Teaching

Seminar: The Philosophy of Mary Shepherd

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022
Mary Shepherd engages some of the most hotly debated issues of the 18th and 19th centuries: in epistemology, the nature and status of causal or scientific reasoning and sensory perception; in metaphysics, the nature and status of causation and of the external world. Her systematic philosophy represents a comprehensive response to her (in)famous predecessors, most especially George Berkeley and David Hume, in much the way that Kant’s transcendental idealism does, but, unlike Kant, Shepherd is an avowed realist! We might think of Shephard’s philosophy as the realist alternative to... Read more about Seminar: The Philosophy of Mary Shepherd

Philosophy in Translation: Latin

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

This regularly offered course meets weekly to read philosophy in Latin. It is open to undergraduates, graduates, and faculty of all reading levels. It can be audited with minimal commitment or taken as a course towards the satisfaction of the Philosophy Department’s language requirement. Please contact the instructor if you would like to be placed on the course e-mail distribution list. Readings vary by semester. In the spring semester of 2021, we will read passages from Justus Lipsius's De Constantia. Syllabi are available below. 

Medieval Philosophy

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Notoriously dismissed by Petrarch as the “Dark Ages” and still often overlooked today, the medieval period included some of the most profound thinkers in the history of Western philosophy. In this course, we will examine three of its great traditions, Platonism, Scholastic-Aristotelianism, and Nominalism, through the works of their greatest proponents, Augustine, Aquinas and Ockham. Specific topics will include skepticism, knowledge, human nature, divine nature, language, realism, conceptualism, and happiness....

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British Empiricism

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were among the most exciting and revolutionary periods in the history of philosophy.  Among the most prominent philosophers working in that period, Locke, Berkeley and Hume have traditionally been grouped together under the label “British Empiricists” in virtue of their rejection of innate ideas and emphasis on experience as a source of knowledge.  This regularly offered course aims to provide an overview of the development of early modern empiricism while exploring in some detail a number of central issues, arguments and controversies....

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Seminar: The Philosophy of Émilie Du Châtelet

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

Émilie Du Châtelet was one of the most remarkable figures of the early modern Enlightenment. Overcoming the prejudices of her time, she rose to become a prominent philosopher, author and translator in the first half of the eighteenth century. This seminar will focus on Du Châtelet’s magnum opus the Institutions de Physique in which she explicitly attempts to bring together principles and developments of both Newtonian science and Leibnizian philosophy. Topics will include: principles of knowledge, space, time, body, motion, gravity, force and optics. (Taught with Clara Carus...

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Continental Rationalism

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2019
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were among the most exciting and revolutionary periods in the history of philosophy. Among the most prominent philosophers working in that period, Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz have traditionally been grouped together under the label “Continental Rationalists” in virtue of their embrace of systematic metaphysics and emphasis on rational reflection as a source of knowledge. This regularly offered course aims to provide an overview of the development of early modern rationalism while exploring in detail a number of central issues, arguments and... Read more about Continental Rationalism

Culture and Belief 31: Saints, Heretics and Atheists: An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Harvard University

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2019
This regularly offered course offers an introduction to the history of intellectual reflection on religion and belief in the western tradition.  We’ll read roughly a half dozen perennial works drawn from authors ranging from Augustine of Hippo to William James.  Along the way, we’ll think, discuss, and write about such topics as the nature of sin, the origin of evil, the fall of the devil, the attributes of God, the argument from design, and the relationship between religion and morality. Syllabus below.