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Liberal Studies Course Requirements

Liberal Studies Course Requirements

Fall Junior Year
Human Nature and Heroism (ENGL 301):
Tolkein, Gilgamesh, Homer, Virgil, El Cid and/or Song of Roland (3 credits)
The Challenge of Modernity (PHIL 401): The Life and Writings of Machiavelli, Thomas More, and William Shakespeare (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Total: 9 credits

Spring Junior Year
War, Empire, and Philosophy (PHIL 312):
Thucydides and the great theorists of International Relations (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Total: 12 credits

Fall Senior Year
Evil, Suffering and Rebellion (ENGL 302):
Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov & Demons, Aquinas On Evil (3 credits)
The Soul and Its Destiny (PHIL 402): Dante's Divine Comedy, Plato: Symposium and Phaedo, Aristotle and Aquinas On the Soul, Augustine's Confessions (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Total: 12 credits

Spring Senior Year
God, Philosophy and Politics (PHIL 404): St. Augustine, The City of God on the basis of political organization and the proper aspirations of democracy (3 credits)
Modern Democracy (PHIL 401): Burke, De Tocqueville, De Maistre, Hawthorne, Melville, Weber & Critics, Washington, Dubois (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Total: 9 credits

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Introduction to Political Philosophy: POLS 150
This class will examine the basic concepts of political philosophy, focusing on the various points of view from which one can examine politics and civilization, ranging from that of the person to that of the political authority, to that of the outside observer, if such a point of view is truly possible. Then, we will put forth and attempt to understand the basic concepts that have shown themselves to be beneficial for understanding political reality. We will use the following thinkers as our guides in this course: Antoine St.-Exupéry, Gilgamesh, Plato, Melville, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Thomas More, Aquinas, Thucydides, and Dostoevsky

Human Nature and Heroism (3)
This class will examine the problems of politics, human nature, the meaning of myth, friendship, leadership and the meaning and purpose of war, especially as examined in the novels of Tolkein and the films based upon those novels. It will then examine the same problems as confronted by seminal literature as can be found in Homer, Virgil and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Evil, Suffering and Rebellion
This class will introduce students to the questions of faith and reason, good and evil, suffering, the family, revolution, political change and nihilism, especially as thought out by the great Russian thinker and writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky. It will focus on the problem as it arose in the 19th Century, especially after the year 1848.

The Challenge of Modernity: from The Reformation to Post-Modernism
Thomas More is an enigmatic and important figure in history. He was a husband, father, scholar, lawyer, and statesman. He also found himself in the heart of controversies that gave rise to what we now call Modernity. This course will examine the life and writings of Thomas More so as to help the student understand the roots of contemporary problems and an exemplary response to them. Sozhenytsin is a Russian thinker of the 20th Century who attempted to understand and articulate the virtues and vices of contemporary political and economic systems: communist, capitalist, consumerist and nationalist. We will examine his life and writings with the goal of understanding better the dangers that ideologies pose for the flourishing of the human person.

IDST 425 Modern Democracy: (3)
This course will examine the problems of democracy as represented in the experience and aftermath of the French and American Revolutions. After reading a short book or series of articles that pose the important problems of contemporary democratic societies, we will examine the writings of Burke, DeTocqueville and Brownson in order to see what contribution they offer to understand and resolving the tensions that exist in contemporary democracies.

IDST 376 War, Empire and Philosophy:
Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Aquinas on Just War (3). This course will begin with a reading or series of readings on contemporary war, foreign policy, and international relations. Then, we will read Thucydides with a view to understanding the variables that he employed in understanding war, foreign policy and international relations. We will attempt to apply his use of variables to contemporary foreign affairs, in the hopes of gaining a richer understanding of the problems that face contemporary man.

The Soul and Its Destiny
Dante's Divine Comedy helps us to understand the soul and its eternal destiny. In writing this adventure, Dante also reveals important principles for understanding the ethical life, the relationship between faith and reason, and the way in which one could attempt to resolve contemporary problems relying on a principled understanding of faith and reason. Suggested Readings: Dante's Divine Comedy, Plato: Symposium & Phaedo, Aristotle & Aquinas On the Soul, Augustine's Confessions (3)

Justice, Economics, and the Common Good:
Plato's Republic examines problems related to justice and the common good that are continual grounds for reflection. Themes include, the basis of political power, proper economic relationships, the basic virtues, faith and reason, education, music, theater, and the afterlife. After examining a contemporary text and lays out important problems for us to consider while examining the problems raised in this book, we will read and discuss this seminal work of education and philosophy. Suggested Readings: Plato's Republic, Beckwith on Relativism(3)

God, Philosophy & Politics
This course will begin with a contemporary account of modern politics, such as Robert Dahl's on Democracy. Then, we use Augustine and Aquinas as well as some of their contemporary followers to evaluate the purposes and means of carrying out a democratic society in the 20th Century. We will ask ourselves what is a healthy society and what is a healthy life in the contemporary world. Suggested Readings: Dahl, On Democracy, St. Augustine, The City of God, Plato's Laws, Aquinas on God and Providence, the Natural Law (3)