Courses: Current and Upcoming

Previous Years' Courses

FALL 2013

Philosophy

PHIL 10100-01,-02 Introduction to Philosophy 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Park Hall 240, Ext. 4-3077, jpeeters@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITE: None.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on perennial philosophical problems. Topics will likely include: (1) Does God exist? (2) What is the extent and possibility of knowledge? (3) What is the nature of personal identity? (4) Is the mind material? (3) 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, quizzes, papers, exams.

PHIL 10100-03 Introduction to Philosophy 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Park Hall 238, 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 10100-04 Introduction to Philosophy 1 HU LA

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Craig Duncan, Park Hall 233, Ext. 43580, cduncan@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 24

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 Introduction to Philosophy 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Park Hall 242, Ext. 4-5713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in humanities or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Students from all disciplines are welcome. Expect willingness to engage in critical in-class discussion.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course introduces the students to the discipline by featuring a selection of classical readings and arguments pertaining to the problems of knowledge, morality, free will, individuality and authenticity.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Tests, quizzes, class participation.

PHIL 20300-01 Introduction to Logic 2B LA NS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Murday, Park Hall 235, 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, Park Hall 243, 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 21200-01 Introduction to Ethics 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Park Hall 238, 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: 2 exams, 2 quizzes, final exam, class participation expected. Traditional grading.

PHIL 21200-02 Introduction to Ethics 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Craig Duncan, Park Hall 233, Ext. 43580, cduncan@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an introduction to the philosophical study of ethics. We will examine such questions as: Is there such a thing as objective ethical truth, or is ethics just relative to a culture or even to an individual? If it can be objective, how are we supposed to know what is right and what is wrong? As part of this examination, we will look critically at several prominent philosophical attempts to supply an objective foundation to ethics—for example, attempts to found ethics on Virtue, or Reason, or God, or Happiness. We will also examine what implications these different approaches to ethics have for real-life moral dilemmas.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers, exams, participation.

PHIL 22300-01 Introduction to the Philosophy of Art HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Park Hall 242, Ext. 4-5713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences; sophomore standing.

STUDENTS: Students from all disciplines are welcome. Expect willingness to engage in critical in-class discussion.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course examines some of the central questions in contemporary philosophy of art pertaining to topics such as the value of art, the nature of artistic expression, and the relationship between art and society.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Tests, quizzes, class participation.

PHIL 23000-01 Bioethics 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Tatiana Patrone, Park Hall 239, 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 27500-01 Hns Sem: The Rule of Rules
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Craig Duncan, Park Hall 233, Ext. 43580, cduncan@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 20
PREREQUISITES: Honors Program student, or philosophy major/minor by permission of instructor.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Rules are pervasive in both our internal and external lives. Internally, rules of grammar and word usage govern the “inner voice” of our thought, while rules of logic govern (one hopes!) our reasoning and formation of beliefs. Externally, numerous sets of rules lay claim to our allegiance – for example, the rules of morality and the rules encoded in the law. We even voluntarily submit to rules, by getting married, say, or taking a job, or playing a sport or game. Given the ubiquitous presence of rules in life, it is natural that they should be an object of study, by philosophers, historians, social scientists, and others. In this course we will examine the presence of rules in our lives using an interdisciplinary approach. The goal of the course is to lead students to understand better the nature of rules and rule-based reasoning and to appreciate the benefits that rules bring as well as the costs that they impose. We will begin by learning the Asian boardgame of Go – the oldest game still played today – and study how a simple set of rules make possible “emergent complexity.” We will then use the mathematical discipline of game theory to illuminate the origin of social rules. Finally, we will study some dilemmas of rule-following as these exist in morality and the law.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers and exams; A-F.

PHIL 23000-02 Bioethics 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Park Hall 240, Ext. 4-3077, 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 30100-01 Seventeenth-Century Philosophy HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Park Hall 238, Ext. 41260, kaufmanf@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Junior and senior standing.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: We will study the birth of modern philosophy with particular emphasis on the debate between the British empiricists and the continental rationalists. Attention will be given to the effect of the scientific revolution on philosophical thinking.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Traditional grading.

PHIL 35000-01 Philosophy of Science HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Robert Klee, Park Hall 243, Ext. 41276, klee@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: PHIL 20300; one course from biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, sociology, or anthropology.
STUDENTS: Philosophy majors and minors. Advanced majors in any of the sciences. Note: Prof. Klee is willing to waive some of the prerequisites for otherwise qualified students. Contact Prof. Klee directly if you are interested in an override that waives some of the prerequisites. Waivers will be determined on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the instructor.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is a comprehensive survey of issues in the philosophical foundations of science. Topics to be covered include: The structure and function of scientific theories, the debate over the existence of theoretical entities, holistic models of science, reductionism and antireductionism, models of scientific explanation, Kuhnian historicism and social constructivist models of science, and the contemporary reemergence of the realism/antirealism dispute.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, discussion.

PHIL 37501-01 Selected Topics in Philosophy: Free Will HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Murday, Park Hall 235, Ext. 47029, bmurday@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences. |
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A significant subdivision of metaphysics concerns questions about free will – to deny that human beings think and act freely is deeply counterintuitive, but it is difficult to reconcile the claim that we have free will with the pressures from the hard and social sciences suggesting that our actions are determined by forces beyond our control. This seminar will examine a variety of contemporary metaphysical approaches to this problem, in addition to broader questions about the nature of causation, the relationship between moral responsibility and free will, and the nature of action and agency. Reading assignments will comprise a variety of articles from the contemporary literature.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Four short papers, one term paper, and extensive class participation; A-F.

PHIL 37507-01 Selected Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy of Culture HU LA

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Park Hall 242, Ext. 4-5713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 15

PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Human agency, with its capacity for self-transformation, gives rise to a range of distinctive philosophical problems concerned with understanding human thought and human behavior. Do languages and cultures give rise to different mindsets? How is communication possible across linguistic and cultural barriers? What is the role of empathy in understanding?

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Written responses, discussion participation and, papers.


PHIL 37508-01 Selected Topics in Philosophy: Rationality HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Park Hall 240, Ext. 4-3077, jpeeters@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITE: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: What makes a choice rational? This is the fundamental question of rational choice theory. Aspects of rational choice theory have become important to many fields in philosophy and to a wide variety of other disciplines including economics, biology, psychology, computer science, mathematics, and business. This course will focus on three sub parts of rational choice theory. We will first consider situations in which an agent chooses in isolation from other agents (decision theory). We will then move on to consider situations in which the agent is no longer in isolation. What marks these situations out as special is the interplay between the various agents' predictions of or reactions to the choices of the other agents in that situation (game theory). Finally, by way of exploring democratic decision-making, we will consider how we might organize the preferences of individuals in a group so as to reflect the preferences of the entire group (social choice theory). In all of these sub parts of rational choice theory, students will be introduced to the methods of rational choice theory, so that they can use them in arguing for why certain choices are more rational than others, and investigate foundational / philosophical problems with such analyses.
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/problems, quizzes, papers, exams.

PHIL 38400-01 Existentialism HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Tatiana Patrone, Park Hall 239, Ext. 47347, tpatrone@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in humanities or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Interested students of all disciplines (who meet the prerequisites) are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on the XX-C existentialism, and will mostly deal with the philosophical (not literary) works of Heidegger and Sartre. We will relate the thought of the XX-C existentialists to the phenomenological tradition (especially to Husserl). We will not explicitly address the thought of the pre-cursors to existentialism (such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche). The students should expect to do a fair bit of reading (about 40 pages of primary sources, and 20 pages of secondary literature per week).
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three papers (3-page summary paper, 4-page compare-and-contrast paper, and 10-page research paper); weekly contributions to electronic discussion board; grading based on the preceding requirements; attendance and participation will be taken into consideration.

Religious Studies

 

RLST 10500-01 through 03 Introduction to World Religions: Indigenous and Eastern 1 G H HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brian Karafin, Park Hall 241, 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;
Kim Knott, Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction;

Damien Keown, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction;
Satish Kumar, No Destination;
Joanna Macy, Widening Circles.
Letter grade based on exams and class discussions.


RLST 10600-01,-02 Introduction to World Religions: Western and Modern 1 G H HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Angela Rudert, Park Hall 237, Ext. 45155, arudert@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITES: None.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduces the academic study of religion through exploration of the origins, historical development and practice of the major Abrahamic religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Also introduces contemporary New Religious Movements of the "West." Emphasizes how religious beliefs and practices evolve in response to historic events and changing cultural contexts, including interactions with other religious traditions.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Letter grade based on exams, written assignments, and class participation.

RLST 20100-01,-02 Religion and Culture 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Rachel Wagner, Park Hall 244, 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.

 

RLST 20700-01,-02 Death and Immortality 1 H HU LA
3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Menning, Park Hall 234, Ext. 45802, nmenning@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 25 per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.

STUDENTS: All who meet the prerequisite are welcome.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Explores practices associated with death and grieving as well as conceptions of immortality, afterlife, and reincarnation in diverse religious traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), focusing on traditional beliefs and practices and their adaptation in modern times.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, short lectures, and films.

RLST 37506-01 Selected Topics in Religion: Modern Religious Thought HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brian Karafin, Park Hall 241, Ext. 41585, karafin@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in religion; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Recommended for Religion minors; open to any interested.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will be a seminar in which major texts of modern religious thinkers will be read and interpreted in terms of their contribution to an understanding of religion in modern times. These will be thinkers both inside and outside the classic religious traditions of east and west. The question of a possible globally oriented form of religious thinking based in a comparative approach to traditions will be one concern. The relationships between religion and the cultural crises of modern societies will be another.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Class discussions based on readings.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Reading and class discussions emphasized; journals and papers based on the books. Texts may include:

Paul Tillich, Essential Writings;
Martin Buber, The Martin Buber Reader;
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander;
Wilfrid Cantwell Smith, WC Smith Reader;
Alan Wallace, Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic;
Robert Forte, Entheogens and the Future of Religion.

RLST 37700-01 Women and Religion HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Rachel Wagner, Park Hall 244, Ext. 43249, rwagner@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: Three courses in religion and/or philosophy, or those courses in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and politics that address women's issues.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course, we focus on the role of story, myth, and perspective in understanding the relationship between women and religious expression, with particular focus on Western religious traditions. We look at the ways that foundational myths of the feminine are re-interpreted over time and in new contexts, and how their retelling affects real women. We also read feminist scholars of religion as they analyze religious texts by women, about women, and for women, and find new ways to express their spirituality in the modern world. We will also consider to what extent (if any) modern society’s fascination with technology and warfare can be viewed as a challenge to ancient mythology of female empowerment.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Traditional.

 

SPRING 2013

Philosophy

 

PHIL 10100-01 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Park Hall 238, 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 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Craig Duncan, Park Hall 233, 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 10100-03 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Park Hall 242, Ext. 4-5713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: None.
STUDENTS: Students from all disciplines are welcome. Expect willingness to engage in critical in-class discussion.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course introduces the students to the discipline by featuring a selection of classical readings and arguments pertaining to the problems of knowledge, morality, free will, individuality and authenticity.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Exams; quizzes; participation.

 

PHIL 10100-04,-05 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY 1 HU LA

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Park Hall 240, Ext. 4-3077, jpeeters@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 25 per section

PREREQUISITE: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on perennial philosophical problems including (among others): (1) Does God exist? (2) What is the extent and possibility of knowledge? (3) 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, papers, exams.

 

PHIL-10100-06 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Murday, Park Hall 235, Ext. 47029, bmurday@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: None.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduction to philosophy that focuses on perennial philosophical problems, such as: the existence of God, the possibility of knowledge, the relation of the mind to the body, criteria for survival over time, the compatibility of freedom and determinism, and the relation between freedom and moral responsibility, utilizing primarily contemporary readings.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture with emphasis on class discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three exams or papers; class participation; A-F.

 

PHIL 20300-01,-02 INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC 2B LA NS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Robert Klee, Park Hall 243, 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-20300-03 INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC 2B LA NS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Murday, Park Hall 235, 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 21200-01 INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Park Hall 242, 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 with application to contemporary moral issues.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Exams; Participation

PHIL 23000-01,-02 BIOETHICS 1 HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Tatiana Patrone, Park Hall 239, Ext. 47347, tpatrone@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 each
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 25000-01 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS 1 HU LA 
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Park Hall 238, Ext. 41260, kaufmanf@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITE: Sophomore standing or above, or the permission of the instructor.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A critical examination of various moral problems raised when considering environmental issues. Questions regarding the moral status of animals, future generations, and the environment as a whole are explored. Also taken up are the moral aspects of famine relief, population control, and resource use. These issues, and others, generate challenging and fundamental questions of moral philosophy: What is the basis of obligation? Do animals have rights? What does it mean to say something is intrinsically valuable?
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Midterm, final, several quizzes, short written assignments, class participation; traditional grading.

 

PHIL-26500-01 PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS IN LAW HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Craig Duncan, Park Hall 233, Ext. 43580, cduncan@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy.
STUDENTS: All who meet the prerequisite are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Examination and evaluation of basic practices and principles of law, focusing on such topics as the nature of law and extent of legal liability; competing theories of constitutional interpretation; and the justification of punishment, including capital punishment. Examination of prominent legal cases and their underlying principles. Emphasis on philosophical analysis and moral evaluation.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers, exams, in-class debates; traditional grading.

 

PHIL 31100-01 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Park Hall 238, Ext. 41260, kaufmanf@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15 total
PREREQUISITES: Two courses in philosophy, with at least one at level 2.
STUDENTS: All students who meet the prerequisite are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To give students an opportunity to read and to respond to writings by important philosophers of religion on a wide range of topics. Topics to include arguments for and against the existence of God, the problem of evil, the possibility and desirability of immortality, the ethics of belief, miracles, and other concepts relevant to religious reflection. Please note: PHIL-31100 is cross-listed with RLST-31100. Students may not earn credit for both PHIL-31100 and RLST-31100.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lectures, student presentations, discussions.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Primary source readings; papers; regular preparation, attendance, and participation.

 

PHIL-32100-01 SYMBOLIC LOGIC LA NS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Robert Klee, Park Hall 243, Ext. 41276, klee@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: PHIL-20300 or MATH-26000.
STUDENTS: Any who meet the prerequisites.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is a survey of the fundamentals of modern symbolic logic. The course begins with propositional logic, and moves through first-order (quantificational) logic, with multiple quantifiers, relations and identity. A truth-tree proof system is used both for propositional logic and for predicate logic (first-order). Elementary metatheory will be covered--students will learn completeness and adequacy proofs for truth-tree proof systems of propositional logic (and possibly, if time permits, predicate logic). Selected remaining issues in logical metatheory--undecidability and incompleteness--will be covered if time permits.
COURSE FORMAT AND STYLE: Lecture, discussion, and exercises.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Four exams.

 

PHIL 34000-01 GLOBAL ETHICS HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Craig Duncan, Park Hall 233, Ext. 43580, cduncan@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
STUDENTS: All who meet the prerequisite are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course surveys significant ethical challenges that are global in scope: Are there such things as universal human rights or is morality ultimately relative to one's particular culture? What duties, if any, do we have to the global environment? What is the difference between a just and unjust war, and between just and unjust ways of fighting terrorism? Morally speaking, what can be said in defense of economic globalization, and against it? Are global inequalities in wealth morally defensible?
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers and exams; A-F.

 

PHIL 37500-01 SELECTED TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY: EPISTEMOLOGY HU LA

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Brendan Murday, Park Hall 235, Ext. 47029, bmurday@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 15

PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Engage in contemporary philosophical debates about knowledge, such as: What is required to have a justified belief? What does it mean to know something? When should we believe what we’re told by others? Do we know what we know?
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers and participation; A-F.

 

PHIL 37504-01 SELECTED TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY: AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY: EMERSON TO DEWEY HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Serge Grigoriev, Park Hall 242, Ext. 45713, sgrigoriev@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Students from all disciplines are welcome. Expect willingness to engage in critical in-class discussion. Background in Western philosophy may be helpful.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course provides an introduction to the key themes in 19th century American philosophy, by examining closely the works of three pivotal figures: Emerson, William James, and John Dewey. The flourishing of the classical American philosophy coincided with a period of rapid political, social, and scientific change, and the key thinkers within the tradition that we are examining struggled explicitly to reformulate the doctrines of traditional philosophy and religion in the light of the changed setting and changing times. Their work is often described as an attempt to adapt spiritual and intellectual sensibilities of their philosophical heritage to the dynamic conditions of the industrial contemporary world. This also defined the primary scope of their efforts: e.g. relationship between reason and faith, between individual and the community, between autonomy and social structure, between practice and theory, and between practical needs and needs that go beyond practicality.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Participation, quizzes, a full-length final paper.

 

PHIL 37505-01 SELECTED TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY: PUZZLES AND PARADOXES HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jonathan Peeters, Park Hall 240, Ext. 4-3077, jpeeters@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
STUDENTS: One course in logic (PHIL 20300, PHIL 32100, or equivalent) is strongly recommended as a prerequisite or co-requisite.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A paradox is a collection of statements such that each statement by itself appears intuitively true but logic tells us that one of the statements must be false. Paradoxes have been a focus of study in almost every area of philosophy. In this class we shall consider a wide variety of paradoxes, including paradoxes that arise in decision theory, metaphysics, and ethics. Specific paradoxes are likely to include paradoxes about obligations to future generations (can we harm future individuals? is overpopulation bad?), the nature of space and time (is motion possible? is time travel possible?), and rational action and belief (are surprise exams possible? can you know that you lost the lottery before the drawing?). For each paradox we shall consider various attempts at resolving the paradox.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture with time for discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Participation, exams, papers.

 

PHIL 38600-01 PHILOSOPHY IN LITERATURE HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Tatiana Patrone, Park Hall 239,  Ext. 47347, tpatrone@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15
PREREQUISITES: One course in philosophy; two additional courses in humanities and/or social sciences; permission of instructor.
STUDENTS: Interested students of all disciplines are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Discussion of topics and issues emerging from the relation between philosophy and literature: Why are we emotionally invested in what happens to fictional characters? Can any belief be ‘suspended’ while reading a work of fiction? What can a philosopher learn from the great works of fiction? In addition to some literary works, students should be prepared to study primary and secondary texts in philosophy.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Short paper (5 pages), research paper (10 pages), final exam, weekly contributions to Blackboard discussion board; grading based on the above requirements; attendance and participation will be taken into consideration.

 

Religious Studies

 

RLST 10500-01,-02 INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS: INDIGENOUS AND EASTERN 1 G H HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Angela Rudert, Park Hall 237, Ext. 45155, arudert@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 cultures and eastern religious cultures (primarily Hindu and Buddhist, but also including Sikh, Jain and Taoist traditions). 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.

 

RLST 10600-01,-02 INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS: WESTERN AND MODERN 1 G H HU LA

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Menning, Park Hall 234, Ext. 45802, nmenning@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 25 per section

PREREQUISITES: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduces the academic study of religion through exploration of the origins, historical development, and thought and practice of the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Emphasizes how religious beliefs and practices evolve in response to historic events and changing cultural contexts, including interactions with other religious traditions.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lectures and discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Letter grade based on exams, written assignments, and class participation.

 

RLST 20200-01,-02 RELIGION AND SOCIETY 1 G H HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brian Karafin, Park Hall 241, Ext. 4-1585, karafin@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 per section
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing or above, or one course in religion.
STUDENTS: Any interested.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: What kind of a society do we live in, here in the beginning of the 21st century, and how does religion interact with it? Is our world a realm of secular reason, in which religion is at most a private lifestyle or ideological option, or does the history of the 20th century with its “man-made mass-death” and public resurgence of both fundamentalist religion and social movements motivated by religion, tell a different story? Does religion linger in modern society as an ineradicable stain of irrational darkness, or does it represent an alternative possibility for contemporary people in search of meaning, community, and collective survival? This course will engage such questions on two levels: through reading texts that explore the nature of modernity, religion, war and peace, science and spirituality; and through empirical examples of religious involvement in movements of social change. Examples of the latter may include: the African-American civil rights movement in the US, the Gandhian movement in India, Islam and the Arab Spring, and the global phenomenon of socially engaged Buddhism.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lectures, class discussions, films.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Readings may include:
Susan Moon ed., Not Turning Away: The Practice of Engaged Buddhism;
Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness;
Richard Lischer, The Preacher King;
Louis Fischer, Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World;

Tariq Ramadan, Islam and the Arab Awakening.

A-F; one third class participation, one third reading journals, one third final paper.

 

RLST-20400-01 CHRISTIANITY 1 G H HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Rachel Wagner, Park Hall 244, Ext. 43249, rwagner@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing or above.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is a survey of the historical development of Christianity from the first century until today, including major theological themes and issues, and considering also how Christian themes are transformed in popular culture. In addition to traditional course lecture and discussion, students will engage in experiential learning through visitation to local Christian buildings and an analysis of the architecture, literature, and visual art they find there.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Students will be required to do substantial reading, and will take periodic essay and short answer exams. Students will also participate in group projects in experiential learning about the history of Christianity in Ithaca. Traditional grading.

 

RLST 25200-01 INTRODUCTION TO MYSTICISM HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Brian Karafin, Park Hall 241, Ext. 41585, karafin@ithaca.edu 
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Recommended for religious studies and philosophy/religion majors and minors. The course is open to all that are interested in a study of mysticism.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will be a philosophical and cultural inquiry into the topic of “Mysticism” understood as the human attempt to experience the ultimate nature of reality. We will probe a variety of representations of this dimension of human life in the context of its inter-relations with: a) the religious traditions of the West, b) the religious traditions of the East, c) contemporary longings for meaning and purpose, d) the search for alternative spiritualities and the counterculture of the nineteen-sixties, e) a practical guide to spiritual practice in our time by a Buddhist psychotherapist.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Combination of lectures and discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Possible readings:
Huston Smith, The Way Things Are;
Andrew Harvey, The Essential Mystics;
Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream;
Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart.
Letter grade based on journals, exams, class participation.

 

RLST 31100-01 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Frederik Kaufman, Park Hall 238, Ext. 41260, kaufmanf@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 15 total
PREREQUISITES: Two courses in philosophy, with at least one at level 2.
STUDENTS: All students who meet the prerequisite are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To give students an opportunity to read and to respond to writings by important philosophers of religion on a wide range of topics. Topics to include arguments for and against the existence of God, the problem of evil, the possibility and desirability of immortality, the ethics of belief, miracles, and other concepts relevant to religious reflection. Please note: PHIL-31100 is cross-listed with RLST-31100. Students may not earn credit for both PHIL-31100 and RLST-31100.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lectures, student presentations, discussions.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Primary source readings; papers; regular preparation, attendance, and participation.

 

RLST-32300-01 GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN JUDAISM HU LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Rebecca Lesses, Muller 307, Ext. 4-3556, rlesses@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 25 total
PREREQUISITES: Three courses in the humanities or social sciences.
STUDENTS: Those interested in studying the intersection of gender issues, sexuality, and religion. This course will be of especial interest to Women’s Studies students.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Is God male or female? Can women become rabbis? Are there gay and lesbian Jews? What do Jews think about birth control and abortion? Why are husband and wife supposed to avoid sexual relations during the woman’s menstrual period? Why do boys have to be circumcised on the eighth day? This course explores what it means to be a Jewish man or woman, and looks at how Jewish gender roles have changed throughout history, as well as how contemporary Jews deal with changes in women’s roles and demands for gender equality. We will begin with a short introduction to Judaism and then discuss specific issues in greater depth: what is “gender” and how to study it; traditional roles of men and women in Judaism; the gendered Jewish body; family and sexuality; homosexuality; Jewish feminism; the gender of God; and changing women’s religious roles. Please note: This course is cross-listed with JWST-32300. Students may not receive credit for both RLST-32300 and JWST-32300.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussions, lectures, student presentations, and films.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Response papers, presentation, a research paper/final project, class participation; grading is A-F.

 

RLST-37502-01 SELECTED TOPICS IN RELIGION: RELIGION AND FILM HU LA

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Rachel Wagner, Park Hall 244, Ext. 43249, rwagner@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 15

PREREQUISITES: One course in religion; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course invites students to examine how film constructs and influences religious beliefs and spirituality in the modern world, as well as how religious beliefs and spirituality shape and inform film. Students will exercise visual literacy by applying various methods of filmic analysis to select films; consider the language of film criticism and theory when applied to religious ideas; become familiar with the academic currents of the study of religion and film; and learn how to write about film, its conventions, and the role of religious ideas in film.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, some lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Exams, film reviews, one longer in-depth film analysis.

 

RLST 37503-01 SELECTED TOPICS IN RELIGION: RELIGIOUS COSMOLOGIES HU LA

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Menning, Park Hall 234, Ext. 45802, nmenning@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 15

PREREQUISITES: One course in religion; two additional courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.

STUDENTS: Students from all disciplines who meet the prerequisites are welcome; of particular interest to those with an interest in the intersections of religion and science.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Explores how practitioners of indigenous, Mormon, and Christian traditions orient themselves in space and time through both ritual and narrative. Especially with respect to the Christian tradition, analyzes how narrative and ritual work to both preserve and transform religious belief and practice in the wake of dramatic changes in our understandings of the universe and of space and time (from Aristotle to Ptolemy to Copernicus to Newton and into modern times with Einstein's theories of relativity and their implications).

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Letter grade based on exams, written assignments, and class participation.



 

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