Howard University College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Philosophy
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Philosophy of Social Science

Phil 177

Dr. Charles Verharen

The course will emphasize an historical approach to the philosophy of the social sciences. After a synoptic review of philosophy’s roles in its history, the course will examine philosophy’s relations to the sciences in general and the social sciences in particular. A key question of the course will be whether the social sciences’ reliance on statistical methods is primarily due to the freedom of human nature or the sheer complexity of the human organism. Following these introductory explorations the course will consider the historical origins of the social sciences in the works of key philosophers such as William +James, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and Auguste Comte. The course’s primary assumption is that philosophy and science are continuous rather than distinct methods. The assumption will be explored through an examination of history as an academic discipline. Is history a foundation for science, a social science in its own right, or an attempt at creating a “super-science,” a discipline that fuses all the sciences in an attempt to guide us into the future? Can an examination of the distinctions between history and natural history show that the conventional distinction between the natural and social sciences is artificial? The conclusion of the course will examine the historical uses of the social sciences in the service of racism, and W.E.B. Du Bois’ life-long efforts to combat those uses.


African American Philosophy
Afro-Caribbean Philosophy
Ancient Egyptian Philosophy
Ancient Egyptian Philosophy
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Classical Ethics
Comparative Philosophy: Philosophical Explanations of Evil Across Cultures
Current Topics: Philosophy and Ethics of Appropriate Technology and Development
Current Topics: Africana Philosophy and Film
Environmental Ethics
Ethics and Public Policy
Ethics of Medical Care
Ethics of Medical Care
History of Africana Philosophy
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Modern Philosophy
Philosophy of Education
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy of Social Science
Principles of Reasoning
Representative Thinkers
Seminar on Aristotle 
Symbolic Logic


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