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Queen's University

100 Level Courses



Course Offerings for Summer 2014:

Looking to pick up an extra course over the summer? If so, you’re in luck! This Summer Term (2014) Continuing and Distance Studies is offering PHIL 111: Great Works of Philosophy online (  For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Continuing and Distance Studies at 613-533-3322, or visit us online at




Course Offerings for 2014-15:


PHIL 111 - 001/6.0, Great Works of Philosophy 3L/S

D. Knight Fall-Winter Term

Students in this course will be introduced to a number of major works in the history of philosophy, examine just what sorts of issues and questions count as philosophical problems, and reflect on how different philosophers approach the task of writing and doing philosophy.  Through the close reading of texts, students will learn how to analyse and interpret important philosophical arguments.  Assignments will allow students to develop critical writing skills.

The first term will feature two short dialogues by Plato and a considerable amount of his Republic, Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, and what is arguably the first major work of early modern philosophy, René Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy.  The questions we will consider include the nature of morality, how it is best to live, and what counts as knowledge.

Students can expect to write two short in-class tests, two short essays, and a mid-year (December) exam.

In the first part of the second term, we will examine the question of personal identity, with readings by Locke, Butler, Reid, and Kant as well as contemporary philosophers such as Shoemaker, Williams and Parfit.  We will ask what ensures that you are the same person you were yesterday or in childhood or will be next year, and consider a range of puzzle cases (or thought experiments) that challenge the sorts of answers we might initially give to such questions. 

The final section of the course will be devoted to Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, where among other questions we will consider whether being moral is bad for human flourishing.

EXCLUSIONS: No more than 1 course from PHIL111/6.0; PHIL127/6.0; PHIL151/3.0.

Note:  Students considering a Major or medial in Philosophy are strongly urged to take either PHIL111 or PHIL115 in their first year. 


PHIL 111 - 002/6.0, Great Works of Philosophy 3L/S

S. Leighton (Fall)/ J. Miller (Winter)



PHIL 115 - 001/6.0, Fundamental Questions 3L/S

M. Smith Fall-Winter Term



PHIL 115 - 002/6.0, Fundamental Questions 3L/S

J. Davies Fall-Winter Term

It has been said that philosophy is less about getting the right answers than about asking the right questions. For the philosopher even this claim raises immediate questions: What would count as a right answer? How could we tell?

In PHIL 115-002 we explore a range of questions that have engaged the attention of philosophers in the western tradition from the Socrates to contemporary writers. We will consider questions they have asked about truth, meaning, value, goodness, human nature and how to live a good life, individually and with others. Examination of the way these questions have been formulated and reformulated by various thinkers reveal common threads as well as differences in philosophical method. We shall compare approaches to answering and to formulating these questions, as well, of course, as actual responses that have been offered.

Our survey of the (mostly male and European or Euro-American) major figures and movements that traditionally dominate the study of western philosophy is enriched by consideration of the works of a number of female intellectuals and otherwise marginalized thinkers whose contributions are often overlooked by western academics. As well we will compare and contrast perspectives available from a variety of non-western wisdom traditions.

While we learn from the insights achieved by various past and contemporary thinkers, the course is meant to foster your own inclination to ask your own questions and to imagine how we might begin to respond to them. Various classroom exercises and course assignments will provide you with opportunities to enhance your ability to explore philosophical questions orally and in writing, to practice the clear formulation and expression of your insights and the habit of supporting them with good arguments. Considerable attention is also paid to learning to listen and to read philosophically. This too involves paying attention with questions in mind.

There are no regular tutorials for this course, though special optional tutorial meetings will be organized to enhance philosophical reading and writing skills. Regular classroom participation is expected. Evaluation is based on completion of a mandatory short diagnostic essay at the beginning of the academic year as well as performance on one optional set-topic essay per term, one test per term and one exam per term as well as a discretionary overall participation mark.

Most course readings are drawn from Kit R. Christensen's anthology Philosophy and Choice: Selected Readings from around the World. This text is available new and used through the Campus Book Store and other local outlets. A couple of other online readings will also be recommended.


PHIL 151/3.0, Great Works of Philosophy   3L/S

S. Leighton Winter term



PHIL 153/3.0, The State and the Citizen 3L/S

P. Fairfield Winter Term



PHIL 157/3.0 Moral Issues L/S

J. Bickenbach Fall Term



Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000