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Philosophy & Religion | Courses

Please see also AU Schedule of Classes from the Registrar.

Fall 2015 Course Offerings


PHIL 105 Western Philosophy
.001 MTh 10:20AM-11:35AM Greene
.002 MTh 11:45AM-1:00PM Greene
.003 MTh 8:55AM-10:10AM Greene
.004 TF 2:35PM-3:50PM Mensah
.005 TF 4:00PM-5:15PM Mensah
.006UC TF 11:45AM-1:00PM Weis, L
.007 MTh 2:35PM-3:50PM Bassiri, C.
This course is a historical introduction to the Western philosophical tradition. Students closely examine classic and contemporary texts on the nature of reality, truth, morality, goodness, and justice; the possibility of knowledge; faith, reason, and the existence of God; and the issue of freedom and determinism.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 2: "Traditions that Shape the Western World".

PHIL 200 Introduction to Logic
TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Mensah
Basic principles of formal deductive logic, both Aristotelian (syllogistics) and modern (propositional and predicate calculus), with some attention to informal logic also. Text and exercises supplemented by discussions on history, applications, and critical appraisal of different logical systems. No prior knowledge of mathematics is involved. This is the course recommended for pre-law students by Law School Admissions Deans.

PHIL-211 Intro to Asian Philosophy
.001 MTh 1:10PM–2:25PM Park, J.
A thematic introduction to the Eastern philosophical tradition. Students read major classic and contemporary texts in Eastern philosophy on being, world, society, and ethics, and examine Eastern philosophers' views on the nature of self, personhood, politics, family, and gender;logics, religion, and cosmology. Usually offered alternate springs (even years).

PHIL 220 Moral Philosophy
 MTh 10:20AM-11:35AM Feder
.002 MTh 1:10PM-2:25PM Gallegos
.003 MTh 11:45AM-1PM Stanescu
This course investigates the question of what it means to live a moral life. Examining major works in Western philosophy, issues discussed include moral goodness and evil, the nature of justice and rights, the relationship between morality and self-interest, the justification of moral judgments, relativism versus objective truth, the role of pleasure in the good life, and the meaning of character and virtue.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 2: "Traditions that Shape the Western World".

PHIL 235 Theories of Democracy and Human Rights
MTh 4:00PM-5:15PM Erfani, F
.002 TTh 8:10PM-9:25PM Cooke
This course analyzes traditional Western theories of democracy and rights, both separately and in relation to each other, as well as contemporary approaches such as Habermasian, post-modern, feminist, and critical race theory. It also considers the East-West debate on human rights.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 2: "Traditions that Shape the Western World".

PHIL-240 Ethics in the Professions
W 2:35 pm –5:15 pm Leighton, K.
This course provides a framework for thinking generally about ethics, and more specifically about professional ethics. In addition, it addresses ethical dilemmas that arise in the professions of government, law, business, medicine, the media, and the academy. Usually offered every term.

PHIL 380 Colloquium: Business Be Damned
 T 8:10PM-10:40PM Oliver, A
Elijah Jordan (1875-1953) was an American existentialist and finalist. Concerned by the growth of bureaucratic organizations, he developed a philosophy of resistance to imposed authority. During the McCarthy era, Jordan published Business Be Damned, a vitriolic attack on US business. Jordan lamented that institutions, not individuals, were the dominant social actors in the modern age. "Men can see but they cannot do."

Prerequisite: one course in philosophy.

PHIL-402/602 Nineteenth Century Philosophy
TF 11:45 am –1:00 pm Stam, J.
This course covers major philosophers from the nineteenth century such as Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Meets with PHIL-602. Usually offered every fall.

Prerequisite: PHIL-105 or permission of instructor. 

PHIL-412/612 Critical Bioethics
T 5:30 pm –8:00 pm Leighton, K.
Bioethics is a philosophical discipline concerned with the scope and permissibility of science, technology, and practices of the body. Through reading on the history of bioethics and its subjects, the course asks: how does bioethics contribute to what we recognize as rational decision-making about ourselves, our lives, and our bodies?

PHIL-413/613 Philosophy and Modernity in East Asia
M 5:30 pm –8:00 pm Park, J.
What would it be like to think about philosophy in the tradition in which the genre of philosophy itself does not exist? The course explores philosophy at the dawn of the modern time in East Asia. In three sections, the course discusses: (1) meaning of the genre, philosophy, religions, and comparative philosophy;(2) gender and narrative identity;(3) philosophy and its social responsibility. 

PHIL-420/620 Seminar on Ethical Theory .001
W 11:45 am –2:25 pm Feder, E
Survey of the development of ethical theory in Western philosophy by analysis of major works in classical and contemporary moral philosophy. Issues investigated include the nature of the good and the right, the possibility of moral knowledge, the principles of individual virtue and social justice, the problems of ethical relativism and absolutism, and the foundations of modern conceptions of human rights. Meets with PHIL-620. Usually offered every fall. 

Prerequisite: PHIL-220. 

PHIL-485/685 Selected Topics in Philosophy
.001 Existentialism Th 8:10 pm –10:40 pm Erfani, F.
This course focuses on 19th and20th century existentialism, with a particular emphasis on the role of the imagination in creating one's identity. We will read philosophical works by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Heidegger, and de Beauvoir, as well as literary works by Camus, Dostoyevsky, and also Sartre. 

.002 Philosophies of Action W 11:45 am –2:25 pm Flax, J.
In a deontological world, with no transcendental or natural laws ordering human practices, how are we to act, collectively and individually? How do we hold ourselves and others responsible for our actions? On what basis do we evaluate competing claims for our resources, loyalty, and participation? We will address these questions by working through texts by Machiavelli, M. Weber, Arendt, Foucault, Ranciere, and others. 

PHIL-693 Global Ethics
W 5:30 pm –8:00 pm Stanescu
The integrative seminar for the M.A. in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs. Discusses ethics, ethical systems, and the presuppositions of international relations from a critical, cross-cultural perspective. Completion and presentation of a major integrative research paper is required. Usually offered every spring.


RELG 105 Religious Heritage of the West
TF 1:10PM-2:25PM Bumbaugh
.002 MTH 2:25PM-3:50PM Bumbaugh
The contribution religion to Western civilization. The eastern Mediterranean roots of Western religions, the emergence of Christianity in the Greco-Roman world, and the rise of Islam. The mature religious synthesis of Medieval Europe. Modern secularism's challenge to this tradition.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 2: "Traditions that Shape the Western World".

RELG-185 The Religious Heritage of Asia
MTh 4:00 pm –5:15 pm Greenberg, G.
Introduces methods of studying religion and places religious traditions in comparative relief. Surveys the basic features of the major religions of Asia, including Hinduism, Taoism, and Confucianism, and explains how these traditions shape Asian cultures and societies. Usually offered every term.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 2: "Traditions that Shape the Western World".

RELG 145 Religion Without Borders
TF 1:10PM-2:25PM Oliver, M
This course offers a different kind of introduction to the study of the world's major religius traditions. Rather than approaching each religion as an independent tradition that developed in a vacuum, this course looks at the ways that religions develop in conversation with one another. The course provides students with basic knowledge about specific religious traditions and equips them with the tools for thinking about how they operate in our global age.

RELG-220 Religious Thought
MW 8:10 pm –9:25 pm Greenberg, G.
Religion and religion's role in life. Beginning with modern approaches to the study of religion, this course examines religious ways of defining the human situation, the quest for salvation, wholeness, and transcendence, and the problem of speaking about the divine within the terms of modern culture.

RELG 225 Meaning and Purpose in the Arts
.001 TF 2:35 pm –3:50 pm Pathak, S.
.002 TF 8:55 am –10:10 am Sigrist
Leading theories of the nature, purpose, and meaning of artistic activities and objects examined through writings of major religious thinkers, philosophers, artists, and critics of ancient and modern times. Both Western and non-Western viewpoints are considered. Students projects apply critical ideas to particular works in an art form familiar to them.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 1: "The Creative Arts".

RELG-330 Approaches to Studying Religion
TF 4:00 pm –5:15 pm Oliver, M.
This course covers classical and contemporary approaches to the study of religion that are grounded in the disciplines of anthropology, psychology, sociology, history, and literary criticism. Usually offered every fall.

RELG-396 Christian Heresies
T 8:10 pm –10:40 pm de Saint-Felix, C.
The Christian Patristic Period, ranging from the death of Christ until the Fall of Rome, was the foundational period for the faith, and debates held in that era determined the major dogmas of the Church that still stand to this day. This course will examine how these dogmas were decided upon, why major church figures rose to prominence, and how certain positions and thinkers came to be labeled as heretical. Topics include the divinity and humanity of Christ, Mary as the Mother of God, the nature of the Trinity, the relationship between theology and philosophy, and the role of Grace.

RELG-486/686 Religion and Civic Engagement
Th 5:30 pm –8:00 pm Wilde, A.
Examines issues raised by religiously-motivated political activism in historical and contemporary cases from Latin America and the United States.

 General Education

.001 The Examined Life
W 5:30 pm –8:00 pm de Saint-Felix, C.
This course, when paired with a Summer Study Abroad in Greece, gives students a fuller picture of the Ancient Greek world upon which Western society, thought, and culture were built. Through the examination of philosophical texts, students will pursue an understanding of the Greek desire for a beautiful life, especially as it pertains to art, love, politics, and the thirst for knowledge.

GNED-230 .002 Stories of South Asia
TF 10:20 am –11:35 am Pathak, S
This course focuses on ancient and medieval portrayals of Indian politics in classical epics and story collections and considers their relevance to modern South Asia. 

GNED-120 Do the Right Thing
.002 TF 8:55 am –10:10 am Stanescu
.003 MTH 8:55am -10:10am TBD
This course makes the case for doing the right thing. It explores questions about conduct--what to do, how to act, and why--as understood by the most salient theories of ethics. Examining major works in Western philosophy, the class discusses issues including moral goodness and evil, the nature of justice and rights, the relationship between morality and self-interest, the justification of moral judgments, relativism versus objective truth, the role of pleasure in the good life, and the meaning of character and virtue. Another central concern is to examine the relationship between "doing the right thing" and living the good life. This is done by applying ethical theories to contemporary moral issues pertinent to both college life (online social relations, academic plagiarism, drug use) and public policy (prostitution, animal rights, responsibility in media coverage).

 Previous Course Brochures:

Spring 2015 Fall 2014 
Spring 2014 Fall 2013 
Spring 2013 Fall 2012
Spring 2012 Fall 2011
Spring 2011 Fall 2010
Spring 2010 Fall 2009
Spring 2009 Fall 2008
Spring 2008 Fall 2007
Spring 2007 Fall 2006
Spring 2006 Fall 2005
Spring 2005 Fall 2004
Spring 2004 Fall 2003
Spring 2003 Fall 2002