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Philosophy & Religion | Courses

Please see also AU Schedule of Classes from the Registrar.

Fall 2017 Course Offerings


PHIL-105 Western Philosophy
.001 M/Th 8:10am - 9:25am Bassiri
.002 M/Th 11:20AM – 12:35PM Zurn
.003 T/F 8:10AM – 9:25AM Sigrist
.004 T/F 9:45AM – 11:00AM Sigrist
.005 T/F 12:55PM – 2:10PM Bassiri
.006 T/F 12:55PM – 2:10PM Marchiori
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-120 Do The Right Thing
T/F 11:20AM – 12:35PM
.002 T/F 8:10AM – 9:25PM
This course focuses on putting moral theory into practice, what many call applied ethics. While some major moral theories are put forward and discussed, significant attention is given to analysis of contemporary ethical and political problems. Usually Offered: fall and spring.

PHIL-200 Moral Introduction to Logic
 M/TH 11:20AM – 12:35PM Stam
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
T/F 11:20AM - 12:35PM Mensah
.002 T/F 12:25PM – 2:10PM Mensah
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 5:30PM - 6:45PM Erfani, F
.002 MTh 8:20PM-9:35PM Erfani, F
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-241 Bioethics
.001 T/F 2:30PM – 3:45PM
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: spring.

PHIL-380 Colloquium: The Tragedy of Tragedy
Tschemplik, A
M 8:20PM – 10:50PM 9/11/17, 9/18/2017
S 01:00PM - 06:00PM 09/30/17, 09/30/17
M 08:20PM - 10:50PM 10/02/17, 10/02/17
The Tragedy of Tragedy (1) In this colloquium, students read a sample from the ancient Greek tragedies to assess what Nietzsche is trying to reveal about the importance of myth in his Birth of Tragedy. They also read brief excerpts from the twentieth-century philosopher Unamuno's The Tragic Sense of Life to assess whether there is reason to look for something other than reason to make sense of life.

PHIL-391Internship in Philosophy
W 8:20PM – 10:50PM Feder
Permission: instructor and department chair Course Level: Undergraduate Internship in Philosophy (1-6) Permission: instructor and department chair.

Note: Generally open only to seniors. 

PHIL-396 Selected Topics: Non-Recurring
M/TH 2:30PM – 3:45PM Bassiri
Practicum in Ethics (3) This course deepens students' understanding of ethical theories, facilitates the development of leadership skills, and provides a robust opportunity for experiential learning. It is also supports students to serve as Assistant Coaches for the DC Area High School Ethics Bowl. The course is composed of both class sessions on campus and weekly meetings with the Ethics Bowl teams at area high schools.

PHIL-398 Honors Project in Philosophy
Permission: Department and University honors director
Honors Project in Philosophy (3-6).

PHIL-410/460 The Classic Period
M/Th 4:05PM – 5:20PM Tschemplik
Aristotle (3) This course focuses on Aristotle's philosophy, to try to figure out why he was able to provide the foundation for every academic discipline. Students read excerpts from many of his works but the main focus is on his Metaphysics and De Anima.
Meets with PHIL-610 001.

PHIL-413/416 Studies in Asian Philosophy
Th 5:30PM – 8:00PM Park
Philosophy and Modernity in East Asia (3) This course explores modern East Asian philosophy from the end of the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century in three sections, the meaning of the genre, philosophy, religion, and comparative philosophy; gender and narrative identity; and philosophy and its social responsibility.

Meets with PHIL-613 001 ASIA-496 001.

PHIL-425/465 Seminar on Modern Moral Problems
Existentialism Th 8:20pm - 10:50pm Erfani
This course focuses on 19th and 20th 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.

PHIL-453/653 Metaphysics
W 2:30PM – 5:20PM Weis
Feminist Approaches to Metaphysics (3) This course focuses on metaphysical topics related to feminist philosophy. These include nature and essence, essentialism; identity; truth, objectivity, and objectification; the metaphysics of sex, gender, and sexuality; mind and body; the self; and feminist questions and critiques of metaphysical inquiry. This course introduces students both to basic concepts in metaphysics, as well as central concerns in feminist thought.

Meets with PHIL-653 001.
Prerequisite: Two courses in Philosophy.

PHIL-485/685 Latin American Philosophy
W 11:20pm - 2:10pm Oliver, A
Latin American Philosophy (3) Critical examination of a range of Latin American thinkers chosen to demonstrate the power, vitality, and usefulness of Latin American intellectual life for North American social and cultural issues. Among the topics explored are identity, marginality, latinidad, bolivarismo, mexicanidad, mestizaje, critiques of power, role of ideology, feminism, Third World identity, social justice, liberation, culture in human psychology, and indigenous peoples.

Meets with PHIL-685 001.

William James: Radicalizing
W 5:30PM – 8:00PM Carr
William James: Radicalizing Experience (3) No experience failed to fascinate William James, American psychologist and philosopher of the late nineteenth century. The study of the variety of experiences, his own as well as others, is his life's work, which begins with the psychology of consciousness, attention, and habits (Principles of Psychology, 1890) and ends in a metaphysics of pure experience that redefines empiricism and upends Cartesian dualism without leading to materialism.(Essays in Radical Experience, 1911). This seminar follows James from psychology to pragmatism to metaphysics, not just to analyze and understand a rich and original approach to philosophical questions, but also to experience philosophizing as a process of bringing our thoughts into fluency with our own lived experience. This process, which can go well or poorly, is philosophy for James.

Meets with PHIL 685 002.

PHIL-691 Internship in Philosophy
W 8:20PM – 10:50PM Feder
Internship in Philosophy (1-6) Permission: instructor and department chair. Prerequisite: Instructor and department chair.

PHIL-693 Global Ethics
W 5:30 pm –8:00 pm Berry
The integrative seminar for the MA in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs. Discusses ethics, ethical systems, and the presumptions of international relations from a critical, cross-cultural perspective.


RELG-105 Religious Heritage of the West
M/Th 8:20AM – 9:25PM
.002 M/Th 4:05PM – 5:20PM Greenberg
The contribution of 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.

RELG-145 Religion Without Borders
9:45AM – 11:00PM Berry
This course offers a different kind of introduction to the study of the world's major religious 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 traditions and equips them with tools for thinking about how they operate in our global age.
General Education Focus Area 3.

RELG-185 The Religious Heritage of Asia
M/Th 12:55PM – 2:10PM Park
.002 T/F 9:45PM – 11:00AM Oliver, M
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-222 Religious Thought
M/Th 6:55PM – 8:10PM Greenberg
Religious Thought FA2 (3) 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. Usually offered: spring.

RELG-225 Meaning and Purpose in the Arts
.001 T/F 9:45PM – 11:00PM Pathak
.002 M/Th 9:45PM – 11:00PM
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 Laudato Si'
SSU 10:00AM – 4:30PM Berry
Selected Topics: Non-Recurring (1-6) Topics vary by section. Repeatable for credit with different topic.

RELG-398 Honors Project in Religion
Honors Project in Religion (3-6) Permission: department and University Honors director.

.001 M/Th 12:55PM – 2:10PM Schaefer
Christianity (3) An in-depth exploration of the Christian tradition examining the scriptural foundations, the developed theological tradition, encounters with philosophy, and the experiential application of theology to contemporary issues. An examination of the rites and liturgies of Christianity is also included.

Meets with RELG 686-001.

The Mythographer's Craft .002 T/F 2:30PM – 3:45PM Pathak
The Mythographer's Craft (3) Greek and Roman mythographers gave new life to older epic stories in eras when collections of classical tales were in great demand as texts for teaching and learning. This course traces the transformation of the birth of the gods, Jason's voyage with the Argonauts, and Aeneas's travels after the Trojan war to illuminate the fates of these narratives when distilled from Hesiod's Theogony, Apollonius Rhodius's Argonautica, and Vergil's Aeneid into Apollodorus's Library and Hyginus's Fabulae. As the epic tales took shape and were reshaped in Archaic and Hellenistic Greece and early imperial Rome, these metamorphosing stories resonated through theologies, rituals, politics, and societies. Appreciating the particular patterns of these narratives' shifts over time and across space by studying these movements as processes unfolding within their respective historical and religious traditions reveals what Greek and Roman myths contributed to their cultures both separately and together. Meets with LIT-496 001 LIT-696 001 RELG-686 002.

Judaism .003 W 5:30PM – 8:00PM
Judaism (3) Introduction to the history, literature, doctrines, rituals, and social movements in Judaism. Particular attention is paid to the Hebrew Bible, the Rabbinical commentary, Jewish philosophy, and mysticism. All of these topics are understood in the light of historical development, both in the Near East and in the Jewish diaspora. The course concludes with an examination of modern Jewish thought and practice. Meets with RELG-686 003.
This globally-focused course explores the religious dimensions, both ideological and cultural, of political and military conflict. Themes include sacred geography and literature as grounds for bloodshed, the sanctity of race, martyrdom/terrorism, and pacifism.