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Spring 2017


 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9:30–11:30

 

 

 

 

 


PHIL 77400 [35236]
Emotion
Prof. Prinz
Room 

 

 

 

 

11:45–1:45

 

PHIL 76000 [35228]
Kant on Free Will and Ethics
Prof. Vilhauer
Room 

 

PHIL 77800 [35231]
Philosophies of the Fine Arts: Painting, Sculpture, Photography
Prof. Carroll
Room 

 




PHIL 76100 [35237]
The Problem of Perception in Ancient Philosophy
Prof. Vasiliou 
Room 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

2:00–4:00

 

PHIL 77500 [35229]
Social Contract Theory and Its Critics
Prof. Mills
Room 

 

PHIL 77000 [35232]
Causation and Related Topics
Prof. Papineau
Room 

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PHIL 77300 [35233]
Evolving Concepts of Epistemic Injustice: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives
Prof. Fricker
Room 


PHIL 76200 [35238]
Spinoza
Prof. Steinberg
Room 

 

 

 

PHIL 77200 [35239]
Speech, Thought, and Content 
Prof. Rosenthal
Room

4:15–6:15



 

PHIL 76800 [35811]
Philosophy of Language: An Intensive Introduction
Prof. Neale

Room
(7-week course) 

 

 

PHIL 77100 [35234]
Vagueness
Prof. Priest
Room

 

 

Colloquium

 

 

PHIL 76800 [35811]
Philosophy of Language: An Intensive Introduction
Prof. Neale

Room
(7-week course) 

6:30–8:30

 

PHIL 80000 [35585]
Systematic Metaphysics in the 20th Century
Prof. Lackey

Room
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


See Also:
Phil 77900 [35241] Ethical Issues in Clinical Research, Prof. Rhodes; at Mount Sinai Tuesdays 5:30-7:00
Phil 77900 [35240] Medical Ethics, Prof. Baumrin; Thursdays 4:30-7:00pm, from 4/6 - 6/22
PSC 80402 Democratic Theory, Prof. Wallach
Music 86100 Critical Approaches to Music, Prof. Jenkins

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 2017 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Phil 77800 [35231]
Philosophies of the Fine Arts: Painting, Sculpture, Photography
Prof. Carroll 

4 credits
Tues. 11:45-1:45
Room









This course addresses philosophical problems raised by the fine arts, with special emphasis on painting and sculpture.  Topics include alternative views of representation and interpretation. We will also explore the philosophy of art history, examining such historical concepts as modernism, postmodernism, and post historical art.  The notions of medium specificity, the Avant garde, caricature, pornography, censorship and the general question of the relation of art and ethics will also be on our agenda.  The course had no prerequisites.  Students will be expected to make a class presentation and to submit a term paper.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group C]
Phil 77300 [35233]
Epistemic Injustice and its Cognates
Prof. Fricker

4 credits
Tues. 2:00-4:00
Room










What is epistemic injustice? What are its constituent kinds? In Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (2007) I put forward two basic kinds: testimonial injustice, where prejudice deflates the level of credibility attributed to a speaker’s word; and hermeneutical injustice, where a deficit of shared concepts across social groups has put someone at an unfairly increased risk of interpretive/communicative disadvantage. Since then, others have suggested further kinds, which are more or less closely related. In addition, some have emphasized new aspects of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, such as that the latter can happen in a way that is analogous to, or even an instance of, what Charles Mills has termed ‘white ignorance’.
 
We shall explore all these forms of epistemic injustice and their inter-relations. And we shall also explore some of the different theoretical contexts on which these hybrid ethical-epistemic phenomena draw: the epistemology of testimony, virtue and vice epistemology, epistemic agency, the idea of collective epistemic agents, and collective epistemic virtues such as those we hope our institutions may possess. Furthermore, we will think about how institutional virtues of epistemic justice are crucial to key political values, such as freedom, non-domination, and capabilities. And we shall read and discuss work bearing on more applied contexts too: the nature of prejudice, of implicit bias, our (limited) powers to take responsibility for their effect on our thinking; and also some real-world contexts in which people are starting to see the need to address epistemic injustice as such—for instance in healthcare, financial decision making, and education.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group B or C]
[back to course schedule]
Phil 77500 [35229]
Social Contract Theory and its Critics
Prof. Mills 

4 credits
Mon. 2:00-4:00
Room









This course will look at classic social contract theory—Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant—which was dramatically revived as a result of John Rawls’s 1971 A Theory of Justice. We will try to get clear on both the important commonalities in their divergent versions of the “contract” as a way of understanding the creation of society, the polity, and people’s resulting obligations, and the crucial differences among their versions. We will then turn to some of the criticisms of the contract idea, whether the classic “communitarian” critique or critiques oriented by class, gender, and racial concerns. The course should be useful in its own right as an exploration of a central strand in modern Western political theory, but for those interested in the subject, it should also be a valuable foundation for a fall 2017 course I hope to co-teach with Sibyl Schwarzenbach on Rawls and gender and racial justice. 

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group C]
Phil 76800 [35811]
Philosophy of Language: An Intensive Introduction (7-week course)
Prof. Neale

4 credits
Mon. 4:15-6:15 & Thurs. 4:15-6:15
Room









The aim of this seminar is to provide familiarity with (1) certain key concepts in the philosophical and empirical study of language and communication and (2) certain uses to which these concepts are put in various other parts of philosophy, notably metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, legal theory, and aesthetics. Topics to be discussed are scope, opacity, compositionality, the de re-de dicto distinction, rigidity, direct reference, essentialism, sense and reference, internalism and externalism, truth definitions and truth-theoretic semantics, natural vs non-natural meaning, radical interpretation, authorial intention, relativism vs. contextualism, and underdetermination vs. indeterminacy. There will be weekly problem sets and a short final paper.

The seminar will meet Mondays and Thursdays 4:15-6:16, from 2/15 - 4/6.

The following books will be used, in conjunction with articles that will be made available through Dropbox.

Philosophy of Language: The Central Topics Edited by Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay Rowman and Littlefield, 2008
ISBN: 9780742559776
ISBN-10: 0742559777

Philosophy of Language
By Scott Soames
Princeton University Press, 2010
ISBN 978-0-691-13866-4

The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Language Edited by Michael Devitt and Richard Hanley Blackwell Publishing, 2006
ISBN: 9780631231424
ISBN10: 0631231420
Phil 77000 [35232]
Causation and Related Topics 
Prof. Papineau

4 credits
Tues. 2:00-4:00
Room









This course will consider the nature of causation, and then use the results to cast light on a number of philosophical topics. We will discuss various theories of causation, including counterfactual, regularity, interventionist, probabilistic, and process theories. We will then apply this analysis to a range of related philosophical issues, including explanation, the direction of time, causal and evidential decision theory, conditional statements, dispositional essentialism, and mental causation.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group A or B]
Phil 77100 [35234]
Vagueness
Prof. Priest

4 credits
Tues. 4:15-6:15
Room









Vague concepts/predicates are ones whose extensions appear to have no precise cut-off points. Thus, if something changes continuously from red to blue, there would seem to be no precise point at which it ceases to be red. Most of our every-day concepts are vague in this sense. But how to understand the semantics of vague concepts/predicates is a knotty question. For a start, they give rise to sorites paradoxes, to which there is no received solution. Over recent years, the whole matter has been under fairly intense discussion by logicians and philosophers of language. In this course, we will look at many of the views that have been proposed, and their logical ramifications.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group A or E]
Phil 77400 [35236]
Emotion
Prof. Prinz

4 credits
Weds. 9:30 - 11:30








In this seminar, we will explore debates about the nature and role on emotions.   Are emotions cognitive states?  Are they embodied?  Are they biological determined or cultural constructs?  Do the even exist as a coherent category?  Can emotions be rational or irrational?  How do they go awry?  What roles to the play in human decision making, perception, and values?  Readings will be drawn from both philosophy and psychology.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group B]
Phil []
Thought, Speech, and Content 
Prof. Rosenthal

4 credits
Thurs. 2:00-4:00
Room









Much mental representation consists in the intentional content of thinking, wondering, doubting, expecting, and similar states, content that can be captured by a ‘that’ clause or other sentence nominalization.  One can think, expect, assume, or suspect that the door is open, and doubt or wonder whether it is.  Those states have in common the intentional content that the door is open, differing in the mental attitude held toward that content. 
 
We describe speech acts in a parallel way.  One can assert or guess that the door is open, ask whether it is, command or request that it be, and so forth.  The speaker’s meaning of each speech act here corresponds to intentional content of a suitable mental state, and the illocutionary force of the speech act--asserting, asking, commanding, requesting, and so forth--arguably corresponds to the mental attitude of the relevant intentional mental states.
 
We’ll focus on issues that arise in giving a satisfactory account of the intentional content and mental attitude of intentional mental states and, correspondingly, the speaker’s meaning and illocutionary force of speech acts.  And we’ll explore ways in which we might extrapolate from one set of properties to the other set to arrive at a sound theoretical understanding of both.
 
For intentional states, we’ll focus the logical properties of ascriptions of such states; whether the sentence-sized content of such states is built up from concept-sized parts or whether, instead, concept-sized parts are abstractions from sentence-sized intentional states; whether the content of each intentional state is fixed independent of all others and if so how; whether if content is not fixed in that way it’s fixed holistically and, again, how; what all that tells us about referring; whether content is best understood as being in some way linguistic.
 
We’ll also focus on the relation of intentional states to speech.  Is the intentionality of thinking prior to the speaker’s meaning of speech acts?  If so in what way?  Causally?  Conceptually?  In some other way?  Is the intentionality of thinking a property of a different kind from the speaker’s meaning or content of speech acts?  Is our conception of the intentionality of thought independent of the way we conceive of speaker’s meaning.  If so what basis could there be for how we conceive of mental intentional content?  Anything other than first-person access?  Is speaker’s meaning determined by the speaker’s communicative intentions?  Or instead by an expressing relation between intentional states and meaningful speech acts?
 
Among other related topics we’ll hope to address are why it’s absurd to say, e.g., ‘It’s raining, but I don’t think it is’ (Moore’s paradox); the indirect reflexive (how referring to oneself simply as oneself differs from referring to oneself descriptively or by name); the nature of inference; whether consciousness has a special relation to speech; whether thinking depends on or requires the ability to use language; and why children up to around 3 seem to fail the verbal false-belief task, seeming to assimilate what others think to what is actually the case.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group A or B]
Phil []
Spinoza
Prof. Steinberg

4 credits
Weds. 2:00-4:00
Room









Baruch de Spinoza was the most scandalous philosopher of his age. His aggressive naturalism challenged the sensibilities and orthodoxies of a seventeenth-century audience. And his philosophy remains provocative, even if not scandalous, today. In this course we will investigate the full range of Spinoza’s thought: metaphysics, epistemology, theory of mind, account of the affects, ethical theory, and political philosophy. We will explore how core features of Spinoza’s thought—including his monism, dual-aspect theory of mind, account of belief-formation, sentimentalist model of evaluative judgments, and defense of democratic governance—can be brought fruitfully into dialogue with contemporary philosophical work, while seeking to remain alive to the strangeness of Spinoza’s views. We will read the Ethics along with selections from his two political treatises, attending to the extent to which Spinoza is a systematic philosopher whose normative philosophy depends on his account of psychology and whose his account of psychology is firmly anchored in his metaphysics.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group D-modern]
 
Phil []
The Problem of Perception in Ancient Philosophy
Prof. Vasiliou 

4 credits
Weds. 11:45-1:45
Room










We will focus on issues in the epistemology of perception, examining ancient treatments of perceptual error, illusion, and hallucination.  Moreover we will consider whether and to what extent the theories on offer are accurately describable as disjunctivist.  Beginning with Plato (in particular, Meno, Republic, Timaeus, and Theaetetus), we shall spend considerable time on Aristotle, parts of whose De Anima and Parva Naturalia contain the most extended and detailed extant ancient treatment of perception, and the related capacity, "imagination" (phantasia). We will then turn to Epicurean atomism and finally to the debate between Stoics and Sceptics about the reliability of perception.
 
            While we will concentrate on the primary sources, there will be significant engagement with secondary literature, including reading some contemporary work on the problem of perception and disjunctivism.

[Counts towards course satisfaction of D-ancient]
Phil []
Kant on Free Will and Ethics 
Prof. Vilhauer 

4 credits
Mon. 11:45-1:45 








This course will cover selections from Kant’s major moral writings, including parts of the Critique of Pure Reason, the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, the Critique of Practical Reason, and the Metaphysics of Morals, along with the writings of recent commentators.  The goal will be to explore Kant’s texts as well as their connections to issues in contemporary ethics and free will theory. 

[Counts towards course satisfaction of Group D-modern]