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    • 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 2021 courses include:

      • Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, GPHI 6065
        Omri Boehm, Associate Professor of Philosophy

        The course will involve a close reading of the Critique of Pure Reason. Among the topics we will analyze in class are the motivations for the Copernican turn; the synthetic-a priori; the nature of space, time and causality; transcendental idealism as the thesis that we know appearances and not things in themselves; Kant's understanding of subjectivity; the transcendental deduction; Kant's claim that rational thinking results in unavoidable metaphysical illusions (e.g. the Antinomies).

      • The Basic Works of Freud, GPHI 6072
        Alan Bass, Part-time Faculty

      • The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, GPHI 6074
        James Dodd, Professor of Philosophy

        This course provides an introduction to the project of classical phenomenology as it is found in the writings of Husserl and Heidegger. Topics include expression and meaning, consciousness and Dasein, time and temporality, perception and intentionality, and evidence and truth.

      • Aristotle's Ethics, GPHI 6090
        Dmitri Nikulin, Professor of Philosophy

      • The Philosophy of Human Rights, GPHI 6705
        Jay Bernstein, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

        The idea that we each possess fundamental rights that have something to do with our moral standing and status in the world is now widely if not universally accepted. Yet, the notion of rights is far from transparent. This course will look at competing theories concerning the nature, function, justification, and significance of rights. The course will contrast, in particular, the demanding claim that there are human rights that each human possesses simply by having been born, with the traditional view that rights are legal items that must be politically or legally posited in order to exist. Among the authors to be considered will be Marx, Arendt, Charles Beitz, James Griffin, Claude Lefort, and Samuel Moyn.

      • Thinking Through Interfaces, GPHI 6732
        Zed Adams, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy

        Interfaces are everywhere and nowhere. They pervade our lives, mediating our interactions with one another, technology, and the world. But their very pervasiveness also makes them invisible. In this seminar, we expose the hidden lives of interfaces, illuminating not just what they are and how they work, but also how they shape our lives, for better and worse. We also discuss a number of pressing social and political issues, such as why we are quick to adopt some interfaces (e.g., smartphones and social media platforms), but reluctant to embrace others (e.g., new voting machines and Google Glass).

      • Jacques Lacan, GPHI 6760
        Jamieson Webster, Part-Time Faculty

        Many become familiar with the work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan through a few of his major papers collected in the volume titled “Écrits”, or, through his system as disseminated by thinkers in diverse fields such as Shoshana Felman, Judith Butler, Slavoj Zizek, and Alain Badiou, to name only a few. In this course, we will study the transcripts of Lacan’s seminars, stretched over 28 years of teaching. From his reading of key works by Freud, to his interpretation of Schreber’s Memoir of My Nervous Illness, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Sophocles’ Antigone, Plato’s The Symposium, and Joyce’s Ulysses, we will touch on the question of the unconscious, language, anxiety, symptoms, trauma, and desire.

      • Foucault's Ethical Views, GPHI 6771
        Daniel Rodriguez-Navas, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

        Foucault's intellectual career is often divided into three periods: knowledge, power and ethics. While scholars are largely in agreement about the results of his work during the first two periods (i.e. about his views about knowledge and his views about power), there is no consensus about his work in the third, ethical period: about his ethical views, or about what his contribution to philosophical thought about ethics might be. The goal of the seminar is to address this issue. Following Foucault's own claim that to the "absence of morality" characteristic of our times "must correspond the search for an aesthetics of existence", and since as Arnold Davidson has noted, Foucault was usually his own best interpreter, our working hypothesis will be that the notion of the aesthetics of existence is the key for understanding Foucault's ethical project. 

      • Fashion & Philosophy, GPHI 6778
        Gwen Grewal, Onassis Lecturer in Ancient Greek Thought and Language

        There is a quarrel between philosophy and fashion, lesser known than but as ancient as the quarrel between philosophy and poetry. This quarrel, too, is the reflection of an apparent philosophic partiality to being over appearing. Fashion has a reputation for being swept up by the phenomena. In its preoccupation with beautiful surfaces, it flirts with the sophistic view that reality is mere shadow play, and so presses the deepest of philosophical buttons. But is there more to fashion than meets the eye? The “philosopher”, turned quasi-professional in Plato’s Academy and newly clad in tailormade nudity, is a politically controversial figure akin to fashion’s most powerful insurgent, the dandy. The dandy, at once rebel and gadfly, takes after both Alcibiades and Socrates, sporting a leisurely knack for understanding and undermining the power of appearances. This course will pay special attention to the kinship between dressing and dying, reimagining philosophy’s desire for disembodied observation as potentially equivalent to a wish to displace and transcend the self with a meta-nudity of clothes. What is the status of “body” in philosophy and fashion? Is an attentiveness to appearances required for philosophy’s inquiry into what is beyond them? Is this the “fashion sense”? We will discuss these topics primarily through a close reading of texts from Euripides and Plato, alongside excerpts from later thinkers—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Simone de Beauvoir, Anne Hollander, and others—and relevant movements in fashion, such as la Sape.

      • Marxist Feminism: A Genealogy of U.S. Feminist Theory, GPHI 6779
        Kathi Weeks, Visiting Professor at NSSR, Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University

        The course explores the U.S. Marxist feminist theoretical tradition. We will consider the past, present, and future of a variety of post-1960 feminist reformulations of Marxist concepts and methods designed to theorize and contest heteropatriarchal racial capitalism. Topics may include the domestic labor debate, social reproduction theory, prison abolitionism, wages for housework, transgender Marxism, postwork feminism, gestational labor, sex work, and queer Marxism.

      • Normativity: Issues & Approaches, GPHI 6780
        Daniel Rodriguez-Navas, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

        Much in our lives, individual and communal, is structured around the practices of making evaluative and prescriptive judgements, individually or collectively. “Normativity” designates what is distinctive of such practices insofar as they involve the (sometimes implicit) use of *things* (all sorts of things) as evaluative or prescriptive norms or standards. This seminar will be a survey of a number of questions of and approaches to normativity, problems such as the relation between normality and normativity; how to distinguish between different types of normativity and of norms; what the ‘sources’ of different types of normativity are, and relatedly, about the metaphysical status of various types of normativity. Some of the authors we will read in the course are Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Canguilhem, Foucault, Frege, MacFarlane, Wittgenstein, Goodman, David Gauthier, Korsgaard, Kolodny and Ruth Chang. 

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