Historical Courses

All philosophy students take a series of courses designed to teach them about the history of philosophy. In addition to this, there are two basic directions one can go in. Ethicists focus on ethical questions, while other philosophers focus on questions in metaphysics and in epistemology, the study of knowledge.

  • Philosophy 303: Ancient Philosophy
  • Philosophy 304: Modern Philosophy
  • Philosophy 405: Contemporary Philosophy

Ethics Courses

While just about every course in Elmhurst's curriculum involves the communication of values or critical reasoning abilities, the philosophy department is the only one that explicitly focuses on these two. Combining them allows for the critical examination of one's own values. One of the most important contributions of the philosophy department is that it allows a neutral ground on which many different value systems can be compared. It is also crucial to be able to open lines of communication between different approaches to values, so that value conflicts can be meaningfully discussed and conflicts can be avoided. Our curriculum shows that the philosophy department focuses on applying ethical thinking to real-world problems. Because of the increasing presence of technology in our lives, these sorts of questions promise to multiply in the future. Questions such as:

  • What effect does the abortion pill have on the abortion debate?
  • What is the copyright status of material on the Internet?
  • How can we influence large corporations to behave ethically?
  • Should cloning of people be permitted?
  • Philosophy 306: Moral Philosophy
  • Philosophy 310: Ethics and Business
  • Philosophy 312: Environmental Ethics
  • Philosophy 315: Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy 316: Ethical Aspects of Health Care

Metaphysics and Epistemology Courses

The current set of philosophical problems is simply the set of intractable but significant questions. These can include questions about the mind, such as the mind-body problem; questions about which reasoning techniques are sound; questions in science such as the nature of causality or time; questions in art about what makes one artwork better than another; and questions in religion, such as whether God's existence can be proven rationally.

  • Philosophy 106: Reasoning
  • Philosophy 210: Problems of Philosophy
  • Philosophy 260: Philosophy of Education
  • Philosophy 305: Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy 309: Philosophy of Art
  • Philosophy 349: Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy in General Education

The philosophy department plays a large role in Elmhurst's General Education program. Its contributions come in the areas of ethics, critical reasoning, and in communicating the role of philosophical thought in constructing our contemporary western worldview.

The Search For Humane Values (SHV)

Philosophy courses form the bulk of this vital category. Each of them focuses on producing the type of thinker who can move beyond mere prejudice and bias on an issue and begin to form a worldview that is internally consistent and based on sound thinking.

  • Philosophy 306: Moral Philosophy
  • Philosophy 310: Ethics and Business
  • Philosophy 312: Environmental Ethics
  • Philosophy 316: Ethical Aspects of Health Care

Western Culture (WEC)

The ancient Greek philosophers made choices that are foundational to the Western world view. For instance, they separated questions of fact from questions of value, a tradition which this very curriculum still employs. The Renaissance also played huge role in our contemporary view, especially because it marks the advent of science as a force in our lives. These sorts of issues are the subject matter of Modern Philosophy.

  • Philosophy 303: Ancient Philosophy
  • Philosophy 304: Modern Philosophy

Writing and Reasoning (WRR)

Philosophy 106 focuses on teaching the sorts of reasoning abilities needed to produce a high-quality research paper. This includes information about how to evaluate the credibility of material on the Internet, as well as how to integrate factual material into position papers. This course also examines scientific reasoning, ethical reasoning, and different systems of deductive reasoning.

  • Philosophy 106: Reasoning