Courses

Find the current semester's schedule and course descriptions below. The most up-to-date courses can also be found in CUNY's Dynamic Course Schedule.

Additionally, 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 2022

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9:30–11:30

   

PHIL 77200
Biological Essentialism and Racial Realism
Prof. Devitt
Room TBA

PHIL 76500
History and Philosophy of Psychopathology
Prof. Greenwood
Room TBA

11:45–1:45

PHIL 76000
Arabic-Islamic Philosophy
Prof. Khalidi
Room TBA

PHIL 77600
Interpretive Practices
Profs. Carroll and Neale
(online)

PHIL 80200
PhD Proseminar
Profs. Prinz and Crull
Room TBA 

----------

PHIL 80300
MA Proseminar
Prof. Gilmore
Room TBA (hybrid)

PHIL 76100
Plato and the Stoics on Virtue and Right Action
Prof. Vasiliou
Room TBA

2:00–4:00

PHIL 77500
Philosophy of Music
Prof. Trivedi
Room TBA 

 

PHIL 80000
TBA
Prof. Kripke
(online)

PHIL 72000
Logic
Prof. Warenski
Room TBA

4:15–6:15

PHIL 77000
The Best of All Possible Worlds
Prof. Grover
Room TBA

PHIL 77700
Buddhist Ethics
Prof. Priest
Room TBA

Philosophy Colloquium Series
Rooms TBA

 

6:30–8:30

 

PHIL 77100
Doxastic Cartography: Mapping the Logical Space of Theories of Belief
Prof. Mandelbaum

 

 

at Mount Sinai

 

 

 

 

Phil 76000

Arabic-Islamic Philosophy
Prof. Khalidi

4 credits
Mon. 11:45-1:45
Room TBA

This course is an introduction to some of the key figures, seminal texts, and main themes of Arabic-Islamic philosophy during the classical period.  Developing in the late ninth century CE and evolving without interruption for almost half a millennium into the fourteenth century, this body of thought was instrumental in the revival of philosophical thought in Europe.  Philosophers in the Islamic world were strongly influenced by Greek and Hellenistic philosophical works and adapted some of the Platonic, Aristotelian, Plotinian, and other ideas to their Islamic brand of monotheism.  But they also developed an original philosophical culture of their own.

The philosophical writings to be examined express various viewpoints and tackle a range of philosophical questions.  Among the questions to be discussed are the following:  What is the nature of the good life?  What is the relation between virtue and happiness?  What is the best form of government?  Can we know anything at all?  Is knowledge gained through rational thought or through mystical apprehension?  What is the relation between reason and faith?  Can religious truths be demonstrated through reason?  How is the soul related to the body?  What is the nature of prophecy?  What is the relationship between cause and effect?  Can miracles occur?  What are the limits, if any, of God’s power?  The authors to be read include: al-Razi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Ghazali, Ibn Tufayl, and Ibn Rushd (Averroes).  We will read primary sources in translation, with some secondary sources assigned as recommended readings.  No prior knowledge of the Arabic-Islamic philosophical tradition is necessary.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group D.

Phil 77500

Philosophy of Music
Prof. Trivedi

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

Philosophical reflection on music goes back in the West at least as far as the Pythagoreans and Plato, and has undergone a very fertile period within analytic philosophy over the last few decades.  In this class, we will discuss philosophical issues about music that also intersect with metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, value theory, and some non-Western philosophies, besides broader topics in philosophical aesthetics. 

Using a wide variety of musical examples, we will discuss questions such as these: What is music, and how is it related to sounds, noise, and silence?  What is the nature of music as an abstract art of sound?  Do musical works exist and if so, how should we understand their existence as abstract entities?  How are musical works related to their scores, performances, and recordings?  What is the value of music, and what is its purpose?  What accounts for music’s power?  Does music have meaning, and how are we to understand this?  Given that music is without life, consciousness, and mental states, how can music without words or an associated story be expressive of emotions, feelings, and moods?  Does music arouse such extra-musical affective mental states?  If so, how?  How should we understand musical performance?  What about musical improvisation?  Is there a distinct aesthetics of song as opposed to purely instrumental music?  Do different kinds of musics —  Western classical music, jazz, rock, hip-hop, various non-Western musics, and so on — call for different musical aesthetics, or is there enough in common across these? 

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

Phil 77000

The Best of All Possible Worlds
Prof. Grover

4 credits
Monday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA

The claim that we live in the best of all possible worlds, associated most often with Leibniz, has a long history, going back to Plato's Timaeus. It is at the centre of a long-running controversy within medieval Islamic theodicy. Numerous early modern thinkers held some version of it, and it played an important role in the development of optics and dynamics in the 17th and 18th century. Kant endorses it. And it continues to be a topic of discussion both within philosophical theology and outside it, in discussions of the Axiarchic View that reality is as it is because it is best that it be that way.

The course will devote some time to the historical background but the primary goal is to sort through and study the literature on the topic of the best of all possible worlds published in the last forty years or so, including some publications of my own, and also more recent work by Klaas Kraay, Lloyd Strickland, Jesse Steinberg, and others. Different accounts of possible worlds will be examined, as well as topics such as incommensurability, finite vs infinite worlds, random choice, divine omnipotence, and Parfit's 'Mere Addition Paradox' and the related Repugnant Conclusion. 

Non-philosophy students must consult with the instructor before enrolling in this course.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group A.

Phil 77600

Interpretive Practices
Profs. Carroll and Neale

4 credits
Tuesday 11:45-1:45
online

This seminar will examine a range of interpretive practices across disciplines. We will begin with issues in the philosophy of language on the relation between interpretation and different notions of meaning. This will be followed by a discussion of meaning in the arts, especially literature and possibly painting and motion pictures. Debates around the so-called "intentional fallacy" will be center stage. Legal interpretation is next, with a focus on problems raised by statutes and contracts. This will followed by issues of interpretation in history, archaeology, and, time permitting, jokes.  There are no course requirements. Grading will be based on class participation and a final research paper.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group A or C.

Phil 77700

Buddhit Ethics
Prof. Priest

4 credits
Tuesday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA

Ethics plays a central role in Buddhist philosophy. Though the ethics clearly has some things in common with Western systems of ethics, it is quite different in important ways. In this course, we will explore its nature and some of its applications.  We will do this by working through Jay Garfield’s new book, Buddhist Ethics: a Philosophical Exploration (Oxford University Press , 2022).  This will be augmented with appropriate primary texts (in translation).

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C or D.

Phil 77100

Doxastic Cartography: Mapping the Space of Theories and Belief
Prof. Mandelbaum

4 credits
Tuesday 6:30-8:30
Room TBA

Belief is a central concept in philosophical theorizing and yet it's unclear to what extent theories of belief are even in conflict with one another. Dispositionalism and representational realism are in some conflict, but are they competitors for analytic, teleological, or psychofunctionalism? Where do principles of charity or the intentional stance or other attributional aspects interact with the metaphysics of belief? Or transparency of belief theories, or theories that belief aims at the True, or Bayesianism (normative and descriptive), or theories focusing on the norms of belief? What does Stalnakerian total belief state theorists have to do with constitutive norm theorists, and what can these theories possibly have to do with the cognitive science of belief? This course will aim to hash out these questions, ultimately serving to give the first mapping of the logical space of theories of belief. Each week will detail a different movement in epistemological theorizing, building towards a mapping of the logical space of theories of belief. You can use this course to both learn about theories of belief you didn't know, and take part in the much needed project of figuring out how these theories interface. 

This course will satisfy Distribution Group B.

Phil 77200

Biological Essentialism and Racial Realism
Prof. Devitt

4 credits
Wednesday 9:30-11:30
Room TBA

Essentialism about species is today a dead issue (Sober)

Folk essentialism is both false and fundamentally inconsistent with the Darwinian view of species (Griffiths)

Recent biology has confirmed the conviction of those who have long insisted that racial kinds were social kinds, and undermined any possible argument for placing these kinds in the realm of the biological. In its broadest and most common understanding, the concept of race remains little more than the reified residue of racism. (Dupré)

…it is hard nowadays to find an unyielding defense of biological racial realism in philosophy (Maglo)

This course is intended only for graduate students in philosophy.

The Issues

1. What is it to be a member of a particular biological taxon? In virtue of what is an organism, say, a Canis lupus? What makes it one? These are various ways to ask about the ‘essence’, ‘nature’, or ‘identity’ of a particular taxon. They raise the issue of Taxon Essentialism.

2. What is it to be a particular individual organism? In virtue of what is an organism, say, the Queen? What makes it her? These are various ways to ask about the ‘essence’, ‘nature’, or ‘identity’ of a particular individual. They raise the issue of Individual Essentialism.

3. If an individual organism belongs to a taxon does it do so essentially? This is the issue of Essential Membership. Clearly, if we had answers to both Taxon Essentialism and Individual Essentialism we would have an answer to Essential Membership: an organism O is essentially a member of a taxon T iff an organism having the essence of O entails its having the essence of T.

4. What is “racial realism” and is it true?

The Metaphysicians on Essentialism. The essentialism issues 1-3 have been much discussed by metaphysicians in recent times. Thus, on Taxon Essentialism, Saul Kripke (1980), Hilary Putnam (1975), and David Wiggins (1980) have urged that the essence of a taxon, particularly a species is (at least partly) an intrinsic, underlying, probably largely genetic property. This view accords with common sense and has been widely accepted in philosophy. These authors also embraced Essential Membership. And, talking about the Queen in particular, Kripke has urged a view on Individual Essentialism: her origin in certain gametes from certain parents is essential to her. This “origin essentialism” has stirred controversy among metaphysicians (e.g., McGinn 1976, Salmon 1979, Forbes 1986, Robertson 1998).

The methodology of the metaphysicians is to appeal to intuitions.

The Philosophers of Biology on Essentialism. What have philosophers of biology had to say on 1-3? The contrast with metaphysicians could hardly be more stark. First, philosophers of biology (and biologists) are dismissive of the popular Kripkean view on Taxon Essentialism. The idea that a species has an underlying intrinsic essence is thought to smack of “Aristotelian essentialism” and reflect a naive and uninformed view of biology that is incompatible with Darwinism. Clearly, if the essence of a species is not intrinsic it must be relational (assuming that it has an essence at all). The consensus is indeed that the essence is relational: for an organism to be a member of a certain species, it must have a certain history. Second, until recently, the issue of Essential Membership had been largely ignored in philosophy of biology. Insofar as it has been addressed it has been rejected. Third, the issue of Individual Essentialism has been totally ignored in philosophy of biology.

The methodology of philosophers of biology is to appeal to biological theory.

The course will use the methodology of philosophers of biology to argue against almost all of their consensus. So it will be arguing for positions akin to those of the metaphysicians, but without relying on intuitions. This will occupy about 4/5 of the course.

Racial Realism. The recently lively field of the philosophy of race engages philosophers with backgrounds from biology to social theory. A major concern of the field has been with issue 4, in particular with whether race is biologically “real”. A related concern is with what races are, with their essences or natures. The course will consider these issues from the perspective developed earlier and argue that there are racial kinds, in some sense, that are indeed “in the realm of the biological”.  This will occupy about 1/5 of the course.

The course will be organized around my forthcoming book, Biological Essentialism (Oxford University Press), which draws on several published articles.

Anyone who is not a philosophy graduate student should consult with me before enrolling for this course.

Requirements

(i) A brief weekly email raising questions about, making criticisms of, or developing points concerning, matters discussed in the class and reading for that week. 50% of grade.

(ii) A class presentation based on a draft for a paper (topic chosen in consultation with me). The draft to be submitted before Tuesday of the week of presentation. 20% of grade.

(iii) A 2,500 word paper probably arising from the draft in (ii). 30% of grade.

COLLECTIONS OF MANY IMPORTANT ESSAYS

Ereshefsky, Marc, (ed.). 1992a. The Units of Evolution: Essays on the Nature of Species. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [0-262-55020-2] (Sadly, this book is out of print but it may be possible to obtain secondhand copies.)

Wilson, R. A., ed. 1999a. Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

HELPFUL READINGS

Dupré, John. 2002. Humans and Other Animals. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Ereshefsky, Marc. 2001. The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy: A Philosophical Study of Biological Taxonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Glasgow, Joshua M. 2009. A Theory of Race. New York: Routledge.

___, et al. eds. 2019. What Is Race?: Four Philosophical Views. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Godfrey-Smith, Peter. 2014. Philosophy of Biology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hardimon, M. 2017. Rethinking race: The case for deflationary realism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Kitcher, Philip. 2003. In Mendel’s Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology. New York: Oxford University Press. [0-19-515179-8]

Kripke, Saul. 1980. Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

LaPorte, Joseph. 2004. Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [0-521-82599-7]

Millikan, Ruth Garrett. 2000. On Clear and Confused Ideas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Putnam, Hilary.1975. Mind, Language and Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, Richard A. 2010. The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis. Cambridge University Press.

Slater, Matthew H. 2013. Are Species Real? An Essay on the Metaphysics of Species. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sober, Elliott. 1993. Philosophy of Biology. Boulder: Westview Press.

Sterelny, Kim, and Paul Griffiths. 1999. Sex and Death. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [0-226-77304-3]

Wiggins, David. 1980. Sameness and Substance. Oxford: Blackwell.


This course will satisfy either Distribution Group B.

Phil 80200

PhD Proseminar
Profs. Prinz and Crull

4 credits
Wednesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA

Phil 80300

MA Proseminar
Prof. Gilmore

4 credits
Wednesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

The Proseminar is restricted to and required for students entering the MA program. The primary goal is to help students develop skills in seminar discussion, presentation, and graduate-level philosophy research and writing. The course will cover a wide range of areas so as to give students a global (well, mostly Anglo-American) perspective on philosophy before they begin to specialize as their studies develop. Thus, unlike in other seminars, the emphasis will be, not on building up expertise in one area, but on honing philosophical skills that can be applied more generally.  The class will be collaborative, more like a lab than an instructor-led seminar, and all students will be responsible for actively contributing to class discussion.   

A final dimension of the course is that we will devote considerable attention to the basic mechanics of doing scholarly work in philosophy.  Thus, we will discuss such nuts-and-bolts issues as: what makes a good writing sample for PhD and other sorts of academic applications; publishing in academic journals and giving conference presentations; the relations between graduate program rankings, areas of specialization, and placement in jobs and postdocs; research and writing methods (including, e.g., use of citation software); and so on.

Phil 80000

TBA
Prof. Kripke
4 credits
Wednesday 2:00-4:00
online

Phil 76500

History and Philosophy of Psychopathology
Prof. Greenwood

4 credits
Thursday 9:30-11:30
Room TBA

In this course we will conduct a critical conceptual (but empirically informed) exploration of the history, theory, and philosophy (or metaphysics if you like) of psychological disorders. We will consider the general question of what constitutes a psychological disorder (reviewing phenomenological, neurological, social constructionist, latent variable, network, dysfunction and distress accounts) and examine historical and contemporary theoretical accounts of individual psychological disorders such as depression, mania, schizophrenia, paraphilia, addiction, dissociative disorder, autism, and psychopathy (if time permits, we may consider other disorders), and their implications for agent autonomy, moral and legal responsibility, personal identity and social psychology. We will also explore evolutionary psychological explanations of psychological disorders and the possibility of genuine cultural and historical variance in psychological disorders.

All students will give a class presentation and lead a class discussion, and submit a final paper on the general concept of a psychological disorder or on a particular psychological disorder (although I am open to alternative paper topics).

This course will satisfy either Distribution Group A or B. 

Phil 76100

Plato and the Stoics on Virtue and Right Action
Prof. Vasiliou

4 credits
Thursday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA

This course will satisfy either Distribution Group D. 

Phil 72000

Logic
Prof. Warenski

4 credits
Thursday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA

This course is a philosophical introduction to classical symbolic logic. No prior background in logic is assumed. We will study propositional logic and first-order predicate logic. Topics to be covered include semantics, syntax, and proof procedures. We will also touch on the metalogical concepts of soundness and completeness. The goal is to achieve both practical mastery and philosophical understanding of elementary logic.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group E.

Previous Semesters

Course Schedule

 

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
Zoom
(remote)

PHIL 77300
Consciousness and Theory
Prof. Rosenthal
Room TBA (hybrid)
------------
PHIL 77000
Neuroscience and Philosophy of Conscioussness
Profs. Ro and Brown

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)

 

 

 

 

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.

Phil 77xxx

Dissertation Prospectus Writing Seminar
Prof. Teufel

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Phil 80000

Naming and Necessity at Fifty
Profs. Kripke and Padro

4 credits
Wednesday 2:00-4:00
Zoom (remote)

This seminar is part of a series of events organized by Corine Besson, Anandi Hattiangadi, and Romina Padró to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first publication of Naming and Necessity. It will explore the wide range of central philosophical issues on which Naming and Necessity has had a lasting influence. These include, but are not limited to: the nature of names and natural kind terms; the failure of the description or cluster/description theories; the distinction between metaphysical necessity and epistemic apriority; empty names; the metaphysics of essence and origin; the nature of modality and possible worlds; conceivability and the epistemology of modality; the role of philosophical intuition; and the mind-body problem. The seminar will take the format of a series of lectures by invited speakers, including: Andrea Bianchi (Parma), David Chalmers (NYU), Michael Devitt (CUNY), Kit Fine (NYU), Mario Gómez-Torrente (UNAM), Allen Hazen (University of Alberta), Saul Kripke (CUNY), Michaelis Michael (New South Wales), Stephen Neale (CUNY), Gary Ostertag (CUNY), Jessica Pepp (Uppsala), Panu Raatikainen (Tampere), Nathan Salmón (UC Santa Barbara), Robert Stalnaker (MIT), and Nathan Wildman (Tilburg).

Students taking the seminar for credit will be expected to attend regularly and submit a term paper on some topic addressed in Naming and Necessity or subsequent literature. Some previous exposure to the central ideas of Naming and Necessity would be desirable. Supplementary classes reserved for students will take place on Mondays from 2 to 4 pm (beginning on February 7th). Attendance is encouraged but not mandatory.

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.

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.

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.

Phil 77700

Neuroscience and Philosophy of Consciousness
Profs. Ro and Brown
4 credits
Thursday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA (in-person)

The course will combine a focus on the dominant theories of consciousness in the current literature in philosophy and psychology with a historical and concurrent focus on especially revealing neuroscientific and related experimental findings.  A major goal will be to evaluate theories of consciousness by appeal to empirical findings. We will also keep in mind possible directions for fruitful research suggested by the interaction of current findings and theoretical explanations.

Course Schedule

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9:30–11:30

   

PHIL 76000
Zen
Prof. Priest
Room TBA

 

11:45–1:45

PHIL 76500
Biology of MInd
Prof. Garson
Room TBA

PHIL 77600
Relational Moral Address
Prof. Fricker
Room TBA

PHIL 80200
PhD Proseminar
Profs. Khalidi and Profs. Vasiliou
Room TBA
-----
PHIL 80300
MA Proseminar
Prof. Gilmore
Room TBA

PHIL 77800
Aesthetics and Nature
Prof. Shapshay
Room TBA

2:00–4:00

 PHIL 77000
 Emotion
 Prof. Prinz
 Room TBA

PHIL 72000
Logic
Prof. Pappas
Room TBA

PHIL 80000
TBA
Profs. Kripke and Profs. Padro
Room TBA

PHIL 77200
Law and Language
Prof. Neale
Room TBA

4:15–6:15

PHIL 77500
Race, Racism, and Racial Justice
Prof. Mills
Room TBA

PHIL 77700
Rethinking Democracy, Socialism, and Feminism
Prof. Gould
Room TBA

Philosophy Colloquium Series
Rooms 9204/9205

 

6:30–8:30

 

PHIL 77100
Reference and Experimental Philosophy
Prof. Devitt
Room TBA

 

 

Course Descriptions

Phil 76500

Biology of Mind
Prof. Garson

4 credits
Mon. 11:45-1:45
Room TBA

This course is a survey of the ways that philosophy of biology can help us make progress on traditional and contemporary problems of mind and society. Are people altruistic or are we ultimately selfish? How much of my personality is due to genetics, and how much to environment? What does it even mean to call something “innate?” Does culture evolve? Does race exist in a biological way, or is it merely a product of human classification? Are there evolved psychological differences between men and women? Are mental disorders diseases, or forms of social deviance? Does human nature even exist, or is the very idea of human nature a tool of oppression?

Along the way, we will familiarize ourselves with concepts and debates within the philosophy of biology, such as the adaptationism debate, the evolutionary psychology debate, the group selection debate, the innateness debate, and debates about the very idea of genetic causation. Increasingly, philosophers in many different fields – such as philosophy of mind and psychology, philosophy of medicine and bioethics, political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of race and gender – are expected to have some familiarity with concepts and debates of philosophy of biology. One purpose of this course is to give you that familiarity.

This course does not presuppose any previous background in biology.

During the class, we will read philosophers of biology such as Peter Godfrey-Smith, Elisabeth Lloyd, Elliott Sober, Quayshawn Spencer, Samir Okasha, Cecilia Heyes, Daniel Dennett, Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Paul Griffiths, Susan Oyama, Edouard Machery, Michael Devitt, and Karen Neander. As a framework for these readings, we will use the second edition of my textbook, The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction. All readings will be available through Dropbox.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group B.

Phil 77000

Emotion
Prof. Prinz

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

This seminar investigates the nature and the roles of emotions from an interdisciplinary perspective.  We will begin by investigating competing theories of emotions, and related.  Are emotions embodied?  Do they require cognition?  Are they ways of seeing or ways of acting?

We will also look at where emotions come from.  Are they innate?  Are they shaped by culture?  Do they change over historical time?  In addition, we will look at debates about emotions and rationality.  Are emotions rational, irrational, or arational?  What makes an emotion inappropriate?  Why do emotions linger?

There are related questions about emotions in psychiatry.  When is an emotion unhealthy?  When are they excessive or deficient?  Along with these general questions, we will consider specific emotions, such as anger and disgust, as well as epistemic emotions, such as boredom and interest.  This will raise questions about the role of emotions in various domains such as ethics and aesthetics.  Though philosophical readings will outnumber the rest, we will also read perspectives from several other fields including, psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and history.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group B.

Phil 77500

Race, Racism, and Racial Justice
Prof. Mills

4 credits
Monday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA 

This course will look at the interlinked themes of race, racism, and racial justice. The timing is particularly appropriate given the summer of 2020’s massive national and global protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing by the Minneapolis police, and the new Biden Administration’s declared commitment to making the achievement of racial equity a central policy. We will consider such issues as the history of racism, the “metaphysics” of race, and competing analyses of racism, before turning to the central theme of institutional and structural racial injustice. How should they be understood, and what normative framework is best suited for conceptualizing and remedying them?

Recent work by political theorists such as Iris Marion Young, Tommie Shelby, Andrew Valls, Charles Mills, Christopher Lebron, Shatema Threadcraft, and others will be canvassed, but we will also take a look at some popular/grassroots framing of the issues. If there is time, we may also glance at some of the legal literature, and how “equal protection” has historically been interpreted.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

Phil 77600

Relational Moral Address
Prof. Fricker

4 credits
Tuesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

“Moral address” is a phrase used to signify our moral responses to wrongdoing. We will explore explicitly second-personal conceptions of moral address, and also the ways in which our second-personal responses are socially embedded and scaffolded. We will start with a parallel case of autonomy, and specifically the feminist re-envisioning of autonomy as essentially relational. These theorists saw that the capacity for autonomy was socially sustained in relation to others, and could be eroded if those relations failed. Similarly, the second-personal responses of moral address—notably blame—might be viewed as essentially relational, and therefore similarly socially sustained and trained. Two fundamentally important elements in these sustaining relations are trust and hope. We will therefore spend some significant time exploring different views of both trust and hope, and analyzing how both trust and hope are woven into our various ‘reactive attitudes and feelings’ through which (on P. F. Strawson’s conception) we perform moral address. We will also examine the idea of moral obligation from a relational point of view (for instance, what it is to owe someone else that you do something), and how proleptic mechanisms (that might be construed as taking up a ‘hopeful’ stance towards someone else’s capacity to behave better) can corrupt our relations of moral address so that they deteriorate into forms of moral control.

Learning goals:
By the end of the course you should have a good understanding of a range of central topics in moral address of an interpersonal or relational kind. You will have thought deeply about a range of different, sometimes opposing, positions concerning these topics. My aim is to offer enough background as we go along, so that students with little prior grounding in this area of moral philosophy can take full part. There will be two strictly required readings for each week, which we will actively discuss in class, and there will also be at least two other recommended weekly readings. Our collective discussion of the required readings will be normally opened by a short student presentation, to help you develop relevant professional skills of presenting, using a handout or powerpoint, and spontaneous constructive critical discussion of issues raised.

You will also have a half-hour one-to-one session with me on a bullet-point plan for your term paper. The purpose of this meeting is to support your progress in choosing, researching, and planning the topic and argument of your term paper, due three weeks later.

Assessment:
Term paper (5000-5500 words incl. notes but not bibliography).

Phil 72000

Logic
Prof. Pappas

4 credits
Tuesday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA 

This course is a philosophical introduction to classical symbolic logic. No prior background in logic is assumed. We will study propositional logic and first-order predicate logic. Topics to be covered include semantics, syntax, and proof procedures. We will also touch on the metalogical concepts of soundness and completeness. The goal is to achieve both practical mastery and philosophical understanding of elementary logic.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group E.

Phil 77700

Rethinking Democracy, Socialism, and Feminism
Prof. Gould

4 credits
Tuesday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA 

This course will explore the interconnections that can be discerned within and among democratic, socialist, and feminist theories and will analyze some of the central questions that arise at their intersection. Some of the liveliest questions in contemporary political philosophy concern whether it is possible to forge a unified approach that pulls together core elements of these three diverse traditions of thought which, together with anti-racist and postcolonial perspectives, could serve to guide fundamental social and political transformations.

The course will investigate these potentials by first considering some readings from democratic theory that incline in a socialist direction (J. S. Mill, Dewey, Macpherson, Pateman, Gould, Christiano), and then some classical socialist theories that are explicitly or implicitly democratic (e.g., Marx, Owen, Fourier, Saint-Simone, Louise Michel, Lucy Parsons, E. Bernstein, Emma Goldman, Volarine de Cleyre, G.D.H. Cole), followed by feminist approaches to democracy that are compatible with socialism, e.g., Tronto's "Caring Democracy," or that extend the account of domination and exploitation to encompass the phenomenon of group oppression (Iris Young, Nancy Fraser, Ann Ferguson).

The course will go on to take up some key conceptual issues for a possible democratic socialism, delineated with all three theories in view. These problems will include the role of the market and democratic self-management at work (G. A. Cohen, Gould, Schweickart, Carens, Vrousalis); varieties of inclusive political participation, deliberation, and representation (Mansbridge, J. Cohen, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor); and models of mutual aid and cooperative care (e.g., Kropotkin, Selma James, S. Federici, Incite! Women of Color against Violence, Dean Spade). Attention will be paid to areas of substantive (dis)agreement in regard to new institutional and social forms, and also to the differences in methodologies and emphases that the various theoretical perspectives would bring to the development of a more unified approach to social and political change.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

Phil 77100

Reference and Experimental Philosophy
Prof. Devitt

4 credits
Tuesday 6:30-8:30
Room TBA 

This course is concerned with the substantive issue “What is the nature of reference?” and with the methodological issue “How should we go about answering that question?” The answer to the methodological question has implications for the method of “armchair philosophy” in general.

Substantive. It is usual to think that referential relations hold between language and thoughts on the one hand, and the world on the other. The most striking example of such a relation is the naming relation, the sort that holds between ‘Socrates’ and the famous philosopher Socrates.  Many other sorts of words are best seen as having other sorts of referential relations to the world for which various terms are used; for example, ‘denotation’ and ‘application’.  Usually, philosophers are interested in reference because they take it to be the core of meaning.  Thus, the fact that ‘Socrates’ refers to that philosopher is the core of the name's meaning and hence of its contribution to the meaning of any sentence - for example, ‘Socrates is wise’ - that contains the name.

The central question about reference is: In virtue of what does a term have its reference? Answering this requires a theory that explains the term’s relation to its referent. Until the 70s, answers were nearly always along descriptivist lines: the reference of a term was determined by descriptions competent speakers associated with it. Then came the revolution, led by Kripke, which rejected description theories for names and some other terms in favor of some sort of historical-causal theory.

Methodological. How should we get to the truth of the matter about reference and language in general? The received methodology, in both philosophy and linguistics, appears to be that we should consult our metalinguistic intuitions (which in philosophy are often thought to be a priori). In particular, theories of reference seem to have been supported in this way.  And the intuitions consulted in philosophy have been those of philosophers themselves.

This methodology has been challenged by a group of “experimental philosophers”, starting with the now-classic paper, “Semantics Cross-Cultural Style”, by Machery et al (2004). They tested the intuitions of the folk, showing that they differ from those of the philosophers and vary across cultures. Stephen Stich and Edouard Machery, take this to discredit the whole enterprise of theorizing about reference. It will be argued in the course that experimental philosophers are right to be critical of the received methodology but wrong to respond by testing metalinguistic intuitions of the folk. Rather, theories of language, including theories of reference, should be tested against linguistic usage. Previous versions of this class have led to such tests, some resulting in publications. I am looking for more collaborators.

Substance. The course will be concerned primarily with theories of reference for singular terms: for proper names like ‘Socrates’, demonstratives like ‘this cat’, pronouns like ‘she’, definite descriptions like ‘the last great philosopher of antiquity’, and indefinite descriptions like ‘a lion’. Anaphoric reference will not be considered.  However, there will be discussion of “natural kind” terms like ‘gold’ and ‘tiger’ and “artifactual” kind terms like ‘pencil’. Figures to be discussed include Frege, Russell, Kripke, Donnellan, Searle, Evans, Putnam, Burge, Grice, Kaplan, Martí, Neale, Bach, Reimer.

Methodology. Our discussion of definite descriptions will raise a lively issue of general significance for the philosophy of language: How should settle whether a linguistic phenomenon is to be handled “semantically” or “pragmatically”?

This is not an introduction to the philosophy of language. Anyone wishing to take it who has not already taken a course in the philosophy of language should consult with me before enrolling.

Requirements
(i) A brief weekly email raising questions about, making criticisms of, or developing points concerning, matters discussed in the class and reading for that week. 50% of grade.
(ii) A class presentation based on a draft for a paper (topic chosen in consultation with me). The draft to be submitted before Tuesday of the week of presentation. 20% of grade.
(iii) A 2,500 word paper probably arising from the draft in (ii). 30% of grade.

READINGS
Devitt, M., and K. Sterelny. 1999. Language and Reality. 2nd. edn. MIT.  0-631-19689-7.
Martinich, A. P., ed. The Philosophy of Language (Oxford)
Ostertag, G. ed. 1998. Definite Descriptions: A Reader (MIT). 0-262-65049-5.
Reimer, M. and A. Bezuidenhout, eds. 2004. Descriptions and Beyond. Oxford. 0-19-927052-X
Hawthorne, J., and David Manley. 2012. The Reference Book. Oxford. 978-0-19-969367-2
Bianchi, A. ed. 2015. In On Reference. Oxford: Oxford. 978–0–19–871408–8
Haukioja, ed. 2015. Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Language, Bloomsbury. 978-1-4725-7073-4
King, J. 2001. Complex Demonstratives: A Quantificational Account. MIT. 0-262-11263-9

This course will satisfy Distribution Group A.

Phil 76000

Zen
Prof. Priest

4 credits
Wednesday 9:30-11:30
Room TBA 

The two and a half thousand years of Buddhist philosophy, with its many different schools, is a rich tradition in all areas of philosophy. Zen (禪, Chin: Chan) is a particularly intriguing form of Buddhism, combining, as it does, a claim that the ultimate nature of reality cannot be characterised or explained by conceptual thinking, together with sophisticated discussions in metaphysics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind, about this.  In this course we will examine Zen philosophy.  Zen cannot be understood without understanding the traditions of Buddhism and Daoism on which it draws.  The first half of the course will look at these. This will involve looking at, amongst other things, parts of the Mūlamadhymakakārikā, the Vimalakīrti Sūtra, and the Zhuangzi. In the second part of the course, we will turn to the writings of Zen philosophers themselves, including those of Huineng, Linji (Rinzai), and Dōgen. Background reading:

Hershock, P. (2019), ‘Chan Buddhism’, in E. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/buddhism-chan/.

Nagatomo, S. (2019), ‘Japanese Zen Buddhist Philosophy’, in E. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/japanese-zen/.

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

Phil 80200

PhD Proseminar
Profs. Khalidi and Profs. Vasiliou

4 credits
Wednesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

The Proseminar is restricted to and required for students entering the PhD program.

Phil 80300

MA Proseminar
Prof. Gilmore
4 credits
Wednesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

The Proseminar is restricted to and required for students entering the MA program. The primary goal is to help students develop skills in seminar discussion, presentation, and graduate-level philosophy research and writing. The course will cover a wide range of areas so as to give students a global (well, mostly Anglo-American) perspective on philosophy before they begin to specialize as their studies develop. Thus, unlike in other seminars, the emphasis will be, not on building up expertise in one area, but on honing philosophical skills that can be applied more generally.  The class will be collaborative, more like a lab than an instructor-led seminar, and all students will be responsible for actively contributing to class discussion.  

A final dimension of the course is that we will devote considerable attention to the basic mechanics of doing scholarly work in philosophy.  Thus, we will discuss such nuts-and-bolts issues as: what makes a good writing sample for PhD and other sorts of academic applications; publishing in academic journals and giving conference presentations; the relations between graduate program rankings, areas of specialization, and placement in jobs and postdocs; research and writing methods (including, e.g., use of citation software); and so on.

Phil 80000

TBA
Profs. Kripke and Profs. Padro

4 credits
Wednesday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA 


TBA

Phil 77800

Aesthetics and Nature
Prof. Shapshay

4 credits
Thursday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

“Aesthetics and Nature” takes up two main clusters of questions: First, what constitutes appropriate aesthetic appreciation of nature? Is it importantly different from appropriate art appreciation?  Second, to what extent are aesthetic values important for environmentalism? That is, are aesthetic values too weak, too ‘scenery-obsessed,’ too elitist, or generally, too anthropocentric to outweigh human-welfare based reasons to exploit nature as a resource? Given the alarming effects and acceleration of anthropogenic climate change, these guiding questions feel especially urgent today.

To investigate these questions, we’ll start with some historical treatments of the three main aesthetic categories to emerge in 18th c. European aesthetics (predominantly but not exclusively with respect to nature): Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757), Immanuel Kant’s The Critique of the Power of Judgement (1790), and Uvedale Price’s “Essay on the Picturesque as Compared with the Sublime and Beautiful” (1794)Then we’ll consider the increasing turn toward aesthetics as philosophy of art in the 19th c. (due in large part to Hegel), before turning to the (re)birth of environmental aesthetics around the social movements of the 1970s up to the present.

Contemporary readings will be grouped thematically and will include:

  • Allen Carlson. 2009. Nature and Landscape: An Introduction to Environmental Aesthetics Columbia University Press.
  • Noël Carroll, 1993. “On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History” in Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell eds. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Cambridge UP, 244-266.
  • William Cronon, 1995. “The Trouble with Wilderness” in William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 69-90.
  • Yuriko Saito, 1998. “Appreciating Nature on Its Own Terms” Environmental Ethics 20: 135-149.
  • Andrew Brennan, 1984. “The Moral Standing of Natural Objects.” Environmental Ethics 6: 35–56.
  • Janna Thompson, 1995. “Aesthetics and the Value of Nature.” Environmental Ethics 17: 291–305.
  • Holmes Rolston, III. 2002. “From Beauty to Duty: Aesthetics of Nature and Environmental Ethics.” In Environment and the Arts: Perspective on Environmental Aesthetics, edited by Arnold Berleant, 127–141. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Elliott Sober. 1986. “Philosophical Problems for Environmentalism.” In The Preservation of Species, edited by Bryan G. Norton, 173–194. Princeton University Press.
  • Robert D. Bullard. 1994. "Environmental Blackmail in Minority Communities." In Reflecting on Nature: Readings in Environmental Philosophy, edited by Lori Gruen and Dale Jamieson, 132–141. Oxford University Press.
  • Ned Hettinger, 2005. “Allen Carlson’s Environmental Aesthetics and the Protection of the Environment.” Environmental Ethics 27: 57–76.
    • ———. 2008. “Objectivity in Environmental Aesthetics and Environmental Protection.” In Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty, edited by Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott, 413–437. Columbia University Press.
  • Glenn Parsons, 2018. “Nature Aesthetics and the Respect Argument” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism special issue “The Good, the Beautiful, the Green” eds. Sandra Shapshay & Levi Tenen.
  • Robert Stecker. 2012. “Epistemic Norms, Moral Norms, and Nature Appreciation.” Environmental Ethics 34: 247–264.
  • Nick Zangwill. 2000. “In Defence of Moderate Aesthetic Formalism.” Philosophical Quarterly 50: 476–493.
  • Jennifer Welchman. 2018 “Aesthetics of Nature, Constitutive Goods, and Environmental Conservation” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism special issue “The Good, the Beautiful, the Green” eds. Sandra Shapshay & Levi Tenen.
  • Sandra Shapshay. 2013. “Contemporary Environmental Aesthetics and the Neglect of the Sublime” British Journal of Aesthetics.
  • Katie McShane. 2018. “The Role of Awe in Environmental Ethics” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism special issue “The Good, the Beautiful, the Green” eds. Sandra Shapshay & Levi Tenen.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

Phil 77200

Law and Language
Prof. Neale

4 credits
Thursday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA 

This seminar will address problems at the intersection of philosophy and legal theory that have distinctive linguistic and epistemological components. The problems in question arise in connection with the following:

The nature of law and its linguistic promulgation 
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press
The language of civil disobedience
The interpretation of legal texts
Intentions and evidence for intentions
Ambiguity, vagueness and underspecification
Varieties of textualism

No detailed knowledge of legal theory, linguistics or the philosophy of language will be assumed.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group A.

Course Schedule

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9:30–11:30





 
 

PHIL 76700
History of Philosophy and Psychopathology
Prof. Greenwood
Room TBA

 

11:45–1:45

PHIL 76500
Model Theory and Philosophy
Prof. Kossak
Room TBA

PHIL 77600
Philosophy of Literature
Prof. Carroll
Room TBA

PHIL 77700
Epistemic Virtues and Vices
Prof. Fricker
Room TBA

PHIL 76200
Ethics and Agency in Classical Chinese Thought
Prof. Sarkissian
Room TBA

2:00–4:00

  PHIL 76600
  Memory
  Prof. Khalidi
  Room TBA

PHIL 77100
Social Construction
Prof. Prinz
Room TBA

PHIL 80000
Rule-Following and Normativity
Profs. Kripke & Profs. Padro
Room TBA

PHIL 76300
Quine and Sellars on Thought and Language
Prof. Rosenthal
Room TBA

4:15–6:15

PHIL 77500
The Aims and Justification of State Punishment
Prof. Jacobs
Room TBA

PHIL 77300
Reading Wittgenstein and Heidegger
Prof. Priest
Room TBA

Philosophy Colloquium Series
Rooms 9204/9205

PHIL 78500
Climate Change and Social Change
Prof. Brownstein
Room TBA

6:30–8:30

PHIL 76000
Critique of Pure
Reason

Prof. Teufel
Room TBA

PHIL 77000
Continental and Decolonial Epistemology
Prof. Alcoff
Room TBA

 

 

Course Descriptions

Phil 76500

Model Theory and Philosophy
Prof. Kossak

4 credits
Mon. 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

Of the four major branches of mathematical logic, from their inception, three of them---set theory, proof theory, and computability theory--- have had strong ties with ontology. What is a set? What is a proof? What is a computation? Even though there seems to be a general consensus as to how those notions function in mathematical practice, in philosophy they still inspire fruitful debates. The status of the fourth and the youngest branch – model theory – is different. While its roots can be traced to earlier work by Thoralf Skolem, Kurt Gödel, Anatoly Maltsev and others, the history of model theory begins for good in the 1950's with the systematic explorations by Alfred Tarski and Abraham Robinson, and their respective schools. Pertaining to those developments, there is also a legitimate question: What is a mathematical structure?  The aim of the course is to explore plausible answers.

The course will begin with an outline of first-order logic, to give a sufficient background for a discussion of basic concepts of model theory. We will discuss the development of the classical number systems, and the axiomatic method in set theory. Those are the two basic ingredients needed to explain how mathematical logic is used to analyze and classify mathematical structures.  While prior familiarity with first-order logic and some exposure to abstract algebra will be helpful in the discussion of some more advanced results at the end of the course, the course has no formal prerequisites. Most examples will be kept at the basic level, with all mathematics behind them fully explained.

Two recent books have attracted much attention: Philosophy and Model Theory, by Tim Button and Sean Walsh (Oxford University Press, 2018), and Model Theory and the Philosophy of Mathematical Practice: Formalization without Foundationalism, by John Baldwin (Cambridge University Press, 2018). The course could be considered an introduction to a more advanced course based on the very rich material of both books. 

The text for the course will be Mathematical Logic: On Numbers, Sets, Structures, and Symmetry, by Roman Kossak, Springer Graduate Texts in Philosophy, 2018.

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

Phil 76600

Memory
Prof. Khalidi

4 credits
Mon. 2:00-4:00
Room TBA 

The topic of memory has not been as popular among philosophers of mind and psychology as topics like: perception, concept, belief, emotion, and consciousness.  But the philosophical problems and puzzles surrounding memory are at least as compelling as those involving these other mental constructs.  In the past decade or so, there has been an uptick in philosophical interest in “episodic memory”: the capacity to retain information from experiences pertaining to events that occurred in one’s own personal past.  This interest has been fuelled by a body of empirical evidence that points to memory’s constructive nature and its proneness to being distorted or its tendency to incorporate information that derives from other sources.  This raises philosophical questions about the very nature of episodic memories: must they be causally connected with past experience, and are they true by definition (is the verb ‘remember’ factive)?  It also raises questions about the dividing line between memory and imagination, to the point that some philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists have argued for rejecting the distinction altogether, lumping them together as forms of “mental time travel.”  Can we maintain that memory is a distinct capacity in the face of this challenge?  If so, what individuates it?  Moreover, can we be assured that it is a reliable source of knowledge about the past?  Is the function of memory to provide such knowledge, or to strengthen social ties, to enhance self-understanding, harbor grudges, reduce boredom, reminisce about dead loved ones, teach lessons to young people, cope with thoughts of mortality, or foster our sense of personal identity?  Finally, does episodic memory have a distinctive phenomenology, and is that part of its functional profile?
Some topics that may be discussed:

  • Memory: episodic vs. semantic memory
  • Causal theory of memory
  • Memory traces
  • Phenomenology of memory and “autonoetic consciousness”
  • Memory errors and “false memories”
  • Constructivism about memory
  • “Mental time travel” and imagination
  • The function of memory
  • Memory, truth, and factivity
  • Memory and personal identity

Readings will be drawn mainly from the recent literature in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, but we will also read a few classic papers in both the philosophy and science of memory (e.g. Martin & Deutscher 1966, Tulving 1972, Loftus & Palmer 1974).
 
This course will satisfy Distribution Group B.

Phil 77500

The Aims and Justification of State Punishment
Prof. Jacobs

4 credits
Monday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA 

The course examines the main theories of criminal sanction relevant to contemporary liberal democracies (and the U.S. and U.K. in particular). In a liberal democracy if the state is to deliberately deprive persons of liberty (and/or impose other undesirable conditions) as a response to criminal behavior a clear and widely endorsable justification is needed. That is a requirement for the legitimacy of the rule of law in a liberal-democratic political order. We will explore numerous conceptions of the aim and justification of sanction, how the relation between law and morality is understood in a liberal democracy, and the relation between criminal justice and other aspects of justice overall (e.g., distributive and political justice). How does criminal justice figure in the conception of a just society? That last question is a matter of pronounced significance at present. 
 
While most of the discussion will focus on the U.S. and U.K. we will also consider approaches to criminal sanction in some other broadly liberal democratic countries. This is not primarily a comparative course but even amongst Anglophone countries with a good deal of shared jurisprudential tradition and political culture there is some notable diversity regarding censure and sanction. We will look at efforts at restorative justice in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. What do those efforts suggest about how to understand the project of restorative justice, how it should be conceptualized as an alternative to traditional models of criminal justice, and what counts as success?
 
There are many additional, important issues but we are limited in regard to what we can include so, our focus will be on punishment. Questions about criminalization and policies governing such things as plea-bargaining, parole, mandatory sentences, probation, and reintegration are important and we won’t ignore them. However, the focus on punishment will present us with plenty of significant challenges in its own right.
 
Views regarding punishment reach well back into antiquity. We will be focused on the recent and contemporary world but right at the start I’ll say a bit about the history of the issues to set the course in motion. Below is a list of the main topics and readings. In addition, I will provide a bibliography of philosophical works and some especially relevant works by contemporary criminologists.
 
Some Key Background on Law and Morality
H. L. A. Hart, Law, Liberty, and Morality
Jeffrie G. Murphy,  “Legal Moralism and Liberalism”
Lon Fuller, Excerpt from The Morality of Law
Nicola Lacey, Excerpts from State Punishment
Retributivism
R. A. Duff, excerpt from Trials and Punishment
Jeffrie G. Murphy, “Last Words on Retribution”
Andrew von Hirsch, excerpt from Censure and Sanction
Deterrence
C. Beccaria, excerpt from On Crimes and Punishments
J. Bentham, excerpts from An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
H.L.A. Hart, excerpt from Punishment and Responsibility
Daniel Farrell, “The Justification of General Deterrence”
Expressivism
Joel Feinberg, “The Expressive Theory of Punishment”
Communicative Theory
R. A. Duff, excerpts from Punishment, Communication, and Community
Restorative Justice
John Braithwaite, “Principles of Restorative Justice”
Joanna Shapland,“Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice: Just Responses to Crime?”
 
Familiarity with some of the most influential empirical studies can be very helpful. Moreover, numerous criminologists are concerned with moral and political aspects of the issues. They want to bring philosophy and criminology into fuller dialogue. Some such works are listed below. I will be happy to help with bibliographic suggestions, regarding both philosophy and criminology, and the relations between them. (There is some very interesting recent work on connections between empirical criminology, penal policy, and political theory.)
 
These are some important works by criminologists with strong interests in a broad range of relevant moral issues.
 
John Braithwaite, Crime, Shame and Reintegration
David Garland, The Culture of Control
Craig Haney, Reforming PunishmentPsychological Limitations to the Pains of
Imprisonment
Alison Liebling, Prisons and Their Moral Performance
Ian Loader, Richard Sparks, Public Criminology?
Ian Loader, Neil Walker, Civilizing Security
Gresham Sykes, The Society of CaptivesA Study of Maximum Security Prison [From the
late 1950’sand not directly about moral issues but still very interesting and relevant to important matters of moral psychology.]
Andrew von Hirsch, Andrew Ashworth, Julian Roberts, Principled Sentencing
 
Much of my own work in recent years has focused on issues covered in this course. My most recent book, The Liberal State and Criminal SanctionSeeking Justice and Civility was published recently (Oxford University Press, 2020), and I have written numerous articles and chapters contributed to collections. I co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics (2016), and I have been Editor of the journal, Criminal Justice Ethics (Taylor & Francis) since 2011.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

Phil 76000

Critique of Pure Reason
Prof. Teufel

4 credits
Monday 6:30-8:30
Room TBA 

In his three seminal works, the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/7), the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), and the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790), as well as in dozens of other influential publications, Immanuel Kant changed the course subsequent philosophy would take—determining many future philosophers’ positions as either (implicitly or explicitly) Kantian, or as (implicitly or explicitly) opposed to Kant’s or Kantian views, or (not infrequently) as a combination of both.
 
In order to understand these classifications (which often come with the force of accusations), we must first understand the views that give rise to them. In this course, we will be paying particular attention to Kant’s theoretical philosophy in the Critique of Pure Reason. Our starting point will be Kant’s famous ‘Copernican Revolution in Philosophy,’ announced in the Preface to the Critique of Pure Reason, which proposes a fundamental change in philosophical perspective and method: from a naïve form of realism (aka ‘dogmatism’) to a more complicated (namely, ‘critical’) view of the nature of reality and our way(s) of knowing it. This moment in the history of philosophy is of more than merely antiquarian interest. A variety of ‘non-critical’ realisms (naïve and otherwise) have over the years made a resurgence and inform much of Anglo-American analytic philosophy today, even as that same analytic tradition is arguably predicated on some of Kant’s most fundamental concepts and distinctions.
 
The preponderance of the course will be devoted to a detailed look at the mechanics of Kant’s views as presented in the Critique of Pure Reason. Throughout, we will, where suitable, make connections to contemporary philosophical thought. We will end by looking at the internal tensions Kant’s critical system is prone to and at some of the ways in which Kant himself later sought to remedy those tensions.
 
This course will satisfy Distribution Group D – modern.

Phil 77600

Philosophy of Literature
Prof. Carroll

4 credits
Tuesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

In this course, we will canvass major topics in the philosophy of literature including the ontology of literature, the nature of narrative and that of fiction, philosophical issues regarding the novel (and possibly lyric poetry), the relation of literature to cognition, to emotion, to morality, to society and politics. and issues of the interpretation and evaluation of literature. There are no prerequisites for this course. Grading will be based on class participation and a final term paper.

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C.

Phil 77100

Social Construction
Prof. Prinz

4 credits
Tuesday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA 

The idea that aspects of our world are socially constructed has been defended within a number of domains. Defenses of social construction can be found in philosophy of science, feminist philosophy, critical race theory, philosophy of psychiatry, Foucauldian genealogy, and other subfields. It also has defenders in fields outside of philosophy, including sociology, social psychology, anthropology, gender studies, and disability studies. 
 
The goal of this seminar is twofold: to better understand social constructionist claims and to explore controversies about social construction in several domains. With respect to understanding, a number of questions will be considered: how does the idea of social construction relate to relativism, nominalism, and anti-realism?  Is social constructionism a thesis about norms, concepts, causation, or constitution?  How does social construction take place?  Does it apply to all kinds of categories (e.g., both social kinds and so-called natural kinds)? 
We will consider a number of domains where debates about social construction have taken place: biological and chemical kinds, emotions, mental illness, sex/gender, sexual orientation, race, and racism. In each case, there are questions about whether the phenomenon in question is natural, cultural, or some combination of the two.  Along the way, we will consider a range of constructivist perspectives, as well as some opposing views.

This course will satisfy either Distribution Group B or Group C.

Phil 77300

Reading Wittgenstein and Heidegger
Prof. Priest

4 credits
Tuesday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA 

Wittgenstein and Heidegger are two of the most influential philosophers of the 20th Century.  Both were charismatic figures who influenced those around them, as well as many philosophers from subsequent generations. The similarities do not end there. Both were concerned with central issues in metaphysics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, and being embedded in the social world. Moreover, the thought of both evolved considerably over their lives. Wittgenstein came to reject the Tractatus; and though Heidegger never rejected his earlier work, it took a quite different direction after the Kehre (turning). However, the evolutions in the philosophy of the two thinkers went in somewhat opposite directions. Wittgenstein moved from the apparent mysticism of the last parts of the Tractatus to the importance of people being embedded in forms of life in the Investigations.  Heiddegger, on the other hand, went from a story of how people are thrown into the (social) world in Being and Time to the apparent mysticism of some of the later writings.

The secondary literature on both of these writers is enormous. However, in this course we will concentrate on the primary texts, reading and discussing them each week. We will consider not only the thought of each philosopher, but the relationships between the two. For Wittgenstein will read the Tractatus, and at least Part 1 of the Investigations. For Heidegger we will read at least Division 1 of Being and Time, and a selection of the post-Kehre writings.

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

Phil 77000

Continental and Decolonial Epistemology
Prof. Alcoff

4 credits
Tuesday 6:30-8:30
Room TBA 

There is a widespread skepticism about many sorts of knowledge claims today, and this skepticism has been promoted from both the right and the left. The skepticism is largely based on the realization that there are variable frameworks that can play a significant role in whether or not a claim becomes accepted as true, and the further realization that some of these variable frameworks may be connected to nationalist projects, corporate interests, social movements, etc.  Such skepticism needs to be met not with a retreat into overly simplistic notions of knowledge but with more realistic accounts that include both critique and reconstruction.
 
This course will cover recent work on the relationship of knowledge, power, and cultural differences. Continental philosophy – especially critical theory, hermeneutics, and post-structuralism – has thematized the way in which knowledge is always embedded in cultural history and social institutions. This work has advanced the discussion about how to strengthen inadequate self-correcting measures in the production of knowledge and science. We will begin with some key texts from this tradition, from Habermas, Gadamer, and Foucault.
 
Yet this work in continental philosophy has all but ignored issues of colonialism and racial domination. This course will stage an imaginary conversation/debate between the continental problematics and new decolonial ones.
 
The effort to decolonize epistemology is a growing field that takes up the ways in which some mainstream theories of justification and methodologies of inquiry carry implicit colonialist assumptions that call for critical analysis and reconstruction. We will read a variety of work in this new area that takes up the following themes: 1) Eurocentrism, how to define it precisely and what the solution to it might look like; 2) Critiques of core concepts in the European (including Anglo-American) tradition, such as the category of the ‘human,’ the ‘anthropocene,’ ‘religion,’ ‘science,’ and others; 3) Debates over a way forward, from interculturality, delinking from western paradigms, pluriversality, and other models of dialogic knowing that can accommodate multiple frameworks of analysis.
 
This section of the course will include works by David Haekwon Kim, Manuel Vargas, Edward Said, Leopoldo Zea, Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Nassim Noroozi, Ofelia Schutte, Omar Rivera, Sandra Harding, Kyle Whyte, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Walter Mignolo, Inkeri Koskinen, Kristina Rolin, and Stephanie Rivera Berruz. 

This course will satisfy either Distribution Group B or Group C.

Phil 76700

History and Philosophy of Psychopathology
Prof. Greenwood

4 credits
Wednesday 9:30-11:30
Room TBA 

In this course we will critically explore the history, theory, and philosophy of psychological disorders. We will consider the general question of what constitutes a psychological disorder (reviewing neurological, phenomenological, social constructionist, latent variable, dysfunction and network accounts) and examine theoretical accounts of individual psychological disorders such as depression, mania, schizophrenia, paraphilia, addiction, dissociative disorder, autism, and psychopathy (if time permits, we may consider other disorders), and their implications for agent autonomy, moral and legal responsibility, personal identity and social psychology. We will also explore evolutionary psychological explanations of psychological disorders, the possibility of genuine cultural and historical variance in psychological disorders, and the nature of placebo effects and their role in the evaluation of forms of psychological therapy.

All students will give a class presentation and lead a class discussion, and submit a final paper on the general concept of a psychological disorder or a particular psychological disorder (although I am open to alternative paper topics). 

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

Phil 77700

Epistemic Virtues and Vices
Prof. Fricker

4 credits
Wednesday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

This course explores the idea of epistemic or intellectual character, and models of those traits that constitute epistemic virtues or vices. We will think about the epistemology of testimony in order to explore the virtue of truthfulness, and the vice of testimonial injustice and its cognates; we will explore the structure of epistemic virtues and vices; discuss recent work in ‘vice epistemology’; models of specific epistemic virtues such as open-mindedness, and vicious epistemic habits such as mendacity, propagandizing, bullshitting, dog-whistling, and bald-faced lying, especially in political contexts where the purpose may be less to deceive than to directly influence or simply express a contempt for the obligation of truthfulness.
 
By the end of the course you should have a good understanding of a range of central topics in virtue and vice epistemology. And you will have thought deeply about a range of different, sometimes opposing, positions concerning these topics. My aim is to offer enough background as we go along, so that students with little prior grounding in social epistemology can take full part. 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.
 
This course will satisfy either Distribution Group B or Group C.

Phil 80000

Rule-Following and Normativity
Profs. Kripke and Profs. Padro
4 credits
Wednesday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA 

Rule-Following and Normativity
Professors Saul Kripke and Romina Padró

This seminar is about the ideas of rule-following, meaning, and normativity in Wittgenstein’s Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics and Philosophical Investigations. We will discuss my own (Kripke’s) treatment in Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language and the debates that these ideas have engendered. We will begin with my own (Kripke’s) presentation, and following the format of our previous seminar, every week we will have a guest speaker (see schedule below). We will add extra meetings for enrolled students.

Schedule

  • February 3rd: “The Rule-Following Considerations Revisited”, Saul Kripke (CUNY, Graduate Center & Saul Kripke Center)
  • February 10th: Oskari Kuusela (University of East Anglia)
  • February 17th: “The Adoption Problem and the Kripkenstein Connection”, Romina Padró (CUNY, Graduate Center & Saul Kripke Center)
  • February 24th: Anandi Hattiangadi (Stockholm University)
  • March 3rd: Paulo Faria (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)
  • March 10th: Paul Boghossian (NYU)
  • March 17th: Paul Horwich (NYU)
  • March 24th: Olivia Sultanescu (University of Chicago)
  • March 31st: Krzysztof Poslajko (Jagiellonian University)
  • April 7th: Hannah Ginsborg (UC Berkeley)
  • April 14th: Noam Chomsky (MIT)
  • April 21st: Claudine Verheggen (York University)
  • April: 28th: Crispin Wright (NYU)
  • May 5th: Mark Hogarth (Cambridge University)
  • May 12th: Alex Miller (University of Otago)
  • May 19th: TBA

For Registered Students Only 

  • Extra Meetings: Mondays from 2pm to 4pm (Tentative) 
  • Office Hours: Thursdays from 2 pm. (Please request a meeting in advance.)

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

Phil 76200

Ethics and Agency in Classical Chinese Thought
Prof. Sarkissian

4 credits
Thursday 11:45-1:45
Room TBA 

How can individuals find effective agency in a world of continuous social and asocial influence? Does human nature contain moral content, or are moral norms cultural constructs? Are emotions (or affective reactions) reliable guides to action? How can we discern the proper dao or way to live? The aim of this course is to illuminate these enduring philosophical questions by using insights from classical Chinese thought.

Among the topics we will examine: the Confucian defense of tradition and ceremony as appropriate methods to cultivate the self and foster social cohesion; the Mohist critique of tradition and their search for objective evaluative criteria and a unified, systematic ethics; Daoist metaethical skepticism concerning the entire project of trying to adjudicate right from wrong; and a 'discriminate-and-response' or 'pattern-recognition' model of agency that may be common across a range of thinkers from this period.

Readings will include primary texts in translation, relevant secondary literature (which has been growing in philosophical sophistication), as well as some contemporary philosophical and psychological research. No prior familiarity with Chinese philosophy or the Chinese language will be assumed or required.

This course will satisfy either Distribution Group C or Group D (ancient). Final papers must concentrate on an ethical problem OR a historical / interpretive problem in order to satisfy these requirements, respectively.

Phil 76300

Quine and Sellars on Thought and Language
Prof. Rosenthal

4 credits
Thursday 2:00-4:00
Room TBA 

It’s commonly held that one cannot do justice to the intentional content of thoughts or the semantic properties of speech acts in purely extensional terms.  So we’ll begin with W. V. Quine’s argument for rejecting all nonextensional language, his related denial of analyticity, and his use of logical form as a theoretical tool for understanding language.  We’ll also consider his claim that logic has the status of a science, his thesis of the indeterminacy of translation, and his distinct argument for the inscrutability of reference, working up to his claim of "the baselessness of intentional idioms and the emptiness of a science of intention" (Word and Object, 221). 

In apparent contrast with Quine, Wilfrid Sellars held that thoughts have the status of folk-theoretical posits that explain speech behavior, which have content that’s analogous to the semantic properties of speech acts.  He built this folk-theoretical realism about intentionality on a functionalist account of both intentional content and the speaker’s meaning of speech acts.

In keeping with this—and in opposition to currently dominant views about the mind—Sellars argued that we come to have first-person access to intentional states when we come to have the ability to report noninferentially that we are in such states.  Our first-person grasp of the mind, he argued, is in effect built from third-person resources.  We’ll pay special attention to evaluating this challenge to current approaches to mental phenomena.

We’ll also ask whether Sellars' realist views about meaning and intentionality actually do conflict with Quine's austere strictures, as they superficially seem to.  And we’ll consider whether, instead, Sellars’ views should be seen as supplementing Quine’s, resulting in a well-founded, compelling theory about thought, speech, and the relation between them.  And we’ll evaluate the implications of Quine’s and Sellars’ views for a Gricean intention-based semantics.

Along the way we’ll take up Quine’s and Sellars’ views about several related matters, such as the logical form of ascriptions of thoughts and speech acts, and whether to understand such ascriptions theoretically (Sellars), as mere dramatic idiom (Quine), or in some other way.  We’ll also consider the nature of quantification, its bearing on ontology, and its interaction with nonextensional contexts.  And we’ll look at Quine’s and Sellars’ views about indexicals and self-reference and about the holism of meaning and belief, and the implications their views have for the relation of third-person ascriptions of thoughts to our first-person conscious access to them.

­Some material will be available online.  But we’ll also rely heavily on the following books, so that it may be useful to get hold of at least some of them, though they’ll all also be on library reserve:

Quine:  From a Logical Point of ViewThe Ways of Paradox and Other EssaysOntological Relativity and Other Essays (all Harvard U. Press); and Word and Object (MIT).

Sellars:  Science, Perception and RealityScience and Metaphysics; and Philosophical

               Perspectives:  Metaphysics and Epistemology (all Ridgeview Publishing: 

               http://www.ridgeviewpublishing.com/)

Week-by-week details and more at https://tinyurl.com/QS2021

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

Phil 78500

Climate Change and Social Change
Prof. Brownstein

4 credits
Thursday 4:15-6:15
Room TBA 

Climate change will be among the most influential forces shaping human life in the 21st century and beyond, if not the most influential force. It is not just a technical problem, an environmental issue, a moral challenge, or a political quandary. Rather, as environmental engineer Costa Samaras put it, climate change is the landscape on which our future unfolds. While there is well-developed philosophical literature on some aspects of climate change, this course focuses on topics in need of more attention from philosophers. As such, the course presents an opportunity for graduate students to begin work in areas that likely will, and should, gain prominence over time.

We will consider some of the cultural, political, psychological, economic, and conceptual changes needed in the face of the climate crisis. Specifically, we will discuss (1) the political psychology of climate voter behavior; (2) the history and recent growth of authoritarianism, right-wing populism, and “eco-fascism;” (3) climate justice and the relationship between prejudice, inequality, and decarbonization; (4) and “individual” vs. “structural” approaches to social change. While no specialist knowledge is required, students should expect readings to draw widely from the social and behavioral sciences, and thus to become familiar with multi-disciplinary literatures and methods by means of which they can make their own work relevant to the climate crisis. Most classes will have a guest speaker, and the course will conclude with a student-led workshop as well as a one-day conference.

Confirmed guests for the course include John Broome (Philosophy, Oxford), Nikhar Gaikwad (Political Science, Columbia), Sally Haslanger (Philosophy, MIT), Jennifer Jacquet (Environmental Studies, NYU), Daniel Kelly (Philosophy, Purdue), Robert Keohane (Political Science, Princeton), Alex Madva (Philosophy, Cal Poly Pomona), Leigh Raymond (Political Science, Purdue), David Roberts (Vox Media), Samy Sekar (Analyst Institute), Olúfémi Táíwò (Philosophy, Georgetown), and Robin Zheng (Philosophy, Yale-NUS).

This course will satisfy Distribution Group C