400-Level Courses (2018-19)

PHL 400F Seminar in Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle’s Ethics
Instructor:  J. Allen     W 3-6     [36S]                          

In the history of philosophy, no work has exerted a more lasting and significant influence than Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. What is more, the issues it tackles are alive as those in few other works of comparable antiquity are. Among these issues are the human good, the complementary roles of reason, emotion and desire in human character, the nature of the virtues and their place in the good human life, moral responsibility, justice, pleasure, friendship, and the competing claims of the life of fully engaged citizen and that of private contemplation. The aim of the seminar is to explore these issues through a careful reading of the whole Nicomachean Ethics and with the aid of select classics in the secondary literature.
Prerequisites: 4.5 PHL credits

PHL 430F Seminar in Metaphysics and Epistemology: Deriving Self and Other
Instructor:  G. Rattan     T 10-1     [36S]
Descartes thought he knew that he himself was a thinking thing. I’m not so sure.  Here’s something I do know: there is thinking going on. What follows from this? Does it follow that I’m thinking? If so, how? Maybe this establishes me as a subjectivity, a point of view from which a world seems to be present. Does it follow that I’m a thing in that world, an objective thing? If so how? 

Enough about me. What about you? With you it looks like the problems are reversed. Sure, you seem to be a thing in the world. But are you another mind, another subjectivity? Are there other minds, other subjectivities? If so, how do I know? What, epistemologically, is the source of the concept of another mind? 

These questions are the background to our course, in which we will consider a number of issues about mind and self. Topics to be covered include: solipsism and the problem of other minds; the first-person concept, Descartes’s cogito; rule-following and the possibility of a private language; de re and de se belief; self-knowledge; immunity to error through misidentification. The course is intended for students interested in epistemological and semantic issues about mind and self. 
Prerequisites: 4.5 PHL credits


PHL 451S Seminar in Philosophy of Language and Logic
Instructor:  B. Yi      T 3-6

In this course, we will study Saul Kripke’s classic Naming and Necessity, which led new approaches to philosophy of language, metaphysics, and many other areas in analytic philosophy. In the beginning weeks, we will examine backgrounds to the work by studying classics in analytic philosophy, including those by Frege and Russell among others. [36S]
Prerequisites: PHL245H54.5 PHL credits



PHL 475S Seminar in Moral and Political Philosophy: Family Ethics
Instructor: A. Mullin     M 2-3/ W 1-3     [36S]
This seminar will focus on the burgeoning field of family ethics. We will discuss both general questions – such as whether family relationships and the responsibilities associated with them are compatible with impartial morality – and more specific questions. Topics discussed will include the nature, extent, and justification of parental rights, what children may justifiably expect from their parents and the state, potential conflicts between justice and the goods parents provide their children, and whether there are goods or bads specific to childhood. Students are expected not only to acquaint themselves with some of the extant philosophical views on these topics and to critically reflect upon them, but also to develop their own perspectives and present them both orally and in writing.

Prerequisites: 4.5 PHL credits


PHL489Y The Socrates Project Seminar 
(by application only)

Instructor:  D. Raffman     M 12-3      [36S]   
The Socrates Project is a full-year course with two components. First, you will serve as a TA for a section of PHL105Y. You will attend two 1-hour PHL105Y lectures each week, and teach one tutorial of 20-25 students, meeting with them for 1 hour each week. You will grade their papers, hold office hours, and meet with the relevant professor as needed. You will be paid for 100 hours of work each semester, for a total of 200 hours, at the current hourly wage for CUPE Unit 1. The second component of the course is a seminar component that meets once per week for 3 hours. Roughly 75% of the seminar will be devoted to more in-depth study of the topics taken up in the PHL105Y. You will write a seminar paper on one of these topics under the supervision of a UTM Philosophy faculty member working in the relevant area. You will also give an oral presentation on your topic to the seminar members. The remaining 25% of the seminar will focus on the methods and challenges of teaching philosophy, benchmark grading, and grading generally.

PHL 496F, 497S   Individual Studies

Individual studies courses (PHL 496H5F, PHL 497H5S) must be arranged well in advance of registration with the individual faculty advisor, and the plan of study must be approved by the departmental chair (please fill out and submit the Independent Study Form – PDF). Anyone wishing to take an individual studies course must contact a potential faculty supervisor with a plan of study (a topic, a course of readings). Spaces are very limited, and faculty will agree to supervise only students who show evidence of excellent self-motivation.