Spring 2019

Spring 2019 Courses

Spring 2019 Office Hours

PHL 201 - Intro to Philosophy                                                                 Gillis MWF 1245-1350; Blakemore 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                                                                  Weber MWF 1015-1120
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                                                                                      Goldman MWF 0900-1005
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 303U – Early Modern Philosophy                                                                            Seppalainen TR 1400-1550
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                                                                       Boghossian MW 1000-1150
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                                                                         Patrick Online; Elliott TR 0800-0950
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                                                                      Patrick Online, Goldman MW 1015-1205
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                                                                    Hardy Online; Hiller MW 1400-1550
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 312U - Feminist Philosophy                                                                                        Mueller MW 1015-1205
Critical examination of classical philosophical schools of thought and methodologies from a feminist perspective which emphasizes the importance of external context in all intellectual pursuits and underscores the interconnections between theory and practice including values.

PHL 313U – Life & Death Issues                                                                                           Cohen MW 1640-1830
Study of moral problems dealing with life and death issues including abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, starvation, and war. Also studies more general topics of life and death. Topics include the meaning of life, perspectives on death, natural death, suicide, and views of life in relation to possibilities of afterlife.

PHL 316U – Social & Political Philosophy                                                                                             Hardy Online
Survey of main theories of social and political justice (utilitarianism, liberal, equalitarian, communitarian, and libertarian) through classic and modern representatives.

PHL 319U - Intro to Asian Philosophy                                                                                               Komito Online
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                                                                                                     Seppalainen 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                                                                                                    Weber Online 
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 333U - Philosophy of Law                                                                                                   Hill TR 1400-1550
Examines the nature of law, legal obligation and legal interpretation. Is law a part of morality, or nothing more than an expression of social power? When are we permitted or required to disobey the law? What is the proper methodology for interpreting laws and deciding cases? Do judges discover or create law? Readings include classics of jurisprudence (e.g., Austen, Hart, Dworkin) as well as judicial opinions in a selected topic. 

PHL 352 - Philosophy of International Law                                                                                           Jokic Online
Analysis of International Law through its philosophical foundations, major historical forms of implementation, and current roles in ameliorating global problems (e.g., war, poverty, and revolutions).

PHL 355U - Morality and Healthcare                                                                                        Gillis TR 1400-1550
Examination of issues in health care such as euthanasia, abortion, allocation of transplantable organs, rationing health care, and treatment of imparied newborns.

PHL 360U - American Philosophy                                                                                      Spencer MW 1015-1205
Study of American pragmatism through some of its major representatives (e.g., Dewey, Peirce, James, and Mead), its intellectual and cultural context, and its influence on contemporary American philosophers.

PHL 369U – Philosophy of Sex & Love                                                  Spencer Online, Sharpsteen MW 1015-1205
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 371U - Philosophy and the City                                                                                       Elliott TR 1200-1350
Examination of  the role and nature of work and leisure in theories of the good life and central social and political practices.

PHL 424/524 - Epistemology                                                                                                Hiller MW 1015-1205
Philosophical examination of some of the main issues in the theory of knowledge (such as our knowledge of the external world, minds, and logical and mathematical truths, etc.). 

PHL 446/546 - Topics in Ethics: International Ethics                                                              Jokic MW 1415-1605
The course grows out of a series of classes under the general title International Justice, which examine among other things, the moral principles and judgments relevant for appraising key tools of foreign policy, including military intervention, humanitarian intervention, covert intervention, economic sanctions, just war theory, etc. This course focuses on two main themes (a) the politics of Holocaust memory in the United States (and its generalized version, the politicization of genocide), and (b) the evolution of international crime law. We shall approach these themes by discussing readings divided in five broad categories: (i) genocidalism (and normative divide); (ii) the history of Holocaust scholarship; (iii) the effect of the Cold War on perceptions of the Holocaust and the US position on genocide; (iv) the effect on International Law; and (v) the politicization of International Justice. 

PHL 447/547 - Topics in Social and Political Philosophy: Utopia                                           Sager MW 1215-1405
This class is a philosophical examination of major utopian thinkers and their critics. Major texts include Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Cavendish's The Blazing World, Bakunin's Statism and Anarchism, and David Harvey's Spaces of Hope. These texts, along with contemporary philosophical resources, will provide the basis for sustained reflection on the uses, limitations, and dangers of utopian thinking. 

PHL 451/551 - Classical Figures: Hume                                                                            Coventry TR 1400-1550
This course examines David Hume's philosophy through a close reading of his first and last works, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40) and the posthumous Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). Among the topics that will be covered are the following: the origin of ideas, space and time, the scope and limits of knowledge and probability, the nature of causation, the external world, personal identity, skepticism, passions, free will, the foundations of morality and political society, and religion.

PHL 451/551 - Classical Figures: Kierkegaard                                                                           Hill TR 1000-1150
We will attempt to survey the major themes of Kierkegaard's thought by reading selections from his major work, in chronological order. We will also discuss his role as a founder/forerunner of existentialism, his relationship to Christianity, the question of whether Kierkegaard is a philosopher at all as opposed to a religious or literary figure, the meaning of pseudonymous writing, and the significance of how we might answer these questions for an understanding of the nature of philosophy.

PHL 474/574 - Philosophy of Logic                                                                                     Weber MW 1615-1805
Topics: validity, sentence-proposition, connectives, quantifiers, truth, paradoxes, logical necessity and possibility. Optional topics: metalogic, the construction of formal systems of logic and formal proofs of certain of their properties, e.g., consistency and completeness. 

PHL 485 - Honors Seminar                                                                                                              TR 1200-1350
Students conduct research and produce substantial written material on a topic, to be shared and critiqued. Recommended particularly for students considering graduate work in philosophy.