PHIL 195 - Seminar for First-Years and Sophomores
Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
A consideration of selected issues in philosophy. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Winter 2013 topic:
PHIL 195: Seminar: Introduction to Continental Philosophy (3). This course introduces a number of key figures and topics in 20th-century European philosophy. We discuss phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, postmodernism, French feminist theory and others. Although these philosophical perspectives are by no means the same, they have in common: (i) a radical critique of traditional philosophy and a proposal for philosophizing differently; (ii) a worry about the presumed neutrality of the 'pure' philosophical observer and a focus on the complicated historical-cultural subject in the world; (iii) a bringing together of theory and practice. The phrase "being in the world" frames this course because we bring philosophy "down from the heavens" back into the streets. We consider difficult questions such as: what is the human condition, and how do we encounter others? But we also ask critically: is philosophy dead, how does philosophy come to life, and can philosophy change the world? (HU) Verhage.
Fall 2012 topic:
PHIL 195: Seminar: Honor Beyond the Classroom: Philosophy of Honor (3). What is honor? It lies at the heart of Washington and Lee's values, yet its hold on the wider American society is tenuous, and its meaning is unclear to many, not least to students struggling to comprehend a revered honor system. This discussion-based seminar seeks to explore the concepts of W&L's core values, including honor, civility, integrity and respect, and to provide a foundation for students to develop their own philosophical interpretations of these values. Our readings include selections from Honor for Us, a book by W&L Emeritus Professor Lad Sessions, who taught a course on the concept of honor at W&L for more than a decade; John Stuart Mill's famous essay On Liberty; Immanuel Kant's celebrated account of ethics based on respect for persons; and W&L's own White Book, which sets forth the principles of The Honor System at W&L. The central philosophical question of this course is: How can honor, civility, integrity and respect thrive, at W&L and beyond, in the 21st century? (HU) Bell.
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