Philosophy

Philosophy program description.

NOTE: See the beginning of Section H for abbreviations, course numbers and coding.

PHIL1101Critical Thinking3 ch (3C) [W]

Improves the ability to analyse and evaluate arguments and assertions met with in everyday life, and hence sharpens skills of reasoning to sound conclusions from available evidence. Does this by studying the classic fallacies that people often commit and using elementary formal logic to explore differences between deductive and inductive reasoning.

PHIL1201Ethics of Life and Death3 ch (3C) [W]

Introduces various ethical theories and examines moral problems including abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment.

PHIL1301 Introduction to the History of Philosophy I3 ch (3C) [W]

This course offers a general survey of philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to Scholasticism. It will concentrate upon issues central to ancient and medieval philosophy through a look at such figures as Parmenides, Plato, Augustine and Aquinas.

PHIL1302Introduction to the History of Philosophy II3 ch (3C) [W]

This course offers a general survey of philosophy from Rationalism to German Idealism. It will concentrate upon the concerns of modern philosophy by looking at the philosophies of such figures as Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel and Marx. Designed to bridge the gap for upper year students. 

PHIL1401God, Mind and Freedom3 ch (3C) [W]

This course provides an introduction to three important, interconnected issues in metaphysics. Questions concerning the definition and existence of free will, the nature of the mind and its relation to the brain, as well as whether or not there are good reasons to believe in God, will be explored.

PHIL1501Monsters and Philosophy3 ch [C] [O]

As a category, Monsters challenge our understanding of the normal, the natural, the intelligible and the ethical. In so doing, the study of monsters provides an opportunity to explore the perennial questions of philosophy in a new and interesting way. This course will use monsters as a tool to explore aspects of the three main branches of philosophy: metaphysics, ethics and epistemology. Some of the topics to be discussed will include human nature, the conditions of knowledge, the mind-body problem, artificial intelligence, ethical dilemmas and theories, the metaphysics of identity, and good and evil.

PHIL2201 Introduction to Ethics3 ch [W]

This course investigates core problems and key authors in ethical theory. The main focus of the course is to treat the rival theories of eudaimonism, deontology and utilitarianism as they are expressed both in contemporary ethical literature and in their historical context by Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. We also give some attention to those figures that have influenced their development, such as Plato, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In the last part of the course, we turn to another alternative--the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and his influential critique of much of the Western ethical tradition that preceded him.

PHIL2203Ethical Issues in Business3 ch (3C) [W]

An introduction to moral problems arising in business. The course is designed to introduce the student to ethical theory and its relevance for business decision making.

Prerequisites: Students enrolled in the Faculty of Business Administration must have completed 30ch, including ECON 1013 and ECON 1023.

PHIL2207"Online Only" Ethics For Engineers O 3C [W]

The course is directed at individuals who are currently qualified engineers, or to those who have permission of the instructor. It provides a problem-centred approach to engineering ethics, as well as the conceptual and theoretical tools basic to developing the skills for recognizing and addressing ethical issues in the engineering field. Topics include: engineering as a profession, design safety and risk, accidents, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, intellectual property, professional conscience, whistle-blowing, engineering and the environment, computer ethics, and the ethics of engineering research.  These concerns are developed in part through analysis of wide ranging, real-life scenarios. PHIL 2207 cannot be used for any credit in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick.

PHIL2206Environmental Ethics3 ch (3C) [W]
This course covers a range of thinking on a variety of issues concerning the environment. Specific issues addressed are: Do species other than human beings have value in themselves, or only because humans value them? Do non-organic entities possess value? What problems beset attempts to formulate an environmental ethic? Open to 2nd year students and above. NOTE: Students cannot receive credit for both PHIL 2206 and PHIL 3206.
PHIL2251Applied Professional Ethics3 ch (3C) [W]

Administrators can be found in for-profit businesses, NGOs, schools and universities, hospitals, the armed forces, government, etc. The course strives to address two key questions: "What responsibilities do decision makers in organizations have to others?" and "Why do they have such responsibilities?" Analytical tools presented in the course to help answer these questions will include such approaches as Rawls’ distributive justice, Harsanyi's utilitarianism, and Gauthier’s morals by agreement, among many others. Students will be expected to understand the justification for each of these tools, apply them to cases discussed in class, and ultimately be able to recommend and defend what actions administrators ought to take according to each method of analysis. In conjunction with the above analytical tools, the course will also introduce a variety of “thinking methods,” such as formal logic, thought experiments, and game theory, which underlie the tools. NOTE: Students cannot receive credit for both PHIL 2251 and PHIL 3251.

Prerequisites: 3ch in Philosophy, or permission of the instructor.
PHIL2303Modern Philosophy I (A)3 ch (3C) [W]

Introduction to some of the philosophical issues of 17th-century philosophy, such as: philosophical method; the nature, scope and limits of knowledge; the nature of reality; the question of the nature and existence of God. Reference is made to selections from some of the important philosophers of the era--e.g., Descartes, Locke. NOTE: Students cannot receive credit for both PHIL 2303 and PHIL 3303.

Prerequisites: A course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor. Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL2501 Philosophy and Film3 ch [C] [O] [W]

Film is an incredible medium. Many issues in Philosophy can be explored and explained through the medium of film. This course will examine some philosophical problems occasioned by great films. Some of the topics to be discussed might include free will and determinism, the mind-body problem, just war theory, human nature, and/or ethical theories.

PHIL3101Introduction to Symbolic Logic3 ch (3C)

The techniques of natural deduction, including conditional proof, indirect proof and separation of cases. Emphasizes applications in sentence logic and in the logic of quantification up to the logic of relations.

Prerequisites: PHIL 1101 or an equivalent with permission of the instructor. 

PHIL3203Health Care Ethics3 ch (3C) [W]

An examination of the ethical issues raised by problems in Bioethics, such as experimentation with human subjects, euthanasia, assisted suicide and cessation of medical treatment, patients' rights, informed consent, and tissue transplantation. Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3205Contemporary Ethical Theory (O)3 ch (3C) [W]
This course provides a select treatment of some methodological and substantive problems in twentieth-century and more recent ethical theory. The topics range from the challenge of normativity (Moore, Gewirth, Searle, and Koorsgaard), intuitionism (Strawson, McMahon), and egoism (Sidgewick, Parfit) to recent versions of the consequentialist and non-consequentialist debate (Fry, Hooker, Narveson; Thomas Hill, Francis Kamm). We then situate contemporary virtue ethics (especially Nussbaum, Foot, Hursthouse) within the latter debate and consider related discussions of moral luck and situationism as well as their implications for some of these theories. We conclude by surveying some of the emerging literature in experimental philosophy and its contribution to ethical theory. Open to 2nd year students and above.
PHIL3301Early Greek Philosophy (A)3 ch (3C)

The period of philosophy beginning with Thales and culminating with Plato. Stresses the development of certain key themes and problems in this period and their influence on later philosophical thought. Half the course is devoted to examining philosophical thought prior to Plato; the other half focuses on Plato's thought.

 Prerequisites: A course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor. Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3302Later Greek Philosophy (A)3 ch (3C) [W]

Focuses on Aristotle and subsequent developments in Greek philosophy. Half the course examines different aspects of Aristotle's thought, the other half considers post-Aristotelian schools of thought. 

Prerequisites: A course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor. Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3304Modern Philosophy II (A)3 ch (3C) [W]

Introduction to some of the philosophical issues of 17th- and 18th-century philosophy, such as: philosophical method; the nature, scope and limits of knowledge; the nature of reality; the question of the nature and existence of God. Reference is made to selections from some of the important philosophers of the era--e.g., Leibniz, Hume. 

Prerequisites: A course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor. Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3305Capitalism Vs. Communism3 ch (3C) [W]

This course focuses primarily on the philosophical works of Adam Smith, a founder of capitalism, and Karl Marx, a founder of communism. The socio-political-economic structures they envisioned for society are defined, and the justificatory arguments they provide for their structures are examined. The philosophical foundations of anarchism, feudalism, Leninism, libertarianism, mercantilism, and socialism may also be studied for comparison purposes, time permitting. Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3306Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and the Roots of Postmodernism3 ch (3C) [W]
Examines the major themes of existential philosophy developed in the nineteenth and twentieth Centuries such as the self, existence, freedom, and relationships with others, and shows how this helped to inform the basis of contemporary postmodernism. References are made to selections from some of the important existential thinkers (e.g. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Simone Weil, Camus, Arendt, Heidegger), and to important postmodern thinkers (e.g., Derrida, Foucault).

Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3308Plato's Republic (O)3 ch [W]

This course provides an in-depth study of Plato's most important and influential dialogue--his masterpiece on justice, the Republic. We shall cover all of its major philosophical problems through a close reading of the whole dialogue, also taking account the role of the dramatic element of the dialogue for understanding those problems.

Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3311Nietzsche on Socrates' Death-Wish 3 ch [W]

Friedrich Nietzsche saw the beginning of western philosophy as the birth of a cultural death-wish glorified in the suicide of Socrates. This course looks at Nietzsche’s portrait of Socrates in order to access his perception of ancient Greek philosophy, tragic poetry and culture. In so doing, the course will clarify Nietzsche’s attacks on Christianity and Modernity as sources of the nihilism he believed would promote the death-wish of “Socratism.” The course will also give some consideration to Nietzsche’s confrontation with nihilism in terms of his conceptions of the Will to Power, the Ubermensche, the Revaluation of all Values, the Master Race, and Eternal Recurrence.

Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3312Infinity: Emmanuel Levinas' Encounter with the Other3 ch [W]

This course will concentrate on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995). Initially influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, Levinas’ philosophical path diverged in the direction of Ethics as a radical critique of the traditional view of human beings as “knowing” or “rational” subjects. This course will look at Levinas’ ethics both as a critique of traditional and contemporary theories of knowledge and existence, as well as a post-modern critique of western philosophy. These concerns are developed through Levinas’ descriptions of our encounter with the “Other” in terms of his investigations into the human face, desire, gift, language, the concern for justice, and God.

Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3313Reason Vs. Faith: The Philosophy of Kierkegaard3 ch [W]

This course approaches Kierkegaard’s philosophy through his text Philosophical Fragments. Written by one of the foremost of continental philosophers, this text explores the possibility of something we rarely hear spoken of these days–namely, the possibility of a relationship with absolute, eternal truth. This text will serve as a means to clarifying some of the central features of Kierkegaard’s thinking such as: the relationship between reason and faith, the status of the self as a rational identity, the significance of human life within history, the aesthetic, ethical and religious modes of existence, and indirect communication.

Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL3315Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir3 ch [W]

This course examines Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Ethics of Ambiguity. Through a close reading of these texts, the class will look at how both Arendt and de Beauvoir explore the politics of hate. Coming to their investigations via the European experience of mechanized mass murder and the routine events of terror and evil during World War II, these philosophers attempt to speak not only to their own generation but to ours as well.

Prerequisites: Open to students 2nd year and above.

PHIL3317Jean-Paul Sartre's Philosophy of Freedom3 ch [W]

The popular view of the “existentialist” owes much to Jean-Paul Sartre–the most well known philosopher of post WW II Europe. Having studied with Edmund Husserl, who exposed him to the method of “pure phenomenology,” Sartre would apply this method in his descriptions of human freedom as “dread,” “bad-faith,” “the look,” and “desire,” to mention just a few of the themes found in his philosophical texts, plays, and novels. The course will concentrate primarily on his Being and Nothingness, to explore how Sartre recognizes the intentional structure of human consciousness in relation to ourselves, our bodies, human relationships, atheism, and the world.

Open to 2nd year students and above.
PHIL3331Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (O)3 ch [W]

This course concentrates on two central themes: the first is Foucault’s perception of the "genealogy" of the social sciences in relation to the practices of incarceration and punishment in mid-eighteenth century Europe. The second follows his perception of contemporary interpretations of self-identity as they have been generated by: the continued growth of penal institutions, the social sciences as disciplines of “subjectivity”, the distinction between torture and punishment, and subjective vs. objective surveillance.

Open to 2nd year students and above.
PHIL3332Philosophers and the Nazis (A)3ch [W]

This course examines philosophical responses to tyranny during the Nazi period, considering anti-Nazi thinkers (such as Hannah Arendt, Winthrop Bell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Albert Camus, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Gustav Hübener, Edmund Husserl, Aurel Kolnai, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Stein, the White Rose) and pro-Nazi philosophers (Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt). We will also consider classical political philosophical critiques of tyranny, and ask whether it is legitimate to blame 19th century German philosophy and other modern philosophical tendencies for inspiring Nazism.

PHIL3404Aquinas and Dante (O)3 ch [C] [O] [W]

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote widely in the fields of metaphysics and ethics as well as in theology. Furthermore, Aquinas was a well-read philosopher who had an extensive knowledge of the Bible, the writings of the early Church Fathers, and other philosophers and theologians including thinkers from Ancient Greece, Judaism, and Islam. Aquinas’ writing are reflected in the poetry of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), especially in the structure and events of his Divine Comedy. In this course, we will examine Dante’s poetry as an introduction to the thought of Aquinas and as a way of understanding some of his philosophical ideas.

Open to 2nd year students and above.
PHIL3421Philosophy of Mind3 ch [W]

What is a human being? Are human beings simply material objects? Are they a combination of matter and soul? What is consciousness and how can it be explained? In this class students will be introduced to these questions and will explore various answers to these questions from the history of philosophy and from contemporary discussions. Students will engage the answers provided in class as a means of formulating their own understanding of the connection between mind and brain and mind and body.

Open to 2nd year students and above.
PHIL3422Philosophy of Science3 ch [W]

Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, challenged traditional conceptions of science and scientific progress and precipitated much of contemporary discussions in philosophy of science. Focusing on the history of science, Kuhn argued that logical reconstructions of science were inadequate. His argument encouraged philosophers of science to construct relativistic accounts of science and scientific progress. Beginning with the Logical Positivists, this course will trace different accounts of science, with special attention to the debate between realist and anti-realist conceptions of science.

Open to 2nd year students and above.
PHIL3431Philosophy of Religion3 ch (3C)

Explores some of the traditional issues associated with belief in God, including: the arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, the meaningfulness of religious language, and how the divine attributes are to be understood.

Prerequisites: A course in Philosophy or permission of the instructor. Open to 2nd year students and above.

 

PHIL3501Contemporary Metaphysics3 ch (3C) [W] [A]

This course is a seminar in contemporary analytic metaphysics. Topics to be discusssed may include personal identity, identity over time, causation, free will, and ontology.

Prerequisites: PHIL 1101, PHIL 1301, and PHIL 1302 or permission of instructor.

PHIL3601Liberalism and Its Critics (O)3 ch [W]

This course provides a contemporary treatment of key themes in liberal political theory, especially the work of John Rawls. We will pay special attention to his conception of freedom (both its worth and extent) and equality, as well as their compatibility and role in justice. The second half of the course considers some important communitarian critics of liberal political theory, including Alisdair MacIntyre, Michael Sandel and Charles Taylor.

Open to 2nd year students and above.

PHIL4401Introduction to the Philosophy of Kant3ch 3S [W ]

Immanuel Kant's philosophy is influenced by David Hume and the Scientific Method. This course will examine these influences on his philosophy by reading one Kant’s major texts. In the light of this reading his answer to questions such as "Can we ever know first principles?"; "How can we know the world?"; How can we understand such concepts such Time and Space?": "Does God exist?" and "How can we be moral beings?" will be explored.

Open to students who have taken at least 6 credit hours on Philosophy or with permission of the Instructor.

PHIL4402Introduction to the Philosophy of Hegel (O)3C [W]

The course is concerned with the structure of the Self in relation to Hegel’s Dialectic. Through a reading of one of Hegel’s major texts, students will come to understand his argument, his method, and in particular his method of dialectic. The course will clarify why Hegel could have such a profound influence on philosophers as diverse as, for example, Marx, Freud, Weber, Kierkegaard, Lukács, and Sartre.

Prerequisites: 6 ch in Philosophy, or permission of the instructor.

PHIL4431Direct Divine Agency and the World (A)3 ch [W]

The concept of direct Divine action is inseparable from that of a personal God. Such a God does not simply hold creation in existence, but is actively involved in its history. Hence the religious believers speak of divine agency not just in terms of "general providence," i.e., an overall teleological order of the universe in which God works indirectly via created secondary causes, but also in terms of "special providence," i.e. instances in which God works directly in creation to achieve particular purposes. Critics argue that there are strong philosophical reasons for thinking that "special providence" is impossible, improbable or improper. This course examines these charges and the responses made to them.

Prerequisites: A previous Philosophy course or permission of the instructor.

PHIL4432Science vs God?3 ch [W]

This course examines the relationship between science and religious belief. Questions of whether design is a legitimate scientific concept, whether methodological naturalism is a prerequisite of scientific inquiry, and whether ‘God of the gaps’ arguments are ever legitimate will be examined, as will be various models of how God is conceived as working within nature.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

PHIL4434Husserl's Pure Phenomenology3 ch (S) [W]

This course introduces students to the philosophical method of phenomenology. Developed by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl, the method of what he called “pure phenomenology” has determined the character of Continental Philosophy throughout the 20th century. Emerging as a radical break with the philosophical tradition, Husserl’s thought provided the method that would determine the course of 20th century existential philosophy and serve as the point of departure for postmodernism. The course will be concerned with the main features of Husserl’s thought, particularly his theory of the intentional structure of consciousness, his critique of traditional epistemology, and the foundations and crises of the sciences, as well as his views on the “natural attitude,” the “irreality” of “the world,” and the “life-world.” 

PHIL4436Models of Divine Agency (O)3 ch [W]

Various models of how God might be conceived to act in the physical universe are explored and evaluated. These include Nancey Murphy’s quantum indeterminacy model, John Polkinghorne’s chaos theory model, and Arthur Peacocke’s top down causality model.

Prerequisites: A previous course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PHIL4601-9Individual Studies in Philosophy (O)3 ch (T) [W]

Courses of independent study of specified texts or topics in Philosophy under the supervision of a member of the Department. These courses will normally be given only between May and August inclusive and with the agreement of the supervisor. They require the approval of the Chair of the Department and the Dean of the student's Faculty, and are subject to the regulations for individual Studies published in the Intersession/Summer Session Calendar. 

Prerequisites: 30 ch, including at least 6 in Philosophy.