300-Level Courses

Note about Prerequisites:
All 300-series courses have a prerequisite of three half courses (or equivalent) in philosophy, with the exception of PHL345H1-349H1, PHL356H1 and PHL357H1. There is also a general prerequisite of 7.5 courses (in any field). Specific course prerequisites should be reviewed here. Students who do not meet the prerequisite for a particular course but believe that they have adequate preparation must obtain the permission of the instructor to gain entry to the course.

PHL302H1S – ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY AFTER ARISTOTLE

Prof. Willie Costello
Fridays 12:00-3:00

Stoicism & Skepticism: Philosophies of Life

This class will explore ancient Stoicism and Skepticism, two of the major philosophical movements of the Hellenistic period. Each movement can be seen as a response to a different philosophical worry: for the Stoics, the thought that our happiness may be outside of our control; and for the Skeptics, the thought that we may never have true knowledge about anything. Yet Stoicism and Skepticism were more than mere theoretical responses to these worries; crucially, each conceived of itself as a “philosophy of life”, and each had a starkly different vision of what the proper way of life should be. How should we understand these opposing movements? How should we assess their relative merits? And what relevance might these ancient philosophies of life still have for our own ethical lives today?

Readings: Primary texts (in translation) by Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Sextus Empiricus, and Cicero; secondary scholarship on these primary texts; and contemporary readings on stoical and skeptical themes.

Evaluations: 2 short papers (1 on Stoicism, 1 on Skepticism); 1 final paper (a revision and expansion of one of the short papers); 1 peer review of another student’s short paper; and weekly micro-assignments.

PHL303H1F – PLATO

Prof. Lloyd Gerson
Monday and Wednesday 1:00-2:30

The theme of this course is Plato’s various accounts of the nature of philosophy and of the philosopher. In the dialogues, Socrates, Plato’s principal speaker, presents an array of different conceptions or aspects of philosophy, of the sort of person who is fit for philosophy, and of the way of life that philosophy is. In this course, we will explore a number of dialogues, read in their entirety or in part, where the theme of philosophy and the philosopher is most prominent.

Readings:  TBA

Evaluation: Two 2,500-3,000 word essays each 20% of final mark, final exam 40% of final mark, class participation, 20%. The penalty for late essays without written medical excuse is 3 marks per day.

PHL304H1S – ARISTOTLE

Prof. Lloyd Gerson
Monday and Wednesday 10:30-12:00

The course is organized around Aristotle’s doctrine of hylomorphism, that is, the philosophical view that everything is composed of form and matter or act and potency. This doctrine is at the heart of his metaphysics, epistemology, physics, psychology, and even ethics and politics. In this course, we will explore hylomorphism as it is used across a range of central texts in the Aristotelian corpus.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Two 2,500-3,000 word essays each 20% of final mark, final exam 40% of final mark, class participation, 20%. The penalty for late essays without written medical excuse is 3 marks per day.

PHL307H1S – AUGUSTINE

Prof. Michael Szlachta

Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00-10:30

In this course, we will study the theme of deception in the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430). The course has two broad goals. First, we will make sense of Augustine’s thoughts about lying. We will examine his own treatises on the subject and also consider how his view differs from those found in the earlier Christian tradition. Second, we will make sense of Augustine’s thoughts about persuasion, both religious and non-religious. In particular, we will consider what kinds of “tactics” are permissible in persuasion and whether deception is one of them. The texts we will study include: The Teacher, On the Usefulness of Believing, On Lying, Against Lying, On Christian Doctrine, and Enchiridion.

Reading: I will prepare a coursepack that will be available at the UofT Bookstore.

Evaluation (tentative): Attendance and Participation, 10%; Weekly Reading Responses, 20%; First Essay, 35% (1500-2000 words); Second Essay, 35% (1500-2000 words)

PHL308H1F – AQUINAS

Prof. Deborah Black

Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30-3:00

An exploration of the philosophical thought of Thomas Aquinas, focusing on three main areas: metaphysics; epistemology and philosophy of mind; ethics and moral psychology. Some attention will be given to Aquinas’s relation to his philosophical sources from the ancient and earlier medieval period, such as Aristotle, Augustine, and the Islamic philosophers Avicenna and Averroes.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: To be determined, but will likely include the following: Term work (2 essays): 55%; 2-hour final examination or Take-home exam: 35%; Participation: 10%.

PHL310H1F – THE RATIONALISTS

Prof. Benjamin Wald
Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-10:30

This course will focus on comparing the account of the mind and the body, and their relation, offered by Descartes and Spinoza. One of the most well known, and controversial, contributions of Descartes to philosophy is his dualism—the view that mind and matter are two distinct types of thing, with mind irreducible to and separable from the body. We will examine and evaluate Descartes’ arguments for dualism, and how Descartes departs from and challenges his scholastic predecessors. Spinoza agrees with many of Descartes core assumptions about how to pursue philosophical inquiry, but he ends up with a dramatically different account of the nature of mind and body and how they are related. We will compare these two views, with an eye to understanding each in their own right as well as understanding what leads these two philosophers to such different conclusions.

Required Readings: Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, Spinoza’s Ethics, others available through Quercus

 Course Evaluation: Exegetical essay—25%; Critical essay—30%; Final essay—35%; In-class peer teaching and learning—10%

PHL311H1S – THE EMPIRICISTS

Prof. Charlie Cooper-Simpson
Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-10:30

This course will offer an in-depth study of the central figures in the Early Modern period associated with Empiricism: Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Of particular interest will be the relationship between Empiricism and Skepticism and the nature, possibility, and limits of knowledge.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL314H1F – KANT

Prof. Charlie Cooper-Simpson
Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30-5:00

This course will consist in an intensive introduction to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. With the CPR, Kant set out to determine whether and how metaphysics is possible. In doing so, he developed a revolutionary account of self-consciousness and of the possibility of empirical knowledge that was an immediate and lasting source of philosophical controversy.

Readings: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Paul Guyer and Allen Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Evaluations: TBA

PHL316H1F – HEGEL

Prof. Charlie Cooper-Simpson
Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-1:30

This course will consist in an intensive introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. The Phenomenology offers a rigorous and intricate answer to a deceptively simple question: what can I know? Written in the aftermath of Kant’s “critical” philosophy, the Phenomenology presents, through a philosophical account of the nature of scientific, social, moral and religious experience, a novel and challenging conception of human subjectivity.

Reading: Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Evaluation: TBA

PHL317H1S – MARX AND MARXISM

Prof. Jordan Thomson
Monday and Wednesday 5:00-6:30

This course is an advanced introduction to the thought of Karl Marx. We may also read some contemporary Marxists as well as critics of Marxism.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL319H1F – PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY

Prof. Rebecca Comay
Tuesday and Thursday 1:30-3:00

Psychoanalysis not only puts pressure on core philosophical ideas about personal identity, self-knowledge, human freedom, and the very status of the human. It also introduces some fundamental hermeneutic questions about how we interpret and analyse texts. We’ll look at the beginnings of psychoanalysis in Freud’s early work on hysteria, and try to understand what was at stake in his invention of the “talking cure.”  We will explore core concepts produced in the course of Freud’s career — the dream work and the method of dream interpretation, the so-called “fundamental rule” of free association, the unconscious, repression, castration, transference, melancholia, fetishism, resistance, repetition, the death drive, interminable analysis, and the limits of analysis.  We will consider the relation between psychoanalysis as a theory and psychoanalysis as a therapeutic practice (this will also involve thinking about the status of Freud’s case histories as evidence, as investigations, and as narrative experiments).  Finally, we will examine the idea of “applied” psychoanalysis, and particularly the relevance of psychoanalysis to the understanding of culture and politics.  This will inevitably lead us to think about the relevance of psychoanalysis today.

While this course will focus mainly on Freud’s own theoretical and clinical writings (including some of his most controversial texts on the family, gender, and sexuality), we will also consider contemporary engagements with Freudian thought, in particular feminism, trauma studies, and queer theory.

Readings by Freud will include “Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria” (Dora case history),  Interpretation of Dreams (selections), “Infantile Sexual Theories,”  “Mourning and Melancholia,” “The Uncanny,”  “Wolfman” case history; Beyond the Pleasure Principle, and “Analysis Terminable and Interminable.”

Evaluation: 1) mid-term essay; 2) final essay, and 3) final test (all weighted equally).

PHL323H1S- SOCIAL AND CULTURAL THEORY

Prof. Willi Goetschel
Wednesdays 3:00-6:00

A study of philosophical approaches to understanding various aspects of contemporary culture and/or society. Topics may include theories of modernity, capitalism and consumerism, architecture and design, cultural pluralism, globalization, media and internet.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL325H1F – EARLY ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Dave Suarez
Thursday 3:00-6:00

An examination of some of the classic texts of early analytic philosophy, concentrating on the work of Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL331H1F – METAPHYSICS

Prof. Catherine Diehl
Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30-5:00

Historical and systematic approaches to topics in metaphysics, such as the nature of reality, substance and existence, necessity and possibility, causality, universals and particulars.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL332H1S – EPISTEMOLOGY

Prof. David Barnett
Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30-5:00

Can you know something even if you have no evidence that it is true? Is it rational to hold political or religious beliefs that you would have rejected had you been raised in a different family or culture? In this introductory course in epistemology, we will examine these and other questions about what you really know and what you can rationally believe. In addition to these sorts of questions, we will step back and consider the general question of what it is to know something, and what it is to believe something rationally. We will even consider skepticism, the philosophical view that you do not know anything at all.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL337H1F – TOPICS IN CHINESE PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Vincent Shen
Mondays 5:00-8:00

The topics change every year. This year we will focus on Classical Daoism. Using both textual hermeneutics and conceptual analysis, we will study the philosophical ideas developed in the Laozi, the Zhuangzi and some Huanglao texts, such as the Neiye, representing the three phases of Classical Daoism. As to the Laozi, we will study both the received (traditional) version and the recently unearthed Bamboo Slips texts (using Vincent Shen’s English translations).

Readings: D.C. Lao’s translation of Lao Tsu (Penguin Classics); B. Watson’s translation of The Complete Woks of Chuang Tzu (Columbia University Press) Vincent Shen’s Translation of the Bamboo Slips of Laozi. English translations (mainly from Hackett editions) of source texts, as well as scholarly articles.

Evaluation: Attendance: 15%; Essay 1: 25% short essay; Essay 2: 35% Long essay; Final in-class test: 25%.

PHL338H1F – JEWISH PHILOSOPHY

Prof. David Novak
Thursday 12:00-3:00

This course will deal with the thought of the person many believe to have been the greatest Jewish philosopher of the 20th century, Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929). We will be reading some of his essays, plus his magnum opus, The Star of Redemption. We will be exploring the question of what is Jewish philosophy, and what is Rosenzweig’s place in the history of western philosophy and in the history of Jewish theology.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: one hour midterm examination (20%); term paper of 4,000 words (40%); and a two hour final examination (40%).

PHL339H1F – INDIAN PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Kumar Murty

Tuesday 2:00-5:00

We will discuss the main schools of Indian philosophical thought through their approach to questions such as ‘How do we know?’, ‘What is good?’ and ‘What does it mean to be human?’

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: Several essays and class participation

PHL340H1S – ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY OF MIND

Instructor: Aaron Henry
Tuesday and Thursday 5:00-6:30

Typical issues include: the mind-brain identity theory; intentionality and the mental; personal identity

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL341H1F – FREEDOM, RESPONSIBILITY AND HUMAN ACTION

Prof. Michael Szlachta
Thursdays 9:00-12:00

What does it mean to say that you did something freely, or that you did it of your free will? Does it mean, for example, that you wanted to do it? That you had a reason to do it? That you could have done something else instead? Would your action have not been free if you had been coerced or constrained to do it? What about if you had done it arbitrarily, or if you had been determined to do it? In this course, we will examine some traditional and not-so-traditional answers to these questions, and touch on related topics such as practical rationality, moral responsibility, and personhood along the way.

Readings: Watson, Gary, ed. Free Will. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003.

Evaluation: Attendance and Participation, 10%; Weekly Reading Responses, 20%; First Essay, 35% (1500-2000 words); Second Essay, 35% (1500-2000 words)

PHL342H1F – MINDS AND MACHINES

Prof. Dave Suarez
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:30

For a long time, the idea that a machine could think was considered the stuff of fantasy.  But around the middle of the 20th century, following the development of the computer, the idea that computers could be intelligent—the founding assumption of Artificial Intelligence—came to be taken very seriously.  Now, the issue of whether a machine will be able to think (in at least some sense of that word) is considered much less contentious.  More pressing are questions of how fast machine intelligence will arrive, what kind of thinking machines will be capable of, whether machines will be conscious, ethical, compassionate, and possess other characteristics of the human mind—and how we should live in a world in which we share “having a mind” with devices of our own creation.

This course looks at prospects for mental machines by considering the nature of mind, the nature of machines (especially computers), and the foundations of the computational theory of mind. Two themes will be in special focus: (i) causal issues, having to do with mechanism, modularity, architecture, constraints of physical embodiment, neuroscience, dynamics, networks, deep learning, etc.,; and (ii) semantical issues, including meaning, content, reference, semantics, language, information, and representation.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL344H1F – PHILOSOPHY OF EMOTIONS

Prof. Belinda Piercy
Monday and Wednesday 9:00-10:30

This course will survey topics related to emotions. One thread of the course will look at philosophical theories of what emotions are, and a second thread will look at philosophical reflections upon particular emotions such as shame, compassion, envy and grief. In particular, we will consider the view that emotions are not mere eruptions or swellings of feeling that blow us about like ships in a storm, they include judgments about the relevance and value of the objects they target in the unfolding drama of our lives (and how that drama is going – if I have just lost something central to my life in grief, for instance, or am afraid of losing it). If emotions include evaluative judgments of this kind, it would suggest that they can be changed in light of revised judgments of value and opens emotional responses up to critical reflection and control on the part of the subject. This view has been influential for the past four or five decades, popularized by Solomon and Nussbaum, so we will consider it in depth alongside competing views and criticisms.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL345H1F – INTERMEDIATE LOGIC

Prof. Michael Caie
Monday 1:00-4:00

This is a first course in the mathematical study of logic, also known as meta-logic. Topics covered will include: basic set theory and recursion theory, completeness, compactness, and the Loewenheim-Skolem theorems for first-order logic, and Goedel’s incompleteness theorems.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL346H1F – PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICS

Prof. Mihai Ganea
Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00-2:30

Platonism versus nominalism, the relation between logic and mathematics, implications of Gödel’s theorem, formalism and intuitionism.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL347H1S – MODAL LOGIC

Prof. Mihai Ganea
Fridays 10:00-1:00

Formal study of the concepts of necessity and possibility; modal, propositional and quantificational logic; possible-worlds semantics; the metaphysics of modality.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL355H1S – PHILOSOPHY OF NATURAL SCIENCE

Prof. Cory Lewis
Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00-2:30

This course will introduce central topics in the philosophy of science. We will consider the structure of scientific theories – are they built fundamentally around laws, models, or both? Further, how do theories change over time? And are all valid scientific theories ultimately reducible to physics? We will explore these and related questions through reading and discussing classic primary texts in philosophy of science.

Readings: Online texts

Evaluation: Two short essays; Final essay proposal; Final essay.

 

PHL356H1F – PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS

Prof. Michael Miller
Tuesdays 10:00-1:00

The recent discovery of the Higgs Boson marked a final step in the empirical verification of the Standard Model of particle physics, our best theory of the fundamental forces and the elementary particles that experience them. This course will discuss philosophical issues associated with the theoretical and experimental challenges posed by the Standard Model. We will discuss special relativity and quantum mechanics and how they revolutionized our understanding of space, time, and matter. We will then discuss how these theories are combined in the Standard Model and the peculiar picture of the world that emerges from this synthesis. Along the way we will address philosophical questions concerning scientific realism and the nature of the knowledge that is generated by the enormous experiments that are required to test the Standard Model. This course will be accessible for those with no background in physics but with an interest in the philosophical challenges that modern physics poses.

Reading: Albert, David. Quantum Mechanics and Experience; Feynman, Richard. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter; Hacking, Ian. Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science; Weinberg, Steven. Dreams of a Final Theory.

All additional readings will be made available on the course website.

Evaluation: TBA

PHL366H1S – TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Andrew Franklin-Hall
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00-1:30

There is a traditional view of the state, according to which it is absolutely sovereign, owes little or nothing to anyone except its own citizens, and is the political embodiment of a culturally homogenous people or “nation.” All of these assumptions are problematic today, but what picture should take its place? In this course, we will discuss the very idea of a sovereign nation-state, questions about human rights and global justice, the challenges of multiculturalism, and problems concerning migration. Readings will be drawn primarily from contemporary sources, including works by John Rawls, David Miller, Will Kymlicka, Iris Marion Young, Michael Walzer, and Joseph Carens. Special attention will be paid to the way these issues bear on Canada today.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL367H1S – PHILOSOPHY OF FEMINISM

Instructor: Emma McClure
Fridays 12:00-3:00

Selected issues and topics in the philosophy of feminism.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL370H1S – ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW

Prof. Benjamin Wald
Mondays 6:00-9:00

This course will focus on the relationship between liberalism and the law. Liberalism is traditionally the view that the law should be neutral between the different “conceptions of the good” held by citizens. Some view liberalism as essential to avoid state tyranny, while others argue that liberalism is an excuse for the government to protect the status quo even when the status quo is racist, sexist, and otherwise morally defective. We will investigate arguments in favor and against liberalism as a constraint on the law, and consider whether institutions such as judicial review should be part of a liberal state.

Readings: All readings available on Quercus.

Course Evaluation: First paper- (25%); Second paper- (30%); Final paper- (35%); Peer teaching (5%); Weekly reading responses- (5%)

PHL373H1S – ISSUES IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

Prof. Jordan Thomson
Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00-2:30

Climate Ethics and Global Justice

Anthropogenic climate change threatens to harm billions of people, many of whom do not yet exist. In this course, we will examine some of the difficult philosophical questions raised by this fact. Questions to be addressed include: What, if anything, do we owe to future generations? How should the burdens of dealing with climate change be distributed? Do individuals have a moral obligation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions even when doing so is unlikely to make a difference in the grand scheme of things?

Reading: TBA

PHL375H1F – ETHICS

Prof. Jordan Thomson
Tuesdays 5:00-8:00

Equality, Impartiality, and Beneficence

We believe that all persons matter equally in some deep and important sense. Yet, most of us don’t believe that we are morally required to treat people with equal concern. We care less about strangers than we do about ourselves, our friends, and our family members. Indeed, we believe that we morally ought to care more about some people than we do about others: True friends ought to put each other first and families ought to stick together. Can we reconcile this belief with a commitment to moral equality or must one give way to the other? This question becomes particularly acute when we turn our attention to the fact that we live our lives against a background of global poverty. Issues we will consider include: the normative significance of love and friendship, our relationship to our own well-being, and the nature of moral reasons.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL375H1S – ETHICS

Prof. Thomas Hurka
Tuesday and Thursday 11:00-12:30

This course will examine a number of issues in normative ethical theory, including what is intrinsically good (just the total happiness? an equal distribution of it? one proportioned to desert?), what, if any, moral constraints there are on promoting the good (one against causing harm? one against breaking promises? one against lying?), and what permissions morality may give us not to promote the most good even when doing so would violate no constraint. The focus of the course will be on the general principles that may underlie our judgements on these topics.

Reading: Shelly Kagan, Normative Ethics; articles available online

Evaluation: Essay 1 (25%); Essay 2 (35%); Final Exam (40%)

PHL376H1F – TOPICS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Shruta Swarup
Wednesdays 5:00-8:00

The Ethics of Consent

Consent is absolutely central to our moral lives.  We think it matters morally whether a person has consented to surgery, to sex, to her photographs being used by Facebook, or to her personal information being distributed.  This course will consider the role that consent plays in various domains: in medical ethics, political philosophy, and sexual ethics. We’ll ask questions such as the following: Can a person give morally binding consent under circumstances in which it is very costly for her to dissent? Are there harms to which we cannot consent? Throughout, we will attempt to draw out the similarities and differences in the way that consent functions across different domains.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL376H1S – TOPICS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Brendan De Kenessey
Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30-3:00

Doing Good: Consequentialism in Ethics

Here’s a simple ethical theory: you should always do whatever will produce the most good. This view, called consequentialism, is both one of the most influential theories in moral philosophy and one of the most reviled. This course will undertake a sustained investigation of consequentialism. Topics include: the extent of our obligations to help strangers in need; whether it is ever permissible to kill in the name of the greater good; whether we can know the long-term consequences of our actions; whether goodness is objective or subjective; whether all moral theories are consequentialist theories in disguise; and more.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA (will consist primarily of class participation and writing assignments)

PHL380H1F – GLOBAL BIOETHICS

Prof. Benjamin Wald
Thursdays 12:00-3:00

Bioethical issues do not only arise between particular doctors and their patients. Distinctive ethical issues arise when we consider health in a global context. This is especially true given the wide disparities in wealth between countries, and the effect this has on the ability of states to provide for the health needs of their citizens. This course will examine the bioethical issues that arise due to this wealth disparity. Issues considered may include the obligations of wealthy countries to help ensure health needs are met in poorer countries, the special challenges for research ethics when trials are run in countries with poor or less well educated populations, and the ethics of enforcing drug patents, especially on life saving medications such as HIV treatments, in countries unable to afford the full price of such drugs.

Readings: Available through Quercus.

Evaluation:Argument analysis (10%); Case study analysis (15%); Argumentative paper (25%); Final exam (35%); Small weekly assignments- (10%); Peer teaching- (5%)

PHL382H1F – DEATH AND DYING

Prof. Jennifer Gibson
Tuesday 3:00-6:00

An intermediate-level study of moral and legal problems, including the philosophical significance of death, the high-tech prolongation of life, definition and determination of death, suicide, active and passive euthanasia, the withholding of treatment, palliative care and the control of pain, living wills; recent judicial decisions.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL383H1S – ETHICS AND MENTAL HEALTH

Prof. Thomas Mathien
Mondays 6:00-9:00

To speak of “mental health” is generally taken to imply that there is a condition of mental illness that often requires treatment.  It has also, at times, been associated with notions of mental hygiene, or practices promoting mental health.  There were times when many of the conditions now regarded as mental illnesses were understood differently and there are communities where many still are.  Unlike many forms of ill health, mental illness (alternatively, mental disorders) is commonly associated with social stigma, and certain forms of it are taken to involve diminished responsibility for action or outright incompetence.   Some sufferers are considered a danger to the public as a result of their condition. Some behaviours otherwise considered to be criminal, are treated leniently, even “excused,” as a result of certain conditions judged to be mental illnesses. Some forms of treatment can involve involuntary, even forcible confinement.  Others involve powerful drugs.  In many cases clinically “useful” identification of conditions is difficult, and aetiology is not well understood. This year the course will consider what could be called the fundamental challenge to this whole area of discussion, the claim that the discourse of “health,” disease” or “disorder” misconceives a whole realm of personal and social life in a way that inevitably leads to the mistreatment of those whose conditions are placed in these categories.  The case for the Plaintiffs (those who call themselves psychiatric “survivors,” and those arguing on behalf of those who failed to survive their treatment) will be made by Bonnie Burstow.  We will consider a defense by George Graham, and a possible way to a remedy in a work on psychiatric practice by Jennifer Radden and John Z. Sadler.  Books by these authors will make up the reading required of all students.

Reading: The readings for the course are Bonnie Burstow, Psychiatry and the Business of Madness; an Ethical and Epistemological Accounting (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, ISBN 978-1-137-50384-8); George Graham, The Disordered Mind 2nd Edition (Routledge, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-415-50124-8); Jennifer Radden and John Z. Sadler, The Virtuous Psychiatrist (Oxford, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-19-538937-1

Evaluation: Evaluation will be by three discussion papers.  They will carry virtually equal weight in determining the final grade (33%, 34%, 33%).  Topics will be posted on Quercus, and circulated in class.  The initial one should be around 5-7 pages (double-spaced, 12-point) in length.  The first will be due in late January/early February, the second shortly after reading Week, and the final one at the last day of classes.  At least one paper will require a research-driven reflection on a particular moral conundrum.   All papers should be submitted in hard copy unless an alternative arrangement is required.  There is no final examination in this course.

PHL384H1S – ETHICS, GENETICS AND REPRODUCTION

Prof. Jennifer Gibson
Tuesday 3:00-6:00

An intermediate-level study of moral and legal problems, including the ontological and moral status of the human embryo and fetus; human newborn, carrier and prenatal genetic screening for genetic defect, genetic therapy; the reproductive technologies (e.g., artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization); recent legislative proposals and judicial decisions.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL385H1S – ISSUES IN AESTHETICS

Prof. Francesco Gagliardi
Mondays and Wednesdays 10:30-12:00

In the fist part of this course we will examine some key texts in the Theory of Photography, including Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag. Starting from these readings and from examples taken from the work of a number of photographers and artists using the photographic medium we will attempt to answer questions such as the following: What is a photograph? What makes a photograph a work of art? What is the difference between the ways paintings and photographs represent the world? In the second part of the course we will examine how artists have used photography – and in particular photographic self-portraiture – to explore issues of gender, sexual and racial identity. We will be looking at the work of artists including Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman, Lyle Ashton Harris, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Samuel Fosso, and Nikki S. Lee. Our exploration will be grounded in art historical readings addressing the issue of portraiture and self-portraiture, and in critical writing surrounding the work of the artists we will be looking at.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL388H1F – LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Mark Kingwell
Wednesdays 3:00-6:00

In this course we will consider the linked concepts of (1) uncanniness and (2) distorted narrative, through close examination of various theoretical texts (Freud, Kristeva, Mulhall, Zizek) and screenings of two trios of films: Hitchcock’s Psycho, North by Northwest, and Vertigo; and then Rashomon, Betrayal, and Memento.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Evaluation by essays, weekly reflection papers, and class discussion.