Graduate Courses | Philosophy & Religion

Graduate Courses

PHIL 5000. Environmental Ethics. 3 hours. An examination of the philosophical origins of environmental philosophy and the basic positions in the field of environmental ethics. Key authors in environmental philosophy are surveyed, as well as topical considerations of a variety of schools of thought with emphasis on theories of environmental value, legal and moral rights for nature, animal liberation and Western philosophical and religious traditions.

PHIL 5010. Philosophy of Ecology. 3 hours. Traces the evolution of ecology from its roots in 19th-century natural history to the present with an emphasis on the prominent paradigms and conceptual trends, such as organicism, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, disturbance and flux . Also explores the sociocultural contexts in which ecology emerged and now exists, including the so-called second scientific revolution and the two-culture split.

PHIL 5100. Topics in Ancient Philosophy. 3 hours. A concentrated examination of some major problem areas in ancient Western philosophy - for example: concepts of nature, concepts of the character and function of knowledge, concepts of the nature and extent of value. Major thinkers normally covered include the historiographical study of Pre-Socratic figures, Plato and Aristotle.

PHIL 5150. Feminist Philosophy. 3 hours. In-depth examination of traditional philosophical themes from diverse feminist perspectives, theories and lived experiences. An intersectional and transnational approach to topics such as language, embodiment, identity, power and the environment, as well as the history of the women's movement and ongoing dialogues about feminist theories, methods and practices.

PHIL 5200. Topics in Modern Philosophy. 3 hours. A concentrated examination of some major problem areas in modern Western philosophy - for example: concepts of nature, concepts of the character and function of knowledge, concepts of the nature and extent of value. Major thinkers covered can include Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume and Kant.

PHIL 5250: Topics in the History of Philosophy. 3 hours. A concentrated examination of one or more particular philosophers, historical periods, or philosophical themes. Topics are arranged to meet the specific interests of students, the expertise of faculty members and the general needs of the graduate program. May be repeated for credit as topics vary.

PHIL 5300. Social and Political Philosophy. 3 hours. A focused examination of the relation between philosophical ideas and community, natural right, justice, political freedom and authority. Exploration of historical and contemporary figures and schools of thought, may include Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, and Mill, as well as Rawls and his critiques, feminist political thought, and critical race theory

PHIL 5400. Ethical Theory. 3 hours. A focused examination of a variety of metaethical and normative theories of moral philosophies, such as virtue ethics, utilitarianism, deontology, emotivism, and care ethics. Explorations of historical and contemporary philosophical ethics may include feminist ethics, and canonical figures such as, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill.

PHIL 5500. Philosophy of Science and Technology. 3 hours. A focused examination the relationship between science and technology, the role of experiment and instrumentation in scientific practice, the social construction of scientific knowledge and technical artifacts, the nature of technology in human perception and experience, and the broader social impacts of science and technology.

PHIL 5600. Philosophy of Religion. 3 hours. A focused examination of the concepts, belief systems, and practices of religions. Topics include religious experience, faith and reason, arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, religious language, life after death, miracles, religion and science, and the conflicting claims of different religions.

PHIL 5650. Asian Philosophies and Religions. 3 hours. Provides an insight into worldviews by studying the major Asian philosophies and religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism, Confucianism, Shinto and Zen.

PHIL 5700. Environmental Philosophy. 3 hours. Intensive analysis of new positions in environmental philosophy with special emphasis on their theoretical value as a contribution to contemporary philosophy and their practical value with regard to environmental policy and decision making.

PHIL 5800. Philosophies of Climate Change. 3 hours. In-depth examination of the philosophical, socio-political, cultural and ethical dimensions of climate change through the use of normative and conceptual theories. Explores interdisciplinary issues such as climate justice, uncertainty and risk, individual and collective responsibilities, and the role of science and technology in policy.

PHIL 5900-5910. Special Problems. 1-3 hours each. Prerequisite(s): consent of department.

PHIL 5950. Master's Thesis. 3 or 6 hours. To be scheduled only with consent of department. 6 hours credit required. No credit assigned until thesis has been completed and filed with the graduate dean. Continuous enrollment required once work on the thesis has begun. May be repeated for credit.

PHIL 6100. Epistemology. 3 hours. Examines the nature of knowledge and justification. Issues include the relationship between knowledge and opinion, skepticism and the possibility of knowledge, the nature of truth and meaning, the roles of perception, social construction, and gender and ethnicity in knowing and believing.

PHIL 6150. Metaphysics. 3 hours. Examination of problems that arise from attempts to give an account of reality and its manifestations: possibility and necessity, causality, the nature of events, mind-body, substance versus property dualism, and universals.

PHIL 6200. Existentialism. 3 hours. An examination of the place of humanity in the world and its relations to problems of self, authenticity, freedom, and anxiety; Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre. Seminar may be a survey of philosophers or single-philosopher oriented.

PHIL 6250. Aesthetics. 3 hours. An examination of the theories of the beauty of nature and art in the history of philosophy as found in the visual arts and literature to understand the nature of aesthetic experience, artistic expression, the sublime, and the relation of art to nature, truth, ethics, and culture.

PHIL 6350. American Philosophy. 3 hours. An examination of the development of pragmatism and American philosophy in the central philosophical works of Pierce, James, Dewey, and Mead; as well as philosophical contributions of later pragmatism

PHIL 6400. Philosophy of Technology. 3 hours. An examination of the nature of technology as well as the effects and transformation of technologies upon human knowledge, activities, societies, and environments. The aim of philosophy of technology is to understand, evaluate, and criticize the ways in which technologies reflect as well as change human life, individually, socially, and politically.

PHIL 6450. Bioethics. 3 hours. Examines the historical development and contested nature of bioethical inquiry in relation to the history of philosophic ethics more generally. Explores topics within bioethics, including clinical ethics, ethics of research and emerging technologies, the relationship with policy and politics, and the relationship with environmental ethics.

PHIL 6500. Cultural Criticism. 3 hours. A transdisciplinary analysis of culture, popular culture, politics, subjectivity, and everyday life. Topics may include Marxism and critical theory, power and knowledge, deconstruction and literary theory, semiotics and psychoanalytic theory, post-colonial discourse and globalization theory.

PHIL 6550. Religion and Science. 3 hours. An examination of the complex historical and contemporary relationship between sciences and religions. Historical elements focus on the rise of modern science and "the Galileo Affair." Typologies of the relationship between science and religion as well as theoretical similarities and differences between the disciplines will also be studied. Contemporary issues include religion and ecology, intelligent design, and the expansion of theories of science and religion to include non-Western religious traditions.

PHIL 6560. Judaism and Philosophy. 3 hours. Philosophical examination of a wide range of Judaic texts-- biblical, medieval and modern--which address Jewish law, history and thought from diverse points of view. Topics may include contemporary controversies over Judaism's teachings concerning environmental ethics.

PHIL 6650. Philosophy of Water. 3 hours.
An examination of water issues at the interface of science, policy, philosophy, art and culture. Philosophical approaches include ethics, aesthetics and ontology of water, epistemological analyses of water conflicts, local and global governance theories.

PHIL 6710. Ecofeminism. 3 hours. Examines the merger of feminism with environmental ethics and its subsequent evolution. Subject matter includes the analysis of patriarchy, gender issues and multicultural perspectives within the larger framework of ethical and philosophical responses to ecocrises.

PHIL 6720. Religion and Ecology. 3 hours. An exploration of resources for environmental philosophy in non-Western traditions, focusing on South and East Asian traditions.

PHIL 6730. Christianity and the Environment. 3 hours. A historic and contemporary overview of Christian philosophy and theology concerning the environment.

PHIL 6740. Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. 3 hours. This course will investigate the policy turn in environmental philosophy, exploring ways to make environmental ethics/philosophy more relevant to decision-makers, public agencies, and stakeholders groups.

PHIL 6750. Environmental Justice. 3 hours. This course represents an effort to critically engage the Environmental Justice Movement (broadly construed) by studying its histories, the terms and concepts evolving from the movement, the philosophical implications of the movement, and the struggles of people shaping the movement. Examines the underlying notions of environmental goods and harms, the perspectives of environmental law and policy, and the politics of environmental identities.

PHIL 6760. Topics in Environmental Philosophy. 3 hours. A focused examination of the perennial or emerging topics in environmental philosophy, such as the intrinsic value of nature, monism versus pluralism, ecophenomenology, holism versus individualism, and non-Western explorations of environmental ethics and philosophy.

PHIL 6780. Subantarctic Biocultural Conservation. 3 hours. In-depth study of the relationship between subantarctic ecosystems and cultures of southern South America including geography, climate, ethnography, history, and ecology, which exposes students to both the practical and theoretical aspects of biocultural conservation, including its interdisciplinary character integrating the sciences and humanities. Same as BIOL 5053. Meets with BIOL 4053/PHIL 4053.

PHIL 6781. Tracing Darwin's Path. 3 hours. Annual in-depth field course that explores subantarctic biota, geography, history, cultures and ecosystems of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, integrating ecological science and field environmental ethics approaches to the study and conservation of biocultural diversity. Same as BIOL:5054. Prerequisite(s): Approval of instructor. BIOL 5350 and PHIL 6780 recommended.

PHIL 6900-6910. Special Problems. 1-3 hours each. Research by doctoral students in fields of special interest. Prerequisite(s): consent of department.

PHIL 6950. Doctoral Dissertation. 3, 6 or 9 hours. To be scheduled only with consent of department. 12 hours credit required. No credit assigned until dissertation has been completed and filed with the graduate dean. Doctoral students must maintain continuous enrollment in this course subsequent to passing qualifying examination for admission to candidacy. May be repeated for credit.

PHIL 6960. Seminar in Problems of Philosophy. 3 hours. Intensive analysis of major philosophical issues against the background of classical and contemporary investigations. May be repeated for credit as topics vary.