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Department of Philosophy

Philosophy Courses

The philosophy department at K-State teaches a wide variety of courses, which change from semester to semester.

  • For a list of the courses the department is currently offering, click here.
  • For a list of all philosophy courses with descriptions, click here.
  • Fall 2017 Final Examination Schedule, click here. For the Spring 2018 Final Examination Schedule, click here.

Upper Level Seminars

In addition to our introductory and intermediate courses, our department also offers specialized upper division courses every semester.

Spring 2018, our upper division courses are: 

Naturalism (Special Topics in Philosophy: PHILO 690), with Prof. Tanona

  • To what degree is science to relevant to philosophical questions about ethics, religion, knowledge, the mind, free will, and so on? How necessary are traditional philosophical methods to answering those questions? Similar questions arise in other fields: For example, when can design questions that traditionally took special expertise to address now be answered with "big data"? In this course we will examine naturalism—roughly, the idea that certain subjects should be approached naturalistically, empirically or scientifically. Naturalism within science itself advocates an avoidance of non-natural explanations (e.g., explanations of biology via “intelligent design”). Within philosophy, naturalism is a position that philosophy should be approached more scientifically. We will survey, seminar-style, writings about naturalism in science and in philosophy as well as examples of naturalistic approaches to specific questions in other areas to be determined partly by the make-up of the class. For students outside philosophy, this course will offer insight into how philosophy might augment methods in their own fields. For students in philosophy, this course will offer suggestions about how they might extend their approaches to include methods and knowledge from other fields. 

Philosophy of Law (PHILO 535), with Prof. Mahoney

  • Does legal authority depend on moral authority? What are the requirements for the rule of law? Is there a human right to migration? Can a state that claims to be committed to democratic values and the rule of law restrict membership into the legal-political community on religious, national, or linguistic grounds? In American law as in many other jurisdictions the right to religious freedom is guaranteed. But what are the limits to this right? Should I be able to practice polygamy on religious grounds? Smoke peyote? Freedom of speech is a basic right. Some modern legal systems treat for-profit corporations as fictitious ‘legal persons’. Should for-profit corporations have a right to political speech? In what ways should law be reformed to better address racial inequalities and other pervasive social injustices? We will examine topics like these by reading a combination of philosophical work on questions about the nature of legal practice, legal argumentation, and legal rules. We will also read some case law, including Supreme Court verdicts.

Aesthetics (PHILO 570), with Prof. Hamilton

  • This course will be devoted to issues in philosophical aesthetics and philosophy of art directed specifically at architecture as a practice and as a set of products. Topics likely to be discussed concern the contributions that plans, buildings, and sites make to a work of architecture, the distinction between aesthetic and artistic “readings” or evaluations, the role (if any) of intentionality in descriptions, “readings,” and evaluations in architecture, what it is that makes architecture an intrinsically social practice, and moral dimensions (if any) attending to architectural practices.