Fall 2017 UTSC Courses

PHLA10: Introduction to Philosophy: Reason and Truth

Instructor: Dr. A. Koo
Lecture: Tuesday / Thursday, 11am-12pm

Please consult the UTSC Timetable for tutorial scheduling.

Description:
An introduction to philosophy focusing on issues of rationality, metaphysics and the theory of knowledge. Topics may include: the nature of mind, freedom, the existence of God, the nature and knowability of reality. These topics will generally be introduced through the study of key texts from the history of philosophy

PHLB05: Social Issues
Instructor: Dr. J. Brandt
Lecture: Tuesday, 9am-11am / Thursday, 11am-12pm

Description:
An examination of contemporary or historical issues that force us to consider and articulate our values and commitments. The course will select issues from a range of possible topics, which may include globalization, medical ethics, war and terrorism, the role of government in a free society, equality and discrimination.

PHLB09: Biomedical Ethics
Instructor: Dr. J. Brandt
Lecture: Tuesday / Thursday, 4-5pm

Please consult the UTSC Timetable for tutorial scheduling.

Description:
This course is an examination of moral and legal problems in medical practice, in biomedical research, and in the development of health policy. Topics may include: concepts of health and disease, patients’ rights, informed consent, allocation of scarce resources, euthanasia, risks and benefits in research and others.

PHLB20: Belief, Knowledge and Truth
Instructor: Dr. K. Boyd
Lecture: Wednesday, 7-10pm

Description:
This course serves as an introduction to epistemology, the study of knowledge and related concepts like belief, truth, and reason. Some of the central questions of epistemology include: what is knowledge? What kinds of things do we know? Can we really know anything at all? What does it mean to have a good reason to believe something? While we will be reading some classics from the history of epistemology, this course will focus primarily on the modern history of epistemology, covering some of the major developments in the field from the middle of the 20th century up to the present day.

PHLB33: God, Self, World
Instructor: Dr. K. Hübner
Lecture: Monday, 11am-12pm / Wednesday, 11am-1pm

Description:
This course is a thematic introduction to the history of metaphysics – the part of philosophy that investigates what the world, including ourselves, is like – starting with ancient philosophy and ending with contemporary texts. The specific focus of the course varies from year to year. This year we will ask how, throughout history, different philosophers understood what it means to be a being that thinks, i.e. what it means to have a mind – whether it be a human mind, an animal mind, or a divine mind. Topics we will discuss include psychology, soul, immortality, life, individuality, rationality, unconsciousness, panpsychism, intentionality, mind-body relations, and animal sentience. We will read works by Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Al Farabi, Descartes, Cavendish, Leibniz, Kant, Brentano and Godfrey-Smith.

PHLB35: Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. K. Hübner
Lecture: Monday, 2-4pm / Wednesday, 2-3pm

Description:
The course is an introduction to an exciting period of European thought, a time when, following great discoveries in science, philosophers started to reject centuries-old assumptions and ancient sources of authority. We will focus on what these new, “modern” thinkers took to be the basic building blocks of reality. We will ask questions such as, Why and how do things happen? How do minds and bodies relate? We will also examine the way answers to such “metaphysical” questions shaped these thinkers’ moral and political views. So we will also ask questions such as, Are we free? What is the best way of life for human beings? What is our place in nature, and how should treat other beings? We will read works by Descartes, Leibniz, Cavendish, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Astell.

PHLB50: Symbolic Logic I
Instructor: Dr. A. Koo
Lecture: Tuesday, 12-2pm / Thursday, 1-2pm

Description:
An introduction to formal, symbolic techniques of reasoning. Sentential logic and quantification theory (or predicate logic), including identity will be covered. The emphasis is on appreciation of and practice in techniques, for example, the formal analysis of English statements and arguments, and for construction of clear and rigorous proofs.

PHLB55: Puzzles and Paradoxes
Instructor: Dr. B. Hellie
Lecture: Monday, 4-5pm / Wednesday, 4-5pm

Please consult the UTSC Timetable for tutorial scheduling.

Description:
Philosophy often begins with a puzzle or paradox. Zeno once convincingly argued that motion was impossible, but people continue to move. The “liar’s paradox” seems to show that everything is both true and false, but that cannot be right. In this course, we will puzzle through these and related issues.

PHLB99: Writing for Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. J. Wilson
Lecture: Monday, 12-2pm / Wednesday, 1-2pm

Description:
Philosophical writing emphasizes clear reasoning. Students will learn to analyze texts, to discern and assess argument structure, and to develop techniques for writing a clear well-argued analysis of a subject matter. These key writing skills lie at the core of philosophical method and they are also applicable across subject areas and disciplines. This course is strongly recommended for philosophy specialists and majors, open to philosophy minors, and open to all other students by permission of the instructor.

PHLC05: Ethical Theory
Instructor: Dr. J. Rick
Lecture: Monday, 11am-2pm

Description:
Philosophers offer systematic theories of ethics: theories that simultaneously explain what ethics is, why it matters, and what it tells us to do. This course is a careful reading of classic philosophical texts by the major systematic thinkers in the Western tradition of ethics. Particular authors read may vary from instructor to instructor.

PHLC08: Topics in Arabic and Jewish Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. K. Hübner
Lecture: Thursday, 1-3pm

Description:
This course investigates Jewish, Arabic, and Islamic texts crucial to the history of philosophy in the medieval and early modern periods, as well as more recent interventions, spanning metaphysics, philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and philosophy of religion. We will read works by Maimonides, Al Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Spinoza, Rosenzweig, Buber, Mendelssohn, Arendt, Levinas, Edward Said, and Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm.

PHLC60: Metaphysics
Instructor: Dr. J. Wilson
Lecture: Wednesday, 3-5pm

Description:
A follow up to PHLB60H3. This course will consider one or two metaphysical topics in depth, with an emphasis on class discussion.

PHLC89: Topics in Analytic Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. M. Fortney
Lecture: Tuesday, 11am-1pm / Thursday, 12-1pm

Description:
Advanced topic(s) in Analytic Philosophy. Sample contemporary topics: realism/antirealism; truth; interrelations among metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind and of science.

PHLC92: Political Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. J. Rick
Lecture: Friday, 12-3pm

Description:
An examination of some central philosophical problems of contemporary political philosophy.

PHLC95: Topics in the Philosophy of Mind
Instructor: Dr. K. Boyd
Lecture: Wednesday, 10-11am / Friday, 10am-12pm

Description:
This class will focus on an issue that lies at the intersection of the philosophy of mind and epistemology: how we know what’s going on inside minds. We will focus primarily on questions concerning how we know what’s going on in our own minds, including: do we have special access to our own minds? Can we be wrong about what we’re thinking? Is the way that I know what I’m thinking different from the way that I know about other things? We will also look at questions about how we know what’s going on in the minds of others. Readings will come from a wide variety of sources, both classic and contemporary.

PHLD20: Advanced Seminar in Theory of Knowledge
Instructor: Dr. B. Hellie
Lecture: Monday, 1-3pm

Description:
This courses addresses core issues in the theory of knowledge at an advanced level. Topics to be discussed may include The Nature of Knowledge, Scepticism, Epistemic Justification, Rationality and Rational Belief Formation.