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Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
Rochester Institute of
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Rochester NY 14623-5604

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Department of Philosophy,
Rochester Institute of Technology


Department of Philosophy

Last updated 10 March 2014

Current and/or upcoming
“variable topic” philosophy courses



Spring 2013–2014

PHIL 416 Seminar: 19th Century American Individualist Anarchism. The American anti-authoritarian movement during the 19th century advocated purely voluntary associations and equality of all persons regardless of race or gender. These anarchists were associated with anti-slavery, free thought, free love, and feminist movements; many of them were pacifists, and most of them were concerned to oppose invasive, corrupt and repressive economic arrangements (maintained by persons with ties to governmental power and privilege). In this course we will study a number of prominent writers in this tradition, including Henry David Thoreau, Josiah Warren, Lysander Spooner, Ezra Heywood, Joshua Ingalls, Benjamin Tucker, and Voltairine de Cleyre. (Prerequisite: 2 courses in philosophy.) (Instructor: Suits.)



Summer 2013–2014

PHIL 449: Special Topics: Buddhist Philosophy and Meditation. (Prerequisite: At least one prior course in philosophy.) (Instructor: Schroeder.)



Fall 2014–2015

PHIL 416 Seminar: Art and Intention. Intentions are key components of contemporary philosophical accounts of mind and action. Within philosophy of art there is a major tradition that recognizes intentions as central players in the production, appreciation, and interpretation of art. The seminar is divided into three parts. In the first part we become acquainted with some classical philosophical views on art and aesthetics. In the second part we enter directly into the ongoing philosophical debate concerning the role of intentions in artworks and thus concentrate our attention on contemporary aesthetics and art theory. In the third part of the seminar we extend our examination of the debate concerning intentionalism to two central philosophical issues: the ontological status of artworks, and morality’s role in the production and appreciation of artworks. (Prerequisite: 2 courses in philosophy.) (Instructor: Aguilar.)

PHIL 449 Special Topics: Law, Technology, and Privacy. This course will critically examine challenges to privacy brought on by recent advances in technology. We’ll inquire into whether philosophical, legal, and social responses are keeping pace with innovation accelerating at the rate of Moore’s Law—a pace that leaves us struggling to cope with how easy it is to obtain, analyze, and share personal information. Rather than beginning with the assumption that any particular theory of privacy is correct, we will consider multiple outlooks. Students will draw their own rationally informed conclusions as we consider different answers to the following guiding questions. What is privacy? What are privacy interests? What are privacy rights? What are privacy harms? Why are privacy debates so contentious? As the term progresses, we’ll apply theoretical insights to concerns expressed over: social media, biometric data collection, GPS trackers, public records, drone and robotic surveillance, RFID, and Google Glass. We’ll also examine how privacy debates intersect with First and Fourth Amendment issues. (Prerequisite: At least one prior course in philosophy.) (Instructor: Selinger.)