Courses in Philosophy

PHIL 1310 Introduction to Philosophy
Prerequisite:  RHET 1311.  Survey of basic themes in philosophy. Addresses such fundamental concerns as the nature of morality and beauty, the reasonableness of religious conviction, the nature of persons and the existence of free will, the status of animals and the environment, the relation of mind and body, the structure of a just society, and the nature of art through discussion and analysis of readings. Three credit hours.

PHIL 1330 Introduction to Critical Thinking
An introduction to reasoning skills. Focus on the recognition of informal fallacies, the nature, use, and evaluation of arguments, and the characteristics of inductive and deductive arguments. Three credit hours.

PHIL 2320 Ethics & Society
Prerequisite: RHET 1311. Study of selected texts reflecting a variety of ethical systems from Western and non-Western literary heritages and ethical traditions. Assigned works represent several national ethical literatures, with at least one major ethical text from each of four periods (antiquity, medieval, early modern, and contemporary). Three credit hours.

PHIL 2350 Introduction to Logic
Prerequisite: Instructor consent. Introduction to deductive logic including translation of sentences into formal systems, immediate inferences, syllogisms, formal fallacies, proofs of validity, and quantification. Three credit hours.

PHIL 3310 Theories of Knowledge
Prerequisite: PHIL 1310, PHIL 2320, or instructor consent.  Introduction to the field of epistemology. Skeptical and realist positions will be assessed by analyzing internal and external accounts of knowledge (including coherence, foundation, naturalized, and reliablist theories.) The connection between epistemology and artificial intelligence will also be examined. Three credit hours.

PHIL 3312 Science and Culture
Prerequisite: PHIL 2320 and PHIL 1310 or consent of instructor. Examination of the methods, presuppositions, and implications of empirical science.  Special emphasis will be given to the metaphysical assumptions that ground the scientific enterprise, and the interface between the pursuit of science and the moral interests of society. Three credit hours.

PHIL 3315 Philosophy and Narrative
This course will focus on philosophical issues relevant to one or more of the following topic areas:  philosophical issues in literature and film, theories of drama and performance, the politics of narrative, and recent hermeneutical theory.  Three credit hours.

PHIL 3320 Modern Philosophy
Prerequisite: PHIL 1310, PHIL 2320, or instructor consent. This course will examine the writings of early modern philosophers (including Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant) and their influence on nineteenth century philosophers (including Hegel, Marx, and Kierkegaard). Three credit hours.

PHIL 3321 19th and 20th Century Philosophy
Prerequisite:  PHIL 1310, PHIL 2320, or instructor consent (granted on the basis of similar preparation).  This course investigates American, British and/or continental European philosophy after the eighteenth century, with an emphasis on selected major figures, works, or themes.  Three credit hours.

PHIL 3335 Medical Ethics
Prerequisite:  PHIL 1310, PHIL 2320, or instructor consent.  Analysis of ethical issues in medicine affecting patients, health-care workers, and the public. Materials drawn from medical, legal, philosophical, and psychiatric sources, addressing such issues as euthanasia, abortion, assisted suicide, involuntary commitment, resource distribution, AIDS, and health insurance. Three credit hours.

PHIL 3341 Contemporary Ethical Theory
Prerequisite: PHIL 1310, PHIL 2320, or instructor consent (granted on the basis of similar preparation). This course examines some fundamental issues in 20th-21st century ethical theory.  In addition to exploring recent defenses and criticisms of leading normative theories, the course focuses on recent work in meta-ethics-in particular, debates about moral realism and non-realism.  3 credit hours.

PHIL 3345 Ancient Greek Philosophy
Prerequisite: PHIL 1310, PHIL 2320, or instructor consent. Philosophical positions of ancient Greek philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and others) and their influence on Medieval philosophers (Augustine, Aquinas, Averroes, and others). Three credit hours.

PHIL 3347 Philosophy of Law
Prerequisite:  PHIL 2320 and PHIL 1310 or consent of instructor.  Examinations of topics and areas of study in jurisprudence such as the justification for coercion and punishment; the nature, moral foundation, and authority of law; liberty and freedom of expression under the law; feminist legal theory; critical race theory and other contemporary challenges.  Three credit hours.

PHIL 3350 Eastern Thought
Prerequisite:  3 hours of Philosophy, or 3 hours of Religious Studies, or instructor consent.  Survey of the beliefs, practices, and group structures of the major Eastern religious and social traditions (inclusing Hinduism, Mahayana and Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, and Confucianism).  Three credit hours.

PHIL 3360 Philosophy of Religion
Prerequisite:  3 hours of Philosophy, or 3 hours of Religious Studies, or instructor consent.  Major issues in the philosophy of religion including the knowledge of God, the problem of evil, life after death, religious language and experience, and the relationship of faith and reason.  Three credit hours.

PHIL 3370 Existentialism
Prerequisite: introductory philosophy course or instructor consent. Survey of the existential philosophers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Jaspers, Marcel, and Tillich. Three credit hours.

PHIL 3372 Philosophy and the Arts
This course investigates influential historical and/or contemporary contributions to aesthetics, philosophy of the arts, and philosophy of arts criticism.  Topics may include:  the nature of art and beauty; principles of criticism, standards of taste, and uniquely correct interpretations; the nature of an appropriate response to an artwork; the reality of aesthetic properties; and the relations between art, morality, and emotion. Three credit hours.

PHIL 4350 Classical Political Theory
Prerequisite:  POLS 1310 or junior standing.  Major political ideas and doctrines of political thinkers from Plato to Montesquieu, with emphasis on the contributions of each to the theory and practice of government.  Dual-listed in the UALR Graduate Catalog as POLS 5380. Three credit hours.

PHIL 4360 Modern Political Theory
Prerequisite: POLS 1310 or junior standing.  A continuation of PHIL 4350, from Edmund Burke to the present, with emphasis on the more recent political theories and systems of democracy, communism, and socialism.  Dual-listed in the UALR Graduate Catalog as POLS 5390. Three credit hours.

PHIL 4373 Philosophy of Race
This course is an introduction to the philosophy of race and ethnicity. It will explore the philosophical assumptions behind concepts of race, including 1) historical origins and contemporary views of race and racial identities; 2) the intersection of racism with other forms of oppression; or 3) race in the history of philosophy. Three credit hours.

PHIL 4180, 4280, 4380 Topics in Philosophy
Feminism, philosophy of art, metaphysics, and race theory are possible topics. Topics and course offering varies on demand. One, two, or three credit hours.

PHIL 4290, 4390 Independent Study
Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, 15 hours of philosophy, consent of instructor. Selective reading and written project on a topic submitted by the student and approved by the instructor before registration. Open only to students with demonstrated ability to write research papers of superior quality in philosophy. Applicants unknown to the instructor should submit academic transcripts and samples of their research papers in philosophy. See the Independent Study Guidelines for more information. Two or three credit hours.

PHIL 4333/5333 Feminist Theory
This course will study major issues in feminist theory, including historical and contemporary debates, and seeks a broad understanding of the development of various strands of feminist thought and the resulting range of interpretive possibilities.  It may include explorations of feminist perspectives on epistemology, metaphysics, social and political theory, and ethics, as well as race, class, sexuality, and nationality.

PHIL 4385/5385 Seminar in the History of Philosophy
This seminar allows participants to pursue intensive study of a pivotal movement or central figure in the history of philosophy or the development of a particular idea.  Topics may include Plato, Hellenistic Philosophy, Stoicism, Skepticism:  Ancient and Modern, German Idealism, Marx and Marxism, Rationalism, Logical Positivism, Analytic Philosophy, or Post-structuralism.

PHIL 4386/5386 Seminar in Social/Political Philosophy
Social and political philosophy examines descriptive questions concerning the nature of community and poses normative questions addressing how we should live together.  In each instance of this seminar, a particular theme within this field will be investigated in depth.  Topics may include democracy, justice, community, ideology, culture, political rationality, autonomy, or constitutionalism.

PHIL 4387/5387 Seminar in Moral Philosophy
This seminar course offers an opportunity to either explore in greater depth a topic within moral philosophy that has been introduced in other courses offered by the department or explore a topic that is not covered in other regularly offered courses.

PHIL 4388/5388 Seminar in Metaphysics/Epistemology
This seminar course offers an opportunity to either explore in greater depth a topic within metaphysics or epistemology that has been introduced in other courses offered by the department or explore a topic that is not covered in other regularly offered courses.

PHIL 5180, 5280, 5380 Topics in Philosophy
Prerequisites: graduate standing, consent of instructor. In-depth study of selected major problems in philosophy or the works of individual philosophers or groups of philosophers. Content changes on demand. One, two, or three credit hours.

PHIL 5290, 5390 Independent Study
Prerequisites: graduate standing, consent of instructor. Selective reading and written project on a topic submitted by the student and approved by the instructor before registration. Open only to students with demonstrated ability to write research papers of superior quality in philosophy. Applicants unknown to the instructor should submit academic transcripts and samples of their research papers in philosophy. Two or three credit hours.

PHIL 7310 Current Philosophical Issues
An examination of the impact of philosophical writings on contemporary culture. The course will address such topics as: the ethical and legal ramifications of recent scientific advances; the just distribution of resources within the context of the current global economy; and the basis of justification for human, animal, and environmental rights.