Philosophy and Literature at Stanford

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[Posted by BR]

For a while now, I’ve been hearing good things about a “philosophy and literature” initiative at Stanford University. So I decided to take a peek at their website, and indeed, it looks like very exciting things have been happening there under the leadership of Joshua Landy (French & Italian) and R. Lanier Anderson (Philosophy). I thought some of you would also like to know how the philosophy and literature initiative at Stanford is developing. To learn more, visit their website by clicking here.

I am particularly impressed by the curricular arm of the initiative, which now offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate-level tracks of study that integrate the study of literature and philosophy. For more information about the various curricular tracks, please click here. Here is an overview of the program:

It has long been understood that philosophy and literary studies have much to teach one another, but the opportunity for serious and sustained engagement between the disciplines is a new one, and the possibilities for mutual illumination are vast.

The undergraduate program of study affords students access to critics specializing in the full range of national literatures and to philosophers working on theories of language, mind, action, aesthetics, ethics, and political thought; our aim is to train students in the full range of philosophical tools and traditions (both “continental” and “analytic”), as well as a wide array of critical traditions.

Since, in our experience, the best work in the area manifests a thoroughgoing integration of specialized skills and knowledge drawn from both literary and philosophical disciplines, the major tracks offer students serious mainstream training within criticism and within philosophy, as well as courses designed to synthesize the two. Ideally, our students will contribute fresh insights into what literature and philosophy are capable of in combination, by first reaching an understanding of what each is and does on its own.

The undergraduate major tracks are offered through participating departments; for detailed information on the shape taken by the course of study in a particular department, please click on the relevant link. [Click here to access the links.]

At the graduate level, we offer a workshop and are hoping soon to be able to offer a PhD minor in Literature and Philosophy within English, French, Comparative Literature, German, Italian, Philosophy, and Slavic, on the model of the Classics and Philosophy minor. Further developments will be announced on the PhD Minor page.

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