Department of Philosophy

DEPARTMENT OF

Philosophy

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100 Level courses

These are courses and descriptions for 2019-20.

 

PHIL 111.001 - What is Philosophy - Sismondo/Lehoux
FALL / WINTER (6.0)

Are you looking for a broad introduction to philosophy? Here’s a course structured both around some important themes and the broad sweep of philosophy’s history. We’ll explore arguments about reality, knowledge, ethics and politics, from antiquity to the current day. We’ll be dealing with abstract issues about such things as the basis of morality, but will also apply what we learn to a few contemporary moral issues.  Students in this course will be evaluated on the basis of a number of small assignments each term. There will be no midterm or final exam. 
Texts/Readings:
multiple readings available online, possibly one purchased style guide
Assessment:
multiple small assignments and essays
Learning Hours:
240 (72L; 168P)
Exclusion:   
PHIL 151/3.0
Note:   
Students considering a Major or Medial Plan in PHIL are strongly urged to take PHIL 111/6.0 or PHIL 115/6.0 in their first year.

 

PHIL 111.002 - What is Philosophy? - Miller
FALL / WINTER (6.0)

An introduction to philosophy through the examination of a number of classic philosophical works, with an evaluation of the positions and arguments offered in each.
Texts:
TBD
Assessment:
TBD
Learning Hours:
240 (72L;168P)
Exclusion:
PHIL 151/3.0
Note:
Students considering a Major or Medial Plan in PHIL are strongly urged to take PHIL 111/6.0 or PHIL 115/6.0 in their first year.

 

PHIL 115 - Fundamental Questions - Davies
FALL / WINTER (6.0)
Topic: How to love wisdom and challenge ignorance
Can philosophy help us overcome the limitations of personal prejudice? Can philosophy enable us to ask or even understand questions from beyond our familiar cultural horizons? Can philosophy make us better people, individually or collectively?
In PHIL 115 we explore questions that have engaged lovers of wisdom and virtue from the Buddha and Socrates to contemporary activists in the Idle No More movement. How can we live good lives? What is wisdom and virtue? How are error and ignorance produced? How does emotion affect good judgment and how is good judgment recognized? Our survey of the (mostly male and European or Euro-American) figures that have dominated the study of western philosophy is enriched by consideration of the works of individuals and wisdom traditions whose contributions are often overlooked by western academics. We pay particular attention to the role played by racism and other systems of dominance in reproducing ignorance along with inequality. We examine how critical perspectives function to resist ignorance.
While you learn from the insights achieved by various thinkers and schools of thought, you are also encouraged to ask your own questions and to imagine how we might best respond to them. Classroom exercises and course assignments provide opportunities to learn how to better listen, and to look for philosophical insights and arguments in written texts; and opportunities to practice communicating your own insights and arguments, orally and in writing.
Evaluation is based on short writing assignments, plus one midterm test and exam per term, as well as a discretionary overall participation mark.
Texts/Readings:
TBD
Assessment:
TBD
Learning Hours:
240 (48L;24T;168P)
Note:
Students considering a Major or Medial Plan in PHIL are strongly urged to take PHIL 111/6.0 or PHIL 115/6.0 in their first year.

 

PHIL 151 - Great Works - M.CR.Smith
FALL (3.0)
Our exploration of some of the classic works of western philosophy will be guided by two main threads. The first is: what can we know, and how? And the other is: how should we live, and why? To address these questions, we will examine some of the works of Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Mill (among others), and see how a critical engagement with their thought brings us to practice philosophy as a living, breathing discipline.
Texts/Readings: 
A selection of works will be available through the course site.
Assessment: 
3 in-class reading tests; 2 short papers; 1 final exam
Learning Hours:
120 (24L;12T;84P)
Exclusion:
PHIL 111/6.0

 

PHIL 153 - State and Citizen – Harwood
WINTER (3.0)

This course introduces students to the central questions of political philosophy through an examination of the relation between the state and the citizen: What is the rationale, if any, for the state? How can we justify our political and social arrangements to one another, and what kinds of arrangements are legitimate as a result? Is there a right to private property? How should the democratic commitment to equality best be interpreted? Why have anarchists, feminists, and Marxists traditionally viewed the concept of citizenship with suspicion? What does it mean to refer to a position as "conservative," "liberal," "socialist," or "communist"? Students will become familiar with these political ideologies as well as the similarities and tensions between them.
Texts/Readings:
Jonathan Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy - Third Edition, plus supplementary readings.
Assessment:
Students will be evaluated on a combination of short essay assignments and in-class tests, including a mid-term and a final exam.
Learning Hours:
120 (36L;84P)
 

PHIL 157 – Moral Issues - Kumar
FALL (3.0)

An examination of disputed moral questions that arise in everyday life. Our aim will be to consider philosophical arguments for different positions on controversial issues rather than trying to settle anything once and for all. No background in philosophy is assumed.  Topics to be covered may include moral questions regarding the use of torture, pornography, hate speech, the reduction of carbon emissions, affirmative action, organ sales, euthanasia, and significance of consent.
Texts/Readings:

TBD
Assessment:
Three short papers over the course of the term and weekly and tutorial assignments between weeks 4-11.
Learning Hours:
120 (24L;12G;84P)