Philosophical Reading Group

The Philosophical Reading Group (PRG) is dedicated to reading major texts of the philosophical tradition. In a friendly, collaborative, and nonauthoritarian context, faculty and students read approximately fifteen to thirty pages per week in an effort to understand the nuances of the philosophical text’s arguments, its logic and structure, as well as its limitations. The PRG is committed to reading philosophy, taking seriously the materiality, the textuality, of its expression. It is concerned with the rhetoric of philosophy as much as with its stated ideas. Participation in the PRG serves as an excellent introduction not only to philosophy, but to the exigencies of reading.

Historically, the PRG has read works from the major thinkers of the continental tradition, but it is open to all areas and periods of philosophy. The PRG privileges, however, works of a sufficient complexity and density that warrant and reward intense conversation and patient reading. At the end of each semester, the participants in the PRG decide what the group will read in the following semester.

Students can now receive “extensive” credit for participation in the PRG. For more information about receiving credit and about the semester’s meeting schedule, contact David Johnson,

Faculty Organizers

  • Spring 2000-Spring 2001: William Egginton, RLL
  • Fall 2001-Spring 2008: William Egginton, RLL and David Johnson, COL
  • Fall 2008-Spring 2013: David Johnson, COL and Galen Brokaw, RLL
  • Fall 2013-Spring 2016: David Johnson, COL
  • Fall 2020-present: Don Cross, COL and David Johnson, COL

History of Readings

  • Spring 2000:  Hegel, “Introductory Lectures” to the Aesthetics.
  • Fall 2000:  Kant, Critique of Practical Reason.
  • Spring 2001:  Wittgenstein, Blue and Brown Books.
  • Fall 2001:  Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit.
  • Spring 2002: Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit.
  • Fall 2002:  Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit.
  • Spring 2003:  Heidegger, Being and Time.
  •             1st PRG Seminar:  Chris Fynsk (Binghamton University) and Stephen D. Gingerich (Cleveland State University)
  • Fall 2003:  Kant, Critique of Pure Reason.
  • Spring 2004: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason.
  •             2nd PRG Seminar:  Peter Gilgen (Cornell University) and Willi Goetschel (University of Toronto)
  • Fall 2004:  Kant, Critique of Judgment.
  • Spring 2005:  Plato, Timaeus; Aristotle, Metaphysics.
  • Fall 2005:  Husserl, Introductory Lectures to Phenomenology, Cartesians Meditations; Derrida, Speech and Phenomena.
  • Spring 2006:  Descartes, Discourse on the Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, and Passions of the Soul.
  • Fall 2006:  Augustine, Confessions.
  • Spring 2007:  Spinoza, The Theological-Political Treatise.
  • Fall 2007:  Schmitt, Concept of the Political; Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Anti-Christ.
  • Spring 2008:  Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, vol. I.
  • Fall 2008:  Hegel, Logic (Part 1 of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences)
  • Spring 2009:  Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.
  • Fall 2009:  Heidegger, Being and Time.
  • Spring 2010:  Nancy, The Experience of Freedom; Derrida, Of Spirit.
  •             3rd PRG Seminar:  Juan Manuel Garrido (Universidad Diego Portales) and Andrew J. Mitchell (Emory University)
  • Fall 2010:  Rousseau, Essay on the Origin of Language, Discourse on Inequality; Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind.
  • Spring 2011:  Derrida, Of Grammatology.
  •             4th PRG Seminar:  Ian Balfour (York University) and Jonathan Culler (Cornell University)
  • Fall 2011: Husserl, Ideas I
  • Spring 2012: Husserl, “On the Origin of Geometry” and other essays; Jacques Derrida, “Introduction” to Husserl’s “Origin of Geometry” and other essays on Husserl.
  • Fall 2012: Spinoza, Ethics.
  • Spring 2013: Marx, Grundrisse
  • Fall 2013/Spring 2014: Sartre, Being and Nothingness (canceled)
  • Fall 2014: Bergson, Matière et Mémoire
  • Spring 2015: Deleuze, Différence et Repétition,
  • Fall 2015: Derrida, Margins of Philosophy
  • Spring 2016: Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (canceled)
  • Fall 2020: Husserl, Crisis of European Sciences (on zoom)
  • Spring 2021: Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics (on zoom)
  • Fall 2021: Lacan, Écrits (on zoom)
  • Spring 2022: Lacan, Écrits (on zoom)
  • Summer 2022: Derrida, “Le Facteur de la Vérité” (from Derrida, La carte postale) (on zoom)
  • Fall 2022: Leibniz, “Monadologie”; Deleuze, Le pli: Leibniz et le baroque