Georgetown’s Philosophy: Secular Vacuum

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

Once upon a time, the FBI actively recruited agents from Catholic colleges like Georgetown. Now, they would be lucky to find a reliable witness there.

The Jesuit habit of pairing every degree with a virtual double major in philosophy made for well-rounded investigators well-versed in western civilization. Current undergraduates at Georgetown are paying good money to get the kind of pop culture they could get off campus for nothing.

Consider what the Hoyas offer by way of philosophy courses:

PHIL-197 Sex, Science, Society
Spring for 2013-2014
Fry, Richard & Cassie, Herbert

Man and woman, male and female. These categories are, intuitively, quite easy to identify and apply. We use them–both deliberately and without noticing–to navigate the world every day. But when we examine these categories, they are hard to pin down: what are the necessary and sufficient conditions to qualify as a woman (or man) and how are they determined? What about being female (or male)? Are the answers to those questions just the same, or might they be different? In the first section of this course we will examine the nature of categories of sex and gender with help from scientific views about the character of natural kinds and related notions like species. In light of our discoveries, we will reexamine the social and political roles of these categories. This course will serve as a foundation for understanding issues related to science, technology, gender studies and social justice.

We will read articles and selections from books from contemporary philosophical and scientific sources, including authors such as W.V.O. Quine, John Dupré, Cordelia Fine, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sally Haslanger and Iris Marion Young. Assignments will principally consist in two short papers and one long paper.

PHIL-138 Ethics: Global Warming
Spring for 2013-2014
Hedahl, Marcus

This is also an age of environmental tragedy. And it is a tragedy that implicates our institutions, our ethical frameworks, and even ourselves.  Yet environmentalism is, nonetheless, entering a golden age: conservation, recycling and stewardship are more prominent than ever in daily life. Issues such as global warming, pollution and consumption have received sustained public attention. In many

cases, the reasoning behind altering human behavior to avoid certain environmental
consequences has been enshrined in moral language.

PHIL-138-20 Ethics: The Environment
Guidry-Grimes, Laura (lkg8)
SUMMER 2012

Environmental ethics is a branch of applied philosophy, and it spans over a number of issues. Do landscapes, trees, or animals have value? If so, what is the source of this value? How should human needs and wants be weighed? Philosophers disagree on the contours of our obligations and duties regarding nature and non-humans. Technological developments and increases in scientific knowledge have further complicated the picture.

PHIL-127 Origins of Animal Rights
Fall for 2013-2014
Fry, Richard

Do animals deserve any sort of moral consideration? Ought we to kill them, eat them, torture them? Are we even allowed to do any of these? What features of animals (or humans) bear on these questions?

 

Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.

 

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