M.A. Courses | Fall 2021
PHI 505 History of Aesthetic Theory*
R. Harvey | Thursday 1:15-4:15
Topic: The Sublime
So-called “post-structuralist” readings of the notion of the sublime (as it was elaborated in eighteenth-century critical aesthetics) have captured the attention of philosophers concerned with ethical possibilities for art, literature, and polity in a “post-Auschwitz” world.
Far from being a sudden disruption in some monolithic thinking about the sublime, these developments are the necessary consequence of an evolution traceable to the very first modern readings of Pseudo-Longinus. The practicality inherent to the Longinian sublime leads logically to speculation about contributions that the movement between the artwork and the spectator which we now call “the sublime” might make to the structuring of ethical intersubjectivity.
What remains of the sublime in present-day experience? If the movement between artwork and spectator correlates to the movement between event and being, then the sublime remains not only in the aesthetic realm but also in the social. What, then, can that remainder do for “us”?
This challenge is proposed for the semester. The seminar group will read and interpret the “canon of the sublime” as well as consider works from a variety of genres in their relation to the sublime.
PHI 508 Contemporary Issues in Arts*
E. Casey | Tuesday 4:45 - 7:50
Topic: Feeling, Thinking, and Voicing in Art Works and Social Movements
This course will first of all explore modalities of feeling and thinking – both on their own and in relation to each other – in the concrete contexts of art and social action: separately considered as well as when convergent. We shall do so by pursuing these two basic questions: does feeling exclude thinking (or are there creative conjunctions between them), and how is thinking related to affect (and in what concrete ways)? Beyond this dual focus, we will consider what it means to give voice to feeling and thought – in individual or collectively generated art works as well as in protest marches and other collective efforts aiming at social and political reform.
Philosophical authors to be considered are likely to be selected from among these figures: Aristotle, Plato, Rousseau, Kant, Collingwood, Dewey, William Connolly, and Fred Evans. Artists discussed may include Goya, Picasso (e.g., “Guernica”), Diego Riviera, Jacob Lawrence, and selected contemporary artists (e.g., Kara Walker). Both in class and outside (in museums and in public spaces) we shall analyze art works (posters, murals, etc.) which play an integral role in social-political activism. Fred Evans, author of Public Art and the Fragility of Democracy will join us for several sessions.
So will George Quasha, the eminent sculptor and poet and the author of Poetry in Principle. Nobuho Nagasawa, renowned public artist, will talk to us about her work in the New York area – work that we shall visit in person.
Class reports will cover the reading assigned for that week and relate this reading – when relevant – to given public art works.
PHI 510 / PHI 402 Ancient Philosophy
A. Kim | Tuesday 3:00 - 5:50
Ph.D. Courses | Fall 2021
H = History; I = Interface; C = Contemporary
PHI 601 Medieval Philosophy (H)
C. Miller | Thursday 6:30 - 9:20
This course involves close reading of selected shorter and longer texts from some of the most important medieval thinkers from Augustine to Cusanus. Students will write four short papers and report on one or more secondary readings relevant to these texts.
PHI 603 19th Century Philosophy
Topic: Hegel’s Political Philosophy (H)
A. DeLaurentiis | Thursday 3:00 - 5:50
A close study of Hegel’s 1820 lecture manual: Natural Right and Science of the State
in Outline. Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Emphases on (i) the concept of right
and the concept of law;
(ii) the logics of civil society, state punishment, and modern work; (iii) the theory of world history. Forays into predecessors (excerpts from the Roman Codex and Kant's Doctrine of Right) and successors (excerpts from relevant Marxian works) are possible, time permitting. Relevant textual excerpts will be supplied.
Two required texts:
- Michael Inwood, A Hegel Dictionary (Blackwell 1998)
- G.W.F. Hegel. Outlines of the Philosophy of Right. Revised edition of T. M. Knox's
translation, by Stephen Houlgate. Oxford UP, 2008. (Use of other English editions is discouraged, except for the original Hegel's Philosophy of Right, trans. And ed. by T.M. Knox, Oxford UP, 1952.)
Topics in Interface Studies*
Topic: Hermeneutic Interventions in Science, Politics, Race and Culture (I)
L. Simpson | Tuesday 4:45- 7:50
A systematic examination of philosophical hermeneutics from the standpoint of its ability to inform social critique and to illuminate a variety of issues of philosophical and social theoretic interest. Among the topics to be considered are: rationality vs relativism in science; cross-cultural understanding and the possibility of a critique of cultural practices such as female excision, and other "adaptive preferences," that avoids ethnocentrism; hermeneutic injustice and the compromise of social agency; the biological status of racial concepts; racial identity; ethnicity; reparative justice; and the relationship of a critical hermeneutics to the tradition of Critical Theory. Readings from Hans-Georg Gadamer, Juergen Habermas, Seyla Benhabib, Georgia Warnke, Philip Kitcher, Sally Haslanger, Linda Alcoff, and others.
PHI 630 Continental Philosophy
Topic: Emmanuel Levinas: the Priority of the Other (C)
M. Craig | Wednesday 2:40 - 5:30
This seminar investigates the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas with a stress on Levinas’s two major texts: Totality and Infinity and Otherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence. We will pay close attention to the historical context and situation of Levinas’s thinking, the style of his prose, dominant textual imagery, his relationship to Bergson, Husserl, and Heidegger, and the critical reception/transformation of his work by Jacques Derrida, Luce Irigaray, and Judith Butler. Themes for the term include (but are not limited to) the priority of the Other, the face-to-face, justice, language, teaching, fecundity, and time. This is a writing-intensive seminar.
PHI 644 Special Topics in Contemporary
Topic: Emotions- Max Scheler (C)
A. Steinbock | Wednesday 6:05 - 8:55
Influencing currents of thought across an incredibly broad spectrum of fields—philosophy, ethics, sociology, psychology, religion, political thought—Max Scheler was one of the most pioneering thinkers of the 20 th Century. Along with Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, Max Scheler had one of the greatest impacts on the formation of the phenomenological movement.
Despite Scheler’s overwhelming popularity in the 1920s (packing lecture halls by the hundreds), the publication of Scheler’s works was cut short, in part, by his untimely death—on Ortega y Gasset’s account—due to his incredibly active mind and a wave of insomnia. More recently, we have seen a resurgence of interest in Scheler’s thought, especially concerning his work on the emotions in disciplines like anthropology, critical theory, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and sociology.
This course is devoted to a careful study of Scheler’s early groundbreaking work, namely, Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values. It will be supplemented by selected readings from The Nature of Sympathy, Ressentiment, and Selected Philosophical Essays.
*This course can be applied to the Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) in Art and Philosophy.