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Dr. Jim Ford

This was what I looked like when I first started at RSU six years ago. "I'm younger than that now..."

School of  Liberal Arts

Office: 202A   Baird Hall

Phone: 343-7749



Fall 2002 Classes

Humanities II Lecture Links

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Raphael, School of Athens, 1510-11, fresco, 19 x 27', Vatican, Rome

Welcome!                      This fall I am teaching the Freshman Honors Seminar and Values and Ethics.

Values and Ethics

           A study of ethics and values from a comparative and structural basis to include origin and base of formulation.

The course is divided into three sections. In the first, we study several classic theories of ethics and morality, focusing on select works from Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. In the second, we look at some more recent treatments of ethics, focusing on such challenges as relativism and nihilism. In the third and longest section, we discuss the best arguments relating to significant contemporary ethical problems, including such issues as capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, violence, and religious belief. This course was offered in Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Spring 2003. 

Introduction to Philosophy

           A historical introduction to philosophy, mainly Western, but including world traditions, which examines the thought of major philosophers and explores the traditional questions of philosophy about the nature of reality, knowledge, values, and humanity. Humanities elective.

We will read and discuss philosophical classics in order to explore enduring philosophical issues, particularly the question “Why philosophize?” By the end of the course, you will have a thorough understanding of the major ideas of some of the most important Western philosophers. More importantly, however, you will be in a much better position to understand who you are, what you believe, and why—if you take advantage of the opportunity. This course was offered in Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003. Spring 2004: TTh 9:30-10:45; Online.

Humanities I and Humanities II

           A chronological interdisciplinary survey designed to strengthen the student’s fundamental grasp of human values through the study of humanity’s ideas, discoveries, and creative achievements. Areas of consideration will include art, literature, and philosophy. Humanities I begins with the pre-history of human beings and continues through the medieval period. Humanities II begins with the Renaissance and continues through the modern period. Neither course has a prerequisite.

          Both course have two main objectives. The first objective for both courses is to introduce the student to the humanities: Humanities I does so through an in-depth examination of the influence of the classical and Judeo-Christian traditions on the modern West, while Humanities II provides a sense of the richness and diversity of human achievement since the Renaissance. The second objective for both courses is to improve the student’s ability to think critically, write clearly, and speak persuasively. Critical thinking about the past is essential to understanding the present. Both of these courses are available every semester (although not always with this professor). Check the latest schedule for details.


Humanities Seminar

           A reading research, and/or lecture seminar, as specified each semester, on a particular topic, period, or genre, as specified each semester. Reading seminars will require extensive reading of, and reports on, primary and secondary works involving the topic, while research seminars will require a research project(s), which extensively investigates a certain aspect about the topic, period, or genre. Student discussion will be paramount.

          The official description is obviously a little vague (“to be specified”). This course is an advanced seminar in the Humanities. It is designed to be the culmination of your academic experience at Rogers State University in the Bachelor's of Arts, Liberal Arts program (in fact, if you are not a senior BALA student, you need special permission from the professor just to enroll in this class). In the above description, this seminar falls somewhere between a Reading Seminar and a Research Seminar. The crucial fact to note is that student discussion- your contribution- is paramount.

          The specific topic for this year's Humanities Seminar is “Madness and Beauty.” We will read a number of literary and scholarly works that deal with madness (or irrationality), and its relationship to ideals of beauty and goodness. Each unit we examine a different work (or selections from various works), and we will spend the vast majority of our time reading, discussing, and writing about the meaning and significance of those works. That means that the course will require a great deal of work on your part, but it will be worth it. Spring 2001, Fall 2002, Fall 2003. Normally offered every fall semester.  

Comparative Religion 


           A comparative study of traditions, scriptures, theologies, major figures, and practices of world religions through an investigation of cross-themes and contrasts.

           The course begins with an introduction to the academic study of religion, an overview of what religion involves and how to approach religious traditions in a classroom context. After that introduction to studying religion, most of the first half of the course is a comparative study of several of the world's major religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The second half of the course is devoted to analyzing how individual believers in three of those traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) deal with a single problem- belief in a single, omnipotent and omnibenevolent God given the existence and prevalence of human suffering. This course was taught in Fall 2002 and Fall 2003. Spring 2004: TTh 11-12:15.

Foundations of World Languages

          An overview of the basic forms of World languages and their relationships to modern tongues. Preliminary references to Latin/Greek root origin with specific concentration on the fundamentals of Spanish, French, and Italian. Prerequisite for all foreign language courses.

           The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the basic forms of world languages, with an emphasis on the study of some of the Latin and Greek roots of English words. By the end of the course, you should be able to identify major Latin and Greek roots of English words, recognize common suffixes and prefixes, and analyze unfamiliar words by distinguishing their component parts. Last offered Spring 2001. Currently this course is available with another professor; check the latest schedule for details.

Links to Classes

 Introduction to Philosophy Values and Ethics
Humanities I Humanities II
Humanities Seminar Comparative Religion
Foundations of World Languages Philosophy of Law

Click on one of the links above to go directly to that course's home page.




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