Philosophy (PH)

PH 101 -  Introduction to Philosophy  
Credits: 3  

A topical and historical survey, this course will introduce the student to the discipline of philosophy. Through analysis of texts, through discussion, through participation, and through lecture, the student will gain an understanding of philosophy as both a unique discipline that attempts to answer the most profound questions about ourselves and our world and as a practice that illuminates our scientific, spiritual, social, and individual existences.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 110W -  Political Philosophy: An Introduction  
Credits: 4  

An examination of who should have power over others, of the forms that this power should take, and of the possibility of resisting and reconfiguring these power relations. Students will read and discuss classical and contemporary texts in social and political philosophy to answer these questions, and to pose related questions about justice, equality, freedom, citizenship, and social organization.

Note(s): Fulfills Expository Writing and Humanities requirements; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry and Writing requirements. This course is not an equivalent or a substitution to PL 102.  
PH 112H -  The Cave: Philosophy in the Shadows  
Credits: 4  

An introductory philosophy course that looks at the powerful metaphor of philosophy as a way of emerging from the darkness of the cave into the light of day. Students will read seminal works in philosophy, each of which has a similar argumentative structure: being released from faulty preconceptions (our lives in the cave) in order to ascend toward intellectual illumination (the emergence from the cave), only to return to our previous lives (a return to the cave, but now wiser). While each of the authors reflects on this process in some way, they are rather diverse in how they understand the nature of philosophy and how philosophy might help us to live our lives. Proposals will include ascents toward ethics, religion, science, freedom, and social justice.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 200 -  200 Level Elective  
Credits: 3  
PH 203 -  Ancient Greek Philosophy  
Credits: 4  

Ancient Greek thinkers engaged in a continuous dialogue about certain core philosophical questions, such as: Why do we philosophize? What is the nature of the cosmos, and what is the place of human beings in it? How do we know the world and ourselves? What is it to be human? What is happiness, and how can we achieve it? This course enters into that conversation through a careful reading and discussion of primary texts. Special attention will be given to Plato's and Aristotle's thought.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 204 -  Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant  
Credits: 4  

An introduction to major thinkers and themes of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Europe. The dynamics of the Scientific Revolution, the collection of new discoveries and inventions, and the evolving experimental methods in the early modern period led philosophers to a profound reappraisal of fundamental issues, such as the sources and limits of knowledge, the relation between mind and body, theories of human freedom and personal identity, and the apparently competing desires to explain the surrounding world in both natural and religious terms. Students will investigate how these philosophical developments led to distinctively modern ways of thinking about nature and the self. Primary documents will be read throughout.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 207 -  Introduction to Logic  
Credits: 4  

An introduction to the basic concepts and methods of modern symbolic logic, with a focus on their application to proper reasoning. Students learn how to represent sentences in logical notation, to reconstruct arguments in that notation, to assess arguments for validity and soundness, and to prove conclusions from premises using a system of natural deduction. Students also learn to recognize common argument forms and common mistakes in reasoning (fallacies), are introduced to philosophical issues related to logic, and learn how symbolic logic is the basis for the digital computer.

Note(s): Fulfills QR2 requirement.  
PH 210 -  Aesthetics  
Credits: 3  

A study of the aesthetic dimension of life in relation to the artist, the art object, the audience, and human experience in general. Several important and diverse theories of the aesthetic will be analyzed, discussed, and used in examining examples of art.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 211 -  Ethics  
Credits: 3  

A critical examination of the nature and principles of some of the major ethical theories proposed in the history of Western thought. Theories studied may include virtue ethics, natural law, deontological ethics, social contract, and utilitarianism. The course may also include some consideration of the application of the theories studied to selected contemporary moral issues.

Note(s): Offered alternate years. Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 212 -  Philosophy of Race  
Credits: 4  

Examination of arguments and ideas about the ontological, ethical, and political status of race. By exploring and critiquing historical and contemporary understandings of race and by practically applying these insights to the analysis of contemporary situations--personal, ethical, political and scientific--students will understand and be able to better affect the way in which race functions to shape our selves, our cultures, and our world.

Prerequisites: SSP 100.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanities and Social Sciences requirements; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry and Bridge Experience requirements.  
PH 213 -  Philosophy of Race and Gender  
Credits: 3  

An exploration of philosophical understandings of race and gender. Reasoned arguments about the status and meaning of the categories of race and gender have been a part of philosophy almost since its inception. Though historical arguments will be examined, the class will focus on relatively recent and contemporary theorizations of race and gender and on the practical effects these categories have on our lived experience as raced and gendered persons.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 214 -  Philosophy of Disability: Identity, Power, and Justice  
Credits: 4  

An examination of ways that oppression is enacted upon bodies. The course will also explore ways that embodied individuals are resistant to injustice and that social practices can be transformed to support the flourishing of a wider range of bodies. Students will engage with readings within the philosophy of disability and crip theory. Rather than classifying disability as primarily or solely a medical concern, this course will raise questions about the definition of disability, social values and practices, the ideology of cure, the relationship between disability and quality of life, and the role of technology in treatment and enhancement. To understand how built spaces enable and disable bodies, the course will include mapping of the accessibility of spaces within the Saratoga Springs community. We will provide accessibility information to the public using a mapping application as well as Google Reviews.

Prerequisites: SSP 100.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Bridge Experience requirement.  
PH 215 -  Buddhist Philosophy  
Credits: 3  

An introduction to selected themes, schools, and thinkers of the Buddhist philosophical tradition in India, Tibet, China, and Japan. Buddhist metaphysics and ethics are examined with reference to the nature of reality and the person, causality and action, wisdom and compassion, emptiness and nihilism. Comparisons are made to Western philosophers, especially regarding the Buddhist critique of substance and the Buddhist ideal of compassionate openness to the world.

Note(s): Offered alternate years. Fulfills non-Western Cultures and Humanities requirements; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry and Global Cultural Perspectives requirements.  
PH 218 -  Identity Knowledge & Ignorance  
Credits: 3  

A study of knowledge, active ignorance, and epistemic injustice, particularly as associated with racialized identities. Various mechanisms that perpetuate ignorance will be examined, as well as steps we can take to help remediate widespread ignorance.

Prerequisites: SSP 100.   
Note(s): Fulfills Bridge Experience Content/Theory/Reflection component.  
PH 219 -  Identity, Knowledge, and Ignorance: Practicum  
Credits: 1  

This course is the practicum component of the Bridge Experience requirement. In it, students will develop their ability to conduct productive discussions about race as well as communicating with a larger audience about the effects of racism and the way to conduct productive discussions.

Prerequisites: SSP 100. Prerequisite/  
Corequisites: PH 218.   
Note(s): Fulfills Bridge Experience Practice/Application component.  
PH 221 -  Memory & Retrospective Justice  
Credits: 4  

A course focusing on memory, memorialization, and retrospective justice in the United States, focusing particularly on issues of race, taking as its case study the contested memory of the Civil War in the United States and the enduring systemic injustices that resulted from national efforts at reconciliation. Retrospective justice focuses on repairing historic wrongs, wrongs that resulted in serious and lasting harms and yet the primary actors are long dead. In this course, students will investigate the promises and limits of methods of responding to historic injustices, focusing in particular on three areas: (a) memorials, monuments, and memorial spaces; (b) truth telling and efforts at reshaping the narratives; and (c) reparations.

Prerequisites: SSP 100.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry and Bridge Experience requirements.  
PH 223 -  Love and Friendship  
Credits: 3  

An exploration of love and friendship as understood in a variety of contexts from ancient Greece to the contemporary world. Students will learn how a number of philosophers think about personal bonds, self-love, the effect of gender inequality in shaping intimate relations, the difference between infatuation and enduring affection, and the power of love and friendship to fuel political movements.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities and Cultural Diversity requirements.  
PH 225 -  Environmental Philosophy  
Credits: 3  

An introduction to philosophical questions regarding the relation of humans to the environment. This course explores both foundational issues such as our understanding of nature and value as well as specific problems in environmental ethics such as animal rights, duty to future generations, and the justification of public policy. In addition to these explorations, students will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in this class by developing an environmental ethics embodied by the institutions and practices that surround us.

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 230 -  Topics in Philosophy  
Credits: 3  

The study of a selected topic in philosophy.

Note(s): Course may be repeated with permission of the department. Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 230A-D -  Topics in Philosophy  
Credits: 1-4  

(Fulfills humanistic inquiry.)

PH 241 -  Philosophy of Mind  
Credits: 3  

A philosophical (as opposed to a psychological or biological) approach to the study of mind. Students will investigate the metaphysical foundations for a philosophy of mind, the nature of mental representation, and the "hard problem" of consciousness. 

Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 300 -  300 Level Elective  
Credits: 3  
PH 304 -  Social-Political Philosophy  
Credits: 4  

A study of the nature of political community and of social institutions. Topics to be discussed include the nature and purposes of political community, the relation of ethics to political life and social institutions, the notions of equality, liberty, power, and justice, and the nature of rights.

Prerequisites: One course in philosophy or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Offered alternate years. Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 306 -  Nineteenth-Century Philosophy  
Credits: 4  

An examination of major figures in nineteenth-century philosophy, such as G. W. F. Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Comte, Mill, Peirce, and Frege.

Prerequisites: PH 204 or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 307 -  Twentieth-Century Philosophy  
Credits: 4  

An examination of a selected number of twentieth-century philosophers such as Adorno, Ayer, Davidson, Dewey, Foucault, Heidegger, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Quine, and Wittgenstein.

Prerequisites: PH 204 or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 308 -  American Philosophy  
Credits: 4  

An exploration of America's indigenous philosophical tradition, this course seeks to understand how various native thinkers have sought to develop modes of thought that both supersede and improve upon European models and which are adequate to the American experience in its diversity, originality, and totality. Starting with Ralph Waldo Emerson and continuing with such philosophers as C.S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Alain Leroy Locke, and Susanne Langer, this course will examine a history of such attempts, their philosophical methods, and their conclusions. In addition to gaining an understanding of various American philosophers' independent contributions to the discipline and their relationship to the Western philosophical tradition, this course will situate American philosophy within the post-Civil War cultural and scientific context that gave rise to that most characteristic of American philosophies: pragmatism.

Prerequisites: PH 204 or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 311 -  Existential Philosophy  
Credits: 4  

A study of the central concepts of existential philosophy as found in the writings of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, and Marcel. Concepts such as freedom, facticity, dread, nothingness, the absurd, being-for-itself, and being-in-itself will be examined.

Prerequisites: PH 204 or RE 241 or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Offered alternate years. Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 314 -  Philosophy of Law  
Credits: 4  

Analysis and discussion of various topics and approaches to the philosophy of law or jurisprudence. Readings may be chosen from classic philosophers as well as from modern legal positivists and realists.

Note(s): Offered alternate years. Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 315 -  Flesh: Thinking (with) Bodies  
Credits: 4  

This seminar focuses on the experience and theorization of human embodiment from poly-disciplinary perspectives. Point of departure is Descartes’ mind-body dualism that has had a far-reaching influence on the humanities, sciences, and general culture. Students will critically examine this Cartesianism through the study of perception (especially touch), of psychology, of bodies of culture (race and gender), as well as of psychoanalysis and trauma.  The body in law and politics, visual and performing arts, sports, and religion are other avenues of possible inquiry.

Prerequisites: One Philosophy course or permission of the instructor. (Fulfills humanistic inquiry requirement; Fulfills humanities requirement).  
PH 327 -  Great Philosophers  
Credits: 4  

A course in depth in the philosophy of a single great philosopher, philosophical school, or tradition.

Prerequisites: One course in philosophy.   
Note(s): Course may be repeated with a different philosopher, philosophical school, or tradition. Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 327A-D -  Plato  
Credits: 4-4  

A course in depth in the philosophy of a single great philosopher, philosophical school, or tradition.

Note(s): Fulfills humanistic inquiry.  
PH 327H -  Hegel  
Credits: 4  
PH 328 -  Metaphysics  
Credits: 4  

A study of the most fundamental concepts of being as developed in several major philosophers from the Greeks to the present. Discussion will focus on such topics as God, time, space, substance, essence, existence, process, causality, and value.

Prerequisites: PH 204 or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 329 -  Seminar in Kant  
Credits: 4  

A study of Immanuel Kant, the pivotal thinker of modern Western philosophy. Kant offers a critique of both early modern empiricist and rationalists, introduces the transcendental standpoint into philosophy, and sets the stage for nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophers, all of whom respond to his critique of theoretical and practical reason in one way or another.

Prerequisites: PH 204 or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 330 -  Advanced Topics in Philosophy  
Credits: 4  

The study of a selected topic in philosophy.

Prerequisites: one course in philosophy or permission of instructor. Course may be repeated with a different topic.   
Note(s): Fulfills humanistic inquiry.  
PH 330A-D -  Advanced Topics in Philosophy  
Credits: 1-4  

The study of a selected topic in philosophy.

Prerequisites: one course in philosophy or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Course may be repeated with a different topic. Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 341 -  Philosophy of Literature  
Credits: 4  

This seminar examines philosophies of literature and literary criticism. Various schools of thought, including phenomenology, hermeneutics, structuralism, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis, may be examined particularly closely, as well as some of the founding philosophical texts in literary theory. There may also be a study of selected literary texts.

Prerequisites: One course in philosophy or permission of instructor.   
Note(s): Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.  
PH 371 -  Independent Study  
Credits: 3  

A reading course in an area or a philosopher not available in this depth in other courses.

Prerequisites: Permission of department.  
PH 375 -  Senior Portfolio  
Credits: 4  

A capstone course in which students develop a portfolio of representative work in philosophy. Students will compile at least three research papers from previous course work, which will form the basis of their senior portfolio. The development of the portfolio will have at least three stages: (1) a re-envisioning and significant revision of a previous research paper, including doing further research into scholarly literature on the topic, with an opportunity to explore interdisciplinary connections; (2) the redevelopment of that paper into a short presentation; and (3) a reflection exercise in which students synthesize their work in the portfolio, drawing connections with other work they have done at Skidmore and considering the ways in which it might inform their future endeavors.

Note(s): Open to senior Philosophy majors; permission of the instructor required for minors. Fulfills the writing requirement in the major. Offered each spring. Fulfills Humanistic Inquiry and Senior Experience Coda requirements.  
PH 376 -  Senior Thesis  
Credits: 3  

Individual conferences with senior majors in the areas of their research projects.