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Philosophy

Philosophy Website

Professors J. LEE, RIKER; Associate Professors FURTAK (chair), HERNANDEZ-LEMUS, HOURDEQUIN; Assistant Professor DALY; Adjunct Associate Professor McENNERNEY

The Department of Philosophy at Colorado College embraces diversity in philosophical inquiry, emphasizing historical, contemporary, comparative, and critical approaches in an effort to make available to students the breadth and richness of philosophical thinking.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in philosophy must satisfactorily complete 13 units in philosophy:

  1. Five units are in the history of philosophy: Greek Philosophy (PH101), History of Modern Philosophy (PH201) (2 units), 20th Century Analytic Philosophy (PH301), and 20th Century Continental Philosophy (PH302).
  2. One unit of Ethics (PH140).
  3. Four other units are meant to demonstrate breadth in the discipline of philosophy; this part of the major involves taking one course in each of the following four areas (topical courses in these areas are so indicated in the catalog descriptions): Knowledge and Reality, Value Theory, Philosophical Psychology, and Comparative Philosophy. (See the list below.) At least one of these area courses must be at the 300 level.
  4. The three remaining units provide both depth and a capstone experience in the major: Junior Seminar (PH452), Senior Essay (PH475), and Senior Seminar (PH476).

Independent reading courses cannot substitute for any of the above requirements without written permission from the department. We urge students to take Greek Philosophy (PH101) and History of Modern Philosophy (PH201) prior to the end of their sophomore year.

KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY:

PH122, PH226, PH227, PH228, PH229, PH321

VALUE THEORY:

PH141, PH244, PH245, PH246, PH247, PH249, PH340, PH341, PH342

PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY:

PH260, PH261, PH262, PH360, PH361

COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY:

PH243, PH280, PH281, PH282, PH283, PH284, PH285.

Minor Requirements

Students minoring in philosophy must satisfactorily complete six units in philosophy, including PH201 (two units) as well as at least two units of advanced work at the 300 or 400 level.

Courses

Philosophy

PH101 Greek Philosophy

An examination of the origins of Western philosophy as it arose in ancient Greece. The course begins with the Pre-Socratic philosophers, centers on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and closes with the important Hellenistic traditions of Stoicism, Skepticism, Epicureanism, Cynicism, and Neoplatonism.

Also listed as Classics 210.

1 unit — Daly, Furtak

PH113 Brothers Karamazov

(Not offered 2014-15).

.5 unit

PH116 Greek History and Philosophy: Origins of Western Culture

Aegean and Greek archaeological, historical, literary and philosophical texts, with emphasis on ideas formative of Western culture. The development and transformations of these ideas as reflected in selected texts from the early Christian era, the Enlightenment, and the Modern Age. We concentrate on concepts of what it means to be human, and the relation of individuals to community, nature, and the divine in such authors as Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Dante, Descartes, Goethe, Nietzsche, and Heidegger (Also listed as History 116 and Philosophy 116.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement. (Not offered 2014-15).

2 units

PH122 Philosophical Argument and Writing (with Emp on Writing)

Beginning with an introduction to critical thinking and conceptual argument, this course will cover basic principles of logic as they pertain to philosophical writing. The latter half of the course will be devoted to an intensive workshop on the grammatical and stylistic techniques that make for clarity and coherence in spoken and written argument. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH140 Ethics

An exploration of the questions of what constitutes a good human life, what it means to be a moral human being, and whether reasoning about ethical and moral values can be objective. Texts may include works by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Nietzsche, among others.

1 unit — Hourdequin, Riker

PH141 Philosophy & Literature

Through a study of the literary style of certain philosophical texts and the philosophical significance of selected literary works of art, this course will study the comparative ability of different modes of writing to address traditional philosophical questions and to illuminate particular features of human experience. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH201 History of Modern Philosophy

A study of the evolution of philosophical 'modernity' and of the 'modern' concept of the subject or self. While the course focuses on major ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical developments from the beginning of the 17th century to the end of the 19th century, it begins by situating these issues in the history of medieval philosophy. Philosophers covered may include Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Mill, and Nietzsche, among others. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

2 units — Furtak, Hernandez-Lemus, Lee, Riker

PH203 Topics in Philosophy:

Experimental and occasional courses taught by either visiting professors or permanent staff. Courses offered under this rubric will vary from year to year.

Also listed as Classics 222 and Comparative Literature 200 and Comparative Literature 220 and Dance Theory 200 and English 280 and Film and New Media Studies 202 and German 336 and Religion 200 and Theatre 200.

1 unit — Daly, Davis, Dobson, Krzych

PH204 American Philosophy

An exploration of the philosophical thought of American philosophers, focusing on those associated with transcendentalism and pragmatism, with an emphasis on their conceptions of nature, the construction of truth, and their theories of individualism. Thinkers to be read can include Emerson, Thoreau, Pierce, James, Dewey, Whitehead, Mead, Santayana, Rorty, and Cavell.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor or Philosophy 100 or 200.

Also listed as Environmental Science 261.

1 unit — Riker

PH208 Philosophical Topics:

A thematically or historically organized course dealing with a single topic or set of related topics in philosophy, to be taught either during half-block or as a one-semester extended format course. Topics will vary from year to year. (Not offered 2014-15).

.5 unit

PH226 Formal Logic

An introduction to the formal language of first-order logic, including the rules of syntax and semantics for sentential and predicate calculus, with a special emphasis on modes of quantification. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

1 unit — Daly

PH227 Epistemology

In this course we will engage in a critical examination of problems concerning knowledge and belief: how beliefs are acquired and justified, the possible limits to knowledge, and the interplay between reason and experience. Readings will be from historical and contemporary sources.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in philosophy or sophomore standing.

1 unit — Kim

PH228 Philosophy of Science

This course investigates basic concepts, assumptions, structures, and methods of science, and confronts philosophical ideas about the significance, justification, and production of science. In this course we will examine some historical and contemporary case studies of scientific controversy to illustrate competing views about the nature of science. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH229 Philosophy of Language

A study of the nature, origins, and significance of language. Discussion of various theories from such thinkers as Cassirer, Piaget, Quine, Wittgenstein, Whorf, Heidegger, Austin, Chomsky and Merleau-Ponty. regarding language's relation to thought, reality, culture, formal systems and non-verbal systems of communication. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH243 Philosophy and Politics of Identity

Considers the meanings, problems, and possibilities of contemporary identity politics. Explores different approaches toward identity and politics, including liberal, existential, and traditionalist understandings. Traces the emergence of a new kind of identity politics out of racial, feminist, and queer movements of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Assesses contemporary discussions of identity and politics, in relation to both the history of Western thought and contemporary multicultural societies. Authors discussed may include Locke, Sartre, MacIntyre, Fanon, Young, Taylor, Butler, Elshtein, Appiah, and Nicholson. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH244 History of Social and Political Philosophy: Classical Visions

Explores major works of classical idealist philosophy, considered in contexts of Greek, Roman, Biblical, and medieval political orders. Addresses the tensions between philosophical visions of the good and democratic or republican politics. Texts discussed may include works by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, or Pizan, as well as Biblical sources. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH245 History of Social and Political Philosophy: Modern Debates

Investigates leading modern and contemporary political philosophers, considering contrasts and continuities between classical idealism and modern pragmatism as well as the evolution of modern states and societies. Addresses the questions of whether the contemporary era is best understood as one of moral and intellectual decline, as some insist, or as one of democratic promise as others argue. Philosophers discussed may include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Marx, J.S. Mill, Nietzsche, Bloom, Arendt, and Rorty.

1 unit — McEnnerney

PH246 Environmental Ethics

An analysis of human attitudes toward the rest of the natural world and of the ways in which our beliefs and values influence our relation to the environment. The course will focus on the challenge of finding conceptual resources adequate to the creation of a sustainable way of life and on the difficulty of transforming habits of mind which contribute to the current ecological crisis.

Also listed as Environmental Science 281.

1 unit — Hourdequin

PH247 Aesthetics

This course deals with the creation and appreciation of works of the imagination, including such questions as: what is art?, how are we to evaluate works of art?, and how does art enrich our lives?

Also listed as Film and New Media Studies 208.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus

PH249 Philosophy of Education

(Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH260 Existential Philosophy

A study of several thinkers in the existential tradition, which has its origin in the 19th century writings of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and includes such 20th century authors as Heidegger and Camus, among others. Issues to be covered include freedom, authenticity, meaning, the absurd, the predicament of the contingent individual, and the aims of philosophy itself. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH261 Philosophy of Mind

An examination of different ways of understanding the mind, beginning with classic arguments for dualism and materialism and moving on to contemporary views which seek to avoid either separating mind and body or reducing one to the other. Consideration of various functions of the embodied mind and of the difference between mental and physical concepts. 1 unit - Furtak (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH262 Discovering the Unconscious

Major psychoanalytic perspectives of the late 19th and 20th centuries on the concept of the unconscious in theory, case studies, and fiction. Emphasis on unconscious processes as they relate to the formation of identity. Readings from such authors as Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Kohut, and Yalom.

Also listed as Comparative Literature 200 and Psychology 120.

1 unit — Dobson

PH280 Philosophy East and West

This course explores central issues in philosophy from a cross-cultural, comparative perspective, focusing on Asia and the West. Drawing on classical and contemporary texts, the course covers topics such as ethics, metaphysics, and conceptions of the self from a comparative point of view. The challenge of comparing concepts and traditions across cultures is discussed. Course readings may include classical Confucian, Daoist, or Buddhist writings, as well as historical and contemporary selections in Western philosophy. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement.

1 unit — Hourdequin

PH281 Indian Philosophy

The development of Indian philosophy from its roots in the Vedic tradition of Hinduism. The focus of the course will be both on the ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical systems that grew out of the Hindu tradition and on the challenges to this tradition posed by Buddhism and by 20th century developments. (Meets the Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) (Also listed as Asian Studies 220) 1 unit - Lee Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH282 Africana Philosophy

An exploration of themes in African, Caribbean, and North American thought, this course looks closely at ways in which philosophers of the African diaspora have responded to colonialism, the process of decolonization, and the postcolonial situation. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH283 Latin-American Philosophy

A survey of philosophical writings by Latin-American authors in the social and historical context of the region. Texts studied include Indigenous philosophies of the pre-Hispanic tradition, as well as those of the colonial and postcolonial periods. Particular attention will be devoted to issues that are central to this philosophical tradition, such as identity, consciousness through education, and philosophies of liberation. Our readings draw from Aztec or Maya sources, as well as from Leon-Portilla, Vasconcelos, Paz, Freire, Gutierrez, Dussel. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement.

Also listed as Race and Ethnic Studies 200.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus

PH284 Feminist Philosophies

An exploration of the many 'feminisms' which pattern the rich and expanding field of feminist theory. Focus will be on feminism's intersection with many of the important theoretical movements of the 20th century, e.g., American Pragmatism, French philosophies, Marxism, Postmodernism, with special emphasis on Postcolonialism, psychoanalysis, Black, Lesbian, and Gay Studies, etc. Possible theorists are: Butler, Kristeva, Irigaray, Lorde, Hooks, Wittig, de Lauretis, Belsey, Minh-ha. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH285 Philosophy & Race

Race is a social construct that invites a number of philosophical questions, such as those of identity, inter-subjectivity, justice, rationality, and culturally different ways of knowing. The course will examine, among others, philosophical reflections on race by the following thinkers: Douglass, West, Fanon, Vasconcelos, Appiah, Bernsaconi, Outlaw, Levinas, Mendieta. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement.

Also listed as Race and Ethnic Studies 285.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus

PH301 20th Century Analytic Philosophy

History of 20th Century Analytic Philosophy. A study of the Anglo-American tradition that involves careful attention to logic, language, and analysis of concepts. Philosophers covered include Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Carnap, Austin, Quine, and Davidson.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 201.

1 unit — Daly

PH302 History of 20th Century Continental Philosophy

A study of the existential, phenomenological, and postmodern traditions that arise in the 20th century in Germany and France. Philosophers covered may include, among others, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Lyotard, Deleuze, and Derrida.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 201.

1 unit — Lee

PH303 Advanced Topics in Philosophy:

In depth study of an important period, idea, text or philosopher. Courses offered under this rubric will vary from year to year.

Also listed as Environmental Science 261.

1 unit — Hourdequin

PH314 Text Seminar:

A study of one or more major texts by a single important philosopher. Possible texts for study might include, among others: Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Metaphysics; Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy and The Passions of the Soul; Spinoza, Ethics; Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature; Kant, Critique of Pure Reason; Heidegger, Being and Time; Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 201.

Also listed as Comparative Literature 351 and Feminist & Gender Studies 206 and Italian 321.

1 unit — Righi

PH321 Metaphysics

An exploration of the traditional questions of metaphysics, such as those concerning the existence and nature of God, the nature of Being, realism and idealism, identity, causation, freedom and determinism, and the relation of mind and body. Readings from traditional and contemporary philosophers.

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy.

1 unit — Kim

PH340 Ethics & Contemporary Life

A probing into the question of what it means to live a good human life in a contemporary world dominated by capitalism, abstract individualism, and psychic and social fragmentation. Readings from contemporary philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, and social theory. (Not offered 2014-15).

1 unit

PH341 Contemporary Political Philosophy

Examines works of influential recent or contemporary political philosophers, with a focus on debates raised initially by the works of prominent liberal theorist John Rawls. The concepts or topics discussed reflect concerns central to contemporary political philosophy: justice and liberalism, discourse and the public, equality and law, representation and diversity, sovereignty, and human rights, and capabilities and globalization. In addition to Rawls, authors discussed may include Dworkin, Habermas, Sandel, Young, and Sen.

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy or junior standing.

1 unit — McEnnerney

PH342 Critical Theory

Investigates the radical interdisciplinary social philosophy that German scholars hostile to fascism developed by combining Marxist philosophy with Freudian psychoanalysis, in an effort to understand the promise and dangers of mass societies. The course addresses both the origins of critical theory and the more contemporary modernist and postmodernist variants. Authors discussed may include Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Althusser, Habermas, Foucault, Lyotard, Castoriadis, Fraser, and Honneth. (Not offered 2014-15).

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy or consent of instructor.

1 unit

PH360 Philosophy & Psychoanalysis

An exploration of what the discovery of unconscious mental functioning means in relation to philosophical problems in ethics, philosophical psychology, social theory, and theory of meaning. The course is grounded in the work of Freud and may include such post-Freudians as Lacan, Cixous, Winnicott, Klein, and Kohut.

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy.

1 unit — Riker

PH361 Philosophy of Emotions

Explores a range of theoretical attempts to explain the emotions and their place in human life. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, hope, love, and regret will be studied both for their own sake and as sources of insight into the nature of meaningful experience. Attention will bepaid to the distinction between momentary passions and abiding affective dispositions, and to such questions as how emotions might be justified and what sort of cognition they involve.

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy.

1 unit — Furtak

PH425 History-Philosophy Thesis

An interdisciplinary, primary-source based thesis on a subject of interest to the student and supervised by two faculty supervisors, one in Philosophy and one in History. Independent study format with regular consultation between the student and faculty supervisors.

Prerequisite: Consent of both faculty supervisors and registration in History 425 in the same academic year. Both courses must be completed at some point during blocks 1-6 or the senior year.

1 unit

PH452 Junior Seminar

An examination of the work of a living philosopher, especially as this contemporary work rereads or relates to a figure from the history of philosophy. When possible, the philosopher in question will participate in the seminar.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 101, Philosophy 201, and a declared major in philosophy.

1 unit — Lee

PH453 Independent Readings:

Independent study for advanced students who wish to do work supplementary to that offered in the Catalog.

1 unit — Lee

PH454 Independent Study:

Independent study for advanced students who wish to do work supplementary to that offered in the Catalog.

1 unit — Furtak

PH456 Senior Colloquium

Year-long, extended format seminar centering on the work of the philosophy department's colloquium speakers and on the practice of philosophical discourse. In advance of colloquium lectures, students read relevant background papers and engage in seminar discussions. Students also attend all colloquia, interact with speakers during their visits, and write response papers following colloquium talks. Course emphasizes critical engagement with contemporary philosophical research.

Prerequisite: Philosophy Majors with senior standing. Pass/Fail Only.

1 unit

PH475 Senior Essay

An intensive individual exploration of how a particular philosopher inquires into a particular philosophical problem. Leads to the production of a senior essay. Must be taken prior to Senior Seminar (blocks 105). Arranged by the student and the department. Limited to senior philosophy majors.

Prerequisite: Senior majors only.

1 unit — Lee, Riker

PH476 Senior Seminar

Revision and presentation of senior essays. Students complete final drafts of their essays, respond to others' essays, and develop oral presentations contextualizing their essays in relation to the history of Western philosophy and comparative/critical philosophical perspectives.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 475.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus, McEnnerney