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New Courses F'23

PHIL 001P. Introduction to Philosophy: Reasoning & Living Well

MWF, 10:30, Professor Picascia
What is knowledge? Why should we value knowledge? Is it possible to acquire knowledge? How should we respond to skeptical arguments that challenge our ability to acquire knowledge of the external world, that is, the world beyond our own mental states? Do you know that you are not dreaming, or imprisoned in the Matrix? How could you know such a thing? While skepticism is often framed as a theoretical problem, it has practical implications- how can we live our lives well if we cannot know what is true and false, good or bad?
These questions, and related skeptical concerns, will occupy us in this course. We will approach these questions through the lens of both contemporary and historical figures, including ancient Greek and Indian philosophers, in addition to early modern European philosophers.

PHIL 034. Marx, Marxism, & Race

TR, 1:15, Professor Ahmed

This course provides an introduction to Marx and Marxist theory that emphasizes the philosophical assumptions regarding history, subjectivity, and exploitation that underpin Marx’s critique of capitalism. We will then examine how Marx’s methodological commitments were taken up by 20th and 21st century thinkers working in the service of antifascist, antiracist, and anticolonial struggles for liberation. Alongside Marx, we will engage with writings by such thinkers as V.I. Lenin, Antonio Gramsci, W.E.B. DuBois, Che Guevara, Amílcar Cabral, Silvia Federici, C.L.R. James, and Angela Davis.
Prerequisite: First- and second-year students must complete one introductory level PHIL course before enrolling in this course.

PHIL 105. Foucault: Genealogy and Power

W, 1:15, Professor Ahmed

Michel Foucault is widely regarded as one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century, and his thought continues to influence scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. This honors seminar provides a comprehensive introduction to Foucault’s philosophical methodology and political thought. We will spend the majority of the semester reading Foucault’s texts on knowledge, power, and subjectivity in order to better understand the centrality of genealogy in Foucault’s critical analyses. In the final section of the course, we will focus our attention on contemporary scholars who have applied Foucault’s concepts and method to twenty-first-century questions of power, domination, and freedom.