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Philosophy & Religion | Courses

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Fall 2013 Course Offerings

Philosophy

PHIL 105 Western Philosophy
.001 MTh 1:10PM-2:25PM Weis, L
Philosophy is concerned with examining the meaning of human existence. This means that philosophy is most interested in the fundamental questions that arise when one attempts to make sense of his or her experience, for example, 'Who am I and how should I live? What is the meaning of the good, of friendship, of dignity? Is my society a just one?' Philosophy does not always answer these questions! Often, the most important feature of philosophy is that the activity of asking philosophical questions gives rise to even more questions than answers. In exploring these and other questions we will read and analyze classic texts of philosophy and literature from the Western tradition.

.002 MTh 4:00PM-5:15PM Bassiri, C
.003 TF 8:55AM-10:10AM Sigrist, M
.006 TF 4:00PM-5:15PM 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.

.004 TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Feder, E
.005H TF 11:45AM-1:00PM Feder, E
The history of philosophy, like that of humanity, may be read as a history of love and desire. From the famous "Platonic love" that seeks wisdom to the historical desires that make up human consciousness for Hegel, from the medieval passion for God to the postmodern desire for Otherness, love and desire have been central to the philosophical constructions of human identity, moral meaning, and the very project of understanding. In this course we undertake a survey of Western philosophy from the perspective of love and desire, exploring the ways in which these terms have been understood and have in turn formed our philosophical understanding.

.080UC MTh 1:10PM-2:25PM Tschemplik, A
This is a survey course of Western Philosophy which spans 2500 years. The focus of the course is about the connection between knowledge and morality which will provide us with the opportunity to examine a variety of philosophical concepts. The central concern which we will address throughout the semester is whether or not there is a connection between what we know and how we act. We will examine a variety of proposals for knowledge and evaluate the critiques offered by other thinkers. At the same time we will question why it is that some thinkers insist on separating knowledge from morality insisting on a division between "science" and "ethics". If the two are completely divorced from one another, then what is the point of education? 

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

PHIL-200 Introduction to Logic
.001
TF 11:45AM-1:00PM Stam, J 
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. This is the course recommended for pre-law students by Law School Admissions Deans.

PHIL-220 Moral Philosophy
.001
MW 8:10PM-9:25PM Ferrari, M
.002 W 5:30PM-8:00PM De Saint-Felix, C
.003 Th 2:35PM-5:15PM Leighton, K
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-230 Meaning and Purpose in the Arts
.001
MTh 8:55AM-10:10AM Marquis, J
.002 MTh 10:20AM-11:35AM Marquis, J
.003 TF 4:00PM-5:15PM Sigrist, M
Leading theories of the nature, purpose, and meaning of artistic activities and objects examined through writings of philosophers, artists, and critics of ancient and modern times. Both Western and non-Western viewpoints are considered. Student 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".

PHIL-235 Theories of Democracy and Human Rights
.001
MTh 11:45AM-1:00PM Erfani, F
.002 TTh 8:10PM-9:25PM Valdes, E
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
.001
TF 1:10PM-2:25PM 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.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 4: "Social Institutions and Behavior".

PHIL-380 Colloquium: The Hunger Games and Philosophy
.001
 T 8:10PM-10:40PM on 9/3, 9/10, 9/24, 10/1, and 10/8
Feder, E
In this colloquium we will explore the philosophical questions raised by Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, novels that have enjoyed remarkable popularity beyond their intended young adult audience. Already there has been substantial note of the philosophical themes evident throughout the books. Students will focus independently and in groups on particular themes of their choosing. In addition, we will discuss the promotion of philosophical thinking among pre-college students with works such as these. Note that it is recommended that students have read at least the first book, The Hunger Games, before the first session of the course.

Prerequisite: one course in philosophy.

PHIL-391/691 Internship in Philosophy
.001
 W 8:10PM-10:40PM Feder, E

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair. Note for PHIL-391: generally open only to seniors.

PHIL-398 Honors Project in Philosophy

Prerequisite: permission of department and University Honors Director.

PHIL-402/602 Nineteenth Century Philosophy
.001
W 2:35PM-5:15PM Marquis, J
This course covers major  philosophers from the nineteenth century such as Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.

Prerequisite for PHIL-402: PHIL-105 or permission of instructor.

PHIL-410/610 Plato
.001 Th 5:30PM-8:00PM Tschemplik, A
The focus of this class is to determine the status of the theory of forms in Plato’s philosophy. We will examine various formulations of the theory of forms (Republic, Phaedo, Symposium) and then turn to the Sophist and Parmenides to examine what look to be devastating critiques of that theory.

Prerequisite for PHIL-410: PHIL-105 or permission of instructor.

PHIL-412/612 Foucault
.001
W 11:45AM-2:25PM Flax, J
Michel Foucault’s work poses many challenges to other constructions of ethics, subjectivity and power. We will track the evolution of his thinking about these questions and explore some practical and philosophical applications of a practice he recommends, “care of the self.”

Prerequisite for PHIL-412: PHIL-105 or permission of instructor.

PHIL-413/613 Philosophy and Modernity in East Asia
.001
 M 5:30PM-8:00PM Park, J
The course examines modern East Asian philosophy, which marks the beginning of western style philosophy in East Asia. Topics to be explored include: How Asian philosophers defined the genre “philosophy”; how traditional Asian philosophy like Buddhism becomes understood in connection with Continental philosophy, and how nationalism, imperialism, modernity and gender play roles in East Asian thinkers’ philosophy at the time.

Prerequisite for PHIL-413: One introductory course in philosophy.

PHIL-485/685 Postcolonialism and Philosophy
.001
Th 8:10PM-10:40PM Erfani, F
Postcolonialism is a conceptually challenging and productive field. Unlike some schools of thought that were “internal” conceptual dialogues, postcolonialism is inherently tied to twentieth century historical events. This course considers both the contribution continental philosophy has made to postcolonialism as well as the latter’s underappreciated challenges to philosophy’s persisting Eurocentrism.

Prerequisite for PHIL-485: PHIL-105 or permission of instructor. 

PHIL-520 Ethical Theory
.001
 W 5:30PM-8:00PM Reiman, J
In this course, we will examine some of the most important classical works on ethical theory, and then look at some recent works that develop and/or critique the approaches in the classical works. The classical works we will read are Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, and John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and his Utilitarianism. We will then turn to the works of two contemporary philosophers: John Rawls’s Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, in which Rawls presented the final statement of his neo-Kantian liberal theory of justice. And Eva Feder Kittay’s Love’s Labor, which argues from a feminist/care perspective that Rawls has omitted a crucial feature of social existence that is essential to justice. A number of articles will also be assigned, which will be available online on the Blackboard course website.

Prerequisite: PHIL-220 or permission of instructor.

PHIL-693 Global Ethics
.001
 T 5:30PM-8:00PM Berry, E
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.


RELIGION

RELG 105 Religious Heritage of the West
.001
TF 1:10PM-2:25PM Schaefer, M
The exploration of the religious traditions that help to shape the Western world. The course covers the Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman roots of Western religion. Jewish tradition from ancient Israelite religion to modern movements in Judaism. Christianity as emergent Jewish movement to dominant Western religion. Influence of Islam in medieval Europe and the contemporary world. Exploration of American based religions: Mormonism, Unitarianism, Christian Science, and American Civil Religion.

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

RELG-210 Non-Western Religious Traditions
.001
TF 8:55AM-10:10AM Oliver, M
.002 TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Oliver, M
Examines the categorical and theoretical assumptions of "religion" and "non-Western" when applied to the philosophical, ethical, and spiritual traditions of Asia and India. Using the Silk Road as a conceptual center, this course examines religious traditions in both their culture of origin as well as what happens when religions migrate to other lands. The course concludes with an examination of how religious traditions respond to modernity.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 3: "The Global and Cross-Cultural Experience".

RELG-220 Religious Thought
.001
M 2:35PM-5:15PM 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.

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

RELG-391 Internship in Religious Studies
.001
T 8:10PM-10:40PM Feder, E

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

RELG-486/686 International Peace and Religion
.001
 M 08:10PM-10:40PM, Greenberg, G
This course analyzes the meaning and role of peace in Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. Drawing from the respective scriptures, developed historically, students will gain insight into an essential theme of religious identity and tap sources for understanding international conflicts and peace-efforts.

GNED-130 Religion and Globalization
.001
MTh 10:20AM-11:35AM Berry, E
This course explores world religions from the perspective of globalization: we will not study religions as independent, separable traditions, but rather as participants in a series of cross-cultural interactions about meaning and morality. Religion and Globalization will trace a variety of theological, political, and economic exchanges among traditions.

Summer 2013 Course Offerings

Philosophy

PHIL 220 Moral Philosophy: Moral Philosophy Goes to the Movies
.C01
MTWTh 1:00PM-4:10PM Feder, E
Film provides a remarkable opportunity to engage, inspire, and test our moral thinking. In this course, we will take as our primary texts films that pose ethical problems. Films—The Truman Show (US), Crimes and Misdemeanors (US), The Official Story (Argentina), Paradise Now (Palestine), XXY (Argentina), and Antonia's Line (The Netherlands)—provide a means to apply and bring to life canonical ethical theory. They pose, too, important challenges to these theories. Thoughout the course, we will ask the importance of an understanding of moral theory in our examination of the moral dilemmas we encounter every day.

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

PHIL-230 Meaning and Purpose in the Arts
.D01
MW 5:30PM-8:40PM Greenberg, G
Leading theories of the nature, purpose, and meaning of artistic activities and objects examined through writings of philosophers, artists, and critics of ancient and modern times. Both Western and non-Western viewpoints are considered. Student 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".

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

PHIL-485/685 Plato's Republic
.C01
MTWTh 5:30PM-8:40PM Tschemplik, A
In this course we will immerse ourselves in Plato's Republic by examining both the intricacies of the argument and the stunning literary devices evident throughout the text. We will focus on the soul/city analogy and analyze to what extent human life is dependent on the polis.

PHIL-596 Gender, Body, and Society
.F01L
Online Weis, L
This course will focus on the philosophical analysis of gender, particularly on how our understanding and practice of gendered embodiment shapes social realities. We will engage in the creation of an online “virtual” philosophical community, as well as reflect philosophically about the meaning and significance of our “virtual” interaction.

Religion

RELG-210 Nonwestern Religious Traditions
.B01
TTh 1:00PM-4:10PM Oliver, M
Examines the categorical and theoretical assumptions of "religion" and "non-Western" when applied to the philosophical, ethical, and spiritual traditions of Asia and India. Using the Silk Road as a conceptual center, this course examines religious traditions in both their culture of origin as well as what happens when religions migrate to other lands. The course concludes with an examination of how religious traditions respond to modernity.

This course meets the General Education requirement for Foundation Area 3: "The Global and Cross-Cultural Experience".