Study classical texts from Plato to Wittgenstein.
The curriculum is divided into historical and topical courses as well as research
seminars and cross-listed courses. The historical courses deal with an epoch or an
individual thinker; the topical courses with an area (e.g. ethics or metaphysics)
or an issue (e.g. immortality or potentiality). But both types of courses are, in
different ways, historical and topical. The topical courses draw from the entire textual
history and the historical courses engage the issues through the thinker or thinkers
studied. Research seminars especially encourage writing for publication for doctoral students while cross-listed
courses are typically taken with upper-level undergraduates. All courses aim to encourage
philosophical reflection, to arrive at the very "first things."
A ten-week seminar concerning many of the professional skills required for success
as graduate students and future professors and scholars. This course is now required
of all PhD students.
Cross-Listed Courses (5000 Level)
5000-level courses include a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students, including
some undergraduates with majors other than philosophy. In addition, some undergraduate
courses are cross-listed as graduate courses, designated by the numbers from 5301
to 5310, in which the instructor provides additional requirements for the graduate
participants. Only two such courses may count toward completion of PhD requirements.
There is no such limit for courses numbered 5311 and higher, which include courses
such as Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of History, and Philosophy of Technology—though
graduate students should remember, again, that these courses may include undergraduate
Courses offered at the 6000 level are historical in orientation. Those designated
as “text seminars” are particularly helpful as guides to advanced study of the history
of philosophy. Text seminars covering six historical periods (Antiquity, Late Antiquity
and the Early Middle Ages, the Later Middle Ages, Early Modernity, Later Modernity,
and Postmodernity) are offered on a three-year cycle; each seminar covers one or more
important works from the relevant period and prepares students for independent study
of the period as a whole. Although the historical courses are not sufficient to prepare
for the comprehensive exam, they are an especially important element in that preparation.
Courses at the 7000 level are topically oriented. Courses addressing the central topics
of contemporary philosophical inquiry—Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophical Anthropology,
Philosophy of God, Metaphysics, and the Nature of Tradition—are offered on a regular
basis. Other topical courses, such as Aesthetics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy
of Nature, and Philosophy of Science, are offered from time to time; many of these
courses are offered at other times as cross-listed undergraduate courses (see the
discussion of 5000-level courses above). The 7000-level courses are also an important
element in the preparation for comprehensive exams.
These seminars are usually limited to doctoral students, and they reflect current
faculty research interests. They are offered at the 8000 level. Although all graduate
courses aim to prepare the student to engage in independent scholarship, these courses
especially encourage writing for publication.