – Arts & Letters

      3

      General Education Elective – Natural Sciences

      3

      General Education Elective – Social Sciences

      3

      Subtotal

      15

      Sophomore Year

      Fall

      PHIL 251: Ancient Philosophy

      3

      Elective

      3

      General Education Elective – Arts & Letters

      3

      General Education Elective – Natural Sciences

      3

      General Education Elective – Social Sciences

      3

      Subtotal

      15

      Spring

      PHIL 200-level or 300-level course

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      General Education Elective – Natural Sciences

      3

      General Education Elective – Social Sciences

      3

      Subtotal

      15

      Junior Year

      Fall

      300 or 400 level Philosophy course

      3

      300 or 400 level Philosophy course

      3

      Fitness Electives

      2

      General Education Elective – Natural Sciences

      3

      General Education Elective – Social Sciences

      3

      Elective

      1

      Subtotal

      15

      Spring

      300 or 400 level Philosophy course

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Subtotal

      15

      Senior Year

      Fall

      PHIL 356: Rationalists of the 17th and 18th Centuries

      3

      PHIL 357: Empiricists of the 17th and 18th Centuries

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Subtotal

      15

      Spring

      PHIL 457: Kant and German Idealism

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Elective

      3

      Subtotal

      15

      Total Credits

      120

      For more information, contact the department by calling 570-422-3601.

      Department of Philosophy 570-422-3601 www.esu.edu/phil

Philosophy Minor

    • Required courses: PHIL 110, two of PHIL 221, 231 and 251, and three courses at the 300-level or above.
    • A minimum of nine of the credit hours used to complete the Minor in Philosophy must be completed at East Stroudsburg University.

Student Organization

  • The ESU Philosophy Club meets regularly to discuss issues of philosophical interest. Meetings sometimes feature a speaker, and sometimes are just an opportunity to discuss philosophy outside the classroom environment.

Faculty

Course Descriptions

  • PHIL 110 GE: Introduction to Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course is an introduction to the basic issues and critical techniques of philosophy. Philosophical issues such as ethics, the theory of knowledge, metaphysics and logic will be explored, as well as the social, political and religious aspects of human existence.

  • PHIL 171 GE: RELS: Introduction to Religious Studies (3:3:0)

    • This course provides an introduction to topics of general interest in religion, including the nature of man in the religious perspective, the many varieties of religious experience, the religious perspective on death, and the religious dimension of current social and moral issues; current trends in American religion will also be considered.

  • PHIL 172 GE: RELS: Introduction to World Religions (3:3:0)

    • In this course the basic components - beliefs and rituals - of Amerind, African tribal, Middle Eastern, and Asian religions are presented and their distinctive characters are examined in the light of dominant features such as animism, magic, shamanism, priesthood, credal affirmation, liturgy, and sacraments.

  • PHIL 212 GE: Introduction to Eastern Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course will present the ideas of thinkers from cultures as diverse as those of India, China, Japan and the Middle East. The main areas of concern will be metaphysics, logic and epistemology. Excerpts from texts by numerous authors will be read and discussed. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 213 GE: Black Humanism (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of philosophical, literary, and artistic contributions of African-American and African writers. Though major emphasis will be given to contemporary black authors, some emphasis will be put on the historic DuBois controversy and Marcus Garvey and his "Back to Africa" movement.

  • PHIL 221 GE: Logic I (3:3:0)

    • Logic is the study of proper reasoning. This course explores the concepts of soundness, validity, implication, equivalence and consistency. Techniques are developed for evaluating arguments as they are encountered in ordinary language. Included are examinations of deductive inference, inductive inference, the use of observation to support theory, and a survey of commonly committed fallacies. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 231 GE: Ethics (3:3:0)

    • This course is a survey of major ethical theories in Western philosophy. The moral theories of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, J.S. Mill, and Nietzsche will be examined. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 235 GE: Human Rights and Freedom (3:3:0)

    • This course examines the theory and application of human rights in political society. We study both liberty (a central ethical and political value) and rights (those instruments used to codify and enforce our liberties). Readings are drawn from classical and contemporary sources. The course may include topics such as torture, genocide, economic justice and women’s rights. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 238 GE: Philosophy of Law (3:3:0)

    • This course surveys the major theoretical and conceptual questions underlying law. The course is designed for both students hoping to pursue law as a career, and students interested broadly in the conceptual issues behind law. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 241 GE: Philosophy of Art and Beauty (3:3:0)

    • This course will examine major philosophical attempts to treat issues such as the nature of art and the standards of beauty. Texts by Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger will be examined. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 251 GE: Ancient Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course investigates the foundation of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics to Neo-Platonism; particular attention is given to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and Plotinus. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 260 WS: Women and Religion (3:3:0)

    • This class will explore women’s religious experience in a variety of religious traditions, including ancient and modern, eastern and western, with a view to illuminating the application of feminist methodologies to the examination of those experiences.

  • PHIL 265 GE: Philosophy of Religion (3:3:0)

    • This course comprises an examination of views on various aspects of religion postulated by thinkers both within and without the confines of orthodoxy. Among the topics to be discussed are: God’s nature and existence; the problem of evil; faith and unbelief; mysticism; faith and miracles; eschatology. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 273 GE: Religion and Black Consciousness (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of the interrelationship of the substance of Black Religion and the thought forms of white folk religion on institutionalized and non-institutionalized forms of religion among blacks and the role of both in contributing to and dealing with heightening contemporary black consciousness.

  • PHIL 274 Religion and Technology (3:3:0)

    • The course begins with a survey of the various types of orientation to technological society (the "manipulative," the "alienative," and the "consensual"). These orientations are then assessed from the perspective of the religious philosophy of creativity, with a view to develop a basis of realizing the constructive potentialities of contemporary technological developments.

  • PHIL 281 GE: Philosophy of Mind (3:3:0)

    • Am I a material brain, an immaterial consciousness, or both? This course begins with modern criticisms of Descartes’ classic dualism and examines contemporary efforts to understand how purely physical objects such as human brains (and perhaps computers) may nevertheless be said to have mental traits, e.g., thoughts and beliefs. Explored are behaviorist, functionalist, and information-representation approaches. Despite the progress made by these, we will articulate what aspects of consciousness still elude our efforts to understand the mind in naturalistic, scientific terms. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 285 GE: War and Justice (3:3:0)

    • This course begins with a discussion of the three main theories of justice in time of war-realism, pacifism, and just war theory-and then examines historical and contemporary views concerning justice in entering a war, waging a war, and dealing with a war's aftermath. Pre-requisite(s): PHIL 110

  • PHIL 290 Special Topics (Semester hours arranged)

    • These courses are designed to meet specific needs of groups of students or are offered on a trial basis in order to determine the demand for and value of introducing them as a part of the university curriculum.

  • PHIL 312 Comparative Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • Comparative philosophers approach an issue by looking at how it is treated in diverse philosophical traditions such as those found in Africa, China, India, or the Middle East. This course will begin with discussion of the methodological problems involved in doing comparative philosophy, and then proceed to the examination of a general issue treated in Western and non-Western philosophies. Prerequisite: PHIL 110 and 212.

  • PHIL 315 American Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course explores the American experience as expressed and developed in the words of the classic American philosophers; analysis of selections from Pierce, James, Dewey, Royce, Santayana, and Whitehead; the impact of American philosophy on education, religion, ethics, and social and legal theory. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 318 Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche (3:3:0)

    • This course will study the three major 19th century continental philosophers who rebelled against the exaltation of reason. Their thinking led to existentialism and to radical reappraisals of ethics, religion, aesthetics, epistemology, and metaphysics. Prerequisite: PHIL 110, or 231, or 251.

  • PHIL 321: Logic II (3:3:0)

    • This is a course on quantificational predicate logic. This twentieth century advancement unifies the methods presented in Logic I into a single system of greater power. The course focuses on techniques of symbolization and derivation and includes proving some meta-theoretical facts about logical systems in general. Prerequisite: PHIL 221.

  • PHIL 337 Contemporary Ethics (3:3:0)

    • This course is an in-depth study of contemporary theories of ethics - emotivism, prescriptivism, existentialism, pragmatism, etc. - as expressed by philosophers such as Ayer, Stevenson, Hare, DeBeauvoir, and Dewey. Prerequisites: PHIL 110, 231.

  • PHIL 340 GE: Social Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course will concentrate, from various philosophical perspectives, on current social issues such as society and the relation of the individual to it, social justice, social equality and affirmative action, health care, moral standards and the law, children and society, drugs, and problems in engineering a good society. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 341 GE: Political Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course offers a discussion, from various philosophical points of view, of such historical concepts as city-state, universal community, and of contemporary issues pertaining to national, state, and Third World political developments. Perspectives will be presented on these issues from the writings of both classical and contemporary philosophers. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 353 Medieval Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course presents the ideas of philosophers who lived between the third and the fifteenth centuries, e.g., Augustine, Abelard, Anselm, Aquinas, and William of Ockham. Prerequisites: PHIL 110, 251.

  • PHIL 356 Rationalists of the 17th and 18th Centuries (3:3:0)

    • This course undertakes a close examination of four major Rationalist philosophers, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, and Leibniz. Each of these thinkers made extravagant claims for reason and produced systems of metaphysics that claimed certainty on issues such as the existence of God, the concept of substance, the immortality of the soul, and the nature of the world. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 357 Empiricists of the 17th and 18th Centuries (3:3:0)

    • This course studies the epistemological and metaphysical theories of the major British Empiricists and other related thinkers. Included will be Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Prerequisite: PHIL 110.

  • PHIL 417 20th Century Analytic Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of Anglo-American philosophy in the 20th Century, a tradition that has come to be known as Analytic Philosophy. The course begins with an examination of three central figures, Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. Together they promoted the study of logical forms, language and linguistic meaning as primary tools to effectively re-examine traditional philosophical problems. The course examines how these founding figures contributed to the development of Logical Positivism. Prerequisites: PHIL 110, and 221 or 357.

  • PHIL 418 Phenomenology and Existentialism (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of German phenomenology and existentialism and will include philosophers such as Husserl, Heidegger, and Buber. Prerequisites: PHIL 110 and one other philosophy course.

  • PHIL 419 20th Century French Philosophy (3:3:0)

    • This course studies major developments in twentieth century French philosophy. The course has two main units: Existentialism and Structuralism, and Postmodernism. Sartre, Foucault and Derrida will be covered. Prerequisites: PHIL 110 and one other philosophy course.

  • PHIL 457 Kant and German Idealism (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of Kant’s major work on metaphysics and epistemology: the Critique of Pure Reason. The basis for Kant’s justification of science and his rejection of speculative metaphysics will be examined. The course will also examine how the German Idealists attempted to surmount the limitations that Kant put on knowledge through their attempts to achieve absolute knowledge. This attempt to re-establish speculative metaphysics will be studied through a close reading of one of Hegel’s works. Prerequisites: PHIL 110 and 356 or 357.

  • PHIL 485 Independent Study (Semester hours arranged)

    • This course consists of directed research and study on an individual basis.