Sample courses

Our courses deepen your understanding of the world

“For a small department, we cover a lot of different areas,” says Associate Professor Kirstin Borgerson. “You can really study all the core areas of philosophy here. We are really comprehensive.”

Our curriculum represents traditional areas of philosophy like ethics, epistemology and logic, but we also investigate newer fields of philosophical inquiry like feminism, biomedical ethics, and philosophy of race. We designed our program to be extremely flexible, allowing you to focus on specific areas or acquire a wide-ranging knowledge of the discipline.

Any subject can be studied philosophically. Our program has interdisciplinary affiliations with many programs, including Psychology, Women’s Studies, Classics, International Development Studies, Computing Science, and Mathematics.

No matter what your major, philosophy courses deepen your understanding of the world.

PHIL 2810
Ethics and Health Care: Social Policy

Do all people have a right to health care? How should we make allocation decisions about scarce health care resources? Should Canadians be allowed to buy organs? Should health care professionals be allowed to refuse to provide a referral for abortion? What are the ethical implications of prenatal genetic testing? Is human cloning ethical? Should health care workers be required to receive an annual influenza vaccination? What types of research on humans should be prohibited? In this class, we will explore questions of this nature through a combination of lecture and discussions. By the end of the class, students will be able to thoughtfully discuss the ethical dimensions of individual and policy-level health care decisions. The goal of the class is to provide students with an opportunity to engage critically with ethical issues raised at the intersection of bioethics and public policy.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites, but students are encouraged to take this class in conjunction with PHIL 2805.03

PHIL 3300
Philosophy of Language

How is it possible for this string of marks to ask you a question? What is it for a word to have a meaning? Is the meaning of a word an idea that you associate with it? Is it the objects in the world that it picks out? Is it an abstract “object” of some kind? What is the relationship between language and the world? Between words and sentences? Between what I mean and what I say? Between saying and acting? Between what I say and what you understand? Between meaning and linguistic use? Between meaning and behaviour? Between meaning and truth? Is there any fact of the matter about what a linguistic expression means? Is there any such thing as linguistic meaning at all?

This introduction to some major themes in the Philosophy of Language will explore
answers to these questions and others, focusing on the work of such figures as Locke, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Quine, Chomsky, Austin, Hornsby, Langton, Searle, and Davidson.

Prerequisites: Two previous credits in philosophy including one half credit in logic class, half- or full-year.

Inside the classroom

Take part in active philosophical research

In Philosophy 4120 The Theory of Rational Decision, students love to hunt for weaknesses in Professor Duncan MacIntosh's philosophical arguments. He likes it, too, because he can see his ideas evolve over the course of a single class.

Each class, students set to work solving cutting-edge philosophical problems. By discussing works in progress, students engage with active ideas, making real contributions to philosophy.

Read more about Dr. MacIntosh's course.

I'm always astounded at how good people can be at philosophy at the undergraduate level,” says Dr. MacIntosh.