Both of our introductory philosophy courses, required of all students at the University, emphasize the close reading of primary texts by major philosophers. The first course, titled "Ethics as Introduction to Philosophy," centers on a reading of Plato's Republic, in part or as a whole. Professors typically consider other readings along with the Republic, for example, Hobbes’s Leviathan or Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality. By focusing on issues arising from moral and/or political philosophy, PHIL 100 seeks to elicit awareness in students of the ambit of philosophical inquiry.
The PHIL 200 course, titled “Philosophical Perspectives,” focuses on a reading of Descartes' Discourse on Method; it does so owing to the constellation of themes at work in the book, crucial to the emergence of philosophical and political modernity. Some organize the course in light of political themes related to the emergence of modern natural science; others pursue a more straightforward epistemological theme. PHIL 200 may in fact focus on any theme a professor chooses, as long as Descartes’ Discourse is integrated into the course.
Overall, our courses, both core and elective, are oriented by a "great books" approach to philosophical instruction, rather than a problem-centered approach.