Philosophy Courses | Hastings College

Philosophy Courses

Philosophy Courses

Philosophy, as the name implies, is the love of wisdom. Philosophy teaches arts appropriate to critical thinking and to the examination of such time-honored questions as: What is truth? What is beauty? What is goodness? The study of Philosophy is always in part a study of history and a study of society. We therefore emphasize the reading of original texts in the history of philosophy and our goal is to improve the depth of thought and writing of our students.

Philosophy major (32 hours): including 204, 211, 213 and 401, plus 16 other credits in philosophy (PHL). These 16 other credits must include at least two additional 300 or 400 level courses (excluding 411). Philosophy majors will also have to complete a senior project and must take PHL 411.

Philosophy minor (20 hours): including 211 and 213, plus 12 other credits in philosophy (PHL) courses including at least two additional 300 or 400 level courses. 401 is recommended.


PHL 100 Introduction to Philosophy — 4 hours
A survey of the scope of philosophy, a sampling of typical problems encountered and some of the more famous solutions proposed. Taught at least once a year.

PHL 104 Ethics — 4 hours
Philosophical analysis of classical ethical problems such as the nature of the good, of virtuous action, and of free will. Taught at least once a year.

PHL 114 Contemporary Moral Issues — 4 hours
An analysis of modern technological society and of the unique moral issues pertinent to that society. Taught once every two years.

PHL 204 Logic — 4 hours
A study of critical thinking in both argumentation and exposition of theory. Every Fall.

PHL 211 Ancient and Medieval Philosophy — 4 hours
An historical survey of the most influential philosophies in Western culture through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Every Fall.

PHL 213 Modern and Contemporary Philosophy — 4 hours
An historical survey of the most important philosophies in Western culture from Descartes to the present. Every Spring.

PHL 230 Medieval Philosophy — 4 hours
Beginning with Plato and Aristotle and the Neoplatonism of Plotinus, and Augustine's influence on medieval philosophy. Additional medieval philosophers Aquinas, Anselm, and Ockham will be considered, including representatives of the Jewish and Islamic traditions (e.g. Maimonides and Avicenna). Issues in metaphysics and epistemology would provide a focus to the historical survey. Taught as permitted.

PHL 243 Philosophies of Culture and Society — 4 hours

PHL 265 Philosophies of Education — 4 hours

PHL 274 Philosophy of Religion — 4 hours
Analysis of arguments for and against traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs, such as immortality, the existence of God, miracles, and the validity of faith. Also, some consideration of non-Western religious beliefs and philosophical methods. (Also REL 274) Taught at least once a year.

PHL 304 Metaphysics — 4 hours
Study of the nature of reality: what is really real and what may be merely appearance or illusion. Study of the more influential metaphysical positions including Idealism, Realism, Materialism, and Subjectivism. Taught every two years.

PHL 314 Theory of Knowledge — 4 hours
Analysis of the philosophical problems involved in knowing something and knowing that we know it. A study of the more influential epistemologies in Western philosophy. Taught every two years.

PHL 334 Myth and Symbol — 4 hours
The nature of myth and symbol as central to the concerns of the humanities, considering the relationship between reason, understanding, myth, and imagination. Taught every two years.

PHL 344 Philosophy of Art — 4 hours
This course will survey ways in which philosophers, artists and critics have asked what is art and how does art relate to beauty and to society. This investigation will help students consider new ways of understanding, critiquing and, to an extent, creating art. Taught every other year.

PHL 345 Philosophy of Film and Culture — 4 hours
The Philosophy of Film and Culture studies the language of film and its criticism and begins a phenomenology of film. The art of film presents certain epistemological problems that are examined in relation to the technological culture that produces it. The approach is both historical and philosophical. Taught as permitted.

PHL 346 Philosophy and Literature — 4 hours
A comparison of a variety of topics as they are portrayed in philosophy and literature. Topics may include the good life, the relationship of individuals to God, the responsibility of an individual to society. (Also ENG 346) Taught as permitted.

PHL 351 Social Philosophy — 4 hours
An analysis of some of the key discussions in the history of social philosophy. Special emphasis will be placed on the issues surrounding the problem of interpretation in culture and the very possibility for social critique. Taught as permitted.

PHL 354 Religion & Culture — 4 hours
Analysis of the interrelationships between religion/philosophy and culture/society, including theological and philosophical critiques of culture. Areas considered may include science, technology, art, literature, gender. (Also REL 354) Taught as permitted.

PHL/PLS 356 Political Philosophy — 4 hours
This course will survey the development of political theory from Plato and Aristotle, through Enlightenment social contract theory and communism, to the current debate between liberalism and communitarianism. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the ideas of freedom, citizenship, social responsibility and feminist political theory. Taught in the spring of odd-numbered years.

PHL 364 Philosophy of History — 4 hours
Study of the philosophical problems, especially epistemology and metaphysics, confronting enlightened historiographers, or writers of history, and their readers. Taught as permitted.

PHL 365 Philosophies of Education — 4 hours

PHL 384 Philosophy of Science — 4 hours
Study of the philosophical assumptions undergirding the scientific enterprise, and the more influential philosophies of science. Taught as permitted.

PHL 401 Advanced Topics — 4 hours
An advanced level philosophy class, usually taught in the seminar format, that will examine a particular philosopher or theme in depth. The topics will be chosen by the professor each year. The course may be repeated if the topic has changed. While this course is primarily intended to prepare majors for the senior project, philosophy minors and students who have an interest in the topic are welcome to take it. Prerequisite: any philosophy course or the approval of the instructor. Taught every fall.

PHL 411 Senior Project — 0-1 hour
The senior project gives philosophy majors the opportunity to further refine and deepen the research completed in the Advanced Topics Seminar. The completed project will be a polished research paper of moderate length that will be defended infront of the department and then presented publicly. Every spring.

PHL 443 Philosophies of Culture and Society — 4 hours
Consideration of theories of culture and society from a contemporary and historical perspective. The course will focus on the interplay among symbolic constructions of meaning, institutions, and individuals. Areas of examination will differ each semester; for example prisons, hospitals, asylums may be considered. Taught as permitted.