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Spring 2018 Courses
To download a PDF of our course brochure, click here.
PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy
#11988 (3 credits)
6:00 – 7:15 p.m. MW Dr. Stone
“What is thinking?” Socrates was put on trial and ultimately put to death for having the audacity to openly question tradition, the status quo, and those with power and influence. His life and death have since served as an example to those who contend that not only is our rational capacity a fundamental component of human nature, but that its exercise is the means by which we can cultivate a better functioning (i.e., healthy, safe, just, technologically advanced, ethical, etc.) society. The course will begin with a close reading of the trial of Socrates. Students will then explore a variety of other philosophical reflections on the nature of thinking and its role in human society by thinkers such as: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Baldwin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Jean-Paul Sartre, Janice Moulton, Marilyn Frye, Alison Jaggar, and Hannah Arendt.
PHIL 120: Introduction To Ethics
#12025 (3 credits)
6:00 – 8:30 p.m. T Dr. Weinstein
Do you know what the right thing to do is in every situation? Are you sure that your morals will stand up to the rigors of adult life? Are you always giving advice to others but have trouble acting the way you should? Do you feel like your beliefs are right ones and everyone else should just follow your lead?
These are all common experiences of ethics, particularly when we act on instinct or based on what we’ve been taught by our parents or communities. But our ethics are not always right and our habits are often way off base. Introduction to Ethics is an opportunity to examine your moral beliefs and see if they stand up to scrutiny. It’s also an opportunity to simply think about ethics in a way you never have before. Morality is incredibly interesting. It’s worth exploring.
Join us as we figure out what the right thing to do is and whether there’s even such a thing as “the right decision” in the first place. We’ll explore the Good life and morality, with special attention to sexual ethics and popular culture, and we’ll do it while developing writing and debate skills in a technology-friendly classroom.
PHIL 120: Introduction To Ethics
“What is the Good Life?”
#11989 (3 credits)
4:30 – 5:45 p.m. MW Dr. Rozelle-Stone
This course will examine in detail some of the most important ideas about ethics and morality, from ancient Greece to the U.S. in the 21st century, as well as ongoing social and moral problems such as oppression, poverty, domestic violence, and racism, among others. Representative philosophers to be studied in this course include: Plato, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, Carol Gilligan, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Martin Buber.
A primary goal of this course is that through primary readings, discussions, and short assignments, students will come to understand the history of Western ethical thought, the ways in which the theories overlap at times, and the contributions they can make to our daily decisions as well as to our civic and political lives.
PHIL 120: Introduction To Ethics
This course investigates the nature of the Good Life, of moral principles, and the application of moral systems to contemporary debate. These may include questions about the morality of war, capital punishment, sexual behavior, welfare, and so forth.
PHIL 130: Introduction to Political Philosophy
#12003 (3 credits)
3:00 – 4:15 p.m. MW Dr. Stone
Students enrolled in this course will critically examine and debate formative classical and contemporary works of political philosophy such as: Aristotle’s Politics; Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince; Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto; writings on American democracy by James Madison and John Dewey; and Michel Foucault’s Discipline & Punish. In doing so, students will be introduced to fundamental questions philosophers have asked about the nature of reality, human nature, epistemology, ethics, and the role of society in human existence and how their answers to these questions have shaped philosophical thinking about the art of statecraft in view of justice, morality, and power.
PHIL 250: Ethics in Engineering and Science
This course centers on the ethical issues of particular concern to both citizens and professionals involved in engineering and related technical/scientific fields. We review ethical history and ethical theory in all class discussions. The major focus of the course, however, is on ethical dilemmas, case studies, and codes relevant to contemporary engineering and scientific practice. Issues surveyed include: ethical responsibility of theorists and of applied scientists, risk and negligence in technological enterprises, the limits of knowledge/safety/quality, an update of the two cultures debate.
PHIL 253: Environmental Ethics
#12024 (3 credits)
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. TR Dr. Lawrence
The course centers on the way that ethics helps us to understand environmental issues including sustainability, energy consumption, animal rights, habitat loss, biodiversity, land conservation, and pollution. We will explore cultural and philosophical ethical frameworks, as well as case studies, from across the globe, such as from Africa, Asia, Native Americans, as well as Western societies. This class satisfies the essential studies requirement for breadth of knowledge in humanities, and it has no prerequisites.
PHIL 342: Ethical Theory
“Purity and Toxicity”
#12026 (3 credits)
3:00 – 4:15 p.m. MW Dr. Rozelle-Stone
Many people who are interested in living ethically often find themselves seeking moral purity—a life without blemish, stain, or compromised principle. This course will examine the quest for purity and associated fear of toxicity, but will raise questions about the implications of ethical purity, especially in an interdependent, capital-driven, contemporary global context in which we are often unavoidably complicit in the suffering of others. Our readings will be from 20th and 21st century philosophers, and will cover themes like ethical consumerism, environmentalism and the notion of “pristine nature,” species-interdependency and animal ethics, embodiment and entangled suffering, and disability theories against norms of “health” and “disease.” This course is ideal for those studying the environment, medicine, gender, global finance, and anyone interested in living ethically in increasingly compromised times. [No prerequisites]
PHIL 360: Feminist Philosophy /
WGS 480: Feminist Theory
#12004 (3 credits)
6:00 – 7:15 p.m. MW Dr. Rozelle-Stone
What does it mean to live a feminist life? Why are feminists often thought to be “willful,”“killjoys,” or “problems”? Does surviving in a hostile world require a certain militancy? “Feminism” is a word fraught with many connotations, unjustified associations, and a history of evolving meanings. This course will begin by analyzing the term and the difficulty in assigning a simple definition, but we will explore patterns of oppression and associated rhetoric that have been critiqued and resisted by feminists both past and present. We will analyze not only broad and systemic instances of oppression, but also will attend to individual, sexual, and familial obstacles that feminists confront on a daily basis. In reading theorists like Sara Ahmed, Iris Marion Young, Judith Butler, and Audre Lorde, and watching pertinent films and documentaries, we will consider the intersectional nature of contemporary feminism—the way in which feminist concerns must also be concerns about class, race, ability, age, religion, etc.—and understand how
feminist theory cannot easily be separated from practice. [No prerequisites]
PHIL 443: Aesthetics
“Philosophy of Film”
#12027 (3 credits)
4:30 – 5:45 p.m. MW Dr. Stone
In this section of Aesthetics (i.e., Philosophy of Art), students will focus on the aesthetic medium of film. As Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message.” While it has become commonplace to take for granted the ways in which subjective experiences and the world are presented and narrated to us through the motion picture, students in this course will create some critical distance between themselves and cinematic productions by reading philosophical reflections on film. They will explore questions such as: How does the technology of the motion picture differ from other aesthetic media (paintings, sculpture, photography, the novel, etc.)? What techniques (e.g., the close-up, soundtrack, etc.) do filmmakers use and to what effects? What social implications, if any, does the cinematic gaze have on gender identities and roles? These philosophical queries and many more will be investigated through a wide variety of readings representing major schools in philosophy such as Phenomenology, Existentialism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Critical Theory, Semiotics, and Postmodernism.
PHIL 460: Philosophy of Law
#12028 (3 credits)
9:30 – 10:45 a.m. TR Dr. Weinstein
Are you planning on going to law school or working in a profession that works with the law (criminal justice, political science and education, for example)? Are you interested in politics or how the government works? Do you want to work in a non-profit or advocacy group? Are you unhappy with the state of the world—or pleased with it and frustrated with those who aren’t satisfied? If any of these are true, then Philosophy of Law is the class for you. In it, we will discuss what law is, when and why it must be obeyed, the US Constitution, international law, civil disobedience, rights and responsibilities, and the meaning and nature of justice. We will also look at how reasoning works in a legal context, asking about precedent and cultural change. This class balances theoretical and practical concerns and its relevance to day-to-day life will be evident from the first session.
PHIL 480: Public Philosophy
12:30 –1:45 p.m. TR Dr. Weinstein
Did you ever want to write philosophy for a blog, magazine, on Facebook, or call-in with a philosophical comment on the radio? If so, this course is what you are looking for. It provides the opportunity for students to take philosophy out of the classroom and into the world around them. It focuses on writing blog entries, Facebook posts, and Tweets, as well as evaluating existing public philosophy books and articles. It will help students refine their writing skills in order to better communicate their philosophical ideas and “translate” them into more accessible media. 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.
RELS 100: Introduction to Religious Inquiry
#7776 (3 credits)
11:00 – 11:50 a.m. MWF Dr. Miller
Religion is an important and powerful force in our world today. Regardless of whether or not we consider ourselves to be religious, we live in a global community where religion and ideas about religion affect the lives of most people on a regular basis. But what is this thing called “religion” and how might we approach a study of the topic from an academic perspective? In this course, you will be introduced to the key concepts and methods used in religious studies, so that you might be equipped to investigate “religion” and to understand better how it functions within our contemporary world.
RELS 101: Religions of the West
#7779 (3 credits)
3:00 – 5:30 p.m. 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. In this way, we will balance our study of religion both with general theory and with examples of specific practice.
RELS 201: Introduction to the Bible
#16351 (3 credits)
9:00 – 9:50 a.m. MWF Dr. Miller
The Bible is probably the best known and most influential collection of ancient texts that is regularly read and studied in contemporary Western culture. This class will serve as a critical introduction to these texts, focusing attention on their original and originating settings, but also exploring their current use in present-day America. Our primary goal will be to understand better how these texts (and the several meanings assigned to them) both reflect and create the cultural worlds they inhabit.
RELS 245: Death and Dying
#7780 (3 credits)
12:30 – 1:45 p.m. TR Dr. Lawrence
This course examines religious, philosophical, literary, and scientific perspectives on death. Surveying ancient texts and contemporary conversations in fields like medicine, students will discuss and analyze ethical and existential questions generated by confrontations with death.
RELS 320: Hinduism
#7788 (3 credits)
9:30 – 10:45 a.m. TR Dr. Lawrence
The Indian subcontinent is one of the great centers of world civilization, and it has extended its influence throughout Asia and the world. It is now home to almost one fifth of the earth's population. This class will introduce students to the region's largest religious and philosophical tradition of Hinduism, treating topics such as understandings of God or gods, the Self, relations with Buddhism, reincarnation, caste, and changes from globalization. We will treat examples of Hinduism from
the ancient to contemporary times, devoting special attention to classic texts. 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, 282, 300, 315, 355
Rels. – 100, 102, 220, 227, 355, 399