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Queen's University
 

400 Level Courses

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Course Offerings for 2013-14:

Please note when prerequisites list level 4 as a requirement, this means the 4th year of your program.  It does not mean admitted to Honours. 

 

PHIL402/3.0  Moral Philosophy I    3S

R. Kumar Fall Term

PREREQUISITE: Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL).

What is it for one person to morally wrongs another? Is it a mistake of some kind not to care whether one wrongs others? Can we hold others responsible for wronging us, and if so, what does that involve? Do the intentions with which a person acts make a difference to whether he has wronged another? T.M. Scanlon subtly explores these, and other questions, in his books, What We Owe to Each Other and Moral Dimensions.  Together, they articulate the most important systematic non-consequentialist account of morality currently on offer. We will discuss both books in this seminar, with the aim of understanding the unity of Scanlon's account of moral reasoning.

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PHIL403/3.0  Moral Philosophy II    3S

K. Gordon-Solmon Fall Term

PREREQUISITE: Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL).

When is it morally permissible for one human being to kill another?  Many people believe that killing a   person is permissible when doing so is necessary to save one’s own life.  But surely this isn’t always   the case.  It would be wrong, for example, to use an innocent bystander as a human shield against   an oncoming bullet.   Some philosophers also claim that it would be wrong to shoot down a human   projectile (who’s been involuntarily shot of a cannon, say), even knowing the force of the impact will   be fatal to you. In this course, we'll focus on the range of arguments that have been advanced in the   contemporary literature on the ethics of self- (and other-) defense.   Readings will be by Jeff   McMahan, Mike Otsuka, Jonathan Quong, and Victor Tadros (among others).

Evaluation will be based on one seminar presentation (20%), a submitted final paper question and   prospective bibliography (5%), and a final paper (75%).

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PHIL 405/3.0 Current Issues in Social & Political Philosophy I 3S

The Egalitarian Conscience

C. Sypnowich Fall Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

This is a course about the concept of equality in light of the philosophical contribution of the late G.A. Cohen, who until recently was the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford.  One of the most original, incisive and influential political philosophers of our time, Cohen has left a corpus of work vital to the flourishing of the discipline. 

It might be said that equality is something everyone believes in; virtually all political philosophies across the spectrum claim to be egalitarian, be it in their insistence on individuals’ equal rights to liberty and property or the importance of redistributing wealth more equally.  We are all egalitarians now, we can proclaim, in the rather triumphalist mood that characterised many commentaries on the occasion of the millennium.  However, the concept of equality has also been challenged by a number of factors: the collapse of the Soviet Union and societies of ‘state socialism’; the rise of right-wing critiques of the welfare state, and controversy within egalitarian debate itself.

Cohen’s intellectual career, shaped by personal conviction and philosophical commitment, has confronted and illuminated many of these challenges.  This course looks at the idea of equality in light of contemporary debates, drawing on the work of Cohen, the philosophical context of his work and recent interpretations of his ideas, including the instructor’s recent work, both published essays and an excerpt from her manuscript ‘Equality Renewed,’ which is to a significant extent inspired by Cohen’s contribution.

Texts:

1) Sypnowich, Christine (ed.) The Egalitarian Conscience: Essays in Honour of G.A. Cohen (Oxford University Press 2006)

2) Articles to be distributed electronically (*)

3) Chapters from G.A. Cohen, Rescuing Justice and Equality (Harvard U.P., 2008) 

Course structure :

This is a seminar, so it is imperative that students come to class prepared to talk about the course material.  The first couple of classes will be structured around lectures given by the instructor, with discussion.  Thereafter classes will be structured around students’ comment sheets to prompt discussion.  Comment sheets consist of a two-page, double-spaced short paper that sets out and analyses one or both of the readings.  Students should be prepared to discuss the comment sheet with the class.  Comment sheets will be submitted at the end of the class to be marked. 

Assessment :  

1)       50% based on the best five of six comment sheets;

2)       50% based on the final essay

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PHIL 407/3.0 Social and Political Philosophy III 3S

"Liberal Democracy and Ethnocultural Diversity"

W. Kymlicka Fall Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

This course will examine recent debates about the relationship between liberal democracy and the claims of ethnocultural groups. In the past, most Western liberal-democratic states adopted policies that attempted to either assimilate or exclude ethnic minorities. In the past forty years, however, we have seen a significant change in attitudes, and a movement towards greater recognition and accommodation of ethnic diversity – a trend that is often described as the rise of “multiculturalism”. But what is the relationship between liberal-democratic values and multiculturalism? Defenders of multiculturalism often argue that the recognition of ethnocultural diversity is fully consistent with liberal values of freedom and equality, and indeed contributes to their fuller realization. Critics argue that multiculturalism jeopardizes these core values. In this course, we will examine this debate both at the theoretical level and in relation to a number of specific cases, including claims raised by immigrant groups, substate national minorities, and indigenous peoples, both in Canada and around the world. Issues to be discussed include the relationship between cultural membership and individual freedom; the relationship between individual rights and group rights; the role of religion in a secular state; the relationship between multiculturalism and feminism; the definition of citizenship, popular sovereignty and self-determination; and the rectification of historical injustices.

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PHIL 420/3.0 Ethical Issues I 3S

U. Schuklenk Fall Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

This course has run successfully for a number of years. Our schedule in terms of topics will be discussed and jointly decided on during our first class. It is imperative that you think carefully about the question of what bioethical issues you'd like to work on during this course. I will cover the first few weeks in terms of seminar presentations to ensure that you will have sufficient time to prepare your own presentation on the topic of your choice. Topics typically covered include global health ethics, human enhancement, international research ethics, end-of-life decisions, as well as many others. There is no required textbook for this course. A reading list consisting mostly of journal articles will be distributed prior to our second class. It will be your responsibility to source those articles via the University Library. I will ensure that each required journal article will be accessible to you. 

The success of this course depends on you reading the required readings prior to each class. This will be reflected in the grading scheme, it emphasizes three components: class participation, the quality and style of your presentation and your final paper.  I do not monitor attendance, however, a rigorous system monitoring your class participation will be in place. 

You are strongly encouraged to contact me during the summer to discuss possible topics of interest. I can be reached at udo.schuklenk@gmail.com .

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PHIL 445/3.0 Major Figures I 3S

Mark Smith Winter Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial Plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

Descartes is famous for developing a dualist thesis about the human person. But what usually gets ignored is that he later (more or less) rejected radical dualism and developed a very intersting theory of the whole, integrated human person, which he expressed in his last book, The Passions of the Soul (1649). He was inspired to work on this question by his correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, and so we will also read their exciting and fascinating letters to each other. We will discover a Descartes who fruitfully explores questions of mind-body interaction, ethics, psychological and philosophical therapy, happiness, emotion, and the good life.

Readings:

Descartes, The Passions of the Soul and various other writings

Descartes & Princess Elisabeth, Correspondence

A selection of contemporary writers

Requirements:

Some combination of comment sheets, seminar presentations, and a final research paper.


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PHIL446/3.0  Major Figures II   3S

P. Fairfield Fall Term

PREREQUISITE: Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL).

This seminar examines Martin Heidegger's Being and Time, which we shall read in its entirety, followed by his Discourse on Thinking.  Topics include phenomenology and hermeneutics, temporality, art, language, death, Heidegger's conception of "thinking", and the distinction between Being and beings.  Assessment will be based on one essay and one seminar presentation. 

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PHIL 452/3.0 Current Issues in Metaphysics I 3S

H. Laycock Fall Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial Plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

Analytical metaphysics in the 20th and 21st Centuries is heavily influenced by logical ideas stemming from the work of Frege, and increasingly too by developments in the field of Linguistics. Among the most influential philosophers in this tradition is Quine, with his famous semi-mathematical maxim 'To be is to be the value of a variable'. But there are opposing and more traditional currents going back to the process-philosophy of Whitehead and also to the  philosophy of ancient Greece, especially the 'hylomorphic' thought of Aristotle. This is a course in modern analytical metaphysics, including ontology, but we will be situating contemporary approaches in a broader context. Among the questions to be addressed is the question of the nature of metaphysics itself, as it is currently conceived. Again, what is a metaphysical category? How is metaphysics related to logic, and what is the status of logic anyway? What is an object? What (if anything) is a universal? What is mereology? What is the role of reference in metaphysics? What is the importance of identity?  We shall be reading the work of a number of contemporary writers who address these and related questions.

  
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PHIL 454/3.0 Topics in Feminist Philosophy 3S

J. Davies  Winter Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial Plan or (level 4 and registration in a GNDS Major plan) and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

Special Topic:  Sex work

For feminists, sex work is a hot topic—contentious and divisive. In this country it is an especially timely topic. Challenges to the criminality of activities related to sex work are now before the Supreme Court of Canada.  But even if existing anti-sex work laws are repealed, there is plenty of room for new regulation. The need for reflection on what is at stake is pressing.

As well as applied ethical and policy questions, sex work also raises meta-ethical issues and questions about epistemological authority.  Among those we will consider is whether sex work is inherently (or perhaps just contingently) exploitive and alienating (in a Marxist or any other sense); whether it can be a site of autonomy or necessarily involves its violation (as Kant thought); and whether the question of consent is perhaps a red herring within a culture of female subordination (as Catharine MacKinnon thinks).  What‘s in a name—prostitute, whore, or sex worker? Victims of human trafficking or migrant labourers? Who is in a position to know the answers to these questions?  Is experience necessary? Also, how is sex work gendered and does it matter?  Though most prostitutes are female and most customers are men, there are male and transgendered prostitutes and straight female and queer customers, as well as women who in one way or another live off the avails (i.e. “pimp”).  Do these variations make a difference that affects how gender shapes sex work and vice versa?  Do these variations challenge our assumptions about how we know, explore and express sexual and other parts of personal identity?  How do we consider the impact of racism, colonialism, transphobia, and the capitalist production of poverty on the buying and selling of sex without undermining the agency of those who engage in it? Are there any philosophical revelations to be had by looking at the perverse relation between the marginalization of sex workers and desires for the exotic?

Since the course will run as a seminar, preparation and participation are essential. Students will be encouraged to develop philosophical skills and insights through (optional) collaborative research as well as (mandatory) solo writing projects.  There will be opportunities for students to enhance presentation skills, and their ability to productively share critical and constructive feedback.  The instructor will present introductory lectures to frame and contextualize readings, issues and methods.  Our analyses will draw on the tools of intersectionality theory as well as feminist, critical race, disability and queer theorists, attending carefully to the political economy of sex work (especially neoliberal globalization). 


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PHIL 464/3.0 Topics in Philosophy of Mind 3S

S. Leighton Winter Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial Plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

The work of Peter Goldie has had an important influence on recent understandings of the emotions, and its connection(s) to character.  This course will attempt to appreciate some of his efforts by an examination of his The Emotions: A Philosophical Explorationand (time permitting) The Mess Inside: Narrative, Emotion, and the Mind.  We begin by an exploration of some of the views on the emotions that have arisen over the last century. 


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PHIL 466/3.0 Philosophy of Art 3S

D. Knight Winter Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial plan and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

Topic for 2013-14: Art Criticism:  Judgement, Interpretation, Evaluation

Description:  This year’s course considers a range of fundamental questions centering around how we talk philosophically about art.  For example:  Where do the judgement/interpretation/evaluation of art stand with respect to both philosophical aesthetics and the philosophy of art?  What concepts are relevant to our judgements about art?  What role does interpretation play in our understanding of works of art?  On what grounds can we claim to be in a position to evaluate works of art?

Issues/authors up for discussion include:  Aesthetic concepts and properties, aesthetic categories and their role in criticism, the nature of aesthetic judgements, interpretive monism vs. interpretative pluralism, and key works by Monroe Beardsley, Arthur C. Danto, Ted Cohen, and Noël Carroll.

Case Studies:  Because the philosophy of art criticism is so very broad, we will introduce a range of concrete examples drawn from the tradition of the fine arts, from popular and mass artforms, as well as from the avant-garde movements from the late 19th century onward.  Noël Carroll’s own examples in On Criticisminclude Andy Warhol’s Brillo Box, Christopher Nolan’s Memento, the comic strip, Hagar the Horrible, Damien Hirst’s A Thousand Years, Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, The Sopranos, Oedipus Rex, and paintings by painters as different from one another as Da Vinci, El Greco, and Henri Fantin-Latour — and I haven’t even mentioned the works of dance he references. 

Evaluation:  Students should expect to participate actively in our weekly seminar discussions, write several comment sheets, probably five, make a seminar presentation that is intended to structure and lead discussion for a given week’s course materials, and write a final essay on a topic of their own construction.

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PHIL 473/3.0 Philosophical Logic 3S

A. Mercier Fall Term

PREREQUISITE:  PHIL361/3.0 or permission of the instructor.

                                    **This course should be of interest also to linguistics majors, who will be admitted to the course by permission of the instructor.**

This year's 473 will exceptionally be a course dedicated to various issues in Formal Philosophy and Montague Semantics (also called Montague Grammar). 

Part philosophy of language, thought and cognition, part formal logic, this is basically a course on everything you need to know to understand most philosophical formalisms, such as required for serious analysis of language, mind, and thought, as well as pretty much anything else that is formalized in philosophy (although it is not a replacement for solid grounding in logic --for that, see PHIL 361 and 362). We will look at:

            (1)        logical and ontological categories in natural language

            (2)        basic concepts and notation of set theory (one language useful to the analysis of natural language semantics)

            (3)        properties of functions, cardinalities and recursion in natural language

            (4)        properties of relations, orderings and structures in natural language

            (5)        elements of Formal Grammar Theory: generative grammars, categories and categorial grammars

            (6)        Boolean algebras and morphisms in the logical analysis of natural language

and (time permitting)

            (7)        the uses of lambda abstraction, and

            (8)        the rudiments of intensional logic 

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PHIL 493/3.0 Ethics and the Environment 3S

Mick Smith Winter Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial Plan or (level 4 and registration in a ENVS Medial Plan or ENSC Major plan or ENSC, EGPY, EBIO, ECHM, EGEO, ELSC, or ETOX Specialization Plan) and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

This course will engage with a number of key environmental issues such as biodiversity and extinction, preservation or conservation, environmental and social justice, eco-feminism, deep ecology, bioregionalism and ecological restoration drawing on a number of philosophical traditions in ethics, hermeneutics, political philosophy, pragmatism, philosophy of science and phenomenology. The aim is to provide both an overview of the variety of topics that can be encompassed within environmental philosophy and to encourage participants to develop critical and innovative approaches to questions of direct practical import. While the focus will generally be on our ethical relations to non-human entities and our understanding and interpretation of these relations we will be particularly concerned to examine the ways in which our ethical evaluations might be informed by and inform our understandings of particular places/environments.


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PHIL 497/3.0 Ethics and Animals 3S

Katherine Wayne  Winter Term

PREREQUISITE:  Level 4 and registration in a PHIL Major or Medial Plan or (level 4 and registration in a ENVS Medial Plan or ENSC Major plan or ENSC, EGPY, EBIO, ECHM, EGEO, ELSC, or ETOX Specialization Plan) and (a minimum GPA of 2.60 in PHIL250/6.0 and PHIL257/6.0) and (6.0 units in PHIL). 

This course involves examination of the ethics of human-animal relationships, both interpersonally and politically. Rather than supplying a broad historical survey of these relationships and how they have been interpreted and evaluated philosophically, we will focus on contemporary material that reflects the (recently) rapid progress of animal ethics.  Of this material, we will focus particularly, but not exclusively, on the relationship between humans and domesticated animals. Domesticated animals raise distinctive ethical issues because of how their exploitation is made possible through their dependence on us, which is a dependence that humans created.  For instance, a number of contemporary scholars argue that because we took domesticated animals out of the wild and bred them to be dependent on us, we owe them special duties not owed to wild animals, including duties of care. Others, supporting what has been called the strong abolitionist position, argue that precisely because domestic animals have been bred to be dependent on us, their lives are inherently unnatural and degraded.

The first half of the course will provide an overview of contemporary debates in animal ethics. We will examine literature concerning the moral status of animals, the range of moral theoretical approaches to animals, and how animals are understood. The second half of the course will narrow in on the ethical dimensions of the human-domestic animal relationship, and is divided into two parts. First, we will focus on normative theoretical foundations of this relationship, considering questions like: what kinds of relationships are morally appropriate and desirable between domestic animals and humans? To what extent and in what ways are humans permitted or required to intervene in domestic animals’ lives? Second, we will consider how these theoretical approaches to the relationship between humans and domestic animals, particularly the membership model, may guide ethical inquiry into concrete issues such as animal product consumption, labour, and reproduction.

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Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000