/ Philosophy Department


Award-winning faculty teach on the philosophy of Plato, the Catholic philosophical tradition, Zen Buddhist philosophers — and more.

View full course information in the catalog 

Special Topics – Fall 2021

This is not a full list of upcoming philosopy courses. To see a complete list and course details, including dates, times and professors, please see the Registrar’s course schedule

Phil 195-01A – Topics in philosophy: Sexual Ethics
What is sex and why does it matter? What does it mean to objectify, or use, someone? What is consent and how does it function? What positions should we take on issues of sexuality, same-sex marriage and related issues? In this class, we’ll ask these questions and more in an effort to develop a philosophical vision of sexuality. We’ll even talk about the ethics of flirting. Our goal will be to develop our views on these matters into coherent and consistent theories (and there are several ways one might do that). All perspectives are invited to join the conversation and will be taken seriously and charitably.  

Phil 295 – studies in philosophy: Philosophy of technology
This course investigates humankind as makers and users of tools, with particular interest in the early modern scientific revolution as well as contemporary biological and information technologies. We shall ask what tools are and what role they have in human life. In this context we shall explore how tools are media for our engagement with the self, our communities and the natural world. This will lead us to ask how it is that, even as we craft them, our tools shape us as individuals and societies. Finally, we shall ask whether and how we may develop an ethics for the design and use of technologies. We shall study these themes by reading theorists of historical and contemporary significance as well as by considering how well their conceptual schemes apply to present day phenomena.

Phil 450 – capstone Seminar in Philosophy
Aquinas and Sartre (and Friends)
In this class, which is a capstone required of senior majors (and recommended for senior minors), we will begin by reading key work by Jean-Paul Sartre, the most well-known existentialist of the twentieth-century. An avowed atheist, his philosophical system is often thought completely opposed to medieval theistic philosophies. We will also read some of Sartre’s philosophical comrades, notably Simone de Beauvoir and Frantz Fanon, and probably some more contemporary Sartreans. After that, we’ll turn to the work of St. Thomas Aquinas. We’ll compare and contrast the two systems in regard to God (or the lack thereof), human nature and morality. We’ll also consider what these systems have to say about gender and race. 

PHIL 450 is required for all senior philosophy majors, and recommended for senior minors and junior majors. It is open to other students with permission of the instructor.

Hope’s philosophy department offers courses in applied ethics and philosophies of law, politics, the mind, religion and science, as well as courses in major philosophical movements (such as existentialism and postmodernism), cultures (such as those of India, Tibet, China and Japan) and time periods (such as ancient, medieval and modern).

Professor teaching

Recommendations and Tips

Philosophy students can take their courses in many different orders, but here are some suggestions for success:

There are no prerequisites for our courses, but it helps to take a logic class (PHIL 200 or 201) as early as possible.

Plan to take PHIL 450 (the Philosophy Capstone) in the fall of your senior year. We expect all majors to do this (and it’s definitely recommended for minors as well).

Philosophy majors and minors are encouraged to consider fulfilling a portion of their Cultural Heritage 8-credit requirement through a philosophy course. Several options for doing so also fulfill a portion of the Global Learning requirement.

We encourage students with other majors and minors in addition to philosophy to consult with the chair or other faculty members about philosophy courses that overlap significantly with their areas of interest. For example, some philosophy courses are cross-listed with religion or political science, some are electives within other programs (such as Women’s and Gender Studies or the neuroscience minor), and some graduate programs recommend or require undergraduate courses (such as ethics courses for pre-med students).