Medieval Philosophy (New College of Florida, Fall 2018):
This course introduces students to Medieval philosophy, a period of intellectual ferment characterized by the synthesis of Greek, Roman, and Late Antique philosophical ideas with teachings from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In examining works from authors including Boethius, Avicenna, Al-Ghāzāli, Maimonides, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus, we will consider their approaches to philosophical questions such as the metaphysical and causal structure of reality, the nature and limits of human reason, the relation between philosophy and religion, and the nature of free will. In examining these topics, students will also gain insight into the way that Medieval debates paved the way for later discussions in Renaissance and Early Modern philosophy. Some knowledge in Ancient philosophy will be of help, but is not a prerequisite for participation.
Classical Chinese Philosophy (New College of Florida, Fall 2018):
This course introduces students to philosophical traditions from classical Chinese Philosophy, including Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism, and Legalism. These traditions emerged out of intense political turmoil and ferment, and provide competing visions of how to live well in accordance with nature – both individually and collectively – that remain compelling today. Thus, in addition to situating these traditions within the historical contexts of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods of ancient Chinese history, this course will examine the influence of these ideas both on later Chinese as well as Western intellectual history.
Ethics: The Good Life and Contemporary Moral Problems:
What is the good life for human beings? The vision of human flourishing that emerges from Christian, particularly Roman Catholic and Augustinian, sources receives special consideration as a viable resource for answering this question as the central concern of the moral life. There are, however, very robust, convincing, and sometimes competing alternative accounts of the moral life that emerge from other traditions, notably those associated with secular liberalism. Students learn to explore the tensions among these traditions through discussing a variety of contemporary moral topics that highlight their relationship to themselves, to others, and to the natural environment.
World Philosophy II:
This course is an introduction to World Philosophies of from the Modern to Contemporary Periods. We will examine how philosophers from different cultures conceived of the relation between philosophy and religion, the nature of the self and its knowledge of the world, as well as the constitution of an ethical society. Of particular interest will be the question of how different modern European philosophers understood the non-European world and how their legacy shaped later philosophical conceptions of, and approaches to, the history of philosophy, decolonialization, identity, and freedom.
Knowledge, Reality, Self
Philosophy is an art of asking questions. The question we will ask throughout this seminar is: “What are we?” Although this question might not always be explicitly posed, I want you to have it in mind always. We will engage the question of “what are we?” both by examining answers given in selected texts from the history of Western Philosophy as well as by looking at certain contemporary problems such as those posed by certain significant scientific and technological advances. We will simultaneously discuss what these texts and problems tell us on their own terms as well as construct our own image of what we are.