Graduate Courses for 2016-2017
PHIL 990 Seminar
The graduate seminar involves paper presentations on current research by graduate students, department and cognate faculty, and visiting scholars. Graduate students must register in and attend the seminar on a continuous basis, and are only eligible to graduate once they have successfully presented a seminar.
PHIL 994 Research
All Masters students taking the thesis-based option must register for this course in every term.
Maintenance of Status
All Masters' students taking the course-based option must register for "Maintenance of Status" for every term in which they are not registered in a course for credit.
GSR 960 Introduction to Ethics and Integrity
All graduate students are required to register for this short online course upon commencing their programs. The purpose of this course is to discuss ethical issues that graduate students may face during their time at the university. The five modules in GSR 960 look at general issues for graduate students including integrity and scholarship, graduate student–supervisor relationships, conflict of interest, conflict resolution, and intellectual property and credit.
PHIL 826 – Seminar in Philosophy of Mind
[Course Description, PDF 91 kb.]
TR 1:00-2:30 PM, Arts 607
This course is an advanced introduction to two pressing issues in the contemporary philosophy of mind; (1) the problem of consciousness in a physical world, and (2), the problem of mental causation in a physical world. Some of the questions we will look at while studying the problem of consciousness include: what is consciousness; how did consciousness arise; why did consciousness arise; what is the relation between consciousness and the brain; does the existence of consciousness imply that physicalism is false; can a complete neuroscience capture consciousness? Some of the questions we will look at while studying the problem of mental causation include: does the brain do all the work, leaving no work for the mind to do; does the mind do the work, leaving gaps in the neural processes of the brain; can our behavior have two causes, and hence be overdetermined; is it best to treat the mind as identical to the brain; is the mind like a shadow that cannot influence behavior; if the mind is like a shadow, is that a deep problem?
PHIL 851 – Seminar in History and Philosophy of Science: The Philosophy of Social Science
MWF 1:30-2:20 PM, Arts 607
The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the main areas in the philosophy of social science We will examine how one goes about explaining human action as opposed to human behaviour, the methodological divide between naturalism and interpretationalism, problems in rational choice theory, social psychology and the ways in which we construct society, holism and antireductionism, and other topics. The course text is the 5th edition of Alexander Rosenberg’s Philosophy of Social Science.
PHIL 833 – Seminar in Ethics: Death and Value
TR 11:30-12:50 PM, Arts 607
If we knew that the existence of the human species would soon come to an end, how would our values change? What role does the presumption that human life will continue after our death play in our understanding of value? By means of two thought experiments, Samuel Scheffler argues that our very capacity as valuers depends on the continued existence of other humans living after we die. He concludes that this reliance on the continuation of humanity has important consequences for understanding human values; specifically, we aren’t the egoistic, individualistic beings that we are sometimes portrayed to be. The thought of my own death does not undermine confidence in the value of human activity in the way that the prospect of the end of humanity does. In this course we will take up metaethical questions concerning the relations between value, consequences, mortality, immortality, and sociality by studying Scheffler’s highly readable and engaging series of lectures published in his book Death and the Afterlife. Our study will lead us to develop a clearer understanding of what value is, what it depends upon, and how are own lives might be made valuable by being mortal.
PHIL 862 – Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy: Deliberative Democracy
TR 10:00-11:20 AM, Arts 607
Deliberative democracy is a model of democracy that attempts to overcome the problems associated with the democratic deficit: the idea that democratic institutions do not embody the democratic principles that lend them their legitimacy. Deliberativists hope that creating deliberative spaces, and thereby engaging citizens more directly in setting the direction for policy and governance decisions, will help remedy the difficulties that result from having a disengaged and disillusioned citizenry. In this seminar, students will learn about, critically engage with, and examine applications of the theory of deliberative democracy. In the first weeks of this course, students will learn about foundational texts and contemporary variations of deliberative democratic theory. In latter weeks of this course, students will explore challenges to and applications of deliberative democracy. There will also be an opportunity for students to select the topics and readings to be covered in the final weeks, so as to tailor the course material to their own interests.
PHIL 871 – Seminar in Aesthetics: Understanding Fiction
MWF 10:30-11:20 AM, Arts 607
This course covers two central issues in the philosophy of fiction: the nature of fiction and the interpretation of fiction. The first issue concerns what distinguishes fiction from non-fiction. In this section of the course, in addition to delineating the class of entities to which this distinction applies, speech act, function, and institutional accounts of the distinction will be explored. The second issue concerns the attribution of meanings to works of fiction. In addition to delineating the various dimensions of meaning at issue, we will look at intentionalist, anti-intentionalist, and constructivist accounts of interpretation