Descriptions of upcoming courses


Spring 2019


PHI 151

Introduction to Philosophy

H001: MW 9:45am – 11:15am

Sam Bruton

This class is designed to introduce students to some of philosophy’s most challenging and delightful puzzles: self-identity, the nature of reality, free will, and living a meaningful life.  Beginning with Socrates and his timeless defense of the pursuit of wisdom, we will journey through several important philosophical theories that continue to shape current debates.  We will end by discussing an ethical and political issue of contemporary relevance: racial justice and America’s criminal justice system.  Sapere aude – “dare to be wise!”



PHI 151

Introduction to Philosophy

H002, H003, and H004

Michael DeArmey

An introduction to the questions philosophers have posed about the nature of reality and the human condition, and the answers they have offered to these questions.
Lectures and lively class discussions.




PHI 151 

Introduction to Philosophy

H006 & H007 (Online)

Katarzyna Paprzycka Hausman (Dr. P.)

This course is an introduction to three major areas of philosophy: metaphysics (study of being), epistemology (study of knowledge) and ethics (study of morality). It will take into account both traditional and contemporary approaches. We will begin with some issues in the philosophy of religion: Can one prove (by means of mathematical or logical tools) that God exists? Is the existence of evil compatible with the existence of an all-good all-powerful being? We will then consider some issues in epistemology: Do we know (as opposed to merely believe) anything? Can we know what will happen in the future (scientists frequently make such claims to knowledge)? We will end with the consideration of some issues in ethics: Is morality relative? What does it mean to be moral? We will read excerpts from St. Anselm, Descartes, Locke, Hume, J.St. Mill, Kant as well as contemporary authors. The course is largely self-paced but you are required to meet five deadlines.



PHI 171

Ethics and Good Living

H001: MW 3:00pm - 4:30pm

H002: MW 4:45pm - 6:15pm

Morgan Rempel 

What kinds of choices are “moral” choices, and how can we best make moral choices? Why should I follow moral rules? Is morality a matter of the head, the heart, or both? What is “conscience” and where does it come from? Does following my conscience necessarily mean I do the right thing? What gives life meaning? In this course we will consider questions such as these, with particular attention paid to exploring the role of ethics in “good living”.



PHI 253


MW 11:30 - 1:00

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! The class meets MW 11:30-1:00.



PHI 301

Philosophy and Film 


Susan Mullican 

Movies are an important and integral component to our lives.  Philosophy and Film looks at both US and foreign films and delves into their deeper meanings.  If you like movies (and even if you don’t) you will gain a different perspective on movies of all types.





REL 324

Religion and Animals 

Tuesdays 6:30pm - 9:45pm

Daniel Capper

Across times and cultures animals have played myriad roles in human religiosity.  Animals, and natural beings more broadly, have been gods, guides, and gurus; symbols for both the highest virtues and the most debased vices; both sacrificed and protected from sacrifice; and both central to and irrelevant to salvation.  This course examines some of these interactions between human religions and the nonhuman natural world.  Topics include fundamental theories of human-animal interactions, the psychology of human experience of nature, environmental ethics and metaphysics, pet keeping, religious perspectives on the uses of animals in science, and the appearances of animals in a variety of religious settings.



REL 336

Christian Tradition

M 3:00 – 6:15

Amy Slagle

“Christian Tradition” (Religion 336) provides an overview of the historical development, varieties, and modern interpretations of Christian doctrine and practice as they are understood and debated among theologians and writers representing Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Central to our reflections will be the notion of “Tradition” itself, the constituents and necessity of which have been highly contested among Christians over the centuries. While focused on the texts at hand, we will intersperse our investigations with other non-textual examples of Christian expression such as art, architecture, ritual, film, and music. 




PHI 356


TR 1:15 – 2:45

Sam Bruton

This class focuses on some of humanity’s most profound and influential answers to the classic question: “How should I live?”  Specifically, we will examine the three great ethical theories in the Western philosophical tradition: Aristotle’s virtue theory, Utilitarianism, as defended by John Stuart Mill, and Immanuel Kant’s deontological ethics.  Through studying these great works, students will gain new perspectives on moral dilemmas in the contemporary world and their own lives.  The insights of these classic philosophers will be applied to a wide range of ethical issues, from controversial questions about discrimination and exploitation to everyday virtues such as honesty and friendship. 


PHI 410 

Classical Philosophy

TR 3:00 - 4:30

Morgan Rempel

An introduction to ancient western philosophy via the study of a handful of classic texts from Greece and Rome. Thinkers will include Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, and the Stoics. Topics will include life, death, virtue, friendship, love, reality, meaning, pleasure, pain, happiness, tranquility, God/the gods, the soul, and more.



PHI 451

Political Philosophy

MW 3:00 - 4:30

Paula Smithka

People live in societies. Thus, questions about the nature of that society and a person’s relationship to that society are central. How should a society be governed? Is the existence of the state justified? What powers ought a state to have and what are the limits of that power? What obligations do persons have to the state, if any? What is the state’s obligations to its citizens, if any? We will explore various theories of political philosophy that address these questions in addition to investigating issues concerning liberty, rights, and equality, among others. This class meets MW 3:00-4:30.



PHI 457

Environmental Ethics

Susan Mullican

Fridays 9:30am - 12:45

The BP Oil spill, Hurricanes Florence, Katrina, Marie, devastating fires, rising tide levels.  If any of these things have caught your attention, this is the course for you.  This class will focus on the Geopolitical implications of environmental policy while understanding the history of environmental ethics. 




Coming Fall 2019!



Michael DeArmey

A study of the types of wrong-doing and evil-doing.  Included are the analysis of genocide, torture, terrorism, slavery, and the destruction of the earth as a biosphere.  Lectures and class discussion.