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The Greek words from which “Philosophy” is formed mean “love of wisdom” and all great philosophers have been moved by an intense devotion to the search for wisdom. Philosophy takes no belief for granted, but examines the grounds for those beliefs which make up people’s fundamental views of the world. Philosophers think about these beliefs as thoroughly and systematically as possible, using methods of conceptual analysis, reasoning, and detailed description.
What distinguishes Philosophy from the physical and social sciences is its concern not only with the truths which are discovered by means of specialized methods of investigation, but with the implications that such discoveries have for human beings in their relations with one another and the world. Moreover, Philosophy has an abiding interest in those basic assumptions about the nature of the physical and social world, and about the nature of enquiry itself, which underlie our scientific and practical endeavours.
The Philosophy Department at the University of Toronto offers courses in the main periods and areas of Philosophy, which are listed here with a typical question or the name of one or two central figures: Ancient Philosophy (Plato, Aristotle); Mediaeval Philosophy (Augustine, Aquinas); Early Modern Philosophy (Descartes, Hume, Kant); Nineteenth-Century Philosophy and Marxism (Hegel, Mill, Marx); Existentialism and Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre); Analytic Philosophy (Quine, Russell, Wittgenstein); Epistemology and Metaphysics (What can be known? What is the ultimate nature of reality?); Philosophy of Religion (Does God exist? How could one prove it?); Philosophy of Human Nature (What is mind? Is there free will?); Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics (What is sound reasoning? Do numbers exist?); Philosophy of Language (What is the meaning of “meaning”?); Philosophy of Natural Science (What is scientific method?); Philosophy of Social Science and History (Can there be a science of humans?); Social and Political Philosophy (What justifies the state?); Moral Philosophy (How should we argue rationally about right and wrong?); Aesthetics (What is art? Must it be beautiful?). In addition, the Department offers Seminars and Tutorials (numbered PHL401H1-PHL486H1) and Individual Studies courses (numbered PHL 490, PHL 496-499).
Some of the Department’s courses are taught at the federated and constituent Colleges. Those taught at St. Michael’s College, for example, form a comprehensive program in Philosophy reflecting the College’s traditions. Students in the Faculty are free to take philosophy courses wherever they please. However, where timetable permits and where the desired course is offered, students are encouraged to take their philosophy courses with the group situated in their College, in order to share in its special interests and to secure the advantages of thorough supervision, small lectures and discussion groups at all levels, and proximity to groups representing disciplines other than Philosophy.
Counselling is available in the main departmental office, 215 Huron St., 9th floor, and from the College groups located in the various Colleges. In addition, the Department publishes an annual Bulletin. It contains full and up-to-date information on programs and courses, including names of instructors and descriptions of particular course sections. The Bulletin is published in the spring (for the succeeding year) and is available at 215 Huron Street and from the College groups and all College registrars.
Professor D.S. Hutchinson, 215 Huron Street, Room 902 (416-978-3314)
Philosophy ProgramsEnrolment in the Philosophy programs is open to students who have completed four courses; no minimum GPA required. Students who take the majority of their philosophy courses at St. Michael’s College may elect to be designated as having completed a Program in Philosophy (St. Michael’s College S12471/M12471/R12471). The prefix “PHI” previously used for St. Michael’s College courses is no longer in use. All “PHI” courses can be credited towards completion of philosophy program requirements. Previous “PHI” course designations are equivalent to PHL designations.
Bioethics: see end of Philosophy program listing
Philosophy (Arts program)
Philosophy and Political Science (Arts program)
Limited Enrolment program: see details under Political Science, Page 330.
Philosophy and Religion (Arts program)
Philosophy and Sociology (Arts program)
Bioethics (Arts program)
Consult D. Ainslie, Bioethics Coordinator, Department of Philosophy.
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