Undergraduate Degree Program

Courses

Philosophy

PH 111 Logic
This course provides an introduction to classical and symbolic logic with an emphasis on deciding which arguments are valid. Same as MA 241. Generally offered every two years. 3 credits

PH 211 Ethics
What are the reasons that people give for the moral choices that they make? Where did these reasons come from, what presuppositions are embedded in them, and how do you decide if they are justified? In this course, we will examine the ethical theories underlying the variety of positions that people adopt when confronting contemporary moral issues. This course will enable one to formulate and critically assess one’s own stance with respect to concrete moral dilemmas, to critically evaluate the positions of others, and to understand the logic of ethical argumentation. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered yearly. 3 credits

PH 220 Introduction to Western Philosophy
What does it mean to look at the world philosophically? In this course, we will examine the nature of philosophical inquiry and the major philosophical questions that have animated much of Western philosophy, such as: What does it mean to be a human being? What is love? Is it better to question or to follow tradition? In the West, it was the ancient Greeks who first struggled to engage such questions. The course will focus on their struggle, examining the works of the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and others. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 223 The Age of Faith and Reason
Are faith and reason complementary, antithetical, or simply unrelated? How one addresses this question carries implications for how one views the world, society, and the self, and for how one conceives and carries out natural, social-political, moral, and theological inquiry. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in Western Medieval thought. In this course, we will engage this question and its implications by exploring the works of Augustine, Aquinas, and others. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 224 Modern Philosophy
This course explores the impact that the development of the modern world, including the scientific revolution, the building of nation states, and the exploration of the natural world, has had on shaping our understanding of ourselves and our capacity to know and appreciate the world(s) in which we live. By drawing on the work of prominent modern philosophers, students will endeavor to understand and critically evaluate the modern understanding of the self and its place in the world. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 225 Contemporary Philosophy
If the modern period was one of optimism in which people came to believe that through the use of reason and the advances of science it would be possible to build a better world, the postmodern age is one in which such dreams are viewed with skepticism. On the other hand, we find in postmodernity an invitation to think differently and to thereby discover new ways of being in the world and with one another. This course provides an opportunity to explore these new paths of thinking by drawing upon the works of such 19th and 20th century thinkers as Nietzsche, Marx, Kuhn, Heidegger, Foucault, Butler, and Irigaray, thinkers who encourage us to reappraise human beings’ relation to themselves, nature, society, and the divine. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 240 Modernism and Post-Modernism
This course examines the set of projects that make up ‘modernity.’ Its aim is to provide the student with a keener understanding of the world in which we live, the histories that led up to it, and the sorts of questions it gives rise to from a moral and philosophical standpoint. Students will become familiar with key themes consistent throughout various aspects of modernity (individualism, democracy, free thinking, progress, etc.) and are asked to think critically about the successes and/or failures of those projects. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered yearly. 3 credits.

PH 261 Social and Political Philosophy
What is the best form of government? What makes a government legitimate? What should the relationship be between the individual and the state, and between states and other states? In this course, we will trace the development of social and political theory in an attempt to consider critically the possible responses that one can offer to such questions. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 315 Environmental Ethics
How do we best understand humanity’s relationship to the environment, and what actions and policies should follow from that understanding? This course will focus on the responses of various ethical traditions and will consider ways that traditional anthropology and cosmology and even theology are being transformed in response to perceived environmental degradation. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 331 Philosophy of the Human Being
What does it mean to be a human being? Do human beings have a fixed, determinate nature that is unchanging? Does what it mean to be a human being change through time and across cultures? In this course, we will attempt to make sense of human existence by drawing upon resources from philosophy (ancient and contemporary), sociology, psychology, and sociobiology and by engaging the insights of various cultural perspectives. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 347 Being and Existence
What does it mean “to be”? Looking around us, we find that many “things” and many “states of affairs” exist, but what makes these possible? Why is there being rather than nothing? This course examines the answers that such prominent philosophers as Aristotle, Aquinas, Hegel, and Heidegger offer to the questions, “why is there being rather than nothing?” and “why are we here?” P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 351 Selected Topics
An in-depth examination of specific thinkers or topics, to be announced at time of registration. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. 3 credits

PH 352 Peace, Justice, and Global Issues
What are the causes of poverty, international conflict, racism, sexism, and ecological degradation; and how ought these complex issues to be addressed? This course examines the ways in which contemporary thinkers draw upon the work being done in various relevant fields to develop a coherent philosophy for answering this complex question. In so doing, the goal is to reach a better understanding of the issues and a critical, if provisional, assessment of the approaches and solutions that are proffered. The works of such significant figures in the field as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. will serve as a focus for discussion. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 365 The Origin of Art
What makes something a work of art? What makes a work of art a good work of art? Can and should art be judged? What is the relationship of art to the world? Can art be immoral? Can art be immoral and be good art? Is art significant? In this course, we will reflect upon the ontological and epistemological status of works of art and the nature of aesthetic judgment in order to gain insight into the unique character of artistic creation, art works, and aesthetic experience. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered in alternate years. 3 credits

PH 370 Language, Gender, Politics
Is there a relationship between how we speak about things (language); the way in which we conceive of identity in terms of sexual identification (gender); how we conceive of society, its ideal goals and structure (politics)? If so, what is that relationship and how is it constituted? Taking as its focus contemporary gender theories, this course considers the function of ideology and utopia in shaping social consciousness and practice. Special emphasis is given to modern, contemporary, and postmodern discussions of interpretation that have influenced the development of contemporary gender theory in the West. P: 3 credits in philosophy, and sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered every three years. 3 credits

PH 380 Internship in Peace and Justice Studies (same as RS 380).

PH 390 Independent Study

Religion

RS 211 Introduction to the Variety of Christian Experience
A consideration of the religious dimension of human existence, and an attempt to appreciate the experience of being human according to the major patterns of Judeo-Christian belief as suggested by the mythic implications of selected readings from Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Doctrinal and historical developments are located within the context of Scriptural patterns. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered every year. 3 credits

RS 221 Introduction to World Religions
A consideration of the religious dimension of human existence, and an attempt to appreciate the experience of being human according to axial age traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered every year. 3 credits

RS 225 Native American Religion
An introductory exploration of pre-classical religious experience as can be seen in particular instances of a hunting-gathering culture (e.g. The Oglala Sioux), and of an agricultural culture (e.g. the Navaho). P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

RS 226 Roman Catholicism
An exploration of beliefs, practices, and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church in the light of contemporary questions, trends, and perspectives. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered every year. 3 credits

RS 251 Reading from the Hebrew Scriptures
Reading and discussion, informed by contemporary criticism, of selected readings from the Hebrew Scriptures. Specific readings to be announced at the time of registration. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Generally offered every year. 3 credits

RS 252 The Gospels
Reading and discussion, informed by contemporary criticism, of one of the four gospels of the canonical Christian scriptures. Selected gospel to be announced at the time of registration. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

RS 271 Christology
An opportunity to observe how others (both Christian and non-Christian) have answered the question put by Jesus to his followers (“Who do you say that I am?”), to see how these answers have developed over time to our own day, and to pursue the question for oneself. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part B. Generally offered every year. 3 credits

RS 284 Religion and Nature
This course searches various religious traditions, both classical and alternative, for resources that may contribute to a new understanding of the relationship between humanity and nature, and for grounding an ethic of right action toward the earth. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

RS 321 Fundamentalism
Just as sociologists were predicting the decline of the significance of religion as reason and science progressed, we have witnessed the rise of religious fundamentalism. Fundamentalisms bridge social, cultural, religious and political responses to modernity and can be studied as an attempt to understand not only other cultures but the West and the predicaments engendered by modernization. This course focuses on Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, combining the study of primary and secondary texts and familiarizing students with the methods and theories of comparative religious studies. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

RS 351–355 Selected Topics
Topics selected each term on the basis of relevance, student interest, and special competence of the instructor. P: Three credits in Religious Studies, and Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Generally offered when there is sufficient demand. 3 credits

RS 360 Foundations of Christian Morality
An historical and critical retrieval of the various sources of Christian morality. Includes an examination of various historical epochs that shaped the tradition with the goal of understanding contemporary moral positions of the Church. Also identifies moral methodology and insights that point toward reform and renewal of Christian morality. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered every other year. 3 credits

RS 373 The Question of God in the Modern World
An historical study of the impact of the “Modern Revolution” on Christian belief in the West, and an examination of the pluralistic landscape of belief in contemporary Post-modern culture. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Educa ­tion choice for Part B. Generally offered every semester. 3 credits

RS 380 Internship in Peace and Justice Studies (same as PH 380).

RS 383 Religion and Social Concerns
A consideration of the social and public policy implications of religious faith, particularly the Christian tradition, for questions of economic justice, war and militarism, racism, and the ecological crisis. A particular emphasis may be announced at the time of registration. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered every year. 3 credits

RS 391 Issues of Sexual Morality
Study of the roots and influences of Western sexual morality, particularly the contributions made by Jewish, Stoic, Gnostic, and early Christian thought, with a consideration of Islamic sexual ethics as well. P: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. General Education choice for Part C. Generally offered every year. 3 credits

RS 390 Independent Study