Great Works of Philosophy | Arts and Science ONLINE

Great Works of Philosophy

PHIL 151/3.0

This course, typically offered on campus, will be offered online to distance students on a one-time basis this Fall 2020 with a limited number of spaces. Please note that there may be synchronous sessions in this course.

For information on this course, please visit the Queen's Philosophy website.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be better equipped to: 

  • Describe the principal arguments in a selection of the foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition; 

  • Critically analyze and assess these arguments for logical consistency; 

  • Weigh specific philosophical views against potential counterexamples; 

  • Apply the techniques of critical analysis in both reading and writing; 

  • Articulate and defend a clear and coherent position on a philosophical question; and 

  • Build and extend logical reasoning skills that are so crucial in every aspect of living and apply them to practical cases. 


This course will offer students a critical examination of a selection of the principal works of the Western philosophical tradition. We will examine each of our selections both in its historical context, and also as a living approach to questions of enduring concern today. Through an exploration of Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Mill, we will tackle such questions as the nature and possibility of knowledge, freedom of the will, moral obligation, ethical objectivity, and the nature of the human beings whom we are. 

Topics at a Glance

Module 1 - Introduction and Backround Concepts
Modules 2-3 - Aristotle: The Work of Being Human
Modules 4-5 - Descartes: Mind in a Material World
Modules 6-7 - Hume: The Scope and Limits of Knowledge
Modules 8-9 - Kant: The Laws of Freedom
Modules 10-11 - Mill: The Uses of Happiness
Module 11 - Persons, Freedom, and Living Well


Summer 22: May-July
Course Dates: 
May 9 - July 29, 2022
Exam Dates: 


50% - Short Papers (2 out of 3 - 2x25%) - Individual
10% - Quizzes (5x2%) - Individual
40% - Discussion Activities (4 out of 5 - 4x10%) - Individual with peer interaction

*Evaluation subject to change*


Professor Mark Smith (

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a week (120 hours per term) in study, listening and online activity for this course. 

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.