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Queen's University

100 Level Courses



Course Offerings for 2014-15:


PHIL 111 - 001/6.0, Great Works of Philosophy:

Thinking About Big Questions, Reading Great Works             3L/S

D. Knight Fall-Winter Term (Tues 12:30-1:30; Thurs 11:30 - 12:30; Fri 1:30 - 2:30)

What can we know?  How is it best to live?  Is personal identity something real or just a useful fiction for ourselves and others?  Could being moral in fact be bad for human flourishing?  Just what are our emotions really telling us?

We will 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. 

Philosophers we will be reading include Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Descartes, Hume, Locke, Nietzsche, and Robert Solomon.

Students will learn how to analyse and interpret important philosophical arguments.  Assignments will enable students to develop critical writing skills.  Periodic tutorials will allow students to discuss key issues.

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) (Mon 11:30 - 12:30; Tues 1:30 - 2:30; Thurs 12:30 - 1:30)

In this course, we will explore a wide range of philosophical issues, including death and our fear of it, arguments for the existence of god, the nature and possibility of personal identity.  Our readings will consist of a combination of classical and contemporary sources.  The class itself will involve lectures and possibly biweekly tutorials.  Grades will be based on a combinations of papers, quizzes, tests as well as performance in tutorials if applicable.


PHIL 115 - 001/6.0, Fundamental Questions:  

Philosophical Conversations for an Enriched Life                              3L/S

N. Salay Fall-Winter Term  (Tues 9:30 - 10:30; Thurs 8:30 - 9:30; Fri 10:30 - 11:30)

By reading and discussing texts from a wide spectrum of thinkers, contemporary and classical, analytic and continental, academic and literary, we will explore the most basic questions human beings are compelled to ask.  

What is the best path to a happy life? Does living a good life include being good?  Does the universe have an ultimate, knowable, structure?  Are there questions that cannot be answered by science?  What is the relation between the mind and the body?  What makes us the same persons over time?  Are we the agents of our lives?

Students who put effort into this class will get a threefold return on their investment: improvement in reading, writing, and thinking.  


PHIL 115 - 002/6.0, Fundamental Questions:

New Eyes on Ancient Problems                              3L/S

M. Smith Fall-Winter Term (Mon 2:30 - 3:30; Tues 4:30 - 5:30; Thurs 3:30 - 4:30)

This course offers an introduction to some of the fundamental problems, concepts and arguments of philosophy. We will explore some fascinating issues including the scope of, human knowledge, the nature of mind, personal identity, free will, the nature of morality, and political theory.

We will be reading some of the classic works of philosophy (work by Aristotle and Descartes, for instance), but the principal focus will be on largely contemporary work, and on the ways in which philosophy is practiced in our own time as a living, breathing discipline.

NOTE  Students considering a Major or Medial plan in PHIL are strongly urged to take PHIL111/6.0 or PHIL115/6.0 in their first year.


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

S. Leighton Winter term(Tues 3:30 - 4:30; Thurs 2:30 - 3:30; Fri 4:30 - 5:30)

This course will be an introduction to philosophy through an examination of some significant and reasonably accessible philosophical texts, drawn from a variety of periods in philosophy's history.  Issues to be considered include:  the possibility and nature of personal identity; mind and body; our knowledge of the external world; the nature of love; fear and death; proofs for God’s existence, and the problem of evil.  

The course itself is structured along historical lines, though in ways that allow for digressions, asides, etcetera.  Theorists to be considered include Plato, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Reid, Hume and Parfit.

The format of the course will centre on lectures, but with the aim of fostering discussion.  Our attempt will include trying to comprehend the texts, to grasp the philosophical visions offered, the particular philosophical claims made, the arguments supporting them, and (as far as we can discern) the truth about these same matters.  


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

M. Kocsis,  Winter Term (Mon 9:30 - 10:30; Wed 8:30 - 9:30; Thurs 10:30 - 11:30)

This course introduces students to some central questions of political philosophy. The relation between the state and the citizen is a key problem of political philosophy and underpins many questions that political theorists ask, such as what is a “good citizen,” what is the rationale for democratic—or any— government, is there a right to private property, does the individual have a duty to obey the law, and what is the nature of freedom? The format is lecture with discussion. This course may be taken as an elective and does not presuppose any prior background in philosophy.


PHIL 157/3.0 Moral Issues L/S

M. Kocsis Fall Term (Mon 9:30 - 10:30; Wed 8:30 - 9:30; Thurs 10:30 - 11:30)

An introduction to some of the most dramatic and difficult moral issues that arise in a social context – including abortion, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide,  income inequality, and discrimination – as well as a survey of the ethical theories and analytical tools that can be used to clarify, if not always to clearly resolve, these issues.


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000