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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 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 Special Seminars and Tutorials (numbered PHL 491H-495H) 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.
Undergraduate Coordinator: Professor I.L Stefanovic, 215 Huron Street, Room 902 (978-3314)
Enrolment in the Philosophy programs is open to students who have completed four courses; no minimum GPA required. Students who select primarily PHI courses in any of the following Programs may be designated as having completed a Program in Philosophy (St. Michael's College S12471/M12471/R12471).
BIOETHICS See end of PHI and PHL program listing
PHILOSOPHY (B.A.)Consult Professor I.L. Stefanovic for PHL courses; or Professor R. Tully for
Specialist program (Hon.B.A.): S02311 (9 full courses or their equivalent)
At least 4.5 300+ series courses, including one 400-series course.
A student's program should be worked out with the appropriate staff Specialist Coordinator. This program will normally be established by the end of the student's Second Year, and confirmed at registration in subsequent years. While students are encouraged to follow their personal interests and aims, it is strongly recommended but not required, that programs include courses in the following areas:
Major program Major program: M02311 (6 full courses or their equivalent)
The 6 courses should include at least 3 PHL/PHI 300+ series courses.
It is strongly recommended but not required that Programs include courses in the following areas:
Minor program Minor program: R02311 (4 full courses or their equivalent)
Four courses in PHL/PHI to include one course at the 300+ level
It is strongly recommended but not required that Programs include courses in the following areas: 1 History of Philosophy 1 Problems of Philosophy
For a list of minor Programs in different areas of Philosophy see the Department's Undergraduate Bulletin.
PHILOSOPHY AND ECONOMICS See ECONOMICS
PHILOSOPHY AND ENGLISH See ENGLISH
PHILOSOPHY AND GERMAN See GERMAN
PHILOSOPHY AND GREEK See CLASSICS
PHILOSOPHY AND LINGUISTICS See LINGUISTICS
PHILOSOPHY AND LITERARY STUDIES See LITERARY STUDIES
PHILOSOPHY AND MATHEMATICS See MATHEMATICS
PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICAL SCIENCE (Hon.B.A.)
Limited Enrolment program: see details under POLITICAL SCIENCE. Specialist program: S17461 (14 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course: 7 in each subject)
PHILOSOPHY (7 courses):
At least two 300+ series courses. It is strongly recommended that five be chosen according to the profile specified in the Philosophy Specialist Program above.
POLITICAL SCIENCE (7 courses):
NOTE: The courses to include at least two 300+ series courses of which one must be a 400-series course.
PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION (Hon.B.A.)Consult Departments of Philosophy and Study of Religion.
Specialist program: S09821 (14 full courses or their equivalent: 7 in each subject; including at least one course at the 400-level)
For details consult the Departments.
PHILOSOPHY (7 courses):
Including at least two 300+ series courses, with five chosen according to the following profile:
b History of Philosophy
RELIGION (7 courses):
Including at least two 300+ series courses, with five chosen according to the following profile:
PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIOLOGY (Hon.B.A.)Consult Departments of Philosophy and Sociology.
Specialist program: S11471 (15 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
PHILOSOPHY (7 courses):
It is strongly recommended that five courses be chosen according to the profile specified in the Philosophy Specialist program above; at least two must be 300+ series courses.
SOCIOLOGY (8 courses):
NOTE: Enrolment in this Program is limited to students with 65% in SOC 101Y, and 70% in each of SOC 200Y and 203Y. Students need to have completed 8 full courses and be enroled in the Sociology Major program.
BIOETHICS (B.A.)Consult L. Shanner, Philosophy.
Specialist program (Hon.B.A.): S10011 (9 full courses or their equivalent, at least four which must be 300+ series courses, including one 400-series course)
Major program Major program: M10011 (6 full courses or their equivalent, at least two of which must be 300+ series courses)
Minor program Minor program: R10011 (4 full courses or their equivalent)
Undergraduate seminar that focuses on specific ideas, questions, phenomena or controversies, taught by a regular Faculty member deeply engaged in the discipline. Open only to newly admitted first year students. It may serve as a breadth requirement course; see First Year Seminars: 199Y.
NOTE PHL and PHI: The prefix PHI serves to identify courses taught at St. Michael's College. All philosophy courses normally taught outside St. Michael's College are identified by the PHL prefix. Any PHI and PHL courses bearing the same number are automatically mutually exclusive. PHI courses are also described in the St. Michael's College Philosophy booklet available in Room 311, Alumni Hall or from the Departmental office, 215 Huron St. Some of the courses listed here bear prefixes other than PHL/PHI. These courses may be credited toward any of the Programs in Philosophy but may normally make up no more than one-sixth of a Philosophy Program. They are cross-listed here for convenience but students should consult the primary listings for course descriptions.
The central branches of philosophy - logic, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and ethics. Some time may be devoted to questions in political philosophy and philosophy of religion. The course is concerned with such questions as: What is sound reasoning? What can we know? What is ultimately real? Is morality rational? Do humans have free will? Is there a God?
The central branches of philosophy - logic, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and ethics - introduced with the emphasis on the last three. A selection of works by such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and one or more contemporary authors are studied.
NOTE 1. No 200-series course has a 100-series PHL/PHI course as prerequisite.
Central texts of the pre-socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and post-Aristotelian philosophy.
An introduction of philosophy focusing on the connections among its main branches: logic, theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and ethics. This course is intended for those with little or no philosophy background but have completed four FCEs in any subject.
Central texts of such philosophers as Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.
An examination of central themes in the thought of Kierkegaard (e.g., the leap of faith, paradox, decision) and Nietzsche (e.g., will to power, the death of God, eternal return, the overman) through a selection of their texts.
An examination of some leading themes in the theory of Karl Marx.
This influential way of thinking in philosophy, theology, psychotherapy, and literature became prominent with such 20th-century authors as Jaspers, Heidegger, Buber, Camus, and Sartre, but it had its roots in the 19th-century, especially in the writings of Kierkegaard. Principal themes: nature and predicament of the self, self-deception, and freedom of choice.
An introduction to epistemology: the nature and scope of human knowledge. Perception, meaning, evidence, certainty, skepticism, belief, objectivity, and truth.
An introduction to metaphysics: conceptions of the overall framework of reality. Typical problems include: existence and essence, categories of being, mind and body, freedom and determinism, causality, space and time, God.
Some central issues in the philosophy of religion such as the nature of religion and religious faith, arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, varieties of religious experience, religion and human autonomy.
The distinctive features of religious living; the relationship of religious living and critical thinking; the meaning of "God"; arguments regarding the existence and nature of God; the problems of God and evil; the meaning of death; arguments regarding the existence and nature of a personal afterlife.
An introduction to the main philosophical traditions of China, including Confucianism, Taosim, Buddhism and their principle schools of thought.
Consciousness and its relation to the body; personal identity and survival; knowledge of other minds; psychological events and behaviour.
Philosophical issues about sex and sexual identity in the light of biological, psychological and ethical theories of sex and gender. The concept of gender; male and female sex roles; "perverse" sex; sexual liberation; love and sexuality.
Aspects of human nature, e.g., emotion, instincts, motivation. Theories of human nature, e.g., behaviourism, psychoanalysis.
The application of symbolic techniques to the assessment of arguments. Propositional calculus and quantification theory. Logical concepts, techniques of natural deduction.
The elements of axiomatic probability theory and its main interpretations (frequency, logical, and subjective). Reasoning with probabilities in decision-making and science.
The area of informal logic - the logic of ordinary language, usually non-deductive. Criteria for the critical assessment of arguments as strong or merely persuasive. Different types of arguments and techniques of refutation; their use and abuse.
The nature of language as a system of human communication, theories of meaning and meaningfulness, the relation of language to the world and to the human mind.
This course counts as an Other Humanities Breadth Requirement
An introduction to the problems, theories and research strategies central to an interdisciplinary field focussing on the nature and organization of the human mind and other cognitive systems. Interrelations among the philosophical, psychological, linguistic and computer science aspects of the field are emphasized. (Offered by the Department of Philosophy and University College)
An examination of (e.g.) ESP, astrology, race and I.Q., scientific creationism, psychoanalysis, sociobiology; the principles of good science as opposed to pseudo-science, especially in "borderline" cases; misuses of science.
Central issues in political philosophy, e.g., political and social justice, liberty and the criteria of good government are introduced through a comparative and critical study of major philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle in the classical period and Hobbes, Mill, and Marx in the modern era.
Main types of feminist theory: liberal, Marxist, Existential and "Radical". A number of ethical, political and psychological issues are considered.
The concept of law and of the rule of law, natural law, positivism, and the common law tradition; theories of adjudication.
Justifications for the legal enforcement of morality; particular ethical issues arising out of the intersection of law and morality, such as punishment, freedom of expression and censorship, autonomy and paternalism, constitutional protection of human rights.
The nature, aims, and content of education; learning theory; education and indoctrination; the teaching of morals and the morality of teaching; the role and justification of educational institutions, their relation to society and to individual goals; authority and freedom in the school.
A study of environmental issues raising questions of concern to moral and political philosophers, such as property rights, responsibility for future generations, and the interaction of human beings with the rest of nature. Typical issues: sustainable development, alternative energy, the preservation of wilderness areas, animal rights.
Central issues in ethics are introduced through a comparative and critical study of some of the major figures in the history of moral philosophy, such as Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill. Some 20th-century philosophers may also be studied.
Moral and political issues concerning warfare: the theory of the "just war", pacifism, moral constraints on the conduct of war, war as an instrument of foreign policy, the strategy of deterrence. Special attention to the implications of nuclear weapons. (Offered in alternate years)
An introduction to the study of moral and legal problems in medical practice and in biomedical research; the development of health policy. Topics include: concepts of health and disease, patient rights, informed consent, allocation of scarce resources, euthanasia, abortion, genetic and reproductive technologies, human research, and mental health.
A historical and systematic introduction to the main questions in the philosophy of art and beauty from Plato to the present. These include the relation between art and beauty, the nature of aesthetic experience, definitions and theories of art, the criteria of excellence in the arts, and the function of art criticism.
The literary expression of philosophical ideas and the interplay between literature and philosophy. Such philosophical issues as the nature and origin of good and evil in human beings, the nature and extent of human freedom and responsibility, and the diverse forms of linguistic expression. Such authors as Wordsworth, Mill, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Miller, Camus, and Lawrence are studied.
Philosophical issues in ethics, social theory, and theories of human nature insofar as they bear on contemporary conduct of business. Issues include: Does business have moral responsibilities? Can social costs and benefits be calculated? Does modern business life determine human nature or the other way around? Do political ideas and institutions such as democracy have a role within business?
Credit course for supervised participation in faculty research project. See Research Opportunity Program for details.
NOTE All 300-series courses have a prerequisite of three half courses (or equivalent) in philosophy, with the exception of PHL 344-349. There is also a general prerequisite of 7.5 courses (in any field). Only specific courses required or recommended are listed below. Students who do not meet the prerequisite for a particular course but believe that they have adequate preparation should consult the instructor concerning entry to the course.
Selected metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical themes in Plato's dialogues.
Selected anthropological, ethical and metaphysical themes in the works of Aristotle.
A study of issues such as the relations of reason and faith, the being and the nature of God, and the problem of universals in the writings of such philosophers as Augustine, Boethius, and Anselm and Abelard.
A study of issues such as the relation of reason and faith, the being and nature of God, and the structure of the universe in the writings of such philosophers as Aquinas and Ockham.
Central themes in St. Augustine's Christian philosophy, such as the problem of evil, the interior way to God, the goal of human life and the meaning of history.
Philosophical innovations that St. Thomas Aquinas made in the course of constructing a systematic theology: essence and existence, the Five Ways, separate intelligences, the human soul and ethics.
Central philosophical problems in Descartes, Spinoza, or Leibniz.
Central philosophical problems in Locke, Berkeley, or Hume.
A systematic study of The Critique of Pure Reason.
The systems of thought that followed Kant, including Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Then later authors such as Schopenhauer, Marx, and Nietzsche who were, in part, critics of Hegel, but who were also creative thinkers who shaped the future.
An examination of Hegel's project of absolute knowing, its philosophical assumptions, and its implications for history, science and experience.
Interpretations of Marxism: pro- and anti-Marxist arguments and concerns down to the present day. Possible focuses are the philosophical developments or critiques of Marxism by Lenin, Mao, Gramsci, Lukacs, Althusser, Habermas, the "analytic Marxists", or others.
Phenomenology is a method used in the analysis of human awareness and subjectivity. It has been applied in the social sciences, humanities, as well as in philosophy. Texts studied are from Husserl and later practitioners, e.g., Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Gurwitsch, and Ricoeur.
Some work from the 1920's (either Being and Time or contemporary lectures) and selections from Heidegger's later work on poetry, technology, and history are studied. Heidegger's position within phenomenology and within the broader history of thought is charted.
German and French philosophy after World War II, focusing on such topics as: debates about humanism, hermeneutics, critical theory, the structuralist movement, its successors such as deconstruction. Typical authors: Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, Derrida.
Analytic philosophy up to the present day. Authors from Frege and Russell to Quine and Kripke.
Wittgenstein's views on the structure and function of language, meaning, the possibility of a private language, and the concepts of feeling and thinking. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and the Philosophical Investigations.
Historical and systematic approaches. Principal issues include: the nature of reality, substance and existence, necessity and the a priori, truth, knowledge and belief, perception, causality.
Some specific problem(s) in the philosophy of religion, such as the relationship of religious faith and religious belief, the ontological argument for the existence of God, theories about divine transcendence, the philosophical presuppositions of religious doctrines, the modern critique of religion.
An intermediate level treatment of such topics as: human nature; good and evil; the role of emotions; the metaphysical ultimate.
A selection of texts and issues in Jewish philosophy, for example, Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed, Buber's The Prophetic Faith, prophecy and revelation, Divine Command and morality, creation and eternity, the historical dimension of Jewish thought. (Offered in alternate years)
Typical issues include: the mind-brain identity theory; intentionality and the mental, personal identity.
Human action, and the nature of freedom and responsibility in the light of contemporary knowledge concerning the causation of behaviour.
Topics include: philosophical foundations of artificial intelligence theory; the computational theory of the mind; functionalism vs. reductionism; the problems of meaning in the philosophy of mind.
An examination of social and political thought concerning the nature of women and their role in society, including the relation between the family and "civil society". The debate between Aristotle and Plato: treatment by early modern individualism; the anti-individualist theory; some major contemporary perspectives, especially liberal and Marxist feminism. (Given by the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science)
Soundness and completeness of propositional and quantificational logic, undecidability of quantificational logic, and other metalogical topics.
A sequel to PHL/PHI245H, developing skills in quantificational logic and treating of definite descriptions. The system developed is used to study a selection of the following topics: philosophical uses of logic, formal systems, set theory, non-classical logics, and metalogic.
Platonism versus nominalism, the relation between logic and mathematics, implications of Gödel's theorem, formalism and intuitionism.
Formal study of the concepts of necessity and possibility; modal propositional and quantificational logic; possible-worlds semantics; the metaphysics of modality. (Offered in alternate years)
Axiomatic set theory developed in a practical way, as a logical tool for philosophers, with some attention to philosophical problems surrounding it. (Offered in alternate years)
The claims of logical positivism, ordinary language philosophy, structuralism, or generative linguistics about the importance of language for philosophy; hypotheses about mind, metaphysics, and meaning.
The structure and methods of science: explanation, methodology, realism and instrumentalism.
The course explores a range of African cosmologies, epistemologies, and theologies, as well as specific case studies on justice, the moral order, and gender relations. The influence of these richly diverse traditions is traced as well in the writings of African thinkers in the Diaspora. Jointly taught by the Departments of Anthropology and Philosophy
This course counts as a Social Science Distribution Requirement
Introduction to philosophical issues which arise in modern physics, especially in Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Topics include: the nature of spacetime, conventionality in geometry, determinism, and the relation between observation and existence.
Philosophical issues in the foundations of biology, e.g., the nature of life, evolutionary theory; controversies about natural selection; competing mechanisms, units of selection; the place of teleology in biology; biological puzzles about sex and sexual reproduction; the problem of species; genetics and reductionism; sociobiology; natural and artificial life.
Typical questions include: Has history any meaning? Can there be general theories of history? How are the findings of historians related to the theories of metaphysics and of science? Is history deterministic? Must the historian make value judgements? Is history science or an art? Are there historical forces or spirits of an epoch? (Offered in alternate years)
A study of some of the central problems of political philosophy, addressed to historical and contemporary political theorists.
Major issues in philosophy of law, such as legal positivism and its critics, law and liberalism, feminist critiques of law, punishment and responsibility.
An intermediate-level examination of key issues in environmental philosophy, such as the ethics of animal welfare, duties to future generations, deep ecology, ecofeminism, sustainable development and international justice.
A study of some of the main problems in moral philosophy, such as the objectivity of values, the nature of moral judgements, rights and duties, the virtues, and consequentialism.
An intermediate-level study of problems in biomedical and behavioural research with human subjects: informed voluntary consent, risk and benefit, experimental therapy, randomized clinical trials, research codes and legal issues, dependent groups (human embryos, children, the aged, hospital patients, the dying, prisoners, the mentally ill. (Offered in alternate years)
An intermediate-level study of moral and legal problems, including the philosophical significance of death, the high-tech prolongation of life, definition and determination of death, suicide, active and passive euthanasia, the withholding of treatment, palliative care and the control of pain, living wills; recent judicial decisions. (Offered in alternate years)
An intermediate-level study of moral and legal problems, including the concepts of mental health and illness, mental competence, dangerousness and psychiatric confidentiality, mental institutionalization, involuntary treatment and behaviour control, controversial therapies; legal issues: the Mental Health Act, involuntary commitment, the insanity defence. (Offered in alternate years)
An intermediate-level study of moral and legal problems, including the ontological and moral status of the human embryo and fetus; human newborn, carrier and prenatal genetic screening for genetic defect, genetic therapy; the reproductive technologies (e.g., artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization); recent legislative proposals and judicial decisions. (Offered in alternate years)
Selected topics in the philosophy of art. Such issues as the following are discussed: whether different arts require different aesthetic principles; relations between art and language; the adequacy of traditional aesthetics to recent developments in the arts; art as an institution.
NOTE 1. Prerequisite for all 400-level courses is permission of the instructor. This is normally given only where the "Recommended preparation" has been done, and where nine half-courses in Philosophy have been completed.
These courses, involving directed independent research, are available to advanced students. Arrangements must be made with a faculty supervisor, and approval of the Undergraduate Coordinator obtained before registration.
This course is presented throughout the whole academic year and involves attendance at the Philosophy Department's monthly Colloquium.
Topics vary but often bridge two or more areas or traditions of philosophy.
Class is run in the manner of a small tutorial.
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