Courses: Current and Upcoming

Current Semester Courses

FALL 2014

PHILOSOPHY

PHIL 10100-01 Introduction to Philosophy
1 HM HU LA TIDE TMBS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Rothschild Place 145, Ext. 41260, kaufmanf@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: None.
STUDENTS: Any.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To introduce students to basic philosophical methods and problems. Topics to be covered include the existence/nonexistence of God, theory of knowledge, the mind/body problem, theories of moral obligation and social and political organization.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three exams, final exam, class presentation and class participation.

PHIL 10100-02,-03 Introduction to Philosophy 1 HM HU LA TIDE TMBS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Rothschild Place 138, Ext. 43077, jpeeters@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITE: None.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on perennial philosophical problems including: (1) Does God exist? (2) What is the extent and possibility of knowledge? (3) What is the relationship between the mind and the body? (4) What sorts of changes can I as an individual survive? (5) What ought we to do? We will read mostly contemporary philosophical works.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture with significant amounts of time devoted to discussion. The focus is on learning analytical philosophical skills.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Participation, reading/reading guides, quizzes, papers, exams.

PHIL 10100-04 Introduction to Philosophy 1 HM HU LA TIDE TMBS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Craig Duncan, Rothschild Place 144, Ext. 43580, cduncan@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: None.
STUDENTS: Any.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To introduce students to basic philosophical methods and problems. Topics to be covered include the existence/nonexistence of God, the foundations of knowledge, free will, personal identity, and theories of moral obligation.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers and exams; A-F.

PHIL 10100-05,-06 Introduction to Philosophy 1 HM HU LA TIDE TMBS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Staff, Rothschild Place 140, Ext. 41378
ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITES: None.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduction to philosophy that focuses on perennial philosophical problems, such as the relation of the mind to the body, the possibility of truth and objectivity, the purpose of human life, and the existence of God, utilizing classical, modern, or contemporary works.

PHIL 20300-01 Introduction to Logic 2B LA NS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Murday, Rothschild Place 143, Ext. 47029, bmurday@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities, sciences, or mathematics.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Study translation between English sentences and logical notation, the logic of truth functions, and proofs in sentential and predicate logic, with an ultimate aim of assessing the validity of arguments.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture with homework problems.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Five exams and class participation; A-F.

PHIL 20300-02,-03 Introduction to Logic 2B LA NS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Robert Klee, Rothschild Place 141, Ext. 41276, klee@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities, sciences, or mathematics.
STUDENTS: Any.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To introduce the students to the fundamentals of formal reasoning.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Four exams.

PHIL 20400-01 Choosing Wisely 1 HU LA QL
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Rothschild Place 138, Ext. 43077, jpeeters@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: We face decisions of how best to pursue our goals all the time. Are some principles of choosing what to do more rational than others? Answering this question is the goal of rational choice theory; a joint effort of philosophers, mathematicians, economists, and other social scientists. The applications of rational choice theory are diverse, being used in economics, evolutionary biology, sociology, political science, and philosophy. We will look at some applications in all of these areas. The course is divided roughly into thirds. The first third of the class will deal with individuals making decisions on their own (think: choosing the smartest investment given your own particular goals). The second third will deal with making decisions partially based on what you think the decisions of other reasonable people will be (think: making the best move in a game based on both your own goals and knowledge of the other person's goals). The final third will deal with both how to aggregate the preferences of many individuals to come to a conclusion about the group's preference, and principles of how to divide goods among many people in a fair way (think: different ways of voting and dividing a cake equally at a party).
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, group work through problems, discussion of philosophical issues.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Homework, exams, and participation.

PHIL 21200-01 Introduction to Ethics 1 HM HU LA TIDE
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Rothschild Place 145, Ext. 41260, kaufmanf@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduction to the problems and theories of normative and critical ethics. Readings are selected from both classical and contemporary sources. We will consider a wide range of contemporary moral issues, such as abortion, war, capital punishment, the treatment of animals, and aid to the needy.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 3 exams, final exam, short written assignments (class participation too); traditional grading.

PHIL 21200-02 Introduction to Ethics 1 HM HU LA TIDE
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Rothschild Place 142, Ext. 45713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Students from all disciplines are welcome. Expect willingness to engage in critical in-class discussion.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Classical and modern readings on the foundations of moral theory.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three exams; quizzes; participation.

PHIL 23000-01 Bioethics 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Rothschild Place 138, Ext. 43077, jpeeters@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITE: Sophomore standing or above.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on a selection of applied ethical topics. Possible topics include: abortion, cloning, euthanasia, and resource allocation.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture with significant amounts of time devoted to discussion. The focus is on learning analytical philosophical skills.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Participation, reading, quizzes, term paper, exams.

PHIL 23000-02 Bioethics 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Tatiana Patrone, Rothschild Place 146, Ext. 47347, tpatrone@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing or above.
STUDENTS: Interested students of all disciplines are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is an introductory course in biomedical ethics. The developments in biomedical science that occurred in the course of the XX century have opened the door to some important philosophical problems: When – if at all – is it morally appropriate to terminate a pregnancy? Are doctors morally justified in helping patients to end their lives? Is it morally permissible to change the genetic make-up of our children? Is cloning morally objectionable? To what extent should the state be allowed to legislate over issues such as these? The course in bioethics is meant to acquaint you with some key arguments, perspectives, ideas, and positions that philosophers have developed concerning these questions. While the course does not promise to give simple answers to these questions, it will aim at helping you to acquire the philosophical skills necessary to develop such answers. You will learn how to read and to understand philosophical texts dealing with issues in bioethics, how to parse and to assess philosophical arguments, and how to come up with both critical and constructive arguments of your own.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, discussion, group-work, debate.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two exams (midterm and the final), research paper (10 pages long), weekly contributions to Sakai discussion board; grading based on the preceding requirements; attendance and participation will be taken into consideration.

PHIL 24000-01 Philosophy in Film 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Rothschild Place 142, Ext. 45713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or CNPH 10100; sophomore standing.
STUDENTS: Students from all disciplines are welcome. Expect willingness to engage in critical in-class discussion.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Problems in philosophy of film: realism, authorship, narration, evaluative criteria, and social significance of film.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and Discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Exams; quizzes; participation.

PHIL 35200-01 Moral Philosophy HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Rothschild Place 145, Ext. 41260, kaufmanf@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: PHIL 21200, PHIL 23000, or PHIL 25000, or two courses in philosophy and one additional course in the humanities.
STUDENTS: Those interested in moral philosophy.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Critical exploration of foundational issues in metaethics and normative ethical theory. Topics for consideration will include moral relativism, moral realism, morality and self-interest, utilitarian, deontological, natural law and contractarian theories. Moral concepts such as rights, obligation, and desert will also be considered. Readings will be from both classical and contemporary sources.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and class discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 2 philosophy papers, weekly written commentaries on the material, and class participation. Traditional grading.

PHIL 35500-01 Metaphysics 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Murday, Rothschild Place 143, Ext. 47029, bmurday@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One level-2 course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Study topics of traditional and contemporary interest in metaphysics, such as: What exists? Are the only things that exist physical things, or do non-physical things exist as well? Apples, fire trucks, and stop signs exist; is the property of redness something else that exists? Is an object simply the sum of all its features, or is there something else as well? [When you love someone, do you just love the features s/he has, or do you love something besides those features?] Are any of the features you have literally features you could not exist without? Is the future real? Is the past real? Is it sensible to think that these questions might have answers?
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers; A-F.

PHIL 36000-01 Philosophy of Mind 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Robert Klee, Rothschild Place 141, Ext. 41276, klee@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; one course in psychology (excluding PSYC-10000); one additional course in the humanities or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Those interested in the issues described above.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we shall investigate the nature of the human mind. Topics include such questions as: Is the mind physical or nonphysical? What is the relation between mental states and bodily behavior? What is a mental state? What kinds of beings can possess minds? What is psychological explanation?
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Three exams and one paper.

PHIL 38100-01 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Tatiana Patrone, Rothschild Place 146, Ext. 47347, tpatrone@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
STUDENTS: For anyone who meets the enrollment prerequisites, who is interested in the subject, and who is willing to do a substantial amount of reading every week.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: PHIL 38100 is a survey course in the 19th century philosophy. We will begin with a brief overview of Kant’s theoretical and practical philosophy since Kant was a precursor to German Idealism in general and to Hegel in particular. We then will read and discuss six primary texts written by 19th century thinkers (Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Bergson). The course is meant to acquaint the students with some of the important works, arguments, and concepts from the 19th century thought. It is also meant to help them cultivate the skills essential for doing philosophy and, especially, for doing history of philosophy. Our focus will be on reading primary texts (from Hegel to Freud), on reconstructing the arguments in them within the context of their philosophical tradition, on assessing these arguments critically, and on writing short and longer essays in philosophy and in history of philosophy. We will also work with some secondary sources in order to acquire the skill of writing papers in history of philosophy.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three papers (3-page summary paper, 10-page research paper, and a 500-word essay), weekly contributions to Sakai discussion board; grading is based on the requirements and on the attendance/participation.

PHIL 38300-01 Themes in Twentieth Century Philosophy: Tradition, Interpretation, and Authority HU LA
3 credits                     
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Rothschild Place 142, Ext. 45713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Expect willingness to engage in critical in-class discussion.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Featuring one of the prominent debates in 20th century European philosophy (between Gadamer, Derrida, and Habermas) about the role of authoritative texts in culture, the significance of tradition for maintaining meaningful cultural interactions, the need for cultural criticism and reform, and the limits of interpretation as a means for subverting traditional authority.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Short papers, exams, participation.

RELIGION

RLST 10300-01 Hebrew Scriptures 3A H HU LA HU Theme: Identities
3 credits 
INSTRUCTOR: Rebecca Lesses, Muller 307, Ext. 43556, rlesses@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: None. 
STUDENTS: All students interested in learning more about the Bible. 
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The Hebrew Bible (referred to by Christians as the Old Testament) is one of the foundational books of both western and world culture, and serves as the basis for Judaism and Christianity. In this course, we will read the books of the Bible critically as literature, as religious and moral text, and as a source of sociological knowledge. This course surveys the biblical literature, acquaints the students with critical methods for the study of the Bible, situates the Bible within the literature and culture of the ancient Near East, and discusses the religion of ancient Israel. We will deal with questions of history and archaeology, and with questions of meaning—what the biblical text meant to its ancient readers, and what meaning it has today. RLST-10300 is cross-listed with JWST-10300. A student may not earn credit for both RLST-10300 and JWST-10300. 
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Readings, lectures, discussions (both in the class and in student study groups), and student presentations. 
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Readings will include the Bible and The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, by Michael D. Coogan. 
Grading: A-F.

RLST 10500-01 through -03 Introduction to World Religions: Indigenous and Eastern 1 G H HM HU LA HU Theme: Mind, Body, Spirit
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brian Karafin, Rothschild Place 109, Ext. 41585, karafin@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITES: None.
STUDENTS: Recommended for religion minors, this course is open to all students interested in the subject matter.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course will discuss perennial religious themes such as the questions of ultimate orientation and meaning as they have been addressed by indigenous members of shamanic cultures and eastern (Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist,) religious cultures. The contemporary interest in the visionary, shamanic, and meditative aspects of these cultures will be analyzed in terms of the academic study of religion.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lectures, class discussion, and films.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Reading and class discussion emphasized; two exams, reading-journals. Reading list may include:
Roger Walshe, The World of Shamanism;
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony;
Damien Keown, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction;
Alan Watts, The Way of Zen;
Joanna Macy, Widening Circles.
Letter grade based on exams and class discussions.

RLST 10600-01 Introduction to World Religions: Western and Modern 1 G H HU LA HU Themes: Identities, and Mind, Body, Spirit
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Staff, Rothschild Place 140, Ext. 41378
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: None.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduces the academic study of religion through exploration of the historical development of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. Emphasizes how religious beliefs and practices evolve in response to historic events and changing cultural contexts, including the challenges posed by modernity and postmodernity.

RLST 20100-01,-02 Religion and Culture 1 HM HU LA TIII HU Themes: Inquiry, Imagination, & Innovation
3 credits 
INSTRUCTOR: Rachel Wagner, Rothschild Place 111, Ext. 43249, rwagner@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing or above, or one course in religious studies.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores the various ways that religion and culture interact with one another in diverse expressions of what it means to be human. Students will explore the religious dimensions of human culture as reflected in select art, music, literature, ritual, and film drawn from different historical, religious, and social contexts. Students will learn how scholars of religion and culture approach this complex relationship and will apply these insights through critical analysis of cultural products with obvious and not-so-obvious religious dimensions. The course has a particular focus on religion in media and popular culture. 
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.

RLST 20700-01 Death and Immortality 1 H HU LA HM TMBS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Menning, Rothschild Place 139, Ext. 45802, nmenning@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.
STUDENTS: All who meet the prerequisites are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduces eastern and western world religions through a thematic exploration of religious beliefs and practices associated with death, both in traditional and contemporary contexts.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, short lectures, and films.

RLST 23500-01 Religion and Nature HU LA (additional designations may apply)
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Menning, Rothschild Place 139, Ext. 45802. nmenning@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing.
STUDENTS: All who meet the prerequisites are welcome; recommended for students interested in religious studies and/or environmental studies.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Explores interrelationships between aspects of the natural world and the beliefs and practices of diverse world religions. Topics may include sacred space and time, natural symbols, animals and animality, and religious environmentalism.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Short lectures, discussions, and student presentations.

RLST 24000-01 Selected Topics in Religion: Writing About Religion: Heaven and Hell HU LA 
3 credits 
INSTRUCTOR: Rachel Wagner, Rothschild Place 111, Ext. 43249, rwagner@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 18
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course invites students to think about two thousand years of the history of heaven and hell while honing their research and writing skills in religious studies. Iterative writing assignments encourage students to view writing as a process of discovery and refinement, and introduce them to the style and approaches of writing about religion. Students of any major are welcome in the course, and will learn how to write about the fascinating study of human meaning-making in religious practice, poetry, art, and digital media.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion and workshop.

RLST 30500-01 Comparative Study of Religions HU LA
3 CREDITS
INSTRUCTOR: Brian Karafin, Rothschild Place 109, Ext. 41585.
ENROLLMENT: 15.
PREREQUISITES: One 200 level RLST course or consent of the instructor.
STUDENTS: Those with some background in academic Religious Studies and/or those with an interest in the religious dimensions of the contemporary global situation.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An investigation of the theory of religion and a probing of the religious situation of our time from the point of view of Comparative Religious Studies.  Topics include: the crises faced by religious traditions in the encounter with global modernity; pluralism and dialogue between traditions; the role of religions, for good and ill, in contemporary cultural disputes about value and meaning; the relations between religion and post-traditional spirituality.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar style; discussion emphasized.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Reading may include:
Wilfrid Cantwell Smith, WC Smith: A Reader;
Stephen Prothero, GOD is Not One;
John Hick, The Fifth Dimension;
Leigh Schmidt, Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality;
Jeffrey Kripal, Esalen: America and the Religion of No-Religion;
Letter grade based on journals and papers.

 

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