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Philosophy

Chair: Professor Bernie Canteñs
Faculty: Associate Professor Carol Moeller; Associate Professor Arash Naraghi; Visiting Assistant Professor Leon Niemoczynski

The Philosophy Department provides students with the opportunity to explore questions of fundamental significance to human life: What is justice? How should we live? What is truly valuable? Is there a God? What is reality? What can we really know? And what meaning is there to life? Through training students to think, discuss, and write cogently on such matters, the department prepares them for graduate or professional school in the humanities, social sciences, seminary, and law school, as well as for lifelong learning and reflection.

The Major in Philosophy

The major in philosophy consists of ten course units, of which four are required, three are restricted electives, and three are general electives from among all philosophy courses. The required courses are Philosophy 110, 120, 220, and 222. The restricted electives are two of the following four courses: Philosophy 241, 243, 245, and 247; and either Philosophy 351 or 353. One of the three general electives may come from a related program, subject to approval of the department chair.

The Minor in Philosophy

The minor in philosophy consists of five course units in philosophy, of which three are restricted and two are electives. The restricted courses are one course from Philosophy 110, 120, 220, and 222; one course from Philosophy 241, 243, 245, and 247; and either Philosophy 351 or 353.

The Minor in Ethics

A minor in ethics includes 5 course units, at least 3 of which must be taken at Moravian (or another LVAIC institution).  Philosophy 222, 224, and 355 are required.  In addition, students must choose 2 course units from among the list below; 1 relevant course from outside the department of philosophy or 1 special topics course may be included in the minor, with approval from the chair of philosophy:

PHIL 226.2 and 227.2 Ethics Bowl
PHIL 228 WI:Sports Ethics 
PHIL 250 Environmental Philosophy
PHIL 251 Philosophy of Technology
PHIL 255 Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 257 Bio-Ethics and Social Justice
PHIL 259 Medical Ethics
PHIL 267 West African Philosophy: Akan Ethics
PHIL 271 Race, Gender, Identity, and Moral Knowledge

A student with a major in philosophy may not minor in Ethics.

The Certificate in Ethics

The Ethics Certificate program studies prominent ethical theories, the history of ethical thought, applied ethical methodologies, and the good life (individually and collectively). The program is designed to give students the ethical reasoning skills to become good ethical decision-makers in their personal and professional lives. We explore contemporary ethical issues in bioethics, medical ethics, business ethics, and environmental ethics. We also explore social justice issues in the legal, social, and political arenas. Students who complete the program will be able to articulate clearly ethical problems, relevant ethical issues, and ethical dilemmas. Students will be able to construct justified ethical solutions to such problems while being sensitive to the multivarious perspectives, rights, and interests. Moreover, students will be prepared to analyze the value of existing codes of ethics in the workplace and implement guidelines for ethical behavior in a professional environment.

The Ethics Certificate consists of four course units in value theory courses. One course unit ​may be from a related program subject to approval by the chair of the philosophy department.

Value Theory Courses include: 

PHIL 222 Ethics
PHIL 224 Applied Ethics 
PHIL 226.2 Ethics Bowl I 
PHIL 227.2 Ethics Bowl II
PHIL 228 WI:Sports Ethics 
PHIL 230/330 Advanced Topics in the Ethics of Abortion
PHIL 232 Race, Gender, Identity, and Moral Knowledge
PHIL 234.2 Aristotle on Friendship
PHIL 234 Ethics for the Public's Health
PHIL 250 Environmental Ethics
PHIL 255 Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 257 Bio-Ethics and Social Justice
PHIL 259 Medical Ethics
PHIL 265 Feminist Philosophy
PHIL 267 West African Philosophy: Akan Ethics
PHIL 279 Philosophy of Law
PHIL 281 Topics in Ethics
PHIL 330/230 Advanced Topics in the Ethics of Abortion
PHIL-355 Meta-Ethics
PHIL 371 Seminar in Philosophy

The Interdepartmental Major

The six courses that constitute Set I of the interdepartmental major in philosophy include PHIL 120, 210, and 222, and one course in the history of philosophy (241, 243, 245, or 247). The remaining two courses in philosophy and the six courses of Set II are selected by the student with the approval of the advisor.

Departmental Recommendations

Students considering graduate work in philosophy should meet the language requirement with French, German, Greek, or Latin.

Courses in Philosophy

PHIL 110 Introduction to Logic: Critical Thinking. An introduction of the basic concepts of logic, informal fallacies and categorical logic. (M3)

PHIL 115 Philosophy of Human Experience.  This course examines the philosophy of human existence through various perspectives including the meaning of life, theories of reality, the existence of God, theories of knowledge, morality, and social justice issues.  The course engages students in discussions of what it means to be human, what is a liberal arts education, and how work and education enhance our human experience.

PHIL 120  Introduction to Philosophy. Tasks and the subject matters of philosophy, including the major theories of reality, knowledge, religion, morality and social justice. Attention to several classic philosophical texts as primary source readings. (M3) 

PHIL 130 Hip Hop Music, Spoken Word, and Philosophy. We will investigate how some Hip Hop music and Spoken Word works engage with classic Western philosophical themes and questions, including those of knowledge, metaphysics, ethics, love, and justice. How do some contribute to knowledge and some perpetuate injustice, sexism, and violence? How does Rakim relate to Augustine’s arguments on God, Gil Scot-Heron to Kant on punishment, Lil’ Kim to Sartre on “the objectifying gaze”? Students will be required to attend two spoken word workshops or performances, and to view and listen to material outside of class.

PHIL 220 Advanced Logic: Sentential and Predicate Logic. A study of advanced topics in logic, including propositional and predicate logic.
  
PHIL 222  Ethics.Formulating principles defining the good human being and to applying these to relevant problems of vocation and social and political justice. (M3) Fall 

PHIL 224 Applied Ethics. A study of the application of ethical theory to complex real and fictitious cases concerning contemporary moral issues such as euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, animal rights, cloning, torture, same sex marriage, etc.  (U2)

PHIL 226.2 and 227.2 Ethics Bowl (0.5 units). This course examines, within teams, ethical cases with the purpose of developing ethical positions supported by arguments, debated at the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition. Fall. Prerequisite: PHIL 222 or PHIL 224 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL 228 WI:Sports Ethics. This course introduces students to ethical concepts, theories, and methods through which they can reflectively analyze and perform ethical decision making in the realm of sports and recreation, within an evolving cultural, political and technological environment. A substantial part of the course will be devoted to case studies and the implementation of ethical theories to concrete cases. Writing-Intensive. Fall, Alternative Year. 

PHIL 230 Advance Topics in the Ethics of Abortion. This course analyzes the ethical issue of abortion through a balanced and fair examination of philosophical pro-life and pro-choice arguments from a variety of perspectives. We examine personhood arguments, the deprivation argument, arguments based on women’s rights, arguments based on the potentiality of the fetus, feminist arguments, a virtue ethics approach, and other contemporary arguments. Students may not take PHIL 230 and PHIL 330.  Junior/Senior Standing (U2)

PHIL 232 Race, Gender, Identity, and Moral Knowledge Philosophy. A study of the relationships among identities, experiences and moral knowledge.  Some of the issues discussed are the following: How do our unique experiences shape our moral views?  How are those experiences shaped by such differences as race, culture, gender and family background?  Can we gain moral knowledge from the testimonies of others, and if so, how? Spring, Alternate Year. (U2)

PHIL 234.2 Aristotle on Friendship (0.5 units). This course studies Aristotle’s conception of friendship as described in Books VIII and IX of the Nicomachean Ethics.

PHIL 234 Ethics for the Public’s Health. This is course examines ethical and social justice issues within the health care profession and throughout the public health care industry, including health laws and policies that affect the development and delivery of health services in the US to the public. (U2)

PHIL 241 Ancient Philosophy. A critical examination of the history of Greek philosophy including the pre-Socratics, Thales, Anaxagoras, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Plato and Aristotle.  (M3) Spring, Alternate Year.

PHIL 243 Medieval Philosophy. A study of the original works of philosophers in the Middle  Ages such as Augustine, John Scotus Eriugena, Anselm of Canterbury, Avicenna, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham. (M3) Fall, Alternate Year.

PHIL 244.  What is Peace?. (Also REL/PJUS 244). This course introduces students to the complex notion of peace through its historical origins, evolution of meaning, and relation to second-order concepts such as justice, violence/nonviolence and war. We will study a plurality of theories and practices of peace, diverse approaches to peace, and numerous perspectives and prospects for achieving and building peace. By the end of the semester, students will draw their studies together by developing their own philosophical/theological/social response to the question: What is Peace?  (M3) 

PHIL 245 Early Modern Philosophy. A study of the development of important concepts of modern philosophy beginning with Beacon, Descartes and Locke, and ending with Kant and Hegel. It examines and evaluates the modern period's turn to study of knowledge and its increasing preference for reason and science over religion. (M3) Fall, Alternate Year.

PHIL 247 WI: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Philosophy. A study of trends in recent Philosophy inaugurated by Nietzsche, Marx and Kierkegaard on the one hand, and by Mill, Russell and Ayer on the other. It continues through the present times the manifestations of these trends in contemporary phenomenology and contemporary analytic philosophy. In a given semester the course will have an emphasis on either Continental or British-American traditions in current philosophy. (Writing Intensive) (M3) Spring, Alternate Year.

PHIL 249  American Pragmatism. A study of classical American Philosophy with emphasis on the works of Charles S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. Spring, Alternate Years, Prerequisites: PHIL 120  or consent of instructor. (M3)

PHIL 250 Environmental Ethics. This course examines contemporary environmental ethical issues that arise in understanding humanity’s complex relationship with the natural world. The course will explore environmental ethics from a wide range of philosophical and theological methods and perspectives.  (U2) Fall, Alternate Year.

PHIL 251 Philosophy of Psychology (Also PSYC 251) An examination of philosophical and empirical theories of mind. Main questions will be: What is the mind? How does the mind relate to the brain and behavior? Can the mind be studied scientifically?  What is the nature of conscious experience? Different accounts of the nature of mind will be discussed such as behaviorism, materialism, and functionalism. In addition, we will survey main approaches to the mind found in contemporary cognitive science, a multi-disciplinary field consisting of (among other things) artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy. (U1) Fall, Alternate Year.

PHIL 252 Philosophy of Technology. An examination of how technology shapes our understanding of ourselves and our world as well as the moral dilemmas that it presents for us.(U1) Spring Alternate Year.

PHIL 253 Philosophy of Religion. A philosophical examination of nature of religion and beliefs concerned with the existence, nature, and knowledge of God, with alternative positions to theism. (U2) Fall, Alternate Year.

PHIL 255 Social and Political Philosophy. An examination of central issues in social political thought such as: What is justice?  How can considerations of justice negotiate our great differences of culture, identity, and circumstance?  How are non-Western and Western approaches to philosophy to engage productively, across such historical legacies as imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism? Spring, Alternate Year. (U2)

PHIL 256 Continental Philosophy. A historical and thematic approach to contemporary philosophy with an emphasis on introducing the student to the major moments and themes in Continental thought during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries until present. (M3)

PHIL 257 Bio-Ethics and Social Justice. A study of what is health, and how it relates to social justice issues, such as: How do such factors as income, race, and gender correlate with health?  In health research and healthcare delivery how do lingering patterns of inequality get rewritten into the social fabric or transformed out of it?  How can we learn from the legacies of unethical medical experimentation and other ugly parts of medical history?  (U2) Spring, Alternate Year.

PHIL 259 Medical Ethics. An examination of the basic theory of bioethics as it is set in the broader field of moral philosophy.  Contemporary ethical issues in biomedicine will be examined, and the student will learn to think ethically about them within the context of the current ongoing debate. (U1) Spring.

PHIL 261 Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism (Also REL 261). An exploration of key notions and figures in Islamic philosophy, theology,, and mysticism. Some issues imbedded in the enormous body of scholarship in Muslim intellectual heritage are employed to examine current global issues such as the struggle for justice and peace and the fight against violence and absolutism. Special attention is given to the structure of Being, the notion of the truth, and the way to attain the truth in the three systems. (M5) Spring, Alternate Year.

PHIL 263 Latin American Philosophy. An examination of different aspects of philosophical thought related to Latin American nations and culture, including the works of Bartolomé de las Casas, Francisco de Vitoria, Simón de Bolívar , José Martí, José Vasconcelos, Francisco Romero, José Carlos Mariátegui,  and Risieri Fondizi. (M5)  Fall, Alternate Year.

PHIL 265 Feminist Philosophy. An exploration of a diversity of feminist writing. Students consider questions such as: How do the legacies of gender inequality persist today? What would gender justice look like? Is there such thing as gender-neutral point of view? And how do gender, race, class and sexuality relate? (U2) Fall, Alternate Year.

PHIL 267 West African Philosophy: Akan Ethics. Through study of philosophical texts, writings, proverbs, and other sources, we shall explore West African values.  The foci will be both traditional and contemporary, primarily oriented toward the Akan people of what is now Ghana.  Among the first nations to achieve political independence in the de-colonization movements, Ghana has kept traditional values alive, not in isolation from the rest of the world, but in active engagement with it.  What do the values of the Akan have to teach us? (M5) Spring, Alternate Year.

PHIL 269 Judaism, Christianity and Islam in Medieval Spain. An examination of Islamic, Jewish and Christian philosophical thought in Spain, ranging from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance.(M5)

PHIL 271 Existential Philosophy. An exploration of important texts in 19th and 20th century existentialism and their influence on contemporary thinking. (M3)

PHIL 279 Philosophy of Law. Philosophy of law or jurisprudence is the application of the rational techniques of the discipline of a philosophy to the subject matter of law.  In this course, on one hand, students study the meaning of such concepts as law, legal obligation, legal punishment, and so on. (What is known as “analytic jurisprudence.)  Also they explore the relation between law and morally, or more specifically, they try to figure out whether legal institutions in general, or particular legal systems, or legal practices are morally acceptable- and if not, how to make them so.  (What is known as “normative jurisprudence.) (U2)

PHIL 281 Topics in EthicsThis course addresses a variety of topics that change by semester in the areas of normative ethics, applied ethics, and meta-ethics.  (Repeatable) (M3)

PHIL 313 Philosophy of Science. A study of what is science, how it works, what distinguishes it from other disciplines, and what is the nature and value of scientific inquiry and scientific theories. Spring, Alternate Years, Prerequisites: PHIL 120  or consent of instructor.

PHIL 323 Tibetan Buddhist Thought. A study of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, worldview and spiritual practices. The course examines Tibetan Buddhist answers to questions traditionally asked in Western philosophy, at times looking at contrasts and parallels to Continental and British-American traditions in Western philosophy. Spring, Alternate Years, Prerequisites: PHIL 120  or consent of instructor.

PHIL 330 Advance Topics in the Ethics of Abortion. This course analyzes the ethical issue of abortion through a balanced and fair examination of philosophical pro-life and pro-choice arguments from a variety of perspectives. We examine personhood arguments, the deprivation argument, arguments based on women’s rights, arguments based on the potentiality of the fetus, feminist arguments, a virtue ethics approach, and other contemporary arguments. Students may not take PHIL 230 and PHIL 330. Prerequisite: two 200-level philosophy courses and Junior/Senior Standing  (U2)

PHIL 351 Epistemology. Philosophical inquiry into the nature of knowledge, kinds of experience belief and truth, justification and verification. Fall, Alternate Years, Prerequisites: PHIL 120 Introduction to Philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHIL 353 Metaphysics. A study of contemporary analytic metaphysics, adopting a pre-Kantian or traditional metaphysical perspective. The course approaches metaphysics as the study of first causes and of being qua being, or as the most general discipline of all that studies the nature and structure of reality. Fall, Alternate Years, Prerequisites: PHIL 120 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 355 Meta-Ethics. A study of the fundamental concepts of morality from metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and psychological perspectives. Spring, Alternative Year- Prerequisite: PHIL 222 or PHIL 224 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL 370. Seminar. Selected topics in Philosophy. Non-majors require permission from instructor. 

PHIL 381-384 Independent Study
PHIL 386-388 Field Study.
PHIL 400 - 401. Honors. 
Doing honors in philosophy is a wonderful way to take control of your education and give your own ideas the depth of attention they deserve. Students majoring and minoring in philosophy may choose to do an honors project in the department. (Please see the Honors web site for details on eligibility and procedures. But please note: Applications for Honors are due spring of the junior year!) Honors students earn credit for two philosophy courses, and pursue a topic of their own choosing, working independently with a faculty member from the department for their entire senior year. The two-semester research project culminates in the writing of an honors thesis.

PHIL 190-199, 290-299, 390-399. Special Topics.