2022-2023 Academic Year
2023-2024 Academic Year
PHIL 110 – Introduction to Philosophy
This class provides an introduction to a wide swath of representative thinkers from the history of western thought, beginning with Socrates in the fifth century BCE and concluding with Sartre in the twentieth century. The course introduces students to the methods, character and cultural impact of philosophy with an emphasis on social and political philosophy and ethics. Topics include religion, justice, freedom, responsibility, authority, human nature, moral and legal obligation, private property, inequality, violence, civil disobedience, and many others. This course will assist students in developing and improving the intellectual skills necessary to think critically and philosophically about these and related issues for themselves.
PHIL 110 A – Introduction to Philosophy with Focus on Diversity
Section 1: TR 1:10-2:30
Section 2: TR 2:40-4
A close study of philosophical texts from a range of social and historical contexts, focused on enduring philosophical questions about wisdom and the good life. Particular attention will be given to the ways that historically marginalized voices offer important insight into what it can mean to think and act responsibly; especially when we are challenged to distinguish bias from socially-situated insight, zealotry from ethical commitment, and everyday norms from subtle forms of injustice. Likely authors include Plato, Immanuel Kant. W.E.B. Dubois, Martin Luther King, Linda Martín Alcoff, Bryan Stevenson, and Joseph Dole. Diversity Credit.
PHIL 112 – Critical Thinking: The Study of Argument
This course will teach students to identify, structure, and assess arguments. Topics will include evaluating premises for rational acceptability, determining whether premises provide evidence for conclusions, identifying formal and informal fallacies, and an introduction to elementary formal logic.
PHIL 310 – Borders: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Citizenship
S. Stone-Mediatore and R. Schrock
An interdisciplinary examination of the borders that have divided citizens from non-citizens and people with full legal status from people deprived of human rights. Topics to be explored include the socially and imaginatively constructed character of national borders; the ways that colonialism, white supremacy, and masculinism have shaped our images and laws about citizenship; the ethical questions raised by increasing worldwide patterns of forced migration; the interconnections between processes that that have excluded people from citizenship and process that have identified people as “criminals”; the ways that gender and cultural dynamics have interacted in immigrant experience; and possibilities for a world without borders. Readings from Enrique Dussel, Thomas King, Harsha Walia, and Martha Jones, among others, will guide us in addressing these topics from a range of Indigenous American, African American, feminist, and immigrant standpoints. Writing Option, Diversity Credit.
PHIL 341 – Logic
Logic provides a systematic study of formal methods of distinguishing correct from incorrect reasoning, and is designed to enhance the student's ability to reason effectively and rigorously. Although we will do some work in both informal and formal (symbolic) logic, the emphasis will fall on the latter.
PHIL 360 – Seminar in Bioethics
This course construes “Bioethics” broadly to encompass medical ethics, biological research, and health-related public policy. The class will take a case-based approach in which the ethical implications of real-life scenarios are analyzed. Likely topics include abortion, the care of severely impaired newborns, euthanasia, autonomy, truth telling, confidentiality and medical paternalism, research ethics and informed consent, clinical trials, genetic research, intervention and control, the use of non-human animals in medical research, organ transplantation and procurement, medical triage, macro-level allocation of resources, and the “right” to health care. The primary purposes of the course are (a) to increase awareness of the ethical problems that arise in the health professions and biomedical research, (b) to examine the relevance of ethical theories and principles to these problems, and (c) to cultivate and develop the ability to participate in rigorous thought and discussion about ethical principles as they apply to these problems and, by extension, to other areas of life. Writing Credit.
PHIL 362 – Aesthetics
What is beauty? Why does art give us pleasure? How can musical sounds express human emotions? How are the aesthetic, the erotic and the political spheres of human experience interrelated? This course explores these questions and others concerning the production, criticism, and appreciation of the arts. Theorists considered include Plato, Aristotle, Burke, Nietzsche, Langer and Freud. The course also examines many art-works, constantly testing aesthetic theories in light of actual aesthetic experience. Examples considered range from Greek tragedy to Renaissance painting to rock music.
REL 103 – Prophetic Religions of the West
A survey of the major prophetic religious traditions of the world, commonly called Western religious traditions. These include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others. An examination of their religious beliefs and practices illumines the role they play in the development of cultural patterns and social institutions in their regions of prevalence. Diversity Credit.
REL 104 – Mystical Religions of the East
A survey of the major “mystical” religious traditions of the world, commonly called Eastern or non-Western Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, and others and an examination of the role of their religious beliefs and practices in the development of cultural patterns and social institutions. Diversity Credit.
REL 141 – Islam: An Introduction
This course seeks to provide a broad introduction to Islam. The class is divided into four sections. The first section will focus on early and medieval Islam. In this section, we begin with pre-Islamic Arabia and Muhammad’s life and career. In the second section of the course, we take up topics such as theology, law, worship and ritual, war and peace, and gender. Our concern in this section of the class is the diversity of the Islamic tradition. In the third section, we will also take up different manifestations of Islam, such as Sufism and Shi’ism, and examine their claims to authority. In the fourth section of the class, we shall examine how these issues give rise to different, and often competing, understandings of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim in contemporary society and the impact of modernity on the development of Islam. Diversity Credit.
REL 270 – Religion in Modern Thought
A selective survey of the anthropological, cognitive, historical, phenomenological, philosophical, psychological, sociological, and theological approaches to the study of religions. Required for religion majors, recommended for religion minors, and open to others. Prerequisite: one other religion course.
REL 358 – American Religion: Divinity in Diversity
The history and present of religious pluralism in American society. A brief survey of the history of religion in America provides the background for contemporary developments in religion–primarily immigration by and conversion to traditions originating outside the Judeo-Christian matrix of traditional American religion. Diversity Credit, Writing Credit, Recommended: at least one previous religion course.