Courses

To see a complete list of courses offered and their descriptions, visit the online course catalog.

The courses listed below are provided by Student Information Services (SIS). This listing provides a snapshot of immediately available courses within this department and may not be complete. Course registration information can be found at https://sis.jhu.edu/classes.

AS.150.130 - Introduction to Philosophy

Religion and Mass Media

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Englert, Alexander Tilghman
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWF 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.145 - Mini-Term: The Meaning of Life

This class will serve as an introduction to that most traditionally philosophical topic: the meaning of life. In it we will explore the ideas of several prominent thinkers from the history of philosophy in relation to life, the existence of our world, and their significance (if any). However, the class is not an historical exercise. Instead, it will furnish you with the conceptual tools necessary to engage with the topic in a philosophically competent way and to challenge both yourself and others on those matters that matter most.

Credits: 1.00
Instructor: Teague, Richard John
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWF 12:00PM - 2:30PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.258 - Temptation and Desiring the Bad

It is often assumed that we always desire the good. But, what about when we indulge in what we know is bad for us, e.g. a cigar or fourth doughnut? Are we viewing those things as good? Can we act against our better judgment? We will address these questions and more. Our task will be to focus on the phenomenon of weakness of will by reading Plato, Aristotle, and contemporary literature on irrationality paradoxes.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Cummings, Cara Rei
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWTh 2:00PM - 5:00PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.285 - Hobbes and Spinoza

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677) are two of the greatest political philosophers of modern times. Both philosophers were realists, both wrote extensively on religion and politics, and both were accused with atheism. In this class we will study closely their highly influential masterpieces: Hobbes's Leviathan and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise.

Credits: 4.00
Instructor: Melamed, Yitzhak Yohanan
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWF 9:00AM - 1:00PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.216 - Minds and Machines

The course is a philosophical introduction to the topic of artificial intelligence. We will examine such questions as whether machines can think and whether we can build robots that have emotions, personalities and a sense of self. In doing so, we will touch upon a closely connected question: is the human mind itself a machine?

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Andonovski, Nikola
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWTh 12:00PM - 3:00PM
Status: Open

AS.150.210 - Minds, Consciousness, and Computers

This course is a philosophical exploration of the mind and its relation to the body, personhood, and artificial intelligence. First, we will consider competing definitions of the mind and how it fits into the world. We will also be considering whether machines could ever have minds in the same way that human persons do, as well as the metaphysical and practical implications of mind uploading.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Brophy, Kathryn E
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWF 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.329 - Practical Reason

This course provides an advanced introduction to the philosophical literature on reasons for action. Questions we will address include: What makes it the case that one ought to do something? What is the distinction, if any, between 'moral' reasons and the reasons of 'self-interest'? Must we be motivated to do something in order to have a reason to do it? And how is it possible to act in ways that we think we should not?

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Powell, Kevin Matthew
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWF 6:00PM - 9:00PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.263 - The Good and the True

The object of all of our scientific inquiries, it is said, is the true. The object of our ethical inquiries, as to what is of value or worthwhile, is the true. Yet both of these notions have struck many philosophers as not only hard to understand, but simply weird. This course will inquire into the nature of good and true, trying to understand what we mean by these words and their place in our lives.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Marom, Itai
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWF 9:30AM - 12:30PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.213 - Introduction to Philosophy of Science

Scientific knowledge plays an important role in human understanding. What makes something scientific? For that matter, what is a scientific explanation? Philosophers have long reflected on the nature of science and the way it shapes our conception of the universe. In this course, we will explore topics at the intersection of philosophy and science, including scientific explanation, laws of nature, the problem of induction, and reductionism. This course presupposes no philosophical or scientific background.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Arledge, Christopher Stewart, Gunderson, Palmer Jon
Term: Summer 2018
Meetings: MWTh 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.201 - Introduction to Greek Philosophy

A survey of the earlier phase of Greek philosophy. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle will be discussed, as well as two groups of thinkers who preceded them, usually known as the pre-Socratics and the Sophists.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bett, Richard
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 10:00AM - 10:50AM, F 10:00AM - 10:50AM
Status: Open

AS.150.196 - Freshman Seminar: Being A Good Person

In this seminar we explore the virtue ethics tradition and it's pursuit to figure out what it means to be a good person. We creatively read the canonical tradition as well as less familiar texts in race & gender studies as well as fiction.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Lebron, Christopher Joseph
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: W 1:30PM - 4:00PM
Status: Open

AS.150.140 - Minds, Bodies, and Persons

This course is a philosophical exploration of the mind and its relation to the body, personhood, and artificial intelligence. First, we will consider competing definitions of the mind and how it fits into the world. From here, we will engage with the concept of human personhood through an examination of what it takes to remain the same person over time. We will also be considering whether machines could ever have minds in the same way that human persons do, as well as the metaphysical and practical implications of mind uploading. Through testing the boundaries of cognition and personhood through technology, we hope to bring the relationship between minds, bodies, and persons into clearer focus.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Brophy, Kathryn E
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MWF 11:00AM - 11:50AM
Status: Waitlist Only

AS.150.195 - Freshman Seminar: Ancient Greek Ethics

This seminar is an introduction to the tradition in ethics known as eudaimonism, or virtue theory. The starting point for this tradition is the question: How should I lead my life? Or equally, What is it to be a good person? Aristotle tends to dominate contemporary discussions of Greek ethics, but we read more widely. We study selections from the Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Skeptics.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Theunissen, L Nandi
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 12:00PM - 1:15PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.136 - Philosophy & Science: An Introduction to Both

Philosophers and scientists raise important questions about the nature of the physical world, the mental world, the relationship between them, and the right methods to use in their investigations of these worlds. The answers they present are very different. Scientists are usually empiricists, and want to answer questions by experiment and observation. Philosophers don’t want to do this, but defend their views a priori. Why? Can both be right? Readings will present philosophical and scientific views about the world and our knowledge of it. They will include selections from major historical and contemporary figures in philosophy and science. This course has no prerequisites in philosophy or science.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Achinstein, Peter
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 11:00AM - 11:50AM, F 12:00PM - 12:50PM
Status: Open

AS.150.201 - Introduction to Greek Philosophy

A survey of the earlier phase of Greek philosophy. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle will be discussed, as well as two groups of thinkers who preceded them, usually known as the pre-Socratics and the Sophists.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bett, Richard
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 10:00AM - 10:50AM, W 2:00PM - 2:50PM
Status: Open

AS.150.219 - Intro to Bioethics

Introduction to a wide range of moral issues arising in the biomedical fields, e.g. physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, abortion, surrogacy, and human subjects research. Cross-listed with Public Health Studies.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bok, Hilary
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 12:00PM - 12:50PM, F 12:00PM - 12:50PM
Status: Waitlist Only

AS.150.130 - Dystopian Dreams - Utopian Ideals

In this course, we will be exploring fundamental questions of philosophy through the lenses of dystopias (in film, television, and literature) as well as utopias (in literature and philosophy). What is human nature? Do we still have duties if the world goes crazy? And do our lives maintain their meaning if we give up the notion of God? In this course, we'll be holding up dystopian and utopian mirrors to delve into questions about our everyday reality.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Englert, Alexander Tilghman
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 10:30AM - 11:45AM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.136 - Philosophy & Science: An Introduction to Both

Philosophers and scientists raise important questions about the nature of the physical world, the mental world, the relationship between them, and the right methods to use in their investigations of these worlds. The answers they present are very different. Scientists are usually empiricists, and want to answer questions by experiment and observation. Philosophers don’t want to do this, but defend their views a priori. Why? Can both be right? Readings will present philosophical and scientific views about the world and our knowledge of it. They will include selections from major historical and contemporary figures in philosophy and science. This course has no prerequisites in philosophy or science.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Achinstein, Peter
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 11:00AM - 11:50AM, F 11:00AM - 11:50AM
Status: Open

AS.040.241 - The Greeks and Their Emotions

This seminar is meant as an introduction to the study of ancient emotions, with a particular emphasis on how the Greeks of the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods conceptualized, portrayed and lived their emotions through linguistic, literary and artistic expression. After an analysis of how the ancient Greek terminology for the emotions differs from our own, we shall focus on the phenomenon of emotion as deeply rooted in the physical body, and in light of this we will contemplate (and question) its universality. Texts will be read in translation. No knowledge of ancient Greek required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Asuni, Michele
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 4:30PM - 5:45PM
Status: Open

AS.150.219 - Intro to Bioethics

Introduction to a wide range of moral issues arising in the biomedical fields, e.g. physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, abortion, surrogacy, and human subjects research. Cross-listed with Public Health Studies.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bok, Hilary
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 12:00PM - 12:50PM, F 12:00PM - 12:50PM
Status: Waitlist Only

AS.150.219 - Intro to Bioethics

Introduction to a wide range of moral issues arising in the biomedical fields, e.g. physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, abortion, surrogacy, and human subjects research. Cross-listed with Public Health Studies.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bok, Hilary
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 12:00PM - 12:50PM, F 12:00PM - 12:50PM
Status: Open

AS.150.434 - Formal Methods of Philosophy

During the last century or so, symbolic logic and other formal methods have come to play an essential role in most areas of systematic philosophical inquiry. This course serves as an introduction to these formal prerequisites for more advanced study in a wide variety of contemporary philosophical areas. Topics include the syntax and semantics of sentential and first-order predicate logic, natural deduction, basic set theory, mathematical induction and recursion, probability, modal logic, and non-standard logics. The emphasis is on basic comprehension, not on mathematical virtuosity. (Co-listed/combined with AS.150.223)

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Rynasiewicz, Robert
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 1:30PM - 2:45PM
Status: Open

AS.150.511 - Directed Study

Individual study of special topics, under regular supervision of a faculty member. Special permission is required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Forster, Eckart
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.150.219 - Intro to Bioethics

Introduction to a wide range of moral issues arising in the biomedical fields, e.g. physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, abortion, surrogacy, and human subjects research. Cross-listed with Public Health Studies.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bok, Hilary
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 12:00PM - 12:50PM, F 1:30PM - 2:20PM
Status: Open

AS.150.448 - The Religion of Morality

In the wake of the Enlightenment criticism of traditional forms of religion, philosophers attempted to give religion a rational basis by equating it with moral practice. We will examine this religion of morality with the goal of determining whether it can vindicate its claim to be a genuine religion. We will read texts by Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Emerson.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Moyar, Dean
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: T 1:30PM - 4:00PM
Status: Open

AS.213.374 - Existentialism in Literature and Philosophy

This course explores the themes of existentialism, including the meaning of existence, the nature of the self, authenticity and inauthenticity, the inescapability of death, the experience of time, anxiety, freedom and responsibility to others, in literary and philosophical works. It will be examined why these philosophical ideas often seem to demand literary expression, or bear a close relation to literary works. Readings may include writings by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Heidegger, Rilke, Kafka, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus, among others. Course will be taught by the Kurrelmeyer Chair in German. Taught in English.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Staff
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 1:30PM - 2:45PM
Status: Open

AS.150.409 - Wittgenstein On Certainty

Wittgenstein’s On Certainty consists of four notebooks containing remarks on knowledge, certainty, doubt and truth. In this course, we will undertake a close study of Wittgenstein’s notes, critically examining competing interpretations of Wittgenstein’s ideas and the different use of those ideas have been taken up in current debates about philosophical skepticism.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Williams, Michael
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: M 1:30PM - 4:00PM
Status: Open

AS.150.551 - Honors Project

See departmental major adviser.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Theunissen, L Nandi
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.150.511 - Directed Study

Individual study of special topics, under regular supervision of a faculty member. Special permission is required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Taylor, Elanor J.
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.150.511 - Directed Study

Individual study of special topics, under regular supervision of a faculty member. Special permission is required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Melamed, Yitzhak Yohanan
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.150.551 - Honors Project

See departmental major adviser.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Melamed, Yitzhak Yohanan
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.150.551 - Honors Project

See departmental major adviser.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Taylor, Elanor J.
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.150.476 - Philosophy and Cognitive Science

This term's topic will be "cognitive penetration". Can what you believe change how things look and sound? For example, do paintings look different to someone who knows a lot about art history and aesthetics? Can racial prejudice cause someone to see a cellphone as a gun? If your beliefs can alter your perceptions, how can perceptions provide neutral justification for beliefs? And how does one draw a distinction between perception and thought in the first place? Readings will be drawn both from philosophy (e.g., Fodor, Block, Siegel) and psychology (e.g., Pylyshyn, Firestone, Lupyan). Recommended Course Background: Some previous exposure to philosophy, the mind-brain sciences, or other relevant background.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Gross, Steven
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 1:30PM - 2:45PM
Status: Waitlist Only

AS.150.551 - Honors Project

See departmental major adviser.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Forster, Eckart
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.300.399 - Cinema and Philosophy

Do movies have anything to say about philosophical problems? Why is contemporary philosophy so interested in cinema? What are the most productive ways of bringing films and philosophy into conversation?

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Marrati, Paola, McCreary, Michael D, Staff
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 3:00PM - 4:15PM
Status: Open

AS.150.511 - Directed Study

Individual study of special topics, under regular supervision of a faculty member. Special permission is required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Achinstein, Peter
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.211.265 - Panorama of German Thought

This course explores the rich terrain of German literature and philosophical thought, from Kant to today. At each meeting, we will investigate canonical texts of the German intellectual tradition, with an eye to discovering their unity as “German” philosophical and cultural artifacts and icons, as well as with an interest in establishing their well-deserved place in the wider, global discourses of world literature. In this way, we will learn to think critically in and with these important literary and philosophical texts from German-speaking lands as a means of viewing and appreciating the full panorama of German thought. Among authors read and discussed will be Kant, Goethe, Schiller, Hegel, Kleist, Heine, Fontane, Nietzsche, Freud, Kafka, Heidegger, Mann and Bernhard. Readings and discussion will be in English. German is appreciated but not required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Dornbach, Marton
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 4:30PM - 5:45PM
Status: Open

AS.150.551 - Honors Project

See departmental major adviser.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Achinstein, Peter
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open

AS.150.235 - Philosophy of Religion

Can one prove or disprove the existence of God? What is the relation between reason and faith? Are science and religion at odds with one another? We will consider historically significant discussions of these questions as well as important contemporary writings.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Gross, Steven
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 11:00AM - 11:50AM, F 12:00PM - 12:50PM
Status: Open

AS.150.454 - The Value of Humanity

Are human beings distinctively valuable? What makes us valuable? And how should we respond to the value of human beings? The course is divided into four parts. The first part takes up questions about the basis of human value. We consider various proposals, including Kant's, about the valuable feature or capacity of human beings. Are we valuable in virtue of having a good will, in virtue of being agents, in virtue of being valuers, or something further? The second part takes up questions about the explanation of the value of human beings. Does the proposed feature make us valuable because it instantiates a simple value property, making us valuable in ourselves, or simpliciter? We consider whether the notion of value simpliciter is a notion we fully understand, or need. Does the proposed feature make us valuable because it makes us good-for something or someone? Who or what does it make us good-for? Or again, does the proposed feature make us such that we are objects of an appropriate attitude or practical stance? If so, what is the attitude or stance? The third part of the course takes up normative questions about the appropriate mode of responding to human beings. We consider whether it makes sense to say that human beings are "ends-in-themselves," and what it would mean to treat a person as an end-in-itself. We also consider various accounts of respect. A guiding question is whether human beings are the only appropriate objects of respect, or whether we can respect other beings, and even artifacts. The fourth part of the class applies what we have learned so far to related topics: to the question of whether human life or existence is valuable, and conversely, whether death is disvaluable. We consider, albeit briefly, the value of human beings in relation to the value of animals. And we ask about the role of Kantian notions like dignity in applied contexts, so that highly philosophical considerations about value are shown to have real-world bearing.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Theunissen, L Nandi
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 3:00PM - 4:15PM
Status: Canceled

AS.150.355 - Philosophy of Law

In this course we will examine major issues in the philosophy of law, including the relation of law to moral theory, the role of the Constitution in legal decisions, and the justification of punishment. No previous knowledge of law or philosophy is required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Moyar, Dean
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: Th 1:30PM - 4:00PM
Status: Waitlist Only

AS.150.219 - Intro to Bioethics

Introduction to a wide range of moral issues arising in the biomedical fields, e.g. physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, abortion, surrogacy, and human subjects research. Cross-listed with Public Health Studies.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bok, Hilary
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 12:00PM - 12:50PM, W 2:00PM - 2:50PM
Status: Open

AS.150.235 - Philosophy of Religion

Can one prove or disprove the existence of God? What is the relation between reason and faith? Are science and religion at odds with one another? We will consider historically significant discussions of these questions as well as important contemporary writings.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Gross, Steven
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 11:00AM - 11:50AM, F 12:00PM - 12:50PM
Status: Open

AS.150.410 - The Philosophy of Afrofuturism I

The main goal of speculatibe fiction is to render a familiar world slightly unfamiliar to then ask familiar questions in new ways. Afrofuturism as a genre of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror written by and about black people, applies this ethic to the problems of race, broadly speaking. In this course we survey major texts to philosophically inquire into phenomena like incaceration., Slavery and it's lingering effects, and colonialism among other themes.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Lebron, Christopher Joseph
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: T 1:30PM - 4:00PM
Status: Open

AS.150.419 - Kant's Critique/Judgment

This course will examine closely and in detail the aesthetic and teleological parts of Kant's third masterpiece, The Critique of the Power of Judgment.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Forster, Eckart
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 9:00AM - 10:15AM
Status: Open

AS.150.428 - Spinoza’s Theological Political Treatise

The class is a study of Spinoza’s theological and political thought as developed in his Theological-Political Treatise and the Political Treatise. Among the topics to be discussed are: Spinoza’s Bible criticism, the nature of religion, truth and obedience, God’s right and power, Spinoza’s theory of the State, the case study of the ancient Hebrew State, and the freedom to philosophize. Apart from a close reading of Spinoza’s two works we will also discuss Leo Strauss’ reading of Spinoza, and current work on Political Theology and their indebtness to Spinoza.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Melamed, Yitzhak Yohanan
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: Th 10:30AM - 1:00PM
Status: Open

AS.150.219 - Intro to Bioethics

Introduction to a wide range of moral issues arising in the biomedical fields, e.g. physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, abortion, surrogacy, and human subjects research. Cross-listed with Public Health Studies.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bok, Hilary
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: MW 12:00PM - 12:50PM, W 2:00PM - 2:50PM
Status: Open

AS.150.301 - Majors Seminar: Ancient Greek Ethics

Required for philosophy majors and restricted to philosophy majors and minors. The course this year will focus on ancient Greek ethics, including selections from Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Skeptics, and perhaps others.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bett, Richard
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: W 1:30PM - 4:00PM
Status: Open

AS.150.474 - Justice and Health

Course will consider the bearing of theories of justice on health care. Topics will include national health insurance, rationing and cost containment, and what justice requires of researchers in developing countries.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Bok, Hilary
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: F 1:30PM - 4:00PM
Status: Waitlist Only

AS.150.223 - Formal Methods of Philosophy

During the last century or so, symbolic logic and other formal methods have come to play an essential role in most areas of systematic philosophical inquiry. This course serves as an introduction to these formal prerequisites for more advanced study in a wide variety of contemporary philosophical areas. Topics include the syntax and semantics of sentential and first-order predicate logic, natural deduction, basic set theory, mathematical induction and recursion, probability, modal logic, and non-standard logics. The emphasis is on basic comprehension, not on mathematical virtuosity. (Co-listed/combined with AS.150.434)

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Rynasiewicz, Robert
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings: TTh 1:30PM - 2:45PM
Status: Open

AS.150.511 - Directed Study

Individual study of special topics, under regular supervision of a faculty member. Special permission is required.

Credits: 3.00
Instructor: Theunissen, L Nandi
Term: Fall 2018
Meetings:
Status: Open