Classics Critical Critical Essay Essay Investigation Philosophical Wittgensteins

The Department of Philosophy at Colorado College embraces diversity in philosophical inquiry, emphasizing historical, contemporary, comparative, and critical approaches in an effort to make available to students the breadth and richness of philosophical thinking.

The philosophy major requires a minimum of 12 units, balancing work in major philosophical traditions, contemporary concerns, and diverse perspectives. Majors with emphases allow students to gain advanced expertise in one of the subfields or areas of interest in philosophy. The Department of Philosophy recommends that students declare the major by the end of their sophomore year.

1.History of Philosophy (4 units) These courses investigate central issues and concerns emerging in important historical periods and locales, tracing how those concerns change over time. Choose one of these three options:

Courses in the history of philosophy include: PH101, PH116, PH201, PH204, PH210, PH244, PH245, PH260, PH281, PH283, PH301, and PH302. Topics courses (PH203, PH303) and text seminars (PH314) will also count as history of philosophy courses when appropriate.

2. Central Areas and Problems in Philosophy (3 units) Courses in central areas and problems familiarize students with key subfields of philosophy, and with the questions, approaches, and theoretical perspectives that define those subfields.

This requirement is fulfilled when a student has taken at least one course listed in each of the three categories below:

3. Diversity in Philosophy (2 units) Diverse perspectives in philosophy weave through the curriculum; however, all students are required to take two courses with an explicit focus on diverse traditions in philosophy, which represent critical dimensions of philosophical thought, including ones that may call both traditional canons and aspects of contemporary academic philosophy into question.

4. Capstone in Philosophy (3 units) These courses provide further depth and a capstone experience in the major.

5.Electives: Philosophy majors must successfully complete at least 12 units in philosophy. Students who fulfill all other requirements with fewer than 12 units may take any additional philosophy classes of their choosing in order to complete the major.

6. Advanced Study: At least one course other than the Capstone in Philosophy requirements must be at the 300 level.

Optional Emphasis in Philosophy: Students who seek an emphasis in philosophy may complete the major with an emphasis in one of the following six philosophical areas.

To obtain the designation of an emphasis, a student must take an additional two units of philosophy in the area chosen (for a total of 14 units in philosophy, rather than 12) and also complete the senior essay in that area. An emphasis must be formally declared before the end of the student’s junior year. A coherent and appropriate set of courses in the area of emphasis will be planned in consultation with the student’s advisor and subject to departmental approval.

Students minoring in philosophy must satisfactorily complete six units in philosophy, including PH201 (2 units), or PH210 (2 units), or both PH244 and PH245; and also including at least one unit of advanced work at the 300- or 400- level.

PH101 Greek Philosophy

An examination of the origins of Western philosophy as it arose in ancient Greece. The course begins with the Pre-Socratic philosophers, centers on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and closes with the important Hellenistic traditions of Stoicism, Skepticism, Epicureanism, Cynicism, and Neoplatonism.

1 unit — Riker

PH113 Brothers Karamazov

(Not offered 2017-18).

.5 unit

PH116 Greek History and Philosophy: Origins of Western Culture

Aegean and Greek archaeological, historical, literary and philosophical texts, with emphasis on ideas formative of Western culture. The development and transformations of these ideas as reflected in selected texts from the early Christian era, the Enlightenment, and the Modern Age. We concentrate on concepts of what it means to be human, and the relation of individuals to community, nature, and the divine in such authors as Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Dante, Descartes, Goethe, Nietzsche, and Heidegger (Also listed as History 116 and Philosophy 116.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement. (Not offered 2017-18).

2 units

PH122 Philosophical Argument and Writing (with Emp on Writing)

An introduction to critical thinking and conceptual argument, this course will cover basic principles of logic as they pertain to philosophical writing and thinking. Students will master essential skills for reading and evaluating arguments, engage with a variety of methods and styles of philosophical inquiry, and learn techniques of composition that enhance the clarity and elegance of their written work. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH140 Ethics

An exploration of the questions of what constitutes a good human life, what it means to be a moral human being, and whether reasoning about ethical and moral values can be objective. Texts may include works by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Nietzsche, among others.

1 unit — Daly, Riker

PH141 Philosophy & Literature

Through a study of the literary style of certain philosophical texts and the philosophical significance of selected literary works of art, this course will study the comparative ability of different modes of writing to address traditional philosophical questions and to illuminate particular features of human experience. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH201 History of Modern European Philosophy

A study of the development of European philosophical 'modernity' and of the 'modern' concept of the subject or self. While the course focuses on major ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical developments from the beginning of the 17th century to the end of the 19th century, it begins by situating these issues in the history of medieval philosophy. Philosophers covered may include Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Mill, and Nietzsche, among others. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

2 units — Hernandez-Lemus, Lee

PH203 Topics in Philosophy:

Experimental and occasional courses taught by either visiting professors or permanent staff. Courses offered under this rubric will vary from year to year.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus, Hourdequin, Kim, Lee

PH204 American Philosophy

An exploration of the philosophical thought of American philosophers, focusing on those associated with transcendentalism and pragmatism, with an emphasis on their conceptions of nature, the construction of truth, and their theories of individualism. Thinkers to be read can include Emerson, Thoreau, Pierce, James, Dewey, Whitehead, Mead, Santayana, Rorty, and Cavell. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH208 Philosophical Topics:

A thematically or historically organized course dealing with a single topic or set of related topics in philosophy, to be taught either during half-block or as a one-semester extended format course. Topics will vary from year to year. (Not offered 2017-18).

.5 unit

PH210 Ancient to Early Modern Western Philosophy.

Surveys the development of philosophy from its beginnings in classical Greece through the early modern period in Europe, culminating in Kant’s philosophical revolution. This two-block course introduces major figures in the history of Western philosophy, selected areas of philosophical inquiry, and central questions that remain pertinent today. The course may incorporate some amount of non-Western thought, to provide comparative perspectives. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

2 units — Furtak

PH226 Formal Logic

An introduction to the formal language of first-order logic, including the rules of syntax and semantics for sentential and predicate calculus, with a special emphasis on modes of quantification. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

1 unit — Daly, Kim

PH227 Epistemology

In this course we will engage in a critical examination of problems concerning knowledge and belief: how beliefs are acquired and justified, the possible limits to knowledge, and the interplay between reason and experience. Readings will be from historical and contemporary sources.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in philosophy or sophomore standing.

1 unit — Daly

PH228 Philosophy of Science

This course investigates basic concepts, assumptions, structures, and methods of science, and confronts philosophical ideas about the significance, justification, and production of science. In this course we will examine some historical and contemporary case studies of scientific controversy to illustrate competing views about the nature of science. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH229 Philosophy of Language

A study of the nature, origins, and significance of language. Discussion of various theories from such thinkers as Cassirer, Piaget, Quine, Wittgenstein, Whorf, Heidegger, Austin, Chomsky and Merleau-Ponty. regarding language's relation to thought, reality, culture, formal systems and non-verbal systems of communication.

1 unit — Daly

PH243 Philosophy and Politics of Identity

Considers the meanings, problems, and possibilities of contemporary identity politics. Explores different approaches toward identity and politics, including liberal, existential, and traditionalist understandings. Traces the emergence of a new kind of identity politics out of racial, feminist, and queer movements of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Assesses contemporary discussions of identity and politics, in relation to both the history of Western thought and contemporary multicultural societies. Authors discussed may include Locke, Sartre, MacIntyre, Fanon, Young, Taylor, Butler, Elshtein, Appiah, and Nicholson. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement.

1 unit — McEnnerney

PH244 History of Social and Political Philosophy: Classical Visions

Explores major works of classical idealist philosophy, considered in contexts of Greek, Roman, Biblical, and medieval political orders. Addresses the tensions between philosophical visions of the good and democratic or republican politics. Texts discussed may include works by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, or Pizan, as well as Biblical sources.

1 unit — McEnnerney

PH245 History of Social and Political Philosophy: Modern Debates

Investigates leading modern and contemporary political philosophers, considering contrasts and continuities between classical idealism and modern pragmatism as well as the evolution of modern states and societies. Addresses the questions of whether the contemporary era is best understood as one of moral and intellectual decline, as some insist, or as one of democratic promise as others argue. Philosophers discussed may include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Marx, J.S. Mill, Nietzsche, Bloom, Arendt, and Rorty.

1 unit — Kim

PH246 Environmental Ethics

An analysis of human attitudes toward the rest of the natural world and of the ways in which our beliefs and values influence our relation to the environment. The course will focus on the challenge of finding conceptual resources adequate to the creation of a sustainable way of life and on the difficulty of transforming habits of mind which contribute to the current ecological crisis.

1 unit — Hourdequin

PH247 Aesthetics

This course deals with the creation and appreciation of works of the imagination, including such questions as: what is art?, how are we to evaluate works of art?, and how does art enrich our lives? (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH249 Philosophy of Education

What does education mean and what are its purposes and values? Topics examined: education vs. schooling; education for critical consciousness vs. conservation of values; training vs. the search for wisdom; how can students learn to educate themselves, and how can schools, administrators and teachers aid in education?

1 unit — Stoller

PH260 Existential Philosophy

A study of several thinkers in the existential tradition, which has its origin in the 19th century writings of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and includes such 20th century authors as Heidegger and Camus, among others. Issues to be covered include freedom, authenticity, meaning, the absurd, the predicament of the contingent individual, and the aims of philosophy itself.

1 unit — Kim

PH261 Philosophy of Mind

An examination of different ways of understanding the mind, beginning with classic arguments for dualism and materialism and moving on to contemporary views which seek to avoid either separating mind and body or reducing one to the other. Consideration of various functions of the embodied mind and of the difference between mental and physical concepts. 1 unit - Furtak (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH262 Discovering the Unconscious

Major psychoanalytic perspectives of the late 19th and 20th centuries on the concept of the unconscious in theory, case studies, and fiction. Emphasis on unconscious processes as they relate to the formation of identity. Readings from such authors as Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Kohut, and Yalom.

1 unit — Dobson

PH265 Sigmund Freud

An exploration of the work of Sigmund Freud designed to introduce the wide-ranging scope and the dramatic evolution of his thought. Beginning with his collaboration with Josef Breuer in Studies on Hysteria (1895), the course continues with a careful examination of Freud’s approach to dream interpretation, his account of psychosexual development, and his nuanced theory of unconscious processes. On the basis of this review of classical psychoanalytic theory, the course then delves into Freud’s controversial but influential use of psychoanalysis as a tool for cultural criticism, while also turning to Freud’s continual revision of his fundamental theoretical models during the 1920s and 1930s. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH280 Philosophy East and West

This course explores central issues in philosophy from a cross-cultural, comparative perspective, focusing on Asia and the West. Drawing on classical and contemporary texts, the course covers topics such as ethics, metaphysics, and conceptions of the self from a comparative point of view. The challenge of comparing concepts and traditions across cultures is discussed. Course readings may include classical Confucian, Daoist, or Buddhist writings, as well as historical and contemporary selections in Western philosophy. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH281 Indian Philosophy

The development of Indian philosophy from its roots in the Vedic tradition of Hinduism. The focus of the course will be both on the ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical systems that grew out of the Hindu tradition and on the challenges to this tradition posed by Buddhism and by 20th century developments. (Meets the Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement.) (Also listed as Asian Studies 220) 1 unit - Lee Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH282 Africana Philosophy

An exploration of themes in African, Caribbean, and North American thought, this course looks closely at ways in which philosophers of the African diaspora have responded to colonialism, the process of decolonization, and the postcolonial situation. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH283 Latin-American Philosophy

A survey of philosophical writings by Latin-American authors in the social and historical context of the region. Texts studied include Indigenous philosophies of the pre-Hispanic tradition, as well as those of the colonial and postcolonial periods. Particular attention will be devoted to issues that are central to this philosophical tradition, such as identity, consciousness through education, and philosophies of liberation. Our readings draw from Aztec or Maya sources, as well as from Leon-Portilla, Vasconcelos, Paz, Freire, Gutierrez, Dussel. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH284 Feminist Philosophies

An exploration of the many 'feminisms' which pattern the rich and expanding field of feminist theory. Focus will be on feminism's intersection with many of the important theoretical movements of the 20th century, e.g., American Pragmatism, French philosophies, Marxism, Postmodernism, with special emphasis on Post Colonialism, psychoanalysis, Black, Lesbian, and Gay Studies, etc. Possible theorists are: Butler, Kristeva, Irigaray, Lorde, Hooks, Wittig, de Lauretis, Belsey, Minh-ha. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement.

1 unit — Kim

PH285 Philosophy & Race

Race is a social construct that invites a number of philosophical questions, such as those of identity, inter-subjectivity, justice, rationality, and culturally different ways of knowing. The course will examine, among others, philosophical reflections on race by the following thinkers: Douglass, West, Fanon, Vasconcelos, Appiah, Bernsaconi, Outlaw, Levinas, Mendieta. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH301 20th Century Analytic Philosophy

History of 20th Century Analytic Philosophy. A study of the Anglo-American tradition that involves careful attention to logic, language, and analysis of concepts. Philosophers covered include Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Carnap, Austin, Quine, and Davidson. (Not offered 2017-18).

Prerequisite: Philosophy 201.

1 unit

PH302 History of 20th Century Continental Philosophy

A study of the existential, phenomenological, and postmodern traditions that arise in the 20th century in Germany and France. Philosophers covered may include, among others, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Lyotard, Deleuze, and Derrida.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 201 and junior standing.

1 unit — Lee

PH303 Advanced Topics in Philosophy:

In depth study of an important period, idea, text or philosopher. Courses offered under this rubric will vary from year to year.

1 unit — Furtak, Hourdequin, Mason

PH314 Text Seminar:

A study of one or more major texts by a single important philosopher. Possible texts for study might include, among others: Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Metaphysics; Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy and The Passions of the Soul; Spinoza, Ethics; Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature; Kant, Critique of Pure Reason; Heidegger, Being and Time; Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations. (Not offered 2017-18).

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy.

1 unit

PH321 Metaphysics

An exploration of the traditional questions of metaphysics, such as those concerning the existence and nature of God, the nature of Being, realism and idealism, identity, causation, freedom and determinism, and the relation of mind and body. Readings from traditional and contemporary philosophers.

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy.

1 unit — Daly

PH340 Ethics & Contemporary Life

A probing into the question of what it means to live a good human life in a contemporary world dominated by capitalism, abstract individualism, and psychic and social fragmentation. Readings from contemporary philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, and social theory. (Not offered 2017-18).

1 unit

PH341 Contemporary Political Philosophy

Examines works of influential recent or contemporary political philosophers, with a focus on debates raised initially by the works of prominent liberal theorist John Rawls. The concepts or topics discussed reflect concerns central to contemporary political philosophy: justice and liberalism, discourse and the public, equality and law, representation and diversity, sovereignty, and human rights, and capabilities and globalization. In addition to Rawls, authors discussed may include Dworkin, Habermas, Sandel, Young, and Sen. (Not offered 2017-18).

Prerequisite: 1 unit in philosophy, sophomore standing, or consent of instructor.

1 unit

PH342 Critical Theory

Investigates the radical interdisciplinary social philosophy that German scholars hostile to fascism developed by combining Marxist philosophy with Freudian psychoanalysis, in an effort to understand the promise and dangers of mass societies. The course addresses both the origins of critical theory and the more contemporary modernist and postmodernist variants. Authors discussed may include Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Althusser, Habermas, Foucault, Lyotard, Castoriadis, Fraser, and Honneth.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in philosophy, sophomore standing, or consent of instructor.

1 unit — McEnnerney

PH360 Philosophy & Psychoanalysis

An exploration of what the discovery of unconscious mental functioning means in relation to philosophical problems in ethics, philosophical psychology, social theory, and theory of meaning. The course is grounded in the work of Freud and may include such post-Freudians as Lacan, Cixous, Winnicott, Klein, and Kohut.

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy.

1 unit — Riker

PH361 Philosophy of Emotions

Explores a range of theoretical attempts to explain the emotions and their place in human life. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, hope, love, and regret will be studied both for their own sake and as sources of insight into the nature of meaningful experience. Attention will be paid to the distinction between momentary passions and abiding affective dispositions, and to such questions as how emotions might be justified and what sort of cognition they involve.

Prerequisite: 2 units in philosophy or consent of instructor.

1 unit — Furtak

PH425 History-Philosophy Thesis

An interdisciplinary, primary-source based thesis on a subject of interest to the student and supervised by two faculty supervisors, one in Philosophy and one in History. Independent study format with regular consultation between the student and faculty supervisors.

Prerequisite: Consent of both faculty supervisors and registration in History 425 in the same academic year. Both courses must be completed at some point during blocks 1-6 or the senior year.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus

PH452 Junior Seminar

An examination of the work of a living philosopher, especially as this contemporary work relates to broader traditions and themes in philosophy. When possible, the philosopher in question will participate in the seminar.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 101 and a declared major in philosophy.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus

PH453 Independent Readings:

Independent study for advanced students who wish to do work supplementary to that offered in the Catalog.

1 unit — Furtak

PH454 Independent Study:

Independent study for advanced students who wish to do work supplementary to that offered in the Catalog.

1 unit — Hernandez-Lemus

PH456 Senior Colloquium

Year-long, extended format seminar centering on the work of the philosophy department's colloquium speakers and on the practice of philosophical discourse. In advance of colloquium lectures, students read relevant background papers and engage in seminar discussions. Students also attend all colloquia, interact with speakers during their visits, and write response papers following colloquium talks. Course emphasizes critical engagement with contemporary philosophical research.

Prerequisite: Philosophy Majors with senior standing. Pass/Fail Only.

1 unit

PH475 Senior Essay

An intensive individual exploration of how a particular philosopher inquires into a particular philosophical problem. Leads to the production of a senior essay. Must be taken prior to Senior Seminar (blocks 105). Arranged by the student and the department. Limited to senior philosophy majors.

Prerequisite: Senior majors only.

1 unit — Daly, Furtak, Hernandez-Lemus, Hourdequin

PH476 Senior Seminar

Revision and presentation of senior essays. Students complete final drafts of their essays, respond to others' essays, and develop oral presentations contextualizing their essays in relation to the history of Western philosophy and comparative/critical philosophical perspectives.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 475.

1 unit — Lee

Published in 1953, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations had a deeply unsettling effect upon our most basic philosophical ideas concerning thought, sensation and language. Its claim that philosophical questions of meaning necessitate a close analysis of the way we use language continues to influence Anglo-American philosophy today. However, its compressed and dialogic prose is not always easy to follow. This collection of essays deepens but also challenges our understanding of the work's major themes, such as the connection between meaning and use, the nature of concepts, thought and intentionality, and language games. Bringing together leading philosophers and Wittgenstein scholars, it offers a genuinely critical approach and demonstrating Wittgenstein's relevance for contemporary philosophy. This volume will appeal to readers interested in the later Wittgenstein, in addition to those interested in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology.

  • Discusses central material on understanding and private language
  • Explores themes that have received little critical attention in recent works
  • Includes articles relevant to contemporary philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and epistemology
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Product details

  • Date Published: May 2010
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521886130
  • length: 280pages
  • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 21 mm
  • weight: 0.55kg
  • availability: In stock


Arif Ahmed, University of Cambridge


Robert Hanna, Michael Luntley, Dale Jacquette, Michael Forster, Hans-Johann Glock, Jason Bridges, Richard Rorty, Paul Horwich, John McDowell, David Stern, Arif Ahmed, William Child


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