This course is an introduction to philosophy focusing on the problem of free will. Students will be introduced to the current debate, but will also consider what the great minds of the past can tell us about the possibility or impossibility of acting freely. We will draw on both historical and contemporary sources, developing skills of philosophical analysis in connection with a single, hotly disputed topic. This course has no prerequisite.

This course is meant to complement PHIL 3663, but it may be taken independently. It is a lecture course covering topics of current interest in Analytic Philosophy, a movement in, and a style of doing, philosophy that has been prominent in the English-speaking world since the beginning of the 20th century. Topics will vary and will normally be drawn from one or more of the following sub-disciplines: epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science.

This class continues last semester’s historically-based introduction to philosophy, although it is designed as a self-contained course. Our Winter semester focuses on a range of thinkers from the early-Modern, René Descartes, until the contemporary thinker, William James. In carefully reading the original texts of some of the most capable philosophers in history, we focus on fundamental questions like, what is the significance of human knowledge? To what do we refer when we speak not only human existence, but of existence in general? Can God's existence be rationally proven? Furthermore, is there such a thing as the good life, a universally-desirable way to live, or is the good a construct by those in power? In order to sharpen students' critical-thinking skills, this course includes a section devoted to 'informal logic,' the most accessible and widely-applicable form of logical analysis.

This course provides a survey of Medieval philosophy from the tenth century to the fourteenth century. It focuses on this period’s intellectually-fertile coalescence of Neoplatonic, Stoic and Aristotelian philosophies with the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We begin our analysis by studying the texts of some of the most prominent Islamic and Jewish medieval philosophers of the tenth to the twelfth centuries, who were heavily influenced by Platonism and Aristotelianism. We then turn to examine the philosophies of 13th century Latinity and consider the influence on the Western, Latin thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, especially of the Islamic thinkers, from whom the Latin thinkers retrieved Aristotle. Finally, through an examination of the innovative, original fourteenth-century thinkers, especially William of Ockham, we will explore the reasons why Scholasticism came to an end. As we move through our survey, we will take care to treat the philosophical questions that arise within their historical, and often religious, contexts. Our semester will focus on the following historico-philosophical topics: the influence of Neoplatonism on the Arabic and Jewish ontology and epistemology; the relation between philosophy and theology in Arabic and Jewish philosophy, and also as highlighted by the Latin West's recovery of Aristotle; the meaning, interpretations, and rejections of Aristotle’s noetic; and the vigorous debate as to whether the world is eternal or was created.

What is a mind? Is the mind reducible to the brain? If not, how are they related? Various answers to these questions will be considered in the course. Topics will normally include: behaviourism, functionalism, dualism, identity theory, representational theory, consciousness, the intentional stance, eliminativism, property dualism, non-reductive physicalism. The course presupposes no background in philosophy and may be of interest to students in psychology and the life sciences, as well as philosophy.