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Philosophy & Religion | Courses

Please see also AU Schedule of Classes from the Registrar.

Fall 2014 Course Offerings

Philosophy

PHIL 105 Western Philosophy
.002 MTh 11:45AM-1:00PM Greene, N
.003 MTh 4:00PM-5:15PM Marquis, J
.004 MTh 2:35PM-3:50PM Marquis, J
.005 TF 4:00PM-5:15PM Bassiri, C
.006 TF 8:55AM-10:10AM Greene, N
.080UC MTh 1:10PM-2:25PM Tschemplik, A
.081UC MTh 10:20AM-11:35AM Marquis, M
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
.001
TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Gallegos, F 
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 Carr, R
.002 TTh 8:10PM-9:25PM Bassiri, C
.003 TF 2:35PM-3:50PM Greene, N
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
 F 2:35PM-5:15PM Oliver, M
Taking a global and historical approach, students examine art from a variety of critical and philosophical perspectives. Examples will be drawn from ancient Mesopotamia, classical Greece, India, Japan, the Islamic tradition, Renaissance Europe, and modern America. Throughout the course, we will ask whether and to what ends form and function are related in the creation of art, and explore art's relationship to culture, broadly conceived. Student projects engage particular works of art through both theoretical and creative avenues.

.002H TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Pathak, S
This course focuses on the interpretation of works of art through increased understanding of the artworks themselves, the lives of those who create them, and the societal influences on these artists. In addition to considering premodern, modern, and postmodern criticism of a variety of forms of literary and visual art, students will interpret the oeuvres of particular artists of interest to them. To prepare for these projects, students will study four ways in which artists create meaning in their works: mythologization, memorialization, mobilization, and universalization.

.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. 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".

PHIL 235 Theories of Democracy and Human Rights
.001
MTh 11:45AM-1:00PM Erfani, F
.002 TTh 8:10PM-9:25PM DeSaint-Felix, C
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: Miguel de Unamuno
.001
 T 8:10PM-10:40PM;
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Oliver, A
Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) was a vitalist thinker and pioneer of existentialism. His interpretation of Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and James, in The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), powerfully explored the idea that "The most tragic problem of philosophy is reconciling intellectual needs with affective and volitional needs."

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
TF 11:45AM-1:00PM Stam, 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 411/611 Psychoanalysis &/as Philosophy
.001 W 11:45AM-2:25PM Flax, J
Philosophic investigations of "mind" often focus on relationships between mind and body and between other minds and our own, and the relations between our thoughts and external reality, subjectivity, consciousness, free will, mental causation, and intentionality. Using these topics as a frame, we will explore the contributions psychoanalytic theories offer. We will also study how psychoanalytic theorizing, particularly its work on gender, sexuality, desire, embodiment, the unconscious, intersubjectivity, and the interplay of social relations and psychological/somatic factors in constituting subjectivities, can enrich philosophical inquiry. Readings include P. Churchland, S. Freud, D. W. Winnicott, and J. Butler.

Prerequisite for PHIL 411: PHIL-105 or permission of instructor.

PHIL 412/612 Maurice Merleau-Ponty
.001
 M 5:30PM-8:00PM Park, J
The last lecture course that Merleau-Ponty taught before his untimely death in 1961 was entitled, "Philosophy and Non-philosophy since Hegel." What is non-philosophy? Why was Merleau-Ponty interested in "non-philosophy" and what is its relation to "philosophy"? This seminar focuses on this topic of "philosophy" and "non-philosophy" which is inevitably related to the identity principle that runs through many of Western philosophical traditions. How is this idea of philosophy and non-philosophy related to Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology, his responses to Marxism and existentialism, and his idea of language, nature, ethics and politics? The seminar explores these topics through close readings of his works including: selections from Phenomenology of Perception, The Visible and the Invisible, and the Signs. Toward the end of the semester, the seminar will place Merleau-Ponty's idea of "philosophy and non-philosophy" in dialogue with Jacques Derrida in continental philosophy and Buddhist philosophy in the Eastern philosophical tradition. In sum, the course aims to examine the legacy of Merleau-Ponty's vision on the nature of philosophy and its relevance to current philosophical discourse.

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

PHIL 485/685 Selected Topics in Philosophy
.001 Latin American Philosophy
T 2:35PM-5:15PM Oliver, A
This course presents 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. Topics include the quest for identity, marginality, mexicanidad, mestizaje, critiques of power, feminist philosophy, social justice, liberation, phenomenology, and indigenous peoples.

.002 Philosophy of Film
W 2:35PM-5:15PM Erfani, F
The objective of this course is to analyze film philosophically. Even though it is clear that many films depict philosophical themes, our focus is on concepts of philosophical aesthetics in film, such as the particularity of the medium, authorship, the ontology of film, the role of narratives, and the response of the audience. In terms of application, we will mainly focus on the case of Iranian cinema and its philosophical relevance. Students are expected to make time outside of class meetings to watch a number of films which we will cover in class.

.003 Philosophy of Science
Th 5:30PM-8:00PM Leighton, K
What makes science science? And how can we be certain of our answer, especially as scientific theories do--and should--change? The power of calling something "science" continues to have political and philosophical consequences for society. This course examines how philosophers investigate questions concerning the nature of science including problems about evidence, explanation, and the relationship between theory and knowledge. In addition to reading key texts in the field, we will consider insights from feminist philosophy of science, and science and technology studies (STS) as we develop a critical analysis of the relationship among science, policy, politics, and democracy.

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

PHIL 520 Seminar on Ethical Theory
.001
 W 5:30PM-8:00PM Feder, E
Surveys 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.

Prerequisite: PHIL-220 or permission of instructor.

PHIL 693 Global Ethics
.001
 T 5:30PM-8:00PM Berry, E
The integrative seminar for the MA 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
.002 TF 4:00PM-5:15PM Bumbaugh, S
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.

Prequirement for Foundation Area 2: "Traditions that Shape the Western World".

RELG 185 Forms of the Sacred
.001
TF 11:45-1:00 Oliver, M
.002 TF 8:55-10:10 Oliver, M
.003 MTH 2:35PM-3:50PM 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, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism--and explores how these traditions shape Asian cultures and societies. Includes study of both primary sacred texts and the lived experiences of these traditions. Students can expect to gain both literacy in the broad outlines of these traditions, as well as develop critical perspective regarding the understanding of religion as a phenomenon.

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

RELG 210 Non-Western Religious Traditions
.001
 MTh 1:10PM-2:25PM Park, J
How non-Western religious traditions function as systems of symbols, how they interact with both indigenous religious traditions and external religious traditions such as Islam and Christianity, and how they respond to modernization and imperialism.

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

RELG-220 Religious Thought
.001
MTh 4:00PM-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
W 8:10PM-10:40PM Feder, E

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 General Education

GNED-130 Religion and Globalization
.080UC
TF 10:20AM-11:35AM Berry, E
This course focuses on the ways in which religions interact with one another: exchange, contact, movement, and conflict have characterized the relations between religious communities. By looking at the ways in which religion moves across cultural boundaries and political borders, this course equips students with in-depth knowledge about several of the world's most important religious traditions and affords a deeper appreciation of the role of religion in shaping cultural contact in the past and in the present.

GNED-230 Stories of South Asia: Sovereignty, Strategy, and Satire
TF 2:35PM-3:50PM Pathak, S
Storytelling is a time-honored tradition in South Asia, where tales of adventure and intrigue--such as those told in
epic poems, allegorical fables, and parodic chronicles--have survived and thrived for centuries. Among the most popular topics of these persistent narratives are the struggles and successes of political actors in ancient and medieval India, whose efforts underlie the ethics impinging on the most pressing societal issues affecting South Asia today. In order to understand these modern problems better, we will identify their ideological roots by delving into collections of stories that represent the politically charged genres of epic, allegory, and parody. In addition to examining the contents of these texts closely and situating them in their sociohistorical contexts, we will consider how the texts' implicit teachings continue to resonate even now on the Indian subcontinent and its immediately surrounding areas, where political unity and stability in any respect can be precarious.

 

Summer 2014

Philosophy

PHIL 230 Meaning and Purpose in the Arts
.D01
 TTh 1:00PM-4:10PM Oliver, M
June 30-August 7
Taking a global and historical approach, students examine art from a variety of critical and philosophical perspectives. Examples will be drawn from ancient Mesopotamia, classical Greece, India, Japan, the Islamic tradition, Renaissance Europe, and modern America. Throughout the course, we will ask whether and to what ends form and function are related in the creation of art, and explore art's relationship to culture, broadly conceived. Student projects engage particular works of art through both theoretical and creative avenues.

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

PHIL-241 Bioethics
.B01
MW 1:00PM-4:10PM Liebow, N
May 19-June 26
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 reasoning, and public and global health issues.

PHIL-485/685 Morality and the Movies
.C01
MTWTh 1:00PM-4:10PM Feder, E
May 19-June 5
Philosophical engagements with American film have bolstered the claim that movies offer unique insight into prevailing "social fantasies and preoccupations." In this course, we will try to extend that claim by investigating the normative or ethical values that attend revelation of the "political unconscious."

PHIL-596 Gender, Body, and Society
.E01L
Online, Weis, L
May 12-June 26
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.

RELG 210 Non-Western Religious Traditions
.B01
 TTh 1:00PM-4:10PM Oliver, M
May 19-June 26
How non-Western religious traditions function as systems of symbols, how they interact with both indigenous religious traditions and external religious traditions such as Islam and Christianity, and how they respond to modernization and imperialism.

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

 

Previous Course Brochures:

Fall 2013 Spring 2014
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