PHIL - Philosophy

Alfred State courses are grouped into the following sections:

  • Problems in Philosophy examines some of the fundamental questions, controversial issues, and major problems faced by people in relationship to the world. It also focuses on some of the methods for inquiry and problem-solving that people have devised to make their world more comprehensible. The course is designed, through readings and class discussions, to promote critical thinking and to develop effective techniques of systematic inquiry.
  • This course has a three part structure: 1. Logic. At root, critical thinking is the ability to reason; to think logically. Students will learn core concepts such as validity, soundness, logical form, and informal fallacies. 2. Applied Argument Construction. Students will learn to construct and critique ordinary and scientific arguments, both in written and oral form, using the logical principles learned in the Logic component of the course. 3. Alternative Reasoning Methods.
  • Ethics is a course designed to inquire into the nature of values and how we acquire them. It studies some major ethical systems derived from such values that have been used to evaluate man's conduct. It encourages students to discuss theories as applied to existing moral dilemmas. Writing is continued in assignments related to readings, class discussions, and lectures.

  • The student may contract for one to three credit hours of independent study through an arrangement with an instructor who agrees to direct such a study. The student must submit a plan acceptable to the instructor and the department chair. To be substituted for the listed humanities requirements, a directed study course must be so designated by the department chair. Writing is continued in assignments related to readings, class discussions, and lectures.
  • A survey of the existing literature that seeks to answer the question "What is the Meaning of Life?" Major topics include: free will vs. determinism, the theistic solution to the problem, the non-theistic solution, and an examination of the cogency of the question itself. Writing is continued in assignments related to readings, class discussions, and lectures.

  • This course is a study of specific ethical problems in the practice of medical science. Ethical issues examined include abortion, impaired infants, euthanasia, paternalism, truth-telling, confidentiality, human and animal experimentation, reproduction, cloning, and scarcity of resources. The purpose of the course is to provide an accepted ethical and biomedical framework to enable the student to reason clearly and effectively about the ethics involved in medical science and technology.

  • This course is designed to develop and refine students' views about the nature of science, and the nature of change, both gradual and revolutionary, in scientific theory. This course uses work in the history of science and philosophy of science to address the nature of scientific disciplines (the theories and problems which characterize them); the relations between theory and the empirical work; and the nature of theory changes in the sciences. The course has also been designed to help students refine their ability to read and write scholarly work, including a major research project.