Fall 2021

Phil 5500
Gabriele Contessa
The Epistemology of Democracy
Date, Time TBD
Phil 5600
Kyla Bruff
A Historical Introduction to F.W.J. Schelling’s Philosophy of Freedom
Date, Time TBD
Schelling’s definition of freedom in 1809 as the capacity to choose between good and evil introduced a groundbreaking existential dimension into the relationship of the individual to the universal in the German tradition. For Schelling, the individual ought to actively work to overcome her internal, deep-seeded, personal challenges to develop into a person who wills the universal or the Good. In the Freedom Essay, Schelling responds to a number of his predecessors to develop this unique philosophy of freedom. But the text is admittedly difficult. This course will prepare students to read Schelling’s philosophy of freedom by offering an overview of the theses most important to his Freedom Essay in the history of philosophy, specifically from the 16th to 18th century. We will discuss the theosophy of Jacob Boehme, Spinoza’s philosophy of nature, key selections from Kant’s critical philosophy and late philosophy of evil, and Fichte’s philosophy of subjectivity. We will then be well-positioned to read Schelling’s Freedom Essay. After a brief examination of Schelling’s early philosophy of nature and his philosophy of art, we will study the Freedom Essay together in depth. We will end the course by exploring the most important concepts in the Freedom Essay for 20th century existentialism.
Phil 5600
Andrew Brook
Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
Date, Time TBD
A close reading of one of the most important works in western philosophy, Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The class is discussion-centred and interactive, with both student presentations every week and introductory talks.
PHIL 5700 Fall Colloquium
Fridays, 1:00-2:30
Students prepare for and attend the departmental colloquium series (typically including 10 to 12 sessions in one term), submitting in writing a critical analysis of some aspect of the presentation or discussion for each colloquium they attend.
Phil 5850
David Matheson
Proseminar, Philosophical Naturalism
Date, Time TBD
As a philosophical movement, naturalism eschews the nonphysical and emphasizes scientifically respectable methods of inquiry. The objective of this seminar is to familiarize you with the roots and guises of contemporary philosophical naturalism and with its presence in three particular areas of philosophy–the philosophy of mind, ethics, and epistemology. Particular topics to be discussed include the American origins of contemporary naturalism, its ontological and methodological commitments, the causal closure of the physical domain, varieties of physicalism about the mental, naturalist challenges to metaethical realism, the autonomy of normative philosophy, and whether a naturalized epistemology vitiates traditional epistemology’s reliance on intuition and the a priori.

Winter 2022

Phil 5000
Vida Panitch
Health and Distributive Justice
Date, Time TBD
This course explores the relationship between health and distributive justice. It asks whether there is a basic entitlement to health care and what obligations this may engender with respect to the allocation of scarce goods. We will begin by looking at the arguments from philosophy for the distribution of health care as a public good, and at the various bioethical principles proposed regarding the allocation of scarce health resources, in both a private and a public system, under conditions of scarcity. We will apply these considerations throughout the course to many of the health injustices made plain and intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Phil 5200
Eros Corazza
Literal vs. Non-Literal Meaning
Date, Time TBD
Starting from the semantics/pragmatics distinction as proposed by Grice, we will discuss how such a distinction can cope with so-called non-literal meaning (e.g. sarcasm, metaphors, etc.) Text to be read will come from D. Sperber & D. Wilson (in particular their Relevance Theory), F. Recanati, E. Camp, etc.
Phil 5200
Charles Côté-Bouchard
The Ethics of Mental States
Date, Time TBD
At its most fundamental, ethics is about how we ought to live. In trying to elucidate that question, ethicists typically focus on how we ought to act. Yet, actions are not the only aspects of human life that we evaluate. Mental states are also central to how we live and how we assess each other. Figuring out how we ought to live, then, is also about figuring out what to feel, what to believe, what to want, and the like. In this seminar, we will discuss the possibility and nature of such an ethics of mental states. Can we have obligations and be responsible for having mental states, given that many of them are often involuntary? What should an ethics of mental states make of the distinction between right and wrong kinds of reasons? How does the ethics of mental states relate to the ethics of action? Do the same theories apply to them? Should they go hand in hand?
PHIL 5750W Winter Colloquium
Fridays, 1:00-2:30
Students prepare for and attend the departmental colloquium series (typically including 10 to 12 sessions in one term), submitting in writing a critical analysis of some aspect of the presentation or discussion for each colloquium they attend.
Phil 5900W
Christine Koggel
Research Seminar
Date, Time TBD
Mandatory seminar course for all first-year MA students. The primary objective of this seminar is to develop topics for theses or research essays. Students will consult with potential supervisors during this process.