100 Level courses

2021-22

Note that some Fall courses are being taught remotely. Please consult each course description to find out instructors’ plans for how the course will be delivered.

Instructor: Sergio Sismondo (Fall) & TBA (Winter)

FALL & WINTER - REMOTE/ONLINE (6.0)

Fall:

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 some contemporary issues. We’ll also be focusing on writing. Students in this course will be evaluated on the basis of a number of small writing assignments each term. There will be no midterms or exams.

 This course will be taught both as an online-only course and as a course with face-to-face components, allowing students maximum flexibility

  •  Texts/Readings: multiple readings, mostly available online
  • Assessment: multiple small assignments and essays

Winter: 

Course description coming soon.

  • Learning Hours: online delivery - 240 (72L; 168P)
  • Prerequisite: N/A
  • Exclusion: No more than 1 course from PHIL 115/6.0; PHIL 127/6.0; 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.

Instructor: Mark Smith 

FALL - REMOTE/ONLINE (3.0) & WINTER - ON CAMPUS (3.0)

Fall:

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,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 reading tests; 2 short papers; 1 final assignment; discussion participation
  • Learning Hours: Online asynchronous delivery
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Exclusion: PHIL 111/6.0

Winter: 

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,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 reading tests; 2 short papers; 1 final assignment; discussion participation
  • Learning Hours: Blended learning model, combining independent guided reading and in-person discussion:120 (24L;12T;84P)
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Exclusion: PHIL 111/6.0

Instructor: TBA

FALL - ON CAMPUS (3.0) & WINTER - ON CAMPUS (3.0)

An introduction to political philosophy which explores the relationship between state and citizen. Issues include: civil disobedience, nationalism, the welfare state, anarchism and the capitalist state.

  • Learning Hours: 120 (24L;12G;84P)
  • Prerequisite: N/A
  • Exclusion: N/A

More detailed course description coming soon!

Instructor: Jacqueline Davies

FALL - ON CAMPUS (3.0)

Diverse philosophers and wisdom traditions respond variously to questions about what it means to live morally, ethically, or, “in a good way”. This course introduces multiple moral frameworks and how they orient us to respond to moral issues, as well as what they might cause us to overlook. We will look at how utilitarianism focuses on the positive and negative effects of an action and rejects fixed ideas about certain actions being always forbidden or always demanded. With Immanuel Kant, and theorists of human rights, we will ask if there are any actions we just should not do no matter how much they might benefit many of us. We will also draw on the insights of feminist ethics of care, African Ubuntu, as well as Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee teachings about interdependence and our responsibilities to all our relations. We will consider how caring is not merely an impulse to be kind, but is a practice that helps us know what is needed and how best to respond individually and/or collectively within webs of relations.

We will test our understanding of diverse moral frameworks and teachings by relating them to selected issues. These issues may include lying and cheating; consensual sexuality; harmful speech; incarceration; climate crisis; public health and wellbeing; our responsibilities to strangers, as well as to the natural environment; and, whether we have a moral responsibility to challenge (our own) ignorance.

Skills emphasized include the careful and reading of philosophical texts, for argument, assumptions and implications; respectful and critical oral discussion and reflective writing to explore and test your intuitions; and, written argumentation. The course is suitable for students in any discipline, and for philosophy concentrators keen to reflect on their own views and reasonable alternatives.

  • Texts/Readings:    All course readings are available either on the Queen’s Library eReserve for this course, or as links of PDFs on the course website. This includes the Instructor’s Unit Notes. There is no textbook to buy.
  • Assessment: 
    • Regular, online, active-reading assignments (10%)
    • Best five out of six multiple-choice reading-comprehension quizzes (20%)
    • 4 short writing assignments (10%+ 15%+20%+25%)
  • Learning Hours: 120 (24L;12G;84P)  
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Exclusions: N/A       
  • Note: Public health conditions permitting, the class will meet for lectures and discussion.          

Instructor: Jacqueline Davies

WINTER - ONLINE (ASO) (3.0)

Diverse philosophers and wisdom traditions respond variously to questions about what it means to live morally, ethically, or, “in a good way”. This course introduces multiple moral frameworks and how they orient us to respond to moral issues, as well as what they might cause us to overlook. We will look at how utilitarianism focuses on the positive and negative effects of an action and rejects fixed ideas about certain actions being always forbidden or always demanded. With Immanuel Kant, and theorists of human rights, we will ask if there are any actions we just should not do no matter how much they might benefit many of us. We will also draw on the insights of feminist ethics of care, African Ubuntu, as well as Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee teachings about interdependence and our responsibilities to all our relations. We will consider how caring is not merely an impulse to be kind, but is a practice that helps us know what is needed and how best to respond individually and/or collectively within webs of relations.

We will test our understanding of diverse moral frameworks and teachings by relating them to selected issues. These issues may include lying and cheating; consensual sexuality; harmful speech; incarceration; climate crisis; public health and wellbeing; our responsibilities to strangers, as well as to the natural environment; and, whether we have a moral responsibility to challenge (our own) ignorance.

Skills emphasized include the careful and reading of philosophical texts, for argument, assumptions and implications; respectful and critical oral discussion and reflective writing to explore and test your intuitions; and, written argumentation. The course is suitable for students in any discipline, and for philosophy concentrators keen to reflect on their own views and reasonable alternatives. 

  • Texts/Readings: All course readings are available either on the Queen’s Library eReserve for this course, or as links of PDFs on the course website. This includes the Instructor’s Unit Notes. There is no textbook to buy.
  • Assessment: 
    • Regular online active-reading assignments (10%)
    • Best five out of six multiple-choice reading-comprehension quizzes (20%)
    • 4 short writing assignments (10%+ 15%+20%+25%)
  • Learning Hours: All lectures and learning activities are available asynchronously, online. To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10 hours per week (120 hours per term) on the course. 120 (36L;84P)
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Exclusions: N/A
  • Note: The course is suitable for students in any year of any discipline, including philosophy concentrators keen to reflect on their own views and reasonable alternatives. No background in philosophy is assumed.

2020-21

Note that all Fall courses are being taught remotely. Please consult each course description to find out instructors’ plans for how the course will be delivered.

Instructor: Sergio Sismondo

FALL & WINTER - ONLINE (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 some contemporary issues. We’ll also be focusing on writing. Students in this course will be evaluated on the basis of a number of small writing assignments each term, due weekly. There will be no midterms or exams. All required course materials will be posted online, available to students in any time zone.

  • Texts/Readings: multiple readings, mostly available online
  • Assessment: multiple small assignments and essays
  • Learning Hours: 240 (72L; 168P)
  • Exclusion: No more than 1 course from PHIL 115/6.0; PHIL 127/6.0; 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.

Instructor: Mark Smith

FALL- ONLINE (3.0) & WINTER - ONLINE (3.0)

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.

This offering is entirely asynchronously delivered online, with a variety of ways to engage with your professor and TAs, as well as each other. Through podcasts (with text available for you to read if you wish), I will introduce you to each of the themes we will broach. Then the details of the various arguments will be explored through lecture-style audio slideshows I have prepared. There will be a weekly online discussion forum, and the opportunity for live video chat with me or with the TAs. 

  • Texts/Readings: A selection of works will be available through the course site. All of the readings are available through the course website—there is no additional textbook, and all course materials are site-embedded.
  • Assessment: 3 in-class reading tests; 2 short papers; 1 final exam
  • Learning Hours: 120 (24L;12T;84P)
  • Exclusion: PHIL 111/6.0

Instructor: Jacqueline Davies

FALL - ONLINE (3.0) & WINTER - ONLINE (3.0)

How have diverse philosophers and wisdom traditions identified and responded to moral issues? What are our individual intuitions and established opinions about them? The course encourages each of us to examine reasoning for and against various responses, especially our own. Particular issues examined may include lying and cheating, harmful speech, punishment, paying for or being paid for sex, our responsibilities to understand and address climate crisis, public health and wellbeing and our responsibilities to strangers, as well as to the natural environment. Finally, do we have a moral responsibility to know and respond to injustice? Students will become familiar with various philosophical frameworks, and their distinctive approaches to moral questions, as well as the significance of the language we choose to describe a moral issue. Skills emphasized include the careful reading of philosophical texts, reflective writing to explore and test your intuitions and opinions, and writing an argumentative essay. The course is suitable for first time philosophy students as well as philosophy concentrators keen to reflect on their own views and reasonable alternatives. No background in philosophy is assumed.

  • Assessment: Regular participation in (asynchronous) written online class discussions (20%); Regular active reading assignments (20%); Best five out of six multiple-choice reading-comprehension quizzes (10%); A scaffolded argumentative essay assignment (writing an essay in four stages: worth 5%+10%+15%+20%)
  • Learning Hours: 120 (24L;12G;84P)
  • Note: Student availability for the timetabled slots for this course is not required. These slots will be dedicated to virtual "office hours" held by the instructor, and the optional enrichment of occasional group discussions.