2023-24 Course Highlights

students laughing at table together

Biomedical Ethics

Biomedical Ethics

PHLB09H3: Biomedical Ethics

Instructor: Eric Mathison

Description: This course will introduce students to some of the main topics in bioethics, including informed consent, truth telling, privacy, medical assistance in dying, abortion, and emerging technologies. We will consider both theoretical questions (e.g., What is death? What are the goals of medicine?) as well as some applied and policy questions (e.g., When should vaccinations be mandatory? How do we ethically distribute scarce resources such as organs?).

PHLC07H3: Death and Dying

Instructor: Eric Mathison

Description: We are all going to die (probably). Given this, there is value in trying to figure out what death is and how we should feel about it. In this course, we will tackle some of these questions. What does it mean to die? Why, if at all, is death a bad thing for the person who dies? Would it be better to live forever? We will also investigate some of the applied and policy questions about death, including what the legal definition of death should be, whether assisted dying should remain legal (and in what circumstances), and whether we can ever have a duty to die.


History of Philosophy

PHLC14H3: Topics in Non-Western Philosophy - Islamic Philosophy

Instructor: Seyed Yarandi

Description: How are we to understand the notion of “race”? What is it to belong to a “racial group”? Why does racism exist? What are the root causes of racism? What is it to “be racist”? Is racism simply a matter of certain individuals or groups holding racist views or attitudes? Or is racism bound up with (and perpetuated by) particular legal, educational, economic and cultural institutions and practices? In what sense is racism “systematically generated”? What is meant by “structural racism,” and by what avenues does structural racism operate? Do our ideas about race shape how we perceive and experience the world? Where do these ideas about race come from? What role does language, ideology, and mythical thinking play in the formation of racist worldviews? This course aims to introduce students to the philosophy of race through a familiarity with contemporary scholarly work on race and racism that specially draws on the tradition of Continental philosophy and its various movements and schools. By the end of the course, students will not only be acquainted with the unique theoretical contributions made to our understanding of race and racism by Marxism, phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, post-structuralism, and post-colonial theory, but gain a deeper appreciation of the injustices that presently define our society, as well as the broader global community in which we live. 

PHLD31H3: Advanced Seminar in Ancient Philosophy: Plato's Republic

Instructor: Joseph Gerbasi

Description: This seminar will be devoted to reading and contemplating Plato's Republic in its entirety. In working through this most comprehensive and influential work of ancient philosophy, we will try to understand and think critically about Plato’s views on various philosophical topics, his arguments and modes of argumentation, and his overarching vision. We will also consider to what extent these things are of enduring interest for us today. 


Political Philosophy


PHLC92H3: Political Philosophy

Instructor: Hamish Russell

Description: In this course, we consider the meanings of, and potential tensions between, three political ideals: liberty (or freedom), equality (or equity), and solidarity (or community). We’ll read some influential texts that examine these ideals before discussing some more specific topics, as chosen by popular vote from these five options: democratic socialism; feminist political philosophy; free speech and its limits; the morality of lawbreaking; and the politics of anger.

PHLD78H3: Advanced Seminar in Political Philosophy

Instructor: Avia Pasternak

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This advanced seminar will delve more deeply into an issue in political philosophy. Topics will vary from year to year, but some examples include: distributive justice, human rights, and the political morality of freedom. Students will be required to present material to the class at least once during the semester.



Issues in the Philosophy of Mind

PHLD79H3: Advanced Seminar in Metaphysics

Instructor: Jessica Wilson

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This seminar addresses core issues in metaphysics. Topics to be discussed may include the nature of persons and personal identity, whether physicalism is true, what is the relation of mind to reality in general, the nature of animal minds and the question of whether machines can possess minds.