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Fall 2014

 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9:30–11:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHIL 76800 [25288]
Linguistic Pragmatism
Prof. Devitt
Room

 

 

 

 

11:45–1:45

 

PHIL 78500 [25295]
Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Cahn
Room

 

 

PHIL 76000 [25283]
Science and Metaphysics from Descartes to Kant
Prof.Wilson
Room

 

 

PHIL 80200 [25300]
Proseminar
Profs. Neale & Rosenthal
Room

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PHIL 80300 [25912]
Prospectus & Dissertation Seminar
Prof. Prinz
Room

 

 

PHIL 76200 [25285]
Early Medieval Philosophy
Prof. Lackey
Room

 

2:00–4:00

 

PHIL 77600 [25290]
Justice, Memory, and Forgiveness
Prof. Blustein
Room

 

 

PHIL 76100 [25284]
Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment
Prof. Teufel
Room

 

 

PHIL 80000 [25297]
Advanced Seminars
Prof. Kripke
Room

 

 

PHIL 72000 [25282]
Logic
Prof. Warenski
Room

 

4:15–6:15



 

 

PHIL 76700 [25287]
American Pragmatism
Prof. Godfrey-Smith
Room

 

 

PHIL 77200 [25284]
Conditionals
Profs. Priest & Field

Held at NYU
*3:00-5:00*

 

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PHIL 77700 [25303]
Feminist Theory
Prof. Alcoff
Room

 

 

Colloquium

 

 

 

PHIL 77900 [25847]
Applied Philosophy
Prof. Baumrin
Room

 

6:30–8:30

 

PHIL 76600 [25286]
Naturalism in Contemporary Philosophy of Science
Prof. Cordero
Room

 

 

PHIL 77800 [25292]
Cosmopolitanism and Sovereignty
Prof. Dahbour
Room

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PHIL 76300 [25913]
Objects of Interpretation
Prof. Neale
Room

PHIL 77300 [25846]
Perception
Profs. Block & Mandelbaum

Held at NYU
*7:00-9:00*

 

 

 

 

 

Students may also take courses at other schools in the Interuniversity Doctoral Consortium. Choose a school from the list below to see the course schedule for the current semester (where available).
The Graduate Center's Current Student Handbook has information about and instructions for registering for classes at other consortium schools. 
 

FALL 2014 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Phil []
Applied Philosophy
Prof. Baumrin

4 credits
Thurs. 4:15-6:15
Room
Philosophy has had a stellar history as an incubator of intellectual disciplines. in the agoras and fora of antiquity rhetoric and logic were born, and over the centuries astronomy, physics, biology, and psychology, and very recently entirely new disciplines of study as philosophy of law, of medicine,of mathematics and game theory and recently experimental philosophy. The focus of this seminar is a collective enterprise aimed at developing whole new fields of enquiry or branches of existing domains using the resources of philosophy - e.g. logic, linguistic analysis, philosophy of science, Some examples of areas ripe for examination and amplification are philanthropy, banking, taxation, transplant procurement, genetic enhancement. Each participant will be encouraged to experiment with the development of a new philosophic departure and collaborate with others in the development of theirs.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group]

Phil []
Justice, Memory, and Forgiveness
Prof. Blustein

4 credits
Mon. 2:00-4:00
Room
This course addresses key issues in the theory and practice of what is known as transitional justice, a conception of justice associated with periods of upheaval and dramatic change in the political and social conditions of societies, from dictatorship to democracy and from war to peace. Though readings will be drawn from diverse fields, including political science, social anthropology, and international law, this is a course in moral and political philosophy, so emphasis will be placed on the conceptual and ethical issues raised by different options for responding to past atrocities and human rights violations. Doing justice to the past and its victims comprises punitive, compensatory, and restorative approaches and we will examine the meaning of each and the distinctive contributions they make to the advancement of a just political transition. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between restorative justice and forgiveness, the approach most closely associated with South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The various objectives of transitional justice and the possible tensions between them will be considered: making perpetrators accountable; deterring future human rights violations; providing victims with a means of redress and restoring their dignity; establishing a historical record for future generations; reconciling a traumatized population; repairing damaged political relationships; and creating institutions that foster peace and respect for the rule of law. We will analyze the variety of mechanisms, judicial as well as non-judicial, that states and the international community employ to address large-scale abuses of human rights under repressive, authoritarian regimes, including truth commissions and criminal trials, and especially memorials of one sort or another. The ethics of memorialization, in ordinary as well as transitional circumstances, is a topic that warrants much more philosophical attention than it has received. Specific case studies will be used to illustrate different approaches to justice in transitional societies, including Argentina in the aftermath of the dirty war (1976-1983); post-apartheid South Africa; Rwanda after the genocide; and Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the successes and failures of each will be assessed. (The list may change.)
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group]

Phil []
Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Cahn

4 credits
Mon. 11:45-1:45
Room
 

A critical examination of central texts in the philosophy of religion, including Plato's Euthyphro, Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and James's "The Will to Believe," as well as essays by such contemporary philosophers as Alston, Plantinga, and Rowe.

This course is appropriate for those seeking an introduction to philosophy of religion, those considering doing advanced work in the field, those intending to teach a unit on philosophy of religion as part of an introductory philosophy course, or those seeking to add philosophy of religion as an area of teaching competence.

The texts will be my paperback anthology Ten Essential Texts in the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford University Press)) as well as my short paperback book God, Reason, and Religion (Wadsworth/Thomson).
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
Naturalism in Contemporary Philosophy of Science
Prof. Cordero

4 credits
Mon. 6:30-8:30
Room
Naturalist projects grant exceptional cognitive status to the empirical sciences. In this course we’ll focus on major naturalist moves in recent philosophy of science and the debates around them. About one third of the sessions will be on background seminal papers. The other two-thirds will be devoted to naturalism in action in ontology, metaphysics, epistemology, and empirical philosophy.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
Cosmopolitanism and Sovereignty
Prof. Dahbour

4 credits
Tues. 6:30-8:30
Room
 
In the last generation, the conceptualization of global justice has been the paramount concern of many, if not most, political philosophers. This course explores the problem of global justice in terms of what has become the most contentious issue between its adherents and critics. This issue is about what relation obtains between the cosmopolitan ideals underlying the goal of global justice and the norm of sovereignty that legitimates and/or constrains global political actors (e.g., states, corporations, international institutions).
    We will ask the following questions about this relation. Is global justice—understood as the establishment of an equitable global distribution of income and resources, based on interpersonal comparisons—realizable and/or desirable? Does its realization entail the “end of sovereignty” or the creation of a new type of sovereignty regime? And, is the possible achievement of global (distributive) justice a sufficient justification for the violation of the self-determination rights of peoples that sovereignty claims are designed to protect? Finally, if the project of global justice fails, what are some alternative characterizations of global ethics, and how might they affect the relation between cosmopolitan values and sovereignty regimes?
    The course will be divided into 4 sections. First, we engage in a preliminary clarification of the concepts of cosmopolitanism and sovereignty. The varieties of cosmopolitanism will be examined, as well as their relation both to other forms of internationalism, and to recent theorizations of globalization. Definitions of sovereignty, including its relation to the value of political self-determination, will be compared. Criticisms of both—e.g., the alleged complicity of cosmopolitanism with illegitimate military interventions, and the use of the sovereignty doctrine to legitimate authoritarian regimes—will be discussed. Possible readings: J. H. Hinsley, Robert Jackson, Christopher Morris, John Gray, Daniel Philpott.
    Second, the debate about global justice will be examined, both through some classic, and some recent, statements. We will explore how the cosmopolitanism-sovereignty problem manifests itself in answering the following questions. How are global interpersonal comparisons to be made? Who can make legitimate claims on which resources? What institutional mechanisms are necessary to equalize incomes globally, and how can their authority be legitimated? Readings: Charles Beitz, Eric Mack, David Miller, Thomas Nagel, Richard Miller, Gillian Brock.
    Third, alternative conceptions of global ethics that downplay or reject the idea of global distributive justice will be examined. In particular, notions of universal human rights, international legal reform, and the ethics of sustainable development will be discussed. We will consider such questions as the following. Can a robust notion of human rights be justified that will provide a universal standard of political legitimacy? Are there legal reforms that could help to ameliorate the inequalities of power and wealth between states? And is there a model of development that can deal with both local and global barriers to sustainability? Readings: Hannah Arendt, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, Allen Buchanan, Douglas Husak, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Pogge.
    Finally, if there is time, we will consider whether a reconstruction of the sovereignty doctrine itself can provide a means for aiding economic development and strengthening political self-determination in struggles against hegemonic states, banks, and other powerful global institutions. We will consider some models, ranging from the European Union to anti-E.U. activism, food sovereignty struggles, and indigenous rights movements. Readings: Susan George, John Agnew, Jean Cohen, John McCormick, Seyla Benhabib.
    The course is designed both to introduce students with limited background in political philosophy to some of the most exciting recent debates in global ethics, and to enable advanced students with knowledge of the field to identify promising directions for future research.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]
Phil []
Linguistic Pragmatism
Prof. Devitt

4 credits
Weds. 9:30-11:30
Room

Perhaps the most exciting development in recent philosophy ­­of language has been the debate surrounding a movement that is often called “linguistic pragmatism.” Paul Grice is the founding father of this movement. Its seminal work is probably Dan Sperber and DeidreWilson’s Relevance. Other important contributions to the debate have come from, inter alia, Kent Bach, Anne Bezuidenhout, Emma Borg, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore, Robyn Carston, Kepa Korta and John Perry, Stephen Levinson, Stephen Neale, John Perry, Fran├žois Recanati, Stephen Schiffer, Robert Stainton, Jason Stanley, and Charles Travis. My aim in this course is, first, to look critically at the methodology of the debate, second, to propose a better one, and third to apply this to the substantive issues. Against that background, we will, for most of the course, examine the theories of many of those engaged in this debate.
 
The folk distinguish what a person says in an utterance from what the person means, from the intended message of the utterance. Slips of the tongue and spoonerisms provide simple examples. More interesting ones have been at the center of Griceanism: thus, a philosopher writes a reference in which he says that a student has wonderful handwriting and is always punctual but what the philosopher means is that the student is no good at philosophy.
 
Almost everyone thinks that the folk are onto something with this distinction. Grice’s distinction between what is said and what is implicated is based on it. Sperber and Wilson’s distinction between explicature and implicature is related. And there are other similar distinctions. These distinctions raise many questions. What is the principled basis for putting something on one side rather than the other? It is taken for granted that what is said is constituted not only by linguistic conventions but also by disambiguation and reference determination. But does it involve more, as the pragmatists think? Are they right in thinking that “truth-conditional semantics” should be replaced by “truth-conditional pragmatics”? Is it appropriate to rely on intuitions in judging this? If not, what? What hangs on this difference between “pragmatics” and “semantics”? Most important of all: Why is any distinction in question theoretically interesting? What role does it play in theoretical explanations of linguistic phenomena? The course will address these difficult questions.
 
The course is not an introduction to the philosophy of language. Anyone wishing to take it who is not a philosophy graduate student and who has not already taken a course in the philosophy of language should consult with me before enrolling.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
American Pragmatism
Prof. Godfrey-Smith

4 credits
Mon. 4:15-6:15
Room
 
 
 
A survey of philosophical work in the pragmatist tradition, focusing first on the classic work of Peirce, James, and Dewey, then on the partial transformation of the tradition by Quine and Rorty, and finally on contemporary work (not only by Americans) which continues or comments on pragmatist themes. We'll mostly discuss topics in epistemology, metaphysics, and metaphilosophy, as opposed to moral and political philosophy. The course will also spend some time looking at general questions about philosophical progress.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
TBA
Prof. Kripke

4 credits
Weds. 2:00-4:00
Room
 
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
Early Medieval Philosophy
Prof. Lackey

4 credits
Thurs. 11:45-1:45
Room
 
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group]

Phil []
Proseminar
Profs. Neale
& Rosenthal
4 credits
Weds. 11:45-1:45
Room
 

 

The Proseminar is restricted to and required of students entering the Ph.D. program. Its purpose is to get students accustomed to graduate-level writing, seminar discussion, and presentation skills.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]


Phil []
Objects of Interpretation
Profs. Neale

4 credits
Tues. 6:30-8:30
Room
 

 

 

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group A]


Phil []
Conditionals
Profs. Priest
& Field (NYU)
4 credits
Tues. 3:00-5:00
Room NYU
 
In this course, we will be considering various accounts of how conditional constructions (‘if ... then ...’) are to be understood, and to what extent a single account can accommodate all uses of ‘if ... then ...’ (and if not, how many distinct conditionals are needed).  Among the topics to be covered are: the distinction between indicative and subjunctive conditionals; conditionals as operators vs. as restrictors; probabilistic treatments of conditionals; various logics of conditionals; and, perhaps, special problems for conditionals in non-classical logics of truth and vagueness.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
Prospectus & Dissertation Seminar
Prof. Prinz

4 credits
Weds. 11:45-1:45
Room
Level Three students who are working on their dissertations and prospectuses will be able to register for this course as auditors.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment
Prof. Teufel

4 credits
Tues. 2:00-4:00
Room
Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment is best known for its seminal contributions to modern aesthetics as well as to the philosophy of biology. Less well known or understood (despite the book’s title!) is the fact that Kant’s aesthetics and teleology are grounded in the third Critique’s deep and incisive reflection on the nature of judgment. Without an adequate understanding of Kant’s theory of judgment, Kant’s aesthetics and teleology must ultimately remain (and have indeed remained) mysterious. Equipped with such an understanding, it is possible to articulate with precision what Kant’s aesthetic and teleological theories are, how they relate to each other and how they fit into Kant’s critical philosophy at large. In this course, we will study the third Critique in its entirety, paying close systematic attention to the theory of judgment Kant develops in it.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]

Phil []
Logic
Prof. Warenski

4 credits
Thurs. 2:00-4:00
Room
This course is a philosophical introduction to classical symbolic logic. No prior background in logic is assumed. We will study sentence logic and first-order predicate logic with identity. Topics to be covered include semantics, syntax, and proof procedures. We will also cover the
metalogical concepts of soundness and completeness. Along the way, we will take a look at some central problems in the philosophy of logic, motivations for non-classical logics, and the relevance of logic to other areas of philosophy. The goal is to achieve both a practical mastery and philosophical understanding of elementary logic.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of ]

Phil []
Science and Metaphysics from Descartes to Kant
Prof. Wilson

4 credits
Tues. 11:45-1:45
Room
This is a course in the major figures of early modern/Enlightenment philosophy up to and including Kant. Topics to be covered include the mechanical philosophy and the problem of force; the laws of nature; sensory qualities; the animal machine and the status of the soul; the nature of matter, teleology, the problems of generation and adaptation, the existence of species, and the relationship between God and Nature. Readings are drawn from primary and secondary sources.  Independent research is required from all students. 
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group ]