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Philosophy

Section 31.220

Please note that the current version of the Undergraduate Calendar is up to date as of February 2017.

Faculty

Chair
DAVID MORRIS, PhD University of Toronto; Professor

Professors
MURRAY CLARKE, PhD University of Western Ontario
MATTHIAS FRITSCH, PhD Villanova University

Associate Professors
EMILIA ANGELOVA, PhD University of Toronto
ANDREA FALCON, PhD Padua University
PABLO GILABERT, PhD New School for Social Research
GREGORY LAVERS, PhD University of Western Ontario

Assistant Professors
MATTHEW BARKER, PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison
ULF HLOBIL, PhD University of Pittsburgh
KATHARINA NIESWANDT, PhD University of Pittsburgh

Affiliate Professor
BELA EGYED, PhD McGill University

For the complete list of faculty members, please consult the Department website.


Location

Sir George Williams Campus
Annex S, Room: 101
514-848-2424, ext. 2500


Department Objectives

The Department of Philosophy offers a broad range of studies in philosophy. This includes courses in the history of philosophy spanning three millennia and courses covering a diverse spectrum of philosophical topics and approaches. Many of the courses are designed for undergraduates pursuing studies in other disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The aim is to contribute to the development of critical, informed, and open minds.


Programs

The major and minor programs give students an understanding of the aims, methods, and content of a range of major philosophical periods and traditions. The honours program prepares students for graduate study in philosophy.

Students are responsible for satisfying their particular degree requirements.
The superscript indicates credit value.

  60    BA Honours in Philosophy
          Stage I
  12    PHIL 2143, 2323, 2603, 2613
    3    Chosen from PHIL 2633, 2653
          Stage II
    9    PHIL 3303, 3603, 3613
    3    Chosen from PHIL 3643, 3653
    3    Chosen from PHIL 3623, 3743, 3773
    9    PHIL elective or cognate credits at the 300 or 400 level*
          Stage III
    3    Chosen from PHIL 4143, 4163, 4203, 4253, 4633, 4653, 4893
    3    Chosen from PHIL 4303, 4403, 4713
    3    Chosen from PHIL 4803, 4813, 4833, 4853, 4863, 4873
  12    PHIL elective or cognate credits at the 400 level*
*PHIL elective or cognate credits to be chosen in consultation with the Department.
NOTE: Students seeking admission to the honours program may apply either for direct entry on the University application form or, once in the program, to the departmental undergraduate advisor normally following the completion of 30 credits.

  36    BA Major in Philosophy
          Stage I
    3    Chosen from PHIL 2103, 2143
    9    PHIL 2323, 2603, 2613
    3    Chosen from PHIL 2633, 2653
          Stage II
    6    PHIL 3603, 3613
    3    Chosen from PHIL 3623, 3743, 3773
          Stage III
    6    PHIL elective credits at any level
    6    PHIL elective credits at the 400 level*
*PHIL elective or cognate credits to be chosen in consultation with the Department.

  24    Minor in Philosophy
    6    Chosen from PHIL 2323, 2633, 2653
    6    PHIL elective credits at the 200 level or higher
   12   PHIL elective credits from the 300 level or higher


Courses

PHIL 201          Problems of Philosophy (3 credits)
In this course, students are introduced to philosophical problems such as: What is the nature of reality? How does one know what is real, and how is it distinct from misleading appearances or illusion? What is knowledge? Does knowledge require certainty? How is knowledge distinct from belief? Are people free? That is to say, do they choose their actions or are their actions determined by causes beyond their control? If people are not free, then how can they be held responsible for their actions? Can God’s existence be proven? How is the mind related to the body, if at all? What is it to be a morally good person?

PHIL 210          Critical Thinking (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to argumentation and reasoning. It focuses on the kinds of arguments one is likely to encounter in academic work, in the media, and in philosophical, social, and political debate. The course aims to improve students’ ability to advance arguments persuasively and their ability to respond critically to the arguments of others. Students will find the skills they gain in this course useful in virtually every area of study.

PHIL 214          Deductive Logic (3 credits)
This course presents the modern symbolic systems of sentential and predicate logic. Students transcribe English sentences into a logical form, analyze the concepts of logical truth, consistency, and validity, as well as learn to construct derivations in each system.
NOTE: This course may not be taken for credit by students who have taken PHIL 212.

PHIL 216          Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the main problems in the philosophy of language, concerned with the analysis of the concepts of meaning, reference, truth, necessity.

PHIL 218          Inductive Logic (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 214, or permission of the Department. This course provides an introduction to probabilistic and non-probabilistic approaches to inductive logic. Topics covered may include: Hume’s problem of induction, the new riddle of induction, causality, and the interpretation of the probability calculus.

PHIL 220          Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the main problems in the philosophy of science. These include the structure of scientific theories, various models of scientific method and explanation, and the existence of unobservables.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for INTE 250 or PHIL 228 may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 226          Introduction to Philosophy of Mind (3 credits)
This course examines philosophical problems about mind, and competing solutions. Topics may include: How does the mind relate to the brain or body? Could computers think? How can one know what other minds are thinking? What is the nature of conscious experience? Which animals are conscious? What determines what one’s thoughts are about?

PHIL 232          Introduction to Ethics (3 credits)
Philosophical discussions of ethics have both practical significance (What should one do?) and theoretical interest (What does it mean to say “That’s the right thing to do”?). In this course, students are introduced to some representative approaches to ethical thought and action. General questions about the nature of ethical reasoning are also considered. For example: Are there objective ethical truths or are ethical judgments merely relative to social norms? An effort is made to incorporate those ethical issues which are of specific importance to contemporary society.

PHIL 233          Applied Ethics (3 credits)
This course focuses on ethical theory and its application to contemporary issues. The course covers central ethical theories such as virtue ethics (Aristotle), deontology (Kant), and utilitarianism (Mill). It applies these theories to contemporary moral issues such as humans’ relation to the environment and nonhuman animals, abortion, consumerism, the use of recreational drugs, the rationing of health-care resources, and national and international distributive justice.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a PHIL 298 number may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 234          Business Ethics (3 credits)
The purpose of this course is to reflect on issues associated with corporate responsibility with a view to identifying and responding to ethical situations, rather than focusing on specific rules of governance.

PHIL 235          Biomedical Ethics (3 credits)
This course is primarily concerned with contemporary biomedical debates, many of which are of current social and political significance: euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, patients’ rights, animal experimentation, organ donation and transplantation, palliative care, abortion, genetic engineering, and new reproductive technologies.

PHIL 236          Environmental Ethics (3 credits)
This course examines recent developments in ethical theories as they are applied to questions of environmental practices. Topics discussed may include the moral significance of nonhuman nature, duties to respond to climate change, economics and sustainable environmental protection, and environmental justice.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a PHIL 298 or 398 number may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 241          Philosophy of Human Rights (3 credits)
This course investigates basic philosophical questions regarding human rights, such as their status between morality and law, their scope and the problem of relativism, the concept of human dignity, their relation to democracy, whether national or cosmopolitan, and the debate over the justifiability and feasibility of socio-economic rights as human rights.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a PHIL 298 number may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 255          Philosophy of Leisure (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 30 university credits. This course is designed primarily for students in Therapeutic Recreation and Leisure Sciences. It consists of an examination of various leisure practices from the point of view of philosophical ideals of human fulfillment that include ethical thinking and reflection on some of the effects of global economic practices of consumption.

PHIL 260          Presocratics and Plato (3 credits)
This course is a study of ancient Greek philosophy from its beginnings to Plato.

PHIL 261          Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 260, or permission of the Department. This course is an introduction to Aristotle and the main lines of thought in Hellenistic philosophy, including Stoicism, Epicureanism and Scepticism.

PHIL 263          Introduction to Epistemology (3 credits)
An introduction to the basic concepts and problems in epistemology, including belief, knowledge, scepticism, perception, and intentionality.

PHIL 265          Introduction to Metaphysics (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to metaphysics and the attempt to understand a mind-independent reality. This involves distinguishing those aspects of reality that are dependent on the mind from those aspects that are independent of the mind. For example, are colours mind-independent properties? Are there universal values and if so, are they mind-independent? Is there a God, and if so, what must that God be like?

PHIL 266          Introduction to Philosophy of Religion (3 credits)
This course explores a long philosophical tradition concerned with various issues associated with the idea of God, such as the various proofs for God’s existence, and questions such as: How does the existence of evil affect one’s views about God and the nature of God? What is the status of miracles? What are the varieties of religious experience, what is the nature of religious faith? How is one to understand religious language?

PHIL 275          From Modern to Postmodern: Philosophical Thought and Cultural Critique (3 credits)
This course focuses on key developments in modern and postmodern philosophy and their cultural influences. The course provides an introduction to philosophers (such as Kant, Nietzsche, and Foucault) and philosophical movements (such as empiricism, existentialism, and post-structuralism) of the modern era. It also introduces students to the tremendous influence that philosophical theory has had on the arts, on social and political movements, and on virtually every field of study in the humanities and social sciences.

PHIL 285          Non-Western Philosophy (3 credits)
This course introduces the student to the philosophical traditions of non-Western cultures. The particular focus differs from year to year.

PHIL 298          Introductory Topics in Philosophy (3 credits)

PHIL 299          Introductory Topics in Philosophy (6 credits)

Specific topics for these courses, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

PHIL 314          Intermediate Logic: Metatheory (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 214, or permission of the Department. This course presents the basic concepts of metalogic, including mathematical induction, soundness and completeness, and decidability.

PHIL 315          Intermediate Logic: Themes and Problems (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 214, or permission of the Department. Topics covered may include modal logic, probabilistic logic, many-valued logic, relevance logic, and historical themes in logic.

PHIL 318          Philosophy of Biology (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy or permission of the Department. This course examines a variety of philosophical issues in biology. Topics covered may include: fitness, function, units of selection, the nature of species, reductionism, biological explanation of human behaviour and the ethical and epistemological consequences of evolutionary theory.

PHIL 324          Philosophy of Social Science (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy or 12 credits in social science, or permission of the Department. This course offers a philosophical examination of the structure and methodology of the social sciences.

PHIL 325          Philosophical Psychology (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 226, or permission of the Department. This course philosophically investigates the psychology of mind and cognition. Example questions: Which model of the mind’s architecture is best? Could all of psychology eventually be reduced to physics? How do sensory-motor systems and the environment shape cognition? How does one ascribe beliefs and desires to others? How well does one know one’s own beliefs?

PHIL 327          Kinds of Minds (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy, or Computer Science, or Psychology, or Biology, or permission of the Department. This course explores human, animal, and artificial minds by combining philosophy, artificial intelligence, and neurobiology. Topics may include: What distinguishes human minds from those of non-human animals? Could robots endowed with human-like sensory systems exhibit mental traits? How do evolution and experience combine to explain the origin of cognition?

PHIL 328          Intermediate Philosophy of Science (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy or permission of the Department. This course provides an in-depth study of the nature of justification in science, theories of scientific explanation, the rationality of theory change, and debates concerning realism and antirealism.

PHIL 329          Conceptual Revolutions in Science (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy or permission of the Department. This course examines the philosophical implications of major scientific revolutions. Examples of such revolutions may include the Newtonian revolution and Einstein’s theories of relativity.

PHIL 330          Contemporary Ethical Theory (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 232 or 233 or 234 or 235 or 236 or 241, or permission of the Department. This course provides an examination of contemporary ethical theories such as deontology, utilitarianism, virtue theory, feminist ethics, and narrative ethics.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a PHIL 398 number may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 333          Philosophical Ideas in Literature (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course presents a comparative approach to philosophical ideas in literature, which may involve authors from different historical time frames, different world views, or different perspectives of a single author.

PHIL 339          Aesthetics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. A survey of aesthetic theories in philosophy, with particular attention to major developments in the modern and contemporary periods.

PHIL 342          Political Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy or Political Science, or permission of the Department. This course provides analyses of important political and philosophical concepts such as globalization, nationalism, power, multiculturalism, tolerance, liberty, equality, community, economic justice, and democracy.

PHIL 343          Philosophy of Law: General Jurisprudence (3 credits)
This course provides a philosophical study of natural law theory, legal posivitism, and legal realism. The associated issues of legal moralism, legal justice, legal obligation and its limits, and legal reasoning are addressed and applied to cases.

PHIL 344          The Philosophy of Liberalism (3 credits)
In this course, the student examines several perspectives from which the problem of the relation between law and morality may be treated. Conflicting concepts of law, morality, and the relation of the individual to society are discussed. The problem of authority is examined in relation to issues of civil liberties, civil rights, and the social basis of legal conflicts.

PHIL 345          Legal Philosophy: Legal Rights and Duties (3 credits)
This course offers a philosophical study of the nature, sources, and functions of rights and duties. Attention is given to the particular rights associated with contract and property, and their abuse, to duties arising by law alone, to excuses and justifications for failure to fulfill duties, and to enforcement, punishment, and compromise.

PHIL 352          Philosophy of History (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in History or Philosophy, or permission of the Department. An analysis of the nature of historical knowledge and explanation is followed by a study of classical and contemporary attempts to elucidate the meaning of history. Authors may include Augustine, Vico, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Spengler, Popper, Toynbee, Arendt.

PHIL 356          Philosophy of Education (3 credits)
This course examines philosophical principles underlying educational theories and problems arising from the practical implementation of those theories.

PHIL 360          Rationalism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy including PHIL 260 and 261, or permission of the Department. This course is a study of central aspects of the work of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, covering metaphysical, ethical and epistemological issues.

PHIL 361          Empiricism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy including PHIL 260 and 261, or permission of the Department. This course is a study of central aspects of the work of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, covering metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological issues.

PHIL 362          Medieval Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 260 or 261, or permission of the Department. This course is an introduction to the main lines of thought in medieval philosophy. Thinkers examined may include Augustine, Boethius, Abelard, Anselm, Avicenna, Averroes, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for PHIL 363 may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 364          Intermediate Epistemology (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course presents an intermediate study of major contemporary issues in the theory of knowledge, such as scepticism, nonempirical knowledge, contextualism, virtue epistemology, experimental epistemology, and debates between internalists and externalists concerning justification and knowledge.

PHIL 365          Intermediate Metaphysics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Three credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course presents an intermediate study of major contemporary issues in metaphysics, such as realism vs. anti-realism concerning the external world; mental causation, personhood and theories of human nature; universals, essences and natural kinds.

PHIL 371          Philosophy of Feminism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 232 or 263, or permission of the Department. This course provides an introduction to some of the central issues in contemporary feminist philosophy. The key arguments in feminist epistemology, feminist ethics, and sex and gender studies are discussed from a variety of perspectives.

PHIL 374          Kant and 19th-Century Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Six credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course examines Kant and some of the main currents of post-Kantian philosophy, possibly including Hegel and post-Hegelians, the romantic reaction, positivism, and pragmatism.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for PHIL 474 may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 377          20th-Century Continental Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Six credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course examines 20th-century French and German philosophy. Philosophers examined may include Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Derrida, and Habermas.

PHIL 378          American Pragmatism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Six credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course provides an analysis of some classical American pragmatists, such as Peirce, Dewey, James and C.I. Lewis, together with exponents of contemporary neopragmatism, such as Putnam, Rorty, and Quine.

PHIL 385          Marxism (3 credits)
This course provides a critical analysis of the ideas of Marx and their modern development.

PHIL 387          Existentialism (3 credits)
This course acquaints the student with the fundamentals of the existentialist movement as a philosophical perspective. Philosophers considered may include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Jaspers, Marcel, and Berdyaev.

PHIL 398          Intermediate Special Topics in Philosophy (3 credits)

PHIL 399          Intermediate Special Topics in Philosophy (6 credits)

Specific topics for these courses, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

PHIL 414          Advanced Topics in Logic (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 314, or permission of the Department. This course presents the fundamentals of an advanced topic in logic.

PHIL 416          Philosophy of Language (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy or permission of the Department. This course is an advanced study of a central problem in recent philosophy of language.

PHIL 420          Advanced Philosophy of Science (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course explores advanced topics in the philosophy of science, such as theory change and justification, realism and anti-realism, or reductionism; or specific issues in philosophy of physics or biology, such as evolution and development.

PHIL 425          Philosophy of Mind: Cognitive Science (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 226 or 325 or 327, or permission of the Department. This interdisciplinary course combines the philosophical study of mind with current research in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and computer science.

PHIL 430          Advanced Studies in Ethics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 232 or 330, or permission of the Department. This course offers a study of one or more of the following ethical theories: deontology, utilitarianism, virtue theory, feminist ethics, care ethics, narrative ethics, contractualism, and discourse ethics, with a focus on ethical reasoning and motivation.

PHIL 440          Advanced Political Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 241 or 342, or permission of the Department. This course uses selected historical or contemporary writings in political philosophy to treat topics such as those of power, freedom, equality, distributive justice, law, and the boundaries of the political. Specific topics for this course are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

PHIL 463          Honours Seminar in Epistemology (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 263 or 265 or 364 or 365, and 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course presents an intensive study of major contemporary issues in the theory of knowledge.

PHIL 465          Honours Seminar in Metaphysics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 263 or 265 or 364 or 365, and 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course presents an intensive study of major contemporary issues in metaphysics.

PHIL 471          Advanced Topics in Feminist Theory (3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHIL 371, or permission of the Department. An examination of recent issues in one of feminist ethics, epistemology or metaphysics. Subject will vary from year to year.

PHIL 480          Plato (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy including PHIL 260 and 261, or permission of the Department. Selected themes in the major dialogues of Plato are analyzed in depth.

PHIL 481          Aristotle (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy including PHIL 260 and 261, or permission of the Department. Selected passages from the major works of Aristotle are analyzed in depth.

PHIL 483          Advanced Topics in the History of Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course presents an intensive study of selected topics in the history of philosophy.

PHIL 485          Kant (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course is an intensive study of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and related works.

PHIL 486          Hegel (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course is an analysis of selected themes from Hegel’s works.

PHIL 487          Early Analytic Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course investigates selected philosophical problems as they arise in the writings of such early analytic philosophers as Moore, Russell, Ayer, Carnap, the early Wittgenstein, and Frege.

PHIL 488          Contemporary Analytic Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course investigates selected philosophical problems as they arise in the writings of such analytic philosophers as the later Wittgenstein, Quine, Ryle, Austin, Sellars, Davidson, Putnam, and others.

PHIL 489          Phenomenology (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. This course examines the phenomenological approach to philosophical problems, theoretical or practical. It may include discussion of the seminal works of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty.

PHIL 490          Advanced Continental Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy including PHIL 374 or 377, or permission of the Department. This course investigates selected philosophical problems as they arise in the works of such philosophers as Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Gadamer, Adorno, Derrida, Deleuze, Habermas, Irigaray, Foucault, and others. Specific topics for this course are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

PHIL 495          Honours Essay (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Enrolment in Honours Philosophy; 30 credits in Philosophy. With permission of the Department, an honours student may arrange a tutorial program with a faculty member culminating in a research project not exceeding 40 pages.

PHIL 496          Tutorial in Philosophy
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the Department. This is an opportunity to carry out a personal project under the supervision of a faculty member. An intensive reading program is undertaken in the student’s area of special interest. Tutorials may be arranged with any faculty member, and the student must make these arrangements and obtain written permission in advance of registration.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for PHIL 497 may take this tutorial for credit provided the subject matter is different.

PHIL 497          Tutorial in Philosophy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the Department. See PHIL 496 for description.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for PHIL 496 may take this tutorial for credit provided the subject matter is different.

PHIL 498          Advanced Topics in Philosophy (3 credits)

PHIL 499          Advanced Topics in Philosophy (6 credits)

Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy, or permission of the Department. Specific topics for these courses, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

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