Skip to the content

Kansas State University

Philosophy

Marcelo Sabatés, Head

Professor Reagan; Associate Professors Exdell, Glymour, Hamilton, and Sabatés; Assistant Professors Arana, Lapointe, Lara, Mahoney, Patterson, Tanona, and Wilson; Emeritus: Professors Scheer and Tilghman.

785-532-6758

Fax: 785-532-5709

E-mail: philosophy@k-state.edu

www.k-state.edu/philos

Philosophy is the study of the intellectual foundations of virtually every area of human thought and endeavor. Over the centuries philosophers have examined, for example, the nature and justification of moral values, religious and scientific explanations of the world, the rationality of social institutions, and the nature of reasoning and argument.

The program in philosophy gives students an understanding of traditional philosophical subjects such as these. It also helps students develop critical habits of thinking and skill in understanding complex issues. Consequently, philosophy is an appropriate subject around which to organize a general education for any purpose.

The Department of Philosophy offers a variety of options within the major program to provide flexibility in organizing a course of studies with philosophy at its center, and a minor.

Philosophy minor

One logic course (PHILO 110 or 320)
 
Three courses from: PHILO 300, PHILO 301, PHILO 305, PHILO 330, PHILO 340
 
2 philosophy electives, one of them at the 500 level or above
 

There are seven degree options: standard philosophy, philosophy/pre-law, philosophy/ pre-business, philosophy/pre-ministry, philosophy/interdisciplinary, pre-graduate school, and pre-med.

Philosophy major

Core curriculum

All philosophy majors must take the following five courses:

PHILO 300History of Ancient Philosophy
PHILO 301History of Modern Philosophy
PHILO 320Symbolic Logic I
PHILO 330Moral and Political Philosophy
PHILO 340Theories of Knowledge and Reality
 

Standard philosophy option

(BA or BS)

36 hours in philosophy

This option is for students who are interested in a traditional liberal arts course of study. Thirty-six hours in philosophy are required.

Philosophy course requirements:
Core curriculum15
2 courses from: PHILO 525, PHILO 535, PHILO 570, PHILO 585, PHILO 650, PHILO 660, PHILO 6656
2 courses from: PHILO 601, PHILO 615, PHILO 620, PHILO 625, PHILO 635, PHILO 640, PHILO 645, PHILO 655, PHILO 6856
3 philosophy electives (one of them at the 500 level or above). Electives can be from groups above9
36
 

Pre-graduate school option

(BA or BS)

42 hours in philosophy

The option is for students who are mainly interested in doing graduate study in philosophy.

Philosophy course requirements:
Core curriculum15
PHILO 6203
2 courses from: PHILO 525, PHILO 535, PHILO 570, PHILO 585, PHILO 650, PHILO 6606
3 courses from: PHILO 510, PHILO 601, PHILO 625, PHILO 635, PHILO 640, PHILO 645, PHILO 655, PHILO 685 (one of them must be PHILO 635 or PHILO 640)9
3 philosophy electives (two of them at the 500 level
or above). Electives can be from groups above9
36
 

Pre-law options

(BA or BS)

While no one major is given preference by law school admission boards, law schools recognize the value of philosophy for refining skills in expression, comprehension, and critical thinking. According to the Pre-Law Handbook, “the free and spirited consideration of philosophical questions is almost the model for legal training.”

The department offers two degree options:

Single major option

39 hours in philosophy
 
Core curriculum.15
PHILO 525.3
PHILO 535.3
2 courses from PHILO 365, PHILO 380, PHILO 585, PHILO 595, PHILO 650, PHILO 660, PHILO 665, PHILO 670, PHILO 6756
4 philosophy electives (three of them at the 500 level or above)12
39
 
Double major option
30 hours in philosophy plus second major.
 
Core curriculum15
PHILO 525..3
PHILO 5353
1 course from PHILO 585, PHILO 595, PHILO 650, PHILO 660, PHILO 670, PHILO 6753
2 philosophy electives (one of them at the 500 level or above)6
30
 
Additional requirement: Completion of another major in a department of the College of Arts and Sciences.
 

Philosophy/pre-business

(BA or BS)

30 hours in philosophy

The pre-business option is for students who plan to do graduate work leading to a master's in business administration. This program has been developed in accordance with the results of surveys in professional business journals that rate this type of program as an excellent preparation for careers in business leadership.

Core curriculum15
PHILO 525 or 5353
PHILO 6653
3 philosophy electives (two of them at the 300 level or above and one of them at the 500 level or above)9
30
 

Students may combine a philosophy/ pre-business degree with an undergraduate degree in the College of Business Administration.

Philosophy/pre-ministry

(BA only)

33 hours in philosophy

This is a nonsectarian program designed for students who are interested in the religious ministry as a profession. Students will be advised on other courses outside philosophy recommended by most American schools of theology.

Core curriculum15
PHILO 635 or 6403
PHILO 6153
4 philosophy electives (three of them at the 500 level or above)12
33
 
Additional requirement: Two courses in which religion is studied, from departments other than philosophy The Department of Philosophy must approve counting these courses towards completion of the major.

Interdisciplinary option

(BA or BS)

30 hours in philosophy plus second major

This option is for students who wish to combine a major in philosophy with a major in another discipline. Each student completing a degree under this option must have a faculty advisor in the Department of Philosophy who supervises the student's program.

Philosophy course requirements:
Core curriculum15
PHILO 680 Problems in Philosophy3
4 philosophy electives (2 of them must be at the 500-level or above12
30
 
Additional requirements:
1. Completion of a second major, as appropriate; student's program must be approved by a faculty advisor in the Department of Philosophy.
2. PHILO 680 Problems in Philosophy must focus on the relationship of philosophy to the student's other major; the student must write a substantial paper on that relationship for this course.
 

Philosophy/pre-med

(BA or BS)

33 hours in philosophy

While no one major is given preference by medical schools and related post-graduate programs, their admission committees recognize philosophy as a valuable primary or secondary major. In fact, surveys indicate that nationally, philosophy graduates have some of the highest acceptance rates at medical schools. Students in this program will be advised to supplement their education with an important science component (see note below).

Core curriculum15
PHILO 3653
1 course from: PHILO 525, PHILO 535, PHILO 5853
1 course from: PHILO 112, PHILO 550, PHILO 6453
3 philosophy electives (2 or them at the 500 level or above). Electives can be from the lists above9
33
 
Note: Students choosing this option and planning to apply for medical school are strongly advised to combine it with at least a minor in one of the following disciplines: biology, biochemistry, chemistry, or physics.
 

Philosophy courses

University General Education coursePHILO 100. Introduction to Philosophical Problems. (3) I, II, S. An introduction to some of the main problems of philosophy, such as the nature of morality, knowledge, mind and body, political authority, and the existence of God.

PHILO 105. Introduction to Critical Thinking. (3) I or II. A basic introduction to both deductive and inductive reasoning. Emphasis is placed on constructing, analyzing, and evaluating arguments.

University General Education coursePHILO 110. Introduction to Formal Logic. (3) I, II, S. Systematic study of deductive reasoning (and possibly inductive reasoning) using the techniques of modern logic. Examines different types of valid inference, the logical structure of English sentences, and the validity of arguments generally. Involves the development and use of a symbolic system which models logical relations among sentences.

PHILO 112. Causal and Statistical Reasoning. (3) On demand. This course introduces students to some ideas about causation, and also to some elementary tools for thinking both critically and constructively about causal claims. The treatment is broadly formal, and introduces ideas from statistics, computer science, and philosophy, but requires no mathematical background beyond high school algebra. Some sections are taught using web-based course-ware.

University General Education coursePHILO 115. Introduction to Philosophy of Religion. (3) I, II, S. Arguments pertaining to the existence of God, the nature of religious experience, the problem of evil, the proper relation between reason and faith, and religious diversity.

University General Education coursePHILO 120. Introduction to Philosophy of Art. (3) I. Philosophical problems concerning the concepts of art and aesthetic value, patterns of reasoning in art appreciation and criticism, and writing histories of art and artistic movements.

University General Education coursePHILO 125. Introduction to Philosophy of Science. (3) I, II, S. Examines the nature of science and how it differs from pseudo-sciences such as astrology, and raises questions about the nature of reality and social value of science.

University General Education coursePHILO 130. Introduction to Moral Philosophy. (3) I, II, S. Philosophical issues arising in and about morality, such as the nature of moral judgements, moral knowledge, moral justification, and the relation of morality to religion. Topics might be approached by a study of contemporary moral problems, by reading of classical texts, or by both methods.

University General Education coursePHILO 135. Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy. (3) I, II, S. Examines rival theories of justice and applies them to current debates about economic inequality, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Combines some influential historical texts with contemporary philosophical literature on current political issues.

University General Education coursePHILO 140. Introduction to Philosophy of Mind. (3) I, II. Philosophical problems concerning the nature of human beings, including the relation between mind and body, the existence of the soul, the nature of consciousness, the possibility of artificial intelligence, human freedom and personal identity.

University General Education coursePHILO 145. Historical Introduction to Philosophy. (3) I, II. Introduction to philosophy through the study of major thinkers in the history of philosophy, such as Plato, Descartes, Hume. Topics may include the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, skepticism, reasons for being moral.

PHILO 150. Introduction to Philosophy of Feminism. (3) I, II. Philosophical examination of issues such as femininity and masculinity, the social conditions of gender equality, multiculturalism and gender, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and welfare policy.

PHILO 160. Introduction to Philosophy of Law. (3) I, II. Examines fundamental issues concerning the nature and justification of legal institutions. Topics selected from: the nature of law and its relations to morality, criminal justice and punishment, responsibility and liberty, and legal interpretation.

University General Education coursePHILO 175. Philosophical Composition. (4) II. The purpose of this course is to provide students an introduction to philosophy while assisting them to further develop writing skills in preparation for Expository Writing II. Topics covered vary, but typically are related to understanding ourselves and our moral practices. Pr.: English 100 and open only to freshmen and sophomores.

PHILO 215. Honors Introduction to Philosophy. (3) I, II. Central problems of philosophy, such as skepticism and knowledge, the nature of human minds, freedom, the nature of morality, justice and the existence of God. For students in an honors program.

PHILO 230. Honors Introduction to Moral Philosophy. (3) I, II. Philosophical issues arising in and about morality. Topics selected from: the nature of moral judgements, moral knowledge, moral justification, and the relation of morality to religion. For students in an honors program.

University General Education coursePHILO 297. Honors Introduction to the Humanities I. (3) I. Study of selected major works of history, literature, and philosophy which have been of central importance in the Western cultural tradition. Considerable emphasis is placed on classroom discussion and writing interpretive essays. Limited to entering freshman students. Pr.: Consent of instructor. Same as ENGL 297, HIST 297, MLANG 297.

University General Education coursePHILO 298. Honors Introduction to the Humanities II. (3) II. Continuation of PHILO 297. Pr.: PHILO 297 or consent of instructor. Same as ENGL 298, HIST 298, MLANG 298.

PHILO 300. History of Ancient Philosophy. (3) I. Ancient Greek Philosophy, particularly in the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Pre-Socratic and/or Hellenistic philosophers may be represented as well. Pr.: One course in philosophy, major standing, or consent of instructor.

PHILO 301. History of Modern Philosophy. (3) II. Development of philosophical ideas from Descartes to Kant. Topics selected from: skepticism, mind-body dualism, the nature of causal reasoning, the existence of God. Pr.: One course in philosophy, or major standing, or consent of instructor.

PHILO 305. Philosophical Methods and Perspectives. (3) II. Special knowledge, methods and skills needed to do philosophical research. Conceptual analysis, argument strategy, definitional strategy, thought experiments, counter-examples, applied to the mechanics of paper writing in philosophy and philosophical discussion. Pr.: One course in philosophy, major standing, or consent of instructor.

PHILO 320. Symbolic Logic I. (3) I or II. First order logic, covering truth tables and truth functions, and derivations in both propositional and predicate logic.

PHILO 330. Moral and Political Philosophy. (3) I. Survey of central issues in ethical theory with an emphasis on consequentialism, virtue theory, and deontology, along with selected key works in modern social and political philosophy. Pr.: One course in philosophy, major standing, or consent of instructor.

PHILO 340. Theories of Knowledge and Reality. (3) II. An introduction to some central problems about reality and our knowledge of it, and the answers offered major views such as realism, idealism, skepticism, nominalism, naturalism, foundationalism, and coherentism. Pr.: One philosophy course, major standing, or consent of instructor.

PHILO 360. Topics in Continental Philosophy. (3) On sufficient demand. A study of selected figures (such as Kierkegaard, Fichte, Marx, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Sartre, Heideggar, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Foucault, Lacan), or movements (such as Transcendental Idealism, Existentialism, Marxism, Phenomenology, Post-Modernism), or issues in continental philosophy (such as humanity's relation to God, free will, the state, irrationalism, gender, philosophical methodology).

University General Education coursePHILO 365. Medical Ethics. (3) II. Selected moral issues which confront the medical professional, includ- ing experimentation on human subjects, informed consent, abortion, euthanasia, conflict of interest, and confidentiality.

University General Education coursePHILO 380. Philosophy and Race. (3) I. The concept of race and racial identity, and contemporary controversies about the nature of racism and social justice, examined through fiction, movies, and readings in biology, anthropology, history, and philosophy.

PHILO 385. Engineering Ethics. (3) I or II. An examination of the principles of ethics as applied to cases arising in the practice of the various branches of engineering.

University General Education coursePHILO 390. Business Ethics. (3) I or II. An examination of the principles of ethics as applied to situations and practices in modern American business.

University General Education coursePHILO 399. Honors Seminar in Philosophy. (3) I.

PHILO 492. Computers and Society. (1-2) II. A study of ethical issues raised by the impact of computers and associated technologies on society, including such topics as ethics of computer use, computer fraud, protection of privacy; legal, moral, and public policy-making responsibilities of computer professionals. Pr.: Junior standing plus conc. enrollment in CIS492; CIS 520.

PHILO 499. Senior Honors Thesis. (2) I, II, S. Open only to students in the arts and sciences honors program.

PHILO 510. Symbolic Logic II. (3) On sufficient demand. An advanced study of logical systems and problems in logical theory. Pr.: PHILO 320 or 110.

PHILO 525. Social-Political Philosophy. (3) II. Examines key developments in contemporary political philosophy in such areas as liberalism, libertarianism, communitarianism, Marxism, and feminism, and on topics of special interest where these theories are applied. Pr.: PHILO 135, 301, or 330.

PHILO 535. Philosophy of Law. (3) I. Philosophical issues arising in the legal context, issues such as the nature of legal reasoning, the nature and scope of constitutional protections, the justification of punishment, affirmative action, and civil disobedience. Pr.: One course in philosophy (PHILO 135, 160, or 330 recommended).

PHILO 550. Philosophy of Social Sciences. (3) I or II in alternate years. Epistemic methods and metaphysical presuppositions in the social sciences. Topics selected from: models, measurement, reduction, explanation, theories of function, theories of ideal types, and rational choice theory. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy, one of which must be PHILO 110 or 320.

PHILO 570. Aesthetics. (3) On sufficient demand. A study of selected topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Pr.: One course in philosophy.

PHILO 585. Ethics. (3) I or II. Examines key developments in moral philosophy. May focus on issues in metaethics, ethical theory, or history of ethics. Pr.: PHILO 330

PHILO 590. Topics in Philosophy. (3) On sufficient demand. A study of selected topics in applied ethics, applied philosophy, or the continental tradition. Pr.: One course in philosophy.

PHILO 595. Environmental Ethics. (3) I or II in alternate years. Ethical issues that arise from the use and exploitation of the environment, such as the value of biodiversity, obligations to future generations, obligations to non-humans, and the ethics of environmental risk management. Pr.: One course in philosophy (PHILO 330 recommended).

PHILO 601. Advanced Issues in the History of Philosophy. (3) I or II in alternate years. Particular sets of issues in the history of philosophy or in-depth examination of the thought of a particular philosopher. Emphasis on issues in metaphysics and epistemology. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy. Depending on topic, PHILO 300 or 301 required.

PHILO 615. Philosophy of Religion. (3) I or II in alternate years. Concepts of religion, including truth and faith, God and atheism, reason and revelation, morality and religion, evil, humanity, sin, salvation, eschatology. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy. PHILO 305, 320, or 340 recommended.

PHILO 620. The Development of Analytic Philosophy. (3) I or II in alternate years. The history of analytic philosophy from 1870 to 1960, examining the works of most of the following philosophers: Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Moore, the logical positivists, and Quine. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy, one of which must be PHILO 110 or 320.

PHILO 625. Philosophy of Language. (3) I or II in alternate years. Philosophical problems concerning the nature of language and such concepts as meaning and truth. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy, one of which must be PHILO 110 or 320.

PHILO 635. Metaphysics. (3) I or II in alternate years. A critical examination of theories about things and their qualities, causality, space, and time. Both traditional and contemporary sources may be used, but emphasis will be placed on the latter. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy. PHILO 305, 320, or 340 recommended.

PHILO 640. Epistemology. (3) I or II in alternate years. Philosophical issues relating to human knowledge. Issues selected from: difference between knowledge and belief, whether knowledge is really attainable, whether we have epistemic duties and what they might be, what counts as justification for belief. Special topics might include self-knowledge, a priori knowledge, inductive knowledge, and naturalism. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy. PHILO 305, 320, or 340 recommended.

PHILO 645. Philosophy of Science. (3) I or II in alternate years. Philosophical problems concerning science and its methods. Topics selected from: qualitative and quantitative confirmation theories and the nature of scientific theories, laws, and explanation in the physical and biological sciences. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy, one of which must be PHILO 110 or 320.

PHILO 646. Philosophy of Physics. (3) On sufficient demand. This course offers an exploration of the conceptual foundations of modern physics, including topics from relativistic space-time theories, quantum mechanics and gauge theories, and related topics in the philosophy of science, including the nature of physical laws, reduction, the measurement problem and non-locality. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHILO 647. Philosophy of Biology. (3) On sufficient demand. This course will introduce a range of topics in the philosophy of biology, including: the conceptual foundations of evolutionary theory, interpretations of fitness and selection, group selection, definitions of species, epistemological problems in phylogenetic inference, design arguments, explanation in biological sciences, and reliable modeling in ecology and evolutionary biology. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHILO 648. Philosophy and the Origins of Ancient Science. (3) On sufficient demand. Examination of the development of ancient science, with special attention paid to the interrelationship in antiquity of philosophical and scientific accounts of the world. Topics will include developments in mathematics, optics, astronomy, mechanics, and medicine, among others. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHILO 650. Rationality and Action. (3) I or II in alternate years. Philosophical issues connected with human action and reasons for action, such as the existence of objective reasons to act one way rather than another, the existence of reasons to act that do not stem from our desires, the difference between reasoning about how to act and reasoning about what is true, the nature of intention and desire and their specific roles in action. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy.

PHILO 655. Philosophy of Mind. (3) I or II in alternate years. A philosophical examination of major theories about the nature of the mind, mental causation, consciousness, intentionality, cognition and psychological explanation. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy. PHILO 305, 320, or 340 recommended.

PHILO 660. Advanced Ethics. (3) I or II in alternate years. Selected topics in contemporary ethical theory. Pr.: PHILO 330 and one other philosophy course.

PHILO 665. Philosophy of Economics. (3) I or II, in alternate years. Moral and conceptual foundations of modern economic systems. Topics selected from: the relations between “economic rationality” and the quality of life, the just distribution of wealth, the nature of property rights, and the value of technology in society. Pr.: Two courses in philosophy.

PHILO 670. Advanced Social-Political Philosophy. (3) I or II in alternate years. A study of a single topic in con- temporary philosophical literature, with application to current political issues. Topics will vary as determined by the instructor. Topics selected from: multiculturalism, minority rights, nationalism, justifications of democracy. Pr.: PHILO 525 and one other philosophy course.

PHILO 675. Advanced Philosophy of Law. (3) I or II in alternate years. A current issue in analytical jurisprudence (such as the nature of law, the relation between law and morality, the proper standards for constitutional interpretation) or normative jurisprudence (such as the basis for tort liability, whether and when strict criminal liability is justified, the rights of criminals). Pr.: PHILO 535 and one other philosophy course.

PHILO 680. Independent Studies in Philosophy. (Var.) I, II, S. Pr.: Consent of instructor.

PHILO 685. Current Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology. (3) I or II in alternate years. Selected philosophical issues of current interest in analytic metaphysics and epistemology. Pr.: PHILO 340 and two additional philosophy courses.

PHILO 690. Special Topics in Philosophy. (3) On sufficient demand. Selected topics in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, or philosophy of mind. Pr.: PHILO 320 and additional background courses required for topic.

PHILO 701. Topics in Metalogic. (3) On sufficient demand. Selected topics in the analysis of first-order theories and the foundations of mathematics. Pr.: PHILO 510 or MATH 511.