PHIL 673/675 — SEM 001 Philosophy of Applied Mathematics
Instructor: Doreen Fraser
The question of how mathematics relates to reality is an old philosophical question. We will begin by considering answers to this question provided by accounts within the philosophy of mathematics, such as Platonism, structuralism, and formalism. We will then turn to the question of how mathematics relates to the world that we perceive with our senses. Theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner infamously argued that “[t]he miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.” We will take Wigner’s argument that the application of mathematics in science is miraculous and unreasonable as a challenge. What is the reasonable explanation for our success in applying mathematics? What does this explanation tell us about the nature of logical, mathematical, and scientific knowledge? How (if at all) does applied mathematics succeed in describing the world? The course will include topics from epistemology, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science. This course is suitable for students with a background in either philosophy, mathematics, or science; no specialized background knowledge is required.
PHIL 673/675 — SEM 002 Education: Tool of State or Tool or Resistance?
Instructor: Laura Mae Lindo
It is often assumed that education is the great equalizer. And yet, for far too many, access to education has been less than assured. For centuries, philosophers have considered the role education can and should play in society, questioning its purpose, its goals, and its methods. This course aims to bring into conversation centuries-old thoughts on why we teach what we teach and to whom we teach it with more recent thinking on liberatory pedagogies that resist, considering the long-standing social and political impacts of each.
PHIL 674/676 — Resisting Incredulity and Silencing
Instructor: Carla Fehr
PHIL 680A — Autonomy
Instructor: Mathiew Doucet
Autonomy is a contested concept that is at the heart of debates in metaphysics, moral psychology, moral philosophy, political philosophy, medical ethics, feminist philosophy, the philosophy of disability, and more. In this course, we will explore the nature and value of autonomy and consider the role in plays in a wide range of sub-disciplines of philosophy. PHIL 680 is also the departmental ‘pro-seminar’, so philosophical discussions of autonomy will be combined with professional development topics including applying for funding, presenting work at conferences, publishing, and the job market.