Department of Philosophy

Philosophy Courses at Fort Lewis College

Courses at Fort Lewis College cover both western philosophy and many non-western traditions, while providing a strong grounding in the history of philosophy and acquainting students with contemporary theories and approaches in all four major areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and logic.

For Information on courses for the upcoming semester, please see WebOPUS or email one of the philosophy professors!

Complete Catalog of Courses in Philosophy:

Please click on the course title to view the description. * denotes a course which counts towards the Liberal Arts Core requirement (AH-3)

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An introduction to the philosophical enterprise through discussion and analysis of representative readings from the history of philosophy. Issues considered include the nature of reality, the relation of mind and body, the possibility of proving that God exists, the nature and origin of morality and beauty, and the relation of knowledge to experience. (4-0)

An examination of the ways in which philosophy is manifested in the making and content of film. This course will include the viewing of several films that portray philosophical themes on the nature of humor, drama, and the fear in contemporary film and attempt to answer questions regarding the nature of voyeuristic emotional catharsis in the making of the human being. Finally, the course hopes to address issues of cultural diversity by looking at the way various Western and non Western cultures address these issues. The course will also include philosophical readings on film and the nature of philosophical problems. (4-0)

This course will explore philosophical themes as they are presented in literature. Students will read poetry, plays and novels from antiquity to the 20th century, and examine the questions they raise about philosophical issues such as moral responsibility, the nature of the universe, and truth. (4-0)

A study of the nature and history of the major contemporary religions of the world. This course is the same as RS 172; credit will be given for only one of these courses. (4-0)

A study of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, with consideration of some dissenting views of these dominant schools of Chinese thought, such as Maoism and Legalism. We will investigate the theories of human nature, knowledge, and reality embraced by these philosophies, as well as their conceptions of ethics and politics. This course is the same as RS 244; credit will be given for only one of these courses. (3-0)

A broad review of the history of attempts since classical Greece to identify morality and to establish standards for making and assessing moral judgments. (4-0)

This course explores what responsibilities humans may have to and for animals, plants, and other elements of the natural environment. Students will explore a variety of conceptual frameworks for examining issues in environmental ethics, such as anthropocentric ethics, biocentric ethics, land ethics, deep ecology, and ecological feminism. (4-0)

This course offers an introductory, selective review of major theories and empirical studies, from classical to contemporary, of social relations and human interactions while exploring the political contexts in which social philosophies emerge. It also provides an overview of how organization of governments has been conceptualized and practiced, how law and policy originate and evolve, and how social and political ideals are formulated, transformed, and institutionalized. (4-0)

A broad treatment of different methods of assessing the validity of deductive and inductive arguments. The course covers syllogistic logic, elementary truth-functional logic, quantification and brief discussions of informal logic and inductive logic. (4-0)

An examination of the history and philosophy from the origins of scientific thought in Asia Minor through the synthesis of Christianity and Greek philosophy in the thought of St. Augustine and the medieval scholastics. A major emphasis of the course will be the systems of Plato and Aristotle, which provide many of the roots of modern thought. This course is a suitable beginning course in philosophy. (4-0)

This course explores philosophical controversies concerning knowledge and skepticism: What is truth? What is it for a belief to be justified? Do we know anything? Does knowledge represent objective reality or merely a culturally constructed conception of reality? Traditional and current answers to these and related questions are scrutinized. (4-0)

Individual research is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Topic and format must be approved by the Department Chairperson and Dean. 50 contact hours are the equivalent of one credit hour. (1-6)

A survey of selected regional belief systems outside the major religious traditions treated in Phil 321. Emphasis is on philosophical foundations of religious cultures native to the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Old Europe. Special attention is given to the mythic and other symbolic expressions of “archaic” consciousness in contemporary societies. This course is the same as RS 320; credit will be given for only one of these courses. (4-0)

An examination of the scope, structure, methodology, and spirit of science with special attention to such topics as the relation between the presuppositions and the conclusions of science, the nature of scientific revolutions and the social responsibilities of the scientist. (4-0)

This course explores the problems raised by religion: Does God exist? Is it rational to believe in God? If God knows the future, is it possible for humans to act freely? Does the existence of evil disprove the existence of God? Can all religions be equally true? This course is the same as RS 360; credit will be given for only one of these courses. (4-0)

An examination of nature and purposes of art through the study of several traditional and contemporary philosophies of art such as those of Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Tolstoy, Collingwood, and Merleau Ponty. Topics include nature of the art object, the distinction between art and craft, the role of imitation, representation, expression and creativity, the social function and responsibility of the artist, and the nature of aesthetic experience. (4-0)

An examination of gender bias in its various guises, such as androcentrism, gender polarization, and biological essentialism. Explanations of the source and maintenance of sexism are explored through feminist theories: liberal, radical, Marxist, existential, psychoanalytic, and postmodern. Feminist theory itself is critically evaluated. (4-0)

An examination of the roots of the Enlightenment, including studies of rationalism, the origins of scientific thought, ethical modes of thought grounded in reason and empiricism, and social and individual notions of self-identity. This course examines the origins of enlightenment as a rebirth of the Renaissance and as the beginnings of contemporary Western notions of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Thinkers to be discussed will include Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Rousseau, and others of the period. (4-0)

This course is an exploration of historical and contemporary attempts to answer questions about the ultimate nature of reality, such as: Why is there something rather than nothing? Do humans have free will? Is freedom compatible with determinism? What makes me the same person I was as a child? What makes the future different from the past? (4-0)

An examination of the various philosophical underpinnings of multicultural Southwest. The course will also examine the kinds of misunderstandings which can emerge from the interactions of these cultures when cultural philosophical assumptions go unexamined. (3-0)

This course explores puzzles raised by the existence of minds, making special use of contemporary theories of meaning in order to address them. What is a mind? How are minds related to bodies? What is it to have thoughts? Is language necessary for thinking? How does language represent reality? How do we know what others mean by their words? (4-0)

In this course students will examine major movements in the 19th and 20th century European and American philosophy. The course will include a study of Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard from the 19th century. From the twentieth century, students will focus on developments in the analytic and continental traditions. (4-0)

An examination in depth of the writings of a major philosopher such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Marx, Heidegger, or Sartre. This course may be repeated as long as the topics are different. (4-0)

Advanced study and research in selected topics. (4-0)

Individual research is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Topic and format must be approved by the Department Chairperson and Dean. 50 contact hours are the equivalent of one credit hour. (1-6)