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CAS PH 100 A1 Introduction to Philosophy
Staff
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:05AM-9:55AM
Introduces the nature of philosophical activity through careful study of major philosophical topics. Topics may include the nature of reality, knowledge, God’s existence, and the significance of human life. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Critical Thinking and Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meaning. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 100 B1 Introduction to Philosophy
Professor Michaela McSweeney
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
Introduces the nature of philosophical activity through careful study of major philosophical topics. Topics may include the nature of reality, knowledge, God’s existence, and the significance of human life. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Critical Thinking and Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meaning. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 110 A1 Great Philosophers
Professor Benjamin Crowe
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30PM – 4:45PM
An introduction to philosophy through a reading of great figures in western thought. The list may include Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Roussesau, Nietzsche, Russell. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 150 A1 Introduction to Ethics
Professor Victor Kumar
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00AM-12:15PM
This course is about emerging ethical problems in the 21st century. The first half covers disaster and injustice. We’ll try to answer ethical questions about the global pandemic, biomedical enhancement, mortality, extreme poverty, and animal suffering. The second half of the course covers culture wars between the Left and the Right. We’ll consider ethical questions about social media, political tribalism, political backlash, transgender exclusion, and emotional labor. We’ll approach each of these topics through careful reflection, rational argumentation, and open-minded debate. Fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 150 B1 Introduction to Ethics
Professor Victor Kumar
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30PM-4:45PM
This course is about emerging ethical problems in the 21st century. The first half covers disaster and injustice. We’ll try to answer ethical questions about the global pandemic, biomedical enhancement, mortality, extreme poverty, and animal suffering. The second half of the course covers culture wars between the Left and the Right. We’ll consider ethical questions about social media, political tribalism, political backlash, transgender exclusion, and emotional labor. We’ll approach each of these topics through careful reflection, rational argumentation, and open-minded debate. Fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 150 C1 Introduction to Ethics
Professor Daniel Star
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30AM-10:45PM
This course is about emerging ethical problems in the 21st century. The first half covers disaster and injustice. We’ll try to answer ethical questions about the global pandemic, biomedical enhancement, mortality, extreme poverty, and animal suffering. The second half of the course covers culture wars between the Left and the Right. We’ll consider ethical questions about social media, political tribalism, political backlash, transgender exclusion, and emotional labor. We’ll approach each of these topics through careful reflection, rational argumentation, and open-minded debate. Fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 155 A1 Politics and Philosophy
Professor Charles Griswold
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00AM-12:15PM
This course is an introduction to several major themes and questions in political philosophy, such as: What is justice?  What, if anything, legitimizes the exercise of governmental power? What are the arguments for and against the “social contract”?  What are the foundations of rights, liberty, and equality?  Does a free and fair society include a free market?  Can and should politics be conducted philosophically?  We will examine important works in both the history of Western philosophy and contemporary thought.  Current topics (possibly concerning immigration and global justice) will also be discussed.  Throughout the course, we will cultivate fundamental philosophical skills of analysis and argumentation as we delve into issues of ongoing importance.

There are no prerequisites for this course.  We meet twice a week; in addition, the student is required to enroll in a once-weekly discussion section.

This course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 159 A1 Philosophy and Film
Professor Garrett
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30PM – 4:45PM
This class provides an introduction philosophical and aesthetic issues connected with film. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 160 A1 Reason and Argumentation
Professor Derek Anderson
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10AM-11:00AM
This course is an introduction to philosophical methods of inquiry and discourse. We will have three major aims. The first is philosophical. We aim to understand the nature of reason and argumentation; the course will serve as an introduction to logic, epistemology, and philosophy of language. The second is practical. We aim to improve our ability to reason, construct arguments, and identify fallacies. The third is social. Reason and argument are central to the process of social change. In order to achieve a more just society, we need to reason together and argue with one another in ways that facilitate change of belief in the direction of knowledge and social justice. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 160 B1 Reason and Argumentation
Professor Staff
Tuesday. Thursday 11:00AM-12:15PM
A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students’ actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse. We will emphasize argumentation and criticism in ordinary life and also present formal models of reasoning designed to elicit underlying patterns and structures of reasoning and argumentation that are widely applicable. Simultaneous training in skills of argument analysis, argument pattern recognition, argument construction, and argument interpretation and creation. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 248 A1 Existentialism
Professor Paul Katsafanas
Monday, Wednesday 10:10AM-11:25AM
The existentialists grappled with some of the most difficult and problematic aspects of the human condition. Is it possible to lead a meaningful life? Might life be unavoidably absurd? What is it to be an authentic individual? Can you be alienated from yourself? Can the way in which we are seen by others limit our freedom? Does modernity foster nihilism? Do certain emotional experiences reveal otherwise hidden features of life? In this course, we will explore the ways in which Fyodor Dostoevsky, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus responded to these questions.  This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 251 A1 Medical Ethics
Professor Rachell Powell
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
This course will survey ethical issues that arise in connection with medicine and
emerging biotechnologies. It will examine topics such as the right to healthcare, research on human subjects, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, genetic selection, disabilities, and the biomedical enhancement of human capacities. Students can expect to gain not only training in the concepts and methods of moral philosophy and the logic of argumentation, but also the resources needed for assessing ethically difficult questions that healthcare professionals routinely face. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 251 B1 Medical Ethics
Professor TBA
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:25PM-2:15PM
This course will survey ethical issues that arise in connection with medicine and emerging biotechnologies. It will examine topics such as the right to healthcare, research on human subjects, euthanasia, abortion, cloning, genetic selection, disabilities, and the biomedical enhancement of human capacities. Students can expect to gain not only training in the concepts and methods of moral philosophy and the logic of argumentation, but also the resources needed for assessing ethically difficult questions that healthcare professionals routinely face. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 256 A1 Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality
Professor Derek Anderson
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:20PM-1:10PM
In this course we will be philosophizing about gender and sexuality from an intersectional perspective. We begin with a detailed study of the concept and phenomenon of intersectionality, focusing on foundational texts and recent philosophical commentary including metaphysical and conceptual analyses. The intersectionality unit will set the agenda for the remainder of the semester. In the second half, we will explore issues in the metaphysics, semantics, epistemology, and politics of gender and sexuality, engaging with both classic and contemporary readings. Here we will bring our intersectional framework to bear on such questions as: What is gender? How is gender constructed? What are social constructions, anyway? What is sexual orientation, and how must concepts of sexuality change within a non-binary understanding of gender? How do identities and conceptions of gender and sexuality interact with intersecting systems of oppression? Who determines the meaning of the word “woman,” and how do they do it? How does a person’s gender and sexuality shape their knowledge of reality? How can we communicate and take effective political action across epistemological barriers? Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, The Individual in Community, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 259 A1 Philosophy of the Arts
Professor C Allen Speight
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30PM-1:45PM
What makes something beautiful? How do different arts (music, dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, drama) relate to our aesthetic experience of the world? Explores several philosophical theories of art through specific examples of artwork. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 261 A1 Puzzles and Paradoxes
Professor Derek Anderson
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 3:35PM-4:25PM
Some of our most basic beliefs, when scrutinized, lead to absurd conclusions. For example, using only beliefs that seem uncontroversial, we can conclude that motion is impossible, that everyone is bald, and it is impossible to give a surprise exam. Carefully scrutinizing the reasoning that leads to these absurdities often yields substantial philosophical insight. In this course, we will examine a number of such puzzles and paradoxes in detail. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 266 A1 Mind, Brain, and Self
Professor Walter Hopp
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:05AM-9:55AM
This course is devoted to exploring the relationships among consciousness, the mind, and the brain, the nature of the self or person, and other related topics. This course will also examine whether and to what extent these issues can be addressed by contemporary natural science. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Writing-Intensive Course, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 270 A1 Philosophy of Science
Professor Tian Cao
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30PM-1:45PM
Uses scientific examples from the study of physics, biology, and mind. Focuses on the aims of science, the nature of scientific understanding, the structure and interpretation of scientific theories, and the development of science.

CAS PH 300 A1 History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Ben Crowe
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
Classical Greek philosophy, with a concentration on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

CAS PH 300 B1 History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor C Allen Speight
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30AM-10:45AM
Classical Greek philosophy, with a concentration on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

CAS PH 310 A1 History of Modern Philosophy
Professor Aaron Garrett
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2:30PM-3:15PM
An examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

CAS PH 310 B1 History of Modern Philosophy
Professor James Kinkaid
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30AM-10:45AM
An examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

CAS PH 415 A1 (Cross PH 615) Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
Professor Sally Sedgwick
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
In this course, we examine a variety of approaches to freedom and practical agency, relying on classic texts of the 19th century continental tradition.  We begin with an introduction to Kant’s grounding of moral philosophy in pure reason.  We then turn our attention to criticisms of Kant by figures such as Schiller and Hegel.  Our next philosophers raise further doubts about the assumption that we are endowed with pure reason, and suggest instead that our nature (including our freedom) is to a significant extent determined by social conditions.  We examine: (i) Marx’s historical materialism (his account of the social construction of power and the social conditions of freedom) and his theory of alienation; (ii) Nietzsche’s genealogy of morals (his effort to trace the origins of our ideas of freedom and of the good back the will to power); and (iii) Freud’s critique of religion. Prerequisites: PH 310 and one other philosophy course. HUB credits:  This course fulfills the Philosophical Inquiry, Historical Conscious, and Critical Thinking requirements.

CAS PH 436 A1 (Cross PH 636) Gender, Race, and Science
Professor Samia Hesni
Tuesday 12:30PM-3:15PM
How do we reconcile the reality of racism with the difficulty of defining race? How do race and gender intersect when it comes to social identity, marginalization, privilege, and scientific engagement? We will start to address these questions by reading about the history of race and racism in the United States and globally. We will then engage with questions about the metaphysics and epistemology of race and gender. What is a racial category? What is gender? How do racism and sexism affect people from different ethnic, racial, and gender backgrounds differently? How does being gendered or racialized influence what we know and how we are treated as knowers? What is it like and what does it mean to ‘pass’ as one gender or racial and identify as another? Finally, we will address applied issues in science and ethics: Questions we will ask include: Does medical science unfairly disadvantage women and members of racial minorities?

CAS PH 453 A1 Classical to Early Modern Political Theory
Professor Judith Swanson
Monday, Wednesday 2:30PM-4:15PM
Focuses on philosophical subjects relevant to ethics and politics, such as virtue and happiness; human nature and reason; qualifications of leadership; aims and means of civic education; and conceptions of law (man-made, natural, divine). Texts by Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS PH 463 A1 (Cross PH 663) Philosophy of Language
Professor Juliet Floyd
Thursday 3:30PM-6:15PM
A survey of classic and contemporary issues and debates in the philosophy of language. Topics include the nature of propositions and the nature of truth; literal vs. figurative uses of words; ordinary language philosophy and its ethics and aesthetics; meaning, describing, and referring; prosody; speech act theory and communication pragmatics; gender, lying, bullshitting, misleading, and the uses of words in politics, e.g., on social media.

CAS PH 468 A1 (Cross PH 668) Philosophical Problems of Logic and Math
Professor Juliet Floyd
Monday 2:30PM-5:15PM
An introduction to philosophy of mathematics, surveying some historical material (Plato, Kant) as well as the 19th century turn to foundations (Dedekind, Frege, Russell, Hilbert) and the turn to computability (Church, Turing, Wittgenstein).  Topics include the nature of logic, of mathematical objects and of mathematical knowledge; the necessity and applicability of mathematics; Realism, Platonism, Naturalism, Intuition, and Rule-Following.

CAS PH 615 A1 (Cross PH 415) Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
Professor Sally Sedgwick
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
In this course, we examine a variety of approaches to freedom and practical agency, relying on classic texts of the 19th century continental tradition.  We begin with an introduction to Kant’s grounding of moral philosophy in pure reason.  We then turn our attention to criticisms of Kant by figures such as Schiller and Hegel.  Our next philosophers raise further doubts about the assumption that we are endowed with pure reason, and suggest instead that our nature (including our freedom) is to a significant extent determined by social conditions.  We examine: (i) Marx’s historical materialism (his account of the social construction of power and the social conditions of freedom) and his theory of alienation; (ii) Nietzsche’s genealogy of morals (his effort to trace the origins of our ideas of freedom and of the good back the will to power); and (iii) Freud’s critique of religion. Prerequisites: PH 310 and one other philosophy course. HUB credits:  This course fulfills the Philosophical Inquiry, Historical Conscious, and Critical Thinking requirements.

CAS PH 636 A1 (Cross PH 436) Gender, Race, and Science
Professor Samia Hesni
Tuesday 12:30PM-3:15PM
How do we reconcile the reality of racism with the difficulty of defining race? How do race and gender intersect when it comes to social identity, marginalization, privilege, and scientific engagement? We will start to address these questions by reading about the history of race and racism in the United States and globally. We will then engage with questions about the metaphysics and epistemology of race and gender. What is a racial category? What is gender? How do racism and sexism affect people from different ethnic, racial, and gender backgrounds differently? How does being gendered or racialized influence what we know and how we are treated as knowers? What is it like and what does it mean to ‘pass’ as one gender or racial and identify as another? Finally, we will address applied issues in science and ethics: Questions we will ask include: Does medical science unfairly disadvantage women and members of racial minorities?

CAS PH 661 A (Cross PH 461) Mathematical Logic
Professor Akihiro Kanamori
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30AM-10:45AM
The investigation of logical reasoning with mathematical methods. The syntax and semantics of sentential logic and quantificational logic. The unifying Godel Completeness Theorem, and models of theories. A look at the Godel Incompleteness Theorem and its ramifications. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub area: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings.

GRS PH 820 A1 Contemporary Philosophy
Professor Samia Hesni
Thursday 3:30PM-6:15PM
Topic for Fall 2020: Meaning in Life

An advanced study of topics in contemporary social and political philosophy of language. We will start this seminar with an overview of philosophy of language and an emphasis on pragmatics: what is communicated over and above content. Then we will divide the rest of the semester into three sections, going in-depth into contemporary debates about harmful language, stereotyping language, and language that enables social change. Students will come away with a solid foundation in contemporary debates about social/political philosophy of language and in-depth scholarly engagement on one particular debate of their choosing. We will also develop philosophy PhD-specific skills along the way.

GRS PH 880 A1 Metanormativity, Reasons, and Wellbeing
Professor Paul Katsafanas
Wednesday, 2:30PM-5:15PM
In this course we will study the moral psychology of devotion, fanaticism, and extremism. Questions include: what is it to be devoted to a goal, cause, person, or relationship? How does devotion differ from commitment? How does devotion differ from ordinary cases of valuing? How should we understand fanaticism and extremism? Do those states involve distinctive epistemic or affective profiles? Can fanaticism or extremism ever be admirable or otherwise praiseworthy, or are they always defective states? Readings will be drawn mostly from contemporary sources (including my own work on the topic), but we may also delve into some historical discussions of ressentiment and wounded identities (Nietzsche, Scheler, and others).

GRS PH 881 A1 Proseminar for First-Year Graduate Students
Professor Daniel Star
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
This seminar is open only to first-year PhD students in philosophy, all of whom are required to enroll. The seminar is designed to help incoming graduate students hone several invaluable philosophical skills, including those needed for effective presentation and defense of one's ideas. Topics vary by semester.

GRS PH 990 A1 Dissertation Workshop
Professor Paul Katsafanas
Monday 4:30PM-6:15PM
Dissertation Workshop. Required for all Philosophy Ph.D. students in their fourth through sixth years

GRS PH 993 A1 Placement Proseminar I
Professor TBA
Wednesday 2:30PM-5:15PM
A workshop seminar offering advanced graduate students the opportunity to present and discuss work-in- progress (dissertation chapters, papers for job applications, journal submissions). A serious commitment to regular and continuing attendance is expected.