Special Topics Philosophy Courses
Variable topic courses are those that change topic from term to term. Here, you will find the course descriptions for upcoming variable topic Philosophy courses offered by the department.
Metaphysics: Philosophy of Reality (PHIL 211.130) In this class we will discuss theories about the nature of reality and issues such as mind, the existence of god, and free will. This 3.0 credit hybrid course, taught by Patrick Denehy, PhD, is open to undergraduate students above the freshman level with at least one 100-level PHIL class. It will meet Wednesdays from 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Aristotle: Theoretical Philosophy (PHIL 212.001) Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) organized knowledge into three great categories, the first of which was “theoretical” knowledge. In turn, theoretical knowledge addresses the knowledge of nature (physis), mathematics, and “First Philosophy.” Accordingly, following an overview of key elements in Aristotle’s logic (from the Organon), we will read extended excerpts from the Metaphysics, the Physics, and De Anima (On the Soul). This 3.0 credit course, taught by Jacques Catudal, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Social & Political Philosophy (PHIL 241.001) Studies theories about human social and political life that bear on philosophical issues such as the nature and scope of justice, the legitimacy of states, and the relationship between democracy, civil rights, and civil disobedience. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Carol Mele, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00-3:20 p.m.
Introduction to Jewish Philosophy (PHIL T280.001) The history of Jewish philosophy is almost as long as the history of philosophy itself. This course will provide an introduction to major thinkers in the history of Jewish philosophy through close reading and discussion of primary texts. It is organized around three distinct time periods: the Medieval world (Halevi and Maimonides), the modern Enlightenment (Spinoza and Mendelssohn), and the 20th Century (Buber and Levinas). The focus will be on the relation of religion and reason, and the relation of religion and ethics. We will also look at the way these thinkers make use of the same conceptual frameworks – Medieval Neoplatonism, Enlightenment natural religion and social contract theory, and postmodernism – as their non-Jewish contemporaries, yet modify these frameworks to accommodate their Judaism. This 3.0 credit course, taught by David Seltzer, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Plato’s Republic (PHIL 481.001) This course looks at the most famous work of Western philosophy: Plato's Republic. It examines the arguments in the work as well as the significance of the book's dialogue form. Finally, it addresses the issue of the main point of the work and looks at secondary sources on this issue. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Marilyn Foley, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students with at least two 200-level PHIL classes. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Rationalism and Empiricism (PHIL 214.001) A study of the two leading philosophical movements of the “modern” period (1500-1800) in Europe. Study of British Empiricism in the works of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume. Study of Continental Rationalism in the works of René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz and Christian Wolff and the critique of Wolff in the work of Immanuel Kant. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Jacques Catudal, PhD is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:50 p.m.
Philosophy of Law (PHIL 385.001) This course addresses philosophical issues in the law. Topics include the meaning of "law," the nature and logic of legal (in contrast to moral) concepts and principles, and competing conceptions of law (Natural Law, Positivism, Realism, Rights-Based, etc.). Authors may include Plato, Mill, Rawls, Hart, Dworkin and others. This 3.0 credit course, taught by James Stieb, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students above the freshman level. It will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
Theories of Sustainability (PHIL T480.001) What is sustainability? What exactly should we sustain, and how should we try to do so? How do the ecological and social crises we face affect how we answer these questions? And how do we face up to the entities and institutions that perpetuate and exacerbate these crises? Over the course of the term, we will wrestle with questions like these and their practical implications. Cross-listed with SCTS T580. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Andrew Smith, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students above the sophomore level. It will meet Mondays from 6:00 - 8:50 p.m.
Marx’s Philosophy (PHIL 485.001) Karl Marx (1818-1883) revolutionized Western sociology, political economy, and philosophy by showing how German Idealism could be understood as providing theoretical keys that would unlock the mysteries of social change and human liberation. We’ll look at some of Marx’s philosophical forebears and trace their influence in selected writings of Marx and how they contributed to Marx’s own philosophical outlook. Fulfills requirement for PHIL431 Seminar in Modern Philosophy. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Peter Amato, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students who have taken at least two 200-level PHIL classes. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:40 – 4:50 p.m.