Philosophy and Religious Studies Departmental Courses

The Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies offers introductory to upper-level courses in both of these academic fields.

Philosophy Course Descriptions

 

LOWER DIVISION

PHIL 101 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3) An introduction to some fundamental problems of philosophy and to various proposals for the solution of these problems. GenEd II.C.1.

PHIL 102 USING INFORMATION EFFECTIVELY IN PHILOSOPHY (3) Information gathering, evaluation, and communication. Develops critical thinking and problem solving techniques, communication, and team building skills. GenEd I.B.

PHIL 103 INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS (3)    Introduction to the history and theory of ethics.

PHIL 111 LOGIC (3) Study of and practice in inductive and deductive reasoning, the composition of argument and demonstration, and the detection of formal and informal fallacies. GenEd II.C.1.

PHIL 112 HONORS LOGIC (3)  Study of and practice in inductive and deductive reasoning, the composition of argument and demonstration, and the detection of formal and informal fallacies as developed in the Western tradition.  Honors College Course.  

PHIL 201 SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (3) A consideration of social and political doctrines from both Western and non-Western philosophical perspectives. The approach will be both historical and thematic. Themes will include: the individual and the state, the male-female dialectic, and attitudes towards property.

PHHIL 204 RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER (3) Social and Political Philosophy; contemporary American ideas of race, class and gender, with a focus on their interrelatedness. GenEd II.C.3

PHIL 212 HONORS COURSE: SPECIAL STUDIES IN PHILOSOPHY (3) Small group discussions and philosophical analysis of selected works not generally available in other electives. May be repeated for credit provided a different topic is covered. Prerequisites: Admission to honors college.

PHIL 219 INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN PHILOSOPHY (3) Examination of the nature of Asian thought through a study of English translations of traditional sources of Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese philosophy. Gened II.D.

PHIL 221 ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY (3) The origins of Western philosophical thought will be studied in the works of the presocratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. GenEd II.C.1.

PHIL 230 PHILOSOPHY OF LITERATURE (3) The course undertakes philosophical analysis of literature. A consideration of philosophical orientations in these works will be undertaken.

PHIL 251 CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN-AMERICAN THOUGHT (3) A philosophical examination of the current issues in African-American thought in such fields as religion, politics, education, economics and aesthetics. An effort will be made to determine the place and the role of the contemporary African-American in history. GenEd II.C.3.

PHIL 253 CONTEMPORARY ETHICAL PROBLEMS (3) The course will treat the meaning of moral experience and the moral problems which arise in connection with human sexual integrity, ownership of property, welfare, violence, civil disobedience, punishment, war, and truth telling in social relations and government. GenEd II.B.3.

PHIL 255 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3) Philosophical views on rights of non-human animals, intervaluation of environment and economics, "deep" vs. "shallow" environmental ethics, duties to future generations, and other issues. GenEd II.B.3.

PHIL 270-279 PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES (3) The course will consider contemporary issues from the uniquely philosophical perspective to stimulate independent reflection on the part of the student. May be repeated for credit provided a different topic is covered.

 

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UPPER DIVISION

 

PHIL 301 [501] PHILOSOPHIES OF INDIA (3) Examination of major ideas in the Vedic, Epic, Classical darsana, and modern periods. Prerequisite: One lower level course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHIL 302 [502] PHILOSOPHIES OF CHINA AND JAPAN (3) Examination of some major philosophical systems through selected writings in translation. Prerequisite: One lower level course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHIL 311 SYMBOLIC LOGIC (3) An introduction to the concepts and methods of symbolic logic. Translation of arguments from English into symbolic notation; methods of establishing the validity of arguments by means of symbolic logic. Discussion of logical notions such as consistency, logical truth, and the philosophy of logic. Prerequisites: PHIL 111 or consent of instructor.

PHIL 319 SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND VALUES (3) Impact of modern science on various philosophical issues: science and religion, mind and computers, time travel, Einstein's relativity, human freedom, the ethical limits of technology. Prerequisites: one course in philosophy and two courses in science, or consent of instructor. GenEd II.A.2.

PHIL 320 PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (3) Concepts, method and nature of science, including induction and theory confirmation, probability, explanation, natural laws, space and time and the objectivity of science. Prerequisite: One course in either philosophy or science.

PHIL 321 PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (3) An examination of the nature and theories of law, the relationship between law and morality, the nature of legal obligation, and the notion of justice. Prerequisites: One lower-division course in philosophy or consent of the instructor.

PHIL 322 [522] HELLENISTIC AND MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY (3) The philosophical schools of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, viz., Stoicism, Epicureanism, Scepticism, and Neo-Platonism and the two main Christian philosophies of the Middle Ages, viz., Augustinianism and Thomism. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 324 [524] MODERN PHILOSOPHY (3) The history of philosophy beginning with Descartes through the 19th century. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 325 [525] SCHOOLS OF CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY (3) A survey with varying emphasis on a number of such contemporary philosophical positions as pragmatism, phenomenology, logical positivism, the analysts, neo-Aristotelianism, the philosophers of science, and the existentialists. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 326 [526] AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY (3) The history of the main currents of American philosophical thought as exemplified in such writers as Edwards, Emerson, Pierce, James, Royce, Dewey and Whitehead. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 327 AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY (3) Examination of major ideas and issues in African Systems of Thought. Prerequisite: One lower-division Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PHIL.330[530] PHILOSOPHY AND FILM (3) A reflection on philosophical topics combining films and texts.  Prerequisite:  One philosophy course or consent of instructor.  

PHIL 331 [531] CONCEPTS OF WOMAN: AN HISTORICAL APPROACH (3) Various concepts which philosophers have used to define woman. An historical survey approach, with readings from Plato, Aquinas, and others, and ending with Beauvoir. Prerequisite: One lower-division Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PHIL 332 FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY (3) Contemporary methods and problems, including redefinition of traditional areas of philosophy and creation of new issues for investigation. Prerequisite: One lower-division Philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PHIL 339 [539] THEORIES OF KNOWLEDGE (3) An historical and systematic approach to the truth value and elements of the forms of human knowledge. The theories of major philosophers will be studied. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 341 [511] ETHICS (3) Analysis of readings from the principle classical and contemporary ethical sources, study of the basic moral concepts as found in these sources; application to contemporary moral concerns. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 343 [509] AESTHETICS (3) An analytical and historical examination of concepts of the nature of art, beauty, aesthetic value, aesthetic perception, and of the modes of existence of artifacts. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 353 [551] PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (3) Exposition of various approaches to the philosophy of religion with an analysis of the major issues on which they differ and agree. Prerequisite: One previous course in philosophy or religion. Not open to those who have completed PHIL 451.

PHIL 361 [561] ETHICS OF MEDICINE AND THE LIFE SCIENCES (3) A search for guidelines in such moral problems as abortion, the care of the dying, organ transplants, informed consent in therapy and experimentation, adequate health care and its just distribution, control of human behavior by drugs, surgery, etc., test-tube reproduction, population control, genetic engineering and counseling. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHIL 371 [563] BUSINESS ETHICS (3) Economics is one of the "moral sciences" in so far as it deals with an important sphere of human activity which intends a good. This course will institute a philosophical reflection on economic ideas as they appear in the three main categories of opinion, viz., conservative, liberal, and radical. Attention will be drawn to the epistemological, ethical and metaphysical presuppositions of these traditions. Prerequisite: A lower-division course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHIL 380-389 [580-589] PHILOSOPHICAL TOPICS (3) Courses offered under this title will be of variable content. Topics of traditional philosophical interest or of philosophical problems in other areas of knowledge or of contemporary interest will be offered. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy.

PHIL 413 [513] PHENOMENOLOGY (3) An examination of phenomenology as both a philosophical method and philosophical position. Themes to be considered include consciousness, the body, time and the experience of others. Primary course readings in the works of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty. Prerequisite: Two previous courses in philosophy.

PHIL 417 [517] EXISTENTIALISM (3) Some of the major existentialist philosophers will be studied, e.g., Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Beauvoir. The philosophical themes of transcendence, the absurd, estrangement and anxiety will be considered. Prerequisite: Two previous courses in philosophy.

PHIL 427 KANT (3) Study of Kant's most important writings.  Prerequisites:  two courses in philosophy.

PHIL 440-449 [540-549] PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEMS (3) The study of a major philosophical system or position, classical or modern, and of its important proponents. Prerequisite: Two previous courses in philosophy.

PHIL 460-469 WRITING SEMINAR IN PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES (3) The course concentrates on a specific issue or thinker within the philosophical tradition and on developing the skills necessary to do quality written work in the discipline. Possible topics include: Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Concepts of Space and Time, Dimensions of Freedom. Prerequisites: ENGL 102 and two courses in philosophy.

PHIL 470-479 [570-579] PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS (3) A consideration of one of the perennial interests of philosophy. Prerequisite: Two previous courses in philosophy.

PHIL 495 RESEARCH TUTORIAL IN PHILOSOPHY (3) Directed readings and research leading to a thesis paper under one or more members of the Department. Prerequisites: Senior majors in Philosophy or senior non-majors, submission in advance of an outline of proposed research, permission of proposed director and department chair.

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Religious Studies Course Descriptions

 

RLST 103  Exploring Biblical Archaeology (3) The nature of archaeological evidence, its context, recovery, reconstruction and interpretation.  Includes application of archaeological evidence in problem solving and the archaeology of Israel. 

RLST 105 Introduction to the Study of Religion (3) Survey of world religious traditions informed by comparative, historical and phenomenological methodologies.   GenEd II.D.

RLST 201 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (3) Overview of the history, literature, culture of the Hebrew Bible; survey of various biblical books and modern, critical interpretation of biblical literature.

RLST 202 Introduction to Christianity (3)  Survey of the Christian religious tradition from its origins to contemporary times highlighting doctrines, practices, texts, values, institutional structures and community forms and emphasizing cultural context and diversity.

RLST 203 Introduction to Islam (3) Survey of the Islamic religious tradition from its origins to the present examining basic concepts, ritual practices, and religious institutions; emphasizing diversity of socio-cultural forms and interpretations.

RLST 205 Women in World Religions (3) Role of women, both human and divine, in the major Asian and Western religions.  GenEd II.D.

RLST 206 Judaism, Christianity and Islam (3) History, scriptures, doctrines, practices and interactions of three monotheistic religions.  GenEd II.C.3.

RLST 207 Introduction to Buddhism (3)  Survey of dominant forms of Buddhism in Asia during its classical period and subsequent spread to the West and encounter with modernity.

RLST 208 Introduction to Hinduism (3)  Dominant forms of Hinduism during its "classical" South Asian period, and its continuation into the contemporary era as a modern world religion.

RLST 209  Religious Traditions in Asia (3) Survey of principal religious traditions of Asia, subsequent global spread, and encounter with modernity. 

RLST 210 Introduction to Judaism (3) Overview of Jewish identity, history, intellectual traditions, community, philosophy, mysticism, holidays, life-cycle events, rituals and prayer. 

RLST 211 Introduction to Jewish Thought (3)  Religious and historical developments of Jewish thought; prominent Jewish philosophers and mystics who shaped its eclectic character. 

RLST 270 Topics in Religious Studies (3) Introduction to diverse topics in the study of religion.  May be repeated for maximum of six credits provided a different topic is covered. 

RLST 305 (505)  Faith Perspectives in Medical Ethics (3) Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Christian and Jewish perspectives on issues in medical ethics including the role of the doctor, abortion, cloning, pre gender selection, mental health and euthanasia.  Prerequisite:  One Course in Natural Science, Religious Studies, Philosophy or consent of the instructor.

RLST 307 Buddhism in Tibet (3) Overview of the form of Buddhism that developed in Tibet and subsequently spread to the "West" and other areas of the world during the modern era.  Prerequisite:  One RLST course or consent of the instructor. 

RLST 310 (510) The Jew Confronts the Modern World: Jewish Law and Ethics (3) Response of Jewish Law and Ethics to medical ethics, war, citizenship, environment, family, sexual ethics, government, contemporary State of Israel, women's issues, and Jewish/Gentile relationships in a multi-denominational approach.  Prerequisite:  One course in PHIL or RLST or consent of the instructor. 

RLST 311 (511) Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah (3) Classical Kabbalah of Provence and Gerona, the Zohar, and the Kabbalah of Zafed with attention given to major trends in Jewish mysticism.  Prerequisites:  One course in RLST or one course in PHIL or consent of the instructor.

RLST 312 (512) Jewish Ethics and Spirituality in Hasidism (3) Major work of Hasidism:  The Tanya, a major work of Hasidism, used to explor mystical and ethical aspects such as human attachment to divine reality, repentance and forgiveness, and spiritual happiness.  Prerequisite:  One course in PHIL or RLST or consent of the instructor. 

RLST 331 (531) Exploring Genesis (3) Theological, textual and sociological analysis of Genesis aimed to develop new perspectives on the text and on Israelite civilization. Prerequisite:  One course in RLST or consent of the instructor. 

RLST 335 (535) Prophets and Prophecy (3) Examination of phenomenon and history of Israelite prophecy in the Hebrew Bible in light of prophecy in the ancient Near East.  Prerequisite:  One course in RLST or PHIL at the 100 or 200 level. 

RLST 354 Religion and Science (3) Exploration of alternative conceptions of the relation of religion and science; consideration of specific instances, both historic and contemporary, of their engagement and/or encounter.  Prerequisite:  One course in RLST or PHIL or consent of the instructor.

RLST 355 (555) Introduction to the New Testament (3) Study of the literature, history, sociology and theology of the early Christian movement focusing on canonical and noncanonical  materials.    Prerequisite:  one lower-level course in philosophy or religious studies.

RLST 357 (557) Topics in Comparative Religion (3) Exploration of culturally diverse religious traditions in terms of a specified theme, topic or problem.  May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credits.  Prerequisite:  one lower-level course in PHIL, RLST or History. 

RLST 363 (563)  Sufism:  Islamic Mysticism (3) Survey of the origins and development of Islamic mysticism, including its scriptural sources, mystical practices and rituals, Sufi orders, Sufi saints, and Sufism's influence on Islamic material culture and literature.  Prerequisite:  One course in RLST or PHIL or consent of the instructor.   

RLST 370 (570) Advanced Topics in Religious Studies (3)  Examination of diverse topics in the study of religion.  May be repeated for a maximum of six credits provided a different topic is covered. 

RLST 413 (513) The Kabbalah of the Zohar (3)  Studies of the Book of Splendor (Zohar), the most influential composition of the Kabbalah; themes includes parts of the soul, mystical experience, good and evil, the Zoharic concepts of life and death, and time and eternity.  Prerequisites:  At least two courses in RLST or PHIL or consent of the instructor. 

RLST 470  Seminar In Religious Studies (3) Critical study at an advanced level of a topic or theme of general interest in the discipline of Religious Studies.  Prerequisite:  Two courses in RLST.

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