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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA 2008-2009 undergraduate bulletin
undergraduate bulletin index

updated 8/15/2008


Jeremiah M. Hackett, Chair

Davis Whitney Baird, Ph.D., Stanford University, 1981
Michael Dickson, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1995
Martin John Donougho, Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1979
Jeremiah M. Hackett, Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1983
R.I.G. Hughes, Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 1979
Jerald T. Wallulis, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1978, Undergraduate Director

Associate Professors
Anne L. Bezuidenhout, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1990
F. Thomas Burke, Ph.D., Stanford University, 1994
George Khushf, Ph.D., Rice University, 1993
Christopher O. Tollefsen, Ph.D., Emory University, 1995
, Graduate Director

Assistant Professors
Kevin Elliott, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Ann Johnson, Ph.D., Princeton University, 2000
Matthew Kisner, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2004
Justin R. Weinberg, Ph.D., Georgetown University
Heike Sefrin-Weis, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2002

Adjunct Professor
Alfred Nordmann, Ph.D., Universität Hamburg, 1986

Professors Emeriti
Michael J. Costa, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1981
Louisa Shannon DuBose, Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College, 1958
James Leroy Stiver, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1972

Distinguished Professors Emeriti
Eugene Thomas Long III, Ph.D., Glasgow University, 1964
Robert Joseph Mulvaney, Ph.D., Emory University, 1965
Ignas Kestutis Skrupskelis, Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1967
Rosamond Kent Sprague, Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College, 1953
Roger Joseph Sullivan, Ph.D., University of Texas, 1973

The Department of Philosophy offers the Bachelor of Arts degree program with a major in philosophy.

Degree Requirements

(120 hours)

1. General Education Requirements (53-62 hours)

The following courses fulfill some of the general education requirements and must be completed for a major in philosophy: PHIL 102 and 110. For an outline of other general education requirements, see "College of Arts and Sciences."

2. Major Requirements

General Major (24 hours)

Twenty-four credits in philosophy numbered 201 or above to include PHIL 201, 202, 490 and one course from each of the following groups:
1. PHIL 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 540, 571, 573 (historical period or philosopher);
2. PHIL 510, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518, 519, 521, 523, 528, 532, 534, 536, 550 (fields of philosophy)
Note: The foreign languages recommended for students majoring in philosophy are French, German, Greek, and Latin.

B.A. with Distinction (27 hours)

The Departmental Undergraduate Research Track is available to students majoring in philosophy who wish to participate in significant research activities in collaboration with, or under the supervision of, a faculty mentor.
Minimum GPA of 3.50 overall and 3.30 in major.
General Major Requirements plus
PHIL 495 Senior Thesis
The senior thesis will produce a piece of original research and a public presentation of the research in a venue approved by the faculty mentor. Examples of such venues would include:
Annual Meeting of the South Carolina Society for Philosophy (or another appropriate meeting);
A regular or special session of the Philosophy Department Colloquium Series;
USC Discovery Day;
Submission to an undergraduate or a professional journal;
A written sponsorship agreement with the supervising faculty member will be placed on file in the Department of Philosophy office.
Students who successfully complete this track with an overall GPA of 3.50 or higher and a GPA of at least 3.30 in the major will be awarded their degree with "Distinction in Philosophy" upon graduation.

3. Cognates, see "College of Arts and Sciences" (12 hours)

4. Electives, see "College of Arts and Sciences"

The Department of Philosophy cooperates with other departments in the interdisciplinary programs in classical studies, comparative literature, film studies, and religious studies described elsewhere in this bulletin.

Course Descriptions (PHIL)

  • 102 -- Introduction to Philosophy. (3) An introduction to the main problems of philosophy and its methods of inquiry, analysis, and criticism. Works of important philosophers will be read. Honors section offered.
  • 110 -- Introduction to Logic I. (3) The nature of arguments; fallacies, criteria, and techniques of valid deductive inference; applications. Honors section offered.
  • 111 -- Introduction to Logic II. (3) Inductive and decision-making arguments, and criteria of acceptability for them. Honors section offered.
  • 201 -- History of Ancient Philosophy. (3) An introduction to the development of philosophy in the ancient world through study of the works of representative philosophers. PHIL 202 may be taken prior to this course.
  • 202 -- History of Modern Philosophy. (3) An introduction to the development of philosophic thought since the Renaissance through the study of the works of important philosophers. The chief emphasis is on the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • 210 -- Philosophical Themes in Literature. (3) Selected philosophical problems as they are presented in imaginative and theoretical literature. Works of fiction and philosophical treatments of issues involved in them will be read and discussed.
  • 211 -- Contemporary Moral Issues. (3) Moral issues confronting men and women in contemporary society. Topics will vary but may include discussion of problems related to abortion, drugs, euthanasia, war, social engineering, and punishment of criminals.
  • 212 -- Conflicting Images of Man. (3) Conflicting images of man in contemporary philosophy, literature, psychology, and religion and an evaluation of these images as norms for human conduct and social policy. Particular attention will be given to existentialist, Marxist, behaviorist, and mystical images of man.
  • 214 -- Science and Pseudo-Science. (3) Attempts to distinguish science from pseudo-science; inquiry into such cases as astrology, psychoanalysis, and parapsychology.
  • 301 -- Nineteenth- and 20th-Century Philosophy. (3) An introduction to Continental and British philosophy since Kant through study of the works of representative philosophers. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of Idealism, Marxism, Existentialism and Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy.
  • 302 -- American Philosophy. (3) The principal movements of philosophical thought from Colonial times to the present, with special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • 303 -- Greek and Roman Philosophy after Aristotle. (3) Problems such as hedonism, providence, belief and evidence, and mysticism, as they appear in the writings of the Epicureans, Stoics, Sceptics, and Plotinus.
  • 304 -- History of Medieval Philosophy. (3) Major philosophical traditions in the Middle Ages.
  • 309 -- Mind and Nature. (3) Philosophical theories about the nature of consciousness, the problem of qualia, phenomenal concepts, the explanatory gap hypothesis, higher-order consciousness, prospects for naturalistic accounts of consciousness.
  • 310 -- Freedom and Human Action. (3) An examination of the nature of human action, agency, ability, intentions, reason, and free will.
  • 311 -- Ethics. (3) A study of the moral principles of conduct and the basic concepts underlying these principles, such as good, evil, right, wrong, justice, value, duty, and obligation. The ethical works of influential philosophers are analyzed in terms of these concepts.
  • 312 -- Medical Ethics. (3) The concepts of Person and Justice as they relate to biomedical sciences and technologies.
  • 313 -- Philosophy of Art. (3) Philosophical problems relating to the arts, with emphasis on questions pertaining to aesthetic experience.
  • 314 -- Social and Political Philosophy. (3) {=POLI 300} An overview of major themes in political philosophy such as the nature of politics, obligation, community, representation, freedom, equality, and justice.
  • 315 -- History and Philosophy of Science. (3) Philosophy and history of science and their interaction from ancient Greece to the present. Emphasis on physics, astronomy, and chemistry.
  • 316 -- Crime and Justice. (3) The fundamental concepts of a criminal justice system and their philosophical bases. Rights, privacy, responsibility, and the problem of justification of state control of private behavior through punishment and therapy.
  • 317 -- Ethics of Science and Technology. (3) Role of ethical judgments in directing or curtailing scientific research; case studies from natural and social sciences.
  • 318 -- Business Ethics. (3) Ethical problems in business; application to business situations of philosophical theories of individual, corporate, and governmental rights and responsibilities.
  • 319 -- Knowledge and Reality. (3) Examination of skeptical attacks, critical defenses, and philosophical theories of what we know and what is to be taken as ultimate reality.
  • 320 -- Existentialism. (3) An introduction to existentialist themes in contemporary philosophy, literature, psychology, and religion. The writings of existentialists such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, Buber, May, and Binswanger will be read and discussed.
  • 321 -- Engineering Ethics. (3) An investigation of ethical issues in engineering and engineering-related technology. Topics include whistleblowing, employee/employer relations, environmental issues, issues related to advances in information technology, and privacy.
  • 325 -- Philosophy of Education. (3) A critical examination of the theories of education of such philosophers as Plato, Rousseau, Dewey, Newman, and Whitehead. Emphasis is on the development of a philosophy of higher education.
  • 328 -- Contemporary Marxism and Society. (3) Recent Marxist-inspired critics of politics, science, technology, art, advertising, and other aspects of cultural life, with comparison both to Marx's philosophical and economic writings and to other types of contemporary criticisms.
  • 335 -- Feminist Philosophy. (3) Introduces feminist philosophy and applications to philosophical problems.
  • 336 -- Philosophy and Film. (3) Selected philosophical problems as they are presented in feature and documentary films.
  • 341 -- Environmental Ethics. (3) Examination of principles and arguments surrounding moral issues involving the environment.
  • 360 -- Classical Origins of Western Medical Ethics. {=CLAS 360} (3) Examination of ancient Greek and Roman philosophical, medical, and literary works (in English) as sources for the origins of medical ethics.
  • 399 -- Independent Study. (3-9) Contract approved by instructor, advisor, and department chair is required for undergraduate students.
  • 473 -- Film and Media Theory and Criticism. {=ENGL 473, FILM 473} (3) (Prereq: FILM 240 or consent of instructor) Theory and criticism of film and media from the 1910s to the present. Considers a range of critical approaches to analyzing what different forms of audio-visual media do to and for the audiences they address and the worlds they depict.
  • 490 -- Seminar in Philosophy. (3) Review of central topics in philosophy serving as a capstone course for senior majors in philosophy.
  • 495 -- Senior Thesis. (3) (Prereq: Senior philosophy major or double major, GPA of 3.30, permission of faculty member) Directed research resulting in a written thesis.
  • 501 -- British Empiricism. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202, or consent of the instructor) A historical and critical survey of the British philosophers of experience. Principal concentration is on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.
  • 502 -- Continental Rationalism. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or consent of the instructor) A critical and historical study of the 17th-century European philosophers. The works of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz are emphasized.
  • 503 -- Analytic Philosophy. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) A critical study of recent and contemporary works in philosophical analysis, and an evaluation of the purposes, methods, and results of this movement.
  • 504 -- Phenomenology and Existentialism. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or 301, or consent of the instructor) A critical study of some fundamental themes in phenomenology and the philosophy of existence. Emphasis is placed on an intensive study of selected works of such writers as Kierkegaard, Jaspers, Husserl, and Heidegger.
  • 505 -- Plato. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 201 or consent of the instructor) An intensive study of selected Dialogues.
  • 506 -- Aristotle. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 201 or consent of the instructor) An intensive study of some of the more important of Aristotle's works.
  • 507 -- Medieval Philosophy. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 201 or consent of the instructor) A historical and critical study of the works of the leading medieval philosophers.
  • 508 -- Hume. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or consent of the instructor) An intensive study of the philosophical writings of Hume, especially A Treatise of Human Nature.
  • 509 -- Kant. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or consent of the instructor) An intensive study of the work of Kant, especially the Critique of Pure Reason.
  • 510 -- Theory of Knowledge. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) An examination of some representative theories of truth, meaning, probability, and perception.
  • 511 -- Symbolic Logic. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 110 or consent of the instructor) A presentation and philosophical examination of the fundamentals of modern symbolic logic.
  • 512 -- Philosophy of Science. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) A critical examination of methods and concepts of the sciences. Topics include scientific revolutions, the unity of science, experimentation, explanation, and evidence.
  • 513 -- Philosophy of History. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or consent of the instructor) A philosophical examination of historical inquiry. Theories of historical development. The logical problems of historical explanation.
  • 514 -- Ethical Theory. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 311 or consent of the instructor) Survey of recent and historical developments in ethical theory with special emphasis on the meaning of ethical language and the forms of reasoning employed in discussing moral values.
  • 515 -- Philosophy of Religion. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or consent of the instructor) A critical study of selected problems in the philosophy of religion. Emphasis is placed on problems relating to the existence of God, religious knowledge, and the language of religion.
  • 516 -- Advanced Aesthetics. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 313 or consent of the instructor) Detailed examination of the literature on aesthetics.
  • 517 -- Philosophy of Language. {=LING 565} (3) (Prereq: PHIL 202 or consent of the instructor) An examination of concepts and problems such as meaning, reference, analyticity, definition, and the relation between logic and philosophy.
  • 518 -- Philosophy of the Social Sciences. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) The goals of inquiry and problems such as objectivity, reduction, value freedom, and ideology.
  • 519 -- Metaphysics. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) Major issues in classical and modern metaphysics. Topics include the idea of first philosophy, being, substance, the problem of universals, essentialism, causation, time and space, and metaphysical method.
  • 520 -- Philosophy of Mind. (3) The concept of mind, the mind-body problem, emotions and cognition, the possibility of artificial minds, theories of embodied cognition.
  • 521 -- Mathematical Logic. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 511) Axiomatic development of logic and the set-theoretic foundations of mathematics.
  • 522 -- Introduction to Semantics. {=LING 627} (3) (Prereq: LING 300, 301, 600 or permission of instructor) Introduction to the study of linguistic meaning, including the following topics: meaning, reference, and truth; the connections among language, thought, and reality; word meaning and sentence meaning; possible worlds and modality; thematic roles; meaning and context; presupposition and implicature; speech acts; formal semantics; and cognitive semantics.
  • 523 -- Advanced Topics in Logic. (3) (Prereq: PHIL 511 or consent of instructor) Philosophical problems about logic, the development of philosophical logics, and the problems surrounding them.
  • 527 -- Virtues, Acts, and Consequences. (3) Recent contributions to three central strands of ethical theory: virtue theory, deontology, and utilitarianism; historical roots and recent developments.
  • 528 -- Concepts of Evidence. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) Systematic approaches to data analysis--Bayesian, Fisherian and decision theoretic--will be critically appraised. Applications of these theories to some problems of inductive logic: the paradoxes of confirmation, the role of simplicity, and the probability of inductive generalizations.
  • 532 -- Social Justice. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) Recent theories of distributive justice and their application to such issues as redistribution of wealth, reverse discrimination, and the conflict between liberty and equality. Authors include Rawls, Nozick, Hayek, and Popper.
  • 534 -- Contemporary European Social Philosophy. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) An examination of European social philosophy associated with either the Frankfurt School of Social Research or contemporary French Poststructuralism.
  • 535 -- Ecofeminism. {=WOST 535} (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or instructor's consent) An exploration of the connections between oppression of women and oppression of nature.
  • 536 -- Language and Interpretation in Contemporary European Philosophy. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) Selected contemporary European philosophical movements, their views on language, and their approach to interpretation: hermeneutics, structuralism, poststructuralism.
  • 540 -- Renaissance Philosophy. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) Humanism (e.g., Petrarca), Platonism (e.g., Pico and Ficino), Aristotelianism (e.g., Pomponazzi), philosophies of nature (e.g., Telesio, Campanella, and Bruno), and Nicholas of Cusa, Erasmus, Montaigne, and Suarez.
  • 550 -- Health Care Ethics. (3) (Prereq: 3 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level or consent of the instructor) An exploration of the ethical dimensions of patient care in the clinical setting.
  • 571 -- Philosophies of India. (3) (Prereq: 6 credits in philosophy or consent of the instructor) Six classic systems of Hinduism and the "heterodox" schools of Jainism and Buddhism.
  • 573 -- History of Traditional Chinese Thought. {=HIST 573} (3) An introduction to the development of Chinese thought in relationship to the political and socioeconomic institutions of early China (sixth century B.C. to third century A.D.), with emphasis on Confucianism and Taoism.
  • 598 -- Readings in Philosophy. (3) (Prereq: 6 hours in philosophy beyond the 100 level)

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