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Spring 2022


 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9:30–11:30

   

 

PHIL 79100
MA Capstone
Prof. Greenwood
Room TBA (hybrid)

11:45–1:45

PHIL 76500
Science and Values
Prof. Khalidi
Room TBA (in person)

PHIL 77700
Genealogical Methods
Prof. Fricker
Room TBA (in person)

PHIL 77200
Philosophy of Language
Prof. Neale
Room TBA (in person)

PHIL 76100
Plato and the Foreigner in Philosophy
Prof. Pappas
Room TBA (in person)

2:00–4:00

PHIL 77xxxx
Dissertation/ Prospectus Writing Seminar
Prof. Teufel
Room TBA (hybrid)

PHIL 77800
Aesthetics and Society
Prof. Prinz
Room TBA (in person)

PHIL 80000
Naming and Necessity at Fifty
Profs. Kripke and Padro
Room TBA (hybrid)

PHIL 77300
Consciousness and Theory
Prof. Rosenthal
Room TBA (hybrid)

4:15–6:15

PHIL 77500
Philosophy of Art
Prof. Gilmore
Room TBA (in person)

PHIL 77100
Topics in the Philosophy of Mathematics
Prof. Priest
Room TBA (in person)

Philosophy Colloquium Series
Rooms TBA

 

6:30–8:30

PHIL 77600
Critical Philosophy of Race
Prof. Kirkland
Room TBA (in person)

PHIL 76000
Contemporary Latin American Philosophy
Prof. Alcoff
Room TBA (in person)

 

 

at Mount Sinai
5:30-7:00
(Jan. 4 - Mar. 22)

 

PHIL 77900
Ethical Issues in Clinical Research
Prof. Rhodes
Room TBA (hybrid)

 

 


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 2022 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Phil 76500 
Science and Values
Prof. Khalidi

4 credits
Mon. 11:45-1:45
Room TBA (in person)
 

What role do values play in science? And is there a difference between epistemic values and moral, political, and social values in this regard?

According to one longstanding attitude in philosophy of science, non-epistemic values ought to play no role in the conduct of science. But influential critiques of this traditional conception, undertaken primarily by feminist philosophers of science, argue that non-epistemic values do have a constructive role to play in various aspects of science, notably scientific theory choice in cases of underdetermination of theory by evidence.

If that is the case, do non-epistemic values also have a role to play in other aspects of the scientific enterprise, for example in the construction of theories, devising of theoretical categories, experimental testing of theories, choice of research topics, and so on? Can we distinguish the salutary influence of non-epistemic values on science, as when environmental groups encourage research on climate change, from pernicious influences, as when pharmaceutical companies influence research on the efficacy of medications, or patriarchal and misogynist values shape the content of theories in primatology? Can we even clearly distinguish between epistemic and non-epistemic values, and if so on what basis? This course will examine recent work on these topics by philosophers of science and others, with particular attention to case studies drawn from a diverse range of sciences, from climate science to archaeology.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group B.

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Phil 77xxx 
Dissertation Prospectus Writing Seminar
Prof. Teufel

4 credits
Mon. 2:00-4:00
Room TBA (hybrid)
 



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Phil 77500 
Philosophy of Art
Prof. Gilmore

4 credits
Monday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA (in person)

 
This course treats major theoretical questions about artistic forms and practices, among them literature, film, performance, music, and the visual arts. We will address historical and contemporary concepts of art; evolutionary approaches to art, pretense, and creativity; internal relations among a work’s aesthetic, moral, cognitive, and political dimensions; why we respond with genuine emotions to what is only fictional or imagined; why we take pleasure in painful or distressing aesthetic forms; artistic meaning and medium-specificity; the nature of representation and depiction; the substance and rhetoric of autonomy; the aesthetics of body modification; originality and forgery in the age of mechanical and virtual reproducibility; censorship; high art/low art, taste, and kitsch; aesthetics and discrimination; and, of course, beauty. Readings will be drawn from diverse fields, including philosophy, cognitive psychology, art history, and criticism.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

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Phil 77600
Critical Philosophy of Race
Prof. Kirkland

4 credits
Monday 6:30-8:30
Room TBA (in person)
 

Previously philosophical discussions on race centered on whether or not it could serve as a defensible criterion on politically moral grounds. Affirmative action, busing, and school choice were topics in those discussions. Thereafter they shifted toward whether or not race was ‘real’ in a biological, if not metaphysical, sense. Eventually they denied that race was either biologically or metaphysically real. Consequently that denial set the conditions for evaluating the political morality of race. If race is illusory, not real, it cannot and must not contribute anything to assessing or resolving political and moral problems involving different human groups. Here racial eliminativism, broadly speaking, takes shape. If race is real, not illusory, it must and can be understood as socially constructed for the sake of recognizing and separating non-racist from racist cultural and political differences among human groups. Here racial conservationism, broadly speaking, takes shape.

In recent years, these two philosophical positions on race have undergone four refinements leaning more toward conservationism than eliminativism. 1) Racial designations and classifications along biological lines are real as long as social rankings are impermissible. 2) Racial designations and classifications along metaphysical lines are real as long as they are neither biologically nor socially framed. 3) Racial designations and classifications as socially constructed are real as long as political domination is more than being bound exclusively to “whiteness.” 4) Racial designations and classifications as socially constructed are real as long as they are significant to the plurality of culturally diverse and distinctive ways of life both retrospectively and prospectively for the sake of humankind. Figuring out what all these views amount to is, hopefully, the goal of the course.

We shall be reading works by Linda M. Alcoff, K. Anthony Appiah, Joshua Glasgow, Michael Hardimon, Sally Haslanger, Chike Jeffers, Philip Kitcher, Alain Locke, Ron Mallon, Charles Mills, Quayshawn Spencer, Naomi Zack.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group A or C.

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Phil 77700
Genealogical Methods
Prof. Fricker

4 credits
Tuesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA (in person)

Note: This is a relatively advanced class, in that it will need to take for granted some knowledge of both ethics and epistemology – this is because State of Nature genealogical methods have tended to be introduced as an alternative to existing analytical treatments or traditions. Our focus will be on the new alternative approaches without first explaining the treatments or traditions they are responses to.

Genealogical method comes in a number of forms and can support different purposes. It can be combined with State of Nature method (a method previously at home only in political philosophy (cf. Hobbes, Rousseau, Nozick), and in this combination it aims to identify relatively necessary features of human practices and to distinguish them from more culturally and historically contingent ones. Often this combination of methods aims at vindicating, rather than debunking, a practice or concept or value. Hume offers a short vindicatory genealogy of justice, Edward Craig develops a completely new approach of ‘practical explication’ in epistemology to account for the concept of knowledge, Bernard Williams develops this in relation to the ethical-epistemic virtue of truthfulness, and Philip Pettit constructs morality out of the materials of cooperative ethical life in an imagined State of Nature, ‘Erewhon’. By contrast, when genealogy stands alone, not partnered with any conception of ‘origin’ or necessity, it is more typically directed at debunking a given practice, concept, or value. Nietzschean genealogy is normally associated with such a debunking project (though this interpretation of Nietzsche is not without its detractors), and Foucault explicitly denies any ‘origins’ stories as objectivizing fantasy. For debunking genealogists, all his history and contingency; for vindicatory genealogists the contingencies of our concepts and practices are conceived as growing from something more stable in our social human nature.

Major texts we will read from:

David Hume (1739) A Treatise of Human Nature
Friedrich Nietzsche (1887) The Genealogy of Morality
Edward Craig (1990) Knowledge and the State of Nature
Bernard Williams (2002) Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy Philip Pettit (2018) The Birth of Ethics
Matthieu Queloz (2021) The Practical Origins of Ideas

Other indicative readings:

Damian Cueni and Matthieu Queloz (2019) ‘Nietzsche as a Critic of Genealogical Debunking: Making Room for Naturalism Without Subversion’ The Monist 102(3): 277-97

Amia Srinivasan (2019) ‘Genealogy, Epistemology and Worldmaking’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Vol. CXIX Pt 2: 127-156
Raymond Geuss (1999) ‘Nietzsche and Genealogy’ Morality, Culture, and History: Essays on German Philosophy (CUP): 1-28

Edward Craig (2007) ‘Genealogies and the State of Nature’ in Alan Thomas (ed.) Bernard Williams (CUP): 181-200
Miranda Fricker (2008) ‘Scepticism and the Genealogy of Knowledge: Situating Epistemology in Time’ Philosophical Papers 37(1): 27-50

Martin Kusch and Robin McKenna (2018) ‘The Genealogical Method in Epistemology’ Synthese 197(3): 1057-76
Matthieu Queloz (2020) ‘From Paradigm-Based Explanation to Pragmatic Genealogy” Mind 129 (515): 683-714

Catarina Dutilh Novaes (2015) ‘Conceptual Genealogy for Analytic Philosophy’ in J.A. Bell, A. Cutrofello & P.M. Livingston (eds.), Beyond the Analytic-Continental Divide: Pluralist Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge): 75-110
Jesse Prinz (2007) The Emotional Construction of Morals (OUP) Ch.6

Nancy Fraser (1985) ‘Michel Foucault: A ‘Young Conservative’?’ Ethics 96 (1): 165-184 Raymond Geuss (2002) ‘Genealogy as Critique.’ European Journal of Philosophy 10(2): 209- 215
Colin Koopman (2017) ‘Conceptual Analysis for Genealogical Philosophy: How to Study the History of Practices after Foucault and Wittgenstein’ The Southern Journal of Philosophy 55: 103-121
Michel Foucault (1984) ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’ in The Foucault Reader, ed. P. Rabinow (Pantheon Books): 76-100
Nancy Fraser (1981) ‘Foucault on Modern Power: Empirical Insights and Normative Confusions’ Praxis International 3: 272-287
Michel Foucault (1995) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Vintage Books), Part I, ch.1, pp. 3-31 & Part II, ch. 1, pp. 73-103

Learning goals:

By the end of the course you should have a good understanding of genealogical method in its various forms. You will have a clear grasp of the distinctiveness of genealogical method and its aims, along with a sense of its advantages and disadvantages. There will be two strictly required readings for each class, which we will actively discuss in class, and there will also be at least two other recommended readings for each week. Our collective discussion of the required readings will be normally opened by a short student presentation, to help you develop relevant professional skills of producing a clear and cogent handout, presenting the points from it so that you convey the key points of the paper and a couple of questions or objections at the end to launch collective discussion.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group B or C.

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Phil 77800
Aesthetics and Society
Prof. Prinz

4 credits
Tuesday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA (in person)


The seminar explores social, political, and cross-cultural aspects of art. Relevant topics include: cultural variations in taste, perception, aesthetic values, and what counts as an art; conceptions of realistic depiction across culture and history; the relationship between art and personal/social identity (as in musical subcultures); political art and the use of art as propaganda; the way museums enshrine colonialism; issues relating to race (e.g., who gets to depict Black pain?), gender (e.g., the pervasiveness of cis female nudes); class (e.g., lowbrow taste, elitism, and street art); and disability (e.g., associations between creativity and mental illness). Students will have the option of doing creative work for course credit.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

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Phil 77100
Topics in the Philosophy of Mathematics
Prof. Priest

4 credits
Tuesday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA (in person)


In this course we will work thorough two texts on the philosophy of mathematics. The first is Joel Hamkins’ recent Lectures in the Philosophy of Mathematics:

https://www.amazon.com/Lectures-Philosophy-Mathematics-David- Hamkins/dp/0262542234/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Joel+Hamkins+Mathematics&qid=1 634258512&sr=8-1

The second is a draft of a short manuscript of mine, Ex Uno Plures. This is on mathematical pluralism; that is, the view that there are many different kinds of equally correct pure mathematics—specifically, those based on different underlying logics. Suitably polished, this will be for the Cambridge Elements series on topics in the Philosophy of Mathematics.

This course will satisfy either Distribution Group A or Group E.

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Phil 77900
Ethical Issues in Clinical Research
Prof. Rhodes

4 credits
Tuesday 5:30-7:00
Room TBA (hybrid)


Objectives   
By the end of this course participants should be able to:
 - Refer to the historical evolution of research ethics and development of protections for human subjects
 - Identify and employ the guiding principles of research ethics
 - Evaluate clinical studies in terms of ethical considerations
 - Review and critically analyze the research ethics literature and reference it in addressing issuess related to clinical research
 - Justify decisions about the ethical conduct of research in terms of reasons that other reasonable scientists would endorse.
 
Course Description
This seminar explores complex issues raised by human subject research. The seminar begins
with a review of some history of human subject research, landmark cases of questionable use
of human subjects, policies that shape current understanding of research ethics, and research
oversight mechanisms that have been instituted. Then, through discussion of a broad selection
of seminal articles and papers from the recent literature, we will  in a conceptual analysis of
controversial and pressing issues. We shall discuss the moral and public policy aspects of topics
such as research design (e.g., human challenge studies in the development of COVID-19
vaccines), risk-benefit assessment, informed consent, confidentiality, the use of “vulnerable" 
subjects, confidentiality, inducements, conflicts of interests, placebo studies, and international
research.  In addition to exploring the moral landscape of this rich and provocative domain, the
seminar will clarify and enrich participants’ understanding of basic moral concepts such as
autonomy and justice. It will also serve as a model for approaching other issues in applied
ethics.


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Phil 76000
Contemporary Latin American Philosophy
Prof. Alcoff

4 credits
Tuesday 6:30-8:30
Room TBA (in person)

Latin American philosophy has pursued in the main what we now call non-ideal approaches. In particular, philosophy in Latin America has understood that philosophical problems are motivated by and situated within colonial contexts toward anti-colonial goals. Thus, the self- consciousness of the situatedness of philosophy within historically and politically specific contexts marks this tradition since its inception. As such, Latin American philosophy has played an important oppositional role to Eurocentrism as well as transcendental tendencies in Western philosophy. This course will move across three connected strands of contemporary (20th and 21st century) Latin American philosophy: (1) the question of how to characterize the identity of Latin American philosophy, given both its intellectual hybridity and its own collusions with coloniality, (2) the necessity of decolonial thinking as a starting point for doing philosophy in Latin America, and (3) the unique contributions made to a philosophy of liberation, and the ways this framework can productively replace the Enlightenment as an orientation for philosophical thinking. Within these rubrics, the readings for this course will explore efforts to reconceptualize some of central philosophical concepts such as modernity, the unified self, political power, and rationality.

We will read texts by Santiago Castro-Gomez, Omar Rivera, Enrique Dussel, Grant Silva, Mariana Ortega, Walter Mignolo, Alejandro Vallega, and Ofelia Schutte.

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Phil 77200 
Philosophy of Language
Prof. Neale
4 credits
Wednesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA (in person)


This seminar will explore the distinction between semantics and pragmatics by developing Grice’s work on meaning and intention, conversational implicature, the relation between what is said (understood as part of speaker meaning) and occasion-meaning (understood as a property of linguistic or conventional meaning), and higher-order speech acts. The seminar will turn to the role of a compositional semantic theory within the Gricean program and the extent to
which articulating a proper theory he of the occasion-meanings of lexical items forces us to confront anew matters of lexical ambiguity and the underdetermination of what is said by any notion of linguistic meaning that is the input to semantic composition.

This course will satisfy either Distribution Group A or Group E.

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Phil 80000
Naming and Necessity at Fifty
Profs. Kripke and Padro

4 credits
Wednesday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA (hybrid)


TBA


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Phil 79100 
MA Capstone
Prof. Greenwood

4 credits
Thursday 9:30-11:30
Room TBA (hybrid)
 

A final academic experience for all students pursuing an MA in Philosophy. The course consists of initial sessions on successful paper-writing in philosophy, followed by student presentations of papers based on their MA research, with a view to the critique and further development of those papers. After familiarizing themselves with the standards and methods exhibited in scholarly papers in philosophy, students will begin with a topic they have already researched and work their paper to the level of a polished piece of work, by presenting the paper to the class and receiving feedback from the instructor and fellow students. Students wishing to advance from this MA program into a PhD program in philosophy will be able to use the paper from this course as a writing sample in their applications.

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Phil 76100
Plato and the Foreigner in Philosophy
Prof. Pappas

4 credits
Thursday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA (in person)


A study of Plato focused on the question of who the philosopher is, and how that figure compares to the citizen or native. Those outside the ambit of philosophy in Plato’s dialogues are often also those outside Athenian citizenry, whether because they come from other Greek cities, they speak another language, or they live in Athens as slaves (who were usually also foreigners).

Rather than ask whether Plato “likes” or “doesn’t like” foreigners, outsiders, non-citizens, and the like, we will look closely at examples of both orientations, asking in what ways the philosopher in Plato has to be the outsider and the insider both at once.

Readings in Plato will include and emphasize the Republic, but also selections from the Cratylus, Laws, Lysis, Menexenus, and Statesman. Secondary readings will include some or all of:

Page DuBois. Slaves and Other Objects. University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Benjamin Isaac. The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity. Princeton University Press, 2004.
Demetra Kasimis. The Perpetual Immigrant and the Limits of Athenian Democracy. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Rebecca LeMoine. “Foreigners as Liberators: Education and Cultural Diversity in Plato’s Menexenus.” American Political Science Review 111 (2017): 1-13.
Rebecca LeMoine. Plato’s Caves: The Liberating Sting of Cultural Diversity. Oxford University Press, 2020.
Silvia Montiglio. “Wandering Philosophers in Classical Greece.” Journal of Hellenic Studies 120 (2000): 86-105.
Robert Parker. Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion. Oxford University Press, 1996.


This course will satisfy Distribution Group D.


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Phil 77300
Consciousness and Theory
Prof. Rosenthal
4 credits
Thursday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA (hybrid)

Consciousness is often said to be the most difficult phenomenon to understand and explain. A major goal of this course will be to uncover several assumptions that underlie this idea. One such assumption is that in the case of consciousness, unlike every other phenomenon, we cannot distinguish between appearance and reality. A related assumption is that theorizing about consciousness is not only impossible, but inappropriate. These assumptions are rarely— if ever—argued for; indeed, they are often left unstated, though even then one can see them playing a role in encouraging the idea that consciousness resists understanding and explanation.

To address these assumptions and asses their merit, we will focus for the first part of the course on the contrast between so-called higher-order and first-order approaches to consciousness. It will turn out that first-order approaches undermine the very possibility of giving an informative description of consciousness. And a phenomenon that we cannot even describe will thereby automatically resist understanding, theorizing, and explanation.

First-order approaches tend to assume that all psychological functioning and mental states, properly so called, are conscious. Higher-order approaches, by contrast, readily accommodate unconscious mental states and psychological functioning, and indeed most such view require theory occurrence. So in the second part of the course we’ll examine the case for mental states, properly so called, that occur without being conscious. In the third and final part of the course, then, we’ll take up several issues about how consciousness operates if mental states can indeed occur without being conscious.

Reading material will almost always be available online.


This course will satisfy Distribution Group A or B.


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