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Winter 2023 Course Offerings

Land Valley Trail in Winter

 

PHLA10H3: Reason and Truth

Instructor: Rory Harder

Lecture Mode: In-person
Tutorial Mode: In-person

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.

 

PHLB07H3: Ethics

Instructor: Nathan Howard

Lecture Mode: In-person
Tutorial Mode: In-person

Description: What is the difference between right and wrong? What is 'the good life'? What is well-being? What is autonomy? These notions are central in ethical theory, law, bioethics, and in the popular imagination. In this course we will explore these concepts in greater depth, and then consider how our views about them shape our views about ethics.

 

PHLB09H3: Biomedical Ethics

Instructor: TBD

Lecture Mode: In-person
Tutorial Mode: In-person

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.

 

PHLB11H3: Philosophy of Law

Instructor: TBD

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: A discussion of right and rights, justice, legality, and related concepts. Particular topics may include: justifications for the legal enforcement of morality, particular ethical issues arising out of the intersection of law and morality, such as punishment, freedom of expression and censorship, autonomy and paternalism, constitutional protection of human rights.

 

PHLB13H3: Philosophy and Feminism

Instructor: Rachel Bryant

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: Avia Pasternak

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course will introduce some important concepts of and thinkers in political philosophy from the history of political philosophy to the present. These may include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, G.W.F. Hegel, John Stuart Mill, or Karl Marx. Topics discussed may include political and social justice, liberty and the criteria of good government.

 

PHLB30H3: Existentialism

Instructor: TBD

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: A study of the views and approaches pioneered by such writers as Kierkegaard, Husserl, Jaspers, Heidegger and Sartre. Existentialism has had influence beyond philosophy, impacting theology, literature and psychotherapy. Characteristic topics include the nature of the self and its relations to the world and society, self-deception, and freedom of choice.

 

PHLB58H3: Reasoning Under Uncertainty

Instructor: Rory Harder

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: Much thought and reasoning occur in a context of uncertainty. How do we know if a certain drug works against a particular illness? Who will win the next election? This course examines various strategies for dealing with uncertainty. Topics include induction and its problems, probabilistic reasoning and the nature of probability, the assignment of causes and the process of scientific confirmation and refutation. Students will gain an appreciation of decision making under uncertainty in life and science.

 

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: TBD

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.

 

PHLC22H3: Topics in Theories of Knowledge

Instructor: Elliot Carter

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course addresses particular issues in the theory of knowledge in detail. Topics will vary from year to year but may typically include such topics as The Nature of Knowledge, Scepticism, Epistemic Justification, Rationality and Rational Belief Formation.

 

PHLC32H3: Topics in Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle

Instructor: Doug Campbell

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course examines the foundational work of Aristotle in the major subject areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics.

 

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)

 

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.

 

PHLC80H3: Philosophy of Language

Instructor: Philip Kremer

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An examination of philosophical issues about language. Philosophical questions to be covered include: what is the relation between mind and language, what is involved in linguistic communication, is language an innate biological feature of human beings, how do words manage to refer to things, and what is meaning.

 

PHLD09H3: Advanced Seminar in Bioethics

Instructor: Nathan Howard

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This advanced seminar will delve deeply into an important topic in bioethics. The topics will vary from year to year. Possible topics include: a detailed study of sperm and ovum donation; human medical research in developing nations; informed consent; classification of mental illness.

 

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.

 

PHLD87H3: Advanced Seminar in Philosophy of Mind

Instructor: Rory Harder

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: TBD

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.