New Courses in 2022-23

Philosophy 2065G: Evil — A study of philosophical approaches to evil through the history of Western philosophy. We will consider evil as a theological problem (i.e., the problem of evil), the metaphysical character of evil (i.e, what is it?), and philosophical responses to the fact of evil and suffering, especially pessimism (the view that this is the “worst of all possible worlds”).

Philosophy 2082F: Introduction to the Philosophy of Food — A philosophical reflection on food and our current food system. Issues may include food and climate change, food justice, local and global hunger and food insecurity, the industrization of food and agriculture, the moral and political dimensions of genetically modified food, or the treatment of animals and lab cultured meat. 

Philosophy 2356F: 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.

Philosophy 2821F: Philosophy of Law — An introduction to the philosophy of law. Topics typically covered include responsibility and punishment, freedom of expression, the constitutional protection of fundamental freedoms, and jurisprudence (the study of the question, "What is law"?)

Philosophy 3024G: Leibniz — An intermediate survey of the works of Leibniz. While some themes or works may be focused on to the exclusion of others, this course aims to give students a strong foundational understanding of Leibniz's thought on a range of topics.

Philosophy 3601G: Metaphysics — An introduction to current debate on metaphysical questions. Topics may include the nature of space and time, the status of phenomenal sensible qualities, the existence of natural kinds, causality and determinism, counterfactuals and possible worlds, identity and individuation, and personal identity.

Philosophy 3720G: Normative Ethics — Moral philosophers engaged in normative ethics seek to articulate and justify systems of normative standards - of action or of character - to guide our moral life. This course is an advanced study of normative ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue theories.

Philosophy 3870G: Philosophy of Social Science — A survey of a number of core philosophical questions raised in and about the social sciences, for example: Can, and ought, the social sciences aspire to objectivity? Is the goal of the social sciences explanation, prediction, understanding, prescription or some combination? Is social life governed by laws?

Philosophy 3997G: Knowledge in the Age of Fake News — Traditional epistemology has focused on the individual relationship between perceivers and their environment, investigating such issues as how evidence should guide and constrain belief, and how scientific procedures improve the likelihood of uncovering truths. But current events raise the urgent question: how do we even know what counts as evidence? In this course we will explore philosophical accounts of knowledge that foreground the social, both because they are interesting in their own right, but crucially because they may help illuminate knowledge production in our current age.

Philosophy 4051F: Seminar in Kant’s Practical Philosophy —In this seminar we will engage in a close reading of Kant’s second Critique. We will consider its context, both broadly and within Kant's developing moral philosophy, and its various doctrines, including the fact of reason, respect for the moral law as the sole moral incentive, the highest good, and the postulates of pure practical reason.

Philosophy 4320G: Synthetic Biology and Philosophy — Introduction to synthetic biology and to philosophical questions relating to it. These include: is synthetic biology revolutionary? Can it help us gain a better understanding of life? What are the ethical dimensions of creating genetic novelty in various contexts? Some background in bioethics and/or philosophy of science is recommended. 

Philosophy 4901G: Honours Capstone  — Students will apply their philosophical skills outside the classroom through a Community Engaged Learning (CEL) experience. Through project-based partnerships with community groups selected by or for students, they will use their philosophical talents to contribute to their community partner’s mission and learn for themselves how philosophy can impact daily life.