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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. Fall 2022 courses include:

      Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, GPHI 6018
      Jay Bernstein, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

      Psychoanalysis and Deconstruction, GPHI 6034
      Alan Bass, Part-Time Faculty 

      Descartes, GPHI 6035
      Dmitri Nikulin, Professor of Philosophy

      The course is a general introduction to the philosophy of Descartes and the classical problems associated with it (e.g., the constitution of the modern subject, instrumental thinking, the problem of dualism, and the Cartesian circle). The core text will be Meditations on First Philosophy, but we also read and discuss Objections and Replies, Discourse on Method, Passions of the Soul, and Descartes' correspondence. Special emphasis is placed on the role of the will and of Cartesian ethics in addressing (if not quite resolving) the classical metaphysical and epistemological challenges to Descartes. 

      Mysticism, GPHI 6125 
      Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy, and Eugene Thacker, Professor of Media Studies

      In the wake of COVID-19, many of us have grown used to being hermits, socially distanced and advancing masked against a contaminated and untrustworthy reality defined by pestilence, suffering, and death. In a world of contagion—possibly being contagious ourselves—we have followed a practice that the ancients called anachoreisis, a withdrawal into solitude, a retreat from the world. Whether we liked it or not, we all became anchorites. There is a strange asceticism to the world of lockdown and disease which opened us up to extreme experiences of doubt, dereliction, dreams, hypochondria, hallucination, and a desperate desire for love or a connection with something or someone outside or larger than the self. These experiences and emotions have profound historical and religious echoes with the logic, poetics, and practices of mysticism. It is as if something elemental and primeval has been revived in the pandemic. Perhaps it is worth looking into. It seems to us, then, that this might be an opportune moment to study some mystical texts together and think about the nature of mystical experience. Such is the simple purpose of this seminar. In its attempts to articulate religious experience in thought, mysticism both borrows heavily from philosophy and undermines its standard procedures. What often results is a strange philosophy of contradictions, confessions, and enigmas. While not being blind to the many mystical traditions, we focus on Christian mysticism, especially medieval texts, and especially those written by women. Authors that may be included are Dionysius the Areopagite, Hadewych of Antwerp, Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Porete, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Angela of Foligno, and others. The seminar also includes selections from more recent authors who inspired this tradition, such as William James, Bataille, Lacan, Michel de Certeau, Simone Weil, R.D. Laing, Caroline Bynum, and Amy Hollywood. We pay attention to the political dimension of these traditions that are focused around the odd phenomenon of mystical anarchism. And we also pay attention to the relation of mystical experience to popular music in various forms. 

      Philosophy and Literature, GPHI 6598  
      Chiara Bottici, Associate Professor of Philosophy

      What does it mean to write? What is the difference, if any, between philosophical and literary modes of writing? If it is true, as some have claimed, that a myth is deposited into our language, can there be philosophy without literature? And, vice versa: If philosophy positions us in the world, can there be a literature that is not, at least to some degree, philosophical? Furthermore, who can write what? Is there a gender in writing or a gendered way of writing? Can (or should) women write? And what about other subaltern groups? What role do they have? Admitting that they can speak, can (or should) they also write? If so, what and for whom? 

      Husserl's Crisis of the European Sciences, GPHI 6678 
      James Dodd, Professor of Philosophy

      In this seminar course we will develop a close analysis of Husserl’s last work, The Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, which counts as the most complete expression of Husserl’s mature thought. The purpose of the book was to rethink the aims and methods of phenomenological philosophy, making this text a unique resource for any attempt to come to terms with the philosophical legacy of phenomenology.

      Socrates' Women, GPHI 6790 
      Cinzia Arruzza, Associate Professor of Philosophy

      Discussions about the nature and virtues of women, sexual difference, and women’s proper role within the city and/or the household were prominent within the Socratic circle and later Socratics. This course will focus on this ancient debate. We read fragments and testimonies concerning Aeschines, Antisthenes, and Xenophon; passages from Plato's dialogues and from Aristotle's Politics and biological works; and influential contemporary feminist interpretations of these texts. 

      Animal Crisis, GPHI 6791 
      Alice Crary, University Distinguished Professor

      It is urgently necessary to change the conversation about animal ethics. That thesis guides this seminar’s wide-ranging exploration of the animal question in ethics. Starting with an introduction to the discipline’s mainstream, we ask about the limitations and costs of treating animal ethics as an isolated area of study, and we explore the possibility of making it more world-oriented and politically relevant by reconceiving it as a distinctive critical theory, specifically one with ties to ecofeminism, theories of racial capitalism, ecological Marxism, theories of social reproduction, and Indigenous thought. We consistently foreground questions about the actual treatment of animals with an eye to addressing these questions’ importance in the midst of an unfolding environmental catastrophe, at a time when it is undeniable that the human use and devastation of animals, and their habitats, represent a threat to the continued existence not only of animals but of human beings and of a living earth. Seminar materials are interdisciplinary, emphasizing work in ethics and social philosophy and also including not only work in ethology, social theory, history, and journalism but also literature and (narrative and documentary) film. We read authors such as Theodor Adorno, Joshua Bennett, Bénédicte Boisseron, Cora Diamond, John Bellamy Foster, Lori Gruen, Max Horkheimer, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Claire Jean Kim, Aph Ko, Syl Ko, Christine Korsgaard, Jeff McMahan, Carolyn Merchant, Jennifer Morgan, Johanna Oksala, Val Plumwood, Cedric Robinson, Peter Singer, and Kyle Powys Whyte. 

      Soccer and Philosophy: The Agony and the Ecstasy of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, GPHI 6792 
      Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy

      Thinking and Feeling: An Introduction to Affect Theory, GPHI 6796 
      Benjamin Lee, Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy

      Affect theory is an alternative to traditional models of subjectivity that emphasize decision making and rationality. One of the philosophical forefathers of affect theory is Henri Bergson, who developed a "flow" model based on our experience of time and duration. This course explores flow models in philosophy and literary studies and culminates in a close reading of two classics of contemporary affect theory, Lauren Berlant's Cruel Optimism and Sianne Ngai's The Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form

      Later Lacan, GPHI 6797  
      Jamieson Webster, Part-Time Assistant Professor

      This course is a second course on Jacques Lacan, looking closely at his later work. Starting with Seminar XI in 1964, moving through the seminars that surround May ’68 that examine the concepts of discourse and act, and concluding with the late work on knots, psychosis, logic, language beyond sense, and jouissance, we consider what changed in Lacan's thinking after his excommunication from the International Psychoanalytic Association. We also look at papers by Miller, Althusser, Badiou, Cassin, Derrida, and others whose work on psychoanalysis took root in the later Lacan. 

      Philosophy of Law, GPHI 6798 
      Judith Butler, Presidential Visiting Scholar 

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