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School of Humanities

Philosophy Undergraduate Course Descriptions

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Spring 2024

 

PHI 151 
Introduction to Philosophy 
ONLINE (multiple sections) 
Dr. Michael DeArmey 

Introduction to Philosophy, is an examination of the thinking of the great philosophers concerning major questions about the nature of reality and the human condition and values. 
 
 
PHI 151 
Introduction to Philosophy 
M/W 2:30 – 3:45 PM 
Dr. Paula Smithka 
 
Aristotle says, “For it is owing to their wonder that people both now begin and at first began to philosophize”. 
 
Philosophy begins in wonder. It’s about asking fundamental questions—questions like, “Does God exist?”; “What is the nature of reality?”; “Is what I perceive really the way things are?”; “What is a Self?”; “Am I the same person over time?”; “What makes an action morally right?” “What is justice?” 
Study philosophy and unlock your mind! 
 
 
PHI 171  
Ethics and Good Living 
ONLINE (multiple sections) 
Dr. Ian Dunkle 
 
What is it to live well? This is one of the oldest and most foundational questions in philosophy, and for good reason: what could be more important than understanding how to live well?—Maybe, actually living well!—Granted. But how can we hope to live well unless we have at least some idea of what that is? 
Answering this question is hard, though, for several reasons, including these: First, it seems to be ambiguous (to live uprightly? to maximize self-interest?). Second, common answers are ambiguous; there are different senses in which something might be good for you. Third, popular opinions on the good life contradict one another (consider what your parents tell you about the importance and non-importance of pursuing a lucrative career). But where else can we get a footing on the question except in popular opinions? 
This course explores the central philosophical puzzles and controversies regarding the good life and introduces students to major accounts offered in both the history of philosophy and in contemporary value-theory. Throughout the course students will also develop skills of critical thinking and argument analysis. 
 
 
PHI 171 
Ethics and Good Living 
M/W 11:00 – 12:15 PM 
Dr. Susan Mullican 
**GULF PARK CAMPUS** 
 
 
PHI 253 
Logic 
M/W 11:00AM - 12:15 PM 
Paula Smithka 
 
Developing good critical thinking skills is useful for clarity of reasoning and evaluating the views of others both in philosophical studies and everyday life. In Logic, you will learn the importance of having evidence or reasons to support one’s views, how to evaluate arguments for their strength and cogency, and how to construct good arguments. In addition, you will not only learn what constitutes a good/strong argument but we will examine common mistakes in reasoning. The reasoning skills that you begin to develop by taking a logic course will aid you in whatever academic or professional directions you choose to take. This course will make you a detail person! “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”—Spock 
 
 
HON 303 
Virtue or Vengeance: Ethical Dimensions of Criminal Punishment and the Death Penalty 
M/W 2:30 – 3:45 PM 
Dr. Sam Bruton 
 
Why and how should crimes be punished by the state? Should the state execute persons guilty of the most serious crimes? Did you know that Mississippi now leads the world in mass incarceration? In this Honors Seminar, we will explore these and other issues regarding the ethical, historical, political and empirical dimensions of the criminal justice system in Mississippi and the U.S. We will examine the evolution of criminal punishment in the U.S., the effectiveness and discriminatory impact of mass incarceration, the personal and political effects of wrongful convictions and ongoing controversies regarding the death penalty. The class will feature a variety of distinguished guest speakers and a wide range of reading materials drawn from philosophy, criminal justice, history, and sociology. Students will participate in an empirical research project on contemporary attitudes towards the death penalty and a new digital humanities project on Mississippi’s death row.   
 
 
PHI 320 
Contemporary Moral Issues: Environmental Feminism 
T/TH 9:30 – 10:45 AM ONLINE CHAT 
Dr. Susan Mullican 
 

PHI 351 
Critical Thinking 
Tues. 6:00 – 9:00 PM ONLINE CHAT 
Dr. Susan Mullican 
 
 
PHI 356 
Ethics 
ONLINE 
Dr. Sam Bruton 
 
 
PHI 440/540 
American Philosophy 
ONLINE 
Dr. Michael DeArmey 
 
American Philosophy, examines the thinking of significant Americans from the Colonial Period through the development of Pragmatism, as found in the writings of Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and others. 
 
 
REL 131 
Comparative Religion 
MW 9:30-10:45 
MW 11:00-12:15 
Dr. Timothy Gutmann 
 
How can we talk about what matters most to people? How can we think about what is sacred to us? How can we encounter strangers in space and time on their own terms? For centuries, the term “religion” has been used to include ideas of what is sacred, what is forbidden, what is out of this world, and what is everyday, and the stories and ideas that inspire us to think these ways. This is a class for everyone curious about religion, both the religion they know and what they want to know more about. 
 
 
REL 131  
Comparative Religion 
ONLINE or T/TH 9:30 – 10:45 AM 
Dr. Amy Slagle 
 
 
REL 304 
Survey of Islamic History 
MW 2:30-3:45 
Dr. Timothy Gutmann 

The Muslim world today is an intriguing and complex place. This course introduces Islamic traditions, worship, art, and intellectual and social history. We will study the structure and development of Muslim communities and traditions from the early period to the present. We will focus on the importance of the life of the prophet Muḥammad, Islamic law, theology, philosophy, mysticism and literature in Muslim societies in the past and today. We will try to understand the effects of modernizing processes on the Muslim world and Muslims’ understanding of their traditions in the present moment. 
 
REL 340 
Beyond the Grave: Religion & the Afterlife 
ONLINE 
Dr. Amy Slagle 
 
 

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