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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: PHIL 490
Course Title: Thematic Seminar in Philosophy
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

This is the culminating course for Philosophy majors. Each seminar is based upon a specific philosophical issue which is studied in depth. Each student researches, writes and presents a research paper. A grade of 'C' or higher is required. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The substantive readings for the course will vary depending on topic, but at least some of them should come from contemporary journal articles in the area under study.

Students might also be encouraged to consult reference works, e.g.,

Studying Philosophy: A Guide for the Perplexed
By Arthur, John (Prentice Hall)
The Philosophy Student Writer’s Manual
By Graybosch, Anthony J., Gregory M. Scott, & Stephen M. Garrison (Prentice Hall)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Student critically evaluates philosophical arguments for soundness and validity.
  2. Student formulates sound and valid philosophical arguments.
  3. Student critically analyzes philosophical arguments, issues, and problems.
  4. Student draws upon a broad familiarity and understanding of philosophical literature in order to pose compelling philosophical questions.
  5. Student cogently expresses both philosophical problems and plausible solutions in accord with best philosophical practices.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Each student will prepare a well-researched article complying with best philosophical practices. He or she will present this article to faculty and students and respond to questions and criticisms.
  • The basic structure of the course:
    • Review Literature
    • Formalize and criticize arguments in literature
    • Construct paper responding to problems and presenting original view.
    • Present and defend this paper at conference.
Culminating Experience Statement:

During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 15

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Mark Price Date: March 17, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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