Courses with the Curator

In addition to his duties as Curator of the library collection, 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 or by clicking here.

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.

Other Opportunities for Study

Professor Marino also partners with students pursuing Independent Research and Study projects. Over the summer, Professor Marino leads the Young Scholars Program in daily discussions on a variety of Kierkegaard’s texts and takes part in Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) research with current St. Olaf students. More information on Professor Marino’s CURI project can be found at the Hong Kierkegaard CURI webpage.