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Winter 2022 Course Offerings

Land Valley Trail in Winter

PHLA10H3: Reason and Truth

Instructor: William Seager

Lecture Mode: In-person
Tutorial Mode: TBC

Description: An introduction to philosophy focusing on issues of rationality, metaphysics and the theory of knowledge. Topics may include: the nature of mind, freedom, the existence of God, the nature and knowability of reality. These topics will generally be introduced through the study of key texts from the history of philosophy.

 

PHLB02H3: Environmental Ethics

Instructor: Doug Campbell

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course examines ethical issues raised by our actions and our policies for the environment. Do human beings stand in a moral relationship to the environment? Does the environment have moral value and do non-human animals have moral status? These fundamental questions underlie more specific contemporary issues such as sustainable development, alternative energy, and animal rights.

 

PHLB05H3: Social Issues

Instructor: Rachel Bryant

Lecture Mode: In-person
Tutorial Mode: TBC

Description: Our theme in this course is boundaries. Boundaries demarcate who or what belongs within them from who or what belongs outside. They separate the familiar from the strange, the safe from the dangerous, the welcome from the unwanted. In this course, we will identify and critique the philosophical bases and ethical implications of the boundaries we construct around states, neighborhoods, ecological communities, and Indigenous lands, as well as of the boundaries we draw between humans and nature.

 

PHLB09H3: Biomedical Ethics

Instructor: Joshua Brandt

Lecture Mode: Asynchronous
Tutorial Mode: TBC

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.

 

PHLB13H3: Philosophy and Feminism

Instructor: Zoë Anthony

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: 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.

 

PHLB17H3: Introduction to Political Philosophy

Instructor: Hamish Russell

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: Political philosophy considers the meaning of our political values—such as freedom, equality, and the common good—and asks whether our societies live up to those values. How much authority should governments have over our lives? How do we balance the rights of the individual against the collective good? How much tolerance should a democratic and inclusive society have for anti-democratic and hateful views? Does capitalism exploit working people for the benefit of the rich? What do people mean when they say that our criminal justice institutions—police and prisons—are systematically racist? We will draw on historical thinkers like John Locke, John and Harriet Mill, and Karl Marx, as well as contemporary theorists like Martha Nussbaum, Iris Marion Young, and Angela Davis.

 

PHLB58H3: Reasoning Under Uncertainty

Instructor: Eliran Haziza

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: The course will cover basic deductive and inductive logic, probability, and decision theory. We will also discuss the problems of induction, and the philosophical foundations of probability and statistics. Readings: We will use the textbook Odds & Ends by Jonathan Weisberg. Prof. Weisberg uses this book in his PHL246: Probability and Inductive Logic. The book covers all of the topics for this class.

 

PHLB60H3: Introduction to Metaphysics

Instructor: Elliot Carter

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with fundamental questions about the nature of reality. Here are some questions we will cover in this course: is the nature of the world independent of the way it appears to us? What, if anything, makes a person today the same person they were 10 years ago? Are there genuine alternative possibilities, and if so, what kind of thing are they? What is causation? Is free will an illusion? Does time really pass? Along the way, we will also consider whether and how it is possible to answer such questions.

 

PHLB91H3: Theories of Human Nature

Instructor: Michael Blezy

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description:  Kant famously claimed that philosophical questions such as (1) What can I know? (2) What should I do? (3) What can I hope for? all come down to a fourth question: (4) What is man? In this course, we will attempt to answer the question, “What is man?” or, more precisely, “What is the nature of the human being?” through a careful reading of the work of Kant and a variety of other thinkers in the Kantian and post-Kantian tradition (e.g., Schiller, Fichte, Cassirer, Marx, Freud, Heidegger, Foucault). By the end of the course, students should be familiar with the philosophical response to such questions as: Is there a human nature? What, if anything, sets human beings off from other creatures in the animal kingdom? Is it possible to be alienated from our human nature? What role does education play in the human being realizing its nature? How are we to conceive of the social-historical determinants of human nature? What role does time or temporality play in the constitution of our human nature?  

 

PHLC06H3: Topics in Ethical Theory

Instructor: Rachel Bryant

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: The topic on which we'll focus is *ethics and the animal.* We will investigate how some important classical and contemporary philosophers present the ethical dimensions of human beings’ relationships with and treatment of other animals. In doing so, we will learn not only about animal ethics, but also about how the theories we study conceive of and value human beings, and how our treatment of other animals reflects how we conceive of and value human beings.

 

PHLC10H3: Topics in Bioethics

Instructor: Joshua Brandt

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An intermediate-level study of bioethical issues. This course will address particular issues in bioethics in detail. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include such topics as reproductive ethics, healthcare and global justice, ethics and mental health, the patient-physician relationship, or research on human subjects.

 

PHLC20H3: Theory of Knowledge

Instructor: Elliot Carter

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course explores philosophical questions about self-knowledge and our seemingly privileged access to our own minds. In the first part, we will look at how certain philosophers have assigned self-knowledge a special, foundational role in their accounts of knowledge in general. We will also examine different theories of how we acquire self-knowledge and why it seems especially secure. Then, we will look at arguments that raise doubts about the special status of self-knowledge. Perhaps the way we know about our own beliefs or reasons for acting is not so different from how we know about those of other people. Perhaps we can be wrong about what we believe, what our motivations are, or even about what we are currently consciously experiencing.

 

PHLC37H3: Kant

Instructor: Michael Blezy

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: The Critique of Pure Reason is one of the seminal works of Western philosophy. Kant undertakes what he describes as a “Copernican Revolution,” providing an alternative to what he sees as the “dogmatism” of traditional rationalist metaphysics, and the “skepticism” of empiricism. His critical alternative claims to reconcile scientific knowledge with the possibility of morality and freedom. The Critique does all of this through an engagement with fundamental topics ranging from the philosophy of mathematics through questions in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of religion, and the metaphysics of freedom.

Reading: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Paul Guyer and Allen Wood (Cambridge, 1998).

Supplementary Text: Gardner, Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason (Routledge, 1999)

 

PHLC43H3: History of Analytic Philosophy

Instructor: Benj Hellie

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course explores the foundation of Analytic Philosophy in the late 19th and early 20th century, concentrating on Frege, Russell, and Moore. Special attention paid to the discovery of mathematical logic, its motivations from and consequences for metaphysics and the philosophy of mind.

 

PHLC51H3: Symbolic Logic II

Instructor: Philip Kremer

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: After consolidating the material from Symbolic Logic I, we will introduce necessary background for metalogic, the study of the properties of logical systems. We will introduce set theory, historically developed in parallel to logic. We conclude with some basic metatheory of the propositional logic learned in Symbolic Logic I.

 

PHLC72H3: Philosophy of Science

Instructor: Elliot Carter

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course will consider one or two topics in the Philosophy of Science in depth, with an emphasis on class discussion.

 

PHLC93H3: Topics in Political Philosophy

Instructor: Hamish Russell

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course studies some of the leading thinkers in the radical tradition of political philosophy: people who think that societies like Canada are deeply unjust and need to be majorly transformed. Many of these thinkers draw inspiration from Marxism, so the course begins with Marx’s Capital. From there, we discuss topics such as feminism, racial justice, cultural diversity, Indigenous sovereignty, and methods of political resistance. You will get to vote for the topics that we focus on in the second half of the course.

 

PHLD05H3:  Advanced Seminar in Ethics

Instructor: Jason Winning

Lecture Mode: In-person

This course will explore several contemporary topics in the area of technology ethics, including the ethics of big data, biological enhancement, and the ethical status of robots and AI.

 

PHLD36H3: Advanced Seminar in Empiricism

Instructor:  Jessica Wilson

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description:  In this course, we will explore in depth certain foundational topics in the philosophy of Berkeley and Hume, with an eye to elucidating both the broadly Empiricist motivations for their approaches and how their approaches to key topics differ. Topics may address the following questions: Is there a mind-independent world? What is causation? Is the ontological or metaphysical status of persons different from that of ordinary objects? Does God exist?

 

PHLD87H3: Advanced Seminar in Philosophy of Mind

Instructor:  William Seager

Lecture Mode: In-person

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.

 

PHLD88Y3: Advanced Seminar in Philosophy: Socrates Project

Instructor: Rachel Bryant

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: The Socrates Project Seminar is a full-year seminar course that provides experiential learning in philosophy in conjunction with a teaching assignment to lead tutorials and mark assignments in PHLA10H3 and PHLA11H3. Roughly 75% of the seminar will be devoted to more in-depth study of the topics taken up in PHLA10H3 and PHLA11H3. Students will write a seminar paper on one of these topics under the supervision of a UTSC Philosophy faculty member working in the relevant area, and they will give an oral presentation on their research topic each semester. The remaining 25% of the seminar will focus on the methods and challenges of teaching philosophy, benchmark grading, and grading generally.

 

PHLD89Y3: Advanced Seminar in Philosophy: Socrates Project for Applied Ethics

Instructor: Joshua Brandt

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: The Socrates Project for Applied Ethics is a seminar course which occurs over two terms that provides experiential learning in philosophy in conjunction with a teaching assignment to lead tutorials and mark assignments in PHLB09H3. Roughly 75% of the seminar will be devoted to a more in-depth study of the topics taken up in PHLB09H3. Students will write a seminar paper on one of these topics under the supervision of a UTSC Philosophy faculty member working in the relevant area, and they will give an oral presentation on their research topic each semester. The remaining 25% of the seminar will focus on the methods and challenges of teaching philosophy, benchmark grading, and grading generally.