300-Level Courses (2021-22)

PHL 300H5F  Topics in Ancient Philosophy: ‘Hellenistic Philosophy: Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics’
Instructor: J. Allen     T 1-3/R 1-2  Dual Delivery
At the end of the fourth century BCE, during which philosophy in the Hellenic (Greek-speaking) world had been dominated by Plato and Aristotle, three new philosophical schools first appeared on the scene. The Stoics, Sceptics and Epicureans—the principal schools of the Hellenistic period—were to exert a profound and lasting influence, extending into and beyond the modern period (Descartes and Hume, to mention just two modern philosophers, were deeply influenced by them). The fact that we still speak of someone as an Epicure or epicurean, a Stoic or stoical, a Sceptic or sceptical, using the ancient Greek terms, is another sign of this. We shall tackle issues belonging the three main areas of philosophy recognized in the Hellenistic era: Physics or Natural Philosophy (which includes what we could call ‘metaphysics’ and ‘theology’), Logic (which includes what we could call ‘philosophy of language’ and ‘epistemology’) and Ethics. Readings will be from Lucretius, Epicurus, Cicero, and Diogenes Laertius, among others.[36L]
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL200H5 or PHL200Y5 or PHL202H5 or PHL210Y5

PHL302H5S – The Philosophy of Aristotle
Instructor: J. Allen     T 1-3/R 1-2  In-Person Only
This course explores major themes in Aristotle’s philosophy belonging to the fields of natural philosophy, metaphysics, ethics and epistemology. Readings may include, though are not necessarily confined to the Ethics, Physics, Metaphysics, Categories, On the soul and Analytics.[36]
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL200H5 or PHL200Y5 or PHL202H5 or PHL210Y5

PHL 307H5S    Topics in Mediaeval Philosophy
Instructor: M. Rozemond     T 11-12/R 11-1 In-Person Only
The medieval period was a very rich time in philosophy. We will be able to investigate only a few issues. They will include the relationship between philosophy and religion, arguments for God’s existence, the nature of free will, the nature of the human soul (is it a body or not?); and the status of women. The readings will selections from philosophers like St Anselm, St Thomas Aquinas, Avicenna (ibn-Sina), Al-Ghazali, Averroes (ibn-Rushd) and Christine de Pizan.[36L]
Exclusion: PHL309H5
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL200Y5 or PHL210Y5

PHL 314H5S Kant
Instructor: O. Pikkert    M 1-3/W 2-3  In-Person Only
In this course we will study Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and related material. Among other topics, we will discuss the nature of space and time, the relation between mind and world, the existence of God, and the prospects of using reason to arrive at philosophical truth. [36L]
Exclusion: PHL312H5, PHLC37H3
Prerequisites: PHL210Y5; 1.5 additional credits in PHL
                                     Recommended Prep: PHL245H5/309H5

PHL 325H5F Early Analytic Philosophy
Instructor: J. Hutchinson    T 3-6  In-Person Only
An examination of some of the classic texts of early analytic philosophy, concentrating on the work of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein. Central topics to be covered include: the development of logic and its relation to arithmetic; the nature of language and meaning; truth and objectivity; the distinction between sense and reference; logical analysis; the relation between language and thought; and the bounds of intelligibility. [36L]
Exclusion: PHLC43H3
Prerequisites: PHL245H5 and 1.5 additional credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL210Y5

PHL 327H5S Early Analytic Philosophy
Instructor: B. Yi   M 11-1/W 11-12  In-Person Only
An examination of the later analytic tradition from logical positivism to Kripke. The course will cover some of the following topics: meaning and verifiability; the relation between science and philosophy; ordinary language and philosophy; the nature and status of the analytic-synthetic distinction; meaning and theories of meaning; theories of truth; the nature of necessity; and reference and identity. [36L]
Exclusion: PHL317H5
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL210Y5 or PHL309H5 or PHL312H5

PHL 332H5F    Metaphysics
Instructor: B. Yi     M 11-1/W 12-1  Online synchronous
Typical problems: ontological categories; ontological commitment; the objectivity of space and time: causality and determinism; mind and body.
Exclusion: PHL330Y1, PHL331H1, PHLC60H3
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL

PHL 333H5F    Epistemology
Instructor: N. Charlow     M 1-2/W 1-3  In-Person Only
Typical problems: knowledge and belief, perception, the analytic-synthetic distinction, theories of truth, necessity, and the a priori.
Exclusion: PHL330Y1, PHL332H1
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL

PHL 340H5F    Philosophy of Mind
Instructor: G. Rattan    T 9-11/R 9-10  In-Person Only

Descartes thought that a thinker can come to know that she herself is a thinking thing. I’m not so sure. Here’s something I do know, about my own case: there is thinking going on. What follows from this? Does it follow that I’m thinking? If so, how? Why not just that someone is thinking? Suppose it somehow does follow that I’m thinking. This seems though only to establish me as a subjectivity, a point of view from which a world seems to be present. Does it follow that I’m a thing in that world, an objective thing? If so how?

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

These questions are the background to our course, in which we will consider a number of issues about the mind and self. Topics to be covered include: solipsism and the problem of other minds; Descartes’s cogito; rule following and the possibility of a private language; the first-person concept, concepts of subjective states, and beliefs about oneself. We’ll read both historical and contemporary work on these topics, with an emphasis on contemporary work.

The course is intended for students interested in epistemological and conceptual issues about the mind and self. Previous experience in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language is an asset, but not required. Familiarity with basic philosophical notions and methods is presupposed and essential.  [36L]
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL

PHL 341H5F    Practical Reason and Human Action 
Instructor: P. Clark     M 12-1/W 11-1  Online synchronous
The course will cover various topics in action theory and the nature of practical reason, such as the nature of intentional action and intentional explanations, the relation between morality and practical reason, the distinction between theoretical and practical reasoning, and the relation between motivation and evaluation. [36L]
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL

PHL 345H5S    Intermediate Logic
Instructor:   B. Yi   M 2-3/W 1-3  In-Person Only
A sequel to PHL245H5, developing skills in quantificational logic and treating of definite descriptions. The system developed will be used to study a selection of the following topics: philosophical uses of logic, formal systems, set theory, non-classical logics and metalogic. [36L]
Exclusion: PHLC51H3
Prerequisites: PHL245H5 and 1.0 credit in PHL/MAT/CSC

PHL 346H5S Choice and Chance
Instructor:   J. Weisberg   T 1-3/ R 1-2 In-Person Only
An intermediate level look at reasoning and decision making in the face of uncertainty. Topics may include: decision theory, game theory, social choice theory, confirmation theory, foundations of probability and statistics, puzzles of infinity and self-location, and the relationship between knowledge and uncertainty. [36L]
Recommended Prep: PHL246H5 or any first course in probability/statistics/decision-making

PHL 347H5S  Modality in Logic and Philosophy
Instructor:  M. Omoge  M 4-5/ W 3-5  In-Person Only
Study of the concepts of necessity and possibility using extensions of classical logic: modal sentential logic, modal quantification logic, possible-world semantics, the metaphysics of modality. Other possible topics include: counterfactuals, epistemic logic, temporal logic, deontic logic, many-valued logic, and supervaluations.[36L]
Exclusion: PHL347H1
Prerequisites: PHL245H5 and 1.0 credit in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL345H5

PHL355H5S – Issues in Philosophy of Science
Instructor: A. Koo     M 9-11/ W 12-1 In-Person Only
Central problems and contemporary issues. Topics may include: scientific inference and method; explanation; under-determination; the pessimistic induction; constructive empiricism; entity realism; structural realism; laws of nature. [36L]
Exclusion: PHL356H1
Prerequisites: 1.5 credit in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL245H5

PHL358H5S – Philosophical Issues in Cognitive Science 
Instructor: J. Nagel      T 10-11/ R 9-11  In-Person Only
An examination of philosophical issues that arise in cognitive science, such as: the nature of consciousness, alternative models of computation in theories of cognition, the nature and function of perception and the emotions, the evolution of mind and language, and the relation among various fields of cognitive science such as psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience. [36L]
Exclusion: COG250Y1
Prerequisites: (PHL340H5 or PHL345H5 or PHL350H5) and 1.5 additional credits in PHL

PHL 365H5F  Issues in Political Philosophy 
Instructor:   N. Cote   M 3-4/W 3-5 Online synchronous
A study of some of the best recent work by political philosophers on topics such as justice, rights, welfare and political authority. [36L]
Exclusion: PHL365H1, PHL366H1
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL265H5 or PHL277Y5

PHL 367H5F  Issues in Philosophy and Feminism
Instructor:  M. Fortney    M 3-4/W 3-5 Online synchronous
This course will focus on cross-cultural and feminist approaches to the philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. Our readings will mostly be drawn from this text, which you can download in full from the university library website: Asian and Feminist Philosophies in Dialogue: Liberating Traditions (edited by Jennifer McWeeny and Ashby Butnor). [36L]
Exclusion: PHL366H1
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL265H5 or PHL274H5 or PHL277Y5

PHL 370H5F  Issues in Philosophy of Law 
Instructor:   S. Coyne   M 6-7/W 6-8 In-Person Only
Major issues in philosophy of law, e.g., responsibility and punishment, the obligation to obey the law, legal positivism, law and morality. [36L]
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Prep: PHL271H5 or PHL277Y5

PHL 374H5F   Issues in Normative Ethics
Instructor:   S. Coyne   T 11-1/R 11-12  In-Person Only
Normative Ethics concerns general questions about what makes actions right or wrong. Topics include, among others, the plausibility of various ethical theories such as consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, and questions about the moral significance of distinctions such as doing vs allowing and intending vs foreseeing. [36L]
Exclusion: PHL375H5 or PHL376H1 or PHLC05H3 or PHLC06H3
Prerequisite: 1.5 credits in PHL
Recommended Preparation: PHL275H5 or PHL277Y5

PHL 376H5S  Issues in Metaethics
Instructor:   A. Sepielli  T 11-12/R 11-1 In-Person Only
Metaethics concerns the place of values in the world, and the status of ethics as a field of inquiry. Topics may include: the objectivity of morality; moral psychology; the possibility of ethical knowledge; and meanings of ethical concepts.[36L]
Exclusion: PHL375H5 or PHLC05H3 or PHLC06H3
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL

PHL 390H5S Special Topics in Philosophy: South Asian Philosophy
Instructor:   A. Graheli   R 3-6 In-Person Only

Two centuries ago G.W.F. Hegel proclaimed that philosophy was born in ancient Greece and did not exist in India in a mature form. One reason behind his uncharitable assessment of “Indian philosophy” was his ignorance of the language and the sources. We have nowadays improved our knowledge of the enormous Sanskrit philosophical corpus, and yet the assumption of a spiritual or even superstitious India is still predominant, with limited scope for the study of its tradition of rationality and philosophy.

In this course we will study this rational soul of South Asia as the dialectic product of a dialogue of four seminal schools and disciplines — Grammar, Hermeneutics, Epistemology, and Poetics. In addition we will evaluate the Buddhist views that challenged the tenets of those mainstream schools. In the course we will focus on three language-related areas, dear to the very Sanskrit tradition: (1) Semantics, or the debate about words, objects and word-object relations. (2) Metaphysics, or the debate on individuals and universals; (3) Pragmatics, or the debate on sentence-meanings and the unspoken elements of communication. Within these three areas, we will start from three specific claims, and discuss arguments in favor or against them: (1a) The relation between a word and its meaning is fixed and eternal. (2a) All words denote universal referents. (3a) All sentence-meanings are figurative meanings.

The course addresses themes of philosophy of language, history of philosophy, historical linguistics, hermeneutics. An acquaintance with basic philosophical concepts and methods is desirable. A familiarity with Sanskrit philosophical terms and concepts may be useful, but is not required. All classes and readings will be in English language.

Exclusion: PHL395H5
Prerequisites: 1.5 credits in PHL