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Undergraduate Studies Catalog (1999-2001)


Department of Philosophy

101 Hartwell
(716) 395-2420


Chairperson: Georges Dicker; Professors: Dicker, Joseph Gilbert, Harold Greenstein; Associate Professor: Jack B. Glickman.

The Department of Philosophy promotes the ideals of impartiality, intellectual rigor and clarity of thought. Its curriculum is designed to contribute to the enrichment and refinement of students' analytical, conceptual and communicatory abilities. The study of philosophy develops rational self-consciousness and cultivates habits of critical thought. Examining the best writings in the history of philosophy provides a broader perspective from which to view one's place in nature, the world and society.

The study of philosophy is excellent preparation not only for a career as an academic philoso pher, but also for careers in all fields that require clear, analytical thinking, writing, and speaking, including teaching and education, government, the ministry, business and management, pub lishing, and many other fields. Philosophy is also an excellent major for pre-law students, and the Philosophy Club operates a Law School Information Center in 100 Hartwell Hall.

Major in Philosophy

Philosophy majors must earn a minimum of 30 credits in philosophy, 18 of which must come from six required courses, and at least 15 of which must come from upper-division courses.

Specifically, the program requirements are as follows: Credits

I. Six required courses
PHL 101 Introduction to Philosophy 3
PHL 102 Introduction to Ethics 3
PHL 202 Logic 3
PHL 304 Ancient Philosophy 3
PHL 305 History of Modern Philosophy 3
PHL 396 Seminar on Philosophical Problems
or
PHL 491 Seminar on Individual Philosophers 3

II. Elective courses
Four PHL courses, at least two of which must
be upper-division courses 12

Total: 30

Minor in Philosophy

Philosophy minors must complete 18 credits in philosophy, at least nine of which must come from upper-division courses.

Transfer credit is reviewed by the department chairperson on a course-by-course basis.

Philosophy Courses

PHL 101 Introduction to Philosophy (A,H). Provides a general introduction to the study of philoso phy, including discussion of major problems of philosophy, based on the writings of historical and contemporary thinkers. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

PHL 102 Introduction to Ethics (A,H). Provides for the study of major ethical systems in Western philosophy, including their intuitive, authoritarian, deontological, utilitarian, pragmatic or other justifications, through study of selected works of the chief moral philosophers. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHL 103 Introduction to Philosophy of Religion (A,H). Examines basic issues such as the existence and nature of God, faith and reason, the problem of evil, and religious experience and knowledge. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHL 104 Critical Thinking (A,H). Provides a study of the kinds of fallacious reasoning and argu =ments found in editorials, political statements, advertising, textbooks and statistics. Focuses on the functions of language, the construction of valid arguments, the avoidance of fallacy, and the relationships among opinion, belief, evidence and fact. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

PHL 202 Logic (A,H). Provides a study of inductive and deductive processes of reasoning, including the relation of logic to scientific inquir y and method, and the identification of fallacies in reasoning and discourse. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

PHL 304 Ancient Philosophy (A). Provides a critical analysis of the central ideas of the ancient Greek philosophers, especially those of Plato and Aristotle. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHL 305 History of Modern Philosophy (A). Provides a systematic study of the vie ws of major modern philosophers such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Hume and Kant. 3 Cr. Fall.

PHL 306 The Rationalists (A). Studies the major rationalist philosophers (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) through an analysis of selected primary sources. 3 Cr.

PHL 307 The Empiricists (A). Studies the classic British empiricist philosophers (Locke, Berkeley, Hume) through an analysis of selected primary sources. 3 Cr.

PHL 308 The Arts in Society (A,I). Considers various issues concerning the arts and human values by examining the main arguments on all sides, and the philosophical underpinnings of those arguments. Includes issues such as moral criticism of the arts, censorship versus free expression, decisions about public art, government support of the arts, and the role of criticism. 3 Cr.

PHL 315 American Philosophy (A). Studies the thought of major American philosophers such as Peirce, James, Royce, Dewey and Santayana. 3 Cr.

PHL 321 Medical Ethics (A,I). Using case studies, examines some of the complex ethical issues in med icine today: abortion on demand; euthanasia for defective newborns and for the terminally ill; med ical experimentation and informed consent; psy chosurgery and behavior control; genetic counseling and research; and allocation of medical resources. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHL 322 Intermediate Logic (A). Covers translation of English into propositional and quantified forms; construction and analyses of well-formed arguments using propositional and quantified cal culi; and symbolization of relational expressions and their use in argument forms for understanding the nature of deductive systems. 3 Cr.

PHL 323 Human Knowledge (A). Offers a careful consideration of competing answers to important philosophical questions such as: What is truth? What is the difference between belief and knowledge? Is knowledge based on reason or experience? 3 Cr.

PHL 326 Political Philosophy (A). Studies major political theories in the Western tradition, and critically examines such salient questions as: Why should some people have political power over oth ers? Why should people obey any government? What are the alternatives, if any, to a political society? 3 Cr.

PHL 332 Death and Dying (A,I). Critically examines competing answers to controversial philosophical issues surrounding death and dying. Includes topics such as defining death, the morality and rationality of suicide, euthanasia, ethical problems of pain alleviation, and the rights of the terminally ill. 3 Cr.

PHL 333 God, Self and World (A). Provides an introduction to certain basic metaphysical prob lems, such as the conception of God, the problem of evil, freedom vs. determinism, the mind/body prob lem, the problem of immortality, and the problem of the nature of the world. 3 Cr.

PHL 342 Business Ethics (A,I). Studies ethical issues arising in business practice. Considers, for example, corporate responsibility, the nature of meaningful work, the morality of the marketplace, and competition. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

PHL 352 Dimensions of Mind (A). Studies the nature of the mind from various philosophical per spectives. Considers phenomena such as conscious ness, volition, intentionality , motivation and emotion. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHL 390 Topics of Instruction (A). This is a 300-level philosophy course which is transmitted to SUNY Brockport from any of the SUNY Colleges participating in the Interactive Television Philoso phy Consortium. The mode of transmission is synchronous and interactive, and the course content varies. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

PHL 392 Existentialism (A). Studies the origin and development of existential philosophy. Considers significant themes and insights of recent and contemporary philosophers, including Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Sartre. 3 Cr.

PHL 395 Philosophy and Literature (A). Examines the ways in which literature and philosophy influence each other . Discusses writers such as Sophocles, Lucretius, St. Augustine, Mann, Camus and Sartre. 3 Cr.

PHL 396 Seminar on Philosophical Problems (A). Studies specific philosophic problems and issues (e.g., justice, freedom, skepticism, etc.). Subject matter varies as topics change. 3 Cr.

PHL 397 Abortion Controversy (A,I). Studies the moral issues in the controversy between anti-abortion and pro-choice stands on legalized abortion. 3 Cr.

PHL 414 Plato and Aristotle (A). Examines selected dialogues of Plato and the thought of Aristotle as found in his major works. 3 Cr.

PHL 419 Professional Ethics (A). Provides an overview of ethical issues in several professions. Considers what the role of the professions and the conduct of professionals should be, given societal values such as governance by law, freedom, protection from injury, equality of opportunity, privacy and welfare. 3 Cr.

PHL 428 Philosophy of Art (A). Critically examines competing answers to selected central questions in the philosophy of art using contemporary as well as historical writings. 3 Cr.

PHL 439 Practicum in Teaching Philosophy (A). Students assist Philosophy faculty in lower-division courses. Their specific duties are determined by the supervising faculty member(s). Not repeatable for multiple credit for assisting with the same course. Graded exclusively on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. 3 Cr.

PHL 490 Topics of Instruction (A). This is a 400-level philosophy course which is transmitted to SUNY Brockport from any of the SUNY Colleges participating in the Interactive Television Philosophy Consortium. The mode of transmission is synchronous and interactive, and the course content varies. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

PHL 491 Seminar on Individual Philosophers (A). Provides an in-depth study of the writings of one or two major philosophers, such as Descartes, Hume, Kant, Dewey, Sartre and Rawls. Content varies with appropriate subtitles provided. May be repeated as subtitle varies. 3 Cr. Spring.



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