Show The Graduate Center Menu

 
 

Spring 2014

 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9:30–11:30

 

PHIL 76100 []
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
Prof. Nuzzo
Room 6495

 

 

 

 

 

PHIL 77300 []
The Philosophical Reality of Language
Prof. Devitt
Room 7314

 

 

PHIL 72000 []
Logic
Prof. Parikh
Room 7395

 

11:45–1:45

 

PHIL 77500 []
Academic Politics and Academic Ethics
Prof. Cahn
Room 5417

 

 

 

PHIL 76600 []
Moral Psychology
Prof. Prinz
Room 7395

 

 

PHIL 77700 []
The Metaethics of Virtue
Prof. Jacobs
Room 7314

 

2:00–4:00

 

PHIL 76400 []
Aristotle's De Anima
Prof. Vasiliou
Room 5417

----------------

PHIL 80300 []
Curry's Paradox
Prof. Priest
Room 7314

 

 

PHIL 77800 []
Classics in the Philosophy of Art
Prof. Carroll
Room 7395

----------------

PHIL 78700 []
New Feminist Epistemologies and Metaphysics
Prof. Alcoff
Room 4419

 

 

 

 

 

PHIL 78800 []
Theories of Consciousness
Prof. Rosenthal
Room 7102

 

4:15–6:15



 

 

PHIL 76300 []
Issues in Buddhist Philosophy
Prof. Priest
Room 5417

 

 

PHIL 77600 []
Philosophical Foundations of Democracy
Prof. Schwarzenbach
Room 7314

 

 

Colloquium

----------------

PHIL 76000 []
Public Health Policy, Medicine, and Social Justice
Prof. Rhodes
Room Mt. Sinai
*5:00-6:30*
*Runs 1/8-3/19*

 

 

PHIL 76800 []
Hume's Philosophy of Science, Then and Now
Prof. Pigliucci
Room 6495

----------------

PHIL 77900 []
Medical Ethics
Prof. Baumrin
Room Mt. Sinai
* 4:00 -6:00*
*Runs 4/3-6/19*

 

6:30–8:30

 

 

PHIL 76200 []
The Philosophy of Karl Marx
Prof. Gould
Room 7314

 

 

PHIL 76700 []
Naturalism in Contemporary Philosophy of Science
Prof. Cordero
Room 7314

 

 

 

 

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. 
 

SPRING 2014 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Phil 78700 []
New Feminist Epistemologies and Metaphysics
Prof. Alcoff

4 credits
Tues. 2:00-4:00
Room 4419
This course will cover recent feminist work on questions of knowledge, science, methodology, gender identity, sexed difference, and embodiment. Both the sciences and the social sciences continue to advance theories with evident ideological content (examples include some of the work in evolutionary psychology, debates over female orgasms and the 'female brain,' explanations of women's lower wages based on women's 'choices', etc.) There has been a vigorous debate over the last decade among feminist epistemologists on the questions of androcentrism in science, how to define 'bias' and 'objectivity,' the role of feminist values in science, the concepts of 'hermeneutic injustice and 'epistemologies of ignorance,' and other issues by Longino, Narayan, Code, Harding, Wylie, Solomon, Lloyd, Saul, Anderson, Medina, and Shotwell. There has also emerged a debate over the metaphysics of gender, or how to understand gender as a category of social identity. Most feminists are anti-naturalists on the topic of gender, but there are many variations between approaches that are historicist, structuralist, phenomenological, deconstructive, and existential. Recent work includes writings by Moi, Butler, Mikkola, Sveinsdottir, Warnke, Lennon, and Haslanger. Feminist metaphysics also overlaps with work in the new feminist materialisms that attempts to bridge political critique with new work in the biological and physical sciences, showing, for example, the effects of social practices on forms of embodiment and reproduction. This course will span work across analytic and continental divisions in philosophy, and also include work in feminist science studies.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group A or B]

Phil 77500 []
Academic Politics and Academic Ethics
Prof. Cahn

4 credits
Mon. 11:45-1:45
Room 5417
A critical examination of the structure of American universities and the moral problems found therein. Among the topics to be discussed are the distribution of power and authority in academic life, the research and teaching obligations of the faculty, and current debates over such controversial issues as tenure, academic freedom, and varieties of affirmative action. We shall read Academic Politics by William R. Brown (Wipf and Stock), my book Saints and Scamps: Ethics in Academia, 25th Anniversary Edition, and my recent collection Moral Problems in Higher Education (Temple University Press).
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group C]

Phil 77800 []
Classics in the Philosophy of Art
Prof. Carroll

4 credits
Tues. 2:00-4:00
Room 7395
Course description: This course involves close readings of the classics texts of western aesthetics including: Plato, Aristotle, Hutcheson, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Tolstoy and Bell. Students will be expected to make a class presentation and to write a term paper. The aim of the course is to deepen the student's knowledge of the history of the philosophy of art and to prepare them to teach introductory courses in aesthetics at the undergraduate and graduate levels of instruction. No prior knowledge of the field is required.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group C]

Phil 76700 []
Naturalism in Contemporary Philosophy of Science
Prof. Cordero

4 credits
Weds. 6:30-8:30
Room 7314
Little consensus exists about the precise character and scope of naturalism, yet in philosophy of science projects under that label do show discernible commonalities, particularly the granting of exceptional cognitive status to the empirical sciences. In this course we'll focus on major naturalist moves developed since the 1980s 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 B]

Phil 77300 []
The Psychological Reality of Language
Prof. Devitt

4 credits
Weds. 9:30-11:30
Room 7314
This is a course in the philosophy of linguistics with some obvious implications for the philosophy of language in general. The topic is the place of a language in the minds of its competent speakers. Noam Chomsky has initiated a wonderfully successful research program in linguistics. His position on the topic will be center stage.
Are the rules or principles of a language psychologically real in a competent speaker? Chomsky's view that linguistics is part of psychology yields a very fast argument that they are, for the grammar (theory) of the language is thought to be about the mind. In my book, Ignorance of Language (2006), I rejected this "psychological conception" of linguistics, arguing for a "linguistic conception" according to which the grammar is about a linguistic reality. My position on this has been subject to considerable criticism. The course will open by considering the issue.
Another thesis in the book that has proved very controversial concerns the nature and status of the intuitive judgments competent speakers make about their language. The received Chomskian view – what I call "the Voice of Competence" - is that these intuitions reflect information supplied by the language faculty and constitute the main evidence for grammars. It has been suggested that this view also underlies the ubiquitous use of intuitions in the philosophy of language. I argue against the view urging instead what has been called "the Modest Explanation": that these intuitions are ordinary empirical theory-laden "central processor" responses to phenomena differing from other such responses only in being immediate and fairly unreflective. The competent speaker is privileged in her ready access to linguistic data, not in the conclusions she draws from the data. The course will look closely at the controversy.
If the psychological conception is false, the truth of a grammar leaves open the question of whether the rules or principles of a language are psychologically real in speakers. The course will approach this question from a perspective on thought. This leads to the seemingly unChomskian idea that thought is in various respects "prior" to language. It leads also to the view that if "the language-of-thought hypothesis" is correct, then the rules/principles of a person's language are likely to be similar to those governing the structure of her thoughts. The linguistic rules/principles would be, to that extent, psychologically real. The course will also raise doubts about whether the rules/principles are psychologically real in any other way. There seems to be no significant evidence that they are represented in the mind and, given what else we know, it is implausible that they are. And they seem the wrong sort of rules/principles to govern language processing.
Other controversial theses will be considered: that linguistics should be (and is) concerned with what idiolects share, not with idiolects; that language processing is a fairly brute-causal associationist matter; that the rules of "Universal Grammar" are largely, if not entirely, innate structure rules of thought; that there may be little or nothing to the language faculty.
The course is suitable for philosophy and linguistics graduate students with an interest in foundational questions about the study of language.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group A]

Phil 76200 []
The Philosophy of Karl Marx
Prof. Gould

4 credits
Tues. 6:30-8:30
Room 7314
This seminar aims to enhance the understanding of Marx through a focus on his social and political theory and his role in the history of philosophy. Readings will be drawn primarily from Marx's more philosophical writings, including the 1844 Manuscripts, the German Ideology, the Grundrisse, and parts of Capital. A study of these works (most not published in his lifetime) can shed light not only on the continuity of his own thinking but also on current theoretical controversies—e.g., concerning the sociality of individuals and the possibility of a social ontology; the connection of justice to the critique of exploitation and oppression; the epistemic significance of social context for political norms; the connection of materialism to human history and development; and the role of dialectical reasoning in philosophical methodology. This reconstruction of Marx's philosophy can also help to reclaim its political import from some of the unfortunate uses to which it was put during the 20th century, and may suggest some new directions for contemporary politics.
The course will begin by examining Marx's relation to Hegel and Feuerbach, and especially his transformation of a Hegelian dialectical logic into a logic of history. It will go on to analyze the key concepts of "species being," as a way of understanding the relation of humans to the rest of nature; objectification, alienation, and the centrality of labor and purposive activity; the sociality (as relationality) of individuals and their equality under socialism; the concept of class; the role of reproduction and the notion of women as instruments of production; and the concepts of the commodity-form and of commodity fetishism. Attention will be given to Marx's distinctive synthesis of philosophy with social theory and the ways it can illuminate his core critique of capitalism and his work in political economy. His understanding of the varying relations of state to society and his criticisms of utopian theorizing and of liberal concepts like rights will be scrutinized. The course will also bring in some interpretations of Marx's philosophy from the perspective of critical and feminist theories, analytical Marxism, and poststructuralism, including Arendt (on labor and work), Habermas (on instrumental vs. communicative action), Derrida (on ideology), G.A.Cohen (on the materialist theory of history), Iris Young (on the critique of oppression and domination), Nancy Hartsock (on standpoint theory), and Alison Jaggar (on the possibility of a socialist feminism).
Seminar members will be encouraged to relate the course materials to their ongoing research projects through oral presentations and analytical term papers, and will be expected to be active participants in the class discussions.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group C or D-Modern]

Phil 77700 []
The Metaethics of Virtue
Prof. Jacobs

4 credits
Thurs. 11:45 - 1:45
Room 7314
The seminar will be a study of some of the most significant works relevant to the metaethics and moral psychology of virtue. The relevant literature is vast, and we will pay particular attention to a small number of key works in the history of philosophy and several works from recent philosophy—from about the middle of the twentieth century. During recent decades very important work has been done in retrieving and elaborating conceptions of ethical virtue and there are interesting connections between those conceptions and some of the main issues in metaethics.
Readings will include parts of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Kant’s Doctrine of Virtue, articles and book-chapters by Philippa Foot, G. E. M. Anscombe, John McDowell, Simon Blackburn, David Wiggins, Michael Stocker, and Rosalind Hursthouse. If time permits we will also read portions of Gabriele Taylor’s Deadly Vices.
The seminar will be a study of key developments in metaethics in the second half of the twentieth century, a study of how and why virtue-centered ethical theorizing has undergone a significant recent renaissance, and how current theorizing is (or is not) related to key historical antecedents.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group C]

Phil 76100 []
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
Prof. Nuzzo

4 credits
Mon. 9:30-11:30
Room 6495
This course will give a comprehensive account of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787). In this fundamental work Kant proposes the new idea of "transcendental philosophy," offers his critique of traditional metaphysics and a new idea of metaphysics beyond the rationalist and the empiricist tradition, and provides the foundation of his critical epistemology. We will address issues such as Kant's idea of transcendental philosophy, the meaning of the Copernican Revolution in philosophy, the nature of space and time and the status of the a priori, the function of the transcendental unity of apperception. The basis of the course will be a close reading of the text (selection from all parts, the Transcendental Aesthetic, the Analytic, the Dialectic). The format of the course includes lecture, class discussion, and student presentation. Emphasis will be placed on the careful reading of Kant's texts.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group D-Modern]

Phil 72000[]
Logic
Prof. Parikh

4 credits
Thus. 9:30-11:30
Room 7395
Introduction to logic including propositional logic, first order logic (predicate calculus), Completeness and incompleteness results recent developments in philosophical logic. There are no pre-requisites. An undergraduate course in logic would help but is not necessary. The main purpose is to inform students of work in logic and also to feel very comfortable using logic in philosophical applications.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group E]

Phil 76800 []
Hume's Philosophy of Science, Then and Now
Prof. Pigliucci

4 credits
Thus. 4:15-6:15
Room 6495
David Hume (1711-1776) was a highly influential modern philosopher in the empiricist tradition, writing on issues ranging from consciousness to the concept of causality, from the nature of induction to belief in miracles, and from suicide to standards of taste, among others. This course focuses on a subset of Hume's writings having to do primarily with philosophy of science and allied fields (such as philosophy of mind). The goal is to achieve a better understanding of: a) what Hume actually wrote (via a partial examination of primary texts) and b) the still wide ranging influence he has in contemporary philosophy of science (via discussion of a number of recent papers covering several themes dear to Hume).
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group B or D-Modern]

Phil 80300 []
Curry's Paradox
Prof. Priest

4 credits
Mon. 2:00 - 4:00
Room 7314
Curry’s paradox is a paradox of self-reference which has occasioned a good deal of work in the last 30 years.  In this course, we will be reading much of the literature on the topic, and discussing what one might, or should, make of the paradox.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group E]

Phil 76300 []
Issues in Buddhist Philosophy
Prof. Priest

4 credits
Mon. 4:15-6:15
Room 5417
The course will consider the Buddhist view or views on a number of important philosophical areas, including: metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group A or D-Ancient]

Phil 81900 []
Public Health Policy, Medicine, and Social Justice
Prof. Rhodes

4 credits
Mon. 5:00-6:30
Room Mt Sinai
Justice is a major concern in theoretical ethics and political philosophy and a huge literature is devoted to trying to explain just what it entails. In this course our aim will be to examine a broad spectrum of issues in medicine, medical research, and public health that raise questions about justice. In light of these critical examples, we shall review and critique an array of philosophical views on justice. Throughout the seminar we shall be engaged in two activities: (1) using clinical dilemmas and health policies as touchstones for developing a clear understanding of justice, and (2) developing an understanding of how theories of justice apply in different public health and medical contexts. By going from practice to theory and from theory back again to practice we shall advance our understanding of the theoretical literature as well as the requirements of justice in public health, medicine and other areas of the social world.
This course will begin with an examination of the allocation of medical resources that raise questions about justice. It will then move on to examine contemporary work on justice and review of some theoretical work by authors who focus their attention on justice in medicine (Norman Daniels & Paul Menzel). As the seminar progresses, we shall develop an understanding of how the U.S. happens to have developed the mechanisms that we now have for the delivery of health care. We shall examine how medical resources are actually distributed here, elsewhere, and globally, and in various contexts. We shall consider ways in which those allocations do and do not express justice. We shall also explore some of the problems that become apparent when you attend to the special needs of social groups (e.g., the poor, children, women, the elderly, African-Americans) and examine dilemmas and conflicts that are raised by issues such as the treatment of premature and compromised neonates.
Rosamond Rhodes, Margaret P. Battin & Anita Silvers, editors, 2012, Medicine and Social Justice: Essays on the Distribution of Health Care, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press.
Course readings will be supplemented by additional papers from the literature that are posted on the course website.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of ]

Phil 78800 []
Theories of Consciousness
Prof. Rosenthal

4 credits
Thurs. 2:00-4:00
Room 7102
There are several properties we speak of as consciousness, which are distinct despite being connected in various ways. Consciousness is a property of people and other creatures when they're awake. Independent of that, people and other creatures are often conscious of particular things. But we also sometimes describe mental states themselves as being conscious, e.g., in acknowledging a contrast between thoughts and desires that are conscious and those that are not. The same contrast may apply even to qualitative states, since perceptions are sometimes conscious but sometimes subliminal.
We'll focus on this third property: what it is for a mental state to be a conscious state. Theories about that fall into two main types. Higher-order theories hold that a state's being conscious consists in one's being aware of the state in some specified way, whereas first-order theories deny that any such higher-order awareness figures in a state's being conscious. Both types of theory come in many varieties.
Some reject both types of theory, urging that no explanatory account can be had about what it is for a state to be conscious. Some base that rejection on the view that a state's being conscious is a basic property, and so not subject to any theoretical treatment. Others hold that states that aren't conscious are mental if at all only in some derivative or degenerate way, so that a state's being conscious is nothing more than its being mental. Still, all such claims are about the theoretical status of mental states' being conscious.
Some in both first- and higher-order camps see a state's being conscious as intrinsic to that state. Others in each camp see consciousness in dispositional terms, such higher-order theorists holding that a state is conscious if disposed to issue in a higher- order awareness. First-order theorists appeal to various dispositional properties: the dominating of psychological resources, being accessible to many mental systems, being accessible to some specific system, such as working memory or a mind-reading system, or enabling justification by appeal to reasons. Some higher-order theorists see the relevant higher-order awareness as perceptual, others as due to a thought about the state, and still others as a type of self-interpretation. Some first-order theorists see a state as conscious if it makes one aware of whatever the state represents; others see a state's being conscious as essentially tied to attention or as involving some threshold of informational complexity. And some hold different views for different types of mental state.
Advantages claimed for theories include their explaining the apparent unity of conscious states, what the utility is of a state's being conscious, and how a naturalist account of mind is possible. And because any theory of consciousness must do justice to the subjective appearances, many conclude that mental reality must simply coincide with subjectivity, so that a theory cannot permit even the possibility of misrepresentation by consciousness. We'll examine the merits and consequences of all these claims.
Readings will be largely available online, though a few books, such as Block et al, eds., The Nature of Consciousness, and Rosenthal, Consciousness and Mind, may be useful.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group B]

Phil 77600 []
Philosophical Foundations of Democracy
Prof. Schwarzenbach

4 credits
Tues. 4:15-6:15
Room 7314
The seminar will be an in-depth exploration of the idea of democracy. Central questions to be addressed include: What is democracy? What are its central values, and how are they justified? In what areas of life is democracy appropriate? What are the counter-democratic features of modern society? How does democracy relate to notions of individual right, constitutionalism, multiculturalism and citizenship? Finally, what sense can we make of the idea of a global democracy?
We will investigate different models (ancient, modern and contemporary) democracy and readings will include selections from among Aristotle's Politics, the political writings of Kant, de Tocqueville and John Dewey, and from recent debates between theorists such as J. Cohen, R. Dahl, Habermas, Rawls, Pateman or I. Young, among others. Attention will be given to the fact of pluralism and the changing role of women within the state and to their implications for democracy, as well as to recent work in citizenship theory, including various feminist attempts to redefine the concept itself.
John Dewey, Democracy and Education
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group C]

Phil 76400 []
Aristotle's De Anima
Prof. Vasiliou

4 credits
Mon. 2:00-4:00
Room 5417
This course will be an intensive study of Aristotle' De Anima (On the Soul). The De Anima is one of Aristotle's most famous works and the subject of considerable recent scholarly debate. In the context of the De Anima interpretations of Aristotle's "hylomorphism" (the view that substances and even activities are to be understood in terms of the relationship between form and matter) understand it variously as requiring dualist, functionalist, materialist, or even "spiritualist" interpretations. Accordingly, some commentators see in Aristotle's account important precursors to contemporary positions in philosophy of mind, while others maintain that his views are hopelessly out of date. We shall read the entire work, which includes Aristotle's survey of his predecessors positions on the soul in Book 1, his account of the relationship between soul and body, and his discussions of perception, locomotion, "imagination", and thinking (both practical and theoretical). In addition to the De Anima, we shall read relevant parts of other works of Aristotle, including the Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Parva Naturalia, and Physics. Secondary literature on the De Anima, which is abundant and of high quality, will be of particular importance.
Requirements will include one or two short, take-home essays and a longer term paper. No knowledge of Greek is necessary.
[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group D-Ancient]