Fall 2020 Courses
PHL 201 - Intro to Philosophy
Hill Remote, Spencer Online
General introduction to philosophy; its practice and major areas of study. Topics typically include introductions to metaphysics (study of being), epistemology (study of knowledge), philosophy of language, morality, and critical thinking.
PHL 300U – Philosophical Methods & Concepts
A survey of the major strategies of proof and disproof central to philosophical reasoning, and of the fundamental concepts and distinctions employed in current philosophical discourse.
PHL 301U – Ancient Philosophy
Study of Ancient Greek philosophy with a primary focus on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. Key topics include form, matter, substance, and causation.
PHL 303 – Early Modern Philosophy
History of Western philosophy during the Early Modern period (17th and 18th centuries) from Descartes to Kant. Topics include nature of knowledge and reality; theories of human nature.
PHL 306U - Science and Pseudoscience
An examination of basic issues in philosophy of science through an analysis of creation science, faith healing, UFO abduction stories, and other pseudosciences. Some of the questions addressed: What distinguishes science from pseudoscience? How are theories tested? When is evidence reliable? Must we invoke the supernatural to explain certain aspects of reality?
PHL 308U – Elementary Ethics
Cohen Remote, Blakemore Online
General introduction to ethical theories and topics such as whether there are objective moral distinctions, what makes right actions right and wrong acts wrong, and how we know (if we do) that actions are right or wrong, and how we know (if we do) that actions are right or wrong. Topics also include relativism, egoism, utilitarianism, and Kantianism (deontology).
PHL 309U – Business Ethics
Hamington Remote, Patrick Online
Study of the ethical aspects of practices and organizational structures in the business world. The bulk of the course is devoted to specific contemporary topics, for example: the moral status of corporations; the concept of work place rights; responsibility in advertising; environmental constraints on business; affirmative action in hiring; the social roles of profit and private property; and the role of work in the life of the individual.
PHL 310U – Environmental Ethics
Hiller Remote, Cohen Online
Study of our moral responsibilities with respect to the environment (e.g., treatment of non-human animals, rights of animals, trees, rivers and possibly our planet) in light of some of the central environmental problems (e.g., population growth, global warming, and endangered species).
PHL 315 - Existentialism
Introduction to a number of philosophers and literary figures gathered together under the name "existentialism". Authors include Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Rilke, Kafka, Ortega y Gasset, Jaspers, Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus. Topics include consciousness, (in)authenticity, alientation, death, anxiety, freedom, time, nihilism, historical meaning, and religion.
PHL 316U – Social & Political Philosophy
Survey of main theories of social and political justice (utilitarianism, liberal, equalitarian, communitarian, and libertarian) through classic and modern representatives.
PHL 317U - Philosophy of Art
Philosophical issues concerning the creation, interpretation, and consumption of art. Includes an overview of the major philosophical theories about the nature of art, an examination of the relationship between art and ethics, art and psychology, art and pornography, and relativism of aesthetic value judgments.
PHL 319U - Intro to Asian Philosophy
A study of different systems of Asian philosophy through the main classical texts drawn from Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Topics include: the nature of reality, the self, causality, language, knowledge, and ethics.
PHL 320U – Critical Thinking
Boghossian Remote, Patrick Online
Designed to improve reasoning and skills of critical assessment of information. Focuses on practical methods that are applied to case studies from public media such as editorials, essays, propaganda, advertisements, and newspaper reports of scientific studies.
PHL 324U – Intro to Formal Logic I
A course in basic formal logic. Major topics include the method of deduction for showing propositional arguments valid and the method of counter-example for showing such arguments invalid. Truth table methods, tests for consistency, and syllogistic arguments are optional topics.
PHL 331U - Philosophy of Education
Exploration of the nature, aims, and value of education by situating it in its historical and contemporary philosophical context and perspectives.
PHL 350U - Morality and World Politics
Examination of moral principles and judgments relevant for appraising the key tools of foreign policy. Included are issues or military, humanitarian, and covert intervention, economic sanctions, development assistance, human rights, democracy, and transitional justice.
PHL 355U - Morality and Healthcare
Examination of issues in health care such as euthanasia, abortion, allocation of transplantable organs, rationing health care, treatment of impaired newborns.
PHL 365U - Atheism
Examination of atheist philosophy including secularism in ethics and politics, naturalism in epistemology and metaphysics, and contemporary naturalistic accounts of religion and faith-based beliefs.
PHL 369U – Philosophy of Sex & Love
Sharpsteen Remote, Spencer Online
An examination of some of the central philosophical issues emerging from a reflection of sex and love. Topics include: conceptual or ontological ones such as the possible essence of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and asexuality; ethical ones such as the morality or immorality of different expressions of sex and love such as sadomasochism, polygamy, and philandering; existential ones such as the role of sexuality and romantic love in our self-conception and a good life; epistemological ones such as the nature of our experiences of sexuality and love and the possible influence that conceptual sources have on them.
PHL 414/514 - Plato
Study of selected dialogues of Plato and topics such as theory of forms, moral philosophy, political philosophy, being and the nature of philosophy. Recommended prerequisite: PHL 301U Ancient Philosophy
PHL 419/519 - Kant
Study of Kant's philosophy and topics such as necessary connection, the analytic-synthetic distinction, conceptions of science and metaphysics, relation between metaphysics and morality. Recommended prerequisite: 8 credits in philosophy
PHL 432/532 - Philosophy of Mind
Study of the debates over the nature of mental states and our knowledge of them. Main topics are dualism and various forms of materialism, behaviorism, mind-body identity theories, and functionalism and eliminativism. Recommended prerequisite: 8 credits in philosophy
PHL 433/533 - Philosophy of Language
A study of the nature of language and problems of meaning, reference, and truth. Prerequisite: 8 credits in philosophy
PHL 471/571 - Topics in Philosophy of Science: Emotions & Passions
This course examines interrelations between early modern and contemporary approaches to the passions and emotions. The centrality of the passions for early modern philosophers has been little appreciated until recently. Now, however, there is a generous amount of literature in the area. Moreover, interest in the passions, or what is more generally referred to now as the “emotions,” in contemporary ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, the cognitive sciences and philosophy of biology has grown over much the same time, and a great deal of it has looked to the early modern philosophy for inspiration. In this class, we will try to understand why the passions and emotions were (and are) such a topic of great interest, how they were understood and located within the mind and body, how their treatment developed and changed, and what all this shows for the range of possible approaches to the topic – whether historical or contemporary.