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Philosophy Courses (PHIL) College of Arts and Sciences


Subject Area Course # Course Title Semester Credit Hours Expand
PHIL 1005 Basic Problems of Philosophy Summer 3
Course Description

This course introduces students to the problems and procedures of the Western philosophical tradition. Examines selected works of such key thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Descartes, Locke and Rousseau.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1070 Philosophy of the Person I Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

This course introduces students to philosophical reflection and to its history through the presentation and discussion of the writings of major thinkers from ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods. The course is designed to show how fundamental and enduring questions about the universe and about human beings recur in different historical contexts. Emphasis is given to ethical themes, such as the nature of the human person, the foundation of human rights and corresponding responsibilities, and the problems of social justice.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Two-semester, six credit course

PHIL 1071 Philosophy of the Person II Spring 3
Course Description

See description under PHIL1070.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: Must have successfully completed PHIL1070

Cross listed with:

Comments: Two-semester, six-credit course: Students must have successfully completed PHIL1070 before taking PHIL1071.

PHIL 1080 Discussion Group/PHIL1080 Fall 0
Course Description

Discussion group for Personal and Social Responsibility I


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1081 Discussion Group/PHIL1089 Spring 0
Course Description

Discussion group for Personal and Social Responsibility II.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1086 Ethical Identities & Personhood Summer 3
Course Description

This course explores contemporary approaches to personhood, including philosophical, theological, and scientific contributions to concepts such as uniqueness and particularity, subjectivity and desire, relationality and communion; freedom and ethical responsibility. In the second half of this course, we address the implications of our investigations to specific contemporary issues, including the influence of technology (e.g. social media, artificial intelligence), market economies, and consumerism on our self-understanding as persons and ethical beings. Throughout this course, we will continually return to two fundamental questions: 1) Who am I? and 2) Who should I become? Our readings and class discussion will assist in formulating answers to these fundamental questions, helping to uncover some of the hidden assumptions guiding our understanding of ourselves. No special background in philosophy will be assumed for this introductory course.


Instructor(s): Brian Becker

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1088 Person and Social Responsibility I Fall 3
Course Description

The course requirements include ten to twelve hours per week of community service. In light of classic philosophical and theological texts, students in this course address the relationship of self and society, the nature of community, the mystery of suffering and the practical difficulties of developing a just society. PULSE students are challenged to investigate the insights offered by their readings in relationship to their service work. Places in the course are very limited.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO1088

Comments: Enrollment limited to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors

PHIL 1089 Person and Social Responsibility II Spring 3
Course Description

See description under PHIL1088.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO1089

Comments: Enrollment limited to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors

PHIL 1090 Perspectives on Western Culture I/Perspectives I Fall 3
Course Description

The course introduces students to the Judeo-Christian Biblical texts and to the writings of such foundational thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, and Kierkegaard. The first semester considers the birth of the self-critical Greek philosophic spirit, the story of the people of Israel, the emergence of Christianity and Islam, and concludes with a consideration of medieval explorations of the relationship between faith and reason. Attention will also be paid to non-Western philosophical and theological sources.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO1090

Comments: Freshmen only

PHIL 1091 Perspectives on Western Culture II/Perspectives II Spring 3
Course Description

See description under PHIL1090.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO1091

Comments: Freshmen only

PHIL 1116 Medieval Religions and Thought Spring 3
Course Description

The medieval world of philosophy and theology was a multicultural world: Arabian, Jewish, and Christian thinkers from the three great religious traditions adopted, adapted, and shared the philosophical riches of the classical world and the religious resources of the biblical heritage. This course introduces students to the great Arabian thinkers Alfarabi, Avicenna, Algazel and Averroes; the respected Jewish authors Saadiah Gaon, Moses Maimonides, and Gersonides; and the famous Christian writers Anselm, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas and the intellectual challenges from the Greek intellectual world that they met and faced in the Middle Ages.


Instructor(s): Stephen F. Brown

Prerequisites: Core courses in Philosophy and Theology.

Cross listed with: THEO3116

Comments: Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement

PHIL 1160 The Challenge of Justice Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

This course introduces the student to the principal understandings of justice that have developed in the Western philosophical and theological traditions. Care is taken to relate the theories to concrete, practical and political problems, and to develop good reasons for choosing one way of justice rather than another. The relationship of justice to the complementary notion of peace will also be examined. Special attention is paid to the contribution of Catholic theology in the contemporary public conversation about justice and peace. Problems discussed may include human rights, hunger and poverty, and ecological justice.


Instructor(s): Matthew Mullane and Meghan Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO2160

Comments: This course satisfies the introductory requirement for students taking the minor in Faith, Peace, and Justice Studies. Other students interested in examining the problems of building a just society are welcome.

PHIL 1171 History&Thought of Early China Fall 3
Course Description

See description under THEO2171


Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1195 Puzzles and Paradoxes Fall 3
Course Description

We examine twelve valid philosophical arguments with extremely plausible premises but implausible conclusions and how the greatest minds in philosophy have grappled with them. Based on the professor’s book and supplemented with classic and contemporary readings, this course will challenge your faith in reason while affirming your faith in its progress.


Instructor(s): Richard K. Atkins

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1252 Practical Logic Summer 3
Course Description

A course not in the "new logic" (symbolic, or mathematical, logic) but in the "old logic" (ordinary language logic) invented by Aristotle and used for 2300 years in all the humanities. Includes such topics as definition, contradiction, syllogisms, implied premises, induction, and analogy. The course includes the commonsensical philosophical bases for this logic and also many practical applications to reading, interpreting, evaluating, and inventing arguments, especially in dialogs. Weekly quizzes, extra credit opportunities, and a take-home final exam. Texts: (1) SOCRATIC LOGIC, (2) THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE, (3) SUMMA PHILOSOPHICA (all 3 titles by Peter Kreeft)


Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1500 Philosophical Inquiry: Humanity's Place in Nature Fall 3
Course Description


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David Storey

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1510 Ethics Summer 3
Course Description

This course introduces students to the main schools of ethical thought in the Western philosophical tradition. We will examine works by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Kant, Nietzsche, Rawls, and Martin Luther King, Jr. We will ask how the ethical issues focused on by these thinkers can help us reflect on the way we live our lives and what are reasonable ethical expectations we can have of others.


Instructor(s): Deborah DeChiara-Quenzer

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1701 Power, Justice, War:The Moderns Spring 3
Course Description

This course will explore the enduring questions of power, justice and war by examining a series of modern political thinkers addressing questions of how to use power justly, how to balance concerns about justice in the midst of war, and how to govern the world through different modalities of power. Each text will be read to investigate the differences between normative and empirical thinking about war and justice. Discussions and papers will ask students to think deeply about what happens when notions of the ideal and the real influence political thinking and generate conflict.


Instructor(s): Aspen Brinton

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Core Renewal Course:Enduring Questions

PHIL 1703 Inquiring about Humans and Nature Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines the roots of the western philosophical distinction between humans and nature. Our human experience as rational individuals capable of abstract thought has set us apart from the rest of nature. But humans have found that we are not wholly outside of nature. We have an intimate and interdependent relationship with the rest of creation, a bond that we have stretched through art and technology and been drawn back into by desire and physical necessity. We must ask, then: What does it mean to be human? How do we define nature? What responsibilities do humans have to nature?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Holly Vandewall

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Core Renewal Course:Enduring Questions
For Freshmen Only

PHIL 1704 Inquiring about Humans and Nature II Spring 3
Course Description

Second part of PHIL1703.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Holly VandeWall

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 1705 Being Human: The Philosophical Problem of Nature and Mathematical Knowledge Fall 3
Course Description

The inscription above the entrance to Plato’s Academy read: “Let no one enter here who has not studied Euclid”--the father of geometry. Thinkers have sought to understand the world through mathematics. This course will examine how mathematical concepts in the study of nature shape human knowledge, and how these systems of knowledge influence our perspective of human nature. Starting with the Greeks who viewed mathematics as the soul’s direct window to reality, we will then progress to the scientific revolution during which mathematical understandings of nature have improved the human capacity to predict natural events.


Instructor(s): Colin Connors

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Core Renewal Course: Enduring Questions

PHIL 1706 Being Human II: The Philosophical Problem of Nature and Mathematical Knowledge Spring 3
Course Description

Second part of PHIL1705.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Colin Connors

Prerequisites: Students must have taken PHIL1705 the previous semester.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2216 Boston: An Urban Analysis Spring 3
Course Description

This course is intended for PULSE students who are willing to investigate, analyze, and understand the history, problems, and prospects of Boston's neighborhoods. With the exception of the fourth session, class meetings in the first half of the semester will meet on campus. Class number four will meet in the Skywalk Observation Deck at the Prudential Center. For the second half of the semester, as snow banks give way to slush and sun and blossoms, we will meet in the South End of Boston for a case study of a most intriguing and changing inner-city neighborhood.


Instructor(s): David Manzo

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2220 Miracles, Angels, Ghosts and Demons Summer 3
Course Description

Using philosophical reasoning, theological faith and popular experience, course explores the questions: Do miracles still happen? Are angels myths or realities? How would you know one if you met one? Can you become demon possessed? Was The Exorcist fact or fiction? Why are we fascinated with ghost stories? What difference does it make if we actually encounter the supernatural? Has the Blessed Virgin Mary spoken at Lourdes and Fatima and still today at Medjugorje?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Peter Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2221 The Platonic Dialogue Spring 3
Course Description

This course will examine Plato's dialogues as a philosophical art form. We will study the dialogues' position within the history of Greek literature, the different types of dialogues in the Platonic corpus, and their reception in Rome and beyond. Considerable time will be spent reading a wide range of individual dialogues in translation. Some topics to be covered include: the function of dialectic in the education of the philosopher, Plato's use of non-philosophical forms such as poetry and myth in his dialogues, and the limitations of writing as a means of conveying knowledge.


Instructor(s): Daniel Harris- McCoy

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: CLAS2220

Comments:

PHIL 2233 Values in Social Services and Health Care Fall 3
Course Description

Through readings, lectures, discussions, field placements, and written work, we will attempt the following: to communicate an understanding of the social services and health care delivery systems and introduce you to experts who work in these fields; explore ethical problems of allocations of limited resources; discuss topics that include violence prevention, gangs, homelessness, mental illness, innovating nursing initiatives, economy inequality, community wealth ventures, and the law; and consider possibilities for positive changes in the social service and health care system.


Instructor(s): David Manzo

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2259 Perspectives on War, Aggression, and Conflict Resolution I Fall 3
Course Description

This course develops an interdisciplinary approach to the study of war and conflict and investigates alternatives to their resolution in contemporary global society. The course is organized along multidisciplinary lines, with faculty members from various academic departments responsible for each topic of discussion. This interdisciplinary approach demonstrates the varied and complex perspectives on the causes of war and conflict and attempts to develop, out of the resources of these respective disciplines, intelligent insights into the resolution of conflicts, and the development of alternatives to war.


Instructor(s): Matthew Mullane

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO2327 SOCY2250

Comments: The Faith, Peace, and Justice Program at Boston College sponsors this course as an introduction to the field of Peace Studies.

PHIL 2261 Telling Truths I: Writing for the Cause of Justice Fall 3
Course Description

This PULSE elective will explore writing as a tool for social change. Students will read and experiment with a variety of written forms – memoir, creative non-fiction, opinion and essay – to tell the “truth” as they experience it in their own encounters with social injustice. This workshop is intended to provide a comprehensive introduction to the range of strategies that social prophets and witnesses have used, and are using today, to promote the cause of justice.


Instructor(s): Kathleen Hirsch

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2262 Telling Truths II: Depth Writing as Service Spring 3
Course Description

This PULSE elective will focus on the power of story-telling to achieve justice and social liberation. We will read theoretical and narrative accounts of the role of story, examine the use of story-telling among marginal populations as a means of participating in their own “solutions.” We will explore the benefits and liabilities of social media in emerging change movements. Students will engage in story gathering, telling, and analysis, through their PULSE placements and class discussion, producing a collection of original writings.


Instructor(s): Kathleen Hirsch

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2264 Logic Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

This course will consider the principles of correct reasoning together with their application to concrete cases.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2278 Ethics, Existentialism, and the Good Life Summer 3
Course Description

Think through life’s great questions while immersed in the work and world of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the father of existentialism and Denmark’s most famous (and strangest) philosopher and theologian. Writing in a highly personal and passionate way, no thinker in history has included so much of himself and his city in his books. Much of Kierkegaard’s Copenhagen still exists as it did in his day. By confronting Kierkegaard’s thought in its historical and cultural context, students will be challenged to think through these questions for themselves.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Thomas P. Miles

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2281 Philosophy of Human Existence I Fall 3
Course Description

Human existence is a matter of fact in the world that calls for a twofold critical reflection, one on the theory of selfhood and one on the practice of selfhood. In this course we undertake reflection on the theory of selfhood, starting from our common experience as selves in the world and from what we are as embodied souls and spirits and going on to how we exercise our own proper activities of knowing and willing as selves in an historical culture.


Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: This course will be accepted as an elective for philosophy majors or minors

PHIL 2282 Philosophy of Human Existence II Spring 3
Course Description

Human existence is a matter of fact in the world that calls for a twofold critical reflection, one on the theory of selfhood and one on the practice of selfhood. In this course we undertake reflection on the practice of selfhood, starting from our common conscience or sense of responsibility and going on to reflect on how we reason from the good in deliberating about what we do as selves and in determining what is called for by justice and friendship in a community of selves.


Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: PHIL2281: Philosophy of Human Existence I

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2283 Political Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description


Instructor(s): Eileen Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2284 Political Philosophy Summer 4
Course Description

The goal of this course is to reflect philosophically on the question: What does it mean to belong to a political community? Exploring this question will involve asking other questions, including, What are my obligations towards others and their obligations towards me? What is nature of a law? Should it be obeyed? Always? We will pursue these questions in conversation with the authors and primary texts of political philosophy. We will begin by examining the classic texts by Plato and Aristotle and the ideas of community and virtue that animate the Greek polis. Next we will turn to the Realpolitik of Machiavelli and Hobbes, as well as the responses of Locke and Rousseau. Finally we will conclude with a selection of contemporary authors including Martin Luther King. Throughout the course we will put our readings in conversation with contemporary issues regarding political belonging and participation, e.g., debates about immigration and the refugee crisis as well as the ethics of voting.


Instructor(s): Gregory Floyd

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2285 The American Dream Summer 3
Course Description

What does it mean to be an American in the 21st century, in the post-September 11 climate? How do we structure our society, how do we live together as neighbors, how do we adapt to the new realities? Students will emerge with greater knowledge about and curiosity concerning the social, economic, political, cultural and psychological processes that shape contemporary definitions of the self and identity and that contribute to the formation of behaviors in the 21st century. Through film, literature, and contemporary scholarship, the course surveys and engages some key concepts in in Americans’ ways of life: their roots, their developments, the tension between them and the impact of a changing world. The course examines terms like freedom and equality, rights and obligations, liberal and conservative, security and fear, individual and community, and uses them for assessment and understanding.


Instructor(s): Hessam Dehghani

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2287 The Meaning of Work and Leisure Summer 3
Course Description

We spend much of our lives working, or preparing ourselves to work. We spend much of the rest of our time pursuing leisure. But what are our goals in doing so? How important is it for our work to be meaningful? Is leisure simply the absence of work, or something more? And what role do each of these play in a fulfilling life? From Aristotle to Adam Smith, from Rousseau to Max Weber, this course will study various accounts of what work and leisure have been, and what their ideal forms might be. The course will conclude by considering the coming age of technologically automated physical and mental labor, and its impact on the future of work and leisure.


Instructor(s): Jon Burmeister

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2291 Philosophy and Theology of Community I Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar explores the nature of community, with particular focus on community in the American context. Some of the central historical, cultural, political and religious forces that have shaped both American community and the American understanding of community are examined. These questions are initially approached from an historical perspective with an assessment of philosophical ideas which were dominant in the political thinking of the American founders. The seminar then considers the historical development of those ideas in light of the way they are concretized in political practice, arriving at an assessment of contemporary American thinking on community.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Meghan T. Sweeney

Prerequisites: Limited to Members of the PULSE Council

Cross listed with: THEO2291

Comments:

PHIL 2292 Philosophy and Theology of Community II Spring 3
Course Description

This course is a continuation of the themes of Philosophy of Community I which further explores the themes of that course: the nature of community, particularly in the American context; the historical, cultural, political and religious forces that have shaped American community and the American understanding of community.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Meghan T. Sweeney

Prerequisites: Limited to Members of the PULSE Council

Cross listed with: THEO2292

Comments:

PHIL 2294 Cultural and Social Structures II Spring 3
Course Description

This course is a continuation of the themes developed in Culture and Social Structures I, with the focus on American culture in particular and on more specifically contemporary issues.


Instructor(s): Meghan T. Sweeney

Prerequisites: Membership on PULSE Council

Cross listed with: THEO2294

Comments:

PHIL 2295 Society and Culture I Fall 3
Course Description

This course will aim at an understanding of contemporary American society by exploring the underlying cultural traditions and practices from which that society arises. We will attempt to lay a foundation for understanding contemporary ways in which the American people choose to structure the way they live together. Our study centers on questions about how our culture and its social structures are the concrete expression of what we value, of the things we consider meaningful and important within American culture.


Instructor(s): David McMenamin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Limited to students who have completed PL088/PL089.

PHIL 2296 Society and Culture II Spring 3
Course Description

This course is intended to continue and deepen the exploration begun in Society and Culture I and will employ the same plan as described under that course. But this course can also stand on its own and be taken without having taken the previous course.


Instructor(s): David McMenamin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2297 Community and Culture I Fall 3
Course Description

This course will explore the nature of community in the context of American culture. Students will examine some of the philosophical, historical, cultural, political and religious forces, which have shaped both contemporary American community and the American understanding of community. Beginning with John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, then moving to Alexis de Tocqueville, the course’s starting points will be in two thinkers whose political philosophies were part of the intellectual climate in which this nation was born, then in the observations of an early 19th Century visitor of what had emerged in early America. Subsequent readings will raise the question of American culture and community from modern legal, cultural, political and religious perspectives.


Instructor(s): David McMenamin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2298 Community and Culture II Spring 3
Course Description

This course is a continuation of the themes developed in Community and Culture I, though participation in the Fall semester is not a requirement for participation in Spring. With an eye toward understanding the connection between culture and community, we will examine various understandings of the nature of community in general, the relationship of culture to its communities, and the nature of life lived in the context of community. Particular focus will be given to the American experience of community. Areas considered will include the historical, political, economic, literary and religious, all with the purpose of understanding the cultural; the goal will be to identify the difficulties of reconciling individual and community life.


Instructor(s): David McMenamin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 2397 Dwelling between East and West Summer 3
Course Description

Venice and Islam: a theological and philosophical meditation on the role that Byzantine and Islamic architecture play in helping to dwell contemplatively in the city.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Brian Braman

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO2397

Comments:

PHIL 3052 Intermediate Ancient Greek I Fall 3
Course Description

This course is a review of the essentials of Classical Attic grammar and a reading of selections from Greek literature, often Xenophon's Anabasis, Plato's Apology and/or Crito, or a play such as Euripides's Medea.


Instructor(s): Christopher Polt

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: CLAS1052

Comments:

PHIL 3053 Intermediate Ancient Greek II Spring 3
Course Description

This course is designed to develop students proficiency in reading Greek literature in the original language through intensive readings from two Greek travel narratives: Book 9 of Homers Odyssey (including the story of the Cyclops) and selections from Xenophon's Anabasis. We will read the Greek assignments slowly and carefully while reviewing grammar, combined with discussion of the social and cultural contexts of these works.


Instructor(s): Hanne Eisenfeld

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: CLAS1053

Comments:

PHIL 3203 Philosophy of Education Spring 3
Course Description

This course is organized in such a way as to enable us address and discuss the dialectics of freedom hidden under the process of education. The class investigates a number of conflicting positions about freedom in education and explores philosophical resources to help us to understand the nature of these issues more fully. A list of movies which students are recommended to watch before class will help them to find out and discuss the hottest philosophical topics pertaining to freedom in educational frameworks.


Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: EDUC3203

Comments:

PHIL 3314 Mind and Body Fall 3
Course Description

What does it mean to be a person? Am I the same as my brain? Is there a spiritual dimension to life beyond the capacities of matter? These are some of the questions this course will explore.


Instructor(s): Ronald K. Tacelli, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 3325 Lucretius Fall 3
Course Description

The Roman poet Lucretius is one of the key figures in the history of Western philosophy, expounding in his work De Rerum Natura (“On the Nature of Things”) upon the primary tenets of Epicurean thought. In this course we will read selections from De Rerum Natura in Latin, aiming to acquire a greater knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary and to improve facility in reading Latin poetry. We will use Lucretius’ poem as a focal point to explore ancient Epicureanism, its views on human ethics and the workings of the physical world, its place within ancient philosophy more broadly, and its continuing relevance for modern thought.


Instructor(s): Christopher Polt

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: CLAS3325

Comments:

PHIL 3343 Introduction to Black Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

This course introduces students to writings by and about persons of African descent. Readings will be drawn from works by G. Yancey, H. McGary, W. Lawson, W.E.B. DuBois, H.L. Gates, C. West, L. Outlaw, and B. Boxill.


Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: AADS3343

Comments:

PHIL 3344 What is Racism? Fall 3
Course Description

The course will examine philosophical approaches to the questions: In what does racism consists? What are some of its principal types? What grounds its injustice and connection to a society's common good?


Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 3377 Normative Ethical Theories Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines approaches to morality's theoretical reconstruction that respectively emphasize: (1) achieving good results, (2) performing dutiful actions, and (3) cultivating virtuous character. Readings will be selected from classic works by such philosophers as J.S. Mill, Kant, and Aristotle, as well as from recent writings by contemporary thinkers, including M. Baron, C. Korsgaard, P. Pettit, T.M. Scanlon, M. Slote, and L. Zagzebski.


Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 3503 Buddhist Philosophy and Spirituality Fall 3
Course Description

Focusing on early and Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophies of India with connections between concepts and spiritual practices. Buddhist versions of theological anthropology, ontology, epistemology, ethics, and soteriology are related to practices of meditation, ritual, phenomenological investigation, and philosophical analysis. Readings from classical and contemporary Buddhist writings.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John J. Makransky

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: For undergrads, at least one prior course in philosophy or theology, and a B+ or higher average in prior humanities (non-science) courses.

Cross listed with: THEO3505 TMST7124

Comments:

PHIL 3507 Buddhist Philosophy and Psychology Fall 3
Course Description

We focus on early and Mahāyāna Indian Buddhism, then some areas of Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism, exploring philosophical, psychological and spiritual understandings. Buddhist approaches to theological anthropology, ontology, epistemology, ethics, and soteriology are related to practices of meditation, phenomenological investigation and to philosophical and psychological analyses. Reading in classical and modern Buddhism and in a few areas of modern psychology that draw on Buddhism. Weekly writing, active discussion, two short papers, one longer paper.


Instructor(s): John Makransky

Prerequisites: For undergrads, at least one prior course in philosophy or theology, and a B+ or higher average in prior humanities (non-science) courses.

Cross listed with: THEO3507 TMCE7124

Comments:

PHIL 4287 Reason and Revolt: Nineteenth Century European Intellectual History Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines the history of European ideas from the mid-eighteenth century to the late nineteenth century. During this era, between the Enlightenment celebration of reason and the emergence of a revolutionary religion of progress, a triumphant and contradictory European modernity emerged. We will investigate this historical field by engaging works of philosophy, art, and political theory, exploring the many "-isms" of the nineteenth century: romanticism, realism, socialism, Marxism, liberalism, conservatism, anarchism, impressionism, naturalism, positivism, and scientism. Thinkers considered include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, G.W.F. Hegel, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Gustave Flaubert, and Charles Darwin.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Julian Bourg

Prerequisites: The History Core, Parts I and II

Cross listed with: HIST4287

Comments:

PHIL 4387 Epistemology Spring 3
Course Description

Philosophy is full of wonderfully perplexing arguments aimed at undermining our claims to knowledge. Like this one: If I know I have two hands, then I know I’m not just a brain in a vat. But, I don’t know I’m not just a brain in a vat. So, I don’t know I have two hands. Or this one: A claim is known only if it is justified. Claims cannot rest on themselves for justification, cannot depend on nothing for justification, and cannot be justified by an infinite series of propositions. But as those are the only options, we must not know anything. Or this one: I believe that God exists, but many of my epistemic peers and superiors believe that God does not exist. Therefore, I have a strong countervailing reason to believe God does not exist such that my belief is not justified. This course will examine these and other puzzling arguments about knowledge, justification, and disagreement.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Richard K. Atkins

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 4403 Does God Exist? Fall 3
Course Description

This course aims to be a serious examination, for capable undergraduates, of arguments for and against the existence of God.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Ronald K. Tacelli, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 4405 Greek Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

This course is organized around the central philosophical questions asked and answered, in various ways, by philosophers in the ancient Greek-speaking world. We will consider the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and, more briefly, some Hellenistic authors such as Plutarch, Epictetus, and Plotinus. Topics include theories of material bodies and of change; whether anything immaterial or immutable exists, and if so whether it is single or multiple and its relation to this changing world; the human soul; and the question of the criterion of truth, and the process by which humans may come to know; the question of the criterion of ethics.


Instructor(s): Gary Gurtler, S.J.

Prerequisites: Philosophy of the Person I & II or Perspectives I & II

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PHIL 4406 History of Modern Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

The course presents in a synthetic but not superficial manner the major philosophies, from Descartes to Kant, which have punctuated the emergence of the modern mind, the development of scientific knowledge and transformations of Western societies, during a period in which conquering rationality asserted its autonomy and gave rise to the idea of Enlightenment, but at the same time reflected on its own limits. This comprehensive survey will cover metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political thought. We will analyze representative sources, paying attention to their argumentative structures, and highlighting the logic in the unfolding of problems and answers. Syllabus on http://www2.bc.edu/~solere/pl406.html


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4407 Medieval Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

Far from being monolithic and repetitive, the Middle Ages were a creative period during which multiple solutions were proposed to make sense of the world and of human life. The legacy of Antiquity, the philosophic and scientific knowledge of the time, and religious views were combined in original syntheses. The aim of the course is to provide a precise picture of this diversity, through a study of the main problems that a wide range of authors (Christian thinkers from St. Augustine to Ockham, but also Islamic and Jewish philosophers) faced. Syllabus on https://www2.bc.edu/jeanluc-solere/pl407.html


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: Ancient Philosophy

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PHIL 4408 Nineteenth- and Twentieth- Century Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

This class will be devoted to some of the most important issues in philosophy in the past two centuries. In particular, we will study the development of Kantian transcendental philosophy in German Idealism, Neokantianism, and Husserlian Phenomenology. In the last section of the class we will consider the rise of analytic philosophy in the works of Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein.


Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: Some background in Kant, although not mandatory, is strongly recommended.

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PHIL 4409 Thoreau:Nature, Religion and Writing Fall 3
Course Description

This course explores the relationship between Thoreau as keen observer of nature, contemplative thinker, and politically engaged writer. Of particular interest are his journals, travel logs, political tracts, and of course Walden. It is helpful to compare these works to those of Rousseau, Emerson and a post-Thoreauvian author like Henry Bugbee. The course includes a visit to Walden Pond and at least one hike along a way described by Thoreau.


Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: Core Philosophy course must be completed prior to registration.

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PHIL 4414 Race and Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

This course employs methods of recent Anglophone philosophy to examine such topics as the bases and justification of racial solidarity; whether races are real and, if so, what they are (social constructions? natural categories?) and how they come to exist; racial identity; and the nature, preconditions, loci, subjects, and targets of racism.


Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: AADS4414

Comments:

PHIL 4419 Friendship Fall 3
Course Description

The renewed interest among philosophers about friendship indicates a break from the suspicion of the last several centuries. The lack of interest can be traced to an understanding of human nature where each individual is a self-contained unit. Ethical reflection emphasized equality so much that friendship appeared hard to justify, as based on preferring one individual over another. This has not always been the case, since Greek and Medieval thinkers regarded friendship rather highly as indicating what is best in human nature and essential to happiness. We will try to understand why different cultural perspectives evaluate friendship in different ways.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Gary Gurtler, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4420 Paranoid Causality: on Anti-Judaism & Anti-Jesuitism Fall 3
Course Description

This course is geared to the Jesuit Scholastics at the STM but is open to advanced undergrads and other grad students. It is in the first slate of courses at the new Center for Jesuit history.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): James W. Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4426 Hermeneutics, Language, Politics Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines the relation between rhetoric, dialogical reason, and politics. We will draw on the thought of Aristotle, Herder, Humboldt, Heidegger, and, above all, Gadamer to understand how the nature of language, the character of rationality, and the phenomenon of non-scientific modes of truth contribute to a conception of hermeneutics as practical philosophy.


Instructor(s): David Johnson

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4427 The State of Nature and the Nature of the State Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines the thought-device of the "state of nature" -- a situation in which human beings live without a political sovereign. We will consider how this concept has been understood in the history of philosophy and social theory, by thinkers such as Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau and Freud. We will also explore the treatment of "nature" and the "state of nature" in works of film and literature, including Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness and the films of Terence Malik. Throughout the course, we will focus on how the "state of nature" has been used to explain, justify, or criticize "the nature of the state" -- i.e. human life within political community under a sovereign authority.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah E. Lott

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4429 Freud and Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

This introductory course for the interdisciplinary minor in psychoanalysis (open to all interested) is designed to acquaint students with the scope and evolution of Freud's thinking and with significant developments in psychoanalysis since his time. Students will study and assess Freud's and Breuer's first formulation of the nature and etiology of hysteria; Freud's groundbreaking work in dream interpretation and the nature of unconscious processes; Freud's attempt to apply his novel theory of unconscious mechanisms to cultural anthropology as well as individual psychology; and the implications of the ongoing revisions in Freud's classification of the drives.


Instructor(s): Vanessa P. Rumble

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core

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PHIL 4430 Classical and Contemporary Asian Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

This course will begin with a survey of some of the central texts in the classical Confucian and Buddhist canons. We will then look at the ways in which modern thinkers in Japan (especially figures associated with the Kyoto School such as Nishida Kitaro, Watsuji Tetsuro, and Yuasa Yasuo) and the United Sates (especially New Confucians such as Tu Wei-Ming and Robert Neville) have appropriated and transformed this intellectual heritage by articulating classical metaphysical and ontological positions in novel ways and by developing creative responses to questions about the nature of the self and of ethical life.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David W. Johnson

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4431 Philosophy of Mind Fall 3
Course Description

What is the mind? Some of history’s most profound thinkers have attempted to answer this question, yet the nature of the mind remains elusive and hotly debated in contemporary philosophy. Can the mysteries of conscious experience be reconciled with a naturalistic, scientific world view? Is the mind really just a kind of computer, a machine made of meat? In this course, we will investigate what Francis Crick has called the Astonishing Hypothesis—“that "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”


Instructor(s): Cherie McGill

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4440 Historical Introduction to Western Moral Theory Fall 3
Course Description

The course introduces, contextualizes, explains, and critiques representative writings by such Western philosophical thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Aquinas, T. Hobbes, D. Hume, I. Kant, J. Bentham, J.S. Mill, K. Marx, F. Nietzsche, and F.H. Bradley.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4442 German Romanticism and Idealism Spring 3
Course Description

Kant's transcendental idealism has been charged with divorcing the subject of understanding from the subject of moral experience. We shall examine the basis of this claim as well as the attempts by Romantic writers and German Idealists to provide a fresh account of the integrity of human experience. We begin examining Kant's attempt, in The Critique of Judgment, to bridge the moral and natural realms through aesthetics. We then trace the progressive emancipation of the imagination in the later development of German Idealism and Romanticism.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Vanessa P. Rumble

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core and preferably some exposure to Kant's thought.

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PHIL 4447 After World War I:Spirit Recov/Fascism/Personalism Fall 3
Course Description

We shall investigate the birth and development of fascism as political cultures.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): James W. Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4448 Buddhist Thought and Practice Spring 3
Course Description

We explore aspects of early, Southeast Asian, and East Asian traditions of Buddhism, focusing on ways that Buddhist philosophy informs and is informed by practices of meditation, phenomenological investigation, ritual and ethics. Students will be instructed in mindfulness exercises (cultivating fuller awareness of things) to inform our studies. Weekly writing, active discussion, two short papers, one longer paper.


Instructor(s): John Makransky

Prerequisites: For undergrads, at least one prior course in philosophy or theology is required, and a B+ or higher average in prior humanities (non-science) courses.

Cross listed with: TMCE7110 THEO3548

Comments:

PHIL 4451 Tragedy: Philosophy and Psychoanalysis Spring 3
Course Description

The course will examine the understanding of tragedy presented by Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud. As we read each thinker, we will ask whether tragedy must be understood as nihilistic, or whether it contains elements which are life-promoting.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Vanessa P. Rumble

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4453 Gandhi, Satyagraha, and Society Spring 3
Course Description

Well known as a freedom fighter for India's independence, Gandhi's deep concern regarding the impact of industrialization and injustice on the social fabric is not as well known. His analysis of the effects of technological civilization on society was not provincial (limited to what is sometimes called the third world) but universal. We will examine Gandhian thought through his own writings, explicate their relevance to the contemporary society, and examine selections from classical and contemporary literature on the philosophy and ethics, which will help us understand Gandhi's integrated vision of the citizen as a reflective and active individual.


Instructor(s): Pramod B. Thaker

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4454 Unheard Voices: Philosophy at the Crossroads of Identity Fall 3
Course Description

What is a just society? What responsibility does each of us have to contribute to a common good? This course starts from the idea that answering these questions requires hearing the voices of those typically unheard, and recognizing the interlocking systems that construct our world. We will attempt to hear voices typically not heard, identify the forces that converge to make voices heard or unheard, and understand the roles that each of us play as silenced and silencer. We will attempt to discern a way forward to a more just society — a way forward that begins from where we are.


Instructor(s): Cherie McGill

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4456 The Holocaust: A Moral History Spring 3
Course Description

The tragic event that ruptured modern western morality will be examined from a variety of perspectives. We shall study the testimony of both its victims and its perpetrators. Special attention will be given to consideration of the intellectual and moral factors which motivated resistance or excused indifference. We shall conclude with interpretations of its meaning for contemporary morality and of its theological significance for Christians and Jews.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): James W. Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO4456 HIST4846

Comments:

PHIL 4458 Sacred Buddhist Texts Spring 3
Course Description

See description under THEO4454 in the Theology Department's section of the catalog.


Instructor(s): John Makransky

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4468 Introduction to Asian Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

This course examines the three streams of thought that make up the core of East Asian philosophy: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. In the wisdom literature of these three "Ways," one finds the critical articulation of views about the nature of reality and about how one ought to live. An important theme common to all three teachings in this regard is the emphasis on learning as a process of self-transformation through self-effort in ordinary existence.


Instructor(s): David W. Johnson

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO2468

Comments: This course has no prerequisites and does not assume any background in Asian philosophy, but a final research paper will be required.

PHIL 4469 What Can We Know About God? Exploring the Answers of Christian Antiquity Fall 3
Course Description

The knowledge of God blossomed in Christian antiquity and opened up the possibility of natural and revealed knowledge of God. In this course we shall explore the writings of the Greek Fathers of the fourth century A.D. (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom) in their historical and geographical context, including the Silk Road.


Instructor(s): Margaret Schatkin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO5469

Comments: Team-taught with Rev. George Dion D. Dragas of Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

PHIL 4470 Philosophy of World Religions Fall 3
Course Description

The purpose of this course is as follows: (1) to familiarize students with the teachings of each of the world's major religions; (2) to understand, empathize with, and appreciate them; (3) to appreciate one's own religion (or lack of one) better by comparison; (4) to philosophize critically and rationally about a subject that is not in itself critical and rational; and (5) to question and search for a universal nature of core of religion, if possible.


Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core

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PHIL 4472 Buddhist Ethics in Theory and Practice Fall 3
Course Description

We first study classical Buddhist ethical principles and practices in ancient India, Southeast Asia and Tibet. We then discuss some leading contemporary Buddhist writings on ethical analyses of issues in social justice, ecology, global economics, war and peace. Daily mindfulness practice, based on class instruction, is required. Requirements: Weekly writing of 3 pages, active class participation, and final paper.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Makransky

Prerequisites: For undergrads, at least two prior courses in philosophy or theology and a B+ or higher average in prior humanities (non-science) courses.

Cross listed with: THEO4472 TMCE4472

Comments:

PHIL 4474 American Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

American scholars have done some of the most innovative philosophical work. This course surveys the works of key figures in American philosophy, focusing on Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, Josiah Royce, John Dewey, CI Lewis, Wilfrid Sellars, WVO Quine, Richard Rorty, and Hilary Putnam.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Richard Kenneth Atkins

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4476 Classical Chinese Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

This course is an introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy and designed to introduce students to the major philosophical schools of classical China, including the Confucian, Mohist, Daoist, and Buddhist schools. Through lectures, discussions, and reading of select primary and secondary sources, we will explore the formulations and subsequent transformations of key beliefs, doctrines, practices, and institutions that characterized specific cultural, educational, spiritual and philosophical traditions.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Joseph Jiang, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4477 Ethical Principles in Comparative Perspectives Spring 3
Course Description

The course will explore the major concepts of and current trends in Eastern and Western values, beliefs, and practices. It will also illustrate the diversity of their social, cultural and philosophical life by means of a cross-cultural perspective in order to communicate to students the importance of global changes, dialogue and exchanges.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): You Guo Jiang, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4483 Revolution and Social Change Fall 3
Course Description

This course will take up accounts of the roots of modern notions of justified revolution and social justice calls to transform society in Hebrew scripture and the ministry of Jesus as depicted in the Christian bible through the interpretations of political theorist Michael Walzer's Exodus and Revolution, and the work of progressive theologian Walter Wink, as well as classical political theory in Aquinas and Locke and others. We will also consider the works of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Hannah Arendt on non-violent resistance, as well as works of Malcolm X, Fritz Fanon, Vaclav Havel, and Aung San Suu Kyi. Students will work on projects examining the theoretical underpinnings of recent attempts at revolution and social change, and considering their success or failure.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Eileen Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4492 Spiritual Exercises:Philosophers&Theologians Spring 3
Course Description

See course description under Theology Department: THEO4493


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Brian Robinette

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4493 Bioethics: Ethical Issues in Healthcare Fall 3
Course Description

Should doctors ever be allowed to help their patients die? How much healthcare are we entitled to receive? What, if anything, is wrong with cloning human beings? Is abortion morally wrong? May parents be allowed `designer babies"? What moral obligations do doctors have toward disadvantaged populations? In this course, we will examine some philosophical answers to these pressing questions of modern societies. Topics include justice and health-care, stem-cell research, euthanasia, human cloning, abortion, ethics and medical research in underdeveloped countries.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Marius Stan

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4497 Parmenides and the Buddha Spring 3
Course Description

Parmenides lived during a time when momentous yet similar changes were taking place--or being resisted--in civilizations as distant as Greece and China, and as diverse as Israel and India. What relation did his teaching that Being is One have in the resulting divisions within human consciousness? Was his teaching a logical miscalculation? Or is it a mystical insight? Arguably, Parmenides' message is especially relevant to our own time when the claims Rationalism and the allure of technology are gradually eroding our appreciation of, and access to, the mysterious realms of myth and religion.


Instructor(s): Stuart B. Martin

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4901 Readings and Research Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

By arrangement.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4931 Senior Honors Seminar Fall 4
Course Description

The senior honors seminar will support the development of a senior thesis. Topics will include methods for strong research, writing workshops, and contemporary philosophical readings and discussion.


Instructor(s): DEPT

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Restricted to departmental honors students only.

PHIL 4932 Perspectives Seminar Fall 3
Course Description

By Arrangement


Instructor(s): Thomas Kohler and Frederick Lawrence

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4951 Senior Thesis Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

By arrangement.


Instructor(s): Marius Stan

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 4961 Senior Honors Thesis Spring 4
Course Description

Students will write a senior thesis of approximately 75 pages under the guidance of a faculty advisor.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Restricted to senior departmental honors students.

PHIL 4962 Perspectives Thesis Spring 3
Course Description

By arrangement.


Instructor(s): Brian Braman and The Department

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 4983 Basic Questions in Philosophy of Human Nature Fall 3
Course Description

This course approaches the question "what is human being?" by way of a range of themes in the history of philosophy. These will include: (1) pleasure (Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine); (2) aggression and the problem of drive / force (Freud); (3) different forms of love (of parents for children, between spouses, between friends, love of neighbor, love of God, etc); (4) symbolization, especially in relation to religion; and (5) sexuality as impossible to fully integrate, in relation to language, and in relation to desire.


Instructor(s): Paul Moyaert

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5200 Aristotle on the Soul Spring 3
Course Description


Instructor(s): William Wians

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor required

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Comments:

PHIL 5372 Patristic Greek Fall 3
Course Description

This two-semester course is designed for the student with no previous knowledge of ancient Greek to develop reading and translating skills in Patristic Greek language by mastering the fundamental principles of Greek grammar and syntax and acquiring a basic reading vocabulary. The student becomes familiar with the meaning of Greek words, their forms and structure, and their customary arrangement in sentences. A secondary goal of this course is to serve as a foundation for further studies in Patristic Greek.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Margaret Schatkin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO5372

Comments: This course is continued in the spring as THEO5373 New Testament Greek II.

PHIL 5373 New Testament Greek II Spring 3
Course Description

This two-semester course is designed for the student with no previous knowledge of ancient Greek to develop reading and translating skills in Patristic Greek language by mastering the fundamental principles of Greek grammar and syntax and acquiring a basic reading vocabulary. The student becomes familiar with the meaning of Greek words, their forms and structure, and their customary arrangement in sentences. A secondary goal of this course is to serve as a foundation for further studies in Patristic Greek.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Margaret Schatkin

Prerequisites: Must have completed THEO5372

Cross listed with: THEO5373

Comments:

PHIL 5387 Mahayana Buddhism in East Asia Spring 3
Course Description

The bodhisattva--a wise and compassionate being dedicated to the salvation of all sentient beings--is arguably the model for and model of Buddhist practice in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and, more recently, North America and Europe. This course will explore the cultic dimensions of Buddhism in East Asia--the modes of self-cultivation and worship that have revolved around the figure of the bodhisattva. Close readings of texts and images will challenge Western assumptions about what Mahayana Buddhism has been all about, and by extension, how we imagine the general categories "theology" and "religion."


Instructor(s): David Mozina

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO5387 TMST7097

Comments:

PHIL 5500 Philosophy of Law Spring 3
Course Description

This course aims to provide an overview of a number of core debates in contemporary philosophy of law. The primary concern will be to examine the relation between legal validity and the moral normativity of the law, that is, answers to the questions ‘What is the law?’ and ‘Is there a (moral) duty to obey the law?’ In addition to these more general questions, we will focus on several more specific questions pertaining to constitutionalism, including ‘What is the relationship between a constitution and the rule of law?’, ‘What is the ground of judicial review?’ and ‘What connection, if any, is there between questions of legal theory and broader debates in contemporary political philosophy?’


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Paul Van Rooy

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5502 American Pragmatism Fall 3
Course Description

Pragmatism is the most distinctive philosophical movement to arise on American soil. Its origins can be traced to a post-Civil War discussion group called the Metaphysical Club whose members included Charles Peirce, William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and a number of other distinguished thinkers. Their influence extended to many fields well into the twentieth century. In this class, we will consider pragmatism as a theory of meaning, a philosophy of science, and a political theory that places an on-going human community at the center of the quest for knowledge.


Instructor(s): Catharine Wells

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: LAWS7758

Comments:

PHIL 5504 Plotinus: the One and the Many Spring 3
Course Description

This course is designed to look at the puzzles Parmenides set for Greek philosophy. We will examine Plotinus' treatise on omnipresence, Ennead VI 4-5[22-23], "On the Presence of Being, One and the Same, Everywhere as a Whole." The issues include the Platonic problems of participation, the relation of particulars to forms, of sensible to intelligible, of Platonic being to Aristotelian substance, and the priority of being and substance over number. The second part moves to Plotinus' One as the God beyond being in contrast with Stoic materialism.


Instructor(s): Gary Gurtler, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5505 The Aristotelian Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

This course has recently been added for the fall. For students interested in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, this course is for you! It consists of a close reading of the whole of the Nicomachean Ethics beginning with ethical virtue (Books II-IX) and ending with happiness (Books I & X). I have found that a student's understanding of Aristotle's ethical concepts is enhanced when he/she considers those concepts in relation to leading figures in Ancient Greek literature. Thus, occasionally we will discuss some of Homer's Iliad and Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus to consider how some of the following issues relate to Achilles, Hektor, Paris, Oedipus, and Jocasta. What does it means to have an ethical virtue (or vice), to engage in involuntary actions, to be responsible, courageous, good-tempered, truthful, temperate, continent, incontinent, and happy? Since the course will be run seminar style, students are expected to participate generously in classroom discussions.


Instructor(s): Deborah DeChiara-Quenzer

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core

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PHIL 5506 Utilitarianism Spring 3
Course Description

This course examines the motivation, development, intricacies and difficulties of the influential moral/political doctrine characterized by the familiar slogans, "The greatest good for the greatest number" and "The end justifies the means."


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 5507 Ancient Philosophy East and West Fall 3
Course Description

This course is organized around a comparative focus on ancient China and India and classical Greece, and, to a lesser extent, ancient Rome. It will explore the meaning of the affinities and differences between the notions of self-cultivation, on the one side, and care of the soul, on the other, in Confucius, Mencius, Chuang-tzu, the Buddha, Plato, Epicurus, and the Stoics.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David W. Johnson

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 5508 Dante's "Divine Comedy" in Translation Fall 3
Course Description

An introduction to and critical reading of the "Divine Comedy" (in English translation), one of the world's greatest epic poems, produced by "the chief imagination of Christendom" (Yeats). Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise will be analyzed at its multiple levels of interpretation: literal and allegorical, theological, philosophical, political, and literary. Compendium of an entire epoch of European civilization, the "Comedy" will also be interrogated for its responses to the fundamental questions of human existence: God, the Cosmos, the Self, Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Suffering, and Happiness.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Laurie Shepard

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO5559 ITAL5526 ENGL4696

Comments: Conducted in English. Elective for Italian major or minor.

PHIL 5509 Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy and Practice Spring 3
Course Description

Philosophical concepts and meditative and ritual practices of the Tantric Buddhism of Tibet (Vajrayana). Includes early Buddhist and Mahayana philosophical foundations of Tantric Buddhism, connections between philosophy and sacred story, nature of mind and the transformative potential of the human being, visionary practices, meditation theory, inner yogas, unities of wisdom and means, and the feminine divine in cultural context. We explore Tibetan philosophy and praxis through writings of modern Buddhist studies scholars and Tibetan lamas. Weekly writing, midterm, final papers.


Instructor(s): John J. Makransky

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: TMST8539 THEO3506

Comments:

PHIL 5510 Contemporary Philosophy of Religion Fall 3
Course Description

Reflection on the themes of faith, divinity, and being in the world, as contested in the field opened by Heideggerian phenomenology. In addition to some key texts by Heidegger, we will read and discuss works by K. Rahner, B. Welte, J.-L. Marion, and J.-Y. Lacoste. At several points, it will also be useful to draw on the positions of Augustine and Aquinas.


Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: Core philosophy courses

Cross listed with: THEO5516

Comments:

PHIL 5511 What is Moral Knowledge Fall 3
Course Description

Is it possible to know - not just feel or believe - that certain things are right or wrong, good or bad? If so, how is moral knowledge similar to, or different, from scientific knowledge? And how do we acquire moral knowledge? This course addresses these questions, along with other related issues in moral epistemology. We will consider general approaches - e.g. intuitionism, constructivism, and skepticism. We will also focus on some specific topics, such as: Does persistent moral disagreement show that there is no moral knowledge? Is there such a thing as moral expertise?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 5512 Philosophy of Existence Spring 3
Course Description

An introduction to the main questions of existentialist philosophy from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Heidegger, Sartre and Camus. The major issues dealt with include freedom and determinism, desire and death, anxiety and the search for the absolute.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 5513 Anthropology of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II Spring 3
Course Description

Before he became Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla had always been preoccupied with understanding the nature of the human person. This course is devoted to a critical analysis of Wojtyla's philosophical writings, especially "Love and Responsibility" and "The Acting Person," in order to understand the full depth and richness of his relational anthropology. The course will also consider how this anthropology of the acting person is decisive for comprehending John Paul II's conception of freedom with his theory of action. That theory serves as the foundation for his moral theology articulated in encyclicals Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae.


Instructor(s): Richard Spinello

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO5515

Comments:

PHIL 5515 How to Save the World: Ethics of Climate Change Spring 3
Course Description

Climate change is arguably the defining issue of our time and the hardest problem humanity has ever faced. It raises an array of moral questions, e.g.: What values should guide global and national climate policies? What responsibilities do we have toward the poor, future generations, nonhuman species, and our planet? The course is an introduction to environmental ethics and the moral challenges posed by climate change. In particular, we examine the philosophical and ethical questions that underlie climate science, public policy, energy systems and policy, and economics. The goal is to cultivate an integral understanding of the climate problem through an interdisciplinary inquiry.


Instructor(s): David Storey

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5517 Kant & Kantians on Moral Law Fall 3
Course Description

In this class, we will examine Kant's account of the categorical imperative, and his attempt to show that it is the supreme principle of all morality. We will read Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and Critique of Practical Reason. Alongside these primary texts, we will also examine different interpretations of the categorical imperative by contemporary philosophers, including Christine Korsgaard and Allen Wood. Our goal is to understand Kant's account of the moral law, as well as the prospects and problems for different versions of Kantian moral philosophy.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5518 Philosophy of Imagination Fall 3
Course Description

Readings in the philosophy of imagination from ancient myth to post-modernity. Beginning with Biblical and Greek accounts of images and image-making, this course will explore three main paradigm shifts in the western history of imagination: (1) the ancient paradigm of the Mirror (Plato to Augustine); (2) the modern paradigm of the Lamp (Kant to Sartre); and (3) the postmodern paradigm of the circular Looking Glass (Lacan to Derrida). The course will conclude with a critical evaluation of the political and ethical functions of imagination in our contemporary civilization of cyber fantasy, simulation, and spectacle.


Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5519 Being in the World Spring 3
Course Description

An exploration, comparison, and critical reflection on the interpretations of being in the world proposed by Heidegger, Sartre and Levinas. Work will include some study of the conceptions of being and world underpinning those three interpretations, a focus on the differing conceptions of human being at their hearts, and particular concentration on the questions of responsibility for oneself and for others. This will require a close reading of central passages, but by no means all of, Being and Time, Being and Nothingness, and Totality and Infinity.


Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5521 Women, Nature, and Ecology Spring 3
Course Description

In this course, we will explore the intersections between the concept of the "feminine" and the concept of "nature," especially in reference to ecological issues. Themes will include ways in which feminists have both relied upon and criticized the concept of a feminine "nature"; whether there is a link between the dominance of nature and the domination of women; female embodiment; and concrete global issues facing women in their roles in agriculture, environmentalism, and sustainability.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Marina B. McCoy

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5522 The Problem of Time: Ontology and Subjectivity Spring 3
Course Description

The nature of time is one of the trickiest puzzles in philosophy. Its elusiveness seems to be due to the fact that it pertains both to the objective world and our innermost subjectivity: there would be no time in the absence of movement, as well as in the absence of mind perceiving the movement. We will examine the main hypotheses regarding the essence of time, from Antiquity through Middle Ages, the nominalist and Newtonian revolution, until the threshold of contemporary approaches.


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5523 Nietzsche on Ethics & Virtues of Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

This class will explore the central ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche, especially his ethical thinking. We will consider his notorious attacks on traditional ethics but pay special attention to the positive ethical ideal Nietzsche advocates instead: the "free spirit," bermensch, or "sovereign individual." This will involve a detailed discussion of Nietzsche's alternative conceptions of conscience, freedom, responsibility, and autonomy. We will also consider how philosophy is important here, exploring Nietzsche's critiques of traditional forms of philosophy and his hopes for a new "philosophy of the future," including the character traits of thinkers and their thinking that he believes constitute philosophical excellence.


Instructor(s): Thomas Miles

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5524 Ethics: An Introduction Fall 3
Course Description

Ethics, properly understood, is a practical discipline, i.e., an intellectually rigorous study with implications for personal and social life. This course will introduce students to the standard issues of contemporary Anglo-American ethics, but also to a broader selection of issues addressed in classical and contemporary philosophy. The goal is to develop a more adequate understanding of what it means to be practically reasonable and of how practical reasonableness can be embodied in personal and social life.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Arthur R. Madigan, S.J.

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core

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PHIL 5525 Contemporary Aristotelian Naturalism Spring 3
Course Description

In recent decades, there has been a revival of interest in Aristotelian naturalism in the work of philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe and Philppa Foot. In the first part of the course, we will consider how contemporary Aristotelians naturalists have connected ethics and the "logic of life." The second part of the course focuses on the role that moral virtue plays in Aristotelian naturalism. The third part of the course examines Aristotelian accounts of justice compared to rule-consequentialism, on the hand, and Kantian-inspired contractualism, on the other.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5526 Introduction to Feminist Philosophies Fall 3
Course Description

In this course, we will examine a wide variety of feminist thinkers, including liberal feminists, radical feminists, phenomenologists, psychoanalytic thinkers, and Christian feminists. Special attention will be given to global approaches to feminism and the intersection of gender with differences of race and class as well as power differentials between economically developed and developing countries. Men and women of all political backgrounds are welcome.


Instructor(s): Marina B. McCoy

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5527 Philosophy of Language Spring 3
Course Description

This course will consider major texts and movements in 20th century philosophy of language in both the analytic and continental traditions, reading the work of Russell, Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, Quine and Davidson as well as Ricoeur and Derrida . Our goal will be to bring together these very different approaches to what has been a central concern of philosophy in the 20th century.


Instructor(s): Eileen C. Sweeney

Prerequisites: Philosophy core fulfilled.

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PHIL 5528 Skepticism, Stoicism, and Neo-Platonism Spring 3
Course Description

Ancient philosophy is the period following Aristotle and stretching into the third century A.D.,Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy. A number of philosophical schools flourished: Stoicism, Epicureanism, Skepticism, Middle-Platonism, Neo-Platonism. Some had sophisticated answers to questions in epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics: Does the human mind use mental language? Are we responsible for our thoughts? Is pleasure the goal of life? What kinds of emotions does the wise person have? Can Plato's account of the Forms be enriched by Aristotle's account of God? What is the metaphysical status of Socrates' "daimon"? The primary emphases of the course are Stoicism and the Platonisms.


Instructor(s): Sarah Byers

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5529 Metaphysics Spring 3
Course Description

The course begins with classical modern philosophers. Their problems concern the relation of mind and body, the possibility of objective knowledge, and cause and effect. Their method is that of science, combining both empirical and logical elements. After these modern thinkers, giving our cultural assumptions, we turn to Ancient and Medieval philosophers. Their problems concern the relation of spirit and matter, the analogy of being and truth, and causal explanation. Their method is one of dialogue. With this different set of problems and method, we will be able to evaluate the relative strengths of these different philosophical positions.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Gary M. Gurtler, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5530 Social Theory: Hegel to Freud Spring 3
Course Description

TBD


Instructor(s): Vanessa P. Rumble

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5531 Discourse & Metaphysics of Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

We examine most of the 20thCentury's principal positions on the metaphysics, knowledge, and modes of discourse within and behind moral judgment, as developed within Anglo-American philosophy: axiological non-naturalism, deontological non-naturalism, emotivism, prescriptivism, neo-naturalism, anti-realism, projectivism, and constructivism. Readings will be selected from such thinkers as G.E. Moore, W.D. Ross, J.N. Findlay, A.J. Ayer, C.L. Stevenson, R.M. Hare, P. Foot, E. Anscombe, J. Mackie, S. Blackburn, and J. Rawls.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5532 Philosophy of Religion in Human Subjectivity Fall 3
Course Description

A course on how the question of God or of supernatural religion arises in a post-modern existential philosophy of subjectivity and how it comes to be answered in the affirmative as seen in Maurice Blondel's Philosophy of Action.


Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: Two courses in philosophy completed

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PHIL 5534 Environmental Ethics: Value of Nature/Nature of Value Spring 3
Course Description

This course has theoretical and practical sides. Theoretically, it is an inquiry into value theory in general, and the value of (nonhuman) nature in particular. We will examine positions on the moral standing of nonhumans, such as anthropocentrism, animal rights and welfare, biocentrism, and ecocentrism. Practically, we will explore the social, political, economic, and ethical dimensions of environmental issues such as food, consumerism, climate change, energy, and sustainability. Our animating questions are: What are our duties to the natural world? How would our civilization have to change to meet these duties?


Instructor(s): David Storey

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5535 Charles S. Peirce Spring 3
Course Description

Charles Sanders Peirce is widely regarded as the greatest and most innovative philosopher to have come from the United States. He is the founder of pragmatism. He originated the view that true propositions are those that would be believed after sufficiently long and rigorous inquiry. His work helped to establish contemporary semiotics. Independently but contemporaneously with Edmund Husserl, Peirce developed a science of phenomenology. And he made many novel contributions to logic. Yet Peirce was never able to find a permanent academic position. In 1914, he died destitute near Milford, Pennsylvania, the vast majority of his work in manuscript form. This course will introduce key ideas from Peirce’s corpus, paying special attention to how his thought developed and the unique contributions he made to philosophy.


Instructor(s): Richard Kenneth Atkins

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5536 Philosophies of Dissent Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will explore the philosophical ideas behind the practice of dissenting against power and authority. Drawing from the history of political philosophy and social theory, the readings will explore philosophical perspectives on the just use of power and authority, as well as philosophical perspectives that seek to legitimize dissent against unjust governments. Beyond mere politics, furthermore, the existential aspects of dissent will be explored within works concerned not only with the colonization of cities by unjust governments, but also with the unjust colonization of the individual by society and politics


Instructor(s): Aspen E. Brinton

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5537 Contemporary Metaethics Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines work in ethical constructivism, anti-realism, projectivism, quasi-realism, scientific reductionism, definism, neo-expressivism by considering writings selected from those of J.L. Mackie, S. Blackburn, Darwall, P. Pettit, F. Jackson, J. Rawls, T.M. Scanlon, and/or other (mostly Anglophone) philosophers. Students will write two take-home examinations and give oral presentations in class.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5538 Capstone: Journey to Self-Discovery Spring 3
Course Description

As historical beings, our lives constitute a story that unfolds in time. Our lives narrate a journey from sin to salvation, despair to faith, sickness to health, death to life, darkness to light, and ignorance to knowledge. This is a journey to selfhood. We are sojourners struggling to understand more deeply who we are as this self, and what is our place in the world. This seminar will explore the four fundamental capstone issues of spirituality, citizenship, relationships, and work in terms of this notion of our life as a narrative, a journey to selfhood.


Instructor(s): Brian Braman

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: UNCP5542

Comments: You can take a Capstone class only as a senior or second-semester junior.
Capstone classes may not be taken Pass/Fail.
You may take only one Capstone class before graduation.

PHIL 5540 Philosophy of Liberation Fall 3
Course Description

Philosophy of Liberation is the philosophy of a new humanism emerging from the consciousness of being oppressed in the third world. It is a revolutionary philosophy that is resolutely post-modern and post-colonial, making its way into the first-world consciousness of the oppressor and the colonizer. In this course we study the most important teachers of this philosophy, beginning in Latin America and Africa and then returning to the U.S. amid the Latin American and African Diaspora, in an effort to raise our own consciousness to the level of this spirited philosophy of liberation.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: Five courses in philosophy completed.

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PHIL 5541 Philosophy of Health Science: East and West Spring 3
Course Description

This course will explore the underlying ethical suppositions of health care practice. Starting from concrete clinical problems such as the care of the elderly and the influence of technology, the course will attempt to draw out the philosophical assumptions of health care practice and show the necessity of an appropriate philosophical perspective in the resolution of day-to-day ethical dilemmas in health care. A close examination of medical practice, from Hippocratic regimen to high-tech medicine, will be undertaken. As a counterpoint, another ancient medical tradition from India, of about 500 B.C., will be studied.


Instructor(s): Pramod B. Thaker

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5542 Themes in Modern Political Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

We will study themes which became central to the tradition of Western political philosophy in the modern period, when revolutionary changes were occurring in religious and political spheres due to the Reformation, Wars of Religion, and the intellectual sphere due to the burgeoning Scientific Revolution. After a look at ancient and medieval philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas to understand what was genuinely new in modern political thought, we will turn to intensive engagement with great modern figures such as Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau, and end with some contemporary approaches to political authority and obligation.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jonathan Trejo-Mathys

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5543 Friends & Family: Why Care? Spring 3
Course Description

Isn't impartiality at the heart of morality? But then, (how) can we be justified in the partiality we normally show some people over others? This course considers some philosophical accounts of the place and significance within morality of a person’s relationships with social acquaintances and relatives, and of her voluntary commitments and group affiliations (national, ethnic, racial, etc.). Readings include work of F.H.Bradley, selections from J.Seglow’s monograph, "Defending Associative Duties" and from B.Feltham’s and J.Cottingham’s edited collection, "Partiality & Impartiality: Morality, Special Relationships, & the Wider World", and other (mostly recent) texts.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5544 Subject of Desire: Kojève to Levinas Fall 3
Course Description

Alexandre Kojève’s lectures on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, which he delivered at the École Nationale des Hautes Études between 1933 and 1939, mark a turning point in the history of French thought, and the emergence of an anthropology and ethics of “desire.” At stake, in that concept, and in the period that stretches between those lectures and the publication of Levinas’ Totality and Infinity in 1961, is nothing less than the meaning of human subjectivity. The aim of this course is to explore the evolution of that concept in that period, and the manner in which it became the battleground on which interrelated yet often opposed conceptions of human subjectivity were fought. The course will focus on the following schools of thought and individual thinkers: dialectic (Hegel, Kojève), psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan), phenomenology (Husserl, Sartre, Levinas).


Instructor(s): Miguel de Beistegui

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5545 Freedom or Determinism? Spring 3
Course Description

The advent of modern science intensified the long philosophical debates as to whether there is any such thing as human freedom. First the rise of Newtonian science strengthened the view that all actions, including every human action, is completely determined beforehand. Then Darwinian evolution added the idea of genetic determinism. Most recently neuroscientists have argued that human decisions are pre-programmed by neural structures. During this period important philosophers have resisted these attacks on human freedom. This course will study these debates, and challenge students to arrive at their own well thought-out answers to this question.


Instructor(s): Patrick Byrne

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5548 Art, Ethics & Modernity Fall 3
Course Description

Art and ethics are two of the most profound sources of meaning and significance in modern life. But what is the relationship between art and ethics, and how do they each shape our lives and values? Are art and ethics rivals in this task, or can they be mutually supportive? After briefly looking at ancient views of this subject from Plato and Aristotle, we will discuss modern views from thinkers like Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Heidegger and Wittgenstein. The class will then focus on those thinkers and artists like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Camus whose works skillfully merge art and ethical philosophy.


Instructor(s): Thomas Miles

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5549 Selected Readings in Phenomenology Spring 3
Course Description

This course offers a critical introduction to phenomenology, one of the most important movements of twentieth-century European philosophy, including its French existentialist development, and its critics. The major themes and movements in phenomenology and existentialism will be studied through several key thinkers: Franz Brentano, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Edith Stein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas. Themes that will be critically considered include: intentionality, phenomenological description, perception and embodiment, moods and emotions, self-consciousness, the nature of the self, sociality and the surrounding lifeworld. The course will have both a historical and a critical orientation with an emphasis on reading selected primary-source texts in English translation.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Dermot Moran

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5550 Capstone: Building a Life Fall 3
Course Description

See course description in University section of the catalog.


Instructor(s): David McMenamin

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5552 God, Ethics and Neuroscience Spring 3
Course Description

This course examines some important questions regarding relationships between belief in God and scientific approaches to humanity and the natural world. We explore both the arguments for the incompatibility between science and theism, as well as constructive ways of understanding their potential relationships. We will examine major historical contributors to the discussion including Aquinas, Galileo, and Darwin. Central methodological questions focus on forms of naturalism, reductionism, and evolution. Other course topics include the ethical significance of neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, particularly concerning the relation between brain and mind, the meaning of responsibility, and the natural basis of moral decision-making.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Patrick Byrne and Stephen Pope

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO5552

Comments:

PHIL 5553 Capstone: Poets, Philosophers, and Mapmakers Spring 3
Course Description

We go through life with mental maps of reality in various degrees, implicit or explicit. A liberal arts education presupposes such a map of the intelligible world. Is it accurate? What does your map of reality look like? How has it changed since freshman year? The goal of the seminar is to help you see what kind of map you implicitly have now and to begin to ask what you want the map to look like ten years after graduation. How do you develop an open rather than closed map?


Instructor(s): Paul McNellis, S.J.

Prerequisites: Completion of Philosophy and Theology core and instructor permission required

Cross listed with: UNCP5553

Comments: You can take a Capstone class only as a senior or second-semester junior.
Capstone classes may NOT be taken Pass/Fail.
You may take only ONE Capstone class before graduation.

PHIL 5555 Quest for Authenticity: Philosophy and Film Fall 3
Course Description

From the beginnings of the New Left to present-day culture, the desire to be authentically one’s self has become commonplace. The concept of authenticity permeates the whole of culture. Whether in advertising, entertainment, political life, or the moral life, to be authentic is to be true to some higher standard; it is to be the genuine article. To speak about the desire to become an authentic human being suggests the need to overcome a dichotomy between what you are and what you want to be. It is to overcome both personal and cultural alienation. The purpose of this course will be to first render a philosophical understanding of what it means to be an authentic human being. Second, we will then explore how this quest for authenticity, properly understood, gets expressed through contemporary film.


Instructor(s): Brian J. Braman

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5556 Quest for Authenticity: Lonergan's Philosophy of Art Fall 3
Course Description

The concept of authenticity permeates the whole of artistic culture. For a work of art to be thought authentic it will be true to some higher standard, be it a normative understanding of beauty or the artist’s own personal vision. For Lonergan, what makes art authentic is its ability to communicate some ulterior significance or meaning through symbolic mediation of “the purely experiential pattern.” The purpose of this course will be to appropriate in a rich way Lonergan’s philosophy of art. But in order to do justice to this appropriation, we will first explore what other thinkers have had to say about the nature of art. Aquinas, Kant, Nietzsche and Heidegger will be some of the thinkers with whom we will begin our exploration of the philosophy of art.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Brian J. Braman

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5559 Epistemology of Religious Belief Spring 3
Course Description

Is it rational to believe that God exists? What can we know, or rationally believe, about God? Is it rational to have faith in the absence of evidence? Does religious belief need to be rational? In the first part of this course we will analyze the traditional arguments for the existence of God from a variety of historical texts. For the remainder of the course our focus will be on contemporary articles about the rationality of belief in God. We will discuss a variety of issues including the role of faith in a rational belief system, the plausibility of miracle reports, the legitimacy of appeals to religious experience, and the presumption of atheism.


Instructor(s): Cherie McGill

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5560 Capstone: Seeing, Loving, Serving Spring 3
Course Description

The capacities to love and to know are linked with the ability to see, and these capacities lie at the heart of a Jesuit education. The critic John Berger states that we only see what we look at, looking is an act of choice. This course will examine the link between seeing oneself and others properly and becoming men and women for others. Drawing on texts in philosophy, theology, and literature, students will examine the forces that have shaped their vision and reflect on how they can take the perspectives gained at Boston College into future relationships and careers.


Instructor(s): Mary Troxell

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: UNCP5560

Comments: You can take a Capstone class only as a senior or second-semester junior.
Capstone classes may not be taken Pass/Fail.
You may take only one Capstone class before graduation.

PHIL 5561 Arendt & Buber: Loving the World Fall 3
Course Description

Hannah Arendt and Martin Buber articulated faiths for a love of the world and for those who inhabit it. Their thought is foundational for a philosophy and theology of politics and of the persona.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): James W. Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5562 Virtue Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

This course chiefly examines recent work on the nature, structure, types, of moral virtues, their relation to impersonal values, and their place within ethical theory, situating these discussions relative to Aristotelian accounts. Readings will be drawn from texts by Robert Adams, Robert Audi, Philippa Foot, Thomas Hurka, Michael Slote, Nancy Snow, Christine Swanton, Judith Thomson, Linda Zagzebski, and others.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5563 Ethics, Religion, and International Politics Fall/Spring 4
Course Description

An examination of the role of religion in international politics and of ethical approaches to international affairs. Special emphasis will be given to religion as a source of conflict, religious communities as transnational agents for justice, protection of human rights, and peace; the historical development and contemporary formulations of ethical norms for the use of force; and ethical and religious contributions to reconciliation and solidarity.


Instructor(s): Dept

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: INTL5563 THEO5563

Comments: Major Restricted for IS. See International Studies, Philosophy or the Theology Department for registration approval. Preference to Theology and International Studies majors and minors.

PHIL 5565 The Virtue of Justice Fall 3
Course Description

This course approaches these large questions by examining Aristotelian accounts of the virtue of justice, i.e. excellence in fulfilling one’s duties to others. In examining the virtue of justice, we will consider such questions as: In what ways is the virtue of justice different from the other virtues? Can a eudaimonistic outlook yield an acceptable account of our obligations to others? Does virtue ethics have anything distinctive to contribute to our understanding of deontic concepts?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah E. Lott

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5567 Ethics, Religion, and International Politics I Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

An examination of the role of religion in international politics and of ethical approaches to international affairs. Special emphasis will be given to religion as a source of conflict, religious communities as transnational agents for justice, protection of human rights, and peace; the historical development and contemporary formulations of ethical norms for the use of force; and ethical and religious contributions to reconciliation and solidarity.


Instructor(s): Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: INTL5561 THEO5567

Comments: Major Restricted. See International Studies, Philosophy, or the Theology Department for registration approval. Preference to Theology and International Studies majors and minors.

PHIL 5574 Kant and Lonergan on Ethics Fall 3
Course Description


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Patrick Byrne

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5575 Augustine Fall 3
Course Description

An introduction to the most influential Christian thinker of all time outside the New Testament. Course will begin with overviews and historical backgrounds (by Christopher Dawson, Ernest Fortin, Henri Marrou, Paul Henry, and Jacques Maritain). Most of the course will focus on a detailed exploration of the "Confessions" and parts of "The City of God.." We will also look at Augustine's influence on later thinkers: Anselm ("Proslogium"), Aquinas, Pascal ("Pensees"), and, more briefly, some modern thinkers (Luther, Calvin, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevski, Lewis, Tolkien).


Instructor(s): Peter Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5576 Existentialism Fall 3
Course Description

An exploration of the writings of 8 Existentialists: Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Marcel, Buber, and Clarke (the Thomist-existentialist-personalist). Existentialists do not share a set of conclusions (they include Protestants, Catholics, Jews, humanists,, atheists, and agnostics) but a set of questions: about human existence, meaning, and subjectivity.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5577 Symbolic Logic: Theory and Practices Fall 3
Course Description

An introduction to the powerful ways the logical forms woven into deductive reasoning and language can be analyzed using abstract symbolic structures. The study of these structures is not only relevant for understanding effective reasoning, but also for exploring the Anglo-American analytic philosophical tradition and foundations of mathematics, computer science, and linguistics. Philosophically interesting properties about logical systems will be explored, including the task of proving whether a logical system is complete and consistent. A number of interesting topics of twentieth-century logic will be briefly considered, such as set theory, Russell's paradox, and Goedel's theorems.


Instructor(s): Department

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5578 Kant's Critique of Pure Reason Spring 3
Course Description

This course will introduce students to Kants masterpiece, the Critique of Pure Reason. It is aimed at seniors majoring in philosophy and at masters students. No previous knowledge of Kants theoretical philosophy is required, but a solid background in philosophy is expected.


Instructor(s): Marius Stan

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5582 Truth and Pragmatism Spring 3
Course Description

“What is truth?” Pontius Pilate asks Jesus. If Jesus were a pragmatist, he would have replied that truth is the fated end of inquiry…or what would be believed after a sufficiently long and rigorous process of inquiry…or maybe he would reply that truth is what your colleagues will let you get away with. This course examines classical and contemporary versions of the pragmatic theory of truth, beginning with Charles S. Peirce and William James and then moving to Richard Rorty, Cheryl Misak, and Huw Price, among others.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Richard K. Atkins

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5583 Philosophy of Biology Spring 3
Course Description

An introduction to core and cutting edge issues in three central areas of the history and philosophy of biology: (1) evolutionary theory, (2) genetics and molecular biology, and (3) embryology and developmental systems theory. Topics to be discussed include attempts to integrate these three areas into a unified theoretical perspective, conceptual issues in evolutionary theory (natural selection, fitness, adaptation, species-concepts, units of selection, theoretical structure, evolutionary psychology, and recent developments), origins of life, reductionism, determinism, teleology and mechanism, naturalism, and associated social-philosophical issues such as the creation-evolution controversies, concepts of race and gender, and attempts to relate biology to ethics.


Instructor(s): Daniel McKaughan

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 5584 C.S. Lewis Fall 3
Course Description

Lewis wrote poetry, literary criticism, science fiction, fantasy, philosophy, theology, religion, literary history, epics, children's stories, historical novels, short stories, psychology, and politics. He was a rationalist and a romanticist, a classicist and an existentialist, a conservative and a radical, a pagan and a Christian. No writer of our century had more strings to his bow, and no one excels him at once in clarity, moral force, and imagination: the true, the good, and the beautiful. We will consider a sampling of Lewis' fiction and non-fiction.


Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: Completion of Philosophy core courses

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PHIL 5586 Platonic Dialogues Fall 3
Course Description

In this fall’s Platonic dialogues, we will focus on Plato’s moral thought in a series of dialogues: Meno, Protagoras, and Gorgias. Each of these dialogues explores the nature of virtue either as a whole. Our reading of the texts will be a slow and careful reading of these dialogues’ arguments with a particular emphasis on the relationship between philosophical reasoning, myth arrative, and ethics.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Marina B. McCoy

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 5590 History of Psychology Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

A hundred years ago, psychology was a tiny academic specialty called mental philosophy. In a matter of decades, however, psychology burgeoned into an enormous field influencing both scholars and the popular imagination (think IQ test, think analyst's couch). What accounts for the rise of psychology to its all-powerful position? This course will examine the twentieth century trajectory of psychology, asking how it has shaped, and been shaped by, cultural, social, and political conditions, and exploring major thinkers such as William James, Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner, Stanley Milgram, Abraham Maslow, and others.


Instructor(s): Nadine Weidman

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: PSYC5590 HIST4286

Comments:

PHIL 5593 Philosophy of Science Fall 3
Course Description

An introduction to the central themes of twentieth century history and philosophy of science. Topics to be discussed include the classic and contemporary problems of demarcation, explanation, confirmation, laws of nature, inter-theoretic reduction, social and historical critiques of neo-positivism, and the realism-antirealism debate. We will examine some philosophical perspectives sometimes thought to be closely associated with science including empiricism, pragmatism, naturalism, and physicalism. We will also discuss a number of other issues, including questions about objectivity and the role of values in science, about the methods, scope, and limits of science, and about whether science provides anything like a worldview.


Instructor(s): Daniel McKaughan

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 5595 Kant's Critique Fall 3
Course Description

This course is an analysis of the major theme of Kant's philosophy as expressed in his first critique, including a study of its antecedents and consequences in the history of philosophy.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Ronald K. Tacelli, S.J.

Prerequisites: PHIL1070-1071 or equivalent

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 5598 Law, Medicine, and Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines legal and ethical issues in medicine. It is designed so that students take an ethical position on difficult or emerging issues in medicine, such as appropriate care of seriously ill newborns, new forms of reproduction, and proposals for health care reform. The student is expected to provide a principled rationale for the position. The goal is to have the students think, be prepared to recognize inadequacies or difficulties in their position, modify it if necessary, and ultimately arrive at a thought-through and principled position. A Socratic method is used to achieve that goal.


Instructor(s): John J. Paris, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO3598

Comments:

PHIL 5599 Kant's Moral Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

We will do a close reading of The Critique of Practical Reason, The Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals,and selected essays.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Ronald K. Tacelli, S.J.

Prerequisites: Some understanding of Kant's epistemology.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 5600 Intro to Phenomenology Spring 3
Course Description

This course will offer a close reading of some of the main texts in the tradition of phenomenology, including works by Husserl, Heidegger, Scheler, Stein, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre. An effort will be made to explore both historical and systematic connections among the thinkers under scrutiny, as well as with other traditions of contemporary philosophy. This class meets every T W TH 12:00-1:15 from 1/17-2/16/2017.


Instructor(s): Andrea Staiti

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: This class meets every T W TH 12:00-1:15 from 1/17-2/16/2017.

PHIL 5846 Plato's Republic Fall 3
Course Description

Welcome to one of Plato's greatest dialogues, the Republic. As a Platonic dialogue, the Republic has it all: an aporetic beginning (Book I), an ideal state, philosopher-kings, the theory of forms, degenerative states and souls, true and pseudo pleasures, and a great myth. In defense of a life of justice over injustice, this text involves ethics, politics, epistemology, psychology, and metaphysics. Classes will be run seminar style, so it expected that students participate generously in classroom discussions. There will also be selected readings from Greek literature and Aristotle in order to enhance an understanding of Plato's views.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Deborah DeChiara-Quenzer

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6486 Feminisms and Philosophies of Difference Spring 3
Course Description

What does it mean to call oneself (or someone else) a ‘feminist’? In attempting an answer to this question, we will consider efforts to reveal, unravel, and remedy the conceptual, psychological, and economic dimensions of the oppression of women. We will discuss a variety of feminisms – liberal, existential, radical – and their differing approaches to such ‘feminist’ issues as marriage and domestic violence, reproduction and pregnancy, work and sexual harassment, and the science of gender and gender difference. We will examine the relationship of sexism to racism, heterosexism, and class exploitation, and investigate the role of the concept of difference in creating and maintaining structural inequalities.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Cherie McGill

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6508 Being Good and Doing Wrong Spring 3
Course Description


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6578 Daoism Fall 3
Course Description

Daoism (sometimes spelled Taoism) has been imagined in the West as an Eastern philosophy of blithe individuality and environmental consciousness. But what have Daoist thought and practice meant to Chinese practitioners? The answer might surprise. This course will examine major moments of thought and practice from the early, medieval, and modern periods of China’s most successful indigenous religious tradition. Close readings of texts and images will challenge Western assumptions about what this religious tradition has been all about, and by extension, how we imagine the general categories “theology” and “religion.”


Instructor(s): David Mozina

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO6578

Comments: Formerly offered as TH578 Visions & Visualizations: Daoist Religious Traditions

PHIL 6603 German-Jewish Thinkers Fall 3
Course Description

The brilliance and tragedy of German (and Austrian) Jewish culture is decisive for interpreting twentieth-century experience. This graduate seminar will examine the writings of some of its major thinkers, including Arendt, Buber, Freud, Kafka, Rosenzweig, and Strauss.


Instructor(s): James W. Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO6600

Comments:

PHIL 6604 Social Construction Spring 3
Course Description

This course explores recent claims that important categories of social life--notably including race, ethnicity, and gender--are not grounded in nature, but are inventions of human societies. We treat the content of such claims, reasons adduced for them, and some of their implications for individual attitudes and social policies.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6605 Augustine Spring 3
Course Description

In this course we examine questions in epistemology, ethics and metaphysics using major works of Augustine (354-430 AD/CE), supplemented by works of contemporary philosophers on related themes (Kretzmann, Matthews, MacDonald, VanInwagen). We will aim at depth of understanding and breadth of knowledge, contextualizing Augustine as a philosopher of late antiquity in dialogue with the Hellenistic schools (Stoicism, Skepticism, Neo-Platonism) whose philosophy is still of interest today. Topics include the nature of faith, skepticism, the problem of evil, the nature ofGod, moral development and conversion, the origin and characteristics of the natural world, including the human soul and body.


Instructor(s): Sarah Byers

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6606 Philosophy and Painting Fall 3
Course Description

This course will deal with a series of philosophers who wrote extensively on painting and with certain painters who were especially significant for these philosophers. Emphasis will be on bringing together the study of the philosophical texts and the visual experience and interpretation of various paintings. The philosophers to be dealt with most extensively are Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. Correspondingly, attention will be given to seventeenth-century Dutch painting, to French Impressionism, and to the work of van Gogh and Klee.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6607 Spinoza's Ethics Spring 3
Course Description

A close textual study of one of the most ambitious attempts to dissolve the fears and passions of ignorance.


Instructor(s): Jean-Luck Solere

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6609 St. Paul and Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

This course will study the philosophical interest of Pauline thinking in relation to some recent interpreters (Agamben, Breton, Heidegger, Taubes) and in its own right. We will consider a reading of Paul as philosopher that resists and perhaps even provides basis for critique of his contemporary readers. Themes will includes faith and reason, Christianity and philosophy, flesh, law and spirit, and community.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: Core and at least one philosophy elective completed.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6610 Philosophy of Levinas Fall 3
Course Description

This course will center on a close reading of much of Totality and Infinity. Central themes will be Levinas's argument that ethics is first philosophy, his understanding of subjectivity and the relation with others, and his re-conception of God and religion in light of claims for the death of God. His work will be put into frequent contact with that of, especially, Heidegger and Sartre.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6611 Global Justice and Human Rights Spring 3
Course Description

This course will study the history of the idea of global justice from its early inception in Stoic law to its formulation in social contract theory in Hobbes and Locke, through Kant's idea of cosmopolitan justice, and on to its contemporary reconstruction in John Rawls, David Held, Jurgen Habermas, and Thomas Pogge. In the context of examining the status of global justice we will consider the problem of world poverty and how human rights can be defended in a global context with the ever-increasing problems associated with homelessness on a world scale.


Instructor(s): David M. Rasmussen

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: LAWS6611

Comments:

PHIL 6612 The Great Conversation Fall 3
Course Description

A one-semester crash course in the history of philosophy covering the 100 greatest philosophers both historically and systematically (logically), emphasizing the ongoing story of issues and arguments among them. The professor's text (SOCRATES' CHILDREN) is about 1000 pages long.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6614 Passions: Medieval and Modern Views Fall 3
Course Description

This course will look at how philosophers from Aquinas to Kant have understood the emotions and appetites, their relationship to the body, to reason, and to the moral life. Can the emotions be controlled by the mind? Is reason the slave of the passions? Are our actions moral only when they are devoid of passion? We will read the works of Aquinas, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, and Kant with an eye both to the way their accounts of the emotions fit into their larger philosophical views and how their accounts of the emotions mesh with our own emotional experience.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Eileen C. Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6615 Rationality and Religious Commitment Spring 3
Course Description

An examination of cutting edge work in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion, organized around foundational questions about the nature, rationality, and value of religious faith. What is faith? Is faith adequately characterized as believing something without sufficient evidence? To what extent is faith compatible with doubt? Can faith be positively related to skepticism? How is faith related to belief, acceptance, trust, hope, and love? Can it be rational to have faith? If so, under what conditions? Can a deeper understanding of faith open up new ways of thinking about the relations between faith and reason or science and religion?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Daniel McKaughan

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6617 Levinas and Biblical Wisdom Spring 3
Course Description

The writings of Levinas will be studied through three different and interrelated lenses: philosophy, religion, and literature. The focus will be on how Levinas' theories offer new perspectives for reading and interpreting the Wisdom Books of the Hebrew Bible: Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Theodore Perry

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO6614

Comments: Advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission of professor.

PHIL 6618 Philosophy of Space & Time Spring 3
Course Description

An historical survey of metaphysical and epistemological problems of space and time from Aristotle to Husserl.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Marius Stan

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6621 Anti-Moralism Spring 3
Course Description

We explore some ways of rejecting morality as represented by Sextus Empiricus, K. Marx, F. Nietzsche, S. Freud, A. Rosenberg, and/or other thinkers. Students will write two take-home examinations and give oral presentations in class.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6622 Philosophy and Music Spring 3
Course Description

This course will explore the way in which various philosophers from Plato to Heidegger have understood the nature of music, its relation to the other arts, and its significance outside the aesthetic sphere, especially for political life. Attention will also be given to the way in which music and reflections on music have, in such cases as Nietzsche, played a major role in shaping philosophical thought.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6623 Spiritual Existence Fall 3
Course Description

Weimar Germany (1918-33) is customarily approached as a politically and economically disastrous period. Unfortunately, this approach has eclipsed that period's protean experimentation with practices of spirituality among Christians, Jews and pagans. This course will examine the efforts of some of the major thinkers and artists to create a renewed spiritual existence for their epoch (Buber, Heidegger, Guardini, Bloch, Weil, the Expressionists, etc.).


Instructor(s): James Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6624 Philosophy of Religion Spring 3
Course Description

Not a psychological but a philosophical and logical investigation of the major controversial issues raised by the world's religions, especially Christianity: the existence and nature of God, creation, providence, the problem of evil, death and life after death, mystical experience, comparing the world's religions, etc.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6625 The Problem of Self-Knowledge Fall 3
Course Description

A human being is more than a rational animal. We are symbolic beings with a polymorphic consciousness and have language and a relational existence to others, the cosmos, and transcendence. Insights from the selected readings and pedagogy will serve both as a maieutic and a heuristic; inspiring us to articulate who we are, how we ought to live with others, and how we are to collaborate with others and transcendence in originating creative and healing insights in response to challenges of humanity at the dawn of our twenty-first century. This course is inspired by Socrates' imperative and dictum: "Know Thyself."


Instructor(s): Brian Braman

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6626 Hermeneutics of God Spring 3
Course Description

This seminar explores recent debates in continental philosophy of religion about the "God who comes after metaphysics." Beginning with the phenomenological approach of Husserl, Heidegger, and Levinas, the course will proceed to a discussion of more recent retrievals of the God question in hermeneutics and deconstruction—Ricoeur, Derrida, and Caputo. Key issues explored include the critique of omnipotence, God as possible/impossible, theism/atheism/posttheism, and the question of interreligious dialogue and pluralism. The seminar invites class presentations from students.


Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO6626

Comments:

PHIL 6628 Schelling Fall 3
Course Description

This course will be conducted as a seminar. It will be devoted to a close reading of a major text by Schelling. The interpretive work with this text will be supplemented by student presentations.


Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: At least 12 hours of philosophy

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6629 Value Theory Fall 3
Course Description

The course examines proposals about the nature, types, levels, and sources of value. Readings: Works from philosophers including G.E. Moore, M. Scheler, W.D. Ross, N.Hartmann, P.T. Geach, R. Nozick, P.R. Foot, M.J. Zimmeran, T.M. Scanlon, and J.J. Thomson.


Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6630 Contemporary French Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

Survey of main currents, central themes, and persistent questions in French philosophy since the end of World War II. Particular attention to developments in phenomenology (Sartre, Levinas), Nietszchean thought (Foucault, Deleuze), and Freudian thought (Lacan, Kristeva).


Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: Basic familiarity with history of philosophy, especially modern.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6631 Science, Brains and Ethics Spring 3
Course Description

This course examines recent work in psychology and neuroscience to determine what, if any, relevance this work has for moral philosophy. We will read works by Alva Noe, Jonathan Haidt, Christian Miller, Daniel Khaneman, and others. Some of the questions we will consider include: Can images of the brain tell us something important about moral decision making? Do empirical studies undermine the idea of stable character traits? Is it possible for empirical research to justify one normative theory over another? Might the empirical sciences one day replace traditional moral theorizing?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6632 Ethical Classics Spring 3
Course Description

An exploration of 14 short Great Books in ethics centering on the practical, personal question What is the good life? (1) Ecclesiastes, (2) Plato's Gorgias, (3) Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, (4) Epictetus' Enchiridion, (5) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, (6) Augustine's Confessions (excerpts), (7) Aquinas' Summa (excerpts), (8) Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, (9) Kant's Metaphysics of Morals, (10) the Humanist Manifesto, (11) C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man, (12) Sartre's Existentialism and Human Emotions, (13) Marcel's The Philosophy of Existentialism, and (14) Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.


Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6633 Hermenutics of Christian Life Fall 3
Course Description

The course will proceed in four parts. 1. Methodological clarification and concentration on the question of a phenomenality proper to Christian life; 2. Hermeneutical phenomenology of faith; 3. Hermeneutical phenomenology of hope; 4. Hermeneutical phenomenology of love. A range of philosophical and theological texts will be studied (Heidegger, Augustine, Marion, Rahner, etc.).


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: Core and at least one philosophy elective completed.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6634 Cosmic City:Hellenistic&Early Christian Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

A study of Hellenistic and early Christian theories of normativity and community. Focuses particularly upon: (1) Augustine's attempt to synthesize the Stoic theory of natural inclinations as normative (`natural law theory') with a Platonic (proximately Plotinian and Victorine) account of transcendent moral standards (`eternal law theory'); and (2) the ways in which Augustine's account of the `two cosmic cities' is developed critically from the Stoic claim that the entire cosmos is one city (polis) and from middle- and neo-Platonic models of how the cosmos is structured and inhabited. Some comparisons/contrasts will be made with ostensibly similar contemporary theories


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Sarah Byers

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6637 Philosophy of Theologians Fall 3
Course Description

This course has two aims: (1) critical study of philosophical texts that have been important in the development of Christian theological reflection; (2) investigate relations between philosophy and theology from the Classical epoch into the late 20th century. This course is designed especially for students of Theology, Ministry, and the joint MA program in philosophy and theology, but is open to all students.


Instructor(s): Brian Dunkle

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: TMST7168

Comments:

PHIL 6642 Group Identity and Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

It is not commonplace to regard someone's race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, etc., as collective identities. This course inquires into this by examining philosophers' wrestling with such questions as: Why are these classified as identities? Should they be? Is an identity more than a label, a word? How do such collective identities relate to someone's individual identity, to what she identifies with, to how people identify her? Are our identities plural? To what extent is such identity voluntary? Does identity entail norms? How are identities important? Should we sometimes "disidentify?"


Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6643 Freud's Civilization and Its Discontent Fall 3
Course Description

This course will develop a close reading of Freud's text, with attention to the therapeutic concerns and technical difficulties that frame it and the cultural critique that it proposes. We will also consider the question of Freud's legacy, as debated between ego psychology and the interpretation developed by Jacques Lacan.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: Basic familiarity with Freudian thought desirable, but not strictly necessary.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6649 Philosophy of Being I Fall 3
Course Description

Postmodern metaphysics as a science of being requires deconstruction and reconstruction. The question of being, first raised in antiquity, was replaced in modern philosophy by questions of logic and epistemology. Heidegger brought the question back to the forefront of philosophy as "the task for thinking at the end of philosophy." In this course, after our own deconstruction of ancient and modern metaphysics we shall attempt a reconstruction with a more positive outcome than Heidegger's, stressing anew the analogy of being and its transcendental properties as one, active, true, and good, constituting being as universe.


Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6650 Philosophy of Being II Spring 3
Course Description

Reconstruction in the metaphysics of becoming and time requires a distinction of matter and form in things that come to be and a distinction of essence and the act of being in finite being. Reconstruction in the metaphysics of being as universe requires communication among the many and diverse beings encountered as one universe, leading to the question of a necessary being. We explore how such distinctions are disclosed in our experience of being and how we go from affirming contingent beings to affirming a necessary Being at the summit of being.


Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6654 Contemporary Aristotelian Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

This course examine some of the most interesting recent work in moral philosophy done from a broadly Aristotelian perspective. Our course will be divided into two mains section. In the first section, we will consider accounts of fundamental normative notions like: goodness, the good of, good as, and good for. We will pay special attention to possible connections between goodness and nature. In the second section we will look at Aristotelian accounts of practical reasoning and practical wisdom. As part of this, we will consider the eudaimonistic structure of Aristotelian ethics, and challenges to eudaimonism.


Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6655 Kant:Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone Fall 3
Course Description

This will be a seminar, focused on a close reading of this text by Kant. We will also supplement this text with passages from other works by Kant, especially the Critique of Practical Reason.


Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core if Undergraduate

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6660 Foundations of Western Law Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will place students into a conversation with some of the key thinkers who have shaped our modern Western legal traditions. In addition to Plato and Aristotle, the readings will be drawn from 17th, 18th, and 19th century English, French and German political philosophers. Themes include: how these authors influenced common and civil law systems; the relation among religion, law and morality and the problem of human knowing; the concepts of "law", "reason", "human nature" and the foundations of rights theory; the shift from the good to legitimacy; the rise of individualism and the problem of community.


Instructor(s): Thomas C. Kohler

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: LAWS6660

Comments:

PHIL 6661 Love, Lust, and the Good Life Spring 3
Course Description

This class considers different conceptions of love and it's place in the good life. We will consider works from antiquity to the present day, considering both philosophical and theological texts. We will also engage with works of literature and film. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Kierkegaard, Nabakov and others.


Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: Philosophy Core if Undergraduate

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6670 Technology and Culture Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

This interdisciplinary course will first investigate the social, political, psychological, ethical, and spiritual aspects of the Western cultural development with a special emphasis on scientific and technological metaphors and narratives. We will then focus on the contemporary world, examining the impact of our various technological creations on cultural directions, democratic process, the world of work, quality of life, and especially on the emergent meanings for the terms "citizen" and "ethics" in contemporary society. Students will explore technologies in four broad and interrelated domains: (1) computer, media, communications, and information technologies, (2) biotechnology, (3) globalization, and (4) environmental issues.


Instructor(s): William Griffith

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: SOCY6670 CSCI2267 ISYS2267

Comments: Satisfies Computer Science Requirement. Satisfies CSOM Computer Science Concentration Requirement and CSOM Information Systems Concentration Requirement.

PHIL 6672 Kant & Lonergan on Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

Kant effected a “Copernican Revolution” not only in the theory of knowing but in ethical and moral philosophy as well. His remarkable synthesis was a powerful inspiration for virtually all contemporary moral standards, including autonomy, human dignity, universal human rights, and equal treatment before the law (i.e., procedural justice). Lonergan’s work in cognitional theory was a response to the limitations in Kant’s theory of knowledge. But his ethical and value theory was also a response to Kant’s moral philosophy. This course will undertake a careful reading of Kant’s major works in moral philosophy and the responses from Lonergan’s works.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Patrick H. Byrne

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6673 Fascisms Fall 3
Course Description

This course in cultural &political philosophy will study twentieth-century European Fascisms as ideologies, practices of political religion and forms of erotic community. The special focus will be Fascism’s appeal as a force for moral, spiritual and erotic renewal in Western culture.


Instructor(s): James W. Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6683 Neo-Kantianism Spring 3
Course Description

Neo-Kantianism was the major philosophical movement in nineteenth and early twentieth century continental Europe. It developed the main impulses of Kant’s critical philosophy in a comprehensive philosophy of human culture. In this course we will examine the main writings and figures of the Neo-Kantianism including Friedrich Albert Lange, Kuno Fischer, Otto Liebmann, Heinrich Rickert, Hermann Cohen, Wilhelm Windelband, and Ernst Cassirer.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Andrea Staiti

Prerequisites: At least one course on Kant’s theoretical philosophy.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6686 Making Memory: History, Story, Image Fall 3
Course Description

1916 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Easter Rising that began Ireland's struggle for independence and the fateful Battle of the Somme that witnessed the decimation of the 36th Ulster Regiment during WW I. Both events proved seminal within a divided Ireland and both were defined as "blood sacrifices." The goal of this course is to explore the contested history of Ireland and Britain by focusing on these events and the commemorations that will mark the upcoming centenary. An interdisciplinary course, we will work with Philosophy and Studio Art.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Richard Kearney, Robert Savage and Sheila Gallagher

Prerequisites: The History Core, Parts I and II

Cross listed with: HIST4824 ARTS3345

Comments:

PHIL 6849 Paul Ricoeur on Human Being Spring 3
Course Description

The course focuses on the question of human being as explored by Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005); a French philosopher who has been characterized as “one of the giants” of contemporary continental philosophy as well as one of the most enduring and wide-ranging thinkers in the twentieth century. Ricoeur attested that the anthropological question of being able and not able (“puissance et impuissance”) is the ultimate purpose and goal of his philosophical explorations. The main aim of this course is to clarify Ricoeur’s claim that a certain positive human capability can be indirectly shown in the necessarily limited activity of human life. In spite of being bound to “fallibility” or “fallenness,” the human self is nevertheless “capable de faillir,” or capable of manifesting itself through practical action that leads the self to have a notion of itself.


Instructor(s): Timo Helenius

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 6894 Paul Ricoeur on Human Being Spring 3
Course Description

The course focuses on the question of human being as explored by Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005); a French philosopher who has been characterized as “one of the giants” of contemporary continental philosophy as well as one of the most enduring and wide-ranging thinkers in the twentieth century. Ricoeur attested that the anthropological question of being able and not able (“puissance et impuissance”) is the ultimate purpose and goal of his philosophical explorations. The main aim of this course is to clarify Ricoeur’s claim that a certain positive human capability can be indirectly shown in the necessarily limited activity of human life. In spite of being bound to “fallibility” or “fallenness,” the human self is nevertheless “capable de faillir,” or capable of manifesting itself through practical action that leads the self to have a notion of itself. We will read texts from Ricoeur's early phase that ground his later explorations.


Instructor(s): Timo Helenius

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7365 Contemporary Aristotelian Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

This course examine some of the most interesting recent work in moral philosophy done from a broadly Aristotelian perspective. Our course will be divided into two mains section. In the first section, we will consider accounts of fundamental normative notions like: goodness, the good of, good as, and good for. We will pay special attention to possible connections between goodness and nature. In the second section we will look at Aristotelian accounts of practical reasoning and practical wisdom. As part of this, we will consider the eudaimonistic structure of Aristotelian ethics, and challenges to eudaimonism.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7463 Science, Values and Metaphysics Fall 3
Course Description

Many have claimed that science provides us with something like a "worldview." Is this correct? Taking an exchange between Wilfrid Sellars and Bas van Fraassen on the "scientific image of the world" as its theme, this course will critically examine contemporary perspectives on naturalism, physicalism, empiricism, reductionism, scientism, and other views often associated with science. How do such views relate to science and what is their status? Be prepared to read quite different perspectives on how developments in science shape, constrain, and interact with philosophical reflection, with religious commitments, and with common sense pictures of the world and of ourselves.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Daniel McKaughan

Prerequisites: For graduate students.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7700 Ancient & Medieval Theories of the Passions Spring 3
Course Description

We will consider the view of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and the Stoics on the nature and role of the passions, their relationship to reason, the definitions of the particular passions. We will move, then, to a reading of selections from Aquinas' treatise on the passions (Summa theologiae I-II) as well as the views of Ockham and Scotus, in terms of influences on their views and the way in which they hand on the tradition of thought into the late Medieval and Modern period.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Eileen Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7701 Augustine Fall 3
Course Description

Topics in Augustine's epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics c. 395-420, focusing on his reception of earlier philosophical problems and claims, the syntheses he forges from these earlier positions, and his developments away from them. (By "developments" I mean preservation of core principles, with some disagreement about applications and creative elaboration of new implications and applications.) Projected primary readings: Augustine's On the Trinity books 8-15, Confessions, Replies to Simplicianus, Usefulness of Belief, City of God, Literal Meaning of Genesis; Cicero's Tusculan Disputations, On Ends, Academica; Seneca's On Providence, On Anger; some Enneads of Plotinus.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Sarah Byers

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7702 Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics Fall 3
Course Description

The purpose of this course is to examine the idea of philosophical hermeneutics that is found in the work of Gadamer. We will focus especially on Gadamer’s reflections on the nature of language, the character of rationality, and the question of non-scientific modes of truth. Because hermeneutics as Gadamer conceives it is also practical philosophy, much of our attention will be taken up with the question of the relation between rhetoric, dialogical reason, and the problems of ethical life. Truth and Method will be the central text for this course, though we will also read some of Gadamer’s shorter essays.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David W. Johnson

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7703 Aristolte's Ethics: Plotinus, Ennead I Spring 3
Course Description

The purpose of this course will be twofold: 1) An analysis of the moral and intellectual virtues in relation to happiness as the goal of ethics. Aristotle understands human nature as social, so how do individuals attain virtue, especially as member of society and as friends? 2) Plotinus reacts to Aristotelian eudaimonism, which he finds deficient in relation to the Platonic goal of the ascent of the soul. Despite Plotinus' critique, he incorporates ideas from both Plato and Aristotle into a more complex understanding of human nature that includes, among other things, the first explicit theory of the unconscious.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Gary M. Gurtler, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7704 Plato's Republic Spring 3
Course Description

In this course, we will explore in depth Plato's Republic, with particular attention to parallels between the Republic and the literary works of Plato's predecessors, including Homer, the tragedians, and Aristophanes. The focus of our reading will be on the role of poetry, imagination, and narrative in the dialogue.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Marina B. McCoy

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7706 Advanced Topics in Medieval Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

The class is especially designed for giving graduate students a strong and in-depth presentation of medieval thought, an essential moment of the development of western philosophy. This semester, we will study how Neo-Platonism and Aristotelism dialogued, argued, merged, parted in medieval metaphysics, especially in Aquinas', Scotus' and Ockham's thought, during the 13th and 14th centuries. The opportunity will thus be offered to work on fundamental concepts such as participation, causality, creation, being, essence and existence, form and matter, substance and accident, etc.


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7707 Habermas: Law and Politics Fall 3
Course Description

Between Facts and Norms, the recent work by Jurgen Habermas, is thought by some to be one of the most comprehensive works in political philosophy and law in recent decades. The book with its original thesis about the co-relation between private and public autonomy can be read in the great tradition of the philosophy of law inaugurated by Kant and continued by Fichte, Hegel, and Weber. Habermas has written essays on religion and politics, globalization and human rights, cosmopolitanism and international law. We will read key chapters of Between Facts and Norms and Habermas' writings on law and politics.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David M. Rasmussen

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: LAWS7707

Comments:

PHIL 7708 Hermeneutics of the Stranger Spring 3
Course Description

This seminar engages with the problem of how we interpret the stranger. It begins with a genealogy of some of the major responses of western thought to the inaugural scene of host and stranger--mythic, Platonic, Abrahamic. It then examines a number of thinkers in contemporary continental philosophy who have explored the enigma of the stranger in terms of hospitality, translation, justice and the uncanny. Such thinkers include Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves, Derrida, Of Hospitality, Ricoeur, On Translation, Levinas, Totality and Infinity. Additional readings will be provided in class. The seminar also involves presentations, discussions, and a final paper.


Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO6708

Comments:

PHIL 7709 Aristotle on Science and the Sciences Spring 3
Course Description

Scholars increasingly appreciate the profound connections between Aristotle's philosophical positions in works such as the Ethics, De Anima, and Metaphysics and his theory of scientific knowledge, its conditions and methods. Knowledge may be logical, ethical, or physical; it may be practical, productive, or theoretical; it may be mathematical, physical, or theological; and while some things are more knowable to us, others are more knowable in themselves. Whether in psychology, metaphysics, ethics, or natural science, Aristotle's epistemological and methodological commitments determine his starting points, shape the exposition, and decisively influence the outcome of his investigations.


Instructor(s): William Wians

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7710 Vulnerability and the Greeks Fall 3
Course Description

This course will examine the theme of vulnerability and human weakness in Greek philosophy and literature, focusing in particular on the image of 'woundedness.' We will especially focus on vulnerability in the Platonic dialogues in relation to Greek epic, tragedy, and love poetry. We will also read MacIntyre, Nussbaum, and other contemporary authors who have written on this issue. The course will be conducted seminar style with active student participation in discussion.


Instructor(s): Marina B. McCoy

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7712 Medieval Metaphysics Fall 3
Course Description

We will study how Neo-Platonism and Aristotelism dialogued, argued, merged, parted in medieval metaphysics, especially in Aquinas', Scotus' and Ockham's thought, during the 13th and 14th centuries. We will analyze fundamental concepts, such as participation, causality, creation, being, essence and existence, form and matter, substance and accident, etc. The class is especially designed for giving graduate students a strong and in-depth presentation of medieval thought, an essential moment of the development of western philosophy.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7713 Virtue and Action Fall 3
Course Description

This course treats the moral virtues and vices, especially in their relationship with right action, obligation, and supererogation in, for example, virtuous/vicious action, acting virtuously/viciously, performing an act of virtue/vice, being virtuous/vicious in doing something, its being virtuous/vicious of someone to perform an action, and so on. We will discuss objective and subjective accounts of the virtues and vices, intention-sensitivity, and treat output-driven, input-driven, and mixed accounts of duty.


Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7715 Science in Ancient & Medieval Thought Spring 3
Course Description

This course will consider the notion of science put forward by Aristotle in the Posterior Analytics, Physics, and Metaphysics. We will consider both Aristotle's theory and practice and take up the epistemological and metaphysical questions related to the acquisition of scientific knowledge. We will then consider how this notion of science is received and assimilated in the Middle Ages, considering how the existent model of the "liberal arts" is displaced by Aristotelian science in the late 12th and early 13th century and considering accounts by major thinkers in the high Middle Ages such as Aquinas, Bonaventure, Scotus and Ockham.


Instructor(s): Eileen Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7716 Kant's First Critique Spring 3
Course Description

This course will introduce students to Kants masterpiece, the Critique of Pure Reason. It is aimed at seniors majoring in philosophy and at master's students. No previous knowledge of Kants theoretical philosophy is required, but a solid background in philosophy is expected.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Marius Stan

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7717 Aquinas and God Fall 3
Course Description

An intensive seminar examining Aquinas' arguments for the existence and nature of God--as found in the Summa Contra Gentiles and the Summa Theologiae.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Ronald K. Tacelli, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7718 Problem of Representation Fall 3
Course Description

The notion of representation, rooted in such experiences as luminous reflection, art or craft productions, is at first more a metaphor than a concept. But it has proved to be crucial to our understanding of reality and the very possibility of our knowledge. A representation is a repetition of a same thing under another form: it speads the difference within the homogeneity of being. We will study, mainly in the Medieval period, how such a difference has been elaborated in metaphysics and epistemology, and became an essential tool of the classical philosophical discourse.


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7719 Aquinas on Virtue & Law Spring 3
Course Description

Ethics has become once again a central concern for the understanding of human life. Before After Virtue thee was Virtue. For "Legitimation Theory" thee has to be Law. This course will study Aquinas' systematic approach to ethics in the framework of the Summa Theologiae. After a discussion of the structure of the Summa, it will focus on the concepts of "Virtue and Law" in Part II.1 and on the "Particular Virtues" as elaborated in Part II.2.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: This course is open to graduate students only.

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Comments:

PHIL 7720 PlatonicTheories of Knowledge Spring 3
Course Description

The purpose of this course will be twofold: to explore Platonic considerations of perception and memory in the Theaetetus and dialectic in the Sophist; and to investigate what Plotinus does with this Platonic inheritance in his major study of the soul and its way of knowing. Both philosophers show the intersection of perception and intellectual knowledge in a way that is essential for understanding the Platonic project as a whole and especially the possibilities and limits of human knowledge.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Gary M. Gurtler, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7721 Medieval Ontology Fall 3
Course Description

We will study how Neo-Platonism and Aristotelism dialogued, argued, merged, parted in medieval metaphysics, especially in Aquinas's, Scotus's and Ockham's thought, during the 13th and 14th centuries. We will analyze fundamental concepts such as being, form and matter, substance and accident, essence and existence, individuation, participation, creation, etc. The class is especially designed for giving graduate students a strong and in-depth presentation of medieval thought, an essential moment of the development of western philosophy.


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7722 German Idealism Fall 3
Course Description

This course deals with the development of German philosophy in the period immediately following the appearance of Kant's three Critiques. Attention will be given to (1) the initial reception of the critical philosophy; (2) Fichte's reformulation and systematization of the critical philosophy in the form of the Wissenschaftslehre; (3) Schelling's appropriation of Fichte's thought and his extension of it to the philosophy of art and of nature; (4) the emergence of Hegel's early thought from this development.


Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7723 Marx and Critical Theory Spring 3
Course Description

The popularity of Thomas Piketty’s recent book on capital (Capital in the Twenty-First Century) is a reminder of just how important the writings of Karl Marx were and still are. In this age of globalization Marx was the first global thinker whose writings cast a critical eye on the political and economic development of the modern world. In this course we will read elements of the essential works of that great thinker. This course will consider a selection of his writings which will include the following: The Jewish Question, Comments on James Mill, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, Thesis on Feuerbach, The German Ideology, The Grundrisse, Critique of the Gotha Program, The Communist Manifesto, and selections from Capital Vol. 1. Beyond that we will consider the origins of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory as it relates to Marx’s work.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David M. Rasmussen

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7724 Kant's Moral Philosophy Spring 3
Course Description

This course examines the essentials of Kant's moral philosophy. Our main texts will be the Critique of Practical Reason and the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.


Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7725 Topics in Contemporary Critical Theory Spring 3
Course Description

This course looks at some of the most influential and productive recent contributions to the Frankfurt School tradition of critical social theory in the context of contemporary social and political problems, most of which, as we will see, have international, transnational and global aspects. It consists in essence of a survey of important texts from the three most important recent critical theorists in Germany, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Rainer Forst, and the bodies of theory they have elaborated around the respective paradigms of communication, recognition and justification.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jonathan Trejo-Mathys

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7726 The Thought of Jacques Lacan Spring 3
Course Description

This course will approach Jacques Lacan's "return to Freud" as a clinical and philosophical enterprise. A first part of the course will attend to Lacan's account of subjectivity, desire and language, with particular interest in his essay on the subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire. A second part of the course will focus on his conception of the Law and the ethical significance of psychoanalysis, whereupon reference can be made to the thought of Aristotle, Kant, and Levinas. Reading will concentrate on the texts of Lacan, aided by the commentaries of Bruce Fink and Philippe Van Haute.


Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7727 Consequentialism and Its Critics Spring 3
Course Description

This course examines utilitarian and, more broadly, consequentialist approaches to ethics. Our goals will be: (1) to understand the structure and appeal of consequentialist theories (2) to articulate the strongest possible version of consequentialism and (3) to consider the most serious objections to consequentialism. We will begin with two classical texts: Mill's Utilitarianism and Moore's Principia Ethica. We will also examine contemporary re-formulations of consequentialism, including Brad Hooker's Ideal Code, Real World: A rule-consequentialist theory of morality. In addition, we will read essays by various critics of consequentialism, including Bernard Williams, Philippa Foot, David Lyons, and Anselm Mueller.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Micah Lott

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7728 Kant and Lonergan on Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

Kant effected a "Copernican Revolution" not only in the theory of knowing but in ethical and moral philosophy as well. His remarkable synthesis was a powerful inspiration for virtually all contemporary moral standards, including independent choice, universal human rights, and equal treatment before the law (i.e., procedural justice). Lonergan's work in cognitional theory was a response to the limitations in Kant's theory of knowledge. But his ethical and value theory was also a response to Kant's moral philosophy. This course will undertake a careful reading of Kant's major works in moral philosophy and the responses from Lonergan's works.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Patrick H. Byrne

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7729 Philosophy and Psychoanalysis Fall 3
Course Description

The aims of this course are: (1) we will work through an extensive set of primary Freudian texts, examining the scope and development of Freud's thought with particular attention to the issues which repeatedly return to trouble and fascinate Freud--the nature of the drives and their relation to repetition, sublimation, and cultural achievement; (2) we will survey some of the central clinical developments subsequent to Freud's time, such as ego psychology, object relations theory, and self-psychology, (3) we will examine outlines of philosophical responses to Freud, summarizing and selectively reading the responses of Ricoeur, Laplanche, Marcuse, Derrida, and Girard.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Vanessa Rumble

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7731 Michel Foucault Fall 3
Course Description

A graduate seminar on "Michael Foucault."


Instructor(s): James Bernauer, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7732 Husserl's Ideas: Book I Spring 3
Course Description

In this class we will examine Husserl's groundbreaking work Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and a Phenomenological Philosophy primarily from a systematic perspective. An effort will be made to connect Husserl's phenomenology with the broader tradition of transcendental philosophy. The goal of the class is to learn Husserl's phenomenological method and to understand key notions of phenomenology such as reduction, intentionality, pure consciousness, noesis-noema.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Andrea Staiti

Prerequisites: Some background in Kant, although not mandatory, is strongly recommended

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Comments:

PHIL 7733 Phenomenology and Deconstruction Fall 3
Course Description

This course will focus primarily on the work of Jacques Derrida. It will deal with (1) Derrida's early, more phenomenological analysis, especially his critique of Husserl's theory of signs; (2) the development of the themes of deconstruction and of différance; (3) his engagement with Heidegger regarding spirit and the nature of questioning.


Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: Grad students only. Others only with permission.

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PHIL 7734 The Idea of Community Fall 1
Course Description

This course examines the origin and development of the concept of community in the history of philosophy in relation to the renewed discussions of community in recent French philosophy (e.g., J.-L. Nancy, M. Blanchot).


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7735 Hermeneutics of Religion Spring 3
Course Description

This seminar explores recent debates in continental philosophy of religion about the "God who comes after metaphysics." Beginning with the phenomenological approach of Husserl, Heidegger, and Levinas, the course will proceed to a discussion of more recent retrievals of the God question in hermeneutics and deconstruction--Ricoeur, Derrida, Caputo, and Marion. Key issues explored include the critique of omnipotence, God as possible/impossible, theism/atheism/posttheism and the question of interreligious dialogue and pluralism. The seminar invites class presentations from students.


Instructor(s): Richard Kearney

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7736 Recognition and Pathology Fall 3
Course Description

This course will be conducted in seminar format with particular interest in questions and phenomena appearing between social/political philosophy and philosophical anthropology. We will center our reflections specifically on accounts of recognition, its limits and the emergence of pathologies from underlining causes or impulses. Authors read may include Rousseau, Hegel, Freud, Canguilhem, Foucault, Hacking, Habermas, and Honneth.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl and Jonathan Trejo-Mathys

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7737 Heidegger's Philosophy of Art Spring 3
Course Description

This course will be devoted to a close reading of Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art, followed by a study of the selected works of art in relation to Heidegger's analysis.


Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: Graduate students only. Others with permission.

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7738 Ethics and the Question of Pleasure Spring 3
Course Description

We will examine the controversial role of pleasure in moral life, from Antiquity to modern times.


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7739 Hermeneutics of the Gift Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar explores debates on the meaing of gift in contemporary continental thought.


Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO7738

Comments:

PHIL 7740 Global Justice and Obligation Fall 3
Course Description

It has become clear to all informed observers that we are in an age of rapid change in the global order, evident in phenomena such as the Arab Spring, the rise of China, the EU crisis, and talk of a "post-American" or "multi-polar" world, to name only a few. We will explore the question, "What, if any, specifically political obligations do individuals have and how is this impacted by these global transformations?," through a close, critical reading of four important recent works by noted political philosophers and theorists.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jonathan Trejo-Mathys

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Also open to upper-level undergraduates (who are highly encouraged to contact the professor if interested in enrolling).

PHIL 7741 Aesthetics Fall 3
Course Description

This course will deal with the classical themes of the philosophy of art such as beauty, the relation between art and truth, and the connection between art and nature. A selection of texts will be read by such philosophers as Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. Special attention will be given to the writings and artwork of Paul Klee in connection with the Klee exhibition and conference being held at Boston College in Fall Semester 2012.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7742 Narrative and Interpretation Spring 3
Course Description

This course will explore the philosophical implications of narrative imagination and identity. It begins with Aristotle's analysis of mythos-mimesis in the Poetics and then focuses on a detailed discussion of Paul Ricoeur's Time and Narrative (vol. 1 and 3). Attention will be given to the interpretation of the principal genres of narrative: myth, chronicle, fable, history and fiction. We will discuss the critical implications of a hermeneutics of narrative for the interweaving of story and history, including the case histories of psychoanalysis; testimonial literature of holocaust and genocide; personal and political narratives of identity; and an ethics of oneself as another.


Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7743 Contemporary Continental Ethics Fall 3
Course Description

This course will concentrate on a close reading of a single major text or set of small texts on ethics in the so-called “continental” tradition. The text will be read slowly in open seminar format, at time even line by line. Likely authors from year to year include Nietzsche, Scheler, Ricoeur, Levinas, etc. The course has two aims: (1) investigate and evaluate themes, questions and methods involved in this approach to ethics; (2) improve facility with critical reading.


Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: For advanced MA students and PhD students

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7744 Michel Foucault Spring 3
Course Description


Instructor(s): James Bernauer

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7746 Rawls' Political Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

In my view the greatness of the Rawls’ thought is to be found in his attempt to redefine the task of political philosophy by taking seriously the phenomenon of pluralism, which characterizes modern democratic culture. His work from The Theory of Justice onward can be read in light of that attempt. In this course we shall attempt to reconstruct the process that led from The Theory of Justice to the writing of Political Liberalism and The Law of Peoples. We shall also consider some of the significant secondary literature on Rawls' later work.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David M. Rasmussen

Prerequisites: Familiarity with the Works of John Rawls

Cross listed with: LAWS7712

Comments:

PHIL 7747 Philosophy of Life Spring 3
Course Description

This course will explore the origins of a philosophy of life in certain texts of Aristotle before moving on to a detailed discussion of the Lebensphilosophie of Dilthey and Simmel. It will conclude with a series of participatory seminars on key texts by Bergson, Merleau-Ponty, Freud and Agamben. The main focus will be an interrogation of the critical relationships between 1) bios and zoe, 2) bios and logos, and 3) eros and thanatos.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney and Andrea Staiti

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7748 Values and the Good Fall 3
Course Description

This course examines recent treatments of fundamental questions in value theory, including those of the existence and nature of intrinsic value, the logical structure of value judgments, the types of value, so-called "organic unities," the relation of value to virtue and duty, and the connections among valuation, meaning, and emotion. Readings will be selected from works by F. Brentano, M. Scheler, A. Meinong, N. Hartmann, G. E. Moore, P. T. Geach, Z. Vendler, R. Chisholm, R. Nozick, J. Raz, M. Zimmerman, J. J. Thomson, and T. Hurka, among others.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jorge Garcia

Prerequisites: Philosophy core fulfilled.

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Comments:

PHIL 7750 Husserl's Experience and Judgment Fall 3
Course Description

In this class we will examine Husserl's late phenomenology of logical forms and perceptual experience through a close reading of his posthumous work Experience and Judgment. An effort will be made to present systematically fundamental concepts of phenomenology such as intentionality, essence, affectivity and attention and to relate the materials to current debates in philosophy.


Instructor(s): Andrea Staiti

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7752 Eudaimonism & Self Understanding in Late Antiquity Fall 3
Course Description

A careful reading of Augustine's Confessions in the context of other late ancient discussions of motivation, voluntary action, happiness, suffering, and providence. We read the Confessions in conjunction with background texts, the Passion of Perpetua (a third-century account of the martyrdom of Perpetua in Carthage, quoted by Augustine elsewhere in his corpus), Cicero's On Ends, and Seneca's On Providence. The course will make reference to recent secondary discussions of "selfhood" in Augustine and give periodic attention to the material culture of Augustine's lived experience: photos and other information from an N.E.H. research trip to north Africa in 2010.


Instructor(s): Sarah Byers

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7753 Reading Jacques Derrida Spring 3
Course Description

This course will examine some of the fundamental ways that the work of Jacques Derrida has contributed to altering the context in which the humanities can be understood and studied within the modern university. It will take examples from Derrida’s repeated interventions in such disciplines as literature, philosophy, theology, and history. By situating Derrida’s work at the margins where accepted demarcations between the disciplines begin to blur, the course will suggest new possibilities for conducting interdisciplinary work in the future.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Kevin Newmark

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: ENGL7753 FREN7750

Comments: Open to undergraduates with permission of instructor

PHIL 7756 Husserl's Analyses Concerning Passive/Active Synthesis Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will focus on Husserl's so-called genetic phenomenology, as he develops it in his lectures in the 1920s. Genetic phenomenology sets out to elucidate the temporal and associative structures of consciousness that govern the formation of experiences. Unearthing these structures is critical to Husserl's project of grounding logic in experience. Over the course of the seminar an effort will be made to clarify basic notions of Husserlian phenomenology and to relate the material to contemporary issues in the philosophy of perception and judgment.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Andrea Staiti

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7758 Empathy & Social Cognition Spring 3
Course Description

During the course, we will look at the classical phenomenological accounts of empathy that we find in Husserl, Stein and Scheler and then compare these accounts with some of the proposals that can be found in the cognitive science literature. One of the basic questions we will explore is whether the phenomenologists jointly offer a distinct account of empathy that differs from the standard options found in the scientific debate and if so whether such an account makes for an important and relevant contribution to the contemporary debate on social cognition.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Dan Zahavi

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7759 Kant's Transcendental Deduction Fall 3
Course Description

A very close reading of the most crucial section of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.


Instructor(s): Marius Stan and Ronald Tacelli, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7761 Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will consist of a careful reading of Hegel's Phenomenology, with special insistence on its method as a science of experience or of the spirit in its appearing. We shall touch on the key points of transition in the first part, going from Consciousness to Self-Consciousness and on to Reason, in order to spend more time in the culminating chapters on Spirit and Religion. Each student will make two class presentations on the text as part of a preparation for a final paper to be handed in prior to the final oral examination.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: None

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Comments:

PHIL 7762 Soren Kierkegaard Spring 3
Course Description

This course will deal primarily with the early pseudonymous writings of Soren Kierkegaard. The following topics will be emphasized: (1) the function of irony and indirect communication in the pseudonymous works, (2) Kierkegaard's conception of freedom and subjectivity, and (3) the nature of the relationship which Kierkegaard posits between reason, autonomy, and faith.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Vanessa P. Rumble

Prerequisites: Undergraduates require permission.

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Comments:

PHIL 7763 Early Modern Metaphysics Spring 3
Course Description

This course will explore the main themes of metaphysics (God, substance and modes, mind and body, causality) in the 17th-early 18th centuries, from Descartes to Spinoza to Leibniz.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

PHIL 7764 Theory of the Passions Fall 3
Course Description

This course will look at how philosophers from Aristotle to Kant have understood the emotions and appetites, their relationship to the body, to reason, and to the moral life. We will read the works of Aristotle, the Stoics, Aquinas, Montaigne, Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Hume, and Kant with an eye both to the way their accounts of the emotions fit into their larger philosophical views and tracing the transformation of the view of human emotional life from Ancient/Medieval period to Modernity.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Eileen C. Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7765 German Idealism I Fall 3
Course Description

This course deals with the development of German philosophy in the period immediately following the appearance of Kant's three Critiques. Attention will be given to (1) the initial reception of the critical philosophy; (2) Fichte's reformulation and systematization of the critical philosophy in the form of the Wissenschaftslehre; (3) Schelling's appropriation of Fichte's thought and his extension of it to the philosophy of art and of nature; (4) the emergence of Hegel's early thought from this development.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: For M.A. and Ph.D. students only

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PHIL 7766 German Idealism II Spring 3
Course Description

A study of selected texts by Schelling and Hegel.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: For M.A. and Ph.D. students only

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PHIL 7772 Insight and Beyond I Fall 3
Course Description

Bernard Lonergan wrote his major work, Insight, to address what he regarded as the great challenges posed by Modernity: modern natural science, modern historical thought, and the great revolutions in modern philosophy. Insight shares concerns of post-modernism, but departs from its pervasive relativism. This course begins a two-semester project exploring Lonergan's unique invitation to "self-appropriation" as a response to the crises of our times. Students in this course will also contribute to the learning of others. Sessions will be edited, placed online, and shared with the international community of those also wishing to study Insight and Lonergan's later works.


Instructor(s): Patrick H. Byrne

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7773 Insight and Beyond II Spring 3
Course Description

This course continues the two-semester project in Lonergan's unique invitation to 'self-appropriation' as a response the crises of our times. This semester will explore the profound implications of self-appropriation to the problem of objectivity and relativism, the nature of the universe, hermeneutics, ethics, values, feelings, and philosophy of religion. The book Insight and the later developments of Lonergan's thought on these topics will be covered. Students in this course will continue to contribute to the learning of the international community of those also wishing to study Insight and Lonergan's later works.


Instructor(s): Patrick H. Byrne

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7775 Plato Fall 3
Course Description

A lecture course devoted to a close reading of a major Platonic dialogue.


Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7779 Christian Philosophy: Advanced Seminar Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will ask whether or under what conditions "Christian philosophy" is not the "square circle" alleged by Martin Heidegger. We will sharpen this question through a preliminary study of the early 20th century debate over it and then move into a close reading of J.Y. Lacoste, Experience and the Absolute. The inquiry will also require frequent attention to works by Heidegger, Bonhoeffer, Hegel, and John of the Cross.


Instructor(s): Jeffrey Bloechl

Prerequisites: For advanced MA students and Ph.D. students; familiarity with the philosophy of Heidegger, and some basic Christian theology.

Cross listed with: THEO7779

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PHIL 7780 Readings in Theory Spring 3
Course Description

This course is organized as an introduction to the reading of literary theory for graduate students in various disciplines. Its aim is to develop an awareness of and sensitivity to the specific means and consequences of interpreting literary and extra-literary language today. The course allows students to acquire a basic familiarity with some of the most formative linguistic, philosophical, and anthropological antecedents underpinning any attempt to understand and account for the special status reserved for rhetorical language in literature or beyond it. Readings from Saussure, Lvi-Strauss, Jakobson, Barthes, Lacan, Ricoeur, Geertz, Austin, Derrida, and de Man, among others.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Kevin Newmark

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: FREN7780 ENGL7780

Comments: Conducted in English
Open to undergraduates with permission of instructor only
Fulfills a Ph.D. requirement in Romance Languages and Literatures

PHIL 7782 Philosophy of Language Spring 3
Course Description

This course will consider major texts and movements in 20th century philosophy of language in both the analytic and continental traditions, reading the work of Russell, Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, Quine, and Davidson, as well as Ricoeur and Derrida. Our goal will be to bring together these very different approaches to what has been a central concern of philosophy in the 20th century.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Eileen Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7783 Classical Ethics Spring 3
Course Description

An exploration of 14 short Great Books in ethics centering on the practical, personal question "What is the good life?" (1) Ecclesiastes, (2) Plato's Gorgias, (3) Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, (4) Epictetus' Enchiridion, (5) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, (6) Augustine's Confessions (excerpts), (7) Aquinas' Summa (excerpts), (8) Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, (9) Kant's Metaphysics of Morals, (10) the Humanist Manifesto, (11) C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man, (12) Sartre's Existentialism and Human Emotions, (13) Marcel's The Philosophy of Existentialism, and (14) Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7785 Philosophy and Film Spring 3
Course Description

This course will examine some key philosophies of film from the works of Roland Barthes and Gilles Deleuze to Stanley Cavell and Stephen Mulhall. Readings will include Image, Music,Text by Barthes, Image-Movement and Image-Time by Deleuze, Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage by Cavell and On Film by Mulhall. The seminar will discuss the different methodological approaches to cinematic fiction in the Continental and Anglo-American traditions and examine central philosophical themes of identity, time, desire and modernity.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7788 Aristotle's Metaphysics Spring 3
Course Description

The course will be devoted to one of the rarest, most excellent, and most difficult philosophical texts ever written. Aristotle's Metaphysics presents a profound and profoundly influential answer to the question What is being? But even apart from his answer, the Philosopher reveals his greatness as a thinker by the way he approaches the question of being: what does the question pre-suppose? What does it imply for nature, knowledge and language? How can the question of being be answered when all we experience are individual beings?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): William Wians

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7790 Phenomenology of Feeling Spring 3
Course Description

All philosophers have recognized that feelings of various sorts enter into human thinking and action is complex ways. There is a general and popular impression that feelings are disturbances that conflict with objective knowing and authentic ethical living, and therefore need to be need to be “controlled” or repressed. However most philosophers have a more complex view of their role, especially regarding the phenomenon of the consciousness of values. This course will focus on the works of phenomenologists who investigated the consciousness of feelings, most notably Max Scheler, Edith Stein, Jean-Paul Sartre, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Bernard Lonergan, and Stephen Strasser.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Patrick H. Byrne

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7791 Aristotle and Plotinus: On the Soul Spring 3
Course Description

This course focuses on theories of sensation and knowledge found in the writings of Aristotle and Plotinus. Understanding Aristotle's position necessitates familiarity with the material in Parva Naturalia to supplement the more restricted discussion of the De Anima. While Plotinus assumes a Platonic soul, he imports much of Aristotle's structure, material from the Stoics, and the medical tradition of Galen and others. These resources allow him to give for the first time in the Western tradition a full theory of consciousness. Plotinus' achievement shows how the insights of his predecessors can be combined in a remarkably fruitful way.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Gary M. Gurtler, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7794 Philosophy and the Church Fathers Spring 3
Course Description

Introduction to the major Church Fathers and Christian schools of antiquity and their varying engagement with philosophy. Elements of opposition and areas of harmony between Greek and Christian ideals.


Instructor(s): Margaret Schatkin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO5794

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PHIL 7795 Phenomenology of the Stranger Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will explore the phenomenological investigation of the 'stranger' as other, foreigner, guest and invader. Beginning with Husserl's analysis of intersubjectivity and otherness in his Cartesian Meditations, the course examines how this classic account was critically developed by later generations of thinkers from Levinas, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty to Kristeva, Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion. The seminar will also look at phenomenological 'examples' of the stranger and the strange (the Uncanny) in contemporary literature, cinema and popular culture.


Instructor(s): Richard Kearney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7796 Plato's Political Thought Fall 3
Course Description

This course will focus primarily on Plato’s dialogue Statesman in relation to the other two dialogues with which it is dramatically connected (Theaetetus and Sophist) and with reference to other dialogues such as the Republic and the Laws in which Plato’s political thought is developed.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7798 Hermeneutics of Trama: Eros and Thanatos Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will involve a critical discussion of the philosophical readings of Freud’s formative text on trauma, Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The readings range from the hermeneutic and phenomenological to the feminist and deconstructive. Particular attention will be paid to the interpretations of the game of fort/da as a crossing of story and history, fantasy and reality, the imaginary and symbolic. Students will be evaluated in terms of class participation and a final research paper.


Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7799 Readings and Research Fall 3
Course Description

By arrangement.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 7965 Freud's Conception of the Death Drive Fall 3
Course Description

This course will develop a reading of Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The text will be read philosophically, but with close attention to themes in modern psychiatry. We will follow three lines into Freud's notion of a death drive: (1) the possibility of forces of/in life that destroy life, and that come from inside rather than outside. (2) the experience of repetition of painful events, against the possibility of instead seeking pleasure and health. (3) an analysis of aggression that carefully distinguishes fury from the more familiar experience of hate. The course provides an introduction to Freud and to philosophers who have engaged psychoanalysis at a deep level (e.g., Deleuze).


Instructor(s): Paul Moyaert

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8800 Medieval Theories of Cognition Fall 3
Course Description

How and what do we perceive? How does one form concepts? Who is the thinking subject? What do we know? This class will offer the opportunity to examine central issues of medieval philosophy: sense perception, realism versus representationalism, nature of the intellect, abstraction process, semantics and concepts. Through the study of some landmark thinkers, such as Avicenna, Averroes, Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, we will observe the apparition of the modern conceptions of the subject and of knowledge. The course is especially designed for giving graduate students a strong and in-depth presentation of an essential moment of the development of medieval thought.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jean Luc-Solere

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8801 Master's Thesis Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

A research course under the guidance of a faculty member for those writing a master's thesis.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8803 Heidegger: Contributions to Philosophy Fall 3
Course Description

This course will trace the development of Heidegger's concept of truth from his early lectures on logic, through Being and Time and "On the Essence of Truth," to such later texts as Contributions to Philosophy and "The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking." Some attention may also be given to other themes such as art, technology, and history that are closely linked to the question of truth.


Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8805 Medieval Theories of Cognition Fall 3
Course Description

How and what do we perceive? How does one form concepts? Who is the thinking subject? What do we know? This class will offer the opportunity to examine central issues of medieval philosophy: sense perception, realism versus representationalism, nature of the intellect,abstraction process, semantics and concepts. Through the study of some landmark thinkers, such as Avicenna, Averroes, Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, we will observe the apparition of the modern conceptions of the subject and of knowledge. The course is especially designed for giving graduate students a strong and in-depth presentation of an essential moment of the development of medieval thought.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8806 Deleuze: Image and Genesis of Thought Fall 3
Course Description

The aim of this seminar is to provide a way into Gilles Deleuze’s magnum opus, Difference and Repetition (1968), through a close reading of its third chapter (“The Image of Thought”). As a way of approaching that complex chapter, however, and introducing some of Deleuze’s key concepts, we’ll begin by reading a number of shorter texts, from his early review of Jean Hyppolite’s Logique et existence to his studies on Bergson, Nietzsche, Kant, Proust, and Plato. Students will be expected to give presentations of selected passages and report on previous seminars.


Instructor(s): Miguel de Beistegui

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8807 Kant's "Critique of Judgment" Spring 3
Course Description

This course considers the Critique of Judgment both as the completion of the critical philosophy and as the pivotal work of modern aesthetics. The classical themes to be discussed include natural and artistic beauty, genius, aesthetic ideas, and the divisions and nature of the various arts.


Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8808 Phenomenology of Desire: Between Eros and Thanatos Fall 3
Course Description

This course deals with the philosophy of eros in its primary expressions of need, drive, desire and love. Beginning with two formative texts, Plato’s Symposium and The Song of Songs, it critically engages with the rich hermeneutic readings which comprise two significant western traditions of eros: as lack and as surplus. The seminar culminates with key contemporary readings of eros in Freud, Levinas, Ricoeur, Bataille and Continental Feminism.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Richard M. Kearney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8813 Inaugural Sermons & Questions Fall 3
Course Description

A graduate introduction to Inaugural Sermons and Questions in the Arts and Theology faculties of the medieval universities. This course will require the edition of unedited Latin texts or English translations of previously edited Latin texts. The Sermon content illustrates the various senses of Scripture; the Question content deals with the difficult doctrinal questions arising from the study of the literal sense of Scripture. In the Theology faculty these debates are often disputations of those moving up to the level of Master with their fellow classmates.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Stephen Brown

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO8816

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PHIL 8815 Aristotle: Ethics, Politics, Poetics Spring 3
Course Description

In this course we will do a complete reading of these major texts, along with Book II of the Rhetoric. Our theme will be the human being as social. We will also consider the tensions between the different methods, perspectives and conclusions of these works and think comparatively about Aristotle’s ethical and political theory.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Eileen Sweeney

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8816 Phenomenology of Embodiment Spring 3
Course Description

The experience of embodiment has been neglected in modern philosophy. Descartes and modern philosophy (e.g., LaMettrie) thought of the body as a machine. This seminar aims to explore classical phenomenological approaches to the body, especially as found in Husserl, Scheler, Stein, Sartre, de Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty. Themes covered include Husserl’s conception of phenomenology, the distinction between ‘body’ (Körper) and ‘lived body’ (Leib), the phenomenological approach to sensation, perception, imagination, motility, the feelings and emotions, agency and willing, the experience of flesh (la chair) in Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, the experience of others in empathy, the phenomena of intersubjectivity (interaction with other subjects), the body-for-others, and intercorporeality (interaction with other bodies, e.g., the caress).


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Dermot Moran

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8817 Schelling, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard Spring 3
Course Description

Kierkegaard’s early pseudonymous writings (Fear and Trembling, Repetition, Concept of Anxiety, Philosophical Fragments) will be read in light of the Schelling’s and Schleiermacher’s conception of nature, freedom, and fall.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Vanessa P. Rumble

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8818 Early Modern Ethics & Psychology Spring 3
Course Description

In studying 17th and 18th moral philosophies, from Descartes to Hume, the thread we will follow is the role of pleasure in psychology and ethics. Neo-Epicurism and Neo-Augustinism paradoxically agreed on the fact that human beings, guided by self-love, act only in view of what is pleasurable and is their own interest. As a response, another type of pleasure can be pointed out: the disinterested esthetic pleasure, which became a paradigm for reconciling pleasure with altruism. This topic involves also religious and political issues.


Instructor(s): Jean-Luc Solere

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8820 Hegel, Kierkegaard, Blondel Fall 3
Course Description

Reason and religion converge in the question of how we relate to the true Infinite. We will examine how the problem of the infinite arises in our consciousness according to these authors, how we try to resolve it immanently, and how it has to give way to absolute transcendence. We shall explore not only how these three authors converge around the question of the infinite but also how they diverge radically in handling the question as it affects the relation between reason and religion.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8823 Heidegger & Question of Truth Fall 3
Course Description

This course will deal with certain major themes in Heidegger's thought such as truth as unconcealment, technology and history, language and art.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8825 Seminar on Law & Politics Spring 3
Course Description

Is it possible to interpret the global political order from a democratic point of view? This seminar will examine that question from two complimentary perspectives. First, we will consider the emerging domain of the political, contrasting realist (Schmitt) and liberal (Rawls) points of view. Second, we will consider the relatively new area of the constitutionalization of international law, which takes up the old problem of mixed constituent power and applies it to the international scene. This reconstruction of the idea of divided sovereignty (Habermas) has potential for understanding international law beyond the nation state from a democratic point of view.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David M. Rasmussen

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8826 Seminar on Law and Justice Spring 3
Course Description

This seminar will deal with fundamental issues associated with law and justice in a global context. We will be concerned with new developments in the field of human rights, the constitutionalization of international law, and the developing discourse on the nature of democracy as it is adapted and adapts to ever new contexts. The course will be taught as a seminar, which means students will be able to contribute to the overall content of the course.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): David M. Rasmussen

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: LAWS8822

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PHIL 8830 Nature In Thomas Aquinas Fall 3
Course Description

This course will consider the many different contexts in which Thomas Aquinas uses the notion of nature and natural motion to explain the character of human and divine attributes and actions. We will examine how the notion of Aristotelian nature and motion informs his account of not just vice and virtue but freedom and creation. We will also consider the account of natural law in light of his account of nature after the Fall and as in need of grace. We will consider how and whether his use of these notions changes from the Summa theologiae to the Disputed Questions on Truth, as well as on power and evil.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): John Sallis

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8832 Philosophy and Theology in Aquinas Spring 3
Course Description

A study of how Aquinas comes to understand theology as a scientific discipline that has to use philosophy to make the truth of Revelation manifest. Special attention will be given to methodological discussions at the beginning of the Summa Theologiae as well as the order of both theological and philosophical investigation as he understood them. An attempt will also be made to show how his commentaries on Boethius and Aristotle, in which he proceeds most properly as a philosopher, are also an essential part of the way he has to proceed as a theologian.


Schedule: Biennially

Instructor(s): Oliva Blanchette

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8871 The Summa Theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas Fall 3
Course Description

TBD


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Peter J. Kreeft

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 8888 Interim Study Fall/Spring 0
Course Description

Required for master's candidates who have completed all course requirements but have not taken comprehensive examinations. Also for master's students (only) who have taken up to six credits of Thesis Seminar but have not yet finished writing their thesis.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 9990 Teaching Seminar Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

This course is required of all first- and second- year doctoral candidates. This course includes discussion of teaching techniques, planning of curricula, and careful analysis of various ways of presenting major philosophical texts.


Instructor(s): Marina B. McCoy

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 9998 Doctoral Comprehensives Fall/Spring 1
Course Description

Required for doctoral candidates who have completed all course requirements but have not taken their doctoral comprehensive examination.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

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PHIL 9999 Doctoral Continuation Fall/Spring 1
Course Description

All students who have been admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree are required to register and pay the fee for doctoral continuation during each semester of their candidacy. Doctoral Continuation requires a commitment of at least 20 hours per week working on the dissertation.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

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