Great Works of Philosophy

PHIL 111/6.0

An introduction to philosophy through the examination of a number of classic philosophical works, with an evaluation of the positions and arguments offered in each.


In this online philosophy course, we will be exploring a wide range of philosophical issues. Our readings will consist of a combination of classical and contemporary sources. Class itself will combine lectures and tutorials. Marks will be based on four papers, six quizzes, two tests, and performance in tutorials.


Four 1500-word papers40%
Five quizzes15%
One take-home exam35%

**Subject to change**


  • Death
  • Arguments for the Existence of God
  • Hume's Dialogues
  • Divine Command Ethics
  • Utilitarianism
  • Kantianism
  • Happiness
  • Rationalism
  • Empiricism
  • Idealism
  • The Problem of Induction
  • Free Will
  • Historical Approaches to Justice
  • Contemporary Approaches to Justice

**Subject to change**


Welcome to Philosophy 111! I am pleased that you have signed up for the course, and I hope you will get as much out of taking it as I will teaching it.

Before the course gets started, I wanted to tell you a little about myself. Educationally, I earned my PhD from the University of Toronto. I have taught at several universities, including the University of Toronto, the University of Minnesota, Uppsala University (Sweden) and of course Queen’s. As I tell my students here, out of all the places where I have taught, Queen’s students are on average the best of the lot.

My research interests make me well-suited to teach PHIL 111, as I specialise in the history of philosophy. My main guy is Spinoza, the Dutch-Jewish philosopher who died in 1677. I am also very interested in the ancient Stoics, a school which flourished from the 3rd century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D. We won’t directly encounter either of these parties in our course but we will read works of some of their peers, including Plato, Aristotle and Descartes.

Outside the classroom, I am lucky to be the father of three children – Magnolia (aged 8), Gus (4) and Poppy (2). My website is hopelessly out of date but if you’re interested, you’ll find pictures of Magnolia and Gus there (I still need to post some of Poppy).

Course mechanics will be explained in the first lecture, so any questions you might have about marking or deadlines should be answered at the time. If there are specific matters that you want to raise with me in the meantime, however, you are welcome to contact me by email.

Again, I want to thank you for your interest in this course. I look forward to getting to know you over the year ahead.

Jon Miller

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend, on average, about 18 - 20 hours per week on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Dates and Deadlines section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.