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.

FALL & WINTER - REMOTE/IN PERSON/ONLINE (6.0)

Instructor: Sergio Sismondo (Fall) & Omar Bachour (Winter)

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, and then will apply what we learn to some contemporary issues: climate change, poverty, and world hunger, distributive justice, and knowledge production. In the final part of the course, we explore some ethical controversies concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, including some of: concerns about containment and mitigation, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine hoarding and patents, and vaccine inequality.

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

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: Brennen Harwood

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

Fall:

This course introduces students to the central questions of political philosophy through an examination of the relation between state and citizen. We will begin by focusing on the question of political legitimacy. 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 social arrangements should we consider legitimate as a result? This will take us into an examination of the rights of the individual, and the relationship between justice, property rights, and the market. Where do the rights of the individual begin and the rights of the community end? Are property rights justified, and if so, on what grounds?  

Finally, we will examine some of the challenges, oversights, and problems of application that animate contemporary political philosophy, in order to look at how the insights of different philosophical traditions might be brought to bear upon the issues we face today. Topics to be discussed include global justice, our duties to future generations, multiculturalism, and the political legacy of colonialism.

  • Assessment: Students will be assessed based on a series of short essay assignments and a final take-home exam.
  • Learning Hours: 120 (36L;84P) 
  • Prerequisite: None
  • Texts/Readings: We will be using Jonathan Wolff's An Introduction to Political Philosophy, 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Available at the campus bookstore. We will also read selections taken directly from the different authors we examine in this course. All supplementary readings will be made available through OnQ. 

Winter:

Instructor: Kathryn Lawson

This introductory course will examine political philosophy through six units:

  • The history of political philosophy
  • Rights versus Obligations
  • Social Contract
  • Abolitionists
  • Civil Disobedience (The Bhagavad Gita and its heirs)
  • Economic Influences on the Political

Readings will range from ancient philosophy to contemporary thinkers, including works within and beyond the “Western canon,” and will be available on the course website or through the Queen’s library website. Each class will introduce a new thinker and examine how that thinker conceptualizes our rights and responsibilities as members of the larger community.

Grades will be given based on three response papers, a final essay, and a final exam.

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.