92101

PHIL 108

 Introduction to Philosophy

David Shein

M  W       8:30 am-9:50 am

OLIN 204

MBV

HUM

Western philosophers address questions that most of us naturally find puzzling, such as: do we have free will? do we know what the world around us is really like?; does God exist?; how should we treat one another? We will critically examine historical and contemporary texts that address these and other central themes of the philosophical tradition.   Class size: 22

 

91858

PHIL 130

 Philosophy & Human Rights

Ruth Zisman

 T  Th     11:50 am-1:10 pm

OLIN 201

MBV

D+J

HUM

Cross-listed: Human Rights (HR core course)  From the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, to privacy and marriage, the language of rights permeates our understanding of political life, of citizenship, and of personhood itself. Yet the foundation, function, and limits of human rights remain deeply puzzling and highly contested- perhaps more so today than any time in recent history. What are human rights and what is their source? What is the relationship between human rights and human nature, human rights and morality, human rights and law, human rights and freedom?  Can any human right truly be universal? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions by exploring the philosophical underpinnings, justifications, and criticisms of human rights. Class size: 22

 

92100

PHIL 153

 Intro to Feminist Ethics

Oli Stephano

M  W       10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 305

MBV

D+J

HUM

DIFF

Cross-listed: Gender and Sexuality Studies Feminist movements  and theories suggest that difference  matters when it comes to ethical life, and that attending  to the question of a good life requires engaging with the realities of sexism and other forms of oppression. Feminist ethics thus redresses some blindspots of traditional moral theory, and develops its own positive concepts of ethical agency, moral responsibility, and how to live well.  In this introductory course we will map the unique contributions of feminist ethics, with special attention to issues of gendered embodiment, difference, sexuality, care, and power as they impact ethical theory and practice.  Class size: 20

 

92102

PHIL 203

 History of Philosophy I

Jay Elliott

M  W       3:10 pm-4:30 pm

OLIN 203

MBV

HUM

The history of philosophy is more than a survey of old books and old ideas: it is a challenging encounter  with radically alien modes of thought, and a journey of self-discovery  in which we uncover the strange origins of many of our most cherished assumptions. This course, the first half of a two­ semester sequence, moves from ancient Athens to medieval Baghdad, focusing on the emergence of philosophy as a practice and tradition in antiquity and its complex dialogue with revealed religion in the first millennium CE. Major figures to be discussed include Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Sextus Empiricus, Plotinus, Ibn Sina and AI-Ghazali. We will read these authors as sources of intellectual provocation on a wide range of topics, including: the nature of the mind, self, or soul; the origin and structure of the universe; the best life for human beings; the grounds and sources of genuine knowledge; and the proper aims and methods of philosophy itself. This course is a requirement for philosophy majors beginning with the class of 2020. It is also a prerequisite for Philosophy 204: History of Philosophy II.

Class size: 22

 

92260

PHIL 221

 History and Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology

Michelle Hoffman

 T  Th       3:10 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 103

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: History; Science, Technology & Society  In this course, we will study the history of evolutionary theory from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Topics will include the earth sciences, the classification of life, pre-Darwinian concepts of biological evolution, Darwin and Wallace’s theory of evolution by natural selection, the problem of inheritance, and the Modern Synthesis. We will also consider philosophical debates surrounding evolution about questions such as adaptationism, genetic determinism, evolutionary ethics, and evolutionary progress. A recurring theme in the course will be the reception of Darwinian evolution, both among scientists and the broader public, up to and including twentieth-century debates over the teaching of evolution.  This is a core course in the STS concentration. Class size: 22

 

92196

PHIL 225

 Chinese Philosophy

Susan Blake

  W  F     1:30 pm-2:50 pm

HEG 102

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Asian Studies   This course provides an overview of pre-Qin philosophical thought in China. We will read texts from the major schools—not only Confucianism and Daoism, but also ‘Legalism’, Mohism, and the School of Names. Discussion will range over questions in ethical and political philosophy, as well as questions about the nature of the world, of the self, and of language. Class size: 22

 

92195

PHIL 247

 Philosophy of Mind

Susan Blake

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

FISHER ANNEX

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior   This course discusses the nature of the mind, including the relationship between the mental and the physical; consciousness; other minds; and mental abilities, like perception, memory, and intention. Our readings will begin with texts from the early modern period, but will emphasize more contemporary philosophical work.  We will also briefly consider recent relevant work in the sciences.  Class size: 20

 

92103

PHIL 256

 Environmental Ethics

Oli Stephano

M  W       11:50 am-1:10 pm

OLIN 205

MBV

D+J

HUM

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies  In this course  we will undertake a philosophical investigation of ecological life by exploring human relations to what David Abram has called "the more-than-human world." We will begin by reflecting on the concepts of nature and humanity's place within it that frame our current situation. Next we will examine a range of approaches to environmental ethics, inquiring into issues of moral value and responsibility as they bear down on human interaction and impact on the more-than-human world. Finally, we connect the ethical and the political, analyzing ecological harm with an eye to systems of domination and the demands of global justice. Class size: 22

 

92104

PHIL 335

 Spinoza's Ethics

Oli Stephano

 T           10:10 am-12:30 pm

ASP 302

MBV

HUM

Spinoza’s notorious Ethics, published posthumously and banned upon its release in 1677, methodically treats classical philosophical questions including the nature of God, human knowledge, and how one might live well. However his conclusions are far from orthodox, as he famously identifies Nature with God and reinserts humanity firmly within the laws of nature. In this seminar we will study the Ethics with special attention paid to Spinoza's ethical theory. What makes the Ethics an ethics after all, and what role do the affects, passions, and conatus (or striving) play in this unique ethical system? 

Class size: 16

 

92259

PHIL 336

 PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICS

Robert Martin

  T  Th      10:10 am- 11:30 am

OLIN 310

MBV

HUM

Our topic for Fall 2017 is: foundations of set theory and formal semantics.  We'll approach these topics both historically and systematically, with Georg Cantor and Alfred Tarksi on the historical side. Prerequisite: Symbolic Logic (PHIL 237), Proofs and Fundamentals (MATH 261), or the equivalent. Class size: 15

 

92105

PHIL 343

 Plato's Republic

Jay Elliott

 T           1:30 pm-3:50 pm

ASP 302

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Classical Studies Today everyone is talking about the collapse of democracy into demagogy  and tyranny, but Plato got

there first, writing over two thousand years ago in the Republic that a tyrant always poses as a "friend of democracy" who wants only to "make the city safe." Plato's aim in the Republic  is to explain how societies come to be dominated  by unjust and self-destructive myths, images, and fantasies. In his view, it turns out that a proper explanation of how societies go wrong requires a thorough re­ examination  of everything we think we know about power, truth and desire  - in short, it requires us to grapple with the ultimate question of "how we are to live." This course fulfills the Junior Seminar requirement  for philosophy majors. Class size: 15

 

92331

PHIL 361

 Introduction to Caribbean Philosophy

Ariana Stokas

M             10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 309

MBV

D+J

HUM

This course will introduce students to the rich tradition of philosophical ideas in the Caribbean. The course will aim at doing philosophy and not only knowing philosophers. This distinction is important as areas with a legacy of epistemological colonialism, like the Caribbean, have many works that contain a substratum of philosophical ideas but have not necessarily been welcomed as canonical works of philosophy. Thus we will seek to engage in philosophy as a questioning activity that attempts to answer epistemic, aesthetic, normative and metaphysical questions. Some threads of analysis unique to this geography that this course will cover, include: the idea that philosophy is a contextual project rooted in a specific place rather than an abstract, ideal theory; the effect of colonialism on culture and education; the exploration of creolization; and the critical analysis of “modernity” as a European project. Course texts include works by Edouard Glissant, Wilson Harris, Eugenio Maria Hostos, Julia de Burgos and Franz Fanon.  Class size: 15

 

92106

PHIL 393

 Philosophy and the Arts

Garry Hagberg

M            1:30 pm-3:50 pm

ASP 302

MBV

HUM

This advanced seminar on aesthetics will work through three of the great masterpieces in the field. Beginning with Aristotle's Poetics, we will look closely into questions of representation in the arts, the role and experience of the spectator, the connections between ethics and aesthetics, and the relation between art and knowledge. From there we will move to Hume's essay on taste, looking into the distinction between subjective and objective judgement and the nature of aesthetic perception. We will then progress to a close reading of Kant's Critique of Judgement, in which we will explore questions of aesthetic perception, judgement, ethics and aesthetics, the beautiful, and the sublime. We will end with an examination of the transition to the aesthetics of romanticism and nineteenth-century aesthetic thought.  This course satisfies the Junior Seminar requirement.  Class size: 15

 

 

Cross-listed courses:

 

91816

MATH 105

 Math. Perspect:Philos. Paradox

Steven Simon

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

HEG 106

MC

MATC

Cross-listed: Philosophy Class size: 22

 

91859

PS 167

 Foundations of the Law

Roger Berkowitz

M  W       1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 204

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Human Rights; Philosophy Class size: 22

 

91850

PS 358

 Radical American Democracy

Roger Berkowitz

 T           4:40 pm-7:00 pm

HAC CONFERENCE

MBV

SSCI

Cross-listed: American Studies; Human Rights; Philosophy Class size: 14