Undergraduate Courses

2018-19 Fall/ Winter Courses

1000- Level Courses

Philosophy 1020 - Introduction to Philosophy

Through readings, film and other media this course explores debates about knowledge, truth, reality, religion, morality, politics, and the meaning of life. A weekly tutorial hour will help students to develop skills of analysis and expression. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Philosophy 1000E, Philosophy 1022E, Philosophy 1100E, Philosophy 1250F/G, Philosophy 1300E, Philosophy 1350F/G.

Instructor: A. Skelton Tuesday, Thursday 2:30 - 3:30, plus tutorial NS 145

Philosophy 1030A - Understanding Science

This non-essay course introduces conceptual issues about science: What distinguishes science from non-science? Are there limits to what science can or should explain? What does science tell us about reality? What is the relationship between science and religion? What is the role and value of science in a democratic society? Course Outline

Instructor: W. Myrvold Monday, Wednesday 11:30 - 12:30, plus tutorial AHB 1R40 

Philosophy 1040G - Ethics, Law and Politics

Many problems faced by individuals and societies lie at the intersection of ethics, law, and politics. This course will consider issues that can be analyzed along ethical, legal, and/or political lines, with a focus on understanding the differences between moral, legal, and political arguments and solutions to contemporary societal problems. Course Outline

Instructor: M. Milde Wednesday, Friday 11:30-12:30, plus tutorial  SH 3345

Philosophy 1200 (200) - Critical Thinking (Blended)

An introduction to basic principles of reasoning and critical thinking designed to enhance the student's ability to evaluate various forms of reasoning as found in everyday life as well as in academic disciplines. The course will deal with such topics as inductive and deductive reasoning, the nature and function of definitions, types of fallacies, the use and misuse of statistics, and the rudiments of logic. Primarily for first-year students. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s) at Main campus: Philosophy 1000E, Philosophy 1230A/B.

Instructor: C. Viger Wednesday 9:30-10:30, plus tutorial TC 141

 Philosophy 1200 (650) - Critical Thinking (Online)

An introduction to basic principles of reasoning and critical thinking designed to enhance the student's ability to evaluate various forms of reasoning as found in everyday life as well as in academic disciplines. The course will deal with such topics as inductive and deductive reasoning, the nature and function of definitions, types of fallacies, the use and misuse of statistics, and the rudiments of logic. Primarily for first-year students. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s) at Main campus: Philosophy 1000E, Philosophy 1230A/B.

Instructor: C. Viger Online

Philosophy 1305F - Questions of the Day

This course develops students' ability to approach disputed questions by seeing them from both sides so that they reach their own view only after respecting a broad range of argument. Six questions will be considered, including human (over) population, the public funding of art, and the limits of religious freedom. Course Outline

Instructor: G. Barker Monday, Wednesday 10:30 - 11:30, plus tutorial SEB 2202

2000- Level Courses

Philosophy 2020 - Basic Logic

Modern formal logic including argument structure, propositional logic and elementary quantification. Applications to everyday reasoning and to computer "thinking" are considered, along with related issues in semantics and the philosophy of logic. Intended primarily for students not planning further studies in Philosophy or Logic. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Philosophy 2250, Philosophy 2252W/X, Computer Science 2209A/B.

Instructor: C. Dyck Monday and Wednesday 9:30 - 10:30 TC 203 

Philosophy 2021A - Oppositions and Paradoxes

This course investigates the role played in philosophical and scientific thought by basic oppositions, such as Continuous vs. Discrete, One vs. Many, and Finite vs. Infinite, and analyzes many philosophical and scientific paradoxes: Zeno’s paradoxes, the Liar Paradox, Russell's paradox, paradoxes of the infinite, and paradoxes arising from time travel. Course Outline

Instructor: J. Bell Monday 1:30 - 3:30, Wednesday 1:30 - 2:30 VAC- 100

Philosophy 2033B - Introduction to Environmental Philosophy

An examination of several key issues arising out of the present environmental crisis. Sample topics include: to what extent the environmental crisis is a scientific, religious, or ethical problem; the Gaia hypothesis; deep and shallow ecology; the land ethic; ecofeminism; the environment and economics; and sustainable development. Course Outline

Instructor: W. Myrvold Monday 11:30 - 1:30, Wednesday 12:30 - 1:30 AHB 1B04

Philosophy 2037G - Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence

Will robots take all our jobs? Will humans become cyborgs? Will nano-technology revolutionize medicine? As we rely more on machines, they are changing how we interact with the world and one another. In this course we will consider the impact of technology on our current lives, and on our future. Course Outline

Instructor: M. Anderson Tuesday 1:30-3:30, Thursday 1:30-2:30 FNB 1250

Philosophy 2050F - Scientific Search for the Mind

An evaluation of sciences attempting to understand the nature of the mind and its place in the physical world. Topics may include: phrenology & localization theory, physiology, neuroanatomy, gestalt psychology, experimental psychology, evolutionary psychology, psychophysics, psychoanalysis, behaviorism, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, intelligence testing and the nature of consciousness. Course Outline

Instructor: J. Sullivan Tuesday 9:30-11:30, Thursday 10:30-11:30 AHB 1B08

Philosophy 2062G - Power, Privilege, and Oppression

An examination of philosophical approaches to understanding relationships of power, privilege, and oppression. The material will include work in feminist philosophy, critical race theory, and/or postcolonial theory. There will be the discussion of forms of oppression along the lines of gender, race, class, disability, and sexuality, with a focus on intersectional analyses. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Philosophy 2630F/G.

Instructor: G. Barker Monday 10:30 - 11:30, Wednesday 10:30 - 12:30 AHB 2B04

Philosophy 2074F - Business Ethics

Ethical analysis of issues arising in contemporary business life. Sample topics: ethical codes in business; fair and unfair competition, advertising and consumer needs and wants; responsibilities to investors, employees, and society; conflicts of interest and obligation; business and the regulatory environment. Course Outline

Instructor: D. Proessel Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:30 - 2:30 SSC 2032

Philosophy 2077G - Gender and Sexuality

An investigation of ways that contemporary philosophers deal with concepts of gender and sexuality, addressing such issues as the regulation and production of normative sexuality, the question of essentialism, the construction and disciplining of the gendered body, and the effects of new media on sexual identity. Course Outline

Instructor: J. Epp   Monday 6:30 - 9:30  AHB 1B04

Philosophy 2080 - Philosophy of Law

A study of some main problems in legal philosophy. Emphasis is given to actual law, e.g. criminal law and contracts, as a background to questions of law's nature. Specimen topics: police powers in Canada, contractual obligation, insanity defence, judicial reasoning and discretion, civil liberties, legal responsibility, natural law and legal positivism. Course Outline

Antirequisite: MIT 2020F/G.

Instructor: J. Hildebrand Wednesday 7:00 - 9:00 SH 3345

2200- Level Courses

Philosophy 2200F - Ancient Philosophy

This course studies four key movements in ancient philosophy: Platonism, Aristotelianism, Epicureanism, and Stoicism. This course will provide students with an introduction to these movements, which helped shape the foundations of Western philosophy and science. We shall examine such questions as: What is the underlying nature of reality? Is the fundamental state of the universe motion or stability? Is knowledge possible? If so, how do we acquire it? Can we have knowledge of a changing world or does knowledge require eternal, unchanging objects (e.g. Plato’s Forms)? What is philosophy and how should it be practiced? What is the nature of happiness and how does one attain it? How many kinds of friendship are there? Is friendship necessary for happiness? Course Outline

Instructor: D. Proessel Tuesday 2:30 - 4:30, Thursday 2:30 - 3:30 SEB 1200

PPE 2200F- Introduction to Politics, Philosophy and Economics

A gateway course that explores key, interlinked issues in the areas of formal reasoning, normative theory, and political economy that span the disciplines of Political Science, Philosophy and Economics. The course will be run in a seminar format with emphasis on critical reading and analytical thinking informed by empirical and institutional knowledge. Restricted to students enrolled in the Honors Specialization in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. 

Instructor: A. Slivinski, C. Jones, D. Klimchuk  Monday 11.30-1.30, Wednesday 12.30-1.30 TB 204

Philosophy 2202G - Early Modern Philosophy

We will survey the key figures and texts of the early Modern period. We will consider issues in metaphysics (the nature of substance, accounts of causality), epistemology (the challenge of skepticism, whether any ideas are innate), natural theology (proofs of God’s existence), and the philosophy of mind (the nature and extent of consciousness, the relation of mind to body). Course Outline

Instructor: C. Dyck Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:30 - 1:30 P&AB 106

Philosophy 2250 - Introduction to Logic

Logic is the study of valid reasoning. In this course, we will study the relation of logical consequence, i.e., the relation that holds between the premises and the conclusion of a valid argument and we will learn methods to assess the validity of arguments. We will study the language of first-order logic, a formal language in which the structure of arguments can be concisely and perspicuously represented. We will also learn to symbolize formally the structure of arguments couched in natural language and we will study semantic and syntactic methods to assess the validity of formal arguments. Philosophical problems of formal logic will also be discussed and some metatheoretical results proving the adequacy of methods to assess validity will be explored. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Philosophy 2020, Philosophy 2252W/X, Philosophy 2254A/B.

Instructor: L. Falkenstein Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30 - 12:30 AHB 1B02

Philosophy 2251F - Conceptual Developments in Math

A survey of some important basic concepts of mathematics in a historical setting, and in relation to the broader history of ideas. Topics may include: the evolution of the number concept, the development of geometry, Zeno's paradoxes. Course Outline

Instructor: J. Bell Monday 10:30 - 11:30, Wednesday 10:30 - 12:30 MC 17

Philosophy 2265A- Talking Philosophy

Can animals speak? Is knowledge of language innate? How do words shape perceptions of the world? Is English in decline? Is it permissible to limit free speech? What should be done to preserve endangered languages? This accessible introduction to philosophy and language addresses such compelling issues, using web-based media. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): The former Philosophy 1260A/B.

Instructor: R. Stainton Tuesday 11:30 - 12:30, Thursday 11:30 - 1:30 AHB 2B04

Philosophy 2300G - Philosophy of Science

A discussion of conceptual problems which fall between science and philosophy, as well as broader epistemological issues concerning theory change and the concept of progress in science. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Philosophy 2030F/G.

Instructor: G. Barker Monday 1:30 - 2:30, Wednesday 1:30 - 3:30 P&AB 34

Philosophy 2320G - Philosophy for Integrated Science 

An introduction to aspects of science not covered in traditional science courses. This includes a history of science, scientific methodology, ethical dimensions of conducting and applying research, and conceptual issues in specific disciplines. The role of the media in disseminating science and how science shapes public policy will be discussed. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Philosophy 1030A/B.

Prerequisite: Enrolment in Year 2 of the Integrated Science Program (WISc).

Instructor: C. Smeenk Thursday 6:30 - 9:30 AHB 2B02

Philosophy 2350F - Darwinian Revolution

A historical introduction to the Philosophy of Biology examining the development of evolutionary theory from Aristotle to Darwin and the ways in which past ideas have helped shape contemporary debates (e.g. species concepts, adaptation, levels of selection). Philosophy 2350F/G is recommended background for those interested in Philosophy 3340F/GCourse Outline

Instructor: E. Desjardins Monday 12:30 - 1:30, Wednesday 12:30 - 2:30 NCB 296

Philosophy 2356G - Philosophy and Climate Change

This course explores philosophical issues related to climate change, including problems of knowledge in climate science; making choices when outcomes are deeply uncertain; international justice in climate policy; weighing harms to future generations and to non-human nature; the moral significance of risk of human extinction; and revision of cultural values. Course Outline

Instructor: G. Barker Tuesday 10:30 - 11:30, Thursday 10:30 - 12:30 UCC 58

Philosophy 2400F - Introduction to Philosophy of Mind

An introduction to the philosophy of mind, drawing on contemporary and historical sources. Topics may include knowledge of other minds; free will; personal identity; what makes something mental; dualism and materialism; survival after death. Course Outline

Instructor: C. Viger Wednesday 10:30 - 11:30, Friday 10:30 - 12:30 WL 258

Philosophy 2500F - Introduction to Theory of Knowledge

An introduction to the main problems of epistemology. Specimen topics include the nature of human knowledge and belief, perception, evidence, truth and confirmation. Course Outline

Instructor: G. Barker Monday 1:30 - 2:30, Wednesday 1:30 - 3:30 SSC 2020

Philosophy 2700F - Introduction to Ethics and Value

Critical study of the nature and justification of ethical and value judgments, with an analysis of key concepts and a survey of the main contemporary theories. Course Outline

Instructor: R. Robb Tuesday 10:30 - 12:30, Thursday 10:30 - 11:30 AHB 1R40

Philosophy 2715G - Health Care Ethics

An examination of key concepts in health care ethics, such as respect for patient autonomy, medical paternalism, patient competence, justice in health care, "death with dignity," "sanctity of life," commodifying human life. Goals are to understand these ideas and how to apply them to practical issues in health care. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Health Sciences 2610F/G.

Instructor: C. Weijer Monday 3:30 - 4:30, Wednesday 3:30 - 5:30 AHB 1R40

Philosophy 2720G - Professional Ethics

Professionals have special rights and duties that attach to their professional roles. This course will focus on the special ethical obligations that professionals have to themselves, to their clients, to their employers, to third parties, to their professions, and to society at large. Course Outline

Instructor: C. McLeod Wednesday 12.30 - 2.30, Friday 12.30 - 1.30 FNB 1220

Philosophy 2730G - Media Ethics

A study of ethical issues in media, including such topics as: the reasonable limits of free expression; intellectual property and the public domain; official secrets and access to information; regulating online content; commercial databases and informational privacy; cameras in the courtroom; plagiarism and piracy; defamation; hactivism and the hacker ethic. Course Outline

Instructor: D. Proessel Monday 1:30 - 2:30, Wednesday 1:30 - 3:30 SSC 3022

Philosophy 2810G - Global Justice and Human Rights

What are our obligations to other countries and their citizens? Do those obligations issue from universal human rights? This course will address these questions through the consideration of a number of topics that raise issues of global justice, for example economic globalization, genocide and military intervention. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Political Science 3346E.

Instructor: D. Proessel Tuesday 2:30 - 4:30, Thursday 2:30 - 3:30 TC 205

Philosophy 2996F - Reproducing Race: Race, Reproduction and Families

Race is widely understood to be a social construction. We can therefore ask how some social practices help to construct or ‘reproduce’ race, and how others deconstruct it. This course centres on historical and contemporary practices that concern race and the formation of families, and the having and rearing of children. It considers how these practices reproduce race, but also how they can deconstruct it and how well they align as a result with anti-racist politics. Among the specific topics we will cover are miscegenation laws, eugenics and race, the race selection of gametes acquired for one’s reproductive use, race in global commercial contract pregnancies, transracial adoption, and the instilling of racial identities in one’s children. The course is interdisciplinary, drawing from disciplines such as philosophy, bioethics, women’s studies, history, and critical race theory. We will also use contemporary media and film. Course Outline

Crosslisted with Women's Studies 2259F.

Instructor: C. McLeod Tuesday 10.30 - 1.30 STVH 2150H

3000- Level Courses

Philosophy 3003G - Plato

This course is a critical examination of the philosophy of Plato and (Plato’s) Socrates. Plato is agreed to be one of the most dazzling writers in the Western literary tradition and one of the most engaging and influential philosophers in the history of Western thought. The course will cover representative dialogues from each of the three traditional periods of Plato thought: the early “Socratic” dialogues; the so-called middle dialogues; and his late period. Throughout these dialogues we find the character of Socrates engaged in conversation with various Athenians on a whole range of philosophical issues: What is philosophical inquiry and how should it be conducted? Can rational arguments be used to convince people to follow their best interests or does philosophy need to rely on the art of persuasion (rhetoric)? Does knowledge require an unchanging world of Forms or can it be grounded in our immediate sensations of the things around us? Is it more shameful to commit injustice or to suffer injustice? Is the life devoted to the pursuit of pleasure philosophically defensible? If not, what role does pleasure occupy in the good life? Students will engage original texts in translation. Although the course is intended for students who wish to examine the philosophy of Plato and Socrates, it will also be suited for those with a general interest in the history of philosophy, ethics, and metaphysics. Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2200F/G

Instructor: D. Henry Tu 1:30-3:30 & Th 1:30-2:30 SH 3307

Philosophy 3010F - Philosophy of Food

A philosophical reflection on food and wine. Issues may include the treatment of animals, moral and political dimensions of genetically modified food, hunger and obligation to the poor, the role of food in gender, personal and national identity, and the role food and wine play in the good life. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): The former Philosophy 2010F/G.

Instructor: B. Hill Tuesday 12.30 - 2.30, Wednesday 9.30 - 10.30 UC 1110

Philosophy 3170F - Topics in the History of Ethics

This course will provide a detailed investigation of the context, arguments, significance, and influence of Kant’s most famous text in ethics, the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2200F/G or Philosophy 2202F/G or Philosophy 2700F/G.

Instructor: C. Dyck Tuesday 11.30 - 1.30, Thursday 11.30 - 12.30 P&AB 106

Philosophy 3340F - Philosophical Issues in Evolutionary Biology

In-depth examination of contemporary philosophical debates arising from modern biology. Topics explored may include the structure of evolutionary theory, the notions of fitness and adaptation, functions and teleological explanation, the ontological status of species, reductionism and levels of explanation, and social and moral implications of biological research. Course Outline

Instructor: W. Myrvold Tuesday 10:30-12:30, Thursday 10:30- 11:30 STVH 1140

Philosophy 3410G - Philosophy of Mind

Advanced topics in the philosophy of mind. Topics may include: the metaphysics of mind -- from Cartesian Dualism, through Behaviorism and Identity Theory, to modern functionalist theories; connections between metaphysics of mind and topics such as mental causation, mental content, and consciousness. Emphasis will be given to contemporary readings. Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2400F/G

Instructor: D. Bourget Tuesday 9:30-11:30, Thursday 9:30- 10:30 UCC 54A

Philosophy 3450G - Philosophy of Neuroscience

Introduction to philosophy of neuroscience. Questions may include: What does neuroscience tell us about the mind-brain relationship, free will and moral responsibility, or the mechanisms of learning and memory? Is consciousness a mental, behavioral or brain state? What is the structure of explanation in neuroscience? Is psychology reducible to neuroscience? Course Outline

Instructor: J. Sullivan Tuesday 1:30 - 2:30, Thursday 1:30 - 3:30 WL 258

Philosophy 3501F - Epistemology

Problems in contemporary theory of knowledge. Topics may include epistemic justification, modern skepticism, foundationalism and coherentism, internalism and externalism, ethics of belief, epistemic probability, testimony and social dimensions of knowledge. Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2500F/G

Instructor: J. Sullivan Tuesday 1:30 - 2:30, Thursday 1:30 - 3:30  P&AB 106

Philosophy 3710F - Metaethics

Metaethics is the area of moral philosophy in which we inquire about, among other things, the status of moral claims, the meaning of moral terms, the rational justification of morality, the nature of value, and issues of moral psychology. This course is an advanced study of topics in metaethics. Course Outline

Antirequisite(s): Philosophy 3700E (King's).

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2700F/G.

Instructor: R. Robb  Tuesday 3:30 - 4:30, Thursday 3:30 - 5:30 SH 2317

4000- Level Courses

Philosophy 4007G - Seminar in Ancient Philosophy 

The Development of Plato’s Political Philosophy. Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2200F/G;or Third and Fourth Year Honors standing in Philosophy.

Instructor: D. Henry Wednesday 2:20 - 5:30 P&AB 117

Philosophy 4050G - Seminar in Kant's First Critique

This course, which is suitable for those without any background in Kant’s philosophy, will consider in detail his account of cognition, primarily as it is elaborated in his monumental Critique of Pure Reason. Among the topics covered will be Kant’s views on sensation, spatial-temporal cognition, the role of the imagination, illusion and hallucination, conceptual and non-conceptual content, and consciousness. Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2202F/G

Instructor: C. Dyck Tuesday 11:30 - 2:30 STVH 1145

Philosophy 4210G - Problems in Philosophy of Language

A survey of foundational and highly influential texts in Analytic Philosophy of Language. Emphasis will be on three topics: contrasting conceptions of linguistic meaning; the semantics-pragmatics boundary; and two case studies (namely, definite descriptions and metaphor). Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2260F/G

Instructor: R. Stainston Tuesday 2:30 - 5:30 B&GS 1056

Philosophy 4410G - Problems in Philosophy of Mind

Concepts are considered to be the essential elements or building blocks of thought. In this course, we will read primary sources articulating various theories of concepts from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. We will review the strengths and weaknesses of views that concepts are definitions, prototypes, exemplars, stereotypes, or words in a language of thought. We also study various constraints that have been suggested for any theory of concepts, such as that they must compose or whether they are holistic or atomistic and critically assess those constraints. We conclude by considering how the human brain is structured to facilitate the acquisition of concepts. Course Outline

Prerequisite(s): Philosophy 2400F/G.

Instructor: C. Viger Wednesday 11:30 - 2:30 STVH 1145

Reading Courses

Course Outline Archive

Note: Archived course listings from previous years and semesters are available for some courses.

To request a copy of a course outline prior to 2015-16, please contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Sarah Murdoch, at sdougl29@uwo.ca.