Lawrence E. Cahoone, Ph.D., Professor and Chair
Predrag Cicovacki, Ph.D., Professor
Christopher A. Dustin, Ph.D., Professor
Joseph P. Lawrence, Ph.D., Professor
Karsten R. Stueber, Ph.D., Professor
Jeffrey A. Bernstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor
May Sim, Ph.D., Associate Professor
William E. Stempsey, S.J., M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor
Andrea Borghini, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
John P. Manoussakis, Ph.D., Edward Bennett Williams Fellow, Assistant Professor
Kendy Hess, Ph.D., Brake-Smith Assistant Professor in Social Philosophy and Ethics
Carolyn Richardson, Ph.D., Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctural Teaching Fellow
James Johnson, Cand. Ph.D., Lecturer
Philosophy is concerned with fundamental questions about the nature of reality; the foundations of
science, ethics and art; and the nature and scope of human knowledge. Philosophy is actually the
meeting place for all disciplines, for any discipline becomes philosophical once it begins seriously to
examine its own methodology and fundamental presuppositions. The study of philosophy is therefore
recommended to all students, regardless of their major.
Philosophy involves both systematic forms of inquiry and a prolonged reflection upon its own
history. For its majors, minors and all students interested in deepening their liberal arts education,
the department offers courses in the history of philosophy that span the entire tradition from the
pre-Socratics to the philosophers of our own century. These historical courses are best pursued in
conjunction with courses that cover the principal areas of philosophical inquiry (Metaphysics, Eth-
ics, Epistemology, and Aesthetics). Philosophy is much more than the acquisition of a certain kind of
knowledge. It is the ability to think reflectively and to raise questions about problems that lie at the
root of what might appear self-evident.
Courses exclusively reserved for first-year students are all sections of Introduction to Philosophy
(Phil 110). Students are permitted to take only one course at this level.
The department offers both a major and a minor program that combines necessary structure with
the freedom to follow an individually oriented course of study.
The minimum requirement for a major is 10 semester courses in philosophy. All majors are re-
quired to complete the following courses: 1) either Ancient (225) or Medieval Philosophy (230); 2)
either Early Modern (235) or Modern Philosophy (241); 3) either Ethics (204) or Foundations of Eth-
ics (207); 4) either Metaphysics (201) or Problems in Metaphysics (304); 5) either Theory of Knowledge
(209), Philosophy of Mind (261), Philosophy of Language (262) or Philosophy of Science (271); 6)
either Symbolic Logic (215) or Logic and Language (242).
In addition to these courses, students must take at least two advanced (300-level) seminars. Stu-
dents are strongly encouraged to satisfy requirements 1) through 6) as early as possible within their
program of study.
The minimum requirement for the minor is six semester courses in philosophy. All minors are
required to complete the following courses: 1) either Ancient, Medieval, Early or Modern Philosophy;
2) either Metaphysics, Ethics, or Foundations of Ethics; 3) at least one advanced 300-level seminar.
As a general rule, majors and minors are urged to build a strong foundation of intermediate courses
before progressing to the advanced courses.
In addition to a wide range of regular courses and seminars, the Department offers tutorials and
other opportunities for independent study. Accomplished students are urged to complete their stud-
ies by writing a fourth-year thesis. The Fourth-Year Thesis in Philosophy comprises a semester-long
project of concentrated research geared toward the production of a substantial piece of written work. It
provides fourth-year majors with the opportunity to explore a specialized interest they have developed
over the course of their studies. The principal arguments and conclusions of this paper will be publicly
presented at the end of the semester.
Faculty and students together benefit from regular departmental colloquia and the lively exchanges
initiated by the Philosophy Club, which is open to all interested students. In addition, membership
in the Holy Cross Chapter of the National Honor Society in Philosophy, Phi Sigma Tau, is avail-
able to those who have a strong academic record, participate regularly in philosophical colloquia, and
demonstrate a desire and ability to philosophize. Students are encouraged to compete for two essay
competitions, the Strain Gold Medal and the Markham Memorial Prize.
Philosophy 110 — Introduction to Philosophy
In a certain way, philosophy needs no introduction. Each of us has had moments of wonder: “Why do we
exist?” “Why is there so much suffering in the world?” “Why does the world itself exist?” This one-semester
course for first-year students helps strengthen that sense of wonder by giving the student insight into what
some of the greatest thinkers have had to say about these questions. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas,
Descartes and Kant. One unit.
Philosophy 201 — Metaphysics
Aristotle described metaphysics as the “science which takes up the theory of being as being and of what ‘to
be’ means taken by itself.” Before and since Aristotle, the meaning and significance of metaphysics has been
in dispute. While some thinkers have dismissed metaphysics as meaningless speculation, others have held
it to be the center of Western philosophy. Using primary texts of classical and contemporary writers, this
course studies the origins of metaphysics in ancient Greece, major developments of metaphysical thinking,
and contemporary challenges to metaphysics. One unit.
Philosophy 204 — Ethics
A study of moral philosophy with a twofold aim: (1) to give students an appreciation of the important
historical and theoretical developments in moral philosophy; (2) to help students to think, write and speak
clearly about important moral issues of our time. Examines both the thought of important Western phi-
losophers such as Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill, and topics of contemporary concern in
personal and social ethics. One unit.
Philosophy 207 — Foundations of Ethics
Considers various challenges to the claims of morality, and whether and how moral philosophy can meet
these challenges. Special topics include: the nature and justification of an ethical life, the limits of practical
reasoning, the subjectivity vs. the objectivity of value, relativism, conflicts of obligation, the idea of moral
“truth,” and the sources and ultimate value of morality itself. Examines how these issues come to life in clas-
sical texts, and how they are treated in recent philosophical literature. The goal is to understand the founda-
tions of morality (if there are any), and to gain insight into what is perhaps the most striking thing about
human life-the fact that we have values. One unit.
Philosophy 209 — Theory of Knowledge
Do you know that you are not a brain in a vat being force-fed experiences by an evil scientist? This course
considers Descartes’ skeptical arguments that we can’t really know whether the world is the way it appears to
us. These skeptical arguments lead us to consider what knowledge is, whether “knowledge” means the same
thing in the philosophy classroom as it means outside it, and what justifies our beliefs. Writings of contem-
porary analytic philosophers are read and discussed. One unit.
Philosophy 215 — Symbolic Logic
An introductory study of the formal structure of reasoning pat erns such as deduction. Includes an introduction to
formal languages, sentential calculus, predicate calculus, and an investigation into logic’s value and limits. One unit.
Philosophy 224 — Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Focuses on a theme or question of general scope within continental European philosophy since Nietzsche.
Topics may include subjectivity, historical consciousness, technology, and plurality. Philosophical approaches
may include phenomenology, hermeneutics, existentialism, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School, and post-
structuralism. One unit.
Philosophy 225 — Ancient Philosophy
Addresses some Greek conceptions of desire, beginning with Sophocles’ Oedipus the King. The discussion
is centered on such problems as the relationship between human beings and nature, and between the hu-
man and the divine. Discusses different approaches to love, passions and the soul in Plato’s Symposium and
Phaedrus. Investigates the relationship between temporality and eternity in Plato’s theory of knowledge,
happiness, virtue, and the nature of friendship are analyzed in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Finally,
Epictetus’ Handbook shows how such concepts as dependency and autonomy play a major role in the stoic
interpretation of desire. One unit.
Philosophy 230 — Medieval Philosophy
A study of selected medieval thinkers such as Augustine, Boethius, Dionysius, Anselm, Bonaventure, Aqui-
nas, Scotus, and Ockham. The birth of scholasticism, an analysis of this philosophical movement in the 13th
century, and its decline are presented. One unit.
Philosophy 235 — Early Modern Philosophy
A study of the origins of modern philosophy: Descartes’ turning toward the subject; his attempt at a justified
method guided by the ideal of mathematical certainty; his influence on the development of European ratio-
nalism, Spinoza, Leibniz. Equal attention will be given to empiricist philosophers such as Bacon, Hobbes,
Locke, Berkeley, and Hume and their approaches to philosophy and science. One unit.
Philosophy 241 — Modern Philosophy
A study of the later development of modern philosophy including Kant’s new evaluation of metaphysics,
epistemology, the nature of the sciences and morality and the idealist thought of Fichte and Hegel. Atten-
tion also to the thought of those opposing idealism, especially Marx and Kierkegaard. One unit.
Philosophy 242 — Logic and Language
An introduction to the 20th-century analytic philosophy and philosophy of language, which to a large part
is guided by the conviction that traditional philosophical problems are based on linguistic and logical con-
fusions. Familiarizes students with the formal languages of modern sentential and predicate logic, whose
development was so important for the philosophical thinking within this tradition. It will reflect on the
importance of language for understanding the world and will investigate related semantic concepts such as
meaning, reference and truth. One unit.
Philosophy 243 — American Philosophy
A survey of the beginnings and development of American philosophic thought from the colonial period to
the present. Detailed discussion of the work of Emerson, Peirce, and James and of important movements
such as transcendentalism, pragmatism and analytic thought. One unit.
Philosophy 245 — Phenomenology
Explores the motivation and the methods of phenomenological philosophy. Focus is on Husserl’s devel-
opment of phenomenology as a “rigorous science,” and its critical revision. Topics include the relation of
Husserl’s “transcendental” project to the classical metaphysical tradition, the distinction between “pure” and
“applied” phenomenology, the idea of a phenomenological psychology, and the influence of phenomenology
in the philosophy of art. Readings include works by Husserl, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and others. One unit.
Philosophy 246 — Philosophy and Literature
Explores the relationship between philosophy and literature. Reveals the enormous impact of philosophy on
literary texts and tries to show how philosophy is present in all forms of intellectual life. Also tries to take
seriously literature’s claim to be doing something that philosophy itself cannot do. The authors chosen vary,
but include such figures as Shakespeare, Goethe, Nietzsche, Thomas Mann and Proust. One unit.
Philosophy 247 — Environmental Ethics
The Western philosophical ethical tradition is anthropocentric, meaning that what is good or right is based
upon the wants, needs and interests of humans. From such a perspective, the environment is regarded as a
resource to be managed or exploited for the benefit of people. Many contemporary environmental ethicists
carry on in this tradition, while others argue for an expanded ethical theory—one that takes into account the
intrinsic values of animals, plants, species, ecosystems, and perhaps even the earth as a whole. In this course
we will survey these different approaches with an eye to whether or not they are defensible. In doing so, we
will consider issues such as animals rights, population control, the rights of future generations and wildlife
restoration (e.g., prairies, forests). One unit.
Philosophy 248 — Existentialism
Existentialism was a movement in recent (1850-1950) French and German philosophy that heavily in-
fluenced subsequent European thought and literature. It saw human beings as free and troubled, lacking
guidance from tradition, God, and nature. This course explores existentialism through a reading of its
philosophical exponents (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Tillich) and literary and philosophical
authors (Dostoevsky, Camus). Both religious and atheistic existentialism are considered. One unit.
Philosophy 250 — Medical Ethics
Examines topics of current interest in biomedical ethics, and the role moral philosophy plays in public
debate about controversial issues. Aim is to help students think, speak, and write clearly about these issues.
Discusses moral justification and an overview of several types of ethical theory. Considers such issues as the
physician-patient relationship, truth-telling and confidentiality, informed consent, reproductive technolo-
gies, abortion, the right to die, euthanasia and assisted suicide, the AIDS epidemic, human genetics, and
justice in the distribution of health care. One unit.
Philosophy 254 — Philosophy East and West
By exploring Greek texts from the Pre-Socratics to Plato in relationship with the Sanscrit Upanishads,
this course attempts to reveal the common metaphysical root of Western and Eastern traditions. Christian
and Buddhist texts are also investigated in an attempt to show how the sharp polarity between Eastern and
Western thought emerged. One unit.
Philosophy 256 — Theory of Values
This course will examine the central questions dealing with the origin, nature, and conflicts of values:
How are values created? Are different kinds of values (moral, aesthetic, spiritual, vital, economic, etc.)
of the same origin? Do all values exist independently of people’s minds? How are values different from
facts? How to resolve the conflicts of values? Could there be one objective hierarchy of values, or are
values intrinsically subjective? Could our better understanding of values help us in structuring and
guiding our lives? One unit.
Philosophy 260 — Philosophy of Art
By reflecting on what philosophers have said about art, this course investigates the idea that art itself per-
forms a philosophical, perhaps even a moral, function. Art is supposed by many to have the power to reveal
something, and to be in some way “good” for us. In considering whether this is so, we have to confront two
basic questions. The first is: Are there any “truths” about art (about what art is, about the purpose of art, about
what makes art good or bad, etc.)? The second is: does art really reveal “truths” (What kind of truths? Truths
about what? Can these truths be rationally articulated? If not, why should we take art seriously?) We shall
concentrate on these, and related questions. Readings from Plato, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger,
Kandinsky, and Iris Murdoch. One unit.
Philosophy 261 — Philosophy of Mind
Questions concerning the nature of the mind and its relation to the body or questions about the essential
capacities of human beings distinguishing them from plants, animals, and machines are raised. Different
traditional and contemporary themes about the nature of the mind are discussed critically. Emphasizes top-
ics such as the mind-body problem, the nature of consciousness, the explanation of action, and the problem
of intentionality. One unit.
Philosophy 264 — Philosophy of History
Focuses on the growth of historical consciousness in the modern epoch, although it may also give attention
to such Christian thinkers as Augustine. Emphasizes the contrast between the boldly progressive vision of
Hegel, which celebrates scientific culture as the goal of history, and the more traditional vision of Vico (the
Italian philosopher), which embodies a cyclical moment and defines historical culture more in terms of
poetry than of science. Other authors typically read include Kant, Herder, Burckhardt, Nietzsche, Löwith,
and Collingwood. One unit.
Philosophy 265 — Political Philosophy
Political philosophy addresses the questions of how and toward what end ought human beings live together,
what a just and good society would be, and what makes power legitimate? These questions are pursued
through a reading of the history of Western political thought, including the work of Plato, Aristotle, Ma-
chiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and J.S. Mill. Recent liberal theory also examined, focusing on
the justice of welfare spending and the proper limits on government, using for example the work of John
Rawls and Robert Nozick. One unit.
Philosophy 267 — Contemporary Political Philosophy
Examines the nature of liberal democratic politics in its relation to morality. The central question is: what are
the rightful limits on and concerns of the government, law, and politics of a “liberal,” that is, free and demo-
cratic, society? “Neutralist” liberals argue that maximum individual liberty requires government neutrality
toward particular moral ends or notions of the good life. Others, especially “communitarians” and “civic re-
publicans,” fear that neutrality undermines both morality and community, and argue that government must
promote both through endorsing some notion of the good life. What is the proper balance of liberty and
morality? This question is pursued through the work of a number of important, most recent and American,
political theorists. One unit.
Philosophy 268 — Philosophy of Human Rights
This course seeks to understand the concept of human rights and how human rights relate to ethical theories
and social justice. Apart from fundamental metaphysical questions concerning the nature of human rights,
questions concerning their universality or cultural relativity are also relevant. Comparing the works of non-
Western and Western philosophers, we consider if rights are natural, or if they arose from specific historical,
political and social circumstances. Such considerations about the justification of human rights direct us to
the fundamental philosophical and ethical presuppositions at work in different authors’ approaches to rights.
Since human rights are frequently invoked to protect human life and liberty, and to act as standards for
adjudicating both national and international policies, a philosophical understanding of this concept, which
this course seeks to provide, is essential. One unit.
Philosophy 269 — Philosophy of Law
Examines the nature of law and the place of law in human society. Considers the history of rule by law and
reflects upon its value. Theories of law and of the relation of law to morality are explored. The course draws
upon case histories and jurisprudential readings. It is not an introduction to legal reasoning, but a probe of
the philosophical issues that underlie such legal concepts as equality, freedom of speech, evidence, obliga-
tion, rights, punishment, and justice. One unit.
Philosophy 271 — Philosophy of Science
An examination of the structure, function, value, and limits of science. Topics include the structure of sci-
entific explanation, the role of experimentation, the nature of scientific progress, and the nature of scientific
values. This course also investigates whether the activities of science are both rational and ethical. One unit.
Philosophy 273 — Philosophy of Medicine
The philosophy of medicine includes the metaphysical, epistemological and methodological aspects of
medical practice and medical research. This course explores some of the theoretical and conceptual issues
that form the basis for medical knowledge and thus influence the practice of medicine. Topics include the
nature of health and disease, normality and pathology, the assumptions and goals of medicine, changes in
the theoretical structure of medicine over time, the nature of medical knowledge, and methods of reasoning
in medical research and practice. One unit.
Philosophy 274 — Philosophical Anthropology
We will explore the philosophy of culture through a reading of 20th-century philosophical and related writ-
ings, trying to discern what difference culture makes to our understanding of human beings. That is, what
does the recognition that humans are fundamentally cultural beings do to our ethics, politics, and account
of human mind and knowing? We will confront problems of cultural relativism, the role of cultural identity
in politics, and what some claim is our contemporary “clash of civilizations,” reading, among others, Ernst
Cassier, Ernest Gellner, Johann Huizinga, and Samuel Huntington. One unit.
Philosophy 277 — Philosophical Perspectives on Women
Surveys the classic literature of Western philosophical views on women and the feminist response to it. At-
tention to feminism as a method of analysis as well as to representative issues whose philosophical signifi-
cance has been identified by feminism, e.g. gender, friendship, dependence. One unit.
Philosophy 278 — Philosophers on War and Peace
Explores some major philosophical issues concerning war and peace viewed through the classic writings of
Kant, Clausewitz, Lenin, William James, Tolstoy, Gandhi and contemporary authors. Emphasis is on the
questions of the possibility of eliminating war, the morality of war both conventional and nuclear, and the
moral problems involved in maintaining a policy of nuclear deterrence. One unit.
Philosophy 282 — Philosophy of Religion
This course is divided into two parts, both of which confront concepts and names for God with experiences
of evil. The first part studies the tradition of theodicy, with attention to Augustine, Boethius, Leibniz and
contemporary liberation theology. The second part looks closely at the experience of extreme evil in geno-
cide. Readings from P. Levi, E. Eiesel, E. Levinas, P. Celan and post-Holocaust “death of God” thinking.
Philosophy 285 — Philosophy of Mythology
Examines both philosophy’s ground in mythical thinking and the tension that arises between the two
spheres. Themes vary from semester to semester and will generally include, in addition to compendiums of
Indian or Greek mythology, such authors as Plato, Vico, Schelling, Hegel, and Goethe. One unit.
Philosophy 286 — Classicism in Art and Thought
Enlightenment culture is supposed to have liberated itself from ancient world-views. That is how “mo-
dernity” is defined. But it still expresses itself in classical terms. What is the meaning of this? Why do we
remain wedded to a way of picturing the world which we claim to have progressed beyond? There are lots
of superficial explanations. This course searches for a deeper understanding of what “classicism” is all about,
and goes on to explore its recurrent manifestations in Enlightenment art and thought. Themes include order
and disorder, freedom and desire, harmony and dissonance, individuality and the whole, unity and disunity,
tragedy and reconciliation, nature and reason, and how we picture of ourselves in relation to the broad struc-
ture of reality. One unit.
Philosophy 287 — The Philosophy of Architecture
More than any other art, architecture shapes our environment and the way we live. This raises serious and
difficult questions about what architecture is and does, about the status of architecture as art, about the
truths (if any) which it expresses, about the relationship between architectural forms and the character of
human life, and about what it means to dwell. Such questions lie at the intersection of art and philosophy.
In addition to readings from traditional and contemporary literature in aesthetics and architectural theory,
this course reflects on these issues by looking at and responding to architectural examples. It examines the
philosophy of architecture by studying architecture philosophically. One unit.
Philosophy 288 — Death
Explores the antinomy of reason that is occasioned by the phenomenon of death, i.e. do we or do we not
fully “die” when we die?, and the transformative rather than theoretical: how can we ourselves most effec-
tively prepare ourselves for the deaths we will one day encounter? The image of Socrates, who faces his own
death with supreme courage, serves as a model for the “philosophical” relationship to death. The readings for
this course vary, but typically include Heidegger’s Being and Time and Plato’s Phaedo. Texts from Eastern
Philosophy also play a prominent role. One unit.
Philosophy 289 — Ethical Issues in Death and Dying
The ethical problems involved in caring for the terminally ill are among the most controversial issues of our
day. This course examines ethical, philosophical, and public policy dimensions of death and dying. Topics
include the definition of death, truth-telling with dying patients, suicide, euthanasia, deciding to forgo life-
sustaining treatment, decisions on behalf of children and incompetent adults, the debate about futile care,
and public policy issues. One unit.
Philosophy 301 — Moral Psychology
This course addresses the nature of moral agency and moral reasoning from an interdisciplinary perspective.
It will try to develop a philosophically plausible and a psychologically realistic account of human beings who
are capable of acting for moral reasons. At the center of the discussion is the following question: How is it
possible to conceive of human beings to be motivated by something other than pure self-interest – as moral
philosophers constantly assume – if we are also biological organisms, a product of evolution and a process
of “survival of the fittest?” Particularly important for our purpose is the question of whether our ability to
empathize or sympathize with other people leads to altruistic and moral motivations. Readings will include
Aristotle, Hume, Smith, Kant, Schopenhauer, Batson, DeWaal and others. One unit.
Philosophy 303 — Philosophy of Social Science
Is it possible to study and explain human actions and human affairs using the methods of the natural scienc-
es? Or does the study of human beings require its own methodology because human beings have thoughts,
a free will, and can behave rationally? This course tries to find an answer to these questions by studying the
most prominent responses to the above query provided by philosophers, historians and social scientists.
Readings include works by authors such as Weber, Geertz, Hempel, Collingwood, Davidson, Winch, Marx
and Habermas. One unit.
Philosophy 304 — Problems in Metaphysics
Contemporary metaphysics addresses questions about the nature of reality such as: What is time? What are
we? Is consciousness a physical brain process, or something non-physical? This seminar will take up some of
these questions, readings are both historical and contemporary. One unit.
Philosophy 305 — Science and Values
Science is usually seen in contemporary society as a privileged route to knowledge, and as value-neutral in
its pursuit of truth. This seminar is intended to stimulate thought about the mutual influence of the natural
sciences and human values. It is not a course in “applied ethics” or the ethics of technology. Rather, its goal
is to come to a deeper appreciation of the conceptual underpinnings of scientific knowledge and how values
are essential elements of these conceptual underpinnings. The seminar will be a study of classic texts and
contemporary developments in the philosophy, history, and sociology of natural science. Both theoretical
aspects and historical examples of how scientific facts and theories are constructed are discussed. A central
theme is the debate about realism vs. constructivism in the philosophy of science. This includes a consid-
eration of objectivity and subjectivity in the realms of both fact and value. Also discussed is the view that
science offers the best description of reality and the different types of “scientism,” and the overvaluing of
science in comparison with other ways of learning about the world. One unit.
Philosophy 306 — Problems in Moral Philosophy
This seminar addresses the relationship between theories of the mind and corresponding political theories.
Among the course reading are Plato’s Republic, where the association between the structure of the soul and
the structure of different cities is explicit, and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, where the study of the soul’s
structure is functional to the analysis of happiness in the polis. The second part of the seminar addresses two
modern paradigms: Hobbes’ Leviathan and Rousseau’s Second Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Two
radically different theories are discussed which address human nature, the possibility of happiness, and the
power of emotions while distinguishing themselves from their ancient models. One unit.
Philosophy 307 — Metaphysics and Natural Science
This is a course naturalistic metaphysics which compares the speculative conceptions of philosophers to recent
work in the natural sciences (this semester, physics). Readings of three 19th - and 20th-century “process”
philosophers (Schel ing, Peirce, Whitehead) who hoped to answer fundamental metaphysical questions from a
naturalistic perspective. Each is coupled with a scientist’s exposition of relevant parts of contemporary physical
theory, particularly, the Big Bang origin of the universe (Weinberg), complex systems (Prigogine), and quan-
tum mechanics (Polkinghorne). Goal is to use the science to educate the philosophy, and the philosophy to
educate the science, hence to understand the natural world through a dialogue between the two. One unit.
Philosophy 308 — Problems in Epistemology
Prominent in contemporary theory of knowledge is the attack on “foundationalism,” the belief that claims
to knowledge can receive ultimate or philosophical justification. Foundationalism has been central to the
mainstream of philosophy since Descartes, although arguably it is as old as Plato. Thus “antifoundationalism”
is a deep challenge to philosophy. This course examines the antifoundationalist critique, and the attempt to
save philosophy from it, focusing primarily on the work of Richard Rorty, Michael Williams, and Hilary
Putnam, but with selections from a number of earlier philosophers, including James, Nietzsche, Wittgen-
stein, Quine, and Heidegger. One unit.
Philosophy 309 — Approaches to Medical Ethics
This course will examine the development and history of some of the most important approaches to medi-
cal ethics. It will examine three of the most important theoretical approaches: the principle-based common
morality theory of Tom Beauchamp and James Childress; the libertarianism of H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.;
and the virtue ethics of Edmund Pellegrino and David Thomasma. Many issues of contemporary concern
in medical practice and research will be addressed in conjunction with the study of these theories. We will
critique the contemporary practice of bioethics. One unit.
Philosophy 316 — Problems in Aesthetics
Selected issues or texts in the philosophy of art explored in depth. One unit.
Philosophy 332 — Problems in Phenomenology
Selected issues or texts in the Phenomenological good is explored in depth. One unit.
Philosophy 335 — Philosophical Naturalism
Philosophical naturalism holds that all reality is in or is continuous with physical nature, hence nothing is
supernatural, purely non-physical or “ideal.” This also means the conclusions of natural science are directly
relevant to the philosophical investigation of reality (that is, metaphysics). The historical problem for this
view is to account for things that appear to be non-physical, like life, consciousness, knowledge, numbers,
possibilities, God. This course encounters a variety of recent naturalisms to see whether they can handle
these issues, reading John Dewey, W.V.O. Quine, Justus Buchler, Hans Jonas, and Hilary Putnam. One
Philosophy 340 — Albert Schweitzer – Reverence for Life
In the course of the semester we will focus on an in-depth examination of Schweitzer’s ethics of reverence
for life, as well as on its interconnectedness with the fields as diverse as art and politics. We will critically
examine whether Schweitzer’s ethics of reverence for life, as well as his personal example, may serve as our
moral guide in the twenty-first century. One unit.
Philosophy 350 — Pre-Socratic Philosophy
A study of the origin of Western philosophy and science before Socrates. It investigates the relationship be-
tween myth and philosophy, the development of various schools of philosophy (Pythagoreans, Eleatics), and
concludes with a discussion of the sophists. Emphasis is placed upon the study of the texts of Pre-Socratic
philosophers and the interpretations of modern scholars. One unit.
Philosophy 354 — Plato
“Platonism” has fallen on hard times in the contemporary philosophical marketplace. As a way of thinking
about ethical, epistemological, or metaphysical issues, it is seen as an enterprise which is more or less bank-
rupt. The goal of this seminar is to overcome the modern prejudice against Platonism by rereading Plato,
and understanding what he really has to say. Do his works represent a coherent philosophical vision? If so,
what does this vision offer us? One unit.
Philosophy 358 — Aristotle
“All human beings by nature desire to understand.” Or so Aristotle claims, in the first sentence of his Meta-
physics. The goal of this seminar is to understand this claim. What is Aristotle’s conception of (our) “nature,”
and how is it related to his conception of reality as a whole? Is our nature most fully realized when our desire
(to understand) is most fully satisfied? If so, what does this involve? What does it mean to be fully human?
What does Aristotle think we ultimately discover in our attempt to understand the world? We shall pursue
these questions, in depth, by exploring the fundamental connections between-and the significant tensions
within-Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Physics, Ethics and Poetics. Ultimate focus is on Aristotle’s conception of
tragedy, and the philosophical implications of the work of two tragic poets (Sophocles and Euripides). At-
tention is also given to whatever seems to separate Aristotle’s way of thinking and our own. One unit.
Philosophy 360 — Aristotle and Confucius
This course undertakes a close comparison of the ethics of Aristotle and Confucius, with attention to their
views of the cosmos, the self, and human relationships. We compare the central ethical concepts of the two
figures; ask to what extent these concepts and their associated practices are bound by the respective cultures;
examine the most primitive assumptions of each author about human beings and our natural and social
environments; and investigate to what extent each author’s ethics requires or would be aided by a theoretical
“first philosophy”. One unit.
Philosophy 362 — Augustine
This seminar introduces the thought of Augustine through study of some main works in relation to key
themes in Greek philosophy (chiefly Plotinus) and Christian theology. Augustine’s Confessions are gener-
ally read, but depending on the topical focus in a given year, this may be followed by study of his City of
God, De Trinitate, or passages from other works. One unit.
Philosophy 366 — Thomas Aquinas
A detailed study of selected texts of St. Thomas Aquinas with reference to other significant medieval figures.
The focus is on understanding St. Thomas’ thought both as an intel ectual achievement in its own right and as
part of a continuous tradition of philosophical and theological inquiry. Topics of special interest wil include:
the existence and nature of God, creation and the nature of reality, human and divine knowledge, as wel as
problems in ethics and politics. Late medieval Scholasticism involved a rediscovery of and sustained dialogue
with Aristotelian thought. Thus, participants in this course benefit from a prior knowledge of ancient Greek
philosophy, although it is not a prerequisite for enrol ment. One unit.
Philosophy 368 — Meister Eckhart
This course typical y focuses on Eckhart’s sermons (which he composed in German) rather than the more
formal philosophical treatises (which he wrote in Latin). It is in the sermons where Eckhart’s mysticism is
most pronounced. As a result, they serve as an ideal basis for evaluating the relationship between philosophy
and mysticism. In addition, the question is raised to what degree Eckhart’s thinking reveals the essence, not
only of Christianity, but of religion as such. In this regard, Eckhart commentaries from Buddhist and Islamic
thinkers may also be considered. One unit.
Philosophy 370 — Kant
A reading course in the primary sources, concentrating mostly on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and
Critique of Judgment. The reading and discussion focus on Kant’s theory of knowledge, as well as his meta-
physical, aesthetic, and anthropolical views. The approach is both historical and critical. One unit.
Philosophy 375 — Hegel
An in-depth study of the philosophy of Hegel. This includes a probing and testing of his positions on the
nature of reality and his theory of knowledge. Emphasis is on the philosophy of history, the history of phi-
losophy, the state, and religion, and on their contemporary relevance. One unit.
Philosophy 380 — Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the archetypal modern masters. His notions of the “death of God,” the “will
to power,” amor fati, the Dionysian and Apollinian, the overman and many others have entered the con-
sciousness of the 20th century. His influence was (and still is) immense. The seminar is an in-depth study of
Nietzsche’s work. The discussion will be focused on the question of creation and negation, on nihilism and
its overcoming, on the sense of morality and the criticism of Christianity. Nietzsche’s books used in class are:
The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, Genealogy of Morals, Twilights of Idols,
The Anti-Christ, and Ecce Homo. One unit.
Philosophy 383 — Heidegger
This course consists of a reading and discussion of some of the major works of Heidegger. At ention is given
to his criticism of Western philosophy, his understanding of truth, his teaching on the meaning of being hu-
man (Dasein), his pursuit of the question of the meaning of Being, and his critique of technology. One unit.
Philosophy 391 — Wittgenstein
An intensive reading course focusing on Wittgenstein’s early Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and his late
Philosophical Investigations. Topics of special interest include the author’s views on philosophy, the con-
stitution of linguistic meaning, truth, and the problem of solipsism. The course also tries to evaluate Wit-
tgenstein’s contribution to and relevance for contemporary philosophy. One unit.
Philosophy 400 — Tutorials
Independent study of various topics of special interest to individual students and faculty directors. Normally,
tutorials will only be offered for topics that are not covered by regularly offered courses. One unit.
Philosophy 497 — Fourth-Year Thesis
The fourth-year thesis should in some way represent the culmination of a student’s work in philosophy, drawing on
previous background and developed interests. It is therefore best undertaken in the spring semester of the fourth year.
A student who is interested in writing a thesis must submit to the Chair of the Department a brief prospectus (2-4
pages) describing the proposed topic. This prospectus should clarify the problems, issues, or themes which the thesis
wil address, and present an initial plan of research. Ideal y, the prospectus would provide at least a rough outline for
the project as a whole. It should include a preliminary bibliography. The deadline for submit ing a prospectus is the
Monday fol owing the Thanksgiving vacation. Once the prospectus is submit ed, the Chair wil review it in consul-
tation with the prospective advisor who wil approve the prospectus or suggest revisions. It is recommended that a
student interested in submit ing a prospectus meet with a potential advisor wel in advance of the deadline. The pro-
spectus is meant to ensure that the student has a coherent and manageable topic. It also ensures that substantive work
on the thesis itself can begin at the outset of the spring semester. Equipped with an initial reading list, the student
should be able to undertake preliminary research over the Christmas vacation. The completed thesis is to be submit-
ted to the advisor and two additional readers (one of whom may be from outside the department) not later than the
last regular day of classes. The readers wil be chosen by the student together with the advisor and Department Chair.
Shortly after the thesis is submit ed (usual y during the study period), the student wil have the opportunity publicly
to present, and to defend, his or her work. After the defense, the advisor (in consultation with the readers) wil deter-
mine a let er grade for the thesis. One unit.