2017-18 Catalog

Philosophy

Students may complete a major or minor in Philosophy.

Faculty

Macalester Bell, Associate Professor of Philosophy (on leave semester I)
Robert Dostal, Rufus M. Jones Professor and Chair of Philosophy
Adrienne Prettyman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Collin Rice, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy introduces students to some of the most compelling answers to questions of human existence and knowledge. It also grooms students for a variety of fields that require analysis, conceptual precision, argumentative skill, and clarity of thought and expression. These include administration, the arts, business, computer science, health professions, law, and social services. The major in Philosophy also prepares students for graduate-level study leading to careers in teaching and research in the discipline.

The curriculum focuses on three major areas: the systematic areas of philosophy, such as logic, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics; the history of philosophy through the study of key philosophers and philosophical periods; and the philosophical explication of methods in such domains as art, history, religion, and science.

The department is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium comprising 13 member institutions in the Delaware Valley. It sponsors conferences on various topics in philosophy and an annual undergraduate student philosophy conference.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in Philosophy must take a minimum of 11 semester courses in the discipline and attend the monthly noncredit departmental colloquia which feature leading visiting scholars. The following five courses are required for the major: the two-semester Historical Introduction (PHIL 101 and 102); Ethics (PHIL 221); Theory of Knowledge (PHIL 211), Metaphysics (PHIL 212), or Logic (PHIL 103); and Senior Conference (PHIL 398 and PHIL 399). At least three other courses at the 300 level are required, one of which must concentrate on the work of a single philosopher or a period of philosophy.
All majors will be required to complete two writing attentive courses prior to the start of their senior year.

Philosophy majors are encouraged to supplement their philosophical interests by taking advantage of courses offered in related areas, such as anthropology, history, history of art, languages, literature, mathematics, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Honors

Honors will be awarded by the department based on the senior thesis and other work completed in the department. The Milton C. Nahm Prize in Philosophy is a cash award presented to the graduating senior major whose senior thesis the department judges to be of outstanding caliber. This prize need not be granted every year.

Minor Requirements

Students may minor in Philosophy by taking six courses in the discipline at any level. They must also attend the monthly noncredit department colloquia.

Cross-Registration

Students may take advantage of cross-registration arrangements with Haverford College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Courses at these institutions may satisfy Bryn Mawr requirements, but students should check with the major advisor to make sure specific courses meet requirements.

Prerequisites

No introductory-level course carries a prerequisite. However, most courses at both the intermediate and advanced levels carry prerequisites. Unless stated otherwise in the course description, any introductory course satisfies the prerequisite for an intermediate-level course, and any intermediate course satisfies the prerequisite for an advanced-level course.

COURSES

PHIL B101 Happiness and Reality in Ancient Thought
What makes us happy? The wisdom of the ancient world has importantly shaped the tradition of Western thought but in some important respects it has been rejected or forgotten. What is the nature of reality? Can we have knowledge about the world and ourselves, and, if so, how? In this course we explore answers to these sorts of metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and political questions by examining the works of the two central Greek philosophers: Plato and Aristotle. We will consider earlier Greek religious and dramatic writings, a few Presocratic philosophers, and the person of Socrates who never wrote a word.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Bell,M.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B102 Science and Morality in Modernity
In this course, we explore answers to fundamental questions about the nature of the world and our place in it by examining the works of some of the central figures in modern western philosophy. Can we obtain knowledge of the world and, if so, how? Does God exist? What is the nature of the self? How do we determine morally right answers? What sorts of policies and political structures can best promote justice and equality? These questions were addressed in “modern” Europe in the context of the development of modern science and the religious wars. In a time of globalization we are all, more or less, heirs of the Enlightenment which sees its legacy to be modern science and the mastery of nature together with democracy and human rights. This course explores the above questions and considers them in their historical context. Some of the philosophers considered include Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and Wollstonecraft.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Rice,C.
(Fall 2017, Spring 2018)

PHIL B103 Introduction to Logic
Logic is the study of formal reasoning, which concerns the nature of valid arguments and inferential fallacies. In everyday life our arguments tend to be informal and sometimes imprecise. The study of logic concerns the structure and nature of arguments, and so helps to analyze them more precisely. Topics will include: valid and invalid arguments, determining the logical structure of ordinary sentences, reasoning with truth-functional connectives, and inferences involving quantifiers and predicates. This course does not presuppose any background knowledge in logic.
Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Prettyman,A.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B205 Medical Ethics
The field of medicine provides a rich terrain for the study and application of philosophical ethics. This course will introduce students to fundamental ethical theories and present ways in which these theories connect to particular medical issues. We will also discuss what are often considered the four fundamental principles of medical ethics (autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice) in connection to specific topics related to medical practice (such as reproductive rights, euthanasia, and allocation of health resources).
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Health Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B206 Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
Scientific ideas and inferences have a huge impact on our daily lives and the lives of practicing scientists. But what is science, how does it work, and what does it able us to know? In this introductory course, we will be considering some traditional philosophical questions applied to the foundations and practice of natural science. These questions may include the history of philosophical approaches in science, the nature of scientific knowledge, changes in scientific knowledge over time, how science provides explanations of what we observe, the justification of false assumptions in science, the nature of scientific theories, and some questions about the ethics and values involved in scientific practice.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B211 Theory of Knowledge
Varieties of realism and relativism address questions about what sorts of things exist and the constraints on our knowledge of them. The aim of this course is to develop a sense of how these theories interrelate, and to instill philosophical skills in the critical evaluation of them. Discussions will be based on contemporary readings.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Rice,C.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B212 Metaphysics
Metaphysics is inquiry into basic features of the world and ourselves. This course considers two topics of metaphysics, free will and personal identity, and their relationship. What is free will and are we free? Is freedom compatible with determinism? Does moral responsibility require free will? What makes someone the same person over time? Can a person survive without their body? Is the recognition of others required to be a person?
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B221 Ethics
An introduction to ethics by way of an examination of moral theories and a discussion of important ancient, modern, and contemporary texts which established theories such as virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, relativism, emotivism, care ethics. This course considers questions concerning freedom, responsibility, and obligation. How should we live our lives and interact with others? How should we think about ethics in a global context? Is ethics independent of culture? A variety of practical issues such as reproductive rights, euthanasia, animal rights and the environment will be considered.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Attentive
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; International Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Bell,M.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B225 Global Ethical Issues
The need for a critical analysis of what justice is and requires has become urgent in a context of increasing globalization, the emergence of new forms of conflict and war, high rates of poverty within and across borders and the prospect of environmental devastation. This course examines prevailing theories and issues of justice as well as approaches and challenges by non-western, post-colonial, feminist, race, class, and disability theorists.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; International Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Bell,M.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B238 Science, Technology and the Good Life
“Science, Technology, and the Good Life” considers the relation of science and technology to each other and to everyday life, particularly with respect to questions of ethics and politics. In this course, we try to get clear about how we understand these domains and their interrelationships in our contemporary world. We try to clarify the issues relevant to these questions by looking at the contemporary debates about the role of automation and digital media and the problem of climate change. These debates raise many questions including: the appropriate model of scientific inquiry (is there a single model for science?, how is science both experimental and deductive?, is science merely trial and error?, is science objective?, is science value-free?), the ideological standing of science (has science become a kind of ideology?), the autonomy of technology (have the rapidly developing technologies escaped our power to direct them?), the politics of science (is science somehow essentially democratic?, and are “scientific” cultures more likely to foster democracy?, or is a scientific culture essentially elitist and autocratic?), the relation of science to the formation of public policy (experts rule?, are we in or moving toward a technocracy?), the role of technology and science in the process of modernization, Westernization, and globalization (what role has science played in industrialization and what role does it now play in a post-industrial world?). To find an appropriate way to consider these questions, we look at the pairing of science with democracy in the Enlightenment project and study contemporary work in the philosophy of science, political science, and ethics.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Dostal,R.
(Fall 2017)

PHIL B240 Environmental Ethics
This course surveys rights- and justice-based justifications for ethical positions on the environment. It examines approaches such as stewardship, intrinsic value, land ethic, deep ecology, ecofeminism, Asian and aboriginal. It explores issues such as obligations to future generations, to nonhumans and to the biosphere.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Dostal,R.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B244 Philosophy and Cognitive Science
Cognitive science is a multidisciplinary approach to the study of human cognition, spanning philosophy, linguistics, psychology, computer science, and neuroscience. A central claim of cognitive science is that the mind is like a computer. We will critically examine this claim by exploring issues surrounding mental representation and computation. We’ll address such questions as: does the mind represent the world? Could our minds extend into the world beyond the brain and body? Is there a language of thought?
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Neuroscience
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B247 Science, Mind, and Culture
Both human minds and our culture are extremely complex and intimately intertwined. As a result, several sciences—including biology, psychology, and archeology—are required to give a full understanding of who we are and how we got to be this way. This interdisciplinary project raises several philosophical questions about how to study the human mind and its relationship to biology and culture. In this course we will first look at philosophical questions that arise for each of these sciences independently. These include issues regarding the role of adaptation in biology and psychology, the nature of mental concepts, the relationship between thought and language, and the use of artifacts and computational models as evidence. In the second part of the course, we will focus on the challenges and benefits of integrating these disciplines to inform our views about human nature, cultural change, and how our minds interact with the world.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Rice,C.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B252 Feminist Theory
Beliefs that gender discrimination has been eliminated and women have achieved equality have become commonplace. We challenge these assumptions examining the concepts of patriarchy, sexism, and oppression. Exploring concepts central to feminist theory, we attend to the history of feminist theory and contemporary accounts of women’s place and status in different societies, varied experiences, and the impact of the phenomenon of globalization. We then explore the relevance of gender to philosophical questions about identity and agency with respect to moral, social and political theory. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or permission of instructor.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B271 Minds and Machines
What is the relationship between the mind and the body? What is consciousness? Is your mind like a computer, or do some aspects of the mind resist this analogy? Is it possible to build an artificial mind? In this course, we’ll explore these questions and more, drawing on perspectives from philosophy, psychology and cognitive neuroscience. We will consider the viability of different ways of understanding the relationship between mind and body as a framework for studying the mind, as well as the distinctive issues that arise in connection with the phenomenon of consciousness. No prior knowledge or experience with any of the subfields is assumed or necessary.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Prettyman,A.
(Fall 2017)

PHIL B305 Topics in Value Theory
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Attentive
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B310 Philosophy of Science
This course investigates philosophical problems arising from reflection about the practice of science and the inferences used in scientific reasoning. Typical topics include the nature of scientific laws and theories, the character of explanation and prediction, the role of idealization in science, the goals of scientific inquiry, the existence of “non-observable” theoretical entities such as electrons and genes, the problem of justifying induction, scientific realism vs. constructivism, the role of values and ethics in science, the evolution of scientific knowledge over time, the social structures of science, and some puzzles associated with probability. We will also look at more specific philosophical issues within particular scientific disciplines (e.g. philosophy of physics, biology, or social science) as they arise throughout the course.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Rice,C.
(Fall 2017)

PHIL B317 Philosophy of Creativity
Here are some questions we will discuss in this course. What are the criteria of creativity? Is explaining creativity possible? If it is, what model(s) of explanation is appropriate for doing so? Should we understand creativity in terms of persons, processes or products? What is the relation between creativity and skill? What is the relation between the context of creativity and the context of criticism? What is the relation between tradition and creativity? What is creative imagination? Is there a significant relationship between creativity and self-transformation? This course encourages active discussions arising from students’ non-graded entries into their journals that will address the application of their readings to their own related creative activities.
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B319 Philosophy of Mind
The conscious mind remains a philosophical and scientific mystery. In this course, we will explore the nature of consciousness and its place in the physical world. Some questions we will consider include: How is consciousness related to the brain and the body? Are minds a kind of computer? Is the conscious mind something non-physical or immaterial? Is it possible to have a science of consciousness, or will consciousness inevitably resist scientific explanation? We will explore these questions from a philosophical perspective that draws on relevant literature from cognitive neuroscience.
Counts towards: Neuroscience
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B323 Culture and Interpretation
This course will discuss these questions. What are the aims of interpretation? Must we assume that, for cultural objects—like artworks, music, or literature—there must be a single right interpretation? If not, what is to prevent one from sliding into an interpretive anarchism? What is the role of a creator’s intentions in fixing upon admissible interpretations? Does interpretation affect the identity of the object of interpretation? If an object of interpretation exists independently of interpretive practice, must it answer to only one right interpretation? In turn, if an object of interpretation is constituted by interpretive practice, must it answer to more than one right interpretation? This course encourages active discussions of these questions.
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Counts towards: International Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B330 Kant
The significance of Kant’s transcendental philosophy for thought in the 19th and 20th centuries cannot be overstated. His work is profoundly important for both the analytical and the so-called “continental” schools of thought. This course will provide a close study of Kant’s breakthrough work: The Critique of Pure Reason. We will read and discuss the text with reference to its historical context and with respect to its impact on developments in epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion as well as developments in German Idealism, 20th-century phenomenology., and contemporary analytic philosophy. Prerequisite: PHIL 102 or at least one 200 level Philosophy course.
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B338 Phenomenology: Heidegger and Husserl
This upper-level seminar will consider the two main proponents of phenomenology—a movement in philosophy in the 20th century that attempted to restart philosophy in a radical way. Its concerns are philosophically comprehensive: ontology, epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics, and so on. Phenomenology provides the important background for other later developments in 20th-century philosophy and beyond: existentialism, deconstruction, post-modernism. This seminar will focus primarily on Edmund Husserl’s Crisis of the European Sciences and Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time. Other writings to be considered include some of Heidegger’s later work and Merleau-Ponty’s preface to his Phenomenology of Perception.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Dostal,R.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B344 Development Ethics
This course explores the meaning of and moral issues raised by development. In what direction and by what means should a society “develop”? What role, if any, does the globalization of markets and capitalism play in processes of development and in systems of discrimination on the basis of factors such as race and gender? Answers to these sorts of questions will be explored through an examination of some of the most prominent theorists and recent literature. Prerequisites: a philosophy, political theory or economics course or permission of the instructor.
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies; International Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B398 Senior Seminar
Senior majors are required to write an undergraduate thesis on an approved topic. The senior seminar is a two-semester course in which research and writing are directed. Seniors will meet collectively and individually with the supervising instructor.
Prerequisite: BM undergraduate Philosophy major.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Prettyman,A.
(Fall 2017)

PHIL B399 Senior Seminar
The senior seminar is a required course for majors in Philosophy. It is the course in which the research and writing of an undergraduate thesis is directed both in and outside of the class time. Students will meet sometimes with the class as a whole and sometimes with the professor separately to present and discuss drafts of their theses.
Prerequisite: BM undergraduate Philosophy major.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Prettyman,A.
(Spring 2018)

PHIL B403 Supervised Work
Units: 1.0
(Fall 2017)

CMSC B372 Artificial Intelligence
Survey of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the study of how to program computers to behave in ways normally attributed to “intelligence” when observed in humans. Topics include heuristic versus algorithmic programming; cognitive simulation versus machine intelligence; problem-solving; inference; natural language understanding; scene analysis; learning; decision-making. Topics are illustrated by programs from literature, programming projects in appropriate languages and building small robots. Prerequisites: CMSC B206 or H106 and CMSC B231.
Counts towards: Neuroscience
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Kumar,D.
(Fall 2017)

COML B293 The Play of Interpretation
Designated theory course. A study of the methodologies and regimes of interpretation in the arts, humanistic sciences, and media and cultural studies, this course focuses on common problems of text, authorship, reader/spectator, and translation in their historical and formal contexts. Literary, oral, and visual texts from different cultural traditions and histories will be studied through interpretive approaches informed by modern critical theories. Readings in literature, philosophy, popular culture, and film will illustrate how theory enhances our understanding of the complexities of history, memory, identity, and the trials of modernity.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Counts towards: International Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

FREN B213 Theory in Practice:Critical Discourses in the Humanities
By bringing together the study of major theoretical currents of the 20th century and the practice of analyzing literary works in the light of theory, this course aims at providing students with skills to use literary theory in their own scholarship. The selection of theoretical readings reflects the history of theory (psychoanalysis, structuralism, narratology), as well as the currents most relevant to the contemporary academic field: Post-structuralism, Post-colonialism, Gender Studies, and Ecocriticism. They are paired with a diverse range of short stories (Poe, Kafka, Camus, Borges, Calvino, Morrison, Djebar, Ngozi Adichie) that we discuss along with our study of theoretical texts. The class will be conducted in English with an additional hour in French for students wishing to take it for French credit.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Sanquer,M.
(Fall 2017)

FREN B356 Rousseau polémiste
This course will explore Rousseau’s work not as a closed system, but as a polemical reaction to major trends of the French Enlightenment. Although he was denying any taste for polemics, Rousseau fought intellectual battles most of his life. The author of the ultimate best-seller of the 18th century, he harshly criticized novels. He also opposed theatre, established a new form of pedagogy, and undermined the foundations of the Western political theory by stating that men are not political animals. We will thus consider Rousseau not only as a philosopher, but also as one of the most brilliant polemicists of his time.
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

GERM B212 Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and the Rhetoric of Modernity
This course examines selected writings by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud as pre-texts for a critique of cultural reason and underlines their contribution to questions of language, representation, history, ethics, and art. These three visionaries of modernity have translated the abstract metaphysics of “the history of the subject” into a concrete analysis of human experience. Their work has been a major influence on the Frankfurt School of critical theory and has also led to a revolutionary shift in the understanding and writing of history and literature now associated with the work of modern French philosophers Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, and Jacques Lacan. Our readings will, therefore, also include short selections from these philosophers in order to analyze the contested history of modernity and its intellectual and moral consequences. Special attention will be paid to the relation between rhetoric and philosophy and the narrative forms of “the philosophical discourse(s) of modernity” (e.g., sermon and myth in Marx; aphorism and oratory in Nietzsche, myth, fairy tale, case hi/story in Freud). Course is taught in English. One additional hour will be added for those students wanting German credit. Cross-listed with Philosophy 204.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Attentive
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

ITAL B213 Theory in Practice:Critical Discourses in the Humanities
An examination in English of leading theories of interpretation from Classical Tradition to Modern and Post-Modern Time. This is a topics course. Course content varies.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

PHIL B425 Praxis III: Independent Study
Praxis III courses are Independent Study courses and are developed by individual students, in collaboration with faculty and field supervisors. A Praxis courses is distinguished by genuine collaboration with fieldsite organizations and by a dynamic process of reflection that incorporates lessons learned in the field into the classroom setting and applies theoretical understanding gained through classroom study to work done in the broader community.
Counts towards: Praxis Program
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

POLS B224 Comparative Political Phil: China, Greece, and the “West”
An introduction to the dialogic construction of comparative political philosophy, using texts from several cultures or worlds of thought: ancient and modern China, ancient Greece, and the modern West. The course will have three parts. First, a consideration of the synchronous emergence of philosophy in ancient (Axial Age) China and Greece; second, the 19th century invention of the modern “West” and Chinese responses to this development; and third, the current discussions and debates about globalization, democracy, and human rights now going on in China and the West. Prerequisite: At least one course in either Philosophy, Political Theory, or East Asian Studies, or consent of the instructor.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

POLS B228 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ancient and Early Modern
An introduction to the fundamental problems of political philosophy, especially the relationship between political life and the human good or goods. Readings from Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Polybius, Cicero, Epictetus, Machiavelli, and others.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Schlosser,J.
(Spring 2018)

POLS B231 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Modern
A continuation of POLS 228, although 228 is not a prerequisite. Particular attention is given to the various ways in which the concept of freedom is used in explaining political life. Readings from Hobbes, Locke, Adam Smith, Marx, Emma Goldman, Frantz Fanon, and others.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

POLS B245 Philosophy of Law
Introduces students to a variety of questions in the philosophy of law. Readings will be concerned with the nature of law, the character of law as a system, the ethical character of law, and the relationship of law to politics, power, authority, and society. Readings will include philosophical arguments about law, as well as judicial cases through which we examine these ideas within specific contexts, especially tort and contracts. Most or all of the specific issues discussed will be taken from Anglo-American law, although the general issues considered are not limited to those legal systems.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Elkins,J.
(Fall 2017)

POLS B290 Power and Resistance
What more is there to politics than power? What is the force of the “political” for specifying power as a practice or institutional form? What distinguishes power from authority, violence, coercion, and domination? How is power embedded in and generated by cultural practices, institutional arrangements, and processes of normalization? This course seeks to address questions of power and politics in the context of domination, oppression, and the arts of resistance. Our general topics will include authority, the moralization of politics, the dimensions of power, the politics of violence (and the violence of politics), language, sovereignty, emancipation, revolution, domination, normalization, governmentality, genealogy, and democratic power. Writing projects will seek to integrate analytical and reflective analyses as we pursue these questions in common. Writing Intensive.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Intensive
Counts towards: Gender and Sexuality Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Schlosser,J.
(Spring 2018)

POLS B320 Topics in Greek Political Philosophy
This is a topics course, course content varies. Past topics include: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics and Thucydides,Plato, Aristotle. Prerequisites: At least two semesters of philosophy or political theory, including some work with Greek texts, or consent of the instructor.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Salkever,S.
(Spring 2018)

POLS B327 Political Philosophy in the 20th Century
A study of 20th- and 21st-century extensions of three traditions in Western political philosophy: the adherents of the German and English ideas of freedom and the founders of classical naturalism. Authors read include Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, and John Rawls. Topics include the relationship of individual rationality and political authority, the “crisis of modernity,” and the debate concerning contemporary democratic citizenship. Prerequisites: POLS 228 and 231, or PHIL 101 and 201.
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Attentive
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

POLS B350 Politics and Equality
What is the relationship between democracy and equality? Is equality a presupposition or precondition for democracy? Is the problem of equality separable from equality? Are there any respects in which democracy presupposes or relies on inequality? For all of these, an important sub-question to that of the relationship of democracy and equality will be: equality of what? We will examine these various questions at both an abstract level (reading essays of political theory, moral philosophy and such) and in the context of particular problems of politics, law, and/or policy. While the instructor will be largely responsible for assigning readings of the first sort, students will share the responsibility for finding readings of the second. They will do this as part of their own semester-long research projects. This course is open to all students who have the prerequisites. It also serves as a thesis prep course for political science senior majors. Suggested Preparation: At least one course in political theory OR Political Science Senior OR consent of instructor.
Major Writing Requirement: Writing Attentive
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2017-2018)

POLS B371 Topics in Political Philosophy
An advanced seminar on a topic in political or legal philosophy/theory. Topics vary by year. This course fulfills the 300-level thesis prep course to be taken in the fall semester of the senior year by political science majors. It is also open to non-seniors and other majors. Prerequisite: At least one course in political theory or philosophy or consent of instructor. Current topic description: Topics in Pol Theory on “Justice” with thesis component
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Schlosser,J.
(Fall 2017)

POLS B381 Nietzsche
This course examines Nietzsche’s thought, with particular focus on such questions as the nature of the self, truth , irony, aggression, play, joy, love, and morality. The texts for the course are drawn mostly from Nietzsche’s own writing, but these are complemented by some contemporary work in moral philosophy and philosophy of mind that has a Nietzschean influence. Prerequisite: One course in Political Theory or Philosophy or prior consent of instructor.
Approach: Critical Interpretation (CI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Elkins,J.
(Fall 2017)