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 2015

PHI 5934 Philosophy of Media Culture

CRN: 51146
Distance Learning 
Instructor: M. Skees 


This course will take a transdisciplinary approach to the study of media culture.  We will focus on the role of new media technologies – specifically digital media and the Internet – in transforming our culture, economy, and politics. Central themes will include: the materiality of media; the evolution of mass communication; the cultural antecedents of the digital revolution; computational media and recent discussions of posthumanism; the ubiquity of code; hacking, cracking, phreaking, culture jamming, and the political uses of digital media.  


PHM 5056 Ethical Issues In Death and Dying

CRN 51135

MW 1240-1610
Instructor: A. Swota  



According to many, death is one of the greatest evils that confront human beings. But what exactly is death and why do we fear it? In this course, we take an interdisciplinary approach to death and dying in order to understand some of the ethical, medical, and legal issues surrounding death and dying. Topics to be covered include whether life is always preferable to death, deciding how much control we should have over our own deaths, how much control (if any) advance directives should have in directing end-of-life treatment plans, how much cost should play a role in deciding whether expensive treatments which provide little benefit are offered to patients, the moral obligation of doctors to disclose information to their patients, different criteria for determining death, and whether one is allowed to bring about or assist in the death of another. The main objectives of the course are to introduce students to some of the central issues in the philosophy of death and dying, to encourage open communication about death and dying, and to foster appreciation of the experiences and needs of the dying, and to help students recognize some of the many vexing ethical issues that arise in health care at the end-of-life. 



Summer B 2015 


Fall 2015 


PHI5605 Ethics  

CRN 80492

W 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 a course required of all students in the M.A. in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics.




PHI 5628 Business Ethics


CRN 81009

MW 1630-1745

 Instructor: A. Creller 


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 5634 Bioethics 

CRN 82995

MW 1500-1615

 Instructor: A. Swota   


Arising out of the changing landscape in medicine are a number of ethical issues. In this course we will analyze and examine some of these issues that have evolved out of recent and anticipated developments in medicine.  Issues to be discussed include the physician-patient relationship, informed consent, advance directives, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, issues in reproductive ethics, experimentation on human subjects, and access to health care.  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 currently being debated.





PHI 5634 Philosophy of Education


CRN 83001

M 1800-2045

 Instructor: E. Gilson   


This course explores central questions, both perennial and contemporary, related to education: What is education? What does it mean to become educated? Who should be educated and in what way? Who is responsible for providing education? What is the purpose or aims of education in general and, more specifically, in a democratic society? Is education merely about the acquisition of knowledge and skills? Or should education also have ethical and political aims? In a democracy, should education cultivate an informed or capable citizenry? Which educational methods, models, pedagogies are the best and for what ends? We will consider various historical and contemporary perspectives on these questions as well as the state of education – primary, secondary, and higher education – in the 21st century US. The course material will include texts from authors such as John Dewey, Paolo Freire, Martha Nussbaum, bell hooks, Henry Giroux, Anthony Appiah, Amy Gutmann, Nel Noddings, and Lawrence Blum. Graduate students will be expected to consider how ethical, social, and political theories relate to education and what their implications are for educational policy. 





PHI 5634 Introduction to Buddhism


CRN 83007

R 1800-2045

 Instructor: S. Mattice   


In this course we will critically engage Buddhist philosophy and religion, from its origins in ancient India to its spread across Asia and its impact on the contemporary world. After a focused survey of key ideas, practices, and texts, we will delve into the Heart Sutra, an important Mahayana text, and examine in detail several commentaries from different traditions.




PHI 6936 Contemporary European Philosophy


CRN 82988

MW 1330-1445


Instructor: E. Gilson    


The European philosophers of the 20th century break with tradition by questioning fundamental assumptions and challenging our normal categories, inciting a revolution in philosophical thinking. This course surveys the major schools of thought such as phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, structuralism, post-structuralism, and feminism, and considers the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Cixous, Irigaray, and Judith Butler. Central themes include the nature of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, otherness and difference, language and power, the critique of foundational truth, and the impact of these critical perspectives on ethics and politics. 




PHI 6937 Themes Methods Practical Philosophy


CRN 80473

T 1800-2045


 Instructor: A. Buchwalter 


 This course is an advanced-level introduction to central themes and approaches in practical philosophy, with emphasis equally on social and political thought and application to trends in current social and cultural life.  The course is divided into three main parts.  Part I explores practical philosophy via the interpretation of seminal historical texts. Its focus is on main trends in ancient and modern political theory, with special attention to the distinction between liberalism and republicanism.  Part II explores practical philosophy via conceptual analysis, examining efforts by contemporary political and social theorists to theorize central concepts like justice, liberty, democracy, and human rights.  Part III explores practical philosophy in its application to issues of special topicality today, such as global justice, cosmopolitanism, and religion in the public sphere.  Readings draw on writers from diverse traditions and orientations.  The course seeks to enhance advanced-level philosophical writing skills.  Conducted as a seminar, this course presumes active student participation.  PHI 6937 is a course required of all students in the M.A. in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics. 




PHM  5405 Philosophy of Law



 CRN 83011 

TR 1505-1620

 Instructor: A. Buchwalter 


This course explores basic concepts in legal theory and jurisprudence, including rights, liberties, justice, constitutionalism, authority, liability, responsibility, punishment, equal treatment, the rule of law, and the legal practice. Special attention will be given to the nature of law itself, as thematized in classical writings and the most contemporary discussions. We also consider the nature of legal reasoning and interpretation, the relationship of law and economics, the place of law in international justice, as well as the relationship of law to democracy and matters of contemporary public policy.  In applying legal theory to specific events and concrete cases, we consider current issues associated with universal human rights, freedom of expression, gun rights, same-sex marriage, the insanity defense, the death penalty, as well as controversies surrounding critical legal studies and other alternative theories.   The graduate section of this course gives special consideration to advanced themes in international law, judicial review, religious freedom, as well as such new trends in legal theory and discourse theory.