Graduate Catalog

2013 – 2014


2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Archive

Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education
McKelvie Hall, 102 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2943
Fax: 610-436-2763
gradstudy@wcupa.edu


Revised May 2013

Philosophy


108 Anderson Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
610-436-2841
Dr. Schroepfer, Chairperson
Dr. Pierlott, Graduate Coordinator

Professor [top]

Ruth Porritt, Ph.D., Purdue University

Associate Professors

Frank Hoffman, Ph.D., University of London
Matthew F. Pierlott, Ph.D., Marquette University
Helen D. Schroepfer, Ph.D., Temple University
Joan Woolfrey, Ph.D., University of Oregon

Assistant Professors

Daniel Forbes, Ph.D., University of Georgia
Timothy J. Golden, Ph.D., University of Memphis
Elizabeth (Simon) Ruchti, Ph.D., Ohio University
Cassie Striblen, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati
I. Larry Udell, Ph.D., Ohio State University

Programs of Study [top]

The Department of Philosophy offers a program leading to the master of arts in philosophy, with or without an applied ethics concentration. This degree will serve as a foundation for studies leading to a Ph.D. in philosophy or prepare students for positions in industry, government, or college teaching.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting general requirements for admission to a degree program at West Chester, applicants must provide two letters of reference (preferably from undergraduate philosophy professors), as well as a writing sample or GRE scores, and must present a minimum of 12 semester hours of undergraduate philosophy, including courses in history of ancient philosophy, history of modern philosophy, ethics, and logic. Admission to the graduate certificate program does not require a background in philosophy.

Final Examination Requirement

One comprehensive, written final examination on metaphysics and epistemology is required of all students after completing the required course PHI 525. Students not doing a thesis will be required to take two additional comprehensive examinations in central areas of philosophy. See the Graduate Student Handbook or graduate coordinator for details.

Master of Arts in Philosophy [top]

Students have the choice (under advisement) of a thesis or nonthesis program, and a standard or applied ethics concentration.

Curriculum: Standard (30 semester hours)

  1. Required core (12 semester hours)
    PHI 501, 525, 599, and 640
  2. Philosophy concentration (6 semester hours)
  3. Thesis (12 semester hours)
    1. Electives (philosophy or related courses) (6 semester hours)
    2. Thesis (PHI 610) (6 semester hours)
  4. OR
  5. Nonthesis (12 semester hours)
    1. Electives (philosophy or related courses)

NOTE: The recommended list of courses depends on one's choice of concentration. Electives for the standard concentration should be chosen primarily from graduate-level philosophy courses or related field.

Concentration in Applied Ethics

This degree offers training in the theoretical justification and the practical application of moral reasoning. Students may choose to concentrate their courses in business ethics or healthcare ethics or in combination and will develop skills in seeing, analyzing, and resolving problems in the workplace. Prerequisites are six credits of upper-division undergraduate work in philosophy.

Curriculum: Applied Ethics (30 semester hours)

  1. Required (12 semester hours)
    PHI 501, 525, 599, and 640
  2. Philosophy concentration (6 semester hours)
    PHI 512, 570, and/or 580 (all recommended)
  3. Thesis
    1. Electives (6 semester hours)
    2. Thesis (PHI 610) (6 semester hours)
  4. OR
  5. Nonthesis - electives (12 semester hours)
    1. Business or healthcare track
      1. Limited to any one of the following that can be taken for graduate credit: PHI 405, 480, 482, 522
      2. Other graduate-level electives: CRJ 504, GEO 525, HIS 555
    2. Business track
      COM 510; CRJ 522; GEO 521, 526; MGT 511, 513, 514, 587; PPA 504, 505, 553; WOS 502, 530, 539
    3. Healthcare track
      HEA 515 (strongly encouraged) and/or HEA 500, 501, 506, 512, 537, 550, 555, 640; NSG 521; SOC 519, 522

Certificate in Business Ethics (18 semester hours)

The graduate certificate in business ethics, which requires no previous background in philosophy, offers training in moral reasoning within the business setting for those with undergraduate degrees who meet the graduate school’s and department’s entrance requirements. Students will develop skills in seeing, analyzing, and resolving problems in the workplace. The certificate, which can be completed in three semesters, consists of two required philosophy courses–PHI 502 and 580–and four elective courses selected with advisement.

Focused electives (choose two): COM 510; MGT 511, 513, 514, 587; PPA 504, 512, 552
Other electives (choose two): CRJ 504, 522; GEO 524, 525, 526; HIS 555; PHI 405, 422, 480, 482; WOS 502, 530, 539

Certificate in Healthcare Ethics (18 semester hours)

The graduate certificate in healthcare ethics, which requires no previous background in philosophy, offers training in moral reasoning within the medical setting for those with undergraduate degrees who meet the graduate school’s and department’s entrance requirements. Students will develop skills in seeing, analyzing, and resolving problems in the healthcare field. The certificate, which can be completed in three semesters, consists of two required philosophy courses–PHI 502 and 570–and four elective courses selected with advisement.

Focused electives (choose two): HEA 515 (strongly recommended); HEA 500, 501, 506, 512, 537, 538, 550, 555, 640, 642
Other electives (choose two): CRJ 504; GEO 524, 526; HIS 555; PHI 405, 422, 482; NSG 521; SOC 519, 522

Course Descriptions [top]

Philosophy
Symbol: PHI

501 Graduate Proseminar (3) An introduction to graduate work in philosophy, emphasizing philosophical methodologies and current professional practices in the field.

502 History of Western Ethics (3) This course involves the study of the branch of philosophy called ethics and pays specific attention to the development of ethical ideas and approaches in Western thought throughout its history. Topics will cover some of the major contributions to moral thought by Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Mill, as well as other vital figures. Topics will cover the four major ethical approaches of virtue theory, natural law theory, deontology, and consequentialism. Restricted to those with minimal preparation in philosophy.

512 Ethical Theories (3) An inquiry into the meaning, interpretations, and function of ethical theory in people's lives. The course will explore some combination of classic, modern, and contemporary ethical theories.

513 Aesthetic Theories (3) History of aesthetics, as seen in classic interpretations. Psychological and sociological origins of art; the role of art works in the enrichment of life.

514 Philosophy of Religion (3) Dominant trends in religious philosophy of the Western world. Religious language, reason and faith, science, the nature of man, the existence of God, and mysticism.

515 Existentialism (3) Background and themes of current existentialism, as reflected in Kierkegaard, Jaspers, Marcel, Heidegger, and Sartre. Evaluation of existentialism and its impact on contemporary literature, drama, art, and society.

520 Philosophy of Mind (3) The human mind, according to representative views. Presuppositions and implications, both scientific and philosophic, traced and analyzed. The mind-body problem, perception, memory, and the implications of depth psychology.

521 Philosophy of Law (3) Consideration of the philosophical foundations of law. Topics may include the nature of law and its relation to rights, liberties, duties, liability, responsibility, and privacy; the nature of judicial reasoning; concepts of responsibility and liability; theories of punishment; causation in the law; discrimination and equality; the relation of law and morality; civil disobedience.

522 Philosophy of Science (3) The course begins with case studies in science and derives general principles from them. Scientific law, analogy, models, variant theories, confirmation, and interpretation.

525 Epistemology (3) This course provides an introduction to the major issues in contemporary analytic epistemology. Though epistemology has a long history in philosophy, contemporary epistemology has brought a modern scientific worldview and psychological accounts to bear on articulating the nature and justification of knowledge and belief. In the 20th century many philosophers began to investigate the social factors (including race and gender) and values on an understanding of knowledge. Among the topics to be examined are skepticism, epistemic contextualism, defining knowledge, foundationalism and coherentism, epistemic externalism, naturalized epistemology, and feminist and social epistemology.

531 Asian Philosophy (3) Central figures and classic teachings of Eastern philosophy and religion: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism; naturalistic and humanistic elements of decisive influence on the culture of the Orient. This course may be taken again for credit.

536 Symbolic Logic (3) Basic principles and methods of symbolic logic. Practice in determining validity of sentential and quantificational arguments. The algebra of classes.

570 Bioethics (3) Philosophical analysis of ethical issues in medicine, research, and biotechnology.

580 Business Ethics (3) Examination of ethical theory and its application to issues in business and management.

581 Philosophy of Human Rights (3) An examination of theories of human rights and the bearing of these theories on public policy issues such as legitimacy of war and terrorism, economic justice, and whether future generations have rights. Topics include whether there are basic human rights, and if so, what they are, what is their nature or basis, and what arguments can be brought to bear upon these questions.

590 Independent Studies in Philosophy (3) This course may be taken again for credit.

599 Philosophic Concepts and Systems (3) Basic concepts of the philosophic enterprise: form, matter, the categories, cause, and purpose. Relation of premises to method and conclusions. Rival theories are compared for justification and adequacy. This course may be taken again for credit.

610 Thesis (3-6) By permission of thesis adviser.

640 Seminar (3) Study and evaluation of the major works of one philosopher, such as Plato, Aquinas, Kant, or Wittgenstein. This course may be taken again for credit.

The following undergraduate courses may also be taken for graduate credit, when properly approved: PHI 405 Feminist Theory, PHI 480 Environmental Ethics, PHI 482 Social Philosophy.