Philosophy

  • GRS PH 603: Plato I
    A careful study of one or several Platonic dialogues. Emphasizes both close reading of the text(s) and discussion of the deep philosophical issues raised by them. Frequent references to other Platonic dialogues as relevant. Knowledge of Greek is helpful but not required. Familiarity with Greek philosophy is helpful.
  • GRS PH 605: Aristotle I
    A careful study of Aristotle's theoretical philosophy conducted through a close reading of selections from the Categories, Posterior Analytics, Physics, On the Soul, and the Metaphysics.
  • GRS PH 609: Maimonides
    A study of major aspects of the thought of Maimonides. Primary focus on the Guide of the Perplexed, with attention to its modern reception in works by Baruch Spinoza, Hermann Cohen, Leo Strauss, and others. Also offered as GRS RN 720. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Oral and/or Signed Communication.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Oral and/or Signed Communication
  • GRS PH 610: Continental Rationalism
    A critical study of major texts of seventeenth-century philosophy.
  • GRS PH 613: Kant
    A study of Kant's critical philosophy, focusing on one or more of his works.
  • GRS PH 615: Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
    Course subtitle: "Constructing and Deconstructing Autonomy". We will ask: To what extent is a practical agent free or autonomous? We examine answers to these questions by figures such as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Critical Thinking
  • GRS PH 618: Marx and Marxism
    Philosophical foundation of Marxism and its development. Critical study of Marx's writings stressing questions of philosophy, political economy, science, and history. Emphasis on Marx's theory of relation of praxis to consciousness. Later (including contemporary) Marxists and critics. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Social Inquiry I
    • Critical Thinking
  • GRS PH 619: Nietzsche
    An intensive study of Nietzsche's philosophical thought. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Historical Consciousness
  • GRS PH 624: Wittgenstein
    An intensive (line by line) study of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.
  • GRS PH 626: Phenomenology
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120)
    Rigorous examination of foundations of philosophical phenomenology in Husserl and others. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Oral and/or Signed Communication, Writing-Intensive Course, Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Oral and/or Signed Communication
    • Writing-Intensive Course
  • GRS PH 630: American Philosophy
    Detailed analysis of William James and John Dewey and their theories of meaning, truth, consciousness, and experience. Consideration of these theories in connection with selected issues in Husserl, Wittgenstein, and Michael Oakeshott.
  • GRS PH 633: Symbolic Logic
    A survey of the concepts and principles of symbolic logic: valid and invalid arguments, logical relations of statements and their basis in structural features of statements, analysis of the logical structure of complex statements of ordinary discourse, and the use of a symbolic language to display logical structure and to facilitate methods for assessing the logical structure of arguments. We cover the analysis of reasoning with truth-functions ("and", "or", "not", "if ... then") and with quantifiers ("all", "some"), attending to formal languages and axiomatic systems for logical deduction. Throughout, we aim to clearly and systematically display both the theory underlying the norms of valid reasoning and their applications to particular problems of argumentation. The course is an introduction to first-order quantificational logic, a key tool underlying work in foundations of mathematics, philosophy of language and mind, philosophy of science and parts of syntax and semantics. It is largely mathematical and formal in character, but lectures situate these structures within the context of questions raised in contemporary philosophy of language and mind.
  • GRS PH 634: The Color Line, Resistance & Reparations (S)
    Graduate Corequisites: GRS PH 635; GRS students are required to register for GRS PH 635 when registering for GRS PH 634.
    This seminar examines the oppressive role of race and ethnicity in American society from the early colonial period to the present, resistance to that oppression, and the moral case for both resistance and reparations. Each seminar session will begin with a presentation by a seminar member, a schedule for which will be developed after the first seminar meeting. Readings will be mainly historical but will also include relevant cases and legislation; all readings will be available online or on the seminar's Blackboard website. Grades will be based primarily on the term paper, on an approved topic, which is written after comments have been received on a polished draft; class participation will also be considered, as well as the weekly log that seminar members are required to maintain, noting issues raised by the readings. OBJECTIVES: Students will be expected to become familiar with the history of racial and ethnic stratification in the United States as well as resistance to it, enabled to pursue that history on their own, and capable of appraising relevant scholarship and public policies. The CR/NC/H grading option is available. LAW ENROLLMENT LIMIT: 15 students. NOTE: This class does not satisfy the upper-class writing requirement. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • GRS PH 635: The Color Line, Resistance & Reparations (S) - GRS Co-requisite
    Graduate Corequisites: GRS PH 634; GRS students are required to register for GRS PH 634 when registering for GRS PH 635.
    One-credit co-requisite required for all GRS students registering for GRS PH 634.
  • GRS PH 636: Gender, Race, and Science
    Examines issues in feminist philosophy, philosophy of race, and philosophy of science. Is "race" a genuine scientific category or a social construct? How have views about gender and race changed? Why are there still so few women and minority scientists?
  • GRS PH 640: Metaphysics
    A survey of basic questions in contemporary metaphysics that may include reality, time, change, free will, personal identity, and causation.
  • GRS PH 643: Philosophy of Mind
    The topic is sentience, embodiment, and the brain. The aim is to develop a "neurophenomenological" approach to consciousness and embodied experience in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind.
  • GRS PH 645: The Philosophy of Love
    What is love? What different forms does it take (e.g. parental love, romantic love)? Is love non- rational or are there reasons of love? We aim to answer these and other philosophical questions by focusing on contemporary philosophical writings on love.
  • GRS PH 646: Philosophy of Religion
    Critical investigation of the limits of human knowledge and the theoretical and practical demands for meaning attached to notions of God, providence, immortality, and other metaphysical conditions of human thriving, from Plato to modern philosophies of religion. Effective Spring 2022 this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Social Inquiry I
    • Critical Thinking
  • GRS PH 656: Topics in Philosophy and Religion
    Topic for Fall 2022: Why are we here? Alongside philosophers and religious thinkers, this course explores different versions of this question. Why are we here reading and talking? Why are we at BU? Why are we here at all? Does life have some meaning?