UPCES Philosophy Courses

Here you'll find the full list of UPCES courses related to Philosophy. Please note that course offerings are subject to change or cancelation based on faculty availability and student enrollment. All course subjects must be approved by your home institution for departmental credit.

Each course includes a detailed description, any cross-listed subjects, and a downloadable syllabus.

Central European Philosophy
[PHILOSOPHY, 3 credits]


This course introduces ways of philosophizing in Central Europe in the second half of the 20th century. The emphases are put on non-Marxist thinking and liberal Marxist ideas as well as the opposing dogmantic state-endorsed philosophy of the Soviet-style Marxism-Leninism. The effort will be made to underlie similarities and distinctions in ways in which harshness of political regimes, ever-present ideological dominance, courage, and personal stance of individual thinkers shaped the way they adopted and developed Western style philosophizing.

Comprehending The Holocaust


Comprehending the Holocaust (Shoah) goes beyond understanding the historical fact that six million Jews and other innocent victims were brutally murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe. The Holocaust is a lesson in what happened in our modern rational technological society and in what can happen again in spite of all trusted safety measures. What does it mean to comprehend the Holocaust – is it possible at all? We will concentrate more on the nature of modern genocides, their underlying ideological patterns and their modern features. The Holocaust as a significant and unique event in history continues to have universal implications. This mass murder has specific features that make it different from all other genocides. It is not only a historical event but rather turning-point of our history. We will go through the rise and history of Christian anti-Judaism, its transformation into modern forms of anti-Semitism, we will discuss what is exceptional and what is normal about the Holocaust and define the role and responsibility of the individual in modern democracy. We will learn about the role of intellectuals during the Holocaust and discuss how good people can kill other people so easily. We will also try to understand the function of Nazi propaganda and its major themes. We will touch on the phenomenon of “denying the Holocaust”, which is a modern form of anti-Semitism.

Ideas behind Politics: Communism, Post-Communism, and Civil Society in Central Europe


The post-communist countries of Central Europe - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - are struggling hard to overcome the legacy of the totalitarian regime and to establish liberal democracy and free market economy. The objective of this course is to help students better understand the history of Central Europe and the ideal resources that might enable it to succeed in the transformation from communism. The students will learn recent Czech and Central European political history and get familiar with the various ways in which the predicament of these countries was reflected upon in the thought of the most prominent political theorists from the region concentrating, in particular, on the idea of civil society. We will search in the Central Europe of the 20th century and in its unique historical experience for events and figures that shaped and articulated an understanding of politics that might be viewed as the specifically Czech and Central European contribution to political problems faced by mankind in general. An indispensable touch of reality will be added through excursions to places of relevance for our topics and through historical documents (musical recordings, films).