Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Lab fee:


What is freedom, why might it be of value, how might it be obtained, and what consequences might liberation have for individuals, classes, genders, ethnic groups, races, nationalities, or species?

In a wide variety of political, social, religious and cultural movements, the notion of freedom as achieved by some kind of liberation is a central theme—and an essentially contested concept which means quite different things to different people.

This course focuses on the philosophical tasks of sorting out those different meanings and critically analyzing the frameworks of ideas people use to make sense of their notions of freedom and projects of liberation. It will adopt an intellectual history approach that will include placing the texts in their social and historical as well as philosophical contexts. Readings will include works from Gandhi, Paulo Freire, and writers from the open source and creative commons movements as well as selections from feminist, Buddhist, neo-liberal, Marxist, existentialist, and other traditions.

Goals of the course are: 1.) to develop students’ philosophical skills in the interpretation of texts in their historical context and the critical analysis of frameworks of ideas, 2.) to develop their critical understanding of alternative visions of freedom and liberation, and 3.) to develop their abilities to communicate sophisticated philosophical analysis in written and oral forms.

Evaluations will be based on the demonstration of progress on these goals in class discussion, homework, short and medium-length papers, and problem sets.




Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.