Course Descriptions PHIL 1050   Ethics in Science
CREDIT HOURS: 3
An introduction to ethical questions that arise in the practice of science. The course will explore a variety of ethical questions associated with the study and practice of science. Students will learn about the nature of philosophical approaches to ethics and how to employ these insights to the tasks of recognizing and reflecting on ethical issues that arise when engaged in scientific research and practice. One section of this course is offered as part of the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program and relates to the specific scientific topics studied within that program where it serves as one-half of the writing requirement for first year students and is available to DISP students only.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

FORMAT COMMENTS: Meets partial Writing Requirement for some programs.
EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 2680.03

PHIL 1500   Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy - Non-Writing Version
CREDIT HOURS: 3
In this class we ask what it is to think logically and critically, whether the existence of God can be proven, whether his existence is relevant to our ethical duties or whether they have some other basis than in divine command (e.g., in contracts for mutual advantage), whether claims about which duties we have can be objectively correct, and whether it is rational to fulfill those duties. We consider sample moral questions, such as whether abortion is permissible, and what duties we have to those less well off, or to animals. Turning to social and political philosophy, we ask what the best political system is, and how goods should be justly distributed. We may ask what racism is, how feminism requires a re-thinking of issues of social justice, whether life has meaning, whether death is to be feared, and whether the value of art works is merely subjective. We learn that the answers to philosophy’s profound questions aren’t just matters of opinion but must pass rigorous standards of justification; and that philosophy engages with our lives. Students will learn how to evaluate the assumptions of their own cultures about these things, to engage in constructive dialogue, and to write and speak clearly and logically. Historical and contemporary readings are studied.
NOTES: This course cannot contribute to satisfying the Faculty Writing Requirement. It is recommended that students seeking a full introduction to philosophy also take: Phil 1501, Introduction to Philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics , Non-Writing Class Version, however, students may get credit for Phil 1500 without having to take Phil 1501. If students do wish to take both classes, they may be taken in any order.
FORMAT: Discussion
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 3
EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 1000X/Y.06, PHIL 1010X/Y.06, PHIL 1810.03

PHIL 1501   Introduction to Philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics - Non-Writing Class Version
CREDIT HOURS: 3
In this class we review what it is to think logically and critically, then move on to epistemology, which asks what knowledge is and whether it is possible to have knowledge about ourselves, the minds of others, the past, and the future. Might we just be dreaming the physical world, or can we know it exists? What roles do sense perception and scientific method play in knowledge acquisition? How is this complicated by biases caused by, e.g., racism and sexism? We then study such metaphysical issues as whether the existence of the universe proves that God exists, whether a person’s mind is just her brain, whether one can survive bodily death, what it is to be the same person at different times given that everything about a person can be different at a later time, and whether we are really free and morally accountable for the choices we make if, as science says, everything we do is caused by the laws of physics. We learn that the answers to philosophy’s profound questions aren’t just matters of opinion but must pass rigorous standards of justification; and that philosophy engages with our lives. Students will learn how to evaluate the assumptions of their own cultures about these things, to engage in constructive dialogue, and to write and speak clearly and logically. Historical and contemporary readings are studied. This course cannot contribute to satisfying the Faculty Writing Requirement. It is recommended that students seeking a full introduction to Philosophy also take PHIL 1500, Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy - Non-Writing Class Version; however, students may get credit for PHIL 1501 without having to take PHIL 1500. If students do wish to take both parts, they may be taken in any order
FORMAT COMMENTS: Lecture & Discussion
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 3
EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 1000 X/Y.06, PHIL 1010 X/Y.06, PHIL 1820.03

PHIL 1810   Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy - Writing Class Version
CREDIT HOURS: 3
In this class we ask what it is to think logically and critically, whether the existence of God can be proven, whether his existence is relevant to our ethical duties or whether they have some other basis than in divine command (e.g., in contracts for mutual advantage), whether claims about which duties we have can be objectively correct, and whether it is rational to fulfill those duties. We consider sample moral questions, such as whether abortion is permissible, and what duties we have to those less well off, or to animals. Turning to social and political philosophy, we ask what the best political system is, and how goods should be justly distributed. We may ask what racism is, how feminism requires a re-thinking of issues of social justice, whether life has meaning, whether death is to be feared, and whether the value of art works is merely subjective. We learn that the answers to philosophy’s profound questions aren’t just matters of opinion but must pass rigorous standards of justification; and that philosophy engages with our lives. Students will learn how to evaluate the assumptions of their own cultures about these things, to engage in constructive dialogue, and to write and speak clearly and logically. Historical and contemporary readings are studied. This course satisfies one half of the Faculty Writing Requirement, but only if the other half is satisfied by taking: PHIL 1820, Introduction to Philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics - Writing Version. The classes may be taken in any order.
FORMAT COMMENTS: Lecture and Discussion
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 3
EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 1000X/Y.06, PHIL 1010X/Y.06, PHIL 1500.03

PHIL 1820   Introduction to Philosophy: Epistemology, Metaphysics - Writing Version
CREDIT HOURS: 3
In this class we review what it is to think logically and critically, then move on to epistemology, which asks what knowledge is and whether it is possible to have knowledge about ourselves, the minds of others, the past, and the future. Might we just be dreaming the physical world, or can we know it exists? What roles do sense perception and scientific method play in knowledge acquisition? How is this complicated by biases caused by, e.g., racism and sexism? We then study such metaphysical issues as whether the existence of the universe proves that God exists, whether a person’s mind is just her brain, whether one can survive bodily death, what it is to be the same person at different times given that everything about a person can be different at a later time, and whether we are really free and morally accountable for the choices we make if, as science says, everything we do is caused by the laws of physics. We learn that the answers to philosophy’s profound questions aren’t just matters of opinion but must pass rigorous standards of justification; and that philosophy engages with our lives. Students will learn how to evaluate the assumptions of their own cultures about these things, to engage in constructive dialogue, and to write and speak clearly and logically. Historical and contemporary readings are studied. This course satisfies one half of the Faculty Writing Requirement, but only if the other half is satisfied by taking PHIL 1810, Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy - Writing Version. The classes may be taken in any order
FORMAT COMMENTS: Lecture & Discussion
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 3
EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 1000X/Y.06, PHIL 1010X/Y.06, PHIL 1501.03

PHIL 1971   Engineering and Society: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course uses historical case studies to examine the connections between engineers, technology, and society. Topics will include the emergence of engineering as a profession; the societal impact of the Industrial Revolution; the rise of environmentalism and green technology; the relation of engineers to governments and militaries; and ethical responsibility for engineering disasters. In addition to developing written and oral communication skills, students will learn various ethical theories and apply them to key cases in engineering history.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Tutorial

LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 2
TUTORIAL HOURS PER WEEK: 1
CROSS-LISTING: HIST 1971

PHIL 2020   Legal Thinking
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course examines the role of practical reason in resolving legal controversies. It will address various questions on which there is a current legal debate and challenge students to develop their own informed opinions on these matters. Questions may include: Should the state prevent people from ending their lives to escape the pain of terminal disease? Shall we leave people free to makeup their own minds regarding abortion? Should the law be used to control pornography? Is affirmative action demanded by (or inconsistent with) equality under the law? Legislation enacted in these and other controversial areas will dramatically affect how we live. It thus demands our critical attention.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion


PHIL 2081   Ethics in the World of Business
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Business practices are sometimes in accord with moral principles, sometimes at odds with them. By considering cases that illustrate business practices and dilemmas this course studies the application of ethical principles to the world of business in national and international contexts.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

EXCLUSIONS: COMM 2310.03

PHIL 2085   Reasoning Skills
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Thinking clearly and effectively is something that people can learn to do. Understanding some basic concepts as well as mastering certain practical techniques can help in this. In this course you will learn about classifying concepts and how to define them; about the nature of arguments and the way to bring their structure to the surface by diagramming techniques; about some of the classic fallacies people commit in their reasoning; about some of the basic concepts and procedures of logic. This course does not satisfy the logic requirement for the major or honours in Philosophy.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 2090.03

PHIL 2090   How to Win an Argument
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course is devoted to developing the practical skills involved in evaluating reasoning and producing convincing arguments. Note: this course does not count towards satisfying the logic requirement for the major or honours program.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

EXCLUSIONS: PHIL 2085.03

PHIL 2112   Act Like You Know: Street-Level Epistemology
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course examines some of the challenges and pitfalls everyone faces in their attempts to get the knowledge necessary to make better decisions on a wide range of issues. It is a course in applied – ‘street-level’ – epistemology that focuses on how we make (more) informed decisions given that each of us is limited in our knowledge-acquiring capacities, and given that each of us is faced – every day -- with having to rely on information and knowledge sourced from others. By getting clearer on these challenges and pitfalls, we might find that we can know better (in part) by realizing that we are worse at knowing some things than we often suppose.
FORMAT: Lecture
LECTURE HOURS PER WEEK: 3

PHIL 2120   Philosophical Topics in Theory and Popular Culture
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course examines the relation between theories about the human condition and different expressions of popular culture in order to assess how our academic discourse illustrates or departs from aesthetic works that reflect our current state of affairs.
FORMAT: Lecture

PHIL 2130   Logic: Deduction
CREDIT HOURS: 3
A systematic introduction to the operations of formal deductive logic, with considerable attention devoted to the relation between artificial and natural language and to the philosophical problems that arise from the study of reasoning. No previous study of logic is presupposed.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion


PHIL 2160   Philosophical Issues of Feminism
CREDIT HOURS: 3
An exploration and examination of some of the concepts, issues, and arguments underlying feminist claims and perspectives. Such topics as pornography, rape, mothering, the nature of gender, and feminism's responses to racism will be considered.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: GWST 2500.03

PHIL 2165   Philosophy and the Black Experience
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This is an introduction to Africana philosophy, that is, philosophy by and about people of African descent. It will begin with a brief look at philosophical thought in precolonial Africa and then turn to consider philosophical thought produced in the wake of slavery and colonization.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

PREREQUISITES: Successful completion of a 1st year writing requirement course

PHIL 2170   Philosophy of Sex and Love
CREDIT HOURS: 3
This course offers an examination of key concepts and questions related to love and sexual desire. Topics will include the nature of desire, of romantic love, and of sexual orientation. We will take up questions in sexual ethics and politics, and look at selected concepts such as trust and betrayal, sexual objectification, and perversion.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion


PHIL 2205   Philosophy of Religion
CREDIT HOURS: 3
Philosophical exploration of the nature and function of religious faith, belief, and practice. Topics typically include: relations between religion and morals; the existence of divinity/divinities; problems of evil; the nature and significance of religious experiences
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion

CROSS-LISTING: RELS 2205.03

PHIL 2210   Crisis and Consent: Foundations of Political Thought: 1651-1778
CREDIT HOURS: 3
See course description for POLI 2410.03, in the Political Science section of this Calendar.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Tutorial

PREREQUISITES: An introductory course in Philosophy or Political Science
CROSS-LISTING: POLI 2410.03
EXCLUSIONS: POLI 2400X/Y.06

PHIL 2220   Revolution and Rationality: Foundations of Political Thought: 1789-1900
CREDIT HOURS: 3
See course description for POLI 2420.03, in the Political Science section of this Calendar.
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Tutorial

PREREQUISITES: An introductory course in Philosophy or Political Science
CROSS-LISTING: POLI 2420.03
EXCLUSIONS: POLI 2270X/Y.06, POLI 2400X/Y.06

PHIL 2260   Philosophy of Art
CREDIT HOURS: 3
The objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of a number of different theories concerning the nature of art. It will address questions such as: What is art? What is the place of art in human life? Can judgements of artistic value be rational and objective? What is the relation of the appreciation of artworks to pleasure, emotion, and knowledge?
FORMAT:
  • Lecture
  • Discussion