PHI 207 American Philosophy
A study of the founders of American pragmatism and the revival of this tradition by contemporary thinkers.
Major in philosophy and you explore 2,500 years of thought – starting with the ancient Greeks and Romans – and learn to make connections to such fields as law, gender, neuroscience, art and the environment. You are exposed to both continental and analytical traditions in philosophy, and you engage in a sustained way with the history of philosophy. In some courses, you spend a whole semester studying the work of a significant philosopher. Your professors are active scholars who have written and edited books on topics that include the philosophy of Hans Jonas, the philosophy of mind, German romanticism, the philosophy of paleontology, and God.
Outstanding students devote a year to an honors project. Recent topics ranged from the concept of nostalgia to the ethical and legal underpinnings of the International Criminal Court. Students have presented conference papers at places like SUNY Oneonta and Pacific University in Oregon. Funding is available for students to work with faculty on research. It's unusual in our discipline, but professors have published with students and traveled with them to present co-authored papers at professional meetings.
Our guest lecture series, "Pizza and Profundity," brings both up-and-coming and established philosophers to our campus. Recent speakers have included Tamar Gendler, Elizabeth Harman and Sally Haslanger. After each lecture, students join the philosophy faculty in taking the speaker to a local restaurant, where the conversation continues.
Simon Feldman regularly teaches Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy of Law and The Self. He recently developed two new courses, Philosophy of Race and Racism and a First-Year Seminar on The Meaning of Life. All of these courses explore questions about the relationship between the self and the larger community of persons and inquire into the ways in which our self-understandings and our affinities for others shape and reflect our values.
These days, Andrew Pessin has mostly been working on spreading the word – that philosophy can be accessible, useful, and even fun, in addition to being (of course) provocative and profound.
Ms. Pfefferkorn's philosophic interests and teaching are primarily concerned with issues of cultural expressions.
Derek Turner regularly teaches Introduction to Philosophy, Logic, Bioethics, Environmental Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Biology, and Darwin. He also enjoys teaching courses on the history of philosophy. In Spring 2014, he taught a new course on the science and ethics of extinction.
Though Larry Vogel teaches “core” courses in the history of philosophy (Ancient, modern, American, and 20th century continental thought) and ethics (both theoretical and applied), he takes special pleasure in creating seminars that build bridges between speculative questions and everyday moral issues, like: Tolerance, Intolerance and the Intolerable; Freedom of the Will and Moral Responsibility; Evil; and Moral Disagreement and Moral Truth.
A: I fell for the diverse course selection. I liked the erudite and encouraging faculty, the engaging discussion-based classes, the nationally ranked top-10 career services office, and the honor code – it promised an atmosphere of warm-heartedness and respect.
A: "Feminist Philosophy" with Professor Feldman uprooted my assumptions regarding not only feminism but also ethics, semantics, politics, culture and my own personal experiences.
A: I went to Paris. The chance to take philosophy classes at the Sorbonne – the stomping grounds of Jean-Luc Godard and Simone de Beauvoir – and wander aimlessly down little cobblestone tributaries of bakeries and flower shops was a dream.
A: It has enriched my understanding of the job-search process. My CELS counselors have been a guiding light in proposing possibilities for my future, and I know that I will consult them whenever I apply for jobs further down the road.