Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy offers courses in philosophy and art, the history of philosophy, twentieth-century philosophy, logic, ethics, epistemology, the philosophy of science, Plato, Hegel, Heidegger, Kant, Spinoza, and Wittgenstein.

For questions about specific courses, contact the department:

Departmental Office: 708 Philosophy
212-854-3196
Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Web: www.columbia.edu/cu/philosophy


Directory of Classes

The course information displayed on this page relies on an external system and may be incomplete. Please visit Philosophy on the Directory of Classes for complete course information.

After finding your course in the Directory of Classes, click on the section number to open an expanded view. The "Open To" field will indicate whether the course is open to School of Professional Studies students. If School of Professional Studies is not included in the field, students may still be able to cross-register for the course by obtaining permission after being admitted to an academic program.


PHIL BC1001 Introduction to Philosophy. 3 points.

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.

Spring 2017: PHIL BC1001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 1001 001/09632 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
304 Barnard Hall
David Friedell 3 56
PHIL 1001 002/03579 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Ll103 Diana Center
David Friedell 3 55
Fall 2017: PHIL BC1001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 1001 001/06226 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Room TBA
Taylor Carman 3 32
PHIL 1001 002/03948 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Karen Lewis 3 18

PHIL G4055 Aesthetics: Modern Survey II. 3 points.

Open to senior undergraduates with previous work in the history of philosophy and to graduate students. Priority is given to students who have taken Aesthetics: Historical Survey I.

This course is a critical examination of the major texts in aesthetics including Dewey, Collingwood, Croce, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Wollheim, Goodman, Cavell, and Danto. Aesthetics: Modern Survey I is not a pre-requiste, but preference is given to those students who have taken it.

PHIL G4415 Symbolic Logic. 4 points.

Discussion Section Required

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. Note: Due to significant overlap, students may receive credit for only one of the following three courses: PHIL V3411, V3415, G4415.

PHIL G4580 Topics in Political Philosophy. 3 points.

The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with topics at the centre of discussion in contemporary political philosophy, regarding the scope of justice, and the demands that it lays on individuals.  The readings for each topic present opposed points of views, and it is hoped that the seminar will be a site of signicant debate

PHIL G5010 Addiction and Agency. 3 points.

It is commonly believed that one cannot be blamed for actions that one is compelled to perform. Addiction is often taken to be an archetypical; case of a condition that can compel actions. But what is addiction? Is there a principled division between paradigmatic addictive behaviors such as heroin use and, e.g., excessive cell phone use? The answers to questions like these turn out to be highly controversial. Drawing on psychiatric as well as philosophical literatures, we will seek an analysis of the concept of addiction that can illuminate its moral significance. We will conclude by discussing arguments for skepticism about responsibility judgments more broadly. According to such arguments, none of us are responsible for anything, not because responsible action is incompatible with determinism, but because there is no principled explanation for why addicts would fail to be responsible which not overgeneralize to non-addicts.

PHIL GR9670 Modern Philosophy. 3 points.

Fall 2017: PHIL GR9670
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 9670 001/04654 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
716 Philosophy Hall
John Morrison 3 4/30

PHIL GU4455 Special Topics in Logic: Modal Logic. 3 points.

A logical treatment of necessity, possibility, and other intentional operators.

Spring 2017: PHIL GU4455
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 4455 001/76180 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
311 Fayerweather
Tamar Lando 3 6/30

PHIL GU6801 Aesthetics: Wittgenstein. 3 points.

The seminar for Aesthics and Politics will comprise an intensive reading of writings by Wittgenstein, Dewey, Sarte, and Danto on the topics of politics, art, imagination, and games.

Fall 2017: PHIL GU6801
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 6801 001/60186 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
716 Philosophy Hall
Lydia Goehr 3 9/35

PHIL UN1401 Introduction to Logic. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Quantitative and Deductive Reasoning (QUA).

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.

Spring 2017: PHIL UN1401
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 1401 001/01435 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
833 Seeley W. Mudd Building
John Morrison 3 74/100

PHIL UN2101 The History of Philosophy I: Presocratics to Augustine. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)., Recitation Section Required

Corequisites: PHIL V2111 Required Discussion Section (0 points).

Exposition and analysis of the positions of the major philosophers from the pre-Socratics through Augustine.  This course has unrestricted enrollment.

Fall 2017: PHIL UN2101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 2101 001/75945 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
329 Pupin Laboratories
Katja Vogt 4 93/100

PHIL UN3131 Aristotle. 3 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

Prerequisites: One philosophy course or permission of the instructor.

Introduction to Aristotle's philosophy through analysis of selected texts.

Fall 2017: PHIL UN3131
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 3131 001/18496 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Dhananjay Jagannathan 3 7/30

PHIL UN3252 Philosophy of Language and Mind. 3 points.

This course will survey the most fundamental issues about the nature of language and the nature of the human mind.  readings will consist of selections from Descartes, Locke, Frege, Wittgenstein, Chomsky, Quine, Davidson, Kripke, McDowell, Burge and some more recent writings.

Fall 2017: PHIL UN3252
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 3252 001/12933 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
233 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Christopher Peacocke 3 45/45

PHIL UN3352 Twentieth Century European Philosophy. 3 points.

Prerequisites: one prior philosophy course.

Reading and discussion of selected texts by central figures in phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, and recent Continental philosophy. Authors may include Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Gadamer, Horkheimer, Adorno, Foucault, Bourdieu.

Spring 2017: PHIL UN3352
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 3352 001/04153 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
504 Diana Center
Taylor Carman 3 52/57

PHIL UN3411 Symbolic Logic. 4 points.

CC/GS: Partial Fulfillment of Science Requirement, Recitation Section Required

Corequisites: PHILV3413 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. This course has unrestricted enrollment.

Spring 2017: PHIL UN3411
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 3411 001/83450 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Achille Varzi 4 119/120
Fall 2017: PHIL UN3411
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 3411 001/64121 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
310 Fayerweather
Tamar Lando 4 84/86

PHIL UN3601 Metaphysics. 4 points.

Discussion Section Required

Corequisites: PHIL V3611 Required Discussion Section (0 points).

Systematic treatment of some major topics in metaphysics (e.g. modality, causation, identity through time, particulars and universals). Readings from contemporary authors.

Fall 2017: PHIL UN3601
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
PHIL 3601 001/63092 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
833 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Achille Varzi 4 77/80

PHIL V2301 History of Philosophy III: Kant to Nietzsche. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

Prerequisites: None.

Exposition and analysis of texts by Kant and major 19th-century European Philosophers.

PHIL V2702 Marriage, Morals, and Law. 3 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

How specific historical, social, and psychological roots of Western-style marriage illuminate contemporary debates about marriage morals and marriage laws in the United States. Relations between couples and groups; the psychology of love in marriage; marriage, vows, and the logic of promises to love; monogamy, democracy, and the medieval church; monogamy vs. polygyny; pop evolutionary science and marriage; cousin marriage (consanguineous marriage); law and same-sex marriage; sexual morality in marriage; and related subjects. The course has a double goal: To understand both how to think about complex moral problems and how to think about marriage.

PHIL V3121 Plato. 3 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

Prerequisites: One philosophy course or permission of the instructor.

Introduction to Plato's philosophy through analysis of characteristic dialogues.

PHIL V3237 Late Medieval and Modern Philosophy. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).

Prerequisites: One philosophy course or permission of the instructor. \nCourse not offered in Fall 2016, will be offered in Spring 2017

Study of one or more of the major philosophers from the Renaissance through the 18th century. Sample topics: substance and matter; bodies, minds, and spirits; identity and individuation; ideas of God; causation; liberty and necessity; skepticism; philosophy and science; ethical and political issues. Sample philosophers: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Conway, Locke, Berkely, Hume, Kant.

PHIL V3420 Mathematical Logic. 3 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

PHIL V3710 Law, Liberty and Morality. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 40 students.

Examination of classic philosophical theories about the rule of law, relations between law and morality, legal reasoning, and their implications for selected contemporty legal problems.

PHIL V3720 Ethics and Medicine. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

Prerequisites: Limited enrollment by permission of the instructor. First-day attendance required.

Philosophical examination of moral issues in medical theory and practice. Analysis of the ethics of the doctor-patient relationship, e.g., informed consent, truth-telling, paternalism; topics in bioethics, e.g., abortion, euthanasia, experimentation on humans; justice and access to health care; human genetics.

PHIL W2003 Introduction to the Philosophy of Art. 3 points.

This is an introductory course in the Philosophy of Art. We will consider questions including (but not limited to) the following: What is art? Should we try to define art? Should photographs count as art? What does it mean to have an aesthetic experience? Can one person's judgement regarding works of art be better than another's? Why do we enjoy watching horror films or tragedies?\n \n\n

PHIL W3264 19th Century Philosophy: Hegel. 3 points.

Examines major themes of Hegel's philosophy, with emphasis on social and political thought. Topics include Hegel's critique of Kant, the possibility of metaphysics, the master-slave dialectic, and the role of freedom in a rational society. Readings from Fichte help explain how Hegel's project develops out of Kant's transcendental idealism.  Some knowledge of Kant's moral theory and his Critique of Pure Reason is presupposed. Prerequisite: at least one of PHIL 2201, 2301, or 3251.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.