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Course offerings

  • Check the university's scheduling system for graduate courses currently on offer, together with scheduling information.
  • Below we list information about our courses that is not in the scheduling system: an expanded description of course content from the instructor, when available; otherwise, generic course descriptions from the Graduate Calendar.
  • When selecting your courses, keep in mind our distribution requirement: you need (A) at least three credits in history of philosophy; (B) at least three credits in aesthetics, moral philosophy, or social and political philosophy; (C) at least three credits in metaphysics, epistemology or philosophy of science. Default categorizations of courses as (A), (B), or (C) are indicated below. In some cases, it may be possible, upon consultation with the Graduate Program Director, to take a course as counting for a different category.
  • Note: It is also possible to take graduate philosophy courses offered at McGill, University of Montreal, or University of Quebec at Montreal, or courses in other departments at Concordia. We value breadth and diversity in the knowledge and training of our students in philosophy and beyond. This option lets our students diversify their courses beyond what we can offer with our own resources. Contact the Chair's Assistant for details.

PHIL 612 – Ancient Philosophy: The Origin of the Will in Ancient Greco-Roman Philosophy (A)
Instructor:  Emily Perry

This course traces the development of the concept of the will in Greco-Roman antiquity, drawing on texts ranging from Plato to the Patristics.

PHIL 615 – 19th Century Philosophy: Hegel (A)
Instructor:  Emilia Angelova

Conceived and written in the aftermath of the French Revolution, G. W.F. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is a ferment of a philosophical revolution in its own right. This is one of philosophy’s most important works and on it was founded the movement of German Idealism. Grasped from the vantage point of complete self-consciousness, this dialectic renders philosophy into a system that is both subjective and absolute. The Phenomenology is to appear to us, its readers, as the complete science of the recollected life of Desire, more decisively, the desire for self-actualization and the self’s objective recognition by the other, all of which are notions that underlie also current social, political and economic life. The achievements of self-conscious life and desire are many: art, religion, science and reason; enlightenment, culture and faith; morality, social life and forgiveness; ethics, law, absolute knowledge and instrumental reason.

This seminar is a close reading of Hegel’s text. We will make the very task of learning how to read this phenomenological text one of our goals. But we will conduct our study also as a critical reading: we will ask about implications and ideas that have inspired subsequent philosophical developments and as well have posed controversies involving Hegel’s contribution.

PHIL 617 – Origins of Analytic Philosophy: Frege (A)
Instructor:  Greg Lavers

Description TBA.

PHIL 626 – Political Philosophy: Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political” in Context (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
This seminar critically examines Carl Schmitt’s anti-liberal conception of sovereignty and democracy. Apart from The Concept of the Political (2nd ed.), primary literature may include other works by Schmitt, his critics and /or his historical sources (such as Hegel).

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Ethics of Belief (C)
Instructor:  Anna Brinkerhoff
This seminar surveys classic and cutting-edge research in the quickly evolving literature on the ethics of belief in contemporary analytic epistemology. Very broadly, this literature focuses on whether—and how—various practical and moral considerations bear on what we ought to believe, and on the rationality of belief. We will explore the following topics: pragmatism vs. anti-pragmatism, moral and pragmatic encroachment on epistemic rationality, doxastic wrongs, doxastic partiality in friendship, promising against the evidence, the epistemology of prejudice, epistemic injustice, and the epistemic demands of #BelieveWomen.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy (C)
Instructor:  Matthias Fritsch
Description TBA.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: Mind, Time and Nature (C)
Instructor:  David Morris

This course focuses on time as central to the problem of the relation between mind and nature, through a study of Bergson’s Matter and Memory and Creative Evolution, and Whitehead’s The Concept of Nature. Bergson and Whitehead are philosophers who take up the sciences of their time to advance philosophy—but also challenge the ways that scientists tend to think about being, mind, and perception. They especially do this by emphasizing the central importance of time in philosophy and in nature. One occasion for this course is the publication of a new translation of Creative Evolution; another is renewed and ongoing interest in both Bergson and Whitehead.

PHIL 613 – Medieval Philosophy (A)
Instructor:  Ulf Hlobil
Course on medieval ethical theories. We will read Abelard, Aquinas, and other authors.

PHIL 614 – Modern Philosophy: Leibniz (A)
Instructor: Nabeel Hamid
This course will be an intensive study of the philosophy of the 17th/18th-Century German polymath, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. We will focus on his influential positions on topics in metaphysics and epistemology, such as substance, force, and modality, as well as his distinctive version of idealism.

PHIL 623 – Issues in Ethical Theory: Philosophy of Work (B)
Instructor:  Pablo Gilabert

This seminar will be devoted to a sustained examination of recent debates in ethics and political philosophy about well-being and social justice at work. Questions addressed include the following: What is work? What makes work desirable and what makes it undesirable? How can we organize working activities so that they are more conducive to well-being and aligned with social justice? These questions are not only of theoretical interest. They are also practically important. Many people spend half of their waking hours working, and our society pressures us into work on pain of severe poverty or social shame. We will likely discuss works by Kwame Appiah, Chris Bousquet, Michael Cholbi, John Danaher, Jean-Philippe Deranty, Jon Elster, Raymond Geuss, Anca Gheaus, Pablo Gilabert, Alex Gourevitch, Lisa Herzog, Axel Honneth, Rahel Jaeggi, Jan Kandiyali, David Leopold, Tom O’Shea, Tom Parr, Jahel Queralt, Julie Rose, Willemn Van der Deijl, Nicholas Vrousalis, and Erik Wright.

PHIL 629 – Values and Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt

This course examines normative issues around genetic engineering or other biotechnologies, including moral, metaphysical, epistemic or political questions.

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Current Research in Naturalized and Experimental Epistemology (C)
Instructor:  Murray Clarke

The focus of this course will be to examine recent results from naturalized and experimental epistemology. Defenders of these movements include Quine, Stich, Kornblith and Machery. Critics include Jennifer Nagel, Ernest Sosa and others. Arguments and evidence on all sides of these debates will be closely evaluated.

PHIL 644 – Philosophy of Science: Science and Values (C)
Instructor:  Matthew Barker
What roles do values play in science? Are there roles they must play? Which roles should values play in science, and which shouldn’t they play? These questions are centuries old, but work on them in philosophy of science has intensified in recent years. We’ll read, write, and have group discussions about some of the resulting papers and books, as we address the above questions ourselves. Example topics include how social values should influence choice of research questions in science, which epistemic values should influence evidential reasoning, how moral and political values should bear upon applications of scientific findings, and how values should influence where the boundaries of scientific categories are drawn.

PHIL 612 – Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle’s Generation of Animals: Heredity, Teleology, and Sexual Difference (A)
Instructor:  Emily Perry
This course is dedicated to Aristotle’s Generation of Animals. We’ll discuss how Aristotle’s account of animal reproduction illuminates broader issues in his natural philosophy and metaphysics, including his hylomorphism, his natural teleology, and his scientific methodology. We’ll also take up numerous questions peculiar to this treatise, including: What, for Aristotle, is the mechanism by which an animal’s form is transmitted to its offspring? How does he explain why children resemble their parents more than they do the average adult? Why does Aristotle think sexual reproduction is in some sense better than asexual reproduction? How does he conceive of the difference between the sexes? of their characteristic contributions to the reproductive process?  At what point in its development does he think an embryo has its own nature? How should we understand the role of this nature in the embryo’s self-fashioning? What are natural deformities, and how are they explained? Readings from the Generation of Animals will be supplemented by selections from throughout Aristotle, as well as relevant secondary materials.

PHIL 621 –  Value Theory: Nietzsche’s Critique of Kant and Plato (B)
Instructor: Paul Catanu
This course will propose to consider the now-classical critique that Nietzsche made of Platonic and Kantian ethics that are based on universal rational claims and values.

PHIL 626 – Political Philosophy: Political Perfectionism (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
This course introduces you to the perfectionist perspective on major topics in political theory, such as the justification of the state. We will read historical classics, such as Aristotle’s Politics, as well as recent literature.

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Knowledge of Other Minds (C)
Instructor: Olivia Sultanescu
Nothing is more ordinary than our taking ourselves to know that there are other people and that they have thoughts.  But it is difficult to make philosophical sense of this knowledge.  For instance, we seem to know our own thoughts immediately, without observing our behaviour.  But in order to know the thoughts of others, it seems that we must rely on evidence.  How, then, could the very features that we ascribe to ourselves without any evidence be ascribed to others on the basis of evidence without seriously distorting those features?  This is one of the puzzles that we will consider in this course.  Our topic will be the possibility of knowing others, as well as the nature of the knowledge that we might have of them.  Special attention will be paid to the intimate connection between knowing what someone thinks and understanding her utterances.

PHIL 643 – Selected Topics in Metaphysics: Truth (C)
Instructor: Ulf Hlobil
This is a course on the philosophy of truth. We will read seminal texts on the nature and logic of truth from different historical periods, including recent research.

PHIL 649 – Phenomenology: Bodies of Language (C)
Instructor: David Morris
This course begins with a close study of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, focusing on the theme of language and expression, as crucial to his account of the body, expression, and our intercorporeal being—and to his method of radical reflection. This is followed by a study of his abandoned book and project, The Prose of the World, and selections from his course notes on The Sensible World and the World of Expression, Nature and possibly also his lectures on the problem of speech and the literary use of language. (To be determined.) The deeper philosophical effort is twofold: to understand perceiving, sense-making bodies as gestural, expressive, communicative, linguistic bodies, in a broad sense; to understand language and idea as not being abstract informational systems, but bodily. To support this, the philosophical readings will be complemented with recent work on, e.g., Protactile (a growing tactile language of the DeafBlind), new scientific work on other creatures as manifesting linguistic behaviours, and other empirical work that pushes us to suspend typical presumptions about boundaries between language and non-language, linguistic bodies and non-linguistic bodies, what language consists in, and so on. 

PHIL 656 – Selected Topics in Analytic Philosophy: Frege and Wittgenstein (C)
Instructor: Gregory Lavers
Frege is known as the originator of modern logic and the grandfather of analytic philosophy. His project of logicism (an attempt to show that all of arithmetic follows from logic together with definitions) occupied him for most of his life. The way he tried to demonstrate the thesis of logicism was seen as a radically new approach to philosophical problems. This project at the intersection of mathematics and philosophy allowed for an essentially philosophical problem to be stated and addressed with unprecedented clarity. Although Wittgenstein explicitly rejected many of Frege's philosophical doctrines, he always acknowledged a philosophical debt to Frege. In this course, we will look at some of the central texts of both Frege and Wittgenstein (early and late) and we will explore certain Fregean themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy.

PHIL 607 – Kant: Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment (A)
Instructor: Nabeel Hamid
This course will be devoted to a close reading of Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment.

PHIL 629 – Values and Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
This course examines nomative issues around genetic engineering or other biotechnologies, including moral, metaphysical, epistemic or political questions.

PHIL 631 – Theories of Justice: Critical Theory (B)
Instructor: Pablo Gilabert
This seminar will be devoted to a sustained examination of recent contributions in Critical Theory regarding social justice, freedom, and well-being. Authors discussed will likely include Amy Allen, Robin Celikates, Simone Chambers, Rainer Forst, Nancy Fraser, Raymond Geuss, Sally Haslanger, Axel Honneth, Timo Jütten, Rahel Jaeggi, Cristina Lafont, Hartmut Rosa, and Martin Saar, among others.

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Ethics of Belief  (C)
Instructor: Anna Brinkerhoff
This course will focus on central questions in the ethics of belief: Is it always wrong to believe on insufficient evidence? What is the relationship between epistemic and moral evaluation of beliefs? If ‘ought implies can’, and if we lack voluntary control over our beliefs, is it the case that we ought to believe in certain ways? Are we responsible for what we believe? What is the aim of belief: truth or something else? What makes a belief rational? Does morality get a say in the rationality of belief? Does friendship place demands on belief that conflict with epistemic demands? Does promising require us to flout epistemic norms? Does moral ignorance exculpate moral blame? What contribution do moral beliefs make to the moral worth of an action?

PHIL 644 – Philosophy of Science: Categories and Classification (C)
Instructor: Matthew Barker
Categories and classification of them are some of the most controversial and long-studied topics at the intersection of philosophy and the sciences. Racial categories, and sex and gender categories, are obvious examples today. But there are many others too. Do categories such as living thing, chemical element, and race have reality independent of our views about them? What should we recognize their boundaries to be? Do they have essential natures, and if not, what are their natures? What kind of evidence is relevant to views about them? What are the limits to empirical knowledge about categories, and what roles can and should non-empirical methods have in gaining knowledge about categories? Which ways of classifying or ordering categories are best, and why? We’ll address these sorts of questions and others.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Democracy and Climate Change (C)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
In our times of environmental destabilization, the democratic form of government has been criticized as inherently short-termist, incapable of addressing long-term challenges as severe and urgent as climate change. In this course, we will study this critique as well as (largely “Continental-European”) accounts of democracy that may offer a response, including possible justifications of civil disobedience and climate activism.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: French Feminism & Subjectivity (C)
Instructor: Emilia Angelova
This course is an advanced study of problems in feminist philosophy. The overall focus is post-1968 French feminist theory, specifically Irigaray and Kristeva, their readings of central texts in the Western philosophical tradition. Their readings deploy Lacanian and Foucauldian discourse analysis (which we will take up via Butler and Foucault) and feminist tools to trace an essential difference of “woman” understood in its reflection as feminine inscription or “writing.” These writings scrutinize a disturbing history of violence and study the feminine “as” subjective sexual identity and its representations in constructs of modern subjectivity. Where modern subjectivity is defined by its telos as an internalizing effort, the writing of the feminine, as essential difference that shakes up the ideological subject, tears open the closures of discourse, and returns reflection to experience in the actual world. In this manner, the differential contribution of the writing of the feminine is that it opens up the excluded other or material underside of discourse, and forces discourse to constant revisability. The question of the difference of “woman” (classically identified as the maternal feminine, the psycho-bisexual feminine, and variously the lesbian) is open-ended and not reducible to a denotational referent in natural language, nor is it a common property identified neatly with categories of biology and culture. The experience of transsubjectivity and transgender identity in contemporary culture is not excluded from, but constitutes just another differential possible subjectivity, precisely. In the 1960s the French feminists share in generally post-structuralist ideas about the new revolutionary forces, and seek to subvert traditional forms of patriarchy, colonialization and exploitation.

Texts under examination will include Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics, Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera, and recent work, Michel Foucault’s Sexuality (2022), Irigaray’s Beyond East and West (2022), Kristeva’s Dostoyevsky (2022).

PHIL 607 – Kant: Wolffianism and the Early Kant (A)
Instructor:  Nabeel Hamid
This course will focus on a selection of Kant’s early works (that is, works before his so-called “critical turn”). In addition to Kant, we will also read selections from Kant’s immediate German predecessors, including Christian Wolff, Martin Knutzen, and Christian August Crusius. We will aim to understand the development of Kant’s thought prior to his landmark Critique of Pure Reason by situating it in the context of major currents in early eighteenth-century German philosophy.

PHIL 617 –  Origins of Analytic Philosophy: The development of logic in the 19th Century (A)
Instructor: Gregory Lavers
Logic is a science that dates back as far as Aristotle, but while there was a great deal of work on logic in the intervening centuries, the 19th Century involved some clear breakthroughs. In his Begriffsschrift of 1879, Frege put forward the first system of modern logic. In this course we will look at the work by Mill, Boole, and Frege that analyzes reasoning in natural language and attempts to represent it in formal languages. Frege’s work will be examined in detail: in particular we will read Frege’s Begriffsschrift and Foundations of Arithmetic.

PHIL 621 – Value Theory: Moral Emotions and Moral Responsibility (B)
Instructor:  Jing Hu
This class will focus on the discussion of moral emotions and moral virtues such as empathy, anger, shame, resentment, and guilt. We will be introduced to literature in moral psychology, virtue ethics, and feminist philosophy.

PHIL 641 – Philosophical Foundations of Biology (C)
Instructor: Matthew Barker
This course helps students critically engage biology’s philosophical foundations. Topics typically include the nature of scientific reasoning, testing, and evidence in biology; how best to discover, define, and apply biological concepts; and how to structure the aims of biology to fit our diverse and changing societies.

PHIL 643 – Selected Topics in Metaphysics: Culture, Concepts, and Cognition (C)
Instructor: Murray Clarke
In this course we investigate the nature of concepts and various cognitive architectures, and we consider how culture and evolution might play a role in various cognitive architectures.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy (C)
Instructor: Natalie Helberg
Topic and Description TBA. 

PHIL 615 – 19th-Century Philosophy: Hegel (A)
Instructor: Emilia Angelova
Conceived and written in the aftermath of the French Revolution, G. W.F. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is a ferment of a philosophical revolution in its own right. This is one of philosophy’s most important works and on it was founded the movement of German Idealism. Grasped from the vantage point of complete self-consciousness, this dialectic renders philosophy into a system that is both subjective and absolute. The Phenomenology is to appear to us, its readers, as the complete science of the recollected life of Desire, more decisively, the desire for self-actualization and the self’s objective recognition by the other, all of which are notions that underlie also current social, political and economic life. The achievements of self-conscious life and desire are many: art, religion, science and reason; enlightenment, culture and faith; morality, social life and forgiveness; ethics, law, absolute knowledge and instrumental reason.

This seminar is a close reading of Hegel’s text. We will make the very task of learning how to read this phenomenological text one of our goals. But we will conduct our study also as a critical reading: we will ask about implications and ideas that have inspired subsequent philosophical developments and as well have posed controversies involving Hegel’s contribution.

PHIL 623 –  Issues in Ethical Theory: Philosophy of Well-being (B)
Instructor: Pablo Gilabert
This seminar will be an in-depth discussion of contemporary theories of well-being (hedonistic, desire satisfaction, objective list, perfectionist, etc.). The seminar will also include critical discussion of the application of these theories to contemporary cultural, political, economic, and environmental issues, such as those emerging from relation between work and well-being in contemporary capitalist societies. Authors discussed will include Gwen Bradford, David Brink, Roger Crisp, Dale Dorsey, Jon Elster, Guy Fletcher, Rainer Forst, Daniel Heybron, Thomas Hill, Tom Hurka, Rahel Jaeggi, Herbert Marcuse, Robert Nozick, Martha Nussbaum, Derek Parfit, Joseph Raz, Connie Rosati, Tim Scanlon, Christine Tappolet, Valerie Tiberius, and Susan Wolff.

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Anna Brinkerhoff
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 644 – Philosophy of Science: Science and Values  (C)
Instructor: Matthew Barker
What roles do values play in science? Are there roles they must play? Which roles should values play in science, and which shouldn’t they play? These questions are centuries old, but work on them in philosophy of science has intensified in recent years. We’ll read, write, and have group discussions about some of the resulting papers and books, as we address the above questions ourselves. Example topics include how social values should influence choice of research questions in science, which epistemic values should influence evidential reasoning, how moral and political values should bear upon applications of scientific findings, and how values should influence where the boundaries of scientific categories are drawn.

PHIL 678 –Topics in Current Research: Individuals (C)
Instructor: David Morris
This course approaches metaphysical questions about individuality and the role of individuality in metaphysics through close studies of P.F. Strawson’s classic Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics and Gilbert Simondon’s Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information. Simply put, Strawson advances an argument that individuality is a basic starting point of metaphysics. Simondon argues that the presumption of individuality is a basic error of classic metaphysics: individuality results from most basic metaphysical terms, rather than being a basic term. This study in contrasts will be framed with select readings, TBA, from philosophers such as Aristotle, Leibnitz, Kant, Hegel, on individuality, and perhaps also readings from philosophy or sciences on the role of individuality in mathematics (e.g. around the axiom of choice), physics (e.g., the no-cloning theorem in quantum mechanics), or biology (problems about the individuality of various organisms, especially bacteria). 

PHIL 607 – Kant (A)
Instructor:  Nabeel Hamid
This course will focus on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, with an emphasis on understanding the implications of Kant’s theory of knowledge and his critique of metaphysics for religion.

PHIL 623 –  Advanced Ethics: Private Property Rights (B)
Instructor: Katharina Nieswandt
In this course we shall discuss how anyone comes to own anything in the first place and how far these rights extend. Questions include: Is property a natural right or a social construction? How does our current, global system of property allocation work? Should every human being be guaranteed a minimum of private property, and would this be economically feasible to do? In trying to answer these questions, we will touch on many larger philosophical questions, such as: What is a right? What makes a good human life? What economic conditions obtain in a just society? The readings are a mix of philosophical classics (such as Locke and Marx), recent publications (e.g. by Thomas Picketty and by David Graeber) and empirical case studies.

PHIL 631 – Theories of Justice: Egalitarian Social Justice (B)
Instructor:  Pablo Gilabert
This seminar will be devoted to a sustained examination of recent contributions to an egalitarian understanding of social justice. We will address debates on the content, justification, and feasible implementation of egalitarian principles. We will discuss important recent works by Elizabeth Anderson, Thomas Christiano, G. A. Cohen, Nancy Fraser, Andrea Sangiovanni, T. M. Scanlon, and Stuart White, among other authors. 

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Naturalized and Experimental Epistemology (C)
Instructor: Murray Clarke
In this course, we examine recent approaches to naturalized epistemology and experimental epistemology. We consider some of the literature on the status of epistemic intuitions and its implications for standard analytic epistemology. We also consider what methodological mutations might result from, and have resulted from, these approaches to doing epistemology. Authors studied will include Kornblith, Machery, Stich, and more.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: The Politics of Truth and Tragedy (C)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
Current political times have been diagnosed as “post-truth,” even when the relation between truth and politics, between science and policy, is critically at stake for many vulnerable populations in the present and the future. In the context of health crises and global heating, a common justification for civil disobedience and political resistance has been found in the name of a truth that politics does not sufficiently acknowledge. In such times, questioning the univocity or perspectival nature of truth, or suggesting the inseparability of truth and rhetoric, may seem to be irresponsible. This course will examine these matters by discussing Foucault on ‘free-spokenness’ or parrhesia (‘speaking truth to power’) and Heideggerian and Derridian accounts of truth and world-making. As Foucault retrieves parrhesia from ancient Greek political philosophy and tragedy, we will in part be drawn to examine the relationship between political action and tragic conflict. We will discuss whether resistance can be legitimized by accusations of hubris, even in the face of tragic conflicts around truth. Apart from Foucault, we will read work by authors including Arendt, Derrida, Schürmann, Bennington, Hägglund, and others.

PHIL 612 – Ancient Philosophy: Plato's Late Dialogues (A)
Instructor: Paul Catanu
We will study Plato’s late dialogues and his self-critique of the theory of the Forms. Does Plato change his mind about the Forms in the late dialogues? Are the paradoxes of self-reference and the Third Man argument fatal for the theory of the Forms? What does Plato have to say about ontological unity in this context? Can the Forms be in process or do the Forms Become? What can be learnt from the Platonic letters on this subject? Should they be trusted as valid sources for interpretation?

We will attempt to give prudent answers to these questions or show that Plato’s late period is philosophically fertile for the advanced student who understands that raising and formulating a good and clear question is perhaps almost as good as finding a fulfilling answer.

PHIL 621 –  Value Theory: Moral Emotions and Moral Responsibility  (B)
Instructor: Jing Hu
This class will focus on the discussion of moral emotions and moral virtues such as empathy, anger, shame, guilt, and so on. We will be introduced to literature in moral psychology, virtue ethics, and feminist philosophy.

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Wittgenstein’s "On Certainty," and Its Current Reception (C)
Instructor: Ulf Hlobil
Course on Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. We will read the book, compare different interpretations, and look at some of the texts that influenced Wittgenstein (such as Moore's “A Defense of Common Sense”). After that, we will look at recent developments in so-called “hinge epistemology.”

PHIL 646 – Philosophy of Language: Truth and meaning in the early 20th Century (C)
Instructor: Greg Lavers
This course will focus on philosophical views concerning truth and meaning before and after Tarski’s famous work on truth definitions. We will begin by looking at the pre-Tarskian views on truth and meaning of Frege, the early Wittgenstein and members of the Vienna Circle — Carnap and Schlick in particular. We will then look at Tarski’s own work on the concept of truth. We will finish by looking at how issues arising out of the semantic notion of truth led to the famous disagreement between Carnap and Quine. In essence, therefore, this course will focus on the most important developments in the philosophy of language in the analytic tradition from Wittgenstein’s Tractatus to Quine’s famous ‘Two Dogmas’.

PHIL 649 – Phenomenology: Critical Reflection (C)
Instructor: David Morris
A close study of several key results and texts in the phenomenological tradition, namely: a substantive selection from Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations; a substantial selection from Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception; and a short selection from his The Invisible and the Visible. These texts will be complemented by shorted readings from recent critical phenomenology. A central focus of our study is the ways that these results locate the activity of philosophical reflection in bodily, worldly, social and historical processes. The project of philosophical critique (roughly: rigorous analysis of our basic concepts through attention to sources and limitations of our concepts) thus bends back upon itself, requiring critical selfawareness of the ways this project and its reflective resources are themselves rooted in and shaped by social and historical processes.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Deleuze and Kristeva (C)
Instructor: Emilia Angelova
This course is an advanced study of problems in the philosophy of values and norms, in the framework of ethics as transformed by post-structuralism and psychoanalysis in late 20th century Continental philosophy. We begin with reading Deleuze’s Nietzsche and Philosophy. We will pay special attention to the themes of the event, experience and experimentation, and subject-formation. In the last third of this course, we explore love’s labour and the construction of subjectivity in psychoanalysis. In this part we read Julia Kristeva’s work in psychoanalysis, specifically on narrative, trauma and the abject.

PHIL 607 – Kant: Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment (A)
Instructor:  Nabeel Hamid
This course will be a close study of Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment, and its central topics: aesthetics, philosophy of biology, and the unity of theoretical and practical reason. 

PHIL 609 –  Dante and Philosophy: from the Convivio to the Commedia (A)
Instructor: Andrea Falcon
Dante (1265-1321) was not a professional philosopher but was seriously engaged with philosophy, and this engagement was essential to his literary work as a whole. More to the point: Dante lived at a very special time. This is the time when Aristotle’s science and philosophy became available for the first time to the Latin World. For the above reasons, we will try to reconstruct Dante’s philosophical outlook, with a concentration on his views on the nature of philosophy, love and knowledge, intellectual and practical happiness, god and the world, free will. We will read the four books of the Convivio and selections from the Commedia. We will reflect on the relation between the Convivio and the Commedia and the reasons that led Dante to interrupt the Convivio in order to turn to the Commedia.

Nota Bene: knowledge of Italian and Latin is not required to do well in this class. However, willingness to engage in close and attentive reading of complex texts, as well as ability to engage in independent research outside class, are absolutely essential to your success in this class.

PHIL 621 – Value Theory: Anscombe’s Moral Philosophy (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
Anscombe’s writings in practical philosophy are among the most profound and original that the 20th century has to offer. We’ll cover her moral epistemology (topics such as “consideration zero”—i.e., the role of certainties in moral thinking), her criticism of consequentialism and Kantianism, her social ontology (especially her conventionalist theory of rights, rules and promises), her moral psychology (e.g. the role of motives, will and intentions in acting), as well as topics from her applied ethics (e.g. euthanasia and abortion) and political philosophy (in particular her justification of state power).

PHIL 641 – Philosophical Foundations of Biology (C)
Instructor: Matthew Barker
This course helps students critically engage biology’s philosophical foundations. Topics typically include the nature of scientific reasoning, testing, and evidence in biology; how best to discover, define, and apply biological concepts; and how to structure the aims of biology to fit our diverse and changing societies.

PHIL 643 – Selected Topics in Metaphysics (C)
Instructor: Murray Clarke
This course begins by evaluating a range of theories about the nature of concepts: Definitionism, Prototype Theory, the Theory-Theory, and Conceptual Atomism. Later, we consider different theories concerning the nature of our cognitive architecture. Examples of such models include: Cosmides and Tooby's massivemodularity view, Fodor's restricted modularity account, and dual-process theories by Evans, Stanovich. Finally, we consider how culture and our evolutionary history might be integrated with an account of concepts and cognition.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Antigone in the Anthropocene (C)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
Ever since Hegel’s and Heidegger’s influential discussions, there has been a noticeable resurgence of interest in Sophocles’s Antigone of late, especially in Continental-European thought. The main foci of recent discussions have been feminist politics, kinship structures, the politics of mourning, demands for individual autonomy in relation to state power, ethical and political conflict, and the background of slavery. In this course, we will focus on what the play can teach us today in our political, environmental, and intergenerational crisis. In particular, we will be interested in the human and political relation to death, to the earth, and civil disobedience in the face of political power that does not appear to fully recognize obligations to non-present generations, that is, the dead as well as the unborn. We will in particular study interpretations of the play by Hegel, Heidegger, Irigaray, Derrida, Cavarero, Butler, and Chanter.

PHIL 617 – Origins of Analytic Philosophy (A)
Instructor: Oran Magal
Analytic philosophy is one of the two dominant types of present-day philosophy, encompassing all areas of philosophy and even used to describe a certain style of writing history of philosophy. How did it come to be? In this seminar, we will work through the principal texts and philosophers who shaped the early period of analytic philosophy: Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, and Quine.The course will combine lectures providing background information and discussion-based analysis and close reading of key texts.

PHIL 623 –  Issues in Ethical Theory (B)
Instructor: Jing Hu
This class will focus on the ethical theories and debates on moral motivation, moral progress, philosophy of psychology, and moral relativism.

PHIL 626 – Political Philosophy (B)
Instructor:  Pablo Gilabert
The focus of this course will be an in-depth discussion of John Rawls’s theory of justice. Besides exploring Rawls’s main texts, we will discuss critical assessments, e.g. by G. A. Cohen and A. Sen, among others.

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 652 – Selected Topics in Logic: Philosophy of Logic (C)
Instructor: Ulf Hlobil
This is a course on the nature, role and limits of logic.  Questions may include:  How, if at all, do we know logical truths?  How can we choose rationally between different logics?  What is logic about?  What are the essential features of logical consequence?  In order to think about such questions, the course will include some training with respect to various proof-systems, model-theory, and meta-logic.

PHIL 659 – Selected Topics in Metaphysics, Epistemology, or Philosophy of Science: Social Identity & Feminism (C)
Instructor: Ted Locke
The primary focus of this course is the metaphysics of gender and intersectionality. We will explore the metaphysics of gender, race, disability, and class. Then we will look at how seeming intersections of these identities raise important questions about categorical and social injustices.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: Philosophy of Nature (C)
Instructor: David Morris
Recently, philosophers such as Shaun Gallagher and scientists such as the physicist Lee Smolin have suggested that addressing key problems in philosophy and science might involve consideration of philosophy of nature. Philosophy of science critically studies science as a rigorous form of knowledge. In contrast, philosophy of nature does not study science, but rather nature as an object it would hold in common with science. It pursues problems of what nature is, how we can access it, are part of it, etc., at an ontological, conceptual, or methodological level independent from, yet related to, science. It might, then, be able to provide new perspectives on how minds and perceivers can relate to nature so as to enable science in the first place (that’s why it interests Gallagher and Smolin). The course introduces philosophy of nature through texts that are TBA, but may include selections from: Smolin, Gallagher, and other recent figures; Aristotle; Kant; Schelling’s response to Kant in his First Outline of a System of Philosophy of Nature; Husserl; Merleau-Ponty’s lectures on nature; Jan Patočka’s The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem; Hans Jonas’s The Phenomenon of Life.

PHIL 612 – Ancient Philosophy (A)
Instructor:  Andrea Falcon
Ancient Ionia, on the western coast of Asia Minor, is often described as the birthplace of western science and philosophy. In this course, we will look in some detail at the Ionian tradition of scientific thinking. We will try to understand how this tradition tried to make sense of the surrounding world by looking at how it wrote about peoples and places (Herodotus and his Histories) and about the human body (Hippocrates and the so-called Hippocratic writings).

NB: Willingness to engage in close and attentive reading of complex works as well as ability to do independent research outside class are absolutely essential to success in this course.

PHIL 621 –  Value Theory (B)
Instructor: Jing Hu
This course will examine a topic in value theory, such as the exploration of different conceptions of well-being, the good, or of virtues. We will focus on virtues and their development in various traditions of ethical theories, such as Aristotlean ethics, sentimentalist tradition, and Confucianism.

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Experimental Epistemology (C)
Instructor:  Murray Clarke
The goal of this course is to engage the recent literature in experimental epistemology both as an attack on analytic epistemology and its method of appealing to pre-theoretic intuitions, and as an alternative approach to doing epistemology by means of empirical experiments. We begin by considering Kornblith’s book, On Reflection (OUP, 2012), where he argues that intuition and reflection cannot play the role that they have traditionally been thought to play in epistemology. We then look at empirical attacks on analytic epistemology by Stich, Weinberg, Nichols, and others together with responses by Nagel, Sosa and others, in Knobe and Nichols’ anthology, Experimental Philosophy: Volume Two (OUP, 2014). Finally, we examine Edouard Machery’s recent book, Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds (OUP, 2017). In this book, Machery offers the first synthesis of experimental philosophy’s empirical results and its implications for a range of philosophical topics. A critique of standard analytic epistemology and a reconfiguring of what one can expect from philosophical analysis are among the results of Machery’s book.

PHIL 656 – Selected Topics in Analytic Philosophy: Reasons and Rationality - Theoretical and Practical (C)
Instructor: Ulf Hlobil
A course on the nature, epistemology and structure of reasons and rationality, including theoretical and practical rationality. We will look at contemporary theories of what (normative) reasons are and what it means to be rational. Topics include: reasons and rationality in probabilistic and decision theoretic frameworks, the reasoning-view of reasons, the relation between responsiveness to reasons and rationality, norms of rationality and their authority, and more.  

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Critical Phenomenology and Normativity (C)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
The course will begin with Heidegger's ontological account of normativity, from Being and Time to some later texts on language and on the earth. We will then study some contemporary interpretations of this source of normativity and its relation to moral, political, and environmental critique (Llewelyn, Crowell, Kompridis, and others). We will then read texts by Levinas and Derrida that can be seen as further developments of both the normativity and the possibility of critique.

PHIL 614 – Modern Philosophy: Teleology and Mechanism in Early Modern Philosophy (A)
Instructor: Nabeel Hamid
This seminar examines debates on the structure, value, and limits of teleological reasoning in natural science, specifically in the context of the new, mechanical conception of nature in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

PHIL 631 – Theories of Justice (B)
Instructor: Pablo Gilabert
This course will focus on the concept of domination in social and political philosophy. Authors read will include Amy Allen, Michael Foucault, Rainer Forst, Juergen Habermas, Steven Lukes, Martha Nussbaum, Philip Pettit, Amartya Sen, Laura Valentini, and Erik Wright, among others.

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 641 – Philosophical Foundations of Biology (C)
Instructor: Matthew Barker
This course helps students critically engage biology’s philosophical foundations. Topics typically include the nature of scientific reasoning, testing, and evidence in biology; how best to discover, define, and apply biological concepts; and how to structure the aims of biology to fit our diverse and changing societies.

PHIL 649 – Phenomenology: Time & Normativity (C)
Instructor: David Morris
A close study of several key results and texts in the phenomenological tradition, namely: a small selection from Husserl; a substantial selection from Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception; and a short selection from his The Invisible and the Visible.  A central focus of our study is the ways that these results locate the activity of philosophy and thinking in the bodily and worldly processes. This reveals that the sort normativity at stake in philosophical reflection, meaning-making and critical analysis (as generating and sorting out, e.g., good and bad concepts or methods) arises in and through a time that cannot be reduced to some eternal or ideal order. This approach will invite further reflections on how our normative considerations do or do not emerge from the time of various domains we think about (e.g. nature, ecosystems, bodies, in discussions of, e.g., climate change, biodiversity, well-being and disability). These might also be amplified with some cross-cultural philosophical comparisons regarding time. [Revised Oct 2019]

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: Feminist Theory
Instructor: Emilia Angelova
This course is an advanced study of problems in feminist philosophy and gender, with a special interest in topics of subjectivity and subject formation. Main study will be from the tradition of post-1968 French feminist theory (for us these are Wittig, Irigaray and Kristeva) and its readings of main texts of the Western philosophical tradition using Lacanian and Foucauldian discourse analysis (for us these include Judith Butler and Patricia Collins).

PHIL 609 –  Selected Topics in the History of Philosophy: Dante and Philosophy (A)
Instructor: Andrea Falcon
Dante was not a professional philosopher but he was seriously engaged with philosophy and this engagement was essential to his work as a whole. Moreover, Dante (1265-1321) lived at a very special time. This is the time when Aristotle’s philosophy and science were made available for the first time to the Latin West. For the above reasons, we will read selections from the Convivio and Divina Commedia. We will try to reconstruct Dante’s philosophical outlook, which is an eclectic form of Aristotelianism tempered by an infusion of Christian thought.

NB: Knowledge of Italian or Latin is not required to do well in this class. However, willingness to engage in close and attentive reading of complex works as well as ability to do independent research outside class are absolutely essential to your success in this course.​

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 643 – Selected Topics in Metaphysics: Concepts and Causation (C)
Instructor:  Murray Clarke
In this course, we investigate some of the contemporary literature in cognitive science on the nature of concepts, but also look at some literature on mental causation. We begin by evaluating Carnap's classical theory of concepts, i.e., definitionism, but also look at Rosch's prototype theory, Fodor's conceptual atomism and Machery's eliminativist approach to concepts. Later, we evaluate Davidson's anomalous monism and Kim's partially reductionist solution to the problem of mental causation, among others.

PHIL 656 – Selected Topics in Analytic Philosophy: Modality in the Twentieth Century (C)
Instructor: Greg Lavers
This course will focus on the some of the central trends in the understanding of modality in the twentieth century. We will begin by looking at the syntactic systems of C. I. Lewis and his arguments against understanding the material conditional as capturing implication. We will then look at semantics for such systems and explore the effect the understanding of modality had on ontology, metaphysics and the philosophy of science. Figures we will look at, in addition to C. I. Lewis, include Barcan Marcus, Kripke, Carnap, Quine and David K. Lewis.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: Deleuze and Kristeva (C)
Instructor: Emilia Angelova
This course is an advanced study of problems in the philosophy of values and norms, in the framework of ethics after the transformations introduced by post-structuralism and psychoanalysis in late 20th century Continental philosophy. We begin with Deleuze’s Nietzsche and Philosophy and move on to Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy of difference and the processes of subjectivation. We will pay special attention to the themes of temporality and the event, experience and experimentation, and the genetic method of critique of representation. In the last third of this course, we turn to the discourse of psychoanalysis and its interpretative method. In this part we study Julia Kristeva’s method of psychoanalysis and her early work on the semiotic and the symbolic, placing this method within a historical context and toward a materialist study of the suffering of subjectivity.

PHIL 607 – Kant (A)
Instructor: Nabeel Hamid
Calendar description: This course studies Kant and his work in its historical context, such as the Critique of Pure Reason or other texts of Kant.

PHIL 621 – Value Theory: Sources of Normativity (B)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
This course will investigate the sources of moral normativity that different accounts have alleged, and the shape these sources give to normative ethics. We will look at the origin of normativity in pleasure and pain (utilitarianism), in rational reflection and human identity (Korsgaard’s Kantianism), in language use (Habermasian discourse ethics), in finite time (Heideggerian phenomenology), in the alterity of the other (Levinas), and in differentiation (Derrida).

PHIL 626 – Political Philosophy: Theories of Justice (B)
Instructor: Pablo Gilabert
This course will focus on contemporary theories of socialist justice. Authors discussed will include Gerald Cohen, Nancy Fraser, Axel Honneth, Rahel Jaeggi, John Rawls, and Erik Wright, amongst others.

PHIL 641 – Philosophical Foundations of Biology (C)
Instructor: Matthew Barker
This course helps students critically engage biology’s philosophical foundations. Topics typically include the nature of scientific reasoning, testing, and evidence in biology; how best to discover, define, and apply biological concepts; and how to structure the aims of biology to fit our diverse and changing societies.

PHIL 646 – Philosophy of Language: Relativism, Disagreement, and Perspectives (C)
Instructor: Ulf Hlobil
This course will focus on recent debates about relativism, assessment sensitivity, and disagreement. Authors include MacFarlane, Köbel, Egan, Boghossian, and others.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: The Politics of Earth and World (C)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
In the context of the current global environmental crisis, we will study the relationship between ‘earth’ and ‘world’, reading texts by Heidegger, Jonas, Arendt, Derrida, and others. We will discuss the meaning of the concepts in question (earth, globe, world, climate, the elemental, humanity, etc.), and pursue questions such as whether humanity must today be thought as one causally or morally responsible agent (as the notion of the Anthropocene suggests), and what politics should look like in this context.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: Life, Nature & Time (C)
Instructor: David Morris
This course studies different ways nature has been conceptualized. Is nature, e.g., to be understood as a closed system, regulated by a fixed background of eternal laws, or is it a dynamically open system within which organizing principles have arisen via time? What are the implications for our knowledge of and ethical relations with nature? This study will take life as a clue or lens into nature, examining problems in the history of philosophy and biology regarding the concept of life. The reading list will likely range from Aristotle to Kant to Darwin to the 21st Century, cut across philosophical and scientific sources, and mix longer and shorter works. A particular focus will be the connection of all the above to time and the problem of how meaning or information arise in nature.

PHIL 612 –  Ancient Philosophy (A)
Instructor: Andrea Falcon
In the Meno Plato is concerned primarily with inquiry, with how one searches for something. In the first part of this course, we will engage in a close study of  the Meno with a concentration on the nature and possibility of inquiry. In the second part of this course, we will look at ancient responses to the so-called Meno Paradox. Our focus will be on Aristotle and his response to the paradox.

PHIL 615 – 19th Century Philosophy (A)
Instructor: Emilia Angelova
A close study of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, focusing on the formation of subjectivity and desire. Our study will also attend to implications of Hegel’s philosophical ideas for 20th Century philosophy.

PHIL 626 – Political Philosophy: Conceptions of Power (B)
Instructor: Pablo Gilabert
This course explores contemporary theories of power, including their significance for discussions about economic, cultural, and political justice. Authors read will likely include Amy Allen, Hannah Arendt, Gerald Cohen, Rainer Forst, Nancy Fraser, Robert Goodin, Juergen Habermas, Michel Foucault, Steven Lukes, Martha Nussbaum, Nicholas Vrousalis, and Erik Wright, amongst others.

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 652 – Selected Topics in Logic (C)
Instructor: Ulf Hlobil
A course on recent developments in non-classical logics and the philosophy of logic.  The overarching question will be:  What does it mean to say that something follows (perhaps logically) from something else?  Topics include:  logical inferentialism, bilateralism, proof-theoretic validity, different notions of logical consequence, atomic systems, nonmonotonic logics, nontransitive logics, and other substructural logics.  We will focus on proof-theoretic approaches.  We will look at natural deduction and sequent calculus formulations of a wide variety of non-classical logics.

PHIL 607 – Kant (A)
Instructor: Curtis Sommerlatte
Calendar description: This course studies Kant and his work in its historical context, such as the Critique of Pure Reason or other texts of Kant.

PHIL 621 – Value Theory: Anscombe's Moral Philosophy (B)
Instructor: Katharina Nieswandt
Anscombe’s writings in practical philosophy are among the most profound and original that the 20th century has to offer. We’ll cover her moral epistemology (topics such as “consideration zero”—i.e., the role of certainties in moral thinking), her criticism of consequentialism and Kantianism, her social ontology (especially her conventionalist theory of rights, rules and promises), her moral psychology (e.g. the role of motives, will and intentions in acting), as well as topics from her applied ethics (e.g. euthanasia and abortion) and political philosophy (in particular her justification of state power).

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Gettier and Naturalism (C)
Instructor: Murray Clarke 
In this seminar, we look at new literature that has arisen on the Gettier Problem concerning why justified, true, belief is not sufficient for knowledge. In particular, we shall examine Tracking Theories of Knowledge, such as those of Fred Dretske and Robert Nozick, and recent attempts to defend these Tracking Theories, as responses to the Gettier Problem. Other naturalistic and nonnaturalistic accounts of knowledge will also be canvassed as responses to the Gettier Problem. 

PHIL 646 – Early Analytic Philosophy (A)
Instructor: Greg Lavers
Logic is a science that dates back as far as Aristotle, but while there was a great deal of work on logic in the intervening centuries, the 19th Century involved some clear breakthroughs. In his Begriffsschrift of 1879, Frege put forward the first system of modern logic. In this course we will look at the work by Mill, Boole, and Frege that analyzes reasoning in natural language and attempts to represent it in formal languages. Frege’s work will be examined in detail: in particular we will read Frege’s Begriffsschrift and Foundations of Arithmetic.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Mutations in Sovereignty (B)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
Focusing on the diagnoses of Foucault and Derrida, this course investigates the changes political sovereignty is said to have undergone in modernity and the present. In response to Foucault's famous claim that modern politics is principally engaged in "making live and letting die", we will study sovereignty's relation to life and death, but also, to a lesser extent, to enmity and friendship, to normativity, and to the capitalist economy.

PHIL 668 – Studies in Phenomenology (C)
Instructor: David Morris
A close study of Husserl’s On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (together with a few selections from Analyses Concerning Passive and Active Synthesis) and Bergson’s Matter and Memory. The focus is on the role of temporality in meaning and cognition, and the relation between temporality, activity, passivity, movement, materiality, and nature.  

PHIL 612 – Ancient Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle on the Nature of Pleasure
Instructor:  Andrea Falcon
In the first part of this course, we will engage in a close textual analysis of Plato’s Philebus. This dialogue is Plato’s response to hedonism. As such, it contains a rich and complex discussion of the nature of pleasure. In the second part of the course, we will turn to Aristotle’s treatment of pleasure in Nicomachean Ethics 7 and 10. We will see how Aristotle contributes to the ancient debate on the nature of place and its place in an ethical life. 
Required Texts:  (1) Plato, Philebus. Translated with Introduction by Dorothea Frede. Hackett Publishing Company 1993.  (2)  Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. Edited by Roger Crisp (revised edition). Cambridge University Press 2013.

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 646 – Philosophy of Language
Instructor:  Gregory Lavers
Academic Calendar Description: Students analyse some aspects of the philosophy of language, such as the nature of meaning, the relation between language and thought, or the relation between language and the world.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: French Feminism and Subjectivity
Instructor:  Emilia Angelova
In this course we study texts by Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva to examine questions concerning the constitution of subjectivity and the feminine.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: Time, Meaning and Nature
Instructor:  David Morris
One key philosophical problem is understanding mind and meaning as being at one with nature. This course ventures the hypothesis that time is central to this problem. E.g., suppose we think of meaning not as an event happening in time, but as inherently involved in or ‘composed out of’ time. This might change the problem—but also our concept of nature. To probe these issues, we’ll pursue a comparative study of philosophical/scientific concepts of time (and related concepts of life and process), and their implications re: meaning and nature. A tentative list of materials we’ll study (via concentrated selections): Aztec philosophy; Aristotle; Augustine; Descartes; Leibnitz; Newton; Galileo; Kant; Schelling; Hegel; Peirce; Bergson; Einstein; Husserl; Heidegger; Merleau-Ponty; and Lee Smolin’s Time Reborn.

 

PHIL 607 – Kant
Instructor:  Curtis Sommerlatte
This course studies Kant and his work in its historical context, such as the Critique of Pure Reason or other texts of Kant.  Kant was a pivotal figure in the history of philosophy, situated at the end of the early-modern period of philosophy (which includes rationalists such as Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, as well as empiricists such as Locke, Berkeley, and Hume) and at the beginning of the several movements of modern philosophy (Romanticism, German Idealism, Continental Philosophy, and Analytic Philosophy). His Critique of Pure Reason is the foundational text of Kant's mature thought, and this course will focus on it and related texts. The Critique of Pure Reason primarily addresses epistemological and metaphysical questions, but these are often directed toward concerns in practical philosophy. Some of the key questions of Kant's book that we will address are the following: What does the human mind contribute to our experience? What are the limits of what we can know? What are the natures of space and time? What is the basis for the contemporary scientific worldview? What is the relationship between scientific knowledge and practical concerns (such as freedom, morality, and religion)? What can we know about the self? What is freedom, and what can we know about it? Can we know anything supernatural, e.g., God's existence or the afterlife?

PHIL 621 – Advanced Ethical Theory: Private Property
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
In this course we shall discuss how anyone comes to own anything in the first place and how far these rights extend.  Questions include:  Is property a natural right or a social construction?  How does our current, global system of property allocation work?  Should every human being be guaranteed a minimum of private property, and would this be economically feasible to do?  In trying to answer these questions, we will touch on many larger philosophical questions, such as:  What is a right?  What makes a good human life?  What economic conditions obtain in a just society?
The readings are a mix of philosophical classics (such as Locke and Marx), recent publications (e.g. by Thomas Picketty and by David Graeber) and empirical case studies (e.g. Nestlé’s privatization of drinking water in Pakistan).

PHIL 626 – Political Philosophy
Instructor:  Pablo Gilabert
This course is devoted to a sustained critical discussion of Immanuel Kant's main ethical and political writings, and to an exploration of their contemporary relevance.  Readings include the main texts in Kant's practical philosophy and recent discussions of them by Arthur Ripstein, Helga Varden, and Allan Wood (amongst others).

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Exploring Epistemic In/Justice
Instructor:  Guillaume Beaulac
Especially since Miranda Fricker's groundbreaking book, Epistemic Injustice, there has been quite a few discussions of epistemic in/justice in social epistemology. As Wylie suggests in her introduction to a special Hypatia issue on epistemic justice, social epistemology "must provide an account of how inequitable social relations inflect what counts as knowledge and who is recognized as a credible knower". In this course, we will critically read Fricker's book and we will discuss the topic of epistemic justice more widely by looking at a few important papers including (among others) work by Dotson, Gendler, Longino, Medina, Mills, and Stanley. Along the way, we will think about the notion of cognitive bias and how such biases might play an important role in the processes leading to epistemic injustice.

PHIL 644 – Selected Topics:  History and Philosophy of Science
Instructor:  Matthew Barker
This course examines current issues in the philosophy of science. Topics may include the nature of scientific reasoning, evidence, explanation, and definitions, how science relates to other types of inquiry, the extents to which science is objective or rational, and how best to organize and use science in our times.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: The Dialectic of Enlightenment in Adorno, Horkheimer, and Derrida
Instructor:  Matthias Fritsch
The seminar will engage in close readings of Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), Derrida’s The Beast and Sovereign, Volume 2 (2004), and related texts. The hypothesis of the course is that, while they draw on different sources and philosophical orientations, several parallels between these texts merit our attention today. Taking Odysseus as their primary model, Adorno and Horkheimer argue that capitalist class and gender domination are inseparable from Western conceptions of sovereign mastery over nature, which is partially caused by longstanding fear of death and of an overpowering nature. Derrida views Robinson Crusoe as emblematic of the Western individualism and colonialism that responds to fear of a fatally devouring nature by seeking to master its territory and subject its inhabitants, human and animal. If, as these authors argue, modern democracy inherited this understanding of subjectivity and political sovereignty, this may in part account for current difficulties—moral, political, and economic—in addressing environmental crises.
(Recommended preparatory readings: Homer, Odyssey; Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Heidegger, Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude; Stiegler, States of Shock)

PHIL 612 – Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle (and Plato) on Pleasure, (Category A)
Andrea Falcon

Aristotle saw the need to integrate pleasure in his ethical theory. In this course, we will engage in a close study of the two accounts of pleasure offered in the Nicomachean Ethics (NE VII and NE X). 

PHIL 615 – 19th Century Philosophy: Hegel, (Category A)
Meghant Sudan
This course combines a thorough reading of major sections of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit with a close look at Hegelian themes of self-consciousness and absolute knowing.

PHIL 617 – Origins of Analytic Philosophy, (Category A)
Gregory Lavers

This course will look at the interaction between the analysis of natural language and the development of modern logic in the 19th century. Readings will include works by Boole, Mill and Frege.

PHIL 621 – Advanced Ethical Theory: Value Theory, (Category B)
Pablo Gilabert

This seminar will be devoted to a sustained exploration of topics in ethical theory, such as different conceptions of well-being and the good, the fundamental principles of right conduct, and the epistemological and metaphysical status of ethical standards. In this semester, we will address those issues through a close reading and discussion of Derek Parfit’s recent book On What Matters.

PHIL 633A – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values and Biotechnology, (Category B)
Matthew Barker

We examine ways in which science and values intersect, focusing especially on biotechnologies of genetic engineering in plants, non-human animals, and humans.  Topics may include scientific objectivity, moral status, humanitarian and environmental aspects of genetically engineered crops, animal welfare, genetic testing, eugenics, disability, and enhancement.

PHIL 616 – Selected Topics in the History of Philosophy of Science, (Category A)
Matthew Barker
This course examines current issues in the history and philosophy of science. Topics may include the nature of scientific reasoning, evidence, explanation, and definitions, how science relates to other types of inquiry, the extents to which science is objective or rational, and how best to organize and use science in our times.

PHIL 626 – Political Philosophy, (Category B)
Pablo Gilabert

This seminar will be devoted to a sustained examination of recent contributions to the philosophy of human rights. We will address debates on the content, justification, and feasible implementation of human rights.  We will read papers from two recent collections published by Oxford University Press: The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Human Rights: Moral or Political?

PHIL 643 – Selected Topics in Metaphysics: Concepts and Causation, (Category C)
Murray Clarke

This course investigates two central issues in cognitive science: the nature of concepts and mental causation. On the first issue, we look at Definitionism, Prototype Theory, the Theory-Theory, and Fodor's Conceptual Atomism. On the second issue, we evaluate Kim's Functional Reductionism and some responses to it.

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Deleuze, Kristeva, and the Stranger  (Category C)
Emilia Angelova

Recent work on futurity, the event and ethics in post-Heideggerian and French feminist theory has suggested a transformation of the ethical, implying an ethics that may or may not generate norms. This course studies this topic in Deleuze and Kristeva. The focus is how their concepts of affect, the uncanny, and the stranger transform subjectivity—and the implications for ethics and the political.

PHIL 649 – Phenomenology, (Category C)
David Morris

The course this year is devoted to an in-depth study of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, a book central to his philosophy and to ongoing developments in 21st century phenomenology, and the way it leads into his later work The Visible and the Invisible. The course will especially focus on themes of movement, expression, life, and reflection, and will draw on other writings of Merleau-Ponty to provide additional context.

PHIL 612/2 Ancient Philosophy (A. Falcon): The Aristotelian corpus includes two ethical collections, the Nicomachean Ethics (NE) and the Eudemian Ethics (EE). They cover more or less the same ground. In other words, we have two ethical collections but only one ethical theory. We will engage in a close reading of selections from the Eudemian Ethics. Special attention will be given to the distinctive features of this version of Aristotle’s ethical theory. 

PHIL 621/2 Advanced Ethical Theory (S. Mason): An examination of themes in recent writings on virtue theory such as the acquisition of virtue, practical wisdom, the nature of moral understanding, the sources of virtue and the varieties and sources of akrasia as related to human flourishing.

PHIL 633A/2 Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values and Biotechnology (M. Barker): We examine ways in which science and values intersect, focusing especially on biotechnologies of genetic engineering in plants, non-human animals, and humans. Topics may include scientific objectivity, moral status, humanitarian and environmental aspects of genetically engineered crops, animal welfare, genetic testing, eugenics, disability, and enhancement.

PHIL 658/A Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy (M. Fritsch): In this course, we will study various accounts regarding the relation between life and normativity. At the intersection of contemporary European and environmental philosophy, we will ask how value comes into the world. To pursue this issue, we will take up texts by authors such as Heidegger, Jonas, Levinas, Irigaray, Derrida, and others.

PHIL 607/2 Kant (E. Angelova):  A study of Kant’s Critique of Judgment, with close attention to reflective judgment, the beautiful and the sublime. Problems of selfhood, the imagination, and the grounding of experience will be examined in the context of the Critique of Pure Reason. We will also study implications for Continental philosophy, e.g., how notions such as limit, affect, and discord between the faculties are transformed (esp. by Heidegger, Deleuze, and Lyotard), and how contemporary approaches radicalize the Kantian subject of critique and the relation between nature and freedom.

PHIL 609 Selected Topics in the History of Philosophy (J. Smith): TBA

PHIL 626/4 Political Philosophy (P. Gilabert): This seminar will be devoted to a sustained examination of recent contributions to the philosophy of human rights. We will address debates on the content, justification, and feasible implementation of human rights. We will read papers from two recent collections published by Oxford University Press: The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Human Rights: Moral or Political?

PHIL 634/4 Selected Topics in Epistemology: Naturalized and Experimental Epistemology (M. Clarke): This course surveys recent methodological attacks on standard analytic epistemology together with various attempts to chart a new course by means of naturalized and experimental epistemology. Authors canvassed include: Quine, Kornblith, Stich, Sosa, Nagel, Alexander and Weinberg, Bishop and Trout, Goldman, and others.

PHIL 646/4 Philosophy of Language (G. Lavers): This course will look at issues in the philosophy of language in the early analytic period. In particular, we will look at views on meaning and truth by Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Tarski, Carnap, and Quine.

PHIL 607/2 Kant (D. Landes):  Calendar Description: This course studies Kant and his work in its historical context, such as the Critique of Pure Reason or other texts of Kant.

PHIL 612/2 Ancient Philosophy (A. Falcon): A close reading of Aristotle's De anima. Special attention will be given to the place of the De anima in Aristotle's explanatory project. 

PHIL 621/2 Advanced Ethical Theory (S. Mason): In this course we examine key themes associated with recent developments in Virtue Ethics, such as moral motivation, practical reason and the acquisition of  practical wisdom, the concept of virtue, the constitutive aspect of virtue  contrasted with situationist psychology, the kinds and degrees of moral  understanding, the cultivation of moral sensitivity, the varieties and sources  of akrasia, the ideal of human  ‘flourishing’, and the social embeddedness of the virtuous self.

PHIL 626/2 Political Philosophy (P. Gilabert): This seminar explores recent developments in philosophical inquiry about social justice. We’ll begin with Rawls's classic A Theory of Justice, then consider G.A. Cohen’s critique and alternatives to Rawls in Rescuing Justice and Equality, and conclude by exploring the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen in The Idea of Justice and Martha Nussbaum Frontiers of Justice. Papers by other philosophers criticizing, revising, and extending these three approaches will also be discussed.

PHIL 633A/2 Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values and Biotechnology (M. Barker): We examine ways in which science and values intersect, focusing especially on biotechnologies of genetic engineering in plants, non-human animals, and humans. Topics may include scientific objectivity, moral status, humanitarian and environmental aspects of genetically engineered crops, animal welfare, genetic testing, eugenics, disability, and enhancement.

PHIL 649/2 Phenomenology (D. Morris): A close reading of selections from key writings of Husserl and a study of substantive portions of Heidegger’s Being and Time. The course is geared to introducing key texts, and central methods and concepts of phenomenology, with special attention to implications for contemporary discussions of consciousness as inseparable from world, body, habits, and passivity.

PHIL 615:/4 19th-Century Philosophy (M. Sudan): While the instructor is TBA, this will be a course focused on Hegel. Calendar Description: This course studies the work of 19th-century philosophers in their historical context, such as Goethe, Schelling, Herder, and Hegel.

PHIL 633B/4: Selected Topics in Value Theory (S. McCullagh): While the instructor is TBA, this will be a course in a topic in feminist philosophy. Calendar Description: Subject matter varies from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course provided that the course content has changed. Changes in content are indicated by the letter following the course number, e.g. PHIL 633A, PHIL 633B, etc.

PHIL 643/4 Selected Topics in Metaphysics:  Cognitive Science: Modularity, Experimental Philosophy, and Intuition (M. Clarke): This course explores recent work in cognitive science with the aim of understanding the role of intuition in philosophy. For instance, competing accounts of the architecture of the mind, i.e., semi-modular, massively-modular, dual-process, have distinct implications concerning the nature of concepts, and the role that intuition plays in concept formation and the justification of philosophical theories. Authors studied include Evans, Frankish, Fodor, Samuels, Stanovich, Stich, Weinberg, Nagel, Kornblith, and Sosa.

PHIL 644/4 Philosophy of Science (M. Barker): Focusing on philosophy of life sciences we isolate metaphysical questions (e.g., what is necessary for being an organism of a particular species?), epistemological questions (e.g., what counts as evidence for scientific theories relating organisms and species?), and value-related questions (e.g., which organisms should we protect and how?), so that we can clarify their complex intersections and better address them.

PHIL 646/4 Philosophy of Language (TBA): Calendar Description: Students analyse some aspects of the philosophy of language, such as the nature of meaning, the relation between language and thought, or the relation between language and the world.

PHIL 658/4 Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Environmental Philosophy (M. Fritsch): This course will consider the contributions contemporary European philosophers have made to environmental philosophy. We will first study works by Heidegger, Deleuze, and Derrida, and then look at more recent attempts to address environmental concerns on this basis.

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