Areas of Study

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Core Curriculum 43
Major and Related Courses 30
Free Elective Courses 47

Required philosophy courses 12 hours

Introductory study of the basic concepts of logic, the rules of valid inference, formal and informal fallacies, and basic symbolic logic.

Survey of Western philosophical thought from the pre-Socratics to Thomas Aquinas.

Survey of Western philosophical thought from Bacon to Kant.

A survey of Western philosophical thought from Hegel to Wittgenstein.

Elective philosophy courses 15 hours

Choose fifteen credit hours:

Introductory study of the principal areas and problems of philosophy, including the nature and methods of philosophical analysis, mind and matter, meaning and knowledge, appearance and reality, the existence of God, and moral responsibility.

Do we have responsibilities toward animals to protect them, or to avoid harming them? What should we do when human interests and animals needs conflict? In this course, we will apply ethical reasoning to issues such as raising animals for food, pet rescue policies, using animals in research, and wildlife preservation. We will also analyze the rhetoric employed by animal rights activists and their opponents, and consider whether one can go too far in defending animals.

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for freshmen. Students may enroll in 195 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Science fiction provides great opportunities to consider the nature of reality and our knowledge of it. This course will use sci-fi stories and philosophical readings to address questions such as: Could the world be a computer simulation? What transformations can one undergo, yet still be the same person? Is it possible for machines to think for themselves? Would time-travel endanger history and human freedom?

This course enables students to use theories and concepts from moral philosophy to make well-reasoned ethical judgments, and to apply those judgments to promote social justice. Each section will focus on a central ethical issue, which may vary from section to section, and will draw content from multiple disciplines. Students will engage in experiential learning activities, such as service learning, to connect theoretical content with real world applications of ethics. This course may be cross-listed with specific sections of GSR 240.

Students will become adept at ethical reasoning methods by analyzing works of popular culture, such as movies, books, TV series, graphic novels, and video games. Individual sections may focus on particular popular culture works or genres, or on questions that arise in multiple works. Emphasis will be on identifying relevant ethical issues, using the resources within the targeted media to address these issues, and applying and evaluating moral theories.

Study of questions relating to value judgments, such as 'What makes actions right or wrong?' and 'What are the components of a good life?' This course covers the principles and methods of moral reasoning. Students will compare and evaluate various ethical theories, and use them to examine and debate classic problems and current controversies.

Feminism is one of the core social justice movements today. A commitment to gender justice raises deep philosophical issues. What is gender? What are justice and injustice? What does specifically gendered justice require? In this discussion-focused course, we will investigate foundational and topical questions of feminist theory, by both classic and contemporary authors. Topics covered include historical views; feminist ethics; feminist metaphysics and epistemology; feminist philosophy of language; Deaf feminism; and gender and its critical connections to productions of race, class, sexuality and disability.

This course is an introduction to the field of medical ethics and the kinds of decisions individuals and families make about health care and treatment options. Students will look at current issues such as kinds of treatment and their effects, allocation of health care resources, ethical issues of health care professionals, managed care decisions, and end of life decisions. Students will apply philosophical theories of ethics to these issues and develop perspectives on health care decision making.

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for sophomores. Students may enroll in 295 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Study of the nature of reality and our knowledge thereof. Questions for consideration include: Is there a ''real world'' that is different from the way things appear? What are properties? Do humans ever freely choose their actions? Is there such a thing as truth? How does evidence justify belief? Can we really know anything?

Study of major social and political philosophies, including explanation and discussion of the principal ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, and the Founding Fathers.

The study of topics relating to ethics that are not covered in depth in the regular departmental course offerings. Topics may include moral theory, moral psychology, applied ethics, and controversial social issues.

Study of the nature of religious knowledge, grounds for belief in God, immortality, the problem of evil, and morality and religion.

A critical study of the major theories justifying the punishment of criminals, including retributivism, consequentialism, and hybrid and alternative approaches. Arguments about the appropriateness of certain punishments, such as the death penalty and felon disenfranchisement, will also be considered. Emphasis will be on analysis and evaluation of complex texts and on ethical debate.

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for juniors. Students may enroll in 395 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Survey of American philosophy, including basic ideas of Edwards, the Founding Fathers, Emerson, Thoreau, Peirce, James, Dewey, Whitehead, and representatives of contemporary thought.

An in-depth study of one or two related major philosophers. The philosophical thinkers will vary by semester. This course will include analyzing the philosopher's own works as well as commentaries and criticisms by others.

Bioethics is a branch of applied ethics, which in turn is a part of the philosophical field of ethics. Bioethics applies ethical theory to issues in the biological sciences, including scientific research and healthcare. This course introduces major theoretical approaches to bioethics and applies them to topics of interest to the deaf community, including (but not limited to) eugenics, cochlear implant surgery, and genetic technology. Bioethics theories and concepts covered will include informed consent, research ethics, individual and group rights, surrogate decision-making, quality of life, genetic enhancement versus gene therapy, and wrongful life. The potential impact of new and emerging technologies on the deaf community will also be discussed.

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Study of special problems in philosophy through extensive reading, independent research, and writing. Problems to be considered and materials to be covered will be determined in consultation with the instructor.

Required Capstone course 3 hours

Choose one course:

Students will research and write a high quality formal philosophy paper, approximately 20 - 25 pages in length, on a topic determined in consultation with the instructor. The thesis shall be reviewed by, and defended before, a committee of at least three members of the faculty, including the instructor.

A course of intensified research and the writing of a thesis, approximately 50 pages in length, on a topic determined in consultation with the instructor. The thesis shall be reviewed by, and defended before, a committee of at least three members of the faculty, including the instructor.

Program Outcomes

1. Intelligently discuss important philosophical problems and theories.

      a. Identify philosophical questions, clarifying what is at issue and why the question is controversial.


      b. Describe significant attempts to answer these questions (i.e., theories, particular philosophers' responses).


      c. Discuss shortcomings in these attempted answers and how they might be debated.


2. Demonstrate sophisticated critical thinking skills.


      a. Analyze arguments, identifying premises, conclusions, assumptions, and logical relations.


      b. Evaluate arguments, judge the quality of the reasoning/information, and raise specific objections.


      c. Provide compelling reasons in support of opinions, avoid common argument flaws, and thoughtfully respond to objections


      d. Solve problems logically and innovatively


3. Actively engage with debates and developments in the history of philosophy.


      a. Explain themes, theories, and arguments involving philosophers from the (1) ancient/medieval period, (2) early modern period, and (3) late modern to contemporary period, demonstrating connections among them.


      b. Critically engage with complex primary source texts.


4, Perform high-quality independent philosophical research.


      a. Identify a clear and specific philosophical question and develop a research plan to address it.


      b. Integrate material from relevant, diverse, high-quality sources to apply to the question.


      c. Present arguments that build on other authors' work, but also include original analysis.


      d. Apply the above to create a substantial scholarly document that explores a student-selected philosophical topic.


5. Make reasoned decisions about ethical issues.


      a. Recognize ethical issues in complex contexts, clarifying how various issues relate to each other.


      b. Articulate multiple points of view on ethics and values.


      c. Describe ethical theories, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses.


      d. Apply ethical concepts and theories to evaluate actions and debate controversial social issues. 

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B.A. in Philosophy

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