Graduate Courses

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Fall 2021

GRS – Graduate School of the Arts & Sciences

PH 615 (Cross PH 415) Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
Professor Sally Sedgwick
Tuesday, Thursday
 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
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.

PH 626 (Cross PH 426) Phenomenology
Professor Walter Hopp
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15 AM – 12:05 PM

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.
Prerequisite: first-year writing seminar (either WR100 or WR120)

PH 636 (Cross PH 436) Gender, Race, and Science
Professor Samia Hesni
Tuesday 12:30 PM – 3:15 PM
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?

PH 656 Topics in Philosophy & Religion: Buddhism as Philosophy
Professor M. David Eckel
Wednesday 5:45 PM – 8:30 PM

Topic for Fall 2021: Buddhism as Philosophy. Topics include Buddhist philosophy of mind, religious knowledge, controversies with rival philosophers, and the path to nirvana. Seminar coordinates with the fall lecture series in the Institute for Philosophy and Religion.

PH 661 (Cross PH 461) Mathematical Logic
Professor Akihiro Kanamori
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
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.

PH 663 Philosophy of Language
Professor Juliet Floyd
Thursday 3:30 PM – 6:15 PM

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, demonstrations, and indexical, discourse and dialogue theory, and selected language disturbances (dyslexia, autism).

PH 668 Philosophical Problems of Logic & Mathematics
Professor Juliet Floyd
Monday 2:30 PM – 5:15 PM

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.

PH 670 Philosophy of Physics
Professor Tian Yu Cao
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

Philosophical problems concerning the interpretation of physical discoveries. Elementary particles, the anomalies of quantum mechanics, some modern problems of space and time, and the problem of wholes and parts.

PH 820 Contemporary Philosophy
Professor Samia Hesni
Thursday 3:30 PM – 6:15 PM
An advanced study 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 the 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 Topics in Philosophy: Devotion, Fanaticism, and Extremism
Professor Paul Katsafanas
Wednesday 2:30 PM – 5:15 PM
In this course we will study the moral psychology of devotion, fanaticism, and extremism.  Questions include: what is it to be devoted to an end, 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).

PH 881 Proseminar for First-Year Graduate Students
Professor Daniel Star
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
This seminar is open only to first-year Ph.D. 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.
Prerequisites: First-year philosophy Ph.D. student standing.

PH 883 Topics in Philosophy IV: History of Analytic Philosophy
Professor Peter Hylton
Monday 2:30 PM – 5:15 PM
This course will focus on the work of W. V. Quine, perhaps the most influential and important analytic philosopher in the second half of the twentieth century. We will try to gain an understanding of his work as a whole, and where it fits into the development of analytic philosophy. At the start of the term we will also read and discuss some work by Carnap, who was both a very strong influence on Quine and someone whom Quine reacted against. (How much time we spend on Carnap will largely depend on the interests of the class.) At the end of the term we may, if time permits and members of the class want to do it, spend some time on one or more of the philosophers who were greatly influenced by Quine but who reacted against some aspects of his views (David Lewis is a likely candidate).

PH 905 A1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Juliet Floyd

PH 905 B1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Alisa Bokulich

PH 905 C1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor James Schmidt

PH 905 D1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Daniel Dahlstrom

PH 905 E1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Samia Hesni

PH 905 F1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Daniel Star

PH 905 G1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Charles Griswold

PH 905 G2 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Aaron Garrett

PH 905 H1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Susanne Sreedhar

PH 905 K1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Paul Katsafanas

PH 905 K2 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Walter Hopp

PH 905 R1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Rachell Powell

PH 905 S1 Directed Study in Problems in Philosophy
Professor Charles Speight

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

PH 993 Placement Proseminar I
Professor Michaela McSweeney
Tuesday 3:30 PM – 6:15 PM

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.