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Philosophy

Programs & Courses

Programs

 
 
 
 

Courses

PHIL-1000 The Task of Philosophy I – The Question of Reality: (3.0 credit hours) In the ancient and medieval world, the task of philosophy was concerned with the formation and transformation of the self in the hope that it might be consistent with a certain vision of the world—the world of reality rather than the illusory world of mere appearance. This course explores some of the different ways ancient and medieval philosophers understood the self and the visions of the real world in which it strives to participate.

PHIL-1010 The Task of Philosophy II – The Question of Knowledge: (3.0 credit hours) Modern philosophy is often described as being preoccupied with the question of knowledge. More specifically, it defines knowledge in terms of a relationship between knowing subjects and an external, objective world. This course examines the story of modern philosophy’s apparent turn to knowledge and explores some ways in which contemporary philosophers have raised questions about that project.

PHIL-2020 Postmodern Philosophy: (3.0 credit hours) An examination of several key themes of postmodern philosophy, including the interrelationship between power and knowledge, otherness, difference, madness, punishment, multiplicity, deconstruction, and gift. Special attention will be given to the work of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze.

PHIL-2030 Aquinas and Wittgenstein—Language, Reality, and God: (3.0 credit hours) An examination of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein, focusing on questions concerning the meaning of language, the nature of reality, and the possibility of human talk about God. Special attention will be given to an exploration of the implications of our understanding of language for how and what we think about reality, knowledge, the self, ethics, and God.

PHIL-2050 An Introduction to Metaphysics- What is Nature? (3.0 credit hours) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to several different visions of what nature is and what human flourishing involves.  In the course of understanding and evaluating these visions, students will become acquainted with central topics in metaphysics such as the problem of free will, the relationship between the mental and the physical, whether values such as goodness and beauty exist, and the nature and existence of God.

PHIL-2060 Hegel and Kierkegaard—Subjectivity, System, and Paradox: (3.0 credit hours) For Hegel, philosophy is defined by its systematic character, its movement towards a resolution. Kierkegaard, by contrast, was resolutely anti-systematic, emphasizing paradox and the necessity of proceeding in the absence of reasoned justifications. Focusing on Hegel and Kierkegaard, this course examines some basic options in 19th Century philosophy. Topics to be considered include the Absolute, Spirit, transcendence, subjectivity, love, paradox, sacrifice, choice and the possibility of repetition.

PHIL -2070 Business Ethics: (3.0 credit hours) Ancient wisdom tells us that, without justice, kingdoms are but great bands of robbers. Business professionals must not only discover the vision of justice that underlies their business practices but they also must submit this vision to critical scrutiny. The purpose of this course is to pursue both these aims. We will search for the moral ideals embedded in modern capitalist business practices and we will submit these moral ideals to critical evaluation. The goal is to discover the moral frameworks that can motivate and inform good business today.

PHIL-2080 The Ethics of Love: (3.0 credit hours) The purpose of this course is to examine the suitability of love as the focus of ethical inquiry and action.  In doing so we will: 1) ask whether love can be obligated; 2) examine the manner in which love attends; 3) consider the suitability of the distinction between religious and philosophical ethics.  We will pursue these questions through reading a variety of authors including Plato, Augustine, and Kierkegaard.

PHIL-2090 Philosophical Investigations on Death and Dying: (3.0 credit hours) This course brings together two approaches to the study of death and dying.  First, it draws on ancient and modern philosophical analyses of whether a good life is possible and what it involves. Second, it draws on more focused analyses of the social, political, and medical issues that surround death and dying today.  By this combination of sources, this course seeks to understand and raise critical questions about death and dying in modern society.

PHIL-2100 The Self and Its Sources: (3.0 credit hours) This course explores the idea that our identity is produced both in relation to other persons and in relation to the larger political and historical contexts that surround us.  The course will focus on two questions in particular.  First, is God among the persons that produce our identity, and if so, how does God impinge upon and produce our identity?  Second, if our identity is a product of political, social, and historical factors, what are the consequences for thinking about personal responsibility?

POLS/SOCI/PHIL-2600 Social and Political Philosophy: (3.0 credit hours) What is human nature? Should society be organized to reflect this? What is justice? Are states coercive by nature? How does property inform politics? What is ethical citizenship? These questions are explored through a survey of Western political thinkers including Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, de Gouges, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Mill, and Marx, and by examining their contemporary legacy.

PHIL-2950 Topics in Philosophy: (3.0 credit hours) The content of this course will vary from year to year, depending on the needs of students and the interests and availability of instructors.

MATH/PHIL-3000 Philosophy of Mathematics: (3.0 credit hours) The philosophy of mathematics includes matters of metaphysics, semantics, and epistemology.  This course will provide an overview of the philosophy of mathematics, including (1) the views of some historical philosophers of mathematics, from Plato and Aristotle to Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill, (2) the three major positions of the twentieth century, namely, logicism, intuitionism, and formalism, and (3) some contemporary accounts of mathematics, such as ontological realism, anti-realism, and structuralism. Prerequisite: 30 credit hours of university-level studies, including MATH-1040 with a minimum grade of “C.” 

PHIL/ENGL-3010 Existentialism: (3:0 credit hours)  This course will examine select writings of authors who are described as “existentialist.”  Possible authors to be studied include:  Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Weil, Camus, and de Beauvoir.  Broadly speaking, an author can be classified as “existentialist” if their primary concern is to discern the truth of the human person beyond the concepts and categories supplied by the natural, social, psychological, and moral sciences.  We will evaluate the authors’ critiques of these various frameworks as well as the forms of individual and social life they advocate in place of them. Prerequisite: 30 credit hours of university-level study

MATH/PHIL-3060 Introductory Logic: (3.0 credit hours) An introduction to the semantics of philosophical logic, which is the mathematics of propositions. The course covers classical logical theory, the foundation for mathematical proof and also some rival logics. These include incomplete logic, in which some statements are neither true nor false; inconsistent logic, in which some statements are both true and false; and free logic, in which statements can be made about objects that do not exist.  Prerequisite: MATH-1040.

SOCI/PHIL-3100 Ethical Living in a Technological Society:  (3.0 credit hours) This course will examine the implications of living in a technological society for our understandings of self, society, and Christian faith. The course will explore the historical roots of modern technology and the closely related domains of science and economics as well as a range of related philosophical, historical, psychological and sociological critiques. Emphasis will be placed on identifying creative options for living “faithfully” within a technological society. Prerequisite: 30 credit hours of university-level study, including SOCI-1110, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL/BTS/ENGL-3120 Dante – The Divine Comedy: (3.0 credit hours) When, at the mid-point of his life, Dante found himself in the midst of a crisis, he turned to the dead to help him find his way. Equal parts literature, poetry, history, politics, philosophy, and theology, this course will follow Dante’s epic journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven as recorded in the Divine Comedy. Prerequisite: ENGL-1010 and 1020 OR 6 credit hours of 1000- or 2000-level philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3130 Being in the World – Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty: (3.0 credit hours) Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty both seek to liberate philosophy from a certain approach to the question of being. Despite significant differences, they both seek to rescue being from the dualism of subject and object, preferring to speak instead about “being-in-the-world.” From Heidegger’s rethinking of being in relation to time to Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of the body, depth, and intercorporeality, we will explore their debates about being, self, knowledge, experience, care, and death, among other important questions. Prerequisite:  30 credit hours of university-level study, including 6 credit hours of Philosophy at the 1000- or 2000- level.

PCTS/PHIL-3800 Whose Violence? Which Peace? (3.0 credit hours) The art of naming peace and violence well requires an appreciation of the different and related varieties of peace and violence. It also requires an understanding of how peace and violence are bound up with a variety of complex related practices and realities that might not appear on the surface to be relevant matters. For example, what do speed, technology, media, and virtual reality have to do with questions of violence and peace? What difference does it make if we think about peace and violence in terms of the categories of nation-state, civil society, or church? Prerequisite: 30 credit hours of university-level study, including either  PCTS-1110 or 6 credit hours of Philosophy.

PHIL-3950 Topics in Philosophy: (3.0 credit hours) The content of this course will vary from year to year, depending on the needs of students and the interests and availability of instructors. Prerequisite: 30 credit hours of university-level study, including 6 credit hours of Philosophy at the 1000- or 2000-level.

PHIL/BTS-4010 Paul and the Philosophers: (3.0 credit hours) A surprising development in recent European political philosophy is its interest in engaging the figure of St Paul. This course explores the way Paul is appropriated by Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Jacob Taubes, and Slavoj Žižek, among others. Special attention will be given to the notions of truth and subjectivity, universality and singularity, to the question of power and sovereignty, to the relationship between law and love, and to the question of a messianic ethics which promises to “out-universalize universal power.” Prerequisites: 60 credit hours of university-level studies, including 9 credit hours in Biblical and Theological Studies or 6 credit hours of philosophy at the 1000- or 2000-level.

PHIL/BTS-4020 The Gift – Philosophical and Theological Investigations: (3.0 credit hours) Much contemporary philosophical and theological reflection proceeds by examining the category of the gift. The concept of the gift is seen as an alternative to the preoccupation with debt and sacrifice characteristic of certain readings of atonement. And it is taken to suggest a way of understanding the relation between God and humans in non-competitive terms. This course explores several recent discussions of the gift—for example, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and John Milbank. Prerequisites: 60 credit hours of university-level studies, including 9 credit hours in Biblical and Theological Studies or 6 credit hours of philosophy at the 1000- or 2000-level.

PHIL-4940 Independent Study in Philosophy: (3.0 credit hours) A study in a specific area of Philosophy under the direction of a faculty member. Prerequisites: fifteen credit hours of Philosophy and a minimum of 60 credit hours of university-level studies.

PHIL-4950 Topics in Philosophy: (3.0 credit hours) The content of this course will vary from year to year, depending on the needs of students and the interests and availability of instructors. Prerequisite: 60 credit hours of university-level study, including six credit hours of Philosophy at the 1000- or 2000-level.

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