BACHELOR OF PHILOSOPHY (BPhil)

Program Objective

The focus of an undergraduate program in Philosophy in SMU is to give students the opportunity to examine critically contemporary societal problems from the vantage point of philosophy. Philosophy can be used in illuminating and solving burning issues and problems in the contemporary society as it can possibly do. Hence, students shall be trained to reason critically. Students shall be expected to acquire a sound knowledge of the facts, values and principles underlying and surrounding philosophical issues and problems and to demonstrate highly critical and analytical skills in addressing them. The aim of the program is to enable students to identify, clarify, and assess philosophical problems, both ancient and modern. Philosophy prepares students for a more reflective life, for advanced studies in the subject, as well as for professions that emphasize analytic thinking and argumentation, such as law, business, and programming.

 

Career Prospects

In recent years there have been an increase in the number of students offering Philosophy and Logic both at the Ordinary and Advanced levels in secondary education. A student with BPhil from SMU is professionally equipped to teach Ordinary level Logic and Advanced level Philosophy. The Demand for teachers in this sector is very high and there are very few teachers with a pure philosophy background to handle these positions. Besides, a student may consider to further his/her education at the Master and PhD levels so as to gain access to work and teach in the multiple universities that offer Philosophy and other related disciplines.

 

Core Courses (32 credits)

PHI 210: Introduction to Philosophy

PHI 220: History of Western Philosophy

PHI 310: African Philosophy

PHI 320: Logic

PHI 330: Metaphysics

PHI 340: Epistemology

PHI 350: Fundamental Ethics

PHI 360: Aesthetics

 

PHI 210: Introduction to Philosophy

This course introduces students to philosophy as a critical and dialectical science and how it relates with other sciences. It introduces students to the value of philosophy and main philosophical branches of metaphysics (What is the ultimate nature of reality? What really exists and what is mere appearance?); epistemology (What, if anything, can be known and how?); logic (What are the principles of correct reasoning?); and ethics (What is moral value? And what moral values should we adopt?).

 

PHI 220: History of Western Philosophy

The course does not claim to cover all narratives involved in this broad section of Philosophy, encompassing ancient Greek thought, Christian thought, rationalism, empiricism, German Idealism, pragmatism and Existentialism. It rather focuses on the major tenets of Greek, Medieval, Modern and contemporary thought. The course highlights ethical, epistemological and metaphysical issues within the history of western philosophy as a platform for what shall be treated in detail when examining each of these sections of Philosophy.

 

PHI 310: African Philosophy

This course critically reflects on African thought patterns in relation to historical, political, logical, cosmological, metaphysical, ethical and religious issues

 

PHI 320: Logic

Logic deals with rules and principles of correct reasoning. It lays down the rules that distinguish a correct argument from an incorrect one. The basic concern of the logic therefore, is to determine the validity and veracity of argumentation in order to arrive at sound reasoning. And detect fallacies in reasoning.

 

PHI 330: Metaphysics

Metaphysics brings out central questions of pure philosophy through their treatment by traditional and contemporary writers: it highlights questions concerning the nature of being, mind and matter; causation and free will; space and time; meaning, truth, and reality.

 

PHI 340: Epistemology

Epistemology answers problem of whether we can know and know with certainty. Epistemology entails a critical study of important concepts and problems involved in the characterization, analysis, and appraisal of certain types of human knowledge. Such topics as sense perception, knowledge and belief, necessity, memory, and truth will be treated. It deals with questions such as; Can I know anything with certitude? Can I express what I know to myself by an internal mental process and to others by way of writing, speaking and other means of communication? How is the internal mental process sure to correspond to what I express? Is there knowledge that can be called philosophical knowledge and can I have bits and pieces of knowledge of the universe? Can I work out a system? And if this is possible, is it desirable? And under what condition can it be systematized?

 

PHI 350: Fundamental Ethics

Ethics deals with human conduct or judgment on human conduct. Hence it entails analysis and application of fundamental principles of morality and issues related to rights and duties, freedom and moral responsibility. This course will examine fundamental questions of moral philosophy: What are our most basic values, and which of them are specifically

PHI 360: Aesthetics

This course examines the concept of beauty from both a subjective and objective point of view. It examines the philosophical contents of beauty.

 

Concentration Courses (32 credits)

Students are expected to do 8 of the following courses

 

PHI 370: Ancient Greek Philosophy

PHI 375: Christian Philosophy

PHI 380: Rationalism and Empiricism

PHI 410: German Idealism

PHI 415: Pragmatism and Existentialism

PHI 420: African Philosophy

PHI 425: Theodicy

PHI 430: Practical Ethics

PHI 435: Introduction to Mathematical Logic

PHI 440: Philosophy of Education

PHI 445: Political Philosophy

PHI 450: Philosophy of Language

PHI 455: Philosophy of Art

 

PHI 370: Ancient Greek Philosophy

This course examines the critical issues of Ancient Greek thought from Thales through the Sophist, Socrates, Plato to Aristotle. The course seeks to determine the relevance of these ancient thought to our contemporary society.

 

PHI 375: Christian Philosophy

The course examines the relationship between faith and reason within the medieval ages, with the rise of Christian philosophers like Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, and Anselm. The course examines the rational proofs for and against God’s existence. Focus is made on the relationship between science and religion, with documental review from John Paul II on Science and Religion

 

PHI 380: Rationalism and Empiricism

The course critically examines rationalism and empiricism as two contrary epistemological doctrines with their advocates. Special emphasis is laid on the strengths and weaknesses of both doctrines.

 

PHI 410: German Idealism

The course draws allusion to the rise of Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx with their revolutionary ideas in the fields of epistemology, religion, aesthetics and education.

 

PHI 415: Pragmatism and Existentialism

This course explores the rapid growth of pragmatism and existentialism within the contemporary period, with special reference to their contribution to development of world politics, economics, religion, human nature, education and psychology.

 

PHI 420: African Philosophy

This is an examination of the bases for African religious beliefs in deities, ancestral worship and the belief in the Supreme Being. The course critically examines the assertion that the African is notoriously religious.   This course considers the philosophical thought of African Philosophers like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Senghor Leopold, Nelson Mandela etc and their contributions to the restoration of Black Personality and Dignity. Moral values? What are the ethical principles, if any, by which we should judge our actions, ourselves, and our lives?

 

PHI 425: Theodicy

This course attempts to understand the nature and modes of operation of the Supreme or Absolute Being, which the religious minded, call God. Put simply, Theodicy is the philosophical science of God. The subject matter or material object is God. The formal object is God as knowable to the unaided human reason or God as seen through the light of reason.

 

PHI 430: Practical Ethics

Practical Ethics focuses on the application of principles of pure ethics to the analysis of practical contemporary ethical problems such as abortion, Euthanasia, Suicide, HIV AIDS, witchcraft, violence, terrorism and war. Practical ethics seeks to unravel the philosophical argumentations for or against the practice of these moral issues

PHI 435: Introduction to Mathematical Logic

This course introduces students to basic symbolic logic with focus on truth functional connectives, basic truth tables, symbolic testing of validity of arguments and propositional functions.

PHI 440: Philosophy of Education

This course deals with the philosophical underpinnings of educational problems. As such, it is both part of the field of education and a field of applied philosophy, drawing from fields of metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and the philosophical approaches (speculative, prescriptive, and/or analytic) to address questions in and about pedagogy, education policy, and curriculum, as well as the process of learning,

 

PHI 445: Political Philosophy

A systematic study of problems and concepts connected with political institutions: sovereignty, law, liberty, and political obligation. Topics may include representation, citizenship, power and authority, revolution, civil disobedience, totalitarianism, and legal and political rights.

 

PHI 450: Philosophy of Language

An examination of the nature of language through the study of such topics as truth, reference, meaning, linguistic structure, how language differs from other symbol systems, relations between thought and language and language and the world, the use of language, and the relevance of theories concerning these to selected philosophical issues.

PHI 455: Philosophy of Art

An examination of concepts involved in the interpretation and evaluation of works of art. Emphasis will be placed on sensuous quality, structure, and expression as aesthetic categories. Illustrations will consist of material from music, painting, and literature.

In addition to the concentration courses, students are expected to do the following courses

PHI 493: Philosophy Internship (8)

PHI 480: Entrepreneurial Project    (4)

PHI 498: Philosophy Research Project    (4)

 

PHI 493: Philosophy Internship (8)

There will be a full-time involvement and report on any observational contemporary issue affecting the ethical, political, cultural, anthropological and social lives of people.

PHI 480: Entrepreneurial Project

This entails a practical project written by the student. The project should have practical plans on how a business can be established and sustained in Philosophy. This is geared towards self-employment

PHI 498: Philosophy Research Project

A program of study on an approved research topic in Philosophy will be followed up by a supervisor. This supervised individual study provides an opportunity for in-depth reading and research on a topic selected by the student and supervisor. Students in this program of study may carry out a pilot project in preparation for a thesis or dissertation.

 

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