Philosophy

Courses

Please note that not every course listed is offered each year and that students should consult the following sources for current course offerings:

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

1. Introductory

PHIL-1006. Introduction to Philosophy

An introduction, through lecture, reading of original sources, and discussion, to the origins and development of western philosophy. The first part of the course studies this tradition from its beginnings in ancient Greece through the Christian Middle Ages. Authors read include Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Themes include the nature of reality, the nature of human being and human knowledge; moral and political philosophy; the existence and nature of God. The latter part of the course continues the survey of developments in western philosophy, from the early modern period to contemporary discussion. The focus is on rationalism, empiricism, idealism, and the reactions these provoked.For the purpose of prerequisite and degree requirements, this courses is the equivelent of PHIL 1013 and 1023.

PHIL-1013. Intro. to Philosophy I

An introduction, through lecture, reading of original sources, and discussion, to the origins and development of western philosophy from its beginnings in ancient Greece through the Middle Ages. Authors read include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. Themes: the nature of reality, the nature of human being and human knowledge; moral and political philosophy; the existence and nature of God.

PHIL-1023. Intro to Philosophy II: Modern and Contemporary

A continuation of the survey of developments in western philosophy, through lecture, reading of original sources, and discussion, from the early modern period to contemporary discussion. Focus: rationalism, empiricism, idealism, and the reactions these provoked. This course has no prerequisite.

PHIL-1033. Atheism: An Introduction to Philosophy

This course is an introduction to philosophy focusing on atheism. Students will be introduced to the current debate, but will also consider what the great minds of the past can tell us about the existence or non-existence of God. We will draw on both historical and contemporary sources, developing skills of philosophical analysis in connection with a single, hotly disputed topic. This course has no prerequisite.

PHIL-1043. Free Will: An Introduction to Philosophy

This course is an introduction to philosophy focusing on the problem of free will. Students will be introduced to the current debate, but will also consider what the great minds of the past can tell us about the possibility or impossibility of acting freely. We will draw on both historical and contemporary sources, developing skills of philosophical analysis in connection with a single, hotly disputed topic. This course has no prerequisite.

PHIL-1053. Myth & Reason: An Introduction to Philosophy

This course is an introduction to philosophy focusing on the opposition between myth and reason. Students learn the skills of philosophical analysis by studying one topic in detail. Questions explored may include: How are myth and reason different? Are they opposed? What are the limits of reason? Can myth help reason? Can reason refute myth? What role does authority play in myth and reason? This course has no prerequisite.

PHIL-1063. Life & Death: An Introduction to Philosophy

This course is an introduction to philosophy focusing on philosophical questions related to life and death. Students learn the skills of philosophical analysis by studying one topic in detail. Questions explored may include: What are life and death? Does anything persist after death? If so, what would this be? Why are some moral questions associated with life and death? This course has no prerequisite.

2. History of Philosophy

PHIL-2113. Ancient Philosophy: : The Presocratics and Plato

A lecture course surveying ancient philosophy from the Presocratics to Plato. Philosophers covered may include: Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Gorgias, Protagoras, Socrates and Plato. Through readings of original sources and ancient testimony, the course analyses key questions in ancient philosophy, e.g. what is philosophy and what does it achieve? What is nature? What is the best life? Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-2123. Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy

A lecture course surveying ancient philosophy from Aristotle to Hellenistic philosophy (Epicurus, the Stoics and the Sceptics). Through readings of original sources and ancient testimony, the course analyses key questions in ancient philosophy, e.g. what can philosophy achieve? What is the nature of reality? What does it mean to live together? Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-2133. Medieval Philosophy: Augustine, Neoplatonism and Arabic Philosophy (RELG 2143)

A lecture course covering Medieval philosophy from its earliest origins, culminating in the Platonism of Augustine, Boethius, John Scotus Eriugena and Anselm. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-2143. Medieval Philosophy: Pre-Modern Modernity and the Rise and Fall of Scholasticism (RELG 2153)

A lecture course covering the Medieval philosophy of the 13th century (especially Thomas Aquinas), the collapse of the Thomistic synthesis in fourteenth century philosophy, and the beginning of the Modern outlook. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-2153. Early Modern Philosophy: Rationalism and the Supremacy of Reason

A study of the 17th and 18th century rationalist philosophers. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-2163. Early Modern Philosophy: Empiricism and the Priority of Sensation

A study of the 17th and 18th century British empiricists. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

3. Moral Philosophy

PHIL-2213. Introduction to Moral Philosophy

An examination, through readings, lectures, and discussion, of some important attempts to ground ethical judgments. Themes: relativism, egoism, values, and sentiment; values and consequences; the determination of duty.

PHIL-2233. Contemporary Moral Philosophy

A lecture course examining a specific topic in contemporary moral philosophy. Topics vary from year to year and may include: virtue ethics, metaethics, contemporary deontology, contemporary utilitarianism, emotivism, relativism, the is-­-ought debate, and others.

PHIL-2243. Current Issues in Ethics

A discussion, through lectures and student presentations, of ethical theory through its application in the consideration of such contemporary issues as: pornography and censorship, euthanasia, abortion, punishment, justice and welfare, sexual and racial discrimination. Prerequisite: Phil 2213 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-2253. Ethics of Sustainability (HMRT, ENVS 2253)

An historically-conscious analysis of various normative stances in environmental ethics integrated with a sustained consideration of how to apply this ethical theory to modern life. Topics may include deep and shallow ecology, biocentrism, eco-feminism, environmental justice, environmental virtue ethics, the ambiguous role of technology in the environmental crisis, the ethics of the green economy, the ethics of green public policy, a survey of various locally-employed environmental initiatives. Recommended preparation: PHIL 2213.

PHIL-2263. The Art of Living: Ancient Greek Strategies for Happiness in the XXIst Century

Can Greek philosophers help us live a fulfilling life? This course examines a rich tradition known as therapy for the mind, that developed from Socrates to Hellenistic Philosophy. These thinkers argue that philosophy improves many facets of our lives and can help us become happy. What do they have to say about happiness, emotions, desires, love, and death? Can this advice be useful for us today? The course presupposes no background in philosophy. Prerequisites: none.

4. Legal and Political Philosophy

PHIL-2303. Western Tradition of Political Philosophy I (POLS)

This course will introduce students to seminal texts in political philosophy focussing on the ancient and early medieval period. Texts may include: Plato's Apology, Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle's Politics, Bible, and St. Augustine's City of God.

PHIL-2313. Western Tradition of Political Philosophy II (POLS)

This course will introduce students to seminal texts in political philosophy focussing on the medieval, early modern and modern periods. Texts may include: Aquinas' Treatise on Law, Machiavelli's The Prince, Hobbes' Leviathan, Locke's The Second Treatise on Government, Rousseau's Discourses, Hegel's Introduction to the Philosophy of History. Prerequisite: POLS 2803.

PHIL-3313. Philosophy of Human Rights

This course will introduce students to philosophical questions concerning the foundation of human rights. What are human rights based on? What makes something a human right? Are human rights universally and permanently valid, or is the notion of human rights merely a construct of modern Western culture? The course will familiarize students with alternative theoretical answers to these and other related questions. Prerequisite: HMRT 2003, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3343. Human Nature, Society, Justice and Law I: Classical and Christian Theories

A lecture course concentrating on philosophies of human nature in relation to civil society, justice, and law. Principal question: Is human nature good or bad? pro-social or sociopathic? Applications: competing theories of justice, law, and sanction, including issues of enforcement and correction. Philosophers: Sophists, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3353. Human Nature, Society, Justice and Law II: Late Modern Contemporary Theories

A lecture course concentrating on the main contemporary views of human nature, in relation to civil society, justice, and law. Principal issue: Is human nature good or bad? pro-social or sociopathic? Applications: competing theories of justice, law, and sanction, including issues of enforcement and correction. Philosophers: Hume, Rousseau, Hegel, Bentham, Mill, Green, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Dewey, Sartre.

5. Themes and Authors

PHIL-2513. Introduction to Logic (MATH)

A lecture course in which students learn how to identify and evaluate arguments drawn from a wide variety of sources. It will develop informal methods such as the identification of argument structure and informal fallacies. It will also develop formal methods that involve taking arguments in English, symbolizing them in a formal language, and evaluating strengths and weaknesses of the argument forms. Also covered are basic probability theory, inductive logic, and statistical reasoning.

PHIL-2523. Introduction to Aesthetics

In this course, we will investigate and critically assess some of the most influential attempts in the history of philosophy to respond to art and artistic expression. Readings will include selections from a variety of philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and Benjamin.

PHIL-2533. Minds and Brains

What is a mind? Is the mind reducible to the brain? If not, how are they related? Various answers to these questions will be considered in the course. Topics will normally include: behaviourism, functionalism, dualism, identity theory, representational theory, consciousness, the intentional stance, eliminativism, property dualism, non-reductive physicalism. The course presupposes no background in philosophy and may be of interest to students in psychology and the life sciences, as well as philosophy. Prerequisites: none.

PHIL-2543. Moral Psychology

Are moral judgements grounded in emotion or reason? Under what conditions are people morally responsible? Why should I be moral? Are all moral decisions motivated by self-interest? Do moral reasons depend on desires? How does virtue relate to moral motivation? These questions are central to moral psychology. The course presupposes no background in philosophy and may be of interest to students in psychology and the life sciences, as well as philosophy. This course will not count toward credits in Psychology (i.e. a Major). Prerequisites: none.

PHIL-3106. Love and Friendship

This course will explore the interrelated themes of friendship, love and beauty. Each theme will be examined separately and as connected to the others. Ancient and modern texts will be used to examine the ways that different ages have addressed these fundamentally personal and yet common human experiences. Texts will vary from year to year but may include works such as Plato's Symposium and Lysis, Rousseau's Emile, Descartes' Passions of the Mind. Prerequisite: GRID 2006 or 2106, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3206. Human Nature and Technology

This course will study the way in which diverse thinkers have considered the question of human nature. This question will be sharpened with a consideration of the way in which human beings considered as natural beings use and are affected by technology. Texts will vary from year to year, but may include works such as: Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, Bacon's New Atlantis, Grant's Technology and Empire, Heidegger's The Question Concerning Technology, Fukuyama's The Posthuman Future. Prerequisite: GRID 2006 or 2106, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3413. God in Western Thought

A survey, through lectures, readings, and discussion, of Western philosophical speculation regarding the divine. Themes: theism and atheism in classical antiquity; demonstrations of God's existence in medieval philosophy; the effect on religious belief of empiricism, idealism, Marxism, and existentialism. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3443. Hegel's Philosophy of Religion

This course will involve a consideration of G.W.F. Hegel's philosophy of religion. The primary text will be Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, although consideration may be given to other relevant material from the Phenomenology of Spirit and the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. Prerequisites: PHIL 2153 and 2163, or PHIL 3623, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3503. Seminar on Plato's Philosophy

This seminar brings together two questions central to the study of Plato: What is philosophy? and what can it achieve? Through an analysis of primary sources and secondary literature, the seminar assesses various answers provided by Plato. Texts covered may include selections from the dialogues of definition (Apology, Euthyphro, Gorgias), from the metaphysical dialogues (Phaedo, Republic), and from the dialogues on language (Theaetetus, Parmenides, Sophist). Prerequisites: Any six (6) credit hours in the History of Philosophy (PHIL 2113, 2123, 2133, 2143, 2153, and 2163), or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3513. Seminar on Aristotle's Philosophy

This seminar examines key topics in Aristotle's logic, physics and metaphysics. More specifically, through a systematic reading of passages in foundational texts such as (for example) the Posterior Analytics, the Categories, De interpretatione, the Topics, the De anima, the Physics, and the Metaphysics, the seminar examines and assesses Aristotle's philosophy and its contribution to central debates in the history of philosophy. Prerequisite: Any six (6) credit hours in the History of Philosophy (PHIL 2113, 2123, 2133, 2143, 2153, and 2163), or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3523. The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas

A seminar course covering the philosophy of Aquinas and its relation to the previous history of philosophy, and to the historical context of St. Thomas' own time. Thematic focus: philosophy of knowledge, of being, and of human nature. Prerequisites: PHIL 1013 or PHIL 1023 or permission of instructor.

PHIL-3533. Thomas Aquinas: Law, Morality, Society

A lecture course covering the fundamentals of the legal, moral, and political philosophy of Aquinas and its relation to the previous history of philosophy and to the historical and cultural context of the high middle ages. Prerequisite: PHIL 3523 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3543. Existential Philosophy

A study of existential thinking, its fundamental structure, and its importance for a contemporary understanding of the human situation. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3553. Augustine

This course will involve a close reading of the major works of St. Augustine, among which will be The Confessions, The Trinity, and The City of God. Prerequisite: PHIL 1013 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3563. Philosophy of Science

This course will examine science from the perspective of philosophy. Topics will include the historical relation between science and philosophy, the differences between the social and the physical sciences, the nature of scientific change in history, the role of values in science, the reality of theoretical objects of science, and feminist alternatives to traditional scientific research. Examples will be drawn from both the physical and the social sciences. Presupposes no previous exposure to any particular areas of science.

PHIL-3573. Dante's Divine Comedy and the Medieval Aristotelian Tradition

This course will involve a close reading of the major works of Dante Alighieri, especially The Divine Comedy. Attention will be directed to Dante's synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy and the theology and philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Prerequisites: PHIL 1013 or PHIL 1023 or permission of instructor.

PHIL-3613. Kant

In this course, we will focus primarily on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason as we work through the implications his position has for both theoretical and moral philosophy. Prerequisite: PHIL 2153 or 2163 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3623. Hegel

This course will involve a careful study of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, focusing primarily on the relationships between theory and practice, and truth and history. Prerequisite: PHIL 2153 or 2163 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3633. Marx

This lecture course will involve a close reading of some of Karl Marx's most influential work. As we read through portions of The German Ideology, the Grundrisse, The Holy Family and Capital, we will consider 1) Marx's relationship with and response to his predecessors, and 2) his critical reassessment of philosophical and political practice, human nature, history and economic theory. Prerequistie: 9 credit hours in philosophy or permisson of the instructor.

PHIL-3643. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche

This course will engage and critically assess the views of the two leading figures in 19th century existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3653. Contemporary Continental Philosophy

This course will engage and critically assess the views of some of the most important thinkers in recent European philosophy such as Merleau-Ponty, Benjamin, Blanchot, Bataille, Levinas, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard. Prerequisite: PHIL 3543 or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3663. Analytic Philosophy: Metaphysics and the Linguistic Turn

This is a lecture course covering topics of current interest in Analytic Philosophy, a movement in, and a style of doing, philosophy that has been prominent in the English-speaking world since the beginning of the 20th century. Topics will vary and will normally be drawn from one or more of the following sub-disciplines: epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3673. Analytic Philosophy: Theories of Knowledge and Justification

This course is meant to complement PHIL 3663, but it may be taken independently. It is a lecture course covering topics of current interest in Analytic Philosophy, a movement in, and a style of doing, philosophy that has been prominent in the English-speaking world since the beginning of the 20th century. Topics will vary and will normally be drawn from one or more of the following sub-disciplines: epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3683. Epistemology

This course is devoted to a topic of current interest in contemporary epistemology. The topic for any particular year may be selected from: skepticism, a priori justification, internalism and externalism, epistemic duty, epistemic justification, the definition and conditions of knowledge, sources of knowledge, explanation, knowledge and natural science, naturalized epistemology, analyticity. The text for the course will be either a recent monograph or a collection of articles. Prerequisites: Any two of PHIL 1013, 1023, 1033, 1043, 1053, 1063, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL-3763. Martin Heidegger

In this course, we will engage in a close reading of selected works by Martin Heidegger. We will consider Heidegger's attempt to raise anew the urgent question of being; specifically, how his development of this question demands a radical assessment of many of our most dearly held assumptions about truth, human nature, knowledge and reality, freedom and responsibility, history and time. Prerequisite: PHIL 3543 or permission of instructor.

PHIL-3813. Introduction to Logic II (MATH)

This is a course in first-order symbolic logic in its second main branch (predicate logic). The aim is to acquaint students with the formal language of modern deductive logic and to develop the basic techniques of good deductive reasoning. The course will be of interest to philosophy majors in particular (especially those who are planning to do graduate work in philosophy), but will benefit anyone who wants to acquire skills in abstract thinking. A good grounding in sentential logic is presupposed.

6. Tutorials and Independent Studies

PHIL-4886. Honours Seminar

Directed by a Department member on a topic approved by the Department, this seminar for Philosophy Honours students in their final year will involve, among other requirements, the preparation and presentation of a major essay. Normally, this option will not be available when PHIL 4996 Honours Thesis is offered.

PHIL-4983. Independent Studies

Special courses in philosophical reading and writing under the direction of members of the Department of philosophy may be permitted by the Chair of the Department.

PHIL-4996. Honours Thesis

Students honouring in philosophy will submit, normally in the final semester of their B.A. programme, an extended paper resulting from independent research, and written under the guidance of a director chosen from among the members of the department. 6 credit hours.

Last Published: Sun Dec 17 06:05:02 2017