Concordia University

Course offerings

  • Check the university's scheduling system for the graduate courses currently on offer, together with scheduling information.
  • Below we list information about our courses that is not in the scheduling system: a description of course content from the instructor, if available; otherwise, generic course descriptions from the Graduate Calendar. (At the bottom you can find information about courses offered in previous years.)
  • When selecting your courses, keep in mind our distribution requirement: you need (A) at least three credits in history of philosophy; (B) at least three credits in aesthetics, moral philosophy, or social and political philosophy; (C) at least three credits in metaphysics, epistemology or philosophy of science. (Default categorizations of courses as (A), (B), (C) are indicates in the list of offerings below; in some cases it is possible, via consultation with the Graduate Program Director, to take a given course as counting for a different category.)
  • Note: It is also possible to take graduate philosophy courses offered at McGill, University of Montreal, or University of Quebec at Montreal, or courses in other Departments at Concordia. We value breadth and diversity in the knoweldge and training of our students in philosophy and beyond; this options lets our students diversify their courses beyond what we can offer with our own resources. (Contact the Chair's Assistant for details on this.)

PHIL 612 – Ancient Philosophy (A)
Instructor:  Andrea Falcon
Ancient Ionia, on the western coast of Asia Minor, is often described as the birthplace of western science and philosophy. In this course, we will look in some detail at the Ionian tradition of scientific thinking. We will try to understand how this tradition tried to make sense of the surrounding world by looking at how it wrote about peoples and places (Herodotus and his Histories) and about the human body (Hippocrates and the so-called Hippocratic writings).

NB: Willingness to engage in close and attentive reading of complex works as well as ability to do independent research outside class are absolutely essential to success in this course.

PHIL 621 –  Value Theory (B)
Instructor: Jing Hu
This course will examine a topic in value theory, such as the exploration of different conceptions of well-being, the good, or of virtues. We will focus on virtues and their development in various traditions of ethical theories, such as Aristotlean ethics, sentimentalist tradition, and Confucianism.

PHIL 634 – Selected Topics in Epistemology: Experimental Epistemology (C)
Instructor:  Murray Clarke
The goal of this course is to engage the recent literature in experimental epistemology both as an attack on analytic epistemology and its method of appealing to pre-theoretic intuitions, and as an alternative approach to doing epistemology by means of empirical experiments. We begin by considering Kornblith’s book, On Reflection (OUP, 2012), where he argues that intuition and reflection cannot play the role that they have traditionally been thought to play in epistemology. We then look at empirical attacks on analytic epistemology by Stich, Weinberg, Nichols, and others together with responses by Nagel, Sosa and others, in Knobe and Nichols’ anthology, Experimental Philosophy: Volume Two (OUP, 2014). Finally, we examine Edouard Machery’s recent book, Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds (OUP, 2017). In this book, Machery offers the first synthesis of experimental philosophy’s empirical results and its implications for a range of philosophical topics. A critique of standard analytic epistemology and a reconfiguring of what one can expect from philosophical analysis are among the results of Machery’s book.

PHIL 656 – Selected Topics in Analytic Philosophy: Reasons and Rationality - Theoretical and Practical (C)
Instructor: Ulf Hlobil
A course on the nature, epistemology and structure of reasons and rationality, including theoretical and practical rationality. We will look at contemporary theories of what (normative) reasons are and what it means to be rational. Topics include: reasons and rationality in probabilistic and decision theoretic frameworks, the reasoning-view of reasons, the relation between responsiveness to reasons and rationality, norms of rationality and their authority, and more.  

PHIL 658 – Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy: Critical Phenomenology and Normativity (C)
Instructor: Matthias Fritsch
The course will begin with Heidegger's ontological account of normativity, from Being and Time to some later texts on language and on the earth. We will then study some contemporary interpretations of this source of normativity and its relation to moral, political, and environmental critique (Llewelyn, Crowell, Kompridis, and others). We will then read texts by Levinas and Derrida that can be seen as further developments of both the normativity and the possibility of critique.

PHIL 614 – Modern Philosophy: Teleology and Mechanism in Early Modern Philosophy (A)
Instructor: Nabeel Hamid
This seminar examines debates on the structure, value, and limits of teleological reasoning in natural science, specifically in the context of the new, mechanical conception of nature in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

PHIL 631 – Theories of Justice (B)
Instructor: Pablo Gilabert
This course will focus on the concept of domination in social and political philosophy. Authors read will include Amy Allen, Michael Foucault, Rainer Forst, Juergen Habermas, Steven Lukes, Martha Nussbaum, Philip Pettit, Amartya Sen, Laura Valentini, and Erik Wright, among others.

PHIL 633 – Selected Topics in Value Theory: Values & Biotechnology (B)
Instructor:  Katharina Nieswandt
“Biotechnology” is an umbrella term for genetic engineering techniques. We shall discuss moral and metaphysical questions that arise for these techniques, such as: (1) What is a disability, and should we genetically engineer human beings not to have any? (2) Are genetically modified plants a good solution to malnutrition in poor countries? (3) What's good about biodiversity? (4) Can genes be patented; i.e., are they fit to be private property? (5) Is lobbyism a social problem? (6) Should scientific journals routinely publish non-significant results, too?
Readings in this course include: classics in philosophy of science; contemporary empirical studies from biology, medicine and political science; and contemporary articles in applied ethics.

PHIL 641 – Philosophical Foundations of Biology (C)
Instructor: Matthew Barker
This course helps students critically engage biology’s philosophical foundations. Topics typically include the nature of scientific reasoning, testing, and evidence in biology; how best to discover, define, and apply biological concepts; and how to structure the aims of biology to fit our diverse and changing societies.

PHIL 649 – Phenomenology: Time & Normativity (C)
Instructor: David Morris
A close study of several key texts in the phenomenological tradition, with attention to questions about the relationship between normativity and time. Normativity pervades experiential domains ranging across ethics, perception, and bodily movement, which implicitly or explicitly pose questions whether we are doing, perceiving, or moving in the ‘right’ way. But there would be ‘right’ way to go if what I presently encountered did not call up (apparently) past standards that set ‘right’ (or ‘wrong’) paths to the future. Arguably, a being with no sense of time, or one for whom time is eternal, could not encounter norms as paths to a future from which one ought not deviate. Normativity is inseparable from the openness of time. Do norms themselves arise in and from the openness of time, or are they intrusions of timeless demands ‘in time’? (Conversely, might our sense of time itself involve normativity?) Our conceptions of the temporality of normativity has potentially important implications for areas, ranging from climate change, to conceptions of disability, and more. Texts are TBA, but very likely will include Merleau-Ponty’s lectures on institution, Levinas’s Time and the Other, and some cross-cultural philosophical comparisons.

PHIL 678 – Topics in Current Research: Feminist Theory
Instructor: Emilia Angelova
This course is an advanced study of problems in feminist philosophy and gender, with a special interest in topics of subjectivity and subject formation. Main study will be from the tradition of post-1968 French feminist theory (for us these are Wittig, Irigaray and Kristeva) and its readings of main texts of the Western philosophical tradition using Lacanian and Foucauldian discourse analysis (for us these include Judith Butler and Patricia Collins).

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