Course Descriptions



FALL 2019

PHIL 3010 – Ancient Philosophy
10:15-12:20 T, Th

The foundational course in the history of philosophy sequence examines selected works of the pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle.  Our principal focus will be on close reading and analysis of primary texts in translation; in addition, we will explore contemporary interpretations, appropriations, and critiques of ancient Greek philosophy. Course requirements include preparation for and participation in seminar, two in-class essay exams, and one major paper. 


PHIL 3060 – Philosophy and Psychology
12:30-1:55 MWF
X: PSYC 3910

 In this course, we will trace the historical roots of contemporary debates at the intersection of philosophy and psychology. Looking at the developments of such divergent discourses as functionalism, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, cognitive science, and neuroscience will reveal the continued questionability of such concepts as (inter)subjectivity, language, and embodiment. This will, in turn, enable a deeper grasp of how these concepts and these two disciplines can contribute meaningfully to contemporary issues ranging from social policy to technology and design.

PHIL 3080 – Philosophy of Literature
1:30-3:35 T, Th

This course will take a philosophical look at some features of literature: literary works often take the form of fictional narratives. We approach them without any commitment to the truth of the claims they contain, and yet they can often affect us emotionally and even give us insights into reality—some would even claim that these insights are not available otherwise, that literature can somehow “express the inexpressible.” Can literature really do these things? How? And what does our engagement with it tell us about ourselves? In short, this course introduces students to philosophical accounts of fictionality and narrativity and will cover topics such as fiction and truth, imagination, and literary vs everyday language. Readings are from Plato, Aristotle, Blanchot, Ricoeur, Searle, among others.

PHIL 3780 – Environmental Philosophy
3:45-5:50 T, Th

We will explore some of the challenging and provocative approaches to ecological crisis, including Buddhist ecology, indigenous ecology, anarchic ecology, and deep ecology. This is an opportunity to explore some of the most far reaching and unconventional philosophical approaches to the nature and activity of environmental philosophy.  

PHIL 3910 – Queer Theory
3:40-5:45 MW
X: WGST 3711

 What does queer theory teach us? How does it help us think critically about both our commonly held assumptions and academic theories about gender and sexuality? The goal of this course is to “do theory” rather than to “know” or “master” it, so that we further develop our own practices of critique and reflection about our own lives and communities. We will investigate the historical foundations and contemporary innovations of queer theory in order to explore topics including queer politics and activism; histories of sexuality; forms of oppression including heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia; resistance to oppression; violence against LGBTQ people; diverse experiences of sexuality; and representations in literature, art, and popular media. We will also examine how queer theory intersects with other fields of study including critical race theory, feminism, psychoanalysis, trans studies, and disability studies.