Course Descriptions

PHIL 101 History of Philosophy I
A study of major philosophical works in the Western tradition from the beginnings of philosophy in ancient Greece to the twentieth century.

PHIL 102 History of Philosophy II
A continuation of Philosophy 1013.

PHIL 171 The Quest for Meaning
Introduction to the perennial issues in Western philosophy, such as knowledge and skepticism, the existence of God, the problem of evil, freedom of the will and the foundations of morality. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and the development of understanding through reasoned argument.

PHIL 201 Critical Reasoning
An examination of the basic principles of constructing good arguments and criticizing bad ones. Among the topics covered are deductive and inductive reasoning, appeals to emotion, personal attack, uses and abuses of expert opinion, and techniques for converting everyday reasoning into standard logical form. Emphasis will be placed on applying the reasoning skills developed in the course to such contemporary issues as abortion rights, affirmative action, racism, and civil disobedience. Prerequisites: None.

PHIL 213 Bioethics 
An in-depth examination of contemporary bioethical issues, such as the definition of a person, determination of life and death, euthanasia, doctor-assisted suicide, abortion and maternal-fetal conflict, prenatal diagnosis and intervention, problems in the physician-patient relationship, new reproductive technologies, research on animals, genetic engineering, and human cloning. Prerequisites: None.

PHIL 241 Philosophy and Film
This course aims to examine and critically evaluate various philosophical themes and problems by means of the visual medium of film. It will be divided into two sections. The first half will consider films that explore the nature of knowledge and reality. The second half will consider films that look at how we ought to act in the world in which we find ourselves. Exclusion: PHIL 341.

PHIL 294 Christian Apologetics
This course examines the Christian worldview and various issues in Christian apologetics and alternative worldviews. A positive case for the Christian faith will be developed using arguments for the existence of God, the deity of Jesus Christ, and the divine authority of the Bible. This course will also address common objections to Christian belief like the presence of apparent discrepancies in the Bible, the alleged conflict between science and the Bible, the problem of evil, and the problem of religious pluralism. Exclusion: PHIL 321, 394.

PHIL 301 Metaphysics
A systematic study of contemporary issues related to the nature of reality. These include universals and particulars, the necessary and the possible, causality, identity through time, and the realism/antirealism debate. Wherever possible, contemporary views will be related to their classical sources in the history of philosophy. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 302 Belief, Truth, and Knowledge
A systematic study of contemporary issues related to the nature of knowledge, belief, and truth. These include warrant and justification, foundationalism, coherentism, skepticism, perception, memory, and a priori knowledge. Wherever possible, contemporary views will be related to their classical sources in the history of philosophy. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 311 Normative Ethical Theory
An introduction to the problems, positions and arguments of contemporary moral philosophy. Through readings from classical and contemporary writers, students are confronted with the ultimate questions of morality. What do “right” and “wrong” mean? Can moral beliefs be rationally assessed and justified? Are moral truths absolute or relative? Why be moral? What is the good or virtuous life? How ought we to live? Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201. Exclusion PHIL 211.

PHIL 321 Philosophy of Religion
A conceptual and analytical survey of the important questions linking philosophy and religion. Students will consider the chief contemporary approaches to justifying religious belief, as well as various non-theistic challenges to that belief. The following questions will be discussed: Are religious claims subject to rational evaluation? What can reason tell us about the nature of God? Can we prove that God exists? Why would a maximally perfect being permit evil and suffering? Is belief in miracles well founded? Is the idea of human survival after death a coherent one? Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 322 Philosophy of Science
An introduction to the central issues in contemporary philosophy of science. Topics include the definition and limits of science, the nature and kinds of scientific explanation, the formation and use of scientific ideas, paradigm shifts and theory change, options in the realist/antirealist debate, laws of nature, and the philosophical aspects of evolution. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 323 Aesthetics
This course constitutes an introduction to problems, classical and contemporary, in philosophical aesthetics. A case-based approach is used to explore a variety of issues, including the nature of art and art works; beauty, ugliness and aesthetic experience; meaning and interpretation; art and ethics; criticism, interpretation and evaluation. Cases are drawn from a cross-section of the arts, including painting, music, literature, sculpture and dance. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 324 Islamic Philosophy
An introduction to the major thinkers and issues in classical Islamic philosophy. Topics include: the existence of God, creation, causality, time and infinity, human knowledge, ethical obligation, and the ideal political state. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 326 Philosophy of Mind
What is a human being? Are human beings simply material objects? Are they a combination of matter and soul? What is consciousness and how can it be explained? In this class students will be introduced to these questions and will explore various answers to these questions from the history of philosophy and from contemprary discussions. Students will engage the answers provided in class as a means of formulating their own understanding of the connection between mind and brain and mind and body. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 330 (3) Political Philosophy
What is the state? Why should citizens allow the state to exercise control over various aspects of life within that state? Are there limits to the exercise of that control, and if so, how does one determine them? What type of obligations, if any, do governments have toward the poor? How does one understand the government’s role in protecting various rights of its people? Political philosophy is not primarily about politics, but instead is about the foundation of societies that allows political discourse to be possible. In this class students will be introduced to these questions and will explore various answers to these questions from the history of philosophy and from contemporary discussions. Students will engage the answers provided in class as a means of formulating their own understanding of the state and its relationship to the people in it. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 350 Directed Studies in Philosophy
This independent study option is open to third and fourth year students who wish to explore a topic not covered in the regular curriculum, and in which the professor has an interest and expertise and is willing to direct studies. Prerequisites: Phil 101, 102, 201 and permission of the Academic Dean.

PHIL 361 Plato
This course provides a substantial treatment of an important Platonic dialogue by emphasizing both its philosophical contributions and its historic/dramatic context. The course begins with an overview of some characteristic philosophical themes and controversies found across the Platonic corpus. The remainder of the course is a careful investigation of the structure, style and arguments of that dialogue. Prerequisites: Phil 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 362 Aristotle
Provides a sustained treatment of a significant treatise of Aristotle. Begins with an overview of important themes, problems and distinctions across the Aristotelian corpus. Offers a close and philosophically critical reading of a treatise, paying special attention to how its structure, style and arguments contribute to its overall aims. Prerequisites: Phil 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 363 Modern Philosophy 
This course is a critical examination of the philosophical traditions and developments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The two main traditions of this are British empiricism and continental rationalism. The advance of these traditions is traced through selected readings from major figures--Descartes and Leibniz (on the rationalist side), Locke and Hume (on the side of empiricism). A careful consideration of Kant's Copernican Revolution, synthesizing these great traditions, and its implications for the postmodern world will close out the course. Prerequisites: Phil 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 364 Aquinas
Beginning with Aquinas' reflections on the nature of God, traces Aquinas' thought as it progresses in the Summa Theologiae and the Summa Contra Gentiles in order to examine the philosophical problems that perplexed Aquinas and his remarkable solutions to these problems. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 366 Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
This course focuses on the major philosophical developments between the ancient Greeks and the medieval period. Special empahsis will be given to examining the influence of Plato and Aristotle on the Christian thought of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, in particular their views of the relationship between faith and reason. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 370 Symbolic Logic
The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to symbolic logic, which in turn provides students with a greater ability to understand and to analyze the structure and parameters of philosophical arguments. The course examines sentential logic, predicate logic, and modal logic. Active learning is promoted through the use of problem solving and written exercises. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, and 201.

PHIL 404 Existentialism
This course introduces students to existentialist philosophy in both its religious and atheistic expressions. In addition, it endeavours to have students assess whether existentialism is the precursor of postmodernism or the latter's contradiction. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, 201, and 370.

PHIL 421 The Analytic Tradition
A detailed survey of key figures in analytic philosophy: Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, and Kripke. Topics include: Frege's distinctions between sense and reference, concept and object; Russell's logical atomism and theory of descriptions; the early Wittgenstein's picture theory of meaning; and Ayer's verificationism with its notorious implications. The course concludes with an examination of Kripke's revival of essentialism. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, 201, and 370.

PHIL 430 Philosophy of Language
Advanced survey of the major topics and issues in contemporary philosophy of language. Topics include: meaning, truth, name and descriptions, reference, syntax and semantics various linguistic constructions, modality and possible worlds, and speech act theory. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, 201, and 370.

PHIL 450 Advanced Directed Studies in Philosophy
This independent study option is open to fourth- year Philosophy majors who wish to explore a topic not covered in the regular curriculum and in which the professor has an interest and expertise and is willing to direct studies. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, 201, and 370. Contract.

PHIL 461 Jewish Philosophy: Fackenheim
This course aims at introducing students to the work of the Canadian philosopher and theologian Emil Fackenheim who was an internationally acclaimed thinker in the two disciplines. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, 201, and 370.

PHIL 471 Intermediate Logic
Same as LING 471. Prerequisites: PHIL 101, 102, 201, and 370.

PHIL 481 Seminar in Philosophy
Each course in this series involves the advanced study of a topic in contemporary philosophy. Students are expected to contribute to the seminar by conducting research and presenting their results to the seminar. Prerequisites: PHIL 1013, 1023, 2013, and 3703.

PHIL 499 Honours Thesis in Philosophy
Students will complete a major research project in Philosophy that demonstrates the ability to formulate a thesis, use scholarly methods, evaluate primary sources and come to reasonable conclusions. The honours thesis is a six credit hour course. Prerequisite: Open only to students in their final year of an honours program in Philosophy.

Disclaimer: Unofficial Academic Information
For official academic information such as degree requirements, course descriptions, prerequisites, and schedules, please refer to the Office of the Registrar website.