Undergraduate Course Catalog

Philosophy and Religious Studies

D. Concepcion, Chairperson 

Philosophy students learn to think. Philosophy students become precise readers, writers, and speakers who are able to accurately and creatively understand big questions concerning right and wrong, justice, freedom, beauty, knowledge, and truth. By evaluating historical and contemporary arguments, philosophy students are able to justify their conception of the world and humanity’s place in it with public reasons. 

Religious Studies 
The academic study of religion addresses many dimensions and functions of religion in the world’s cultures. Among these are sacred scripture, symbols, beliefs, rituals, and ethics. It also examines the dynamic relationship between religion and other social, economic, and political institutions. The academic study of religion fosters a critical understanding of religious traditions, issues, questions, and values. In addition, it cultivates awareness of religion’s influence within the world and promotes appreciation for the diversity of religious beliefs and practices. 

The department’s programs in philosophy and religious studies offer excellent preparation for professional work in education, law, public service, government, writing and religion. 


MAJOR IN PHILOSOPHY (BA/BS), 33 hours 

PREFIX

NO

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

PHIL

200

Logic

3

6 hours from:     

PHIL 





203
210
230
304
305
310
312

Social Philosophy (3)
Philosophy of Religion (3)
Environmental Ethics (3)
Philosophy of Sport (3)
Logical Theory (3)
African Philosophy (3)
Current Issues in Philosophy (3)


6

15 hours from:     

PHIL
  
    



300
302
306
404
410
415
420

History of Ancient Philosophy (3)
History of Modern Philosophy (3)
Contemporary Philosophy (3)
Metaphysics (3)
Epistemology (3)
Prof and Practical Ethics (3)
Contemp Ethical Thry & Prob (3)


15

9 hours from additional PHIL courses

9


33 hrs

MAJOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES (BA/BS), 33 hours 

PREFIX

NO

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

RELS

160

Intro to Religion in Culture

3

9 hours from:     

RELS

250
280
290

Intro Biblical Interpretation (3)
Topics in Religion in America (3)
Topics in Asian Religions (3)

9

6 hours from:     

RELS

340
375
380
390

Adv Study of Western Religions (3)
Adv Study Biblical Traditions (3)
Religion and Ethics (3)
Adv Study of Asian Religions (3)

6

6 hours from:     

RELS


403
420
450
470

Reading and Special Study (1-6)
Themes in Religion (3)
Crit Issues in Study of Relig (3)
Perspectives on Religion (3)

6

Electives
Please consult advisor. All electives outside RELS must be approved in advance.

9


33 hrs

MINOR IN PHILOSOPHY, 18 hours 

PREFIX

NO

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

6 hours from:     

PHIL





300
302
306
404
410
415
420

History of Ancient Philosophy (3)
History of Modern Philosophy (3)
Contemporary Philosophy (3)
Metaphysics (3)
Epistemology (3)
Prof and Practical Ethics (3)
Contemp Ethical Thry & Prob (3)


6

12 hours from additional PHIL courses

12


18 hrs

MINOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES, 18 hours 

PREFIX

NO

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

RELS

160

Intro to Religion in Culture

3

Must take one Asian and one Western course at 200-level or above

6 hours from:   

RELS
   

250
280
290

Intro Biblical Interpretation (3)
Topics in Religion in America (3)
Topics in Asian Religions (3)

6

6 hours from:     

RELS 
  
 

340
375
380
390

Adv Study of Western Religions (3)
Adv Study Biblical Traditions (3)
Religion and Ethics (3)
Adv Study of Asian Religions (3)

6

Elective
One RELS course (must be at 300-level or above)

3


18 hrs

PHILOSOPHY (PHIL)

100 Introduction to Philosophy (3)
An introduction to such important philosophical problems as the existence of God, whether ethical values are subjective, and the extent of our freedom. These topics and others may be approached by examining the ideas of great philosophers or current thinkers. Core Transfer Library: Behavioral Sciences/Humanities (ISH 1050)

102 Introduction to Techniques of Critical Reasoning (3) 
Introduction to basic techniques of critical reasoning in deductive and inductive logic, and strategies for decision making and problem solving. 

200 Logic (3) 
The nature of deductive reasoning. Inquiry into the forms and procedures necessary to draw correct conclusions from given premises regardless of the factual content of the premises. Critical introduction to the correct forms of deduction. 

202 Ethics (3) 
A discussion of some of the central problems in ethics such as the justification of ethical beliefs, theories of right and wrong, and the conditions of moral responsibility, as well as a discussion of current moral issues. Core Transfer Library: Behavioral Sciences/Humanities (ISH 1051) 

203 Social Philosophy (3) 
Involves a discussion and clarification of such basic social concepts as liberty, justice, and equality, as well as a critical discussion of such normative issues as how liberty should be distributed and how justice can be maximized. 

210 Philosophy of Religion (3) 
Critical analysis of such selected topics as the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil, the justification of religious belief, and the significance of religious experience. Core Transfer Library: Behavioral Sciences/Humanities (ISH 1052) 

230 Environmental Ethics (3) 
Introduction to and analysis of basic concepts, principles, theories, and issues in environmental ethics. 

299X Experimental/Developmental Topics (3-6)
Topics relevant to the discipline. Course titles will be announced before each semester.
     A total of 12 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 6 in any one semester or term.

300 History of Ancient Philosophy (3)
The development of philosophical theories and ideas from the rise of philosophy in Greece through the medieval period. Emphasizes the theories in relation to one another, the times that produced them, and the thinkers who offered them. 

302 History of Modern Philosophy (3) 
The development of philosophical theories and ideas from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. Emphasizes these theories in relation to one another, the times that produced them, and the thinkers who offered them. 

303 American Philosophy (3) 
A survey of American philosophy from colonization to the present with particular attention to pragmatism. Multi-cultural perspectives typically addressed. 

304 Philosophy of Sport (3) 
Inquiry into the nature of sport and analysis of its ethical, social, and aesthetic dimensions. Topics may include embodiment, competition, fair play, sportspersonship, violence, racial and gender equity, ergogenic aids, nonhuman animals in sports, sports on the college campus, and the broader relation of sport to society. 

305 Introduction to Logical Theory (3) 
The philosophical problems of logic. Topics may include the application of logic to ethics, logic and ordinary language, deviant logics, truth, metaphysical problems of logic, and other related topics. 
    Prerequisite: PHIL 200 or permission of the department chairperson. 

306 Contemporary Philosophy (3) 
A critical examination of leading philosophers or movements since 1900. May emphasize contemporary (e.g. feminist, phenomenological) methodologies. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

307 Aesthetics (3) 
Exploration of philosophical views on the nature, interpretation, and criticism of art. Readings and discussion may range from classical to contemporary thinkers and issues. 

310 African Philosophy (3) 
A critical examination of leading trends in African philosophy. Ethnophilosophy, philosophic sagacity, liberation philosophy, or modern/critical philosophy are possible topics. 

312 Current Issues in Philosophy (3)
Selected current and important issues in philosophy. Topics may include social and ethical problems, recent work on traditional philosophical problems, and other issues of concern.
    A total of 9 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term.

313 Philosophy of Science (3) 
An examination of such central philosophical problems in the sciences as the nature of scientific explanation and the testing of hypotheses. A discussion of ethical issues arising from science; for example, the use of human subjects and prolonging life. 

315 African-American Philosophy (3) 
An exploration of the philosophical contributions of African Americans as represented in various sources. Topics will include the concept of race in America in an effort to understand why such a rich tradition of thought has been neglected. Emphasis will be on how these contributions are valuable intellectual resources. 

369 Internship (3) 
Students undertake supervised internships related to their professional or career goals. Internships may be with educational or religious institutions, public or private agencies, or business firms. 
    Prerequisite: permission of the department chairperson. 

390 Honors Colloquium in Philosophy (2) 
Exploration of selected problems in philosophy with emphasis on individual study. 
    Open only to students in the Honors College or by permission of the department chairperson. 

400 Immersive or Experiential Learning (1-6) 
Immersive or experiential learning provides students with experiences that are integrative, collaborative, and reflective. Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Courses are designed to meet TIER 3 requirements. 
    A total of 12 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 6 in any one semester or term. 

403 Reading and Special Study (1-6)
Allows superior students opportunities for guided reading and investigation in areas of philosophy not covered intensively in available courses.
    Prerequisite: permission of the department chairperson.
    A total of 12 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 6 in any one semester or term.

404 Metaphysics (3) 
A study of the principal problems of metaphysics including the nature of reality, the relation of mind and body, and the issues of freedom and determinism. 
    Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor. 

410 Epistemology (3) 
A critical discussion of leading theories and problems, including skepticism, the structure of knowledge and justification, and challenges to traditional approaches. Epistemology satisfies the capstone requirement for the major. 
    Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor. 

415 Professional and Practical Ethics (3)
A variable content course. Involves a critical examination of a broad topic in applied ethics—e.g. business ethics, bioethics, or feminist ethics—or a more specific theme, such as the ethical treatment of nonhuman animals or just war theory and pacifism.
    Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.
    A total of 9 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term.

420 Contemporary Ethical Theory and Problems (3) 
A critical examination of recent ethical theories and their application to contemporary problems. 
    Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.

RELIGIOUS STUDIES (RELS) 

160 Introduction to Religion in Culture (3)
An introduction to the academic study of religion, including the dynamic interaction between religious ideas, practices, and broader cultural contexts. Specific traditions and cultural contexts addressed in the course will vary according to instructor, but all students will gain an understanding of diverse components of, and methods for studying religion. 

201 Religion and Popular Culture (3) 
Academic study of multiple relationships between religion and popular culture in a range of media across historical, political, and cultural contexts, especially in their contemporary settings. Examples drawn from sources such as film, music, TV, Internet, video games, sports, comic books, animation, and social media.

206 Sex and the Bible (3)
Academic study of biblical literature and the sexual practices contained, described, or interpreted to be within ancient religious materials. Situates the norms and practices for understanding the sexual and biblical materials in a range of historical, literary, political, cultural, and even ethical contexts and effects, especially in their ancient settings and their more recent, continuing uses.  

210 Religion, Morality, and Public Debate (3)
Examination of approaches to moral reasoning, the role of religious traditions in forming ethical judgments, and the relationship between moral argument and public debate. Also addresses a range of moral issues that citizens and scholars debate in religious and secular terms.

250 Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (3)
Academic study of biblical literature and of the wide variety of processes for interpreting and understanding this literature given a range of historical, literary, political, and cultural contexts and effects, in their ancient settings and in their historical and continuing interpretations.
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term.

280 Topics in Religions in America (3) 
Study of a specific religion and/or religions in their American context, or examination of a theme or a set of social issues in relation to religions in America. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

290 Topics in Asian Religion (3) 
Introduces, and critically evaluates, central myths, symbols, and rituals among different Asian religions. Students are introduced to discussions of theoretical explanations for myths, symbols, and ritual practices, as well as their associated world views. A common thread throughout addresses problems specifically associated with the study of Asian religions. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

299X Experimental/Developmental Topics (3-6)
Topics relevant to the discipline. Course titles will be announced before each semester.
    A total of 12 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 6 in any one semester or term.

340 Advanced Study of Western Religions (3) 
An in-depth investigation of a single Western religious tradition, with attention to sacred texts, historical developments, contemporary issues, and prominent figures. A variable content course that may be repeated for credit with departmental permission. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

375 Advanced Study of Biblical Traditions (3) 
Advanced study of texts and traditions that developed about Jesus among early Christians; of text and traditions related to the early church; or of historical developments in Christianity in relation to culture. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

380 Religion and Ethics (3) 
Critical examination of traditions of religious thought and ethics, with focus on a select topic, such as philanthropy and justice, human rights, war and nonviolence, or the environment. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

385 Paul and the Developing Church (3) 
An in-depth study of Paul’s letters, the traditions as reflected in the Book of Acts, and the development of the early Church through the fourth century. 

390 Advanced Study of Asian Religions (3) 
Critical examination of one or more Asian religions. Topics include sacred texts, historical developments, prominent figures, and relevance to contemporary cultural formations. Counts for minor in Asian Studies. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

403 Reading and Special Study (1-6)
An opportunity for guided investigation of aspects of religion not covered intensively in available courses.
    Prerequisite: permission of the department chairperson.
    A total of 12 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 6 in any one semester or term.

420 Themes in Religion (3)
A thematically-organized examination of an issue in the study of religion. Some examples: myth, ritual, pilgrimage, religious autobiography, gods and goddesses, asceticism, “texts” in contexts, or religion and cultural studies. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

450 Critical Issues in the Study of Religion (3) 
Advanced study of a select issue of importance in the study of religion and culture, e.g. women and religion, religion and politics, religion and ethics. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term. 

470 Perspectives on Religion (3)
A critical analysis of aspects of one or more religious traditions through one or more distinctive methodological perspectives, such as anthropological, sociological, psychological, historical, or philosophical. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term.