/ 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 – Spring 2020

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 – Philosophy of Race

What is “race”? Biologically speaking, there isn’t much to say on this front. But race is a reality of our lives that shapes the way we think about the world and that often contributes deeply to our sense of identity. So what is race really? We will consider several theories about what race is and also ask whether the concept is worth keeping. Some philosophers of race contend that we must eliminate the very concept of race and race-thinking, while others argue that the concept is coherent and should be conserved. We will also examine some theories about what racism is and how it functions. Toward the end of the course, we will look at how certain forms of hip hop relate to the concepts we’ve covered in our course. Our readings will focus somewhat more on black and African American philosophy, but we may also consider issues of race and identity from the lenses of Latin American writers, writers of mixed race, feminist writers and white writers.  

Phil 295 – Studies in Philosophy: The Platonists

Platonism is one of the richest and most enduring of the spiritual and philosophical traditions we have inherited. But there is not so much a homogeneous Platonism as many Platonisms, in dialogue and development across history and in debate with rivals. In this course we shall read several Platonists, sampling from pagan antiquity (Plato, Plotinus), medieval Christendom (Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Boethius) and post-Christian modernity (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Iris Murdoch). Through this study we shall come better to understand Platonism’s perennial reflection on the relationship between the divine, the world and the human hunger for transcendence.

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).