Philosophy courses and programs | Mount Allison

Programs

The department offers a minor, major, or honours degree in philosophy.

For a list of required courses and program requirements, visit the Academic Calendar.

If you have any questions, please contact the program advisor, Dr. R. Moser, at rmoser@mta.ca


Courses

Preview our courses being offered in Fall 2022 and Winter 2023. Email philosophy@mta.ca for the PDF or Word version.

The following courses are being offered this year. For a full listing of philosophy courses, please consult the academic calendar.

Fall 2022

PHIL 1611: Self, Society, and Freedom
Instructor: Dr. J. Dryden

This course investigates ideas about the self in the western philosophical tradition, including work in contemporary philosophy. Issues may include freedom and responsibility, otherness, the relationship between mind and body, the relationship between humans and animals, the impact of trauma, suffering or oppression on self- identity, and the existence or non-existence of the soul. (3 credits) (Format: Lecture 3 Hours) (Distribution: Humanities-a) Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 1611 previously offered with a different title)
 

PHIL 1651: The Changing Image of Nature
Instructor:  Dr. A. Inkpen

This course examines shifting and conflicting attitudes towards "Nature" which impact everything from how we can come to know about nature, scientifically, to ethical implications for how human beings relate to other natural beings. It uses readings from the history of western philosophy, especially from the early modern era, to assess the extent to which we have inherited these convictions or developed alternatives to them. (3 credits) (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)
 

PHIL 2611: Introductory Logic
Instructor:  TBA 

This course introduces the study of logic, examining the basic structure of arguments, common reasoning fallacies, truth tables, and propositional logic. Further topics may include an introduction to quantification theory, syllogistic reasoning, Venn diagrams, Mill's methods, and issues central to inductive and deductive reasoning. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours) (Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 2611 previously offered with a different title; PHIL 2621)
 

PHIL 2701: Introduction to Ethics
Instructor: Dr. R. Majithia

An introduction to the history and philosophical problems of ethics in the western tradition. This will acquaint the student with a number of received traditions based on metaphysical, religious, rational, and pragmatic grounds, as well as introduce certain fundamental perennial problems of moral decision-making. (3 credits) (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)  Prereq: Three credits from Humanities 1600 Series; or permission of the Department.
 

PHIL 3000F: Ancient Philosophy (6 credits)
Instructor: Dr. R. Majithia

This course examines the philosophical developments in the Ancient era within the thought of the Pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle. Topics may include themes from metaphysics, epistemology, moral and political philosophy and aesthetics. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours.) Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department. Note: PHIL 3000 is a 6-credit course that lasts two semesters; you need to take both.
 

PHIL 3301: Analytic Philosophy in Origin
Instructor: Dr. R. Moser

This course is an historical introduction to the major philosophers and movements in the analytic and Anglo-American philosophical traditions from the turn of the twentieth century to 1950. Topical focus is on language, logic, ethics, and attempts to change the conception of metaphysics and to diminish the scope of philosophy. Authors studied may include Bradley, James, Frege, Russell, Moore, Dewey, Wittgenstein, Schlick, Carnap, and Ayer. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)(Exclusion: PHIL 3991 Analytic Philosophy: Origins to 1950) Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.
 

PHIL 3711: Biomedical Ethics
Instructor: Dr. J. Dryden

This course will consist of the examination of a number of contemporary issues, such as gene therapy, abortion, reproductive technologies, euthanasia, HIV testing and confidentiality, organ retrieval, and advanced directives. In a framework of health, we will discuss larger philosophical questions such as: the possibility of assigning and comparing values, the nature of the human self, the possibilities of agency and responsibility, duties to society, gender and health, the meanings of technology, and social justice. While the focus of this course is not on ethical theory, we will make use of classical moral theories and principles to frame our analyses. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours) Prereq: PHIL 2701; or permission of the Department.


PHIL 3991 Indo-Hellenic Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. R. Majithia

This course looks back at the possible influence of an encounter with Indian philosophical thought on the Greek skeptic Pyrrho’s ideas (when he travelled to the subcontinent with Alexander the Great), and then forward on how these ideas in turn are formative of the Hellenistic tradition (of Epicureans, Stoics and Skeptics). Specifically, we look at the texts from the early Indian tradition that involve a dialogue amongst Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina and Charvaka (hedonist) schools, before we turn our attention to Pyrrho and the Hellenistic thinkers. We will discuss metaphysical, epistemological, ethical and soteriological themes on the nature of reality, knowledge, skepticism, right action and freedom. (Format: Lecture 3 hours) Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department
 

PHIL 4511: Philosophy of Mind
Instructor:  Dr. R. Moser

This course studies the philosophical arguments that attempt to resolve the real nature of mental states vis à vis the physical states of the brain. Topics include how it is we have knowledge of our own sensations, beliefs, desires, and consciousness; how we gain knowledge of other minds; and the more general questions of how we should best proceed to resolve these issues. [Note 1: Permission of the Department is required.] (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)

Winter 2023

PHIL 1601: Plato’s Republic (3 credits)
Instructor: Dr. R. Majithia

Plato's Republic is a seminal text that originates, discusses and unifies important philosophical concerns that are perennially relevant. In addition to giving us an introduction to issues such as the nature of morality, mind, God, reality and knowledge, it provides us with an excellent point of departure for examining how other traditions of the world have originated and discussed these issues in their own contexts. Grounding our wide-ranging examination in the Republic will allow us to examine these issues in a dialogical fashion. More importantly, the use of non-western sources will throw light on some of the central presuppositions and concerns of the western philosophical tradition that are still with us today.  (Format: Lecture 3 Hours) Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 1611 previously offered with a different title.
 

PHIL 1621: Reason, Will, and World
Instructor: Dr. R. Moser

This course is an introduction to the study of philosophy that looks at some major thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition. We examine fundamental and enduring questions raised about human beings and the world. The specific topics to be discussed include the nature of the universe, human knowledge and desire, goodness and morality, the existence of a divine being, human flourishing and freewill, and the nature of philosophy. Students learn about and compose essays on these themes to discover the interconnections among theories of reason, will, and world. (3 credits) (Format: Lecture 3 Hours) Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 1991 previously offered with the title ‘The Story of Reason’.
 

PHIL 2301: Introduction to Feminist Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. Jane Dryden

This course provides an overview and introduction to the critique of traditional philosophy undertaken by feminist philosophers who argue that philosophy, along with other human endeavours, is shaped by the prejudices and assumptions of its practitioners. They do not reject philosophy as a discipline but explore new ways of doing philosophy. The aim of this course is to explore these new approaches in order to examine how feminist philosophers have combined the tools and methods of philosophy with their insights and values. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)(Exclusion: Any version of PHIL 2991 previously offered with this title) Prereq: 3 credits from Humanities 1600 Series; or permission of the Department.

 
PHIL 2511: Introductory Philosophy of Science
Instructor: Dr. A. Inkpen 

Prereq: 3 credits from Humanities 1600 Series; or permission of the Department
This course explores competing philosophical explanations of scientific theory and practice. Based on historical and contemporary cases, it compares philosophical theories including logical positivism, scientific realism, scientific pluralism, sociology of scientific knowledge, and the most recent critiques from social constructivism and feminism. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)

PHIL 3000W: Ancient Philosophy (continued)
Instructor: Dr. R. Majithia
 

PHIL 3311: Analytic Philosophy in Progress
Instructor: Dr. R. Moser

This course is an historical and topical introduction to the major figures and trends in the analytic philosophical tradition from 1950 to the present day, with special attention to the various ways philosophy comes to be presented and practiced. Topical focus may include ordinary language philosophy, the attack on logical positivism, the blending of empiricism and pragmatism, naturalism, and the re-emergence of work in metaphysics and ethics. Authors studied may include Wittgenstein, Ryle, Austin, Searle, Kripke, Putnam, Davidson, Lewis, Anscombe, Foot, Sellars, Rorty, and Brandom. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours)(Exclusion: PHIL 4611 Analytic Philosophy: 1950 to Present; PHIL 3991 Analytic Philosophy: 1950 to Present) Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.
 

PHIL 3351: Phenomenology & Existentialism
​​​​Instructor: Dr. J. Dryden

This course introduces phenomenology and existentialism from the nineteenth century to the present. Existentialism encompasses a range of philosophies concerned with themes of freedom, anxiety, responsibility, and authentic living. Phenomenology is a philosophical methodology aiming to describe and understand the complex layers of our experience, including how memory, history, and community shape our perceptions. This course may include nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors such as Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Franz Fanon, and other more recent thinkers. (Format: Lecture 3 Hours) Exclusion: PHIL 3991 Phenomenology and Existentialism. Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level excluding PHIL 2611; or permission of the Department.
 

PHIL 3721 : Environmental Ethics
Instructor: Dr. A. Inkpen

After reviewing traditional attitudes toward the environment, this course will explore recent attempts to "apply" ethical analysis to such problems as pollution and conservation. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which problems of preservation challenge us to extend our traditional norms and values. To what extent, for example, does growing sensitivity to our natural environment require of us a new "environmental ethic" and oblige us to recognize "animal rights"? (Format: Lecture 3 Hours) Prereq: PHIL 2701; or permission of the Department.
 

PHIL 3991: Science and Democracy
Instructor: Dr. A. Inkpen

This course pursues a simple but highly debated question: what is the proper place of science in a democratic society? We will examine how science and technology both shape politics and are shaped by politics. The course is designed to move beyond the typical standoff between supporters and critics of science and technology. Science and technology are neither value-neutral tools of inevitable social progress nor inhuman forces of disenchantment and destruction. Rather, science and technology are intertwined with social values and political decisions. Prereq: 3 credits from PHIL; 3 credits from PHIL at the 2000 level; or permission of the Department.
 

​​​​PHIL 4111: Relational Autonomy
Instructor: Dr. J. Dryden

This course explores the ways in which our agency and capacity to negotiate the world are shaped by our social and relational contexts. We will look at feminist philosophical writing on the concept of relational autonomy, and discuss the significance and implications of different ways of interpreting it. We will examine the merits, challenges, and risks of concepts of relational autonomy in the context of oppression and inequality. The course will draw connections to similar work being done in other areas, such as disability studies, and will also consider the question of the role of our relations to non-human others for our agency. (Seminar) [Note 1: Permission of the Department is required.]