Courses and Resources

Young Scholars Program

During the summer, Professor Gordon Marino partners with students pursuing Independent Research and Study projects and leads the annual Young Scholars Program in daily discussions on a variety of Kierkegaard’s texts. This program is designed for college seniors or recently graduated college students who are serious about study and preparation for graduate school in a related field.

Participants will meet with Professor Marino on a daily basis and attend scholar seminars outside of class time. In-depth study of a chosen Kierkegaard text or another topic will be the focus as well as Professor Marino’s mentorship for the scholar’s own research. Housing is provided on campus, all other expenses are the responsibility of the young scholar.

Courses offered by St. Olaf College

In addition to his duties as Curator of the Hong Kierkegaard Library, Professor Gordon Marino regularly teaches the following courses in the St. Olaf Philosophy Department. Students interested in these courses can find information on availability on the Student Information System.

Please note that the following courses are not taught every year.

PHIL 118: Making of Modern Mind

This course examines historically significant conceptions of reality and knowledge focusing on philosophy’s contributions to Western culture. Major philosophers from ancient, medieval, and modern Western philosophy are introduced and assessed for their contributions to our understanding of the universe, human nature, and values. Some sections offer a survey of Western philosophy; others stress intensive study of central figures and works. Consult the departmental prospectus for details. Open to first-year students and sophomores only. Offered each semester.

PHIL 233: Kierkegaard and Existentialism

An introduction to Kierkegaard’s work and to existentialism, this course emphasizes the aesthetic, ethical, and religious “stages on life’s way.” Existential questions concerning the meaning of human existence, passion and faith, freedom and choice, despair, and the absurd are examined. Offered annually. Counts toward Nordic studies concentration.

PHIL 252: Ethics and the Good Life

This course examines the main Western ethical theories and their application to contemporary moral concerns. Theoretical issues may include rights, duties, virtue, hedonism, egoism, the relation between ethics and theology, the fact-value distinction, relativism, and pluralism. Students discuss current topics such as global economic justice, euthanasia, the death penalty, animal rights, censorship, racism, privacy rights versus public safety, reproductive ethics, and environmental ethics. Offered annually. Counts toward management studies concentration. Prerequisite: completion of BTS-T or permission of instructor.

PHIL 261: Freud and the Study of Human Behavior

Students examine Freud’s thesis that our thoughts and actions spring from the darkness of our unconscious. Because Freud based his theory on a small sample of case studies, the course scrutinizes this qualitative data and discusses the role of case studies in the study of human behavior. Students evaluate the criteria for a scientific theory of human behavior and consider whether Freud’s theory meets them. Offered during Interim. Counts toward German studies concentration.

PHIL 399: Senior Seminar: Nietzsche

It was not without reason that Nietzsche rightfully baptized himself with such monikers as the “philosopher with a hammer” and the “Anti-Christ.” Make no mistake about it, he is a dangerous thinker. Perhaps unaware, we are Nietzscheans in that we take pride (a virtue FN relished) in our open-minded willingness to critically and creatively examine our views. So then, in the form of careful study of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil and sections of his Untimely Meditations, this seminar will muster a stern challenge to many of our moral sensibilities. On a gentler note, our inquiry will also open the floor for a conversation about the much-neglected question of the place of style in philosophy.

CURI: Undergraduate Research

Professor Gordon Marino coordinates with current St. Olaf students through the CURI summer research program. During the summer of 2017, two St. Olaf students, Linden Smith and Anabel Kapelke, studied alongside Professor Marino and explored “Kierkegaard in the Present Age.” The premise of their research centered around the following line of thought:

We live in an age in which anxiety and depression seem pandemic. Kierkegaard was a depth psychologist of the first order who grappled with and wrote extensively about these inner demons. What was his understanding of anxiety and depression? How might his understanding speak to current views about anxiety and depression? Might Kierkegaard be a resource for resuscitating the age-old distinction between psychological and spiritual disorders?

CURI provides opportunities for current St. Olaf students from all academic disciplines to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular subject through working closely with a St. Olaf faculty member in a research framework. The program’s goal is to promote and facilitate undergraduate research in all its forms by supporting students and faculty with various research opportunities during both the summer and the academic year, and by providing funding for students to present the results of their research at conferences or in other appropriate venues.

Additional information on the completed project above and application opportunities for upcoming projects can be found under Professor Marino’s tab on the St. Olaf CURI webpage.