Preview of Courses

Preview of Courses The following are courses that have been offered or are usually offered by the Department of Philosophy. For a comprehensive list of courses, please refer to the current Schedule of Classes or Course Catalog.

PHIL 270. History of Social Thought
Historical approaches to the foundations of the state, and feminist and anti-racist critiques of that social contract tradition.

PHIL 280. Philosophy of Simplicity
This course explores the theory and practice of simplifying one's life. Readings come from the eastern and western traditions, ancient and modern, with a particular focus on the Quaker practice of simplicity as a way to live in accordance with one's conscience. There will also be a one week retreat at Hsi Lai Temple to experience the Buddhist approach to simplicity. The course fee covers room, board, transportation, and a robe. January term.

PHIL 302. The Development of Buddhist Philosophical Thought
The development of Buddhist philosophical thinking as it began in India and flourished in China and Japan. Previous course in philosophy recommended. PHIL 305. Seminar in Buddhist philosophy Focused study on a Buddhist text in preparation for a week-long meditation retreat at Hsi Lai Temple. Phil 302, Buddhist Philosophy, is recommended but not required. PHIL 310. Classical Philosophy Greek and Roman thought as the foundation for Western philosophy with an emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. Previous course in Philosophy recommended.

PHIL 315. Modern Philosophy
Major Continental and British philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, beginning with Descartes and ending with Kant. Not open to freshmen; previous course in philosophy recommended.

PHIL 340. Contemporary Social Philosophy
Concepts in social philosophy such as justice, welfare, the individual, community, and society; contemporary problems such as the just allocation of resources, the individual in relation to society, and the relationship between law and morality. Open to juniors, or sophomores with one previous course in philosophy. Recommended: Phil 270.

INTD 290 A,B. Classical Greece & Rome
This course provides a remarkable grounding in the humanities by taking us back to the beginnings of Western civilization in ancient Greece and Rome. The time period covered is roughly the ninth century B.C.E. to the fourth century of the common era: the so-called "classical" period. It is classical because so much of what is best about us derives from this period, and because we return to it over and over again as a touchstone for our own efforts (out of the flux and multiplicity of life) to create something that is beautiful, good, and true. As we explore classical Greco-Roman civilization, we will engage with a history at least as bloody, uncertain, and cynical as that of our own time. But we will also find some of the world's most remarkable writers--among them Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, and Augustine - seeking wisdom and solace in the composition of works that still possess their edge and relevance. Our engagement with written culture during the fall semester will prepare us for our January trip (INTD 290 B) and an on-site encounter with the material culture of classical Greece and Rome: the statues and frescoes, temples and sanctuaries, law courts and marketplaces, theatres and stadiums, houses and cemeteries, that contributed as much as any literary or philosophical text to shaping ancient men and women. As we visit the Athenian agora where Socrates walked and talked, the Theatre of Dionysus where the plays of Sophocles and Aristophanes were first performed, the cave at Cumae where Aeneas consulted the Sybil, the Roman Forum where Cicero honed his oratorical skills, and the site of the Nemean Games celebrated in Pindar’s odes, we will be able to appreciate in a concrete and vivid way the ancient quest for wholeness in the life of the individual and of society.

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