College of Liberal Studies
Department Chair: Eric Kraemer
245E Graff Main Hall; 608.785.8424
The significant features of the Department of Philosophy at UW-La Crosse include its broadly prepared faculty and its diverse course offerings. The philosophy faculty members, all of whom have doctorates in philosophy, represent many different philosophical viewpoints and diverse competencies and interests. The coursework available in the Philosophy Program represents not only all of the important traditional areas of philosophy but also new interests and developments in the field.
Philosophy fosters creative and critical thinking and helps one to understand human thought through the ages as well as developing an insightful perspective on the present scene. Students often major in another discipline at the same time they are studying philosophy. This joint major program is excellent preparation for many programs of study beyond the baccalaureate degree including law, business, and medicine.
Sheryl Tuttle Ross
+ next to a course number indicates a general education course
+PHL 100 Cr.3
Introduction to Philosophy
An introduction to the major views on important philosophic topics such as personal identity, freedom, knowledge, morality, religion, and social justice. Students cannot earn credit for the philosophy major/minor in both PHL 100 and PHL 200. Offered Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.
+PHL 101 Cr.3
Introduction to Logic
An introduction to logic, the science of valid reasoning. This course introduces the student to both formal and informal methods of reasoning and evaluating arguments. Offered Fall, Spring.
+PHL 200 Cr.3
Introduction to the Literature of Philosophy
An examination of the expression, development and conflict of the ideas and values in current and time-honored works of philosophy from major world cultures. Topics to be studied include religion, ethics, knowledge, personal identity, justice and freedom. Students cannot earn credit for the philosophy major/minor in both PHL 100 and PHL 200. Offered Fall, Spring.
PHL 201 Cr.3
Introduction to Ethics
A study of important ethical views in the history of philosophy. An examination into the nature of virtues and values, principals of right action, and character. There will be additional introductory emphasis on selected issues in applied ethics from multicultural points of view. Offered Annually.
PHL 205 Cr.3
History of Philosophy I
Introduction to principle questions of philosophy and history of their analysis from the pre-Socratic period to the Renaissance. Offered Fall.
PHL 206 Cr.3
History of Philosophy II
Principal questions of philosophy, and history of their analysis from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment. Offered Spring.
PHL 300 Cr.3
Topics in Philosophy
Study of a philosophical topic of special interest. Topics will vary according to the interests of the instructor. For the current content, consult the instructor or the department chair. Repeatable for credit - maximum 6. Prerequisite: six credits in philosophy or permission of the department chair. Offered Occasionally.
PHL/PSY 301 Cr.3
Theory of Knowledge
An intensive examination of three major questions: (1) What are the principal grounds of knowledge? (2) How certain can we be of what we think we know? (3) Are there limits beyond which we cannot hope to extend knowledge? Strong emphasis is placed on the problems of perception, learning, and knowledge representation. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 101 or PHL 200 or PSY 100. (Cross-listed with PHL/PSY; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 302 Cr.3
This course offers the student a systematic presentation of symbolic logic. Proof techniques as well as consistency and completeness of the propositional calculus and predicate calculus are discussed. The student is also introduced to logical systems involving obligation and necessity as well as to systems of three-valued logic. Prerequisite: PHL 101 or MTH 151. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 303 Cr.3
A study of traditional and contemporary philosophical statements by which ethical problems may be approached. An examination of the search for general standards of value and of conduct as well as a critical examination of the answers put forth by the main types of ethical theories. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 101 or PHL 200. Offered Fall.
PHL 307 Cr.3
19th Century Continental Philosophy
A study of the major continental philosophical movements of the 19th century. Beginning with Fichte's response to Immanuel Kant, the course explores Romantic philosophy (Schleiermacher and Schlegel), Idealism (Schelling and Hegel), and post-Hegelian philosophy (Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche). The course will take into consideration a number of metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic issues. Questions concerning self, religion, language, the natural environment, beauty, and our relationship with others, will all be broached. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 310 Cr.3
Metaphysics is the science of what it is to be something. Topics include: (1) how metaphysics differs from natural science, (2) in what sense is anything general, universal, particular, continuing, an event, a process, a substance, a relation, abstract, subjective, or objective, (3) in what ways possible worlds can differ from this one, (4) what kind of thing could have body and a mind, (5) what the difference between a thing and its parts in an arrangement is, (6) what is required for two seemingly different things to turn out to be the same thing, (7) how space and time differ from each other and other things, and (8) what natural laws and numbers are. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 101 or PHL 200. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 311 Cr.3
Philosophy of Language
A survey of issues concerning the meaning of words. Their referential, snytactic and pragmatic features are explored. Description and causal theories of reference of names, description, indexicals, reflexives and kind terms and their relation to various theories of truth, necessity, and possibility are considered. The nature and roles of linguistic rules of use, competence and their relation to word, speaker and hearer meaning are explored in view of speech act theory. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 101 or PHL 200. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 320 Cr.3
A survey of the American philosophical canon under the rubric question of what should count as American philosophy. We study Native American philosophies, the Puritans, the Congregationalists and Quakers, the American enlightenment philosophies, the transcendentalists, the evolutionary thinkers, the social philosophers, the American idealists, the pragmatists, and the neo-pragmatists. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Occasionally.
ERS/PHL 321 Cr.3
American Indian Thought
Reflection on the Native American ways of thinking as manifest in the literature of various select tribes, on the essential characteristics of thinking commonly shared by Native Americans, and on the fundamental difference between the Native American ways of thinking and those of the dominant (white) culture. The "primal world" of Native American thought will be studied as an alternative to the western way of thinking. Prerequisite: ERS 100. (Cross-listed with ERS/PHL 321; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Occasionally.
PHL 323 Cr.3
Phenomenology, Existentialism and Postmodernism
A study of the three major components of Continental philosophy: existentialism, phenomenology, and postmodernism. Existentialism: rejecting the rationalistic conception of objective knowledge, a philosophy of the lived experience of concrete individuals. Phenomenology: thinking and learning to describe the world as it appears rather than in terms of the preconceptions of a "totally rational" and "absolutely certain" system. Postmodernism, including poststructuralism and deconstruction: tending to the fragmentation of text and of subject, recognizing the impossibility of any definitive conception of reality, releasing hidden layers (traces) of texts unto polymorphic indeterminacies. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Annually.
PHL 324 Cr.3
Women and Diversity in Philosophy
This class explores the philosophical questions regarding the diverse aspects of women's experience. This explores the intersection of sex, race, ethnicity, class, age, and gender. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 326 Cr.3
Philosophical Concepts in Literature
Philosophical Concepts in Literature explores how literary technique in used in philosophical texts and how philosophical issues are addressed in various literary forms. Students discuss issues such as love, death, evil, tragedy, identity, fortune, and the good life. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200 or CHI 305 or ENG 200 or ENG 201 or ENG 202 or ENG 203 or ENG 204 or ENG 206 or GER 399 or MLG 299 or RUS 305. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 330 Cr.3
Philosophy of Food: The Dining Experience
Philosophy of Food explores the aesthetic, ethical and existential features of the dining experience. Beginning with the pleasure features of food it moves to discussion on the relation of the disgusting and delicious, of the role of taste and food taboo, the proper relation of food and beauty, the question of whether food can constitute art, the relation of food and the sexual, and the role of the aesthetic in unpacking ethical evaluation of food choices. Phenomenological accounts are provided of the experiences of eating disorders and models of thinness and obesity. Next it looks at the metaphysics and epistemology of establishing criteria for nutritional value, the ideology of nutritionism, analysis of function foods, the defenses/critiques of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and so-called Frankenfoods. Further it investigates ethical discourse on eating behavior, ethical arguments for vegetarianism, veganism, carnism and omnivorism , and gendered accounts of proper eating behavior. Lastly, philosophical arguments about appropriate ethical responses to world hunger are evaluated as well as development of arguments about the proper role of being a world food citizen. Offered Spring - Even Numbered Years.
PHL 331 Cr.3
Philosophy of Religion
An examination of religion and religious experience. Topics considered are: theories of the proper description of God, arguments for and against the existence of God, theories of the nature of the soul, arguments for and against the existence of souls and reincarnation, the role and evidential power of religious experience and organized religion in justified belief. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 101 or PHL 200. Offered Fall.
+PHL 332 Cr.3
Philosophy of the Arts
An examination of aesthetic experience and the questions that are relevant to works of art. Topics discussed include: art and the emotions, aesthetic responses to everyday experiences, morality and the arts, standards of taste, and how to define art. Offered Annually.
PHL/PSY 333 Cr.3
Philosophy of Mind
A study of the nature of the mind from both philosophical and psychological perspectives. The course will focus on important attempts to solve the mind-body problem, how mind and body are related and also will address the related problems of consciousness, intentionality, free will and personal identity. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 101 or PHL 200 or PSY 100. (Cross-listed with PSY/PHL; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 334 Cr.3
Philosophy of Science
An examination of such topics as the attempt to demarcate science from pseudo-science, the nature of scientific inference, the structure of scientific explanation, scientific reduction and the unity of science, the interplay between theory and observation in science, the realism/anti-realism debate, objectivity of science, and the relationship between science and religion. PHL 101 is also recommended. Offered Fall.
+PHL 335 Cr.3
Multicultural Philosophy in the United States (ES)
This survey course will examine philosophical ideas and systems that are generated from a wide range of cultural traditions found in the United States. The aim of this search will be to broaden and deepen understanding and appreciation of the diversities of philosophies in the United States. Offered Alternate Years.
+PHL 336 Cr.3
International Multicultural Philosophy
This survey course will examine philosophical ideas and systems that are generated from a wide range of cultural traditions world wide. The aim of this search will be to broaden and deepen our understanding and appreciation of the multiplicity of philosophical perspectives which are part of an increasingly diverse, interconnected, and globalized world. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 337 Cr.3
Legal, Political, and Social Philosophy
An examination of philosophical issues concerning legal, political, and social structures. A discussion of philosophical accounts of the nature and justification of law and the state, of the relation of morality and the law, of the relation of morality and the state, and of the nature of legal-political obligation and responsibility. Philosophical accounts of justice, liberty, rights, and obligation and the relation of these topics to contemporary legal, political and social problems will be covered. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 339 Cr.3
Examination of the principal moral problems that arise in the medical context including abortion, euthanasia, cloning, stem cells, human and animal experimentation, and the allocation of scarce medical resources. May only earn credit in PHL 339 or SOC 340. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 340 Cr.3
Ethical issues in the conduct of business will be examined by focusing on case studies in business that raise ethical issues. A variety of ethical theories will be used to illuminate the ethical features of business decisions and their effects on employees and society. The goal is to improve ability to identify factors and considerations that can play a role in improving the ethical character of business. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 341 Cr.3
Philosophical reflections on humanity’s relationship to the natural world. The course will examine classic American perspectives (e.g. Leopold, transcendentalists), Asian perspectives, Native American perspectives, and contemporary environmental philosophies such as social ecology, deep ecology, and ecofeminism. Course discussions will include the historical roots of the contemporary environmental crisis, the development of a personal environmental philosophy, and the role of a citizen in advancing environmental awareness and responsible land and water use. Prerequisite: ENV 201 or PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 342 Cr.3
Philosophy of Love, Sex and Friendship
An examination into the nature of a variety of kinds of love including love of knowledge, love of friends, erotic love, and parental love. Philosophical consideration of topics such as the nature of desire, the politics of desire, sexual intercourse, adultery, monogamy, polygamy, homosexuality, and the obligations of friends as well as institutions of marriage and parenthood. Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 345 Cr.3
Latin American Philosophy
Introduction to the main questions in Latin American thought. Questions will be centered in epistemology, ethics, metaphysics and political philosophy. In particular, the focus will be on the interaction between Latin American thought (from pre-conquest to the present) and traditional Western European thought. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 349 Cr.3
Introduction to the main questions in the Asian philosophical traditions. Questions will be centered in ethics, religion, epistemology, and metaphysics. Conceptual connections will be made with European and North American philosophical traditions. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 352 Cr.3
Confucianism and Daoism
This course will carefully follow the development of Chinese Confucian and Daoist philosophy from their ancient beginnings until present day. What we will discover is an impressively rich and diverse body of philosophical ideas. Topics considered are: human nature and self-actualization, what it means to know, the place of the human individual in society and the natural environment, the overarching issue of harmony, and how these ideas are and are not similar to ideas one finds in Western philosophy. Prerequisite: PHL 100. Offered Every Third Semester.
PHL 355 Cr.3
Philosophy and Film
An investigation into the philosophy of film and the philosophy within film. Topics may include personal identity, knowledge, technology, ideology, morality, emotions, and truth. Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 360 Cr.3
This course will explore the development of Zen Buddhism through an analysis of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean texts. Themes we will discuss include the enlightenment experience, the nature of reality and knowledge, the student/teacher relationship, koan practice (i.e. "the sound of one hand clapping"), and the relationship of Zen philosophy to ethics and aesthetics (poetry, painting, etc.). The course will make a point to situate Zen within the overall philosophical environment of China and Japan. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200. Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 401 Cr.3
An investigation of major ethical problems facing the world as a whole from an international perspective, including world medicine, international economic relations, world environmental ethics, international individual rights issues, world diversity concerns, and international conflict and cooperation. Prerequisite: PHL 100 or PHL 200 or ANT/ECO/GEO/HIS/POL/SOC 202. Both are highly recommended. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 425 Cr.3
The intention of this course is to investigate the many different ways in which wilderness is defined and understood within environmental philosophy. The approach will be broad and will cover a variety of themes. Our desire is both to clarify the positive characteristics of the wilderness idea while also recognizing its significant flaws and hazards. The moral implications of the wilderness concept will be given special attention. A variety of different philosophical perspectives will be utilized. Prerequisite: ENV 201 or PHL 100. Offered Alternate Years.
PHL 431 Cr.3
Advanced Philosophy of Religion
Selected readings from recent scholarly journals and Medieval philosophy are the focus of the course and background for examination of topics such as: What justifies that a human can be God? Can God make a world permitting possible contradictions such as a world in which there is an unstoppable cannonball and an immovable lamppost? Exactly how do humans, persons and souls differ if they do? PHL 331 strongly recommended. Prerequisite: PHL 101. Offered Spring.
PHL 494 Cr.3
Advanced Topics in Philosophy
Study of a philosophical topic of special interest. Topics will vary according to the interests of students and the instructor. For the current content, consult the instructor or the department chair. No more than six credits in PHL 494, 495, and 497 are applicable to a philosophy major or minor. Repeatable for credit - maximum 6. Prerequisite: nine credits in philosophy and consent of department chair. This course is open to juniors and seniors. Consent of department. Offered Occasionally.
PHL 495 Cr.1-3
Individual Study in Philosophy
Directed reading and research under the supervision of an instructor. No more than six credits in PHL 494, 495, and 497 combined are applicable to a philosophy major or minor. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: 12 hours in philosophy and consent of the philosophy department staff. Consent of department. Offered Fall, Spring.
PHL 496 Cr.3
Integration of programmatic themes and methods in the major. May be taken for honors credit. Prerequisite: 18 credits including PHL 100 or PHL 200; PHL 101; PHL 201 or PHL 303; PHL 205; PHL 206. Offered Fall.
PHL 497 Cr.1-3
Apprenticeship in Philosophy
This course allows students to combine their individual talent and achievement with academically relevant experiential learning. This course will provide majors and minors in philosophy the opportunity for a variety of significant work, service, and leadership tasks related to philosophy. This is a hands-on course which complements and enhances other academic work. No more than six credits in PHL 300, PHL 494, PHL 495, and PHL 497 are applicable to a philosophy major. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: open to all students with 18 credit hours in philosophy who are in good standing; consent of supervising instructor and department chair. Consent of instructor. Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring.