Paideia Courses

Paideia 111, 112 Enduring Questions

4, 4 hours

A two-semester common course for all first-year students that addresses questions central to the human condition. It develops students' ability to read, write, analyze, discuss, and research by engaging with works from across the disciplines, drawn from different time periods and parts of the globe. As a signature course and a foundation for liberal learning, "Enduring Questions" is taught by faculty from all divisions of the college. Students may not withdraw from Paideia 111 or 112. If they fail the course, they must retake it in the next semester it is offered.

Paideia 450 Ethical Choices

4 hours

A team-taught course for juniors and seniors devoted to interdisciplinary study of ethical issues that confront us in our lives as learners and citizens. Paideia 450 courses pay special attention to the nature of moral decision-making through discussion and the continued development of students' writing skills. The Paideia 450 requirement is completed during the junior or senior year in a course taught at Luther College or in a designated Luther-sponsored program. Students may satisfy Paideia 450 in one of four ways:

  1. By enrolling in a single Paideia 450 course team-taught by faculty from two or more disciplines
  2. By co-enrolling in an interdisciplinary cluster of two paired courses specially designed by participating faculty
  3. By enrolling in a specially designed sequence of two courses taught by two different faculty members in the same academic year
  4. Through the completion of an interdisciplinary minor with a designated Paideia 450 component

Paideia 450 courses recently offered:

A. Thinking Through the Ethics of Art

This course explores the relationship between practices and theories of art through the lenses of philosophy and art history. It takes a thematic approach, focusing on ethical issues in the arts, such as art and censorship, recent deaccessioning controversies, use of animals in art, eco-criticism, and problems related to the representation of women, ethnic and racial groups, and children. It is particularly concerned with the way that artists across time and cultures have engaged these ethical issues.

B. Making Decisions for U.S. Schools

This course examines issues about schooling in the United States and explores the questions which educators, citizens, parents and students face regarding education. In addition to looking at features of schools, students examine the relationship between religion, politics and economics in the schools of our nation. Students explore religious and secular values and their effect on educational decisions and behaviors, particularly as those values related to ethnicity, race, class and gender. The course also discusses how contemporary educators, parents, citizens and students must understand the legacy of historical decisions about schools that continue to influence modern systems of education.

C. Green Germany: Advanced Models of Sustainability

This course will survey social structures that have historically supported and promoted environmental pollution and destruction, particularly in Europe, and will draw on similarities between the German and American situations. Students will study and visit environmentally sustainable projects and engage with political parties and local citizen organizations in Germany, Iceland, and Denmark. Central to the course are ethical issues in the development of environmentally sustainable projects, including both the immediate impacts and long term implications on the local populations. The group will be based in Husum, northern Germany, a major wind energy center, and will visit Hamburg, Berlin, Denmark, and Iceland.

D. Ethics and Technology

Technologies pervade modern life. They buzz in our pockets, heat our food, transport us across vast distances, but also change the atmosphere of the planet. Are they merely means that contribute to our fulfillment of the good life? Or do some technologies and the mindset that accompanies them diminish what it means to be human? How should we assess technologies ethically? To what extent do technologies illumine, exacerbate, create, or resolve moral problems? This course explores questions like these as they arise in the areas of globalization, economics, and human rights; computers, robotics, and information technology; biotechnology and genetic engineering; and population, energy, and the environment.

E. Here on Earth: Vocation in a Sustainable Global Community

This course explores texts, including films that reveal the interdependence between people and communities as we strive to nurture well-being on our planet Earth. Discussion will be framed by the concept of vocation and will draw on the experiences of local individuals who are committed to some form of "social" sustainability in their life's work. This exploration will lead to the question, "How can educated, morally serious people discern their roles in a global community?"