Fall 2016 Course Offerings
PL 201 – Foundations of Philosophy
The first half of a yearlong, two semester introduction to philosophical questioning. Special attention is paid to the origins of philosophy, both with respect to its historical beginnings and its central themes, in the ancient world. Four focal points are: the emergence and development of the distinction between reality and appearance [metaphysics]; questions concerning the grounds for distinguishing between knowledge and opinion [epistemology]; the nature and status of values (ethical, aesthetic, religious, etc.) within the larger framework of human understanding [axiology]; and reflections on the nature of the human as such, or on the human condition [philosophical anthropology].
PL 202 – Philosophical Perspectives: The Project of Modernity
Examines distinctive aspects of the modern philosophical project as it relates to questions of science, politics, society, history or morals. Philosophical theories ranging from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries are treated in their historical development and/or their opposition to ancient teachings.
PL 216 – Philosophical Perspectives: Asian Thought
An introduction to the philosophical and spiritual traditions of Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Comparisons with Western thought are explored.
PL 302 – Ethics
Explores, both historically and topically, the basic questions about values and obligation, the social and individual influences on moral judgment, the application of general guidelines to particular situations, and the search for a personal moral life.
PL 310 – Business Ethics
A study of the relevance of ethics to business, with special emphasis on the similarities and differences between business and personal life. Case studies and special readings cover such topics as the social responsibilities of business and the notion of the economic common good.
PL 314 – Environmental Ethics
An investigation of the relationship between human beings and the natural world, with attention to the ethical dimensions of our life-style and environmental policies. Students explore their obligations to the non-human world and to future generations. Fulfills ethics core requirement.
PL 332 – Security Ethics
It is estimated that about twenty percent of the world economy is generated by criminal enterprise. Increasingly, legitimate business is competing in markets where mafia, pirates, terrorists, and crime gangs are active participants. Security Ethics is an emerging subfield of business ethics which aims to understand these criminal risks (e.g. espionage, kidnapping, extortion, piracy) and calibrate ethical responses to them. On the basis of broad reading, this course suggests that an adaption of Just War theory is an ethical model.
PL 356.01 – Philosophical Aesthetics
Rev. John J. Conley, S.J.
MWF 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.
Some have considered philosophical aesthetics one of the most exalted keystones of the philosophical enterprise, representing an examination of the mind and emotions in relation to a sense of beauty. Are truth and knowledge relevant categories when it comes to evaluating a beautiful object? Reflections on the passions within the framework of philosophical discourse. Among the viewpoints typically considered are those of Plato, Aristotle, Goethe, Hegel, Heidegger, and Nietzsche.
PL 377.01 – Philosophy of Nature
Dr. Dale E. Snow
MWF 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.
Examines the changing view of nature from the period of early modern philosophers of nature, Newton and Bacon, through the Cartesian mechanization of nature adopted and extended by Enlightenment scientists and its rejection by Goethe and Schelling, who defended an organic and holistic view of nature. The basic opposition between the idea of nature as no more than mere natural resources to be exploited for human profit and nature as both alive and the source of all life is shown to be indispensable for understanding contemporary approaches to environmental ethics as well as the looming thread of a global ecological crisis.
PL 365.01 – Japanese Philosophy
Dr. Bret W. Davis
3:05 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.
Students are introduced to some of the major themes and figures of philosophical thought in Japan. The focus is on traditional thought, such as that of the Zen Buddhist philosopher Dogen, and/or on modern thought, such as that of the Kyoto School.
PL 394.01 – Process Philosophy
Dr. Francis J. Cunningham
9:25 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.
A study of the basic principles of process philosophy through Whitehead’s Process and Reality. Topics include actual entities and their formative principles, the process of feeling, the concrescence of an actual entity, actual entities, nexus and societies, the theory of perception.
PL 399.01 – Anthropology of Slavery
Dr. Paul Richard Blum
10:50 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.
The most frequently used argument against slavery is “slaves are human beings.” The course turns this statement into a question: What does it mean to be human if slavery is or was possible? The phenomenon of slavery, therefore, is taken as a touchstone concerning the consistency of a philosophy of humanity.
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