Introductory Topics in Philosophy

Boris Buden
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2022W, Lecture and Discussion (VD), 2.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04488


Cross-Disciplinary Strategies: A Historical Introduction

How is the truth of the world revealed? What does it mean “to know”? What differentiates knowledge from belief and both from an artistic creation? Does knowledge have an end in itself, or rather, it finds its raison d'être in its practical use? Why and how was it divided into various disciplines and does this disciplinary division still make sense today? Finally, is knowledge always objective and neutral, or rather makes itself dependent on particular interests of political power, social class, gender or economic production?  These and similar questions will be asked from historical perspective and put in a broader social and political context. The answers will be given by Plato, Kant and Foucault and discussed with Hannah Arendt, Gayatri Spivak and Donna Haraway—across disciplinary boundaries of philosophy, social theory, historiography, linguistics, psychoanalysis, cultural and post-colonial studies etc.


Reading list:

Plato, The Allegory of the Cave, Republic, VII. (514a, 2 to 517a, 7)

Plato's allegory of the Cave - Narrated by Orson Welles

Plato’s Cave Analysis


Immanuel Kant, An Answer to the Question: "What is Enlightenment?"


Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985. (selected excerpt to be uploaded)


Michel Foucault, The Order of Things. An Archeology of the Human Sciences, London, New York: Routledge, 1989.


Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, Stanford: Stanford California Press, 1991. Chapter 1, An Intellectual Adventure (1-19)


Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto


Gayatri Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?

Examination Modalities

Consists in the active participation and contribution (discursive, textual and performative).

The module grading is based on the mentioned contribution, active in-class participation and

  • - submission of written assignments (word minimum of 800 total)
  • - presentation (10-15 min.) to be held during WS 2022.


“Students from other departments or universities will be given a place on the course subject to room capacities.

Key Words

truth, knowledge, enlightenment, human sciences, archeology, experiment, equlity, learning, subalternity


10 October 2022, 12:45–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
12 October 2022, 16:00–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
13 October 2022, 12:45–18:00 KUG Lecture Room PSK 149
16 January 2023, 13:45–18:00 KUG Lecture Room PSK 149
17 January 2023, 09:15–12:45 CDS Studio
18 January 2023, 12:45–15:15 CDS Lecture Room

Course Enrolment

Via online registration

co-registration: possible

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Master): Study Areas: Study Area 4: Philosophy

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Master): Elective Field: only students without a bachelor's degree in CDS: from Study Areas 1-6

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Philosophy: Foundation

Individual courses: possible