After completing this course, you:
- will be familiar with central topics, theories, and concepts in contemporary metaphysical debates;
- will have an overview of the link between these philosophical debates and contemporary environmental, political, and epistemological problems;
- will be able to read, analyze, and comment upon philosophical texts, as well as to publicly present and discuss them;
- can explain key philosophical theories and their main arguments in your own words, and formulate your own position.
New Ontologies for Mutable Worlds|
In the wake of the so-called crisis of reason and modernity at the end of the XIXth century and in first half of the XXth, a certain classical ontological paradigm has been called into question. In the light of a critical and deconstructive reading of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, and Kant among many others, it has been claimed that the Western culture and the rationalist tradition developed a discriminatory ontology that enabled them to dismiss ambiguity, processes, and hybrids of all kinds (for instance: theory/practice, body/soul, nature/culture, real/imaginary, and science/politics) as illusionary and not worthy of the name "being". But beings are not so easily categorizable; many challenging phenomena and issues were persistent thorns in the side of Western philosophies (for instance: are we humans or animals? How can the body and the mind be connected? Is science politically neutral?).
In this course we will:
- take a critical perspective on representative texts from the Western rationalist tradition and question their ontological premises: what is the worldview that they sustain? What are their blind spots? In what measure is their conceptual pattern still influential nowadays?
- Study primary texts from the contemporary continental tradition that analyzed and criticized or deconstructed modern ontologies, and proposed alternative approaches (for instance: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Foucault, Latour, and Haraway).
- Examine the implications of these debates for some of the most salient contemporary environmental, political, and epistemological issues.