Courses

Title Instructor Cross-listed with Credit
Acadmeic Writing 2.0
Action and agency: causal and teleological interpretations

The purpose of this course is to introduce students into some contemporary debates over the nature and understanding of actions and agency. Although intentional actions are commonly explained with reference to agents’ goals, many contemporary philosophical and psychological accounts of action presuppose that the teleology implicit in such explanations cannot be fundamental.

Ferenc Huoranszki
Gergely Csibra
2.0
Alternative Conceptions of God and Religious Practice Philip Goff 2.0
Ancient Philosophy

The course gives an overview of key issues of ancient philosophy from the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Age. The course does not require or build on any specific previous knowledge of ancient philosophy. We will read and discuss a selection of texts from different authors and periods, focussing on their argumentative methods and philosophical concepts, interpretative problems discussed in the contemporary literature and the major alternatives in trying to answer these problems

István Bodnár 2.0
Complexity

This course addresses the concept of complexity. Complexity is an important issue in a diversity of scientific fields, be it mathematics, physics, life sciences, social sciences or humanities. The climate, organisms, diseases and societies are said to be complex. Socially important problems, such as the latest economical crisis, are said to be explainable, predictable and thus preventable only on the basis of complex system thinking. Important concepts from a variety of philosophical discussions are related to the concept of complexity, e.g.

Maria Kronfeldner 2.0
Consciousness and the Physical World

Mind and matter don’t seem to fit in the same world; this is the essence of the mind-body problem. Space-filling solid stuff doesn’t seem to belong with invisible inner-experiencing. The neural processing of the brain is best known through third-person scientific investigation; whilst the subjective first-person perspective of the mind is arguably best captured in literature. How are we to make sense of these seemingly incongruous things being unified aspects of a single reality? In this course we consider in detail two options:

Philip Goff 4.0
Contemporary Metaethics

This course provides a foundation and an entry point into current debates in metaethics for students of philosophy. We will investigate questions such as: Do moral thoughts and moral sentences represent properties that exist in reality? If so, are these properties “natural” or sui generis? How can different theories of the subject matter of ethics account for moral knowledge? How can they account for the practical action-guiding role of moral judgments?

Philip Goff
Simon Rippon
4.0
Contemporary Metaethics

This course provides a foundation and an entry point into current debates in metaethics for students of philosophy. We will investigate questions such as: Do moral thoughts and moral sentences represent properties that exist in reality? If so, are these properties "natural" or sui generis? How can different theories of the subject matter of ethics account for moral knowledge? How can they account for the practical action-guiding role of moral judgments?

Philip Goff
Simon Rippon
Bart Streumer
4.0
Continental Philosophy

The course addresses both low-profile but very important strands in continental philosophy, like mainstream phenomenology and early hermeneutics, and the high-profile tradition marked by a sharp contrast with analytic approaches.

Nenad Miscevic 2.0
Departmental Colloquium

The department arranges for about ten colloquia per semester, usually on Tuesdays, in which visiting or CEU faculty give talks on diverse topics followed by discussion with the audience. Students are required to attend 70% of these meetings and are encouraged to participate in the discussion. No further preparation or written work is required.

various 1.0
Disposition and Powers

In many areas of philosophy it is common to distinguish ‘categorical’ terms and properties from ‘dispositional’ ones. Often used examples for the latter are physical properties like fragility, solubility, conductivity, but also mental properties like having beliefs or being irascible. Dispositions are metaphysically interesting primarily because their ascription involves modal considerations: dispositional terms express how things or persons would behave if they were in certain circumstances.

Ferenc Huoranszki 2.0
Doctoral Reading Seminar

In the reading seminar, students read and discuss recent work in a variety of philosophical areas. This is intended to help them keep abreast of recent developments and also widen and deepen their acquaintance with a variety of philosophical subjects. The seminar meets every second week and is organised by a 2nd or 3rd year doctoral student. The seminar is open to all students and faculty and all the department will be informed on the readings, but attendance in ten meetings annually is mandatory for 2nd and 3rd year doctoral students.

various 1.0
Doctoral Work-in-Progress seminar

The aim of the Work-in-progress Seminar is to provide a forum for doctoral candidates to acquire professional skills and receive continuous feedback on their work. The seminars consist of discussions of recent literature in the area of the candidates' research and presentations of the candidates' work in progress.

Howard Robinson 2.0
Doctoral Work-in-Progress seminar

This course provides opportunity for philosophy doctoral students to discuss their research together on a regular weekly basis.

Ferenc Huoranszki 2.0
Epistemology

The course introduces the main topics and issues in contemporary epistemology. First, the framework: why we care for knowledge, and what is its value. Next, the nature and definition(s) of knowledge, in particular the relation of knowledge and epistemic justification.  The isssues are futher pursued in relation to the classical topic of kinds of justification: a priori vs. a posteriori knowledge. Finally, we address a topic from social epistemology: the nature and consequences of disagreement, in particular peer disagreement.

 

Nenad Miscevic 2.0
Ethics

Ethics is broadly concerned with questions of how one ought to live. In this introductory course we will reflect on the moral and prudential aspects of ethics. First, we will look at some of the main theories of morally right conduct, including theories of utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics and feminist ethics. In the second part of the course we will consider the sorts of things that constitute a life well lived, such as moral perfection, desire-satisfaction, pleasure, and objective well-being

Emma Bullock 2.0
Ethics, Autonomy and Paternalism

Paternalistically interfering with someone for their own good is standardly taken to be a bad thing: policies and practices are ruled out on the basis that they constitute paternalism, and it is frequently claimed that paternalistic interferences wrongly treat adults as if they were children. Increasingly, however, paternalism is being defended as something that can be morally justified. This module explores the extent to which arguments in favor of justified paternalism carry weight.

Emma Bullock 2.0
Evolution across Disciplines

In this course, students will get an in-depth knowledge about evolution as a historically changing and philosophically relevant concept that plays multiple roles in contemporary sciences, be it in biology itself, cognitive sciences, in sociology and anthropology, in economics, or in the humanities. The ultimate goal of the course is to enable students to appreciate and also to critically reflect the use of such a ubiquitous concept across disciplines. The course has Research and Publish Lab sessions attached to it.

Maria Kronfeldner 4.0
Freedom and Responsibility

The purpose of this course is to introduce students into some contemporary debates concerning the metaphysical issue of free will and responsibility. The course is organized around the discussion of the following questions: do freedom and responsibility require alternative possibilities? Are agents able to do otherwise if determinism is true? Is indeterminism compatible with the sort of control necessary for freedom? How to understand rational capacities relevant to agent’s freedom and responsibility?

Ferenc Huoranszki 4.0
God’s Existence and God’s Nature

In this 2 credit course we will cover a selection from the arguments for the existence of God and look at some of the problems concerning the concept of God.

Included amongst the arguments for God's  existence will be; the ontological argument; the first cause argument; the argument from design. Amongst the problems will be; the problem of evil; the apparent conflict between Divine omniscience and human freedom.

Howard Robinson 2.0
Greek Reading Seminar István Bodnár
Co-teacher: Chloe Balla
2.0
Heidegger

We’ll spend the first half of the course slowly reading the first half of Being and Time. In the second half of the course, we’ll read selections from Heidegger from either the second half of Being and Time or other later work by him, according to students’ interests. No prior knowledge of Heidegger is assumed.

David Weberman 4.0
Hermeneutics

We’ll spend the first half of the course slowly reading Gadamer’s Truth and Method (mainly the middle third of the book). The second half of the book will be an exploration of hermeneutics by looking at other writes on selected topics such as the interpretation of art, law, history, etc., depending on students’ interests. No prior knowledge of hermeneutics is assumed.

David Weberman 2.0
Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason Mike Griffin 2.0
Logic

The course offers a broad introduction to the main topics in the field of formal logic. It aims to familiarize the participants with its theoretical framework and terminology, while placing emphasis on their practical applications, especially as used within philosophy. 

Edi Pavlovic 2.0
MA Thesis Seminar

MA students are required to enroll in thesis seminar in the Winter Term prior to their defense. Students must give presentations of their work and attend the presentations of others.

Simon Rippon 2.0
Meaning and Trurth in Ancient Philosophy István Bodnár 2.0
Metaphysics

The course offers a general introduction into some of the major problems of contemporary analytic metaphysics. Metaphysics is a study of the most general categories in order to answer the questions what is real and what are the ultimate constituents of reality. In the course we’ll be addressing the following problems. What are properties and how are they related to objects? Under what conditions can an object retain its identity? What holds together the totality of particulars in order to constitute one universe and what explains their changes? Do other universes than the actual exist?

Ferenc Huoranszki 2.0
Perception, Thought and Consciousness

The two main features of our conscious mental life are perception and thought. In this course we shall deal with both.

Howard Robinson
Philip Goff
2.0
Philosophy of Language

We shall study several central topics in contemporary philosophy of language. Each of these topics is central not only in focusing much discussion but also in influencing the discussion of other philosophical issues. Due to the variety of topics, none will be exhaustively discussed in the course, but the hope is that the main approaches to the problems, their motivation and presuppositions would be clearly delineated. Students who write a paper for the course are expected to choose one of the topics as subject of their term paper and to extend and deepen the discussion in their work.

Hanoch Ben-Yami 2.0
Philosophy of Medicine

The philosophy of medicine is a broad discipline, touching on themes within both metaphysics and ethics. In part one of the module we will unpack the concept of ‘health’ with reference to naturalist, normative and phenomenological accounts of disease and illness. In part two of the module we will address a number of ethical concerns about the proper limits of medicine. Students will address issues related to mental illness, disability, non-therapeutic enhancement and medical paternalism in the light of questions about the nature of health and disease.

Emma Bullock 2.0
Philosophy of Science: Core Contemporary Issues

The way science works raises deep and pressing philosophical questions. Is there a way to demarcate science from non-science? How is scientific knowledge made reliable? Is it giving us access to reality or is it merely a tool for successful prediction? The so-called “analytic” project (following Barker & Kitcher’s terminology) within philosophy of science focused on these and similar (by now) classic issues: the demarcation of science, confirmation, realism, the nature of theories, the relations among theories, laws of nature and explanation.

Maria Kronfeldner 2.0
Possible Worlds Mike Griffin 2.0
Rationalism and Empiricism Mike Griffin 2.0
Special Relativity, Time and Causation

Einstein’s development of the theory of Special Relativity changed the way we think of temporal concepts generally and of simultaneity specifically. One central debate revolves around the conventionality or otherwise of simultaneity and temporal order (Reichenbach, Malament). Another important debate is on the reality of becoming in Special Relativity (Rietdijk, Putnam, Stein). The concepts of length, rigid body, passage of time and others have been challenged and reconsidered, with many radical claims being made along the way.

Hanoch Ben-Yami 2.0
Tax and Social Justice

The first half of the course is more theoretical, focusing on the nature of ownership and self-ownership and its implications for how the tax system ought to be arranged. We will consider questions such as the following:

Philip Goff 2.0
Topics in the Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences

The way scientists and scholars study human beings, their culture and society has often been considered to be different from the way other objects of science are studied, be it because of the reflexivity, freedom or the normativity involved in studying human beings. In addition, none of the academic disciplines is studying humans as humans, be it biological disciplines such as evolutionary biology, social sciences or the humanities.

Maria Kronfeldner 4.0
War

War involves widespread killing and maiming. For this reason it is of utmost importance to understand the morality that governs the conduct for and in war. Besides its practical importance war also raises many philosophical interesting issues. In this course we will explore some prominent aspects of war theory. We will explore questions such as when is it permissible to start war?, what duties do combatants have while warring?, are the principles that govern war the same principles that govern peace? If not, what explains this asymmetry?

Andres Moles 2.0
Wittgenstein

The course will be based on a close reading of parts of the Philosophical Investigations. I intend to focus on the discussion of thought, imagination, consciousness and related concepts of the mental, found from around section 316 on. However, we may adapt the sections we read to students’ interests. We shall also apply Wittgenstein’s ideas to some current discussions in the philosophy of mind and elsewhere. Additionally, we shall learn how to read the Investigations, this most influential and controversial philosophical text of the twentieth century.

Hanoch Ben-Yami 2.0