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Spring 2019 Courses
Download PDF Folder of the Spring 2019 course offerings. Click here.
PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy
#17178 (3 credits)
3:00 – 3:50pm MWF Mr. Beltz
This course is designed to provide students with a rich understanding of the ideas and issues that have guided human inquiry for the last six thousand years. Philosophy is an intellectual endeavor designed to ask significant questions about ourselves, the world around us, and the foundation of everyday existence. This course will provide a survey of the major themes and problems that generations of philosophers have struggled to find solutions to. How do I know what is right to do? How do I know that there is anything out in the world? How do I know what is beautiful? What does it mean to know something? This course will take a thematic approach to philosophy, focusing on the various areas of philosophic inquiry.
PHIL 120: Introduction to Ethics
#10298 (3 credits)
11:00am – 12:15pm TR Mr. Beltz
What is the purpose of life? This will be the central question for this course’s investigation into ethics. This course will explore the purpose of life at both the individual level and the communal level. We will explore solutions to this problem from the fields of science, economics, politics, and ethics. Our investigation will include an examination of the major theoretical frameworks in ethics. It will examine how we should make ethical decisions, what factors should be considered, who (or what) should be included, and why ethical decisions matter. This course will also engage in applied ethics. We will conduct three in depth explorations into the controversial fields of animal rights, cyber-ethics, and sports ethics.
PHIL 130: Introduction to Political Philosophy
#10301 (3 credits)
4:00 – 6:30pm T Dr. Weinstein
Politics is on everyone’s minds, whether we want it to be or not. This means asking about the nature of justice, whether government is good or bad (and whether it should be big or small), whether we can morally take away people’s rights, and whether we need authority to tell us what to do. Ultimately, we have to ask whether people in a democracy really can govern themselves. Introduction to Political Philosophy is a fun, discussion-oriented class with minimal homework. It is technology heavy and focuses on debate, peer-to-peer interaction, and minimizing lecture time. It will make politics enjoyable even as everyone around us is going crazy with anger.
PHIL 240: Getting Fit with Aristotle
#10309 (3 credits)
9:30 – 10:45am TR Dr. Weinstein
Diets don’t work. Faddy fitness trends grow tiresome. How are any of us to be healthy and fit when so many forces keep us unwell? Believe it or not, Aristotle has the answer! In this class, we will read his classic book on character and habit, and connect it to modern discoveries about exercise, brain science, nutrition, diet, and exercise. And, we will go to the gym! As part of this course, you will practice developing life-long habits of wellness, including experimenting with new ways to exercise, to eat, to look in the mirror, and to assess yourself. If ever there were a course that combined the intellectual experience of college with the most active aspects of day-to-day life, this is it!
PHIL 304/304 HON: Existentialism and Phenomenology
#10311/16426 (3 credits)
6:00 – 7:15pm MW Dr. Stone
In this section of Existentialism and Phenomenology, emphasis will be placed on the philosophical movement that came to be known as “Existentialism.” The philosophical writings of 19th and 20th century thinkers such as Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir, Franz Kafka, and Albert Camus reflect a modern consciousness that is anxious and at times despairing but still refuses facile consolations. Existentialists incite us to “live dangerously” in the face of lived-experiences such as alienation, freedom, solitude, and absurdity. As a class, we will discuss the challenges Existentialist ideas present to the comforts provided by religion and reason, ever mindful of the threat of nihilism.
PHIL 342: Advanced Ethics: Ethics in Sports
#10306 (3 credits)
2:00 – 3:15 pm MW Mr. Beltz
Sports provides a microcosm of the way that we interact with others and with the community. This advanced ethics course will focus of studying how the principles of ethics can help us better understand the role of sports in modern life. We will be exploring issues of what ethics means in the context of sports and games. We will also be examining how sports shape modern notions of identity and patriotism. Topics in the course include: cheating in sports, using sports as a platform for social protest, Title IX, injuries and human argumentation, performance-enhancing drugs, paying student-athletes, and the future of sports. Students do not need any previous ethics classes or any sports background to enroll.
PHIL 480: Public Philosophy (capstone)
12:30 –1:45 p.m. TR Dr. Weinstein
Did you ever want to write philosophy for a blog, magazine, on Twitter or Reddit, or call-in with a philosophical comment on the radio? If so, this course is what you are looking for. It provides you the opportunity to take philosophy out of the classroom and into the world around you. It focuses on writing blog entries, Tweets, and evaluating existing public philosophy books and articles. First and foremost, it is a composition course that will help you refine your writing skills in order to better communicate ideas and “translate” them into more accessible media, and YOU get to choose what you write about, not the professor. No subject is off limits. This is the Philosophy department’s capstone course, but is open to all students with at least 75 credit hours. It also fulfills the A (Advanced Writing) Essential Studies Requirement.
RELIGIOUS STUDIES COURSES
RELS 100: Introduction to Religious Studies
#10290 (3 credits)
2:00 – 3:15pm TR Dr. Lawrence
This class is an introduction to the academic and comparative study of religion. We will discuss humanistic and social scientific theories of religion, and alternative views on the relations of religious studies to faith or the absence of faith. In the final section of the class we will focus in more depth on the intercultural philosophy of religions as a prospective organizing framework for religious studies. Students will be encouraged to develop their own informed and critical viewpoints on the study of religion.
RELS 101: Religions of the West
#10292 (3 credits)
3:00 – 5:30pm W Dr. Miller
In this class, we will explore the relationship of religion and culture in an attempt to answer such questions as: What function does religion have within different cultural systems? What role does religion play in constructing and maintaining ideas about gender? How does ritual serve to promote and reinforce cultural values and norms? Although we will focus our attention on religion, in general, we will be drawing on the three western monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) to illustrate the issues we explore. Using a variety of texts – including both written and visual – we will attempt to balance our study of religion both with critical theory and with examples of specific cultural practices.
RELS 245: Death and Dying
#10293 (3 credits)
12:30 – 1:45pm TR Dr. Lawrence
This course will offer students the opportunity to examine various perspectives on death and dying in our own and other cultures with a view to coping with the problems of mortality and immortality. Resources on medical, psychological, philosophical and religious aspects of the meaning of death will be utilized to assist students in their own personal confrontations with the reality of death and dying. The first part of the class will provide an introduction to the main areas that make up the field of Thanatology or Death Studies. The second will further examine and engage the approaches to the issues of Thanatology found in contemporary world religions. This class satisfies the UND Essential Studies requirement for Global Diversity.
RELS 325: Religious Violence
#10322 (3 credits)
10:00 – 10:50am MWF Dr. Miller
The world is awash in religious violence, or so it seems to many of us. Why? Are religions inherently violent? Or is it just a few religious extremists carrying out acts of violence in a misguided attempt to do god’s work? Or does all of the violence attributed to religion have some other cause(s). We know that religious violence is not a new problem, so are there connections between what is happening now and what has occurred in the past? To help us reflect critically on these questions, we will investigate several theories that focus on the origin and nature of religious violence. In so doing, we should come to appreciate better the complexity of the issue, as well as acquire new intellectual tools both for analyzing violent acts attributed to religion and for critically evaluating statements made about those acts.
RELS 380: Buddhism
#10296 (3 credits)
9:30 – 10:45am TR Dr. Lawrence
This class begins with the study of some of the foundational Buddhist beliefs and practices documented in the earliest Pali scriptures. It proceeds to examine how these beliefs and practices were transformed and developed in later traditions of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism that flourished throughout Asia. We will also consider the recent spread of Buddhism to the West and the challenges Buddhism has faced in the contemporary period. The goal is to leave the students with a greater appreciation for the enduring importance of Buddhist religion and philosophy in world civilization. In order to stimulate the greatest interest among the students, the focus will be on selections of classic texts. Two or three movies will be shown in class to provide a sense of Buddhism in concrete life. There are no prerequisites for this class, and it satisfies the UND Essential Studies Requirement for Global Diversity.
To help you plan your schedule looking beyond the immediate semester, here is a list of the courses that will tentatively be offered next academic year in Philosophy and Religion:
Phil. – 101, 110, 120, 253, 300, 312, 331, 450
Rels. – 100, 102, 220, 320