Philosophy and Religious Studies Courses
Fall 2023 Planned Courses
PHIL 101 Introduction to Philosophy (Multiple Sections)
Have you ever had an experience that made you wonder what is real? Have you ever questioned whether people actually know what they claim to know? Do you think about what (if anything) really matters? Is there a right way to think about these things? Do you even exist?
PHIL 102 Introduction to Ethics (Multiple Sections)
Is it morally okay to get an abortion? What should I do (if anything) about our changing environment? Should I stop eating meat and become a vegetarian? Do I have an obligation to be the best version of myself? If these questions interest you, check out Introduction to Ethics! This class gives you a vocabulary to talk about morality, teaches you a variety of ethical frameworks to help make moral decisions, and will help you become a thoughtful friend, citizen, and employee.
PHIL 103 Introduction to Political Philosophy (Dr. Jonathan Trerise, T/TH 3:05-4:20 PM)
Students will explore fundamental political ideas using immersive role-playing simulations. Students will recreate pivotal moments in political history with an eye toward understanding the political concepts which formed the world we live in. Questions about the value of democracy, the boundaries of citizenship, freedom, and justice are all explored, but this is done by students in character, arguing with each other about how to construct political life.
PHIL 105 Critical Thinking (Dr. Cliff Sosis, T/TH 1:40-2:55 PM and T/TH 4:30-5:45 PM)
As a college student, I’m sure you spend many hours thinking about issues that are important to you in various domains. But how much time do you devote to thinking about how to think about things? When you think about questions that are important to your life, do you think about them rationally? This class will introduce you to new ways to think about certain kinds of issues. This class will give you the tools to be a more critical thinker and a more rational decision-maker. If you take this course seriously, it will be one of the most useful courses you will ever take.
PHIL 110 Introduction to Logic (Multiple Sections)
Logic studies reasoning, or what makes good reasoning good and bad reasoning bad. You study logic to improve your thinking abilities, and that’s a good skill anywhere. In the class, you’ll learn about arguments, different types of arguments, what some distinctively bad ones look like (those are fallacies), and some important technical things about how an argument can be a real proof of its conclusion.
PHIL 300 Ancient Philosophy (Dr. Nils Rauhut, T/TH 10:30 AM- 12:05 PM) (Prereq: Sophomore standing or higher, or permission of the instructor)
This course is a survey of the history of ancient Greek philosophy from the Milesians through Aristotle. It traces the development of philosophical themes among the Pre-Socratics and proceeds to their development in the works of Plato and Aristotle. The emphasis throughout will be on understanding, analyzing, and evaluating the arguments of the philosophers.
PHIL 312 Intelligence Ethics (Dr. Jon Trerise, T/TH 10:50 AM-12:05 PM)
Spying involves actions we think are morally wrong: lying, stealing, blackmailing, and coercion are all clear cases of moral wrongs. However, many people believe that doing intelligence work is honorable and even necessary as it can be done to stop a war from happening and protect the innocent from harm. Is it therefore, right to do wrong? Students will explore moral issues involved in surveillance work, espionage, and covert/special operations.
PHIL 315 Technology and Human Values (Dr. Michael Ruse, MWF 11:00-11:50 AM) (Prereq: Sophomore standing or higher, or permission of the instructor)
The human race can be said to be the technological race. The concept of technology ranges from the simple usage of objects as tools (which we share with many other species), to the fashioning of tools (which we also share with a few species), to the creating of tools that themselves create tools. Many thinkers have begun to take seriously the notion that technology not only raises issues that concern human values (ethical issues in economic production, medicine, environment, and information systems), but also that technology has a major impact on how we, as humans, experience and create value. This course examines this new awareness of the impact of technology on the human creature.
PHIL 317 Bio-Medical Ethics (Dr. Emily McGill, MWF 2:00-2:50 PM) (Prereq: Sophomore standing or higher, or permission of the instructor)
We all receive medical care throughout our lives. We must also make healthcare-related decisions for ourselves and our loved ones, and some of us might engage in medical research or administer medical care to others. Ethical questions arise in all of these arenas. What does it mean to give informed consent? Is genetic engineering morally acceptable? Is universal healthcare a requirement of justice? In this class, we will discuss ethical frameworks that help us approach these and many other difficult questions that surround medicine, healthcare, and research.
PHIL 318 Business Ethics (Multiple Sections)
Is it right for employers to track the social media behavior of their employees? Is lying to a boss ever the right thing to do? What about a manager lying to an employee? Do businesses have a moral responsibility to invest in local schools and communities? Business creates a complex network of social connections that give rise to a special set of moral issues. In this class, we will examine several of these issues and discuss various ways ethicists navigate through them.
PHIL 340 Philosophy of Science (Dr. Cliff Sosis, T/TH 12:15 PM- 1:30 PM, (Prereq: PHIL 101 and sophomore standing or higher, or permission of the instructor)
In this class, we will attempt to answer questions that arise when we reflect on the nature of science. What distinguishes pseudoscience--astrology, intelligent design, psychoanalysis-- from real science? Does anarchy play a crucial role in scientific progress? Does the lack of women and minorities in science impede scientific progress? Do our best scientific theories reveal the way the world really is or are they merely useful tools? If history is a guide, it seems like we should expect what we consider our best scientific theories to be disproven sooner or later (consider the geocentric model of the universe). This may, or may not, give us reason to doubt our best scientific theories and question whether the entities and processes they describe--quarks, evolution, climate change--really exist.
PHIL/RELG 354 Buddhist Philosophy (Drs. Dennis Earl and Ron Green, TBA)
This class examines the theories and arguments of Buddhist philosophers from the Buddha through the present. Topics include metaphysics (what the world is like in its foundational sense), ethics (how to live), logic (how to reason), and epistemology (how we know anything). We’ll also compare Buddhist philosophy with philosophy in the West.
For more information, please contact the chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies,