Department of Philosophy

Queen's University
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DEPARTMENT OF

Philosophy

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300 Level Courses              

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PHIL 311 — Philosophy of Psychology

N. Salay

Fall (3.0)

In this course we will focus on the most current conversations and debates in the Philosophy of Psychology. Here is a sampling of the questions we will be exploring: What is consciousness and how can we study it? What are mental representations? Are they really ‘in the head’? What is the role of language in thought? Is cognition a computational process? If not, what other models provide a more accurate account? What are emotions and what role do they play in thought?

We will be reading predominantly contemporary papers on these subjects, most less than five years old, and there will be weekly opportunities for lively classroom discussions.

PREREQUISITE   PHIL 250/6.0 or 12.0 units in PSYC or permission of the Department.

 

PHIL 318 — Philosophy of Law

C. Sypnowich

Fall (3.0)

This course introduces students to some of the central concepts in the exciting and fascinating field of philosophy of law, or what lawyers call jurisprudence, a subject that straddles the disciplines of law and philosophy, both the principles of legal institutions and the ideals of legal order.  At the heart of the philosophy of law is the question of how the rules of the coercive state might justly intervene in individual freedom.  We will consider writings from classic jurisprudence as well as contemporary debates, taken from the UK, the US and Canada.  Possible topics include the relation between law and morality, the idea of the rule of law, human rights, the proper role of judges, and hate speech, pornography and freedom of expression.  These topics will be pursued in order to acquire a grasp of the central ideas and arguments of legal philosophy as well as the skills to assess and critique them.

Text: David Dyzenhaus, Sophia Reibetanz Moreau, Arthur Ripstein (eds.) Law and Morality

Structure: Lectures with some opportunity for discussion in class.

Assessment:  A mixture of in-class essays, a formal essay, and an online quiz.

PREREQUISITE   Completed 60.0 or more units.

 

PHIL 328 — Ancient Philosophy

S. Leighton

Winter (3.0)

This half course will be look at a variety of dialogues of Plato, including the Ion, Laches, Protagoras, Phaedo.  Sample topics to be considered include the nature and value of poetical inspiration, virtue and its possible unity, the nature of courage, roles for reason and the emotions.

PREREQUISITE   (PHIL 250/6.0 or PHIL 257/6.0) or (6.0 units in PHIL and Level 3 or above in a CLST Major or Medial Plan) or permission of the Department.

 

PHIL 329 — Early Modern Philosophy

J. Miller

Winter (3.0)

The seventeenth century saw the appearance of some of the most ambitious and awe-inspiring philosophical systems ever produced in Western philosophy.  This course will study three of them:  those by Descartes (1596-1650), Spinoza (1632-1677) and Leibniz (1646-1716).  We shall proceed chronologically, starting with Descartes, where we will read his *Meditations* and possibly excerpts from other works.  An understanding of Descartes will better equip us to understand Spinoza's magnum opus, the *Ethics*.  After we have grappled with this difficult work, we shall turn to Spinoza's most important heir, Leibniz.  Unlike Spinoza, Leibniz never produced a single great work.  Our readings will include his *Monadology* and other pieces.  By the end of the course, students will have an appreciation of the accomplishment of these philosophers as well as the problems with their philosophies.

LEARNING HOURS   120 (36L;84P)

PREREQUISITE   PHIL 250/6.0 or PHIL 257/6.0 or permission of the Department.

 

PHIL 335 — Introduction to Kant

L. Maclachlan

Fall (3.0)

The Critique of Pure Reason is widely recognized as the most central book in modern philosophy with enormous influence on both Anglo-Saxon and Continental philosophy.  The difficulty of the book is not because Kant is an obscure writer.  He writes with an unusual clarity on straightforward matters.  The trouble is that the fundamental topics that Kant is discussing are intrinsically difficult.  To get a grip on Kant’s innovative approach to the problem of our cognitive life requires a radical shift in our normal habits of thought.  It does not help that Kant was writing at the end of the eighteenth century in a very different philosophical climate.  It is therefore necessary to regress the student to an earlier age.  This will be more acceptable for students who have the feeling that contemporary philosophy is not really going all that well.  To go back to an earlier period may therefore be a real help in suggesting another road to follow.

The Critique of Pure Reason is a long book as well as a difficult book, and I do not propose to tackle the whole thing in this introductory course.  I shall concentrate on selected topics to be specified in an outline made available when the class begins.  The passages selected will be studied with great thoroughness, often reading a paragraph aloud in class, before attempting to explain and discuss it.

The work for the course is designed to ensure that students have a good understanding of Kant’s central theories.  It will consist of two parts.  There will be two short essays (1500 words) each worth 25% of the final mark.  There will be a final examination held during the regular December examination period worth 50% of the final mark.  The examination paper will contain four questions, of which the student must answer three.  The four questions on the paper will be drawn from a master list of eight questions that will be made available in advance.

LEARNING HOURS   120 (36L;84P)

PREREQUISITE   PHIL 250/6.0 or permission of the Department.

 

PHIL 351 — Philosophy of Mind

D. Knight

Winter (3.0)

Just what the mind is and how it works are perennial philosophical questions that really come to center stage as a result of Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy.  Is the mind material or not?  Descartes says it is not material, but then we have to ask what exactly we are talking about?  If it is material, what does that entail?  Are our minds really just our brains?  If the mind is material, how can we possibly explain consciousness — our awareness of ourselves and our mental states?

The course begins with a review of the major theories of mind from Descartes to the present, leading to the question:  how do we explain the qualitative or “felt-sense” of phenomenal experience, and to the even harder question, how do we explain consciousness? 

In the second part we will look at the role of emotions in the life of the mind, and how it comes about that seemingly rational people can act akratically — that is, against their better judgment — or, worse, deceive themselves about what they are in fact doing.

The course concludes by way of a summary, focusing on the questions of mindedness, intentional explanation, and the nature of the self.

Lectures will feature opportunities for small-group discussions.  Evaluation will include an in-class test, short written assignments, and a final exam.

PREREQUISITE   PHIL 250/6.0 or permission of the Department.

 

PHIL 361 — Introduction to Logic

N. Salay

Fall (3.0)

From propositional calculus to first-order monadic predicate calculus. Symbolization, rules of inference, derivation and refutation of arguments.

LEARNING HOURS   120 (36L;84P) PREREQUISITE    A GPA of 2.0 in 6.0 units in PHIL.

ONE-WAY EXCLUSION   May not be taken with or after: CISC 204

 

Phil 362 — Further Studies in Logic

TBD

Winter (3.0)

From first-order monadic predicate calculus to polyadic predicate calculus with identity. Symbolization, rules of inference, derivation and refutation of arguments. Introduction to modal logics.

PREREQUISITE   PHIL 361/3.0 or ELEC 270/3.0.

 

PHIL 373 — Continental Philosophy: 1900–1960

P. Fairfield

Fall (3.0)

This lecture course provides an analysis of key figures and texts in continental European philosophy between 1900 and 1960. We shall study key works by Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, and Hannah Arendt. Major topics will include existentialism and hermeneutics. The format will be lecture with discussion.

LEARNING HOURS   120 (36L;84P)

PREREQUISITE   Completed 60.0 or more units.

 

PHIL 374 — Continental Philosophy: 1960–The Present

P. Fairfield

Winter (3.0)

This lecture course provides an analysis of key figures and texts in continental European philosophy between 1960 and today. We shall study key works by Hans-Georg Gadamer, Michel Foucault, and Calvin Schrag. Major topics will include hermeneutics and poststructuralism, among others. The format will be lecture with discussion.

LEARNING HOURS   120 (36L;84P)

PREREQUISITE   Completed 60.0 or more units.

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