Outside of Glendon HallIt is often said that philosophy teaches you not what to think, but how to think. You will study questions such as: What is truth? How we come to know the truth? What is it to be a person? Is morality relative or are there absolute moral truths? Why do we punish criminals by putting them in prison? Is democracy the best system of government? Through studying these questions, you will develop a better understanding of different points of view, and will become a better thinker, debater, and writer.

The critical thinking skills acquired in studying Philosophy include developing a critical mind, analyzing key concepts, organizing ideas, and communicating effectively.

Why Philosophy at Glendon?

Glendon defines itself as a bilingual liberal arts faculty and the Philosophy Department is committed to both aspects of this dual mission. For the non-
specialist, our goal is to provide some of the essential components of a liberal arts education. Thus we have lower-level courses which focus on the great philosophical classics, and on the enduring problems of Philosophy; these courses are designed to encourage discussions of values, religion, meaning, and our relation to nature and the state. As well, all our courses emphasize critical thinking skills: analyzing and evaluating reasoning is an essential component of the philosophical enterprise.

The Philosophy Department takes advantage of the small size of most Philosophy classes to encourage students to participate actively in class, to ask questions, and to argue for or against the theories and ideas that have been presented. This results in a much deeper understanding of the philosophical problems studied and why they resist solution. It also maximizes the acquisition of critical skills, and enables the professor and student to get to know each other well.

The department has created, and now houses, a general certificate program in Law and Social Thought. We recognize that university students tend to be pre-occupied with concerns about life after university, and, in particular, with preparation for a career. The Law and Social Thought certificate is designed to forge connections between a liberal arts education and the world of work.

At Glendon you will study with professors who are experts in the field:

  • Louis-Phillippe Hodgson completed a 2 year fellowship at UCLA and published an article in the journal Ethics. He received his Philosophy doctorate from Harvard and specializes in Social and Political Thought.

Program Highlights

Careers and Alumni

The critical thinking skills you will acquire in the study of philosophy are transferable to many other areas. It isn’t surprising, then, that philosophy majors as a group consistently outperform most other majors on the LSAT (law school), MCAT (medical school), GMAT (business school) and GRE (graduate school) exams. The skills cultivated by the study of philosophy have wide application. As a result, Philosophy majors can be found in many careers, including law, business, computer science, government, medicine, journalism, teaching and school administration.

Glendon philosophy graduates include Katherine Hewson, Director of the Citizenship Development Bureau of the Government of Ontario and Alex Limion, an investment analyst with Sprucegrove Investment Management.

Students

After returning from an exchange year in France, Kelly has settled back into her International Studies and Philosophy classes at Glendon. Rarely seen without her camera, Kelly is a well-known photographer on campus.

See her blog, which includes her photos of many Glendon events, here ››

 

Sonia
Sonia chose to pursue a double major in Philosophy and International Studies. She is complementing her degree with a certificate in Law and Social Thought and is looking forward to law school after graduation.

Read about her time at Glendon here ››

Please note that not all of these courses are offered every year.

1000 Level

1611 3.00 Introduction to Philosophy I

This course begins with the question whether morality is all relative. Do absolute moral standards require the existence of a supreme being as their source? This query prompts an examination and assessment of the traditional arguments for the existence of God. Course credit exclusions: AP/PHIL 1000 6.00, GL/PHIL 1420 3.00 (prior to Winter 2014).

 

1612 3.00 Introduction to Philosophy II

What is consciousness? Am I the same person through time? Do I have free will? What can be known? These questions and others will be addressed in this course through the works of significant thinkers in the history of philosophy. Course credit exclusions: AP/PHIL 1000 6.00, GL/PHIL 1410 3.00 (prior to Winter 2014).

 

1690 6.00  Introduction à la philosophie : les grands penseurs

Vue d’ensemble de l’histoire de la pensée européenne de l’Antiquité grecque à nos jours, dont le but est de mettre en évidence les rapports entre la philosophie d’une part, et les sciences, la politique, la religion et l’art d’autre part. Cours incompatible : AP/PHIL 1000 6.00.

2000 Level

2605 6.00  Truth, Mind and Reality

This course is an introduction to three core areas of Philosophy. It deals with epistemology (the nature and scope of human knowledge); metaphysics (categories of being; freedom and fatalism); and philosophy of mind (personal identity, knowledge of other minds).

 

2615 3.00 Moral Questions and Social Policies

Issues to be discussed: The use of race as a criterion in social policy; justice and gender; assessing women’s quality of life; individual liberty and mental illness; the right to use coercion to treat mentally ill individuals against their will.

 

2617 3.00 The Quest for Meaning

Questions and topics to be discussed in this course: Can life have meaning? Whose criteria count in assessing the meaningfulness of a human life? Is human life absurd? Self-realization, satisfaction and happiness, the inevitability of death and the significance of suffering.

 

2620 6.00 Reason and Feeling in Modern Philosophy

Is there a conflict between reason and feeling? What role does each play in belief and knowledge? Is morality based on an appeal to reason or on subjective feeling? This course will examine such questions in the context of modern philosophy. Course credit exclusions: GL/HUMA 2620 6.00, GL/PHIL 2650 6.00 (prior to Fall 2010), GL/HUMA 2650 6.00, AP/PHIL 2020 3.00, AP/PHIL 2025 3.00.


2630 6.00 Éthique et politique : les origines

Ce cours est une introduction à la philosophie ancienne, qui souligne la pensée de Platon et d’Aristote sous le rapport des questions politiques et morales. La lecture de ces philosophes permettra aussi d’explorer leurs théories épistémologiques et métaphysiques. Cours incompatible : AP/PHIL 2015 3.00.


2640 6.00 Logic

This course is an introduction to the basic concepts and techniques of modern logic. No previous course in logic or philosophy is required. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 2100 3.00.

 

2645 6.00 Ancient Philosophy and Political Theory

The development of inquiry about the order of nature and society is traced. Special attention is given to the ethical and political theories of Plato and Aristotle. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 2015 3.00 and GL/PHIL 2630 6.00.

 

2690 3.00 Logique symbolique

Ce cours vise à munir l’étudiant des moyens puissants d’analyse et de critique du raisonnement que met à sa disposition la logique moderne dite “symbolique”. Le cours portera sur la déduction “naturelle”, les quantificateurs, ainsi que les relations. Cours incompatible : AP/PHIL 2100 3.00.

 

2911 3.00 Foundational Questions: Literary Criticism & Theory I

This course is offered by the GL/EN Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
This course introduces students to the foundational debates on literature that philosophers, artists, and critics have been having for over two thousand years. It surveys critical and theoretical texts from antiquity to the early twentieth century. Course credit exclusions: GL/EN 4230 6.00, AP/EN 2001 3.00.

 

2912 3.00 Contemporary Queries: Literary Criticism & Theory II

This course is offered by the GL/EN Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
This course introduces students to the foundational debates on literature that philosophers, artists, and critics have been having for over two thousand years. It surveys critical and theoretical texts from the early twentieth century to the present. Course credit exclusions: GL/EN 4230 6.00, AP/EN 2002 3.00.

 

2923 3.00 Introduction au droit et à la pensée sociale         

Ce cours porte sur les rapports entre le droit et les institutions juridiques d’un côté, et la société, la famille et l’individu de l’autre. On y examinera quelques questions propres au droit et à la société canadiens, et relatives au processus judiciaire et pénal, aux droits civils et politiques, ainsi qu’aux rapports entre culture politique et culture juridique. Cours incompatible : AP/PHIL 2060 3.00.

 

2923 3.00 Introduction to Law and Social Thought

This course will focus on the role of law and legal institutions in their relation to society, family and the individual. It will examine specific issues within Canadian society and law involving the judicial and criminal processes, civil and political rights, and the relationship between legal and political culture. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 2060 3.00.

 

2925 3.00 Law, Justice and Equality

This course explores questions concerning the nature of a just legal and political system, and the connection between justice and equality. What makes laws just or unjust? Should we aim for equality as a matter of justice? If so, what kind of equality? Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 2050 6.00.

 

2925 3.00 Droit, justice et égalité

Ce cours explore des enjeux concernant la nature d’un système légal et politique juste, et le lien entre la justice et l’égalité. Qu’est-ce qui rend une loi juste ou injuste ? Est-ce que l’égalité est une exigence de la justice ? Si oui, quel type d’égalité ? AP/PHIL 2050 6.00.

3000 Level

3220 3.00 An Introduction to Existentialism

This course examines some of the central thinkers and themes in existentialist thought. The themes include the nature of the self, authenticity, the basis for morality, radical freedom, atheism, the limitations of reason and the relationship between reason and faith. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 2120 3.00.

 

3237 3.00 Moral Philosophy I

This course analyzes central questions in ethical theory. Topics are drawn from: consequentialism, Kantian ethics, contractualism, partiality and impartiality, choice and responsibility, and practical reasoning. Course credit exclusion: GL/PHIL 3643 3.00.

 

3450 3.00 Philosophy of Time

This course treats from an analytic perspective, a range of philosophical problems arising from reflection on the nature of time. Possible topics include time’s reality, identity through time, the direction of time, knowledge of the future, and time travel.

 

3602 3.00 Illiberal Politics

This course is offered by the GL/POLS Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
This course examines challenges to modern liberalism from both the illiberal left and right, including fascism and totalitarianism, authoritarianism and populism, Leninism/Stalinism, anarchism, and the so-called alt-right.

 

3606 6.00 Self and Identity: Contemporary Feminist and Anti-Racist Perspectives

This course is offered by the AP/GWST Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
Examines conceptions of the self, and analyzes the consequences of oppression and various types of discrimination on self-determination, identity and the possibility of freedom from a feminist and anti-racist perspective. Previously offered as: AP/WMST 3506 6.00, GL/WMST 3506 6.00.

 

3611 3.00 Political Philosophy I

This course analyzes central questions in political philosophy. Topics are drawn from: liberalism and its critics, theories of justice, coercion and its justification, liberty, and equality. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 3110 3.00 and GL/PHIL 3235 3.00.

 

3631 3.00 Philosophy of Race

This course examines the notion of racism – what exactly it is – and what role, if any, race should play in our political arrangements and in our personal lives.

 

3633 3.00 Responsibility, Crime and Punishment

This course considers how questions of moral responsibility feature in the justification of criminal punishment. Is the idea of moral responsibility coherent? Does the justification of criminal punishment depend on such an idea? What are the limits of criminal responsibility? Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 3195 3.00.

 

3633 3.00 Responsabilité, crime et châtiment

Ce cours étudie le rôle que joue la notion de responsabilité dans la justification du châtiment criminel. L’idée de responsabilité morale est-elle cohérente ? La justification du châtiment en dépend-elle ? Quelles sont les limites de la responsabilité criminelle ? Cours incompatible : AP/PHIL 3195 3.00.

 

3634 3.00 International Justice

This course examines some of the most important philosophical work on questions of international justice within the liberal tradition. Authors studied will include among others Walzer, Rawls, Beitz, Pogge, Kant and Habermas.

 

3638 3.00 Sex, Love, and the Family: Issues in Ethics, Law and Social Thought

This course explores key normative issues concerning the sphere of human intimacy and close relationships. Social norms, laws, and policies regulating sex, romance, friendship, and familial relationships will be critically examined from a philosophical perspective.

 

3642 3.00 Business Ethics

This course examines some contemporary issues in business ethics such as the ethical justification of the free market, corporate responsibility, deceptive advertising, business and the environment, preferential hiring practices and whistleblowing. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 3050 3.00.

 

3653 3.00 Law and Justice

The focus of this course is the use of the Law to achieve social justice. Contemporary cases and issues will be discussed. These include aboriginal rights, civil disobedience and conflicts between democracy and the rule of law.

 

3654 3.00 The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law

This course considers what types of conduct the state may legitimately criminalize, and what justification it must have for doing so. Are paternalistic or moralistic laws ever justifiable? What is the place of the criminal law in a free society?

 

3654 3.00 Les limites morales du droit criminel

Ce cours considère quels types de conduite l’État peut criminaliser, et le type de justification requis pour ce faire. Le paternalisme ou le moralisme légal sont-ils justifiables ? Quelle est la place du droit criminel dans une société libre ?

 

3657 3.00 Philosophy of Mind

This course will acquaint the student with the central topics in contemporary philosophy of mind. Sample topics to be discussed include: mind and body, thinking, intention, emotions, desires, motives, memory, the unconscious and the concept of a person. Course credit exclusions: AP/PHIL 3265 3.00.

 

3667 3.00 War, Power, and Sovereignty: Early Modern Political Theory I

This course is offered by the GL/POLS Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
This course examines concepts such as war, power, and sovereignty through the works of thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke not as abstract ideas but as responses to, comments on, defences, or critiques of historical events and social realities. Prerequisites: none required, but students can acquire recommended background by taking GL/HIST 2905 6.00, GL/HIST 3225 3.00, GL/HIST 3436 3.00, GL/PHIL 1690 6.00, GL/PHIL 2620 6.00, GL/PHIL 2645 6.00, GL/POLS 2485 6.00 or GL/POLS 2920 6.00. Course credit exclusion: GL/POLS 3660 6.00.

 

3668 3.00 Community, Liberty, and Institutions: Early Modern Political Theory II

This course is offered by the GL/POLS Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
This course examines concepts such as community, liberty, and institutions through the works of thinkers such as Rousseau, Madison, Mill, and Marx not as abstract ideas but as responses to, comments on, defences, or critiques of historical events and social realities. Prerequisites: none required, but students can acquire recommended background by taking GL/HIST 2905 6.00, GL/HIST 3225 3.00, GL/HIST 3436 3.00, GL/PHIL 1690 6.00, GL/PHIL 2620 6.00, GL/PHIL 2645 6.00, GL/POLS 2485 6.00 or GL/POLS 2920 6.00. Course credit exclusion: GL/POLS 3660 6.00.

 

3905 3.00 Descartes and the Reform of the Sciences

This course focuses on Descartes’s greatest achievement: the overhaul of the sciences and of their philosophical and metaphysical foundations. The course examines both the (Aristotelian) antecedents that Descartes overturns and the new philosophical/scientfic principles which he proposes instead.

 

3910 3.00 Philosophy of Language

This course introduces students to such topics as the nature of reference, the role of intention and convention in determining meaning, the distinctions between syntax, semantics and pragmatics, the theory of speech acts and the nature of metaphor and other figurative language. Prerequisite: six credits in PHIL or in MODR (the 17xx series), or permission of the Department. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 3200 3.00.

 

3915 3.00 The Analytic Tradition

This course will examine the origins of the analytic tradition which now prevails in much of the western world. The early writings of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein will be studied, as well as the work of the Vienna Circle. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 3140 3.00.

 

3934 3.00 Belief, Truth and Knowledge

This course is an examination of the nature and structure of human knowledge. Topics include the relationship between truth, belief and knowledge, the structure of justified belief and knowledge, contextualism, and naturalistic epistemology.


3985 3.00 Metaphysics

This course is held in the style of a seminar, and provides a survey of contemporary metaphysics in the analytic tradition, covering such topics as the nature of time and change, necessity, causation, and the nature of properties. Prerequisite: six credits in philosophy or modes of reasoning (17xx), or instructor’s consent.

4000 Level

4100 3.00 Individual Studies

These courses are conducted on a tutorial basis. Topics are arranged individually by consultation between the student and the instructor. Admission to each course is by departmental recommendation only.

 

4215 3.00 Topics in the History of Philosophy: Rhetoric

This course will study Plato’s Gorgias and the Apology. These texts provide the Platonic teaching about Rhetoric: the Gorgias states the principles; the Apology is a case study. Their teaching is at the foundation of Rhetoric as a liberal art. Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy or permission of the Department.

 

4217 3.00 The Possibility of Knowledge

Examines some of the central issues in contemporary theory of knowledge: the possibility of knowledge, how it might be acquired, and whether it can be extended by deductive reasoning. Prerequisite: six credits in PHIL Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 4230 3.00.

 

4235 3.00 Political Philosophy II

This course proposes an advanced study of some central questions in political philosophy. Topics are drawn from: political liberalism, coercion and its justification, international justice, liberty, equality, democracy, and rights. Prerequisite: 6 credits in Philosophy. Course credit exclusions: GL/PHIL 4626 3.00, AP/PHIL 4180 3.00.

 

4237 3.00 Moral Philosophy II

This course proposes an advanced study of some central questions in ethical theory. Topics are drawn from: Kantian ethics, contractualism, practical reasoning, choice and responsibility, theories of agency, and the limits of ethical theory. Prerequisite: six credits in PHIL. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 4070 3.00.

 

4305 3.00 Kant

This course is dedicated to a careful reading of Kant’s monumental opus the Critique of Pure Reason, supplemented with some of Kant’s other writings in theoretical philosophy as well as a sampling of the secondary literature. Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy.

 

4315 3.00 Topics in Metaphysics

This course examines some central issues in contemporary metaphysics: the problem of universals, concrete particulars and their persistence through time. It also deals with differing conceptions of modality, with particular attention to the existence of propositions and possible worlds. Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy.

 

4603 3.00 The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

This course uses Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil to present the core of Nietzsche’s thought, which sets the agenda for Continental Philosophy: the critique of truth; hermeneutics; time and metaphysics; time and history in understanding the human condition. Course credit exclusion: GL/PHIL 3603 3.00.

 

4609 3.00 Sovereignty

This course is offered by the GL/POLS Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
This course examines sovereignty and the authority of law. Who can be the sovereign? How does the emergence of sovereignty relate to the state system? How can the concept help or hinder how we understand political authority and law?

 

4612 3.00 Contemporary Moral Philosophy

This course proposes an advanced study of central questions in contemporary moral philosophy. Topics may include the different ethical theories (such as Kantianism, consequentialism, and contractualism) or specific moral problems (such as moral responsibility, demandingness, and duties to non-human animals). Prerequisite: 12 credits in PHIL or permission of the instructor. Course credit exclusion: GL/PHIL/SOSC 3643 3.00.

 

4615 3.00 Introduction to Wittgenstein

This course introduces students to the influential work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, focusing on his “Tractatus logico-philosophicus” and “Philosophical investigations”. Some of his other writings as well as some secondary literature are also considered. Prerequisite: 12 credits in PHIL or permission of the Department.

 

4618 3.00 Logic and its Philosophy

This course invites students to reason about, and not merely with, the tools of first-order logic. We then study alternative systems, eg. modal systems, many-valued logics, etc. We also step back and reflect on their philosophical applications and implications. Prerequisite: GL/PHIL 2640 6.00 or permission of the department. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 4460 3.00.

 

4625 3.00 Philosophical Paradoxes

A study of rationality in belief and action approached through the paradoxes which each presents. We are also interested in the sort of reasoning which generates paradoxes, and what is required to resolve them. Topics include: The Prediction Paradox, Newcomb’s Problem and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy or permission of the Department.

 

4626 3.00 Contemporary Political Philosophy

This course addresses some of the central themes of contemporary political philosophy. Since the publication of John Rawl’s A Theory of Justice in 1971, the field of political philosophy has grown more quickly than any other branch of philosophy. This course covers central topics and authors of this provocative area of philosophy. Prerequisite: 12 credits in PHIL or permission of the Department. Course credit exclusion: AP/PHIL 4180 3.00.

 

4635 3.00 Domains of Abstract Thought in the Middle Ages

This course is offered by the GL/HIST Department, but it is cross-listed with Philosophy.
The course presents discussion of abstract thought in the Middle Ages in three different lights: medieval systems of classifying knowledge (ontological, epistemological and pedagogical), the content of certain domains of thought and medieval teaching of that content. Prerequisite: 6 credits in either HIST or PHIL or permission of the Department. Course credit exclusion: GL/HIST 4245 6.00.

 

4645 3.00 Topics in the Philosophy of Descartes

A variety of topics in Descartes’ philosophy is examined in this course. Descartes’ philosophy is studied in historical context. Emphasis is placed on Descartes’ participation in the scientific revolution and his assessment of its philosophical implications, particularly those concerning human nature and the possibility of knowledge (including self-knowledge) and human freedom. Topics may change from year to year. Integrated with GS/PHIL 5150 3.00. Prerequisite: 12 credits in Philosophy or permission of the Department.

 

4647 3.00 Topics in the Philosophy of Language: Truth

This course examines the concept of truth from several perspectives: its relation to meaning, assertion and other concepts in philosophy of language; its formal characterization; and its broader philosophical significance. The correspondence theory and minimalism, among other approaches, are discussed. Prerequisite: 12 credits in PHIL and/or LIN.

COURSES

Find this year’s courses and an overview of our program requirements here.

Find detailed program requirements here.

Find the detailed requirements for the Certificate in Law and Social Thought here.

All Glendon courses, Fall/Winter 2020-2021

Mini-Calendar
2019-2020
2018-2019 (PDF)
2017-2018 (PDF) Revised August 2017
2016-2017 (PDF)
2015-2016 (PDF)
2014-2015 (PDF)
2013-2014 (PDF)
2012-2013 (PDF)

Staff

Department Chair
Christopher Campbell
Office: York Hall C228
Telephone: 416-736-2100 ext. 88181
Email: ccampbell@glendon.yorku.ca

Certificate on Law and Social Thought Coordinator
Andrée-Anne Cormier
Office: York Hall C230
Telephone: 416-7362100 ext 88304
Email: cormiera@glendon.yorku.ca

Administrative Assistant 
Vicky Boukas
Office: York Hall C217
Telephone: 416-736-2100 ext 88175
Email: boukasv@glendon.yorku.ca

Faculty Secretary
Josie St Hilaire
Office: York Hall C220
Telephone: 416-7362100 ext 88160
Email: josiest@yorku.ca

Professors

Campbell, Christopher
Cormier, Andrée-Anne
Gonda, Joseph
Hodgson, Louis-Philippe
Moyal, Georges

 

Course Directors (2020-2021)

Côté-Boudreau, Frédéric
fcb@yorku.ca

Cumby, Jill
jcumby1@yorku.ca

Davis, Richard
davis@yorku.ca

Ilyes, Imola
ilyes.imola@gmail.com

Kostroman, Tony
tkostrom@yorku.ca

Lehan-Streisel, Vanessa
vlehan@yorku.ca

Logan, Beryl
blogan@yorku.ca

Contact Us: 416-487-6733