400-Level Courses (2021-22)

PHL410H5F – Seminar in 17th and 18th Century Philosophy
Instructor: M. Rozemond     R 10-1pm  In-Person Only  
This course offers an in-depth examination of Leibniz’ philosophy.  It will examine questions fundamental to his metaphysics: Why did Leibniz think that only monads, mind-like things, are real and not bodies?  What were his views on causation?  We will also look aspects of his views that connect to his historical social background, such as his views on slavery and his relationship to women philosophers of the period.  The course requires a 1-2 page paper every week, a 5-7 page paper, and a 10-12 page term paper.  Books: one book containing selected philosophical writings by Leibniz.[36S]
Exclusion: PHL416H5 or PHL402H1
Prerequisites: 4.5 PHL credits

PHL 433S Seminar in Epistemology: Common Knowledge
Instructor:  J. Nagel     T 3-6pm In-Person Only
Epistemology often focuses on what people know as private individuals, but new and interesting questions arise when we examine what pairs or groups of individuals can know in common. What does it mean for people to share a common understanding of something? How do we calculate common knowledge during live face-to-face conversations? Why does the classical conception of common knowledge generate paradoxes, and is there any way to escape them? [36S]
Exclusion: PHL430H5
Prerequisites: 4.5 PHL credits

PHL447H5F – Seminar in Philosophy of Logic
Instructor: N. Charlow M 3-6pm Online Synchronous
Study of advanced topics in logic or the philosophy of logic. [36S].
Exclusion: PHL451H5
Prerequisites: PHL345H5 and 4.0 PHL credits

PHL 475S Seminar in the Moral and Political Philosophy
Instructor: S. Tenenbaum W 9-12pm In-Person Only
There is a traditional division between perfect and imperfect duties. Imperfect duties, such as duties to aid, allow room for judgment (there are different ways of complying with the duties) and are not as strict as perfect duties (not all my actions need to be in compliance with the duty; I can fail to aid in a given opportunity without running afoul of my duty to aid). However, various questions arise in trying to make clear what exactly the distinction is, and in justifying how some duties could be imperfect, and in getting the scope of these duties right. For instance, don’t I also need to exercise judgment in order to comply with perfect duties, and aren’t there often different ways of complying with perfect duties (e.g. different ways of fulfilling a promise)? If so, how are imperfect duties different from perfect duties? Why should we accept that the duty to aid is less strict in the relevant way: if I can aid someone without substantial cost to myself, why would failing to do so not violate my duty to aid? In this seminar, we will investigate the nature and ground of imperfect duties.

Readings may include work by philosophers such as Hume, Kant, Joshua Gert, Patricia Greenspan, Barbara Herman, Douglas Portmore, Matthew Hanser, Paul Hurley, Samuel Scheffler, Karen Stohr, Sarah Stroud, among others. [36S]
Prerequisites: 4.5 PHL credits

PHL489Y The Socrates Project (by application only)
Instructor: TBD      W 3-5 Online synchronous
The Socrates Project, offered every year, is a full year course with two components.  First, you will serve as a TA for either PHL103H5 Knowledge and Reality or PHL113H5 Persons and Value during winter semester.  You will attend the two course lectures each week and teach one tutorial section of 20-25 students, meeting with them for 1 hour each week on Friday.  You will grade their papers, hold office hours, and meet with the professor and head TA (a graduate student) as needed.  You will be paid for at least 80 hours of work at the regular unit 1 TA hourly wage.

The second component of the course is a seminar led by a member of the Philosophy faculty during fall semester, together with the writing of a research paper for an Independent Study course in winter semester.  Your supervisor for the Independent Study will be a faculty member of your choosing who is an expert in the area of your research paper.  The seminar will meet once a week for 3 hours during fall term.  Roughly 25% of the seminar will focus on the methods and challenges of teaching philosophy, in preparation for your winter TA work.  The remaining 75% of the seminar will focus on the topics that members of the seminar will write about in their research papers.  Each student will choose a paper topic, assign several readings for the seminar, and then lead the seminar discussion of the topic.  Guest faculty who work on these topics may visit the seminar from time to time.  [36S]  See here for further information and application form.
Preparation: PHL245H5 and 4.5 PHL credits preferred.

PHL 496F, 497S   Individual Studies
Individual studies courses (PHL 496H5F, PHL 497H5S) must be arranged well in advance of registration with the individual faculty advisor, and the plan of study must be approved by the departmental chair (please fill out and submit the Independent Study Form – PDF). Anyone wishing to take an individual studies course must contact a potential faculty supervisor with a plan of study (a topic, a course of readings). Spaces are very limited, and faculty will agree to supervise only students who show evidence of excellent self-motivation.