Philosophy Courses



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PHI 501 – Wisdom of Classical Philosophy

Professor:  Pierre Grimes, Ph.D.
This course is a survey of classical philosophy and the evolution of the concepts of consciousness in classical philosophy. The Pre-Socratic thinkers provide us with a glimpse into what Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and Proclus developed into a system of thought of lasting beauty and profundity.


PHI 503 – The Birth of Consciousness in Early Greek Thought

Richard G. Geldard, PhD — Dramatic Literature and Classics, Stanford University, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, Doctoral Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and Author of ten books on Early Greek philosophy and the thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  []



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PHI 511 – Science and Spirituality

Professor:  Amit Goswami, Ph.D.
This course offers a history of the conflict between science and spiritual traditions and ways in which an interpretation between the traditions can be achieved. What caused the rift, the great divide between science and religion? Can science be done within the primacy of consciousness? Can we integrate scientific and spiritual cosmologies? Are there spiritual practices for inner growth that are scientific? This course will address these questions within the current developments of science.


PHI 513 – Mind in the Cosmos:  The Evolution of Consciousness

Professor:  Christian de Quincey, Ph.D.
This course explores the major world paradigms that have attempted to account for the relationship between consciousness (spirit) and the physical world. Professor De Quincey will show the strengths and weaknesses of dualism, materialism, idealism, and panpsychism, giving particular attention to how the dominant paradigm, or “story,” of mechanistic materialism has resulted in major crises in philosophy (the “hard problem”), in science (mind-brain relation), in ecology (environmental crisis), in society (human/nature alienation), and in individuals (mind-body dysfunctions). Having identified the problems students will look towards a possible solution—a “new story” beyond mechanistic materialism, where consciousness/spirit is a natural component of reality “all the way down.”


PHI 514 – Determinism, Reductionism, & Final Causes in Physics

Professor:  Marco Massi, Ph.D.
The conceptual foundation of physics went through several paradigm shifts since the time when Galileo and Newton introduced the empirical scientific method of modern science. For the first period, lasting three centuries, the largely accepted worldview was a strictly deterministic and perfectly predictable universe, with all its events evolving in an absolute space and time. With the advent of Einstein’s theory of relativity, our intuitive notions of space and time were shown to be no longer appropriate to describe physical reality. Planck’s pioneering work on black body radiation initiated the theory of quantum mechanics, leading to a crisis of determinism, casting doubts on the reductionist understanding of the universe. These conceptual developments will be addressed in this course with an eye, also, on how the philosophical speculations of science on the final causes in nature developed with these scientific revolutions.



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PHI 522 – Emerson & American Idealism

Richard G. Geldard, PhD – This course will explore the work and thought of American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson through the development of what came to be known as Transcendentalism.  We will study how this philosophy developed from the Perennial Philosophy through European Idealism to become a unique expression of a vital philosophical vision.



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PHI 532 – Conceptions & Experiences of the Afterlife

Professor:  James A. Santucci, Ph.D.
What happens when you die? Scholars and theologians throughout history have sought to answer this question. This course explores the “afterlife” as described by the major religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism), the Greek philosophers and religionists, the Eleusinian and Orphic Mystery schools, and the teachings of spiritualism and Theosophy. Questions about heaven, hell, and purgatory will be explored; as will some of the phenomenon associated with the afterlife, such as reincarnation, resurrection, the survival of the disembodied soul, and intermediate post-mortem states as describe by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the folklore surrounding vampires and zombies. The possible communication with the dead as detailed in spiritualism will be contrasted with the more scientific method of “cross-correspondence.”

PHI 531 – The Hermetic Tradition

Richard G. Geldard, PhD – The Corpus Hermeticum consists of fifteen tractates or texts and fragments collected into a coherent teaching during the first through third centuries CE. These rare and insightful dialogues combine spiritual, philosophic and religious themes from ancient Egyptian, early Christian and traditional Hebrew materials into a synchronous whole, with the added importance of expanding in great depth upon those traditions to answer difficult questions and offer new interpretations of familiar accounts. The Corpus came to us through Cosimo du Medici and his friend and scholar Marcilio Ficino, who in fifteenth century Florence translated the materials from the Greek into Latin. The legendary figure Hermes Trismegistus, or Thoth in Egyptian tradition, is the teacher of these great principles of the wisdom traditions.