Philosophy

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Ted Toadvine, Department Head

541-346-5549
541-346-5544 fax

338 Prince Lucien Campbell Hall
1295 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1295

http://philosophy.uoregon.edu

Faculty

Mark Alfano, assistant professor (ethics, Nietzsche, experimental philosophy). BA, 2005, Princeton; MA, 2009, PhD, 2011, City University of New York. (2013)

Mark Johnson, Philip H. Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences (philosophy of language, recent moral theory, cognitive science). BA, 1971, Kansas; MA, 1972, PhD, 1977, Chicago. (1994)

Colin Koopman, assistant professor (American philosophy, critical theory, pragmatism). BA, 1997, Evergreen State College; MA, 1999, Leeds; PhD, 2006, McMaster. (2010)

Bonnie Mann, associate professor (feminist, Continental). BA, 1983, Portland State; PhD, 2002, State University of New York, Stony Brook. (2003)

Scott L. Pratt, professor (American philosophy, history of philosophy, education). BA, 1981, Beloit; PhD, 1995, Minnesota. (1995)

Beata Stawarska, associate professor (phenomenology, Continental, philosophical psychology). BA, 1992, MA, 1994, PhD, 2000, Louvain. (2003)

Ted Toadvine, associate professor (Continental, phenomenology, environmental). BA, 1990, Salisbury, MA, 1995, PhD, 1996, Memphis. (2003)

Alejandro Vallega, assistant professor (Latin American philosophy, Continental philosophy, aesthetics). BA, 1993, Saint John's College; MA, 1996, Boston; PhD, 1999, Vienna. (2010)

Daniela Vallega-Neu, assistant professor (19th- and 20th-century European philosophy, history of philosophy, phenomenology). BA, 1984, European School, Varese; MA, 1992, PhD, 1995, Universitat Freiburg. (2010)

Peter Warnek, associate professor (ancient philosophy, 19th- and 20th-century Continental philosophy, Kant). BA, 1986, Seattle; MA, 1990, Villanova; PhD, 1998, Vanderbilt. (1999)

Naomi Zack, professor (17th-century philosophy, race and racial categories, feminism). BA, 1966, New York University; PhD, 1970, Columbia. (2001)

Rocio Zambrana, assistant professor (Continental, 19th-century philosophy, modern philosophy). BA, 2001, Puerto Rico; MA, 2004, PhD, 2010, New School for Social Research. (2010)

Adjunct

Steven Brence, adjunct instructor (social and political philosophy, philosophy of film, ethics). BS, 1989, MA, 1993, PhD, 2001, Oregon. (2001)

Nicolae Morar, adjunct instructor (applied ethics, philosophy of biology); faculty fellow. BA, 2004, MA, 2005, Université Jean Moulin, Lyon 3; PhD, 2011, Purdue, West Lafayette. (2011)

Emeriti

William E. Davie, associate professor emeritus. BA, 1964, Washington (Seattle); PhD, 1969, California, Irvine. (1968)

Don S. Levi, professor emeritus. BA, 1956, Wisconsin, Madison; MA, 1961, PhD, 1962, Harvard. (1964)

Arnulf Zweig, professor emeritus. BA, 1952, Rochester; PhD, 1960, Stanford. (1956)

The date in parentheses at the end of each entry is the first year on the University of Oregon faculty.

Participating

Joyce Cheng, history of art and architecture

Michael Hames-García, ethnic studies

Jeffrey S. Librett, German and Scandinavian

Jerry L. Rosiek, education studies

Steven Shankman, English

Mark T. Unno, religious studies

Malcolm Wilson, classics

Undergraduate Studies

Philosophy asks fundamental questions about human identity, the nature of knowledge and reality, moral virtue and responsibility, the nature of community and political authority, aesthetic judgments and values, and other concepts central to the meaning and value of human existence. Through the study of primary texts and concrete issues, drawn from various historical periods and cultures, philosophy provides a means for reflection on actions, beliefs, and values while developing critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Philosophy also strengthens the ability to reason, enlarges the imagination, and refines aesthetic sensitivity. A philosophical education thus offers excellent preparation for a broad range of careers that require critical intelligence and creative problem-solving as well as oral and written communication skills.

The department offers bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS) degree programs. University degree requirements are listed in the Registration and Academic Policies section of this catalog and in the schedule of classes. Declaration of a major may be accomplished online by completing a form available on the department website.

Major Requirements

The minimum major requirement is 52 credits of course work in philosophy with grades of C– or better or P (pass), including 40 credits in upper-division courses. No more than 8 credits may be taken pass/no pass. The 52 credits must include History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval, Modern, 19th Century (PHIL 310, 311, 312); one term of logic (PHIL 325); 8 credits in courses on the works of specific philosophers (e.g., PHIL 421, 433, 453, or 463); and one 4-credit course devoted to issues of gender, race, class, and/or culture (e.g., PHIL 110, 213, 216, 315, 342, 443, or 452).

Honors in Philosophy

The philosophy honors program is designed to provide outstanding, highly motivated philosophy majors with the opportunity to develop their skills during the senior year through the independent exploration of a special topic of their own choosing under the guidance of a faculty mentor. To be eligible for admission to the honors program, students must have completed at least 24 credits in philosophy, at least 12 of which have been taken at the University of Oregon. The honors candidate’s grade point average (GPA) in philosophy must be at least 3.50, maintained through graduation. To graduate with honors, the candidate must fulfill the following requirements:

Courses. Besides the courses required of majors, a candidate for departmental honors must take at least 16 of the 52 credits in philosophy at the 400 level.

Senior Thesis. The candidate must write an honors thesis under the guidance of a member of the philosophy faculty chosen as thesis advisor. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s ability to formulate a significant research problem, research primary resources, interpret sources with imagination and technical skill, and present the finished work in a form meeting professional standards in philosophy. The thesis must be approved by a thesis committee consisting of two faculty members from the philosophy department. Approval of the thesis depends in part on a public defense attended by the committee.

Upon fulfilling these requirements, the candidate is approved to receive a bachelor’s degree with honors in philosophy.

Minor Requirements

The minimum requirement for a philosophy minor is 24 credits in philosophy with grades of C– or better or P (pass), including 16 upper-division credits. No more than 8 credits of the required 24 may be taken pass/no pass. The 16 credits must include History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval, Modern, 19th Century (PHIL 310, 311, 312) and 4 credits in a course on the work of a specific philosopher.

Graduate Studies

The department offers a graduate program leading to the master of arts (MA) and the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees. The program, which is pluralistic in orientation, requires students to develop a broad knowledge of the history of philosophy, major fields, and various approaches and methods. Students are urged to concentrate in a specific area at the advanced level. Specializations are supported in American philosophy, continental philosophy, and feminist philosophy, with particular strengths in phenomenology, German idealism, critical theory, philosophical psychology, philosophy of race, Latin American philosophy, gender and sexuality, ancient philosophy, environmental philosophy, and aesthetics.

Each student designs a program in consultation with the graduate advisor. Two or more years are typically required for completing the MA degree, and five or more years are typically required for completing the PhD degree. A complete and detailed list of the university and department requirements for graduate degrees is available online through the department website.

Master of Arts

The master’s program is designed to prepare students for PhD research or other professional pursuits through providing a broad background in the history of philosophy and recent developments in the areas of philosophy that are strengths of the department.

There are two paths to earning a master’s degree. The first requires completion of the second-language requirement and 48 credit hours of graduate course work including the distribution requirements (listed below). The second requires satisfaction of the second-language requirement, completing 45 credits of graduate course work—9 of which are taken in Thesis (PHIL 503)—and the writing of a master’s thesis under the direction of a thesis advisor with a second faculty reader.

The distribution requirements may be satisfied by receiving a mid-B or better in (1) two courses in each of three subdisciplinary fields: society and value; knowledge, rationality, and inquiry; and metaphysics; (2) one course from each of three out of the four historical periods: ancient and medieval, modern (16th–18th centuries), 19th century, and 20th and 21st centuries; (3) two courses from each of the four philosophical traditions—continental, analytic, American, and feminist—that ground the diverse philosophical perspectives of the department, one of which is a proseminar taken within the first two years of graduate study; and (4) one course in one of four requirement areas: Asian philosophy, philosophy of race, Native American philosophy, and Latin American philosophy. A single course may count toward each of two categories, but no more than once in a single category. For example, a course may count in a subdisciplinary field such as metaphysics, and, at the same time, apply to the history requirement or the traditions requirement.

For the thesis requirement, the student asks two faculty members to serve as his or her master’s committee, with one agreeing to serve as chair. The student prepares a short (maximum five pages) description of the proposed thesis topic. Once both committee members have approved the thesis proposal, the student registers for as many as 9 credits of Thesis (PHIL 503) during the one or two terms over which the thesis is written. Typically, the committee chair meets periodically with the student to assess progress and to oversee the writing of the thesis. When both members of the thesis committee agree that the thesis is suitable for a final defense, the candidate schedules a one-hour oral examination, during which the committee members ask questions about the argument and make suggestions for further revision, if necessary. The thesis is completed when it is given final approval by both members of the committee and is accepted by the Graduate School as satisfying its requirements for thesis preparation.

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD degree requires a minimum of 81 credits of graduate-level course work, of which 18 must be in Dissertation (PHIL 603). Students must complete a logic requirement, demonstrate proficiency in a second language, complete the four course distribution requirements, and pass two comprehensive examinations—extensive research projects, one in history (a paper) and one in the student’s area of specialization (a literature review). Most students finish their doctoral degrees within five to six years. The Graduate School imposes a limit of seven years for completion of the PhD degree.

The distribution requirements may be satisfied by receiving a mid-B or better in (1) two courses in each of three subdisciplinary fields: society and value; knowledge, rationality, and inquiry; and metaphysics; (2) one course from each of three out of the four historical periods: ancient and medieval, modern (16th–18th centuries), 19th century, and 20th and 21st centuries; (3) two courses from each of the four philosophical traditions—continental, analytic, American, and feminist—that ground the diverse philosophical perspectives of the department, one of which is a proseminar taken within the first two years of graduate study; and (4) one course in one of four requirement areas: Asian philosophy, philosophy of race, Native American philosophy, and Latin American philosophy. A single course may count toward each of two categories, but no more than once in a single category.

The comprehensive examinations are passed by completing two substantial research papers under the supervision of faculty members. Students are advanced to candidacy upon completion of the comprehensives. A dissertation prospectus must be accepted by the candidate’s committee after a preliminary oral examination. The written dissertation must receive the approval of the dissertation committee after a final oral examination.

Admission

Applicants for admission to graduate studies are asked to write a brief letter explaining their philosophical background and their specific philosophical interests. This helps the department’s admissions committee decide whether this is an appropriate philosophy department for the applicant’s goals. They should also submit a writing sample, a college transcript, and a notification of their scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). International students must provide proof of competence in English. A score of at least 500 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE), 26 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of international students unless their native language is English.

In addition to general university regulations governing graduate admission (see the Graduate School section of this catalog), the Department of Philosophy requires applicants to submit three confidential report forms completed by teachers (preferably philosophy teachers) familiar with the applicant’s academic background.

The application process is exclusively online; a link to the application guidelines is posted on the department website. Applicants who are unable to make the application fee payment online with Visa, Discover, or MasterCard may may now pay online with a check. This application and one complete set of transcripts, together with the $50 application fee, should be sent to the Office of Admissions, 1217 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1217. A second set of transcripts should be forwarded to the Department of Philosophy. Confidential report forms should be sent directly to the department by the faculty members recommending the applicant if they are unable to upload their letters of recommendation.

Graduate teaching fellowships are the only form of financial aid available in the philosophy department; the application deadline is January 15 for the following academic year. An application form is provided upon request.

Philosophy Courses (PHIL)

101 Philosophical Problems (4) Introduction to philosophy based on classical and modern texts from Plato through the 21st century. Sample topics include free will, the mind-body problem, the existence of an external world.

102 Ethics (4) Philosophical study of morality (e.g., ethical relativism; justification of moral judgments; concepts of duty, right, and wrong).

103 Critical Reasoning (4) Introduction to thinking and reasoning critically. How to recognize, analyze, criticize, and construct arguments.

110 Human Nature (4) Consideration of various physiological, cultural, psychological, and personal forces that characterize human beings, taking into account issues of class, gender, race, and sexual orientation.

120 Ethics of Enterprise and Exchange (4) Moral examination of business by considering the nature of enterprise and exchange. Topics include corporate and consumer responsibility, meaningful work, and leadership.

123 Internet, Society, and Philosophy (4) Introduction to philosophical problems of the Internet. Primary focus on social, political, and ethical issues with discussion of epistemological and metaphysical topics.

130 Philosophy and Popular Culture (4) Engages in critical philosophical reflection about and through popular culture, including movies, music, graphic novels, and sports. 

170 Love and Sex (4) Philosophical study of love, relationships, marriage, sex, sexuality, sexual identity, and sexual representation.

199 Special Studies: [Topic] (1–5R)

211 Existentialism (4) Basic ideas of the Christian and atheistic divisions of the existentialist movement; some attention to the philosophical situation that generated the existentialist rebellion.

213 Asian Philosophy (4) Introduction to classic writings in the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and other Asian philosophical traditions.

216 Philosophy and Cultural Diversity (4) Philosophical investigation of the implications of cultural diversity for identity, knowledge, and community, from the perspectives of several American cultures.

307, 308 Social and Political Philosophy (4,4) Major social and political theorists from Plato through Marx. Inquiry into such ideas as justice, natural law, natural rights, and the social contract.

309 Global Justice (4) Introduction to philosophical problems of globalization and justice related to global poverty, citizenship, human rights, and issues of identity, multiculturalism, war, terrorism, environmentalism, and health care.

310 History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval (4) Focuses primarily on Plato and Aristotle. Examines their roots in pre-Socratic philosophy and their influence on medieval philosophers such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

311 History of Philosophy: Modern (4) Survey of European philosophy through Hume, including the work of Descartes, Locke, and Spinoza.

312 History of Philosophy: 19th Century (4) Traces Kant’s influence on such philosophers as Hegel, Nietzsche, and Marx.

315 Introduction to Feminist Philosophy (4) Introduces basic questions of philosophy through topics central to feminism.

320 Philosophy of Religion (4) Philosophical investigation of the nature of "religion" (e.g., the nature of the sacred, spirituality, and transcendence). Prereq: one philosophy course.

322 Philosophy of the Arts (4) Survey of classical and contemporary theories of art and aesthetic experience, with examples from various arts. Prereq: one philosophy course.

323 Moral Theory (4) Study of the most important traditional ethical theories; modern philosophical analysis of moral terms and statements. Prereq: one philosophy course.

325 Logic, Inquiry, and Argumentation (4) Explores the means and ends of argumentation and inquiry by considering deductive reason, argumentation and emotion, and ethical and social dilemmas in inquiry.

330 Philosophy and Disaster (4) Philosophical and interactive course on disaster preparation, with contemporary, historical, and current event readings; students also learn a new practical skill. Offered alternate years.

331 Philosophy in Literature (4) Selective study of major philosophical ideas and attitudes expressed in the literature of Europe and America. Prereq: one philosophy course.

332 Philosophy of Film (4) Explores questions about the aesthetic dimensions of film, its relation to the other arts, and the treatment of philosophical questions in films.

335 Medical Ethics (4) Introduces theoretical tools and concrete case studies for formulating, analyzing, and evaluating ethical judgments raised by contemporary biomedical practice. 

339 Introduction to Philosophy of Science (4) Examines theories of scientific practice, rationality, objectivity, values in science, and the role of science in society. Prereq: one philosophy course.

340 Environmental Philosophy (4) Considers the nature and morality of human relationships with the environment (e.g., the nature of value, the moral standing of nonhuman life).

342 Introduction to Latin American Philosophy (4) History of Latin American philosophy through the study of ideas, issues, problems, and forms of thinking in the work of key periods, movements, and authors.

343 Critical Theory (4) Examines the methodological, epistemological, moral, and political dimensions of critical theory. Prereq: one philosophy course. Offered alternate years.

344 Introduction to Philosophy of Law (4) Introduces central problems in the law; examines the nature of legal reasoning.

345 Place in the Cosmos (4) Explores the relation between humans and the cosmos as a matter of place by comparing seminal texts in the history of philosophy. Offered alternate years.

350 Metaphysics (4) Traditional issues in metaphysics selected from among such topics as substance, existence, time, causation, God, the nature of individuals, and the meaningfulness of metaphysics. Prereq: one philosophy course.

399 Special Studies: [Topic] (1–5R)

401 Research: [Topic] (1–21R)

403 Thesis (1–12R)

405 Reading and Conference: [Topic] (1–21R)

407/507 Seminar: [Topic] (1–5R) Recent topics include Eastern Philosophy, Feminist Theory, Nonviolence. Prereq: one 300-level PHIL course.

410/510 Experimental Course: [Topic] (1–5R)

415 Continental Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Survey of significant areas in the Continental tradition (e.g., phenomenology, critical social theory, deconstruction, feminism, and hermeneutics). Junior standing required. R when topic changes.

420 American Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Survey of significant areas in the American tradition (e.g., 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century thought, African and Native American thought, feminism, recent pragmatism, the self, and pluralism). Junior standing required. R when topic changes.

421/521 Ancient Philosophers: [Topic] (4R) Concentrates on the work of a single philosopher, typically Plato or Aristotle. Prereq for 421: PHIL 310. R when philosopher changes.

425 Philosophy of Language (4) Philosophical theories of language and meaning, with special attention to the nature of concepts and reasoning. Junior standing required.

433/533 17th- and 18th-Century Philosophers: [Topic] (4R) Concentrates on the work of a single philosopher, typically Descartes, Locke, Hume, Leibniz, Berkeley, or Kant. Prereq for 433: PHIL 310, 311. R when philosopher changes.

441 Philosophy of the Arts: [Topic] (4) Systematic study of the meaning and value of aesthetic experience in everyday life and in the arts: painting, music, literature. Junior standing required.

443 Feminist Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Examines contemporary feminist contributions to philosophy. Prereq: one 300-level PHIL course. R once with instructor’s consent for maximum of 8 credits.

451/551 Native American Philosophy (4) Survey of Native American philosophy focusing on philosophical perspectives in historical traditions and contemporary Native American philosophy. Offered alternate years.

452 Philosophy and Race (4) Surveys the philosophical contribution to studies of race including intellectual history, philosophy of science, racism and its remedies, media studies, and cultural criticism. Prereq: one philosophy course at the 300 level.

453/553 19th-Century Philosophers: [Topic] (4R) Concentrates on the work of a single philosopher, typically Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, or Kierkegaard. Prereq: PHIL 312. R when philosopher changes.

463/563 20th-Century Philosophers: [Topic] (4R) Concentrates on the work of a single philosopher (e.g., Wittgenstein, Dewey, Quine, Merleau-Ponty, C. I. Lewis, or Foucault). Junior standing required. R when philosopher changes.

471 (H) Honors Thesis Workshop (2) Study methods of philosophical research and writing; develop an honors thesis project. 

475 (H) Honors Seminar (4) In-depth study of a particular area or problem in philosophy for students pursuing departmental honors. 

503 Thesis (1–16R)

601 Research: [Topic] (1–16R)

602 Supervised College Teaching (1–16R)

603 Dissertation (1–16R)

605 Reading and Conference: [Topic] (1–16R)

607 Seminar: [Topic] (1–5R) Recent topics include Emerson, Philosophy of Race, Schelling.

610 Experimental Course: [Topic] (1–5R)

614 Issues in Ethics (4) Examination of ethical theory. Major standing required.

615 Continental Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Explores philosophical problems and traditions in contemporary European philosophy. Major standing required. R when topic changes.

620 American Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Treats issues in classical and contemporary American philosophy. Major standing required. R when topic changes.

625 Philosophy of Language (4) Philosophical theories of language and meaning, with special attention to the nature of concepts and reasoning. Major standing required.

641 Social and Political Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Examination of classical and current problems in social and political philosophy including the nature of justice, legitimacy of the state, conditions of war and peace. R when topic changes.

643 Feminist Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Explores contemporary feminist philosophy. Major standing required.R when topic changes.

645 Environmental Philosophy: [Topic] (4R) Pursues advanced questions in environmental philosophy regarding a particular tradition or problem area. Major standing required.R when topic changes.

657 Philosophy and Race: Contemporary Issues (4) Examination of contemporary discussions regarding race including biology and race, race in medicine, reparations, perspectives on race in Continental and American philosophy.

658 Philosophy of Mind (4) Analyzes basic concepts and problems in psychology. Major standing required.