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2007-2008 Undergraduate Course Catalog & Academic Policies

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College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Philosophy

http://www.phil.vt.edu/

Joseph C. Pitt, Head
Professors: R. M. Burian; V. Hardcastle; J. C. Klagge; D. G. Mayo; J. C. Pitt
Associate Professors: M. Gifford; W. FitzPatrick
Assistant Professors: S. Daskal; B. Epstein; S. May; R. M. Mayorga; L. Perini
Adjunct Professors: J. M. Buchanan (University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics and Philosophy); I. J. Good (University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Statistics); M. G. Grene (Honorary Distinguished Professor)
Career Advisor: J. C. Klagge (231-4564)
Emeritus: H. B. Miller; P. Talbutt

Professor teaching class

Overview

    Courses in philosophy aim at critical understanding and rigorous evaluation of the concepts underlying our views concerning the nature of reality, what sorts of things there are, what can be known, what is of value, and what people ought to do and to aim at. The department offers programs leading to the B.A. and to the M.A. Philosophy majors receive a strong liberal arts education and are prepared for careers that require a broad perspective and independent judgment. They are prepared for graduate work in a variety of scholarly and professional fields. An undergraduate philosophy major is especially appropriate for the student considering law school. In addition, philosophy may be an area of concentration under the interdisciplinary studies (formerly liberal arts and sciences) degree program, or may be chosen as a minor.

    Philosophy majors must complete the college core and the Curriculum for Liberal Education and successfully complete at least 30 hours in philosophy, including Phil 2115, 2116, 2125, 2126, and 3505. At least 9 of the 30 hours must be at the 3000 level or above, with at least 3 of these hours at the 4000 level. In addition, a strong second area of concentration is chosen by each major student; it will consist of at least 18 credit hours [including courses as part of the Liberal Education requirements] in one discipline or in a set of closely related disciplines other than philosophy. At least 6 of these 18 hours must be at the 3000 level or above. A double major is possible with any of several other curricula.

    Philosophy minors must complete at least 18 hours of philosophy, including one of 1504 or 3505, and 9 hours selected from among courses in the history sequence (2115, 2116, 2125, 2126) and at the 3000 or 4000 level. The total minor program must be approved by the department.

Satisfactory Progress

    University policy requires that students who are making satisfactory progress toward a degree meet minimum criteria toward the Curriculum for Liberal Education (see Academics in this catalog), toward the Liberal Arts and Human Sciences College Core, and toward the degree in philosophy.

    Satisfactory progress toward the B.A. in philosophy requires that:

  1. Upon having attempted 72 semester credits (including transfer, advanced placement, advanced standing, credit by examination, freshman rule), students must have completed:
  2. Philosophy 12
    Total Credits (12)
  3. Upon having attempted 96 semester credits, students must have an in-major grade point average of 2.0 or above.

Course Descriptions (PHIL)

1204: KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY
Examines the questions: What is the nature of reality? How do I know what is real and what is misleading appearance, error, or illusion? What is knowledge? How do I find out who I am and how I relate to the world around me? (3H,3C)

1304: MORALITY AND JUSTICE
A critical survey of theories concerning human nature, the meaningful life, and the moral evaluation of actions, persons, and institutions. Theories will be applied to such issues as abortion, justice, and moral problems faced by professionals. (3H,3C)

1504: LANGUAGE AND LOGIC
Basic concepts in logic and critical thinking: argument, validity, deduction and induction, logical form, formal and informal fallacies. Introduction to the logic of truth functions and of categorical statements. Critical analysis of arguments in ordinary language. (3H,3C)

2115,2116: ANCIENT THROUGH MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
Western philosophical thought through the medieval period. 2115: ancient philosophy, including Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. 2116: main trends in Post-Aristotelian Greek and Roman philosophy and medieval philosophy, including Augustine, Aquinas, and Ockham. (3H,3C)

2125,2126: HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Western philosophical thought from Descartes through Kant. 2125: 17th Century Philosophy, including Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Locke. 2126: 18th century philosophy, including Berkeley, Hume and Kant, with special attention to significant predecessors. (3H,3C)

2304: GLOBAL ETHICS
Ethical issues in international context. Application of the principles of moral theory to such issues as the obligations of richer nations toward poorer ones, cultural and other forms of relativism, emigration and immigration, nationalism, war, deterrence, intervention, environmental degradation, preservation of natural diversity, and responsibilities toward future generations. (3H,3C)

2605,2606: REASON AND REVOLUTION IN SCIENCE
Study of philosophical approaches to understanding and justifying modes of human reasoning both in science and everyday life. 2505: nature of theory confirmation and falsification; 2506: justifying changing paradigms of human inquiry. (3H,3C)

2964: FIELD STUDY
Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.

2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.

2984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.

3015,3016 (PSCI 3015, 3016): POLITICAL THEORY
Analysis of the fundamental ideas in the history of political theory. 3015: Plato to the 17th century. 3016: late 17th century to the present. I Pre: PSCI 1014, PSCI 1024. (3H,3C)

3024: PHILOSOPHICAL MOVEMENTS
This course focuses on the assumptions and methods of one or more contemporary or historically important philosophical movements such as Pragmatism, Phenomenology, Logical Positivism, Naturalism, Idealism, or Feminism. 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

3314: ETHICAL THEORY
Careful examination of some important historical or contemporary ethical theories. Includes coverage of such topics as the assessment of character and action, the foundations of ethical theories, their justification, their relationship to scientific theories, and their objective or subjective status. 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

3414: AESTHETICS
Studies the basic concepts used in the analysis and evaluation of art works; considers problems of art criticism as treated within major types of aesthetic theory. (3H,3C)

3454: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
A consideration of religious belief and its justification with attention to such philosophical issues as the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil, and the notion of faith. (3H,3C)

3505-3506: MODERN LOGIC AND ITS DEVELOPMENT
Logic and logical theory and the history of its development. 3505: Validity of arguments. Syllogistic logic from Aristotle to modern times. Deductive methods in truth functional and quantificational logic through the theory of identity. Translation from English into symbolic form. 3506: Metalogic and the history and philosophy of modern logical theory. Decidability and undecidability, completeness and incompleteness of formal systems. Developments from Cantor to Geodel. (3H,3C)

4015,4016: SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY
Critical examination of special issues of current philosophical interest. 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

4204: PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
Current issues in the philosophy of mind such as relation of mind and body, status of the mental, knowledge of one's own and other minds, personal identity, consciousness, mentality of animals and machines, topics in the philosophy of psychology. 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

4214: METAPHYSICS
Examination of some of the central problems of metaphysics. Topics may include: existence, necessary truth, the problem of universals, causation, the identity of the self through time, free will. Attention will be given both to the historical development of these problems and to contemporary philosophical responses to them. 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

4224: EPISTEMOLOGY
Theory of knowledge. Is all knowledge based on experience? Does knowledge have a foundation? Can knowledge of the present and the nearby give us reasons for beliefs about the future, the past, or about events far away? 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

4304: TOPICS IN SOCIAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
Study of topics such as distributive justice, equality exploitation, alienation, individual rights, anarchy, constitutional government, the justification of political authority, and liberation. Topics to be announced each semester course is offered. 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

4324 (MGT 4324): BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
An inquiry into the fundamental norms of conduct in business and other professions and their justification in relation to the most important ethical theories. Special attention will be given to moral problems such as the ethics of hiring and firing, bribery, and professional responsibility to society. (3H,3C)

4334: JURISPRUDENCE
An examination of the nature of law and legal systems with attention to traditional theories of law and to such topics as judicial decision and discretion, law and morality, the justification of legal coercion. 3 Philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

4514: SPECIAL TOPICS IN LOGIC
Topics that build upon a knowledge of classical deductive logic: extensions of classical logic, alternatives to classical logic, philosophy of logic, and philosophy of language. Topics to be announced each semester course is offered. Pre: 3505. (3H,3C)

4604: PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY
This course is designed primarily for students of biology or philosophy students with a strong interest in biology. Topics vary from year to year, but include the changing character of biology as a science, the special character of biological explanations and methods, and the place and value of reduction (e.g., of Mendelian to molecular genetics) in biology. One course at the 3000 level or higher in biology and 3 credits in philosophy required. (3H,3C)

4614: PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
An examination of the structure and methodology of science as well as key concepts such as explanation, confirmation, realism, and instrumentalism. One year of science and 3 philosophy credits required. (3H,3C)

4964: FIELD STUDY
Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.

4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.

4984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.

4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
Variable credit course.

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Virginia Tech 2007-08 Undergraduate Course Catalog and Academic Policies