PhD Comprehensive Examination Reading List

Students are required to take a PhD Comprehensive examination in the history of philosophy. For further full citations and advice on preparing for the examinations, please consult faculty members who teach in the relevant areas.

These reading lists will be the basis for the PhD Comprehensive Examinations. The new format and reading list will be in effect for the exam in Fall 2019.

 

FORMAT

The exam will have four sections by historical period. There will not be separate sections for different topics. Students will answer five questions, at least one from each section.

The instructions for the exam will be: Answer FIVE questions, one from each of the four sections below (A, B, C, and D), and one more from any of the sections (i.e., A, B, C, or D). The exam is three and a half hours.

 

READING LIST

 

A. ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
  • Plato:
    • Euthyphro
    • Meno, 70A-86B
    • Phaedo
    • Symposium, 201D-212C
    • Republic, II. 357A-369B; IV. 427D-444E; V. 473B-480A; VI. 502C-VII. 521B
    • Parmenides, 127B-135C
  • Aristotle:
    • Categories, Ch. 1-5
    • Nicomachean Ethics, I-III.5; X. 6-8
    • Physics, I. 7-8; II. 1-3, 7-9
    • De Anima, I. 1; II. 1-5, 12
    • Metaphysics, I [Alpha]. 1-2; IV [Gamma]. 1-3; VII [Zeta]. 1-6, 13-17
       
B. 17TH & 18TH CENTURIES
  • Hobbes: Leviathan, XIII-XXI

  • Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy; 4th Set of Objections and Replies (Arnauld); 5th Set of Objections & Replies (Gassendi)

  • Locke:
    • Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Bk. I, 1,2,3 (secs. 1-14), 4 (sec. 1); Bk. II, 1 (secs. 1-10, 10-25), 2-9, 11-13, 17 (secs. 1-5), 22-26, 27 (secs. 1-4, 5-29); Bk. III,1, 2, 4, 5; Bk. IV, 1, 2, 3 (secs. 1-27), 4-6, 8-11, 12 (secs. 9-15), 14-16, 17 (secs. 23-24), 18, 19
    • 2nd Treatise of Government
  • Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge, Pt. I
  • Leibniz: Monadology
     
C. HUME & KANT
  • Hume:
    • A Treatise of Human Nature, I.iv. 6, II.iii.3, III.i (entire), III.ii.1-2
    • Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • Kant:
    • Critique of Pure Reason, A1-16/B1-30, A19-41/B33-58, A50-83/B74-113, A84-94/B116-29, B129-69, A130-62/B169-201, A176-211/B218-56, A218-35/B265-88, A235-60/B294-315, A293-348/B349-406, B406-32, A405-515/B432-544, A517-37/B545-65, A567-602/B595-630, A642-68/B670-96
    • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Sections 1-2.
       
D. 19TH & 20TH CENTURIES
  • Mill: "Utilitarianism"; "On Liberty"

  • Peirce: "Fixation of Belief"; "How to Make our Ideas Clear"

  • Nietzsche: Genealogy of Morals (Treatises I and II)
  • Frege: "On Sense and Nominatum"
  • Russell: "On Denoting"
  • Husserl: Idea of Phenomenology, Lectures I, II, & IV
  • Ayer: Language, Truth, and Logic, Ch. 1
  • Carnap: "Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology"
  • Quine: "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"
  • Rawls, "Justice as Fairness" (1958)
  • Kripke: Naming and Necessity, Lectures 1 and 2
  • Putnam: "The Meaning of 'Meaning'"
  • Smart, "An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics", Ch. 2, 3, and 6.
  • Williams, "A Critique of Utilitarianism", Ch. 3, 4, and 5
  • Mackie, Ethics, Ch. 1