Philosophy

What is the self? Does God exist? Why are some actions considered right and others wrong? What is the relationship between the world and us? As a Hanover philosophy student, you'll grapple with life’s biggest questions in a remarkably broad range of classes.

You'll also explore individual interests with accomplished, diverse faculty members. From contemporary political thought to Taoism and Cooking, these courses will challenge you to experiment with new ideas and further your own personal development.

Tracks through the major

Philosophy students get a taste of everything the discipline has to offer. In addition, students can concentrate in specific areas called tracks. Tracks are offered in:

  • Pre-law
  • History of western philosophy
  • Analytic philosophy
  • Asian philosophy
  • Ethics and values

What do philosophy majors study?

  • Modern philosophy
  • Classical Greek philosophy
  • Philosophy Seminar
  • Other topics that interest you, from law to existentialism to formal logic to Zen Buddhism

Previous graduates' career and professional placements have included:

  • Jesuit Volunteer Corps (MO)
  • Solid Light, Inc. (KY)
  • Congressman Dan Burton (IN)
  • Provident Bank (OH)
  • Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (U.K.)

Recent graduate school placements have included:

  • University of Notre Dame
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • University of Maryland School of Law
  • University of Michigan Law School
  • Howard University of Law
  • Penn State University
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Indiana University School of Law
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville

Courses

Number
Name
Credits
Description
PHI 161
Philosophy and the Human Condition
1
Central issues in philosophy will be raised by asking what is a human being? What does it mean to be human? Various answers to these questions and the philosophical frameworks that support them will be examined. In combination with a Theological Studies course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 163
Philosophical Issues & Classic Text
1
Study of central issues in philosophy through an examination of classic philosophical texts such as Plato's Symposium, Aristotles' Nicomachean Ethics, and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. An examination of these texts will allow students to study and to analyze several clearly developed and well-known philosophical perspectives. In combination with a Theological Studies course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 164
Philosophical Perspectives - Nature
1
Study of central issues in philosophy through an examination of various concepts of nature, such as those found in Bacon, Thoreau, and Homes Ralston. Each concept of nature says something different not just about the natural world, but also about what it means to be human, and what our relationship with and responsibility for the natural world should be. In combination with a Theological Studies course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 165
Philosophy and Ethics
1
Focuses on topics and texts of ethics and raises questions everyone struggles with throughout life. What is the good life? What does it mean to be a good person? How do we know what the good is? What is the nature of the good? In combination with a Theological Studies course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 166
Reason and Belief
1
In this course, students will develop basic skills in evaluating arguments. These skills include (but are not limited to) recognizing different kinds of arguments, knowing how to evaluate the strength of an argument according to its kind, and identifying some common mistakes in reasoning. In combination with a Theological Studies course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 167
Foundational Issues in Philosophy
1
Addresses some of the fundamental issues in philosophy. Students critically reflect on various metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical positions and identify the one they find most reasonable. At the end of the course, they will bring together their positions and construct a coherent philosophical position. In combination with a Theological Studies course from the approved list, this course satisfies the Examined Life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 168
Philosophy and the Environment
1
Central issues in philosophy will be studied through an examination of various concepts of the physical world, such as those found in Plato and Descartes. Each concept says something different not just about the natural world, but also about what it means to be human and what our relationship with and responsibility for the natural world should be. This course is stacked with ThS 168 and therefore must be taken in the same term. Both together satisfy the Examined Life LADR. Open to first and second-year students who do not have credit in 100-level philosophy courses or 100-level theological studies courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 169
Philosophy: Arts, Music and Media
1
Central issues in philosophy will be raised by examining various works of art from genres such as literature, music, drama, film, sculpture or painting. Various specific framings of and answers to the issues that the works of art offer will be evaluated. This course is linked with ThS 169 and therefore must be taken in the same academic year as ThS 169. Both courses together satisfy the Examined life LADR. Not open to students who have credit in 100-level philosophy courses. Must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
PHI 211
Philosophy of Woman
1
Introduction to feminism and survey of concepts of woman/human in Western philosophy. Examines classic and contemporary texts to understand current theories and practices in various areas. Offered alternate years.
PHI 212
Ethics and Commerce
1
This course will explore the application of ethical theory to issues and cases that arise in connection with commercial activity. Identical to BSP 212.
PHI 221
Philosophy of Religion
1
Analysis of basic concepts and beliefs of Biblical religion and in the empirical study of all religions (e.g., myth, the sacred, ritual). Offered alternate years.
PHI 222
Classical Indian Philosophy
1
An examination of Indian Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, dealing with topics in ontology, the nature of self, ethics, and epistemology. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PHI 224
Modern Philosophy
1
Developments from 17th-century rationalism and empiricism to the beginning of the 20th century.
PHI 225
Classical Greek Philosophy
1
An overview of Western philosophy from the presocratics through the Hellenistic era. Focus on close reading of major texts.
PHI 226
Medieval Philosophy
1
A survey of Western philosophy from St. Augustine to Nicholas of Cusa. Focus on the development of Christian philosophy. Identical to Cla 226.
PHI 232
Existentialism
1
Explores such topics as freedom, descriptive metaphysics, man in the world, and man and God in writers from Kierkegaard to Sartre. Offered alternate years.
PHI 234
Rational Choices
1
A course in making rational decisions, comprising the study of decision theory, game theory and social choice theory. A survey of basic principles and their application. Satisfies Abstraction and Formal Reasoning LADR.
PHI 236
Contemporary Political Thought
1
An examination of major political theorists of the recent past. Identical to PlS 236.
PHI 237
Ethics: Theory and Practice
1
An exploration of major issues in ethical theory and primary texts. Includes a focus on at least one area of applied ethics (e.g. social justice or environmental ethics.)
PHI 240
Philosophy and Tai Ji
1
An exploration of the significance of Asian philosophical concepts for the theory and practice of Tai Ji. There will be a significant physical component. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PHI 241
Prana, Qi and Ki
1
A theoretical and experiential introduction to traditional Asian theories and models of the nature, embodiment, and healing significance of universal life energy. Study classic texts from India, China and Japan. Learn related basic energetic practices, including Tai Chi, Zhineng Qi Gong, and Reiki. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR. Spring Term.
PHI 242
Taoism and Cooking
1
A combination of a study of Taoistic principles with the practice of Chinese cooking. An initial examination of Taoism as a philosophy. A later application to healthy cooking and eating based on Taoist philosophy. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR. Spring Term.
PHI 244
Taoism and Zen Buddhism
1
A study of Taoism and Zen Buddhism. Principal focus on Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, the Koans and Suzuki. Some attention given to the historical development of Zen Buddhism out of Chinese Chan and Taoism. Lectures, readings in original texts, classroom discussion, videos and films. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PHI 246
The Logic of Daoism
1
An investigation into the central features of the logic of classical Chinese Daoist thinking. A consideration of the relation between the conditions of language and the conditions of thought. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR. Prerequisite one unit of Philosophy or sophomore standing.
PHI 321
Formal Logic
1
A course in formal logic with emphasis on translations, formal semantics and derivations for first-order logic through multiple quantification and identity. Satisfies the Abstraction and Formal Reasoning LADR. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above.
PHI 322
Classic Chinese Philosophy
1
A survey of Classical Chinese philosophy, including Confucius, Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu, Mo-tzu, Mencius, and the Legalists, as well as a detailed examination of the I-Ching. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PHI 325
Contemporary Continental Philosophy
1
An exploration of different trends in continental philosophy such as phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism and deconstructionism.
PHI 331
Philosophy of Law
1
Introduction to central philosophical issues connected with law; the nature and purpose of law; concepts such as property, liability, harm, and rights; interpretation of constitutions and statutes. Examines philosophical texts and judicial opinions.
PHI 333
Philosophy of Science
1
Major themes in scientific methodology, including intensive investigation of scientific explanation, concept formation, theory construction and confirmation. Offered alternate years.
PHI 334
Philosophy of Mind
1
A course in philosophy of mind, focusing on philosophical problems connected to the nature of mentality. An overview of central issues in recent philosophy of mind and an in-depth treatment of a special topic. Topics alternate in different years. May be repeated for credit.
PHI 335
Epistemology
1
A course in the theory of knowledge, treating the nature, value and limits of human knowledge. An overview of central issues in recent epistemology and an in-depth treatment of a special topic. Topics alternate in different years. May be repeated for credit.
PHI 337
Utopias & Intentional Communities
1
History and theory of intentional communities: includes field-study of monasteries, Amish, and several communes. Offered Spring Term.
PHI 338
History of Political Thought
1
An examination of representative political theorists from Plato to Marx. Identical to PlS 235. Prerequisite: PlS 115, 117, 118, or 161.
PHI 351
Philosophy Seminar
1
A forum in which students develop skills in philosophical inquiry (careful reading of texts, critical writing, and intellectual dialogue), learn how to develop a thesis proposal and prepare for Comprehensive Exams, and begin to integrate their philosophical studies. Prerequisite: philosophy major or minor. May be taken junior or senior year.

Faculty