Philosophy

  • 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 652: Ethics of Health Care
    Medicine and health care offer a unique opportunity to explore the nature of humanity and the world and to ask fundamental questions concerning the nature of birth, life, and death, and what it is to be a person. Readings from both classical and contemporary writings in ethics, medicine, law, and public health policy.
  • 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?
  • GRS PH 659: Political and Legal Philosophy
    Examination of the individual's responsibilities under law, specifically of the idea that there is a general moral obligation to obey the law, including unjust law, and the contrasting idea of civil disobedience-- the possibility of morally justified resistance to law.
  • GRS PH 660: Epistemology
    An examination of some of the central questions concerning the nature, scope, sources, and structure of knowledge.
  • GRS PH 661: Mathematical Logic
    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.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
  • GRS PH 662: Foundations of Mathematics
    Graduate Prerequisites: GRS PH 661; or consent of instructor.
    Axiomatic set theory as a foundation for, and field of, mathematics: Axiom of Choice, the Continuum Hypothesis, and consistency results.
  • GRS PH 663: Philosophy of Language
    The most representative problem areas in contemporary philosophy of language are discussed, criticized, and put into a new perspective. They include Frege's sense-reference theory, quantification and anaphora, theory of truth, the semantics of intentional and epistemic concepts, strategic aspects of language use, identification and individuation, metaphor, demonstratives and indexical, discourse and dialogue theory, and selected language disturbances (dyslexia, autism).
  • GRS PH 665: Philosophy of Cognitive Science
    We'll read important scientific work in evolutionary theory, psychology, etc. about human cognition. We'll then explore its philosophical implications. For example, we'll use research in cognitive science to think about whether humans are irremediably tribal and sectarian. Scientific Inquiry I and Social Inquiry I are both prerequisites for this course. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Scientific Inquiry II, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Scientific Inquiry II
    • Critical Thinking
  • GRS PH 668: Philosophical Problems of Logic and Mathematics
    Selected traditional metaphysical and epistemological problems in the light of modern logic and various studies in the foundations of mathematics, including the nature of axiomatic method, completeness in logic and mathematics, and the nature of mathematical truth.
  • GRS PH 670: Philosophy of Physics
    An introductory survey of fascinating problems in contemporary philosophy of physics. The basic ideas and main features of physical theories, which touch upon nature at its most fundamental level and interact most crucially with philosophy in general, are outlined, so that students will have a road map of the central problems in the field. Throughout, the driving theme is the entanglement of a radical revision in our conceptualization of the world (which is forced upon us by the changes in the physical picture of the world due to major developments in modern physics) with central philosophical. Effective Fall 2022, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Scientific Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Scientific Inquiry I
    • Critical Thinking
  • GRS PH 672: Philosophy of Biology
    Conceptual problems in biology; unity or pluralism of science; hierarchy theory; biological explanation; evolutionary theory, teleology and causality, statistical explanation; the species problem; mind and the brain; and language in animals and humans.
  • GRS PH 676: Philosophy of the Earth Sciences: From Deep Time to the Anthropocene
    Graduate Prerequisites: at least one philosophy course or one earth & environment course.
    Examines philosophical and methodological issues arising in the geosciences, from reconstructing events in deep time, proxy data, and the catastrophism-uniformitarianism debate, to analog and computer simulation modeling, and the Anthropocene debate, drawing examples from geology, archaeology, paleontology, and climate science.
  • GRS PH 684: Topics in Speculative Philosophy
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Topic for Fall 2015: Meaning.
  • GRS PH 685: Topics in Philosophy of Value
    Topics vary from year to year. Topic for Spring 2021: What is happiness? How can we achieve a balanced, healthy, fulfilling life? Classical thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Chuang Tzu; Stoic, Confucian, Buddhist, Taoist paths; comparison with contemporary studies of happiness and mindfulness.
  • GRS PH 687: Topics in the Philosophy of Science
    A discussion-based introduction to core issues in the philosophy of science, focusing on the topics of scientific realism, theory change, reductionism, explanation, models, and natural kinds.
  • GRS PH 688: Topics in Aesthetics
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Consideration of selected topics in aesthetics, with particular attention to the relationship between aesthetic experience and analytical accounts of the experience; topics include expression, perception, qualities, the good, the ideal, and the sublime.
  • GRS PH 689: Henry James and New Media
    James's writing exposed moral and aesthetic dimensions of society's play with status, wealth, and romance. After exploring contemporary dating apps, social media, and films of James's works, students complete a video, graphic novel, or other form of "new media" criticism. Effective Spring 2022, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Digital/Multimedia Expression
    • Creativity/Innovation
  • GRS PH 801: Ancient Philosophy 1
    An advanced study of works by either Plato or Aristotle.
  • GRS PH 810: Topics in Modern Philosophy
    Topics vary.