Philosophy is dialogue.
Accordingly, I structure my classroom as a forum for discussion, critical thinking, and close textual engagement. Student satisfaction in my courses ranges consistently over 90%.
“Student Colloquium” – MCMP, Munich University, winter semester 2019/20
In this course, students in their last year of the BA- or MA-studies present their final theses. The course offers a friendly, constructive atmosphere in which students can get feedback on their work-in-progress. We furthermore discuss papers and book chapters suggested by the course participants that are relevant to their research projects.
“The Great Divide: Differences and similarities between the analytical and continental traditions” – MCMP, Munich University, summer semester 2019
This introductory course for BA students deals with the division of the philosophical world into an analytical and a continental tradition. We investigate the causes of the division, learn about the peculiarities of both traditions and follow their development along central texts in German and English all the way into the contemporary philosophical landscape. We will examine the different views of Husserl and Frege on questions of logic, epistemology and metaphysics will be of interest to us as well as formative arguments between Heidegger and Carnap. We will carve out the argumentative and methodological contrasts between the writings of continental thinkers such as Sartre and Arendt on the one hand, and analytical thinkers such as Russell and Anscombe on the other. In the final part of the course, we will look at contemporary philosophers such as A.W. Moore and Fiona Ellis, whose philosophical works combine elements of both traditions and thus represent a first step towards overcoming the division.
“Topics in Analytic Philosophy of Religion” – MCMP, Munich University, winter semester 2018/19
This course for BA students provides an overview of four central topics discussed in the philosophy of religion: (1) arguments for the existence of God; (2) the rationality and justification of religious belief; (3) the Problem of Evil; and (4) explanations of religious experiences. In Part I of the course, we will assess the merits and faults of ontological, cosmological, teleological, and design arguments for the existence of God. In Part II, we will examine how philosophers like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne have tried to justify and argue for the rationality of religious belief. Part III addresses the most notorious objection to religion and theism: the Problem of Evil. Part IV rounds up the course by discussing naturalist and non-naturalist explanations for the phenomenon of religious experiences.
“Indispensability Arguments for Realism” – MCMP, Munich University, summer semester 2018
The question whether or not we should be realists about domains whose central objects are abstract, such as mathematics, is hotly debated. One argument that has been suggested in response is known as the ‘Indispensability Argument’. First formulated by Quine and Putnam, the argument states that we ought to be ontologically committed to all and only objects quantification over which is indispensable to our best scientific theories. However, the method of basing ontological commitment on considerations about indispensability has also been fiercely criticized, for example for its implicit assumption of confirmational holism, and for its unwanted entailments for domains other than mathematics. Discussing the most central objections and defences, this MA and advanced BA course traces the debate about Indispensability Arguments from the 1960s until today.
“From Existence to Expression” – Hebrew University of Jerusalem, winter semester 2015/16
This seminar for MA and advanced BA students explores some recent themes in the metaphysics of existence, identity, and perspective, as well as some central questions about the conceptualization and expression of reality. Click here for the syllabus and here for sample teaching materials.
“Mathematics, its Foundations, and their Implications” – Hebrew University of Jerusalem, winter semester 2014/15
The first part of this graduate seminar provides an overview of foundational theories in the philosophy of mathematics (Kant’s account of mathematical knowledge; Frege’s and Russell’s logicist programmes; Carnapian positivism; Hilbert’s formalism; and the intuitionist views developed by Brouwer, Heyting and Dummett). The second part is dedicated to four central issues discussed in contemporary philosophy of mathematics: set theory and its ontological implications; mathematical Platonism; fictionalism; and structuralism. The third part of the seminar focuses on the question of mathematical truth and its relation to mathematical knowledge. Click here for the syllabus, here for sample teaching materials, and here for a student testimonial.
“Aesthetics and Critical Philosophy” – University of Oxford, Trinity College, Michaelmas term 2009/2010
This undergraduate tutorial explores the ideas of five of the main thinkers in philosophical aesthetics (Kant, Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Adorno), as well as some of the most central questions debated in contemporary philosophy of art: What is the relation of art and truth? What does aesthetic experience consist it? And how can we explain the expressiveness of art? Click here for the syllabus.
“Introduction to Political Philosophy: From Plato to Hobbes” – Munich University, summer semester 2006
Part I of this undergraduate seminar provides an overview of four central thinkers in political philosophy and their views on how a state should best be organised: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Hobbes.
“Introduction to Political Philosophy: From Locke to Rawls” – Munich University, summer semester 2006
Part II of this undergraduate seminar provides an overview of four central thinkers in political philosophy and their views on how a state should best be organised: Locke, Rousseau, Weber, and Rawls.