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Philosophy Courses

The following courses are offered in the department.

PL 111 Introduction to Philosophy (3 credit hours)
Critical examination of philosophical approaches to the nature of reality, religious belief, moral responsibility and human freedom by addressing perennial questions, such as: How should I live? How do we know what we know? Is free will an illusion? Is the existence (or non-existence) of God or gods something that can be proved rationally? What is the proper balance between the public good and our own private freedom? Is there an independent standard for judging what is truly real versus what is truly illusion? CORE-II

PL 113 Critical Reasoning (3 credit hours)
This course will focus on the study of arguments and will help you develop techniques useful in recognizing, analyzing and evaluating arguments. The application of both the inductive and deductive criteria for evaluating arguments will be explored as well as other criteria of evaluation. Topics the course will cover include rational argumentation, fallacies, definition, meaning, truth, and evidence. II. CORE-II

PL 221 Philosophy of Religion (3 credit hours)
Classical and contemporary arguments for understanding the existence, nature and reality of God. We will analyze and evaluate contemporary conceptions of divinity, humanity and spirit, as well as related issues in the philosophy of religion: evil, immortality, relationship between faith and reason, the nature of religious experience, and conceptions of the religious subject. I. CORE-II

PL/WS 226 Feminist Philosophy (3 credit hours)
Critical understanding of philosophical questions and issues surrounding women’s identities, bodies, rights, politics and historical movements. We may focus on a wide variety of subjects: nature and values, social and political philosophy, law, religion, epistemology and ethics. CORE-II

PL/PS 238 Social and Political Philosophy (3 credit hours)
Contemporary philosophical examinations of major political and social themes such as economic and social justice, freedom, war and genocide, equality, authority, democracy, property and power. This course challenges students to critically reflect upon our shared political freedoms and obligations, justifications of political authority, the social nature of identities, and our roles as political subjects. CORE-II

PL 255 Ethics (3 credit hours)
Critical analysis and evaluation of contemporary moral issues in light of underlying values, components of moral decision-making, and standard ethical theories. The students reflect upon their own life experiences in light of the ethical theories and articulate their own ethical system. CORE-II

PL 311 Contemporary Continental Philosophy (3 credit hours)
Critical exploration of the ideas of existence, freedom, anxiety, subjectivity, power and justice in the works of 20th century and contemporary phenomenologists, deconstructionists, existentialists, postmodernists/poststructuralists and critical theorists. Prerequisite: One lower-division philosophy course. This is a Communication Intensive course.

PL/IS 312 Bioethics (3 credit hours)
Interdisciplinary course which examines complex moral issues involving biology and medicine. Multiple viewpoints and issues are studied, such as: patient-physician relationship, death and dying, ethics of care, technology and medicine as well as the ethics and biology of genetics and eugenics. Research and discussion are essential components of the course. Prerequisites: BI 111 or 112; or, BI 211, 212 or 220; or, PL 111 or 255. CORE-II and CORE-III

PL/IS 344 Music & Politics (3 credit hours)
Musical works representative of folk, popular and refined art idioms will provide subject matter for analysis and discussion of the following: conceptualizing the distinct nature of music from other art forms and human activities, the role of emotion in music and politics, the political use of music and the musical representation of politics and political action as well as the possibility of music effecting social and political relations. Prerequisite: 3 credit hours of Level II Philosophy. CORE-II and CORE-III

PL 355 Metaphysics (3 credit hours)
The study of the nature of reality – of what is and what it is that exists. Metaphysical concepts we may consider are existence, being, minds, bodies, freedom, human nature and the nature of experience. We will consider these concepts, and arguments associated with those ideas, in both classical and contemporary discussions. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in philosophy. This is a Communication Intensive course.

PL/IS 358 Violence (3 credit hours)
A historical-philosophical investigation into acts and relations of mass violence within the contexts of war, murder, genocide, rape and other forms of collective violence. This investigation will focus within the following arenas: the social-historical phenomena of violence and power; the extent of its moral justifiability, political legitimacy, and practical efficacy; the reality and responsibilities of perpetrators, victims and spectators; and, the places that violence occupies within times of ordinary life. CORE-II and CORE-III

PL/IS 360 Human Rights & Social Justice (3 credit hours)
Drawing from the values and perspectives of Catholic Social Teaching through the lenses of Philosophy and Social Work practice, this course critically examines social justice concepts and develops intercultural skills needed to address issues of social justice with individuals and diverse communities. Through a cultural immersion experience abroad, students will be engaged with local communities and participate in community-based learning opportunities which address issues such as: human rights, human dignity, solidarity with the poor, and the common good. CORE-II and CORE-III

PL 380 Special Topics (1-3)
Selected topics to be determined by the department.

PL/RS 380. Special Topics. (1-3 credit hours)
Selected topics to be determined by the department.

PL/RS 480. Special Topics. (1-3 credit hours)
Selected topics to be determined by the department.

PL/RS 485. Practicum. (3 credit hours)
Experience in one of the specialized areas of Philosophy, with departmental guidance and supervision.

PL/RS 490. Directed Studies. (3 credit hours)
Approved and directed in-depth study of a specific area of Philosophy, according to student need and interest. Prerequisite: Permission of department.

PL/RS 499. Senior Seminar. (3 credit hours)
Students from both Philosophy and Religious Studies work through a global theme, analyzing and evaluating issues and problems within that theme from the perspectives and methodologies of both disciplines. Meets the Capstone course and Communication Intensive requirement in the major. Prerequisite: Permission of department.

Religious Studies Courses

RS 111 Introduction to Religious Studies (3 credit hours)
A critical examination of religion as a human endeavor through examinations of different religious perspectives from historical, anthropological and/or sociological standpoints. Through the academic study of religion, students will become conversant with major themes, issues, figures and phenomena. CORE-II

RS 117 World Religions (3 credit hours)
Both a historical and a critical look at human religious experience through a study of the world’s many religious traditions. Topics include the varieties of religious belief including those beliefs regarding ideas of the holy and sacred, scriptures, myths, symbols, rituals and morality. CORE-II

RS 221 Philosophy of Religion
Classical and contemporary arguments for understanding the existence, nature and reality of God. We will analyze and evaluate contemporary conceptions of divinity, humanity and spirit as well as related issues in the philosophy of religion: evil, immortality, relationships between faith and reason, the nature of religious experience and conceptions of the religious subject. CORE-II. FA.

RS/WS 225 Catholicism (3 credit hours)
This course explores the history and fundamental beliefs of Catholics on God, Christ, the Spirit, scripture, liturgy, the Sacraments and the Church. We will also examine contemporary trends and issues such as peace and justice, women and ecumenism within the Catholic tradition. CORE-II

RS 227 Images of Jesus (3 credit hours)
A critical study of the religious, cultural and historical images representing ancient and contemporary understandings of Jesus. CORE- II

RS 231 Christianity (3 credit hours)
This course will address origins and major events in the history of Christianity and its different cultural expressions throughout the world, spanning from the time before Jesus’ birth through the present period. The study of Christianity will be approached as an incredibly widespread, diverse, multi- purposed, multi-vocal and global phenomenon. Topics to be addressed include the historical figure of Jesus; the rise of Christianity as a local and global phenomenon; the political, social and cultural role of Christianity throughout a variety of locales; and how Christianity has been an instrument of both defeat and power for underrepresented groups. CORE-II

RS 233 American Religious History (3 credit hours)
Religion’s role in forming U.S. culture and ideals. Survey of mainstream traditions, the particular experiences and contributions of African-Americans and Latinos as well as the unique influences of selected individuals and groups. CORE-II

RS 251 Islam (3 credit hours)
Through formative, classical, and contemporary interpretations of Islamic history and religion, this course will analyze diverse Islamic understandings of fundamental doctrines of Islamic faith, the nature of religious experience, the nature of God, and the life and significance of Muhammad. CORE-II

RS 252 Judaism (3 credit hours)
Situating ancient and contemporary interpretations of Jewish history, politics and religion together, this course will analyze and explore many of the following aspects of Judaism: diverse understandings of the relationship between the Hebrew Bible and Jewish communities, beliefs and rituals within religious practice, the role of women within Judaism, conceptions of Jewish identity as well as the nature of God, religious experience, divine revelation and religious authority. CORE-II

RS/IS 311 Peace Studies (3 credit hours)
This course provides an interdisciplinary (religious studies, communication, philosophy, sociology, history and economics) approach to achieving peace on a personal, local, national and international level. The focus is on developing practical strategies for creating peace and living peacefully in a global society. CORE-II and CORE-III

RS/IS 317 Catholicism in Latin America (3 credit hours)
Explores the religious and political history of Latin America. This course will highlight church teachings and structures responding to the needs and demands of various social groups within the population. Attention to ways in which art, architecture and literature have expressed ideologies. Prerequisite: One course in Religious Studies. CORE-II and CORE-III

RS/WS/IS 319 Women, Religion and Community in the U.S. (3 credit hours)
This course will examine women and religion and how the interaction of religious and gender ideology helped shape experiences and create women’s communities within a variety of religious traditions in the U.S. We will view religious experience through a multicultural lens which includes the perspectives of African-American, Native American, Jewish, Catholic and Protestant women and some women founders of American and international religious groups. CORE- II and CORE-III

RS 327 Liberation Theology (3 credit hours)
Twentieth-century theologies of liberation with emphasis on the contributions of some of the following: Native American, Latin American, Asian, African-American and African. Communication Intensive course.

RS/IS 343. The 3R’s: Race, Religion and Reform in American Education (3 credit hours)
This interdisciplinary course will encompass the disciplines of American religious history and education. The course will focus on ethnic and racial relations as they have interfaced with religious diversity and evolved in American education. Educational reform movements that have attempted to address these topics, as well as gender and class issues, will also be explored. CORE-II and CORE-III

RS/IS 368 Christianity in Film (3 credit hours)
Christianity in Film is a cross-disciplined investigation of the interaction between Christianity (both as a formal social institution and its cultural manifestations) and the global film industry. The course will focus on the widespread themes through which cinematographers have portrayed the world’s largest religion, along the way uncovering the flexibility of Christianity as a force interacting with and being impacted by culture. The course will grapple with the great diversity of Christian representations in film, including topics such as the following: the figure of Jesus; Catholic and Protestant theologies; Christian concepts of good, evil and morality; and popular cultural forms of Christian discourse. CORE-II and CORE-III

RS/PL 380. Special Topics. (1-3 credit hours)
Selected topics to be determined by the department.

RS/PL 480. Special Topics. (1-3 credit hours)
Selected topics to be determined by the department.

RS/PL 485. Practicum. (3 credit hours)
Experience in one of the specialized areas of Religious Studies, with departmental guidance and supervision.

RS/PL 490. Directed Studies. (3 credit hours)
Approved and directed in-depth study of a specific area of Religious Studies, according to student need and interest. Prerequisite: Permission of department.

RS/PL 499. Senior Seminar. (3 credit hours)
Students from both Religious Studies and Philosophy work through a global theme, analyzing and evaluating issues and problems within that theme from the perspectives and methodologies of both disciplines. Meets the Capstone course and Communication Intensive requirement in the major. Prerequisite: Permission of department.

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