Current Courses

Spring 2018


PHI 600: A Phenomenological Reading of Aristotle’s Metaphysics        

Alan Kim | Monday 2:00-5:00

Our main goals will be to understand the aim(s) of Aristotle’s Metaphysics; its method(s); and its conclusion(s). Our secondary focus will be to reflect critically on the Metaphysics and our interpretive practice from a phenomenological point of view. This may mean: using phenomenological concepts (many of which have ancient roots) as an interpretive framework; reading the text as proto-phenomenology; treating the text itself as a kind of phenomenon to be phenomenologically analyzed. Texts by Heidegger on Aristotle will be assigned in addition to the Metaphysics and standard secondary literature. Time permitting, the course will end with a detailed examination of Book Θ, along with Heidegger’s interpretation of Θ 1-3. A basic grasp of Plato and the pre-Socratics will be assumed, as well as familiarity with phenomenology.


PHI 615:  The Animal

Elizabeth Grosz ( | Thursday 3:00-6:00 & Friday 1:00-4:00

Course Description: This course addresses the question of how the animal is thought in Western discourse and what role it plays in our understanding of the human. It focuses on the concept of the animal in key figures in patriarchal and feminist thought, and how this concept provides us with an understanding not only of the human but also what may be beyond the human, the post-human. We will look at the relevant texts of those thinkers who have made major contributions to how we understand reason and language, often considered uniquely human characteristics – including Aristotle, Descartes, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Irigaray and Kofman; we will also explore some of the key writings of ethologists and those who elaborated the worlds of animals – including Charles Darwin, Jakob von Uexkull, Konrad Lorenz, Karl von Frisch and others.  In doing so we will explore the worlds of animals and humans and the role of sexuality in the elaboration of animal life.


PHI 630: Critical Phenomenology

Anne O’Byrne | Monday 6:00-9:00                                                                   

Phenomenology is a practice of rigorous description, and it has produced radical re-descriptions of the world and reshaped our understanding of phenomenon, logos and world. Yet can it be a critical practice? Can it generate norms, or strategies, or motivation for action? Or has it been critical all along? This seminar will pursue these questions along two paths. 1) We will study examples of critical phenomenology by thinkers such as Arendt, Jonas and contemporary self-described critical phenomenologists such as Lisa Guenther, Alia Al-Saji, and Matthias Fritsch.

2) We will also turn to reflections on the phenomenological method selected from the history of phenomenology, including the work of Husserl, Scheler, Stein, and Heidegger. On both paths, we will concentrate on moments when the authors address questions of method and critique.


PHI 631:  Seminar in Analytic Philosophy                                                    

Jeff Edwards | Tuesday 6:00-9:00

(1) We begin this seminar on ethical theory by (briefly) clarifying some features of the historical backdrop to contemporary analytic ethics: sentimentalist and rationalist (or intuitional) approaches to the foundations of ethics; and Henry Sidgwick’s intuitionally grounded utilitarianism. (2) We consider some key components of the seminal work of 20th century analytic ethics, namely, G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica (Cambridge). (3) We then consider W. D. Ross’s The Right and the Good (Oxford), paying special attention to the arguments against Moore’s “ideal utilitarianism” that Ross presented from the standpoint of his intuitionist deontology. (4) We make a very big leap to central concerns of present-day ethical theory by examining Derek Parfit’s On What Matters (Oxford), paying special attention to the notion of “Kantian consequentialism” endorsed by Parfit (and disputed by his interlocutors). (5) Time permitting, we round off of the semester by making an incursion into the domain of contemporary political philosophy: we discuss the (Marxist) egalitarian criticism of Rawlsian theories of justice developed in Jerry (G. A.) Cohen’s Rescuing Justice & Equality (Harvard)


Click this link for a list (PDF), complete with descriptions, of the Spring 2018 doctoral course offerings.


Fall 2017

Click here for a list (PDF), complete with descriptions, of the Fall 2017 doctoral course offerings.


Spring 2017

Click here for a list (PDF), complete with descriptions, of the Spring 2017 doctoral course offerings.




Department of Philosophy      Harriman Hall 213, Stony Brook, NY 11794     Phone: (631) 632-7570
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