New and Noteworthy

New Courses

PHIL. 108 – What is Freedom?

Introduction to philosophy through an investigation of freedom. What is freedom, and why do we value it? Do we have free will? What limitations on individual freedom by society are legitimate? What is a free society?

- Phil 108 satisfies the Individual and Society Gen. Ed. requirement.
- Spring 2017: Lec: MW12-12:50/Dis: F 11 or 12 Prof. W. Small

PHIL 101 – Critical Thinking

Experts agree that critical thinking is both the most important skill for succeeding in college and the most important skill students can learn in college. The skills taught in this class are also those explicitly tested on graduate entrance exams like the MCAT, LSAT and GRE. We will learn the basics of deductive and inductive logic, formal and informal fallacies. Then we will apply these skills by evaluating various forms of reasoning offered in scientific, moral, and popular contexts.

- Phil 101 satisfies the Individual and Society Gen Ed requirement.
- Spring 2017: Two sections: MW 3-4:15 and TR 8-9:15.

PHIL 230 – Justice in a Democracy (Officially listed as “Topics in Ethics and Political Philosophy”)

What is justice? What might a just society look like, and what are some of the means of making our own society more just? We will think about the relation of the idea of justice to other fundamental ideas in political philosophy like rights, equality, and democracy. The aim will be to think clearly about these concepts in order to think about pressing social and political questions: e.g. education and opportunity, taxation and the concentration of wealth, social movements and democratic change.

- Spring 2017: TR 11-12:15, Prof. A. Laden.

Changes to teaching methods

Enhancements to Philosophy 102

Logic (Phil 102) has long been one of the most popular introductory courses offered by the philosophy department.  We recently made some changes to the way we teach this course to make it even better.  All classes now use the same textbook, and there are common exams.  In addition to weekly discussion sections, a large number of guided study sessions are offered each week where small groups of students can work on problem sets together under the guidance of a TA.  These additional resources will make it easier for students to master the content of the course.

Introductory courses focus on essential skills

In recent semesters we’ve modified our introductory courses to place a greater emphasis on teaching key reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Taking an introductory philosophy course will help students develop these skills, which will help them excel in all of their undergraduate courses. It has also increased success rates in these courses as well. All introductory level philosophy classes satisfy Gen Ed requirements.   

Philosophy Club

The Philosophy Club brings your favorite subject outside the classroom with movie screenings, talks by faculty and graduate students, outings to cultural events, discussions of real-world ethical issues, and more. The Club’s activities are a good way to develop and apply your philosophical skills in a friendly, informal setting, and to meet new people with similar interests.  Plus, free food!  If you’d like to be added to the Philosophy Club email list, contact John Whipple (