Descriptions of upcoming courses


in class


FALL 2017





PHI 406 Philosophy of Human Nature

‘Philosophy of Human Nature’ could be taken to mean a variety of things, given the many facets of human existence and our nature (if there is such a thing). However, in this class, we will focus on the nature of the self (if there is one), personal identity, the nature of mind and its relation to the body, and the nature of consciousness, all of which are central questions for our existence.  The class is taught by Dr. Paula Smithka and meets MWF 11:00-11:50
COURSE ID: #8647 (PHI 406) / #8648 (PHI 506)


PHI 453 Philosophy of Law

This class focuses on several of the classic thinkers and perennial issues in the philosophy of law as well as pivotal Supreme Court decisions.  The thinkers include Aquinas, Austin and Hart, and the issues include Mill’s Harm principle, the justification of punishment, and the nature and aims of tort law.  The list of Supreme Court decisions to be covered include Roe v. Wade, Citizens United, Plessey v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education.

REL 320 Tibetan Religions

This course explores the traditional Tibetan cultural dialogue between folk religiosity, the Bön religion, Islam, and Buddhism.  These four interpenetrating religious styles are highlighted primarily within a religious-historical survey from pre-Buddhist Tibet to the present.  Complementing this historical approach is a more typological one, singling out aspects for investigation such as shamanism and spirit possession, Tantric Buddhist theory and practice, reincarnate leaders, models of sainthood, devotionalism, and magic and divination.  From this students learn about indigenous religiosity, a global religious tradition, and manners of interaction between a local and a global tradition, including religious importation and syncretism.  The depth of approach allows students to appreciate the different varieties of religions in Tibet while it gives a cross-sectional view of a representative Asian culture. The course meets MWF 1:00-1:50 PM.