Course Catalog for PHILOSOPHY
PHIL 101
Introduction to Philosophy
An introduction to fundamental topics and concepts in the history of philosophy, e.g., rationality, wisdom, knowledge, the good life, the just society, and the nature of language. This course is especially appropriate for first-year students or students beginning the college-level study of philosophy. Students contemplating majoring in philosophy are strongly urged to make this their first philosophy course. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 102
Introduction to Political Philosophy
This course will consider some of the foundational issues of political philosophy such as the conflict between individual liberty and social welfare, the criteria for just distribution of wealth, the concept of equality, and the ideal forms of social cooperation. We will read from the works of some of the major political philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Machiavelli, Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 103
An introductory study of values, virtues, and right action. Major concepts of ethical theory (goodness, responsibility, freedom, respect for persons, and morals) will be examined through a study of Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. The course is not primarily a historical survey, but rather attempts to clarify in systematic fashion both moral concepts and moral action. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 104
Introduction to Critical Theory
This course provides a comprehensive introduction into one of the most important and consequential philosophical approaches in 20th century European philosophy: Critical Theory (also known as "Frankfurt School"). Critical Theory constituted the attempt by a group of brilliant Jewish-German philosophers to account for and critically respond to the political, philosophical, and artistic disaster of National Socialism. The most prominent members of Critical Theory were Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Herbert Marcuse. We will read and interrogate some of the seminal texts such as "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility", "The Concept of History", "Dialectic of Enlightenment" , and "One-Dimensional Man". (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 204
Idealism After Nihilism: Post-Kantian Idealism
Beginning with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, a number of philosophers have argued that, in order to overcome the nihilism of the modern age, we must leave behind the desire for systematic, metaphysical completeness that was at the heart of idealist philosophy. To this day, philosophers tend to assume that the ambitious, systematic philosophy practiced by the idealists is and ought to remain a thing of the past. In this course, we will consider whether this negative assessment of post-Kantian idealism might be premature. Focusing on key texts by Jacobi, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, we will see that the idealists were well aware of the threat posed by nihilism in modernity, and we will discuss how their systems of philosophy were developed to combat such nihilism. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 205
Symbolic Logic
An introduction to the use of symbols in reasoning. Prepositional calculus and quantification theory will be studied. This background knowledge will prepare the student to look at the relation of logic to linguistics, computer science, mathematics, and philosophy. Students cannot receive credit for this course and Philosophy 255, Philosophy of Logic. (NUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 206
Philosophy and the Imagination
The imagination occupies an ambiguous role in philosophy. Some philosophers have construed the imagination as mere fantasy, while others have thought of the imagination as playing a central role in our grasp of reality. The imagination has been cast as both hindering and enabling empathy; and its role in politics has been equally ambivalent, ranging from distorting propaganda to a handmaiden of positive social change. This course will consider what the imagination is, the manner in which it operates, and how and to what extent it is connected with art, knowledge, morality, and revolutionary possibilities. We will do so through and engagement with a range of philosophical texts including those of Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, Edmund Husserl, Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, Mary Ruefle and Claudia Rankine. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 207
Topics in Africana Philosophy
This course provides a thematic overview of the Africana tradition of philosophy. By engaging with a range of philosophers in the African, Caribbean and Black American traditions, we will think through foundational questions within Africana philosophy, such as: What role does difference play in the pursuit of universal knowledge? How does one relate to a tradition distorted by the historical experience of colonialism? What is the ontological status of race? What does it mean to claim Black identity in an anti-Black world? How should we conceive of global racial justice? What is intersectionality? To what extent do experiences of gender differ across the globe? Is there something distinctive about an Africana philosophical approach? (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 212
Philosophy of Religion
A discussion of some of the philosophical problems that arise out of reflection on religion; the nature of religion and its relation to science, art, and morality; the nature of religious and theological language, the concept of God; the problem of evil; and the justification of religious belief. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 213
Philosophy of Sport
This is an introductory course designed to exhibit the Socratic thesis that the material for philosophic reflection is present in our everyday experiences, even in activities which we may consider nonintellectual. Accordingly, we shall take up the related themes of sport, athletics, and play, in order to show that an adequate understanding of them requires, and is indeed inseparable from, philosophic understanding. Topics will include social significance of sport, ethical issues in sport and race, mind and body in sport, sport and aesthetics, and the connection of sport and philosophy. The connection of sport and gender will be a guiding theme throughout. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 214
Philosophy of Art
This course introduces seminal 20th century and contemporary philosophers of art including Martin Heidegger, Theodor W. Adorno, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-François Lyotard, Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, and Boris Groys. These (and other) authors are discussed in terms of the relations that they establish between philosophy on the one hand, the arts - painting, music, theater, dance - on the other hand. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 217
Philosophy and Literature
We shall study a number of philosophic works with literary significance and a number of literary works with philosophic content in order to raise the question of what the difference is between the two. This course may be used to fulfill the Literature and Psychology minor requirements. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 219
Technology and the Future of Humanity
What is the relationship between humanity and technology? Do we control technological innovation or does technology in some sense control us? Does our entanglement in a technological world hinder or help us in communicating with one another? And what does all of this mean for where humanity is headed? In this course, we will reflect upon these questions while studying a number of key texts in the philosophy of technology. Our discussions will span topics in the ethics, politics, and metaphysics of technology. Readings include texts by Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Hans Jonas, Arnold Gehlen, Martin Heidegger, and Ernst Bloch. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 220
Environmental Philosophy
Over the past six decades, the environmental movement has emerged as a powerful force for change in the world, fighting to preserve endangered species, to prevent anthropogenic global warming, and to limit the release of harmful pollutants into our air and water. But the justification for ethical claims made by environmentalists is often murky. Is conservation valuable for its own sake, or only because of the effects it will have on future generations? If our individual contributions to global warming are small, do we bear any responsibility for the damage it will cause? What obligations do we have to non-human animals? This class will explore these and other important philosophical questions about the contemporary environmental movement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 221
Science, Reality and Rationality
Much of modern philosophy has focused on efforts to understand the rise of physical science since the 16th century. This course will focus on 20th-century efforts by philosophers to characterize science, explain its effectiveness, and interpret its findings. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 223
African Philosophy
In this course, we explore key meta-philosophical debates in African philosophy. Some of the topics we will explore include: the nature of philosophy; the connection between philosophy and place; the difference between oral and written traditions; the influence of language on the scope of philosophical thought; the relationship between philosophy, myth, and religion; the philosophical aspiration to universality; and the possibility of collective, as opposed to individual, philosophical practice. Our discussion of these questions will take place through a close reading of a range of figures, including Henry Odera Oruka, John Mbiti, Paulin Hountondji, Fabien Eboussi-Boulaga, Ngûgî wa Thiong'o, and Kwasi Wiredu. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 224
Theory of Knowledge
“Everyone by nature desires to know,” said Aristotle. But before and since, many thinkers have wondered whether this desire can be satisfied. We shall examine a number of important questions, such as “What are the conditions of knowledge?” “What are the roles of memory, perception, evidence, and belief?” (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 227
Philosophy of Perception
This course will provide an introduction to major questions in the philosophy of perception, such as: What are perceptions? Are perceptions mental representations or do they make us directly aware of the world? What is the difference between perceptions, hallucinations, illusions, and imaginings? Does perception justify beliefs about the world? What kind of properties does perception reveal? Can perception reveal moral qualities? Through study of major historical and contemporary readings, students will be asked begin forming their own answers to these questions. “Philosophy of Perception” will broach issues in a number of areas of Philosophy, including Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, and Aesthetics, as well as in Psychology and other fields. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 228
Animal Ethics
Who is the animal? In an effort to explore this and related questions this course will serve as a philosophical investigation into the essence of non-human animals. Major philosophical and political theories regarding the status, value, and autonomy of non-human animals will be explored. Additional efforts will be made to address the discourse of animal rights, animal husbandry, and animal suffering, as well as broader issues of human rights insofar as they relate to and affect the non-human animal. Through a philosophical inquiry into the nature of animality, we will see that our understanding of animals bears immediately upon our understanding of the human being and of human rights. Thus, the question ‘who is the animal’ will lead us directly into the most pressing of philosophical questions – who is the human being? (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 231
The Holocaust
Beginning with the historical causes and development of the “Final Solution,” the systematic destruction of European Jewry between 1933 and 1945, this course considers such issues as the nature of genocide, the concept (and history) of evil, corporate and individual moral responsibility, and the implementation of justice in the aftermath of radical evil. These issues are examined both in the context of the Holocaust and as general moral and religious problems. They are also viewed through “imaginative” literary representations, which introduces the question of what difference a subject makes to the form of its representation, and thus, more specifically, what can or cannot (and should or should not) be said about the Holocaust. (Same as College Course 231.) (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 232
Europe as a Philosophical Idea
Current assumptions about the history of philosophy, both in and outside of academia, by and large depict that history as "Western". This has led to the charge that philosophy is deeply Eurocentric, and it lies behind the various demands to decolonize philosophy. In this course, we will unpack this charge by tracing the philosophical idea of Europe in Kantian and post-Kantian European philosophy. The second half of the course builds on this foundation by engaging with a variety of decolonial critiques. We will consider Césaire's foundational Discourse on Colonialism before turning to considerations of how the "Orient"; "Africa" and "Latin America" have been fabricated by and within European colonialist and philosophical discourse. Finally, we will consider various routes out of philosophy's colonialist entanglements. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 234
Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Thought
The period of classical Chinese civilization produced two major systems of thought that would profoundly influence the course of East Asian history: Confucianism and Daoism. These two systems of thought laid the foundations and set the ideals for social organization and the pursuit of the good life in China up to the present day (often in conversation with a third major force: Buddhism). These systems of thought also spread beyond China to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan, where they had a sustained impact on social, political, and religious history. This course will examine the origins, philosophies, and significant historical developments of Confucianism and Daoism, exploring how their articulations of the cosmos, the state, the human, and the good life influenced the shape and destiny of East Asian cultures. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 238
Media Philosophy
In the wake of the increasing significance of media technologies in all realms of society, media theory has moved to the center of discussion within the humanities. This course will introduce philosophical theories and texts that take a broad approach to the new media and communication technologies. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 242
The Meaninglessness of Life
Does your life have any meaning? Does your existence serve any purpose? Or is life, as we live it, a sham, a fraud, a stark and empty field without reason or sense? Is there a god, or is the universe a bleak, cold, and indifferent void? Through reading a variety of philosophical and literary texts, we will address these and other existential questions. We will also watch a number of films that touch upon these issues. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 244
Roman Philosophy
This course will examine the work of a number of Roman philosophers during the period of roughly 1 BCE – 200 CE. Through reading the works of Seneca, Cicero, Lucretius, Sextus Empiricus, and others, we will become familiar with various ancient Roman schools of thought such as Stoicism and Skepticism, as well as certain then prevalent political theories. Above all, focus will be given to the manner in which philosophy undergoes certain fundamental changes as it transforms, transfers, and translates from an Ancient Greek worldview into a Roman (i.e., Latin) one. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 246
Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations, Issues, and Debates
This course will survey and critically assess arguments in favor of the existence of human rights, arguments about the legitimate scope of such rights (who has human rights and against whom such rights can legitimately be claimed), and arguments about which rights ought to be included in any complete account of human rights. Specific topics will include (but not necessarily be limited to) the philosophical history of human rights discourse, cultural relativist attacks on the universality of human rights, debates concerning the rights of cultural minorities to self-determination, and controversies concerning whether human rights should include economic and social rights. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 247
Friendship, Love, and Desire
This course provides an introduction to the philosophical study of friendship, love, and desire. Through an engagement with a range of philosophical and literary traditions, we will explore what our close relationships with others have to do with knowledge, justice, and the good. We will discuss a number of questions, such as: Is equality a precondition of friendship? Are our close attachments in tension with the demands of impartiality? What is the relationship between distance and desire? Do we see the world more clearly through love, or does love, instead, obfuscate reality? Is the demand to respond to injustice with love ever defensible? Some of the thinkers we will be looking at include Iris Murdoch, James Baldwin, Jacques Derrida, Audre Lorde, David Velleman, and Anne Carson. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 249
Philosophy and Film
What is cinema? Can cinema be a distinctive art? Does artistic achievement in film depend on making proper use of the distinct affordances of the medium? This course explores the nature and value of cinematic art and our engagement with it, including philosophical questions about understanding, appreciating and evaluating cinema: How do films create meaning and engage our desires and emotions? On what basis should we evaluate films? Is it OK to love bad movies? Why are we drawn to horror films and tragedies if they produce negative feelings like fear, disgust and sorrow? What are the ethics of spectatorship? We examine these issues through major texts in film theory and philosophy alongside concrete analyses of particular films. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 250
Love, Death, and Twitter
This course will be an exploration of the many ways in which certain technologies -- including cell phones, the internet (and social media), medical technology, and virtual reality -- have changed our experiences and attitudes toward love, death, and education (among other things). By reading the work of a number of philosophers, psychologists, and social scientists, we will gain insight into the impact these technologies have had on our romantic lives, on our understanding of death, and on our ability (or inability) to learn. This course will also entail some virtual-reality experience, as well as some films. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 251
Phenomenology was one of the defining philosophical movements of the 20th Century, and it remains a lively tradition of inquiry and philosophical development today. This course provides an introduction to the Phenomenological tradition, drawing on both foundational texts in the history of the movement - such as Husserl's Ideas I and Heidegger's Being and Time - and contemporary investigations. The course will attempt to define the Phenomenological method and its distinctive conception of "phenomena," and will consider selected domains of Phenomenological inquiry, such as affect, music, time, gender, disability, incarceration, animality, or technology. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 252
Sex and Death: Philosophical Issues in Evolutionary Biology
Evolutionary theory raises many pressing conceptual and philosophical questions. We begin with the basics of Darwin's theory, the historical context in which it developed, and how it has evolved into contemporary evolutionary theory. We will then consider the following philosophical questions. What is life? What are genes? Are species real? Could evolutionary biology be reduced to genetics? What can evolutionary theory contribute to our understanding of the psychology of both human and non-human animals? Did consciousness evolve, and if so, how? Is genuine altruism possible, and might there be an evolutionary foundation for ethics? We will consider all of these questions and more. No special background in biology is required; the only prerequisites are curiosity about the natural world and a willingness to learn. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 254
Shakespeare as Philosopher
Was Shakespeare a philosopher? The practice of philosophy entails sustained argument surrounding propositions of universal importance. We will examine selected plays and poetry of Shakespeare in search of coherent philosophical discourse, considering specifically Shakespearean treatments of themes in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. This seminar is open to students in all disciplines, with no prerequisites. Background knowledge about Shakespeare or Elizabethan literature is not presupposed, however students should be capable of close reading of the original texts. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 255
Philosophy of Logic
This course will introduce students to propositional and (first order) predicate logic, while engaging in philosophical reflection on a range of issues related to modern formal logic. In particular students will first study techniques for representing and analyzing arguments using the symbolism of each formal system. We will then consider some of the many philosophical issues surrounding formal logic, such as the nature of truth and inference, semantic paradoxes, and the attempt by Russell and others to use advances in formal logic to resolve traditional problems in metaphysics and epistemology. Students cannot receive credit for both this course and Philosophy 205, Symbolic Logic. (NUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 256
Philosophy of Food
What is food and what does it mean to regard something as food? Our culinary choices, practices of production and consumption and habits of mind reflect a variety of values-moral, personal, cultural, aesthetic. This class examines the philosophical significance of food in each domain through questions about what we owe to animals, the relationship between food and environmental justice, the concept of sustainability, as well as how our personal and cultural identities intertwined with the way we cook and eat: What does the food we eat say about who we are? Is the desire for culinary authenticity morally suspect? What is cultural appropriation and why is it bad? What influences our judgments of some foods as delicious or disgusting? Is there an ethics of appreciation? (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 281
Ancient Greek Philosophy
This course looks at the origins of western philosophy in the Presocratics, Plato, and Aristotle. Students will see how philosophy arose as a comprehensive search for wisdom, then developed into the “areas” of philosophy such as metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy. This course fulfills part two of the writing intensive (WI) requirement for the Philosophy major. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 282
Medieval Philosophy
A study of representative thinkers of the medieval period, including Augustine, Boethius, Anselm and Aquinas. Discussion will focus on major issues such as the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, free will and its compatibility with divine omniscience and the relation between philosophical reason and religious faith. Attention will also be paid to the cultural, historical and religious climates which helped influence the unique scholastic doctrines under discussion. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 283
Early Modern Philosophy
The history of Western philosophy from approximately 1600 to 1750, with major attention given to Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley and Hume. This course fulfills part two of the writing intensive (WI) requirement for the Philosophy major. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 285
20th-Century Analytic Philosophy
Early analytic philosophers were frustrated by philosophical disputes that they perceived as hopelessly obscure and unclear. They aimed to radically reshape philosophy by grounding it in science, logic, or ordinary language. We will aim to understand these attempts by thinking through the following questions. Are you ever justified in believing a philosophical claim that contradicts common sense? Is Sherlock Holmes "real"? Are numbers real? Where are they? What is truth? How should we evaluate claims - like those of math, logic, or ethics - that don't seem to depend on science for their truth? Are all philosophical disputes ultimately just linguistic disagreements? As we think through these questions, we will come to understand the driving forces that shaped analytic philosophy as we understand it today. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 288
Modern Philosophy
This course will provide a survey of 18th century European philosophy; to be more precise, we will examine texts by representatives of both French and German Enlightenment thought. The first section of the course will focus on Rousseau's and Diderot's contributions to political and aesthetic thought; the second section will be concerned with Kant's epistemology and with some of his shorter texts on political and aesthetic thought. The goal of this course consists in both defining Enlightenment thought and unearthing the fateful dialectic at its very heart. Methodologically, this course will employ an approach owed to the tradition of Critical Theory. This course fulfills part two of the writing intensive (WI) requirement for the Philosophy major. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 289
Philosophy of Tragedy
Throughout the history of Western philosophy, ancient Greek tragedy has continued to be a source of great fascination. This course shall focus on a number of philosophical analyses of ancient tragedy, including those offered by Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Hegel, and Heidegger. Additionally, several ancient Greek tragedies will be read in order to test the validity of these philosophical analyses. We will see that philosophy itself, owing to this preoccupation with tragedy, takes on a tragic character through the guise of some of these thinkers (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 291
Faith, Risk, and Self: Søren Kierkegaard
This class explores key works by 19th century thinker, Søren Kierkegaard. Sometimes regarded as the first existentialist, Kierkegaard was one of the most original thinkers of his era, and his work takes us right up to the limits of philosophy. More than many other philosophers, Kierkegaard offers vivacious and penetrating concrete descriptions and analyses of different ways in which humans take up the problem of living. We will use Kierkegaard's work to think through different orientations one can take toward existence, focusing on themes such as faith, risk, and what it means to be and take responsibility for a "self." We will also ask what philosophy is or can be and how it differs from other modes of inquiry, such as religion and literature. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 292
Being Human
What does it mean to be human? How does being human differ from, say, being a plant or an animal? What sorts of abilities and activities belong to the human being "by nature," or is it within the very nature of the human to exceed and/or oppose itself to nature? This course will examine a number of philosophical and literary texts from within the Western (and especially German) intellectual traditional that have attempted to answer these questions, including certain major texts by Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 293
Freedom and Servitude
Philosophy does not simply want to take human conduct for granted, but to inquire into its very meaning. One such area of human conduct deals with our relationship to others. Going back to the sense of "moral" as both "practical" and "political," we will examine living a moral life as a way of being responsible to and for others. We will focus on the following questions: What roles do freedom and servitude play in our lives? If we value freedom, why do we enslave ourselves to material things and ideas? Can we be free and still serve truth, another person, God? Other issues we will address include: the possibility of self-realization in a community, the connection between morality and political-economic liberation, and capitalism and domination. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 294
Phenomenology of Love
There is a special kind of knowing that is revealed most profoundly through love. This course is a phenomenological exploration of what it means to be human through an analysis of the emotional sphere with particular attention to the act of loving. In and through the work of Edmond Husserl, Max Scheler, bell hooks, and Anthony Steinbock, loving flashes forth as a movement that bears on all beings. This class addresses traditional dichotomies between the rational and emotional spheres to reveal the unique evidence that the heart gives. This evidence points to a philosophical and phenomenological anthropology that can help us to answer the question: "Who and what are we?" (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 301
Latina/Latin American Feminist Thought
While the study of contemporary feminist theory in the U.S. often includes a limited purview of the feminist thought of women of color, Latina feminist thought is still considered something of an anomaly. This seminar aims to expand students’ understanding of feminist theory through the rich and diverse lenses of Latina/Latin American Feminist philosophies, histories, and political thought. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, students will explore a variety of writings, both historical and contemporary, by Latina and Latin American feminists, engaging a wide range of topics including U.S colonialism, cultural and linguistic borderlands that traverse and disrupt North/South distinctions, as well as how gendered, sexual, and racial marginalization find connections across the Americas. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 305
20th-Century Analytic Philosophy
Early analytic philosophers were frustrated by philosophical disputes that they perceived as hopelessly obscure and unclear. They aimed to radically reshape philosophy by grounding it in science, logic, or ordinary language. We will aim to understand these attempts by thinking through the following questions. Are you ever justified in believing a philosophical claim that contradicts common sense? Is Sherlock Holmes "real"? Are numbers real? Where are they? What is truth? How should we evaluate claims - like those of math, logic, or ethics - that don't seem to depend on science for their truth? Are all philosophical disputes ultimately just linguistic disagreements? As we think through these questions, we will come to understand the driving forces that shaped analytic philosophy as we understand it today. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 306
Anxiety, History, Language: 20th Century European Thought
This course will offer a survey of some of the major schools in 20th century European thought, such as existentialism, phenomenology, feminism, western Marxism, deconstruction, and beyond. Thinkers may include: Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean Paul Sartre, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Simone De Beauvoir, Luce Irigaray, and others. Topics may include: the role of anxiety in self-understanding; the world-forming structures of language; the role of ideology in social / political structures; the problematic character of patriarchy, and the various philosophical attempts to dismantle it. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 310
Question of Justice
This course will be centered on the question: “What is justice?” The majority of the semester will be devoted to a historical survey of the different philosophical conceptions of justice from Plato to 20th-century political theorists like Rawls, Nozick, and Kelsen. In the final weeks of the course, we will turn our attention to the “crime against humanity,” which is arguably the greatest challenge to contemporary formulations of justice. Specifically, we will analyze the morality and political viability of recent truth commissions (like those in South Africa, Chile, Uganda, Haiti, and Argentina) and international criminal tribunals (like those set up by the United Nations for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia). We will also consider the theoretical and practical value of the discourses surrounding “restorative justice” and “transitional justice” over and against more traditional frameworks. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 311
Philosophy of Medicine and Epidemiology
This course is a general survey of philosophy of medicine and epidemiology. After covering some preliminaries from medicine's history, we will ask: what is health? Is it an individual or collective good? What is disease? How does medicine demarcate healthy and diseased conditions? Are health and disease natural kinds or are they socially constructed? What is the relationship between medicine and biomedical science, and how do they explain? What is epidemiology, and how is it distinct from medicine? How are epidemiological models constructed, and what kind of information do they provide? Finally we will consider the role that values and socioeconomic forces play in medicine, epidemiology, and biomedical science, and how these fields might address social inequities in health outcomes. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 314
Time, Evolution, Metaphysics: Henri Bergson
Although he is seldom studied today, Henri Bergson was was one of the most influential European philosophers of the first decades of the 20th century. In this course, we explore Bergson's philosophy in order to see how it might speak to us today. Some of the topics we will discuss include: the nature of consciousness; the relationship between space and time; the differences between vegetal, animal, and human life; the possibility of metaphysics after Darwin; and the proper method of philosophical inquiry. To help facilitate our critical engagement with Bergson, we will also read brief texts by Gaston Bachelard, Jacques Maritain, and Sigmund Freud. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 316
Hume and the Limits of Reason
David Hume was one of the greatest and most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Yet he was also one of its most idiosyncratic. Driven by an uncompromising empiricism, Hume raised profound skeptical worries concerning causation, the external world, the existence of an enduring self and even reason itself. Hume was an equally trenchant critic of moral objectivism and the pretensions of both natural and revealed religion. Yet Hume’s philosophy does not end with this negative assessment of human reason. Rather, Hume attempts to construct a more positive vision of human nature and society, developing an ethical system based on benevolence and utility, and a vision of society freed from its dependence on religious belief. In this course we will look at both sides of Hume’s thought. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 319
Philosophy of Neuroscience and Psychiatry
The rapid development of neuroscience as a discipline has resurrected many longstanding philosophical problems and has raised new ones. In this course we will consider foundational issues within the neurosciences, the application of neuroscientific methods to traditional philosophical problems, and the special problems raised by psychiatry and its relationship to neuroscience. What, if anything, distinguishes explanation in neuroscience from explanation in other sciences? What is the relationship between neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry? What can neuroscience tell us about the nature of consciousness? Do various neurological or psychiatric syndromes tell us anything about the nature of the self? Are psychiatric disorders "real", or are they cultural constructs? We will consider all of these questions and more. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 320
A great deal of philosophical study has been devoted to the views of Karl Marx, yet much disagreement remains concerning what Marx actually thought. This course will examine some contemporary interpretations of Marx’s work against the background of some of his more important writings. Though we cannot realistically hope to arrive at the “correct” interpretation of Marx’s views, we can at least assess the merits of some of the contending accounts. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 325
Nietzsche is one of those thinkers whose influence on our culture has been far wider than the number of people who have actually read him. Through a careful study of this 19th-century thinker’s major works we shall examine his own claim of thinking the most challenging thoughts of the next century. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 328
This seminar will concentrate on the works of Sigmund Freud. We will begin with Freud’s psychological writings, then move on to his more anthropological writings. Our aim will be to see how Freud’s psychological theories inform is arguments about religion and culture. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 329
Decolonizing Philosophy
In this course, we will think critically about the meaning of academic decolonization and various strategies for reforming the philosophical canon with decolonial aims in view. Some of the questions that will guide us include: what does it mean to decolonize philosophy, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of remaining in dialogue with the Western canon? Does the philosophical tradition present openings to decolonial thought? What are the various decolonizing strategies, and what aims do they enact? The course then sets into action one such strategy, which involves re-reading the "canon" of European philosophical through the perspective of decolonial philosophies. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 332
This course explores Frantz Fanon's philosophical output from 1952 to 1961. Through a series of close readings, we will consider Fanon's contributions to psychiatry, critical philosophy of race, phenomenology, decolonial theory, and Africana philosophy. In the final part of the course, we engage with a number of Fanon commentators to enter into ongoing debates surrounding Fanon's work. Some of the issues we will discuss include the nature of race; the legitimacy of violence in revolution; the connection between psychiatry and society; the place of women in anti-colonial struggle; the question of humanism; and the meaning of decolonization. (GLB)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 335
Being, Life, Death: Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger is arguably the most important philosopher of the 20th century. Yet because of the myopia of the Anglo-American philosophic tradition, he has only recently begun to receive the attention he deserves in the English-speaking world. This seminar will make a careful study of Heidegger’s magnum opus, Being and Time. In addition to our reflection on the intrinsic meaning and merit of this book, we shall consider some of its important roots in the tradition and some of the ways in which it prepares the way both for Heidegger’s own radically transformed later thought and for the most recent trends in contemporary continental philosophy. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 336
Michel Foucault was one of the most influential European thinkers of the 20th century. Using a selection of his writings, we shall examine some of his main contributions, seeking to understand both the philosophical and cultural influences that led Foucault to his positions, as well as the wide-spread influence he has had on subsequent philosophy and political, historical and cultural theory. Students who have earned credit for POLS 319 Foucault, may not earn credit for this course. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 339
The Birth of Modern Ethics: Selfishness, Reason and Sentiment
The seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries were an extraordinarily fruitful period in the development of modern ethics. As philosophy began to free itself from traditional religious belief, thinkers were led to pose such fundamental questions as what motivates human behavior? Are all of our actions ultimately selfish or do we have a natural concern for the well-being of others? Are there objective moral truths knowable by reason or do we judge human behavior based on feeling? What reason do we have to be moral even when doing so appears not to be in our own self-interest? Among the authors to be discussed are Hobbes, Mandeville, Hutcheson, Butler and Hume. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 341
Philosophy and Revolution
This course will critically examine debates in European philosophy regarding the conjunction of philosophical discourses and ideas of radical (democratic) politics in the context of those socioeconomic, technological, and cultural conditions that are constitutive of the contemporary version of a brave new world. Readings from Alain Badiou, Judith Balso, Slavoj Zizek, Jodi Dean, Jacques Rancière, Antonio Negri, Gianni Vattimo, Susan BuckMorss and others. Conversance with the post-19th century European philosophical tradition and political theory is desirable, but not required. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 346
Philosophy of Love and Sexuality
Questions to be considered will include: Is there any specific kind of knowledge about the world that love can give us? Is erotic love by its very nature irrational and should it therefore be excluded from, or at least minimized within, the life of reason? Do we have different ethical obligations toward the ones we love? Is there an ethics of right and wrong peculiar to sexuality? Does the concept of sexual perversion have any objective validity? Readings from Plato, St. Augustine, the Marquis de Sade, Kierkegaard, Sarte, Alan Bloom, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, Martha Nussbaum, and others. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 351
This course will provide both a survey and close readings of some of the most significant thinkers in the tradition of philosophical aesthetics. Its scope will include 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century positions in aesthetics; moreover, texts interrogated in the course will engage different artistic fields such as literature, painting, music, cinema, and new media. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 374
Minds and Brains
The neurosciences have made striking progress in recent years toward understanding the brains of animals and human beings. Through readings in philosophy and science we will consider what contribution this explosion of neuroscientific data can make to our understanding of the mind. (NAT)
1.00 units, Seminar
PHIL 378
Philosophy of Mind
In this course we will investigate classical and contemporary theories of mind, such as dualism, logical behaviorism, materialism, and functionalism. Among the issues we will consider are what is the nature of the mental? Is the mind identical with or distinct from the body? What is the nature of consciousness? Is the mind a genuine cause? What, if anything, do contemporary investigations in cognitive science and artificial intelligence have to teach us about the nature of the mind? (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 390
Advanced Logic
Much of the most exciting work done in logic in the last forty years has been in the area of non-classical logics-that is, logical systems other than standard propositional and predicate logic. Many of these systems are extensions of classical logic, while others are rivals to it. In this course we will look at several of the most innovative systems of non-classical logic, including Many-valued Logics, Fuzzy Logic and Intuitionist Logic. In each case, we will examine the philosophical motivations behind the new system as well as the modifications to classical logic they entail. (NUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
PHIL 399
Independent Study
Independent, intensive study in a field of special interest requiring a wide range of reading and resulting in an extended paper. Normally there will be only a few meetings with the supervisor during the course of the semester. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment. (HUM)
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
PHIL 466
Teaching Assistantship
Work conducted in close consultation with the instructor of a single course and participation in teaching that course. Duties for a teaching assistant may include, for example, holding review sessions, reading papers, or assisting in class work. In addition, a paper may be required from the teaching assistant. This course may count as one of the 11 total required for the major, but will not count as one of the six required “upper-level” (300 and above) courses. Submission of the special registration form, available online, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment. Guidelines are available in the College Bulletin. (0.5 - 1 course credit)
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
PHIL 497
Submission of the special registration form and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment in this single-semester thesis. (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study
PHIL 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
A two-credit course culminating in an extended paper to be read by two or more members of the department. It may be organized like a tutorial or independent study. This is a required course for all students who wish to graduate with honors in philosophy. To be eligible for this course a student must have an A- average in the major or must successfully petition the department for an exemption. Submission of the special registration form and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (2 course credits to be completed in two semesters.) (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study
PHIL 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
A two-credit course culminating in an extended paper to be read by two or more members of the department. It may be organized like a tutorial or independent study. This is a required course for all students who wish to graduate with honors in philosophy. In order to be eligible for this course a student must have an A- average in the major or must successfully petition the department for an exemption. Submission of the special registration form and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (2 course credits to be completed in two semesters.) (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study