Edward Minar
Department Chair
313 Old Main
479-575-8712
http://philosophy.uark.edu
phildept@uark.edu

The Department of Philosophy offers an undergraduate major in philosophy as well as a combined major in philosophy and African and African American studies, both of which lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree. The department also offers a minor in philosophy.

The problems of philosophy include some of the deepest, most interesting, and most challenging questions that the human mind can raise. What is the difference between appearance and reality? What are the sources and limits of human knowledge? Does God exist? What is the origin of evil? Can computers think or have feelings? Do we have freedom of the will? Why be moral, and how is morality related to law? What is the proper scope of governmental authority? What is scientific explanation and why does it work? How does science differ from art? What is truth? What is the meaning of a word?

Philosophy cannot claim to have discovered fully adequate answers either to these questions or to the other questions that fall within its scope, but it has developed fruitful ways of addressing them, and it has found a number of partial answers that are both useful and exciting. Although the department's bent is generally analytic, our course offerings cover a broad range and include every major period in the history of western philosophy and most of the major subfields of contemporary philosophy. Our areas of special concentration are the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and philosophy of religion.

For requirements for advanced degrees in philosophy, see the Graduate School Catalog.

Requirements for a Major in Philosophy

Students must complete 120 degree credit hours to include the minimum University Core requirements, the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences Graduation Requirements, and following course requirements for the major. Bolded courses from the list below may be applied to portions of the University/state minimum core requirements.

Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Classical Studies: Greece (Odd years, Fa)
Institutions and Ideas of World Civilizations I (ACTS Equivalency = HIST 1113) (Sp, Fa)
Institutions and Ideas of World Civilizations II (ACTS Equivalency = HIST 1123) (Sp, Fa)
33 Semester Hours in Philosophy to include:
PHIL 2003Introduction to Philosophy (ACTS Equivalency = PHIL 1103) (Sp, Su, Fa)3
PHIL 2203Logic (ACTS Equivalency = PHIL 1003) (Sp, Su, Fa)3
or PHIL 4253 Symbolic Logic I (Fa)
PHIL 4003Ancient Greek Philosophy (Fa)3
PHIL 4033Modern Philosophy-17th and 18th Centuries (Sp)3
and
18 additional hours in PHIL electives18
and either
PHIL 4983Capstone Course for Philosophy Majors (Sp)3
Or a successfully defended honors thesis in philosophy.
Total Hours36

Writing Requirement: The writing requirement can be satisfied either by completion of an acceptable thesis or by approval of a research/analytical paper from any 4000-level course in philosophy submitted by the student to the Philosophy Department’s Undergraduate Committee.

Philosophy B.A.

Eight-Semester Degree Program

Students wishing to follow the eight-semester degree plan should see the Eight-Semester Degree Policy in the Academic Regulations chapter for university requirements of the program as well as College requirements. Core requirement hours may vary by individual, based on placement and previous credit granted. Once all core requirements are met, students may substitute a three-hour (or more) general elective in place of a core area.

First YearUnits
FallSpring
ENGL 1013 Composition I (ACTS Equivalency = ENGL 1013) (Sp, Su, Fa)3  
MATH 1203 College Algebra (ACTS Equivalency = MATH 1103) (Sp, Su, Fa)3  
PHIL 2003 Introduction to Philosophy (ACTS Equivalency = PHIL 1103) (Sp, Su, Fa)3  
University/State Core Fine Arts or U.S. History requirement3  
General Elective3  
ENGL 1023 Composition II (ACTS Equivalency = ENGL 1023) (Sp, Su, Fa)  3
University/State Core U.S. History or Fine Arts requirement  3
PHIL 2203 Logic (ACTS Equivalency = PHIL 1003) (Sp, Su, Fa)  3
General Elective  6
Year Total: 15 15
 
Second YearUnits
FallSpring
PHIL 4003 Ancient Greek Philosophy (Fa)1,23  
Select one of the following:3  
CLST 1003 Introduction to Classical Studies: Greece (Odd years, Fa)
HIST 1113 Institutions and Ideas of World Civilizations I (ACTS Equivalency = HIST 1113) (Sp, Fa)
HIST 1123 Institutions and Ideas of World Civilizations II (ACTS Equivalency = HIST 1123) (Sp, Fa)
University/State Core Social Science requirement 3  
Science University/State Core Lecture and Corequisite Lab requirement 4  
General Elective3  
PHIL 4033 Modern Philosophy-17th and 18th Centuries (Sp)1,2  3
Advanced Level Elective1  3
University/State Core Social Science requirement  3
General Electives  6
Year Total: 16 15
 
Third YearUnits
FallSpring
PHIL 3000-4000 Level Elective1,23  
PHIL 3000-4000 Level Elective 1,23  
University/State Core Social Science requirement (as needed) or General Elective3  
Science University/State Core Lecture and Corequisite Lab requirement4  
Advanced Level Elective13  
PHIL course from 3000-4000 Level Elective1,2  3
Advanced Level Elective1  3
Advanced Level Elective1  3
General Electives  6
Year Total: 16 15
 
Fourth YearUnits
FallSpring
PHIL course from 3000-4000 Level Elective1,23  
PHIL 3000-4000 Level Elective1,23  
General Electives7-10  
PHIL 4983 Capstone Course for Philosophy Majors (Sp)1, 2  3
PHIL 3000-4000 Level Elective1,2  3
3000-4000 Level Elective1  3
General Electives (as needed to total 120 degree credit hours)  3-6
Year Total: 14 14
 
Total Units in Sequence:  120
1

Meets 40-hour advanced credit hour requirement. See College Academic Regulations.

2

Meets 24-hour rule (24 hours of 3000-4000 level courses in Fulbright College), in addition to meeting the 40-hour rule. See College Academic Regulations.

Requirements for a Minor in Philosophy

The minor requires 18 semester hours in philosophy to include PHIL 2203 or PHIL 4253, and either PHIL 4003 or PHIL 4033. A student may earn either a minor or a combined major in philosophy but not both. A student must notify the department of his or her intent to minor.

Requirements for Honors in Philosophy: Both the College and the Departmental Honors Program in Philosophy provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate formally in scholarly philosophical activities, and allow for  greater maturity in dealing with philosophical ideas through independent study. Admission to the Fulbright Honors Program is open to philosophy majors with a minimum, cumulative grade point average of 3.5 in all of their coursework.  Honors candidates must complete a minimum of 12 hours of honors courses, which may include up to 6 hours of thesis.  Honors candidates carry out independent study and research under the guidance of the philosophy faculty and participate in special honors classes, seminars, and colloquia. To successfully complete the required thesis, students should choose an honors thesis adviser as early as possible. An adviser should be selected, and an Honors Agreement completed, no later than the first semester in a student's junior year. 

Honors candidates must meet the college's requirements for an honors degree.  Students graduating with honors typically graduate with the distinction “Philosophy Scholar Cum Laude” at graduation. Higher degree distinctions (magna cum laude, summa cum laude) are awarded by the Honors Council, are recommended only in truly exceptional cases, and are based upon the whole of the candidate’s program of honors studies.

Courses

PHIL 1003. Critical Reasoning: Discovery, Deduction, and Intellectual Self-Defense (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This is a practical, "hands-on" course in sound reasoning, critical thinking, and the careful evaluation of evidence and argument. The course will utilize a range of real-world sources (television, Internet, magazines, etc.) and will be informed in content and method by the psychology of human judgment.

PHIL 1503. Special Topics in Philosophy and Culture (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Exploration of introductory-level special topics of an issue or issues in contemporary culture not otherwise covered in the philosophy curriculum.

PHIL 2003. Introduction to Philosophy (ACTS Equivalency = PHIL 1103) (Sp, Su, Fa). 3 Hours.

An examination of such basic philosophical topics as the existence of God, the nature of the human mind, the relationship between appearance and reality, the forms and limits of human knowledge, freedom of the will, and standards of right and wrong. Includes both historical and contemporary readings.

PHIL 2003C. Introduction to Philosophy (Sp, Fa). 3 Hours.

An examination of such basic philosophical topics as the existence of God, the nature of the human mind, the relationship between appearance and reality, the forms and limits of human knowledge, freedom of the will, and standards of right and wrong. Includes both historical and contemporary readings. Corequisite: Drill component.

This course is equivalent to PHIL 2003.

PHIL 2003H. Honors Introduction to Philosophy (Sp, Su, Fa). 3 Hours.

An examination of such basic philosophical topics as the existence of God, the nature of the human mind, the relationship between appearance and reality, the forms and limits of human knowledge, freedom of the will, and standards of right and wrong. Includes both historical and contemporary readings.

This course is equivalent to PHIL 2003.

PHIL 2103. Introduction to Ethics (ACTS Equivalency = PHIL 1003) (Sp, Su, Fa). 3 Hours.

Basic concepts of moral philosophy, including historical and contemporary literature concerned with such issues as ethical relativism vs. objectivism, duty, happiness, freedom of the will and responsibility, facts and values, individual liberty and society. Application of theories to substantive questions.

PHIL 2203. Logic (ACTS Equivalency = PHIL 1003) (Sp, Su, Fa). 3 Hours.

Traditional and modern methods of deductive and inductive inference. Degree credit may not be earned for both PHIL1203 and PHIL 2203.

PHIL 2303. Human Nature and the Meaning of Life (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Examination of important views on human nature, the meaning of human existence, the value and significance of different human activities and projects, and on what philosophy, religion, art, and literature have to teach us on these topics. Reading may be drawn from a variety of philosophical, literary, and religious writings.

PHIL 2503. Philosophical Explorations (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Explores topics in philosophy that are not currently covered in lower-level philosophy courses.

PHIL 3103. Ethics and the Professions (Sp, Su, Fa). 3 Hours.

After a survey of the standard theories of moral obligation, justice, and rights, the course focuses on specific moral problems that arise within engineering, business, and the professions.

PHIL 3113. Environmental Ethics (Irregular). 3 Hours.

The course addresses ethical questions about nature and the natural environment. Topics of discussion include anthropocentric and biocentric ethics, population control, obligations to future generations, animal rights, moral considerability, Leopold's land ethic, deep ecology, and ecofeminism.

This course is cross-listed with ENSC 3933.

PHIL 3123. Bioethics (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This course examines ethical dilemmas that arise in biological research, medical research, medical practice, and healthcare policy. Topics may include such things as abortion, assisted reproduction, cloning & genetic engineering, assisted suicide & voluntary euthanasia, organ donation, research ethics, patient autonomy, and healthcare policy.

PHIL 3203. Philosophy and the Christian Faith (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This course will deal with philosophical issues that arise in Christian theology. Topics to be discussed may include the doctrines of the Incarnation, the Trinity, Atonement, and Hell, as well as the nature of God and the relationship between faith and reason.

PHIL 3443. Animal Minds (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This course explores questions about thinking, consciousness, emotion, and communication in non-human animals; about the differences between human and non-human animals; and about implications for our treatment of animals.

PHIL 390V. Readings (Sp, Su, Fa). 1-6 Hour.

PHIL 3923H. Honors Colloquium (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Treats a special topic of issue offered as part of the honors program. Prerequisite: honors candidacy (not restricted to candidacy in philosophy). May be repeated for degree credit.

This course is cross-listed with PHIL 3933.

PHIL 3933. Special Studies (Irregular). 3 Hours.

A course (not independent study) which covers a topic or a philosopher not usually presented in depth in regular courses. May be repeated for degree credit.

This course is cross-listed with PHIL 3923H.

PHIL 3943. Philosophy and Physics (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Examination of the metaphysical and epistemological implications of specific physical theories with an emphasis on twentieth-century physics. Topics covered may include the nature of space and time (particularly as described in relativity theory), the nature of the quantum mechanical world, and the temporal asymmetries found in thermodynamics and other areas of physics.

PHIL 399VH. Honors Course (Sp, Su, Fa). 1-6 Hour.

Prerequisite: Junior standing. May be repeated for up to 12 hours of degree credit.

PHIL 4003. Ancient Greek Philosophy (Fa). 3 Hours.

Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

PHIL 4013. Platonism and Origin of Christian Theology (Irregular). 3 Hours.

The study of Plato, Middle Platonism, and Neoplatonism, including Philo, Plotinus, and Proclus, and the influence of Platonism on the Greek church fathers of the 2nd-5th centuries, principally Origen and Gregory of Nyssa and also Pseudo-Dionysius. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

PHIL 4023. Medieval Philosophy (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Includes Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham.

PHIL 4033. Modern Philosophy-17th and 18th Centuries (Sp). 3 Hours.

British and Continental philosophy, including Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.

PHIL 4043. Nineteenth Century Continental Philosophy (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Study of major Continental European philosophers of the 19th century including Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche. Emphasis on the nature of persons, the question of freedom, and the importance of self-expression, as well as views on knowledge, reality, and the nature of philosophy. Prerequisite: 3 hours of Philosophy.

PHIL 4063. Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Study of major figures (e.g. Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Foucault, Derrida) and trends (phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, deconstruction) in 20th century French and German thought. Topics include human beings and their place in the world, the role of history and culture, and the possibility of critical reflection.

PHIL 4073. History of Analytic Philosophy (Irregular). 3 Hours.

From Frege to recent figures, including Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein, Schlick, Carnap, Ayer, Ryle, Strawson, Quine, including a representative sample of works on the logical analysis of language, logical positivism, and ordinary language analysis. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

PHIL 4093. Special Topics in Philosophy (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This course will cover subject matter not covered in regularly offered courses. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

PHIL 4103. Modern Jewish Thought (Irregular). 3 Hours.

A survey of the main trends in Jewish thought from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century.

This course is cross-listed with JWST 4003.

PHIL 4113. Social and Political Philosophy (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Selected philosophical theories of society, the state, social justice, and their connections with individuals.

PHIL 4123. Classical Ethical Theory (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Study of classical texts in the history of philosophical ethics from Plato to Nietzsche. Philosophers covered may include Plato, Aristotle, Butler, Hume, Kant, and Mill. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

PHIL 4133. Contemporary Ethical Theory (Irregular). 3 Hours.

A study of contemporary texts in philosophical ethics from G.E. Moore to the present. Philosophers covered may include Moore, Stevenson, Hare, Foot, and Rawls. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

PHIL 4143. Philosophy of Law (Irregular). 3 Hours.

A philosophical consideration of the nature of law, theory of adjudication, concepts of legal responsibility, liberty and the limits of law, and selected moral-legal issues (abortion, affirmative action, punishment, etc.).

PHIL 4183. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Irregular). 3 Hours.

In his Critique of Pure Reason, one of the most important works in the history of philosophy, Kant describes how the mind works and claims to solve the major problems of metaphysics. The course is aimed at coming to a basic understanding of Kant's thought and at thinking critically about his claims.

PHIL 4203. Theory of Knowledge (Irregular). 3 Hours.

An examination of skepticism, the nature and structures of knowledge and epistemic justification, human rationality, and the justification of religious belief. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

PHIL 4213. Philosophy of Science (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Examination of issues related to scientific explanation, empirical foundations of science, observation and objectivity, nature of laws and theories, realism and instrumentalism, induction and confirmation, models, causation, and simplicity, beginning with historical survey set in the context of the history of science but emphasizing works from the 1930s to the current period, often including issues in recent physics.

PHIL 4233. Philosophy of Language (Irregular). 3 Hours.

A survey of mainstream philosophical theories of meaning, reference, truth, and logical form. Attention given to the views of such figures as Frege, Russell, Tarski, Searie, Dumett, and the advocates of possible world's semantics.

PHIL 4253. Symbolic Logic I (Fa). 3 Hours.

Rigorous analyses of the concepts of proof, consistency, equivalence, validity, implication, and truth. Full coverage of truth-functional logic and quantification theory (predicate calculus). Discussion of the nature and limits of mechanical procedures (algorithms) for proving theorems in logic and mathematics. Informal accounts of the basic facts about infinite sets. Prerequisite: PHIL 2203 or MATH 2603.

This course is cross-listed with MATH 4253.

PHIL 4303. Philosophy of Religion (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Types of religious belief and critical examination of their possible validity, including traditional arguments and contemporary questions of meaning.

PHIL 4313. Contemporary Jewish Thought (Irregular). 3 Hours.

A survey of trends in Jewish thought in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, focusing on the ways in which Jewish thinkers have responded to the events affecting Jews and the conditions of Jewish life from approximately 1900 to the present.

This course is cross-listed with JWST 4013.

PHIL 4403. Philosophy of Art (Sp). 3 Hours.

Varieties of truth and value in the arts and aesthetic experience, focusing on the creative process in the art and in other human activities.

PHIL 4423. Philosophy of Mind (Irregular). 3 Hours.

An examination of such topics such as the relationship between mind and body, the mentality of machines, knowledge of other minds, the nature of psychological explanation, the relationships between psychology and the other sciences, mental representation, the nature of the self, and free will and determinism.

PHIL 4603. Metaphysics (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Theory and critical analysis of such basic metaphysical problems as mind and body, universals and particulars, space and time, determinism and free will, self-identity and individualism, with emphasis on contemporary perspectives. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

PHIL 4983. Capstone Course for Philosophy Majors (Sp). 3 Hours.

An undergraduate seminar to be taken in the student's final spring semester. The content will vary with the instructor. The objective is for the student to sharpen his or her philosophical skills by, e.g., writing short papers, giving class presentations, and writing a substantial final essay. Prerequisite: 21 hours of philosophy.

Jacob Adler, Associate Professor
David A. Barrett, Lecturer
Eric M. Funkhouser, Professor
Warren Herold, Assistant Professor
Jeremy S. Hyman, Instructor
Richard N. Lee, Associate Professor
Jack C. Lyons, Professor
Oksana Maksymchuk, Assistant Professor
Edward H. Minar, Professor
Thomas D. Senor, Professor
Christopher W. Stevens, Instructor
Barry M. Ward, Associate Professor