Philosophy

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  • CAS PH 100: Introduction to Philosophy
    Introduces the nature of philosophical activity through careful study of major philosophical topics. Topics may include the nature of reality, knowledge, God's existence, and the significance of human life.Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Critical Thinking and Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meaning. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 110: Great Philosophers
    An introduction to philosophy through a reading of great figures in western thought. The list may include Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Roussesau, Nietzsche, Russell. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 150: Introduction to Ethics
    Many of us want to lead meaningful lives. But what is it for a life to be meaningful? What makes some lives better or more meaningful than others? Can life as a whole have some significance or meaning? Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 155: Politics and Philosophy
    What is justice? What are the foundations of property rights, liberty, and equality? Are anarchism and utopianism defensible? This course is an introduction to major themes and questions in political philosophy. It includes a study of classical and modern texts, as well as contemporary political issues. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 159: Philosophy and Film
    This class provides an introduction philosophical and aesthetic issues connected with film. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 160: Reasoning and Argumentation
    A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students' actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse. We will emphasize argumentation and criticism in ordinary life and also present formal models of reasoning designed to elicit underlying patterns and structures of reasoning and argumentation that are widely applicable. Simultaneous training in skills of argument analysis, argument pattern recognition, argument construction, and argument interpretation and creation. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 242: Philosophy of Human Nature
    Examines the way in which Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud undermine traditional conceptions of human nature. These thinkers teach us to question our ordinary assumptions about religion, human distinctiveness, the conscious mind, the role and status of morality, and the uplifting effects of civilization. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 245: The Quest for God and the Good
    An interactive seminar, investigating the meaning and purpose of human life, the significance of God or an Absolute, the role of contemplation and action in the spiritual quest, relationships between philosophy and religious thought, East and West. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • CAS PH 247: Introduction to Chinese Philosophy
    Is human nature fundamentally good or fundamentally bad? How can we best achieve an enduring social order? What is the shape of a life well lived? This class examines such questions in the context of the classical period in Chinese philosophy, focusing on (1) Kongzi (Confucius), (2) Mozi, (3) Mengzi (Mencius), (4) Zhuangzi, and (5) Xunzi. A primary goal of the course is to expose students to the richness, vitality, and plurality of the philosophical scene in ancient China. Topics discussed include moral virtue, music, education, and the ethics of war. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 248: Existentialism
    This course examines how existentialist thinkers grappled with some of the most problematic aspects of the human condition. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 251: Medical Ethics
    This course will survey ethical issues that arise in connection with medicine and emerging biotechnologies. It will examine topics such as the right to healthcare, research on human subjects, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, genetic selection, disabilities, and the biomedical enhancement of human capacities. Students can expect to gain not only training in the concepts and methods of moral philosophy and the logic of argumentation, but also the resources needed for assessing ethically difficult questions that healthcare professionals routinely face. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 253: Social Philosophy
    Through a reading of some selected texts we will examine modern and contemporary theories of society, concerning its nature and the direction of its evolution. The philosophical and sociological discussions are framed in terms of the complicated relationship between individuals and society, and between civil society and the sovereign power. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Social Inquiry I
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 255: Law, Philosophy, and Society
    Examination of issues concerning law and its place in society, such as law's relation to democracy, the nature of constitutional rights, and legal (especially constitutional) interpretation. Readings include social theory and judicial opinions as well as more narrowly philosophical sources. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
    • Social Inquiry I
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 256: Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality
    This course analyzes gender and sexuality from an intersectional perspective. We focus on metaphysics, epistemology, and semantics to understand gender and sexuality as they exist within interlocking systems of oppression including racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and fatphobia. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, The Individual in Community, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • The Individual in Community
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 259: Philosophy of the Arts
    What makes something beautiful? How do different arts (music, dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, drama) relate to our aesthetic experience of the world? Explores several philosophical theories of art through specific examples of artwork. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 261: Puzzles and Paradoxes
    Some of our most basic beliefs, when scrutinized, lead to absurd conclusions. For example, using only beliefs that seem uncontroversial, we can conclude that motion is impossible, that everyone is bald, and it is impossible to give a surprise exam. Carefully scrutinizing the reasoning that leads to these absurdities often yields substantial philosophical insight. In this course, we will examine a number of such puzzles and paradoxes in detail. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Quantitative Reasoning I
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS PH 265: Minds and Machines
    Examines efforts of artificial intelligence to model the human mind and explain human thought. Explores the historical and mathematical origins of such efforts, and the psychological and philosophical assumptions on which they depend. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • CAS PH 266: Mind, Brain, and Self
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120).
    This course is devoted to exploring the relationships among consciousness, the mind, and the brain, the nature of the self or person, and other related topics. This course will also examine whether and to what extent these issues can be addressed by contemporary natural science. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Writing-Intensive Course, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Critical Thinking
    • Writing-Intensive Course
  • CAS PH 270: Philosophy of Science
    Uses scientific examples from the study of physics, biology, and mind. Focuses on the aims of science, the nature of scientific understanding, the structure and interpretation of scientific theories, and the development of science. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • CAS PH 272: Science, Technology, and Values
    Examination of some of the important ways in which science, technology, society, and human values are interconnected. Includes case studies of the social and ethical challenges posed by computer, military, and biological technology. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.