Early Modern Women Philosophers, New College of Florida, Fall 2021
Recent scholarship in the history of philosophy has sought to challenge the traditional male-centric historical canon by foregrounding the contributions of women philosophers on philosophical topics including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics. In this course, we will study the philosophical visions and political programs proposed by women philosophers including (but not limited to) Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Damaris Masham, Mary Astell, Emilie du Châtelet, and Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as their correspondences and controversies with male peers. In so doing, the course will address methodological and historiographical questions related to the place of women in the history of philosophy and the project of building a more inclusive philosophical canon.
What is Philosophy: Global Perspectives on Philosophical History, New College of Florida, Fall 2021
Spinoza, New College of Florida, Fall 2020
This course introduces students to the philosophy of the radical Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza argued that the highest good consists in gaining knowledge of our union with Nature, which he identified with God. The course will focus on philosophical works: Spinoza’s systematic account of human life, politics, and nature in the Ethics, as well as the naturalistic interpretation of Biblical scripture he provides in the infamous Theological-Political Treatise. In so doing, we will situate Spinoza’s work within its wider seventeenth-century philosophical, religious, and political contexts, as well as explore the relevance his views may have for us today.
Philosophy of Science, New College of Florida, Spring 2020
The Philosophy of Leibniz, New College of Florida, Fall 2019
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 interactions with contemporary women philosophers and his interest in the Chinese intellectual traditions to shed light on the wider context of Leibniz’s philosophical activity.
Philosophy and/of Film (with Prof. April Flakne), New College of Florida, Fall 2019
This class will use film in conjunction with philosophical texts to introduce and explore philosophical themes and methods ranging across epistemology, metaphysics, political philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics (including the aesthetics of film).
Modern Philosophy, New College of Florida, Spring 2019, Spring 2021:
This course introduces students to major philosophical developments in Early Modern Europe, with emphases on the modern philosophical and scientific conception of nature, as well as the contributions of women philosophers in the period. We will examine themes including the development of mechanical conceptions of nature, ethics, and politics; the emergence of new forms of empirical and experimental knowledge; the relationship between philosophy and religion; and the relations between European and non-European peoples.
Comparative History of Philosophy, New College of Florida, Spring 2019:
The Comparative History of Philosophy investigates similarities, differences, points of contact, and interaction between world philosophical traditions. This course introduces students to the methods, aims, and problems of conducting comparative study in the history of philosophy and will challenge an often standard image of philosophy as a specifically Western or European phenomenon. In addition to comparing figures, texts, and ideas from the Indian, Chinese, and Ancient Greek traditions, among others, we will examine historical case studies of cross-cultural philosophical interaction, and consider the question of what it means to construct a global history of philosophy.
Philosophical and Utopian Literature, New College of Florida, Spring 2019, Spring 2021:
While philosophy is often thought of as a mode of thinking characterized by clear, logical thinking and rigorous argumentation, there is a rich tradition of using literary fiction to dramatize philosophical ideas. Utopian and dystopian literary experiments have proven particularly fruitful in this respect, allowing authors to explore alternative social, political, and technological possibilities while shedding light on the inadequacy and injustice of their own lived realities. This course surveys examples of utopian and dystopian fiction across different historical contexts to investigate the different ways that such literature has furthered specifically philosophical ends.
Medieval Philosophy, New College of Florida, Fall 2018, Fall 2020:
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, Spring 2020:
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, Villanova University (Multiple Sections):
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, Rowan University, Fall 2016:
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, Villanova University (Multiple Sections):
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.