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.

Term 1

PHIL 820: Philosophical Texts: Philosophy of Science
Dr. Robert Hudson

The focus of this seminar is: Time and Space, Barry Dainton (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010).

Phil 826: Consciousness and Mental Causation:

Dr. Dwayne Moore

This course is an advanced introduction to two pressing issues in the contemporary philosophy of mind; (1) the problem of consciousness, and (2), the problem of mental causation. Here is the problem of consciousness. Imagine pouring a can of beer down the sink. Physical processes occur as the liquid slips down the drain, and this is the end of the story. The drain does not experience conscious states as the liquid slips down its drain. Now imagine pouring a can of beer down your throat. Physical processes occur as the liquid slips down your throat, but this is not the end of the story. You also experience conscious states, such as the taste of the beer and smell of the beer, as it slips down your throat. In humans, physical states occur, and experiential conscious states occur as well. This peculiar fact raises a host of questions: (1) what is consciousness; (2) how did consciousness arise; (3) why did consciousness arise; (4) what is the relation between consciousness and the brain; (5) does the existence of consciousness imply that physicalism is false; (6) can a complete neuroscience capture consciousness? We will spend the first six weeks of this course studying these questions.

Here is the problem of mental causation. Imagine that you eat a peach. What was the cause your peach eating behavior? Presumably, you desired a peach, so you eat one. Your mental states influenced your behavior. This is mental causation. But, neuroscience increasingly reveals that there is a complete neural cause of your peach eating behavior as well. This is physical causation. This convergence of causes raises a host of questions: (1) does the brain do all the work, leaving no work for the mind to do; (2) does the mind do the work, leaving gaps in the neural processes of the brain; (3) can our behavior have two causes, and hence be overdetermined; (4) is it best to treat the mind as identical to the brain; (5) is the mind like a shadow that cannot influence behavior; (6) if the mind is like a shadow, is that a deep problem? We will spend the second six weeks of this course studying these questions. 

Term 2

PHIL 814: Advanced Kant Seminar
Dr. Daniel Regnier

A seminar on Kant's critical philosophy, with an emphasis on his Critique of Pure Reason.

PHIL 833: Advanced Seminar in Ethics - Animals and Ethical Obligations
Dr. Emer O' Hagan

Do we have moral obligations to non-human animals?  If so, why, and what are they?  We will begin our study with an overview of the subject that will include:  the history of the discussion, a survey of how different ethical theories account for appropriate moral consideration of animals, and some relevant normative issues (such as animal rights, experimentation, killing animals for food, and environmentalism).  This overview will help to set the stage for a judicious study of a particular account of obligations to animals – Christine Korsgaard’s Kantian argument (in Fellow Creatures, 2018) that we are obligated to treat animals as ends in themselves.  Students successfully completing this course should have a good grasp of the main normative and metaethical issues concerning the animal ethics, as well as Korsgaard’s position. Our critical study of these complex issues should develop our intellectual skills as moral thinkers, and help us to develop and refine our own philosophical perspective on the moral treatment of animals.

PHIL 862: Social and Political Philosophy
Dr. Pierre-Francois Noppen

Examines a recent topic, political philosopher, movement or theory. Topics studied will vary from year to year.