Introductory Topics in Philosophy

Boris Buden
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2023S, Lecture and Discussion (VD), 2.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04488


Cross-Disciplinary Strategies: A Historical Introduction II

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:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I

Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985.

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, Preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, (Trans. Constance Farrington), New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1963.

Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide, London, New York: Routledge 2016.

Catherine Malabou, What should We do with Our Brain?, (Trans. Sebastian Rand), New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.

Lydia H. Liu, The Freudian Robot. Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Alenka Zupančič, What is Sex?, Cambridge, MA, London: The MIT Press, 2017

Bruno Latour: “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto’”

Silvia Federici “Feminism And the Politics of the Commons”

Felix Stalder, “Scientific Writing Beyond Peer Review”


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 SoSe 2023.


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

Key Words

truth, knowledge, theory, unconsciousness, brain, south, experiment, colonialism, sex


07 March 2023, 09:00–13:00 CDS Lecture Room
09 March 2023, 09:00–11:00 CDS Studio
10 March 2023, 09:00–13:00 CDS Lecture Room
22 May 2023, 13:00–17:00 CDS Lecture Room
25 May 2023, 13:00–17:00 CDS Studio
26 May 2023, 13:00–16:00 CDS Lecture Room

Course Enrolment

Via online registration

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible