Spring 2023 Course Offerings
PL201 Foundations of Philosophy
A one semester introduction to philosophy. Three focal points are covered: the emergence and development of rational theories on the nature of reality (metaphysics); questions concerning the grounds for distinguishing between knowledge and opinion (epistemology); and the nature and status of values (ethical, aesthetic, religious, etc.). Special attention is paid to the origins of philosophy and its historical beginnings in the ancient world.
PL210 Politics and Society
Addresses the basis and goals of human society, including issues concerning the structure of the good community as balanced against the interests of the individual.
PL216 Asian Thought
An introduction to the philosophical and spiritual traditions of Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. Comparisons with Western thought are explored.
PL228 Philosophy and Genocide
Dr. Jim Snow
Examines the challenges that genocide poses for philosophy and what philosophy and philosophers might do to confront and even prevent genocide.
PL236 Environmental Philosophy
Explores the place of human beings within the much larger natural world and the fundamental conceptions of nature. Is nature savage, a resource for our use, or a mindless machine? Special topics may include animal consciousness, sustainability, indigenous cultures, global climate change and other ecological crises, and the effects of contemporary technologies.
PL310 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.
A study of the moral problems and uncertainties connected with biomedical research. Theoretical questions on the nature of morality and methodological foundations of science lead to a discussion of current topics, such as recombinant DNA, cloning, organ transplants, definitions of death, and death therapy.
PL314 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 nonhuman world and to future generations.
PL315 Ethics after Auschwitz
Dr. Jim Snow
When philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote that “to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric,” it was a profound recognition that the Holocaust changed everything. This course explores ways in which philosophy might be implicated in the Holocaust and other genocides. It then turns to the failures of traditional philosophical ethics that we are forced to confront in the wake of the Holocaust. Finally, the course raises questions about the possibility of hope after Auschwitz.
PL326 Philosophy of Religion
An examination of phenomenological descriptions of religion, and a discussion of the possibility of metaphysical statements about God. Topics include contemporary problems of God-talk, secularization, the relationship between philosophy and theology.
PL333 Philosophy of Law
History is a central theme of philosophical inquiry. The study of the philosophy of history raises the question as to whether there is meaning in events over time and space, granting regularity and human freedom. Some key authors are Cicero, Augustine, Vico, Kent, Herder, Hegel, Marx, Dilthey, Ricoeur, and Danto, each of whom contributed to shaping the understanding of history.
PL336 Comparative Philosophy: East-West Dialogues
Places in dialogue Western philosophical topics or figures with those drawn from Asian traditions. One or more specific themes are chosen as the focus of the course; for example, Eastern and Western conceptions of being and nothingness; human nature; the problem of evil; or mind and body.
PL339 Philosophy of Information and Media
Today we are living through one of human history's great media shifts, on par with the invention of the written language and the printing press. A shift of this magnitude invites philosophical reflection: both historical and phenomenological reflections on the nature of reading, writing, and thinking as well as a general examination of the way media affects consciousness. In this course, students trace the history of media shifts and their impact by looking at thinkers as diverse as Plato and Marshall McLuhan. Special attention is given to reflection on the internet, social media, and AI, with readings from earliest theorists of the internet such as Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson and contemporary critiques of the internet such as Nicholas Carr, author of “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
PL365 Japanese Philosophy
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.
An introduction to phenomenology through a study of its major representatives, notably Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre.