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 – Philosophy of Mathematics: Naturalism and Applications
TR 1:00 - 2:20 PM, Arts 607
Sarah Hoffman

This course is a seminar in philosophy of mathematics in which we will discuss a variety of basic issues in the area. We start with a brief outline of the various competing philosophical views about the nature of mathematics. Then we take up Brown’s argument in Philosophy of Mathematics for Platonism and his general case for the use of pictures and diagrams as mathematical proofs. He argues, against a widely held view, that (some) diagrams and pictures are sufficient to prove (some) mathematical theorems and truths. We then take up Hilbert’s formalism and its (purported) demise at the hands of Gödel’s work, the importance and implications of notation in mathematics, constructive accounts of mathematics, and the relations between computations and proofs. Then in the second half of the class we will read Brown’s Platonism, Naturalism and Mathematical Knowledge and discuss in more detail arguments about the role of mathematics in science and its application to the world, In this section of the course the focus will be on various types of naturalism regarding mathematics including Kitcher’s Millian empiricism, Lakoff and Núñez’s embodied cognition approach, and Maddy’s anti-philosophy naturalism as well as some hybrid platonist-naturalist approaches.

PHIL 814 – Kant

MW 2:30 - 3:50 PM, STM 200
Daniel Regnier

Term 2

PHIL 815 – Topics in 19th Century Philosophy: Kierkegaard
TR 10:00 - 11:20 AM, Arts 607
Leslie Howe

A seminar covering several central works of Kierkegaard that examine issues of truth and evasion.  Three of the works are by some of his most important pseudonyms: the committed aesthete “A” (Either/Or), Johannes de Silentio (Fear and Trembling), and Johannes Climacus (Philosophical Fragments) and one is an acknowledged work on the subject of “double-mindedness” (“Purity of Heart”).  In very different ways, each explores how we confront or fail to fully acknowledge the moral and epistemological responsibility for our relation to truth or what we wish the truth to be, and the conflict between our epistemological and ethical or aesthetic commitments.

PHIL 833 – Seminar in Ethics: Morality, Objectivity, and Identity
TR 2:30 - 3:50, Arts 607
Emer O'Hagan

Are all reasons for action subjective?  What justifies the claims morality makes on us?  Christine Korsgaard gives a Kantian Constructivist answer to these questions in her highly readable, The Sources of Normativity.  She argues that moral constraints are rational constraints, made psychologically real by acts of willing.  Our reasons are expressions of our values and our identities.  We will study critical responses to Korsgaard’s position, and consider competing metaethical positions. 
Graduate level work in philosophy requires additional independent learning.  You will need to start developing your own metaethical position, partly by considering alternatives advanced in the literature.  Prior to writing your comprehensive research paper, you should arrange to meet with the instructor to discuss possible lines of argument and relevant journal articles.

PHIL 846 – Philosophy of Language
: Reference and Depiction  
TR 12:30 - 1:20, Arts 607
Peter Alward

The central concern of this course is with linguistic representation and the extent to which it can be used to model representation more generally. In particular, the question is whether the primary mode of linguistic representation – reference – can be used to model representation in the pictorials arts: painting and photography. The first part of the course will focus on reference involving various linguistic devices, in various sentence frames, and in different kinds of speech acts. Topics will include definite descriptions, proper names, belief reports, and fictional discourse. The second part of the course will focus on pictorial representation. Topics will include linguistic accounts of pictorial representation, photographic transparency, and the possibility of photographic representation at all.