Undergraduate Academic Programs / Departments / Courses

82 Philosophy

http://upei.ca/philosophy

Philosophy Faculty
Verner Smitheram, Professor Emeritus
Pamela Courtenay-Hall, Associate Professor, Chair
Neb Kujundzic, Professor
Malcolm Murray, Professor
Tony Couture, Associate Professor
Peter Koritansky, Associate Professor

REQUIREMENTS FOR A MAJOR IN PHILOSOPHY
Students must complete a minimum of 42 semester hours in Philosophy with at least six courses (18 hours) at the 3000 or 4000 level. NOTE: All courses are 3 hours.

The Department strongly recommends that the following courses should be completed by philosophy majors intending to pursue graduate studies in Philosophy: PHIL 2210 (Social Philosophy); PHIL 2510 (Formal Logic); PHIL 2620 (Plato and Aristotle); PHIL 3030 (History of Ethical Theory in 1900); PHIL 3730 (Philosophy of Language); PHIL 3840 (Rationalists and Empiricists); PHIL 3850 (The Philosophy of Kant).

HONOURS IN PHILOSOPHY
Admission
To be admitted to the honours program, the student must submit a letter of application to the chair of the department. The letter must include a brief proposal of the intended research, a naming of the student’s potential supervisor (we recommend prior consultation with the potential supervisor), and a copy of the student’s updated transcripts. Applicants must have registered in, or have completed, the major program in philosophy.

Normally, students should submit their applications during their fifth semester. The department, acting as a committee, will determine who is admitted based on the following considerations:
-The student has an average of at least 75% in all Philosophy courses
-The student has an overall average of at least 70% in all academic courses
-The student has shown the ability of, or has the potential for, completing independent philosophical research
-Availability of suitable supervisors

Since the demand for the program may exceed the resources available, meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee admission.

Requirements
To receive an honours in Philosophy, an honours philosophy student must satisfy the following requirements:
-At least 126 semester hours of academic credit (42 courses).
-At least 54 semester hours of credit (18 courses) in Philosophy, including seven courses from the following menu:

A) PHIL 2510 (Formal Logic);
B) PHIL 2210 (Social Philosophy), OR PHIL 2220 (Political Philosophy);
C) PHIL 2620 (Plato and Aristotle), OR PHIL 3840 (Rationalists and Empiricists), OR Phil 3850 (Kant);
D) PHIL 3030 (Ethical Theory), OR PHIL 3020 (Environmental Philosophy);
E) PHIL 3730 (Philosophy of Language), OR PHIL 3010 (Philosophy of Science);
F) PHIL 4800 (Research Seminar), AND PHIL 4900 (Honours Thesis)

-Of the remaining eleven courses, at least ten courses should be completed at the 3000 or 4000 level, including any of the courses satisfying (C), (D), (E), and (F) above.
-A requirement of Philosophy 4900 will be a written thesis (7000-9000 words) and an oral defence. The defence committee consists of at least three faculty members, including the student’s supervisor. The committee decides final grades, not the supervisor.
-A student must complete the above requirements while maintaining a minimum average of 75% in all philosophy courses.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A MINOR IN PHILOSOPHY
1. A minor in Philosophy consists of twenty-one semester hours in Philosophy.
2. At least three courses (9 semester hours) should be at the 3000 or 4000 level. The Department strongly recommends that Philosophy minors complete the following courses to ensure development of basic philosophical knowledge: Philosophy 1010 (Introduction to Philosophy) and Philosophy 1110 (Critical Thinking).

PHILOSOPHY COURSES

1010 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
This course introduces philosophical inquiry and explores questions such as: How is the mind connected to the body?  What is it to know something?  How does scientific knowledge differ from other forms of knowledge? Is there an external world that exists independently of human perception and cognition and if so, do we have access to it? How do we figure out what is morally right or wrong? What is justice? Is there a universal human nature?  How do religious beliefs differ from other types of beliefs? What are some of the traditional arguments regarding the existence of God?
Lectures: Three hours a week

1020 INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS AND SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY
This course explores some basic questions about human life as they have been addressed in western philosophy, which may include:  What is the meaning of life?  What is it to live a good life?  What is justice?  How should a society be organized in order to be a just society? How do answers to these questions vary with different theories of human nature? What is the basis for judgments of right and wrong in interpersonal relations, in relation to the environment, and in public policy?  How do we appraise competing values?  What is virtue?  Topics may also include: gender; sexuality; racism; colonization; health and disability; the nature of religion.
Lectures: Three hours a week

1050 TECHNOLOGY, VALUES, AND SCIENCE
This course explores the connections among technology, human values, and science that are manifested in society, economic systems, and relationships between humans and the natural world. The study of the connections reveal the vast impact that science and technology have on our understanding of the world and our views on the future as well as on personal identity and the human body. It exposes students to critical examination of objectivity in scientific research, progress in technology and science, scientific risk assessment, and genetic engineering. No particular background in science is assumed in this course.
Lectures: Three hours a week

1110 CRITICAL THINKING
This course helps students identify and evaluate various types of arguments couched in ordinary language. Different types of errors of reasoning are critically evaluated, such as argument from authority, begging the question, faulty causal correlation, appeal to emotions, inadequate sample, and deceptive use of statistics. The course aids the student in recognizing occurrences of these fallacies, and the conditions for logical error and weak argumentation in general. Emphasis is placed on the identification of weak arguments and the construction of strong arguments. Examples for critique and counter argument are derived mainly from the popular media.
Lectures, discussion and group presentation.
Three hours a week

2020 CONTEMPORARY MORAL ISSUES
Specific moral issues of contemporary concern such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, animal rights, environmental ethics, terrorism, pornography, prostitution, and welfare form the basic content of the course. Although some ethical theory is discussed, the course’s primary concern is with applied ethics (as opposed to ethical theory as taught in Philosophy 3030). Students learn to distinguish justifiable ethical arguments from those more problematic.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2040 BIO-MEDICAL ETHICS
This course explores questions in health care that require philosophical clarification and appraisal in addition to medical knowledge. Topics such as reproductive decision-making, contract motherhood, allocation of scarce resources, conditions for the withdrawal of treatment, rights to health care, euthanasia, AIDS, eugenics and consent are discussed. The emphasis is on evaluating competing arguments.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2050 BUSINESS ETHICS
Students explore ethical issues specific to business, industry, and professional conduct. Topics range from corporate responsibilities, product and worker safety, ethnicity sensitivity, sexual harassment, advertisement, insider trades, and environmental stewardship. Students become familiar with the ethical issues regarding business, and are equipped with the conceptual tools necessary to respond to moral conflicts sensitively and responsibly.
Cross-listed with Business 2130.
Semester hours of credit: 3

2060 ANIMAL ETHICS
This course introduces the recent paradigm shift from anthropocentric ethics to biocentric ethics. The main objectives of the course are 1) to develop understanding of the main arguments concerning the moral status of nonhuman animals; 2) to cover the full range of different ethical positions regarding animals and discuss their advantages and disadvantages; and 3) to identify ideologies associated with thinking about animals and develop a critique which liberates us from one-dimensional thinking about animals. Topics addressed include whether animals have minds, whether animals have rights analogous in some way to human rights, and how to balance the interests of animals with other environmental goods. Other topics include animals as food, animal research ethics, animals in entertainment, cloning, biotechnology, companion animals, and legal and moral issues associated with animal activism.

2070 PHILOSOPHIES OF WAR AND PEACE
This course investigates the complex issue of war and violence, peace and justice, and the future of war. Is war a necessary part of the human condition? What are the ethics of war? The course examines the opposing positions of political realism, just war theory, and pacifism. The course will focus on the meaning of war for philosophers in particular, and study World War II veterans who became philosophers such as Stuart Hampshire, R.M. Hare, J. Glenn Gray, John Rawls and others. Michael Walzer’s classic account, Just and Unjust Wars, and additional historical writings by Tolstoy, Arendt, Hobbes, Marx, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King may be studied to understand the debate over the meaning of the problem of war for philosophers and how they attempt to cope with it.

2090 SPECIAL TOPICS
Creation of a course code for special topics offered by Philosophy at the 2000 level.

2110 ORIGINS OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY
This course traces the development of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratics to the Neo-Platonists and Christian thinkers of late antiquity. The great questions posed by these early philosophers concerning the origins of the universe, the ultimate nature of reality, the frequent conflict between human nature and moral/social obligation, together with their bold answers, are examined thoroughly.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2130 EXISTENTIALISM
Themes studied in this course may include consciousness, subjectivity, authenticity, fact versus interpretation, the role of faith and emotions in a meaningful life, intersubjectivity and community, freedom, alienation, noncognitivism, anti-theory, and moral responsibility. Writers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus are the primary focus of discussion.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2140 PHILOSOPHY OF HUMOUR
This course emphasizes the overlapping aspects of philosophy and humour, as well as the role of humour in culture and valuing life. What is comedy? What is humour? What is laughter? What is the difference between laughing at people and laughing with them? Students explore the three traditional theories of humour (Superiority theory, Incongruity theory and Relief theory) as found in thinkers such as Plato, Hobbes, Kant, Schopenhauer, Spencer, and Freud. Students discuss Lenny Bruce’s autobiography as a case study in problematic humour and free speech controversies.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2210 SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY
This course explores a series of basic questions about the nature of social existence. It emphasizes the concept of a “social contract,” and analyzes historical development in Western philosophers such as Hobbes, Locke, Hume and Rousseau. It discusses twentieth century development, such as the philosophy of John Rawls.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2220 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
This investigation of the philosophical problems of life in communities focuses primarily on the concept of rights. What is a right? Are there any inalienable rights? How are rights justified? When is discourse in terms of rights appropriate and inappropriate? Students consider the history of human rights and international differences regarding rights, with special attention to the development of women’s rights.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2350 SKEPTICISM, AGNOSTICISM, ATHEISM, BELIEF
(See Religious Studies 2350)

2420 PHILOSOPHIES OF LOVE AND SEXUALITY
This course explores philosophical issues related to love and sexuality as constructed and experienced in particular cultural and historical contexts in Anglo-American culture. Topics may include analysis of love and sexuality as portrayed in music, literature, film and art; kinds of love; conceptions of self and community underlying different accounts of love; sexual activity as expressive, communicative, sacred, profane, athletic, goal-oriented; the commodification of sex; competing conceptions of sexual health and sexual liberation; conservative, liberal, radical and feminist perspectives; ethical issues in intimate relation- ships, families, sex-trade work and pornography.
Cross-listed with Family Science 2440.
PREREQUISITE: When taken as Family Science 2440, Family Science 1140 is required
Lecture: Three hours a week

2510 FORMAL LOGIC
This course is an introduction to the theory and techniques of classical and modern logic. Students are exposed to the basic concepts of classical propositional and quantificational logic and methods of testing inference. As well, students are exposed to several logical systems that purport to extend classical logic.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2620 PLATO AND ARISTOTLE
This course examines theories of knowledge and beliefs about the fundamental structure of the cosmos in relation to aspects of the human condition found in the works of the two most influential ancient philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. Students study selected primary texts such as the Meno, the Symposium, the Republic and the Timaeus of Plato and the Physics and the Metaphysics of Aristotle.
Cross-listed with Classics 2620.
Lectures: Three hours a week

2640 CHINESE RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY
(See Religious Studies 2610)

2710 ETHICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
This course investigates the ethical problems associated with climate change, including:  What ethical frameworks are helpful for evaluating the complex social, environmental, intergenerational and international ethical issues that climate change raises?  What moral responsibility do individuals have for helping to resolve problems in which their whole society is implicated?  What is the fairest and most effective way to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?  Is our current rate of GHG emissions a new form of domination — not only over the earth and other civilizations, but also over future generations?  Does the massively collective nature of climate change necessitate new ways of conceptualizing environmental ethics?
3 hours credit

2840 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIEVAL THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY
(See Religious Studies 2840)

3010 PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
This course investigates questions basic to understanding the nature, aims, and activities of science as a human enterprise.  Questions include: How do scientists produce and legitimate their knowledge claims?  What is the relation between scientific laws, hypotheses, and theories?  Do the theoretical entities of science really exist?  Does scientific knowledge steadily increase?  Is western science value free, or is it influenced by the biology, culture, social location and power of the people who work in it? What is the difference between science and religion as belief systems?  Why did western science quickly become the globally dominant form of knowledge production?  Do different cultures each have their own equally valid forms of “science,” or does western science give us the one true account of nature?
PREREQUISITE:  One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor.  Students who have not yet studied philosophy but who have taken at least 2 courses in science and/or in social science are encouraged to seek permission to enrol.
Lectures:  Three hours a week

3020 (formerly 2030) ENVIRONMENTAL PHILOSOPHY
This course explores the contours of contemporary environmental thought.  Emphasis is on critically understanding historical, cultural and ideological diversity  Topics include: how humans perceive and gain knowledge of nature, conceptual issues with uses of ‘nature’; ecological identity; environmental movements; Indigenous knowledge systems and relations to the land; social, global and intergenerational environmental justice; spirituality and nature; sustainability and consumption; the privatization of environmental morality; place, art and environmental education; the diversity of human perspectives on the value of nature; why we humans, as a whole, have degraded the ecosystems that support our very existence, and what we can do about it.
Lectures: Three hours a week

3030 HISTORY OF ETHICAL THEORY
This course offers an historical and critical examination of influential ethical theories proposed by philosophers ranging from Aristotle to Nietzsche. The focus is on the philosophical justification for morality, and not on applied issues.
PREREQUISITE: At least two completed courses in Philosophy or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours a week

3090 SPECIAL TOPICS
Creation of a course code for special topics offered by Philosophy at the 3000 level.

3220 RELIGIOUS ETHICS EAST AND WEST
(See Religious Studies 3220)

3510 PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
This course is designed to acquaint students with important philosophical concepts underlying the notion of legality and justice. These include the concepts of equality and inequality, legal obligation, punishment, and rights. Various traditional theories of law will be examined from that proposed by Plato in the Republic and Aristotle’s Politics through Aquinas to John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Contemporary theories of H.L.A. Hart, Gregory Vlastos and John Rawls may be examined as well.
PREREQUISITE: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours a week

3530 PHILOSOPHIES OF COMMUNICATION
This course explores the history of thinking about communication, including technologies such as printing, relevant disciplines such as journalism, human rights, and the role of media as agents of social change. Topics include the history of free expression, censorship, the emergence of the public sphere, techniques for influencing public opinion, communication and war, propaganda and truth. Thinkers such as Condorcet, Godwin, J.S. Mill, Ellul, McLuhan, Habermas, Chomsky, Mattelart, and contemporary theorists may be discussed.
Lecture: Three hours a week

3540 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
This course examines basic problems in philosophical psychology, such as the mind/body problem, intentionality, artificial intelligence, functionalism, the nature of consciousness, and virtual realities. Thinkers such as J. Searle, D. Dennett, J.J.C. Smart, J. Fodor, P. Churchland, F. Dretske, and K. Sterelny may be discussed.
PREREQUISITE: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours per week

3610 PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE
An examination of the ways in which similar basic human concerns are expressed and developed in philosophy and literature. The course focuses on the use of literature in learning philosophy, with particular attention to the novel as a vehicle for bringing philosophy to the masses and the connections be- tween literature and social change. It also explores the history of theories of literature and popular culture, including work by Habermas, McLuhan, Camus, Sartre, Rorty and Kundera.
Cross-listed with English 3130.
Lectures: Three hours a week

3620 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
An examination of how religious beliefs are justified, particularly those concerning the existence of a Judaic-Christian God, the nature of such a god, and the status of faith. Other topics may include: language and metaphor; post-modernist views; rational and nonrational approaches to religion; epistemic differences between western and eastern philosophies and religions; mysticism; and death.
Cross-listed with Religious Studies 3620.
PREREQUISITE: One course in Philosophy or Religious Studies
Lectures: Three hours a week

3630 PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY
Students explore how biology informs our philosophical conceptions of nature and our place in it. Topics include evolutionary theory, human nature, adaptation, development, units of selection, function, species, altruism, the human genome project, conceptions of progress, and creationism.
Lecture: Three hours a week

3710 COMMUNITY-BASED ETHICAL INQUIRY I
This course will engage students in work placements and dialogue in ethical inquiry with community leaders in one of the following areas (set by the instructor at the start of the year): Agriculture and globalization; Poverty and illiteracy in PEI; World hunger and international aid; Environmental problems and issues of sustainability on PEI. Students will explore the nature of moral experience and ethical inquiry while gaining on-the-ground work experience, so that class discussions will be informed by first-hand understanding of the issues, as well as by recent and classic ethical texts. This course will be led by a faculty member in collaboration with recognized community leaders in the field.
PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of a first or second year course in philosophy, or permission of the instructor.
Seminar/field work: Averaged across the semester, 1.5 hours per week unpaid field placement in a relevant setting, supervised by a mentor.
Three semester hours of credit

3730 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE
This course introduces philosophical problems concerning language and provides a grounding in analytic philosophy. Students discuss truth and meaning, reference, speech acts, interpretation and translation, and metaphor. Questions such as the following are examined: What are the relationships among language, mind, and the world? How does language colour our thoughts about reality? Does each language bring with it a distinct conceptual system?
PREREQUISITE: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours a week

3830 RADICAL PHILOSOPHY
This course explores attempts by philosophers, in the 19th and 20th centuries, to create alternative social movements that are highly critical of existing social organizations and the state form of life. It provides an historical introduction to Marxism, anarchism and feminist social theory. Texts are selected from Godwin, Marx, Engels, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Emma Goldman and Simone de Beauvoir.
Lectures: Three hours a week

3840 RATIONALIST AND EMPIRICISTS
This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy through the study of the most important works of the rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) and the empiricists (Locke, Berkeley, and Hume).
Lectures: Three hours a week

3850 THE PHILOSOPHY OF KANT
This course examines the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), with a particular focus on his influence on the discipline of epistemology and his major work, A Critique of Pure Reason. If time permits, students may also consider Kant’s approach to philosophy, as well as his main critics.
Lectures: Three hours a week

4030 METAETHICS
In this course, students explore what we mean when we use moral terms. Is morality real? If so, in what sense? If not, what are the implications? Is morality an evolutionary trait? Are our moral utterances cognitive or non-cognitive? If morality is natural, in what sense? Is morality relativistic, universal, objective, subjective, instrumental, intrinsic, or a fiction?
PREREQUISITE: Philosophy 3030 or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours a week

4090 SPECIAL TOPICS
Creation of a course code for special topics offered by Philosophy at the 4000 level.

4220 20th CENTURY BRITISH AND AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY
This course is a critical examination of the development of analytical philosophy in Britain and America in the 20th Century with a focus on the relations between logic, science, language, and conceptualization. Logical Positivism, the linguistic turn, and pragmatism are examined through readings from such authors as G.E. Moore, B. Russell, Wittgenstein, A.J. Ayer, W. James, Quine, and Rorty.
PREREQUISITE: Philosophy 3730, and one other Philosophy course, or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours a week

4270 THEORIES OF JUSTICE
This course explores the basic ethical concepts of the right and the good by focussing on three recent classics in political philosophy: John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia and Michael Walzer’s Spheres of Justice.” The contrasts between libertarian and socialist ideas of society, individual rights and communitarian thinking, the nature of the state, equality, cultural relativism, and liberal pluralism are considered. Contemporary secondary literature about Nozick and Walzer may also be studied.
PREREQUISITE: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours a week

4280 20th CENTURY FRENCH AND GERMAN PHILOSOPHY
This course introduces German philosophers such as the Frankfurt School and Jurgen Habermas and French philosophers such as Michel Foucault. Students consider the idea of a critical theory, the public sphere, rationality and ideology, and the disciplinary society.
PREREQUISITE: One course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor
Lectures: Three hours a week

4310 DIRECTED STUDIES
Student and teacher will jointly investigate problems or authors chosen by the student in consultation with the chair and approved by the Dean. Without prejudice to other choices, the Department is prepared to offer Directed Studies in the following areas beyond the regular course offerings. (See Academic Regulation 9 for Regulations Governing Directed Studies)

4800 HONOURS SEMINAR
This is an intensive literature review course in the area of the student’s honours thesis. The reading material will be developed by the student and supervisor. As part of this course, the student will be required to produce a substantive proposal for his or her honours thesis (Philosophy 490). Other requirements may include an annotated bibliography, preliminary draft work, reading journals, and critical reviews.

4900 HONOURS THESIS
In consultation with a supervisor, each student will be required to write a 7,000–9,000 word thesis, and defend it orally in front of a committee. The three-member committee will be comprised of the supervisor, a second reader from the Philosophy Department, and a third reader from either the Philosophy Department or another department at the University. Students must complete Philosophy 4800 before beginning Philosophy 4900.

License

UPEI Calendar 2020-2021 Copyright © by University of Prince Edward Island. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book