George Mason University 1997-98 Catalog Catalog Index
Course Descriptions

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Liberal Studies Courses (LS)

M.A.I.S./College of Arts and Sciences

500 Religious Worlds in Transition (3:3:0). This course examines a selection of non-Western and pre-Western cultures and religions, both ancient and modern, and examines their responses to an evolving world. Each culture is viewed from two standpoints: first, for its own construction of values, its conceptions of the relationship of the sacred to the world, the human condition, and "success" in human life; second, for its responses to the inevitable crises of history and the forces of change. In this context, Western culture is seen to be but one of many such constructions in transition, one of many ways of being in the world, more or less successful according to culturally determined conceptions of success itself.

502 Religions in Conflict and Dialogue (3:3:0). This course examines the nature and patterns of religious conflict and explores ways of engaging in dialogue. The exploration of religious pluralism for dialogue is the main theme of the course.

511 Contemporary Values (3:3:0). In this course, the student identifies personal, social, political, and religious values operative in contemporary society; examines their foundations and interrelationships; and examines in depth at least one area of human life in which values are both important and contested.

513 Existence, Faith, and Doubt (3:3:0). This course examines the idea of religion, of the essential features and variations belonging to religious existence, of the challenges to religious self-understanding posed by contemporary interpretation of religious consciousness, and of the responses to those challenges through a hermeneutics of the religious symbol.

515 Time and the Human Condition (3:3:0). This course explores Western culture's changing interpretations of the meaning and value of time and an examination of the ways these changing interpretations reflect diverse understandings of the meaning of the human condition.

520 Science, Reason, and Reality (3:3:0). This course is an advanced exploration of the interrelations between science, reason, and reality. In principle, what are the rational (objective) standards, if any, for scientific knowledge of physical reality and for the underlying causal forces of nature? This course explores the following philosophical perspectives: the logical empiricist approach, the Popperian falsifiability orientation, Kuhn's historicism, Newton-Smith's rationalism, a modeling approach by Van Fraasen, and Hacking's experimental realism.

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