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Wiekamp Hall

Fall 2012 Course Descriptions

The following are course descriptions for all Fall 2012 courses with a PHIL or REL subject code.

Philosophy (PHIL)

Phil-P 105 - CRITICAL THINKING (3 CR)
MW 5107 11:30-12:45P Joe Kotva (Elkhart)
MW 4776 2:30-3:45P  Joseph Rabbitt
TR 5165 4:00-5:15P  Joseph Rabbitt
(Not open to students who have taken P150)
(Campuswide Gen Ed Fundamental Literacies: Critical Thinking)
This course aims to help students learn how to identify and assess arguments and to improve their reasoning skills in a variety of areas. Students will study the art of precise expression and will learn how to recognize arguments, to analyze their structure, and to detect hidden assumptions or flaws they might contain. We will study a number of common fallacies (mistakes) in reasoning, along with various techniques for detecting them.

Phil-P 110 - INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3 CR)
TR 5310 10:00-11:15A Heather Ghormley
TR 5026 11:30-12:45P Heather Ghormley
(Campuswide Gen Ed Fundamental Literacies: Critical Thinking)
An introductory study of such philosophical concerns as existence, knowledge, meaning, and morality. At IU South Bend, has special focus on critical thinking.

Phil-P 110 - INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3 CR)
TR 4803 1:00-2:15P Matthew Shockey
TR 5025 4:00-5:15P Matthew Shockey
(Campuswide Gen Ed Fundamental Literacies: Critical Thinking)
This is an introductory survey of some key figures and issues in Western philosophy tied to pressing present-day concerns, and combined with a study of the fundamentals of critical thinking.

Phil-P 110 - INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3 CR)
TR 4532 8:30-9:45A JR Shrader
(Campuswide Gen Ed Fundamental Literacies: Critical Thinking)
This course is an introduction to the methods of philosophy and several persistent philosophical problems, with a heavy emphasis on critical thinking and analysis of philosophical texts. In the first half of the course, students will study in-depth the principles of good reasoning and critical thinking. These include distinguishing the various roles words and concepts play within a language, analyzing words and concepts to discover their essential meanings, identifying arguments within a text, and critically evaluating arguments. In concert with learning these basic skills, students will read some classic philosophical texts both to gain an appreciation for the history of philosophy and to see how philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Descartes practiced critical thinking. In the second half of the course, students will be introduced to some of the central problems that have concerned philosophers throughout the ages (and that remain relevant today). Topics that will be covered include some of the following: (1) The problem of knowledge. Is there an absolute truth to be found, and if so, what can we really know about the world? (2) The existence of God. What reasons support theism (belief in God)? What reasons support atheism (denial of belief in God)? (3) The mind/body problem. Are humans just material, or do we have a nonphysical part (a soul) responsible for our thoughts? What is the essential part of each of us? (4) The existential problem. What is life all about? Is there an objective standard for living a good life, or are we on our own in defining our purpose? Students should expect not to be given answers to these questions, but to apply the critical thinking skills they have acquired to reach their own conclusions. Students will be evaluated based on homework assignments, study questions, and exams.

Phil-P 110 - INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3 CR)
TR 34299 11:30A-12:45P Lyle Zynda
(Campuswide Gen Ed Fundamental Literacies: Critical Thinking)
This course is a historical introduction to Western philosophy, with emphasis on the writings of the Great Philosophers from the time of ancient Greece to the 20th century. The textbook is an anthology containing short, focused selections from the original writings of the Great Philosophers, from the pre-Socratics to Sartre, interspersed with extensive commentary and study questions to help the student master them. The emphasis will be on the origin of the central philosophical themes, arguments, and concepts of Western philosophy and their subsequent development under systematic analysis and criticism by later philosophers. Also, since the class meets the campus-wide critical thinking requirement, explicit attention will be given to logical analysis and evaluation of arguments at every stage of the course.

Phil-P 140 - INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS (3 CR)
MW 4108 8:30-9:45A Louise Collins
TR 4804 8:30-9:45A Louise Collins
(This class is part of the "Transfer Indiana" (transferIN) initiative)
In our everyday lives, we face many moral questions arising from our work, private lives and role as informed citizens. For example, as a health care worker, how should I respond to a patient who says she is ready to give up on life and wants my help to hasten her death? As a voter with a conscience, how should I think about public policy regarding the death penalty? As a parent, what values should I teach my kids about marriage and sexuality? In this class, we'll learn about different approaches to resolving moral problems. We'll apply the views of classical and contemporary philosophers to several controversial topics, to help sharpen our critical and creative thinking skills on difficult moral questions.

Phil-P 140 - INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS (3 CR)
MW  5027 10:00-11:15A Mahesh Ananth
(This class is part of the "Transfer Indiana" (transferIN) initiative)
During this semester we will examine moral theories regarding what is right and wrong, good and bad. Special attention will be given to the following ethical theories: cultural relativism, subjectivism, divine command, rights, utilitarianism, and deontology. In sharpening our understanding of these theories, we will apply them to contemporary moral issues, including abortion, euthanasia, torture, treatment of animals, sweatshops, death penalty, etc. No doubt, most of us have given some thought about many of these issues and have formed a corresponding set of beliefs. Indeed, with respect to some issues, we have very strong/rigid beliefs. Still, thinking philosophically about contemporary moral issues allows us to see how well-supported our beliefs are by reasoned argumentation, and this is why we examine those beliefs in light of philosophical moral theory. Possibly, we may come to find that our existing beliefs are in need of revision or that we have found better reasons for retaining our beliefs just as they are now. At the very least, philosophical analysis will make clear the problem areas that exist between ethics and a particular moral/social topic.

Phil-T 190 - LITERARY & INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS: SOCRATES, GALILEO, DARWIN (3 CR)
MW 5315 11:30A-12:45P Lyle Zynda
(Campuswide Gen Ed Common Core: Literary & Intellectual Traditions)
This course gives students an in-depth understanding of several historical episodes using "reactive" role-playing games. Each of the three sections of the class centers on a revolution in human thinking. First, we will examine the birth of democracy in ancient Greece. Debates in the Athenian Assembly over the desirability of democratic rule, the extent of power, and the need for preserving traditions will be reenacted; special attention will be given to Plato's Republic and the trial of Socrates. Next, we will examine the debates over the sun-centered theory of Copernicus, which eventually replaced ancient views that regarded the earth as the center of creation. Galileo's trial for publicly advocating Copernicanism, and his condemnation by the Catholic Church, provides the main focus for this section of the course. Finally, we will examine the debates in the Royal Society of Great Britain over Darwin's The Origin of Species in the 1860s. Controversies over the relation between religion and science, faith and reason, and the nature and scope of scientific thinking that occurred then still reverberate today in our own culture.

Phil-P 201 - ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY (3 CR)
MW 4477 1:00-2:15P Mahesh Ananth
(Pre-2005 General Education LAS: Western Culture 1)
(LAS: Western Culture Before 1800)
This course is designed to introduce students to ancient Greek thinkers whose ideas have had a lasting impact on the history of western philosophy, even to this day. Specifically, this course is divided into four parts. First, we will examine the ideas of Homer and Hesiod as a way of understanding their influence on later philosophers. Second, we shall review the ideas of the Pre-Socratics, who stand as the "first philosophers" of Western thought. Third, we will read and critically evaluate the ideas of Socrates and Plato by way of a few Platonic dialogues. Finally, we will grapple with some of Aristotle's basic ideas concerning causation and mind. In terms of philosophical themes, we will look at issues pertaining to logic, ethics, knowledge, religion, causation, and soul/mind.

Phil-P 310 - TOPICS IN METAPHYSICS (3 CR)
MW 31223 2:30-3:45P JR Shrader
(LAS: Second-level Writing)
Metaphysics is the philosophical study into the ultimate nature of reality. Whereas physicists investigate the questions "What physical things exist?" and "What is the relationship between these things?", metaphysicians investigate questions like "Why do any physical things exist at all?", "When does one physical thing compose another one?" and "What is it for a physical thing to survive from one moment to the next?". Answers to these questions all have a bearing on many questions in physics itself, but also to other sciences like chemistry, biology, and anthropology. This course will cover three big topics in metaphysics. They are:

  1. What exactly is a physical substance? What is the essential nature and composition of physical stuff?
  2. What is a human person? Are we merely physical things, or is there something more (maybe a soul)? What kind of changes (physical, mental, otherwise) can a person really undergo and still be the SAME person?
  3. Do people really have free will? What does it mean to have free will? If we are merely physical, is it even possible to have free will (given that our bodies just obey the laws of physics)? Must we then be more to have free will?
The course will emphasize writing with weekly 1-2 page papers interacting with readings and emphasizing students to develop and defend their own ideas. There will also be one longer paper and two exams.

Phil-P 342 - PROBLEMS OF ETHICS: EVOLUTION & ETHICS (3 CR)
MW 5108 4:00-5:15P Mahesh Ananth
Ethics is traditionally thought to be distinctive to the extent that it is about normativity; that is, ethics is about what we ought to do morally--as opposed to what we do in fact do morally. In response, there has been a strong movement to naturalize morality. One particular way of doing this is to claim that the so-called moral nature of humans is correctly understood in terms of evolutionary biology. But what does this mean? Does our ape ancestry tell against our so-called moral sense or does it provide a solid foundation for it? Is our moral sensibility nothing more than nature's way of ensuring the survival and reproductive success of our species? The purpose of this course is to make sense of evolutionary ethics and what particular problems it poses for "traditional normative morality" and what challenges await this way of naturalizing ethics. To this end, this course will cover central contemporary opponents and proponents of evolutionary ethics. The goal will be to determine to what extent this way of naturalizing ethics is reasonable and what residual difficulties--if there are any--linger.

Phil-P 371 - PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION (3 CR)
MW 5314 11:30A-12:45P JR Shrader
The philosophy of religion is the examination of basic religious beliefs and concepts. This particular course will involve a critical analysis of theistic belief (that is, the beliefs about God held by the monotheistic religions--Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). The basic question of the course is whether or not belief in God and particular beliefs about God can be philosophically justified, meaning justified by appeal to reason and evidence generally available to everyone rather than by revelation or personal religious experience. In particular will study and discuss various "problems" confronting belief in God, including the problem of evil, the hiddenness of God (if God exists, why is there not better evidence?), predestination and free will, and the challenge of religious pluralism (must there be only one way to God). Although the course focuses primarily on Western religion, the last section on religious pluralism will involve looking at some of the beliefs of Eastern religions.

Phil-P 383 - TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY: THE PHILOSOPHY OF ST. AUGUSTINE (3 CR)
TR 31229 10:00-11:15A Matthew Shockey
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 C.E.) is one of the most influential Christian theologians but also one of the West's greatest philosophers. In this class, we will bracket (to the extent possible) the question of the accuracy and truth of his interpretation of scripture and Christian doctrine to focus on issues of more general philosophical interest, including his account of the human mind, freedom, God, good and evil, time, knowledge, and wisdom. In considering these topics, we will look at how his views wedded Christian theology to the pagan metaphysics of Neo-Platonism. Readings will include Augustine's great autobiographical work the Confessions, as well as On the Trinity, Against the Academicians, On Free Will, and The Teacher. Time permitting we will look briefly at his influence on later philosophers such as Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Pascal, Malebranche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and/or Arendt.

Phil-P 394 - FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY (3 CR)
TR   31224  11:30-12:45P Louise Collins
Taught with: Wost-W302 Topics in Gender Studies (3 CR)
Feminist philosophers tackle a wide range of topics: from ecology to existentialism; from revolution to reproductive rights. This course samples writings by feminists drawing on various philosophical traditions, with different concerns and styles of thought. We will work on developing our skills in critical thinking and argument, as well as creative feminist analysis.

Phil-P 495: SENIOR PROSEMINAR IN PHILOSOPHY (1-4 CR)
ARR 4110 ARR Lyle Zynda
(LAS: Second-level Writing)
(Consent of instructor required)

Religious Studies (REL)

Rel-R 160 - RELIGION AND AMERICAN CULTURE (3 CR)
TR 4805 2:30-3:45P Jamie Santa Cruz
(Campuswide Gen Ed Contemporary Social Values: Diversity in United States Society)
Traditional patterns of encounter with the sacred. Secularization of Western culture. Religious elements in contemporary American culture.

Rel-R 220 - INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT (3 CR)
TR 31232 4:00-5:15P Jamie Santa Cruz
Origins of the Christian movement and development of its beliefs, practices, and institutions in the first century. Primary source is the New Testament, with due attention to non-Christian sources from the same environment.