Undergraduate Course Catalog

Philosophy and Religious Studies

J. Eflin, Chairperson

Philosophy
Studying philosophy involves asking the big questions about truth, freedom, beauty, knowledge, goodness, justice—and asking how these big questions apply to our lives. Our beliefs about these questions guide our actions. Philosophy helps us understand these beliefs and their relation to our culture, both historical and contemporary. Studying philosophy results in the ability to understand and think critically about complex issues and to find reasoned, creative solutions to the problems we face.

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, 33 hours

PREFIX     

NO     

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

PHIL 200 Logic

3

6 hours from

PHIL 



202
203
230
304
315

Ethics (3)
Social Phil (3)
Envir Ethics (3)
Phil Sport (3)
African Amer (3)





6

9 hours from
PHIL
  
    
  
300
302
303
306
Hist Ancient (3)
Hist Modern (3)
American (3)
Contemporary (3)



9
9 hours from
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor. No more than 6 hours of PHIL 415 and/or 420 will count.

PHIL

404
410
415
420

Metaphysics (3)
Epistemology (3)
Pro Prac Eth (3)
Ethical Theo (3) 

 


9
6 hours of additional electives from PHIL courses. PHIL 100 is strongly recommended as an elective

6

33 hrs

MAJOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES, 33 hours

PREFIX     

NO   

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

RELST

160

Rel & Cultur

3

9 hours from

RELST


250
280
290
Bibl Interpr (3)
Top Amer Rel (3)
Top Asia Rel (3)



9

6 hours from

RELST



340
375
380
390
Adv West Rel (3)
Ad Stu Bible (3)
Rel & Ethics (3)
Adv Asia Rel (3)




6

6 hours from
RELST



403
420
450
470
Read Spec St (1-3)
Themes Rel (3)
Crit Issues (3)
Perspecs Rel (3)




6

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




9


33 hrs

MINOR IN PHILOSOPHY, 18 hours

PREFIX     

NO     

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

PHIL 100 Introduction

3

3 hours from
PHIL




202
203
230
304
315
Ethics (3)
Social Phil (3)
Envir Ethics (3)
Phil Sport (3)
African Amer (3)





3

3 hours from
PHIL



300
302
303
306
Hist Ancient (3)
Hist Modern (3)
American (3)
Contemporary (3)




3

9 hours from PHIL courses

9


18 hrs
 
MINOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES, 18 hours

PREFIX     

NO   

SHORT TITLE

CR HRS

RELST

160

Rel & Cultur

3

Must take one Asian and one Western course at 200-level or above
6 hours from
RELST
   
 
250
280
290
Bibl Interpr (3) 
Top Amer Rel (3)
Top Asia Rel (3)



6

6 hours from
RELST 
  
 

340
375
380
390
Adv West Rel (3)
Ad Stu Bible (3)
Rel & Ethics (3)
Adv Asia Rel (3)




6

Elective
One RELST 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.

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.

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.

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 6 hours of credit may be earned.

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 and movements in the twentieth century. May concentrate on such selected philosophers as Russell, Wittgenstein, and Husserl, or may concentrate on contemporary treatments of selected philosophical problems.

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.

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. (1-3)
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 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 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 pacificism. 
    Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor. 
    A total of 6 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 (RELST)

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.

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.

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.

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. (1-3)
An opportunity for guided investigation of aspects of religion not covered intensively in available courses. 
    Prerequisite: permission of the department chairperson. 
    A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 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.