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Queen's University

100 Level Courses



Course Offerings for 2015-16:


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

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

J. Miller Fall-Winter Term 


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) 

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  

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

S. Leighton Winter term 

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

Equality and Liberty, Power and Principles

C. Sypnowich Fall Term 

This course initiates students to the ideas of political philosophy.  Political philosophy is concerned with how individuals can live in common.  The relation between citizen and state is thus a problem central to political philosophy, and it underpins the many questions political philosophers ask, such as:  What is the rationale for government?  Is there a right to private property?  Does the individual have an obligation to obey the law?  Should government promote equality?  What is the nature of freedom?  Some of the more lively contemporary debates in political theory concern whether the idea of citizenship is viable at all.  For example, some feminists detect a sexist bias in the very idea of the citizen, whilst other critics note the difficulty of reconciling citizenship with cultural diversity within society.  Still others claim that citizenship doesn’t take sufficient account of our obligations to nature and the environment.  This course considers a variety of philosophies and ideas to consider some of the principal trends in political argument.


2 short papers, a mid-term test, and a final exam, each worth 25%.


There are three texts, Jonathan Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy, H.B. McCullough (ed.), Political Ideologies and Political Philosophies, and a short guide for writing philosophy papers. 


Lectures will set out the arguments and issues of the readings, providing context and fielding questions, with some opportunity for class discussion.


PHIL 157/3.0 Moral Issues:  Living Well Together      3L/S

M. Smith Winter Term (2x1.5hrs)

In a pluralistic and multicultural society like Canada today, can we find steady and reasonable principles to answer tough questions about how we should lead our lives together? After examining some of the basics of ethical theory, we will turn our attention to some urgent and very concrete contemporary moral issues, such as: social justice and globalization; nations, nationality, and justice for First Peoples; physician-assisted suicide; law, war, and terrorism; and animal rights.


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000