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.


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



PHI 161 Philosophy and the Human Condition 1.00 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. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 163 Philosophical Issues & Classic Text 1.00 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. Satisfies the PP CCR.

PHI 164 Philosophical Perspectives - Nature 1.00 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. Satisfies the PP CCR.

PHI 165 Philosophy and Ethics 1.00 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? Satisfies PP CCR and satisfies S ACE.

PHI 166 Reason and Belief 1.00 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. Satisfies the PP CCR.

PHI 167 Foundational Issues in Philosophy 1.00 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. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 171 Philosophy of Friendship 1.00 Examines different philosophical descriptions of friendship and the practices of friendship, such as Aristotle’s, Montaigne’s, and more contemporary writers. Emphasis on self-knowledge and practical application of concepts learned. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 211 Classic Texts of Feminism 1.00 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. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 212 Ethics and Commerce 1.00 This course will explore the application of ethical theory to issues and cases that arise in connection with commercial activity. Identical to BSP 212. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 213 Bioethics 1.00 An examination of fundamental moral issues that arise in medicine, healthcare, and biomedical technology, with an emphasis on applied philosophical analysis and reflection. Of special relevance to students considering health related careers. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

PHI 214 Animal Philosophy 1.00 In this course we will read a number of philosophical texts that consider various issues pertaining to animals and endeavor to formulate our own answers to questions such as, what are our moral obligations to animals? Do animals have moral standing? Do animals have rights? How does animal well-being fit with environmental ethics? Do animals have consciousness or minds? What does the concept of animal mean?

PHI 222 Classical Indian Philosophy 1.00 An examination of Indian Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, dealing with topics in ontology, the nature of self, ethics, and epistemology. Satisfies the PP CCR. Satisfies the CP ACE.

PHI 223 Mind and World 1.00 An introduction to central philosophical issues concerning mind, language, and reality, with special focus on recent work in Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language or Epistemology. Topics may include the mind-body problem, consciousness, skepticism, perception and testimony. Satisfies W2 ACE.

PHI 224 Modern Philosophy 1.00 Developments from 17th-century rationalism and empiricism to the beginning of the 20th century. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or 100-level philosophy course. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 225 Classical Greek Philosophy 1.00 An overview of Western philosophy from the presocratics through the Hellenistic era. Focus on close reading of major texts. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above or a 100-level Philosophy course. Satiafies PP CCR and satisfies S ACE.

PHI 226 Medieval Philosophy 1.00 A survey of Western philosophy from St. Augustine to Nicholas of Cusa. Focus on the development of Christian philosophy. Identical to Cla 226. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 232 Existentialism 1.00 Explores such topics as freedom, responsibility, God, and human being in the world in writers from Kierkegaard to Sartre. Offered alternate years. Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 234 Rational Choices 1.00 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. This course is identical to ECO 234. Partially satisfies the SM CCR and satisfies the QL ACE.

PHI 236 Contemporary Political Thought 1.00 An examination of major political theorists of the recent past. Identical to PlS 236.

PHI 237 Ethics: Theory and Practice 1.00 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.) Satisfies PP CCR.

PHI 240 Philosophy and Tai Ji 1.00 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: Sophomore standing or 100-level philosophy course. May be repeated for credit. Satisfies PP CCR and CP ACE.

PHI 241 Prana, Qi and Ki 1.00 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. Fee charged.

PHI 242 Daoism and Cooking 1.00 A combination of a study of Daoistic principles with the practice of Chinese cooking. An initial examination of Daoism as a philosophy. A later application to healthy cooking and eating based on Daoist philosophy. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or 100-level philosophy course. Satisfies PP CCR and CP ACE. Spring Term. Fee charged.

PHI 244 Daoism and Chan Buddhism 1.00 A study of Daoism and Chan Buddhism. Principal focus on Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, the Koans and Suzuki. Some attention given to the historical development of Chan Buddhism out of Chinese Chan and Daoism. Lectures, readings in original texts, classroom discussion, videos and films. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or 100-level philosophy course. Satisfies PP CCR and CP ACE. Fee charged.

PHI 246 The Logic of Daoism 1.00 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 PP CCR and CP ACE. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or 100-level philosophy course.

PHI 247 Wisdom/Traditions of Ancient China 1.00 A survey of the wisdom traditions of ancient China, including Sunzi, Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism and Mohism. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or 100-level philosophy course. Partially satisfies the LA CCR. Satisfies the CP ACE. Not open to students with prior credit in 322.

PHI 251 Science & Pseudoscience 1.00 An examination of the distinction between science and its impostors, with an emphasis on application to issues of current interest. Topics include the nature of scientific explanation and models of hypothesis confirmation. Satisfies W2 ACE.

PHI 263 Ethics of Computer Technology 1.00 This course seeks to develop a solid foundation for reasoning about ethical, professional, and social issues that arise in the context of computer technology. Emphasis is placed on identifying appropriate legal, professional, and ethical contexts and on applying sound critical thinking skills to a problem. Topics covered include professional codes of ethics, safety critical systems,whistleblowing, privacy and surveillance, freedom of speech, Intellectual property, and cross-cultural issues. This course relies heavily on case studies of real-world incidents. Identical to ENGR 263 and PHI 263. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Satisfies the W2 ACE.

PHI 264 Environmental Philosophy 1.00 An exploration of a variety of different environmental philosophies, focusing on the human/nature relationship, on specific environmental issues and their possible solutions, and on our individual and collective responsibility relative to the environment. Satisfies the PP CCR.

PHI 321 Formal Logic 1.00 A course in formal logic with emphasis on translations, formal semantics and derivations for first-order logic through multiple quantification and identity. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. Partially satisfies the SM CCR and satisfies the QL ACE.

PHI 322 Classic Chinese Philosophy 1.00 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. Not open to students with prior credit in 247

PHI 325 Contemporary Continental Philosophy 1.00 An exploration of different trends in continental philosophy such as phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism and deconstructionism.

PHI 338 History of Political Thought 1.00 An examination of representative political theorists from Plato to Marx. Identical to PlS 235. Prerequisite: PlS 115, 117, 118, or 161. Satisfies W2 ACE.

PHI 351 Philosophy Seminar 1.00 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. Satisfies S ACE.


Jared Bates Professor of Philosophy 812-866-7257 View Profile

Don Carrell Professor of Philosophy 812-866-7225 View Profile

Kate Johnson Professor of Philosophy 812-866-7217 View Profile

Aimin Shen Professor of Philosophy 812-866-7226 View Profile