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Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

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  • Course description
    PH101: Greek Philosophy

    An examination of the origins of Western philosophy as it arose in ancient Greece. The course begins with the Pre-Socratic philosophers, centers on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and closes with the important Hellenistic traditions of Stoicism, Skepticism, Epicureanism, Cynicism, and Neoplatonism. 1 unit  —  Riker.

    PH113: Brothers Karamazov

    (Not offered 2009-10.) .5 unit.

    PH116: Greek Language and Philosophy

    Introduction to ancient Greek language and philosophy in the context of Greek culture. Pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle in relation to Homer, dramatists, emergence of a democratic Athens, and etymological and grammatical structures of the Greek language. Investigation of Greek concepts and language extends into modern philosophy, revealing how they both influence and are transformed by such thinkers such as Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. (with the second block of Classics 101, meets the college language requirement). (Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.) (Not offered 2009-10.) 2 units.

    PH122: Philosophical Argument and Writing (with Emp on Writing)

    Beginning with an introduction to critical thinking and conceptual argument, this course will cover basic principles of logic as they pertain to philosophical writing. The latter half of the course will be devoted to an intensive workshop on the grammatical and stylistic techniques that make for clarity and coherence in spoken and written argument. (A writing-intensive course, limited to 12 students.) 1 unit  —  Department.

    PH140: Ethics

    An exploration of the questions of what constitutes a good human life, what it means to be a moral human being, and whether reasoning about ethical and moral values can be objective. Texts may include works by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Nietzsche, among others. 1 unit  —  Riker.

    PH141: Philosophy & Literature

    Through a study of the literary style of certain philosophical texts and the philosophical significance of selected literary works of art, this course will study the comparative ability of different modes of writing to address traditional philosophical questions and to illuminate particular features of human experience. (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH156: Citizens of the World

    Prerequisite: FYE Course. 1st Years Only. (Not offered 2009-10.) 2 units.

    PH200: History of Modern Philosophy

    (Not offered 2009-10.) 2 units.

    PH201: History of Modern Philosophy

    A study of the evolution of philosophical "modernity" and of the "modern" concept of the subject or self. While the course focuses on major ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical developments from the beginning of the 17th century to the end of the 19th century, it begins by situating these issues in the history of medieval philosophy. Philosophers covered may include Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Mill, and Nietzsche, among others. (Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.) 2 units  —  Genova, Hernandez-Lemus, Lee.

    PH203: Topics in Philosophy

    Experimental and occasional courses taught by either visiting professors or permanent staff. Courses offered under this rubric will vary from year to year.
    Block 8:     Topics in Philosophy: Phenomenology and Literature *Writing Intensive*. The conscious experience of human beings can be examined and analyzed through a variety of different modes of writing: most notably, narrative, poetry, and nonfiction. What is the philosophical significance of literary texts that approach and explore the same phenomena that are studied more systematically by phenomenologists? Could it be that phenomenology -- or more broadly, philosophy itself --, is best understood as a literary enterprise? As we seek to answer these and other related questions, as will focus on readings from Ricoeur, Heidegger, Proust, and Kundera, among others. Prerequisite: (Writing Intensive). (Also listed as Comparative Literature 220.) 1 unit  —  Furtak.

    PH218: Introduction to Ethics

    (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH221: Philosophies of India

    (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH223: 20th Century Marxism and Critical Theory

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or Philosophy 100. (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH227: Epistemology

    In this course we will engage in a critical examination of problems concerning knowledge and belief: how beliefs are acquired and justified, the possible limits to knowledge, and the interplay between reason and experience. Readings will be from historical and contemporary sources. 1 unit  —  Department.

    PH228: Philosophy of Science

    This course investigates basic concepts, assumptions, structures, and methods of science, and confronts philosophical ideas about the significance, justification, and production of science. In this course we will examine some historical and contemporary case studies of scientific controversy to illustrate competing views about the nature of science. 1 unit  —  Hourdequin.

    PH229: Philosophy of Language

    A study of the nature, origins, and significance of language. Discussion of various theories from such thinkers as Cassirer, Piaget, Quine, Wittgenstein, Whorf, Heidegger, Austin, Chomsky and Merleau-Ponty. regarding language's relation to thought, reality, culture, formal systems and non-verbal systems of communication. 1 unit  —  Bayer.

    PH240: Philosophies of Africa

    Major philosophical trends in African thought, focusing on traditional folk thinking and contemporary elaborations of tradition, the ethnophilosophy debate, post-colonial theory (Nkrumah and Fanon), and Cheikh Anta Diop's claim that African culture unity is grounded in the philosophical ideas of ancient Egypt. (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH241: History of Social and Political Philosophy

    Surveys the history of Western social and political philosophy. Why, against the backdrop of a tradition of thought descended from Plato, do some characterize the contemporary era as one of moral, intellectual, and political disarray, while others portray contemporary democratic life as rich morally, intellectually, and politically? Explores what is reasonable and unreasonable in such interpretations, and why one may or may not support either perspective. (Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.) 2 units  —  McEnnerney.

    PH246: Environmental Ethics

    An analysis of human attitudes toward the rest of the natural world and of the ways in which our beliefs and values influence our relation to the environment. The course will focus on the challenge of finding conceptual resources adequate to the creation of a sustainable way of life and on the difficulty of transforming habits of mind which contribute to the current ecological crisis. (Also listed as Environmental Science 281.) 1 unit  —  Furtak, Hourdequin.

    PH247: Aesthetics

    This course deals with the creation and appreciation of works of the imagination, including such questions as: what is art?, how are we to evaluate works of art?, and how does art enrich our lives? 1 unit  —  Hernandez-Lemus.

    PH249: Philosophy of Education

    (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH260: Existential Philosophy

    A study of several thinkers in the existential tradition, which has its origin in the 19th century writings of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and includes such 20th century authors as Heidegger and Camus, among others. Issues to be covered include freedom, authenticity, meaning, the absurd, the predicament of the contingent individual, and the aims of philosophy itself. (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH261: Philosophy of Mind

    An examination of different ways of understanding the mind, beginning with classic arguments for dualism and materialism and moving on to contemporary views which seek to avoid either separating mind and body or reducing one to the other. Consideration of various functions of the embodied mind and of the difference between mental and physical concepts. 1 unit - Furtak (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH262: Discovering the Unconscious

    Major psychoanalytic perspectives of the late 19th and 20th centuries on the concept of the unconscious in theory, case studies, and fiction. Emphasis on unconscious processes as they relate to the formation of identity. Readings from such authors as Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Kohut, and Yalom. (Also listed as Comparative Literature 200 and Psychology 120.) 1 unit  —  Dobson.

    PH281: Indian Philosophy

    The development of Indian philosophy from its roots in the Vedic tradition of Hinduism. The focus of the course will be both on the ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical systems that grew out of the Hindu tradition and on the challenges to this tradition posed by Buddhism and by 20th century developments. (Meets the Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) (Also listed as Asian Studies 220) 1 unit - Lee (Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) (Also listed as Asian Studies 220.) 1 unit  —  Lee.

    PH282: Africana Philosophy

    An exploration of themes in African, Caribbean, and North American thought, this course looks closely at ways in which philosophers of the African diaspora have responded to colonialism, the process of decolonization, and the postcolonial situation. (Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) 1 unit  —  Lee.

    PH283: Latin-American Philosophy

    A survey of philosophical writings by Latin-American authors in the social and historical context of the region. Texts studied include Indigenous philosophies of the pre-Hispanic tradition, as well as those of the colonial and postcolonial periods. Particular attention will be devoted to issues that are central to this philosophical tradition, such as identity, consciousness through education, and philosophies of liberation. Our readings draw from Aztec or Maya sources, as well as from Leon-Portilla, Vasconcelos, Paz, Freire, Gutierrez, Dussel. (Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) (Also listed as Race and Ethnic Studies 282.) 1 unit  —  Hernandez-Lemus.

    PH284: Feminist Philosophies

    An exploration of the many "feminisms" which pattern the rich and expanding field of feminist theory. Focus will be on feminism's intersection with many of the important theoretical movements of the 20th century, e.g., American Pragmatism, French philosophies, Marxism, Postmodernism, with special emphasis on Postcolonialism, psychoanalysis, Black, Lesbian, and Gay Studies, etc. Possible theorists are: Butler, Kristeva, Irigaray, Lorde, Hooks, Wittig, de Lauretis, Belsey, Minh-ha. (Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH285: Philosophy & Race

    Race is a social construct that invites a number of philosophical questions, such as those of identity, inter-subjectivity, justice, rationality, and culturally different ways of knowing. The course will examine, among others, philosophical reflections on race by the following thinkers: Douglass, West, Fanon, Vasconcelos, Appiah, Bernsaconi, Outlaw, Levinas, Mendieta. (Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) 1 unit  —  Hernandez-Lemus.

    PH301: 20th Century Analytic Philosophy

    History of 20th Century Analytic Philosophy. A study of the Anglo-American tradition that involves careful attention to logic, language, and analysis of concepts. Philosophers covered include Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Carnap, Austin, Quine, and Davidson. Prerequisite: Philosophy 201. 1 unit  —  Bayer.

    PH302: History of 20th Century Continental Philosophy

    A study of the existential, phenomenological, and postmodern traditions that arise in the 20th century in Germany and France. Philosophers covered may include, among others, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Lyotard, Deleuze, and Derrida. Prerequisite: Philosophy 201. 1 unit  —  Lee.

    PH303: Advanced Topics in Philosophy

    In depth study of an important period, idea, text or philosopher. Courses offered under this rubric will vary from year to year. (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH314: Text Seminar

    A study of one or more major texts by a single important philosopher. Possible texts for study might include, among others: Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Metaphysics; Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy and The Passions of the Soul; Spinoza, Ethics; Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature; Kant, Critique of Pure Reason; Hegel, Philosophy of Right; Heidegger, Being and Time; Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations; Derrida, Margins of Philosophy. Prerequisite: Philosophy 201. (Not offered 2009-10.) 1 unit.

    PH321: Metaphysics

    An exploration of the traditional questions of metaphysics, such as those concerning the existence and nature of God, the nature of Being, realism and idealism, identity, causation, freedom and determinism, and the relation of mind and body. Readings from traditional and contemporary philosophers. Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy. 1 unit  —  Department.

    PH340: Ethics & Contemporary Life

    A probing into the question of what it means to live a good human life in a contemporary world dominated by capitalism, abstract individualism, and psychic and social fragmentation. Readings from contemporary philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, and social theory. 1 unit  —  Riker.

    PH360: Philosophy & Psychoanalysis

    An exploration of what the discovery of unconscious mental functioning means in relation to philosophical problems in ethics, philosophical psychology, social theory, and theory of meaning. The course is grounded in the work of Freud and may include such post-Freudians as Lacan, Cixous, Winnicott, Klein, and Kohut. Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy. 1 unit  —  Riker.

    PH361: Philosophy of Emotions

    This course will explore a range of attempts to explain the emotions and their place in human life. Fear, pride, hope, disappointment, love, and regret will be studied both for their own sake and as sources of insight into the nature of meaningful action. Attention will be paid to the phenomenology and moral psychology of emotions and to such questions as how they might be justified and what sort of knowledge they may be able to provide. Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy. 1 unit  —  Furtak.

    PH425: History-Philosophy Thesis

    An interdisciplinary, primary-source based thesis on a subject of interest to the student and supervised by two faculty supervisors, one in Philosophy and one in History. Independent study format with regular consulation between the student and faculty supervisors. Prerequisite: Consent of both faculty supervisors and registration in History 425 in the same academic year. Both courses must be completed at some point during blocks 1-6 or the senior year. 1 unit.

    PH452: Junior Seminar

    An examination of the work of a living philosopher, especially as this contemporary work rereads or relates to a figure from the history of philosophy. When possible, the philosopher in question will participate in the seminar. Prerequisite: Philosophy 101, Philosophy 201, and a declared major in philosophy. 1 unit  —  McEnnerney.

    PH453: Independent Readings

    Independent study for advanced students who wish to do work supplementary to that offered in the Catalog. 1 unit  —  Furtak.

    PH454: Independent Study

    Independent study for advanced students who wish to do work supplementary to that offered in the Catalog. 1 unit  —  Furtak.

    PH456: Senior Colloquium

    Year-long, extended format seminar centering on the work of the philosophy department's colloquium speakers and on the practice of philosophical discourse. In advance of colloquium lectures, students read relevant background papers and engage in seminar discussions. Students also attend all colloquia, interact with speakers during their visits, and write response papers following colloquium talks. Course emphasizes critical engagement with contemporary philosophical research. Prerequisite: Philosophy Majors with senior standing. Pass/Fail Only. 1 unit  —  Furtak, Hourdequin.

    PH475: Senior Essay

    An intensive individual exploration of how a particular philosopher inquires into a particular philosophical problem. Leads to the production of a senior essay. Must be taken prior to Senior Seminar (blocks 105). Arranged by the student and the department. Limited to senior philosophy majors. 1 unit  —  Genova, Hernandez-Lemus.

    PH476: Senior Seminar

    Revision and presentation of senior essays. Students complete final drafts of their essays, respond to others' essays, and develop oral presentations contextualizing their essays in relation to the history of Western philosophy and comparative/critical philosophical perspectives. Prerequisite: Philosophy 475. 1 unit  —  Lee, Riker.

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