Spring 2021 Courses
PHL 201 - Intro to Philosophy
Berman Remote, Weber 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
Sharpsteen Remote, TR 2-4
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
Seppalainen Online, Boghossian Remote
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 307U - Science and Society
Introduction to the philosophy of social science including social epistemology. Topics include the nature of explanation in social science, the role of normative and hermeneutical principles in it, and the influence of social processes on scientific knowledge.
PHL 308U – Elementary Ethics
Hiller Remote, Goldman 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, Elliott 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 312U - Feminist Philosophy
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 interconnection between theory and practice including values.
PHL 313U - Life & Death Issues
Study of moral problems dealing with life and death issues including abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, starvation, and war.
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 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, Hardy 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 333U - Philosophy of Law
Hill Remote, TR 10-11:50
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 344U - Military Ethics
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
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 360U - American Philosophy
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
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 373 - Queer Philosophy
The aim of this course is to illuminate the theoretical underpinnings and the radical epistemological, social, and political possibilities that are afforded by queer philosophy/theory. Queer Philosophy problematizes and challenges rigid identity categories, norms of sexuality and gender and the oppression and violence that such norms justify. This course will interrogate the metaphysical, epistemological, phenomenological, social, and political dimensions of queer philosophy.
PHL 446/546 - International Ethics
This course will 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.
PHL 449/549 - Philosophy of Sustainability
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: Foucault
Hill Remote, TR 2-3:50
We will attempt to survey the major themes of Foucault's thought by reading the main work of his early 'structuralist' period and selections from his other works, in chronological order. Major topics will include the early Foucault's philosophy of science (questions of relativism, realism, the special status of 'soft' sciences, his similarities to and differences from 'analytic' philosophy of science) as well as his critique of phenomenological and Marxian philosophy; later Foucault's debt to Nietzsche; later Foucault's conception of radical politics; and final Foucault's renewal of virtue ethics. Because Foucault is popularly perceived as a 'fun' figure, students are cautioned that some of the material, especially in the first half of the course, is exceptionally difficult. Prior background in philosophy is necessary; prior background in philosophy of science is very helpful.
PHL 451/551 - Classical Figures: Arendt
Intensive study of the work of Hannah Arendt. Topics may include notions of the political, action, authority, totalitarianism, ideology, violence, power, freedom, refugees, responsibility, banality, judgment, forgiveness, and friendship.
PHL 470/570 - Philosophy of Science
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.
PHL 485 - Honors Seminar
Students conduct research and produce substantial written material on a topic, to be shared and critiqued. See our Honors Options page for more information.