Widely known for the doctrines of the Will to Power and the Overman, Nietzsche is among the most influential—but also the most misunderstood and misappropriated—of the nineteenthcentury philosophers. We will aim at developing philosophical control of his unusually lyrical and aphoristic texts. Topics will include: the genealogical method, nihilism, the revaluation of values, the Eternal Return, ressentiment, perspectivism, Nietzsche’s theory of truth—and, of course, the Will to Power and the Overman. We will also consider how those themes have been taken up by later Nietzscheans such as Foucault and Nehamas.
The Philosophy of Classiﬁcation and Taxonomy
Transformation, Individuality, and Identity in Evolution and Development.
What’s Wrong the New Essentialism?
Is a Cloned Mammoth Really a Mammoth? Or Just a Hairy Elephant?
Do all humans share a common nature?
Are there Economic laws?
Are there psychological universals?
Can we reliably predict human behavior?
Does evolution have a place in explaining human behavior?
In Philosophy of Social Scienece (PHIL 3375-001) we confront the above questions and many more. Together we assess the strengths (and weaknesses) of various attempts by social scientists to explain human affairs. We will have plenty of examples of interesting human affairs to talk about as this class takes place during Presidential election season.
Does life have a point, or is it all just a flurry of futile activity, a bad joke at our expense that is over when we die? What is it for a life to have a meaning? If your life is happy, should you care if it is meaningful as well? And if your life is meaningful, does it matter whether it is also happy? How does the fact that you will die matter for the way you should live? To what degree is the meaning of your life up to you? And what does a life look like when it is lived out along the lines proposed by one or another of the theories we will survey? This year we will focus on the lives and work of John Stuart Mill and Oscar Wilde.
Over just the last decade, the concept of the “Anthropocene” has quickly emerged and
gained significant traction across a broad spectrum of the physical and social sciences;
it is meant to denote a new epoch in which human action is accepted as the dominant
planet-shaping force. Clearly, this has profound implications for environmental philosophy,
which has only just begun mapping and exploring its contours.
We will spend the semester engaged in a critical dialogue about the Anthropocene: is it really a new concept? Does it connote a single, unified idea or is it a covering term for a range of disparate ideas? How does it relate to received notions about humans’ relationship to our environment? What is at stake in terms of our ways of knowing and behaving in the world?