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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: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The substantive readings for the course should come from contemporary journal articles in the area under study.

Reference Works:

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 Objectives

  • To understand the discipline of philosophy at the highest academic level.
  • To be able to prepare an original journal quality article through rigorous scrutiny of published articles in a contemporary subject matter.

    Measurable Learning

    • Read contemporary philosophical writings for critical understanding. • Formalize sophisticated philosophical arguments. • Analyze and provide criticisms of sophisticated philosophical arguments. • Provide solutions to difficulties that arise in arguments concerning philosophical subject matter. • Synthesize argument analyses, criticisms and solutions into a polished, presentable form. • Defend this position in a coherent, professional manner by responding to constructive criticisms from audience trained in the field.

    Topical Outline:
  • Review literature
  • Formalize and criticize arguments in literature
  • Construct paper responding to problems and presenting original view
  • Present and defend this paper at annual 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: November 16, 2009
    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 objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. 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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