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Indiana University Bloomington

Undergraduate Program

On Being Introduced To Philosophy

There are various different ways of being introduced to philosophy, and the Department of Philosophy offers a number of introductory courses of different kinds.

A. The Piggyback Approach

One natural way of becoming introduced to philosophy is to allow one's interest in it to ride piggyback on other interests one already has. For this reason, the Department offers topical courses in philosophy: P104 Introduction to Jewish Philosophy, P140 Elementary Ethics and P240 Business and Morality.

B. The Approach Through Philosophical Problems

Another sort of introductory course is the "problem course," in which several traditional philosophical problems are taken up one by one and examined. These courses are P100 Introduction to Philosophy and P135 Introduction to Phenomenology and Existentialism.

C. The Historical Approach

A third sort of introductory course is the historically oriented introduction, in which the development of philosophical thought is traced. Philosophy 201 Ancient Greek Philosophy is such a course, as is P 211 Early Modern Philosophy.

Students who are interested in becoming acquainted with philosophy should decide for themselves which sort of introduction best suits them. Those who like to think in historical terms might prefer the historical introduction. Those who have a strong independent interest in one of the topics of the topical introduction should consider that. Those who want to meet and examine central problems in philosophy as it has traditionally been done, should consider the "problems" courses. All of these types of courses, however, are equally valuable as introductions to philosophy and as preparation for further courses.

In addition to these introductory courses, the Department offers several courses at the 300-level requiring a prerequisite of only three hours. Although not designed as introductions, these courses are intended for those who, having little previous background in philosophy, want to study some particular area of human concern in a philosophical way.

Frequently offered courses at the 300-level are:

  • P301 Medieval Philosophy
  • P304 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
  • P305 Topics in the Philosophy of Judaism
  • P310 Topics in Metaphysics
  • P312 Topics in the Theory of Knowledge
  • P319 American Pragmatism
  • P320 Philosophy and Language
  • P330 Marxist Philosophy
  • P335 Phenomenology & Existentialism
  • P340 Classics in Ethics
  • P342 Problems of Ethics
  • P343 Classics in Social & Political Philosophy
  • P345 Problems in Social & Political Philosophy
  • P346 Philosophy and Art
  • P350 Logic of Sets
  • P351 Formal Semantics
  • P360 Introduction to Philosophy of Mind
  • P366 Philosophy of Action
  • P371 Philosophy of Religion
  • P374 Early Chinese Philosophy
  • P375 Philosophy of Law