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  • Current Courses

    • Courses in the Department of Philosophy combine deep intellectual analyses of important thinkers with a robust and comprehensive survey of their important thoughts. Through studying both, students learn underlying concepts and examine bigger intellectual implications.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Spring 2022 courses include:

      • Modern Deductive Logic, GPHI 5061
        Christopher Prodoehl, Part-Time Faculty

        The purpose of this course is to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts of modern deductive logic, both in syntax and semantics. We start with sentential logic and discuss methods of constructing truth tables, truth trees, and derivations (for both the systems of SD and SD+). We then turn to predicate logic and consider certain differences and similarities between sentential and predicate logic and adjust the methods of truth trees and derivations to predicate logic.

      • Gender and Its Discontents, GPHI 5406
        Chiara Bottici, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies

        This is the required core course for the university-wide graduate certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies and it is open to all the graduate students who are interested in sexuality and gender studies. Our starting point is the acknowledgement that sex- and gender-based modes of social organization are pervasive and, further, that their prominence and persistence are reflected in sex- and gender-conscious research across the humanities, the arts, the social sciences, design, and studies dedicated to social policies and innovative strategies for social intervention. We will expand on this starting point through both an in-depth survey of influential theoretical approaches to sex and gender such as Marxist feminism, theories of sexual difference, queer studies, and postcolonial and decolonial feminism, and by paying attention to the significance of different approaches. Topics to be explored include, but are not limited to: equality and rights, exploitation and division of labor, the construction of gender, performativity, gender images, narrative and identity.

      • Freudians and Post-Freudians, GPHI 6076
        Alan Bass, Part-Time Faculty

        This course will examine the expansion of psychoanalytic thought in such crucial thinkers as Ferenczi, Abraham, Klein, Bion, Winnicott, Loewald, Lacan, and Laplanche.

      • American Pragmatism, GPHI 6091
        Richard J. Bernstein, Vera List Professor of Philosophy

        This seminar will consist of two parts. The first part will consist of selected readings from Peirce, James, Dewey, and Rorty. The second part will consist of readings of Black and Feminist writers who have contributed to, and have been influenced by, the pragmatic movement.

      • Spinoza's Ethics, GPHI 6094
        Omri Boehm, Associate Professor of Philosophy

        The class is designed as a comprehensive seminar on Spinoza's philosophy. In reading closely the Ethics, we will focus on Spinoza's main philosophical doctrines-- the geometrical method, moinism, necessitarianism, conatus, knowledge as power and eternity, to give some examples. We will locate the significance of these doctrines in relation to other thinkers (Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche); and in the context of Spinoza's and the enlightenment's political philosophy (critique of revelation and prophecy, freedom of thought, revolution).

      • Political Theory of Decolonization, GPHI 6215
        Sandipto Dasgupta, Assistant Professor of Politics

        European colonialism, the struggle against it by the colonized, and its continuing legacies have been one of the most significant political phenomenon of the twentieth century. However, the ideals and debates generated by this history continue to be at the margins of political theory. In this course, we would carefully read some of the most significant texts that engaged with the colonialism, decolonization, and postcolonial futures, and reconstruct and engage with the arguments that they advance. Decolonization here is broadly conceived to include not just the prototypical examples of Asian and African colonization, but settler or domestic colonialism directed against indigenous populations. We would read texts by political actors and scholars engaged with decolonization (group A), as well as more recent scholarly works (Group B). The goal of the course is to invite graduate students to think through the ways in which the political thought generated by decolonization could make us revisit some of the familiar concepts of political theory, as well as suggest new lines of scholarly inquiry.

      • Capitalism: New Approaches in History and Theory, GPHI 6290
        Nancy Fraser, Henry A and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, and Eli Zaretsky, Professor of History

        After a period of relative neglect, scholars and activists are again taking up the study of capitalism. Returning to the concerns of Marx, they are seeking the roots of our present crises and injustices in the social system he theorized and criticized. But today’s studies of capitalism do not simply repeat earlier critiques. At their best, they incorporate the fruits of recent intellectual-political paradigms focused on ecology, gender, racism, imperialism, democracy, law and the digital. In this seminar, we survey some of the most important efforts to integrate such concerns with the enduring insights of the Marxian tradition. Readings by Moishe Postone, David Harvey, Jason W. Moore, Silvia Federici, Maria Mies, Vandana Shiva, Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Shoshanna Zuboff, Brett Christophers and Katharina Pistor, among others. 

      • Husserl & Kant, GPHI 6550
        James Dodd, Professor of Philosophy

        The importance of a reading of Kant for Husserlian phenomenology cannot be overestimated. Husserl's interpretation of Kant, as well as his struggle against rival interpretations (e.g., by neo-Kantians), is a key element of his philosophical development. Moreover, it is clear that any assessment of Husserl's transcendental idealism requires an engagement with Kant's legacy. In this seminar we will develop a comparative reading of Husserl and Kant that will take both of these ways of posing the question of their relation into account. Our focus will be on phenomenological interpretations of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and The Critique of Practical Reason, taking as our interpretative point of departure Husserl's Ideas I and his Formal and Transcendental Logic, as well as a number of lectures and shorter essays. We will also consider the question of possible phenomenological approaches to Kant's Critique of Judgment from a Husserlian perspective.

      • Hamlet and Philosophy, GPHI 6669
        Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy

        The objective of this seminar is deceptively simple: to read Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Yet how are we to approach Shakespeare's longest, densest and most philosophically self-conscious drama? In addition to reading the play together slowly, collectively and line by line, we will look at the play in the company of a number of readers, notably Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Hegel, Schelling, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan and Heiner Mueller. A number of problematics will be encountered: the political stakes of Hamlet, the nature of male and female sexuality in the play, the problem of nihilism, the theological background of Hamlet and the way in which it characterizes our so-called 'modernity', tragedy and the production of shame. It is hoped that our reading will add up to a kind of hamlet doctrine that might tell us something about why this play continues to fascinate us and to shape what we think of as our present.

      • Kant and Hegel on Political Philosophy, GPHI 6714
        Jay Bernstein, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

        In this course we shall be comparing Kant and Hegel’s central texts on political philosophy: “Metaphysical First Principles of the Doctrine of Right” from Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, and Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right. The guiding questions in the course will be: What are the different versions of political freedom offered by Kant and Hegel? How do their accounts of private property converge or differ? How do they conceive of the relation between economy and the state? Are they both offering a liberal account of the modern state, or is Hegel’s account better conceived of as a version of civic republicanism? How do liberalism and civic republicanism differ? Does the problem of the rabble – or the development of capital – undermine Hegel’s theory? How does each conceive of the relationship between moral norms and the realm of law?

      • Hermeneutics, GPHI 6782
        Dmitri Nikulin, Professor of Philosophy

        This seminar is a discussion of ways of reading and interpreting texts through the approaches of Plato, Aristotle, Schleiermacher, Gadamer, Georgia Warnke, and other thinkers.

      • Outspoken Selves, GPHI 6783
        Daniel Rodriguez-Navas, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

        This seminar will be an investigation of the relation between self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-constitution, and the capacity to speak about ourselves. Our working hypothesis will be that the forms of self-awareness and of self-knowledge that are taken to be distinctively human are dependent on the capacity to produce statements about ourselves, and that one of the consequences of this is that self-constitution is nothing over and above the acquisition and exercise of that capacity. The final part of the seminar will be an investigation of the ethical and political implications of that hypothesis, and it will be focused on narrative approaches to the self. Some of the authors we will read are: Descartes, Hume, Kant, Husserl, Zahavi, Sartre, Castañeda, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Anscombe, Moran, Sellars, Golpnik, Goodman, Ricoeur, MacIntyre, Foucault, G. Strawson, Fanon, Weir, Brison.

      • Crimes Against Humanity & The Philosophy of International Law, GPHI 6784
        Jay Bernstein, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

        Crimes against humanity refers to certain acts committed in the context of a large-scale, planned and/or systematic attack targeting civilians, often regardless of their nationality. The acts include murder, torture, sexual violence, enslavement, persecution, enforced disappearance, etc. Standardly, these attacks are carried out by the state itself or its agents or tolerated as if the destruction were state policy. The prohibition on crimes against humanity can only be a matter of international law because it concerns a state’s wrongful violence against its own citizens. Crimes against humanity thus reveal a fundamental limit on state sovereignty. Fundamental norms of international law, after a brief moment of flourishing, since 2001 have fallen victim to a “period sober disillusionment.” In this course, after working through the case for a crimes against humanity statute, we will interrogate the philosophical justifications and critiques of (post-natural law) fundamental international law principles, the meaning and limits of state sovereignty, the context between national self-determination and international law, “The Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) Principle , and a range of urgent international law issues including the proposal for an international law against ecocide.

      • The Three Faces of Labor: Uncovering the Hidden Ties Between Gender, Race and Class, GPHI 6785
        Nancy Fraser, Henry A and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science

      • Arts and Communication, GPHI 6788
        Zed Adams, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy; Co-director, Institute for Philosophy and the New Humanities

        It is a commonplace to say that art allows for a distinctive form of communication, irreplaceable by other forms. We say that pictures cannot be put into words, and that metaphors cannot be translated into literal speech. In this seminar, we will examine a number of competing accounts of what might make artistic communication distinctive, with a special focus on the use of color in visual art and the use of metaphor in literature. 

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