Philosophy (PHIL)

PHIL 201. Central Texts of Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course familiarizes the student with many of the basic, historical and contemporary texts of philosophy. It teaches students how to read philosophical texts effectively, by analyzing their claims, and evaluating their arguments.

PHIL 211. Elementary Logic. (3 Credits)

This course is a grounding in both informal and formal logic. The course studies the nature and types of argument and methods for distinguishing good and bad reasoning. Formal methods include the use of truth-tables and natural deduction.

PHIL 221. Human Dignity. (3 Credits)

This course is a philosophical consideration of issues bioethical, legal, ethical, ontological, and political that affect our understanding of human dignity. For students preparing for vocations in these areas, it will enable them to think with logical acumen and to serve with a motivating knowledge of the dignity inherent in being human.

PHIL 240. Environmental Ethics. (3 Credits)

This course is a grounding in the theory and practice of environmental ethics. The course studies both secular and religious principles that impact environmental care, and examines the foundations and consequence of anthropocentric, biocentric, and ecocentric approaches and “deep ecology,” in dialogue with a developed biblical concept of stewardship. The course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior exposure to philosophy.

PHIL 250. Moral Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course is a course of study which examines the central ethical systems of philosophy in dialogue with Christian presuppositions and with a Lutheran understanding of Law and Gospel. Participants will study classical and contemporary sources of ethical foundations in the Western tradition. Analytical methods of philosophical inquiry are explained and applied. Case studies provide occasions for fostering in-depth class discussions and application of ethical theories, principles, and tools. Note: PHIL 250 has been designated a 200-level course to indicate that it is best taken in the second year or higher.

PHIL 256. Critical Thinking & Creativity. (3 Credits)

This course applies logical reasoning and critical thinking to reading and writing processes. The course includes divergent thinking and ways of developing creative ability and considers both “left brain” and “right brain” processes. Doing is as important as understanding. Therefore, exercises and practical applications involving analysis of arguments and supporting ideas, as well as opening to creativity are included. Students complete the activities by weighing, judging, and evaluating qualitatively.

PHIL 309. History and Philosophy of Science. (3 Credits)

This course presents the development of science and scientific methodology from classical antiquity to the contemporary scene. There is a special emphasis on the changing fortunes of design as a scientific category. Students learn how theological categories provide the metaphysical, epistemological and ethical foundation for the rise of modern science, and critically evaluate the contrasting, contemporary attitude of methodological naturalism.

PHIL 325. Christian Apologetics. (3 Credits)

This course is an introduction to the art of defending the truth claims of the Christian faith. Students learn the biblical warrant for apologetics, the merits of rival methodologies, and study philosophical, scientific, and historical evidences. They are equipped to respond to the skeptical challenges of atheism and the contrary claims of rival religions.

PHIL 333. C.S. Lewis: His Life and Christian Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course is a focused study of the life and works of C. S. Lewis. This course gleans philosophically important lessons about faith, reason, worldviews, and the imagination by a close examination of the trials and triumphs faced by C. S. Lewis both in his personal life and his public career as a major Christian apologist. It then considers a representative selection of his works, drawn from the many genres to which he contributed, including formal apologetics, science fiction, fantasy, and literary criticism.

PHIL 334. Christ and Culture. (3 Credits)

This course examines the interaction between the Christian and the surrounding culture in both Western and non-Western settings. The classic typology of H. Richard Niebuhr is presented and critically evaluated. The implications of the doctrines of vocation and of the two kingdoms are explored. Public theology is defined, and students learn to appreciate the distinctive approaches to public theology within different denominations. A wide range of contemporary issues facing the Christian is studied. Throughout the course, there is particular emphasis of the merits of the Lutheran “paradox” model for interaction with culture, along with due consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of other models.

PHIL 343. Chronicles of Narnia & Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course focuses on how Lewis incarnated philosophical ideas in the imaginary worlds of the Chronicles of Narnia. From the creation to the end of Narnia, students will trace Lewis’s defense of the supernatural, objective moral values and the value of faith against materialist skepticism.

PHIL 350. Bioethical Dilemmas in Contemporary Society. (3 Credits)

This course will study basic concepts concerning in vitro fertilization, genetic testing and therapy, stem cell research, cloning, organ transplantation, end-of-life care, human subject research, and access to health care. Students will examine how contemporary philosophers address bioethical issues. They will be enabled to articulate their perspectives and make informed decisions compatible with the Christian faith. This course is particularly suited for those in medical, biology, pre-seminary, director of church ministries, teaching, and philosophy programs. Note: It is recommended that students take CCE 120, PHIL 201, or PHIL 250 before enrolling. PHIL 350 has been designated a 300-level course to indicate that it is best taken in the third year or higher.

PHIL 370. Philosophy of Mind. (3 Credits)

This course is an in-depth exploration of the character of mind and of the relationship between the mind and the physical world. Students learn to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of materialist, dualist, and neutral theories, and to see how they arise from and influence foundational worldviews. Pre-requisite: at least one other philosophy class or enrollment in the minor or major in psychology, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 371. Philosophy and Film. (3 Credits)

This course is a systematic study of the means by which the medium of film communicates philosophical ideas and theories. Students study the major enduring problems of philosophy and how they are portrayed, developed, and evaluated by important films spanning many movie genres from popular and accessible action movies to the challenging works of avant-garde directors.

PHIL 372. The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course delves into the profound philosophical themes both surrounding and suffusing Tolkien’s magnum opus. The course includes a study of Tolkien’s professed methodology and refers to the background of Middle Earth painted in other works, but mainly focuses on how Tolkien develops and argues for and against specific philosophical theses within the text of The Lord of the Rings.
Prerequisites: (REL 100 or 201 and REL 203) and (REL 110 or 204).

PHIL 379. Religion and the Law. (3 Credits)

This course examines the nature of law as understood biblically, philosophically, and in relation to contemporary social issues. Legal reasoning and ethics will be treated, together with controversial subjects such as the Christian’s responsibility to civil government, civil disobedience, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, the death penalty, and freedom of religion. The course deals with these issues from the perspective both of Anglo-American common law and of other legal systems (such as Muslim law), as well as that of international law.

PHIL 380. Philosophy of Language. (3 Credits)

This course is your invitation to consider with philosophical care the essential aspect of our human being that language is. Are we tool users who employ language as a tool, or is it rather the case that language has us? Beginning and ending with a contemplation of John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word,” central texts for this course include contemporary classics such as Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method. This is a philosophy course with rich application to students’ academic work now, to their lifelong creative writing, and to those who wrestle with Derrida’s postmodern dismissal of language as mere logocentrism.
Prerequisite: PHIL 101.

PHIL 400. Ancient Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course presents concepts and historical themes developed in ancient philosophical literature. The course will examine philosophers who lived during a thousand-year period, from approximately 600 BC to AD 400. Particular attention will be paid to the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Students will examine how ancient philosophers addressed issues still important today. Of interest will be the philosophers’ perspectives on logic, physics, soul and mind, ethics, and God. Students will be enabled to articulate ancient philosophical perspectives in dialogue with the Christian faith.
Prerequisites: (PHIL 201 or 250).

PHIL 410. Medieval Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course explores the central conviction, “I believe so that I may understand.” This is a philosophy course with rich application to students’ academic work and the living out of their vocations. Beginning with a prologue of Aristotle's logic and metaphysics, students go on to study a selection of formative texts extending from the early Christian apologist Justin Martyr up until the dawn of the Reformation. The philosophies of Augustine and Aquinas are central concerns for work in the spirit of the mediaeval synthesis or marriage of faith and reason.
Prerequisites: PHIL 101 or CCE 120.

PHIL 411. Advanced Logic. (3 Credits)

This course explores the important results of mathematical logic for computability, first order predicate logic, and arithmetic. Students will learn to distinguish computable and non-computable functions, learn why there is no algorithm for evaluating arguments of first order logic, and explore the construction and implications of Gödel’s famous theorems. Along the way, we consider the apparent philosophical and theological implications of these results for the nature of human reason.
Prerequisite: PHIL 211.

PHIL 425. Advanced Christian Apologetics. (3-6 Credits)

This course provides a thorough immersion in a wide range of advanced topics in apologetics, including the epistemological need for apologetics, the defense of biblical authority, training in understanding and responding to the claims of rival cults, sects, and world religions, and specialized study in cultural, historical, legal, literary, medical and scientific apologetics and in the foundations of human rights. The 45 hours of instruction are supplemented by a substantial reading list. Classes are held at the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights in Strasbourg France. Students who wish to take this class for credit must register both for the International Academy (full details here: and for PHIL 425.
Prerequisites: (REL 100 or 201 and REL 203) and (REL 110 or 204).

PHIL 450. Modern Philosophy. (3 Credits)

This course surveys philosophy in the modern period (from the 16th to the 19th century) and then discusses foundational primary sources. Philosophers studied include Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza, John Locke, Gottfried Leibniz, George Berkeley, David Hume, Thomas Reid, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. The course emphasizes how each of these philosophers responded to his predecessors and how each provoked controversies in subsequent thought. Note: for Philosophy majors, PHIL 400, PHIL 410, and junior standing are strongly recommended.
Prerequisites: (PHIL 101 or CCE 120).

PHIL 460. Research Ethics. (3 Credits)

This course provides a foundation for the responsible conduct of research. Students will identify key issues relating to ethical standards of research, and they will develop an understanding of their own personal responsibly for scientific integrity based on non-religious and Christian norms. This course will cover ethical issues involving human subject biomedical research, social science and behavioral research, animal research, plagiarism, scholarship misconduct, data fabrication, ownership and authorship issues, conflicts of interest, peer review, mentor/mentee relationships, whistle-blowing, biosecurity, and others. An introductory course in philosophy, bioethics, or ethics is required.

PHIL 491. Senior Seminar I. (1 Credit)

This course provides the methods and tools required to develop a significant, original undergraduate research project. Students learn how to: identify an issue worthy of further research; formulate an initial thesis; gather and evaluate relevant resources; and make a clear and coherent plan of their project. In addition, they are thoroughly trained in proper writing mechanics, following The Chicago Manual of Style. Note: Senior standing is required for registration.
Prerequisites: CCE 120 and PHIL 201.

PHIL 492. Senior Seminar II. (3 Credits)

This course is a continuation of Senior Seminar I. Working with both the course instructor and a faculty advisor who specializes in the subject area of their research, students draft and redraft their project. Finally, students give a public presentation and defense of their thesis and produce a final version of their written project.
Prerequisite: PHIL 491.