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.

PHL301H1S – EARLY GREEK PHILOSOPHY

Prof. George Boys-Stone
Tuesday 10:00-1:00

This course studies the intellectual life of pre-Classical Greece, and the Western philosophical tradition by providing a comprehensive survey of its early development – from cosmological thinkers including Hesiod and the Orphics in the 8th century BCE through to Democritus, the Sophists and Socrates in the later 5th. Key names in between include Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno, Anaxagoras and Empedocles. Much of our evidence comes to us from thinkers who Plato and Aristotle recognised and engaged with as their predecessors; so the course also helps to understand their agenda in shaping philosophy as a distinct intellectual activity.

Reading: Texts to be used (in translation) will be taken on the first place from R. D. McKirahan, Philosophy Before Socrates (Hackett, 1994).

Evaluation: TBA – but will be based on written research assignments.

PHL302H1S – ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY AFTER ARISTOTLE

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

This course will focus on what is usually termed Hellenistic philosophy, the period after the death of Aristotle in which numerous philosophical schools flourished. In particular we will study Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Skepticism. We will consider their views on the nature of the universe, human happiness, knowledge, and virtue. Weill will also consider briefly the so-called Middle Platonists, who flourished along with the above schools. All of these philosophies will be examined in the light of their opposition to and appropriation of the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

Readings: Hellenistic Philosophy, edited and translated by B. Inwood and Lloyd P. Gerson (Hackett, 1988). Texts for the Middle Platonists will be provided in pdfs.

Requirements: Two essays, each worth 20%; class participation worth 20%; final examination worth 40%.

PHL303H1F – PLATO

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

This course will focus on Plato’s ethics. We will consider the so-called Socratic paradoxes, e.g., no one does wrong willingly, better to suffer than to do wrong, and a good person cannot be harmed by a bad person. We will consider also the psychology of action as this pertains to the principle of morality. Finally, we will examine how Plato sets his moral philosophy within a metaphysical context. We will read especially Euthyphro, Laches, Protagoras, Gorgias, Symposium, Republic (in part), and Philebus.

Text: Plato. The Complete Works. Edited John Cooper (Hackett, 1997).

Requirements: Two essays, each worth 20%; class participation worth 20%; final examination worth 40%.

PHL304H1F – ARISTOTLE

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

Ethics with Aristotle

This class will be devoted to a close reading of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s major ethical treatise and a bona fide classic of moral philosophy. We will have two broad goals: first, to achieve a fine-grained and comprehensive understanding of Aristotle’s ethics; and second, to explore the relevance of Aristotle’s views to our ethical lives today. Our in-class discussions will focus on topics decided collectively by you, on the basis of whatever is of most interest to everyone. Each class, after reviewing the week’s assigned reading, we will collaboratively brainstorm a discussion topic on that reading for the following week. Before that next class you will then write a reflection on that topic, and we will begin that next class by sharing and discussing your thoughts, before turning to review that week’s new material.

Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Evaluation: Weekly reading exercises (10%), in-class entrance & exit tickets (10%), weekly reflection pieces (10%), discussion board participation (4%), in-class and out-of-class engagement (6%), 2 papers (15% each), and a final exam (30%)

PHL307H1F – AUGUSTINE

Prof. Simona Vucu
Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00-10:30

Augustine (354-430) is recognized by both his admirers and his detractors as one of the most astute analysts of human nature; for better or worse, his views about what is good, sinful, and evil have deeply influenced the moral thinking of Western civilization for centuries. In this course, we will focus on Augustine’s discussion of the many forms that wickedness can take, such as doing something evil for no reason at all, rejecting what is good, or focusing too much on morally improving oneself.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Attendance and Participation, 15% ; Weekly Reading Responses, 20% First Essay, 30% ; Second Essay, 35%

PHL310H1F – THE RATIONALISTS

Prof. Owen Pikkert
Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-10:30

This course is a detailed examination of three rival metaphysical systems as found in the first part of Descartes’ Principles of Philosophy, the first part of Spinoza’s Ethics, and Leibniz’s Primary Truths, On the Ultimate Origination of Things, Monadology, and most of the Correspondence with Clarke. The goal throughout will be mastery of some of the main ideas and arguments as presented in these texts. Topics to be discussed include the existence and nature of God, the mind-body problem, the nature of substance, necessitarianism, various metaphysical principles, and other topics as well.

Readings: All of the readings will be available via Quercus.

Evaluation: A midterm at 25%, two papers at 25% each, and a final exam at 25%.

PHL311H1S – THE EMPIRICISTS

Prof. Owen Pikkert
Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-10:30

This course is a critical examination of selections from Locke’s An Essay concerning Human Understanding, Berkeley’s A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, as well as Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature, An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, and Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. Topics to be discussed include the rejection of innate knowledge, scepticism, causation, the existence of God, the nature of substance, idealism, personal identity, and other topics as well.

Reading: All of the readings will be available via Quercus.

Evaluation: Two papers (25% each), a midterm (20%), and a final exam (30%).

PHL314H1F – KANT

Prof. Charlie Cooper-Simpson
Tuesday and Thursday 10:30-12:00

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

PHL316H1S – HEGEL

Prof. Rebecca Comay
Tuesday 12:00-3:00

An examination of Hegel’s project of absolute knowing, its philosophical assumptions, and its implications for history, science and experience.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL317H1F – MARX AND MARXISM

Prof. Jordan Thomson
Tuesday and Thursday 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: The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker.

Evaluation: TBA

PHL320H1F – PHENOMENOLOGY

Prof. Dave Suarez
Wednesday 6:00-9:00

Phenomenology calls for a return to the phenomena—the ‘things themselves’ as they show up for us in experience. This course covers the origins of phenomenology, beginning with Husserl’s attempt to account for the objectivity of logic, mathematics and science. Husserl’s sprawling, messy investigation led him to develop a sophisticated account of the structure of perception, and a philosophical interpretation of the budding psychological sciences of the early 20th century. Husserl’s work also laid the foundations for the development of existentialism by Heidegger and Sartre. We will finish the course by discussing the reception of Husserl’s ideas by later thinkers in the phenomenological tradition including Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty.

Reading: Husserl, Logical Investigations, Routledge, 2001; Husserl, Ideas I, Hackett, 2014; Heidegger, History of the Concept of Time, Indiana University Press, 2009; Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego, Hill and Wang, 1991

A few additional readings from Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Beauvoir will be made available through the course website.

Evaluation: Class participation — 10%; Short answer assignments — 20% each x 3 = 60%; Final paper 30%

PHL321H1F – HEIDEGGER

Prof. Charlie Cooper-Simpson
Tuesday and Thursday 3:00-4:30

This course will offer an intensive introduction to Heidegger’s most well-known work, Being and Time. Of particular interest will be the relationship between phenomenology (as Heidegger imagines it) and historical approaches to metaphysics.

Reading: Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. Joan Stambaugh, revised ed. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010.

Evaluation: Short reading responses (30%), Short Paper (30%), Final Paper (40%)

PHL323H1S- SOCIAL AND CULTURAL THEORY

Prof. Charlie Cooper-Simpson
Thursday 3:00-6:00

This course will develop the idea of a critique of culture and investigate the relationship between philosophy and culture. Readings will be drawn primarily from thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School (e.g. Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin).

Readings: Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment; further readings TBA

Evaluation: Papers (2, 30% each), Final Exam (40%)

PHL325H1S – EARLY ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY

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

What makes a truth of mathematics true? Is arithmetic reducible to logic? What enables words and thoughts to refer to things? In trying to answer these questions, Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein gave birth to analytic philosophy, developing concepts and methods that have irrevocably shaped the way we think about logic and language, mathematics and the mind.

Readings: Frege, The Frege Reader, Michael Beaney, ed., Blackwell, 1997; Frege, The Foundations of Arithmetic. Northwestern University Press, 1980; Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Routledge, 2001; Russell, The Philosophy of Logical Atomism. Routledge, 2010

Additional secondary literature will be made available through the course website.

Evaluation: Class participation — 10%; Short answer assignments — 20% each x 3 = 60%; Final paper 30%

PHL331H1F – METAPHYSICS

Prof. Owen Pikkert
Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-1:30

This course is an examination of naturalism, roughly the view that all of reality is ultimately or exclusively physical. We’ll begin by examining some foundational texts that contributed towards the rise of naturalism as a dominant position within analytic metaphysics. We’ll then proceed to examine four different objections to naturalism: that naturalism leaves some comparatively fundamental features of the universe unexplained; that naturalism cannot accommodate truths that seem to refer to abstract entities; that evolution renders naturalism self-defeating; and that the formulation of naturalism suffers from various scope dilemmas. By way of application, we’ll conclude by briefly considering some different views on naturalism and the meaning of life.

Readings: All of the readings will be available via Quercus.

Evaluation: A midterm at 25%, two papers at 25% each, and a final exam at 25%.

PHL332H1S – EPISTEMOLOGY

Prof. David Barnett
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00-1:30

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

PHL336H1F – ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Deborah Black
Tuesday and Thursday 1:30-3:00

This course is an introduction to classical Islamic or Arabic philosophy (falsafah), which developed when the works of the ancient Greek philosophers were translated into Arabic and became a part of the intellectual heritage of the Islamic world. We’ll study selections from the philosophical writings of the major figures in classical Islamic philosophy from the 9th to the 12th centuries, including al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd). We’ll also look at the rivalry between the philosophers and theologians (mutakallimun), in particular al-Ghazali. Topics covered will include the existence and knowability of God; creation and causality; human nature and knowledge; and the constitution of the ideal political regime. Students should be aware that this is a course in the history of philosophy, not a course on the religion of Islam or the Qur’an.

Reading: Classical Arabic Philosophy. Translated Jon McGinnis and David C. Reisman. Hackett Publishing, 2007; additional readings TBA.

Evaluation: To be determined, but will  likely include the following: Term work (at least one essay): 55%; 2-hour final examination: 35%; Participation: 10%.

PHL338H1F – JEWISH PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Michael Rosenthal
Monday and Wedneady 10:30-12:00

The Enlightenment defined the course of modern Jewish philosophy.  It criticized traditional notions of revelation and it reconfigured the relation of the Jewish community to the nascent liberal state.  In this course, we will examine radical figures of the Enlightenment, like Spinoza, moderate figures like Mendelssohn, and those who rejected this path altogether, in either favor of revolution, such as Marx, or Jewish nationalism, such as Herzl.  We will discuss the philosophical legacy of these thinkers in the twentieth century before and after the Holocaust.  The goal is to examine critically the Enlightenment narrative to see what relevance it has for us today.

Reading: We will read selections of translated primary texts by Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Heine, Hess, Marx, Herzl, Cohen, Rosenzweig, Strauss, Levinas, and Fackenheim.

Evaluation: There will be two short (maximum of 1750 words) papers (50%), weekly discussion questions (20%), a final exam (20%), and participation and attendance (10%).

PHL340H1S – ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY OF MIND

Prof. Jim John
Monday and Wednesday 1:30-3:00

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

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL341H1S – FREEDOM, RESPONSIBILITY AND HUMAN ACTION

Prof. Simona Vucu
Monday and Wednesday 9:00-10:30

Most of us would agree that we have free will, but it is not clear what this amounts to. In the first part of the course, we will inquire into different views about what is required for free will. Do I have free will because I could have chosen otherwise than I did? Or is it because I feel that the choice I made is mine, even if I could not in fact have done otherwise than I did? Or is it because I am able to respond to reasons? In the second part of the course, we will look closer into the relationship between views about free will and conditions for responsibility. Are we responsible only for those actions that we choose to do, or also for those that I do automatically? In ascribing responsibility, should we focus only on the agent’s capacities or should we look beyond these capacities to the circumstances in which the agent acts?  

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: Attendance and Participation, 15% ; Weekly Reading Responses, 20% First Essay, 30% ; Second Essay, 35%

PHL342H1F – MINDS AND MACHINES

Prof. Jim John
Monday and Wednesday 1:30-3:00

Topics include: philosophical foundations of artificial intelligence theory; the computational theory of the mind; functionalism vs. reductionism; the problems of meaning in the philosophy of mind.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL345H1F – INTERMEDIATE LOGIC

Prof. Michael Caie
Monday and Wednesday 3:30-5:00

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. Alex Koo
Monday and Wednesday 1:00-2:30

Mathematical knowledge seems different from that of other disciplines. Mathematical facts have a certainty and timelessness about them that other facts do not appear to possess. Mathematics is incredibly useful in understanding the world, and most believe that there is a universality to mathematical truths. In short, mathematics feels special. But, is this feeling reflective of a unique nature of mathematics? Or, is this feeling an illusion, and we ought to understand mathematics as just another epistemic pursuit?

This course will shift between providing a survey of philosophical positions (logicism, formalism, platonism, structuralism, fictionalism, etc.), and particular problems in mathematics or its application (Cantor’s set theory, mathematical explanation, use in science, etc.). The goal will be for students to develop and inform their understanding of mathematics using both philosophical and mathematical results. A background in epistemology and metaphysics, as well as a healthy interest in mathematics will be helpful; however, you need not be a skilled mathematician for this course.

Readings: A selection of primary sources made available online.

Evaluation: Attendance and class participation; three short writing assignments; two tests.

PHL349H1S – SET THEORY

TBA
Friday 9:00-12:00

An introduction to set theory emphasizing its philosophical relevance as a unifying framework for mathematics and logic. Topics examined may include the paradoxes of the ‘naïve’ conception of sets and their resolution through axiomatization, the construction of natural numbers and real numbers in set theory, equivalents of the axiom of choice, and model theory.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL355H1S – PHILOSOPHY OF NATURAL SCIENCE

Prof. Michael Miller
Monday 3:00-6:00

This course will introduce a number of central topics in the philosophy of science including causation, explanation, reduction, and laws of nature. Questions to be considered may include the following: What does it mean for one event to cause another? How do scientific theories explain the regularities we observe in the world? Are sciences like chemistry, biology, and economics reducible to to fundamental physics? What are laws of nature? Can the laws change over time? Investigation of these questions will allow for a better understanding of how science works, and what we learn about the world by doing science.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL356H1F – PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS

Prof. Michael Miller
Monday 3:00-6:00

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

PHL357H1F – TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Denis Walsh
Wednesday 3:00-6:00

This is a survey of philosophical issues in current evolutionary biology. We discuss topics such as the nature of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, the role of organisms in evolutionary theory, the nature of natural selection, the status of biological species, and recent challenges to orthodox evolutionary theory. We further investigate issues in general philosophy of science from the perspective of evolutionary biology including, causation, laws of nature, the interpretation of models.

Readings: There is no text book. Weekly reading assignments are drawn from the primary literature.

Evaluation: To be decided in class. Typically a combination of written work (essays and short critical pieces) and class participation.

PHL367H1F – PHILOSOPHY OF FEMINISM

Prof. Simona Vucu
Fridays 12:00-3:00

In this course, we will examine some key issues in contemporary feminist philosophy such as work and family, violence against women, feminine appearance, and cultural differences. The aim of the course is to see how attention to different dimensions of social reality (sexual identity, race/ethnicity, class, nationality) can enrich old philosophical questions and raise new ones.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Attendance and Participation, 15% ; Small Project 20%; First Essay, 30% ; Second Essay, 35%

PHL370H1F – ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW

Prof. David Dyzenhaus
Mondays 5:00-8:00

The Politics of Legal Space

We will start by examining the classic debate between HLA Hart and Lon L Fuller about the legality of Nazi law, in particular their focus on the case of a woman who had turned in her husband for offences under a Nazi statute and was then tried after the war for the crime of illegal deprivation of liberty. Many of the issues we discuss will have been covered in PHL 271. But in this course we will both be going into those issues much more deeply than is possible within the confines of 271 and going beyond the materials that you will have covered in that course. As we will see, the debate about wicked law raises and perhaps even provides a basis for resolving some of the most profound questions of philosophy of law—What is law? What is the rule of law? Must law conform to the rule of law? Does conforming to the rule of law give law a moral quality? We will also examine questions about the nature of the Nazi State and other models of state that raise interesting problems for philosophy of law.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: in-class test,  20%;  one midterm paper no longer than 2000 words, 30%;  and a final paper,  no longer than 4000 words, 50%.

PHL373H1S – ISSUES IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

Prof. Mason Westfall
Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00-7:30

An intermediate-level examination of key issues in environmental philosophy, such as the ethics of animal welfare, duties to future generations, deep ecology, ecofeminism, sustainable development and international justice.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL375H1S – ETHICS

Prof. Brendan DeKenessey
Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-2:30

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 (subject to change): Paper 1 (30%), Paper 2 (30%), Final Exam (40%)

PHL375H1S – ETHICS

Prof. Thomas Hurka
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00-1:30

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
Monday 5:00-8:00

Pregnancy

In this course we will consider a number of ethical issues raised by pregnancy.

Readings: TBA

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

PHL376H1S – TOPICS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Shruta Swarup
Monday 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

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

PHL394H1S – MARKETS AND MORALS

Prof. Jordan Thomson
Friday 2:00-5:00

Markets in commodities and labour significantly shape our lives in obvious and non-obvious ways. This fact raises several ethical questions that we will pursue in this class: Does respecting property rights require free markets, or should the effects of markets be controlled to mitigate the poverty of those who do not “compete” as well as others for jobs or profits? Do people have a right to a “living wage”? Are there some things that should simply not be for sale?

Reading: Why not Socialism? by G.A. Cohen

Evaluation: TBA

PHL395H1S – ISSUES IN BUSINESS ETHICS

Prof. Robert Gibbs
Tuesday 3:00-6:00

 Ethical Enterprise and Critical Reflection

This course explores the motivations for and the impact of new endeavours from perspectives that emphasize ethics and sustainability. We will look at enterprise in the widest sense of the term, including start-up companies, non-profits, as well as community outreach organizations and activists working for social change. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the overall criteria by which success should be measured, and to pay attention to the intended and unintended social consequences of entrepreneurship.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA