• A Hartwick student using a microscope in the science lab.
  • A Hartwick professor helping a student during class.
  • A Hartwick student using a microscope for research.
  • Hartwick students giving a presentation in front of the class.

Course Descriptions

Philosophy offerings at Hartwick include a popular introductory tour, "Classics of Philosophy," an historical sequence within-depth explorations of Ancient and Modern thinkers, studies in key philosophical themes such as Logic and Philosophy of Mind, and a variety of special interest courses called "Topics In Philosophy". Some TIP courses are offered at the introductory level (as PHIL 150); intermediate topics courses (PHIL 250) are open to a broad range of students but demand some experience withanalytical reading and reflective writing. Recent and upcoming TIP courses include Skepticism, Relativism, Personal Identity, Body and Gender, and Evolution and Ethics. With student input, the department also offers at least one "Major Philosopher" course each year. Recent courses have included Kant, Sartre, Nietzsche, Husserl and Wittgenstein.

Many students at Hartwick choose a philosophy major together with a major in another field. Connections between philosophy and other fields are the focus of a variety of elective courses, such as Philosophy of Mind, Values and Society, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy in Literature, Philosophy of Religion, Evolution and Ethics, and Body and Gender.

150 Topics in Philosophy
161 The Socratic Project
201 Classics of Philosophy
227 Classical Political Ideas
228 Philosophy of History
236 Logic
247 Modern Political Ideas
249 Existentialism
250 Topics in Philosophy
261 Philosophy in Literature
271 Values and Society
332 Philosophy of Religion
336 Ethics
337 Philosophy of Art
339 Philosophy of Science
350 Topics in Philosophy
360 Freedom and Determinism
370 Philosophy of Mind
381 Ancient Philosophy
383 Modern Philosophy
490 Senior Capstone Seminar
491 Honors Thesis

150 Topics in Philosophy (3 or 4 credits) A course with varying content aimed to introduce perennial themes and problems in philosophy.  The topics will be announced in advance each time the course if offered.  Recent topics have included Relativism, Plato, and the Socratic Project.

161 The Socratic Project (3 credits)  Socrates is one of the most fascinating figures in history. He lived a life that was totally dedicated to answering philosophical questions: What is moral? What is the nature of the good life? Is knowledge possible? His persistent attempt to answer these questions ultimately resulted in his execution. In a very real sense, Socrates died for philosophy.  Our aim in this course will be to explore the Socratic project - to examine the point, worth, and form of a life dedicated to intellectual inquiry. We will take particular pains to try to understand the force and significance of the famous imperative, said to characterize the Socratic life:  "Know thyself."  We will accomplish this by examining a number of important thinkers, all of whom spent their lives attempting to make sense of the world and our place in it. We will begin, of course, with Socrates, but our inquiry will lead us into the present - into a consideration of inquiry as it currently exists in university settings. In addition to Socrates, we will read material from a diverse range of perspectives, all of which, in one way or another, are engaged in the attempt to understand the human condition. Material will include readings from Plato, Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx, as well as from more recent authors in fields such as evolutionary psychology and gender/race studies.

201 Classics of Philosophy (3 credits) An introduction to the methods, concepts, and aims of philosophical inquiry through critical study of major philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Hume.

227 Classical Political Ideas (same as POSC 227) (3 credits) Students investigate the ideas that shaped and emerged out of pre-modern political life, including arguments about the nature of justice and of political virtue.  Authors may include Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, and others.  Prerequisite:  POSC 101 or 107 or any Philosophy course.  Offered alternate years.

228 Philosophy of History (3 credits) Analysis of history as thinking and writing about the past and its influence on the present Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and others.

236 Logic (3 credits) Principles of deductive inference; traditional syllogistic and basic modern symbolic logic.  (QFR)

247 Modern Political Ideas (3 credits) (same as POSC 247) Students investigate key political ideas of modernity, including arguments over the legitimacy of revolution and over the nature and scope of individual rights.  Authors may include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Marx, Nietzsche, Dewey, Arendt, Fanon, Gandhi, and others.  Prerequisite:  POSC 101 or 107 or any Philosophy course.  Offered alternate years.

249 Existentialism (3 credits) Critical reading and discussion of selected works of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre and others.

250 Topics in Philosophy (3 or 4 credits) A course concentrating on the thought of a single philosopher or school of philosophy, a major philosophical work or a specific problem in philosophy.  The topic and the number of credits will be announced in advance, each time the course is offered.  Topics in recent years have included Business Ethics, Bioethics, Death, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Language.  No prerequisites.

261 Philosophy in Literature (3 credits) Philosophical questions concerning being, self, and choice will be explored in selected novels of authors such as Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Hesse, Camus, and Sartre.

271 Values and Society  (3 credits) A critical study of philosophical problems concerning such things as friendship, justice, liberty, freedom, the common good, persons and other social issues.

332 Philosophy of Religion (3 credits) What is religion?  Is there a God?  What is the value of religious experience?  Is it possible to be religious without being superstitious?  Answers to these and related questions will be examined in the analytical manner appropriate to philosophy.  (ILS)

336 Ethics (3 credits) Critical study of the moral theories of major philosophers from the ancient Greeks to the present.  Prerequisite:  at least one college course in Philosophy.

337 Philosophy of Art (3 credits) Analysis of various points of view on such topics as the definition of art; aesthetic experience; the form, matter and content of art; emotion and expression; the psychological function of art; criticism; and evaluation.  (ILS)

339 Philosophy of Science (3 credits) Analysis of scientific method, logic of scientific explanation, relations of science and society. Recommended preparation:  two terms of laboratory science.  Offered when there is sufficient demand.

350 Topics in Philosophy (3 or 4 credits) A course concentrating on the thought of a single philosopher or school of philosophy, a major philosophical work or a specific problem in philosophy. The topic and the number of credits will be announced in advance, each time the course is offered.  Recent topics have included Love and Sexual Morality, Phenomenology, and Naturalism. Recent philosophers covered have included Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre.  Permission of the instructor required.  (ILS)

360 Freedom and Determinism (4 credits) Is human behavior free or determined?  When is a person morally responsible for his conduct?  What are the relationships between freedom and responsibility?  Recent answers to these age-old questions of moralists, lawyers, and theologians are analyzed and assessed.

370 Philosophy of Mind (4 credits) What can a science such as psychology tell us about the workings of the mind?  What are the philosophies of some of the major psychological movements?  While these topics constitute the broader context of the course, we also will explore issues such as the following:  To what extent is one born with one's ideas, skills or talents, and to what extent do these depend on one's environment?  How does the mind represent the external world? Can computer models and simulations be useful in understanding the mind?  How does understanding of the brain affect understanding of human psychology?  To what extent is human intelligence like that of other animals?  (ILS)

381 Ancient Philosophy (4 credits) The Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  Prerequisite:  at least one college course in Philosophy; PHIL 201 is recommended.

383 Modern Philosophy (4 credits) 17th and 18th century philosophy; Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.  Prerequisite:  at least one college course in Philosophy; PHIL 201 is recommended.

490 Senior Capstone Seminar (3 credits)

491 Honors Thesis (4 credits)