Department of Philosophy

Associate Professor Walter E. Schaller, Interim Chairperson.

Professors Averill and Curzer; Associate Professors Nathan and Ransdell; Assistant Professors Lewis, Thomasson, and Webb.

This department supervises the following degree programs: PHILOSOPHY, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts. The department also participates in directing the minor in humanities at the undergraduate level and the doctoral program in fine arts at the graduate level.

Education in philosophy develops abilities in critical thinking, increases understanding of normative issues, provides a unique interdisciplinary perspective on man in the universe, gives opportunities for critically examining methods of inquiry, yields a grasp of the development of human ideas in a cross-cultural perspective, and effectively increases one's ability to understand others and communicate with others. Philosophy majors may qualify for graduate work in philosophy in preparation for college or university teaching careers, but a major in philosophy is also recognized by many professional schools and employers as a fine preparation because students of philosophy are able to think for themselves in a critical and objective manner.

Evidence that a philosophy education has broad application to various fields can be seen in the remarkable performance of majors on admission to professional schools. Over recent years, they have scored higher on average than business majors on admissions tests to business schools (GMAT), higher than any other humanities or social science areas on the graduate record examinations (GRE), and third out of thirty disciplines on the law school admission test (LSAT). Additionally, philosophy majors have been more likely than almost all other majors to gain admission to medical schools. No other undergraduate discipline can match such a record of achievement across the entire range of professional and graduate schools.

The Philosophy Department twice yearly brings distinguished guest speakers from around the world for public lectures, classroom discussions, and visits with philosophy majors and graduate students. These visits provide a unique chance to talk informally about philosophical topics with world famous scholars.

Students majoring in philosophy must complete 30 hours in philosophy, including PHIL 2310, 3301, 3303, either 4330 or 4340, and one of the following: 2320, 3320, 3321, 3332, 4320, or 4321. Majors may not count PHIL 1310 toward fulfilling the 30 hour requirement, but they may substitute PHIL 4310 for the 2310 requirement. Minors are required to complete 18 hours in philosophy. For transfer students, at least 9 hours of the major or 6 hours of the minor must be completed in residency at Texas Tech. Philosophy students must receive at least a C in any philosophy course in order for it to count toward major or minor requirements.

The department also participates in directing a program leading to double majors in philosophy and psychology, and in philosophy and English. It is possible to arrange double majors between philosophy and other departments as well.

Courses in Philosophy. (PHIL)

1310. Reasoning (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Freshman or sophomore standing. Basic methods of objective thinking. Considers elementary forms of reasoning, problem-solving techniques, and avoidance of common fallacies. Emphasis is upon developing skills in the practice of everyday logic. [ENGL 1313]

2300. Beginning Philosophy (3:3:0). An introduction to philosophical thinkers, ideas, and methods. [PHIL 1301]

2310. Logic (3:3:0). Development of formal methods for evaluating deductive reasoning. Additional topics may include uses of language, definition, nondeductive inference. [PHIL 2303]

2320. Introduction to Ethics (3:3:0). Discussion of problems and theories of morality. Includes the application of philosophical techniques to issues of contemporary moral concern. [PHIL 2306]

2350. World Religions and Philosophy (3:3:0). Philosophical study of the doctrines and practices of the major world religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

3301. Classical Greek Philosophy (3:3:0). Study of the major philosophical ideas as originally developed in the western world by thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and others.

3302. Asian Philosophy (3:3:0). Study of the major philosophical ideas originating in India and China, and developed generally in Asia.

3303. Modern European Philosophy (1600-1800) (3:3:0). Study of the major philosophical ideas as they developed in Great Britain and on the European continent since the Renaissance. Considers, among others, Descartes, Hume, and Kant.

3304. Existentialism and Phenomenology (3:3:0). Consideration of the meaning of human existence through study of thinkers such as Heidegger, Husserl, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and others.

3305. American Philosophy (3:3:0). An examination of philosophical thought in the United States from prerevolutionary times to the present through the works of thinkers such as Edwards, Jefferson, Peirce, and Dewey.

3320. Introduction to Political Philosophy (3:3:0). Basic issues and concepts in political philosophy, including discussion of such topics as justice, freedom, equality, authority, community, and the nature of politics and the state. (POLS 3331)

3321. Philosophy of Law (3:3:0). Discussion, based on study of philosophical writings, of various conceptions of law and their relation to morality. Includes philosophical problems about liberty, privacy, justice, and criminal punishment.

3322. Biomedical Ethics (3:3:0). Discussion of conceptual and moral problems surrounding such issues as abortion, euthanasia, genetic research, behavior control, allocation of medical resources, health, and disease.

3324. Philosophy of Religion (3:3:0). An examination of general philosophical problems that arise in connection with religion. Topics may include the nature of religion, the existence of God, the problem of evil, the relation between faith and reason, and the relation between religion and morality.

3325. Environmental Ethics (3:3:0). Discussion of conceptual and moral questions surrounding human population and consumption of resources, loss of biodiversity and wilderness areas, and human use of nonhuman animals.

3330. Philosophy of Science (3:3:0). Inquiry into the nature of science including the examination of basic scientific concepts and the forms of scientific reasoning.

3331. Philosophy of Social and Human Sciences (3:3:0). Study of selected approaches, concepts, and methods in the social and human sciences, especially as these are related to the question of the nature of man and of human society.

3332. Feminism and Philosophy (3:3:0). Discussion of issues involving women in moral, political, and legal philosophy, including the ethic of care, sexual harassment and discrimination, gender neutrality, and meaning of equality.

3334. Philosophy of Biology (3:3:0). Study of the nature and scope of biological theories. Topics may include evolution and creation, natural selection and design, sociobiology, or genetic engineering.

3340. Minds, Brains, and Computers (3:3:0). Study of the nature of mental entities and how they fit into the causal structure of the world, with particular reference to recent developments in the cognitive sciences.

4000. Philosophical Problems (V1-3). Prerequisite: Previous course work in philosophy and consent of instructor. Directed individual studies or conferences on selected advanced topics. May be repeated for credit.

4310. Advanced Logic (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PHIL 2310 or consent of instructor. Full treatment of sentential logic and first-order predicate logic. May also treat topics such as identity, definite descriptions, axiomatic systems, completeness.

4320. Ethics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PHIL 2320 or consent of instructor. Advanced topics in ethical theory, with special emphasis on the meaning and justification of moral judgments, the possibility of ethical knowledge, and the nature of moral standards.

4321. Political Philosophy (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Previous course work in philosophy or consent of instructor. Study of contemporary writings in political philosophy. Discussion of selected philosophical issues concerning liberalism, conservatism, communitarianism, liberal neutrality, social choice theory, and political obligation.

4323. Aesthetics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Previous course work in philosophy or consent of instructor. Discussion of the nature of art and the principles of aesthetic judgment. Emphasis on philosophical problems arising in interpretation and evaluation within the arts.

4330. Epistemology (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Previous course work in philosophy or consent of instructor. An examination of the nature and scope of knowledge, and the justification of various types of knowledge claims.

4331. Philosophy of Language (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Previous course work in philosophy or consent of instructor. General theory of significance, meaning, and interpretation.

4340. Metaphysics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Previous course work in philosophy or consent of instructor. Consideration of the nature of what there is (ontology) or of the nature of the universe as a whole (cosmology).

4341. Great Figures in Philosophy (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Previous course work in philosophy or consent of instructor. In-depth study of the works of just one or two great philosophers.

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