Course Catalog 2023-2024

Philosophy

PHI 100 Thinking About Thinking (4 Credits)

What is thinking? What is the distinction between mind and body, and ought we to accept it? Can the mind survive the death of the body? Can you be thoughtful and passionate at the same time? What kind of access can we have to the worlds of human beings from other cultures and historical periods? Readings from ancient, modern and contemporary philosophers primarily in the Western tradition. Designed to introduce beginning students to problems and methods in philosophy and to the philosophy department at Smith. Enrollment limited to 30. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 101 Plausible and Implausible Reasoning: What Happened? What Will Happen Next? (4 Credits)

The course provides an introduction to deductive and inductive logic. It introduces classical Aristotelian and modern truth-functional logic; explains the relationship between truth-functional logic, information science and probability; and it introduces basic features of statistical and causal reasoning in the sciences. This course is designed for students who are uncomfortable with symbolic systems. It is not a follow-up to PHI 102. Students who have taken PHI 102 cannot receive credit for taking PHI 101 subsequently. Students who have taken PHI 101 can subsequently receive credit for taking PHI 102. Enrollment limited to 24. {M}

Spring

PHI 102 Valid and Invalid Reasoning: What Follows From What? (4 Credits)

Formal logic and informal logic. The study of abstract logic together with the construction and deconstruction of everyday arguments. Logical symbolism and operations, deduction and induction, consistency and inconsistency, paradoxes and puzzles. Examples drawn from law, philosophy, politics, literary criticism, computer science, history, commercials, mathematics, economics and the popular press. Discussion section enrollments limited to 15. {M}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 108/ REL 108 The Meaning of Life (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 108 and PHI 108. This course asks the big question, "What is the Meaning of Life?" and explores a range of answers offered by philosophers and religious thinkers from a host of different traditions in different eras of human history. We explore a variety of forms of philosophical and religious thinking and consider the ways in which philosophical and religious thinking can be directly relevant to our own lives. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

PHI 112 Chinese Philosophy (4 Credits)

Introduction to some of the canonical texts and most influential ideas in the early Chinese philosophical schools, including those of Confucius, Mencius and Zhuangzi. Questions to be covered include: What is the nature of reality? How can we know what is the right thing to do? What is the self? How important is the family and obeying parents and guardians? Is there such a thing as "human nature"? Does anyone have access to the truth? How should we understand the relationship between humans and the natural world?. {H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 120/ PSY 120 Intro to Cognitive Science (4 Credits)

Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Mind, drawing from Cognitive psychology, Philosophy, A.I., Linguistics and Human Neuroscience. The class will cover five key problems: Vision and Imagery,Classes and Concepts, Language, Logic and Reasoning, and Beliefs, and look at both classic work and contemporary work highlighting the interesting questions. Students will be active participants in trying out classic experiments, exploring new ideas and arguing about the meaning and future of the work. {M}{N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

PHI 124 History of Ancient and Medieval Western Philosophy (4 Credits)

A study of Western philosophy from the early Greeks to the end of the Middle Ages, with emphasis on the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Epicureans, and some of the scholastic philosophers. {H}{M}

Fall

PHI 125 History of Early Modern European Philosophy (4 Credits)

A study of Western philosophy from Bacon through the 18th century, with emphasis on Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and especially Kant. Enrollment limited to 30. {H}{M}

Spring

PHI 127 Indian Philosophy (4 Credits)

An introduction to the six classical schools of Indian philosophy. What are their views on the nature of self, mind and reality? What is knowledge and how is it acquired? What constitutes right action? Students read selections from the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Nyaya and Yoga Sutras, and the Samkhya-Karika, amongst others. At the end of the semester students briefly consider the relation of these ancient traditions to the views of some influential modern Indian thinkers like Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Krishnamurti. Comparisons with positions in the western philosophical tradition will be an integral part of the course. {H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 200 Colloquium in Philosophy (4 Credits)

Intensive practice in writing and discussing philosophy and in applying philosophical methods to key problems raised in essays written by members of the philosophy department. The spring semester course must be taken by the end of the student's sophomore year unless the department grants a deferral or the student declares the major itself during the spring of their sophomore year. Minors are encouraged but not required to take the class. Prerequisite: Two college courses in philosophy, one of which may be taken concurrently, or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. WI

Spring

PHI 204 Philosophy and Design (4 Credits)

Design is one of the most pervasive human activities. Its effects--intended or unintended--permeate our lives. Questions abound about the role of design and the significance of being able to exercise it and of being subject to it. For example: Are there particular pleasures, as well as special responsibilities, characteristic of designing? What is the nature of deprivation imposed upon people when they lack the opportunity or the knowledge to share in the design of their living or working conditions? How much control do designers actually have over the meaning and use of what they design?. {S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 209/ PSY 209 Colloquium: Philosophy and History of Psychology (4 Credits)

Offered as PSY 209 and PHI 209. The course introduces you to the philosophical debates behind the psychology of the mind, focusing mostly on work from the 20th century onwards. We focus on the philosophical implications of major historical figures in psychology and their approach to Mind (James, Freud, Skinner). We read contemporary work on the problems of reductionism (Can we just talk about brains?), consciousness (Why do we have it, is it necessary? Could we be zombies or automata?) and the nature of a coherent self (Is there one? Do we construct it? Does it end with our bodies?). Discussion and writing are weekly requirements. It is not intended as an introduction to psychology or philosophy, which is why there is a prerequisite. Prerequisite: At least one college-level course in philosophy or psychology. Preference given to psychology and philosophy majors. Enrollment limited to 25. {N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 211pn Topics in Science and Society-Pandemics (4 Credits)

How do we represent pandemics? How do these representations implicate science, politics and society? The prevalent ‘contagion’ frame is a story about seeing the microbe as the enemy, erasing or downplaying human agency and practices (especially the expansion into new ecosystems), and affirming epidemiology and medical science as the only solution. The frame carries over into politics and culture and provides a way to translate the science of contagious disease into social terms that influence the public and also public policy. This frame and others are used to explore past and current pandemics.Enrollment limited to 40. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 211sr Topics in Science and Society-The Scientific Revolution (4 Credits)

What was the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries? Did a revolution even occur? If it did, was it really revolutionary? If it occurred, what forces produced it? How did the boundaries of “science,” which was known as “natural philosophy,” change during this time period? Readings are drawn from primary and secondary sources. {H}{N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 213/ PSY 213 Colloquium: Language Acquisition (4 Credits)

Offered as PSY 213 and PHI 213. A detailed examination of how children learn their language. Theories of acquisition of word meaning, syntax and pragmatics are examined, as well as methodology for assessment of children’s knowledge. Cross-linguistic and cross-cultural data and perspectives are considered, as well as applications in language therapy and education. Students undertake an original research project using transcript analysis, and read original research literature. Background in linguistics or child development is necessary. Prerequisites: PHI 236 or EDC 235. Enrollment limited to 25. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

PHI 216 Theory of Meaning: Semantics of Natural Language (4 Credits)

Natural Language semantics is central to philosophical logic and to Linguistics. This course introduces students to the semantics of natural language, using the framework of Montague Grammar. Students will learn how to apply the formal techniques of intensional logic to understand how language expresses meaning and how the meanings of semantics wholes are computed on the basis of the meanings or their parts. Prerequisite: LOG 100 or Discrete Mathematics. {M}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 217 Data Ethics (4 Credits)

The emergence and rapid development of networked information technologies has produced an enormous amount of data about us, from our consumer habits and financial histories to our health histories and social media identities. This class considers ethical questions in connection with the collection, use, and storage of data, considering empirical research in the natural sciences, social sciences and computer sciences against the backdrop of philosophical conceptions of consent, privacy, personal identity, and equality. Students will analyze ethical questions prompted by the generation of data, and social implications of data-driven governance, considering possible theoretical and policy guiding responses. (E)

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 220 Incompleteness and Inconsistency: Philosophy of Logic (4 Credits)

Among the most important and philosophically intriguing results in 20th-century logic are the limitative theorems such as Gödel’s incompleteness theorem and Tarski’s demonstration of the indefinability of truth in certain languages. A wide variety of approaches to resolving fundamental mathematical and semantical paradoxes have emerged in the wake of these results, as well as a variety of alternative logics including paraconsistent logics in which contradictions are tolerated. This course examines logical and semantic paradoxes and their philosophical significance, as well as the choice between accepting incompleteness and inconsistency in logic and knowledge. Prerequisite: one course in logic. {M}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 221 Ethics and Society (4 Credits)

What does morality demand of us in the real world? How does ethical reflection inform our social, economic, and personal lives? Every informed citizen must ask these questions. We will address issues that arise in the context of environmental ethics (preserving species and places, genetically modified foods, global warming); animal rights (vegetarianism, vivisection, experimentation); biomedical ethics (abortion, euthanasia, reproductive technologies); business ethics (advertising, accounting, whistle-blowing, globalism); sexual ethics (harassment, coercion, homosexuality); social justice (war, affirmative action, poverty, criminal justice); and other such topics. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 222 Ethics (4 Credits)

An examination of the works of some major moral theorists of the Western philosophical tradition and their implications for understanding the nature of the good life and the sources and scope of moral responsibilities. Enrollment limited to 25. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Annually

PHI 224 Philosophy of Science (4 Credits)

Case studies in the history of science are used to examine philosophical issues as they arise in scientific practice. Topics include the relative importance of theories, models and experiments; realism; explanation; confirmation of theories and hypotheses; causes; and the role of values in science. {M}{N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 225 Continental Philosophy (4 Credits)

This course provides a survey of major figures and developments in continental philosophy. Topics to be addressed include human nature and the nature of morality; conceptions of human history; the character and basis of societal hierarchies; and human beings’ relationship to technology. Readings from Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Marx, Heidegger, Sartre, Beauvoir and others. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy. {H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 231 Philosophy and Global Justice (4 Credits)

Most agree that people should be concerned with justice issues in our society or local communities. However, there is considerable disagreement about why people ought to care about issues that are beyond the boundaries of our local/domestic reality. This course will introduce students to the classical debates, theories and approaches to global justice. Students explore recent work in political philosophy, sociology, decolonial thought and legal theory, which draws connections among different topics: the historical roots of global legal justice as a response to imperial powers and colonialism, state sovereignty, war, the philosophical discussion about republicanism and the ideal of universal peace; cosmopolitanism and global governance; nationalism and patriotism; international law and transitional justice. (E) {H}{M}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 232ss Topics in Metaphysics: The Self and Selflessness (4 Credits)

This course explores a cluster of the most fundamental questions about human nature: What are humans? Do humans have core selves that determine our identity? If so, what is such a self, and how does it develop? Or might humans be selfless? If humans are selfless, what is the nature of their identities? What might the reality or unreality of the self mean for the nature of the human experience, for ethics or for what gives lives meaning? These are questions that have been raised and addressed with great sophistication in both Indian and Western philosophical traditions, and that have been explored empirically in cognitive psychology and by experimental philosophers. The investigation in this class will therefore be both cross-cultural and interdisciplinary. {M}

Alternate Years

PHI 233 Aesthetics (4 Credits)

How are works of art like and unlike other objects in the worlds that humans inhabit and make, like and unlike other human projects? What capacities are called upon in the creation and understanding of such works? What is the role of art and the artist in contemporary society? Students read essays on aesthetics by Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bell, Dewey, Danto, Benjamin, Berger, Sontag, Nochlin Lyotard and others. Experience with art is welcome but not required. Assignments are hands-on and applied, involving extensive use of the resources of the Smith College Museum of Art. {A}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 234ds Topics in Philosophy of Human Nature-Desire (4 Credits)

For many philosophical and religious thinkers, desire has been a source of some anxiety: depicted as being by their very nature powerful and insatiable, desires appear to weaken people’s capacities to control themselves and at the same time to open up opportunities for other people to control them. Focusing especially on the importance of desire to a consumer society, we examine questions such as: Is it possible to make a clear distinction between need and desire? To what extent are desires plastic, pliable, amenable to reshaping? Are we in any sense responsible for our desires?. {S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 234hr Topics in Philosophy of Human Nature-Human Rights and Justice (4 Credits)

This course surveys different accounts of human rights and theoretical concerns in the critical theory of human needs. In the first part of the course, the class focuses on the most important historical and philosophical theories of human rights to get a general sense of how the tradition of western philosophy has articulated this concept. Students also look at some decolonial and critical theories of this western tradition. In the second part, the class examines the tension between human rights and human needs. Students will pay attention to the literature about the problem of “needs” as they feature in the critique of capitalist society. (E) {H}{S}

Fall, Alternate Years

PHI 234ts Topics in Philosophy of Human Nature-The Self (4 Credits)

This course explores a cluster of the most fundamental questions about human nature: What are we? Do we have core selves that determine our identity? If so, what is such a self, and how does it develop? Or might we be selfless? If we are selfless, what is the nature of our identities? What might the reality or unreality of the self mean for the nature of our experience, for ethics, or for what gives our lives meaning? These are questions that have been raised and addressed with great sophistication in both Indian and Western philosophical traditions and that have been explored empirically in cognitive psychology and by experimental philosophers. Our investigation will therefore be both cross-cultural and interdisciplinary. {S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 235 Morality, Politics and the Law (4 Credits)

Close examination of the different but converging ways in which moral, political and legal contexts shape the analysis of an issue. For example: questions about the status of a right to privacy; the history of disgust as a ground for laws governing human behavior. {S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 236 Linguistic Structures (4 Credits)

Introduction to the issues and methods of modern linguistics, including morphology, syntax, semantics, phonology and pragmatics. The focus is on the revolution in linguistics introduced by Noam Chomsky, and the profound questions it raises for human nature, linguistic universals and language acquisition. {M}{N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 237fn Nineteenth-Century Philosophy: Nietzsche (4 Credits)

Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most insightful and provocative, but also one of the least understood of philosophers. He has been variously characterized as anti-semitic, elitist, illiberal, a Nazi, an irrationalist, a nihilist--the list goes on. Some of these labels are justified; others are not. In this course we will read a number of primary works by Nietzsche and examine his views on important philosophical issues such as the status of metaphysics, the significance of reason, the relationship between meaning and truth, the value of art and science, and the justification of a system of absolute moral values. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 238 Environmental Philosophy (4 Credits)

This course prepares students to understand and critically evaluate various ethical perspectives on human beings’ interactions with nature and these perspectives’ applications to environmental issues. The principal ethical perspectives studied are anthropocentrism, biocentric individualism, environmental holism and environmental pragmatism. We study representative descriptions and defenses of these perspectives and examine in particular whether they can validly and effectively help us resolve environmental problems. We study controversies about biodiversity, wilderness protection, global climate change and pollution. Enrollment limited to 40. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 240 Philosophy and Gender (4 Credits)

This course examines philosophical conceptions of sex, gender, and sexuality in the context of contemporary ethical questions. In what ways are our conceptions of gender created and reinforced through cultural and social norms? How do assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality shape and potentially limit research in natural and social sciences? In what ways are feminist and multiculturalist goals potentially at odds? Is sex and sexuality the public’s business? How do gender identities intersect with other identities? We will consider applications of these questions to a variety of contemporary debates concerning parenting, pornography, sex education, marriage, sexual harassment laws, and sexual or gender assignment or reassignment.

Alternate Years

PHI 241 Business Ethics: Moral Issues in the Boardroom and the Classroom (4 Credits)

An investigation of ethical questions that arise in the world of business, including the business of the academy; and scrutiny of the moral principles that may enable us to cope successfully with these questions. Issues to be discussed include the responsibilities of businesses and the academy toward their various stakeholders, including society at large and the environment; the ethics of investment, including endowments; product liability; advertisement and the principle of caveat emptor; sexual harassment; employee rights; spirituality and the workplace, and special privileges of the academy (academic freedom, tenure, etc.). The case-study method is used. Not open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40.

Fall, Spring

PHI 242 Medical Ethics (4 Credits)

An exploration of key issues in the area of medical ethics. Following the consideration of relevant philosophical background, discussions include patient autonomy and medical paternalism, informed consent, resource allocation and social justice, reproductive technologies and genetic screening, euthanasia and the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, and the experimental use of human subjects. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or health studies. {S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 245 Introduction to the Philosophy of Law (4 Credits)

An introduction to both contemporary legal theory and a critical philosophical approach to the law from a decolonial thought and critical race theory standpoint. The course covers nature of law, aiming to get a sense of how normative notions (e.g., “authority,” “rights,” and “powers”) function in legal and political orders; the connection of these notions with the realm of morality focusing on H.L.A. Hart's The Concept of Law and Ronald Dworkin’s Taking Rights Seriously, reviewing different methodologies beyond analytic approaches to the study of legality, such as those offered by critical legal studies, continental philosophy and decolonial philosophies; and key critical legal theories, mainly focusing on questions about racial justice and alternative conceptions of property. {S}

Fall, Spring, Annually

PHI 250ig Topics in Epistemology-Ignorance (4 Credits)

What is Ignorance? Is it simply lack of knowledge? What is its relation to illusion, deception, self-deception? What is the difference between being ignorant of something and ignoring it? Is ignorance something for which one can be held responsible? Something for which one can be punished? Something for which one can be rewarded? To what social and political ends has ignorance been put, and how?.

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 252 Buddhist Philosophy: Madhyamaka and Yogacara (4 Credits)

This course examines the two principal schools of Indian Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. The Madhyamaka school is highly skeptical and critical in its dialectic. The ​Yogācāra or Cittamatra school is highly idealist. The two present contrasting interpretations of the thesis that phenomena are empty and contrasting interpretations of the relationship between conventional and ultimate reality. The debate between their respective proponents is among the most fertile in the history of Buddhist philosophy. Students read each school's principal sutras and early philosophical texts, medieval Tibetan and Chinese commentarial literature and recent scholarly discussions of the texts and doctrines of these schools. Prerequisites: one course in Philosophy or Buddhist Studies. Enrollment limited to 40. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 254 African Philosophy (4 Credits)

This course will explore the debate as to whether traditional African beliefs should be used as the foundation of contemporary African philosophy; the relationship between tradition and modernity in colonial and postcolonial Africa; and the relationship between African and African-American beliefs and practices. In exploring this issue we will read selections from Africans (Mbiti, Senghor, Hountondji, Bodunrin, Wiredu, Appiah, Sodips, Eze), African-Americans (Blyden, Dubois, Mosley, Gates, Gilroy), Europeans (Levy-Bruhl, Tempels, Horton), and European-Americans (Crawford, Bernasconi, Janz). {H}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 255 Philosophy and Literature (4 Credits)

Of late there has been talk of philosophy’s being at an end or at least in need of transformation. In order to provide a measure of renewal, people are considering whether approaches taken and insights expressed in literature might enrich the study of philosophy. We explore this issue through an examination of philosophical and literary treatments of friendship from different periods in the Western tradition, and of literary and philosophical reflections on human flourishing in the 20th century. We also consider work by contemporary philosophers on the topic of what literature might have to contribute to the philosophical enterprise. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or permission of the instructor. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 262 Meaning and Truth: The Semantics of Natural Language (4 Credits)

This course is an introduction to central topics in the philosophy of language. What is the relation between thought, language and reality? What kinds of things do we do with words? Is there anything significant about the definite article "the"? How does meaning accrue to proper names? Is speaker meaning the same as the public, conventional (semantic) meaning of words? Is there a distinction between metaphorical and literal language? We explore some of the answers that philosophers like Frege, Russell, Strawson, Donnellan, Austin, Quine, Kripke and Davidson have offered to these and other related questions. Prerequisite: PHI 101, PHI 102 or equivalent. {M}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PHI 304eh Seminar: Topic in Applied Ethics-Enhancing Humans: How We Could Do It, Whether We Should (4 Credits)

Humans have always sought to elevate the conditions of their existence. What differentiates enhancement’s strongest proponents, so-called transhumanists, from earlier thinkers like the ancient Greeks is their belief that crossing the divide from our plane of being to a higher one is possible, even inevitable, through humans’ technological ingenuity. Given their content and implications, scrutiny of transhumanists’ views is essential. Areas this colloquium addresses include transhumanists’ and their critics’ views of human nature; the implications of existing brain science for transhumanists’ more extravagant claims; their notions of knowledge, values and education; and transhumanists’ handling of risks, including those that are potentially grave. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 310cs Seminar: Topics in Recent and Contemporary Philosophy-Cosmopolitanism (4 Credits)

What does it mean to be a cosmopolitan person -- a global citizen? Can one simultaneously construct one's identity in terms of one's nationality, gender, ethnicity and/or other more local forms of community and be truly cosmopolitan? If so, how? If not, which is the better approach? Is there one distinctive way of being cosmopolitan, or might there be varieties of cosmopolitanism arising in different cultural contexts, for instance, under colonial rule or conditions of exile? Is it self-evidently true that being a cosmopolitan person is a good thing, for an individual or a society? What are some of its challenges? We will read essays by Kant, Mill, Nussbaum, Rawls, Rorty, Naipaul, Said, Tagore, Gandhi, Appiah and others with a view to examining and assessing different answers that have been proposed to these and related questions. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 310la Seminar: Topics in Recent and Contemporary Philosophy- Latin American Philosophy (4 Credits)

This course provides a survey of different Latin American philosophical traditions. The course considers the existence of a Latin American philosophy in its own right and its contributions to understanding other world philosophies. The course examines different figures in Latin American thought relevant to social and political philosophy; the history of philosophy; political violence and revolutions; and race, feminism and memory. Among others, the course focuses on figures such as Guaman Poma de Ayala, Bartolomé de las Casas, Carlos Mariátegui, Enrique Dussel, Aníbal Quijano, Maria Lugones, Gloria Anzaldúa and Silvia Rivera Cusicánqui. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 310rp Seminar: Recent and Contemporary Philosophy-The Work of Repair (4 Credits)

Human beings appear to spend a great deal of time on projects of repair–fixing objects, mending relationships, repairing the social and political damage left in the wake of past events. What do such projects require of the mender? What changes take place in the mended? When is repair desirable? When is it inappropriate or impossible? Discussions include: the restoration of works of art, repair of the environment, the function of criticism and revision, the place of legal reparations, the meaning of apology and reconciliation, and pleasure in ruins. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 315sb Seminar in the Philosophy of Science-Sustainability (4 Credits)

An examination of the conceptual and moral underpinnings of sustainability. Questions to be discussed include: What exactly is sustainability? What conceptions of the world (as resource, as machine, as something with functional integrity, etc.) does sustainability rely on, and are these conceptions justifiable? How is sustainability related to future people? What values are affirmed by sustainability, and how can we argue those are values that should be endorsed? How does sustainability compare with environmental objectives of longer standing such as conservation? Preference given to majors in either philosophy or environmental science and policy. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 330sc Seminar: Topics in the History of Philosophy-Schopenhauer and Indian Philosophy (4 Credits)

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was the first important European philosopher to take Indian philosophy seriously. He follows Kant’s transcendental idealism but places Kantian philosophy in dialogue with the Vedānta and Buddhist philosophy filtering into Europe as German and British orientalism began to flourish, synthesizing Kantian and Indian idealism. We will explore the Indian roots of Schopenhauer’s thought, the 19th century transmission of Indian ideas to Europe in which he participates, and the ways he uses Indian philosophy to advance a post-Kantian philosophical program. Prerequisite: a course in early modern European philosophy or a course in the history of Indian philosophyJuniors and Seniors only. Enrollment limited to 16. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 334sk Seminar: Topics-Philosophy of the Mind-Self Knowledge (4 Credits)

This course examines how we know our own minds. We will ask questions such as these: How do we come to know that we have minds? Is introspection a kind of inner sense? Do we have immediate access to the contents of our own minds? Is our knowledge of our own minds privileged or infallible? How is language implicated in self-knowledge? Do animals know the contents of their minds? These are questions that have been raised and addressed with great sophistication in both Indian and Western philosophical traditions and that have been explored empirically in cognitive psychology and by experimental philosophers. Our investigation will therefore be both cross-cultural and interdisciplinary. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {M}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 345 Seminar: Practicing Philosophy in The Public Sphere: A Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing (4 Credits)

What is philosophy for? What creative forms might our philosophical practices take in the 21st century? We will explore how a philosophical education might help us navigate our natural, cultural, social and psychological worlds and their intersections, which, in turn, shape our complex identities as individual and determine our humanity. Readings will include philosophical essays that establish key concepts in the field, as students practice writing philosophy via non-traditional, public facing genres, including blogs, opinion editorials, podcasts, interviews, book and film reviews, a curated art exhibit and staged readings. Individual classes are structured as collaborate workshops where students switch roles as writers and editors, with the overall goal of producing a portfolio of polished work. Instructor permission required. Juniors and Seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. WI

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 400 Special Studies (1-4 Credits)

For senior majors, by arrangement with the department.

Fall, Spring

PHI 430D Honors Project (4 Credits)

Fall, Spring

PHI 431 Honors Project (8 Credits)

Fall, Spring

PHI 432D Honors Project (6-12 Credits)

Fall, Spring