Spring 2020

Spring 2020 Courses

Winter Office Hours


PHL 201 - Intro to Philosophy                                                         Sharpsteen Online, Berman MWF 1245-1350
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 0900-1005
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                                                                                           Elliott TR 0800-0950
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                                                                                       Gillis 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                                                                                  Seppalainen Online
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 Online, Gillis TR 1000-1150
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                                                            Goldman Online, Hamington MW 1015-1120
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                                                                   Patrick Online, Hiller TR 1000-1150
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 314U - Computer Ethics                                                                                         Goldman MW 1015-1205
Exmaines the moral principles and judgments relevant for computer-related practices. Topics include: ethical aspects of new information technologies; are technologies value-laden; freedom, privacy, and control; security, reliability, and professional responsibilities; piracy and ownership; ethics of hacking; ethics of virtual environment; and international aspects of new technologies.

PHL 315 - Existentialism                                                                                                  Mueller MW 1015-1205
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                                                                             Cwik MWF 1015-1120
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                                                                                             Elliott TR 1400-1550
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 psycho0logy, art and pornography, and relativism of aesthetic value judgments.

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                                                               Patrick Online, Boghossian TR 1200-1350
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 MWF 1015-1120 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                                                                          Boghossian TR 1400-1550
Exploration of the nature, aims, and value of education by situating it in its historical and contemporary philosophical context and perspectives.

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. Recommended prerequisites: PHL 308, 311, or 316

PHL 344U - Military Ethics                                                                                                                Hardy Online
Examination of the central conceptual, ethical, and existential issues concerning war and the military as an institution and a culture. Topics include theories of war, military values, and the ethics of technology (UAVs, WMDs), insurgency, and terrorism.

PHL 352U - 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                                                                                      Cwik TR 1400-1550
Examination of issues in health care such as euthanasia, abortion, allocation of transplantable organs, rationing health care, treatment of impaired newborns. 

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

PHL 367U - Philosophy of Sports                                                                                                   Spencer Online
An examination of the central conceptual, ethical, and existential issues concerning sports. Topics include the nature and role of sports in human flourishing, theories of embodiment, and the morality of sports as an institution and culture including human competition and violence.

PHL 369U – Philosophy of Sex & Love                                                    Hardy Online, Blakemore 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 399 - Philosophical Writing                                                                                     Berman MWF 1015-1120
Introduction to the major types of philosophical writing, including summaries, abstracts, critical essays, and research papers. Recommended for all majors.

PHL 420/520 - Wittgenstein                                                                                                    Hill TR 1000-1150
Study of the major works of Wittgenstein and topics such as philosophical method, meaning, intention, understanding, necessity, and the nature of humans as language users. Recommended prerequisite: 8 credits in philosophy

PHL 446/546 - Topics in Ethics: International Ethics                                                                          Jokic Online
This 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 criminal law. We shall approach these themes by discussing readings divided into 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 & Political Philosophy: Immigration                                                  Sager Online
This course examines the ethical implications of topics in immigration such as border controls and admission policy, citizenship, integration, human smuggling and trafficking, immigrant detention, refugees (including the controversial category of environmental migrants or refugees), gender and care work, and race. It explores a variety of methodological approaches from philosophy, political theory, and social sciences and aims to encourage not only ethical reflection on migration and migration policy, but careful consideration of the concepts and categories used to understand and to research human mobility.

PHL 449/549 - Philosophy of Sustainability                                                                        Elliott TR 1000-1150
Examination of the core philosophical issues that arise within the theory and practice of sustainability and across its three complementary dimensions: environmental, economic, and social. 

PHL 451/551 - Classical Figures: Spinoza                                                                                  Coventry Online
This course examines the philosophical system of Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza, who lived on the continent of Europe during the seventeenth century. Drawing from Spinoza's correspondence, his early description of his spritiual quest in the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, the Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well-Being, the Theological-Political Treatise, and his masterpiece the Ethics, the themes explored include topics in metaphysics, epistemology, mind, psychology, ethics, politics, and religion.

PHL 470/570 - Philosophy of Science                                                              Seppalainen Hybrid T 1200-1350
History and philosophy of the scientific method. Topics include an overview of the major models of the scientific method (inductivism, falsificationism, Kuhnian paradigms, etc.) and issues pertaining to their rationality such as theory-ladenness of observation, testing-holism, and the incommensurability of theory change. Recommended prerequisites: 8 credits in philosophy

PHL 471/571 - Topics in Philosophy of Science: Experimental Philosophy                            Hiller TR 1400-1550
Experimental Philosophy is a way of doing philosophy that uses methods typically associated with empirical sciences to investigate philosophical quesitons. It has become very popular - and controversial - in recent years. In this class, we will examine several prominent debates within experimental philosophy (in ethics, philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics) and we will also analyse its methodological presuppositions. 

PHL 485 - Honors Seminar                                                                                            Coventry TR 1400-1550
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.