Last updated January 11, 2024
All course offerings can be confirmed on the Directory of Classes and are subject to change. Please check this page and the Directory of Classes for updates. Past course offerings can be found in the Courses dropdown menu.
*NOTE* MA and PhD students in the Department of Philosophy cannot count an undergraduate course towards their degree.
PHIL UN1001 Introduction to Philosophy
Section 001: TR 2:40pm-3:55pm; 207 Milbank Hall (at Barnard College)
Section 002: MW 1:10ppm-2:25pm; 307 Milbank Hall (at Barnard College)
Survey of some of the central problems, key figures, and great works in both traditional and contemporary philosophy. Topics and texts will vary with instructor and semester.
PHIL UN1010 Methods & Problems of Philosophical Thought
TR 1:10pm-2:25pm; 141 Uris Hall
A critical introduction to philosophical problems, ideas and methods.
PHIL UN1401 Introduction to Logic
TR 11:40am-12:55pm; 405 Milbank Hall (at Barnard College)
Explicit criteria for recognizing valid and fallacious arguments, together with various methods for schematizing discourse for the purpose of logical analysis. Illustrative material taken from science and everyday life.
PHIL UN2301 History of Philosophy III: Kant-Nietzsche (at Barnard College)
MW 8:40am-9:55am; 504 Diana Center
Prerequisites: None. Exposition and analysis of major texts and figures in European philosophy since Kant. Authors include Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Required discussion section (PHIL UN2311). Attendance in the first week of classes is mandatory.
PHIL UN2655 Cognitive Science and Philosophy
TR 2:40pm-3:55pm; 331 Uris Hall
This course will survey a number of topics at the intersection of cognitive science and philosophy. Potential topics include free will, consciousness, embodied cognition, artificial intelligence, neural networks, and the language of thought.
PHIL UN3251 Kant
MW 11:40am-12:55pm; 405 Milbank Hall (at Barnard College)
Explores the connections between theoretical and practical reason in Kant's thinking with special attention to the Critique of Pure Reason and the project of transcendental philosophy.
PHIL UN3351 Phenomenology & Existentialism (at Barnard College)
MW 10:10am-11:25am; LL104 Diana Center
PHIL UN3411 Symbolic Logic
TR 7:40pm-8:55pm; 309 Havemeyer Hall
Corequisites: PHILUN3413 Required Discussion Section (0 points). Advanced introduction to classical sentential and predicate logic. No previous acquaintance with logic is required; nonetheless a willingness to master technicalities and to work at a certain level of abstraction is desirable.
PHIL UN3576 Physics and Philosophy
MW 4:10pm-5:25pm; 330 Uris Hall
Philosophical problems at the foundations of quantum theory, especially those having to do with the uncertainty of relations and nature of quantum mechanical indeterminacy. Exploration of a variety of interpretation and hidden variable theory.
PHIL UN3701 Ethics
MW 1:10pm-2:25pm; 142 Uris Hall
Prerequisites: one course in philosophy. Corequisites: PHIL UN3711 Required Discussion Section (0 points). This course is mainly an introduction to three influential approaches to normative ethics: utilitarianism, deontological views, and virtue ethics. We also consider the ethics of care, and selected topics in meta-ethics.
PHIL UN3751 Political Philosophy
TR 2:40pm-3:55pm; 303 Uris Hall
Six major concepts of political philosophy including authority, rights, equality, justice, liberty and democracy are examined in three different ways. First the conceptual issues are analyzed through contemporary essays on these topics by authors like Peters, Hart, Williams, Berlin, Rawls and Schumpeter. Second the classical sources on these topics are discussed through readings from Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Marx, Plato, Mill and Rousseau. Third some attention is paid to relevant contexts of application of these concepts in political society, including such political movements as anarchism, international human rights, conservative, liberal, and Marxist economic policies as well as competing models of democracy.
PHIL UN3769 Living, Dying, and the Meaning of Life
K. Vogt, L. Dugdale, I. Rottenberg
TR 11:40am-12:55pm; Earl Hall Auditorium
Bringing together scholars from the fields of Philosophy, Medicine, Ethics, and Religion, this course exposes students to modes of inquiry that can help to answer central questions that are often elusive and/or unconsidered: What constitutes a good human life? What do I need to be truly happy? How does the fact that I will one day die impact how I should live today? This interdisciplinary course provides a rare opportunity to consider how a wide variety of thinkers and writers have approached these questions, while also engaging with them in a personal way within our contemporary context. Lectures will be combined with group discussion and a weekend retreat, creating possibilities for interpersonal engagement and deep learning.
PHIL UN3960 Epistemology
TR 1:10pm-2:25pm; 503 Hamilton Hall
Corequisites: PHIL W3963 Required Discussion Section (0 points). What can we know? What is knowledge? What are the different kinds of knowledge? We will read classic and contemporary texts for insight into these questions.
PHIL UN3996 Supervised Senior Research
For undergraduate seniors whose thesis proposals are approved. Please register for the appropriate section with your advisor. Contact Prof. David Albert, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Haley Donovan, Academic Programs Coordinator, for more information.
PHIL GU4950 Economics & Philosophy (*Restricted to Economics-Philosophy Majors*)
W 2:10pm-4:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
Prerequisites: ECON UN3211, ECON UN3213, ECON UN3412. Students will be contacted by the Economics department for pre-enrollment. Explores topics in the philosophy of economics such as welfare, social choice, and the history of political economy. Sometimes the emphasis is primarily historical and sometimes on the analysis of contemporary economic concepts and theories.
Required of senior majors, but also open to junior majors, and junior and senior concentrators who have taken at least four philosophy courses. This exploration will typically involve writing a substantial research paper. Capped at 20 students with preference to philosophy majors.
To register for a Majors Seminar, please complete this form.
PHIL UN3912 Section 001 (At Barnard)
W 4:10pm-6:00pm; 501 Diana Center
PHIL UN3912 Section 002
T 4:10pm-6:00pm; 401 Hamilton Hall
This seminar will explore how scientists inquire about the world, ask what a scientific theory is up to, and examine how theories relate to reality.
Music GU4325 Topics in Music Cognition
M. Kozak & C. Peacocke
W 4:10pm-6:00pm; 622 Dodge Hall
This advanced seminar builds on the Introduction to Music Cognition (MUSIC UN2320) with an in-depth inquiry into selected key topics in the field of Music Cognition. Specific topics vary each year, depending on interest and availability of instructors, and include human development; evolution; communication and music’s relation to language; embodied knowledge; first-person awareness; metaphor; ineffability; neuroscience; mental representations; memory and anticipation; cross-cultural studies; emotions; musical aesthetics; artificial intelligence; agency; creativity; and music’s relation to other art forms. Each semester the course delves into recent research on 3–4 of these topics, focusing in particular on how this research can be applied to questions of musical knowledge. Advanced readings are drawn from fields as diverse as music theory, psychology, biology, anthropology, philosophy, and neuroscience. They include general works in cognitive science, theoretical work focused on specific musical issues, and reports of empirical research.
PHIL GU4660 Philosophy of Mind
M 2:10pm-4:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
SOCI GR5001 Freedom: Inequality, Populism, and Democracy
A. Bilgrami & J. Cole
W 10:10am-12:00pm; 546 Greene Hall
The concept of freedom is analytically complex and has
a long and varied intellectual history. This course will focus on the
concept as it emerged in the modern period (roughly since the seventeenth
century in Europe) and focus in particular on three aspects of freedom.
Though the primary interest of the seminar will be on political and
academic freedom, it will be useful to begin with a very brief discussion
of the most abstract dimension of freedom by asking what notion of freedom
might individual human subjects be said to possess given the determinism
that seems to be everywhere indicated by the comprehensive explanatory
power of modern science.
NOTE: This is a graduate seminar. If undergraduate seniors wish to enroll they
should seek permission from the professors. The fourteen weeks of the
course will consist of a combination of 1) lectures by the instructors
followed by discussions, 2) discussions with guest visitors who are
distinguished scholars in the field and whose work will be pre-circulated
to the seminar, and 3) presentations by students on the readings on the
Requirements: Strictly regular attendance, prior reading of weekly texts,
and a term paper at the end of term of roughly 20-25 pages.
PHIL GR6100 MA Research Seminar
M 10:10am-12:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
The MA Research Seminar supports the research projects of MA students in Philosophy. Participants practice key methods in philosophy and deepen their knowledge of classic and contemporary contributions to the field. The seminar is suitable for everyone who is aiming to write a research paper. Seminar participants receive detailed input throughout the semester. Students can take the class at any stage during their studies for the MA. The class is graded Pass/ Fail.
PHIL GR6880 1st Year Proseminar (Required of all first-year Ph.D. candidates)
W 6:10pm-8:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
Required of all first-year Ph.D. candidates.
PHIL GR9121 Topics in Ancient Philosophy
T 2:10pm-4:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
PHIL GR9659 Naturalism
R 10:10am-12:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
It is highly recommended that students have completed a philosophy of mind course (PHILGR9658). The successes of the physical sciences in the 19th and 20th century solidified naturalism as the dominant ideology of analytic philosophy. While lacking any precise definition, naturalism broadly takes science to be epistemically and ontologically privileged over other forms of inquiry, guiding and constraining philosophy itself. Today, questions not only concerning ‘what the world is like’ but also philosophical queries into theory of knowledge and meaning, metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of mind defer to the sciences and the scientific method. But what makes science an epistemically and ontologically privileged enterprise? What relation does science maintain to philosophy? What arguments are there for different kinds of naturalism?
In this course, we will ask these questions, both with a focus on efforts to naturalize the mind and an eye toward the historical context in which these efforts developed. We will explore the relationship between naturalizing psychological properties and physicalism, the relationship between naturalism and representationalism, phenomenological critiques of naturalism, and proposed alternatives to naturalism.
PHIL GR9750 Topics in Political Philosophy
M 4:10pm-6:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
Topic: Democratic Citizenship. This graduate seminar in political philosophy explores the problems and possibilities of democratic citizenship. We consider primarily recent accounts of democratic citizenship, with some attention to important historical antecedents of these accounts. Instructor approval is required for this course.
PHIL GR9755 Problems of Social Philosophy
A. Honneth and F. Neuhouser
W 4:10pm-6:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
Topic: Sartre's critique of dialectic reason. Priority will be given to Columbia GSAS MA and PhD students. All other students must obtain permission from the instructors to register.
PHIL GR9990 Thesis Preparation Seminar
R 2:10pm-4:00pm; 716 Philosophy Hall
The purposes of the Seminar are (a) to aid graduates in developing and refining material for their dissertation; (b) to give graduates experience in presenting material to a philosophical audience in an informed and supportive environment; (c) to give graduates experience in critically discussing presented material, and thereby to see how their own presentations and work can be developed to withstand critical examination. The Seminar is restricted to Columbia graduate students in their third or later years, and all such students are strongly encouraged to attend. No faculty (other than the organizer) will be present. Those attending the seminar will be expected to make one or more presentations of work in progress. The material for a presentation may range from a near-final draft of a chapter, to an early critical overview of an area with an outline plan for an approach to some chosen problem. We will attempt as far as possible to organize the presentations in such a way that they are grouped by subject-matter, and provide a rational path through the territory we cover.