CIN 3540: Queer Cinema

Emerging queer cinema is explored in its historical contexts and its relation to contemporary theories of gender, sexuality, and their intersection with race, class, and nationality. The course focuses on the “queering of the gaze,” interrogating conventional notions of representation, desire, identification, filmmaking, and spectatorship. Featured directors: Warhol, Fassbinder, Haynes, Von Trotta, Akerman, Rozema, La Bruce, Araki, Denis, Jarman.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
NME 2550: Media, Memory, and Desire

An exploration of the ways in which various media technologies promote investment and disinvestment in history, community, and tradition. This course pursues the argument that technology does not derive from, but creates the fundamental structures of human experience, affecting people socially, politically, psychologically, and neurologically. Primary authors include Plato, Kant, Marx, Freud, Heidegger, Derrida, Stiegler, and Malabou.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: NME1050 Or MSA1050

Department: Philosophy
PHI 1155: Possession

Designed for first-year students, this course takes up questions about the nature and significance of property, or owning stuff (including oneself and one’s “properties”). Authors include Aristotle, Justinian, Locke, Marx, Hegel, Fourier, Toni Morrison, Jane Smiley, Cheryl Harris, the U.S. Supreme Court, and St. Francis of Assisi. Students read, write, and discuss primary texts using interpretative methods distinctive of the humanities.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 1160: Religion, Science, and Modernity

Examines the complex and evolving relationship between modern science and religion from the 16th century to the present. Topics include the influence of the Reformation on emerging secular culture; the modern philosophical debate over the existence of God; “disenchantment” as a defining feature of modern experience; and Darwinian evolutionary theory, humanism, and conflicts between secularism and fundamentalism in the 21st century.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 1515: History of Philosophy I: Philosophy and the Polis

The emergence of Western philosophy in ancient Greece during the age of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, and Aristotle.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 1530: Introduction to Philosophy: Ideas of Good and Evil

A survey of our most important ethical notions and of the philosophers who were most important in shaping them.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 1540: Introduction to Philosophy: Ideas of Human Nature

An introduction to philosophy through an examination of influential views of what it is to be human. Topics include the relations among people, machines, and animals; the role of culture in shaping people; and the question of whether there is a distinctively human good.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 1720: Tragedy and Philosophy

An introduction to Western culture through the study of tragic drama, Plato’s dramatic dialogues, and philosophical reflections on tragedy. The focus is on the possibilities and limitations of human action. Topics include the relations of individual to city, mortal to divine, and male to female; and the roles of knowledge and desire in human conduct. Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, and Toni Morrison are included.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2005: Africana Philosophy

An examination of older and more recent traditions of African philosophical thought and their relation to larger global conversations about political justice, social transformation, and identity. This course proceeds from the premise that philosophy, grounded in specific lived experiences, helps society recognize the significance of cultural pluralism and empirical justice in the building of a world community. Further connections between African, Latino, and Afro-Caribbean traditions of critical thought are also explored.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2060: Existentialism

An examination of major 19th- and 20th-century European philosophical and literary texts by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Fanon. Topics include “the death of God,” alienation, freedom and commitment, ethics and politics when “everything is permitted,” and the interaction of self and other(s) in the definition of individual and social identities.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2110: History of Philosophy II: Descartes to Kant

Close readings of four or five major philosophers from the modern period (e.g., Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Kant). Issues and supplementary readings may vary each semester.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2120: Methods of Reasoning

Systematic analyses of ordinary arguments, followed by a study of formal languages that are used to represent arguments symbolically.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2380: Islamic Philosophy

An overview of the development of philosophy in the Islamic world, with a focus on the medieval period (9th–13th centuries). Key figures and concepts of the Islamic philosophical movement are discussed, together with its influence on Jewish and Christian thinkers, Islamic theology and mysticism, and its impact on modern Islamic projects of reform.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2400: Introduction to Asian Thought

A critical introduction to major Asian philosophical systems, including Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Particular attention is given to core themes in traditional texts and later commentaries pertaining to metaphysical questions about the nature of reality, epistemological questions about the sources of knowledge, ethical questions about virtuous conduct and the good life, and aesthetic questions about art and beauty.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2430: Classical Buddhist Philosophy

Topics include philosophic conceptions of experience, nature, self, and truth in classical Buddhist schools of India, Tibet, China, and Japan.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2500: Gender and Power

What is gender? What is power? What tools do we have for understanding and addressing gender injustice? This course employs philosophical, feminist, and queer theory to address these and related questions.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2560: Thinking Race

A critical examination of the category and idea of race. The course addresses historical, philosophical, ideological, institutional, ethical, and psychological components of race, focusing on the ways race mobilizes systems of domination, including racism and white supremacy. Relationships between race and ethnicity, race and gender, race and class, and other intersections are explored.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2780: Philosophy of Art: From Plato to Postmodernism

An introduction to major traditional and contemporary issues in the philosophy of art. Topics include the problem of defining “art”; the nature of representation; the problem of whether taste has an objective basis; and the relation of art to moral, cognitive, and social values.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2800: Philosophy of Religion

An examination of the forms of and challenges to religious experience. Key questions include: Can any religious beliefs be proved or disproved? Is there a basic conflict between reason and faith? Must one be traditionally religious to lead a spiritual life? Does the existence of evil refute the idea of a Supreme Being? Is fundamentalism a distortion of the essence of religion? Readings are drawn from modern, medieval, Western, and non-Western sources.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2820: Philosophy of the Environment

relationships between humans, their values, and the nonhuman species that comprise the natural environment. Specific inquiries include: What does it mean, metaphysically, to say that humans are “part of nature”? Do humans have duties towards nonhuman species? Do any nonhuman species have rights? When do ecological philosophies become politically controversial? Readings include a variety of contemporary and traditional philosophers.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 2835: Happiness: Philosophy, Film, Literature

An interdisciplinary examination of the subject of happiness, using a variety of ancient and modern literary and philosophical works as well as films. Students analyze the texts and films for their specific content but also for a deepened sense of the possible relationships between visual and discursive representations of narratives.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3005: Philosophy of History

An examination of ontological and epistemological questions of the philosophy of history. Does the historical process have a structure, directionality, purposiveness, or telos? What kinds of divisions (e.g., cultures, epochs) can be formed? How do people understand the past with the tools of the present? Can any historical account be objective? Thinkers include Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Dilthey, Heidegger, Collingwood, Danto, and Foucault.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3015: Philosophy of Science

Philosophical debates about scientific method and the status of scientific findings. Topics include induction, natural vs. social science, realism/antirealism, “normal” science and paradigm shifts, the problem of scientism, and feminist and other critiques of science. Attention may also be paid to one or more specific sciences (e.g., biology, economics, physics, psychology).

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3050: Pragmatism and the Quest for Certainty

An introduction to leading figures and themes of 20th-century philosophical pragmatism. Topics include pragmatic critiques of traditional (e.g., Cartesian and Kantian) epistemology; the practical sources of philosophy, science, and art; and the requirements of metaphysical naturalism.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3085: Objectivity

Is there such a thing as objectivity, journalistic or otherwise? How do accounts of reality in the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities differ, and is any account more objective than the others? How do narratives tell the truth, and how do they lie? What might people mean by the term “truth,” anyway? Course readings are interdisciplinary; the course style is philosophical.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3090: Capitalism

An examination of theories of capitalism from the Industrial Revolution to the age of neoliberalism. Students engage major thinkers and develop critical perspectives on the socioeconomic forces that shape people’s lives. John Locke, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick, C.B. McPherson, E.P. Thompson, David Harvey, and Wendy Brown are among the thinkers.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3150: Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy

An examination of the rich philosophies of Tibetan Buddhism, drawing on Nagarjuna and the Indian background, developing the tantric tradition through its philosophic assumptions and arguments. (offered Summer, in India)

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3205: Shakespeare and Philosophy

Explores what the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas might have meant when he wrote that “all of philosophy may be found in the plays of Shakespeare.” The focus is on a close study of selected works, together with commentary by such thinkers as Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Derrida, Cavell, and Critchley. Plays include Hamlet, Richard II, Coriolanus, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, The Tempest, and King Lear.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: THP2205 Or PHI1515 Or PHI2110

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3211: Enlightenment and Revolution

A critical study of the Enlightenment approach to ethics and politics in the natural rights and social contract theories. Topics include tensions between the individual and the state, liberty and equality, and reason and passion in the theory and practice of the great democratic revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries. Readings include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Burke, and the Federalists.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3212: From Hegel to Nietzsche

A study of thinkers who challenged accepted notions of reason and selfhood and, in doing so, helped shape the intellectual life of our present century. Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche are some of the thinkers studied.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3265: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Culture

An examination of philosophical issues raised by Freudian psychoanalysis and their implications for understanding human culture. Key questions: Is psychoanalysis a true science? Are human beings fundamentally irrational? Why do people need religion? Is there an irresolvable conflict between human instincts and cultural progress? Further exploration of the ideas of major post-Freudian figures, including Jung, Klein, Lacan, Marcuse, and Reich.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3275: Light and Truth: Film, Photography, and Reality

Do photographic images have privileged access to truth? This course explores the complicated relationship between truth and visual (particularly filmic) images. It begins with Plato on the “fakery” that is painting, turns to 17th-century “faithfulness” and “sincerity” in still-life painting and scientific drawing, and looks in depth at 20th-century writings about the nature of photography and realism in representation.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3290: Chinese Philosophy: From Confucius through the Neo-Confucian Synthesis of the Sung Dynasty

An inquiry into the conceptions of order and power from Confucius to the Sung Dynasty (12th century). Balance, hierarchy, relation, social organization, human nature, beauty, value, and truth are considered in Confucius, Mencius, Xun Zi, Lao Zi, Zhuang Zi, Han Fei Zi, Hui Neng, and Zhu Xi.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3340: Messianism in the Frankfurt School: Adorno and Benjamin

The Frankfurt School was pivotal in its creation of “critical theory”—a profound intellectual intervention of the 20th century, primarily lead by German Jewish thinkers. By turning inwards toward theory and turning outwards toward the world, Theodor W. Adorno and Walter Benjamin struggled to envision a utopian way of thinking about a society where the messiah had already arrived.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3345: Philosophy, Mysticism, and Medieval Monotheisms

Throughout the Middle Ages, the disciplines of philosophy, mysticism, and theology were dynamic and intertwined within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What then are the philosophical forms of the mystical experience in medieval monotheisms? This course explores mysticism in relation to the broader questions of the relationship of supra-rational mystical experience to the philosophy of religion.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3360: Responsibility and Judgment: Postwar European Philosophy

Examines philosophers’ efforts to rethink fundamental ethical, legal, and political issues in the wake of total war and totalitarian domination in Europe between 1914 and 1945. Focusing on Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem, questions about resistance, complicity, guilt, and punishment become central. Additional texts are selected from Jaspers, Beauvoir, Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, Levinas, Adorno, and Butler.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3470: Foucault, Habermas, Derrida

A study of three recent thinkers who have had a powerful influence on contemporary intellectual life, and on our assessment of the Enlightenment legacy of the modern world.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3535: Romanticism and Philosophy

Examines key philosophical ideas of 19th-century German Romanticism and their revolutionary impact on modern cultural history. Romantic reinterpretations of Enlightenment distinctions between thought and feeling, art and philosophy, wholeness and fragmentation, “lower” nature and “higher” spirituality. Readings from early Romantic era German figures, such as Schiller, Schlegel, and Schopenhauer and others, including Coleridge, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Emerson, Dewey, and Cavell.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3592: Phenomenology and Embodiment

Explores the development of phenomenology through selections from the major works of phenomenologists, including Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. The focus is on how strict adherence to phenomenological description leads one beyond the secluded Cartesian ego to accounts of consciousness that take ego and world to be coeval.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2060 Or PHI2110

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3595: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction

An exploration of central issues in 20th-century European philosophy. The focus is on the challenges to traditional humanism posed by the successes of modern science and technology; the fragmentation of social and political life; and the decentering of the subject in psychoanalysis, linguistics, and literary modernism. Texts include works by Husserl, Heidegger, Arendt, Levinas, and Derrida.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3610: Frankfurt School Critical Theory

Examines central ideas and figures of the Frankfurt School in 20th-century German philosophy. Key subjects, explored through such writers as Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Benjamin, and Habermas: the concept of “critique” as a bridge between theory and practice; the political functions of philosophy; the dialectical nature of philosophy and art; and earlier influences by such thinkers as Kant, Hegel, and Marx.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3650: Philosophy and Literature

A study of how philosophical themes have been developed in recent fiction and an examination of the relationship between philosophy and literary criticism.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3716: Philosophy and Film

A critical examination of influential attempts to understand the nature of the cinematic medium. Questions raised include: Is film a fine art? Must a movie “represent reality” if it is to succeed as a movie? Are there certain insights into human experience that are better expressed through film than through other media? Readings include Siegfried Kracauer, André Bazin, and Stanley Cavell.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: (CIN1500 And CIN1510 ) Or PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3725: Theories of Sexuality

An investigation of classical, modern, and contemporary theories of desire and sexuality, with an emphasis on the relationship between familial and other social institutions and on the formation of individual identities. Readings include works by Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Freud, Foucault, and contemporary feminist and queer theorists.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3730: Philosophy of Mind

An investigation of philosophical accounts of the nature of mind, including issues like: What does it mean to have a mind? How are mind and body related? Could animals or machines have minds? How are accounts of the mind important for our understanding of freedom, immortality, human nature, and religion?

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3755: Free Will and Evolved Minds

An investigation of what current evolutionary psychology and cognitive science suggest about a philosophical idea that has long been sacred for modern humanistic culture: that human beings can act freely, without constraint by social or biological forces. Are “free will” and “determinism” fundamentally contradictory ideas, or is a compromise position possible? Includes readings from selected philosophers, cognitive psychologists, and others.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3785: Art and Morality

What, if any, moral and political obligations does art have? Should public policy promote some kinds of art and discourage others? This course addresses these and related questions via works from across the arts and philosophical texts.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 3899: Junior Seminar in Philosophy

A forum for second-semester juniors with two distinct aims: (1) to facilitate the formulation of (a) a senior thesis prospectus, (b) an outline, (c) a bibliography, and (d) a schedule for the composition, during the senior year, of a satisfying 40-page senior thesis; and (2) to introduce the mainstreams of contemporary thought and interpretation in philosophy. Senior thesis topics need not deal with the topic of the junior seminar.

Credits: 4

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4100: Plato Seminar

An intensive study of the major texts, emphasizing their role in defining the work of Western philosophy, with special attention to the interaction of drama with argumentation in the dialogue form.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4120: Heidegger/Arendt Seminar

This seminar stages an encounter between the two thinkers: Martin Heidegger, one of the most powerful and controversial philosophers of the 20th century, and Hannah Arendt, arguably its greatest political thinker. Among the central questions studied: individual authenticity vs. being in the world with others; resoluteness and political death vs. the promise of birth; and the relation between philosophic reflection and political action.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4130: James and Dewey Seminar

An intensive study of the main ideas and texts of William James and John Dewey, two seminal figures of American pragmatist philosophy. Readings and discussions focus on such topics as the centrality of the idea of experience to philosophical analysis; the relations between thought and action; the epistemological status of metaphysical and religious belief; and the reconstructive role of intelligence in art, science, and social life.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4150: Nietzsche Seminar

Writing in the latter half of the 19th century, Friedrich Nietzsche has exercised extraordinary influence on subsequent philosophy. He is a powerful thinker and an intriguing writer. This seminar involves an intensive examination of the full range of his work.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4200: Kant Seminar

Kant is the thinker who has, more than any other, shaped the discussion of intellectual issues over the past two centuries. The semester is devoted to a close study of Kant’s critical philosophy of scientific knowledge, human morality, and judgment in art and the life sciences.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI2110

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4310: Hegel Seminar

A seminar devoted to close readings from several of Hegel’s texts (e.g., Phenomenology of Spirit, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Science of Logic, Philosophy of History).

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI2110

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4325: Ethics Ancient and Modern

An examination of the strengths and weaknesses of ancient and modern ethical systems, insofar as they provide a model of living a human life well. Analysis and evaluation of arguments are emphasized.

Credits: 4

PREREQ: PHI1515 Or PHI2110 Or PHI3212

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4860: Senior Colloquium in Philosophy

Continues the writing workshop format of PHI 4890 (required in the fall semester), and focuses on the development of oral presentation skills. Students present aspects of their ongoing work to each other, culminating in a public presentation to philosophy majors and faculty at the annual Assessment Day in the late spring. Required of philosophy majors in the second semester of their senior projects.

Credits: 1

PREREQ: PHI4890

Department: Philosophy
PHI 4890: Senior Seminar in Philosophy: Senior Thesis Workshop

For first-semester seniors who are developing their senior theses. Designed to give students the invaluable experience of presenting ongoing work to a critical and supportive public of peers.

Credits: 2

Department: Philosophy