Philosophy   (PHIL)

Faculty of Arts and Science

Philosophy 1000

Introduction to Philosophy

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

The branches of philosophy study humanity's ultimate questions. Metaphysics considers what is truly real. Does God exist? Is there free will? How real is the past or the future? Epistemology asks whether answers to such questions can be known. Ethics investigates rights and duties, vices and virtues, and tries to define the good life for humans. Social and political philosophy study and assess human communities.

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2000

Studies in Philosophy (Series)

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

The Philosophy 2000 series makes available to students special courses that are not offered regularly. Some of these courses reflect the research interests of members of the faculty, and thus offer students an early glimpse of how research is done. In other cases, the course could be a response to student interest.

Prerequisite(s):Will be specified (including any recommended background) for individual offerings

Philosophy 2001

Introduction to Ethics

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

In this course, we will critically consider several main theories concerning right and wrong action, good and bad states of affairs, and virtuous and vicious character.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2002

Belief, Truth, and Paradox

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

The course serves as a general introduction to issues in metaphysics and epistemology. The central focus is on how a perceiving subject can acquire knowledge of the world in which it finds itself. Topics may include perception, belief, truth, knowledge, skepticism, realism and anti-realism, and the relation between minds and matter. The connections between these issues will enable the investigation of a number of interesting and perplexing paradoxes.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2010

Ancient Philosophy

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

We study the first thousand years of Western philosophy and its importance today, focusing on Plato and Aristotle, the most influential thinkers of all time. Includes the Presocratics (Thales, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno) and their relations to Greek mythology; the Sophists (Protagoras, Gorgias); Cynics, Epicureans, Stoics, Plotinus and their influence on early Christianity.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2030

17th-Century Philosophy: Descartes to Leibniz

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Seventeenth-Century Western philosophy (like science) challenged ideas that had dominated thought for centuries. Philosophers set out to rebuild our view of the world from the ground up. A new philosophy of human nature and the world emerged, becoming what we now call the modern world view. Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke and Leibniz.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2150

Philosophy of Art

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

The course examines major philosophical views of art and literature. Topics may include the concept of art, the ontology of artworks, aesthetic properties, the interpretation and value of art, and fictionality. Philosophical puzzles specific to particular art forms, such as music and literature, may also be addressed.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2210

Philosophy of Religion

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

We make use of analytical resources found in present-day cosmology, formal semantics, decision theory and other branches of natural science. Issues to be examined usually include God's nature, the problem of evil, the rationality and prudence of religious belief and the alleged conflict between religion and science.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2220

Philosophy of Mind

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

We probe the nature of mind (soul, consciousness), cognition, perception, emotion, voluntary action, religious beliefs about the mind, and unconscious mental states; and we compare ideas to language, personal to bodily identity and explanations in 'folk' psychology to neuroscience.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 2233

Philosophy and the World View of Science: Earth and Life Sciences

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

A philosophical approach to the world view of contemporary earth and life sciences. We discuss the origins of modern geology and the modern synthesis in biology of genetics and evolution by natural selection. Issues include the status of evidence about the past, evolution versus creationism and the idea of fitness.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Science

Philosophy 2234

Philosophy and the World View of Science: Space, Time and Matter

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Philosophical controversies in the world view of contemporary physical science, including the special and general theories of relativity, quantum mechanics and cosmology. Issues include reductionism, the nature of scientific theories, evidence for theories, different theories of space and time, causality, scientific revolutions and the status of theoretical entities.

Prerequisite(s):Philosophy 1000

Recommended Background:
One of Science 30 or a 1000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Mathematics or Science

Lib Ed Req:Science

Philosophy 2236

Environmental Philosophy

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Is there really an environmental crisis? Do we even know what the environment is? How can we resolve conflicts between environmental and economic priorities? Do we have ethical obligations to the environment or to future generations? Using techniques of philosophical analysis, students are introduced to key issues in this growing and important field of applied philosophy.

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 1000

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3000

Studies in Philosophy (Series)

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

The Philosophy 3000 series has the same function as the Philosophy 2000 series but at levels of study appropriate to more senior students.

Prerequisite(s):Will be specified (including any recommended background) for individual offerings

Philosophy 3260

Metaphysics

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Metaphysics is the attempt to construct the biggest possible picture of the world. Students will be introduced to such questions as these: Is God ultimately real? What is time? Do we have free will? Are there other possible worlds? Can we understand the relation between mind and matter? Do such questions even have answers?

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 2002

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3270

Theory of Knowledge

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

An introduction to epistemology, focusing on the rational justification of belief, the nature of knowledge and learning (ordinary, mathematical and scientific), perception and the use and abuse of skepticism. Special topics, including epistemology of religion, scientific method and mathematics, may also be taken up.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 2002 AND
Logic 2003

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3280

Philosophy of Language

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

The nature of language and representation in general and their emphasis in 20th-Century philosophy. The reality of symbolic forms, relations between language and thought, reality, communication, translation, human action and culture, meaningfulness, nonsense, truth and falsehood. Thinkers discussed include Peirce, Austin, Quine, Chomsky and their followers.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Logic 2003 AND
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3350

Analytic Philosophy

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Today's analytic philosophy is marked by the centrality of the philosophy of language, the rise of naturalized epistemology, reductionist theories of the mind, evolutionary ethics, and feminist challenges to traditional ways of philosophizing. By tracing these developments we will see what is fuelling philosophy at the turn-of-the-millennium.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 2002 AND
Logic 2003

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3401

Social and Political Philosophy

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

A critical examination of the concepts that lie at the core of our social commitments and the political institutions that support them. What, if anything, do we owe to the State? What laws, if any, may we, or even must we, disobey? What justifies private property? Why do we value liberty and equality? What do we do when liberty and equality conflict in cases such as affirmative action or pornography?

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 2001

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3402

Biomedical Ethics

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

This course examines a number of difficult moral issues lying at the intersection of health, medicine, science and social policy. Issues to be examined may include euthanasia, abortion, genetic engineering, informed consent, patient competence, medical experimentation and the right of all citizens to an adequate and equal level of health care.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000, a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy, or Admission to the Post-Diploma B.A. or B.Sc. in Agricultural Studies

Recommended Background:
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3404

Philosophy of Law

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

We study historical and contemporary controversies about analytical, normative and historical jurisprudence: the reality of legitimacy laws and legal systems; adversarial and inquisitorial systems, common law and civil law systems, branches of law (criminal, civil, tort, contract, administrative, etc.), law and morality, liability and entitlement, defenses and rights and duties.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3409

18th-Century Philosophy: Leibniz to Kant

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Does our knowledge of the world come chiefly from reason, or from the senses? In the 18th Century, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume and Kant focused on the workings of perception, the relation between mind and body, and the foundations of knowledge. The tension between reason and experience that they explored continues to drive work on these problems today, influencing (for example) debates over nature versus nurture in human behaviour.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3410

Advanced Ethics

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

How is knowledge about morality possible? Can reason and argument really tell us how we ought to act? And even if we can sometimes know how we ought to act, can morality act as a decisive check on self-interest? This course will examine current accounts of moral reasoning as well as deeper questions about what moral values are.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Philosophy 2001

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3411

Game Theory in Philosophy

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Philosophers, mathematicians and economists are developing a powerful tool for resolving problems in human interaction - game theory. Using the techniques of philosophical analysis, we will study this tool for its insights into disciplines as diverse as politics, economics, ethics, military strategy, psychology and evolutionary biology.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Logic 2003 AND
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3412

Philosophy of Science

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Our modern world has been shaped by science, and it is important for all of us to reflect on its meaning and justification. In this course we examine questions such as: How can we tell the difference between science and pseudo-science? Is science literally true? Is science biased by class, culture or gender? What really happens during a scientific revolution? Is there really such a thing as scientific progress? How do scientists test their theories? What factors threaten scientific progress? Are there limits to science? Can we have too much science, or be too much influenced by it? Which scientific developments are philosophically important? This course is accessible to students who are not specialists in science but who have an open mind to new concepts.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Logic 2003 AND
Philosophy 2002 and/or one course designated 'Science'

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3413

Feminist Philosophy

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

An examination of feminist critiques of traditional approaches to some central areas of philosophy, which may include epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics and political philosophy, and the history of philosophy. Central philosophical issues will include feminist ways of thinking about knowledge, objectivity and value.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3420

Wittgenstein

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

One of the most important and original philosophers of the 20th Century, Ludwig Wittgenstein influenced philosophical movements (Logical Positivism, Linguistic Philosophy, Logical Behaviourism) and our very conception of the nature of Philosophy. Beginning with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) and its picture theory of meaning, this course examines Wittgenstein's Tractarian integration of logic, language, representation, and reality. The course then examines Wittgenstein's intermediate (1929-34) criticism of the Tractatus and his unorthodox views on scientific hypotheses and the illusion of mathematical truth, culminating in an examination of Wittgenstein's later discussions (primarily in Philosophical Investigations) of rules, rule-following, language-games, private languages, mind, and certainty.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
Logic 2003 AND
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 3450

Philosophy of War

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Though war occupies but a tiny fraction of our lives, its implications influence our every moment. In this course we consider practical questions about the costs and benefits of war, ethical questions about deterrent threats, terrorism, and having and using nuclear weapons, social and psychological questions about the causes of war and the nature of military institutions, and strategic/game theoretical puzzles.

Prerequisite(s):One of Philosophy 1000 or a 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Recommended Background:
At least one 2000-level course (3.0 credit hours) in Philosophy

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 4000

Studies in Philosophy (Series)

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

The Philosophy 4000 series has the same functions as the Philosophy 2000 and Philosophy 3000 series but at levels of study appropriate to senior philosophy majors or other students with a strong philosophical background.

Prerequisite(s):Will be specified (including any recommended background) for individual offerings

Philosophy 4404

Advanced Philosophy of Law

Credit hours: 3.00

Contact hours per week: 3-0-0

Topics in philosophy of law, which may include philosophy of constitutional law; legal reasoning and legal interpretation; civil and uncivil disobedience; the rule of law.

Prerequisite(s):Philosophy 3404

Lib Ed Req:Fine Arts and Humanities

Philosophy 4995

Undergraduate Thesis

Credit hours: 6.00

Contact hours per week: Variable

This is a challenging, work-intensive, research-oriented course. This research will be presented in a report in the form of an Undergraduate Thesis which will be made publicly available and which will be the subject of an oral defence.

Prerequisite(s):Fourth-year standing (a minimum of 90.0 credit hours) AND
A cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher AND
A cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher on all Philosophy and Logic courses

Note:Contact hours will vary. Students should be aware that this course involves regular contact with the Thesis Supervisor as well as considerable independent work.