Fall 2024 Course Offerings

student working on laptop outside

PHLA11H3: Introduction to Ethics

Instructor: Nathan Howard

Lecture Mode: In-person
Tutorial Mode: In-person & Online synchronous

Description: Ethics is concerned with concrete questions about how we ought to treat one another as well as more general questions about how to justify our ethical beliefs. This course is an introduction that both presents basic theories of ethics and considers their application to contemporary moral problems.

 

PHLB04H3: Philosophy and Literature

Instructor: Alexandra Gustafson

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course examines some of the classic problems concerning literary texts, such as the nature of interpretation, questions about the power of literary works and their relationship to ethical thought, and problems posed by fictional works - how can we learn from works that are fictional and how can we experience genuine emotions from works that we know are fictional?

 

PHLB05H3: Social Issues

Instructor: Alexandra Gustafson

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An examination of contemporary or historical issues that force us to consider and articulate our values and commitments. The course will select issues from a range of possible topics, which may include globalization, medical ethics, war and terrorism, the role of government in a free society, equality and discrimination,

 

PHLB09H3: Biomedical Ethics

Instructor: Eric Mathison

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.

 

PHLB18H3: Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Instructor: Seyed Yarandi

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course will provide an accessible understanding of AI systems, such as ChatGPT, focusing on the ethical issues raised by ongoing advances in AI. These issues include the collection and use of big data, the use of AI to manipulate human beliefs and behaviour, its application in the workplace and its impact on the future of employment, as well as the ethical standing of autonomous AI systems.

 

PHLB20H3: Belief, Knowledge, and Truth

Instructor: Benj Hellie

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An examination of the nature of knowledge, and our ability to achieve it. Topics may include the question of whether any of our beliefs can be certain, the problem of scepticism, the scope and limits of human knowledge, the nature of perception, rationality, and theories of truth.

 

PHLB31H3: Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

Instructor: Christian Pfeiffer

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: A survey of some main themes and figures of ancient philosophical thought, concentrating on Plato and Aristotle. Topics include the ultimate nature of reality, knowledge, and the relationship between happiness and virtue.

 

PHLB35H3: Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy

Instructor: Caitlin Hamblin-Yule

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course is an introduction to the major themes and figures of seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophy, from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.

 

PHLB50H3: Symbolic Logic I

Instructor: Phil Kremer

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An introduction to formal, symbolic techniques of reasoning. Sentential logic and quantification theory (or predicate logic), including identity will be covered. The emphasis is on appreciation of and practice in techniques, for example, the formal analysis of English statements and arguments, and for construction of clear and rigorous proofs.

 

PHLB91H3: Theories of Human Nature

Instructor: Sonia Sedivy

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An exploration of theories which provide answers to the question 'What is a human being?', answers that might be summarized with catchphrases such as: 'Man is a rational animal,' 'Man is a political animal,' 'Man is inherently individual,' 'Man is inherently social,' etc. Authors studied are: Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Darwin, Marx, Freud and Sartre.

 

PHLB99H3: Philosophical Writing and Methodology

Instructor: Jessica Wilson

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: In this writing-intensive course, students will become familiar with tools and techniques that will enable them to competently philosophize, on paper and in person. Students will learn how to write an introduction and how to appropriately structure philosophy papers, how to accurately present someone else's position or argumentation, how to critically assess someone else's view or argumentation, and how to present and defend their own positive proposal or argumentation concerning a given topic. Students will learn many more specific skills, such as, how to `signpost' what students are doing, how to identify and charitably interpret ambiguities in another discussion, and how to recognize and apply various argumentative strategies.

 

PHLC05H3: Ethical Theory

Instructor: Nathan Howard

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: Philosophers offer systematic theories of ethics: theories that simultaneously explain what ethics is, why it matters, and what it tells us to do. This course is a careful reading of classic philosophical texts by the major systematic thinkers in the Western tradition of ethics. Particular authors read may vary from instructor to instructor.

 

PHLC07H3: Death and Dying

Instructor: Eric Mathison

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An intermediate-level study of the ethical and legal issues raised by death and dying. Topics may vary each year, but could include the definition of death and the legal criteria for determining death, the puzzle of how death can be harmful, the ethics of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the relationship between death and having a meaningful life, and the possibility of surviving death.

 

PHLC31H3: Topics in Ancient Philosophy: Plato

Instructor: Ulysse Chaintreuil

Lecture Mode: In-person

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

 

PHLC36: Topics in Early Modern Philosophy: Empiricism

Instructor: Caitlin Hamblin-Yule

Lecture Mode: In-Person

Description: In this course we study major figures of early modern empiricism, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, with a particular emphasis on topics such as substance, knowledge and sense perception, the mind-body problem, and the existence and nature of God.

 

PHLC37H3: Kant’s Practical Philosophy 

Instructor: Sonia Sedivy

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course focuses on the thought of Immanuel Kant, making connections to some of Kant’s key predecessors such as Hume or Leibniz. The course will focus either on Kant’s metaphysics and epistemology, or his ethics, or his aesthetics.

 

PHLC60H3: Metaphysics

Instructor: Jessica Wilson

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: A follow up to PHLB60H3. This course will consider one or two metaphysical topics in depth, with an emphasis on class discussion.

 

PHLC80H3: Philosophy of Language

Instructor: Phil 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.

 

PHLC92H3: Political Philosophy

Instructor: Seyed Yarandi

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: An examination of some central philosophical problems of contemporary political philosophy.

 

PHLC99H3: Philosophical Development Seminar

Instructor: Benj Hellie

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: 

This course aims to foster a cohesive cohort among philosophy specialists and majors. The course is an intensive seminar that will develop advanced philosophical skills by focusing on textual analysis, argumentative techniques, writing and oral presentation. Students will work closely with the instructor and their peers to develop a conference-style, research-length paper. Each year, the course will focus on a different topic drawn from the core areas of philosophy for its subject matter. This course is strongly recommended for students in the Specialist and Major programs in Philosophy.


 

 

PHLD05H3: Advanced Seminar in Ethics

Instructor: TBD

Lecture Mode: In-person

Description: This course offers an in-depth investigation into selected topics in moral philosophy.

 

PHLD88Y3: Advanced Seminar in Philosophy: Socrates Project

Instructor: Eric Mathison

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.