Meet core requirements with courses in philosophy
Take care of a Core requirement in your next philosophy class. The following courses fulfill requirements in Integrative Studies, Persons in Community, Global and Historical, and Cross Cultural Engagement (CCE).
203: Understanding Natural Science: Its Nature, Status, and Limits (Fall)
An investigation of the nature of science (its structure, methods, and status), and its place in human life, by looking at the historical development of science, including its interactions with other human activities, especially religion. The course will encourage students
to develop their own views on major issues regarding the nature of science and its appropriate relations to worldviews and faith. It will use history of science both to place these issues in context and to test rival pictures of what science is, how it works, and how is has been — and should be —related to Christian faith. Special emphasis will be
given to the diverse ways these issues have been approached within the reformed tradition. Students taking this course to fulfill the
integrative studies requirement of the core must have the following prerequisites in addition to Philosophy 153: two courses in the
205: Ethics (Fall and Spring)
This course reflects on the moral dimension of life as a whole, in its relation to what we believe, what we do, and what sorts of people we want to be. It studies basic ethical questions such as the objectivity of right and wrong, what justice is, how we ought to live, why we should try to be morally good. It considers these questions both theoretically and practically (by applying them to issues in contemporary social life, such as capital punishment or abortion). It also uses both historical sources (such as Aristotle and Kant) and contemporary sources . Finally, it considers what difference Christian faith makes to the theory
and the practice of morality. There may be a service-learning component in the course, depending on the instructor. Students taking
this course to fulfill the integrative studies requirement of the core must have the following prerequisites in addition to Philosophy 153: two courses in philosophy and/or religion.
Fall 2009 (Van Dyke): Is everything you do aimed at your own happiness? So Aristotle would have you believe. John Mill agrees that happiness is the goal of human life--but he thinks that what's important is working for the greatest amount of happiness for society as a whole. Kant, in contrast, claims that duty rather than happiness should be what motivates human actions. Why should anyone care today what these philosophers thought? Because, in short, their theories about how human beings ought to behave--what makes certain actions right and other actions wrong--are still alive and kicking today...and you probably hold one of these three views yourself, even if you don't yet know it. In this class, we'll examine each of these three theories in some detail, and then we'll look at the specific topic of the ethical treatment of non-human animals to see how these theories are put into practice.
207: Justice and the Common Good: Studies in Political Philosophy (Fall)
A study of the historical sources and philosophical dimensions of the major debates in contemporary political thought, including an analysis of the basic terms of current political discourse — such as freedom, justice, rights, and equality — and an assessment of their role in the
debates over such issues as racism, gender relations, multiculturalism, and religion in the public square. The course also explores traditions of Christian reflection on the purpose of the state, the limits of legislation, the nature of community, the requirements of justice, and the calling of the Christian citizen. Students taking this course to fulfill the integrative
studies requirement of the core must have thefollowing prerequisites in addition to Philosophy 153: two courses in social sciences.
Fall 2009 (Hoekema): What is fair? What should be the standards of justice in society? What is included in the common good, and how ought we to seek it? In this course we explore issues of political justice and how they relate to broader theories of the good, the relationship between Christian duty and political justice, and what justice demands of us in contemporary social life. One of our sources will be Nicholas Wolterstorff's 2008 book arguing for a rights-based Christian theory of justice; other sources will set out some case studies on justice, race, and violence as they affect life in American cities and in southern Africa.
215: Business Ethics (Spring)
A systematic examination of ethical concepts as they relate to business conduct, designed to be of interest to all students who are concerned about justice and fairness in the marketplace. Issues such as discrimination and affirmative action, the ethics of advertising, protection of the environment, responsibilities of employees to the firm and of the firm to employees, and the rights of other stakeholder groups will be examined in the light of current debates in ethical theory. Students taking this course to fulfill the integrative studies requirement of the core must have the following prerequisites in addition to Philosophy 153: two courses in business/economics.
211: Philosophy of Gender (Fall and Spring)
In this course students are offered the opportunity to gain a historically-grounded philosophical understanding of the concept of gender, to un-
derstand the ways in which gender concepts are formed by and, in their turn, form contemporary cultural beliefs and practices, and to consider how these issues intersect with a reformed understanding of human life.
Fall 2009 (Groenhout): Have you ever found yourself wondering why men are so weird, or why women make no sense? Come and take this course and explore the various explanations of our experiences of gender. We'll study biological, social construction, and existential accounts of sex and gender, and think together about how they might fit with Christian beliefs.
318: Minds, Brains, and Persons (Fall, not offered 2009-2010)
An introduction to contemporary analytic philosophy of mind. Central issues in the philosophy of mind include such topics as the relation between mental states and the brain, the nature of consciousness, questions related to the kind of thing human persons are, including careful consideration of contemporary defenses of dualism and problems related to personal identity.
Fall 2009 (Corcoran): What is the relationship between a human person--a thinking, feeling, relational, moral being--and a brain--a roughly three pound mass of wrinkly, pinkish-grey matter? As a person, I have certain beliefs. How is my belief that winters in Grand Rapids are depressing related to neural goings on between my ears? There are no beliefs - or sensations of taste, etc. - without a subject that has the belief or experiences the taste. So what is the nature of the owner of mental states? Are we immaterial souls, material bodies, brains, what? And what about memory, phantom limb experiences, divided consciousness, and blind-spot phenomena? What do these have to say about the relation of minds, brains and persons? These are the sorts odd-ball questions addressed in the course.
226: African Thought and Culture (not offered 2009-2010)
Philosophies and worldviews of Africa, including traditional cosmologies and moral systems, philosophical responses to the legacy of transatlantic slavery, and political ideologies of the era of African independence . The role of Christianity in African thought, and the issue of race and African identity are also examined. Sources include selected writings of philosophers and other scholars; literature, art and music; and collaborative activities with Africans residing in West Michigan. This course fulfills the global and historical requirement of the core.