Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Upon occasion

This course offers an historical overview of the dichotomies of Western philosophy: madness and reason, knowledge and opinion, death and life, illusion and reality, good and bad, self and other, doubt and certainty. Each week will be devoted to a different canonical philosopher such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Foucault, and Heidegger. To knit these various thinkers together, we will track tensions and debates that drive the philosophical tradition, and we will pay special attention to the dialectic of reason and madness. In addition, secondary readings from feminist, post-structural, and critical race scholars will help us to critically engage the work of these philosophical giants and to reconsider the relationship between epistemology and social privilege. Students will emerge from the class familiar with core philosophical issues and with the ability to critically scrutinize dense philosophical texts. This is a discussion course, and students should be prepared to engage and discuss theoretical literature. Course requirements include weekly writing assignments, a presentation, a midterm exam, and a final paper.



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