Leibniz and Early Modern Philosophy (Graduate Seminar):
This course is a detailed investigation of the philosophy of G.W. Leibniz. Leibniz sought to reconcile the best ideas of philosophical schools including Platonism, Aristotelianism, Epicureanism, Scholasticism, and the modern mechanical philosophy, and his thinking ranges over metaphysics, epistemology, natural philosophy, logic, mathematics, religion, history, and politics. This course reconstructs Leibniz’s philosophy by tracing its development in concrete philosophical controversies on topics including substance, nature, matter, space-time, knowledge, God, and freedom. Further, it examines Leibniz’s correspondence with contemporary female philosophers and his interest in the Chinese intellectual traditions to shed light on the wider context of Leibniz’s philosophy.
This course examines philosophical thinking about nature and the environment in order to understand the intellectual and economic roots of the current climate crisis, as well as the potential means to address climate change. In addition to historical, cross-cultural, and faith-based perspectives on the relations between human beings and the natural world, we will study themes from contemporary environmental ethics including the relation between ecology and ethics, intrinsic and instrumental forms of value, wilderness and the human built environment, and animal rights. Taking up the problem of anthropogenic climate change, we will ask what moral responsibilities it places upon us, as well as what forms of technological intervention may be warranted to stave off its worst effects.
Introduction to Continental Philosophy:
This course introduces students to major developments in Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy. Our focus will be on attempts by continental philosophers to reflect upon and critique existing metaphysical, political, cultural, and moral orders in the service of envisioning new possibilities and forms of life. The course will include introductions to philosophical schools including Phenomenology, Existentialism, Critical Theory, Poststructuralism, and recent forms of Continental Realism. Themes include the nature of consciousness and its relations to objects; the nature and scope of philosophy, the relation between philosophy and its history; freedom and liberation, truth, and the critique of existing power structures.