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Course Descriptions
Philosophy Group A:
Philosophical Fundamentals

Philosophy Group B:
Problems in Philosophy
Philosophy Group C:
History of Philosophy
Philosophy Group D:
Capstone

Religious Studies

Philosophy (PHIL)
PHIL110 CORE INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS (C)*
This course introduces students to philosophy through the exploration of fundamental ethical questions. Among the themes treated in this course are moral obligation, virtue, justice, law, good and evil. Students will learn to read primary texts, to develop reasoning skills, and to explore the nature of the good life (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: ENGL 110 

GROUP A: PHILOSOPHICAL FUNDAMENTALS
PHIL 241 LOGIC
This course develops students’ understanding of the character, power, and limits of reasoned argument.  Students will learn how to make arguments and how to critically evaluate the arguments of others.  This will be accomplished through the study of both informal and formal logic, as well as through the application of logic to a variety of problems.  Topics to be investigated include validity, soundness, syllogistic logic, informal reasoning, and propositional symbolic logic (3 credits).
Prerequisite:  ENGL 110

PHIL 302 PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN NATURE 
This course investigates the question “what are we?” in order to develop students’ understanding of human nature. Some of the following questions will also be explored: Is a human being only material? Is a human being only a mind? What is the relationship between mind and body? Is there such a thing as a soul? Are human beings essentially social or solitary? Is there free will? What does it mean to love? What is self-knowledge and how can it be attained? Ideas and major thinkers from a variety of philosophical traditions will be considered (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 314 ETHICAL THEORY
This course develops students’ understanding of philosophical ethics through an investigation of several major ethical theories. Possible theories to be investigated include moral relativism, virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, natural law, moral genealogy, sentimentalism, and care ethics. Students will learn to assess the merits and limits of the theories studied and to critically analyze their own lives from the perspective of philosophical ethics (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 315 BUSINESS ETHICS
This course integrates the insights of philosophy and business studies, so that students will better understand the role of ethics in the business environment. Students will examine several ethical theories and apply these theories to situations that confront contemporary business professionals. Primary sources from philosophers and business theorists, case studies, and contemporary articles will be examined.

Possible topics for investigation include the role that work and money play in a good life, the elements of ethical business leadership, the ethical effects of corporate culture, the nature and limits of corporate social responsibility, workplace ethics, accounting ethics, environmental business ethics, marketing ethics, and moral issues facing international corporations (3 credits).  
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 319 BEAUTY, ART, AND APPEARANCE
This course is an introduction to aesthetics, which is the study of appearances. Students will investigate perception, taste, and beauty. The course will cover a variety of theories about what beauty is and its importance for human beings. It will examine those theories in relation to natural and man-made objects, including art, literature, and music (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 320 SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
This course develops students’ understanding of social and political theory through the examination of a variety of classic texts. Among the themes treated in this course are authority, freedom, equality, justice, law, community, natural right, power, government, and social construction. The effect of social and political structures upon individuals will be considered.  Major thinkers studied will vary but may include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill, Arendt, Foucault, Rawls, and Nozick (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 324 GOD, MAN, AND THE COSMOS
This course considers questions in the philosophy of religion by examining especially the relationship between God, human beings, and reality. It will also consider how conclusions about one affects conclusions about the others. The course will investigate the relation between faith and reason, will examine arguments for and against the existence of God, will ask what it means for us if God does or does not exist, and will end with a consideration of religion and culture in light of these earlier discussions (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 343 METAPHYSICS
The course introduces students to metaphysics, which is the study of the fundamental nature of reality. Topics such as being, nothingness, change, stability, unity, multiplicity, appearance, reality, causation, potentiality, actuality, substance, time, space, freedom, determinism, and God will be investigated.  The course may examine more than one philosophical approach to metaphysical questions. The relationship between metaphysics and other theoretical disciplines (such as logic, biology, physics, epistemology, and theology) will also be considered (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 345 TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHICAL FUNDAMENTALS
This course focuses more deeply on a fundamental area in philosophy not already covered in the course listings. The fundamental area will be announced prior to the time of registration. Students are welcome to suggest possible topics to the philosophy faculty (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

GROUP B:  PROBLEMS IN PHILOSOPHY
PHIL 353 THOUGHT AND CULTURE
This course investigates how thought and culture interrelate. It will examine what culture is, how it shapes the way we think, and how the way we think shapes culture. There will be the opportunity to consider particular cultural issues and the philosophical ideas that underlie those issues. Readings from the history of philosophy, from contemporary thought, and from current events will be included (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 357 PHILOSOPHY OF LOVE
Love is the inspiration and subject of countless songs, stories, and artworks. It guides how we live and who we live with. It helps us to structure our lives, our societies, our cultures. Love is an essential feature of human life. But what is it? This course will examine this question by investigating different types of love and what it is that all those types of love have in common, and then by looking at the relation between love and some other essential features of human life (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 359 MEANING AND HAPPINESS
This course examines several philosophical explanations of the meaning of life as well as several philosophical accounts of the nature of human happiness. Additionally, the internal and external obstacles which confront human beings in their pursuit of meaning and happiness will be examined.

Some of the following questions will be considered:  Can one establish a meaningful life by being devoted to anything whatsoever or are there certain things which all human beings must desire in order to live in a purposeful manner? Is happiness a feeling of pleasure, an excellent activity or a state of calm equilibrium? What role, if any, do pleasure, honor, virtue, friendship, romantic love, self-esteem, a relationship with God, and vocational goals play in a happy life? (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 361 PHILOSOPHY OF LITERATURE
This course will examine the philosophical questions that literature raises by studying the thought of both historical and contemporary philosophers. We will consider, among other questions, what literature is, whether literature conveys truth, how and why literature elicits emotions, and what makes literature ethical or unethical. Our investigations will include references to works of literature as well as to philosophy (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 362 WORK AND LEISURE
We spend much of our lives working or preparing to work. We pursue education for the sake of having a career. But why do we work? What is work? Why is it important? Is it all that is important? In this course, we will examine different conceptions of the relation between work and the rest of life. We will consider whether work is the goal of life, or whether work is the means to some further goal. We will reflect on economic systems, religion, culture, and philosophy and how each should inform the place that work holds in life (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 363 PHILOSOPHY AND TRAGEDY
This course examines tragedy from a philosophical perspective. The careful study of a variety of tragic works (such as those by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Shakespeare, Racine, Schiller, Brecht, Beckett, Miller, and Achebe) is combined with the detailed investigation of several philosophical writings about tragedy (such as those by Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Hegel, Schlegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, Butler, and Barthes). The tragic themes of fate, fortune, moral luck, order, chaos, irreconcilable goods, suffering, hubris, heroism, and human vulnerability will be examined.  Additionally, students will be encouraged to meditate upon the degree to which human life is tragic (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 365 PHILOSOPHY OF DEATH
This course investigates a variety of ancient and modern approaches to death and will encourage students to philosophically confront their own mortality. The metaphysical, psychological, cultural, and ethical implications of dying and being dead will be examined. Some of the following questions will be considered: What is death? Is death the end of our existence or is some part of us immortal? What does death suggest about the relationship between the mind and the body? What does it mean to be an individual who is aware of his or her own demise? Should death be feared, accepted, ignored or embraced? Can meditating on death help us to live better lives? (3 credits) 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 367 VIRTUE ETHICS: EAST AND WEST
This course examines the works of several Eastern and Western philosophers who claim that virtue is the key to living a good life. Major themes of the course include excellence, character, habituation, activity, flourishing, a person’s social role, practical wisdom, theoretical wisdom, the common good, the natural and the theological virtues, and the sage.

Eastern philosophical traditions (such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Mohism, Taoism, and Falsafah) will be compared and contrasted with Western philosophical traditions (such as Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Scholasticism, moral sentimentalism, and care ethics). Additionally, the difference between virtue ethics and other ethical theories (such as consequentialism and deontology) will be considered (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 369 PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
This course investigates social responsibility from a philosophical perspective. Among the themes treated in this course are marginalization, discrimination, genocide, anger, justice, moral obligation, human rights, love, service, and charity. Students will examine the connections between philosophical theory and social action and will explore their ethical obligations to others.  Students will be required to participate in community service projects outside of class (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 370: TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS
This course focuses more deeply on a specific philosophical problem not already covered in the course listings. The problem to be examined will be announced prior to the time of registration. Students are welcome to suggest possible topics to the philosophy faculty (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

GROUP C: HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
PHIL 404 ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
This course introduces students to the emergence of Western philosophy in Ancient Greece.  Students will investigate the teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Additionally, the extant writings of Presocratic philosophers and sophists may be examined. The perennial philosophical questions posed by Ancient philosophers, especially concerning the cosmos, knowledge, virtue and politics, will be considered (3 credits).  
Prerequisite:  PHIL 110 

PHIL 405 HELLENISTIC AND ROMAN PHILOSOPHY
This course introduces students to the major schools of Hellenistic philosophy and to the impact of these schools upon the Roman world. Some of the theoretical and practical teachings of Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Skepticism, Cynicism, Neo-Platonism, Roman eclecticism, Hellenistic Judaism, and Hellenistic Christianity may be considered. Special attention will be given to Hellenistic and Roman understanding of philosophy as a way of life (3 credits). 
Prerequisite:  PHIL 110

PHIL 406 MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
This course introduces students to the universal human questions that were developed to sophisticated degrees during the medieval period, including questions about our ability to know God and whether God exists at all, the nature of the world, and freedom, both human and divine. We will read foundational medieval thinkers, such as Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Averroes, and Al-Ghazali in order to become acquainted with the lively intellectual debates that were occurring in the Middle Ages and that affect us still today (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 407 LATE MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE PHILOSOPHY
This course will examine the foundations and development of philosophy from the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It may examine, among other topics, necessity and causation, universals and particulars, the relation between faith and reason, and the place of human beings in the world. Among the thinkers read may be Averroes, Aquinas, Scotus, William of Ockham, Pico della Mirandola, and Thomas More (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 408 EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHY
This course introduces students to 16th, 17th, and 18th century philosophy.  Students will investigate Early Modern ideas about knowledge, reality, science, politics, religion, and the human individual. Additionally, some of ways that Early Modern ideas challenged earlier thinking will be considered. The philosophers studied will vary and may include Machiavelli, Montaigne, Bacon, Hobbes, Pascal, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Adam Smith, Diderot, Voltaire, Rousseau, Wolff, and Kant (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 409 LATE MODERN PHILOSOPHY
This course introduces students to 18th and 19th century philosophy. Students will investigate the themes of enlightenment, freedom, morality, politics, self-consciousness, and historical development. The philosophers studied will vary and may include Vico, Rousseau, Kant, Herder, Lessing, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, Marx, Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche, Pierce, and James (3 credits).
Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 410 EXISTENTIALISM
This course introduces students to the 20th century philosophical movement known as existentialism, as well as its roots in 19th century philosophy and literature. Students will investigate existentialist themes such as the individual, alienation, the absurd, nihilism, angst, authenticity, transcendence, meaning, and freedom. The philosophers studied will vary and may include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Camus, Marcel, Buber, and Jaspers (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

PHIL 412 DIALOGUES WITH GREAT THINKERS
This course enables students to engage in an intensive study of one or two major philosophers.  The central questions, the theoretical and practical insights, the historical background, and the contemporary relevance of the major philosopher/s selected will be examined in detail. The philosopher/s covered will be specified prior to registration. Students are welcome to suggest possible thinkers (3 credits). Prerequisite: PHIL 110 

PHIL 470 TOPICS IN THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
This course focuses more deeply on a specific philosophical topic not already covered in the course listings. The topic will be announced prior to the time of registration. Students are welcome to suggest possible topics to the philosophy faculty (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: PHIL 110

GROUP D: CAPSTONE
PHIL 490 SENIOR SEMINAR
This course provides a capstone experience to each philosophy major’s undergraduate career. In this advanced seminar, a fundamental area of philosophy, a major philosophical problem, a historical period or a single philosopher will be investigated in great detail. Several seminar papers and oral presentations designed to challenge students and advance their ability to reason, question, and wonder, will be assigned. This course is required for philosophy majors and is optional for philosophy minors (3 credits).
Prerequisites: PHIL 110, at least three additional courses in philosophy, and senior standing.

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Religious Studies 
RELS 208 INTRODUCTION TO RELIGIOUS STUDIES (C)* 
A critical and in-depth study of fundamental dimensions of religious experience common to a wide diversity of faiths. This includes reflection upon the responsibility of the individual to and for the community of other people and nature (3 credits). 

RELS 211 JUDAISM: FAITH AND HISTORY
This course is a study of the Jewish People as they evolved through many ages; how the major historical events affected them as a people, in their theology, and in their religious practices and beliefs (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 215 INTRODUCTION TO THE EASTERN RELIGIONS
A survey of the major Eastern religions, opportunities afforded for visits to Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and other religious centers, institutions and monasteries in the New York area (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 295 INTRODUCTION TO SPIRITUALITY
A look at self-development within a religious context, the journey of an emphasis on the self into the sacred, spiritual methods and as traditions of Christianity and other religions; readings and discussions of significant spiritual texts (3 credits). 
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 305 UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
What is the Bible; texts, authorship, literary forms, transmission through manuscripts and translation, the ecumenical Bible canon. How to read the Bible; history of interpretation hermeneutics and the new hermeneutic experience of the Bible (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 313 CHRISTIAN BELIEF
An exploration of the major beliefs of the Christian faith tradition emphasizing the interconnections among the symbols of creation, fall, salvation, and consummation. Emphasis will be placed on contemporary theological interpretations of these symbols (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 327 MODERN CATHOLIC THINKERS
A study of Catholic faith and experience in the light of modern thought. Examples of innovative Catholic thinkers of this century such as Merton, Rahner, Daly,Teilhard de Chardin, Kung, Sobrino, Ruether will be examined (to name a few) (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 350 THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
An introduction to the history, distinctive doctrines and practices, structure, and contemporary controversial issues of the single largest Christian church. Emphasis will be placed on comparing and contrasting the values of this tradition with those prevalent in contemporary society (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 410 DEATH AS A FACT OF LIFE
An examination of the religious, legal, medical, and psychological questions concerning death. Reflections on the moral aspects of such issues as care of the dying and bereaved, cessation of treatment, euthanasia, suicide, and the hope of life after death (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 416 SAINTS: YESTERDAY AND TODAY
The course examines the function of holy men and women both within their religious traditions and more especially in their ethical perspectives on the contemporary world. Included will be a study of the cult of the saints, hagiography, and “Saints” in our own times (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 420 BELIEF AND UNBELIEF
A critical analysis of the historical, philosophical, scientific, and religious roots of contemporary atheism and agnosticism. It will include an in-depth critical analysis of the various reasons why people do and do not believe in God (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 429 EVIL, SUFFERING, AND GOD
A critical study of perhaps the most poignant of all religious issues: the “Problem of Evil”, or “How can a good God allow suffering and evil?” A variety of responses to this question from several major religious and philosophical traditions will be examined and brought to bear upon contemporary problems such as the Holocaust, AIDS, world hunger, abortion, euthanasia, etc (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 430 CONTEMPORARY MORAL ISSUES (C)* 
This course is a theological and ethical investigation of selected moral problems of our time such as truth in government, violence, economic injustice, human trafficking, and racism. Student suggestions and discussion of additional moral issues will be considered (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 435 CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
The concept and development of human love. Scriptural, sacramental, and ethical considerations in marriage and sexuality. The problems of sexual relationships, contraception, abortion and other topics are considered in the light of Judeo-Christian theology, other religious traditions and the social sciences (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 370 TOPICS IN RELIGION
In-depth investigation of particular areas of religion or theology occasioned by contemporary major events or controversies within religion. Detailed course descriptions will be available in the Department at the time of registration (3 credits).
Prerequisite: RELS 208

RELS 470 SENIOR SEMINAR (TOPICS IN RELIGION)
This course provides a capstone experience to each major’s undergraduate career. In this advanced seminar, students will work on a particular area of theology, a particular historical period of theological challenge, a particular theologian, or relationships between/among the religions. Seminar papers and oral presentations are assigned to challenge the student’s critical and constructive thought and questioning in the related area of theology. This course is required for all majors in Religious Studies, and it is optional for Religious Studies minors. It is open to all students, but pre-requisites must be met (3 credits). 
Prerequisites: RELS 208, at least two additional courses in Religious Studies, and senior standing.     

RELS 460, 461 INDEPENDENT STUDY
In consultation with a professor and approval from the Department Chair (3 credits). 

(C)* May be taken to meet Core Requirements

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