Class Catalog: PHIL 200: Philosophy & Literature

Samantha Weber, Editor in Chief

Do you enjoy talking and reading about philosophy? If the answer to that question is yes, then PHIL200: Philosophy & Literature is the class for you.
This course is offered every year in the Fall semester. It is taught by James, Snyder, Ph.D., Department Chair of the Philosophy Department and Associate Professor. It is very evident that Snyder is passionate about the work that he is doing and the topics that he teaches his students.
The class is more of a discussion-style class as Snyder encourages participation from the students throughout his lectures. He loves hearing others’ opinions and will often challenge them in a respectful way to get them to think more outside the box.
The philosophy aspect of the class is observed through the literature that students read throughout the course. Some of the books that are read are “Siddhartha,” “God Help the Child,” and “A Death in Venice.”
Now some of these books talk about controversial topics, but they are important to discuss and that will lead to discussions in class about how standards in life have changed.
Snyder will take some of the concepts that are portrayed in the literature and use them as the basis of many class discussions where he attempts to get everyone’s opinion so that people can see other viewpoints.
Sometimes when the weather is nice, Snyder will take his classes outside for them to get a change of scenery and reflect on what all nature gives humanity.
Megan Kantz, a junior Biology major, took this course in the fall of 2022.
“It was a fun class that I was able to grow pretty close to the other students because it was a smaller class size,” said Kantz. Due to the smaller numbers, the students in the class were able to feel comfortable expressing their opinions and discussing the topics with everyone.
This course is great for those who like thinking about why things are the way they are and who just enjoy spending time pondering life.
“I enjoyed the course because it gave me a break from the rigor of science courses and I was able to think about why and not just memorize how to do things like I normally do for my classes,” said Kantz.
The class starts out by looking at an image and Snyder asks every student what their thoughts are about this image and that is how the first class session goes every time.
Mercyhurst’s liberal arts curriculum provides students the opportunity to be exposed to many different topics and courses outside of their major. This is a great opportunity for students to learn new things especially if they are unsure of what they want their major to be.
This course is sometimes also offered as an honors course, so if you are in the Honors Program and need another course for the requirements, this one is a great one to pick.
Definitely look into this course if you need to satisfy your REACH curriculum and if you want a professor who is passionate about what they teach!