Philosophy

Professors: Jennifer Churchb, Jesse Kalin, Michael H. McCarthy, Mitchell Millera, Michael E. Murray; Associate Professors: Uma Narayan, Douglas Winblad (Chair); Assistant Professors: Giovanna Borradori, Herman Cappelena, Bryan Van Nordenab.

Requirements for Concentration: 12 units including Philosophy 101, 102, 125, two of the following four: 220, 222, 224, 226, either 234 or 238, 300-301, and three differently numbered 300-level seminars.

Senior-Year Requirement: Philosophy 300-301

Recommendations: Individual programs should be designed, in consultation with a faculty adviser, to give the student a representative acquaintance with major traditions in philosophy, competence in the skills of philosophic investigation and argument, and opportunities for exploration in areas of special interest. Students considering a concentration in philosophy are advised to take Philosophy 101 and 102 early in their careers. German, French, and Greek are languages of particular importance in Western philosophy; Chinese will be of special interest to those taking Philosophy 110, 210, or 350.

Advisers: The department.

Correlate Sequences in Philosophy: The philosophy department offers five different correlate sequences. In each sequence a total of 6 units is required. The required 300-level seminar may be taken twice if the topics differ; students may also petition to count an appropriate Philosophy 280 as equivalent to a 300-level seminar.

1) Correlate Sequence in Analytic Philosophy: Philosophy 125 and either 105 or 102; 2 units of Philosophy 220, 222, 224, or 226; two appropriate 300-level seminars, including Philosophy 310. Advisers: Ms. Church, Mr. Cappelen, Mr. Winblad.

2) Correlate Sequence in Comparative Philosophy: Philosophy 110 and one of 101 or 102; Philosophy 210 and 234; two appropriate 300-level seminars, including Philosophy 350. Adviser: Mr. Van Norden.

3) Correlate Sequence in Continental Philosophy: Philosophy 101 or 102; 205, 215, and one of Philosophy 240 or 260; two appropriate 300-level seminars, including Philosophy 340. Advisers: Ms. Borradori, Mr. Murray.

4) Correlate Sequence in Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy: 1 unit at the introductory level, either Philosophy 106 or 101 or 110; 3 units at the intermediate level, including Philosophy 234 and one of 238 or 250; two appropriate 300-level seminars, including Philosophy 330. Advisers: Mr. Kalin, Mr. McCarthy, Ms. Narayan.

5) Correlate Sequence in the History of Western Philosophy: Philosophy 101 and 102; Philosophy 205 and 215; two appropriate 300-level seminars, including Philosophy 320. Advisers: Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Miller.

Correlate sequences may also be designed for certain other subfields in philosophyfor instance: aesthetics, philosophy and gender, philosophy of science, classical philosophy.


I. Introductory

No prerequisites; open to all classes. Any of these courses is suitable as a first course in philosophy.

101a,b. History of Western Philosophy I (1)

Philosophy from its origins in Greece to the Middle Ages. Ms. Borradori, Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Miller, Mr. Murray.

102b. History of Western Philosophy II (1)

Modern philosophy from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance through Kant. Ms. Borradori, Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Murray.

105a, b. Problems of Philosophy (1)

An examination of various philosophical problems, such as the nature of reality, the limits of human knowledge, the relation between mind and body, and the basis of moral values. Mr. Church, Mr. Kalin, Mr. Winblad.

106a, b. Philosophy and Contemporary Issues (1)

Philosophic investigation of a range of positions on current issues such as abortion, pornography, affirmative action, gay rights, the moral use of force, animal rights, technology, civil disobedience, and freedom of speech. Ms. Narayan.

110a. Early Chinese Philosophy (1)

An introduction to Chinese philosophy in the period between (roughly) 500 and 221 b.c., covering Confucians, Taoists and others. Among the topics discussed by these philosophers are human nature, methods of ethical education and self-cultivation, virtues and vices, and the role of human conventions and institutions in human life. Instructor to be announced.

125b. Logic (1)

Logic is the study of valid inferences, i.e., inferences where the conclusion follows from the premises. The class provides an introduction to the two most important systems of logic. We also examine the foundations of logic and some of the philosophical applications of logic. Mr. Cappelen.


II. Intermediate

Prerequisite for all 200-level courses unless otherwise specified: 1 unit of philosophy or permission of instructor.

205b. Nineteenth Century Philosophy (1)

Philosophic movements, such as post-Kantian idealism, utilitarianism, and positivism; the philosophy of such figures as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche. Mr. Miller.

210a. Neo-Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism (1)

Introduction to Neo-Confucianism, one of the most influential intellectual movements in China and all of East Asia. Also, some discussion of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. No familiarity with Chinese history, Chinese philosophy, or Chinese language is assumed. Instructor to be announced.

215a. Phenomenology and Existential Thought (1)

The major themes in existential and phenomenological thought as developed by such figures as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas. Ms. Borradori.

220a. Metaphysics and Epistemology (1)

A study of fundamental questions pertaining to the nature of reality and our knowledge of it, with special attention to realism, relativism, and skepticism. Mr. Winblad.

222b. Philosophy of Language (1)

An examination of truth, meaning, reference, intentions, conventions, speech acts, metaphors, and the relation between language and thought. Mr. Cappelen.

224a. Philosophy of Mind (1)

A study of such topics as the relation of mind to body, the nature of self-knowledge, the analysis of consciousness, and the social constitution of the mental. Ms. Church.

226b. Philosophy of Science (1)

A study of the principles of scientific reasoning. Topics include explanation, justification, scientific rationality, realism versus instrumentalism, and laws. Mr. Winblad.

234a. Ethics (1)

Philosophical accounts of the meaning and purpose of human life, covering thinkers from Plato to MacIntyre; readings include works of literature as well as philosophy; topics include the objectivity of moral judgments, our obligations to other persons, the complementarity of the right and the good. Mr. McCarthy.

238b. Social and Political Philosophy (1)

An examination of fundamental concepts and issues in social, political, and legal philosophy. Special emphasis on rights: various philosophical justifications of natural rights, or human rights, and different theories about the social and political usefulness and limitations of rights discourse. Mr. McCarthy.

240a. Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics (1)

Classical and modern theories of the nature of art, the experience of art, the creative process, and critical argument. Mr. Murray.

250b. Feminist Theory (1)

Examination of the theoretical sources and commitments of different feminist perspectives (including liberal, socialist, radical, psychoanalytic, and postmodern) and their bearing on such topics as the body, mothering, sexuality, racism, relations among First- and Third-World women. Ms. Narayan.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of philosophy or Women's Studies 130.

260b. Philosophy and the Arts: Architecture (1)

An examination of twentieth century architecture in light of contemporary philosophy and current debates in architectural theory. Readings from Hegel, Nietzsche, Bergson, Heidegger, Derrida and works by Tschumi, Eisenman, Koolhaas, and Gehry. Ms. Borradori.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

The department.

296a or b. Translation of Philosophical Texts (1/2 or 1)

Translation of a chosen philosophical text under the supervision of a member of the department. The department.

Prerequisite: two years or equivalent in the language.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

The department.


III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all 300-level courses unless otherwise specified: 1 unit of philosophy at the 200-level or permission of the instructor.

300a-301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

The development of an extended philosophical essay in consultation with a faculty adviser.

302. Senior Thesis (1)

By special permission only.

310a. Seminar in Analytic Philosophy: Thinking and Feeling (1)

An investigation of the differences, but also the close connections, between thinking and feeling. Ms. Church.

310b. Seminar in Analytic Philosophy (1)

(Same as Philosophy 340b)

320b. Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (1)

330a. Seminar in Ethics and Theory of Value: (1)
Theories of Human Nature

An exploration of philosophical anthropology from the ancient Greeks to postmodern theorists of authenticity. The close connection between human nature and the human good will be emphasized. Readings include literary, scientific, philosophical and biblical texts. Mr. McCarthy.

330b. Seminar in Ethics and Theory of Value: History, Historicism 
and the Philosophy of History (1)

Is there progress, purposiveness or pattern in history? We will critically examine philosophical theories of history and challenges to historicism. Texts by Hegel, Marx, Spencer, Collingwood, Popper and others. Ms. Narayan.

340a. Seminar in Continental Philosophy: Virtual Constructions (1)

The seminar explores the philosophical and architectural meaning of the notion of virtuality. We shall challenge the current definition of virtuality as a set of technologically generated events and look at it as an intrinsic component of perception, which digital technology renders more easily reproducible. We examine texts from Nietzsche, Bergson, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida and Deleuze and discuss architectural works by Piranesi, Guarini and Boullee. Ms. Borradori.

340b. Seminar in Analytic and Continental Philosophy (1)

Seminar on issues that divide and unite analytic and continental philosophers. We focus on Frege and Wittgenstein, Husserl, and Heidegger. Mr. Cappelen, Mr. Murray.

350b. Seminar in Chinese Philosophy: Virtue Ethics and Confucianism (1)

Confucianism has attracted attention recently as a form of virtue ethics similar to that of Aristotle. We examine virtue in Confucianism, focusing on Mencius, and reading Aristotle by way of comparison. Contemporary approaches to virtue ethics are also examined. Mr. Perkins.

380a. Nietzsche and His Umbrella: (1)

(Same as College Course 380) This seminar examines the impact of Nietzsche's work on contemporary thought. Debates over postmodernism often pivot around the place of Nietzsche (this is especially true of philosophy, literary theory, and cultural studies). This course examines the most important interpretations and appropriations of Nietzsche's work by thinkers such as Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, de Man, and Kofman. Among these key texts are The Birth of Tragedy, "Truth and Lie in the Extra Moral Sense," "The Use and Disadvantages of History," the early essays on rhetoric, The Genealogy of Morals, selections from The Will Power, and Ecce Homo. We will explore the conflicts and complementaries among these different interpretations and assess their importance. Mr.Chang, Mr. Murray.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work. (1/2 or 1)

The department.