300-Level Courses

2021-22 Fall/Winter 300-level courses

Note about Prerequisites:
All 300-series courses have a a general prerequisite of 7.5 courses (in any field) and a prerequisite of three half courses (or equivalent) in philosophy. The courses PHL345H1 to 349H1,  PHL356H1, and PHL357H1 are exempt from the latter rule (the philosophy prerequisite). See a list of specific course prerequisites in the academic calendar of the Faculty of Arts & Science. 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. Rachel Barney
Tuesdays 15:00-18:00

This is a survey of the ancient sophistic movement of the fifth century. We will study the ideas of sophists including Protagoras, Gorgias, Antiphon, Prodicus, and anonymous texts such as the Dissoi Logoi and On the Art. Topics include justice, language, the relation of nature to convention, truth and falsehood, moral relativism, the origins of civilization, and rules of argumentation and proof. We will also look at Plato’s portrayal of various sophists in dialogues such as the Protagoras and Euthydemus. (NB: So this is NOT a course on ‘the Presocratics’; we will not cover Heraclitus, Parmenides et al.)

Reading: J. Dillon and T. Gergel, eds., The Greek Sophists, Penguin Classics 2003; Plato, Complete Works (ed. J.M. Cooper) Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997. A hard copy of both books will be required; copies will be available from the University of Toronto Bookstore.

Evaluation: TBA, but will involve a mix of papers, quizzes, and online participation.

PHL302H1S — ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY AFTER ARISTOTLE

Instructor: TBA
Monday and Wednesdays 18:00-19:30

study of selected themes in post-Aristotelian philosophy. Topics may include Stoicism, Epicureanism, Neoplatonism, and various forms of scepticism.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL303H1F — PLATO

Prof. Lloyd Gerson
Monday and Wednesday 13:00-14:30

This course will focus on Plato’s moral realism. This is the philosophical position according to which claims about good and bad, right and wrong have a grounding in reality or in objective “truth-makers”. For Plato, ethics is rooted in and inseparable from metaphysics. We will read selections from a number of dialogues and several dialogues in their entirety, including Gorgias, Protagoras, Symposium, and Philebus.

Reading: Selections from Plato. The Complete Works, ed. John Cooper and D.S. Hutchinson (Hackett, 1997).

Evaluation: two essays, term test (20% of final grade); 2,500-3,000 words (20% of final grade); class participation (20% of final grade), final examination (40% of final grade).

PHL304H1S — ARISTOTLE

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

The topic of this course is Aristotle’s “anthropology, ” that is, his many-sided account of human nature or of the human person. We will consider in what sense human beings can be a subject of scientific investigation and how “human sciences” do or do not differ from “natural sciences.” We will also investigate Aristotle’s account of human cognition, human action, and emotions. We will conclude with a brief look at Aristotle’s account of a human being as a “political animal.”

Reading: Aristotle. Selected Works. Third Edition. Hippocrates G. Apostle and Lloyd P. Gerson. Translations. The Peripatetic Press, 1991.

Evaluation: Two essays, 2,000-2,500 words, each worth 30%; final, faculty scheduled  examination, worth 30%; class participation, worth 10%. The penalty for late essays unaccompanied by a written medical excuse is 3 marks per 24 hour period or fraction thereof.

PHL307H1F — Augustine

Prof. Peter King
Wednesday 12:00-15:00

Central themes in St. Augustine’s Christian philosophy, such as the problem of evil, the interior way to God, the goal of human life and the meaning of history.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL308H1F — AQUINAS

Prof. Deborah Black
Tuesdays and Thursdays 13:30-15:00

In this course we will explore 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.

Reading: Our main readings will be drawn directly from the anthology, Thomas Aquinas: Basic Works, ed. Jeffrey Hause and Robert Pasnau. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2014. Other readings to be posted on Quercus.

Evaluation: Details TBA, but likely to include one short and one longer essay; a take-home final exam; and class participation and engagement.

PHL310H1F — THE RATIONALISTS

Instructor: TBA
Monday and Wednesdays 18:00-19:30

Central philosophical problems in philosophers such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and their contemporaries.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL311H1S — THE EMPIRICISTS

Instructor: TBA
Monday and Wednesday 18:00-19:30

Central philosophical problems in philosophers such as Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and their contemporaries.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL314H1F — KANT

Profs. Arthur Ripstein
Tuesdays 12:00-15:00

The Critique of Pure Reason is one of the seminal works of Western philosophy. Kant undertakes what he describes as a “Copernican Revolution,” providing an alternative to what he sees as the “dogmatism” of traditional rationalist metaphysics, and the “skepticism” of empiricism. His critical alternative claims to reconcile scientific knowledge with the possibility of morality and freedom. The Critique does all of this through an engagement with fundamental topics ranging from the philosophy of mathematics through questions in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of religion, and the metaphysics of freedom.

Reading: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Paul Guyer and Allen Wood (Cambridge, 1998).

Supplementary Text: Gardner, Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason (Routledge, 1999)

Evaluations: One 1000-word paper (20%) due late October; one 2000-word paper due late November (40%); Final examination (40%).

PHL316H1F — HEGEL

Prof. Nick Stang
Mondays 15:00-18:00

This course will be a survey of G.W.F. Hegel’s early masterpiece, the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). Philosophy, over the course of its history, and at any given time in that history, is expressed in a wide variety of systems, views, theories, etc., each of which claims to possess “the truth.” However, there is no agreement about what that truth is and it can often seem that, for any philosophical system, there are reasons against it that are just as powerful as the reasons in favour of it. What is more, many philosophers take their theories to capture not merely what is true now about some particular object in the world, but what is true at all times and about everything whatsoever, the “eternal” truth about the “absolute,” whether that be God, the cosmos, or whatever. But we are time-bound finite creatures, who only come to know “the truth” (if we do so at all) over a period of time. This situation—a plurality of systems with equal rational support, each claiming that the eternal and infinite can be grasped by finite beings in time—can naturally lead to skepticism about philosophy’s ability to know the truth. The Phenomenology is Hegel’s attempt at a comprehensive refutation of such skepticism.  As such, the Phenomenology is simultaneously one of the Western philosophical tradition’s most challenging works, and one of its most stimulating. We will read selectively from the Phenomenology to try to understand its core arguments and conclusions. No prior experience with Hegel or German philosophy is required, although familiarity with Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason will be helpful at points.

Reading: G.W.F. Hegel. Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by Terry Pinkard. Cambridge University Press.; Jon Stewart. The Unity of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Norhwestern Universty Press.

Evaluation: Participation: 15%; 2 Essays (5-7 pgs.): 25% each; Final Exam: 30%

PHL317H1S — MARX AND MARXISM

Prof. Jordan Thomson
Tuesdays 17:00-20:00

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

PHL319H1S — Philosophy and Psychoanalytic Theory

Prof. Rebecca Comay
Tuesdays 12:00-15:00

Psychoanalysis not only puts pressure on core philosophical ideas about personal identity, self-knowledge, and human agency and desire. It also invites us to think anew about time, history, and collective practice. And it introduces some fundamental hermeneutic questions about reading: does the technique of psychoanalysis have anything to teach us about the way we read and interpret philosophical (and other) 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 the set of evolving 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, repression and the unconscious, Oedipus, trauma, transference, mourning and melancholia, fetishism, resistance, repetition and the death drive, interminable analysis and the limits of analysis.  We will consider the relation between psychoanalysis as a theoretical discipline and psychoanalysis as a therapeutic practice.  Finally, we will examine the idea of “applied” psychoanalysis and consider the relevance of psychoanalysis to the understanding of culture and politics today.

While this course will focus mainly on Freud’s theoretical and clinical writings (including some of his most controversial texts on gender and sexuality), we’ll also be reading contemporary engagements with Freudian thought, in particular, feminist and queer theory, affect theory, and trauma theory.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL320H1F — PHENOMENOLOGY

Prof. Tarek Dika
Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-1:30

Phenomenology is a method used in the analysis of human awareness and subjectivity. It has been applied in the social sciences, in the humanities, and in philosophy. Texts studied are from Husserl and later practitioners, e.g., Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Gurwitsch, and Ricoeur.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL321H1S — HEIDEGGER

Prof. Tarek Dika
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00-1:30

Some work from the 1920s (either Being and Time or contemporary lectures) and selections from Heideggers later work on poetry, technology, and history are studied. Heidegger’s position within phenomenology and within the broader history of thought is charted.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL322H1F — CONTEMPORARY CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Dave Suarez
Schedule: TBA

German and French philosophy after World War II, focusing on such topics as: debates about humanism, hermeneutics, critical theory, the structuralist movement, its successors such as deconstruction. Typical authors: Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, Derrida.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL323H1F — SOCIAL AND CULTURAL THEORY

Instructor: TBA
Tuesdays 09:00-12:00

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.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL323H1S — SOCIAL AND CULTURAL THEORY

Prof. Willi Goetschel
Tuesdays 15:00-18:00

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.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL325H1S — EARLY ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: TBA
Monday and Wednesday 15:00-16:30

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. Trevor Teitel
Monday and Wednesdays 15:00-16:30

In this course we’ll survey some of the central topics in metaphysics. Here are some of the questions that we’re likely to look at. Do things that exist now have some special status over things that existed in the past or will exist in the future? Can distinct objects be in exactly the same place at exactly the same time? Are space and time part of the fundamental structure of the world? What changes can you undergo without ceasing to be you? Is the idea of someone traveling through time to the distant past or far future somehow incoherent? In virtue of what are some propositions necessarily true or necessarily false, whereas others are merely contingently true or contingently false? Throughout the sciences certain propositions are described as laws of nature, but what makes a proposition a law of nature? Suppose our laws of nature are deterministic (the laws plus the state of the world at any time fix the state of the world at all times): would that imply that we lack free will in any important sense? Finally, can all facts be explained? What about facts like that our universe is conducive to life, or that there is something rather than nothing? If there were something that necessarily exists, would that make the task of explaining such facts any easier? Throughout the course we’ll also consider how, if at all, our best scientific theories (particularly from contemporary physics) bear on these perennial metaphysical questions. Our focus throughout will be on contemporary work. No familiarity with metaphysics or physics will be presupposed.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL332H1F — EPISTEMOLOGY

Prof. David Barnett
Mondays and Fridays 12:00-13:30

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

PHL332H1S — EPISTEMOLOGY

Prof. Evan Taylor
Wednesdays 15:00-18:00

We will examine historical and systematic approaches to topics in the theory of knowledge, such as truth, belief, justification, perception, a priori knowledge, certitude, skepticism, other minds.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL333H1S — PUZZLES AND PARADOXES

Prof. Michael Caie
Mondays and Wednesdays 16:30-18:00

Time travel, truth, infinity, rational decision making: each of these topics gives rise to philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. In this class we’ll consider a variety of such paradoxes. Using logic and other philosophical tools, we’ll show how these paradoxes can lead to deep and important philosophical conclusions.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA,

PHL337H1S — CLASSICAL CHINESE ETHICS

Prof. Chris Fraser
Mondays and Wednesdays 15:00-16:30

This course explores and critiques personal and social ethical ideals as presented in early Chinese Confucian, Mohist, and Daoist writings and considers their relevance to issues in contemporary ethics. Major texts discussed include the Analects, Mèngzǐ, Xúnzǐ, Mòzǐ, Dàodéjīng, and Zhuāngzǐ. Central questions examined include: What is the Way (dào)? What standards can guide us in following the way? What grounds can we have for confidence that these are the correct standards? What kind of person should we strive to be? What is virtue ()? What values take priority in a life of virtue? How does the person of virtue act? The course will guide students in thinking their way through fundamental theoretical issues while also stimulating them to reflect critically on their own personal ethical path.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL338H1S — JEWISH PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: TBA
Fridays 12:00-15:00

A selection of texts and issues in Jewish philosophy, for example, Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed, Bubers The Prophetic Faith, prophecy and revelation, Divine Command and morality, creation and eternity, the historical dimension of Jewish thought.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL340H1F — ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY OF MIND

Prof. Mason Westfall
Thursdays 15:00-18:00

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. Evan Taylor
Tuesday and Thursday 18:00-19:30

Human action, and the nature of freedom and responsibility in the light of contemporary knowledge concerning the causation of behaviour.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL341H1S — FREEDOM, RESPONSIBILITY AND HUMAN ACTION

Prof. Trevor Teitel
Mondays and Wednesdays 15:00-16:30

Think about some important decision that you’ve faced in the past or might face in the future. A natural picture of us and our relation to such decisions says that various alternative courses of action are in some sense available to us, and that it’s up to us which one we take. This picture is often summarized by saying that we have free will, and at least sometimes act freely. But what exactly might this notion of acting freely amount to? Moreover, there seems to be ample evidence that many, perhaps even all, of our actions are at least partially determined by factors outside of our control: whether the state of the world in the distant past plus the laws of physics, the kinds of experiences we had in early childhood, our genetic makeup, and so on. Can these sources of determination outside of our control be reconciled with the claim that we sometimes act freely? Or do they perhaps show that we in fact don’t have free will after all? The issue is pressing because free will is often taken to be connected to moral responsibility, the thought being that in order to be morally responsible for some action, you must freely perform the action, rather than, say, be coerced to do it. If that’s right, then jettisoning free will would seem to suggest that nobody is ever morally responsible for any action, however good or evil. Is that a palatable consequence? In this course we’ll look at various attempts to wrestle with these difficult questions about free will. We’ll also touch on other related topics in metaphysics, including counterfactuals, laws of nature, modality, dispositions, and causation. Our focus throughout will be on contemporary work.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL342H1F — MINDS AND MACHINES

Prof. Evan Taylor
Mondays 15:00-17:00

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

PHL342H1S — MINDS AND MACHINES

Prof. Dave Suarez
Thursdays 15:00-17:00

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

PHL344H1F — PHILOSOPHY OF EMOTIONS

Instructor: TBA
Thursdays 09:00-12:00

A survey of philosophical topics related to the emotions, from a range of philosophical perspectives. Questions to be considered may include the following: What exactly is an emotion? Are emotions feelings? What emotions are there, and how are they shaped by culture and society? How are emotions related to reason, the brain and the body? What role do — and should — the emotions play in decision-making? Can an emotion be morally right or wrong, and what makes it so?

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL344H1S — PHILOSOPHY OF EMOTIONS

Prof. Mason Westfall
Tuesday and Thursday 18:00-19:30

A survey of philosophical topics related to the emotions, from a range of philosophical perspectives. Questions to be considered may include the following: What exactly is an emotion? Are emotions feelings? What emotions are there, and how are they shaped by culture and society? How are emotions related to reason, the brain and the body? What role do — and should — the emotions play in decision-making? Can an emotion be morally right or wrong, and what makes it so?

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL345H1F — INTERMEDIATE LOGIC

Prof. Mihai Ganea
Fridays 09:00-12:00

This is a continuation of PHL245H1, requiring no other prior knowledge of philosophy or mathematics. We will examine first-order logic, including basic metalogical results such as soundness and completeness. There will be an introduction to basic set theory and metalogic. Topics may include the Loewenheim-Skolem theorems for first-order logic and Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL349H1S — SET THEORY

Instructor: TBA
Fridays 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

PHL351H1S — PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE

Prof. Imogen Dickie
Monday and Wednesday 16:30-18:00

The nature of language as a system of human communication, theories of meaning and meaningfulness, the relation of language to the world and to the human mind.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL354H1F — PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICS

Prof. Alex Koo
Thursdays 10:00-12:00, Fridays 11:00

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

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL355H1F — PHILOSOPHY OF NATURAL SCIENCE

Prof. Denis Walsh
Thursdays 09:00-12:00

The structure and methods of science: explanation, methodology, realism and instrumentalism.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL356H1S — PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS

Prof. Michael Miller
Mondays 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: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL357H1S — PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY

Instructor: TBA
Tuesdays 15:00-18:00

We will discuss philosophical issues in the foundations of biology, for example, the nature of life, evolutionary theory; controversies about natural selection; competing mechanisms, units of selection; the place of teleology in biology; biological puzzles about sex and sexual reproduction; the problem of species; genetics and reductionism; sociobiology; natural and artificial life.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL366H1F — TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. William Paris
Monday and Wednesdays 10:00-11:30

This course aims to introduce students to both the critical and the constructive dimensions of Africana political philosophy. Through our readings and discussions, we will assess the claims that Africana thinkers have made upon the polity, how they have defined themselves, and how they have sought to redefine the basic terms of public life away from either slavery or colonization. Among the themes that we will explore are the relationship between slavery and democracy, the role of historical memory in political life, the political significance of culture, the connections between “race” and “nation,” and the tensions between claims for black autonomy and claims for integration, as well as the meaning of such core political concepts as citizenship, freedom, equality, progress, power, and justice. As we focus our attention on these issues, we will be mindful of the complex ways in which the concept of race has been constructed and deployed throughout historical periods and its interrelationship with other elements of identity such as gender, sexuality, class, and religion. Furthermore, we will attend to differences across black geographies from the Americas to the Caribbean, and parts of Africa.

Readings: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL367H1F — PHILOSOPHY OF FEMINISM

Instructor: TBA
Fridays 12:00-15:00

Selected issues and topics in the philosophy of feminism.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL370H1S — ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW

Prof. Doug Campbell
Mondays and Wednesdays 13:30-15:00

This course will be about the rule of law. The readings will be drawn from a balance of historical and contemporary authors. We will begin with Plato’s discussion of the rule of law in the Statesman, paying special attention to his view that the rule of law, while laudable in some ways, has its drawbacks. We will then turn to Aristotle, who argues that the rule of law is better than Plato suspected. Other historical readings might include Montesquieu in the Spirit of Laws, and Alexander Hamilton and James Madison in the Federalist Papers. The remainder of the course will be spent on contemporary philosophical debates about the rule of law.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL373H1S — ISSUES IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

Instructor: TBA
Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00-7:30

This is 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

PHL375H1F — ETHICS

Prof. Doug Campbell
Wednesdays 18:00-21:00

Virtually every aspect of Western life has been touched by social media. The ever-increasing popularity of social-networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has posed distinct challenges for ethicists. As our friendships, romantic and professional relationships, and even our relationships to ourselves transform under the influence of social media, philosophers naturally ask questions about, say, privacy norms or the advantages of online friendships. Students in this class will be invited to reflect on their own experience with social media within the context of contemporary analytic philosophy. The course will be split into three units: the first is on privacy; the second is on polarization, echo chambers, misinformation, and threats to democracy posed by social media; the third is on life on the Internet, covering such topics as friendships online vs offline and online shaming vs caring. All readings will be made available online. The evaluations will consist of two case studies and one larger essay at the end of the course.

Readings: TBA

Evaluations: TBA

PHL375H1S — ETHICS

Prof. Brendan DeKenessey
Tuesday and Thursdays 1:30-3:00

An intermediate-level study of selected issues in moral philosophy, or of influential contemporary or historical works in ethical theory.

Readings: TBA

Evaluations: TBA

PHL376H1F — TOPICS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Shruta Swarup
Wednesdays 18:00-21:00

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.

Readings: TBA

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

PHL376H1S — TOPICS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Shruta Swarup
Mondays 18:00-21:00

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

PHL377H1F — ETHICAL ISSUES IN BIG DATA

Prof. Boris Babic
Tuesdays 15:00-18:00

An introduction to the ethical dimensions arising in the practice of statistics and data science, including moral puzzles, problems and dilemmas that arise in the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to every day decision making in politics, business, and ordinary life.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL382H1F — DEATH AND DYING

Instructor: TBA
Tuesdays 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, the 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

PHL383H1F — ETHICS AND MENTAL HEALTH

Instructor: TBA
Wednesdays 3:00-6:00

An intermediate-level study of moral and legal problems, including the concepts of mental health and illness, mental competence, dangerousness and psychiatric confidentiality, mental institutionalization, involuntary treatment and behaviour control, controversial therapies; legal issues: the Mental Health Act, involuntary commitment, the insanity defence.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL384H1S — ETHICS, GENETICS AND REPRODUCTION

Instructor: TBA
Tuesdays 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; reproductive technologies (e.g., artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization); recent legislative proposals and judicial decisions.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL385H1F — AESTHETICS

Prof. Mark Kingwell
Wednesdays 09:00-12:00

In the past this course in advanced philosophy of art has been organized around a central issue in aesthetics—beauty, narrative, taste—in order to extend and deepen questions raised in survey courses such as PHL285 or in your own experience of the aesthetic realm. This iteration of the course is no different, but this time it will focus on the uncanny, especially in film. The aim is to consider the unique challenge of encountering Self and Other under the doubled sign of ‘familiar strangeness’, using cinema as a mechanism of ontological investigation.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA

PHL388H1F — LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY

Prof. Rebecca Comay
Tuesdays 12:00-15:00

Philosophy and Theatre

“Theory” and “theater” share a common root (“to see”) but their conjunction is far from simple.  Ever since Plato decided to banish the tragic poets from the city, the relations between philosophy and theater have been fraught.  This course will explore some of these frictions, starting with the question: why is philosophy so obsessed with tragedy, while philosophers themselves usually only get to appear on the stage as comic characters?  This will also lead us think about philosophy itself as a performance.  Despite or because of the diversity of its genres (dialogue, diatribe, meditation, instruction, satire, aphorism, letter, confession, essay, manifesto, scientific investigation, logical demonstration, etc.), philosophy has always entertained an uneasy relationship with its own theatrical conditions– its mise-en-scène, its stagecraft, its protocols, its imagined and actual audience. Thinking about these conditions will force us to reflect on the institutional aspects of philosophy as an academic practice today, including its disciplinary self-conception within the university and its relationship to other contemporary social practices.

Reading: Sophocles, Antigone and Oedipus the King; Euripides, Hecuba; Aristophanes, Clouds; Plato, Republic (selections) and Symposium; Aristotle, Poetics; Shakespeare, Hamlet; Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit and Aesthetics (selections); Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy; Søren Kierkegaard, “Ancient Tragedy’s Reflection in the Modern”, in Either/Or: A Fragment of Life; Freud, Interpretation of Dreams (selections); Berthold Brecht, Short Organon for the Theater and Mother Courage; Walter Benjamin, “What is Epic Theatre?”;  Maurice Blanchot, ‘Tragic Thought’, in The Infinite Conversation; C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins (selections);  David Scott, Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (selections); Raymond Williams, Modern Tragedy (selections).

Evaluation: 1) reading responses (20%); 2) mid-term essay (35%); 3) final essay (45%).

PHL388H1S — LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: TBA
Mondays 09:00-12:00

The literary expression of philosophical ideas and the interplay between literature and philosophy. Such philosophical issues as the nature and origin of good and evil in human beings, the nature and extent of human freedom and responsibility, and the diverse forms of linguistic expression. Such authors as Wordsworth, Mill, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Miller, Camus, and Lawrence are studied.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA