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Philosophy & Religion | Courses

Please see also AU Schedule of Classes from the Registrar.

Spring 2016 Course Offerings


PHIL-105 Western Philosophy
.001 MTh 8:55AM-10:10AM Greene
.002 MTh 10:20AM-11:35AM Greene
.003 MTh 1:10PM-2:25PM Greene
.004 MTh 2:35PM-3:50PM Stanescu
.005 TF 4:00PM-5:15PM Bassiri
.006 TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Mensah
.007 TF 8:55AM-10:10AM Sigrist
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 1:10PM-2:25PM 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-220 Moral Philosophy
 MTh 8:55AM-10:10AM Stanescu
.002 MTh 11:45AM-1PM Stanescu
.003 MW 8:10PM-9:25PM De Saint-Felix
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
 TF 2:35PM-3:50PM 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-241 Bioethics
TTh 5:20PM-6:35PM Leighton
.002 TTh 6:45PM-8:00PM Leighton

An introduction to the growing field of bioethics, this course examines the ethical implications of recent developments in bio-medical technology, as well as the ethical lessons of historical cases. Students read philosophers and ethicists on topics such as human subject research, patients' rights, medical rationing, and public and global health issues. Usually offered every spring.

PHIL-380 Colloquium: Apology
 W 8:10PM-10:40PM Feder
Meets on the following dates: 1/20/15, 1/27/15, 2/3/15, 2/10/15, 2/17/15
There has been little philosophical investigation of remorse, and of the act of apology with which the feeling of remorse is associated. In addition to canonical works, study of cases of regret, such as truth and reconciliation commissions, the US response to the revelations of the Tuskegee syphilis study, Japanese internship during World War II, and reparations for slavery, provide promising cases for study and elaboration.

PHIL-401/601 Early Modern Philosophy
W 11:45AM-2:25PM Stam
This course covers major philosophers from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant. Usually offered alternate springs (even years).

Prerequisite: PHIL-105 or permission of instructor. Note: PHIL-400 is recommended but not required.

PHIL-411/611 Modern European Movements
.001 Phenomenology
TTh 8:10PM-9:25PM Sigrist
This course examines phenomenology, a method for doing philosophy grounded in the close examination of first-person experience. It is also one of the most influential intellectual movements of the 20th century. The course examines phenomenological theories of knowledge, perception, embodiment, and agency from the works of classical and contemporary phenomenologists, including Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty.

PHIL-416/616 Feminist Philosophy
 T 2:35PM-5:15PM Oliver, A.
Posing questions about what we can know, how we perceive, and how we experience our bodies and interactions with the world is arguably a central preoccupation of philosophy. Canonical works such as the Confessions of Augustine and Rousseau, Descartes' vivid first-person account of his quest for certainty, Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological investigation of embodied experience, and Sartre's existentialist study of "the gaze" have historically placed narrative investigation of the nature of human experience at the center of the philosophical project. One way to understand the distinctive contribution of feminist philosophers and theorists of the late twentieth century is to see that body of work as telling another side of the story, one that radically recasts conceptions of embodiment, identity, ethics, and the body politic. This course focuses on feminist approaches to enduring philosophical questions, to which is added the larger question of difference not limited to that of gender or sex. Meets with PHIL-616. Usually offered alternate springs (even years). Prerequisite: two courses in philosophy.

Prerequisite: Two courses in Philosophy.

PHIL-425/625 Seminar on Modern Moral Problems
T 5:30PM-8:00PM Mensah
Surveys a contemporary moral issue of the instructor's choosing and explores how philosophers have worked to understand and address this issue. Usually offered every spring.

The theme for this semester will be mass incarceration.

Prerequisite: PHIL-220.

PHIL-453/653 Metaphysics
Knowing and Being W 2:35PM-3:50PM Weis
This course examines the relationship between knowing and being, between the cognitional and the metaphysical. Students read classic accounts of these problems from the history of philosophy, and compare those accounts to contemporary critiques and adaptations of the traditional approaches.

PHIL-485/685 Selected Topics in Philosophy
.001 Derrida and Buddhism Th 5:30PM-8:00PM Park
Derridean deconstruction is arguably one of the most influential continental philosophies of the late 20th century. The class examines major works by Jacques Derrida, compares Derridean deconstruction with Buddhist philosophy, and considers the influence of the deconstructive mode of thinking in our understanding of identity, ethics and politics.

PHIL-702 Philosophy and Human Rights
W 5:30 pm –8:00 pm Bergoffen
Philosophy and Human Rights Appeals to human rights assume that we have a clear understanding of what these rights are, who deserves them, and why we have a moral obligation to enforce them. By reading the formative Human Rights Documents, and using the resources of continental philosophy, critical legal theory, and political theory, students critique these assumptions by examining such concrete issues as genocidal rape, refugees, and nationalism/sovereignty, and asking: What is the future of human rights?


RELG-105 Religious Heritage of the West
TF 11:45AM-1:00PM 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-220 Religious Thought
M 5:30PM-8:00PM 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 11:45AM-1:00PM De Saint-Felix
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-396 Modern Mythology: Midnight's Children
S 10:00AM-4:00PM Pathak
        Su 10:00AM-4:30PM
This two-day course centers on Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, a modern mythological novel about the making of India. After completing all of the required course reading (namely, the novel itself) before the course begins, students discuss during this colloquium how Rushdie enshrines earlier cultural traditions, introduces narrative innovations, naturalizes notions of nation, and envisions adaptations to other media.

RELG-470/670 Islam
F 2:35PM-5:15PM Oliver, M.
Hundreds of millions of people adhere to Islam, sometimes described as the world's fastest growing religion. Students examine historical origins, Prophet Muhammad, Qur'an, and other formative elements underlying the modern Muslim situation. Meets with RELG-670. Usually offered every fall.

RELG-473/673 Hinduism
TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Pathak
This course focuses on four phases in the development of Hinduism. Central to the study of each phase are close readings of selections from its main mythological and philosophical texts, which are considered in light of lived religious practices. Usually offered alternate springs (even years).

RELG-486 Christianity
TF 1:10PM-2:25PM Schaefer
As the world's largest religious tradition, with two billion adherents, Christianity has had an enormous impact. Students examine Christianity through a number of different lenses: through history, through its scriptures, through its developed theological tradition, and through its encounter with real world issues and events.

General Education

GNED-230.001 Stories of South Asia
TF 2:35PM-3:50PM Pathak
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. 

 Previous Course Brochures:

Fall 2015
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