2016 Summer Courses

Below you will find information regarding 2016 Summer Courses.

Please note that PHL210Y1, PHL217H1, PHL232H1, PHL240H1, PHL271H1, PHL275H1 and PHL281H1 have mandatory tutorials that might be scheduled immediately before or after the scheduled lecture hours. More information about enrolment and scheduling of those tutorials will be given out during the first class.

For courses that have pre-requisites, please check the Faculty of Arts and Science calendar to confirm that you have completed all necessary requirements. Failure to do so can result in your removal from the course. If you do not have the published prerequisites but feel that you have adequate preparation, you must speak with the instructor(s) for the course to seek permission to remain enrolled.

Note: The descriptions (including evaluation schemes) and timetable listed below are subject to change. The syllabus handed out on the first day of classes will have all the finalized information.


PHL100Y1Y – Introduction to Philosophy

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 6:00-9:00 (Tutorials: Wednesdays 5:00 and 8:00)

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 1087

Instructors: M. Szlachta/A. Murray

This course is an introduction to some of the fundamental questions of philosophy: What is good and bad, right and wrong? What is the nature of the self? Do we have free will? What is the nature and scope of our knowledge? Does God exist? In our examination of these questions, we will be reading texts from a number of philosophers, both historical and contemporary. But the goal of this course is not just to learn what and how these thinkers argued. By critically engaging with these texts and forming your own reasoned positions, you will also practice the skills involved in doing philosophy.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Four 750-word papers, each worth 10% of the final grade (for a total of 40%); Two tests, each worth 25% of the final grade (for a total of 50%); Tutorial attendance and participation, worth 10% of the final grade.


PHL210Y1 – 17th and 18th Century Philosophy

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-12:00 (Tutorials: Thursdays 11:00 and 12:00)

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 1083

Central texts of such philosophers as Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.

Instructors: B. Embry/C. Cooper-Simpson

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL217H1S – Introduction to Continental Philosophy

Time: Mondays and Wednesday 6:00-9:00 (Tutorials: Wednesday 5:00 and 8:00)

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2106

Instructor: M. Blezy

What, if anything, unites the diverse philosophical movements and thinkers that are labeled as ‘continental’? In this course, we will try to answer this question by reading some of the canonical works of continental philosophers. We will try to understand what these texts claim, how they work, and why they are written in the way that they are. Our readings are aimed at providing a glimpse into the problems and motivations animating transcendental idealism, German idealism, Marxism, phenomenology, existentialism, discourse analysis, and feminism. We will begin by discussing how the category of ‘continental philosophy’ came about, and how this determines the present landscape of philosophical thinking and philosophical practice. From this point on, our survey will be roughly chronological beginning with Kant and Hegel, before moving on to Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Bartky. The hope is that by following this trajectory, we will be in a better position to understand both the diversity of continental philosophy, as well its continuity, in addressing questions in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, ethics, and politics.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Attendance and participation (10%); 3 two-page assignments consisting of a few short answer questions (23.3% each x 3 = 70%); Final exam (3 hours) (20%)


PHL232H1F – Knowledge and Reality

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-6:00 (Tutorials: Wednesdays 2:00 and 5:00)

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 1085

Instructor: A. Henry

An introduction to issues in the fundamental branches of philosophy: metaphysics, which considers the overall framework of reality; epistemology, or the theory of knowledge; and related problems in the philosophy of science. Topics in metaphysics may include: mind and body, causality, space and time, God, freedom and determinism; topics in epistemology may include perception, evidence, belief, truth, skepticism.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL240H1F – Persons, Minds and Bodies

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00-9:00 (Tutorials: Thursdays 5:00 and 8:00)

Location: Medical Science Building, Room 4171

Instructor: J. Payton

This course is an investigation into the nature of human persons and their relations to their minds and bodies. The guiding question is “What kind of thing is a human person?” Is a human person just a biological organism of a certain kind? Or is a person something that is distinct from, and yet somehow constituted by, an organism? Or is a person not constituted by any material thing at all, but rather an immaterial soul? We will consider these and other answers to our guiding question, especially with regard to the light they shed on the identity of persons over time.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL243H1S – Philosophy of Sexuality

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00-9:00

Location: Bahen Centre, Room 1220

Instructor: Mark Fortney

Philosophical issues about sex and sexual identity in the light of biological, psychological and ethical theories of sex and gender; the concept of gender; male and female sex roles; perverse sex; sexual liberation; love and sexuality.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL245H1Y – Modern Symbolic Logic

Time: Tuesdays 3:00-6:00

Location: Bahen Centre, Room 1130

Instructor: D. Rabinoff

The application of symbolic techniques to the assessment of arguments. Propositional calculus and quantification theory. Logical concepts, techniques of natural deduction.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL271H1F – Law and Morality

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00-12:00 (Tutorials: Wednesdays 11:00 and 12:00)

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 1087

Instructor: J. Davis

This course will inspect several issues at the intersection of law and morality. Some of the questions we will consider are: Is the state justified in imposing laws that restrict certain forms of speech on the basis that their content is immoral? Ought the state allow for exemptions to certain laws on the basis that they conflict with certain individuals’ moral commitments? To investigate these issues, we will consider philosophical discussions in the areas of hate speech, pornography, and religious toleration.

Reading: Why Tolerate Religion?, by Brian Leiter; selections from The Hateful and the Obscene, by Wayne Sumner; essays by Mill, Feinberg, MacKinnon, Locke, Raz, Scanlon, Waldron, Dworkin, Langton, and West, as well as cases from both Canadian and American law.

Evaluation: Short argument analysis (20%); 1800 word essay (35%); Participation (10%); Final exam (35%)


PHL273H1S – Environmental Ethics

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00-3:00

Location: Bahen Centre, Room 1200

Instructor: TBA

A study of environmental issues raising questions of concern to moral and political philosophers, such as property rights, responsibility for future generations, and the interaction of human beings with the rest of nature. Typical issues: sustainable development, alternative energy, the preservation of wilderness areas, animal rights.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL275H1S – Introduction to Ethics

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-3:00

Location: Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, Room 161

Instructor: Joshua Brandt

An introduction to central issues in ethics or moral philosophy, such as the objectivity of values, the nature of moral judgements, rights and duties, the virtues, and consequentialism. Readings may be drawn from a variety of contemporary and historical sources.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL281H1F – Bioethics

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 6:00-9:00 (Tutorials: Wednesdays 5:00 and 8:00)

Location: Medical Science Building, Room 2172

Instructor: P. Moosavi

This course explores the moral questions that arise in relation to medical care and biological sciences. For instance, how do we distinguish disease and illness from health? How does the answer to this question affect our healthcare decisions? Does respecting human life require us to do all we can to promote human life? What is our obligation toward unborn babies? Can genetic screening be used to enhance the health of an individual or community?

We start by a preliminary study of philosophical approaches to morality to set the context for examining bioethical issues. Then we focus on certain ‘micro’ issues in medical care that arise in the physician-patient relationship, particularly in relation to paternalism and autonomy. After that, we turn to moral questions regarding the beginning and end of human life, studying questions surrounding euthanasia, abortion, and genetic screening. Finally, we explore a topic in philosophy of medicine, i.e., the concept of health and disease, and explore its implications for
‘macro’ questions regarding health care policy.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: 10% Paper 1 (Argument Reconstruction); 15% Paper 2 (Argument Assessment) 700-900 words; 3% Paper 3 Draft 1 page; 27% Paper 3 (Comparative Essay);
25% Final Exam 2-hours; 10% Lecture Attendance and Participation ; 10% Tutorial Attendance and Participation


PHL340H1S – Issues in Philosophy of Mind

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-6:00

Location: Sidney Smith Hall 2106

Instructor: E. Carter

This course is an introduction to recent work in the philosophy of perception. Some of the questions we will address are: what are we directly aware of in perceptual experience? Are veridical perception, illusion and hallucination all states of the same fundamental kind? Does perception have representational content (i.e., does it represent the world to be a certain way)? If so, how does its representational content relate to its phenomenal character (the way it feels to have a perceptual experience)? How does perception help to justify our beliefs about the world? How might paying attention to the non-visual senses transform traditional philosophical questions about perception? Can perception be unconscious? And how do space and time figure into perceptual experience?

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Two short papers, 1500 words each (25% and 35% respectively); final exam (40%).


PHL370H1S – Issues in Philosophy of Law

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00-9:00

Location: University College, Room 161

Instructor: S. Coyne

H.L.A. Hart famously wrote that the law is not merely a ‘gunman writ large’. The difference, arguably, is that the law claims authority over those subject to it – sometimes, perhaps, it even has that authority. But what is involved in this claim? How do claims of authority differ from advice, threats, and requests? And what moral features of the law, if any, allow it to make good on this claim?

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Six Short Reading Responses -250 words each (+/- from total mark); Two Essays – 1,500-1,800 words each (60%); In-class Midterm (30%); Participation (10%)


PHL375H1F – Ethics

Time: Tuesdays and Thursday 6:00-9:00

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 1088

Instructor: B. Wald

In this course, we will consider the relation between morality and motivation, focusing on the problem of the so-called “amoralist”- someone who accepts that certain actions are immoral, but is indifferent to this fact in their actions. Many philosophers have thought that a true amoralist must be impossible or irrational, and that if a rational amoralist is possible then the importance or objectivity of morality is undermined. We will examine various arguments on both sides of this debate, and related issues arising from this debate.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: Mid term paper- 1500 words (35%); Proposal for final paper- (10%); Final Paper- 1800 words (40%); Small weekly assignments (15%);


PHL382H1S – Death and Dying

Time: Mondays and Wednesday 6:00-9:00

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2105

Instructor: E. Mathison

An intermediate-level study of moral and legal problems, including the philosophical significance of death, the high-tech prolongation of life, definition and determination of death, suicide, active and passive euthanasia, the withholding of treatment, palliative care and the control of pain, living wills; recent judicial decisions.

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: TBA


PHL388H1F – Literature and Philosophy

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:00-6:00

Location: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2108

Instructor: TBA

This course will cover a broad range of intersections between literature and philosophy. The nature of literature raises interesting questions in a variety of philosophical areas, such as aesthetics, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and ethics. After a look at what literature is we will look at the importance of an author’s intention for evaluating literature. We will then look at what is true in fictional worlds and the related question of how we can refer to fictional characters. This leads to a question of the metaphysical status of fictional characters. We will also be looking at the ethical implications of authorship. Last, we will look at why we subject ourselves to the unpleasant emotions that certain kinds of literature can entice (such as fear and sadness).

In addition to the philosophy of literature, there is also a lot of philosophy to be found in literature. And so interspersed in our philosophical readings, we will be working through some short works of fiction and discussing their philosophical content in class (Milan Kundera, Ursula Le Guin, Virginia Woolf, E.A. Poe, Søren Kierkegaard, Isaac Asimov and Graham Priest).

Reading: TBA

Evaluation: First Essay: 800 words (15%)-Due May 24th;  Second Essay: 1200-1500 words (35%)-Due June 14th; Book Response: 600 words (15%)-Due June 2nd.