The first part of this page lists Philosophy courses for the upcoming semester. After that, you will find a comprehensive list of all courses offered by the Philosophy Department.
PHIL 20100 - Logical Reasoning
MoWe 11:00AM - 12:15, Callum MacRae
MoWe 12:30PM-1:45PM, Jenny Schiff
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM, Soo-Jin Lee
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM, Soo-Jin Lee
This course provides students with an introduction to the elements of logical reasoning. Basic rules and methods of assessing validity and proving arguments as they occur in natural language are introduced (such as truth tables and rules of inference). The goal of the course is to enable students to translate and evaluate arguments in natural language using the basic tools of modern logic. The focus of this course enables it to serve as an excellent form of preparation for SATs, LSATs and other standardized tests, as well as an analytic resource for further academic studies.
PHIL 30500 - History of Philosophy I: Ancient, MoWe 3:30-4:45, David Weissman
A survey of early Greek philosophy, centered on the figures of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Some attention is paid to pre-Socratic philosophers (e.g. Heraclitus, Parmenides) and to at least one current of thought after Aristotle (e.g. Stoicism, Skepticism, neo-Platonism, or early Christian theology).
PHIL 30900 - Social and Political Philosophy, TuTh 3:30-4:45, Jeffrey Blustein
An analysis of the concepts and principles employed in reasoning about the social and political aspects of human life, such as social structure and function, equality and justice, property and rights, social and political obligation. A critical analysis of theories of the state of society, such as liberalism, Marxism, communitarianism, conservatism, and anarchism.
PHIL 31107 - Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, MoWe 9:30-10:45, Elise Crull
In this course we investigate the historical and philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics, considering how certain physical, metaphysical and epistemological puzzles have been tackled by physicists and philosophers alike over the last century – from Planck's 1901 suggestion that light behaves in a ‘quantized’ way, to cutting-edge research in relativistic quantum theories.
PHIL 31125 - Philosophy and Afrofuturism, MoWe 2:00-3:15, Damion Scott
This course will focus on select philosophical topics in Afrofuturism and Black Futurism. The term ‘Afrofuturism’ refers to the thought and practice of Africana peoples projecting themselves into narratives of the future as well as conceptualizing the role of technology in ways relevant to Africana and Black Identity. As such we will focus on several key themes in Afrofuturism under three headings: the semantic-ontological, the aesthetic, and the ethico-political. We will pursue answers to certain questions such as “What is ‘Afrofuturism?”, “How does Afrofuturism challenge the political and historical erasure of African identity and history?”, “What exactly is ‘black’ about Black Music?”, “How does futurism manifest itself in non-narrative form?”, “What is the difference between Afrofuturism and ‘Black Futurism?”, “What are some futures for Afrofuturism?” Artists and thinkers that we will be engaging include philosophers W.E.B Dubois and Harvey Cormier; writers Martin Delany, Samuel R. Delany, and Octavia Butler; visual artists Wayne Hodge and Rammellzee; musicians Jimi Hendrix, Parliament-Funkadelic, Sun Ra, Juan Atkins, Afrika Bambaataa, 4HERO, Dillinja and Janelle Monae; and filmmakers Hype Williams, Wanuri Kahiu and Ryan Coogan. Both Coogans’s “The Back Panther’ and Kahiu’s short film “Pumzi’ will be required viewings in the course. The main text for the course will be the compendium ‘Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astroblackness’ by Reynaldo Anderson and John Jennings. There will also be a few supporting auxiliary readings.
PHIL 31183 - Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science, MoWe 12:30-1:45, Qianyi Qin
The course will investigate questions in philosophy of mind that can benefit from both empirical evidence and rigorous philosophical analysis. We’ll explore questions such as: What are concepts and how do we acquire them? Is there innate knowledge? Is there a joint in nature between perception and cognition? Can consciousness be explained? What’s the difference between non-human animals' cognition and ours? We’ll also engage with methodological questions such as: What’s the role of intuition in philosophical studies of the mind? How does empirical evidence bear on philosophical debates?
PHIL 31184 - Black Mirror and Philosophy, TuTh 11:00-12:15, Massimo Pigliucci
Black Mirror is an Emmy-winning series that holds up a dark, digital mirror of speculative technologies to modern society, showing us a high-tech world where it is all too easy to fall victim to ever-evolving forms of social control. The course will explore the many philosophical aspects of selected Black Mirror episodes.
PHIL 31185 - Moral Psychology, TuTh 2:00-3:15, Jeffrey Blustein
This course deals with a number of issues in moral philosophy that make assumptions about human psychology, so they warrant a closer look at what empirical psychology tells us about the capacities that human beings actually have. Various topics at the intersection of ethics, psychology, and philosophy of mind will be examined, including moral motivation, moral reasoning, moral responsibility, and moral character. Among the psychologists to be considered are Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Carol Gilligan and more recently, Jonathan Haidt and Joshua Greene. The philosophers to be examined include John Doris, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols, and Thomas Nagel.
PHIL 31186 - Philosophy of Simone Weil, TuTh 5:00-6:15, Jessica Polish
Philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943) has been called 'the patron saint of outsiders.' Her short life appears paradoxical: Weil was a student of France's elite educational system at a time when few women pursued a degree in philosophy; a fierce activist on behalf of the working class and against colonialism; an independent person who ignored gender convention; a brilliant reader of Plato, Buddhism, Kant, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead; a mystic and unorthodox Catholic of Jewish background who refused baptism. In this course, we venture beyond Weil's legend; we aim to study Weil's writings on politics, science, literature, philosophy and religion, with an eye towards their (asystematic) unity. Throughout our reading, we hold ourselves open to the beautiful and the good, to which Weil guides our attention, during this, our own extraordinary time -- a time in which, as Weil wrote in the 1940s, 'affliction is hanging over us all.’
PHIL 34403 - Indian Philosophy, TuTh 9:30AM-10:45AM, Louis Marinoff
This course will survey the foundations of Indian Philosophy, primarily through readings and class discussions of canonical texts. We will also briefly survey the so-called "heterodox" philosophy of Buddhism, which emerged from the orthodox Hindu schools in the 6th century BCE and became a world religion in its own right. As well, we will briefly examine Gandhi's successful application of Thoreau's philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience, which culminated in India's political independence. Ultimately, we will develop an appreciation of Indian philosophy within the broader contexts of Indian history, sociology, culture, science, mathematics, and literature, and also with respect to India's current role in globalization, as an emerging economic power.
PHIL 34905 - Biomedical Ethics
MoWe 11:00AM - 12:15PM, Joanna Smolenski
MoWe 12:30PM - 1:45PM, Joanna Smolenski
TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM, Julia Kolak
Biomedical Ethics is a philosophical overview of leading theories, principles, and problems in the field of bioethics. Ethical theories and principles are examined to provide a theoretical structure for analysis of concrete ethical problems. The course considers the ethics of the doctor-patient relationship, including paternalism, informed consent, confidentiality, and truth telling, as well as larger systemic issues of social justice and access to health care. Topics in reproductive ethics, end-of-life ethics, and some of the newest developments in the field arising from genetics and neuroscience are also discussed. Extensive use is made of case studies.
PHIL 35300 - Issues in Metaphysics, MoWe 11:00-12:15, Elise Crull
Metaphysics is arguably the most fundamental branch of philosophy, for it is the branch wherein one confronts the most fundamental questions. For example, metaphysics is concerned with the nature of being and existence, of time and change, questions regarding personal identity, free will and determinism, and understanding object/property as well as part/whole relations. This course introduces students to historical and contemporary debates on central issues in metaphysics. Students will become acquainted with major positions in these debates, learn how to critique and respond to arguments undergirding these positions, and ultimately construct and defend their own metaphysical views.
All Philosophy courses
10200: Introduction to Philosophy
An introduction to some of the central questions of philosophy, concerning our knowledge of the external world, causation,God, mind and body, freedom, justice,and moral judgment, via analysis of classical and contemporary philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Mill, Kant, Russell, Wittgenstein and Rawls. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
11100: Critical Thinking
An informal analysis of inference and evidence employed in everyday arguments, including study of the principles held to justify forms of argument in morality, politics, the law and aesthetics. The aim of the course is to develop critical skills in reasoning and the evaluation of arguments, and sensitivity to the distinction between substantive argument and persuasive rhetoric, through a detailed analysis of examples drawn from a wide variety of sources, including the media. Attention will be paid to some elementary but critical distinctions relating to meaning, definition, and implication. 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
11250: Scientia, the Unity of Knowledge
A survey of the different methods by which diverse disciplines, from the natural to the social sciences, from medicine to engineering, and from history to philosophy, gather knowledge and increase human understanding. 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
11200-12000: Special Topics in Philosophy
Selected topics and experimental courses are offered on a variety of topics. No prerequisites. Variable cr.
20100: Logical Reasoning
This course provides students with an introduction to the elements of logical reasoning. Basic rules and methods of assessing validity and proving arguments as they occur in natural language are introduced (such as truth tables and rules of inference). The goal of the course is to enable students to translate and evaluate arguments in natural language using the basic tools of modern logic. The focus of this course enables it to serve as an excellent form of preparation for SATs, LSATs and other standardized tests, as well as an analytic resource for further academic studies. 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
20200: Introduction to Logic
This course introduces students to the basics of modern logic. Topics covered include truth-tables, the rules of inference for the propositional calculus, and introduction to quantification theory. It focuses both on rules for producing formal proofs, and for translating natural language arguments into logical notation. Primarily designed as a preparation for advanced logic (Philosophy 32100: Symbolic Logic), the course would also be very useful for anyone expecting to deal extensively with complex reasoning.
3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
20600: Philosophy of Science Fiction
An analysis of some of the central questions of philosophy as they are represented in science fiction (and occasionally, science fact). Selections from science fiction works will range over topics such as space and time, infinity and eternity, identity, knowledge of other minds; artificial intelligence; moral dilemmas and technology; the meaning of life. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
ELECTIVE COURSES30100-30400: Honors I-IV
Approval of Dean and Department Honors Supervisor required. Apply no later than December 10 in the Fall term or May 1 in the Spring term. (W) variable credit, but usually 3 cr./sem.
30500: History of Philosophy I: Ancient
A survey of early Greek philosophy, centered on the figures of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Some attention is paid to pre-Socratic philosophers (e.g. Heraclitus, Parmenides) and to at least one current of thought after Aristotle (e.g. Stoicism, Skepticism, neo-Platonism, or early Christian theology). (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
30600: History of Philosophy II: Modern
The formulation of the subjects and methods of modern philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Rationalism: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz. Empiricism: Locke, Berkeley, Hume. Transcendental idealism: Kant. Topics include the human mind, free will and determinism, knowledge of the external world and God. (W)
3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
30700: Metaphysics and Epistemology
A survey of classic problems and contemporary theories of reality and knowledge. ncludes topics such as appearance and reality; substance and accident; the relation between mind and body; causation; freedom and determinism; the relation between knowledge, belief, and certainty; skepticism, solipsism, relativism, and reliabilism. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
Analysis of the concepts employed in moral reasoning, such as good, right, duty, obligation, virtue, freedom and choice. Critical study of various theories of moral justification—such as utilitarianism, deontological ethics, virtue ethics—and of status of moral judgments—such as subjectivism, objectivism, relativism and skepticism. The relation between morality and religion, moral dilemmas, and some problems in practical ethics (abortion, famine, the environment, etc.). (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
30900: Social and Political Philosophy
An analysis of the concepts and principles employed in reasoning about the social and political aspects of human life, such as social structure and function, equality and justice, property and rights, social and political obligation. A critical analysis of theories of the state of society, such as liberalism, Marxism, communitarianism,
conservatism, and anarchism. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
31000: Independent Study and Research
A planned program of reading in philosophy to meet special needs of individual students, under guidance of a member of the department. Limited to upper seniors able to take a course before graduation when needed for graduate preparation. For advanced or specialized work beyond available offerings already completed. Permission of instructor required before registration. (W) Variable credit, but usually 3 cr./sem.
31100-32000: Special Topics in Philosophy
Special and experimental courses offered on a variety of topics. Consult Department for offerings and prerequisites. Variable credit, but usually 3 cr./sem.
32100: Symbolic Logic
This course extends the work of Philosophy 20200. The focus is on rigorously formulated systems of propositional and predicate logic, with emphasis on theorem-proving and the formalization of natural-language reasoning. Attention will be paid to the theory of relations, definite descriptions, the translation of elementary
arithmetical concepts into logic and proofs of the deductive completeness of various systems of logic. Prereq: Phil 20200. 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32200: Philosophy of Science
A critical survey of philosophical theories of scientific explanation and development. The course will focus on topics such as inductive and hypothetico-deductive accounts of scientific method; confirmation and falsification of scientific theories; the logic of scientific explanation; theories and models; the structure of scientific revolutions. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32300: Philosophy of Mind
Examination of some classical and contemporary problems relating to our concepts and theories of mind, and of psychological phenomena such as intelligence, rationality, and emotion. Topics are likely to include theories of the relation between mind and brain (varieties of dualism and materialism); self-knowledge and knowledge of other minds; psychopathology; artificial intelligence; and personal identity. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32400: Philosophy of Language
Examination of the relationship between thought, language and the world. The course will cover topics such as meaning, truth, reference, synonymity, necessity, names and descriptions, logical form, and pragmatics. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32500: Aesthetics: The Philosophy of Art
The philosophical study of art, and of our judgment of art, through classical readings and contemporary developments. Includes topics such as representation, taste, artist intention, and mechanization. Special attention is paid to the problem of trying to speak generally about art in the face of the differences among specific arts. (W) 3
hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32600: Philosophy of Law
A critical analysis of some central concepts employed in legal reasoning and judgment, such as justice, crime, evidence, responsibility, legal and civil rights, punishment, civil disobedience, and constitutional interpretation. Examination of major theories of law such as natural law theory, legal positivism and social realism, and of the relation between the law and morality. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32700: Philosophy of Religion
Critical analysis of the question: What is religion? in light of the variety of religious beliefs and practices. Examination of different approaches to religion, including faith, rational argument, sensory experience, mystical and religious experience. Exploration of the relation between faith and reason, and between morality and religion. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32800: Philosophy of Social Science
Critical analysis of the concept of the social as it is employed in classical and contemporary social scientific theories of social action, social structure, social collectivity and social explanation. Attention will be paid to topics such holism and individualism; social and psychological explanation; structural and functional explanation; rationality assumptions; understanding alien societies; theories and values in social science; and the autonomy of historical understanding. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
32900: Philosophy of History
A survey of some classical and contemporary problems in both speculative and analytical philosophy of history. The course focuses on topics such as general theories of history (Vico, Kant, Herder, Hegel, Marx, Toynbee); varieties of historical explanation; objectivity in history; concepts of causation in history; methodology;
history as an autonomous discipline. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
33100: Practical Ancient Philosophy
Philosophy was born as a practical guide to living a life worth living. This course examines a number of Greco-Roman philosophies (including Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Aristotelianism) that can be valuable today just as they were two millennia ago. Practical philosophy, then and now, is not an oxymoron.
33400: Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence
Addresses philosophical issues raised by computers and other machines capable of performing tasks indicative of intelligence (e.g. multiplication, logical reasoning, playing chess, learning a language). The course will focus on topics such as the Turing test; strong and weak AI; concept of representation, memory and understanding; the frame problem; symbolic versus connectionist approaches to cognitive processing. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
33500: Philosophy of Film
Addresses philosophical issues relating to film, such as the status of film as art object; the role of the audience in the constitution of the film object; realism and surrealism in film; and particular film
genres such as comedy and cinema noire. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
33600: Philosophy of Space and Time
Addresses philosophical questions raised by our employment of the concepts of space and time in science and metaphysical thinking. The course will focus on topics such as individuation and spatio-temporal continuity; unities of space and time; substantial and relational theories of space; asymmetries of time; the theory of
relativity; infinity and eternity. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
33800: Philosophy of Wittgenstein
Critical explanation and analysis of the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, with special focus on his controversial and influential views on language, reality and forms of life, and their implications for disciplines such as linguistics, psychology, literary criticism and feminist theory. 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
33900: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud
A study of three authors who helped to define modernism after Hegel. The course focuses on: the philosophical critique of philosophy; the new quest for authentic individuality; reassessments of religion. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr
34000: Self and Identity
A study of major philosophical theories of self-knowledge and personal identity, and related literary, social and psychological theories. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
34100: Philosophy of Psychoanalysis
Critical analysis of central concepts of Freudian and post-Freudian psychopathology and psychotherapy. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr
34400: World Philosophies
Addresses central concepts and principles of a variety of non-Western systems and traditions in philosophy. Courses offered are likely to include (but are not restricted to) African Philosophy; Chinese Philosophy; Indian Philosophy; Islamic Philosophy; Latin- American Philosophy. Different systems and traditions will be offered in different semesters. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
34500: American Philosophy
Addresses central themes of American Philosophy, through the work of authors such as Edwards, Emerson, James, Pierce, Dewey, Quine, Putnam, and Rorty. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
34600: Feminist Philosophy
Charts the historical evolution of the feminist approach to philosophy, and the contribution of feminists to topics in epistemology, philosophy of mind and moral, social and political philosophy. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
34700: Contemporary Philosophy
A study of major philosophical theories and theorists of the late nineteenth and twentieth century. The focus of this course may vary in different semesters, with emphasis placed upon either analytical, pragmatist or continental theories and theorists. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
34800: Continental European Philosophy
A study of major concepts and principles of philosophical movements originating in Continental Europe, such as Phenomenology; Existentialism; Hermeneutics; and Critical Theory. (W) 3 hr./wk.;3 cr.
34900: Applied Ethics
Critical analysis of moral issues and dilemmas as they arise in various professions and everyday situations. Courses offered are likely to include (but are not restricted to): Business Ethics; Computer Ethics; Engineering Ethics; Environmental Ethics; Medical Ethics; Psychological Ethics. Different course topics will be offered in
different semesters. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
35000: Major Philosopher(s)
Intensive study of the work of major philosophers (such as Plato, Hume, Kant, Hegel). Different philosophers featured in different semesters. (W) 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.
35400: Seminar in Advanced Topics in Philosophy
Topics selected from a variety of different areas are made the focus of intensive critical examination. Topics offered each semester will be listed by the Philosophy Department. Prerequisites stated with course descriptions. Intended primarily for philosophy majors. 2 sem. hr./wk. plus conference; 3 cr.
3700: Decision Theory
A non-mathematical introduction to game theory, decision theory, and rational choice theory, and philosophical issues relating to probability theory and utility theory. Includes examination of problems and paradoxes such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma, Newcomb’s problem and Cohen-Kelly queuing paradox. 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.