Philosophy Courses

Phi 500 Teaching Practicum (1)

Practice in and discussion of the techniques, aims, ethics, and styles of undergraduate teaching. Normally required of graduate teaching assistants. May be repeated for credit.

Phi 505 (Pos 502, Pad 514) Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Public Policy Analysis (4)

The examination of some methodological and normative assumptions involved in the formulation and implementation of public policy. Topics may include epistemological issues, such as the nature of rationality, justification, evidence, and relativism; and moral and political issues, such as nature of liberty, equality, and justice, the significance of these issues will be discussed in connection with concrete problems, such as punishment, affirmative action, welfare legislation, reproductive liberty, and the right to life.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. 

Phi 506 Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Public Health (4)

Systematic exploration of the fundamental philosophical and ethical issues in health policy, and the relation of political and ethical theories to policies. Because public health is concerned with the nature and scope of the public, a major focus of the course will be on political philosophy. Covers one area of public health, examining ethical and philosophical issues relevant to that area. Background in philosophical ethics recommended.

Phi 508 Fundamental Issues in Ethics (4)

A graduate-level survey of central topics in normative ethical theory, meta-ethics, and applied ethics, both historical and contemporary, especially suited to first- and second-year graduate students.

Phi 509 Fundamental Issues in Political Philosophy (4)

A graduate-level survey of central topics in political philosophy, both historical and contemporary, especially suited to first- and second-year graduate students.

Phi 512 Metaphysics (4)

Systematic examination of philosophical concepts such as existence, essence, causality, purpose, value, mind, freedom, unity.

Phi 515 Philosophy of Language (4)

Investigation of the structure and properties of language with regard to philosophical issues. Problems of meaning, reference, analyticity, truth, and ontological commitment will be examined in the context of the contemporary theories of meaning and linguistic structure.

Phi 516 Philosophy of Mind (4)

Examination of such problems as knowledge of other minds, the relation between brain and experience, and the analogy between human problem- solving and computation by automata.

Phi 517 Bioethics (4)

Critical study of one or more topics in bioethics. Possible topics include advance directives; assisted reproductive technologies; death; genetic engineering; screening, and testing; health care reform; informed consent; maternal-fetal conflicts; medical experimentation; medical futility; organ transplantation; physician-assisted suicide; proxy consent; and the right to refuse treatment.

Phi 518 Analytic Philosophy (4)

A study of problems and techniques of logical and linguistic analysis. Includes discussion of philosophers such as Frege, Russell, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Austin, Ryle, Strawson, and Quine.

Phi 520 Philosophy of Science (4)

Study of selected problems concerning the function, structure, methods, and presuppositions of the sciences.

Phi 522 Theory of Knowledge (4)

A systematic study of theories of knowledge, including such topics as theories of perception, the character and value of logical systems, theories of the nature of truth and of the nature of proof.

Phi 523 Ancient Ethical Theory (4)

An intensive study of the ethical views of classical Greek and Roman writers such as the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus and the Stoics.

Phi 524 17-19th Century Ethical Theory (4)

Intensive historical and critical study of selected ethical theories from the period between 1600 and 1900.

Phi 525 Contemporary Ethical Theory (4)

Examination of selected normative and metaethical theories, with emphasis on issues of interest in contemporary discussions of values and the nature of valuation.

Phi 528 Theory and Function of Religion (4)

Examination of some of the principal attempts to interpret the nature and the function of religion in the light of scientific knowledge and recent philosophical analysis.

Phi 530 Philosophy and Public Affairs (4)

Study of issues in public policy from a philosophical perspective. Some topics may be: issues in biomedical ethics, social goals and individual freedom, social justice, theories of punishment.

Phi 531 Logic and Philosophy (4)

Topics in logic of particular interest to philosophers including the treatment of modalities and tenses, the nature of truth, alternative logics, the historical development of logic, the paradoxes, and the logic of provability.

Phi 532 Completeness and Decidability (4)

Introduction to meta-theory of first-order logic; topics include the completeness theorem and its corollaries, as well as a discussion of questions concerning the undecidability of validity. Phi 332Y or equivalent is recommended.

Phi 533 Philosophy of Mathematics (4)

Historical and systematic survey of issues in the philosophy of mathematics. Topics may include connections between mathematics and philosophy in ancient thought. Kant’s philosophy of mathematics and its subsequent influence, traditional doctrines about the foundations of mathematics (logicism, intuitionism and formalism), and contemporary debates about the status of mathematical objects and the justification of mathematical knowledge.

Phi 535 Philosophy and Race (4)

Addresses issues of traditional and contemporary interest such as: racial liberation, the epistemology of racial categories, ethical and social issues in race relations, problems with the concept of race from the perspective of philosophy of science (both biological and social), race and gender, and racial and ethnic topics in twentieth century continental philosophy.

Phi 538 Philosophy of the Social Sciences (4)

Systematic study of problems and theories concerning concepts, methods, and presuppositions of the social sciences. Includes a discussion of the relation of the social sciences to the natural sciences.

Phi 540 Philosophy of Person (4)

Critical and historical examination of prominent theories of the person.

Phi 542 Phenomenology (4)

Examination of historical and conceptual development of phenomenology in the 20th century, starting with Husserl’s "presuppositionless and purely descriptive science of the structures of consciousness" and including works by Sartre, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty.

Phi 544 British Empiricism (4)

Intensive study of selected writings of Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and related thinkers.

Phi 546 The Continental Rationalists (4)

Intensive study of selected writings of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and related thinkers.

Phi 550 Plato (4)

Intensive study of selected works of Plato in English translation.

Phi 552 Aristotle (4)

Intensive study of selected works of Aristotle in English translation.

Phi 553 Medieval Philosophy (4)

A close study of some of the major figures in medieval philosophy_Augustine, Boethius, Saadia, Avicenna, Abelard, Anselm, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas, Scotus, and/or Occam--with a view to understanding philosophical concerns in this era and to detecting influences emanating from Greek and Roman philosophy, the Bible, and the Koran.

Phi 554 Kant and Continental Idealism (4)

Readings and discussions of Kantian and post-Kantian works.

Phi 555 Nineteenth Century Continental Philosophy (4)

Major trends in 19th century continental philosophy, including the post- Kantian and Hegelian traditions, and the beginnings of the existentialist and positivist reaction. Among the philosophers considered are Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Comte, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.

Phi 556 Pragmatism (4)

The philosophy of Peirce, James, Dewey, and Mead and how it forms an organized philosophical position. The effect of this position in various areas of philosophy and in contemporary culture.

Phi 557 Ancient Philosophy After Aristotle (4)

Intensive study of ancient sources (in English translation) for the Greek and Roman philosophical tradition after Aristotle.

Phi 558 Theory of Art (4)

Study of the nature and purpose of art with special attention to the distinction between art and craft, aesthetic values and criteria and justification of aesthetic judgments.

Phi 560 Philosophy and the Humanities (4)

Study of the nature of the humanities and the relationships of the different humanistic studies to one another and to philosophy.

Phi 568 Philosophy and Literature (4)

Study of philosophy of/as/in literature: philosophy of literature in examining the ontology of the literary text, representation, evaluation, and the theory of criticism; philosophy in literature which considers the content/form relation and other stylistic questions; philosophy as literature which examines the relevance of literary categories to philosophical writing. Major current trends in aesthetics and literary theory will be brought to bear.

Phi 572 History of Political Philosophy (4)

Intensive critical study of writings selected from such authors as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Spinoza, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Hegel, and Marx.

Phi 574 Contemporary Political Philosophy (4)

Intensive critical study of political concepts and theories at the center of current discussions, such as liberty, equality, rights, justice, and individualism, communitarianism, liberalism, socialism, conservatism.

Phi 580 Metaethics (4)

This course deals with questions about the nature of moral language and thought and the foundations of morality, including such issues as the rationality of moral conduct, the connection of morality with emotion, and the question whether there are any moral facts or objectively real moral properties. Prerequisites: The course is open to all PhD and MA students in philosophy, and to other graduate students only with permission of the instructor. Undergraduate philosophy majors may apply to the instructor for permission to enroll if they have senior standing and at least five courses in philosophy, including either APHI 212 (or TPHI 212) or APHI 326.

Phi 610 Topics in Philosophy of Science (4)

Some topics may be: scientific explanation and prediction; induction, probability, and simplicity; theories of confirmation and acceptance; structure and properties of scientific theories; philosophical problems of space, time and relativity, contemporary cosmologies; philosophical issues in quantum theory; philosophical problems in the foundations of mathematics; epistemic foundations of psychology. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 612 Topics in Metaphysics (4)

Examination of a major metaphysical problem such as substance, cause, space, and time. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 614 Topics in Epistemology (4)

Examination of a major issue in theory of knowledge such as perception, truth, iniduction, intuitiion, and epistemic logic. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 616 Topics in Philosophy of Religion (4)

Advanced studies in the field of philosophy of religion. Courses are created on the basis of special faculty and student interests and include both systematic and historical studies. Some topics may be: nineteenth- century philosophies of religion; theories of myth and symbol; contemporary confrontation between theology and philosophy of religion; Eastern and Western mysticism; studies in contemporary religious philosophies (A. Heschel, M. Buber, R. Kroner, N. Berdyaev, among others).

Phi 617 Internship in Clinical Ethics (2-6)

Individually directed internship program associated wtih Albany Medical College for students interested in clinical bioethics. Normally the internship will be conducted during the summer months. Students will observe various units at the Medical Center, such as intensive care, cardiology, obstetrics, pediatrics, with the aim of learning how moral problems in medicine occur and are resolved. At the end of the internship, students will be required to submit to the internship director a written analysis of the experience.

Phi 618 Topics in Logic (4)

Some topics may be: foundations of set theory (two-semester course); mathematical logic (two-semester course); alternative systems of logic; neo Fregean systems of logic; philosophy of logic; modal logic and its philosophical presuppositions; and philosophical implications of Godel's incompleteness proof. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 621 Topics in Ethics (4)

Intensive study of a particular theory or approach to ethical analysis.

Phi 623 Topics in Aesthetics (4)

Intensive study of a particular aesthetic theory or a particular problem in the development of a theory of aesthetics.

Phi 624 Topics in the History of Philosophy (4)

Critical study of a selected problem or figure in the history of philosophy. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 627 History of Logic (4)

An analytical survey of major trends and thinkers in the history of logic.

Phi 632 Topics in Applied Ethics (4)

An investigation of one or more topics in applied ethics. Examples of the kinds of issues to be considered are abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, the death penalty, sexual morality, job discrimination, the right to privacy, pornography and censorship, violence, economic injustice, and environmental ethics. May be taken more than once with different content. Prerequisite: A course in ethics or permission of the instructor.

Phi 634 Topics in Philosophy of Law (4)

Critical study of a philosophically interesting topic in law. The seminar may be based on a general topic, such as the nature of law, the nature of judicial reasoning, the limits of the criminal law, the justification of punishment, causation and responsibility, the right to privacy; or may focus more narrowly on a specific area, such as legal and ethical questions relating to human reproduction. May be taken more than once with different content. Prerequisite: Phi 325 or 325z, or permission of instructor.

Phi 638 Topics in Theories of Criticism (4)

The topics will include philosophical critical traditions which address mainstream philosophical subjects, specifically, as well as critical traditions which address subjects in other disciplines. Examples of possible topics are: Feminist Theory; Hermeneutics; Post-Modern philosophy; Existentialism; Marxian analysis; Ethnic Studies; and the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. May be taken more than once with different content.

Phi 652 Topics in Philosophical Psychology (4)

Selected topics in philosophical psychology. Topics may include theories of cognition, theories of the self, philosophy and psychoanalysis, and existential and phenomenological psychology. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 662 Topics in Cognitive Science (4)

Selected topics in the philosophical foundations and interpretation of cognitive science. Topics may include intentionality, theories of mental representation, interactivity and environment, and computational accounts of perception. Readings will come from the cognitive sciences (e.g. cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, etc.) as well as from philosophy. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 674 Topics in Political Philosophy (4)

Intensive critical study of a major issue in political philosophy, such as the relation between the individual and the state, the justification of political power, and distributive justice. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Phi 697 Independent Study and Research (1-4)

Directed reading and detailed discussion of books and articles in an area of philosophy requiring intensive examination. Specific topics may be determined by consultation between the departmental staff and interested graduate students.

Phi 699 Master's Thesis in Philosophy (2-6)

Phi 750 Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (4)

Participation in a specialized research group in one of the areas of philosophy. May be repeated for credit.

Phi 751 Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (4)

Participation in a specialized research group in one of the areas of philosophy. May be repeated for credit.

Phi 792 Preparation for Examinations (1-12)

Intensive study in preparation for the General or Topical Examinations  Prerequisites:  Permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Phi 899 Doctoral Dissertation (1)

Required of all candidates completing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Registration for this course is limited to doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy.