*asterisks indicate courses with Honors sections
Introduction to Philosophy*
Is there free will? How can I tell right from wrong? What is the relationship of my mind to my body? Does all knowledge come from experience? These are just a few of the questions that you will address in Introduction to Philosophy. In addition, this course offers an overview of the development of philosophical ideas from antiquity to the present.
PHIL 2020 Logic and Critical Thinking* Multiple Instructors
How can I construct good arguments and how can I evaluate the arguments of others? What are the principles of thinking and communicating clearly? This course addresses these questions and helps you develop your ability to communicate your ideas clearly. You will learn to distinguish between valid and invalid arguments and to analyze arguments and the logical structure of English sentences. Moreover, Logic and Critical Thinking will help you develop your critical and analytical skills—and do better in almost any type of academic test!
PHIL 2030 Introduction to Ethics* Multiple Instructors
How can I know what the right thing to do is? Where do my ethical beliefs come from? Are moral concepts eternal or socially constructed? What are the ethical theories that professionals such as doctors, judges, and policy makers use to make difficult decisions? This course will provide you with the answers as well as the background necessary to take more advanced ethics courses.
PHIL 2500 Symbolic Logic MWF 12:20–1:10 (TBA)
What are the methods and principles used to distinguish correct from incorrect deductive arguments? This course is guaranteed to sharpen your critical and analytical skills. It is also an excellent preparation for the GRE and the LSAT.
PHIL 3000 Classics of Ancient Western Philosophy Multiple Sections
Ancient philosophy is the foundation of our way of thinking. In this course you will learn about the Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and the philosophers of the Hellenistic and Roman period and you will be able to evaluate their contributions to Western philosophy and science.
PHIL 3020 19th Century Western Philosophy MWF 12:20–1:10 (Stephens)
This course focuses on three thinkers whose ideas, when viewed in historical context, both reflect and illuminate some of the era’s key concerns. The 19th century saw conceptions of human identity, progress, and truth transformed in ethics, politics, and epistemology, partly through the developments of evolutionary theory, modern psychology, and institutional science. Accordingly, we will be examining the works of J.S. Mill, Nietzsche, and James, drawing out the background of their philosophical inquiries, influences, and methods.
PHIL 3030 Existentialism MWF 10:10–11:00 (Koshkaryan)
What is the meaning of my existence? In this course, you will learn about how philosophers like Sartre, Beauvoir, and Jaspers and authors like Camus and Dostoyevsky address this question and how existentialism, a cultural phenomenon rather than a philosophical theory in the narrow sense, relates to contemporary issues.
PHIL 3040 Asian Philosophies MWF 11:15–12:05 (Sikri)
What do the early Hindu scriptures tell us about the nature of the Self? How does the Buddha respond with his doctrines of ‘emptiness’ and the ‘middle way’? What is the philosophy of Zen? What is dao 道? What are the disagreements between the Confucians and the Daoists? If you are curious about the rich philosophical heritage of south and east Asia, take this course!
PHIL 3500 Jewish Philosophy MWF 10:10–11:00 (Halper)
Kabbalah is often called “Jewish mysticism,” but it is better understood as a philosophical movement. It aims to understand the meaning of physical and human existence, and also to understand how human moral action can have an impact on the physical world. This course is a strictly academic treatment of a very interesting subject. The class will focus on two central works. First, we will read The Book of Creation (Sefer Yitzirah) in its entirety. Then, we will study the first volume of the Zohar (The Book of Splendor). We will see that Kabbalah provides a unique way of understanding Judaism and religion in general.
PHIL 3550 Cognitive Science Multiple Instructors
How does the mind work? What do we mean by ‘intelligence’? This course explains how these and related problems are addressed in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, biology, anthropology, comparative science, and education. A truly interdisciplinary course!
PHIL 3810 Philosophy and Film TR 11:00–12:15 (Cuomo)
This course explores the multiple ways that films can do philosophy and illustrate, or more generally give expression to, philosophical theories. It includes discussion of the nature of cinema as a form of art and of what makes an individual work of art important, but it is mostly devoted to the examination of how ideas are expressed in a corresponding manner in movies and philosophical films.
PHIL 4000 Plato MWF 11:15–12:05 (Halper)
Plato is the author who gave philosophy its name and defined it in a way that has changed very little in twenty-five centuries. In this course you will learn about his ontological, epistemological, political, ethical, and aesthetic doctrines, as well as become acquainted with some of his work, including his famous dialogue The Republic.
PHIL 4090 Contemporary Continental Tradition MWF 5:45–6:35 (Bassler)
Both Freud and Husserl have powerful legacies in the development of contemporary continental philosophy, which we will investigate in this course through a consideration of issues orbiting around the work of Jacques Derrida. Core texts will include Jacques Derrida’s “Speech and Phenomena,” and other essays on Husserl’s theory of signs, and the debate between Derrida and Jacques Lacan surrounding the reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Purloined Letter,” along with other readings still to be determined.
PHIL 4230 Aesthetics MWF 10:10–11:00 (Meskin)
Is latte art really art? What about other food and drink? What values are associated with punk rock and street art? Can a film really be so bad it's good? Are there any genres which are intrinsically flawed? We'll address these and other questions in this course which focuses on the philosophical issues raised by the various arts. Other topics which may be discussed include unethical art, videogames, comics books, hip-hop, and the alleged intersubjective validity of taste. Readings include work by both historical and contemporary figures.
PHIL/LING 4300 Philosophy of Language MWF 3:35–4:25 (Bassler)
The course will focus on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and its reception in Stanley Cavell's work, The Claim of Reason. We will also be drawing on work by J. L. Austin. Issues to be considered will include the status of ordinary language, the nature of linguistic criteria and the relationship of both ordinary language and linguistic criteria to problems of judgement, skepticism and knowledge.
PHIL 4530 Philosophy of Mathematics MWF 4:40–5:30 (Bassler)
Mathematics has been presented axiomatically since Euclid’s geometry was first given in axiomatic form in classical Greece, and two of the most important foundational enterprises in early 20th century mathematics are Hilbert’s axiomatic foundations of geometry and the Zermelo-Frankel axiomatic presentation of set theory. But now, roughly 100 years later, these foundations seem largely irrelevant to the working mathematician. Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century mathematics has gone through a “category-theoretic revolution” in which more powerful descriptions of mathematical structures are achieved by characterizing the category of all objects with a given structure. In this course we will develop a category-theoretic approach to philosophy of mathematics and use it to reevaluate the status of axiomatic presentations of mathematics.