Department of Philosophy and Religion

Dr. Sallie B. King, Head

Professors

S. King, O'Meara, W. Thomas, Wiles

Associate Professors

Flage, Lippke

Assistant Professors

Burford, Edelman, Perdue

Course Descriptions: Philosophy and Religion

The department offers a combined major in philosophy and religion. Students may choose one of the four concentrations: either philosophy, religion, philosophy with an interdisciplinary focus or religion with an interdisciplinary focus. Minors are offered in both philosophy and religion. The major consists of 36 hours and leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree, unless philosophy and religion is elected as a second major within a Bachelor of Science degree program.

Whether concentrating in philosophy or religion, students in the department acquire the following fundamental skills and knowledge: the ability to think critically and rigorously with increased capabilities for problem solving and analysis of arguments; thorough familiarity with the literature, major figures, issues and phenomena of the discipline; and the ability to express themselves clearly, soundly, and persuasively in oral and written form. These three skill areas are the foundation and substance of a major in philosophy and religion. On the basis of this training, students should be prepared to express their own creative thought in a disciplined and effective manner.

Students completing a major with a concentration in philosophy are expected to know the major movements, problems, writings, concepts and terms in the history of Western philosophy. The program concentrates on major figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant; on problems arising in contemporary movements such as analytic philosophy, existentialism and American philosophy; and on the major subdivisions of philosophy, including logic, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy and law, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion. Students will take a capstone research-intensive course at the senior level in which they will work in depth on a philosophical problem using the research and critical skills developed in the program of study, together with their own original ideas.

Students completing a major with a concentration in religion will do course work in two of three sequences chosen from biblical studies, reflective studies and history of religions. Depending upon which sequences are selected, they will be expected to master the following skills and information:

Students who elect the history of religions sequence will acquire a significant understanding of non-western cultures; all religion concentrators will study at least one non-western religion. Religion concentrators will each take two capstone research-intensive courses, one each in the two sequences they have chosen to pursue. These will each provide the student extensive opportunity for research, critical and creative thought, and oral and written expression.

Careers

Many of the department's majors enter graduate school in philosophy or religion, law school or seminary. Alternatively, a departmental major graduating with a concentration in religion might move directly into work connected with religious service, into the human services fields or into teaching. A concentration in philosophy leads most directly into teaching or law school. A student's opportunities are by no means limited to these more obvious options. While there is no direct path from philosophy and religion to many specific jobs, in the long run students who have majored in philosophy and religion can do very well in finding satisfying employment. Employers seek many of the capacities which the study of philosophy and religion develops. For instance, the abilities to solve problems; to communicate effectively orally and in writing; to organize ideas and issues; to assess pros and cons; to reduce complex data to the essential points; and to persuade. These capabilities represent transferable skills useful in almost every work environment. Many students of philosophy and religion ultimately find careers in business or industry, in government or public service, in law, human services and communications.

Students should work with the Office of Career Services for help in finding suitable employment.

Preparation for Law School

Students who plan to attend law school should seriously consider philosophy as an undergraduate major. Philosophy majors have historically scored very well on the Law School Admission Test. Philosophy courses emphasize the kinds of skills that prepare students for the LSAT and the law school curriculum: reading, comprehending and analyzing complex texts; organizing and synthesizing information and drawing reasonable inferences from it; analyzing and evaluating the reasoning and arguments of others; and researching and writing essays and papers. Law schools recommend that students choose an undergraduate major that challenges them and provides them with an understanding of what shapes human experience. Philosophy does an outstanding job on both counts. The requirements of the major leave students plenty of opportunity to acquire a broad education by exploring other areas. For more information on philosophy as a pre-law major, contact Dr. Richard Lippke.

Pre-seminary Study

The pre-seminary adviser will help majors and minors design undergraduate programs that will prepare them for further study in theological seminaries and university divinity schools. Academic counseling of students takes place within guidelines provided by the American Association of Theological Schools. The department offers rich opportunities for the study of biblical languages and archaeology; the history, content and interpretation of the Bible; historical and modern theology; particular religious traditions; and cross-cultural topics in religious studies. Class assignments require students to think critically about a variety of theological and ethical issues; to read original, classical expressions of religious thought; and to become knowledgeable about specialized terms and the major spiritual and intellectual interpreters of the Hebrew and Christian traditions.

Students are encouraged to visit various seminaries and the department welcomes seminary representatives to the campus to discuss the possibilities for further theological education with students. Interested students may receive academic credit for practical supervised field work with social agencies and churches in order to help them find the particular forms of ministry (pastoral, campus, youth, missions, social, counseling) for which they are best suited. Qualified students are also encouraged to undertake independent study and write an honors thesis in their junior and senior years. For more information on pre-seminary study, contact Dr. William Thomas.

Other Opportunities

The department cosponsors a summer archaeological field program in Israel at Tel Miqne, the ancient Philistine site of Ekron, as an optional part of the sequence in biblical studies. The dig is open to all JMU students, regardless of major. Students concentrating in religion may also be interested in spending a semester studying at a university in Israel through the JMU Semester Abroad program.

A student-run Society of Philosophy and Religion and honor societies in both disciplines provide excellent opportunities for fellowship and student participation in the intellectual and social activities of the department.

Scholarship money designated specifically for those who plan to work in the field of religion is available through a grant from the Warren W. Hobbie Foundation.

Concentration in Philosophy

Credit
Hours
PHIL 250. Introductory Logic 3
PHIL 330. Moral Theory 3
PHIL 341. Modern Philosophy 3
Choose one of the following: 3
PHIL 337. Plato and the Pre-Socratics
PHIL 338. Aristotle and His Contemporaries
Choose one of the following: 3
PHIL 344. Existentialism
PHIL 370. American Philosophy
PHIL 430. Analytic Philosophy
(strongly recommend for those planning
to go to graduate school in philosophy)
Capstone (choose one of the following): 3
PHIL 475. Major Thinkers and Issues in Philosophy
PHIL 490. Special Studies in Philosophy
PHIL 499. Honors
Choose one of the following not taken to 3
fulfill another requirement:
PHIL 337. Plato and the Pre-Socratics
PHIL 338. Aristotle and His Contemporaries
PHIL 344. Existentialism
PHIL 370. American Philosophy
PHIL 375. The 19th Century: Age of Ideology
PHIL 430. Analytic Philosophy
Any noncrosslisted religion course 3
Electives in philosophy (of which nine credits 12
must be at the 300 level or above)
36

Concentration in Philosophy with an Interdisciplinary Focus

This option is designed for students who want to concentrate in philosophy but also apply philosophical ideas to work in other departments. Twelve hours of course work from a different but related discipline are part of the major requirements of this option.

Credit
Hours
PHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy 3
Choose one of the following: 3
PHIL 250. Introduction to Logic
PHIL 300. Reasoning: Methods and Problems
Choose one of the following: 3
PHIL 337. Plato and the Pre-Socratics
PHIL 338. Aristotle and His Contemporaries
PHIL 341. Modern Philosophy 3
Additional philosophy courses chosen in 12
conference with the adviser
(300 level or above) 1
A coherent set of courses from one or more 12
disciplines chosen in conference with
the adviser
36

1 Excluding PHIL 300, Reasoning: Methods and Problems.

Concentration in Religion

Credit
Hours
Choose one introductory religion course: 3
REL 101. Religions of the World
REL 200. Exploring Religion
Choose one philosophy course (PHIL 101, 3
Introduction to Philosophy, recommended) 1
Choose two of the following sequence areas 18
In each, complete two courses at the 200
or 300 level and one at the 400 level.
Biblical Studies
REL 201. Old Testament
REL 202. New Testament
REL 231-232/HEBR 231-232. Intermediate
Biblical Hebrew
REL 337/ANTH 337. Archaeology and the Bible
REL 460. Biblical Texts In Context
Reflective Studies
REL 270. Religious Ethics
REL 322/SOCI 322. Sociology of Religion
REL 350. Philosophy of Religion
REL 360. History of Christian Thought
REL 375/PHIL 375. The 19th Century: Age of Ideology
REL 450. Major Religious Thinkers
History of Religions
REL 310. Religions of India
REL 312. Religions of East Asia
REL 315. Women and Religion
REL 320. Judaism
REL 325. Modern Catholicism
REL 330. African and African-American Religion
REL 370. Mysticism
REL 385/PHIL 385. Buddhist Thought
REL 475. Interreligious Dialogue
Electives (one of which must be in the third 12
sequence area)
36

All religion majors must take at least one course in a non-Western religion (REL 310, REL 312 or REL 385/PHIL 385). This may be taken as the course in the history of religions sequence or as an elective.

1 Philosophy courses crosslisted with religion will not satisfy this requirement.

Concentration in Religion with an Interdisciplinary Focus

This option is designed for students who want to concentrate in religion, but also wish to integrate their work in religion with work in another, complementary disciplinary area.

The student electing this option will fulfill the requirements for the regular concentration in religion, with one change: he or she will substitute a coherent set of 12 credits from one or more disciplinary areas chosen in conference with the adviser for the 12 credits of religion electives required for the concentration in religion. If philosophy is chosen as the second disciplinary area, the student should substitute one course in the third religion sequence area for the one philosophy course required for other religion majors.

Minor in Philosophy

Credit
Hours
PHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy 3
Choose one of the following: 3
PHIL 337. Plato and the Pre-Socratics
PHIL 338. Aristotle and His Contemporaries
PHIL 341. Modern Philosophy 3
Three electives, at least two of which must be 9
above PHIL 300 1
18

Minor in Religion

Credit
Hours
Choose one introductory religion course: 3
REL 101. Religions of the World or
REL 200. Exploring Religion
Choose one course in each of the three 9
sequence areas (biblical studies, reflective
studies, history of religions)
Two electives (one of which must be at the 300 or 6
400 level)
18

All religion minors must take at least one course in a nonwestern religion (REL 310, REL 312 or REL 385/PHIL 385). This may be taken as the course in the history of religions sequence or as an elective.

1 It is strongly recommended that at least one of the electives be a 400-level course.

Philosophy and Religion Major (B.A. Degree)

This is a sample four-year outline. The actual courses and sequence a student takes may vary.

Credit
Freshman Year Hours
Introductory courses in major 6
Foreign language courses 1 6-8
Liberal studies courses 16-18
30
Credit
Sophomore Year Hours
Required courses in major 6
Choose from the following: 6
Foreign language courses
Electives
Liberal studies courses 18
30
Credit
Junior Year Hours
Requirements and electives in 12
philosophy or religion
Electives (may be outside of major) 12
Liberal studies courses 6
30
Credit
Senior Year Hours
Requirements and electives in 12
philosophy or religion
Electives (may be outside of major) 18
30

1 Students are advised to adjust liberal studies load to foreign language load to achieve 30 hours total.

College of Arts and Letters Directory

Undergraduate Catalog Contents


1996-97 Undergraduate Catalog
Last reviewed: 30 November 1996
Information Publisher: Division of Academic Affairs
James Madison University