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Graduate Courses  |  Spring 2024

PHI 505.60 History of Aesthetic Theory 

Phenomenology and Painting
Professor Megan Craig
Tuesday 1:00-3:50  - Brooklyn Commons

This course provides an introduction to phenomenology through an examination of painting and the visual examples philosophers have made their touchstones for phenomenological reflection. Why does Heidegger invoke Van Gogh? Why does Merleau-Ponty turn to Cézanne? What is the relationship with painting and accounts of visibility in terms of sense perception, trace, beauty, and flesh? What do the images philosophers choose tell us about their theories, biases, and concerns? We will consider these and other questions. Rather than treating paintings as examples that illuminate philosophical texts, we will consider the philosophical value of images and the particular influence painting has exerted on phenomenological accounts of embodiment and sensibility. Readings include Heidegger, Derrida, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze, Levinas, and Nancy. 

PHI 506.60 Art and Its Problems

Professor Harvey Cormier
Monday 4:00 - 6:50 - Brooklyn Commons

What was modern art? In this class we will try to answer this question using “modern jazz” as a case study. We will also ask whether there is post-modern jazz, and we will consider whether this could possibly be a good thing.

PHI 508 /  618  Contemporary Matters
Philosophy and Film
Professor Anthony Steinbock
Wednesday 5:30 - 8:20 pm - Stony Brook University 

Unlike westerns, detective, or science fiction films, “Film Noir” is not considered to be a “genre,” but rather a style or “cycle” that cuts across genres. Film Noir emerged spontaneously as a distinctive style of film before it became conscious of itself as such. It expresses a world that has lost its hold on stable structures, a world that is trying to secure some foothold without guarantee; it evokes lives that have to navigate multiple perspectives where there are no absolutes to ground them or to give definitive answers—leaving us only with ourselves, ambiguity, contingency: “shadows.” It is such a situation that is expressive of the existentialist themes of anxiety, absurdity, finitude, the rupture of linear time, the feeling of being trapped with no escape, the questioning of good and evil, and only temporary and situational triumph. In many ways, it can be seen as the harbinger of what we call today “post-modernism.”

PHI 602 Modern Philosophy
Key Texts in Early Modern Political Philosophy
Professor Jeff Edwards
Tuesday 5:30-8:20 
- Stony Brook University

This is a seminar on the foundations of modern political thought. In the first half of the semester, discussion will focus primarily on the following seventeenth-century works: Hobbes’s Leviathan, Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus, and Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. We will then turn to the radical criticism of modern natural law theory contained in Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Du contrat social, and the Project for a Constitution for Corsica. Finally (time permitting), we will consider Rousseau’s impact on political thought during the French Revolution.

PHI 603 Nineteenth Century Philosophy
Hegel and Aristotle
Professor Allegra DeLaurentiis 
Monday 5:30-8:20 - Stony Brook University 

Object of study will be two texts separated by two millennia: Aristotle’s De Anima and its nineteenth-century Doppelgänger, Hegel’s Anthropology. One aim of this seminar is to develop an appreciation of the value of engaging philosophy’s historical texts as contributions to one extended inquiry (yes, a grand narrative). Another aim is familiarization with the metaphysical grounding of Hegel’s system. 

PHI 630 Continental Philosophy
Heidegger’s Being and Time
Professor Alan Kim
Tuesday: 2:30-5:20 
- Stony Brook University


PHI 631 Analytic Philosophy
Professor Gary Mar 
Wednesday 2:30 - 5:20 - Stony Brook University

The Analytic Seminar will focus on the history and formal developments within the Analytic Tradition in philosophy. We will show the relevance of logic and set theory to ancient paradoxes, e.g., that Aristotle’s proof that Being is not a Genus is similar to Russell’s paradox, that the Paradoxes of Non-Being in the Sophist are similar to paradoxes about “Speaking of Nothing” in contemporary philosophy of language, how Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems arise from the Paradox of the Liar, how Einstein’s Twin Paradox arrives from Zeno’s Stadium Paradox, as well as pursuing other topics of interest to students in the areas of analytic metaphysics (from Parmenides to Plato), philosophy of language (from Frege and Russell to Kripke), the philosophy of mathematics (from Frege to Gödel), philosophy of logic, and the philosophy of time (from Aristotle and Augustine to Gödel and Einstein).

Full Philosophy Graduate Course Catalogue