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.

Spring 2015


PHI 5628 Business Ethics

CRN: 10822 
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 5934 The Philosophy of Zen Buddism

CRN: 12975
TR 1505-1620 
Instructor: S. Mattice


Zen is the name of both a meditation practice which guides a way of life, and a school of traditional Buddhism which arose in China, developed in Japan and Korea, and is now being transplanted in the West. This course is an examination of the literary, philosophical and historical roots and teachings of Zen. How did it arise, how does it differ from other religious traditions, and how has it been represented and manipulated over the centuries? What challenges to philosophical thinking does it pose, and what have critical scholars today discovered about its teachings and practices? We will explore these questions beginning with a general introduction to Buddhism, then reading and discussing classical Zen texts along with some of the best current scholarship on Zen. This course will provide an opportunity for students to engage in critical and creative analysis and reflection. Previous background in philosophy or Buddhism is desirable but not necessary; what is expected is a willingness to engage in philosophical discussion.


PHI 5934 Multicultural Bioethics

CRN: 12983
M 1800-2045 
Instructor: A. Swota


Demographics in the United States reveal an increasing amount of diversity. Few places demonstrate a need for understanding and accommodating this diversity more than in the clinical context. Too often the complex ethical issues faced in medicine are viewed through a lens shaped solely by Western values. This lens is insufficient against the backdrop of diversity found in the clinical setting. In this course we will analyze and examine some of the issues that have evolved out of recent and anticipated developments in medicine, highlighting both the differences and similarities different cultures bring to the table. We begin with an overview of the underpinnings of Western bioethics, then go on to look at other approaches to bioethics in general, and then move on to examining a number of moral issues arising in medicine from a variety of different perspectives.  Issues to be discussed include the physician-patient relationship, informed consent, truth-telling, advance directives, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, issues in maternal-fetal medicine, and health care for children. Throughout this course we will examine assumptions about rights, persons, and ethical principles at play in the medical arena. Readings will include discussions of ethical principles in medical contexts and legal decisions. In addition, case studies will be utilized to provide students with the opportunity to sharpen their analytic skills and develop a deeper understanding of some of the major bioethical issues from an international perspective.


PHI 5934 Feminist Theory

CRN: 12988
T 1800-2045
Instructor: E. Gilson  


From Beyoncé, Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, Lena Dunham, and Amy Poehler to Aziz Ansari, Donald McPherson, and Joseph Gordon Levitt; from Sheryl Sandberg and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to the Dalai Lama. All claim to be feminists. So, what does it mean to be a feminist? Is it just believing in the equality of women and men? Or is there more to it? What more could there be? Can men be feminists? What does being a feminist mean for one’s everyday life?  In this course, we explore feminist thought and activism, both historical and contemporary, aiming to gain a comprehensive view of what feminism was and is. The course opens by considering the recent publicity surrounding feminism, wherein those listed above declared their commitment to it while others dissented, rejecting feminism (e.g., “women against feminism”). Then we start at the beginning: the history of feminism as a way of challenging the oppression of women. We will explore the main categories of sex and gender, discussing what it means to be female and male, masculine and feminine, their binary division, and how sex and gender have been used to organize society. From there, we consider how people’s experiences are shaped by sex and gender, focusing on identity, bodily existence (embodiment), and inequality: we will analyze specific issues such as gender-related violence, pornography, marriage and the family, and body image. Throughout the course, we will pay close attention to the idea of “intersectionality” (how sex and gender intersect with race, class, ethnicity, and nationality, among other things, to position people socially and shape identity and experience) and how some feminist thinkers have criticized feminism itself for not paying sufficient attention to race, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, and other kinds of difference. We will also reflect on how and whether contemporary feminism can be a global and/or transnational movement, and the different forms feminism might take in different places.  

PHI 6936 Free Will

CRN: 12992
MW 1630-1745
Instructor: K. Matheson  


This course concerns the nature and existence of free will and moral responsibility.  It will focus on two broad questions: (Q1) What does it take to have free will (and moral responsibility)? and (Q2) Do we have what it takes to have free will (and moral responsibility)?  Regarding (Q1) we will examine contemporary accounts of free will and evaluate central arguments for and against each account.  In doing so, we will explore such questions as: Is free will compatible with determinism?  Must free actions be uncaused?  Do free choices require alternative possibilities?  Regarding (Q2) we will examine contemporary challenges to the existence of free will (and moral responsibility) coming from both science and philosophy.  In doing so, we will explore such questions as: Does contemporary neuroscience give us a reason to doubt that we have free will? Does contemporary social science give us a reason to doubt that we have free will?  Are our actions our own or merely the result of luck?


PHI 6938 Themes Methods Applied Ethics

CRN: 13094
W 1800-2045
Instructor: M. Haney


Students will exam and critically reflect upon a range of disputed moral issues. In so doing, students will ask how, as well as whether, ethical theories are the best guide to resolving moral disagreements.  This course is required of all graduate students.