The Catholic University of America

Course Descriptions

Philosophy (PHIL) Graduate Courses

To view the complete schedule of courses for
each semester, go to Cardinal Station.

PHIL 505: Moral Issues in Health Care

3.00 Credits

Study of ethical principles and their application to such issues as the right to health care, abortion, eugenics, reproductive technologies, human experimentation, behavior control, and euthanasia. For nursing students only.

PHIL 510: Freedom and the Human Person

3.00 Credits

Investigation of the meaning and fate of freedom, through study of great thinkers of the Western tradition. Topics include the relation between political freedom and the good life, the individual's exercise of freedom, the relation between freedom and the natural order, and challenges to freedom from historicism and scientific reductionism. Emphasis placed on the relation of freedom to nature within the human person.

PHIL 556: Senior Seminar

3.00 Credits

no description available

PHIL 561: Functions of Philosophy in Theology

3.00 Credits

Covers themes such as kinds of discourse involved with Christian faith and the place of philosophy in the theological discourse; the relationship between natural reason and faith as reflected in early Church councils, the work of Anselm and Aquinas, and modern philosophy; hermeneutics and Christian experience; natural ethics and the theological virtues; philosophy as the exploration of natural necessities and theology as the thought about faith and revelation.

PHIL 601: Philosophy of Science

3.00 Credits

A study of what it means to be scientific according to the current consensus, and of the difficulties in attempting to be scientific in dealing with human beings. Nursing students only. Others by permission of the School.

PHIL 602: History of Medieval Philosophy

3.00 Credits

Surveys selected major figures in the history of Western philosophical thought, from Augustine to William of Ockham. Concentrates on primary sources. Primarily for students in the Program in Medieval and Byzantine Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences.

PHIL 603: The Ethics of Belief

3.00 Credits

Recent analytic philosophers have advanced the argument that Christian beliefs are irrational since there is insufficient evidence for holding them. Christian philosophers of the analytic school have in turn responded to the objection with different and mutually incompatible replies based upon different and mutually incompatible epistemologies. The purpose of this seminar is to study the evidentialist objection to Christian beliefs, to study the various replies to it by prominent analytic philosophers, to study the epistemologies underlying the objection and replies, and to show how Aquinas speaks to the objection.

PHIL 604: Plato: Statesman

3.00 Credits

This course offers a detailed examination and interpretation of Plato's Statesman. Special emphasis will be placed on elucidating the political model advanced in this text, the dialectical use of myth, and the relation between philosophy and statesmanship. Our exploration of these themes will involve consideration of some of the most intriguing and fascinating aspects of Plato's late metaphysics and epistemology: the dialectical method of collection and division, the communion of forms, the doctrine of due measure or the mean, etc. A holistic approach, integrating ethical, epistemological and metaphysical threads, will guide our discussion all the way.

PHIL 605: Art and Nature in German Idealism

3.00 Credits

An introduction to German Idealism, mainly focusing on the philosophy of art and the philosophy of nature as twin subjects stemming from Kant's Critique of Judgment. We will read selections from Kant, Goethe, Schiller, Schelling, Schlegel, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. Familiarity with Kant's three Critiques is a 'should,' though not a 'must.'

PHIL 606: The Origins of the Platonic Tradition

3.00 Credits

The aim of this course will be to identify the basic features of Plato's developing metaphysics and philosophical psychology. It will require detailed reading of the Symposium and the Republic with more than passing glances at other dialogues, both earlier and later, but especially the Phaedo, Phaedrus, Sophist and Philebus. Its purpose will be to give an account of Plato's position without anachronistic readings, yet still with an eye to contemporary philosophical needs.

PHIL 607: Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

3.00 Credits

A close reading of Hegel's first mature statement of his philosophic system, a work he called his 'voyage of discovery.' Among points to be considered: What does Hegel mean by 'science of the experience of consciousness' as the history of the 'shapes and forms' of consciousness itself? How does this science contain a probing criticism of modern philosophy, one which proceeds 'as the path of doubt, or, more authentically, as the path of despair' toward an affirmation of reason? How does this path of thought arise out of problems in Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy? How does it attempt to reconcile modern thought and institutions with Christianity?

PHIL 608: The Beginning and End of Human Life: Ethical and Metaphysical Controversies

3.00 Credits

An exploration of contemporary ethical and metaphysical controversies regarding the beginning and end of human life. The course begins with an overview of basic ethical concepts and principles, then goes on to examine contemporary philosophical debates on issues such as euthanasia, brain death, abortion and assisted reproductive technologies. Specific topics to be covered can be tailored to the interests of students. Examination of these issues will also involve an evaluation of competing accounts of personal identity ' the psychological view, the animalist view, and the Aristotelian-Thomistic hylomorphic view. Readings will be taken mostly from the works of contemporary philosophers and bioethicists, such as Patrick Lee, Robert George, Jeff McMahan, Robert Veatch, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Mary Ann Warren, Julian Savulescu, John Keown and Francis Beckwith.

PHIL 609: Virtue and Human Action

3.00 Credits

Discusses the role of action, character, and virtue in ethics. Reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics; writings of Aquinas, Kant, and Mill; and a book by Yves R. Simon.

PHIL 610: Substantial Unity

3.00 Credits

What sort of unity must something have in order to count as a true substance and not a mere heap or collection? This question will be examined by considering sources from the history of philosophy up to the present.

PHIL 612: Wittgenstein's Tractatus

3.00 Credits

An introduction to the text, beginning with its roots in Frege and focusing on basic conceptions like the difference between atomic facts and states of affairs, the picture theory of meaning, logic as tautology.

PHIL 613: Contemporary Virtue Ethics

3.00 Credits

Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958) is typically credited for reawakening contemporary interest in the virtues. In recent years, "virtue ethics" has emerged as a credible alternative to deontological and utilitarian ethical theories. Especially because contemporary accounts depart from classical accounts of virtue in fundamental ways, however, it is not always clear what "virtue ethics" is. In this course we will examine the origins of contemporary virtue ethics, as well as the different versions of virtue ethics that contemporary theorists now advocate.

PHIL 623: Moral Issues in Aquinas

3.00 Credits

An examination of Aquinas's moral theory, with a focus on STh II-II q.64 a.3. This course will examine various scholarly interpretations of Aquinas's pivotal article on killing in self-defense, with a special focus on the way in which this text has served as the basis for 'double effect' reasoning. In addition to examining relevant texts from Aquinas and the history of 'double effect' reasoning, this course will examine the specification of moral action, the theory of Proportionalism, and the notion of intrinsic evil. Although we will occasionally deal with Aquinas's treatment of concrete ethical issues such as lying and murder, this course will mainly seek to examine the philosophical principles that serve as the foundation of Aquinas's broader moral theory.

PHIL 624: Aquinas on Book of Causes

3.00 Credits

Initially received by the Latin West as a work of Aristotle's, the Neoplatonic Book of Causes (Liber de Causis) was recognized first by Thomas Aquinas to be an Arabic work consisting of emended excerpts from Proclus's Elements of Theology. This course will consist of a slow reading of Thomas's Commentary on the Book of Causes, one of his later works (1272). Focus will be on metaphysical themes such as the nature of causality in general, God's creative act, and the nature of the separate substances. Special attention will be paid to Thomas's interpretation of the Book of Causes in light of the thought of Aristotle and Ps.-Dionysius. Some familiarity with both Latin and Aquinas's metaphysics is recommended but not required.

PHIL 625: Aquinas on the Virtues

3.00 Credits

An examination of Aquinas's understanding of virtue. Among other topics, this course will examine the relation of virtue to man's 'end,' the formation of virtue, and contemporary debates over the possibility of "pagan" virtue. We will also address Aquinas's notion of 'infused' virtue

PHIL 626: Aquinas's On the Separate Substances

3.00 Credits

This course will consist of a slow reading of Thomas Aquinas's De substantiis separatis (1271). Written with the expressed theological intention of 'showing the excellence of the holy angels as far as possible,' this unfinished work is nevertheless predominantly philosophical in its investigation, examining the history and accuracy of philosophical views regarding the separate substances. The course will focus on metaphysical themes in this work, such as the existence and nature of the separate substances, their causal role in the order of the universe, and their relation to God. Special attention will be paid to Aquinas's treatment of his predecessors' views on these and other relevant issues. In addition, comparison will be made with his consideration of the separate substances in some of his other works, most notably the earlier De spiritualibus creaturis (1267'1268). Some familiarity both with Latin and with Aquinas's metaphysics is recommended, but not required.

PHIL 628: Thomistic Principles in Political Philosophy Today

3.00 Credits

Lord Acton in one of his Essays in the history of liberty praises Aquinas as 'the First Whig.' To test the limits of this title we will examine how 20th-century Thomists have drawn upon such concepts as person, liberty, community, practical wisdom (prudence), common good, civitas, common sense, the division of powers, sin, epistemological realism, `secular,' and others, from the works of Aquinas.

PHIL 640: Habits and Virtues in Aquinas

3.00 Credits

An examination of the role that habits and virtues play in Aquinas's moral theory. Among other topics, this course will examine the formation of virtue, the relationship between prudence and the moral virtues, and contemporary debates over the possibility of "pagan" virtue.

PHIL 671: Medieval and Contemporary Theories of Virtue

3.00 Credits

no description available

PHIL 696: Master's Thesis Research

0 Credits

This course bills at the equivalent of one credit hour.

PHIL 698A: Master's Comprehensive Examination (w/Classes)

0 Credits

no description available

PHIL 698B: Master's Comprehensive Examination (w/o Classes)

0 Credits

Enrollment in this course bills at the equivalent of one credit hour.

PHIL 703: Dante and Philosophy

3.00 Credits

A reading of the Convivio and the Commedia, with focus on philosophical themes. Reading knowledge of Italian is recommended, but not required.

PHIL 717: Plato's Timaeus

3.00 Credits

The Timaeus, which was a rather neglected dialogue, has recently become a focus for scholarship. The class will focus on a careful reading of this dialogue as well as an assessment of some of the secondary literature. Discussions will center on the main philosophical issues. At the end we will consider the afterlife of this text in the Hellenistic, Latin and Islamic worlds.

PHIL 721: Philosophy of Language

3.00 Credits

Examines key themes in the philosophy of language. Topics will include some or all of the following: the relationship between language and thought; meaning; supposition and signification; sense and reference; theories of naming; referential opacity; speech acts; semantics and pragmatics. Texts from various periods of the history of philosophy will be examined.

PHIL 723: Aristotle's De anima

3.00 Credits

A close reading of the text, with special emphasis on Books I and II. The course focuses on Aristotle's use of the categories of potentiality and actuality and on the ensouled body as a continuous and active whole.

PHIL 724: Aristotle's Categories and On Interpretation

3.00 Credits

The elements of Aristotle's material logic, and their interpretation by late antique and twentieth century commentators. Includes reference to Plato's Cratylus and Sophist.

PHIL 725: Aristotle's Generation of Animals

3.00 Credits

A careful reading of Books I and II of the Generation of Animals, as well as of select passages from Books III-V. The course will focus on the presence and activity of the soul as the cause of the generation of the living substance. Some relevant passages from Aristotle's Physics, Metaphysics, and De Anima will also be considered.

PHIL 726: Plato's Meno

3.00 Credits

A careful reading of Plato's dialogue on virtue and learning. Particular attention is given to the account of learning as recollection, the relationship between knowledge and virtue, and the overall unity of the dialogue. Additionally, the place of recollection in the Platonic corpus and the Aristotelian response to this account of how knowledge is acquired will be examined.

PHIL 728: Humans, Persons, and Embryos: The Philosophy of the Abortion Debate

3.00 Credits

An examination of philosophical arguments about abortion. Among other topics, this course will examine philosophical debates about delayed hominization, personhood, and parental responsibility.

PHIL 729: Aristotle's Posterior Analytics

3.00 Credits

The Posterior Analytics is one of the most important texts for the medieval development of Aristotelian philosophy. This course is a close study of the text in its ancient context. Topics include theory of science, explanation through causes, induction and deduction, definition and signification.

PHIL 730: The Metaphysics of Creation in Aquinas's De Potentia

3.00 Credits

A consideration of Aquinas's metaphysical doctrine of creation as it is presented in his work Quaestiones disputatae De potentia. In addition to addressing what Aquinas means by 'creation', this course will examine such topics as how a multiplicity of things can be caused by one first principle, whether God creates freely or of necessity, and whether God alone can create. Some familiarity with both Latin and Aquinas's metaphysics is recommended for this course, although neither is required.

PHIL 747: Plotinus

3.00 Credits

Careful reading of extensive selections from the Enneads, with a view to developing a synthetic understanding of Plotinus' philosophy. Emphasis on metaphysical issues, but attention also given to ethical, aesthetic, and spiritual dimensions of Plotinus' thought.

PHIL 749: Plato's Theory of Forms

3.00 Credits

Examines the theory in its metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical dimensions, from its appearance in the early dialogues to its full presentation in the middle dialogues, and its critical discussion in the later dialogues.

PHIL 750: Kant's Critique of Practical Reason

3.00 Credits

An examination of Kant's account of how pure reason is practical and of freedom as the keystone of "a system of pure reason, even of speculative reason." Continues the cycle of courses dedicated to Kant's three Critiques.

PHIL 751: Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom

3.00 Credits

Considers the major positions taken on the problem of the reconciliation of divine foreknowledge and human freedom. Begins with Aristotle's De interpretatione IX, then considers the development of the issue by Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, and Molina. Also considers the contemporary discussion of this issue and these figures by analytic philosophers of religion.

PHIL 753: Aristotle's Physics

3.00 Credits

This course is an introduction to the premodern science of nature as presented in the Physics of Aristotle. The Metaphysics and the Commentary on the Physics of Thomas Aquinas will also be used in presenting issues and clarifying difficult and often cryptic arguments. Two questions guide the reading: What is the internal unity of the work? What is the relation between Aristotle's Physics and our own tradition of natural science?

PHIL 754: The Problem of Evil in Neoplatonic Philosophy

3.00 Credits

Plotinus' conception of evil as mere privation of the good resolved the problem of dualism which Plato seemed to have accepted in his dialogues. However, his interpretation did not remain unchallenged. Proclus defended the existence of evil against Plotinus and claimed that although absolute evil does not exist, evils, which are not just privations of the good but contraries to it, do. The course will focus primarily on Plotinus, Ennead I, 8 (Where Do Evils Come From?) and on Proclus, On the Existence of Evils, but cover relevant texts from Plato's dialogues and from other Platonic thinkers too. Some knowledge of Greek and Latin is welcome, but not required.

PHIL 755: Three Ways to Utopia

3.00 Credits

Human beings time and again have dreamed of an ideal society, often disastrously. In the Republic Plato tried to build a perfect society on the basis of a realist metaphysics and a brilliant (but ultimately flawed, as he himself later realized) theory of human nature. Augustine's view of human nature was darker and induced him to abandon the classical ideal of a good society and concentrate on the moral virtues (so far as they can be achieved) of the good Christian. Thomas More was fascinated by platonizing schemes, but as a hardened Augustinian recognized their inevitable weaknesses. In this course we shall therefore look at Plato's Republic. Augustine's City of God (books 11-end) and More' Utopia. Hopefully we may be able to draw some realistic conclusions.

PHIL 759: Medieval and Contemporary Theories of Free Choice

3.00 Credits

Medieval and contemporary theorists about free choice in part share the same inquiries, but in part they also complement each other in the questions they ask and the solutions they develop. Hence they can be put into fruitful dialogue, as this course will attempt to do. The medievals debated questions like the definition of free choice (liberum arbitrium), the origin of evil, the interaction of intellect and will in causing acts of free choice, and the compatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom. Our own contemporary debates center on the relation between alternative possibilities and moral responsibility and on the compatibility of free choice with determinism and with indeterminism. In this course we will study and discuss some of the most representative medieval texts and contemporary positions.

PHIL 764: Divine Providence: Book 3 of the Summa contra Gentiles

3.00 Credits

The purpose of the first three books of the Summa contra gentiles is to articulate the ways in which Aristotelianism coheres with the truths of the Christian faith. The purpose of this course is to engage in a close reading of Book III of the Summa contra gentiles. In accord with the internal division of the text, the course will consider three main issues. The first is God as the end and good of all things. The main focus in this section, and indeed of the course, will be on the question of human happiness: How does Aristotelian eudaimonism cohere with the Christian faith? What is the end of man? Is there a natural end or a supernatural end? The very possibility of a Thomistic "ethic" depends upon how that question is answered. The second main issue is God's general governance of things: How does God govern things in a way that allows for genuine creaturely causality and autonomy? The third main issue is God's governance of rational creatures by law: How do divine and natural law function in God's providence?

PHIL 765: Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas I

3.00 Credits

Based on a close reading of qq. 5 and 6 of Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius and other texts, this course will consider his views concerning the nature and subject of metaphysics, our discovery of being as being, analogical predication of being, participation and the problem of the one and the many, and the distinction and composition of essence and esse in finite beings.

PHIL 766: Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas II

3.00 Credits

This course presupposes the completion of Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas, Part I, or its equivalent. This course will concentrate on Aquinas's view on the essential structure of finite being. Topics will include his views on the nature of substance and accident, the derivation of the predicaments, the relationship between the individual subject and the act of being (esse), the issue of a distinctive esse for accidents, the causal relation between substance and accidents, the relationship between the soul and its powers, the nature of prime matter and substantial form, unicity of substantial form and the problem of the individuation of material substances.

PHIL 767: Aquinas on Infused and Acquired Virtue

3.00 Credits

A study of Aquinas's theory of virtue as it is presented in the Summa Theologiae and in his Quaestiones disputatae De virtutibus. This course will (a) examine the differences between the infused and acquired moral virtue and (b) consider the role that each type of virtue plays in Aquinas' broader moral theory.

PHIL 769: Aquinas and His Contemporaries on Conscience and Prudence

3.00 Credits

This course concentrates on Thomas Aquinas's accounts of conscience and prudence, the guides of moral action in the particular. Historically, these notions have different origins (patristic theology vs. classical Greek philosophy). They are attributed similar and yet importantly different roles in medieval ethics. By contrasting these two notions, we can attain a better understanding of the nature of each. Comparing Aquinas's position with rival accounts (especially St. Bonaventure's teaching on conscience and Duns Scotus's and William of Ockham's accounts of prudence) will allow for a better grasp of Aquinas's position and for a deeper philosophical assessment of its key points.

PHIL 770: Kant's Moral and Political Philosophy

3.00 Credits

A comprehensive study of Kant's major writings in moral and political philosophy, including the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, the Critique of Practical Reason, the Metaphysics of Morals, and several political and historical essays.

PHIL 776: Plato's Laws

3.00 Credits

A careful reading of Plato's other great dialogue about politics. Particular scrutiny of the following issues: the Laws's relationship to the Republic, the unity of the work, the nature of law, the relationship of natural right and natural theology, similarities with the moral and political philosophy of Aristotle.

PHIL 781: Descartes' Science

3.00 Credits

Regulae, Le Monde, Discourse, Principles. Mathematization of nature: what is gained, what is lost? Traditional cosmology of natural goodness vs. Descartes's cosmogony of natural indifference (eidetic vs. genetic accounts). Method and mastery vs. theoria and wonder. The problem of judgment and causality.

PHIL 785: Avicenna's De Anima

3.00 Credits

In the Shifâ' Avicenna gave his most extensive presentation of his views on the soul. The Medieval Latin translation became famous and very influential. Thanks to the courtesy of Dr. Deborah Black, we will be able to use the draft of the complete English translation of the Arabic text that she and Dr. Michael Marmura worked on. This translation will be posted on Blackboard. There are two editions of the Arabic text and Simone Van Riet critically edited the Medieval Latin text (this edition includes detailed indices). In medieval fashion we will carefully read this text together and at times examine further developments in referring to some other works of Ibn Sînâ. Though considering himself an Aristotelian, Ibn Sînâ did not hesitate to be innovative in his views on the soul and, among other developments, presented a highly sophisticated and detailed study of the inner senses.

PHIL 787: Averroes and Aquinas on the Intellect

3.00 Credits

In his On There Being Only One Intellect (De unitate intellectus) written against the Averroists, Aquinas claims that Averroes cannot explain a simple fact, i.e., 'this human being understands.' This critique seems devastating. Yet, in a famous article, Deborah L. Black argued that, pace Aquinas, Averroes can give an account of this basic fact of human life. In order to determine whether Aquinas's critique of Averroes was really on target, we will first carefully read the De unitate intellectus and then delve into passages of Averroes' Long Commentary on the De anima, the text Aquinas had at hand in a Latin translation (the Arabic is lost). For Averroes text we will use the manuscript of the translation (by Richard C. Taylor with Thérèse-Anne Druart) forthcoming from Yale University Press.

PHIL 789: Abelard & Twelfth Century Thought

3.00 Credits

This course will focus upon the writings of Peter Abelard (1079-1142), chiefly the Historia calamitatum, the Logica ingredientibus, and several of the theological treatises, in particular the Theologia scholarium, and the Theologia Christiana. Situating Abelard into the various historical, cultural, and religious contexts that framed his life, we will explore the significance of his thought and its impact upon contemporary and subsequent twelfth-century figures. Reading knowledge of medieval Latin is required inasmuch as only a few of the texts are available in English translation. Please consult the instructors to determine whether or not your level of Latin is sufficient for taking the course.

PHIL 792: Directed Reading - Doctoral

3.00 Credits

no description available

PHIL 795: Augustinean Themes in Bonaventure

3.00 Credits

This course will focus on Augustinian themes in the thought of St. Bonaventure (1217-1274) and his Franciscan predecessors and contemporaries. Chief among the themes singled out for treatment and examination are the following: the intellectual journey of the human person back to God, the existence and nature of God, the divine ideas, the notion of creation, the human person as an imago Dei and microcosm of the world order, the role of sense and intellect within human knowledge, the doctrine of illumination, elements of moral psychology, and the return of all knowledge by tracing it to its source in God. After surveying the necessary background in St. Augustine and St. Anselm, we shall read Bonaventure's De reductione artium ad theologiam, Itinerarium mentis in Deum, and selections from his Commentarius in libros Sententiarium provided in English translation. In addition, the same themes will be considered in other Franciscan authors of the period. Although reading knowledge of Latin is not required for this course, it is desirable and recommended.

PHIL 797: Metaphysics of John Duns Scotus

3.00 Credits

This course focuses on the metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophical theology of the late thirteenth-century Franciscan philosopher-theologian John Duns Scotus (1265-1308). Advocating a metaphysical position largely inspired by Avicenna, Scotus was one of the pivotal figures in the development of medieval philosophy, while conceptualism and nominalism, the subsequent critical reactions to his theory of knowledge, provided the immediate background for Renaissance and early modern epistemology. Chief themes considered are: the nature of metaphysical knowledge, being and its properties, the ontology of universals and individuals, the sources and extent of human knowledge, and the existence and nature of God. Texts include selections in English translation from Scotus' Lectura, Ordinatio, Quaestiones in libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis, excerpts from the logical writings, and recently edited Quaestiones super secundum et tertium De anima. Although most of the Latin texts will be available in English translation, a reading knowledge of Medieval Latin is recommended.

PHIL 798: Pre-Modern Philosophy in the First Person

3.00 Credits

A reading of Plato's Apology will serve as a prologue. The main texts of the course will be Augustine's Confessiones, Boethius's Consolatio Philosophiae, and Anselm's Proslogion. A reading of Dante's Convivio will serve as an epilogue. Reading knowledge of Latin is recommended, but not required. Reading knowledge of Ancient Greek and of Italian will also be useful, but not necessary.

PHIL 799: Augustine's City of God

3.00 Credits

The course will focus on the City of God both for its own merits and as an introduction to the thought of the mature Augustine. Topics treated will include the rational defence of Christianity, the significance of original sin in ethics, philosophy and "theology", Augustine's attempts to solve the "soul-body" problem, and his recipe for the moral politician and public figure in "this darkness of social life". Dyson's translation will be used.

PHIL 808: Hegel's Science of Logic

3.00 Credits

Examines Hegel's masterpiece, one of his most difficult works, with the aim of a full understanding of the nature of dialectic. Establishes connections with ancient, Kantian, and contemporary philosophy.

PHIL 809: The Common Good

3.00 Credits

The idea of the common good has served as an ideal for political institutions and practices in the West since antiquity. We will look at some classical texts on the common good from Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Aquinas. Then we will examine more recent philosophical work on the common good by, e.g., Charles De Koninck, Jacques Maritain, Yves Simon, John Finnis, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Mark Murphy. Among the chief questions we will discuss are (1) how are the contemporary discussions related to the classical historical texts? (2) How should we characterize the theoretical disagreements between the various modern accounts? (3) What are the respective merits of the recent discussions? (4) Is the common good still a helpful way to think about political practices and institutions in the context of contemporary politics?

PHIL 814: Aristotle's Metaphysics

3.00 Credits

Close reading of the text, with special emphasis on books 1-7. Discussion of Aristotle's understanding of being, substance, identity, and first philosophy.

PHIL 818: Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy

3.00 Credits

Treatment of the central issues in Wittgenstein's philosophy after the Tractatus, including language games, following a rule, private language, family resemblances. Emphasis is placed on the Philosophical Investigations. Different interpretations of the later Wittgenstein will be examined.

PHIL 823: Kant's Critique of Judgment

3.00 Credits

Kant's final critique examines how humans dwell in the universe as a species open to the disclosure of contingent order. The "reflective" modes of judging nature and art aesthetically and teleologically are related to freedom, moral culture, history and the highest good. The place of this work in Kant's entire project and its relation to the philosophic tradition will be central concerns. Reading knowledge of German is recommended.

PHIL 830: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

3.00 Credits

A close reading of Kierkegaard's first pseudonymous work, with an eye to understanding his three existential stages (aesthetic, ethical, religious).

PHIL 831: Husserl's Cartesian Meditations

3.00 Credits

Basic principles of Husserl's later philosophy as expressed in his Cartesian Meditations. Treats such themes as philosophy as science, the epoche, apodicticity, and adequacy of reflective experience, temporality, genetic and static constitution, and intersubjectivity.

PHIL 832: Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

3.00 Credits

A detailed study of Kant's metaphysics and epistemology in the Critique of Pure Reason, focusing especially on what transcendental idealism means and how Kant argues for it.

PHIL 834: Aquinas on Justice

3.00 Credits

The seminar will consider Aquinas's thinking about justice beginning with his commentary on the fifth book of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and continuing inti his sprawling Treatise on Justice in the Summa theologiae. There we will concentrate on the initial questions on right (ius) and justice and its subjective parts. We will then spend some time on the questions concerning killing, property, and religion. A subtheme of the seminar will concern the similarities and differences between Aquinas's account and those of some characteristically modern theories of justice, e.g., utilitarianism and social contract theories.

PHIL 835: Aquinas on Evil

3.00 Credits

A close reading of Aquinas's Disputed questions on evil. This disputation of Aquinas's late career addresses ontological, ethical, theological, and psychological dimensions of the problem of evil. The focus is on philosophical issues and on philosophical aspects of theological issues. Is evil something? What causes it? (Q.1) ' What specifies an act as, for example, theft, and therefore as a sin? (Q.2) ' Can one do evil in full knowledge of the good? (Q.3) ' What is the psychological basis for free choice, and is free choice compatible with determinism? (Q.6) ' How are sins connected with other sins (QQ.7'15, on the capital vices) ' How could the angels, who had perfect knowledge and no inclination to evil, sin, and what makes their decision irreversible? (Q.16).

PHIL 836: Thomas Aquinas on the Divine Nature (Summa contra Gentiles I)

3.00 Credits

Using Bk I of the Summa contra Gentiles as its primary source, this course will begin with a discussion of Aquinas's much disputed purpose in writing the first three books of this work. It will then consider his views on the faith-reason relationship, and his effort to determine what philosophical argumentation can establish about the divine nature and attributes including his development of the via negativa, and analogical predication of certain names of God with positive content such as goodness, intellect, truth, will, freedom to create, love, life and happiness. An effort will be made to correlate what he says in this writing with what he says elsewhere about praeambula fidei.

PHIL 837: Topics in 19th Century German Philosophy

3.00 Credits

Each time it is offered, this course selects a focus from three philosophies: those of post-Kantian Idealism, Marx and Nietzsche. The central themes are human consciousness as self-productive and its expressions in culture, history, and politics. Reading knowledge of German recommended.

PHIL 839: Stoics, Epicureans, & Skeptics

3.00 Credits

Recent research has highlighted the importance of Philosophy as Medicine of the Soul. In the Phaedo Plato attempts to cure the fear of death as well as to show how we should live by arguing for the immateriality and immortality of the soul. The Epicureans too desired to dispel this fear, but by means of arguments for the materiality and mortality of the soul. As for the Stoic Epictetus he claims that "death is nothing terrible;...what is terrible is the judgment that death is terrible" and that soul is material. A careful reading of the Phaedo and of Lucretius' On the Nature of the Universe followed by some reading of the Stoics will help us to understand the various philosophical underpinnings for curing the fear of death as well as the nature of passions and their relation to mind.

PHIL 842: Thomas Aquinas Speaks of God

3.00 Credits

An examination of major texts in Aquinas concerning the possibility of demonstrating God's existence, Anselm's argumentation in the Proslogion, Aquinas's arguments for God's existence in his earlier writings, the Five Ways, the possibility of quidditative knowledge of God, and analogical predication of the divine names.

PHIL 847: Universal & Particulars in Analytic Metaphysics

3.00 Credits

This course is an in-depth look at the metaphysical issues surrounding universals and particulars. We will mostly (although not exclusively) be grappling with investigations of these topics carried out within analytic philosophy. Topics to be discussed will include: what the "problem of universals" is in the first place; various competing solutions; distinctions among kinds of universals; the difference between universals and particulars; the principle of individuation; the nature of particular substances. This course should be of special interest to students interested in metaphysics and to students who want to learn more about the way philosophy is carried out by the majority of English-speaking philosophers today.

PHIL 848: Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature

3.00 Credits

A close reading of this seminal work. Themes include Hume's critique of the first phase of modern philosophy as worked out in his 'epistemology,' moral psychology and political philosophy; the nature of human and Humean 'nature''; the sense or senses in which Hume thinks of the work as 'a treatise'; the unity of the book's three books; and Hume's imitation of Socratic philosophy.

PHIL 850: Hegel's Philosophy of Right

3.00 Credits

A close study of Hegel's classic work in political philosophy. The course will examine Hegel's account of the roles of the family and property in moral life; the critique of liberal contractarianism; the relation of civil society to the state; the modern state as the fulfillment of the history of spirit.

PHIL 853: Augustine on Free Choice of the Will

3.00 Credits

Offers a careful reading of Augustine's De libero arbitrio with special emphasis on the problem of evil and the nature of human freedom. Compares the doctrines of the De libero arbitrio with later works of Augustine, especially concerning the freedom of the will.

PHIL 854: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

3.00 Credits

The course includes reading and analysis of the entire Nicomachean Ethics with emphasis on its overall structure and argument as well as its relationships to other major works by Aristotle, especially De Anima and the Metaphysics. Comparisons and contrasts with modern theories of ethics will be drawn where appropriate.

PHIL 860: Fall of the Angels: Augustine to Scotus

3.00 Credits

Medieval thinkers take angelic sin as a test case for refining their theories of free will, just as philosophers today employ thought experiments to test commonly accepted opinions and develop innovative ideas. For one thing, in analyzing an evil choice by a perfectly intellectual creature free of habits and bodily emotions, the essential factors of free choice come sharply into focus, because the first choice of the angels results from the interplay of intellect and will alone. For another thing, the narrative of the angelic fall, which medieval thinkers accepted on theological grounds, contains four key details that pushed commonly accepted philosophical ideas to the limit. (1) Although God created all angels good, some sinned. (2) Their choice was irreversible, such that the evil angels could no longer have a good will and the good angels could no longer sin. (3) Lucifer, the highest angel, sinned in a particular way, by aspiring to equality with God. (4) The evil angels sinned immediately upon their creation. The task of accounting for each of these details philosophically would generate four corresponding philosophical problems, provoking medieval thinkers to extraordinarily ingenious and significant conceptual developments. This course studies the solutions to these problems by Augustine, Pseudo-Dionyius, Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Lombard, Thomas Aquinas, and John Duns Scotus.

PHIL 864: Aquinas on the Goodness and Malice of Human Acts

3.00 Credits

A close reading of Summa theologiae 1a2ae.18-21. What constitutes an action's specifically moral character (as opposed to its ontological, biological or physical nature)? How can one assess the moral value of an action? These questions are answered in ST 1a2ae.18-21, where Aquinas discusses the distinction between good and evil action, the constitutive elements of good or evil action (the end, the object and circumstances), the question of the existence of indifferent acts, the distinction between interior and exterior acts, and the problem of erring conscience. Special attention will be paid to the historical background of the topics discussed in this treatise and to the development of Aquinas's thought throughout his career.

PHIL 865: Essence and Necessity in Analytic Metaphysics

3.00 Credits

A study of how essence and necessity have been understood in analytic metaphysics, including a look at connections with language and logic. Authors to be studied will include Kripke, Plantinga, and D. Lewis. Comparisons with non-analytic approaches will be made.

PHIL 867: Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences

3.00 Credits

A close reading of the text, with development of concepts such as the life-world, modern mathematical science, the person as the agent of science, history, psychology, and philosophical discourse.

PHIL 870: Avicenna's Metaphysics

3.00 Credits

Avicenna is one of the greatest metaphysicians and had much influence on Aquinas and Duns Scotus. A close analysis of selected passages of the metaphysical part of the Shifa', known in both Arabic and Medieval Latin, will introduce his ontology.

PHIL 871: Thomas Aquinas on Free Choice

3.00 Credits

For Aquinas, the will is essentially ordered toward the known good. The fundamental problem of morality consists in appropriately knowing the good, so that the will can adhere to it. Accordingly, liberum arbitrium (free choice or free decision) is a "power of reason and will." The course will consist in the close reading of selected texts from the Prima pars and Prima secundae of the Summa theologiae and from De malo. Besides a general study of the nature of the will and of free choice, special attention will be given to the question of how, though the will adheres to the known good, it is possible to choose evil.

PHIL 872: Boethius's Consolatio Philosophiae

3.00 Credits

Study of the text, with reference to its sources, its relation to Boethius's other works, and its influence. Students should have some reading knowledge of Latin.

PHIL 875: Plato's Early Dialogues

3.00 Credits

A close analysis of some of the early and transitional dialogues, such as Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Laches, Meno, and Protagoras. We shall examine the theme of Socratic ignorance and irony, the claim that virtue is knowledge and the unity of virtue, as well as why Socrates uses patently fallacious arguments and is so fond of craft analogies.

PHIL 876: Hobbes Leviathan

3.00 Credits

Study of the entire work, with intention to show the differences between the ancient city and the modern state. Topics include Hobbes' anthropology and epistemology as a setting for his political theory, the nature of rule and the sovereign according to Hobbes, his definition and derivation of the passions, his concept of representation, his understanding of religion, and his concepts of philosophy and science.

PHIL 877: Aquinas Questions on the Soul

3.00 Credits

A study of the themes of soul and power in Quaestiones disputatae De anima, with reference to the sources, particularly Aristotle's De anima, and to parallel texts in Aquinas's work. Some reading knowledge of Latin is desired but not required.

PHIL 878: Philosophy of Law

3.00 Credits

This course will focus on the contemporary debate between advocates of natural law theory and legal positivism. The core readings will be taken from H.L.A. Hart's The Concept of Law (1961), Joseph Raz's Practical Reason and Norms (1975), John Finnis's Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980) and Ronald Dworkin's Law's Empire (1986). We will be concerned with questions about the nature and validity of legal norms and legal systems, the relationship of legal reasoning to practical reason more generally (as related especially to the practice of interpretation, but also to the political context of law), as well as to some methodological questions about philosophical jurisprudence.

PHIL 881: Aquinas on Divine Ideas

3.00 Credits

A consideration of Aquinas's doctrine of the divine ideas, with a focus on their role as causal principles. This course will examine how, for Aquinas, the divine ideas play an integral role in accounting for the existence and order of the created universe. After looking at the historical influences on his doctrine, the course will consider his arguments for the existence of the divine ideas, his defense of their multiplicity, and his view of their role as exemplar causes. Some familiarity both with Latin and with Aquinas's metaphysics is recommended for this course, although neither is required.

PHIL 885: Plato's Gorgias

3.00 Credits

The course will consist of a close reading of Plato's Gorgias, with special reference to the problem of natural right.

PHIL 888: Aristotle's Politics

3.00 Credits

Reading of the entire work, with treatment of such topics as the nature of political life, contrasts between city and household, between civic and despotic rule, between the republic on one hand and oligarchy and democracy on the other; nature and kinds of political society, relation between political and theoretical life, and the role of education in politics. Complemented by a study of Hobbes's Leviathan in the next semester.

PHIL 889: Husserl's Formal and Transcendental Logic

3.00 Credits

Usually considered Husserl's most elegant work, this book represents his later philosophical analysis of language, logic, and thinking. The course treats such topics as formal and material dimensions of logic, consistency and coherence, vagueness as a matrix for thinking and logic, difference between logic and mathematics, nature and philosophical analysis, and the place of phenomenology in modern philosophy.

PHIL 894: Fichte's Ethics and Political Philosophy

3.00 Credits

A detailed study of Fichte's System of Ethics (1798) and Foundations of Natural Right (1796) alongside recent secondary literature, considering also the place of these works in Fichte's philosophical system, their originality in relation to Kant's views on these subjects, and to some extent their enormous influence on later European philosophy.

PHIL 897: Aquinas on Pleasure

3.00 Credits

A consideration of Aquinas's complex analysis of delectatio (pleasure, enjoyment, delight), and of important anthropological and moral aspects of delectatio brought out by Aquinas. Reference will be made to Aristotle's accounts of h'don', Albert the Great's commentary on Nicomachean Ethics, Aquinas's commentary on Nicomachean Ethics, Aquinas's Summa Theologica, and other works of Aquinas.

PHIL 899: Arabic into Latin: the Influences of Arabic Texts on Medieval Latin Authors

3.00 Credits

The course presents some themes from Arabic philosophy, such as the classification of the sciences, the "flying man", the transcendental "thing" (res), the inner senses, the primacy of ethics over metaphysics, etc., that much influenced the Medieval Latin world. If some Medieval Latin philosophers adopt them fairly faithfully, others endowed them with a life of their own and so these themes give rise to lively controversies and unexpected developments. The course also examines some of the relevant methodological issues and initiates to useful research tools.

PHIL 918: Heidegger's Fundamental Problems

3.00 Credits

A close reading of Heidegger's Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. The text is a lecture course given by Martin Heidegger during the winter semester of 1929-30. At that time, Heidegger aimed at determining the essence of philosophy through an interrogation of metaphysics. The text includes Heidegger's philosophy of life and nature, and a phenomenology of boredom, which Heidegger considers a 'fundamental attunement of modern times'. The reading will focus on Heidegger's philosophical anthropology.

PHIL 919: Heidegger's The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude

3.00 Credits

no description available

PHIL 920: Heidegger's Being and Time

3.00 Credits

A careful reading of this seminal work. Themes include the unity of the book, the nature of the analytic of Dasein, the connection to the scholastic doctrine of actus exercitus and actus signatus. Consideration of related texts from ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy.

PHIL 921: Aquinas on Categories of Being

3.00 Credits

This course will focus on Aquinas's metaphysical views regarding the ten categories of being that were first identified by Aristotle. After a brief overview of Aristotle's treatment of the categories, the course will examine such questions as how Aquinas sees them as dividing being; how he derives the traditional list of ten; and how he views the metaphysician's treatment of them in comparison with the logician's. Some familiarity both with Latin and with Aquinas's metaphysics is recommended but not required.

PHIL 996: Doctoral Dissertation Research

0 Credits

This course bills at the equivalent of one credit hour.

PHIL 998A: Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (w/Classes)

0 Credits

no description available

PHIL 998B: Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (w/o Classes)

0 Credits

Enrollment in this course bills at the equivalent of one credit hour.