2021-22 Course Highlights

students laughing at table together

Biomedical Ethics

Biomedical Ethics

PHLB09H3: Biomedical Ethics

Instructor: Joshua Brandt

Description: This course is an examination of moral and legal problems in medical practice, in biomedical research, and in the development of health policy. Topics may include: concepts of health and disease, patients’ rights, informed consent, allocation of scarce resources, euthanasia, risks and benefits in research and others.

PHLD09H3: Advanced Seminar in Biomedical Ethics

Instructor: Doug Campbell

Description: This course is about decision-making in health-care settings. The course is divided into two units. The first unit concerns the decision-making context. For instance, we will talk about whether it is morally permissible to coerce people into making the decisions that promote health as an outcome; whether we can (and should) change the context of a choice in order to make a certain decision more likely, perhaps without the patient’s knowledge that this is happening; the role of oppression in limiting the choices that we can make; and more. The second unit will be about the way that our decision-making power – sometimes called ‘competence’ – is conceptualized. We will begin by looking at a traditional conception of competence and then complicate it by looking at, among other things, the way that mental illness and psychiatric diagnoses affect our decision-making power. 


History of Philosophy

PHLC09H3: Topics in Continental Philosophy - Phenomenology of Race and Gender

Instructor: Michael Blezy

Description: This course will introduce students to issues of race and gender through a study of the concrete experience (“what it is like”) of being a certain race or gender. We will begin by familiarizing ourselves with the study of phenomenology and its aims by briefly tracing the history of phenomenology from Edmund Husserl’s “science of experience” to Jean-Paul Sartre’s and Simone De Beauvoir’s “existential” phenomenology. With this history in the background, the course will then draw upon the Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Mask in order to criticize the inadequacies of these early attempts at phenomenology from a post-colonial and race-relations perspective. From there, the course will shift to a study of a newly emerging field of “critical” phenomenology, which focuses on the lived experience of race and gender. In addition to drawing on contemporary theories of the experience of being gendered offered by such thinkers as Lisa Guenther and Alai Al-Saji, students will be familiarized with the phenomenologies of race provided by Sarah Amed and Mariana Oretga. By the end of the course, students should have a firm grasp of such issues and concepts such as: the nature of appearances, the definition (and limits) of transcendental philosophy, embodiment, the self, agency, post-colonial theory, the social-historical determinates of race and gender, and the philosophical distinction between sex/gender.  


Political Philosophy

PHLC92H3: Topics in Political Philosophy  

Instructor: Hamish Russell

Description: This course draws on the resources of philosophy to debate some pressing issues in public life. The first half will discuss competing interpretations of the ideal of equality: is equality about counting everyone’s preferences equally, or about ensuring everyone has equal opportunities, or about eliminating oppressive social relations? The second half will cover three of the following topics, as chosen by the class: free speech and its limits; the morality of lawbreaking; feminist political philosophy; democratic socialism; and the politics of anger.

Philosophy of Mind

Issues in the Philosophy of Mind

PHLC86H3:  Issues in the Philosophy of Mind

Instructor: Elliott Carter

Description: Advance Issues in the Philosophy of Mind. For example, an examination of arguments for and against the idea that machines can be conscious, can think, or can feel. Topics may include: Turing's test of machine intelligence, the argument based on Gödel's theorem that there is an unbridgeable gulf between human minds and machine capabilities, Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment.

PHLD87H3: Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of Mind

Instructor: Benj Hellie

Description: This course offers in-depth examination of selected contemporary theories and issues in philosophy of mind, such as theories of perception or of consciousness, and contemporary research examining whether minds must be embodied or embedded in a larger environment.