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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
December 21, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Second Year Courses



This page provides a list of all second year courses. To view which courses will be offered in the current year, please visit the course offerings page.

HP201 Revolution in Western Science, from Aristotle to the Enlightenment
An introduction to central topics in the history and philosophy of science in Western culture up to the end of the 18th century, including discussion of the emergence, success and relative prestige of science; the concepts of progress and revolution; and the establishment and implementation of the Newtonian world view in its social context. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: history of philosophy.

PP201 Reasoning and Argumentation
The course provides tools for the analysis of reasoning and the construction and evaluation of arguments.  Examples from newspaper articles and theoretical discussions of science and social policy will be discussed.
Prerequisite: senior student. Area: none (may count as core requirement or elective for Honours Philosophy; see Program checklists for majors).

PP203 Social & Political Philosophy
Analysis and critical evaluation of key socio-political concepts: the state, civil society, power and authority, individual freedom, property, human rights, justice, democracy, liberalism, conservatism, authoritarianism versus totalitarianism. Ideas of theorists like Plato, Hobbes, Hegel, Marx, Rawls and others will be discussed. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP204 Formal Logic
An introductory study of a fundamental tool of rational thought:  deductive logic.  The basic concepts, principles, and techniques of formal logic are studied:  valid and invalid arguments, the logical structure of statements and arguments, use of a symbolic language to represent arguments and symbolic techniques to facilitate their analysis and assessment.

PP207 Ethical Theories
An introduction to traditional and contemporary ethical theory.  The work of thinkers such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Mill, and Ross, and theories such as Naturalism, Utilitarianism, Formalism, Natural Rights, and Intuitionism will typically be examined. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP209 Philosophy of Religion
A critical study, based on classical and contemporary readings, of such issues as: the basis of religious claims, the meaning of religious discourse, the relationship between faith and reason, the nature and existence of God, the nature of religious experience, the problems of evil and human destiny.  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology. 

PP213 Legal Philosophy
Analysis and critical evaluation of the concepts of law, rights and related categories and problems:  commands, social rules, moral rules, primary and secondary rules, sovereignty, international law, war, punishment, social justice and property.  Texts of classical and contemporary authors will be closely read and analyzed in class.  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP214 Philosophy of Mind
A study of the relationship between the mental and the physical, and the nature of mental phenomena such as thought, desire, sensation, consciousness, emotion, and artificial intelligence.  A variety of theories (dualism, materialism, functionalism, etc.), both classical and contemporary, are examined. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.

PP215 Aesthetics
A survey of issues related to our aesthetic appreciation of works of visual art, music, and other objects (the environment, architecture, etc.) Traditional and contemporary aesthetic theories will be discussed. [Exclusion: PP205]  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP216 Critical Social Theory
A study of current philosophical approaches to the analysis and critique of contemporary society. Topics may include capacities for domination and emancipation inherent in forms of rationality, language, individuation and social struggles. Writings to be discussed will be drawn from the Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School and others.  [Exclusion: PP/PY240Y]  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP217 Medical Ethics
A study of some of the fundamental social and ethical issues brought about by the biomedical revolution: behaviour control (by drugs, psychosurgery and psychotherapy); experimentation; informed consent; genetic screening and genetic control; transplantation; truth-telling; death and dying; new concepts of health and illness; allocation of scarce medical resources. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP218 Existentialism
An examination of one or more themes in existentialist thought. Topics to be investigated will include authenticity, anxiety, being and meaning. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP219 Feminist Philosophy
An introduction to a wide variety of feminist thought. This course explores the views of various feminist philosophers focussing on important debates within feminism.  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP220 Indian Philosophy
An introduction to Indian philosophy. This course explores such topics as Indian (i.e., South Asian) approaches to questions about the nature of the self, reality, knowledge, and moral conduct.  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.

PP223 Contemporary Moral Issues
An examination of work by contemporary philosophers on problems of normative ethics. Some or all of the following topics will be discussed: aboriginal rights, abortion, world poverty, capital punishment, national and international environmental issues, pornography, criminal justice and animal rights.  A variety of approaches (e.g., liberal, communitarian, utilitarian, feminist) will be considered. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP224 Philosophy and the Environment
A study of current philosophical approaches to environmental issues.  Topics may include environmental ethics, deep ecology, ecofeminism, the Green movement and radical ecology, as well as the analysis of central concepts such as domination, stakeholder analysis, sustainability, wilderness and biophilia. [Exclusion: PP240Z] Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP225 Theories of Knowledge
A study of belief, justification and knowledge, with consideration of such current issues as foundationalism, scepticism and relativism. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.

PP226 Philosophy of Science
An investigation of the effectiveness of science as a means for obtaining knowledge. Topics may include the nature of method and explanation, the relation between observation and theory, the role of mathematics and reason in the construction and application of theory, and appraisal of competing scientific claims. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.

PP229 Theories of Reality
An examination of such topics in metaphysics as being, existence, universals and particulars, self, mind, body, causality, freedom, necessity, purpose and value. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.

PP230 The Quest for World Peace
An inquiry into the causes and possible cures for political violence, focusing on the nature of political power and the associated phenomena of conventional war, nuclear war and terrorism. Discussion will include such topics as the moral and practical bases of civil government, differing views of the nature and aims of international relations, the causes and potential justifications for various forms of political violence (including war and terrorism), the principles and practice of non-violence as a mode of political intervention, and various suggestions concerning our prospects for achieving peace on a global level. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP233 Philosophy of Sex, Love and Friendship
A philosophical examination of intimate human relationships.  Topics covered include the nature of interpersonal desire, sexual ethics, sexual orientation, romantic and agapic love, kinds of friendships, and selected concepts such as trust, betrayal, celibacy, promiscuity, and perversion. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP239 Explorations of the Self
Conceptual frameworks concerning the nature of the self.  Self-identity and the social context, the experience of meaninglessness, the fact of death, the experience of liberation, the possibility of reconstructing one’s identity.  The course seeks to discover and raise fundamental philosophical questions about accepted ways of thinking about the self. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.

PP240C Philosophy in Film
This course uses film as a means of exploring some enduring and complex philosophical questions.  Do humans have free will?  What distinguishes moral from immoral acts?  What is the role of luck in morality?  What is essential to being me?  How do gender roles limit freedom?  Can machines have consciousness?  We will explore all these questions and more, through film, readings, and class discussion. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.

PP240D Freedom, Determination and Responsibility
One of the most significant questions about the nature of reality is whether human beings are ultimately free and responsible for their actions. In this course we will explore core questions about the nature and compatibility of freedom, determinism, and responsibility. We will examine competing accounts of libertarianism, compatibilism, and incompatibilism, and explore such questions as whether or not freedom and responsibility require alternate possibilities. Our ultimate aim will be to clarify what is necessary for free will and responsibility. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.  

PP247 Business Ethics
An examination of the ethical aspects of central features of business activity such as property rights, contracts, the profit motive, advertising, and regulated trade.  Reference will be made to moral concepts such as justice, welfare, and  responsibility, in relation to such current issues as preferential hiring, deceptive advertising, environmental destruction, and consumer protection. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: values.

PP249 Philosophy and Gender
An investigation into basic assumptions about masculinity and femininity and their influence upon conceptual frameworks appearing in theories of mind, knowledge, ethics, society and culture. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: metaphysics and epistemology.  

PP256 Ancient Philosophy I
An introduction to ancient philosophy from Thales to Plato. The relation of myth to philosophy, the Presocratics, Socrates and Plato's dialogues will be topics for discussion. [Exclusion: PP/PY260]  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: history of philosophy.

PP259 Ancient Philosophy II
An introduction to ancient philosophy from Aristotle to Plotinus. Aristotle, Greek philosophy after Aristotle, and the relationship of Greek philosophy to earlier and later thought will be topics for discussion. [Exclusion: PP/PY260] Prerequisite: senior student. Area: history of philosophy.

PP261 Medieval Philosophy
An introduction to medieval philosophy, which will examine medieval thought beginning with Augustine. Christian, Islamic and Jewish sources will typically be discussed. Selections from original works by philosophers such as Averroes, al-Ghazali, Aquinas, Anselm, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham and Erasmus will be a focus for discussion. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: history of philosophy.

PP262 Modern Philosophy I
An introduction to modern philosophy which will discuss its beginnings in the Renaissance and its development in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Discussion will focus on thinkers such as Montaigne, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Hume, Rousseau and Kant.  The rise of science, modernity, the Enlightenment, empiricism, rationalism and idealism will be possible topics for discussion. Prerequisite: senior student. Area: history of philosophy.

PP263 Modern Philosophy II
A survey of modern philosophy from Kant to Nietzsche. The Enlightenment, the Romantic Movement, idealism, positivism, utilitarianism, traditionalism and liberalism will be possible topics of discussion. Prerequisite:  senior student. Area: history of philosophy.

PP264 20th-Century Philosophy
A survey of themes in 20th century philosophy, including such movements as pragmatism, logical empiricism, ordinary language philosophy, analytic philosophy, phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical theory, deconstruction, and the bridging of the so called analytical/continental divide.  Prerequisite: senior student. Area: history of philosophy.