Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | The Standard Major | The Intensive Track | Philosophy and Allied Fields | Grading | Honors | Transfer Students | Transfer Credit | Advising | Minor Program in Philosophy | Philosophy Courses | Courses

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All majors and minors in philosophy should immediately subscribe to two Department of Philosophy email lists: and These lists are the department’s primary means of disseminating information on the undergraduate program, deadlines, prizes, fellowships, and events.

Program of Study

Philosophy covers a wide range of historical periods and fields. The BA program in philosophy is intended to acquaint students with some of the classic texts of the discipline and with the different areas of inquiry, as well as to train students in rigorous methods of argument. In addition to the standard major, the department offers two tracks. The intensive track option is for qualified students interested in small group discussions of major philosophical problems and texts. The option in philosophy and allied fields is designed for students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary program involving philosophy and some other field. All three options are described in the next section.

The course offerings described include both 20000-level courses (normally restricted to College students) and 30000-level courses (open to graduate students and advanced College students). There is room for a good deal of flexibility in individual planning of programs. Most of the requirements allow some choice among options. Course prerequisites may be relaxed with the consent of the instructor, and College students may take 40000- and 50000-level courses (normally restricted to graduate students) under special circumstances. Students should work out their program under the guidance of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Students in other fields of study may also complete a minor in Philosophy. Information follows the description of the major.

Program Requirements

All majors will be required to book an appointment with the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies during Winter Quarter of their third year to review their program of study and discuss the possibility of writing the senior essay. 

The Standard Major

The following basic requirements for the standard major in philosophy are intended to constitute a core philosophy curriculum and to provide some structure within an extremely varied collection of course offerings that changes from year to year.

The Department of Philosophy offers a three-quarter sequence in the history of philosophy (PHIL 25000 History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy, PHIL 26000 History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy, and PHIL 27000 History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century), which begins in the first quarter with ancient Greek philosophy and ends in the third quarter with nineteenth-century philosophy. Students are required to take two courses from this sequence (any two are acceptable) and are encouraged to take all three. Students are also encouraged to take these courses early in their program because they make an appropriate introduction to more advanced courses. Students may substitute both PHIL 25200 Intensive History of Philosophy, Part I: Plato and PHIL 26200 Intensive History of Ancient Philosophy, Part II: Aristotle for PHIL 25000. Note, however, that taking both PHIL 25200 and PHIL 26200 counts as taking only one quarter of the history requirement, though they will count for two courses so far as the major is concerned.

Students are also urged to take logic as early in their studies as possible. Although either PHIL 20100 Introduction to Logic or PHIL 20012 Accelerated Introduction to Logic both satisfy the logic requirement, students may count only one of these two courses toward the credits required for graduation. Students may bypass the logic requirement standardly satisfied by PHIL 20100 Introduction to Logic by taking either PHIL 29400 Intermediate Logic, MATH 27700 Mathematical Logic I, or MATH 27800 Mathematical Logic II. However, although either MATH 27700 or MATH 27800 satisfy the logic requirement, these courses do not count for credit toward the completion of the major. Only courses with a PHIL designation count toward the total number of credits required in order to complete the major. Save for transfer credit (see below), there are no exceptions to this rule.

In order to officially declare as a standard major, students should do so using the student portal. Unlike the other forms of the major (see sections on The Intensive Track and Philosophy and Allied Fields below), there is no departmental application form standard track students need to complete in order to officially declare as a major.

Standard majors are welcome to apply to write senior essays. For more information, please see The Senior Essay below.


At least two courses in one of the following two fields and at least one course in the other field: (A) practical philosophy and (B) theoretical philosophy.

Courses that may be counted toward these requirements are indicated in the course descriptions by boldface letters in parentheses. Other courses may not be used to meet field distribution requirements.

Summary of Requirements: Standard Major       

Two of the following:200
History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy *
History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy
History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century
PHIL 20100Introduction to Logic (or approved alternative course in logic)100
One of the following:300
One from field A and two from field B
Two from field A and one from field B
Four additional courses in philosophy **400
Total Units1000

The Intensive Track

Admission to the intensive track requires an application, which must be submitted by week 4 of the Spring Quarter in the student's second year. For further information, contact the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies.

The intensive track is designed to acquaint students with the problems and methods of philosophy in more depth than is possible for students in the standard major. It differs from the standard program mainly by offering the opportunity to meet in the following very small discussion groups: the intensive track seminar in the Autumn Quarter of the third or fourth year (PHIL 29601 Intensive Track Seminar), PHIL 29200 Junior Tutorial, and PHIL 29300 Senior Tutorial.

Note on the pacing and scheduling of the intensive track: Intensive track majors take PHIL 29601 Intensive Track Seminar in Autumn Quarter of their third year. Students fulfill the tutorial requirement by selecting one junior tutorial (PHIL 29200) in any quarter of their third year and one senior tutorial (PHIL 29300) in any quarter of their fourth year. Finally, intensive track students must write a senior essay. The essay process includes participation in the Senior Seminar over two quarters of their fourth year; students must register for PHIL 29901 Senior Seminar I in Autumn Quarter and PHIL 29902 Senior Seminar II in Winter Quarter.

Summary of Requirements: Intensive Track

Two of the following:200
History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy *
History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy
History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century
PHIL 20100Introduction to Logic (or approved alternative course in logic)100
One of the following:300
One from field A and two from field B
Two from field A and one from field B
PHIL 29200Junior Tutorial100
PHIL 29300Senior Tutorial100
PHIL 29601Intensive Track Seminar100
PHIL 29901
  &  29902
Senior Seminar I
   and Senior Seminar II
Two additional courses in philosophy **200
Total Units1300

Philosophy and Allied Fields

This variant of the major is a specialist option for students with a clear and detailed picture of a coherent interdisciplinary course of study, not available under the standard forms of major and minor. Examples of recent programs devised by students electing this track are philosophy and mathematics, philosophy and biology, and philosophy and economics. Students in this program must meet the first three of the basic requirements for the standard major (a total of six courses) and take six additional courses that together constitute a coherent program; at least one of these six additional courses must be in the Department of Philosophy. Students must receive approval for the specific courses they choose to be used as the allied fields courses. Admission to philosophy and allied fields requires an application to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, which should be made by the middle of Spring Quarter of their second year. To apply, students must submit a sample program of courses as well as a statement explaining the nature of the interdisciplinary area of study and the purpose of the proposed allied fields program. Applicants must also have the agreement of a member of the Department of Philosophy to serve as their sponsor in the program. Interested students should consult with the assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies before applying; for office hours and the application form, visit the departmental website.

Summary of Requirements: Philosophy and Allied Fields

Two of the following:200
History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy *
History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy
History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century
PHIL 20100Introduction to Logic (or approved alternative course in logic)100
One of the following:300
One from field A and two from field B
Two from field A and one from field B
Six additional courses, at least one of which must be in the Department of Philosophy **600
Total Units1200

The Senior Essay

Students who have been admitted to the intensive track are required to write a senior essay (also called the “BA essay”). Standard majors and philosophy and allied fields majors may also apply to write an essay. The proposal should be formulated in consultation with a faculty adviser who has expertise in the topic area. Potential advisers can be approached directly, but the assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies can help pair students with suitable advisers as needed. BA essay applications are due middle of Spring Quarter. Applications are available on the departmental website.

Students writing a BA essay in philosophy are normally expected to have maintained a GPA of 3.25 in their philosophy courses. A 3.25 is also the minimum GPA for departmental honors in philosophy. Students should submit, along with their application to write a BA essay, a record of their grades in the College. If a student who wishes to write a BA essay in philosophy has a GPA in philosophy courses below 3.25, the student should also submit a petition in writing to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

In their fourth year, students writing BA essays must participate in the senior seminar. The seminar runs in the Autumn and Winter quarters and attendance is required throughout. Students should register for PHIL 29901 Senior Seminar I in Autumn Quarter and for PHIL 29902 Senior Seminar II in Winter Quarter. These two courses are among the requirements for the intensive track. For essay writers who are in the standard track or the allied fields track, both courses must be taken; however, only PHIL 29902 will be counted toward the track's total-units requirement. 


All courses for all tracks must be taken for a quality grade. The one exception is for students in the Intensive Track: PHIL 29901 is graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Accordingly, students in other tracks taking PHIL 29901-29902 will only be able to count PHIL 29902 in the major.


The main requirement for honors is a senior essay of distinction. A GPA in the major of 3.25 or higher typically also is required.

Transfer Students

Requirements for students transferring to the University of Chicago are the same as for other students.

Transfer Credit

Up to (but typically no more than) three courses from another institution may be counted toward major requirements. Students seeking approval for such courses should send a syllabus for each course to the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will then determine which courses, if any, to approve for credit toward the major.


Students should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies with questions concerning program plans, honors, and so forth.

Minor Program in Philosophy

The minor program in philosophy provides a basic introduction to some central figures and themes in both the history of philosophy and in current philosophical controversies. The minor requires six courses: students must take: either two courses from the history of philosophy sequence and one course from field A or field B, along with three additional courses in philosophy; or one course from the history of philosophy sequence and one course from each of fields A and B, along with three additional courses in philosophy.

No courses in the minor can be double counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors; nor can they be counted toward general education requirements. They must be taken for quality grades.

Students who elect the minor program should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before the end of Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the program. The approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the minor should be submitted to the student's College adviser on the Consent to Complete a Minor Program form, obtained from the College adviser or online, no later than the end of the student's third year.

Samples follow of two groups of courses that would comprise a minor:

Two of the following:200
History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy *
History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy
History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century
One from either field A or field B100
Three additional courses in philosophy **300
Total Units600
One of the following:100
History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy *
History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy
History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century
One from field A100
One from field B100
Three additional courses in philosophy **300
Total Units600

Philosophy Courses

PHIL 10005. Introduction to the Philosophy of Love. 100 Units.

Love is one of the most important, profound things in life; and yet, it is notoriously hard to articulate just what love is. In this course, we will inquire about the nature of love, addressing some of the central questions that have occupied philosophers of love. Why do we love what we love? Who can love, and who can be loved? What does love demand of us, and how can we love well? What is the relationship between love and morality? And what is love? We will seek an understanding of love that can account, in particular, for the central role that love plays in human life - the sense in which it is "what makes the world go 'round." We will discuss historical and contemporary philosophical texts, such as Plato's Symposium, bell hooks' all about love, and Harry Frankfurt's The Reasons of Love, as well as literature and film. In the course of our inquiry, we will consider the ways that philosophical reflection - with its focus on conceptual clarity, rational argumentation, and communicative precision - can be enriched by literature and film while, in turn, helping us to better understand literature, film, and life.

Terms Offered: Summer

PHIL 10250. The World of Greek Philosophy. 100 Units.

This course will serve as an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy and literature of the pre-Classical, Classical, and Hellenistic Greek world, and their conceptions that at once influence and differ from our own. In addition to discussing traditional Greek understandings of virtue, honor, and happiness, we will consider how intellectual life was believed to help people find meaning, purpose,and self-fulfillment and shape their ethics. We will recreate the experience of Greek intellectual culture in simulated marketplace disputations and (nonalcholic) symposia while reading and discussing works from Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Euripides, Euclid, and the Stoics, in an effort to understand not just what but how they thought.

Terms Offered: Summer

PHIL 20004. Aristotle's Physics with Aquinas's Commentary. 100 Units.

In the Physics, Aristotle lays out the general concepts and principles governing his teachings about the natural world. His approach is both philosophically sophisticated and quite different from that of modern science. We will work through substantial selections from Books I-III, with the help of Aquinas's glosses, which make them more digestible without diluting them. Topics include the subject and procedure of natural science, the relation of that science to metaphysics and mathematics, matter and form as principles of change, the concept of nature, causality, chance, teleology, the nature of motion, action and passion, and the categories of being. (B)

Instructor(s): Stephen Brock     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Students not majoring in Philosophy or Fundamentals need the consent of the instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 20004

PHIL 20007. The Metaphysics of Action. 100 Units.

A fundamental category through which we understand the world is the category of action. This course offers an intensive overview of the metaphysics of action. We will first cover some basics including the relationship between actions, agency, and agents, the range of action kinds, what kind of thing action is, the distinction between basic and nonbasic action, agent nihilism, and the possibility of mental action. Next, in hopes of coming to better understand the nature of action, we will look at how action relates to other phenomena such as reasons, causation, knowledge, control, and normative life. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): Mikayla Kelley     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): One prior philosophy course.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 30007

PHIL 20012. Accelerated Introduction to Logic. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction to logic for students of philosophy. It is aimed at students who possess more mathematical training than can be expected of typical philosophy majors, but who wish to study logic not just as a branch of mathematics but as a method for philosophical analysis. (II)

Instructor(s): Anubav Vasudevan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): While no specific mathematical knowledge will be presupposed, some familiarity with the methods of mathematical reasoning and some prior practice writing prose that is precise enough to support mathematical proof will be useful.
Note(s): Students may count either PHIL 20012 or PHIL 20100, but not both, toward the credits required for graduation.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 30012

PHIL 20100. Introduction to Logic. 100 Units.

An introduction to the concepts and principles of symbolic logic. We learn the syntax and semantics of truth-functional and first-order quantificational logic, and apply the resultant conceptual framework to the analysis of valid and invalid arguments, the structure of formal languages, and logical relations among sentences of ordinary discourse. Occasionally we will venture into topics in philosophy of language and philosophical logic, but our primary focus is on acquiring a facility with symbolic logic as such.

Instructor(s): Ginger Schultheis     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Students may count either PHIL 20100 or PHIL 20012, but not both, toward the credits required for graduation.
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 20700, PHIL 30000, CHSS 33500

PHIL 21000. Introduction To Ethics. 100 Units.

In this course, we will read, write, think, and talk about moral philosophy, focusing on Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and work by John Stuart Mill. We will work through our texts with care. Neo-Kantianism is a prominent contemporary form of moral theory. We will use Kant to develop a critique of neo-Kantianism as we go along. We will look at influential criticisms of utilitarianism in the concluding weeks of the term, and we will need to ask ourselves whether either of them applies to the version of utilitarianism developed by John Stuart Mill. (A)

Instructor(s): Candace Vogler     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 21000, FNDL 23107

PHIL 21002. Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations. 100 Units.

In this class we explore the philosophical foundations of human rights, investigating theories of how our shared humanity in the context of an interdependent world gives rise to obligations of justice. Webegin by asking what rights are, how they are distinguished from other part of morality, and what role they play in our social and political life. But rights come in many varieties, and we are interested in human rights in particular. In later weeks, we will ask what makes something a human right, and how are human rights different from other kinds of rights. We will consider a number of contemporary philosophers (and one historian) who attempt to answer this question, including James Griffin, Joseph Raz, John Rawls, John Tasioulas, Samuel Moyn, Jiewuh Song, and Martha Nussbaum. Throughout we will be asking questions such as, "What makes something a human right?" "What role does human dignity play in grounding our human rights?" "Are human rights historical?" "What role does the nation and the individual play in our account of human rights?" "When can one nation legitimately intervene in the affairs of another nation?" "How can we respect the demands of justice while also respecting cultural difference?" "How do human rights relate to global inequality and markets?" (A) (I)

Instructor(s): Ben Laurence, Pozen Center for Human Rights Instructional Professor     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 39319, HIST 29319, INRE 31602, MAPH 42002, HMRT 31002, HMRT 21002, DEMS 21002, PHIL 31002

PHIL 21203. Introduction to Philosophy of Law. 100 Units.

This course will be an introduction to the philosophy of law. The first third will cover some historical classics: Plato's Crito, and selections from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Kant's Doctrine of Right, Hegel's Outline of the Philosophy of Right, and Austin's The Province of Jurisprudence Determined. The second third of the course will cover some classics of postwar Anglo-American jurisprudence, including selections from H.L.A. Hart, Ronald Dworkin, Richard Posner, and Ernest Weinrib. The final third of the course will explore in a little further detail philosophical problems that arise in the following areas: the philosophy of tort law, theories of constitutional interpretation, and feminist jurisprudence. (A)

Instructor(s): Lisa Van Alstyne     Terms Offered: Winter

PHIL 21206. Philosophy of Race and Racism. 100 Units.

The idea that there exist different "races" of human beings is something that many-perhaps even most-people in the United States today take for granted. And yet modern notions of "race" and "racial difference" raise deep philosophical problems: What exactly is race? Is race a natural kind (like water) or a social kind (like citizenship)? If race is a social kind-i.e. something human beings have constructed-are there any good reasons to keep using it? According to many philosophers, these questions cannot be properly analyzed in abstraction from the history of modern racism and the liberation struggles racial oppression has given rise to. Together, we'll read classic and contemporary texts on these themes by authors such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Angela Davis, Charles Mills, Naomi Zack, Chike Jeffers, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Lucius Outlaw. (A)

Instructor(s): Tyler Zimmer     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31206, CRES 21206

PHIL 21207. Ecocentrism and Environmental Racism. 100 Units.

The aim of this course is to explore the tensions and convergences between two of the most profoundly important areas of environmental philosophy. "Ecocentrism" is the view that holistic systems such as ecosystems can be ethically considerable or "count" in a way somewhat comparable to human persons, and such a philosophical perspective has been shared by many prominent forms of environmentalism, from Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic to Deep Ecology to the worldviews of many Native American and Indigenous peoples. For some prominent environmental philosophers, a commitment to ecocentrism is the defining test of whether one is truly an environmental philosopher. "Environmental Racism" is one of the defining elements of environmental injustice, the way in which environmental crises and existential threats often reflect systemic discrimination, oppression, and domination in their disproportionate adverse impact on peoples of color, women, the global poor, LGBTQ populations, and Indigenous Peoples. Although historically, some have claimed that ecocentric organizations such as Greenpeace have neglected the problems of environmental injustice and racism in their quest to, e.g., "save the whales," a deeper analysis reveals a far more complicated picture, with many affinities and alliances between ecocentrists and activists seeking environmental justice. (A)

Instructor(s): Bart Schultz     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 21207, MAPH 31207, ENST 21207, CHST 21207, HMRT 21207, PLSC 21207

PHIL 21218. Being and Goodness: Varieties of Constitutivism. 100 Units.

In contemporary meta-ethics, Constitutivism figures as an alternative to the familiar opposition between Realism and Non-Cognitivism. The fundamental norms to which we are subject in acting are not independent of our agency. Yet they are the objects of knowledge. They are internal to what we are. We will look at the recent debate on how such a view is to be spelled out and whether it provides viable alternative to Realism and Non-Cognitivism. Which characterization of us allows the derivation of substantive normative principles: the abstract concept of an agent or the concrete concept of a human being? What is the logical grammar of the relevant sortal concept? And how does our knowledge of our kind enter into its characterization? Readings will include texts by David Enoch, Christine Korsgaard, David Velleman, Phillippa Foot, Michael Smith, Judy Thompson and Michael Thompson.

Instructor(s): Matthias Haase     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31218

PHIL 21426. Marx's Theory of Class. 100 Units.

The topic of this course is Karl Marx's theory of socio-economic class. Its purpose is to gain insight into Marx's claim that understanding classes helps us understand politics. Though it is one of the topics for which his name is most remembered, his view of class is often misrepresented. For instance, it is often said that, for Marx, capitalist society consists of only two classes-the so-called proletariat (workers) and the bourgeoisie (capitalists). Like classical economists before him and heterodox economists after him, however, Marx believes that modern societies consist of at least three classes: workers, capitalists, and landlords or rentiers, as well as other marginalized groups. And he even disaggregates those classes into the smaller groups which constitute them (e.g., productive and unproductive labor; industrial, commercial, and financial capital, etc.). By examining selections from his mature political-economic writings, we will reconstruct Marx's theory of social classes and consider his application of that theory in some of his significant case studies, such as the American Civil War, as well as later developments of his theory by some influential successors. Themes which we will address include the relation between economy and politics, class, race, and gender, and agency and structure in historical development. We will also try to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of Marx's view with an eye to contemporary questions. (A)

Instructor(s): Daniel Burnfin     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Students might consider reading Marx's short essay, "Wage Labor and Capital," to prepare for this course.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 21426, GRMN 23425

PHIL 21499. Philosophy and Philanthropy. 100 Units.

Perhaps it is better to give than to receive, but exactly how much giving ought one to engage in and to whom or what? Recent ethical and philosophical developments such as the effective altruism movement suggest that relatively affluent individuals are ethically bound to donate a very large percentage of their resources to worthy causes-for example, saving as many lives as they possibly can, wherever in the world those lives may be. And charitable giving or philanthropy is not only a matter of individual giving, but also of giving by foundations, corporations, non-profits, non-governmental and various governmental agencies, and other organizational entities that play a very significant role in the modern world. How, for example, does an institution like the University of Chicago engage in and justify its philanthropic activities? Can one generalize about the various rationales for philanthropy, whether individual or institutional? Why do individuals or organizations engage in philanthropy, and do they do so well or badly, for good reasons, bad reasons, or no coherent reasons? This course will afford a broad, critical philosophical and historical overview of philanthropy, examining its various contexts and justifications, and contrasting charitable giving with other ethical demands, particularly the demands of justice. How do charity and justice relate to each other? Would charity even be needed in a fully just world? (A)

Instructor(s): Bart Schultz     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course will feature a number of guest speakers and be developed in active conversation with the work of the UChicago Civic Knowledge Project and Office of Civic Engagement. Students will also be presented with some practical opportunities to engage reflectively in deciding whether, why and how to donate a certain limited amount of (course provided) funding.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 21499, MAPH 31499, HMRT 21499

PHIL 21505. Wonder, Magic, and Skepticism. 100 Units.

In the course of discussing how it is that a philosophical problem arises in the first place, Wittgenstein says, "The decisive movement in the conjuring trick has been made, and it was the very one that we thought quite innocent." This isn't the only place where Wittgenstein speaks as if being gripped by philosophical problems is a matter of succumbing to illusions--as if a philosophers are magicians who are taken in by their own tricks. In this course, we'll discuss philosophy and magical performance, with the aim of coming to a deeper understanding of what both are about. We'll be particularly concerned with Wittgenstein's picture of what philosophy is and does. Another focus of the course will be the passion of wonder. In the Theaetetus, Plato has Socrates say, "The sense of wonder is the mark of the philosopher. Philosophy indeed has no other origin." And when magicians write about their aesthetic aims, they almost always describe themselves as trying to instill wonder in others. Does magic end where philosophy begins? And what becomes of wonder after philosophy is done with it? (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): David Finkelstein     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Two prior philosophy courses.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31505

PHIL 21511. Forms of Philosophical Skepticism. 100 Units.

The aim of the course will be to consider some of the most influential treatments of skepticism in the post-war analytic philosophical tradition-in relation both to the broader history of philosophy and to current tendencies in contemporary analytic philosophy. The first part of the course will begin by distinguishing two broad varieties of skepticism-Cartesian and Kantian-and their evolution over the past two centuries (students without any prior familiarity with both Descartes and Kant will be at a significant disadvantage here), and will go on to isolate and explore some of the most significant variants of each of these varieties in recent analytic philosophy. The second part of the course will involve a close look at recent influential analytic treatments of skepticism. It will also involve a brief look at various versions of contextualism with regard to epistemological claims. We will carefully read and critically evaluate writings on skepticism by the following authors: J. L. Austin, Robert Brandom, Stanley Cavell, Thompson Clarke, Saul Kripke, C. I. Lewis, John McDowell, H. H. Price, Hilary Putnam, Barry Stroud, Charles Travis, Michael Williams, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Instructor(s): James Conant     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): This will be an advanced lecture course open to graduate students and undergraduates with a prior background in analytic philosophy.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31511

PHIL 21606. Justice at Work. 100 Units.

This course combines economic theory (the theory of the firm), legal theory (labor law), and labor history, with political philosophy to examine questions of justice for workers that are often ignored in academic political philosophy. The course begins by considering very basic questions from economic theory, including what markets are, and why production in the economy is organized through firms, and what economists have to say about why firms are arranged so hierarchically. Given this background, we next turns to consider injustices at the work, including worker domination, exploitation, and the casualization of employment. We consider responses including universal basic income that decouples access to goods from work; worker organization and resistance through the labor movement and tools such as collective bargaining; and finally, the reorganization of the economy to foster either shared control over firms or worker cooperatives. Along the way we consider the right to strike, the connection of race and labor, and different visions of a more just future for workers. (A)

Instructor(s): Ben Laurence, Pozen Center for Human Rights Associate Instructional Professor     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 22210, HMRT 32210

PHIL 21723. The Will: Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas. 100 Units.

Aristotle's approach to ethics is sometimes termed intellectualist, meaning that it has no room for a notion of the will, understood as a principle of human action distinct from intellect or reason. Such a notion, it is said, gained currency only centuries later, at least partly through influences alien to Greek philosophy. St Augustine is often cited as one of the thinkers most responsible for the notion's becoming prevalent. St Thomas Aquinas, however, presents a highly articulated theory of human action that appears to integrate a robust conception of the will, and one heavily indebted to Augustine, into a largely Aristotelian framework. We will read and discuss substantial passages from these three authors bearing on the question of the will, in the hope that seeing them side by side can help to get at what they really mean and what the philosophical merits of their views are. (A) (IV)

Instructor(s): Stephen Brock     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates who are not Philosophy majors must obtain the instructor’s consent.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31723

PHIL 21730. Aristotle's Metaphysics. 100 Units.

Aristotle's Metaphysics is one of the most difficult and rewarding texts in the philosophical tradition. It attempts to lay out the goals, methods, and primary results of a science Aristotle calls "first philosophy." First philosophy is the study of beings just insofar as they are beings (as opposed to physics, which studies beings insofar as they come to be, pass away, or change), and if completed it would stand as the most fundamental and general science. Our aim will be to understand: if and how such a science is possible, what the principles of such a science are, what being is, which beings are primary, and what are the causes of being qua being. We will discuss the Metaphysics as a whole, but focus on A-B, Γ, Z, Η, Θ, and Λ. Our approach will be "forest," rather than "tree" oriented, preferring in most cases a coherent overview to close reading. (B)

Instructor(s): Arnold Brooks     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): A background in ancient Greek philosophy (especially PHIL 25000: History of Philosophy I: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy) is recommended but not required.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31730

PHIL 21830. Moral Philosophy. 100 Units.

In this course we will read, write, talk, and think about good and bad, right and wrong, in human life and conduct. In doing so, we usually will be preoccupied with questions about the relation between morality and reason. Almost everyone agrees that doing what morality asks or requires (and refraining from doing what morality prohibits) usually means losing out on at least some opportunities to do as one likes. There is normally something one would rather do than, say, keep a promise. The most detailed accounts of reason in action, however, suggest that reason is meant to help us fare well. Faring well is often a matter of managing to do well for oneself, often by finding ways of doing as one likes. If morality works against the pursuit of self-interest, and reason helps to further pursuit of self-interest, it looks as though there is a fundamental conflict between reason and morality, between acting well and faring well. (A) (I)

Instructor(s): Candace Vogler     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 31830

PHIL 22000. Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. 100 Units.

We will begin by trying to explicate the manner in which science is a rational response to observational facts. This will involve a discussion of inductivism, Popper's deductivism, Lakatos and Kuhn. After this, we will briefly survey some other important topics in the philosophy of science, including underdetermination, theories of evidence, Bayesianism, the problem of induction, explanation, and laws of nature. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): Kevin Davey     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 25109, HIPS 22000

PHIL 22100. Space and Time. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to some traditional philosophical problems about space and time. The course will begin with a discussion of Zeno's paradoxes. We will then look at the debate between Newton and Leibniz concerning the ontological status of space and time, and will examine reactions to this debate by physicists such as Mach. We will then go on to discuss the question of what sense is to be made of the claim that space is curved, looking at the work of Einstein. Students will be introduced to the basics of the special and general theories of relativity at a qualitative level. If time permits, we will also look at questions about the multiverse, and/or Boltzmann's conception of the arrow of time. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): Kevin Davey     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 22100, CHSS 32100, PHIL 32100

PHIL 22202. Modern Social Contract Theory. 100 Units.

Since the 17th century, the social contract has been a central metaphor to characterize the conditions under which political authority is legitimate. However, the content of the social contract and its imagined mode of coming into being have varied widely. In this course we will try to delineate the conditions that might make the concept of a social contract a plausible way to justify political authority. We will read Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, and Rawls. We will focus on these writers' conceptions of the person, on their views of how such conceptions generate specific institutional arrangements, and on their accounts of the justification of state power. (A)

Instructor(s): Dan Brudney     Terms Offered: Winter

PHIL 22819. Philosophy of Education. 100 Units.

What are the aims of education? Are they what they should be, for purposes of cultivating flourishing citizens of a liberal democracy? What are the biggest challenges-philosophical, political, cultural, and ethical-confronting educators today, in the U.S. and across the globe? How can philosophy help address these? In dealing with such questions, this course will provide an introductory overview of both the philosophy of education and various educational programs in philosophy, critically surveying a few of the leading ways in which philosophers past and present have framed the aims of education and the educational significance of philosophy. From Plato to the present, philosophers have contributed to articulating the aims of education and developing curricula to be used in various educational contexts, for diverse groups and educational levels. This course will draw on both classic and contemporary works, but considerable attention will be devoted to the work and legacy of philosopher/educator John Dewey, a founding figure at the University of Chicago and a crucial resource for educators concerned with cultivating critical thinking, creativity, character, and ethical reflection. The course will also feature field trips, distinguished guest speakers, and opportunities for experiential learning. (A) (B)

Instructor(s): Bart Schultz     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 32819, EDSO 22819, PLSC 22819, CHDV 22819

PHIL 22965. Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. 100 Units.

The topic of this class is feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Questions we will consider include: Is rationality gendered? Are scientific conceptions of objectivity 'masculine'? What could it mean to make such claims and how could they be justified? What should a feminist conception of knowledge look like? In addressing those questions we will explore the numerous ways that gender, gender roles, and gender identity influence the construction of knowledge and the representation of objectivity. We will investigate competing views about knowledge construction-specifically, empiricism, standpoint theory, and postmodernism-by considering, among other things, how they have informed empirical research in the social sciences, biology, and medicine. A few of the authors we will read are: Sandra Harding, Evelyn Fox Keller, Helen Longino, Louise Antony, Sally Haslanger, Donna Haraway, Patricia Hill Collins, Catherine MacKinnon, Maria Lugones, and Oshadi Mangena. (B)

Instructor(s): Molly Brown     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 23171

PHIL 23000. Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology. 100 Units.

In this course we will explore some of the central questions in epistemology and metaphysics. In epistemology, these questions will include: What is knowledge? What facts or states justify a belief? How can the threat of skepticism be adequately answered? How do we know what we (seem to) know about mathematics and morality? In metaphysics, these questions will include: What is time? What is the best account of personal identity across time? Do we have free will? We will also discuss how the construction of a theory of knowledge ought to relate to the construction of a metaphysical theory-roughly speaking, what comes first, epistemology or metaphysics? (B)

Instructor(s): Benjamin Callard     Terms Offered: Winter

PHIL 23001. Paradoxes. 100 Units.

Paradoxes are conflicts in our own thought. Many of the most fundamental, frustrating, disturbing, and exciting concerns in philosophy and the sciences are to be found where paradoxes arise. In this course we will investigate paradoxes in logic, in metaphysics, in ethics, in action theory, in epistemology, and elsewhere. We will also try to understand the nature and sources of paradox-since the very possibility of paradoxes is, itself, a paradox. (B)

Instructor(s): Arnold Brooks; Benjamin Callard     Terms Offered: Spring

PHIL 23028. The Philosophy of Human-Animal Relationships. 100 Units.

Intimate relationships - primarily relations of companionship - between humans and non-human animals are ubiquitous but not often the subject of philosophy. This is a shame, since such relationships are important and interesting, providing rich ground for philosophical reflection. In this course, we will philosophize about such relationships, drawing on memoir and film as well as academic philosophy. How, we will ask, are we to understand such relationships? What is their nature? How are they possible? And what do they demand of us? (A)

Instructor(s): Claudia Hogg-Blake     Terms Offered: Winter

PHIL 23451. Perception and Self-Consciousness. 100 Units.

In the first part of the course, we'll be discussing an argument to the effect that: in order for radical skepticism about empirical knowledge not to be intellectually obligatory, we must understand ourselves as enjoying a very particular kind of self-consciousness. In the remainder of the course, we'll be trying to get into view what an adequate account of that sort of self-consciousness might look like. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): David Finkelstein     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Two prior philosophy courses.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 33451

PHIL 23452. Freedom and Self-Consciousness. 100 Units.

Jonathan Lear writes, "Psychoanalysis…sets freedom rather than some specific image of human happiness as its goal." This course, while not about psychoanalysis as such, is meant to be about a kind of freedom at which psychoanalysis aims-a freedom that is, one could say, internally related to (1) achieving a non-superficial, diachronic understanding of oneself and (2) learning to be true to oneself. What sort of understanding and what sort of truth are at issue here? I take the following to represent an obviously unsatisfactory approach toward answering this question: "What you must do in order to gain the relevant sort of freedom is, first, learn a lot of facts about the desires and values of an already fully realized self that is, at least partially, hidden from your inward gaze and, second, act in accordance with these desires and values." But what might a satisfactory answer look like? In exploring this topic, we'll read work by Jonathan Lear, Harry Frankfurt, Charles Taylor, Richard Moran, Sigmund Freud, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among others. (A) (I)

Instructor(s): David Finkelstein     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): In order to enroll in this course, you will need to have successfully completed two prior philosophy courses.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 33452

PHIL 23502. Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to issues and questions that have defined scholarship in the philosophy of mind as well as to prominent theories in the field. Starting from Descartes and the articulation of a general "mind-body problem," we will go on to investigate particular mental phenomena (such as beliefs, emotions, sensations, and intentions) by considering what philosophers have said about them, drawing primarily from the 20th century and the analytic tradition. We will read works in Dualism, Identity-Theory, Functionalism, and Eliminativism. Besides offering a brief survey of the field, this course equips students with the resources for evaluating whether some particular view provides an adequate account of human mindedness. (B)

Instructor(s): Ermioni Prokopaki     Terms Offered: Autumn

PHIL 23540. Other Minds. 100 Units.

This will be a course on the problem of other minds. We will try to understand what the problem is supposed to be by considering two formulations of it. One formulation is epistemological and has to do with how we can know (1) that there exist others like oneself, and (2) about those particular others. Another formulation is conceptual and concerns the question of where one gets the idea of another subject. Readings will be from philosophy addressing these topics.

Instructor(s): Melina Garibovic     Terms Offered: Spring

PHIL 23728. Are We Forced to Work?: Force, Work, and Human Rights. 100 Units.

Most of us, most of the time, must show up to work every day in order to get the money we need to survive. Although this fact seems commonplace, it raises important questions about human rights and human freedom. Are people under capitalism forced to labor? What about people who perform dangerous jobs out of economic desperation? And, if people are forced to work, is that in any sense a violation of their rights? On the one hand, some argue that egalitarian societies should recognize a right not to work. On the other, some argue that people should have a right to perform work, or at least work that is meaningful and freely chosen. In this class, we will read, write, and think about what contemporary philosophers have to say about each of these questions.

Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 23728

PHIL 24096. Philosophy of Economics. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to philosophical debates about the foundations and methodology of economics as a field of study. Together we'll examine questions such as the following: What exactly is economics and what are its aims? Is the field defined by its subject matter or its methodology? Should positive economics be regarded as a value-neutral enterprise? Or does it inevitably need to make value-laden assumptions-about, for instance, rationality, well-being, distributive justice, etc.-that stand in need of justification? Should there be limits to what can be bought and sold on markets-and, if so, what should those limits be? Readings will include works by philosophers and economists. (A)

Instructor(s): Tyler Zimmer     Terms Offered: Autumn

PHIL 24098. Character and Commerce: Practical Wisdom in Economic Life. 100 Units.

Most of us seek to be reasonably good people leading what we take to be successful and satisfying lives. There is a mountain of evidence suggesting that most of us fail to live up to our own standards. Worse, we often fail to mark our own failures in ways that could help us improve ourselves. The context in which we try to live good lives is shaped by the vicissitudes of the global economy. The global economy is obviously of interest to those of us studying economics or planning on careers in business. Aspiring entrepreneurs or corporate leaders have clear stakes in understanding practical wisdom in the economic sphere. But anyone who relies upon her pay - or someone else's - to cover her living expenses has some interest in economic life. In this course, we will bring work in neo-Aristotelian ethics and neo-classical economics into conversation with empirical work from behavioral economics and behavioral ethics, to read, write, talk, and think about cultivating wisdom in our economic dealings. While our focus will be on business, the kinds of problems we will consider, and the ways of addressing these, occur in ordinary life more generally - at home, in academic settings, and in our efforts to participate in the daily production and reproduction of sound modes of social interaction. (A)

Instructor(s): Candace Vogler     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 12300

PHIL 24751. Advanced Topics in the Philosophy of Human Rights. 100 Units.

In this course we will explore new and cutting edge philosophy of human rights. We will focus on three new books: Allen Buchanon's The Heart of Human Rights, Andrea Sangiovanni Human Rights without Dignity, and Pablo Gilabert's Human Rights and Human Dignity. Using these texts we will explore debates about questions like the following: does human dignity really provide the foundation for human rights? What is the relationship of human rights to equality and egalitarianism? What is the role of international human rights law in setting the agenda for the philosophy of human rights? How contextual are human rights norms? How does the theory of human rights relate to the practice of human rights?

Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations.
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 34751, HMRT 24751, PHIL 34751

PHIL 24804. Foucault. 100 Units.

At the time of Michel Foucault's death in 1984, both his fame and his capacity to inspire controversy were at their height. Foucault's views on power, knowledge, and genealogy were widely influential during his lifetime. Thirty years after Foucault's death, interest in Foucault is once more on the rise. The purpose of this class is to provide a philosophical introduction to Foucault's ideas. Topics to be discussed include madness and social construction, the historical preconditions of knowledge, genealogical critique, reform's perilous potential, and the "technologies of the self". Particular attention will be given throughout to how Foucault engages with Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. We will end by examining Foucault's reception in the work of Judith Butler, as well as contemporary criticisms of Foucault. (A)

Instructor(s): Maya Krishnan     Terms Offered: Autumn

PHIL 25000. History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy. 100 Units.

An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good.

Instructor(s): Arnold Brooks     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Completion of the general education requirement in humanities.
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 22700

PHIL 25120. Introduction to Philosophy of Religion. 100 Units.

This course explores the Western philosophical tradition of reasoned reflection on religious belief. Our questions will include: what are the most important arguments for, and against, belief in God? How does religious belief relate to the deliverances of the sciences, in particular to evolutionary theory? How can we reconcile religious belief with the existence of evil? What is the relationship between religion and morality? In attempting to answer these questions we will read work by Plato, Augustine, Anselm, Nietszche, and Freud, as well as some recent texts. (B)

Instructor(s): Benjamin Callard     Terms Offered: Winter

PHIL 25122. Modern Philosophy of Religion: A Historical Perspective. 100 Units.

The course will start by looking at the intellectual connections of several major figures in 18th and 19th century philosophy of religion. We will examine David Hume's "Essay on Miracles" and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Søren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, John Stuart Mill's "The Utility of Religion," Friedrich Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality, and selections from William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience. In the last third of the course we will examine more recent writers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and Emmanuel Levinas. The goal of the course is to present and to assess different ways in which philosophers have conceived of and argued for or against religious belief. (IV)

Instructor(s): Dan Brudney     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): DVPR 35122, RLST 25122, PHIL 35122

PHIL 25405. Feminist Political Philosophy. 100 Units.

Feminist political philosophy has a two-fold history: both as a persistent critique of canonical political philosophy, as well as generative of new models of justice altogether. This course will be an exploration of the two sides of the history of feminist political philosophy. We will begin with a survey of feminist critiques of the canon, including from liberal feminism, Black feminist philosophy, and Marxist feminist philosophy. We will then move on to the positive accounts that have come out of this tradition, asking whether new models of the state, of the person, and of gender are required in order to construct theories that adequately represent what justice requires in a world with gender-based oppression. We will read philosophers such as Rousseau, Marx, Engels, John Rawls, Susan Okin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine Mackinnon, and Christine Delphy. (A)

Instructor(s): Tyler Zimmer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 25405, GNSE 20108

PHIL 25407. Pregnancy and Motherhood. 100 Units.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood have been relatively neglected as topics for philosophical exploration, and yet they are ripe for philosophical inquiry from multiple angles, including metaphysics, epistemology, normative ethics, medical ethics, and social and political philosophy. Throughout our inquiry we will pay particular attention to the first-hand, embodied experiences of women. For example: What is it like to be pregnant? How can we make metaphysical sense of this experience? And how is it informed by the socio-political landscape? Moreover, what is the moral significance of giving birth, and what are the ethical and political requirements for a good birth? And finally, what does it mean to be a good mother, and how might this conception of motherhood play into women's oppression? These are just a few of the questions we will explore, placing philosophical texts alongside memoir and film.

Instructor(s): Claudia Hogg-Blake     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 25408

PHIL 25500. The Republic of Plato. 100 Units.

In this seminar, we read Plato's Republic closely and in its entirety. We will attend equally to the epistemological and political aspirations of the text and we will examine its engagement with issues in the fields of psychology, aesthetics, metaphysics, and education. While this course will primarily focus on Plato's text, the students will have the opportunity to read works from the secondary literature. (B)

Instructor(s): Ermioni Prokopaki     Terms Offered: Spring

PHIL 25503. Junior Seminar: My Favorite Readings in the History and Philosophy of Science. 100 Units.

This course introduces some of the most important and influential accounts of science to have been produced in modern times. It provides an opportunity to discover how philosophers, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists have grappled with the scientific enterprise, and to assess critically how successful their efforts have been. Authors likely include Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Robert Merton, Steven Shapin, and Bruno Latour.

Instructor(s): A. Johns     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 25503, HIPS 29800

PHIL 25605. Life and A Life. 100 Units.

This course is about the aims of human life. We address the question through two contrasting conceptions of life: 1) life in the sense of an ongoing activity-and its associated values of pleasure, enlightenment, and happiness, and 2) life in the sense of a biographical story-and its associated values of achievement, glory, meaning, and purpose. We will attempt to understand how these two conceptions of life are compatible, and if one or the other is prior. Readings include: Aristotle, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, William James, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch, and Jonathan Lear. (A)

Instructor(s): Arnold Brooks     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 35605, CHSS 35605, HIPS 25605

PHIL 26000. History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. 100 Units.

A survey of the thought of some of the most important figures of the period from the fall of Rome to the Scottish Enlightenment. The course will begin with an examination of the medieval hylomorphism of Aquinas and Ockham and then consider its rejection and transformation in the early modern period. Three distinct early modern approaches to philosophy will be discussed in relation to their medieval antecedents: the method of doubt, the principle of sufficient reason, and empiricism. Figures covered may include Ockham, Aquinas, Descartes, Avicenna, Princess Elizabeth, Émilie du Châtelet, Spinoza, Leibniz, Abelard, Berkeley, Hume, and al-Ghazali.

Instructor(s): Thomas Pendlebury     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Completion of the general education requirement in humanities required; PHIL 25000 recommended.
Equivalent Course(s): HIPS 26000, MDVL 26000

PHIL 26520. Mind, Brain and Meaning. 100 Units.

What is the relationship between physical processes in the brain and body and the processes of thought and consciousness that constitute our mental life? Philosophers and others have puzzled over this question for millennia. Many have concluded it to be intractable. In recent decades, the field of cognitive science--encompassing philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics, and other disciplines--has proposed a new form of answer. The driving idea is that the interaction of the mental and the physical may be understood via a third level of analysis: that of the computational. This course offers a critical introduction to the elements of this approach, and surveys some of the alternative models and theories that fall within it. Readings are drawn from a range of historical and contemporary sources in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): Jason Bridges; Leslie Kay; Chris Kennedy     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LING 26520, PSYC 36520, COGS 20001, PHIL 36520, NSCI 22520, LING 36520, PSYC 26520

PHIL 26710. First Philosophy. 100 Units.

Aristotle said that "first philosophy" is the branch of knowledge that is both most general-having to do with everything-and the most foundational. In this course we will explore various attempts in the history of philosophy to describe and produce such a science, beginning with Plato and Aristotle's attempts to describe being and ending with Wittgenstein's skepticism about such a project. We will try to produce a generalization about what first philosophy is and about its possibility and limitations. (B)

Instructor(s): Arnold Brooks     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 36710

PHIL 27000. History of Philosophy III: Kant and the 19th Century. 100 Units.

The philosophical ideas and methods of Immanuel Kant's "critical" philosophy set off a revolution that reverberated through 19th-century philosophy. We will trace the effects of this revolution and the responses to it, focusing specifically on the influence of Kant's contribution to moral philosophy and its lasting influence on discussions of ethics and political philosophy. We will begin with a consideration of Kant's famous Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, in which he announces his project of grounding all ethical obligation in the very idea of a free will. We will then consider Hegel's radicalization of this project in his Philosophy of Right, which seeks to derive from the idea of freedom, not just formal constraints on right action, but a determinate, positive conception of what Hegel calls "ethical life". We will conclude with an examination of some important challenges to the Kantian/Hegelian project in ethical and political theory: Karl Marx's re-interpretation of the idea of freedom in the economic sphere; Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill's radicalizations of the ideas of political liberty and equality; and the appropriation and critique of the Enlightenment rhetoric of freedom by writers on racial oppression including Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, and Angela Davis.

Instructor(s): Matthew Boyle     Terms Offered: Spring

PHIL 27326. Leo Strauss' Philosophical "Autobiography" 100 Units.

Leo Strauss did not write an autobiography. However, he did mark out his path of thought through autobiographical reflections on the decisive challenges to which his oeuvre responded. The philosophically most demanding confrontation that Strauss presented on the question of how he became what he was is the so-called Autobiographical Preface of 1965, which he included in the American translation of his first book, "Spinoza's Critique of Religion" (originally published in 1930). Two decades earlier, in the lecture The Living Issues of German Postwar Philosophy (1940), he made a first autobiographical attempt to publicly ascertain himself and determine his position. And in 1970 he published the concise retrospective A Giving of Accounts. The seminar will make these writings - which illuminate the significance of Nietzsche and Heidegger for Strauss and address his early engagement with revealed religion and politics, in a constellation ranging from Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig to Karl Barth and Carl Schmitt - the subject of a close reading. Selected letters to Karl Löwith, Gershom Scholem and others will be used as supplementary texts.

Instructor(s): Heinrich Meier     Terms Offered: Spring. Spring 2024
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates Need the Instructor's Permission to Register.
Note(s): Monday/Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. – 1:20 p.m.*, during the first five weeks of the term (March 18 – April 17, 2024). * The time may be changed after the first session to 10:00 a.m. – 1:10 p.m.
Equivalent Course(s): CLAS 37423, PHIL 37326, SCTH 27326, SCTH 37326, CLCV 27423, DVPR 37326, FNDL 27007

PHIL 27500. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. 100 Units.

This will be a careful reading of what is widely regarded as the greatest work of modern philosophy, Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Our principal aims will be to understand the problems Kant seeks to address and the significance of his famous doctrine of "transcendental idealism". Topics will include: the role of mind in the constitution of experience; the nature of space and time; the relation between self-knowledge and knowledge of objects; how causal claims can be justified by experience; whether free will is possible; the relation between appearance and reality; the possibility of metaphysics. (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): Thomas Pendlebury     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 27800, CHSS 37901, PHIL 37500, HIPS 25001

PHIL 27523. Reading Kierkegaard. 100 Units.

This will be a discussion-centered seminar that facilitates close readings some Kierkegaard texts: The Present Age, Fear and Trembling, Sickness Unto Death, and The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air. We shall consider both the issues and arguments as well as Kierkegaard's forms of writing and manners of persuasion. Students will be expected to write comments each week and to read the comments of others. Our reading each week will be determined by the pace of the group.

Instructor(s): Jonathan Lear     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): This seminar is intended for undergraduate majors in Philosophy and Fundamentals and for graduate students in Social Thought and Philosophy. Permission of Instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 37523, FNDL 27523, PHIL 37523, SCTH 27523

PHIL 28010. Introduction to Philosophy of Language. 100 Units.

An introduction to philosophical thought about the nature of language. The questions we will address include: What is meaning? What is truth? How does language relate to thought? How do languages relate to each other? What is metaphor? What is fiction? The focus will be on classic work in the analytic tradition (Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Tarski, Quine, Austin, Grice, Davidson, Donnellan, Putnam, Searle, Kaplan, Kripke) but we will also read, and relate to this modern work, some current work in the philosophical literature and some seminal discussions of language in the writings of Plato and Aristotle. (B)

Instructor(s): Benjamin Callard     Terms Offered: Autumn

PHIL 28101. Appearance and Reality: Perspectives Across Philosophical Traditions. 100 Units.

Is the world really as it appears to be in everyday experience, or is the world of everyday experience really a world of mere appearances, radically unlike the reality that lies behind it? This is arguably the most fundamental philosophical question that one can ask, and it has occupied a central place in perhaps every philosophical tradition that has arisen across the globe. In this class, we will consider how this question arises across two distinct philosophical traditions-Classical and Modern European Philosophy, on the one hand, and Classical Indian philosophy, on the other-seeking to compare and contrast the different philosophical impulses, approaches, and answers to this question across these traditions. Historical readings will be from key figures in the different philosophical cannons, such Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, and Kant in Europe, and Vasubandu, Dharmakīrti, Nāgārjuna, Candrakīrti, and Śaṅkara in India. Historical readings will be supplemented by works by contemporary philosophers. (B)

Instructor(s): Ryan Simonelli     Terms Offered: Spring

PHIL 28202. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. 100 Units.

A study of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and its topics, including knowledge, self-consciousness, desire, culture, morality, religion, art, and the character of phenomenological investigation. (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): Thomas Pendlebury     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 28202, SCTH 38202, PHIL 38202

PHIL 28203. Hegel's Philosophy of Right. 100 Units.

We will study Hegel's Elements of Philosophy of Right. The book is an absolute classic of practical philosophy. Its ambition is nothing less than to provide a systematic treatment of the unity of action theory, ethics and political philosophy. Hegel's theory is considered by many as the highpoint and completion of practical philosophy in the post-Kantian German Idealism. And it is essential for the development Marxism and Critical Theory. It is a crucial treatise to study - not only for those interested of the history of ethics and political theory, but for anyone reflecting on the logic and origins of the kind of society we live in. At the same time, the book is hardy an easy read. For one, the genre of text is quite peculiar: it was written for as a condensed "Leitfaden" for the students listening Hegel's lectures. Moreover, the range of topics discussed under the heading of the Philosophy of Right - as well the order in which they are presented - seems quite from a contemporary perspective. Hegel's guiding thought is that the power of practical reason and freedom can only be understood through its actuality. What stands at center of his treatise is thus the idea of practical reality, encapsulated in his famous slogan that "the rational is actual and the actual is rational." Hegel's point is that the domain of the practical is a stratum of being that is not a reality given to the mind, but one that reason apprehends as its own work in virtue of bringing it into being.

Instructor(s): Matthias Haase     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 28204, PHIL 38203

PHIL 28504. Matter and Form. 100 Units.

This course will investigate the metaphysical concept of "hylomorphism." Hylomorphism is the idea that the unity and intelligibility of something can be understood principally through an analysis into form and matter, or into the actualization of a potentiality. The aim of the course will be to understand what philosophical questions and problems hylomorphism tries to answer, from its origins in Aristotle's physics to Kant's use of the concept in his discussions of cognition and action. (B)

Instructor(s): Arnold Brooks     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 38504

PHIL 29200. Junior Tutorial. 100 Units.

Junior/Senior Tutorial. For topic and other information, please visit

Instructor(s): Autumn 2023 Marguerite Sandholm (Topic: Conceptions of Self) Spring 2024 Michael Morgan (Topic: Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript) John Muller (Topic: The Meaning of Disability)     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open only to intensive-track and philosophy majors.
Note(s): Junior and Senior sections meet together. No more than two Tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

PHIL 29300. Senior Tutorial. 100 Units.

Junior/Senior Tutorial. For topic and other information, please visit

Instructor(s): Autumn 2023 Marguerite Sandholm (Topic: Conceptions of Self) Spring 2024 Michael Morgan (Topic: Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript) John Muller (Topic: The Meaning of Disability)     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open only to intensive-track and philosophy majors.
Note(s): Junior and Senior sections meet together. No more than two Tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

PHIL 29425. Logic for Philosophy. 100 Units.

Key contemporary debates in the philosophical literature often rely on formal tools and techniques that go beyond the material taught in an introductory logic class. A robust understanding of these debates---and, accordingly, the ability to meaningfully engage with a good deal of contemporary philosophy---requires a basic grasp of extensions of standard logic such as modal logic, multi-valued logic, and supervaluations, as well as an appreciation of the key philosophical virtues and vices of these extensions. The goal of this course is to provide students with the required logic literacy. While some basic metalogical results will come into view as the quarter proceeds, the course will primarily focus on the scope (and, perhaps, the limits) of logic as an important tool for philosophical theorizing. (B)

Instructor(s): Malte Willer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Logic (PHIL 20100/30000) or its equivalent.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 39425

PHIL 29601. Intensive Track Seminar. 100 Units.

In this seminar we engage in an in-depth examination of a focused philosophical topic-in a manner akin to that of a graduate seminar. Readings are challenging, but there is no presumption of prior expertise in the course topic.

Instructor(s): Jason Bridges     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the intensive track program.

PHIL 29700. Reading and Research. 100 Units.

Reading and Research.

Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor & Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students are required to submit the college reading and research course form.

PHIL 29901. Senior Seminar I. 100 Units.

Students writing senior essays register once for PHIL 29901, in the Autumn Quarter, and once for PHIL 29902, in the Winter Quarter. The Senior Seminar meets for two quarters, and students writing essays are required to attend throughout.

Instructor(s): Agnes Callard; Tyler Zimmer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Note(s): Required and only open to fourth-year students who have been accepted into the BA essay program.

PHIL 29902. Senior Seminar II. 100 Units.

Students writing senior essays register once for PHIL 29901, in the Autumn Quarter, and once for PHIL 29902, in the Winter Quarter. The Senior Seminar meets for two quarters, and students writing essays are required to attend throughout.

Instructor(s): Agnes Callard; Tyler Zimmer     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Note(s): Required and only open to fourth-year students who have been accepted into the BA essay program.

Philosophy Courses


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Dan Brudney
Stuart Hall, Room 218


Secondary Contact

Lecturer, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies
Tyler Zimmer
Stuart Hall, Room 202-B