200-Level Courses

2022-23 Fall/Winter 200-level courses

Note about prerequisites/co-requisites for 200-level courses:

Only PHL201H1 has a prerequisite: it requires the completion of four Arts and Science full-course equivalents (FCEs).

PHL233H1 has a co-requisite: it requires one FCE in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, or Computer Science.

 

PHL200Y1Y — ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Doug Campbell
Mondays and Wednesdays 11:00-12:00

Delivery Method: In-person

Central texts of the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and post-Aristotelian philosophy.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL201H1F — INTRODUCTORY PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Reza Hadisi
Fridays 12:00-15:00

Delivery Method: In-person

An introduction to philosophy focusing on the connections among its main branches: logic, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and ethics. This course is intended for those with little or no philosophy background but who have completed four FCEs in any subject.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL205H1F — EARLY MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Simona Vucu
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00-13:00

Delivery Method: In-person

In this course we’ll read philosophers from the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions covering the period from the 4th to the 12th centuries CE possibly including Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, and Abelard among Christian authors, and Avicenna, Maimonides, and Averroes among Islamic and Jewish authors. We’ll focus on the issues of central concern to these philosophers, including freedom and determinism, the place of humans in the world, the nature of virtue.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: Term work (details TBA, but will include at least one essay): 50%; Final examination (possibly take-home format) 35%; Tutorial participation: 15%.

PHL206H1S — LATER MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Simona Vucu
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00-13:00

In this course, we will cover philosophers from the late medieval period, roughly the 13th to 15th century including Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, Christine de Pizan, Josef Albo. We’ll focus on how medieval views about the human soul and its rational capacities play a role in how medieval thinkers envisaged aspects of the good life.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: Term work (details TBA, but will include at least one essay): 50%; Final examination (possibly take-home format) 35%; Tutorial participation: 15%.

PHL210Y1Y — 17TH AND 18TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY

Instructor TBA
Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:00

Delivery Method: In-person

Central texts of such philosophers as Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL217H1S — INTRODUCTION TO CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: TBA
Tuesday and Thursday 14:00-15:00

Delivery Method: In-person

An introduction to some of the post-Hegelian thinkers who inspired the various philosophical movements broadly referred to as continental, such as phenomenology, existentialism, deconstruction, and post-modernism. Questions include the will, faith, death, existence, history and politics, rationality and its limits, encountering an other. Authors studied may include: Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Heidegger, Sartre.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL232H1F — KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY

Prof. Trevor Teitel
Mondays and Wednesdays 17:00-18:00

This course will be an introductory survey of some central topics in epistemology and metaphysics, presupposing no prior familiarity with either area. In the epistemology half, we’ll start by looking at various responses to skeptical challenges. These challenges purport to show that you don’t know much of what you ordinarily take yourself to know (for instance, that you have hands, that the sun will rise tomorrow, etc.). We’ll also touch on other questions in epistemology, including the rational response to widespread disagreement amongst experts on many topics, and the rational response to the fact that many of our most cherished beliefs seem heavily influenced by non-evidential factors (such as the communities in which we grew up). Turning to the metaphysics half, here are some of the questions that we might consider. Do abstract objects (such as numbers) exist? Does God exist? Is consciousness explicable in wholly physical terms? Can distinct objects be in exactly the same place at exactly the same time? Is the existence of free will compatible with the results of our best scientific theories (which purport to show that our world is governed by deterministic laws of nature)? Why is there something rather than nothing?

Delivery Method: In-person

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL233H1F — PHILOSOPHY FOR SCIENTISTS

Prof. Imogen Dickie
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00-13:00

Delivery Method: In-person

An introduction to philosophy tailored for students with backgrounds in mathematics and science. Topics include causation, explanation, the relation between scientific and mathematical theories and reality, the role of mathematics in scientific theories, the relevance of scientific and mathematical discoveries to ‘big’ traditional philosophical questions such as the nature of consciousness, whether we have free will, and the meaning of life.

Readings: TBA

Evaluations: TBA

PHL235H1S — PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

Prof. Elisa Freschi
Mondays and Wednesdays 16:30-18:00

Delivery Method: In-person

This course is an introduction to topics, schools and figures in philosophy of religion. We will read texts (in their English translation) spanning from Medieval Christianity to contemporary analytic philosophy, and I will introduce you to the main topics thinkers particularly dealt with, from divine omnipresence to soteriology and from God-as-Thou to rational theology. We will particularly focus on God’s nature, arguments for God’s existence, theodicy, soteriology, afterlife, God’s silence and churches and communities. Besides, we will find time to discuss also the theological status of super-human beings like saints and angels, animal theology and free will.

Readings: Swinburne (Is there a God?, 1996); Plantinga (Against Naturalism, (chapter 1 of Knowledge of God), 2008); Thomas Aquinas (question 2: The existence of God, from the Summa Theologiae), Udayana (extracts from Extracts from the Nyāyakusumañjali published in G. Chemparathy; An Indian rational theology: Introduction to Udayana’s Nyāyakusumañjali, 1972); Anselm of Canterbury (chapters 1–3 of the Proslogion), Kelly (Consensus Gentium, 2011); Hume (extract on miracles from Enquiry on Human understanding); Pascale (extract from Pensées); Kant (TBA); Kierkegaard (extract from Fear and Trembling); Buber (extract from I and Thou); Descartes
(extract from Meditations on First Philosophy); Law (The evil-god challenge, 2010); Swinburne (A theodicy of heaven and hell, 1983); Rosenthal (Reflections on Love in Paradise, in Man versus Society in Medieval Islam, 2014); Talbott (The doctrine of everlasting punishment, 1990), extract from the Pāli Canon, Upaddha Sutta, Thich Nhat Hahn (What is saṅgha?).

Evaluation: 24% (9 reading assignments); 18% (9 weekly written assignments); 12% (9 weekly peer reviews); 4% (summary of a talk); 24% (in-class participation); 18% (final paper).

PHL237H1F — HISTORY OF CHINESE PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Chris Fraser
Mondays and Wednesdays 15:00-18:00

Delivery Method: Online-Synchronous (with in-person assessments)

What is the Way to live? How can we become exemplary persons? How does human life fit into the natural world? What should the role of government be in social life? Chinese thinkers throughout history were deeply concerned with these and related questions. Their reflections can help us make sense of our own lives and better understand our own path.

This course is a historical introduction to Chinese philosophy, covering selected figures and texts from the classical period through the Qīng dynasty. Schools of thought discussed include Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, Legalism, “Profound Learning,” Neo-Confucian “Learning of the Way,” “Learning of the Heart,” and “Evidential Learning.” Texts and thinkers covered include the Confucian Analects, Mòzǐ, Mèngzǐ, Xúnzǐ, Dàodéjīng, Zhuāngzǐ, Hánfēizǐ, Guō Xiàng, Zhū Xī, Wáng Yángmíng, and Dài Zhèn.

The course presupposes no prior knowledge of Chinese philosophy or the Chinese language. For students who do read Chinese, bilingual materials will be provided for all primary source readings.

The course will be conducted entirely online, except for the in-person final exam. The course will also offer special instruction in English writing skills under the auspices of the English Language Learning (ELL) program.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: Three short essays, online discussion forum, online tutorials, in-person final exam.

PHL238H1S — Reason and Irrationality

Prof. Reza Hadisi
Tuesdays 15:00-18:00

Delivery Method: In-person

How does one live one’s life without falling victim to various forms of irrationality? This course offers theoretical insight and practical guidance regarding norms of rationality and how we can live by them. Topics to be addressed include: informal logic; criteria for the assessment of arguments; common fallacies; truth and noncontradiction as norms; cognitive biases; “thinking fast and slow” and behavioral economics; conspiracy theories; and media ethics.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL240H1S — PERSONS, MINDS AND BODIES

Prof. Dave Suarez
Tuesdays and Thursdays 09:00-10:00

Delivery Method: In-person

Consciousness and its relation to the body; personal identity and survival; knowledge of other minds; psychological events and behaviour.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL243H1S — PHILOSOPHY OF SEXUALITY

Instructor: TBA
Wednesdays 6:00-9:00

Delivery Method: In-person

Philosophical issues about sex and sexual identity in the light of biological, psychological and ethical theories of sex and gender; the concept of gender; male and female sex roles; perverse sex; sexual liberation; love and sexuality.

Readings: TBA

Evaluations: TBA

PHL244H1F — HUMAN NATURE

Prof. Brendan DeKenessey
Tuesdays and Thursdays 09:00-10:30

Delivery Method: In-person

In this course, we will investigate three central questions about our nature as human beings. First, what are we? Are we immaterial souls, collections of memories and other psychological states, physical bodies, or something else? Second, are we good or evil? Are human beings innately selfish, or are we capable of genuine moral virtue? Third, do we have free will? Can we be held responsible for our actions if they are the inevitable result of the laws of nature?

Readings: TBA

Evaluations: TBA

PHL245H1F — MODERN SYMBOLIC LOGIC

Prof. Robert Mason
Fridays 9:00-12:00

Delivery Method: In-person

An introduction to formal deductive logic. Semantics, symbolization, and techniques of natural deduction in sentential logic. Symbolization, natural deduction, and models in monadic predicate logic. Symbolization and natural deduction with polyadic predicates. Introduction to advanced concepts in first-order logic, such as operations, identity, and models.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL245H1S — MODERN SYMBOLIC LOGIC

Instructor: TBA
Fridays 9:00-12:00

Delivery Method: LEC0101 – In-person; LEC0102 – Online-Synchronous with In-person assessments

An introduction to formal deductive logic. Semantics, symbolization, and techniques of natural deduction in sentential logic. Symbolization, natural deduction, and models in monadic predicate logic. Symbolization and natural deduction with polyadic predicates. Introduction to advanced concepts in first-order logic, such as operations, identity, and models.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL246H1F — PROBABILITY AND INDUCTIVE LOGIC

Prof. Franz Huber
Mondays and Thursday 18:00-19:00

Probability and Inductive Logic is an introduction to the mathematical theory of probability and its applications in philosophy. On the philosophical side we will mainly be concerned with the so-called problem of induction and its reception in the philosophy of science, where it is normally discussed under the heading of “confirmation theory.” On the mathematical side we will study propositional and predicate logic, as well as elementary set theory, to be able to formulate the theory of probability.

The first two weeks will provide us with the relevant background in logic and set theory. During the next three to four weeks, we will cover Hume’s argument for the thesis that we cannot justify induction; Hempel’s work on the logic of confirmation and the ravens’ paradox; Popper’s falsificationism and hypothetico-deductive confirmation; as well as Kolmogorov’s axiomatization of the probability calculus. During the following three to four weeks, we will cover Carnap’s inductive logic and philosophy of induction; Goodman’s philosophy of induction and the new riddle of induction; Haack’s comparison between deduction and induction; as well as the Dutch Book argument for subjective, or Bayesian, probabilities. The last three weeks will be devoted to Bayesian confirmation theory and the distinction between absolute versus incremental confirmation; Lewis’ principal principle relating subjective credences and objective chances; as well as Reichenbach’s “straight(-forward) rule” and the strong law of large numbers.

Along the way we will come across probability puzzles such as Bertrand’s paradox and von Mises’ wine/water paradox, as well as paradoxes from logic and set theory such as the liar paradox and Russell’s paradox.

Reading: We will work with my textbook A Logical Introduction to Probability and Induction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

Evaluation: Details will be announced in September, but the assignments will include weekly problem sets. So, while the course is structured along philosophical problems, please be prepared to use mathematical symbols and logical formulas, as well as to calculate and solve equations and to prove and derive theorems.

PHL255H1S – PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

Prof. Sara Aronowitz
Wednesdays 12:00-2:00

This course is an introduction to contemporary topics in the philosophy of science which serves as preparation for more advanced study in general philosophy of science and philosophy of the particular sciences. Topics may include the rise and fall of logical positivism, the problem of demarcation, falsificationism, confirmation, the connection between theory and observation, the value free ideal, and the epistemic authority of scientists.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL265H1F — INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Arthur Ripstein
Mondays and Wednesdays 13:00-14:00

Modern states claim to be entitled to tell people what to do and to force them to do as they are told.  They claim the power to regulate many aspects of life, to enforce property rights, to collect taxes and decide how to spend them, and to give their officials powers that private persons lack.  These powers are made more puzzling by the modern thought that nobody is entitled to rule by birth. In the course we will look at philosophical accounts of the basis of these remarkable powers, including such questions as: under what conditions could they be legitimate? Are there limits on their legitimate exercise? How are they related to ideas about freedom and equality?  Our primary texts will be drawn from the social contract tradition, which seeks to justify the state’s powers by constructing an account of life in a “state of nature” without political institutions, and arguing that people in such a condition would have adequate reasons to set up a state.   In addition to classic discussions by we will also read contemporary versions of their positions, and important critiques of the social contract enterprise.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL269H1F – PHILOSOPHY OF RACE

Prof. William Paris
Mondays 13:00-15:00

What is the meaning of race? How does it affect political philosophy? Is there an ethics of race? These are some of the questions that will be covered in this course on the critical philosophy of race. Students will be introduced to problems concerning the metaphysics of race, race and political injustice, ethics and recognition, or race and aesthetic critique.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL271H1S — LAW AND MORALITY

Prof. David Dyzenhaus
Mondays 18:00-20:00

In this course, we will first examine the question ‘What is law?’ As we will see, answers to that question are complicated by other questions: Is there a relationship between law and morality such that law is always to some extent moral? What is the role of moral principles in adjudication? Should judges rely on controversial claims of moral principle in deciding their cases? Second, we will examine questions about the proper use of the law in a liberal state: Does the law reflect the values of the powerful even in such a state? Should the state be limited to using the law to protect individuals from harming each other, or is it legitimate to use the law to protect values that people find very important, or may the state use the law to promote equality? We will focus our discussion of the second set of issues on a recent case, either one decided by the Supreme Court of Canada or one that is on its way to being decided.

Readings: Most of the readings for the course are contained in Law and Morality: Readings in Legal Philosophy, 3rd edition, ed. Dyzenhaus, Moreau, Ripstein. It will be available at the University of Toronto Bookstore.

Evaluation: an in-class test, 20%;  a short essay due after Reading Week 30%; a final longer essay, due on the last day of term, dealing with the case, 40%.  The remaining 10% will be awarded for tutorial attendance and participation.

PHL273H1F — ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

Prof. Jordan Thomson
Thursdays 12:00-15:00

When we think about morality, we usually think about obligations we have to other human beings. But we have relationships to all kinds of other things, including non-human animals and the planet we share with them. These relationships raise ethical questions of their own: Do non-human animals have rights? Is the environment valuable in itself or only in virtue of its benefits to humans? How should we deal with conflicts between our duties to human beings and those we may have to the natural environment? In this course, we will critically examine these issues.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL275H1F — INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

Prof. Tom Hurka
Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-1:00

This course will introduce the main questions of moral philosophy, under three main headings. 1) The Nature of Morality: Do moral judgements apply universally or are they all relative to a particular society or person? What is the relation between morality and religion? Can moral judgements be objectively true or do they merely express emotions? 2) Moral Principles: What are the most general principles that determine which actions are right and which are wrong? Do these principles tell us always to do what will bring about the most good, and, if so, what does that good consist in? Or is it sometimes wrong to do what will have the best result? If so, why? 3) Ap­plied Ethics: How does philosophy help us solve particular moral problems such as ones about world hunger, euthanasia, and war?

Reading: Course reader

Evaluation: Essay 1 (20%); Essay 2 (35%); Final Exam (35%); Participation (10%)

PHL281H1S — BIOETHICS

Instructor: TBA
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00-13:00

An introduction to the study of moral and legal problems in medical practice and in biomedical research; the development of health policy. Topics include: concepts of health and disease, patient rights, informed consent, allocation of scarce resources, euthanasia, abortion, genetic and reproductive technologies, human research, and mental health.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL285H1S — AESTHETICS

Prof. Francesco Gagliaridi
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00-13:30

This course will offer an introductory survey of some of the ways philosophers have thought about art from classical antiquity to modern times. The course will be structured around three complementary approaches: close readings of primary texts, surveys of specific philosophical issues regarding art, and broader surveys of major art historical developments.

The primary texts we’ll be reading include classical texts from the Western philosophical canon (Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant), more recent texts in the analytic philosophical tradition (Danto, Dickie, Carroll), as well as texts more properly belonging to the field of critical theory, loosely defined (Benjamin, Barthes, Nochlin), and texts written by artists and art theorists whose views have been enduringly relevant to the philosophical study of art (Tolstoy, Bell).

The philosophical surveys will help us put our primary texts into context by providing an overview of the questions they are responding to, and of the larger philosophical conversations they are part of.

The art historical surveys will help us establish a common understanding of some of the key developments in the history of Western art; while this is not an art history class, it will be important not to lose sight of what is supposed to be our actual subject matter: the art itself.

Some of the questions we’ll be working through are the following: What is art and why does it matter? How does representation work? How do we distinguish works of art from mere objects: can a urinal be turned into art just by virtue of an artist’s designating it as such? What is the relationship between artistic value and moral value: can art with morally objectionable content still have artistic merit? How has the advent of technologies of mass reproduction and distribution (photography, social media) affected the status of art works?

Through a number of written assignments you will improve your abilities to read, understand, and summarize difficult philosophical material, to analyze, evaluate, and respond to philosophical arguments, and to communicate your ideas in clear and concise prose.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL295H1F — BUSINESS ETHICS

Instructor: TBA
Tuesdays 18:00-21:00

We will examine philosophical issues in ethics, social theory, and theories of human nature insofar as they bear on contemporary conduct of business. Issues include: Does business have moral responsibilities? Can social costs and benefits be calculated? Does modern business life determine human nature or the other way around? Do political ideas and institutions such as democracy have a role within business?

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA