Undergraduate courses

WINTER FEATURES (complete list of courses below)

yellow happy faces and one red heart shaped happy face

PHIL 271 Happiness

Coming out of the misery of the pandemic, it’s vital to consider human happiness. Luckily, many philosophers, psychologists, and social theorists have had lots to say on the subject. Indeed, we even have impressive, expensive, detailed annual reports on which countries are the happiest and why. This course will be an interdisciplinary meditation on the nature of happiness. Our investigations will go beyond traditional concerns with individual belief and action—personal psychology, as it were—to more contemporary awareness of the impact of social institutions on human well-being. Questions that will concern us include: what is happiness and its components? Are there objective elements to human well-being, or is it all subjective preference and pleasure? Can we make happiness a deliberate goal of action, and succeed in becoming happier—or do powerful forces of biology and social structure make such pursuit an illusion? How does happiness get frustrated and thwarted, resulting in either “mere” unhappiness or even deep, darkening depression? What makes for a happy life? Why do some societies report much higher levels of average happiness than others? Is concern for happiness selfish and trivial, in comparison to what some have called “a life of meaning and purpose”? Thinkers to be studied range from Aristotle to Martha Nussbaum, from Sigmund Freud to Sonja Lyubomirksy, and from Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche through to the utilitarians, the existentialists, and contemporary economists, social activists, and “positive psychologists.” We will draw upon a stimulating variety of multimedia sources and can look forward to rewarding conversations about a subject of central concern to us all.

Monday Evening course
6:30 pm - 9:20 pm

 

pink cat on a black and white background. Speech bubble " Yes, everyone!"

PHIL 252

Quantum Mechanics for Everyone

Quantum mechanics is driving a technological revolution, and here in Waterloo we have front-row seats.  This course offers an introduction to the basic concepts of quantum mechanics from a historical and philosophical perspective.  Topics will include Schrödinger's cat paradox, the debate between Einstein and Bohr, “spooky action at a distance,” and quantum computers.  No background in mathematics or physics will be presupposed. Assessments will be in the form of quizzes and short written assignments. The goal of the course is to supply the background needed to understand some of the principles behind the cutting-edge research being carried out at the Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo.

(Cross-listed with SCI 252)

Mondays and Wednesdays
11:30 am - 1:00 pm

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PHIL 358 Scientific Realism and Anti-realism

This course will focus on the contemporary realism—anti-realism debate in the philosophy of science. Scientific realists maintain that science aims for theories that approximately describe the world. In contrast, scientific anti-realists contend that science produces theories that successfully predict what we observe without also giving us accurate descriptions of the underlying reality. We will examine arguments for and against realism (e.g. the Pessimistic Meta-Induction, the ‘No Miracles’ Argument, and Underdetermination arguments) and evaluate contemporary positions on the debate, including variants of structural realism, perspectival realism, selective realism, sophisticated instrumentalism, and anti-realist empiricism.

Mondays and Wednesdays
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

More Philosophy undergraduate course information can be found on the linked pages.
All course descriptions - undergraduate calendar
All courses offered by term and subject - Schedule of classes
Online courses do not grant overrides- more information here
Email us with any questions regarding the course schedule.

PHIL 371/GSJ 371 Racial Justice Movements

PHIL 371 Racial Justice Movements

Using Black racial justice movements across the globe as our guide, this course will explore the philosophical foundations of the fight for racial equity by considering the following:   

(1) What we resist. 
(2) Who resists.  
(3) How resistance movements take shape. 

Grounded in social-political thought and drawing upon Black scholars, popular culture icons, academics, and philosophers, this course will explore various “modes of resistance” including but not limited to letters, interviews, radio, television and film, the creative arts, and public speeches to help us think through broader philosophical ideas about racial justice and the ongoing struggle for racial equity right here in Canada.  

Tuesdays and Thursdays
1 pm - 2:20 pm 

the acropolis

PHIL 283 Great Works: Ancient and Medieval

Great Works: Ancient and Medieval

A historical survey of ancient and medieval philosophy in the Western tradition.

(Cross-listed with CLAS 261)

Tuesdays 2:30 pm - 5:30 pm

 

 


 

Complete Winter 2024 course offerings

Course code Title
PHIL 101 Challenging Ideas
PHIL 121 Moral Issues
PHIL 145 Critical Thinking
PHIL 202 Gender Issues
PHIL 215  Professional and Business Ethics
PHIL 216 Probability and Decision Making
PHIL 221  Ethics
PHIL 226 Biomedical Ethics
PHIL 252 Quantum Mechanics for Everyone
PHIL 271 Happiness
PHIL 283 Great Works Ancient and Medieval
PHIL 358 Scientific Realism and Antirealism
PHIL 371 Racial Justice Movements
PHIL 402 Feminist Philosophy: Standpoint Theory
PHIL 403 Ancient Studies: Cosmology
PHIL 447 Cognitive Science Seminar
PHIL 452 Social Epistemology and Conspiracy Theory

 

 

CLICK HERE for course descriptions

Winter 2024 Online course offerings

Course code Title
PHIL 110B Ethics and Values
PHIL 240 Intro to Formal Logic
PHIL 251 Metaphysics and Epistemology
PHIL 256 Intro to Cognitive Science
PHIL 265 The Existential Experience
PHIL 324 Social and Political Philosophy

 

CLICK HERE for course descriptions

 


 

Spring 2024 (tentative) on campus courses

Course code Title
PHIL 101 Intro to Philosophy
PHIL 121 Moral Issues
PHIL 145 Critical Thinking
PHIL 202 Gender Issues
PHIL 226 Biomedical Ethics
PHIL 256 Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 260 Ancient Science
PHIL 328 Human Rights
PHIL 350 Epistemology
PHIL 380 History of Ancient Philosophy

 

CLICK HERE for course descriptions

Spring 2024 (tentative) online courses

Course code Title
PHIL 145 Critical Thinking
PHIL 201 Philosophy of Sex and Love
PHIL 215 Professional and Business Ethics
PHIL 256 Intro to Cognitive Science
PHIL 283 Great Works: Ancient and Medieval
PHIL 327 Philosophy of Law
PHIL 384 History of Modern Philosophy

 

CLICK HERE for course descriptions