Current Graduate Course Information

The following list represents detailed course descriptions of our current offerings; for the full range of graduate courses offered in MA in Practical Philosophy & Applied Ethics, as well as the Graduate Certificate in Applied Ethics, please consult the Graduate Course Descriptions in the UNF catalog.

Summer A 2014 Upper Division


PHI 5934  Philosophy of Film

CRN 51174


Instructor: M. Skees 




The philosophy of film is a rapidly growing subfield of contemporary philosophy of art that has experienced a certain renaissance since the 1980’s.  There are many ways to approach the study of film – from the standpoint of film theory, film studies, the aesthetics of film as an art form, the social impact and relevance of film, etc.  In this course, we will address the philosophy of film topically.  Topics will include: the nature of film; film and authorship; film and emotion; films and narrators; and the social/political import of films. Finally, we will ask ourselves what we can learn from films.



Fall 2014


PHI 5605 Ethics

CRN: 80524 
M 1800-2045
Instructor: M.Haney



What is morality? What is its basis? What norms or principles should guide our actions? This course offers a detailed investigation of these fundamental questions. We will examine theories about the source of morality (topics from the area known as metaethics) and theories concerning how we ought to structure our moral thought and action (topics from the area known as normative theory). We will be concerned throughout to see how metaethical and normative questions interrelate: what are the arguments, for example, for thinking that moral norms derive from different cultural ways of life, and what effect should agreement with such arguments have on one’s moral outlook? The fact that this is primarily a course in abstract theory does not mean that we will not devote time to the discussion of real life moral problems and dilemmas. Indeed, one major goal of the course will be the exploration of the relationship between ethical theory and everyday life.  PHI 5605 is required of all students in the M.A. program in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics. 



PHI 5628 Business Ethics

CRN: 10920 
TR 1630-1745
Instructor: M.Haney


This course will prepare and engage students to answer the following questions: Do we need ethical organizations? What does it mean for an organization to be ethical? What tools, structures, and ethical values constitute the elements of an ethical organization? How do we evaluate organizations from an ethical perspective? What are the means of improving organizations from an ethical perspective?

PHI 6936 Philosophy of Music

CRN: 82952
R 1800-2045 
Instructor: H. Koegler



This philosophy course will explore music from a variety of angles, including aesthetic, interpretive, cultural, social, and normative dimensions. The philosophical approach to music implies discussing the relationship between music and other forms of art, its unique nature as a "language of sounds," and its claim to be an autonomous art-form. We will thus be in a position to explore in depth how music is related to emotional experience, how music can be an expression of cultural experiences and meanings, and how we can evaluate music. Discussions are based on a wide variety of musical forms, including Jazz, classical music, pop, etc. The course should be of interest to everyone eager to understand the phenomenon of music. The course will explore issues of social power, agency, and self-expression with regard to music as a cultural medium.



PHI 6936 Confucianism

CRN: 82958
T 1800-2045 
Instructor: S. Mattice



This course will explore the thought and influence of one of the most influential people of all time— 孔子 (Confucius). Much of what we see today as distinctive contributions of East Asia to world culture comes from a Confucian approach to the world. We will begin in ancient China with the great Confucian classics, and then proceed historically through movements and developments in Confucian thought, from the Analects and the Mengzi to Dong Zhongshu, Zhu Xi, and New-Confucianism as it exists today. We will examine questions of how to categorize Confucianism—philosophy, religion, both, neither? We will also explore the “Asian Values” controversy and discuss the rise of Confucianism in contemporary China, including various Confucian responses to problems such as human rights, environmental ethics, and bioethics. Students will benefit from having some background in non-western philosophy or religion.



PHI 6936 Existentialism

CRN: 82961
TR 1505-1620 
Instructor: E. Gilson




This course introduces students to the main themes and concepts of existential philosophy. Existentialism names an eclectic group of literary and philosophical figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who are united by their concern with the nature and meaning of human existence. Existentialist inquiry begins from the perspective of the human individual, and addresses the experiences, emotions, events, and values that define human existence. Major themes to be discussed include: the meaning and purpose of human existence; the role of faith, beauty, freedom, and responsibility in that existence; the human relationship to religion and God; human attitudes to and avoidance of death; and the possibility of living authentically and ethically. We will read philosophical works from thinkers such as Camus, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and de Beauvoir, as well as literary works. Exploring existentialist ideas will challenge students to wonder about both their own lives and the nature of human existence.


PHI 6936 Arts and Politics

CRN: 83176
Instructor: M. Skees 



This course introduces Frankfurt School Critical Theory through various writings on aesthetics and cultural criticism by Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Jürgen Habermas. Some of the topics we will address will include:  the relation between aesthetics and political theory;  the relation between art and political action; relation between form and content; the notion of aesthetic autonomy; the notion of artistic autonomy, etc. The course includes background readings in Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Georg Lukács. The course presupposes some knowledge of Marx’s work and the philosophical tradition.  This course ends with a look to contemporary critical theorists who are strongly influenced by Frankfurt School Critical Theory, adhering to the spirit—if not the letter—of a vital philosophical tradition in normative disciplines of social and political philosophy. 


PHI 6937 Themes Methods Practical Philosophy

CRN: 80505
W 1800-2045 
Instructor: E. Gilson



This course is an advanced-level introduction to practical philosophy. It addresses issues in social and political philosophy from both historical and contemporary perspectives, including theories about culture, gender, race, and human difference in general. The course surveys theoretical perspectives on politics and civil society, and key concepts in social and political thought (such as justice, equality, fairness,  freedom, difference, community, recognition), and also considers how these concepts and theoretical frameworks can be applied to contemporary issues in politics, society, and culture. The course seeks to enhance advanced-level philosophical writing skills through regular writing and a substantial research project. The course is conducted as a seminar and so necessitates vibrant student participation.  PHI 6937 is required of all students in the M.A. program in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics.



PHM 5305 Political Philosophy

CRN: 83016
MW 1500-1615

 Instructor: J. Nale 



The history of political theory often focuses on the role of sovereign power and its role as the foundation of civil society. Traditionally, this idea of power focuses the role of a king, monarch, or president because political power is located in a single individual and civil society is subject to his or her power to punish. However, this conception of political power, made most famous in the social contract theories of Hobbes and Locke, has been critiqued over the last several decades by philosophers who have developed theories and histories of political power based on a ‘microphysics of power’. This hypothesis denies that political power is localized and concentrated in a single individual but rather that power is dispersed throughout society in myriad ways. This class explores this hypothesis by looking at the key political texts of Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze and other philosophers working in this tradition. We will begin with an historical overview of various theories of society, politics and power before spending the latter part of the semester immersed in some of the canonical political texts of the twentieth century. In addition to the central theme of politics and power, we will encounter new definitions of the subject, race, gender, history, resistance, oppression and rights.