Courses

Fall 2020

GS/PHIL 5340 3.0A Ethics and Societal Implications of Artificial Intelligence

GS/PHIL 5340 3.0A Ethics and Societal Implications of Artificial Intelligence5340 3.0A Ethics and Societal Implications of Artificial Intelligence

  • Day & Time: Friday 8:30–11:30am
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Devlin Russell
    E-mail: devlin@yorku.ca
    Office: S424 Ross

Syllabus (.pdf)

This course provides an overview of social and ethical issues arising from emerging Artificial Intelligence technology. The course will explore both existing and future technology applications, with a focus on learning to recognize and anticipate novel ethical challenges. By practicing ethical analysis in written and oral presentation, students will develop future-oriented skills applicable to technologies not yet invented. Topics, that are currently relevant or in the near future, will include algorithmic transparency and bias, big data surveillance and privacy, autonomous robotics in transport and warfare, economic and legal consequences of labour automation, use of robots as caregivers, and the effects of AI-human interaction on human ethical behavior. Topics, that are relevant in the long term, will include theoretical issues such as whether AI can or should ever make independent ethical decisions, whether AI might ever be entitled to moral rights of its own, and how humanity can contain the risks of 'superintelligent' future AI. The course will also consider whether the tech industry needs its own set of AI-related professional ethics (modeled on medical, business, and engineering ethics). What are the distinctive social responsibilities of AI companies and research institutions? What are the obligations of individual AI professionals?

GS/PHIL 5802 3.0M Core Practical I

GS/PHIL 5802 3.0M Core Practical I

  • Day & Time: Friday 11:30am–2:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Regina Rini/ TBA
    E-mail: rarini@yorku.ca
    Office: S416 Ross

This course offers an advanced survey of some central themes in contemporary practical philosophy. It is designed to ensure that students have sufficient background to pursue graduate-level research in these areas, and required of MA students.

GS/PHIL 5803 3.0M Core Practical II

GS/PHIL 5803 3.0M Core Practical II

  • Day & Time: Friday 3:30pm–5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Alice MacLachlan
    E-mail: amacla@yorku.ca
    Office: S418 Ross

This course provides a forum for further discussion of the central themes in contemporary practical philosophy. It is designed to prepare students to write the MA comprehensive examination in practical philosophy.

GS/PHIL 6150 3.0A History of Continental Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6150 3.0A History of Continental Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Tuesday 2:30pm–5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Jim Vernon
    E-mail: jvernon@yorku.ca
    Office: S427 Ross

There may be no theory of art that lies further from current trends in both philosophical aesthetics and artistic practice than that of G.W.F. Hegel. The most influential aesthetic discourses since the 1960s ─ those informing of what we might loosely call the ‘postmodern’ era ─ have in the main rejected the universal and positive accounts of human essence that defined modernity, as well as the progressive accounts of what humanity has accomplished and might yet achieve, instead grounding their theorizing and creative practices in primarily negative conceptions of world history, social institutions, and individual/collective capacity. The grand narratives of human achievement and potential that dominated from the 19th century right up through the war years have largely been replaced ─ in academic philosophy, ‘gallery’ art, and even much popular culture ─ by an emphasis on subjective dissatisfaction, subversion, difference, fragmentation, refusal, contingency, insufficiency, incapacity, falsity, ephemerality, and above all irony. By contrast, Hegel’s fundamental thesis is that the historical development of art constitutes not merely evidence for the existence of our essential, self-determining freedom, but more importantly our most primordial efforts to collectively determine, articulate, and actualize what it means to be free. For Hegel, art’s ‘highest vocation’ is to construct enduring and immediately palpable ‘temples of the spirit’, wherein communities gather to earnestly display, celebrate, and internalize their own collectively determined understanding of human essence and its fundamental mission. It is, thus, no accident that Hegel is the primary foil for virtually all postmodern thinking, and that his Aesthetics is among the most derided and/or ignored aspects of his monumental philosophical system. Just as Hegel infamously said of art itself, his own aesthetic theory seems to have been firmly relegated ‘to the past’.

In this course, I will be making the case that the postmodern turn has been something of a mistake, not just by arguing for the enduring relevance of Hegel’s theory for grasping the fundamental human ‘need for art’, but by taking a deep dive into one of many pockets of subcultural resistance to the hegemony of the incapacitating discourses of aesthetic subversion. This will thus be a somewhat heterodox seminar focused on G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy of art, and the early career of perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood musical subculture of the last 40 years: the scene built around the seminal Vermont rock band Phish. Yes, you read that right; this is a course on Hegel and Phish, and we will be taking the latter as seriously as a source of philosophical truth regarding art as we will the former.
Classes will be divided between close readings of Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics (in particular, Vol. 1), and comparative examinations of the aesthetic development of the Phish community, including in-class and at-home listening sessions. The class presumes no familiarity with either Hegel or Phish; for those with no background in the Phish scene at all, I would in fact highly recommend saving your listening for the course, in order to follow their progress with fresh ears as we draw the connection between the evolution of their work and Hegel’s account of the progressive development of art across historical time. I also presume no sympathy with the course’s thesis; we will, throughout, consider postmodern and other accounts that may either explain or condemn movements like those surrounding Phish, as potential criticisms of Hegel’s account.

Thus, the goal of this seminar is to explicate, and critically appraise Hegel’s unique and illuminating theory of art, while rigorously exploring an admittedly unusual, but provocative and (in my view) inspiring case of community building through aesthetic practice. If nothing else, by the end of the course, students will have firmly decided upon a favourite version of Tweezer.

GS/PHIL 6505 3.0A Major Problems in Political Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6505 3.0A Major Problems in Political Philosophy
Exploring planetary health: issues, actors, institutions

  • Day & Time: Tuesday 2:30pm–5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Idil Boran
    E-mail: iboran@yorku.ca
    Office: S426 Ross
photo of a mountain landscape and cloudy sky

Image by Eiji Kikuta from Pixabay

Watch an overview on Vimeo

Who can enrol

Graduate students from multiple graduate programs in the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) at
York University are welcome. Those interested in the course, contact: iboran@yorku.ca.

Course description

This state-of-the-art graduate course probes new perspectives in political philosophy through interlinkages with environment, health, and social justice. The world faces at least three major interconnected challenges: to safeguard ecosystems and reverse biodiversity loss, to respond to accelerating climate change, and to address their impacts on human health and well-being.

Climate change and biodiversity loss increase pressure on the planet with far-reaching pressures on natural systems and societies and cascading effects on human health, well-being, and social make up. Food insecurity, water insecurity, under-nutrition, soil, land, and forest degradation, ocean acidification, drought, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, poor air quality in urban centres, communicable and non-communicable diseases, social inequities, forced displacement are only a few of many examples of these inextricably interconnected threats. Moreover, the global pandemic has put in sharp relief these interconnections, and the need to address them simultaneously and in an interlinked manner.

This course explores these interlinkages through a planetary health lens. Planetary health is both a new field of study and a movement whose main tenet is that human health and well-being, social, political, economic systems are inextricably dependent on the health of natural systems. We will discuss how a planetary health lens challenges the canonical perspectives in political philosophy, and how this can help seize new opportunities, as well as confront new challenges. A planetary health frame will allow looking at classic questions through a new lens, putting historically situated perspectives on social justice within the field of vision, relating to a range of issues pertaining to:

  • health impacts of global warming and biodiversity decline
  • food, water, energy security
  • race, gender, and economic inequities
  • nature and people, and nature-based solutions
  • cities and urban centres in focus
  • governments, non-state and local actors and the role of international regimes

We will become acquainted with recent work on governance, e.g., governance toward goals,
just transformation, systems thinking and social transformation, networked and inclusive global
governance, etc.

Course Details

Course director | Assoc. Professor Idil Boran | iboran@yorku.ca

Required readings | Reading list on Moodle course
+ Boran, I. (2019). Political Theory and Global Climate Action: Recasting the Public Sphere.
Routledge (available at YorkU bookstore and as e-book free through York University Libraries )

Course learning objectives | include:

  • engaging in advanced exploration of critical perspectives on current issues of planetary health and interlinkages.
  • integrating systems thinking in political thought, including historically sensitive exploration of key issues, actors, and institutions, and social movements.
  • exploring interconnections between political theory, social theory, environment, health, and historic roots of injustice and their implications today.
  • gaining facility with advanced research methods in political thought, exploring integrative transdisciplinary methods and perspectives, and learning about different types of literature reviews.
  • fostering dialogue and team-building among graduate students from multiple disciplines, and outreach.
  • boosting independent and team-based project development and tracking skills, through use of research tools.

Requirements and weighting

  • Online weekly forum participation | 10%
  • Group assignment project workshop | submitted written assignment 20%
  • Group assignment project workshop | delivered webinar presentation 10%
  • Term project planning and development | 20%
  • Final term project paper | 40%

How to follow the course | Course participation will be mainly through live video conferencing. For video conferencing, students will need a stable, high-speed Internet connection, and a computer or smart device with webcam and microphone. In addition, seminar notes and slides will be available through the Moodle course. Students are expected to do their work, and fulfil the course’s requirements through the Moodle course. Helpful links & resources:

Times & locations | No on-campus meetings or activities are scheduled. Live webinars will follow the schedule set by the Registrar’s Office. Any changes will be announced on Moodle.

Virtual office hours | TBA

Course hub | 2020PHIL6505 Moodle course

Idil Boran’s research hub | Synergies of Planetary Health Research Initiative at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research | York University

GS/PHIL 6355 3.0A Major Problems in the Philosophy of the Mind

GS/PHIL 6355 3.0A Major Problems in the Philosophy of the Mind

  • Day & Time: Tuesday 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Jacob Beck
    E-mail: jbeck@yorku.ca
    Office: S439 Ross

We’ll examine recent work in the philosophy of mind, focusing on two issues: the border between perception and cognition (e.g. between seeing and thinking); and the format of mental representation (e.g. whether mental representations are analog or digital, picture-like or language-like, and so on).

GS/PHIL 6100 3.0A Ancient Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6100 3.0A Ancient Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Monday 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Julianne Chung
    E-mail: TBA
    Office: TBA

This course focuses on one or more figures and/or themes in ancient philosophy, including, but not limited to, the is course focuses on one or more figures and/or themes in ancient philosophy, including, but not limited to, the Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle on the one hand, and, theology, cosmology, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political theory, and literary criticism, on the other.

GS/PHIL 6800 3.0A First-Year Seminar

GS/PHIL 6800 3.0A First-Year Seminar

  • Day & Time: Friday 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Robert Myers
    E-mail: rmyers@yorku.ca
    Office: S431 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Claudine Verheggen
    E-mail: cverheg@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross

This course is required of all first-year PhD students. It is designed to familiarize them with the Graduate Program in Philosophy and to impart the skills needed to complete the PhD. The topic varies from year to year but is always chosen with a view to highlighting several of the Program's main research strengths.

The focus this year will be on metaethics and metasemantics.

Winter 2021

GS/PHIL 5040 3.0M Philosophical Paradoxes

GS/PHIL 5040 3.0M Philosophical Paradoxes

  • Day & Time: Tuesday 12:00-3:00pm
    Room: TBA (Glendon College)
  • Course Director: Professor Christopher Campbell
    E-mail: ccampbell@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall, C228 (Glendon College)

A study of rationality in belief and action approached through the paradoxes which each presents. We are also interested in the sort of reasoning which generates paradoxes, and what is required to resolve them. Topics include: The Prediction Paradox, Newcomb's Problem and the Prisoner's Dilemma.

GS/PHIL 5340 3.0M Ethics and Societal Implications of Artificial Intelligence

GS/PHIL 5340 3.0M Ethics and Societal Implications of Artificial Intelligence

  • Day & Time: Thursday 2:30-5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Devlin Russell
    E-mail: devlin@yorku.ca
    Office: S424 Ross

Syllabus (.pdf)

This course provides an overview of social and ethical issues arising from emerging Artificial Intelligence technology. The course will explore both existing and future technology applications, with a focus on learning to recognize and anticipate novel ethical challenges. By practicing ethical analysis in written and oral presentation, students will develop future-oriented skills applicable to technologies not yet invented. Topics, that are currently relevant or in the near future, will include algorithmic transparency and bias, big data surveillance and privacy, autonomous robotics in transport and warfare, economic and legal consequences of labour automation, use of robots as caregivers, and the effects of AI-human interaction on human ethical behavior. Topics, that are relevant in the long term, will include theoretical issues such as whether AI can or should ever make independent ethical decisions, whether AI might ever be entitled to moral rights of its own, and how humanity can contain the risks of 'superintelligent' future AI. The course will also consider whether the tech industry needs its own set of AI-related professional ethics (modeled on medical, business, and engineering ethics). What are the distinctive social responsibilities of AI companies and research institutions? What are the obligations of individual AI professionals?

GS/PHIL 5626 3.0M Contemporary Political Philosophy

GS/PHIL 5626 3.0M Contemporary Political Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Tuesday 3:00-6:00pm
    Room: TBA (Glendon College)
  • Course Director: Professor L.P. Hodgson
    E-mail: lhodgson@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall, C208 (Glendon College)

This course addresses some of the central themes of contemporary political philosophy. Since the publication of John Rawl's A Theory of Justice in 1971, the field of political philosophy has grown more quickly than any other branch of philosophy. This course covers central topics and authors of this provocative area of philosophy.

GS/PHIL 5800 3.0M Core Theoretical I

GS/PHIL 5800 3.0M Core Theoretical I

  • Day & Time: Friday 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Claudine Verheggen
    E-mail: cverheg@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Christopher Campbell
    E-mail: ccampbell@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall, C228 (Glendon College)

This course offers an advanced survey of some central themes in contemporary theoretical philosophy. It is designed to ensure that students have sufficient background to pursue graduate-level research in these areas, and required of MA students.

GS/PHIL 5801 3.0M Core Theoretical II

GS/PHIL 5801 3.0M Core Theoretical II

  • Day & Time: Friday 3:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Christopher Campbell
    E-mail: ccampbell@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall, C228 (Glendon College)
  • Course Director: Professor Claudine Verheggen
    E-mail: cverheg@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross

This course provides a forum for further discussion of the central themes in contemporary theoretical philosophy. It is designed to prepare students to write the MA comprehensive examination in theoretical philosophy.

GS/PHIL 6120 3.0M Early Modern Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6120 3.0M Early Modern Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Thursday 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Matthew Leisinger
    E-mail: TBA
    Office: TBA

This course will examine the problem of free will in early modern philosophy, focusing primarily on the British debate from Thomas Hobbes’s exchange with John Bramhall (1654–1658) to David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748). After brushing up on the theological and philosophical background, we will study some of the famous forerunners of contemporary compatibilism (e.g. Hobbes, Locke, Hume) as well as several attempts to articulate and defend libertarianism (e.g. Cudworth, Clarke, King). We will also pay special attention to the contributions of early modern women (e.g. Conway, Masham, du Châtelet).

GS/PHIL 6515 3.0M Issues in Contemporary Political Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6515 3.0M Issues in Contemporary Political Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Monday 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Andree-Anne Cormier
    E-mail: cormiera@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall C230

This course focuses on one or more of the central problems in contemporary political philosophy. The philosophical problems that may be studied include: justice, rights, duties, equality,
property, and the authority of the state, as well as central problems in social contract theory, utilitarianism, liberalism, communitarianism, and Marxism.

GS/PHIL 6365 3.0M Major Problems in the Philosophy of Psychology

GS/PHIL 6365 3.0M Major Problems in the Philosophy of Psychology

  • Day & Time: Monday 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Kristin Andrews
    E-mail: andrewsk@yorku.ca
    Office: S420 Ross

How to be good

In this seminar we will be exploring empirically informed theories of moral practice and distinctions between moral and conventional practices. Topics will include social norms, moral foundations theory, cultural relativism, and the evolution of morality.

GS/PHIL 6315 3.0M Issues in Contemporary Philosophy of Language

GS/PHIL 6315 3.0M Issues in Contemporary Philosophy of Language

  • Day & Time: Tuesday 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Claudine Verheggen
    E-mail: cverheg@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross

The focus of this course will be on semantic non-reductionism, the claim that we cannot give a philosophical account of the nature of meaning without employing the very notion of meaning itself. Readings will be from Ludwig Wittgenstein, Michael Dummett, Donald Davidson, John McDowell, Crispin Wright, Barry Stroud, and Hannah Ginsborg, among others.

Fall/Winter 2020–2021

GS/PHIL 6860 6.0A PhD Research Seminar 2

GS/PHIL 6860 6.0A PhD Research Seminar 2

  • Day & Time: Wednesdays 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: TBA
  • Course Director: Professor Alice MacLachlan
    E-mail: amacla@yorku.ca
    Office: S418 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Jagdish N. Hattiangadi
    E-mail: jagdish@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross

This course is required of all third-year PhD students. It is designed to help students complete the Two Paper Exam and write their dissertation proposal.

Fall 2019

GS/PHIL 5460 3.0M Philosophical Logic

GS/PHIL 5460 3.0M Philosophical Logic
(Integrated with AP/PHIL 4460 3.0)

  • Day & Time: Thursdays 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: HNE 230
  • Course Director: Professor Judy Pelham
    E-mail: pelham@yorku.ca
    Office: S440 Ross

This course provides students with the background in logic necessary to do graduate work in many areas of analytic philosophy. This course presupposes students have successfully completed an introductory course in sentential and predicate logic.

GS/PHIL 5802 3.0M Core Practical I

GS/PHIL 5802 3.0M Core Practical I

  • Day & Time: Fridays 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: RS 421
  • Course Director: Professor Regina Rini
    E-mail: rarini@yorku.ca
    Office: S416 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Robert Myers
    E-mail: rmyers@yorku.ca
    Office: S431 Ross

This course offers an advanced survey of some central themes in contemporary practical philosophy. It is designed to ensure that students have sufficient background to pursue graduate-level research in these areas, and required of MA students

GS/PHIL 5803 3.0M Core Practical II

GS/PHIL 5803 3.0M Core Practical II

  • Day & Time: Fridays 3:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: RS 421
  • Course Director: Professor Regina Rini
    E-mail: rarini@yorku.ca
    Office: S416 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Robert Myers
    E-mail: rmyers@yorku.ca
    Office: S431 Ross

This course provides a forum for further discussion of the central themes in contemporary practical philosophy. It is designed to prepare students to write the MA comprehensive examination in practical philosophy.

GS/PHIL 6180 3.0A Pragmatism

GS/PHIL 6180 3.0A Pragmatism

  • Day & Time: Thursdays 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: RS 432
  • Course Director: Professor Henry Jackman
    E-mail: hjackman@yorku.ca
    Office: S434 Ross

This seminar will look in to a number of question relating to pragmatism and truth. Among these will be (1) whether pragmatism’s tying truth to our ‘epistemic’ practices inevitably strips truth of the ‘objectivity’ we typically take it to have, (2) whether there are some areas of discourse, such as ethics, that are particularly well (or poorly) suited for pragmatic accounts, and (3) and whether so-called pragmatism about truth is better understood as pragmatism about meaning combined with some kind of minimalism about truth. The seminar will focus primarily on the contrast between the classical pragmatists William James and Charles Sanders Peirce, though the work of more contemporary neo-pragmatists like Richard Rorty and Huw Price will be considered as well.

GS/HUMA 6239 3.0A Understanding Exegesis in Select Philosophical Texts (Rene Descartes and David Hume)

GS/HUMA 6239 3.0A Understanding Exegesis in Select Philosophical Texts (Rene Descartes and David Hume) *

  • Day & Time: Tuesdays 8:30am–11:30am
    Room: RS 501
  • Course Director: Professor Stanley Tweyman
    E-mail: stweyman@yorku.ca
    Office: Vanier College 233

*cross-listed to GS/PHIL 6666 3.0A of the same title
Please check the RO registration site for Cat #’s for the respective departments

GS/PHIL 6370 3.0A Philosophy of Cognitive Science

GS/PHIL 6370 3.0A Philosophy of Cognitive Science

  • Day & Time: Tuesdays 1:00pm-4:00pm
    Room: RS 421
  • Course Director: Professor Kevin Lande
    E-mail: kevinlande@gmail.com
    Office: TBA

Pieces of Mind
The state you are in when you see a yellow frisbee has at least two parts: a state of seeing the frisbee's yellowness and a state of seeing the frisbee's circularity. The state you are in when you have the thought that dumplings are delicious has at least two parts: a state that represents dumplings and a state that represents being delicious. Descriptions like these of the part-whole structures of mental states are central to how contemporary cognitive science makes sense of our mental lives. But what does it even mean to say that one mental state is a "part" of another? Do mental states really have other mental states as parts? And, if so, how are mental states actually structured? Are there similar kinds of structure in perception, thought, and even language? In addressing these questions we will discuss foundational issues concerning the nature of mental representation, computationalism about the mind, syntax and semantics, and the Language of Thought hypothesis. We will focus especially on visual perception, with an eye toward connecting philosophical questions to empirical work in psychology, neuroscience, and computer vision.

GS/PHIL 6400 3.0A Major Figures In Moral Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6400 3.0A Major Figures In Moral Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Mondays 1:00-4:00pm
    Room: RS 421
  • Course Director: Professor Alice MacLachlan
    E-mail: amacla@yorku.ca
    Office: S428 RossA

Course Description:
This course will examine two central figures and texts from the 18th century movement in moral theory known as Sentimentalism: A Treatise on Human Nature by David Hume, and Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. We will read significant sections from both, supplemented by contemporary philosophical analysis of Smith and Hume – as well as more recent developments in contemporary sentimentalist moral theory. Our exploration of these works will include a detailed study of the nature of and foundational role for sympathy, as each philosopher sees it, as well as discussion of the moral functions of emotions and the social dimensions of moral practice.

Required Texts:
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. Ed. J.B. Schneewind, Hackett, 1983.
David Hume, A Treatise on Human Nature. Eds. Norton and Norton, Oxford University Press (Part of Oxford Philosophical Texts series) 2000.
Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments. Eds. D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie, Liberty Fund (Glasgow Edition) 1984.

Other readings will be made available on the course Dropbox.

Course Requirements:

Weekly Discussion Questions/Participation: 25%
Seminar Presentation: 25%
Final Paper Thesis/Outline: 10%
Final Paper 40%

GS/PHIL 6800 3.0A First-Year Seminar/ Seminar in Natural Normativity

GS/PHIL 6800 3.0A First-Year Seminar/ Seminar in Natural Normativity

  • Day & Time: Fridays 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: RS 432
  • Course Director: Professor Kristin Andrews
    E-mail: andrewsk@yorku.ca
    Office: S420 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Michael G Giudice
    E-mail: giudice@yorku.ca
    Office: S423 Ross

Law is widely taken to be a social construction. Morality is widely taken to be a natural phenomenon. In this seminar we will challenge both these ideas, reading philosophical work in legal theory, ethics, moral psychology, social norms, as well as empirical work in developmental psychology and animal cognition, and interdisciplinary work in cultural evolution and social norms. We will explore the possibility that these widely held views are mistaken—or at least only tell part of the story—and that morality and law have both socially constructed as well as natural elements entrenched in them. We will also examine whether morality and law in the form of social norms emerged without design or intention from a set of capacities for natural normativity that we share with other species.
Readings may include work by:
Kristin Andrews
Michael Giudice
Dan Kelly
Cristina Bicchieri
Frans de Waal
Kiley Hamlin
Joe Henrich
Stephen Stich
Ron Mallon
Philip Kitcher
Simon Fitzpatrick
Christine Korsgaard
H.L.A. Hart
Joseph Raz
Robin Kar
Michael Guttentag
Brian Tamanaha

Winter 2020

GS/PHIL 5615 3.0M Introduction to Wittenstein

GS/PHIL 5615 3.0 M Introduction to Wittgenstein

  • Wednesday 12:00–3:00pm
    Room: York Hall B125 (Glendon College)
  • Course Director: Professor Christopher Campbell
    E-mail: ccampbell@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall C 228

This course introduces students to the influential work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, focusing on his Tractatus logico-philosophicus and Philosophical investigations. The course also considers some of his other writings as well as some secondary literature.
**Integrated with GL/PHIL 4615

GS/PHIL 5800 3.0M Core Theoretical I

GS/PHIL 5800 3.0M Core Theoretical I

  • Day & Time: Fridays 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: RS 421
  • Course Director: Professor Claudine Verheggen
    E-mail: cverheg@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Christopher Campbell
    E-mail: ccampbell@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall, C228 (Glendon College)

This course offers an advanced survey of some central themes in contemporary theoretical philosophy. It is designed to ensure that students have sufficient background to pursue graduate-level research in theses areas, and required of MA students.

GS/PHIL 5801 3.0M Core Theoretical II

GS/PHIL 5801 3.0M Core Theoretical II

  • Day & Time: Fridays 3:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: RS 421
  • Course Director: Professor Christopher Campbell
    E-mail: ccampbell@glendon.yorku.ca
    Office: York Hall, C228 (Glendon College)
  • Course Director: Professor Claudine Verheggen
    E-mail: cverheg@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross

This course provides a forum for further discussion of the central themes in contemporary theoretical philosophy. It is designed to prepare students to write the MA comprehensive examination in theoretical philosophy.

GS/PHIL 6390 3.0M Philosophy of Action

GS/PHIL 6390 3.0M Philosophy of Action

  • Day & Time: Tuesdays 11:30am-2:30pm
    Room: RS 432
  • Course Director: Professor Robert Myers
    E-mail: rmyers@yorku.ca
    Office: S431 Ross

Our focus will be first on the widespread turn from Anscombe to Davidson in the 1960s and early 1970s and then on the remarkable resurgence of support for Anscombe in recent years. Special attention will be paid throughout on the implications of this oscillation for debates in metaethics. My central claim will be that the differences separating Davidson’s philosophy of action from Anscombe’s are by no means as great as either his early followers or his recent critics have supposed, and that we learn more from both by treating them as allies rather than as foes.

GS/PHIL 6170 3.0M History of Analytic Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6170 3.0M History of Analytic Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Thursdays 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: RS 414F
  • Course Director: Professor Judy Pelham
    E-mail: pelham@yorku.ca
    Office: S440 Ross

Description:

In this course we shall study some elements of philosophical logic in the work of Russell,  Frege, Carnap and others. I am interested in the origin of philosophical logic in the work  of seminal authors and its development in the twentieth century. Near the beginning of the twentieth century changes in logic itself led to discussion and scrutiny of its  relationship to mathematics, language and thought.  I would like the seminar to focus on a few questions that modern logic gives rise to. Rather than choose them all myself, I  thought the seminar might refine the following list during its first meeting.

How is logic related to mathematics?    Is second order logic really logic?  What is a logical connective?    What is the subject matter of logic?  What metaphysical claims are entailed by, or assumed by logic?  How do we know logic?   Is logic a priori?  Can logic be justified?  Is logic revisable? Is there more than one logic?

Prerequisites:  The equivalence of an introductory course in logic is expected. Technical  material will be reviewed in class, but familiarity with predicate logic is expected.

Syllabus:  About half the seminar will be devoted to looking at the logical work of  Russell and Frege, and the other half to its late twentieth century upshot.

Some Early Primary Source Texts:

Gottlob, Frege.  1974.  The Foundations of Arithmetic. A logic-mathematical enquiry into  the concept of number.  Edited and Translated by J. L. Austin. Oxford: Blackwell,  second revised edition.

_________. 1984. Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic, and Philosophy. Edited by  Brian McGuinness and translated by M. Black, V.H. Dudman, P. Geach, H. Kaal, et al. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Russell, Bertrand.  1903.  The Principles of Mathematics.  London:  Allen and Unwin.

____________ 1908.  Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types.  American J  of Mathematics 30: 222-62.

____________. 1973.  Essays in Analysis. Edited by D. Lackey.  New York: George
Braziller.

 

GS/PHIL 6240 3.0M Epistemology

GS/PHIL 6240 3.0M Epistemology

  • Day & Time: Tuesdays 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: RS 432
  • Course Director: Professor Regina Rini
    E-mail: rarini@yorku.ca
    Office: S416 Ross

This course will focus on the recent ‘social turn’ in contemporary epistemology. We will consider issues related to the evidential status of testimony, expertise, and peer disagreement. We will also examine the debate over pragmatic encroachment: can what we should believe depend on things other than evidence, such as the demands of friendship or justice? Finally, we will consider several topics in public/political epistemology: what are the norms governing how we exchange information in democratic societies, and how have these been changed by modern communications technology? Readings will include work by Jennifer Lackey, Sandy Goldberg, Miranda Fricker, Michael Lynch, and Jason Stanley.

GS/PHIL 6560 3.0M Issues in Contemporary Legal Philosophy

GS/PHIL 6560 3.0M Issues in Contemporary Legal Philosophy

  • Day & Time: Mondays 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: RS 432
  • Course Director: Professor Michael G Giudice
    E-mail: giudice@yorku.ca
    Office: S423 Ross

This seminar will explore the theme of social constructionism in legal theory. The view that law is a social construction has become something of a dogma in legal theory, so we will examine in equal measure what might be true and what might be false in such a view, and why it matters. The seminar will be divided into two parts. In the first part our investigation will require attention to questions about conceptual analysis and conceptual revision, as well as the relationship between conceptual frameworks and identification of moral and political issues. In the second part we will turn to the relationship between conceptual frameworks and naturalistic investigations of law, here asking whether there might be natural limits to the social construction of law. Readings will be drawn from analytical legal theory, empirical legal studies, and a manuscript of a book in progress.

Fall/Winter 2019–2020

GS/PHIL 6850 6.0A PhD Research Seminar

GS/PHIL 6850 6.0A PhD Research Seminar

  • Day & Time: Wednesdays 2:30pm-5:30pm
    Room: RS 432
  • Course Director: Professor Alice MacLachlan
    E-mail: amacla@yorku.ca
    Office: S418 Ross
  • Course Director: Professor Claudine Verheggen
    E-mail: cverheg@yorku.ca
    Office: S436 Ross

This course is required of all third-year PhD students. It is designed to help students complete the Two Paper Exam and write their dissertation proposal.

  • Auditing courses: students need to fill out the Course Transaction form, and bring it to the Graduate Program Assistant in the Graduate Program office in S429 Ross.

Not all courses listed below are offered every year.

Full Graduate Philosophy Course List

Philosophy 5040 3.0: Philosophical Paradoxes
Philosophy 5041 3.0: Contemporary Philosophy
Philosophy 5050 3.0: Pragmatism
Philosophy 5126 3.0: Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy
Philosophy 5150 3.0: Philosophy of Descartes
Philosophy 5200 3.0: Theoretical Ethics
Philosophy 5230 3.0: Origins & Development of Biology Theories
Philosophy 5235 3.0: Political Philosophy 11
Philosophy 5237 3.0: Moral Philosophy 11
Philosophy 5240 4.0: Topics in Argumentation
Philosophy 5250 3.0: Contemporary Issues in Applied Ethics
Philosophy 5260 3.0: Seminar in Gender and Transgender Theory
Philosophy 5270 3.0: Reasons and Desires
Philosophy 5310 3.0: Epistemology
Philosophy 5320 3.0: Philosophy of Language and Logic
Philosophy 5325 3.0: Investigating the Mind
Philosophy 5350 3.0: Topics in Philosophy of Language
Philosophy 5440 3.0: Philosophy of History
Philosophy 5440 3.0: Topics in the History of Philosophy: Rhetoric
Philosophy 5460 3.0: Philosophical Logic
Philosophy 5500 3.0: Topics in Feminist Philosophy
Philosophy 5615 3.0: Introduction to Wittgenstein
Philosophy 5626 3.0: Contemporary Political Philosophy
Philosophy 5647 3.0: Topics in the Philosophy of Language: Truth
Philosophy 5670 3.0: Legal Philosophy between State and Transnationalism
Philosophy 5800 3.0: Core Theoretical Philosophy 1
Philosophy 5801 3.0: Core Theoretical Philosophy 11
Philosophy 5802 3.0: Core Practical Philosophy 1
Philosophy 5803 3.0: Core Practical Philosophy 11
Philosophy 6010 3.0: Directed Readings
Philosophy 6010 6.0: Directed Readings
Philosophy 6010A 3.0: Directed Readings
Philosophy 6100 3.0: Ancient Philosophy
Philosophy 6120 3.0: Early Modern Philosophy
Philosophy 6130 3.0: Kant
Philosophy 6150 3.0: History of Continental Philosophy
Philosophy 6155 3.0: Recent Trends in Continental Philosophy
Philosophy 6170 3.0: History of Analytic Philosophy
Philosophy 6180 3.0: Pragmatism
Philosophy 6185 3.0: Wittgenstein
Philosophy 6190 3.0: Topics in Feminist Philosophy
Philosophy 6230 3.0: Metaphysics
Philosophy 6235 3.0: Metaphysics of Science
Philosophy 6240 3.0: Epistemology
Philosophy 6245 3.0: New Directions in the Theory of Knowledge
Philosophy 6260 3.0: Philosophy of Science
Philosophy 6265 3.0: Philosophy of Physics
Philosophy 6275 3.0: Philosophy of Biology
Philosophy 6280 3.0: Philosophy of Social Science
Philosophy 6285 3.0: Philosophical Logic
Philosophy 6290 3.0: Philosophy of Logic
Philosophy 6295 3.0: Argumentation Theory
Philosophy 6300 3.0: Major Figures in the Philosophy of Language
Philosophy 6305 3.0: Major Problems in the Philosophy of Language
Philosophy 6315 3.0: Issues in Contemporary Philosophy of Language
Philosophy 6350 3.0: Major Figures in the Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy 6355 3.0: Major Problems in the Philosophy of MInd
Philosophy 6360 3.0: Major Figures in Philosophy of Psychology
Philosophy 6365 3.0: Major Problems in the Philosophy of Psychology
Philosophy 6370 3.0: Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Philosophy 6390 3.0: Philosophy of Action
Philosophy 6400 3.0: Major Figures in Moral Philosophy
Philosophy 6410 3.0: Issues in Contemporary Ethical Theory
Philosophy 6415 3.0: Issues in Contemporary Metaethics
Philosophy 6420 3.0: Topics in Moral Psychology
Philosophy 6470 3.0: Topics in Applied Ethics
Philosophy 6490 3.0: Theory and Practice in Bioethics
Philosophy 6500 3.0: Major Figures in Political Philosophy
Philosophy 6505 3.0: Major Problems in Political Philosophy
Philosophy 6515 3.0: Issues in Contemporary Political Philosophy
Philosophy 6535 3.0: Recent Issues in Trans/Gender Theory
Philosophy 6540 3.0: Theories of International Justice and Rights
Philosophy 6550 3.0: Core Problems in Legal Philosophy
Philosophy 6560 3.0: issues in Contemporary Legal Philosophy
Philosophy 6570 3.0: Philosophy of International Law
Philosophy 6800 6.0: First-Year Seminar
Philosophy 6850 6.0: PhD Research Seminar
Philosophy 6860 6.0: PhD Research Seminar II

CROSS LISTED COURSES  FROM OTHER  PROGRAMS:

Philosophy 6135 3.0: Hegel
x-listed with (Same as) Social & Political Though 6605 3.0

Philosophy 6145 3.0: Philosophy and its Others: Recent Reflections
x-listed with (Same as) Humanities 6323 3.0

Philosophy 6340 3.0: Advanced History and Theory of Psychology
x-listed with (Same as) Psychology 6060D 3.0

Philosophy 6440 3.0: Philosophy of History
x-listed with (Same as) Social & Political Thought 6127 3.0.