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    Vassar College
  Feb 19, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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PHIL 310 - Seminar in Analytic Philosophy

Semester Offered: Fall and Spring
1 unit(s)

Topic for 2017/18a: Double Identities, Divided Minds. It is often possible, and sometimes desirable, to sustain conflicting desires, conflicting beliefs, conflicting perspectives, and conflicting personalities. Understanding how this is possible raises interesting questions about the very nature of desire and belief, about the extent to which unity is necessary for a sense of self, and about the character of rationality in a socially fragmented world. We take a close look at literary texts, political theories, and empirical research in our attempt to make philosophical sense of the multiple ways we are able to live with divided minds; and we question the personal and political effects of such divisions. Jennifer Church.

Topic for 2017/18b: Philosophy of Mental Illness. (Same as STS 310 ) This senior seminar focuses on two main issues: (1) What is the best way to define psychopathology, and what can we do about controversial cases? Should all mental illnesses be grouped into classes based on their biological characteristics or their physical causes, or is there a better model? How do we differentiate illness from socially realized disability? What are recent controversies in psychiatric research of pathology? (2) What are ethical implications of current or possible taxonomies of psychopathologies: in particular, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)? What can we learn about mental disability from the disability rights movement? Are current treatment options, particularly pharmacological approaches, ethically sound? And finally, how do all of these issues impact child patients? Readings include Foucault, Szasz, Wakefield, Hacking, the DSM-V, and recent empirical work. Students are encouraged to pursue independent research on the topics of most interest to them. Sofia Ortiz-Hinojosa.

Priority will be given to Philosophy majors. 

One 3-hour period.

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