Graduate Seminars for 2012/13

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FALL 2012

Phil 5000F
Geraldine Finn
Topic: Reading Wittgenstein
Time: Wednesdays, 11:30 – 2:30

This course will explore Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language through a close reading of his Philosophical Investigation and other related material. The course will be run as a seminar with individual students assuming responsibility for introducing each of the weekly readings.

Phil 5350F
Wendy Donner
Topic: John Stuart Mill
Time: Tuesdays, 6:00 – 9:00

In this seminar we will explore John Stuart Mill’s moral and political philosophy, with emphasis on recent scholarship. We will begin by examining the elements of his utilitarian moral philosophy, including his theory of value and the structure of the Art of Life (Morality, Justice, Virtue and Aesthetics). We will then go on to consider other topics including liberty, democratic education, liberalism and democracy, liberal feminism and environmental philosophy. The goal throughout will be to examine Mill’s major writings such as Utilitarianism, On Liberty, Representative Government and The Subjection of Women in the light of recent commentary and scholarship.

Phil 5600F
Andrew Brook
Topic: Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
Time: Thursdays, 2:30 – 5:30

We will do a close reading of all the major parts of Kant’s first Critique, with occasional glances at other works. The course will be centred on summaries of the passage to be discussed toward the end of each seminar followed by a student presentation at the beginning of the next seminar.

Phil 5600X
Melissa Frankel
Topic: Women and Early Modern Philosophy
Time: Mondays, 11:30 – 2:30

In this seminar we will reconsider the standard early modern canon in two different ways. First, we will examine feminist critiques of canonical figures in early modern philosophy, and also responses to those critiques. This may involve looking at some of the ways in which early modern philosophers might have presaged later feminist thought in their work. Second, we will consider whether the canon might be limited and limiting: we will look at some of the writings of early modern women philosophers to think about the ways in which their work might have contributed to significant philosophical debates in the period.

Phil 5700F
Fall Colloquium
Time: Fridays, 3:00 – 5:00
Schedule will be posted and circulated in early September.

Phil 5850F
Gordon Davis
Time: Tuesdays, 2:30 – 5:30
Mandatory seminar course for all first-year MA students.


Phil 5000W
Vida Panitch
Topic: Justice and Health
Time: Thursdays, 2:30 – 5:30

In this seminar we will explore the relationship between distributive justice and health care. What are the normative foundations of a public health care system, why does health care count as a public good, and what are the limits of our collective responsibility for health care? Does the entitlement to health care extend internationally, and if so, what implications does this carry for the relevant duty-bearers and for the scope of our existing public health care institutions? To address these questions we will examine the work of Rawls, Daniels, Dworkin, Segall, Walzer, Beitz, Arras, and Pogge.

Phil 5200W
Heidi Maibom
Topic: Empathy
Time: Wednesdays, 2:30 – 5:30

We shall explore empathy and related emotions and attitudes, such as sympathy, emotional contagion, and are. What sort of emotion is empathy, how is it related to other emotions such as sympathy, and what does the emotional reaction to for us? How is it related to altruism, violence inhibition, ethics of care, and and ethics more generally. Furthermore, how is the emotion related to the cognitive capacity to see things from others’ perspective.

Phil 5250W
Gabriele Contessa
Topic: Fiction and Fictionalism
Time: Thursdays, 11:30 – 2:30

Virtually all human cultures produce and consume fiction in one form or another (myths, stories, novels, and plays being just a few examples). In this seminar we will examine two related issues. The first is how to account for fictional discourse in general and for apparent reference to fictional characters in particular. The second is to explore the viability of fictionalist accounts of forms of discourse that are not prima facie fictional, such as mathematical or moral discourses.

Phil 5250X
David Matheson
Topic: Meaning in Life
Time: Mondays, 2:30 – 5:30

This seminar will be devoted to an important issue in axiology, viz. meaning in life. We will explore both the general nature of life-meaning, and its relationship to other (e.g. ethical and prudential) values. After a preliminary look at some well-known past work on topic (e.g. by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Camus, Schlick, Taylor, and Nagel) to help set the stage, we will turn our attention to a detailed examination of Susan Wolf’s recent Tanner Lectures, _Meaning in Life and Why it Matters_ (Princeton University Press, 2010).

Phil 5750W
Winter Colloquium
Time: Fridays, 3:00 – 5:00
Schedule will be posted and circulated in early January.

Phil 5900W
Research Seminar
Jay Drydyk
Time: Tuesdays, 2:30 – 5:30
Mandatory seminar course for all first-year MA students.