One distinctive feature of our Philosophy program is that it immerses you in both analytical and European continental philosophy. That allows our students to make connections that many professional philosophers are incapable of reaching, because they lack such broad training.
What is the Self? How ought I live? What ought I do? What can I know? From day one, our Philosophy AOC at New College will challenge you to think like professional philosophers, immersing you in the critical examination of issues, positions and reasoning.
Philosophy is very much about developing a perspective on issues. We want you to get to know the work that has already been generated in the field, but we also want you to begin to develop your own thinking about issues, your own evaluations of arguments, so you can make your own contributions.
The pursuit of philosophy contributes to understanding ourselves and the world around us in at least three different ways.
• First, it affords an opportunity to acquire an appreciation of the Western intellectual tradition (through the exploration of classical, medieval and modern thought). Pursuing this opportunity will give students specific content knowledge about the various historical periods of Western philosophy and Western culture in general, and about contemporary philosophical thought.
• Second, it provides the symbolic methods necessary for investigating principles of reasoning and patterns of argument (through an analysis of the relationship between language, logic and the world). Pursuing this opportunity will develop competencies in critical thinking.
• Third, it stimulates an appreciation of human values and interpersonal relations (through the consideration of alternative conceptions of ethical, social and political values). Such study is critical for communication with others, particularly those who may not share one’s own worldview.
The study of philosophy, therefore, should contribute toward the development of your analytical problem-solving capability and ability to deal effectively with issues involving human values. With its concentration on analysis, clarity and argument, the study of philosophy is particularly well suited for the development of critical thinking. Almost all Philosophy courses address spoken and written communication through class discussion and written assignments. As a Philosophy student, you will get extensive feedback on your writing, and you’ll be encouraged to pursue topics of special interest to you, in depth.
Our Philosophy faculty does not believe there are generally accepted philosophical results to teach; instead, you will learn to work critically with subtle, complex and contentious issues. Our classes are small but generate big conversations. Many of our students combine their interest in philosophy with another AOC, such as Art, Political Science, a foreign language or Psychology. And many students who do not major in Philosophy still take many of our courses. These students bring perspectives from other fields, generating lively and compelling conversations.
As a student here, you will explore philosophical issues such as:
• The nature of reality and our place in it as knowers and doers
At New College, we believe developing skills in analysis, clarity and argument are crucial to a wide range of fields. Students who graduate from New College work in law, business, art, education, psychology, medicine, political science, economics and more. Many of our students pursue graduate school, including top graduate programs in philosophy itself.
Our students must complete seven contracts, three Independent Study Projects and a senior thesis project to graduate. Contracts consist of three to five academic activities — courses, tutorials, internships, independent reading projects, etc. — that will develop your personal educational goals during a semester.
Here’s a list of recent course offerings in Philosophy:
Ethics of Otherness
The readings for this course will include selections from: Logical Investigations, The Idea of Phenomenology, Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology, Cartesian Meditations, and The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology.
Introduction to Ethics/Environmental Ethics
Introduction to Philosophy
Language, Thought, and the World
Medieval Philosophy and Religious Thought
Modern European Aesthetic Theory
Building on the achievements of the Classical and Medieval Periods, thinkers such as Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel laid the foundation for our contemporary world and its methods of thought and analysis. By focusing on the British Empiricists — Locke, Berkeley, and Hume — and the Continental Rationalists-Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza — we shall trace the thought of the Modern period and its synthesis in Kant’s Critical Philosophy, and the Hegelian, Marxian, and Nietzschian reactions to that synthesis.
The Philosophy of Martin Heidegger
Philosophy of Music
Philosophy of Science
Recent French Philosophy
Theory of Knowledge
Topics in Philosophy of Religion
For a complete list of courses, click here.
Ph.D., Princeton University
Professor Edidin works, and teaches, widely in analytic philosophy. His research interests are focused on epistemology (the theory of knowledge), metaphilosophy (the examination of philosophical inquiry itself), and the philosophy of music, but he has also published articles on metaphysics, and on the philosophical examination of mind, of science, and of mathematics. His courses include Formal Logic; Language, Thought, and the World; Metaphysics Survey; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Music; Philosophy of Science; Theory of Knowledge; and Topics in Feminist Philosophy.
Ph.D., New School for Social Research
Professor Flakne specializes in nineteenth and twentieth-century European philosophy, with a special emphasis on aesthetics and political philosophy. Her essays have appeared in The Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, Constellations, New German Critique, Hypatia, Epoche and Philosophy Today.
M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
Professor Langston, holding doctorates in both philosophy and religion, teaches in these two areas. He specializes in the philosophy of religion and in Medieval philosophical and religious thought. He offers courses also in nineteenth-century thought, focusing on such figures as Kant, Hegel and Kierkegaard.
John Peters is one of many students who have parlayed their Philosophy degree from New College into a successful and distinguished career. Peters is an attorney and business consultant and the former chief of staff for Francis Ford Coppola Productions in Calabasas, California. He was a New College charter class member who for many years ran the business side of Francis Ford Coppola’s several different enterprises, from filmmaking to winemaking.
In addition to traditional career paths in law and education, recent New College graduates in philosophy have also gone on to graduate study in professional fields such as planning and policy, labor relations and library science.
New College is proud of the many Philosophy graduates who have contributed to the field. Here’s a sampling of some of our graduates:
• Anita Allen is vice provost for faculty, Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and a professor of philosophy at University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, she was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She has worked at Georgetown and Carnegie Mellon, and has been a visiting professor at Yale, Harvard, Villanova, Princeton, Arizona, Hofstra and Johns Hopkins. She traces much of the good life she enjoys today as a law professor, wife and mother to “a healthy preoccupation with excellence fostered by New College.” She went on to obtain a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Harvard.
• Justin Clarke-Doane studied Philosophy and Mathematics at New College and is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University in NYC. He is also an Honorary Research Associate at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a Birmingham Fellow at the University of Birmingham in the UK. His work concerns metaphysical and epistemological problems surrounding traditionally a priori domains such as logic, mathematics, modality and morality. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from New York University.
• Mark Mudge is president of Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), a nonprofit organization he co-founded with his wife, CHI Director Carla Schroer, herself a New College alumna (AOC: Machine Logic). CHI is dedicated to advancing the state of the art in digital capture and documentation of the world’s cultural, historic and artistic treasures.
• Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick directed “Caine’s Arcade,” a short film about a boy, his imagination and a social movement to bring him customers. After going viral, “Caine’s Arcade” was featured on numerous national media outlets and continues to inspire scholarships in Caine’s name and the imaginations of children worldwide. Mullick also studied Fine Arts while at New College.
• As institute associate at the Georgetown Climate Center, Gabe Pacyniak conducts legal and policy analysis in support of state-federal partnerships that advance effective climate, energy and transportation policies in the United States. Prior to this position, he interned at the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change and with the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.
• Kate Hubin Piliero is vice president of corporate communications at Lionsgate Films.
• Before pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, Christian Pillsbury was senior software developer & architect at Digital Primates.
• David Lionel Smith graduated from New College in Philosophy and English. He is the John W. Chandler professor of English at Williams College. His interests are race and culture, the black arts movement, Mark Twain and Wendell Berry. He is also a published poet writing under the pen name D.L. Crockett-Smith, an astute essayist and lecturer. He is especially proud of his work for public humanities institutions, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian. He wrote his New College thesis on “The Painted Veil and Beyond: Shelley as Thinker and Poet.”
• Alissa Branham received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and her J.D. from the University of Michigan. She is currently counsel forTwentieth Century Fox Film in their International Theatrical and Television Distribution department. Prior to that position, she clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and was an associate with Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles.
Sample of Graduate Schools Attended by NCF Students in Philosophy:
• Boston University School of Law
|Each academic experience builds toward your senior thesis project. It’s required for graduation, and our students tell us that while it’s demanding, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Here are some thesis projects in Philosophy:
“Happiness Is Divine: A Case for the Divinity of the Truly Happy Person of Plotinus’s Enneads” by Arthur Larcinese Krieger
“This Impossible Object: On the Class Struggle, Althusser, and Why Every Anti-Communist is a Dog” by Alec Niedenthal
“Existence and Resistance: A Heideggerian Reading of Foucault’s “Ethical Turn”” by Bill Yanelli
“Recognition in Relational Autonomy” by Rachel Tohn
“The Positive Value of Death: A Reevaluation of Suicide and Self-Sacrifice” by Erin Dyles
“Autonomy and the Value of Humanity: Problems in Korsgaard’s The Sources of Normativity” by Joseph Abboud
“The Self, Language Objects, and Psychedelic Perspectives” by David Krane
“”Here I Am.” A Call for Ethics in Hebrew: Emmanual Levinas’s Ethical/ Political Thought through the Lens of Hebraic Transcendence” by Leila Shooshani
“Unamuno: God, Immortality and the Tragic Sense” by William Soto
“Communicating Privacy: A Politico-Philosophical Investigation of Private Autonomy in Deliberative Democracy” by Kristin Malossi
“An Empirical Investigation into the Demand for Mass Produced Artistic Products” by Chaitanya Katikala
“Scientific Confirmation and Naturalized Mathematical Realism” by Andrew Steele
“Difference as Common: In Defense of Difference as the Anti-Foundation for Liberal Cosmopolitan Dialogue” by Rochelle H. DuFord
“In Defense of Passion” by Anyelle Johanna De León
“The Power of Your Voice Could Redirect Every Truth’: Rap as Resistant Discursive Practice” by Alexandra Rogers
“Moral Psychology, Ethical Relativism, and Blackburn’s Metaethics” by Rudo Kemper
“From Immanence to Otherness” by Marcus Michelsen
“Tolerance and the Landscape of Others” by Christian Pillsbury
“Deluzian Jurisprudence and Law in Societies of Control” by Camilo A. Ramirez-Celis
“An Examination of Deconstruction as Applied to the Political in Jacques Derrida’s The Politics of Friendship” by Lauren Keenan
“A Biopolitical Analysis of Israel’s Separation Barrier” by Annemarie Roberts
“Jazz Improvisation and the Aesthetic of Risk” by Samuel Arthurs
“Selves as Centers of Narrative Gravity” by Carolyn Barker
“Irony and Embodiment: Toward a Rortian Philosophy of the Body” by Christopher Davies
“Personal Identity and Free Will” by John Noah Hudelson
“Situating Standpoints: Negotiating a Queer Perspective in Feminist Theory” by Cesar Mantilla
“The Thing is I: Hegel and Immanent Production” by James M. McCown
“Love’s Ethics: Love as a Legitimate Moral Relation between Persons” by Matthew M. Schuler
“Are Existentialist Narratives Possible?” by Evan Williams
“Questioning Authority: A Skeptical Approach to Reading Plato” by P. N. Eldred
“How Blackburn’s Solution to the Frege-Geach Problem Could Be More Quasi-Realistic” by Eli Bonner
“On Pain and Privacy: The Concept of Sensation in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations” by Andrew I. Kay
“Flesh of the Deceased: An Examination of Phenomenologies of the Death of the Other” by Craig Schuetze
“Givenness and Revelation: Rethinking the Relationships between Phenomenology and Theology” by Alissa Shea
“A Doubling and Redoubling: The Creation of the Self in Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky” by Katelyn Jones
“Imperialist Modernity” by Hannah Armstrong
“Placing Mercy in Hume’s Catalogue of Moral Virtues” by Kathryn Mesh Iserman
“On Divine Foreknowledge and Human Libertarian Freedom” by Gustavo de Lima Torres Oliveira
“The Word Made Flesh: An Aesthetics as First Philosophy” by Eric Delp
“Moral Responsibility and Decision-Making” by Justin Vickers
“Constituting World: Heidegger’s Path to an Ontological Understanding of Language” by Jessica Williams
“The Cumulative Case for Platonism about Universals: Attribute-Identification in Mathematics” by Justin Clarke-Doane
“Kant on the Problem of Evil” by Michelle Chaplin
“A Meandering Inquiry into the Nature of Material Objects” by Titus Jewell
“An Ethics of Authenticity: Literature as More Than Augmentation” by Tenesha R. Martin
“The Powers of a Pinball: A Discussion of the Scientific Worldview in Twentieth Century Philosophy” by Patrick McIlvain
“Get it? Leo Straiss and the Crisis of Modernity” by Eric Sosnoff
“The Social Transmission of Moral and Religious Beliefs” by Daina Crafa
“Playing Dice with the Universe” by David Barnett
“Make-Believe and the Self: A Look at Self-Deception and the Self of an Actor” by Meghann Cassidy
“A Li(f)e: The World of Gilles Deleuze and Its Problems” by Chris Chrappa
“I, Zombie? Why Zombie Knowledge is Fatal to Chalmers’ Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness” by Alden Hensel
“Zosima’s Theodicy: The Problem of Evil in The Brothers Karamazov” by Christy Stockard
“An All-Consuming Faith: Kierkegaard and Religious Existence” by Robert Hutchison
“Our Bunnies, Our selves: An Exploration of the Ethical Status of Animals” by Robin Jacobs
“Body of Evidence: The Production of Difference in Everyday Social Practice” by Caroline Arruda
“Walt Whitman, American Existentialist” by Henry Paul Belanger
“On the Margins: The Work of Outsider Art as a Possibility of Communication” by Ivy Feraco
“The Silence of the Ethical in Fear and Trembling” by Michael Milton
“Towards a Nietzschean Ethical Agency: in the Playground of Being and Becoming” by Gabriel Pacyniak
“The Social Individual: Carving a Middle Path Between Educational Extremes” by Philip Emery Poekert
“Is Science Social and Does it Matter?” by Ian Vandewalker
“Making Music and Musical Workers: A Suggestion for Ontological Inquiry in the Philosophy of Music” by Edward Anthony Vazquez
“(Dis) Integrated Material: Cyborg Feminism and the Posthuman Body” by Katherine E. Hubin
“Authenticity and Alterity” by Theodore R. Bach
“A Defense of Religious Existentialism: Kierkegaard Versus Sartre” by John Suder
“Philosophy of Everyday Life” by Eric Knopp
The Jane Bancroft Cook Library at New College is home to a broad assortment of books, scholarly journals, national and international databases, and other print and electronic media related to the study of philosophy and is available to students throughout the year.
Also available at the library is the Dr. Helen N. Fagin Holocaust Collection. Named in honor of Holocaust survivor and New College benefactress Dr. Helen Fagin, the collection holds materials related to the Holocaust, genocide and humanitarian studies. The Fagin room can be reserved for occasional small meetings connected with the collection.
• United States
Apply for travel scholarships or National Fellowships. Travel through an accredited study abroad program offered though any university or enroll in an accredited, privately owned study abroad program.
You might also be interested in…
Playing ping-pong with Professor Aron Edidin. Email him to set up a game!
New College hosts the Biennial New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, which draws top scholars in history, literature, art history, philosophy and other fields. Students have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the scholars and attend the conference presentations.
New Topics New College: New Topics is a collaboration of the New College Foundation and New College of Florida. This dynamic community series features guest speakers discussing a range of topics. Tickets are free for students.