Trinity Western University

Course Descriptions

Philosophy

  • PHIL 103 Introduction to Logic (3 sem. hrs.)

    An analysis of the use of reasoning in ordinary language. Students are introduced to deductive logic by learning how to recognize arguments by identifying some common fallacies and by learning several methods of assessing the quality of arguments. Both traditional and modern methods of determining deductive validity, including a formal theory of inference, are studied.

    Prerequisite(s): None. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 105, 106 Introduction to Philosophy (3, 3 sem. hrs.)

    An introduction to questions addressed by philosophers: the relationship between perception and knowledge (appearance and reality), the existence and nature of God, human freedom and determinism, the meaning of human existence, the nature of moral judgments, the mind/body problem, artificial intelligence, feminist philosophy, the problem of suffering, and whether humans are capable of selfless motivation.

    Prerequisite(s): None. (3-0; 3-0)


  • PHIL 108 Philosophy of Society and Law (3 sem. hrs.)

    An introduction to the philosophy of society and law. In this exploration of the relation between society and the law, the first half of the course begins with an historic survey of the debates over the meaning of the law from antiquity to the present. The second half of the course reviews legal cases which have provoked, or are still provoking, debates over the meaning of law and society.

    Prerequisite(s): None. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 109 Critical Thinking: Informal Logic (3 sem. hrs.)

    An introduction to critical thinking/writing and informal logic in practical settings. The value of rational thinking in the face of everyday challenges e.g., problem solving, making informed decisions, evaluating whether a statement is true, etc. Students dissect examples of good and bad reasoning, analyze informal fallacies, detect hidden assumptions and irrelevant premises in arguments, determine where an argument's burden of proof lies and practise transferring critical thinking skills to their writing skills.

    Prerequisite(s): None. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 111 History of Western Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval Period RP (3 sem. hrs.)

    A survey of the teachings of the great philosophers of the West, from the discovery of physics by the Pre-Socratics, to the culmination of medieval Scholasticism (i.e. in John of St. Thomas), with a special emphasis upon developments in the philosophy of religion.

    NB: Course taught at Redeemer Pacific College, an approved TWU learning centre.

    Prerequisite(s): None. (3-0; 0-0)


  • PHIL 203 Ancient Greek Wisdom (3 sem. hrs.)

    An examination of key contributions to Greek philosophy, especially the writing of Plato and Aristotle.

    Prerequisite(s): None. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 210 Contemporary Ethical Issues (3 sem. hrs.)

    An examination of some basic ethical theory and a critical focus on some current moral issues like consumerism, technoculture, environmental ethics, responsibility to distant peoples, genetic engineering and cloning, and the promise and peril of nanotechnology. The emphasis is on clarifying the issues, exploring various views on these and relevant supporting arguments, and exposing important underlying assumptions.

    Prerequisite(s): Second year standing or instructor's consent. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 220 Philosophy of Sex and Gender (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course explores the central commitments characteristic of feminist and masculinist thought and praxis, seeking to identify and critically engage the various ways these highly diverse, academically entrenched, and socially influential movements have constructed the politically and theologically charged categories of sex and gender. Topics include sexism, historical overviews of feminist and masculinist movements, competing definitions of sex and gender, the body and subjectivity, language and power, and religion and the politics of identity.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): Second year standing.


  • PHIL 303 Medieval Philosophy RP (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course explores philosophical issues in the West from the second to the 14th century, in particular the impact of Greek philosophy on the development of Christian thought. There are three natural stages of this interaction: 1) Defensive philosophy (apologetics): responses to rational objections brought to bear against Christianity; 2) Methodology: reflection on the interaction between faith and reason, and, in particular, the nature of theology as a science; 3) Constructive philosophy: struggles from within over a systematic metaphysics and ethics. A central theme of the course is the role of the doctrine of creation in the image of God.

    NB: May not be offered every year. Course taught at Redeemer Pacific College, an approved TWU learning centre.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy. (3-0; 0-0)


  • PHIL 304 Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas RP (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course studies key texts from Thomas Aquinas. The focus is on the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas, but special attention is paid to his commentaries on Aristotle and on his Christian interpretation of ancient philosophy. The challenge that modern science and modern philosophy presents to Thomistic metaphysics is also discussed, with special attention paid to the highly influential critique made by Immanuel Kant.

    NB: Course taught at Redeemer Pacific College, an approved TWU learning centre.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy. (3-0; 0-0)


  • PHIL 305 Philosophy of the Human Person RP (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course addresses what it means to say that human beings are persons having freedom and subjectivity; examines the different powers of the human person, including the powers of understanding, willing, feeling, and loving; studies the difference between body and soul, as well as the unity of the two in humans; and explores the question of the immortality of the soul. Some classic texts from the tradition of Western philosophy are read.

    NB: Course taught at Redeemer Pacific College, an approved TWU learning centre.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy. (3-0; 0-0)


  • PHIL 310 Issues in Social Justice (3 sem. hrs.)

    An examination of ethical issues that pertain to social justice, addressing such topics as the distribution of wealth, affirmative action and quotas, sexual equality, gay rights, the morality of war, punishment, and responsibility.

    Cross-listed: POLS 310; PHIL 510.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy or third year standing. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 313 British Empiricism (3 sem. hrs.)

    A study of British empiricism in the 17th and 18th centuries. Selected writings of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume are read and discussed.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 6 sem. hrs. of Philosophy. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 314 Reason and the Enlightenment (3 sem. hrs.)

    A study of rationalist philosophy (and its challenge to revealed truth) in the European Enlightenment period of the 17th and 18th centuries. Selected writings of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz are read and discussed.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 6 sem. hrs. of Philosophy. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 315 Kant (3 sem. hrs.)

    A study of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, focusing primarily on Kant's seminal work, Critique of Pure Reason.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 9 sem. hrs. of Philosophy. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 320 Social and Political Philosophy (3 sem. hrs.)

    An examination of foundational ideas and problems in political life and thought. Both classical and contemporary texts are used. Concepts treated include the state, the citizen, democracy, liberty, equality, authority, obligation, and disobedience.

    Cross-listed: POLS 320.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy or third year standing. (3-0 or 3-0) .


  • PHIL 333 Philosophy of Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course surveys major ancient, medieval, modern, and postmodern approaches that attempt a theory of literature. The course places modern and postmodern theories in historical perspective by reading key ancient and medieval authorx. In particular, resources from the Latin Scholstic tradition most relevant to contemporary debates about literary theory are highlighted.

    NB: Not offered every year.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy.


  • PHIL 340 Moral Philosophy (3 sem. hrs.)

    The problem of determining standards of right and wrong as well as the problem of determining what is of value in itself. The moral theories of prominent philosophers, both ancient and modern, are examined.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy (PHIL 106 or 210 are recommended). (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 350 Symbolic Logic (3 sem. hrs.)

    A study of the propositional calculus, quantification theory, the theory of definite descriptions, and other topics in modern symbolic logic.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): PHIL 103 or instructor's consent. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 370 Aesthetics (3 sem. hrs.)

    An analysis of the aesthetic experience arising from our response to visual art, architecture, music, and literature. The nature of beauty, theories of art, and the question of objective standards of evaluation of art objects and nature are some of the topics discussed.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Cross-listed: SAMC 370.

    Prerequisite(s): Third or fourth year standing or 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy or instructor's consent. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 380 Philosophy of Science (3 sem. hrs.)

    An examination of some of the central philosophical issues raised by science. Topics include scientific method, explanations and laws in science, scientific progress, confirmation, and the structure of scientific theories.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): Third or fourth year standing or PHIL 103 or instructor's consent. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 383 Reason and Belief in God (3 sem. hrs.)

    A survey of central issues arising from the question, Is belief in God rational? Topics include arguments concerning the existence of God, religious pluralism, natural science and religious belief, religious language, and critiques of natural theology from Kierkegaard and Reformed Epistemology.

    Cross-listed: RELS 383.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy or third year standing. (3-0; 3-0)


  • PHIL 384 Suffering and Belief in God (3 sem. hrs.)

    An examination of key issues pertaining to suffering and belief in God. Topics include the problem of evil, arguments from suffering, original sin, everlasting suffering, and providence.

    Cross-listed: RELS 385.

    Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy or third year standing. (3-0; 3-0)


  • PHIL 390 Existentialism (3 sem. hrs.)

    Questions having to do with the meaning, nature, and predicament of human existence: the problem of truth and values, the meaning of human activity, existential angst (anxiety), freedom and responsibility, God, alienation, interpersonal relationships, death, despair, authentic and inauthentic modes of living, etc. Key figures include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre, as well as some literary works by Dostoevsky, Hemingway, and Kafka.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): Second year standing or 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 412 Issues in Contemporary Philosophy (3 sem. hrs.)

    Central issues arising in 20th century philosophy, particularly within the Anglo-American analytic movement. Recent topics have included the rise and demise of logical positivism, the philosophy of Wittgenstein, Rorty's attack on the Mirror of Nature, and issues raised by continental European philosophy.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 9 sem. hrs. of Philosophy and third year standing. 3 sem. hrs. of Philosophy and third year standing. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 415 Contemporary Political Philosophy (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course examines the political thought of 20th century political philosophers, primarily from the Western political tradition. Attention is given to selected primary and secondary literature of contemporary political theorists. Systematic examination of different theorists encourages a broader understanding of the rich tradition of political philosophy in the 20th century.

    Cross-listed: POLS 415.

    Prerequisite(s): 6 sem. hrs. of Political Studies including POLS 101. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 418 Social and Political Concepts of Community in Contemporary Political Theory (3 sem. hrs.)

    Provides the student with an in-depth study of the social and political concepts of community. Attention is focused on how recognition of community brings into play the tension between individual and collective/group rights. Course lectures, reading assignments, and in class discussion provide an overview of the following topics: interpretation/hermeneutics of community, roots of community theory, myth of community, quest for community, Christian community, recognition of minority communities in politics, problems associated with the concept of community, recognition of group rights, the liberal-communitarian debate over community, and problems associated with communitarian theory.

    Cross-listed: POLS 418; SOCI 418.

    Prerequisite(s): 6 sem. hrs. of Philosophy and third year standing. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 420 Authors (3 sem. hrs.)

    A study of a major philosopher or philosophical system. Involving substantial reading and the writing of a major paper, the course is available by special request to students who already have at least a minor in Philosophy, on a directed study basis.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): Philosophy major or instructor's consent. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 421 Postmodern Philosophy (3 sem. hrs.)

    An in-depth investigation into major postmodern texts. Authors considered include Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida, and their critics. The philosophical, political, religious, and cultural implications of both modernism and postmodernism are explored.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 6 sem. hrs. of Philosophy and third year standing. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 430 Honours Thesis (3 sem. hrs.)

    A 40 - 60 page paper on a topic of the student's choosing (subject to departmental approval) on an important philosophic issue or thinker. An oral defense and a library-acceptable copy are required. This course is to be taken in the final year by all honours students in philosophy.

    Prerequisite(s): 4th year standing; acceptance into Philosophy Honours program; completion of PHIL 420 in previous semester. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 460 Philosophy of Language (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course surveys central issues in philosophy of language, including: theories of truth and reference, the relationship between language, thought, and mind, constructivist and structuralist accounts of language. A sub-theme for the course is the relationship between the philosophy of language and other core areas of philosophy.

    Prerequisite(s): ): 6 sem. hrs. of Philosophy, or instructor's consent. (0-0; 3-0)


  • PHIL 470 Philosophy of Knowledge and Rational Belief (3 sem. hrs.)

    A descriptive and critical inquiry into the theory of knowledge, including such topics as foundationalism, relativism, evidence, warrant, cognitive reliability, skepticism, and the relationship of cognitive science and psychology to philosophical accounts of knowledge and rational inquiry.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 9 sem. hrs. of Philosophy and third year standing. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 483 The Evidential Force of Religious Experience (3 sem. hrs.)

    Examines the place of evidence in religion and assesses the evidential force of religious experience. Such experiences as near-death experiences, visions, conversions, mystical states of consciousness, and other topics that have garnered ongoing public attention are discussed.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Cross-listed: RELS 483.

    Prerequisite(s): Third year standing and 6 sem. hrs. of Philosophy or instructor's consent. (3-0 or 3-0)


  • PHIL 490 Philosophy of Mind (3 sem. hrs.)

    A study of the mind-body problems through consideration of various philosophical theories on the nature of human consciousness. The relevance of mystical and religious experience, of parapsychological phenomena, and of neurophysiological findings to the mind-body problem.

    NB: Not offered every year. See Department chair.

    Prerequisite(s): 6 sem. hrs. of Philosophy or third year standing.

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